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Author Topic: Curse of the Dragons (Drama on Sexy Island?) [Reposted to jphip!]  (Read 6717 times)

Offline rokun

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I have now finally posted the entirety of this story within this thread here at jphip. It's something I should have done long ago, and I apologize to everyone who's struggled reading it in that LJ format. ^^; It's a bit edited, so feel free to read it through a bit more comfortably again, and hopefully new readers will be able to enjoy it easily as well! Thanks for reading!!! :D

I thought I would post my story here in case someone might be bored and interested in reading something... It's in a Livejournal that is unformatted - basically set up as just a place to put the story - but the Prologue and Chapter 1 are at the bottom while in scrolling further up you get into more recent chapters. It has a good amount of work that'd fit the perv forum fairly well, but nothing too graphic so I thought I'd post here instead. Maybe if I go into more detail in some scenes eventually, I'll post those chapters there. :P

As a warning, this is very long, so don't expect to read through it in a few minutes. Anyway, I hope someone enjoys...

Curse of the Dragons
« Last Edit: April 11, 2011, 06:36:44 PM by rokun »

Offline JFC

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Curse of the Dragons (aka Drama on Sexy Island?)
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2006, 06:38:57 AM »
Wow that was long.  Interesting, but long.  Be sure to let us know when you finish it!  I wanna see what happens.  :)

If I may make a small comment, I think you overdid it with Chapter 16.  Too much detail/history (regarding the cave writing and cartouches) that didn't really need to be said.

JPH!P :heart:'s Fushigidane, ChrNo, Jab & marimari. Always.

Offline rokun

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Curse of the Dragons (aka Drama on Sexy Island?)
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2006, 08:04:33 PM »
Thanks, JFC! The story is now complete! There are 21 chapters, and they've all now been uploaded to my LJ link in the first post. I made it really confusing when I was posting two chapters to a journal entry as I did early on, but I've only had one chapter per entry lately, so hopefully it'll be more readable! Also, I've begun posting a story that's the "sequel" to the first one, so you'll see those as the couple most recent posts. It's a decent bit different, but read it if you'd like. :) Though, I'd highly recommend finishing the first story before starting on this one... as it does continue the storyline - a year and a half or so has passed. The sequel begins in January 2007. ;)

Thanks for your comment also about chapter 16. I know it's rather contrasting with the rest of the story, but I had to have my academic digression in there somewhere. :P I know it's not the best thing for cohesive writing, but eh, it amuses me.

By the way, I added the little bit in the thread's title about "Sexy Island" because Comrade said at one point that "It's not Ryugu Island, it's Sexy Island!" And... I thought it gave a good idea of the flavor of some of it. ^_^
« Last Edit: April 27, 2006, 08:07:00 PM by rokun »

Offline rokun

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Re: Curse of the Dragons (Drama on Sexy Island?) [COMPLETE]
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2011, 06:27:55 PM »
Awww the last post in this thread was 2006? I almost hate to bump it up. :cry:

But I got a PM from mmsuki which was the final straw for me leaving this story in its current form, since it seems people are still reading it. Instead, I will re-post it here in all its "glory" (:lol:) for easier enjoyment by everyone here in the library. :) It's also a slightly edited version too with some obvious things polished up a bit when I went through it again a few years back...

Without further ado, starting on with the prologue and chapter 1!

Curse of the Dragons

Prologue – The Call

   “Aishite kyuusekkin~
   Mirai ni daisekkin~
   Dokomademo dakishimete~ hoshii!!!”

As the intense performance began its final dance break after Reina Tanaka’s tantalizingly delivered final line, Tsunku nodded approvingly from his seat high up in one of the press boxes of Sapporo National Stadium.

“They’re finally becoming what my goal has been all these years… I need to figure out a way to keep them together, because I know they’re on the brink of a breakthrough return!” he thought to himself as he rose and overlooked the invigorated crowd’s frantic ovation as the song wrapped and his girls bowed and began to make their way off the faux stage constructed only for this pre-game performance.

He turned around and nodded to his assistants, who rose also and trailed him as he left the box and began the walk to the seats behind the dugout where he would join the girls to enjoy the game. Just then, he heard his newest song blare from his pocket and stopped walking to pull out his cell phone and raise it to his ear.

“Hai, Tsunku desu,” he said to the caller from the unrecognized number he noted before he answered.

After listening for a moment, his features became slightly intense. “Yes, I’m here with Morning Musume.”

“No, this is just a promotion for Iroppoi Jirettai, none of the other Project girls are with us.”
As he listened further, his body began to visibly tense. “Hai…”

“S-Sou desu ne…” His hand had now begun trembling while holding his phone.

“What??? All of them??? Are you crazy!? It’s bad enough with one… or two! But all of them together is just insanity!”
Whatever was said next seemed to drain him of all his talk of insanity, and a pale shadow seemed to drift across his chiseled features. “Hai, sou desu nee…” he said slowly.

“…” Half-slumped now, he slowly drew the phone away from his ear and closed it up, returning it to his pocket. He stood there motionless for a moment, seemingly lost in thought, until one of his assistants brought him out of his reverie. “Sir…?”

He jerked slightly and turned toward the black-suited man, looking between him and the man to his side. “Satou, Yamigata, we have work to do. Yamigata, contact the others… fast! We need to have everything ready to leave within the hour.”

“Sir?” Yamigata asked inquisitively.

“Just do it!!” replied Tsunku forcefully. “Satou, come with me, I need to have a talk with the stadium managers before we fetch the girls. We can let them enjoy the first inning at least. It’ll be the last…” he trailed off as his gaze became distant before coughing softly and starting to walk briskly down the cement hall.

“Sir,” Satou asked breathlessly, after rushing forward to catch up with him. “May I ask…?”

“It was the ICAA,” Tsunku said softly but quickly. Satou gasped before he could catch himself. “They want all of them… now.” All that could be heard after then were the echoing steps of the two men and the hum of the crowd outside becoming louder as the lineups for the day’s game were announced.

Chapter 1 – Rays of Sunlight

Hitomi Yoshizawa led the girls offstage as they continued waving to the crowd cheering loudly all around them. The iroppoi red dresses they wore felt slightly cool in the mild Hokkaido summer air, but she knew they would soon be changing into their normal attire, if with a pink Morning Musume athletic t-shirt. She wasn’t crazy about the color selection, but they were who they were after all. As they made their way toward the dugout to descend to a locker room, Reina Tanaka and Sayumi Michishige  came up behind her and each wrapped an arm around her, doing peace signs to the fans with their free hands.

“Hey Tanaka!” Hitomi said loudly amidst the now calming roars of the crowd. “Good going out there! I think you keep doing that last line better and better!”

Reina smiled back at Hitomi. “Thanks!!” she said happily, at the praise of her senpai. “Everybody is already so energized for the game today, it was actually easy!”

Hitomi patted her head, and Reina giggled as they entered the dugout and the hallway to the locker room. “I know what you mean!” chimed Sayumi. “It just felt… electrifying! For some reason I have a feeling about today…”
Hitomi laughed and hugged both the girls as the others caught up with them, and they chatted the rest of the way to the locker room.

After getting changed, some of their excitement had died down from the exhilaration of the performance. However, they were still quite perky as they made their way back up to their special seats above the dugout. Ai Takahashi sat between her fellow fifth gens Risa Niigaki and Asami Konno, who immediately hopped up again when a snack vendor came by.

“Hey Konkon, get me some mochi!” Risa shouted up to her, smiling.
Asami turned and nodded, and asked the vendor for a mochi and two packs of pocky. As she sat back down, she handed Risa her mochi and offered Ai one of the pocky packs. “No thanks, I’m good,” Ai said politely, and Asami shrugged and set that pack in her lap as she eagerly opened the other.

“Seriously Ai-chan, I’m worried about you not eating enough!” Risa mumbled with her mouth full of mochi. “I know we’re not scheduled for many performances for awhile, but you have to keep your strength up! You are the “image” of the group now, remember,” she said with a smirk.
Takahashi looked at her and narrowed her eyes momentarily before bursting out laughing. “Oh I eat plenty, I’m just careful to do it when you’re not around,” she said playfully while patting Risa on the knee. Risa just rolled her eyes and continued eating as the loudspeakers flared up and the lineups were read. The players streamed out onto the field and the girls joined the rest of the crowd in cheering them on.

The top of the first inning went smoothly, with the home team’s pitcher only walking one batter, and the crowd cheered as a strikeout made out three. As the players transitioned into the bottom half, Miki scanned the audience for something to do in case there were any cute guys around. She couldn’t understand why she noticed several people turning away quickly as she glanced at them, since most of the attention was on them anyway.

“Fujimoto, are you intending to kill them all or just those poor people you’re looking at?” Yossi chided, giggling, while elbowing her in the ribs.
Miki scowled and rubbed her side, wishing everyone would stop teasing her about her “glares”. “I don’t look that bad, do I? Maybe it’s this blasted sun. I’m surprised I can even see anyone as bright as it is.” Yossi just kept laughing as the first batter from the home team took the plate.

“I wonder where Tsunku is. He said he’d join us down here. Just like him to leave us hanging while he goes swimming in his luxury box or something!” She scanned the crowd again for a sign of the wretched man, ignoring the people turning away now, yet trying to smile sweetly anyway. As her gaze swept past one of the stairwell entrances near them, she noticed a man in a black suit talking into a hand radio and looking over at them every few seconds.

“He must be coming from there!” she said in an aside to Yossi, who just nodded and smiled before turning back to the game and cheering as a player hit the ball into left field.

Miki just kept looking on, thinking there was something strange about the man’s behavior; that he looked worried about something. As time passed and no one else came out of the stairwell, she got up from her seat and nudged Yossi’s legs with her knees trying to get past.

“Hey, where ya going?” Yossi asked her.

“I don’t know. I just have a weird feeling and I guess I’m not much into the game,” she replied, as she pushed past Yossi and Makoto next to her. Makoto craned her neck to try to see what was going on in the game since Miki was blocking the view.

Finally, she made it to the aisle and started walking up toward that stairwell, but didn’t get too far before someone jumped out of one of the aisle seats and bowed eagerly to her.

“H-Hajimemashite!!” the man said, bowing yet again to her. He wasn’t bad looking, Miki thought, if a little chubby in her opinion, as she bowed back to him, slightly irritated. The man quivered all over and offered his hand, which Miki shook lightly.

“Fujimoto-san! I am such a big fan of yours! I was watching you down below, but was too shy to go meet you. However, I couldn’t pass it up when you walked right past me!” The pathetic man was now shaking all over and kneading his baseball cap in his hands, still half-bowing, apparently having no idea what to do now.

“I’m glad to hear I’ve still got fans…” she remarked coyly, causing the man’s head to bob more and smile all the wider.

“Here,” she told him, and pulled a small card out of her pocket, gesturing for him to take it.

“Ahh! Thank you so much! I’m glad to have met you!” he said as he looked at the photocard she gave him. She, as well as the other girls, always carried plenty of those autographed cards around to these events, for times like these.

“Thank you,” she said, bowing slightly again, her gaze going back to the man at the stairs. “If you’ll excuse me…” And she walked past the man, who was again furiously bowing left and right, a little quicker this time as to avoid anyone else who might want to stop her.

She noticed the black-suited man start to look at her as he noticed her approaching, still talking into his handset, and finally she reached him. “Excuse me,” she demurred, “Do you know if Tsunku will be joining us? From what he said I thought he’d be here already…”

The man became serious and said softly, his handset now at his side, “Fujimoto-san, please, have a seat. It’s best if you don’t just wander around like this.”

Miki’s eyebrows furrowed in anger and irritation as she held her ground. “I can take care of myself, thank you! Why didn’t you answer my question? What’s going on? I don’t usually see you guys talking into those…” she waved her arm vaguely toward his lowered hand, “…things this much.”

The man then put a hand on her shoulder, pushing her lightly in the direction of her seat. She swatted his hand away almost immediately. “Don’t touch me! I want an answer!”

The man now was glancing to the left and right of Miki as some of the crowd began pointing and heads started turning toward the commotion that a celebrity was causing. He held his hand radio back up to his mouth and spoke softly, “Sir, she won’t back down. What should I do?”

He listened to his earpiece for a moment, while Miki began tapping her foot. “Yes sir, if all is ready we’ll go ahead and start then.” He turned around and motioned Miki to follow him. Miki raised her eyebrows for a moment and looked back toward the other girls. Several men were now heading down to them from other stairwells.

“Fujimoto-san, please, this way,” the man in front of her urged. She turned back to him and started following slowly, fury welling up in her that the man would work them to death like this.

Offline rokun

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Re: Curse of the Dragons (Drama on Sexy Island?) [COMPLETE]
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2011, 06:28:23 PM »
Chapter 2 – The Man Who Had To Let Go

Ai, Risa, and Asami caught up with the younger sixth gens as they followed Tsunku’s men down the tunnel away from the stands.

“What do you think’s going on?” Risa asked in Ai’s direction.

She shrugged, and Reina sighed. “He must have scheduled another show or something for us today. Man! He won’t even give us time to relax and watch a baseball game we’re promoting!”

The girls kept speculating to themselves what was going on while they walked through the tunnels in the stadium’s bowels. Eventually, they came out to the parking lot where they found their bus already running, with the doors open and some attendants frantically stuffing suitcases beneath it. Miki was already out here, her arms crossed and tapping her foot as she looked at the bus, so the rest of the girls walked up to join her.

“Mikitty, do you know what’s going on?” asked Sayumi curiously, all the other girls looking as puzzled as she sounded.

“Hell if I know,” she replied sardonically. “I went up to one of our “friends” here to try to find that out, and he just up and dragged me out here.” She looked around at the girls crowded around her. “Looks like they dragged you all too.”

Hitomi, joining them now as well, moved up closer toward Miki and asked, “Have you seen Tsunku? I know we have to work as hard as we can to promote the new song, but we need some time to relax too! Everybody was looking at us as we walked out of the game; even some of the players. I wouldn’t have thought it in our best interest to just leave right away like that…”

“Tsunku…” came a strong voice behind them, making them turn, “…would have liked to keep you all at the game, but sometimes there come calls that we cannot refuse.”

As he walked up to them, all the girls started asking questions at once, until Hitomi raised her voice, “Quiet! Quiet! That’s not going to get us anywhere!”

The chatter died down and she looked inquiringly over at the producer. “If you ladies will please take your seats in the bus, I will explain what I can to you shortly.” With that, he gestured them to the bus doors and turned around to confer with an assistant who was trailing him.

The girls filed onto the bus quietly, all anxious to hear what Tsunku had to say. Not long after they all took their seats, he stepped up into the bus as well and turned to face them all. “I know many of you were looking forward to the game. I know I was, especially after the fantastic performance you gave.” He paused for a moment as some of the girls smiled at the compliment. As he spoke, he looked each one in the eyes from one to another.

“Shortly after your performance, I received a call from someone I hear from maybe once every two years,” he began, the girls perking up interestedly to his words. “The idol world can be difficult, in Japan and elsewhere. Some succeed… others fail. Morning Musume enjoyed much acclaim a few years ago, before most of you were even here. Some stars rose and shone brightly. Others faded after only a short time. Apparently, the star that is Morning Musume has once again flared to life, and caught the attention of many observers. I have been very proud of how you all have grown out of our recent hardships, and how talented you have become individually, and as an exceptional team.” More girls were smiling now, and some were hugging each other, beaming with the compliments they had never heard before from their producer.

“As I said, though, I am not the only one who recognizes what you are becoming. I can only do so much to promote you as idols…” Some of the girls adopted questioning looks, unsure what Tsunku was getting at now. “To be more, you will have to discover what is in yourselves. However!” he said quickly, and nodded to the bus driver, who began to roll it out of the parking lot. “You will not have to do this without any help.”

Reina spoke up, even though the other girls seemed to want to say something also. “What do you mean? Are you not going to produce us anymore?? And what does this have to do with leaving the baseball game?” The other girls nodded and stared eagerly back at Tsunku.

“No…” Tsunku said softly after a moment. “I am not leaving you. Actually, it’s more the opposite.” The bus started shaking a bit as the ground got rougher, and the girls for the first time noticed where they were headed as they looked away from Tsunku out the windows. They were now on a not-well-developed road, and in the distance in front of them they thought they could see water stretching out to the horizon.

“That’s the beach!” Ai blurted out. “Are we going for a swim?”

“We’re not going to the airport? There’s nothing out here, and we don’t have our bathing suits!” followed Sayumi.

“Tsunku… what’s going on!” said Miki, standing up in her seat, her hands on the back of the one in front of her propping her up.

Tsunku was holding onto a bar at the front of the bus himself to keep sturdy. “It’s time for you all to start on your next step in becoming true idols. I don’t know why all of you were selected; it’s usually just one or two at a time. But this is beyond my reach. I can only send you off and wish you the best.”

As the bus settled a bit having reached the sand of the beach, the girls heard a noise in the distance that quickly became louder. The bus slowed to a stop not halfway to the water, and the girls inched their faces closer to the windows to see what was coming. A plane was flying toward them from the ocean, and as it came closer Koharu screamed. “Is it gonna hit us???” she said frantically, and the other girls looked at each other worriedly also and back to the plane.

While it was still out over the water, though, the propellers on its wings began to turn upward, and there were gasps at the unusual sight. The only one unfazed was Tsunku, who just looked on impassively as if he’d seen it a million times before. The propellers stopped moving once they were pointed upward like a helicopter’s rotors, and the plane visibly slowed, coming up now to the beach.

By now, its forward motion had completely stalled, and it was hovering down toward the beach. The bus driver opened the door and Tsunku walked down and out. The girls watched as he headed over to where the strange plane was landing, and once it did, some people in dark uniforms exited it and walked over to meet Tsunku. They spoke for a moment and the girls saw Tsunku gesturing wildly before two of the uniformed people walked toward them and began waving at the girls to come over.

The girls looked at each other and then at Hitomi, who stood up and said, “All right, I don’t know what’s going on, but I don’t think we’re gonna find out by staying in here. Let’s go and see what they have to say.”

Miki was the first to jump up and quickly duck out the door, but the others followed shortly after. As they approached the two people who waved to them, the figures turned and walked back toward Tsunku and the others, the girls following behind. They now noticed that of the two that waved to them, one was a man and one a woman, but both couldn’t have been too much older than they were. And only the man was Japanese… the woman and the other two men with Tsunku all looked American.

“Ladies,” said Tsunku. “This is where I leave you. I believe you’re in good hands…” He looked sternly at the men near him. “And I wish you luck.” With that and a bow, he walked back toward the bus, the girls watching after him for a moment before turning back toward the plane.

Chapter 3 – ICAA

   At a nod from one of the other men, the young Japanese man stepped forward and drew his gaze across the girls eagerly, rubbing his hands together as if ready to break into action. “Ladies, I’m sure all of you are very curious about what you’re doing here, and what this whole spectacle is about. Rest assured, there is nothing to worry about, and it will all be explained soon.”

   The girls noticed for the first time small symbols on the otherwise navy blue uniforms the strange people wore. On both the left breast and right shoulder was the embroidered image of what looked almost like a half-moon, with wavy lines coming out of it toward the right like rays from a headlight. There was also a small diamond shape in the middle of the half-moon design.

   “I’m Special Agent Fujiwara. This is Agent Cage…” one of the men nodded toward him. “Agent London…” The woman now nodded toward the girls, smiling. “And the head of our team, Agent Sands.” The other man nodded toward the girls, smiling also. “We’re from an organization called ICAA, the details of which aren’t important now, but I must ask you to join us on the aircraft,” he said with a flourish of his arm toward the plane.
“Where are we going??” asked several of the girls at once, unable to contain their curiosity longer.
“Ahem…” the man introduced as Agent Sands spoke up, clearing his throat. He smiled warmly and raised a hand toward the plane. “This is a V-9 Osprey,” he said in deliberate Japanese. “It’s designed to be able to take off and land anywhere without need of a runway. You might wonder why we don’t just use a helicopter, but this is much faster and more comfortable than a helicopter, both luxuries that we want to make sure our idols have the best of.” He almost seemed to have a sparkle in his eye as he addressed the girls more intently, yet still in deliberate Japanese as if unsure of his words and reciting something rehearsed.
“There is an island far to the north and east of Hokkaido. It has been carefully chosen for certain… qualities it possesses, though it is very undeveloped as we want to interfere with it as little as possible,” he said in a clear, warm voice, the girls captivated by his tone.
“You have been chosen, along with a few more of your comrades, to begin a training reserved for only the most promising idols. I can’t tell you more right now, but if you would please board the plane, I promise it will all become clear soon enough.” With that, he smiled and turned toward the cabin door, nodding at his companions, who gestured the girls to follow.
Sands led them into the cabin as the other agents waited outside to make sure they all safely entered. Inside were seats not unlike a luxury passenger jet, with rows three across, and the girls sat down, talking quickly among themselves at the unusual situation. Sands stayed at the front to make sure there was no trouble and to direct the girls to sit two to a row. He didn’t notice any aside from a short glare from Miki before she took her seat in the back row next to Hitomi stiffly. He chuckled to himself at confirmation of things he’d heard about them.

After all the girls were seated, the agents took seats at the ends of the rows, leaving only Hitomi and Miki by themselves, though with Fujiwara just in front glancing back to make sure they were settled. Sands took his own seat in the row Takahashi and Konno were sitting in at the front after ducking briefly into the cabin to say something to the pilots. He smiled over at the two girls as the cabin doors closed and they heard the propellers beginning to whir once again.

Takahashi blushed slightly as she smiled widely back at Sands. He was really quite handsome, with dark blonde hair cut short and straight, except for the bangs where a few strands waved slowly in front of his sky blue eyes. Konno at the window seat was just staring out the window, lost in thought.

“You girls might want to hang onto something; the ascent and velocity change can be a little disorienting if you’re not used to it,” he said in English. Takahashi raised her head to him questioningly and he demonstrated, grabbing the arms of his seat tightly and gesturing with a nod for her to do likewise.

“Ahh!” she said, and elbowed Konno who broke out of her trance and rubbed her side irritably as Ai quickly explained what she should do. They both grabbed the arms of their seats, Ai blushing again slightly as she took the seat arm just behind where Sands’ hand was. She masked it by looking back at the others, who were doing the same at the direction of the team members as the plane began lifting slowly off the ground.

After liftoff, it began rising faster, and the girls could feel the gravity pressing down at them. After a few hundred feet from the ground, it began tilting slightly forward while still heading mostly up. Ai pressed a hand to her stomach at the slightly nauseating feeling, while Konno just kept looking out the window, fascinated. Sands looked down at Ai as they felt the propellers begin to adjust forward.

“You’re doing well!” he said encouragingly in unsure Japanese. “The hard part is almost over and…” He was cut off at a small shriek from just behind them and turned around to see Sayumi frantically patting Koharu’s back, who was bent over with her mouth against a small bag, her face pale.

“Everything okay back there?” he inquired, and Sayumi nodded quickly before turning back to her kouhai.

“I’m just glad I thought to give them the bags before we took off!” London, who was seated next to Sayu, told him in what seemed a British accent. “I had a feeling, since they were so young, especially Kusumi…” she said while looking over at the poor girl.

Sands nodded and quickly scanned the rest of the girls further back and found most looked fine, if a little queasy. After looking back at Ai, who nodded that she was all right, he glanced out the window as the propellers slid into place and the plane began gaining altitude and forward speed over the cool water off the Hokkaido beach.
Quiet minutes passed as the plane steadily ascended until they could feel it level off somewhat just above the cloudline. Hitomi, enjoying the view out her window of the broad expanse of sparkling ocean beneath them with small specks of land in the distance, heard a voice speak up from beside her.

“Yossui…” she heard Miki almost whine and grumble, “You don’t have any idea what’s going on, do you? Did Tsunku mention anything to you?”

“I haven’t a clue,” Hitomi responded musingly. “I’m still worried about leaving the baseball game… but where we’re going seems a lot bigger than just some performances. Thankfully, we’ve had nothing scheduled for a while anyway, but I have a feeling this is going to take longer than just a while…” she trailed off, breaking her gaze from the window and looking around at the girls in front of them. She noticed Koharu nodding her head as Sayumi and the British woman spoke softly to her. She hoped Koharu was handling this all right. She knew the poor young girl was still not used to the idol lifestyle, and this was an experience far wilder than even any of them had before. “She’ll be fine with Sayu,” she told herself, comforting herself in the knowledge of Sayumi’s talents in that area.

“I don’t like this,” Miki huffed next to her, her arms crossed as she seemed to be trying to bore a hole with her eyes into the seat in front of her. As she felt Hitomi’s gaze on her, she turned toward her friend.

“For some reason this seems familiar to me…” Miki’s look became distant as she explained, “A few years ago after being out promoting and performing Boogie Train all spring, early summer came along and I noticed my schedule seemed to become lighter. I thought it was a little odd since I needed to be reaching out to my adoring fans…” she said with a smirk, “And I got even more suspicious because Tsunku and everyone else seemed to be acting oddly too. That’s the first thing that came to mind when I saw how they were acting just now, because it was all similar.”

Hitomi started frowning a bit as Miki went on, “One time I listened at the door of Tsunku’s office since I heard them talking about me, and they were talking about some island and what I thought was squid.” As she said this, she glanced at the symbol on the uniformed shoulder of Fujiwara sitting just in front of them. “Then Tsunku started saying something about my charisma, and how it wasn’t good enough! So, of course, I busted right into his office and let him know just what I think of my charisma, and he was there with a strange man who was wearing the same uniform as these guys.” She gestured at the agents sitting in front of them.

“They then denied they were saying anything of the sort and urged me to head back to my room, though I noticed Tsunku seemed a little nervous with that other guy looking at him like he wasn’t too happy.  Eventually, I just left and did head back to my room. Not long after I got word that I was going to join Morning Musume. That was not the best day of my…” she seemed to break out of her storytelling trance and looked quickly at Hitomi, who chuckled since she knew exactly what Miki was thinking.

Patting Miki on the knee, Hitomi said softly and coyly, “Well, I don’t think we have anything quite that dire to fear, but it is interesting to know this has been going on for some time and that it isn’t all new…”

The plane lurched a little with some turbulence before steadying once again. They had now been in the air for a while and Hitomi looked forward to see a few of the younger girls with heads laid back and appearing to be dozing off. Thinking this was a good idea, she laid her head on Miki’s shoulder, who still had her arms crossed while looking all around, seemingly just asking someone to make a move. This apparently especially included the agents, as her gaze lingered on them the longest.

As she felt Hitomi’s head on her shoulder she looked down to see her yawn. “Are you crazy?? How can you sleep at a time like this?” she demanded.

Hitomi finished her yawn and spoke up slowly, “Well, wherever it is we’re going, they said was some kind of training, so I’m betting it’s not gonna be easy. Plus the idea of some remote island just doesn’t sound too cozy to begin with.” She closed her eyes and nuzzled up a bit more into Miki.

“So I figured I might as well get some rest while I can. I’m not the only one either. Sometimes there are things you can learn from your kouhai.” She waved her arm vaguely in front of them, and Miki noticed that Eri two rows up already seemed to be dozing peacefully.

“Fine!” Miki said shortly. “There’s no way I’ll close my eyes though, I don’t trust this lot.” She nodded at the agents. Hitomi just shrugged against her and nuzzled up a little more comfortably. Before long, Miki noticed her even breathing of sleep. Resolute herself though, she glanced out the window stiffly as the flight wore on.

Offline rokun

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Re: Curse of the Dragons (Drama on Sexy Island?) [Reposted to jphip!]
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2011, 06:29:19 PM »
Chapter 4 – Ryugu Island

“I know you’ll just love it, Rika-chan!!”

“Frankly, I’m surprised it took them this long to ship you out here. Maybe they thought you already had enough charisma, Charmy.”

“Well, I just hope it does her more good than it did some of us.”

“What are you talking about? You led Morning Musume for years!”

“Yeah, yeah. And look where it’s gotten me now!” Kaori Iida said with a dramatic sigh.

She, Maki Goto, and Aya Matsuura were chattering boisterously after having surrounded Rika Ishikawa, who was sitting meekly in her seat near the middle of the plane, feeling not a little out of place. It hadn’t been two hours since she’d gotten the strange call… on her day off nonetheless! One of Tsunku’s assistants had told her to quickly pack a light load for a mysterious trip as someone would pick her up within the hour.

The next thing she knew, she was told to leave her curler behind and driven to this strange plane where she met the other three girls, all seeming quite excited about something. So excited, in fact, that she hadn’t been able to get a word in edgewise until now, fifteen minutes after the plane had left the ground.

“Sumimasen… minasan…?” The other girls, their chatter having died slightly, turned to her with surprised looks on their faces, as if they had forgotten she was there. Pouting inwardly, Rika went on, “I take it you have already been to… wherever it is I’m being taken?”

“Oh yes!” Aya jumped in. “I did it… oh, not long after I started, maybe after Momoiro Kataomoi?” She glanced over to Maki for confirmation. “Anyway, Gocchan and I went through it about the same time. It was a little tough at first… but once you get the hang of it, it’s really not bad!”

“I see,” replied Rika.

Aya went on, “I mean, you are learning magic, after all, even if…”

“Magic?!” Rika interrupted, suddenly perkier. “What do you mean? I mean… MAGIC?????

Maki laughed. “Chill out, Rika-chan. It’s really not that big a deal. This island we’re going to apparently has some mysterious history that makes it a really… mmm… good spot to learn this.”

“I heard that it can actually do a lot more than we learned, too,” Kaori interjected. “But I guess this is all they think we need to know…”

“Well isn’t it?” responded Aya. “I mean, being idols is our job, so we just need what helps us most with that, ne?”

“Yeah I suppose. I mean, I’m quite happy with this. It really helped me lead everyone through the years.” Kaori nodded retrospectively.

“So…” chimed in Rika again, “What kind of… magic… am I going to learn?”

No one said anything for a moment, before Kaori said softly, “We aren’t supposed to tell you, exactly, because it’s all part of the program, and they think it best if you just learn everything step by step… We’ll be helping in the training, too, since we’ve already gone through it!”

Feeling a bit pouty again, but glad the other girls had quieted down, Rika looked out the window at the serene view of the mist flowing over the ocean beneath them, wondering what exactly was in store for her.
The brisk, salty oceanfront air blew peacefully out of the off-shore mist past the austere structure nestled on a ledge near the top of a rocky cliff overlooking a fantastic sandy beach. Red-tinged with the reflection of the setting sun off each tiny grain, the whole of the shore presented a remarkable sight. A seagull uttered its relentless call as it rode the breeze to its nest low on the cliff. Patches of seaweed washed calmly onto the shore with the tide, dragging with them a small sampling of the marine life that teemed in the sparkling sea.
The structure stood seemingly ageless before the reddish hue, an unbroken sheet of glass stretched all around its western side that was tinted just enough to shield some of the sun’s intense glare from anything that might be present within. Aligned with the setting sun, it seemed to challenge some tradition found only in rumor and legend linking this island with the birth of the rising sun. Or maybe it was made by humans only to illustrate human dominance in all of nature’s even more mysterious realms.
A small fox slowly made its way close to the structure, overcoming a fear of the man-made intrusion which had held it in check for so long, for some reason known only to itself. A low rumble emanated from deep within a cave not large enough for someone to stick a head into, which lay in shadow near one side of the sandstone cliff surrounding the structure. The fox immediately froze, its ears straight as it gazed piercingly toward the cave. The rumble stopped, but the fox held its ground for a moment before darting again quickly toward the structure. Apparently it was not fast enough, however; no sooner had it reached the marble north wall before what can only be called a movement struck out from that small, unintimidating crevice. With a yelp, the fox was stopped in its tracks and within moments had disappeared into the shadows shrouding that unknown cave. Silence engulfed the cliff face once more, until a soft buzzing grew from the distance over the sea, growing quickly and steadily louder.

   “Hey, don’t push!” cried Sayumi as the girls exited the plane onto the soft beach sand, furiously making sure her hair had not been disturbed.
Reina just shook her head and waited for the girl to step down the aircraft’s ramp before following. She looked up the cliff in front of them, shielding her eyes from the bright reflection, glimpsing what she thought was a building near the top. She looked back as the rest of the girls came down, some talking softly, but all glancing up the cliff also. She noticed Ai-chan as one of the last to depart, followed by that Agent Sands, who Ai smiled up at eagerly. “Jeez, doesn’t she even try to be subtle about things?” Reina grumbled to herself. She recognized what a striking American man he was herself, but just had no sympathy for lust-besotted girls, one of which apparently Ai-chan was becoming. Well, at least she still had her talent.
The girls all looked around nervously, unsure of what to do on this obviously empty beach, wondering where they were supposed to go now. After gathering them up in somewhat of a group, Agent Sands came to their fore and spoke up, rather officially. “Welcome to Ryugu Island!” he said with a slight flourish. “You’re here because you’ve been identified as some of Japan’s most promising young idols. Here you will undergo training which will prepare you to capture the hearts and minds of millions, maybe even catapulting some of you to superstardom!” The girls looked around at each other, and Reina thought she could feel eyes on her, though she couldn’t tell whose.
“Your base will be that building up on the cliff,” he said, pointing behind him up at the barely visible gap in the shine of the sandstone cliff. “There is where you will generally bed down for the night, as well as have performance rehearsal at the fantastic studio and practice arena, which faces this sunset through an all-glass wall.” Some of the girls gasped at that, wondering at the amazing view they might have from there.
“But first, we must get there!” With that, he started walking toward the cliff bottom, and the other agents motioned for the girls to follow. Before long, as they drew deeper into the reflective glare, Reina noticed a pair of large steel doors, which looked somewhat like an elevator entrance. When Sands reached it, he pushed a button on a panel next to the grand doors, and they slid apart, revealing a short hall leading to a huge elevator room. Walking into the room while motioning the others to join him, he stepped off to the side at another panel within. Once everyone was inside, he pushed the lone button on the panel and the elevator groaned before making its way slowly up within the cliff face. The girls became excited at the idea of traveling up a sheer cliff, and looked around wonderingly until the elevator slid to a stop and doors creaked open on the opposite side as before. Reina followed the others out to a magnificent sight.
The elevator shaft rose up into a small outcrop at the edge of the ledge. Within was a building that stretched nearly edge to edge. The front was a tall marble dome, the first two floors of which had a wall of only glass, and they could see a large practice studio, illuminated strikingly by the setting sun. On either side of the structure, marble walls extended out from the dome and back deep into the ledge. Between the building’s own reflection and the reddish tinge of the ledge’s back wall onto it, the building looked as if on fire. Far in the back of the ledge, a ramp twisted up the rest of the cliff face to the top, where only the tops of a few trees could be seen beyond.
The agents led the girls to a door along the wall just shy of the dome, opening it to allow them inside. As they walked along the hallway, a large doorway to the studio appeared to the right, with light blazing through. Eventually they reached a small room where Sands picked up a clipboard that was hanging on the wall behind a small empty desk.
“All right,” he said, breaking the long silence. “I’ll give you a few minutes to think about your room assignments. It’ll be two to a room; one regular size bed for each of you, and two rooms to each hall. There will be an extra room outside of each hall where one of the agents will stay. Since there are ten of you, two of you will have a hall to yourselves for now, but the other room will be filled by our late arrivals. Let me know when you’ve decided who you want to room and hall with, and I’ll assign you and write it on my clipboard.”
The girls started talking among themselves, and Reina looked over at Ai-chan, who was chatting with Risa and Kon-kon paying her no attention. Grumbling to herself, Reina looked around and saw Sayu and Eri paired up already also, with only Koharu looking out of place. Sighing resignedly, she walked over to the young girl. “Koha-chan?” she asked lightly. Koharu, having seen her walk over, faced her eagerly. “Would you like to room together?”
The girl nodded and hugged Reina. “Yes! This is going to be so much fun!” she bubbled happily. Reina awkwardly patted Koharu’s back until she was released, then smiled crookedly and turned to Eri and Sayu, who had walked up to them.
“Would you two like to share a hall with us?” Sayu asked cutely, Eri’s arm draped around her shoulders.
“Sure, why not,” Reina replied shortly, and ambled over to Sands.
“Hello Tanaka-san!” he greeted her cheerfully. “Have you decided who you want to board with?”
Reina nodded, smiling sweetly, and told him about their decision, and he began writing on his clipboard. “Great!” he said once she was done. “Since you’re the first to come to me, you guys can have the first hall.” He checked his watch. “It’s just after seven now. Your luggage will be placed in your rooms shortly, and you can take some time to set them up. We’ll be having dinner and an introductory meeting at seven-thirty in the main dining hall, which is through a large door just down that hall…” He pointed to the hall to the south. “The halls to your rooms are just further down this way,” he said, pointing down the way opposite where they came. “You’re in hall one, and you’ll see a sign for it above the doorway. Hopefully the others will join us by dinner-time also!”
Eri, who had come up behind Reina with the rest of their hall mates, spoke up as he bowed. “How is our luggage going to get to our rooms?”
Sands just smiled at her, and then at Reina, who again smiled sweetly back, before turning to Ai-chan, who had just come up smiling herself. Reina rolled her eyes at the girl’s near simpering toward the man and turned to the others. “Who knows, let’s just go,” she said, sounding bored, and they began heading toward their rooms. She couldn’t help wondering the same, however, since they had seen no one else on the island except the few of them that just got off the plane…

Chapter 5 - Reunions

Miki turned the corner past the desk to start down the hall to the way they were shown to the dining hall when a familiar voice made her pause in her tracks so suddenly that Yossi walked right into her, toppling them both onto the floor in a tangle of limbs.

As they started to get up, Miki felt a faint flush in her face as she saw Aya Matsuura run up from the entry to them. “Oh, are you all right??” she asked concernedly, patting Miki’s shoulder. Miki nodded, the flush beginning to be replaced by a smile at the sight of seeing her old friend again.

“Oi! Yossi!” came another voice from down the hall as Maki, Kaori, and a slightly annoyed-looking Rika trailed Aya over to them.

“Hi guys!” said Yossi, giving Maki and Kaori a hug, but apparently deciding against giving one to Rika after seeing her cute glare. At least Miki thought it was cute. She swore the girl could make rolling around in the dirt all day under scorching heat look cute. Not that she was envious. She isn’t the only one who can get who and what she wants.

She turned her attention back to Aya as Yossi went to meet the other three. “Fancy seeing you here. Do they think you need more “idol power” too?” she asked, smirking slightly.

“Oh, no, “ Aya replied, as usual seemingly oblivious to Miki’s insinuations. “I went through this a long time ago. I’m just here to help and guide all the rest of you guys. Isn’t it great? I’m so glad you finally are doing it!!”

Her face getting darker by the word as Aya went on, Miki said stonily, “Oh yeah. Great.” “This trip just keeps getting better and better…” she continued to herself. Aya just gave her a hug, apparently happy to see her as well. Well, at least Miki was happy at that. They broke apart as Agent Sands came into the room with his clipboard again.

“Welcome!” he said toward the group of girls still greeting each other. “Glad to have you aboard with us!” He looked from Yossi to Miki. “I’m glad to see you two here also. You girls will have to decide who you want to share your hall with.”

Looking back across the others, he went on, “Right now, we have two full halls with one room left in another. Which two of you want to share one with Yoshizawa and Fujimoto here?”

The girls looked at each other after he said that, but the only one who moved was Rika, who, still looking as if she’d eaten something rotten, walked over and took Aya’s arm before raising her eyes to Yossi.

Walking toward the three of them, Yossi said, “How about Ishikawa and Matsuura here?”

Not noticing the glances among the four of them, Sands nodded, “Sure thing,” and noted it down on his clipboard. “So that leaves Goto and Iida together in the last hall. All right!” he said, looking up after finishing up with the clipboard. “If you two want to show them to your hall,” he stated, nodding to Miki, “I’ll take the others to where they’ll be staying. I’m afraid you won’t have time to unpack since the dinner reception is starting in just a few minutes. I’ll see you there!” he said over his shoulder, as he began walking with Maki and Kaori toward their hall.

Miki cast a shadowy glance toward Rika arm-in-arm with Aya, wondering how she ever thought that stuck up girl cute, before starting down toward their hall, not bothering to care if the others were following.

“Mikitty, hold up!” She heard Aya’s voice behind her, but kept her pace, noticing her friend walk up beside her and fall in with her. “It really is nice to see you,” she said softly, taking Miki’s hand as they neared the hall.

Miki sighed softly before responding, “It is. So you’re an expert at this… whatever we’re going to learn, huh?”

Aya blushed before responding, “Well, I wouldn’t quite say that… I mean, they only teach us a small part of what you can do. But I can hold my own, and there’s no denying it’s helped my…” she trailed off, lowering her face slightly as if finally feeling a bit of empathy.

“Well that’s good to hear,” Miki said, not wanting silence to drag on. “At least someone I know has some idea of what’s going on. I suppose you can teach me all about it, eh?”

Aya smiled at that and hugged her when they stopped at the entrance to their hall. They broke apart again at a cough from behind when Yossi and Rika joined them, Yossi rolling her eyes while Rika just looked amused. “Better than that dreadful poutiness, at least,” Miki thought silently with a short glare. Aya blushed again and said quickly, looking around, “So this is our hall, huh? It looks smaller than I remember, though there are more people here this time…” Miki grinned for the first time before heading with them toward their rooms.

The girls trickled into the elaborate dining hall, which included two long and grand oak tables, each with four seats to a side and one at each of the heads. Two of the agents, Cage and London, were already seated at one of the tables. At the other, Ai-chan, Kon-kon, Mako, and Risa sat at one end. Reina walked over to them and took a seat next to Kon-kon, who smiled up at her as she sat. Koharu, who now seemed to be Reina’s shadow, sat on the other side of her.

“Oooh, I’m so hungry!” the young girl burst out. “I wonder what kind of food we’ll have here!”

On her other side, Kon-kon nodded vigorously also. “Oh yes! I hope they have onigiri… I’ve been craving onigiri ever since lunch! Don’t know why either…” she said ponderingly, looking now bemused at her thought of food.

Reina sighed, which she seemed to have done a lot since arriving on this island, and looked up at Sayu and Eri sitting across from her. “Hello!” they said together.

Sayu giggled at Reina’s look. “Leave it to Americans to bring more yankee out of you Reina-chan!” Reina kicked her only slightly in the shin under the table, and she yelped before bending down and rubbing the spot.

The babble in the room rose, and Reina looked behind her to see Miki, Yossi, Aya, Rika, Maki and Kaori walk in and look around momentarily, the latter waving to the girls already present as they took their seats at the other table. Reina couldn’t keep her eyes off Maki for the moment. “Gocchan is here!! Well, maybe something good is finally happening on this blasted island,” she thought to herself, smiling absently.

Soon after everyone took their seats, aproned servers came in with rolling carts of food. As they dished servings to Reina and the girls near her, she realized just how hungry she was, and by the looks of Kon-kon and Koha-chan, both licking their chops, apparently they felt the same.

After an enjoyable three-course meal, which the girls enjoyed happily while gossiping over anything and everything, not the least of which their present situation, Sands stood up between the tables while the servers began to clean them off.

“Since this is your first night here the schedule will be light, as I’m sure you all are quite worn out after the day’s events and this wonderful meal,” he said, smiling around at them with his arms spread. “We ask nothing of you except that you keep to the area of the facility, and are in your rooms by ten. In the morning you will be expected to wake up early, as action begins here with the dawn. Your first preliminary training sessions are scheduled for seven after a short free breakfast in this hall. When you wake, there will be lists posted next to your hall supervisors’ doors of the teams you’ll be initially divided into. The members of those teams are who you will practice most often with, and have your training expeditions with, so I hope you all will get along! For now, enjoy your night here and we will see you in the morning!”

With that, everyone began to rise from their chairs and leave the room, chatting lightly with each other. “Oooh, I hope you and I are on the same team Tanaka-san!” Koharu said eagerly as they walked back to their hall.

“Oh yes, that would be very exciting…” Reina answered, barely hiding her sarcasm. “Well”, she thought, “What’s the worst that could happen?”

Offline rokun

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Re: Curse of the Dragons (Drama on Sexy Island?) [Reposted to jphip!]
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2011, 06:29:47 PM »
Chapter 6 – Glimmers of Power

“I’m so excited!” Risa, ever genki, tittered while her, Ai, Konkon, and Makoto made the last turn to their hall, separating them from the rest of the group.

Smiling at her friend’s cheer, Ai agreed. “I know what you mean. This whole island… who knows what we’ll be doing.”

“That’s it!” Risa blurted out. “We have all evening, right? Let’s go out and explore the island! I bet there are all kinds of cool things out there.”

The others’ eyes lit up and they nodded in agreement. Instead of turning into the corridor to carry them to their hall, they continued on toward where they thought a side door to the complex had to be. As they passed an intersection with another hallway, they met Agent Sands, who walked up to them headed back the way they came to his room.

   “Hey girls,” he said as he approached them. Noting their direction, but not Ai’s blush, he went on, “Headed outside?”

   “Um… yes,” Makoto responded, echoing all their thoughts as to if they were actually allowed to go out.

   Sands laughed a little. “Don’t worry. This island’s yours for as long as you’re here. Feel free to go out whenever you want – when there are breaks in your schedules of course – and explore. Just be careful about getting lost. It may not have looked like too much on the flight here, but it’s really a big island and easy to lose your way around. Here’s something you might find useful…”

   He took something out of his pocket and handed it to Ai. She scrutinized what looked like a little round i-Pod and looked up at him. “What’s this?”

   Smiling, he took her hand and raised it up to about her eye-level before softly pushing a button with his thumb. While feeling even warmer at the touch of his hand, she glimpsed a little flashing light on the screen of the object. Tipping it up so she had a better angle on the screen, she peered at the arrow, which pointed at her. The other girls crowded in beside her to catch a glimpse of their own.
“Just by pushing this button, this sensor will point to a beacon within this facility. If you get lost, just use it and it’ll guide you back here – as long as you don’t go too far out or up or down cliffs of course.”

Amid chatterings of “Sugoi!” from the girls as they all took a closer look at the strange device, Sands backed away slowly and smiled at Ai, who smiled back looking into his eyes, the only one not focused on the sensor.

“All right, I’ll see you later girls! Have fun out there!” Ai furrowed her brow slightly as a mysterious shadow seemed to cross his face in the last smile before he turned away. Then, before she knew it, he was halfway down the corridor and Makoto had taken over handling of the sensor, awkwardly pushing buttons.

“This thing is so confusing…” While Makoto was still pushing buttons, Ai swept it out of her hands.

“Whatever else it might do, at least it’s easy to use it to find our way back. I hope we won’t need it though…” Definitely sounding hopeful, she started off with the rest of the girls back down the hall.

They soon found an exit and headed out into the deepening dusk, the sun no longer visible; only a soft light glowing just above distant horizon.

“Ehhhh~!” shrilled the voices of amazed girls. “It’s so pretty!”

As only a horizon over a vast desert or sea can show, the nearly faded light cast an almost eerie glow over the cliff and the structure on its ledge, creating shadows deep and dark into the rock and foliage beyond them.

“I don’t know if this is a good idea...” Konkon looked suspiciously at the dark rock around them, as well as the even darker black farther from the cliff’s edge. “We have no idea what’s on this island, much less know our way around.”

“Oh come on, Kon-chan! Where’s your sense of adventure??” Risa poked her and walked off toward what looked like a path through some of the trees on one side of the ledge. Konkon sighed, and Ai stifled a giggle. Konno was always the practical one of their gokki group, seemingly constantly waging a battle against Risa’s impetuous relative youth. Her youthful energy, though, was what Ai admired about Risa and why she’d developed more of a fondness for the girl over her closer contemporaries of Mako and Konno.

Since they obviously could do nothing else with Risa showing no sign of slowing her march to that path, the other three girls followed quickly to catch up. As they found the path and disappeared into the wood, Ai couldn’t help but look around as she felt… something… she couldn’t explain. It was a feeling… a rush… She thought hard and decided that the only thing she could compare it to was the exhilaration of performing on stage in front of all their fans. This was different though, because they were alone in the woods with all their fans most definitely not around. She shook her head but the feeling didn’t leave. It was almost… power?

As the four fifth gens were lost to sight in the dark wood, a gaze out of a dark window held on the blackness following them. It lingered for a moment there as if it could still see them, or feel them, its purveyor overcome with a feeling of longing and desire. Slowly the gaze shifted to the small motionless form on the bed across the room before being blocked by warm sheets that the onlooker finally pulled over herself, even though sleep never came amid thoughts of fame and friendship.

“Doesn’t it feel wonderful out here?” Ai said, partly referring to the soothing dusk weather, but mostly to that rush that still filled her. A part of her did wonder, though, at this weather being milder than she would have expected around Hokkaido. However, that momentary thought was gone as fast as it came.

“It’s all right, I guess. But Konkon’s right, it’s getting really dark back here…” Risa began slowing down, suddenly seeming not as sure of herself. Konno started to speak, but Ai moved up and took Risa’s hand, smiling at her comfortingly, while Risa squeezed her hand gratefully in return. Konno and Mako closed in as well, as noises of the wood seemed to suddenly become clearer… and creepier.

Something rustled across the path ahead of them, causing the girls to freeze in fright, except for Ai, who squeezed Risa’s hand again while staring hard toward the sound. It felt to Ai almost as if the wood was alive around her; every movement, every sound sending a small burst into her senses. She could see nothing in the blackness ahead, but even more than what she could hear, she felt the creature as it made its motion across and into the brush on the other side, continuing on its path as if it didn’t realize their existence, though somehow she knew it did.

“Ai-cchan… I really think we should be heading back. I’m nearly scared stiff, and apparently there are things out here which have who knows what kind of intentions toward us…”

Ai turned to Konkon, who was much closer than she thought, and squeezed her arm with her free hand, smiling. “Don’t worry, Kon-chan. I can’t explain why, but I know we aren’t in any danger here. In fact…” Her gaze arced around them. “I feel as comfortable here as if it’s my home.” She looked back into the three white faces. “Don’t you guys feel it?”

“I do a little bit, Ai-chan,” Risa responded, this time squeezing Ai’s hand softly.

As the others were quiet, Ai looked back ahead. “You guys can of course go back if you want, but… Can you trust me?”

She felt squeezes on her arm from the other two girls. Even though Risa was her closest friend, they all had been through a lot together in the four years they’ve had in the spotlight, and wouldn’t have gotten far had they not developed great mutual trust.

A soft unseen smile touched Ai’s lips and she began walking forward again, the other girls seeming a little more content, though her friend still clutched Ai’s comforting hand in hers.

As they walked, Ai soaked in all of the sensations around her. She could feel the sap running warm through the surrounding trees. She felt the owl whose hoot made her companions, following in her firm stead, jump slightly. She felt almost as if she took wing with it as it dove to snatch a large caterpillar from the soft leaves of the forest bed. However, she didn’t fly with it back to its high perch. Instead, she felt herself flow along the uneven ground, looking into the beady eyes of the lower denizens of the rock and dirt. Her surreal gaze lingered for a moment while connected with a large furry spider, slowly clacking its jaws together. A momentary shudder went through her as she recalled her fears, though it was quickly replaced by a calmness of the serene and beautiful nature she felt like she had just realized. Slowly, the spider’s jaws spread wider. “Aichan…” She felt herself again drift slowly away, though with the spider’s hundreds of eyes following her. “Aichan…”

Offline rokun

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Re: Curse of the Dragons (Drama on Sexy Island?) [Reposted to jphip!]
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2011, 06:30:11 PM »
Chapter 7 - Fire

“Ai-chan!” Ai felt a poke in her back as she stopped walking, adjusting again to her friends slowly encircling her. “Ai-chan, look up there. There’s a light coming from somewhere,” Risa commented, pointing ahead with her head cocked slightly in puzzlement at the far-away look her friend had the last few minutes.

Ai looked ahead toward the small and very soft glow wrapping around the trees in the distance ahead of them. Risa was amazed at her friend’s calmness as she walked forward, seemingly drawn to the reddish glow ahead, appearing almost oblivious to her friends walking alongside.

“Ai-chan, are you okay?” Ai turned to Makoto, who was gazing at her curiously, her face barely visible as it began to be outlined by the light ahead.

“Yeah, thanks Makochan,” she said with a smile and a reassuring nod. “I’m sorry, I guess I drifted away for a bit there. It felt like I was floating through the trees. I saw… no… I could feel all the animals and bugs around us. It’s kind of hard to explain, but there’s something… alive about this place; more than just all the creatures.”

“Well, I don’t know what you were doing Aichan, but something weird was definitely going on. As we were walking and you were in your trance, I could tell there were a lot of creatures around us, but they didn’t bother us at all. It’s like they were just watching us pass.” Konkon looked around, seeming thoughtful as she talked. “You can especially tell now that it’s not as dark. You see that owl over there?” She pointed off to the right and up at the dim outline of a large owl perched on a low branch. The girls could see its eyes glowing dimly, but they seemed to be following them. All except Ai, whom Risa suspected could tell it was there without looking. It hooted softly in what sounded more like a warm coo.

The sounds of the path’s brush crunching beneath their feet mingled with the various forest sounds as the girls walked on, the light getting brighter and sharper, until they could see the source of the light through the widening gaps in the trees. From that point, the light seemed to spread out over a defined area, which Risa supposed was a clearing, before giving way to the surrounding darkness.

“I think that’s a campfire…” Risa squinted toward the light. “Ai-chan, are you sure…?” Her only answer was the never changing pace of her friend next to her.

“I’m getting scared,” said Makoto from just behind. “If it’s a campfire, that means there’s someone out here. Nobody else has had the time to get here from dinner so it can’t be someone we know!”

Scared or not, the girls soon found themselves passing through the last trees into the clearing. Mako and Konno hesitated, though Ai kept walking, still hand-in-hand with Risa, whose curiosity and youth began to overwhelm any better judgment as she walked eagerly alongside. Ai just stared at the fire, apparently seeing in its glow something the others couldn’t.

As they drew nearer, they saw that it was not a campfire at all, but a constant flame emitting from a small crack in the ground. The crack was no more than half a meter long and barely centimeters wide. Risa, seeing this, became a little less sure of herself, but Ai just released her hand and sat cross-legged close to the flame. Konkon and Mako finally walked up alongside Risa and looked down at the seated girl. “Do you think she’s okay?” Mako whispered to the others.

“I think so…” Glancing over just enough to see Konkon’s thoughtful, yet not decidedly worried, expression, Risa moved closer and joined her friend next to the flame. After staring for a moment at Ai’s calm face focused on the glow, Risa turned toward it herself to try to get some inkling of what her friend saw in it. The brightness stung her eyes for a moment before they adjusted, the blackness around her becoming drowned out by the light. There was only the red glow of the center of the flame. Time seemed to slow to a halt as the flame flickered in front of her eyes until she felt as if it was in her mind. The flame pleaded with her… asked her for her deepest fears; her most intense longings. She felt emptiness blossom within her as she gave them up freely, although it was a warm emptiness as if there was nothing else that she needed to satisfy her… to calm her.

“Do you feel it?” Lost inside her mind, the voice attempting to reach her was barely an echo. “Do you, Nii-chan?” As if from the depths of her soul, her consciousness was pulled back to awareness of her surroundings and she turned her gaze to see her Ai looking intently back, her eyes wide and ablaze with depth and wonder. Before nearly losing herself to those eyes as well, she tore her gaze away as her friend turned back toward the flame, her arm extending out toward it. It didn’t stop, however, and before Risa could react, Ai’s hand passed through the flame. Instead of burning, however, the fire gave a bit of itself away and as Ai drew her arm back, her hand was encompassed by a sphere of flame. Shock began seeping through Risa, but as Ai sat there stoically focused on her hand, Risa felt something tugging inside of her and she looked back at the flame above the crack, leaning in closer to it until she felt it envelop her, brightness and warmth overwhelming her senses until she thought she faintly heard a scream. And then her world went black.

At the sound of a scream, the owner of the sleepless eyes which had been watching the girls by the fire spun around and ran back through the trees. “What do they think they’re doing? Getting themselves in trouble, that’s what. Well, I’m going to stay far away from that….” Her thoughts were interrupted as she tripped over an unearthed root along the path.

“Itaaaaiiii~!!!” she thought fiercely, rubbing her knee, but she kept on, this time finding the clear path since it seemed she was far enough away from the others. As she ran with a slight limp, her thoughts drifted unconsciously back to the feeling she had earlier which had intensified once she reached the clearing. It was now gone in the rush of her escape, though she remembered the powerful rush.

“Maybe they’re not the only ones who can play with fire…”

In a dark room deep inside the structure in which most of the girls slept, four people sat at the sides of a long table. “It has begun,” said Agent Fujiwara. “They’re discovering it much faster than anyone has before. The only question is, ‘What exactly are they discovering?’”

“Didn’t anyone know about that crack?” Agent London looked around at her colleagues. “They shouldn’t be finding out about fire. At this point it shouldn’t go any further than a small connection with the island’s life.”

“Remember, it grows based on an individual’s talent and potential. You saw that not all the girls felt something. I told you that bringing them all here was a mistake. It’s too chaotic… The ones with the most talent are going to find it much easier. To learn… and to create.” Agent Cage seemed focused on his folded hands before him as he spoke.

In the ensuing silence, Agent Sands stood up from his seat and turned away, his hands folded behind and his brow furrowed in thought. “It was decided to bring them all because it was time for them, yes. However, it was also felt an impasse had been reached. The celebrities who have come here in the past – once they found out what it was they were here for, they embraced it only for the fame it promised them. Either that; or their curiosity was stifled by lack of talent or desire for innovation. These girls are unique. They are stars, yes, but they were chosen by audition and not by the seemingly random chance opportunities that normally rule and create the world of show business. They’re also kept on a tighter leash than most celebrities because so many of them are young, and because of who their largest fans are. They may be the ones to finally rediscover what has been lost. Of course, we’d prefer someone like us with military training to open that Pandora’s Box, but we all know that’s impossible for us… and not very likely for the rest of our small number of colleagues. That’s why I allowed them to go out tonight.” His gaze fell on the other agents. “As for the crack and the flame, maybe the island senses something as well.”

The seated figures nodded in agreement and momentary silence invaded the room once again. “But, how can we be sure which Pandora’s Box, as you say, they’ll open?” Agent London gazed intently at Sands while she spoke.

“We can only have faith in the purity of their hearts,” Sands responded simply after a moment. He then looked away from them toward a wall as if he could see what lay far beyond. The only vision in his thoughts was of a girl with fire in her hand.

Offline rokun

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Re: Curse of the Dragons (Drama on Sexy Island?) [Reposted to jphip!]
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2011, 06:30:31 PM »
Chapter 8 – A Peaceful Night

   After a few minutes of tossing fitfully under the covers of her bed in the room she shared with Yossui, Miki Fujimoto suddenly sat up in a cold sweat. It took a few moments to adjust to reality after her dreams of fire and demons, but her breathing soon slowed and she began to hear the light snoring of Yossui in the bed next to hers.

Glad that she hadn’t woken her comrade up, she slowly rose from her bed, straightening her light shirt and sweatpants which were soaked enough that they nearly became stuck to her body. She walked carefully to the restroom in an attempt to be silent, and once she arrived drew some water to douse her face with.

“I really need to stop watching all this anime…” she thought, grimacing. She really didn’t watch a whole lot, and never had dreams like this before, but this had to have come from somewhere. After drying her face off, she walked back to her bed and groaned softly as she noticed the alarm clock showing 1:20. Lying back in bed, she crossed her arms behind her head and attempted to fall asleep again. When it didn’t come, she began thinking.

It definitely had been a whirlwind of a day since Tsunku’s men had pulled them out of that baseball game. Even though she’d become resigned to a lot since joining Morning Musume, she still was used to being in control of things. “Well, and then there’s Ayaya of course…” The thought drifted across her consciousness and she couldn’t help but unleash a small smile. Even though she kept a fair measure of control when around the girl, she’d often find herself matched stroke for stroke – not something everyone can manage with Miki Fujimoto. Aya belies her excessive… girliness… with a solid will that can at times be stronger than steel. It’s really obvious if you look, Miki thought, because she always is so strong in her live performances. Miki wished she could have attained that level… though that’s another story. There was always something else, too… a sort of charm that attracted Miki to her and sometimes left her, as she thought, at the girl’s mercy. All these things helped mold Miki’s personality since she had joined the project and, she had to admit, kept her relatively stable.

Having just noticed that her eyes were wide open, obviously implying that she would never get back to sleep now, she sighed and rose from her bed once again, this time pulling a short robe around her shoulders and creeping slowly out into the hall. She stared for a moment at the door across from her own, remembering how long it had been since she had seen Aya in private. Aya’s booming popularity of late had kept her as busy as ever, and Miki of course had enough commitments of her own, including the trip to Hokkaido they were just torn away from.

Finally, shaking away her thoughts, she turned slowly at the doorknob in front of her and pushed the door open. Slipping into the blackness beyond, she pushed the door behind her until it was only slightly open, a thin ray of dim light from the hall falling into the room. Walking further into the room to where she heard breaths of two people sleeping soundly in their beds, she closed her eyes and reached out a bit with her senses. Abruptly she noticed a soft peach scent and smiled, heading toward its source. After being shaken momentarily, Aya yawned and opened her mouth, which Miki quickly covered with a hand.

“Well hello there, sleepy-head,” Miki whispered with a crooked grin. Aya’s eyes widened before a smile shone in them and she reached up to hug Miki.

“Well well, Mikitty,” she purred softly back. “Found your way to my bed already… I see your feistiness hasn’t gone away in all this time.”

Miki’s grin widened as she laid a finger against her mouth in a hushing sign. She glanced to the side and nudged her head toward the door. Aya nodded and left her bed to follow as Miki started toward it. Once outside with the door closed behind them, they giggled and took each others’ hands, Miki pulling Aya down the hall.

“The hall next to us where Kaorin and Gocchin are has an empty room. That should be a great place to… talk,” Miki said with a squeeze on Aya’s hand as they left their hall into a more darkened corridor. As they made their way the short distance to the next hall, they saw a small figure at the corridor’s end, just crossing the intersection.

“I guess we’re not the only ones creeping around at night in this place Mikitty, ne?” She giggled again, though Miki, having more experience being around the rest of the girls, thought she recognized the form and her brow furrowed.

“Hang on a second,” she told Aya, apparently distracted. Aya made a pouty and obviously fake whine, to which Miki rolled her eyes before dragging her down the hall in that direction. Once they reached the end, she looked down the crossing hall each way. There was no sign of the girl, but Miki frowned when she saw an exit to outside the building along the way the girl had come from. “What would anyone be doing outside tonight… I didn’t think we were supposed to leave yet.” Aya shrugged unconcernedly and yawned next to her, apparently much less interested than herself. “Come on!”

As Aya was once more dragged behind, this time toward the exit, she whined again, “But Miiikittyyyyy… I know you’re all nice and warm in that big robe, but all I’ve got on is this nighty… It’s not cold out there, but I’d still get chilled!”

When they reached the door, Miki doffed her robe and draped it around Aya’s shoulders. “There. Better?” she chided Aya mockingly.

In response, Aya wrapped her arms around Miki’s waist and clung to her side. “Now it is,” she said, looking up into Miki’s eyes and smiling innocently.

Miki rolled her eyes again, but wrapped an arm around Aya as well as they walked outside. It was quiet, except for the low song of a few forest birds and other faint indiscernible sounds. They looked around for a moment, but nothing seemed amiss. “I don’t know what you were expecting to find out here, silly.” Aya poked Miki in the side. Squeezing Aya a little, but enough to make her squeak softly, Miki started walking down a path toward the woods off to a side.

“Yeah yeah, but still, I feel something… I can’t tell what, or even explain it, but it’s like it’s drawing me toward the woods.”

At that Aya stopped cold, and Miki slipped out of her arms before she knew it. Looking back, she saw Aya’s brows furrowed in consternation as she peered carefully into Miki’s face. “What? Is there something on my face?”

“Mikitty…” Aya began slowly. “One of the first things you learn in your training here is how to feel a connection with all the life on the island. It’s part of the basis of what you’ll learn later on. I noticed it the minute we stepped out the door because I’m used to it now, but you haven’t even had one training session yet…”

She stepped closer to Miki until their faces were inches apart. “I found that I did notice a little something my first time out in the island before I had any training, but I couldn’t tell it was anything different from what was normal. I only learned that later on… Maybe it’s because you’re older.” Her mouth pursed into an impish grin.

“I can’t know for sure since I was the only one being trained at the time, but they did say that those with more talent…” She tossed her hair a little as she went on, in obvious disbelief, and Miki couldn’t hold back a chuckle. “…were able to feel it earlier, and ended up being more powerful too. Mikitty the Powerful and Wondrous – I think I like that!” After she spoke she grabbed Miki’s neck and pulled her lips against hers in a hard kiss, and thoughts of woods and shadows in the night flew out of Miki’s head as her hands found Aya’s slim waist and their tongues danced vigorously together.

After what seemed an hour, they parted slowly and Aya cast her eyes down, licking her lips and giggling. “Well isn’t this romantic! A beautiful island with sounds of nature all around and us just standing here in the middle of a… iyaaa!!” That was all she could get out as Miki, a very evil grin marking her face, grabbed her and pushed her quickly back inside the door, eventually finding that room which was, until this point, very quiet and empty.

Chapter 9 – 心まで (To the Heart)

“Gaki-san…” A voice she thought she recognized came as if from a distance, though all she presently knew was blackness.

“Gaki-san…” A light appeared; slowly, as if it was the dawn of time. Soon, she felt the light all around her, though all she knew was that light. However, it was warm, and she reached out for it with arms that didn’t exist.

“Gaki-san!” Her eyes opened and as the world flooded back to her, she noticed faces peering down at her from above.

“Eeeehhh~!” she yelled suddenly, and the faces fell back in surprise. Sitting up, she moaned and held her head, wondering if the act was a mistake as taiko drummers pounded inside it. Or, at least that’s what it felt like.

“Nii-chan, are you okay?” Ai came over and knelt down, laying a hand on Risa’s arm, clear worry etched in her face, as well as something else Risa hadn’t noticed before…

“Of course!” She said cheerily, smiling widely. “Aren’t I always? You know what they say, you can never get a Niigaki down! Or… at least that’s what I say.” Relief flooded Ai’s face, though she knew her friend was just putting the best face on things as always, so she hugged Risa tightly. “Neeee~!” Risa shrilled as she received the hug helplessly.

“I’m so sorry Nii-chan! It’s my fault! I shouldn’t have pushed you like… I’m sorry.” She squeezed Risa one last time and released the embrace.

Risa, trying to get her mind clear amidst the excruciating pain, noticed vague memories float up. “Ai-chan…” she began slowly, “What did happen out there? I remember the flame… and us sitting by it… but then it all becomes a blur.”

“I’d like to know that too,” Konkon said, strolling up next to Ai-chan. “We were pretty far away, so I couldn’t really tell what was happening, but all of a sudden you two nearly fell into the flame… And I think you actually did, Gaki-san! Mako-chan screamed and we ran up to you. When we got there, it looked like you fainted, and Ai-chan was on fire! All of a sudden, though, she wasn’t, and… Well, that’s all that I’m able to explain, except that we carried you back here…” She trailed off and glanced sideways at Ai-chan, and Risa for the first time noticed Makoto still at the side of the room, head down and apparently blushing furiously.

Ai-chan stood up and put a hand on Risa’s shoulder. “I think we all just need to get some sleep. It’s really late now, and I don’t doubt they’ll be keeping us quite busy tomorrow. It’s the first day of training! Come on!” All of a sudden quite genki, she pulled Risa to her feet from the futon and after her, though Risa couldn’t help but wobble a bit as the pounding in her head began anew upon rising. She managed a glance back and caught Konkon and Makoto staring helplessly after them before Ai had ushered her out the door and down the hall.

“Chotto matte…” Risa said quickly. “Where were we? Why didn’t you all just take me to our room?”

Ai glanced sideways back at her. “Well, we were going to, but we almost ran into somebody on our way in. We couldn’t make out whom, but it looked like two of the older members were just outside the door we’d come out of. I don’t know what they were doing, but they were standing very close… We didn’t want to get in trouble for being out, much less having someone unconscious, so we found another way in.” They came to a fork and Ai looked around before choosing one of the side passages to turn into. “Unfortunately, going in that way, we had no clue where we were, so after wandering aimlessly for a minute and almost running into someone else running down the hall…” Under her breath, she added, “I swear, we are seriously the most chaotic and wild group of girls I could imagine…” before going on, “…So anyway! After that, we just chose the first door we found, and at least it had a couple futons in it, where we laid you until you woke just now.”

Risa tried to sort through all of that in her head as Ai dragged her along, which was very hard to do because of Ai’s fast speech, her Fukui accent coming out somewhat since she was so exasperated, and not the least the pounding in her head, which at least had reached some consistency, although the consistency of a hundred gallon drum. After just a moment, she gave up and resigned herself to following Ai down the hall, since that was barely all the effort she could even muster. Thinking would have to wait.

She noticed Ai glance back from time to time and seeming relieved when Risa showed no signs of asking more questions. She thought this odd for a moment before the pounding rudely intruded into her attempt and she let it go, closing her eyes. It seemed the next thing she knew she was lying in her bed, looking up at Ai-chan’s outline in the dark, who was stroking her hair gently.

“Oyasumi, Nii-chan,” she said softly. “I’m sorry.” Risa couldn’t help her eyes closing again, and the world quickly spun away as she entered the land of the gods of night – sleep.

The first rays of sunlight shone over the tall trees spanning Ryugu Island, the Island of the Dragons, and touched the high windows in the building where slept many young girls, before shining in through the lower windows of the rooms which they actually occupied. Ai slowly awoke, turning her head as the sun fell on her eyes when she opened them. “Itaiii…” she moaned miserably, and turned the odd clock on the end table toward her. It read nearly six thirty. Groaning again at the late start, she got up slowly, noticing Risa still sleeping peacefully in the bed next to her.

“You get some rest, Nii-chan,” she said softly while touching her friend’s shoulder. “I’ll see if they can’t give you a later start considering…” Briefly realizing that she couldn’t tell them exactly what happened, she continued, “…Considering you got sick somehow.” She felt bad for the excuse, but it was a necessary one. Maybe she could tell Sands… He knew they were out at least, and she felt she could trust him for some reason.

Trying not to think about the night before, she took a quick shower and, after donning what she thought was a cute blouse with knitted sakura along it as well as some jeans since she had a feeling skirts wouldn’t work too well with what she expected of the day, she left the room quietly. She wished she had time to do something with her hair, but she decided she’d just tie it back into a ponytail as she walked to breakfast. It’s not like she was trying to impress anyone today. An image of Agent Sands floated across her mind. Not at all! She quickly ducked back and into her night bag for a small bottle of perfume.

When finally she closed the door to her room, she carefully opened the door across the hall, and when she found no one inside, went off down the hall, figuring Konkon and Mako-chan had already headed for breakfast, since she was running late anyway.

As she passed the hall’s entrance and the door to Sands’ room, she remembered that the training teams were supposed to be posted this morning. She glanced at the small note leaf taped next to the door and found that she was on the Kuro-gumi team with Reina, Mikitty and Ayaya-san. “Interesting choice of color,” she thought. “But at least it’s one of my favorites!” She wondered what it’ll be like being on a team with those three. They were definitely three very strong personalities… In a way, she felt rather left out. “Nii-chan is on the Shiro-gumi team along with Konkon…” she mumbled aloud. “Well I suppose that’s good. It’s probably safer for her to be away from me, at least for awhile.” Snapping away from the list, she skipped her way to the breakfast hall, pausing only when she needed to tie her hair.

When she arrived, only Konkon and Mako were still there, everyone else apparently having actually gotten sleep overnight and come early. She sat with them and they mumbled two sleepy “Ohayoo”s, mostly focused on the meal in front of them. Ai didn’t mind their reserved ness, as she didn’t much feel like talking either. Knowing Konkon, she was likely starving anyway, so not even a stampeding herd of penguins would distract her attention from her meal. Someone laid a rice bowl in front of her and she eagerly dug in, knowing she had to eat fast in order to make the meeting in time. Konkon and Mako left at some point while she was eating, but she didn’t look up.

After she finished, the speed making her feel like she’d gulped down a large bowl of hot rice tea, she hurried out and down the hall to the meeting room. She looked at her watch and shook her wrist hard. “Geez, doesn’t any regular clock work in this place?” she grumbled to herself as she walked on. She found the room and walked in as Cage broke off while giving a welcome speech, bowing and shuffling quickly to her seat while mumbling apologies for being late. Cage’s eyes followed her as she went, though she kept her eyes down, and shortly after taking her seat he began again, cutting off some hushed whispers of girls sitting behind her.

Each of the agents gave a little introduction and welcome to the island and their training before Sands spoke at the end about their groups and what to expect the first day. It seemed that certain groups would be working together from time to time, even though the training was mostly kept within each individual team. When hearing that Shiro and Kuro-gumi were of the ones being paired up occasionally, Ai smiled, against her better judgment, at the thought of training at least a little with Nii-chan and Konkon.

He called the teams to gather together so they could get accustomed to each other, and as Ai stood up she caught Konkon’s gaze and gave her a look to let her know silently where Risa was. Konno nodded, apparently expecting as much, and drifted over to her group. Ai sighed and walked to the spot indicated for Kuro-gumi to meet, and the three other girls joined her. Ai saw Miki and Aya looking at each other, though Aya promptly noticed her gaze and looked down, blushing. Miki now stared steadily at Ai, twirling a hair around her finger thoughtfully. Slightly uncomfortable at the silent communication between the two, Ai glanced over to Reina, who was standing somewhat apart and peering around at nothing, eyes downcast, almost as if she was trying to avoid looking at anyone. Ai noticed she wore almost entirely black today. “Well, at least she’s showing team spirit!” she thought sarcastically, and couldn’t stifle a giggle.

“What are you laughing at?” Miki had stopped twirling her hair and was now frowning over at Ai. Quickly she noticed that all three of the girls were now staring at her, expressionless.

“I…” she began.

“Well hello everyone!” Agent Sands walked up to them and patted the shoulders of Ai and Reina. All the girls suddenly became casual again as if nothing had happened.

“Oh this is getting off to a great start…” Ai thought, inwardly sighing deeply. However, she suddenly noticed that Sands’ hand was on her shoulder and immediately blushed deeply. A short cackle rang out from across from her and she glared over at Miki, who just rolled her eyes. Ai figured she couldn’t pull off a glare too well as it probably just ended up being cute and not at all scary, especially to someone like Miki.

“I see you’ve all warmed up to each other already,” Sands continued with a wry smile. Apparently, he was as astute as he was handsome. “Good! I’ll be leading you all, Kuro-gumi, in your training.” Ai noticed that each team was in a corner of the room, and it was big enough that none could hear what was said to another. “I’ll be leading you four because I’m the commanding officer here. I’ve been acknowledged as the leading researcher in this field, so I’ve been assigned to the most promising students.” The four girls looked up at him curiously; only Aya with a small smile on her face.

“I’m sure this is no news to you all, as you know quite well how your careers have developed, so let me just say that we’re expecting great things from you…” He gazed at Ai as he finished, who looked down, seeing a knowing look in those eyes which troubled her. Because of this, she didn’t notice the triumph now flashing in the eyes across from her.

“You girls might think it easy to train those with the most potential, but it’s actually quite the contrary.” He passed a level look among each of them as he went on. “The energies we’ll be dealing with can be very helpful and useful, indeed. However, as in anything, they can be used for ends that, I’ll just say, are less than noble. As the most promising, you’re also the most apt to go your own way as you get comfortable with it all very quickly. It’s my job to make sure you don’t go the wrong way.” He now had the full attention of the girls surrounding him.

“Now, the wrong way isn’t one defined by some secret rules that are geared toward a certain interest. In fact, there are no concrete rules. We still don’t fully understand the potential of what we’ll be dealing with. However, people… humankind itself… will be able to tell if the wrong way is chosen. I have faith that you girls, as well as the others here, will act in accordance with the best interests of all, but sometimes an alternative gets too tempting.” He paused for a moment and let the last words hang in the silence that followed.

Nodding at Aya, he added, “Matsuura here is our peer assistant. When we train groups, we like to have someone who is a friend to the trainees along to help. It helps prevent me having to do everything, as there’s a lot of individual training that’s involved, as well as give someone for you all to relate to. I know not all of you are too friendly with her…” Aya blushed again slightly at this for some reason, “…but I’m sure there’s a camaraderie between you all having experienced many of the same things.” The girls nodded.

“And now!” he smiled cheerily. “Most of all, I want you to have some fun. You have lots to learn, and we’ll try to enjoy it as much as possible. This is, after all, the world of entertainment, not boot camp!” Aya and Ai giggled at that, though Miki just stared as if the man had sprouted horns. Reina just seemed bored, though her eyes never left Sands’. “Go ahead back to your rooms and change if you need, but get ready to go outdoors. We’ll meet outside the east door in fifteen minutes. There’ll be a room just before it with some small packs. Bring one of them along, as they carry some materials you’ll need.”

“Hai!” The girls echoed each other after he was done, and they began to walk away, Reina smiling sweetly at Sands, who nodded back, smiling himself.

“Takahashi-san! Can I speak with you a moment?” Sands caught her arm before she took two steps. Reina heard this and turned her head a moment to glare back as she walked, this time at Ai.

“Yes, Agent Sands?” she said nervously, looking up at him.

“Call me Jay,” he said dismissively, waving his hand, and Ai swallowed. “I noticed Niigaki wasn’t at the meeting this morning. Since you share a room with her, I thought I’d ask you… Do you know where she is? I assume she did know this was a mandatory meeting.”

“Y-yes, Jay…” Ai began, sweat beading on her forehead. “She… got sick somehow overnight and… told me to let you all know. Maybe she caught something when we were out for that short time.” She finished the last sentence up hurriedly.

Jay smiled back at her, and she realized that what she said sounded totally ridiculous. There’s no way anybody in their right mind would…

“I see,” he said, interrupting her thought, and her eyes snapped back up to his. “Well, one of us will go attend to her then, since it’s important for her to be out for this first day of training. I assume she’s still in your room?” Ai nodded disbelievingly. “Well, I’ll go get someone then! I’ll see you shortly!” Patting her head in a surprisingly tender way, he walked off, leaving Ai standing as still as a stone alone in the large meeting room. “Call me Ai…” she said under her breath. Suddenly, she seemed to notice the quiet and snap out of her trance, and she hurried toward the east exit. She figured there was no need to change since she’d planned on needing to be outside to begin with, and thought she might as well be early for something for a change.

“What else could possibly get any crazier on this pretty rock of an island…?” she thought wistfully to herself as she walked on.

Offline rokun

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Re: Curse of the Dragons (Drama on Sexy Island?) [Reposted to jphip!]
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2011, 06:30:52 PM »
Chapter 10 – Earth

Reina decided to not bother changing out of her black skirt, as it felt comfortable enough and she felt it suited her mood perfectly. Yawning, she attempted to walk casually back to her room to grab something she thought might be useful today. The thought of Takahashi simpering… simpering!!! to that man still sent chills down her spine. It seemed that however hard she tried, she’d never get past the stigma of her rokkie status and her age. “Well, at least lately they’ve somewhat begun to notice me…” she thought bitterly.

After nearly starting her career with Shabondama, which she thought she was just incredible in, she’d been mostly relegated to backup roles. That’s why she was so excited about Iroppoi Jirettai… It seemed everyone was finally recognizing her talent and overwhelming cuteness. Maybe she needed to think up something like Sayu’s “Usa-chan Peace!” “Nah…” she thought immediately. “I’m trying to actually become legitimate!” She swayed a little as she walked thinking of iroppoi. “Hmm, I wonder…”

Lost in her swaying and thought, she nearly ran over a girl sprinting out the door as she arrived at her room. “Iyaaaa!!” was all she heard as she jerked back against the wall.

“Kusumi! What on earth are you in such a rush for?!” She nearly shouted at the girl in front of her.

“Gomen, Tanaka-san! I just don’t want to be late for our first class! Aren’t you excited?!!”

“Class? What are you…?” But it was too late; the young girl had already disappeared down the hall. “Kids…” Reina muttered under her breath as she entered the room. “If she touched any of my things…!” However, after a quick rundown of her belongings, which were all in place, she just shrugged, picking up what she needed and stuffing it in a side pocket of the small denim jacket she wore over her black red-trimmed blouse before heading out.

As she was swaying while walking east through the building, a voice interrupted her introspection. “Tanaka!”

She halted suddenly and turned to see Yossi trotting toward her, along with Rika-chan. “What are you trying to do? It’s too early to act like you’ve had too much saké!”

Not seeming to notice Reina’s darkened face, Rika walked up, her body undulating with every step in the tight tank and shorts she was wearing. “If you want to act sexy, you can always come ask me for help,” she said with a sardonic smile as she passed the younger girl. Some people were entirely too flexible. Looking back to crook a finger the way she came, she walked on, Yossi shrugging helplessly at Reina before running to catch up. Reina however most definitely noticed the smile that also marked her face, and she stiffened a little as she heard giggling behind her when she walked on.

No longer swaying, she quickly reached the east door and looked around until she saw an entrance with a sign above it saying “Closet”. She walked in and found that it was actually a small room, with many pegs around the sides. Several of them held black backpacks, and she hoisted one off. As she turned around, a girl in a pink shirt was just entering the room.

“Hello Reina!” Takahashi said cheerfully as she headed toward the hanging packs. “Thought you’d come right away too, huh?”

An absurd idea suddenly sprang into Reina’s mind, and she smiled sweetly at the girl. “Yes… in fact, I thought I would! Nothing like the excitement of jumping into something completely unknown, is there? You don’t have the faintest clue what we might be doing, do you?”

Takahashi hesitated, clearly thrown by something, before lifting another pack off its peg. “Not a clue,” she said easily. “But from what they’ve said before, it sounds interesting.”

“Oh,” Reina responded. “I just thought you might know since we are, supposedly, the ones who’ll pick it up quickest. I haven’t felt anything yet, myself…” Lying seemed to come easier as she went on. “…But I thought you, with all the experience you’ve had in the business, and the talent, would surely have noticed something already.”

Ai, now looking very oddly sideways at Reina, who was apparently just chatting while looking through her pack, finally responded, “Thanks… Though I’m not sure how much that’s supposed to help me here. I don’t quite understand what they mean about these “energies” and all yet.” She started back out toward the exit, and a small smile crossed Reina’s face before she zipped up her pack and followed.

After a few minutes of enjoying the fresh and surprisingly warm air outside, she and Takahashi turned as they heard the door behind them open. Miki and Aya strolled out to join them, talking among themselves, though their conversation hushed once they arrived.

“Hello you two!” Aya said in her smooth tones. “Now she’s someone who might be worth watching,” Reina thought, admiring her poised and sophisticated manner.

“Oyahoo!” Reina and Takahashi said almost together, Reina smiling over at the girl next to her, who looked back, again with an odd expression.

“That’s what I like to see!” Aya went on, smiling herself. “I guess we all just needed to get a bit of the sleep out of our heads!” Miki snorted softly at that, and Aya punched her side.

“Itai…” Miki whined dramatically, and Aya barely had time to open her mouth again before the door opened once more, emitting Agent Sands this time.

“Hello again, Kuro-gumi!” He joined them, still with that smile which never seemed to leave his face. Reina unconsciously began twisting a finger in her hair.

“I see you all have your packs. Good! Well, no point hanging around here. Let’s go!” And he started off slightly north down a path to the forest, which split the sides of the cliff for a few hundred meters and rose into the distance, concealing anything that might lie beyond.

The girls followed, Miki and Takahashi looking around seeming to try to take it all in, while Aya just smiled as she walked smoothly along, memories probably resurfacing of when she was here last. Reina kept her eyes ahead and to the south, pointedly avoiding a small cave opening at the bottom of the northern cliff face. Not that anyone would have reason to suspect anything.

As they entered the woods, Reina smirked at Takahashi’s apparent sudden familiarity with the route, but put that aside as a feeling began rising in her; something that felt like heightened awareness of what lie around her.

Sands glanced back and noticed the dreamy looks the girls began to adopt. Clearing his throat as he looked back ahead he said, “You’re probably already noticing some odd sensations here. The reason this island was chosen for training is because the energies seem to be amplified here somehow… In fact, some think this is where they originate. There’s nothing to back this theory, though, because as far as anyone can tell, it’s been this way for thousands of years. Probably even back to when people first started settling in Japan.”

He broke off a branch as they walked along, and the girls hissed as some kind of wave of anger interrupted the feelings washing over them. After a short moment, they seemed to realize what they’d just done and mumbled earnest apologies, though Reina’s wasn’t fully sincere. She only quieted in thought. Aya laughed, and Sands smiled before continuing.

“So really, nobody knows why things are the way they are here. Or anywhere else in the world for that matter. People can sense it everywhere - Japan, China, North America… Though, some better than others. It seems to be more common among Japanese people, too…” He looked up, thoughtfully tapping his chin with the branch, and Reina tilted her head while staring at him. There’s something he wasn’t telling them…

“The only thing that bears any relation to it are tales of an old legend, though it’s hard to find references to it anymore. This island has been called “The Isle of the Dragons” for as long as anyone can remember. However, aside from this legend, there’s no discernible reason why. The legend says that long ago, when Japan was still young, the people believed the sun was ‘a great ball of fire spewed forth from the dragons of the northeast’. They believed this because there were many who claimed to have traveled to the northeastern isles and seen these dragons with their own eyes. Nobody had any solid evidence, of course, because who’d want to get near a dragon? Plus, the dragons always seemed to be flying… never just walking on land. That’s as far as the legend goes, and there’s nothing else related to it that’s been found. However, from what we know today, the facts are that dragons are this island’s namesake… and that it’s to the northeast of Japan, though separated from the rest of the archipelago.”

Reina was inexplicably fascinated by this story, and her mind recalled images she knew the others hadn’t seen. She’d have to take a closer look next time…

Sands abruptly stopped and looked off to the side. “Ah, here we go!” The three novices broke out of their trances – Takahashi, who had a wistful smile on her face and a faraway look in her eyes, Miki from her blank, seemingly uncomprehending appearance, and Reina, from her efforts at remembering those images in more detail.

Sands stepped off into the underfoot on the side of the path, and the girls looked at each other before Aya gestured them to follow, and they picked their way after him. The going was quite rough now that they were off the beaten path, but the girls had no trouble finding their way along, Reina feeling a connection with everything around her such that it felt as if she’d been this way and seen everything they passed ten thousand times. Miki was the only one who seemed to have any trouble, stubbing her toe on an unearthed stone and issuing a sharp “Kuso!” before leaning down to rub it. “Not so high and mighty now, are we?” Reina thought smugly.

After Aya took Miki’s arm to help her along, the girls found that they’d entered the umbrella of a very large and wide tree. Reina looked with wide eyes at the sight, which was nearly a clearing since apparently the tree stole all the sun from anything that might have grown below. She’d only read about such things being in rainforests… Even though she was expecting it, having felt what was ahead, seeing it with her own eyes was startling.

There were small stone benches set up at wide intervals around the tree, which Reina could tell were amazingly clean of anything that might have burrowed inside. She supposed they must have been built recently. “All right,” Sands said finally. “Each of you take a bench and lie down on it in as comfortable a position as you can. You’ll want to be able to focus on nothing else but the connection you feel with your surroundings. Matsuura, I want you to do the exercise with them at first, so you can get used to the lessons again, but after a few minutes you can check up on them to see how they’re doing.” Aya nodded and headed across the clearing to one of the benches.

As they came closer, Reina noticed that there were four benches – one on each side of the tree, and set out a ways from it. Miki had already plopped down on the closest bench, and showed no sign of caring what the others did, so Reina shook her head and went to the one on the right after taking Takahashi’s arm and squeezing it, smiling and nodding in that direction. As she walked away with a sick feeling from seeing the man’s eyes follow Takahashi, she wondered if she should rethink her plan. “No… it’ll be worth it in the end…” she reassured herself, and upon reaching the bench, laid back and closed her eyes.

Now that she no longer had to worry about walking, she felt her senses reach out to her surroundings, and found that even though her eyes were closed, she could still see things as if they were a perfect memory in real-time. Better, even.

“Okay,” she heard Sands say softly and soothingly, and a picture of him leaning against the big tree appeared in her mind. “As celebrities, your training focuses on gaining attention. It’s your job, and I believe your love, to entertain people. Talent of course is essential to entertaining, but there are many who have talent. Few, however, get the opportunity to develop it. Even fewer have the opportunity to raise it to the point where they are loved by millions. What we’re trying to give you is the assistance to be the greatest even of those. As the performance leaders of Morning Musume, we believe you also have an even stronger motivation to do your best and outshine… Well, that’s beside the point.” The image of Sands in her head began to wave the branch in front of himself, and as he did, his form became blurry.

“To lodge yourself in the hearts and minds of multitudes of people, you need to first learn how to touch the spirit of one person. To begin that lesson, you’re going to touch the spirit of an animal in the wood, here. The human spirit is too complex to fully control, but that of an animal is much more malleable.” Looking slightly unsure of himself, Sands went on, “I know all of you can sense every creature that breathes around you…” Reina, in fact, had just felt a tug, and a vision of a hawk that was perched at the top of the tree came to her. The hawk was peering intently all around in quick motions; likely looking for its next meal.

Seeming relieved at the girls’ understanding, he went on, though Reina noticed a slightly troubled look in his eyes. Reina was amazed that she could see him as clearly as she saw the hawk at the top of the tree; both as if they were right in front of her. “I want you to choose an animal you have a particular interest in – If you haven’t found one yet, one will come – and become that creature… See with its eyes and live with its spirit.” The hawk now dominated Reina’s vision, and she felt it grow larger until, the next she knew, her eyes were flicking from side to side, branch to branch, narrowing in on a caterpillar there and a small lizard here. If Sands said anything else, she could not hear it, as she was now the hawk.

She felt a push inside her, which she stomped quickly, and she stretched. As she did so, the wings of the hawk stretched wide. Enamored with the sensation, she took wing, and flew out far over the island, overcome with the wind in her feathers and the grand view spread out before her. She felt a strange pulsing at her side, but she ignored it as she glided along. Soon, though, the clearing around her body came slowly back into view and the pulsing grew stronger.

Crack!!! She heard a loud slap, and felt it too, and she was Reina again, sitting bolt upright as she felt a bolt of energy shoot through her. Vaguely she saw in her mind feathers falling from the sky. She bit her lip as she realized what they were from, her hand unconsciously reaching into her jacket pocket, but her thought was quickly interrupted.

“WHAT THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN DOING?” she heard Miki shout from across the clearing. It seemed Sands had just finished speaking, though as the hawk she had no clue what he had said, and she noticed Takahashi sitting up, quite interested in what was going on as well.

Aya was just getting up from where she apparently had fallen off her bench. Or gotten knocked off maybe. Miki was towering over her. “What are you talking about, Mikitty? I’ve just been doing Agent Sands’ exercise, along with you guys!”

“You know very well what I’m talking about!” Miki almost shouted down at her. In her heightened awareness, she saw a glare on Miki’s face that could have frozen a fire giant where it stood. “He’s been talking about how they’ll teach us to touch people’s spirits… to make them like us. You went through this long ago, so you’ve had years to make me love you!!!

Reina and Takahashi looked at each other after the last, startled, and Reina let out a giggle before stifling it at a horrified look from Takahashi. Aya was now rising, rubbing her cheek, her face becoming darkly flushed… though Reina couldn’t tell if it was from embarrassment or anger.

“Mikitty, you know I wouldn’t do that! I… care for you! You’ve been there for me so often and… I couldn’t even think of it!”

“LIAR!!!” Miki roared in her face. “If you haven’t noticed, I’m not exactly the most reliable person. For some reason you could change that. For some reason you could get to me where no one else could…” Her voice quaked as tears came to her eyes, but lost no intensity. “But now I know why!” She spun around and began to walk away.

“But Mikitty…” Aya began, all of a sudden sobbing uncontrollably herself.

Miki spun around. “Don’t call me that!!!” she shouted through her tears and gritted teeth, and ran off into the woods, leaving Aya weeping on the bench. Sands just looked stunned, and Reina saw tears coming to Takahashi’s eyes as well. As for herself, Reina absentmindedly fondled the object in her pocket and gazed thoughtfully at the spot where Miki disappeared.

Offline rokun

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Re: Curse of the Dragons (Drama on Sexy Island?) [Reposted to jphip!]
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2011, 06:31:14 PM »
Chapter 11 – Aftershocks

   “Mikitty and Ayaya… Well, I suppose I can’t really say I’m surprised. They always seemed to be pretty… close…” Risa trailed off as her face wrinkled once again, and Ai could imagine the ideas that might be crossing her mind, as no few had crossed hers earlier.

   “I just never thought about ourselves that way before. It just seems so strange!” Something apparently suddenly struck Risa, and she gave Ai a wide-eyed glance before drifting slightly farther away as they walked. Ai giggled in spite of herself, though it was admittedly rather hollow.

   “Chill out, Nii-chan,” she said after a moment. “I’m right with you there. I just thank you for being the best friend I’ve ever had!” At that, Risa smiled and playfully nudged Ai a little as she closed back in. Ai went on, “This has definitely been the weirdest day!”

   Suddenly, as if just seeming to realize that her friend was walking happily beside her, she stopped. Risa traveled a few more steps before noticing Ai’s halt and turning around. “Chotto matte, Nii-chan… when I left you this morning you were out cold. What happened? You act like nothing’s wrong at all.”

   As Risa walked back to join Ai, she chirped, “I was! But I suddenly woke up I guess not long after you left, and felt as healthy as ever! Agent Sands was standing near the foot of my bed and he smiled when he saw me wake and asked how I was. I told him I felt great and he told me where to meet up with my team before wishing me well and heading out. I don’t know what he did, but he’s a very nice man.”

   Ai nodded in agreement before she could help herself, then blushed suddenly. After a quick glance over to Risa, she realized she hadn’t noticed the reaction and sighed in relief. “Yes, Nii-chan, I think he is. He seemed really shaken after Mikitty ran off…”

   “Do you know where he went? I don’t think I properly thanked him earlier,” Risa commented quizzically.

   “Nope,” Ai answered. “When we got back in the building, he made sure I was okay and walked off quickly down some corridor with Ayaya. I’d guess he went to find help for her and to find Miki… and Reina.” Reina had disappeared on their way back from the great tree, and Sands let her go since he wanted to get Aya back.

   “Yeah, what did you mean about Reina, Ai-chan? You said something about her acting weirdly…”

   “Well you know we haven’t always gotten along well…” Ai responded slowly. “For some reason, she always thought we were in some competition whenever we perform, and she’d been especially cold to me since we arrived at the island last night…” She paused a moment as they came to the last turn before their hall. Noticing some whispers ahead and some others walking toward them, she finished quickly, “But except for the group introduction this morning, she’s been really nice to me… complimenting me and helping me out… I don’t know; it just didn’t seem like her. And then by the tree…” She trailed off as Yossi, Rika, Kaori and Maki met them.

   “Hey,” Yossi said simply. “Do you guys know what’s going on? One of the other agents came into our class and whispered something to Cage. Right after that they dismissed us and told us we were free, but to keep close to the building.”

   Momentarily wondering what she meant by “class”, as what Sands had taken them on she couldn’t imagine being called such, and giving a quick questioning look to Risa, who just questioned her back with her eyes, Ai filled them in on what happened out in the woods. As she related Miki’s actions, a stunned look came to Yossi’s face and her mouth fell open, while the others’ eyes widened and eventually just shook their heads.

   “I always knew something was up with them,” Rika said wisely. “They always seemed to disappear at night on tours. I’m not sure whether I feel bad for Aya-chan or not. Everyone knows how Mikitty is.” The next thing out of her mouth was a low grunt as Yossi had kneed her in the thigh. Looking at their leader’s sharp glance and rubbing her side, she finished in a small voice, “Well, we all know it!”

   “You said Reina had some odd looks and disappeared on the way back?” Maki, who had been quietly in thought, asked softly but smartly. When Ai nodded, Maki looked back down, apparently off to her own little world once again.

   “Well I suppose they’re out looking for them then, huh?” Kaori asked, breaking into the odd silence.

   “Yeah, I suppose so,” Ai said noncommittally, picking at a slightly loose thread in one of the sakura on her blouse.

   “Well, I for one am not going to wait to see what our almighty agents come up with. Those girls are unfortunately my responsibility, so I’m heading outside to look around. Rika-chan?” Rika nodded and Kaori joined them as they walked off, leaving only Maki behind, still in thought. “Coming, Gottchan?” Yossi shouted behind her shoulder, not slowing.
   Maki looked up, apparently not as lost as she seemed. “No thanks Yossi… I think I’ll walk with Ai-chan and Gaki-san here for a while. Is that okay?” she added that last toward the two girls mentioned as Yossi shrugged and turned her head forward again. Ai and Risa both nodded, and they started back down the hall.

All were looking very introspective, and Ai almost wondered if Maki intended to follow them all the way to their room, until they reached the entrance to their hall and Sands’ room and encountered someone seemingly headed the opposite way. “There you are, Ai-chan! I was looking for you!”

They were all speechless for a short moment until Maki said calmly but warmly, “Reina! Where have you been? Everyone’s been looking for you!”

Reina looked at Maki, seeming to just notice she was there, and broke out into a cute smile. “Hey Gocchin! It’s nice to see you here! I noticed you at dinner last night, but haven’t had the chance to talk with you! We should hang out some time!” She seemed to have regained some of the confidence that Ai hadn’t seen her with for a long while. Ai had admired her back around Shabondama time for adjusting so well so shortly after joining. Lately though…

“Yeah…” Maki said, apparently not expecting that response. “I’d like that.”

Reina smiled and tossed her hair before turning to Ai again. “I thought you might want to go over some of the stuff we were learning earlier? You seemed to get a pretty good handle on it.” The three girls faced her now with very confused expressions on their faces.

“But Reina-chan,” Risa said quickly. “Ai-chan told us you disappeared on your way back, and people are out looking for you. What happened?”

“Oh,” Reina responded, seeming surprised by the question. “I must have gotten lost. So what do you think, Ai-chan?” She looked around at the other girls. “You two can come along too if you’d like. Gocchin, I’m sure you have lots you could tell us!” She took a wrist of both Ai and Maki and began pulling them away from the rooms and a startled Gaki-san, who after a moment jumped quickly to catch up.
“Reina…” Maki began before suddenly getting cut off.

“Tanaka!!” Agent Sands – “Jay” - Ai told herself, came running down the hall, followed by Cage and Fujiwara. When they nearly reached the girls, he went on, “We’re glad to see you’re all right! You are okay, right?” Reina nodded, pouting cutely at yet another thing interrupting whatever plans she seemed to have, and the agents sighed with relief.

“Agent Sands,” Cage said sternly behind him. “We told Tsunku and his men that we’d take good care of these girls and that nothing would happen to them. Now already one’s missing – from your team I might add! – and another seems to just come and go as she pleases! You have absolutely nothing under control!”

Jay gritted his teeth, though he took the berating stolidly. “I assure you, Agent Cage, that everything is proceeding as it must. We’ll find Fujimoto and get back to our lessons promptly, with the help of these girls.” He gestured in front of him at those girls, now meekly standing quietly during this conversation. Ai glanced over at Reina, who she swore had shifted closer to herself.

“With respect, sir, I don’t believe this is the time for visionaries,” Cage said in a low voice.

“Later!” was all Jay responded with in a low voice of his own before turning his attention back on the girls. “I want you four to join me. We’re going to go out and search for Fujimoto, and you all will be a big help.” Ai returned an odd look at this, but noticed that Maki was just tapping her teeth thoughtfully while Reina’s eyes held unusual interest. Maybe she’d have to give the younger girl more respect from now on.

Jay nodded at the other two agents, and Fujiwara started off with a short salute and comment that he’d find some of the others. Cage, however, gave Jay a long look, which was returned evenly, before doing the same stiffly. Jay sighed and jerked his head toward the exit in an apparent sign for the girls to follow before starting off. As they began walking, Ai noticed Reina skipping along after making sure to lodge herself between Ai and Maki, Risa on Ai’s other side. She’d definitely have to have a talk with Reina when she got the chance.

The party left the building and followed the familiar path into the forest, though this time heading into the trees, with Jay muttering a “Be careful” to Risa, who gave an odd look at being singled out, but Ai took her hand, remembering the night before. Ai had no trouble making her way through the brush as she could avoid every trip stone as if it was nothing. Suddenly she noticed her other hand being grasped and turned the opposite way to Reina, who smiled sweetly back at her, apparently just as comfortable. Ai smiled uncertainly back and afterward made sure to keep her eyes forward.

They walked for a ways, Ai helping Risa find her way along, all of them yelling “Miki! Mikitty!” in hopes of some response. Jay seemed to deftly know where he was headed, but Ai knew nearly as well since she could feel all that was around. She felt she could feel all the life in the forest in fact as she reached far out into it…

“Um, Jay?” Ai blushed, feeling eyes from beside her on herself at the familiarity of the speech. She made sure to keep her own forward on the man ahead. “If Mikitty is in this forest, wouldn’t we be able to sense her? I mean, I can sense all the rest of the life in here. I think I can even feel Yossi and her group not far away…”

Jay nodded, though he didn’t stop picking his way around the trees. “If she wasn’t Miki Fujimoto, you most definitely would. Gotou here probably could too, as well as myself. However, no matter how inept she may have seemed on our little trip earlier, Miki has as much ability as the rest of you. I imagine she wants to be alone right now, so unconsciously she’ll be blocking herself out from any searching we might try with our powers. So, considering there’s a whole island to explore, it’s likely to be unfortunately similar to searching for a needle in a haystack. I just hope she didn’t run off too far.” He then went silent again as they trudged on.

Troubled by this newfound limitation of something that had seemed to be nigh perfect so far, Ai fell into thought while absentmindedly still issuing calls of “Mikitty!” every few moments. Suddenly, though, she realized that she was using her right hand against her mouth to amplify her calls… only her left one still holding Risa’s next to her. She quickly tore her gaze from ahead of her for the first time since her question and looked to the right, seeing only Maki walking along slightly ahead next to Jay.

“Wait,” she said quickly, and everyone stopped to acknowledge her. “Where’s Reina?” Maki immediately ran back while looking around, disappearing into the trees.

“Gotou! Wait!” Jay called helplessly after. However Maki was already gone. “What is with that girl…” he nearly growled as he clenched a fist. “Come on. We’ve no time to look for her and still keep pursuit of Fujimoto, and she seems to somehow always find her way back. Gotou’s looking anyway, and she’ll be fine because she’s well-trained.”

“Trained by you??” Risa suddenly said rather harshly, and Ai looked at her wide-eyed. “Because you seem to be doing a wonderful job of the rest of us so far!”

“Nii-chan… I’m sure he’s doing his best. You know how some of us are…” Ai said to her friend, trying to sound reassuring, though to whom she was unsure. Jay was just standing quietly, expressionless.

“Yeah, I know how some of us are, Ai-chan,” Risa said, releasing her hand. “You’ve not been able to keep your eyes and brain off the man since you met him!” Ai was struck speechless with shock at her friend’s biting comment, and she thought she felt Jay blush a little, though he covered it up quickly. He wisely kept silent.

“Well come on,” Risa continued into the silence. “We’ve still got to find Fujimoto.” Without waiting for the others, she started back off ahead. Ai caught Jay’s eyes for a moment and the two shared a long look before Jay took her arm and they started after the younger mutual friend.

Miki Fujimoto caught her breath, grabbing her throbbing side as she stopped running and leaned her forehead against a tree. “Damn you, Aya Matsuura,” she said harshly but softly through gritted teeth. She repeated the curse a few times before she felt the pain in her side fade a bit and she fell to her knees, eyes closed, her face still up against the tree.

She knew she should just trust that Aya felt the way she says she does, and maybe she did, but she was most pained about her own feelings; at how easily they could have been influenced by something Aya… manufactured!!!

She had felt what Sands and the other girls were talking about while walking through the forest and meditating earlier of course. She’d felt it ever since they passed out of the door to the lodge, but it wasn’t even the first time. She finally had realized what it was that intrigued her last night, before Aya… no, best to stop there. The trouble was it all seemed foreign to her. She just couldn’t achieve the calmness and focus that Sands apparently required and that Takahashi at least obviously had in abundance. Because of that, whenever she tried interacting with something as the others did she only felt something bounce around chaotically inside her. She felt helpless. She couldn’t do anything right. First she was ripped out of her solo career, then she couldn’t even attain the lead in Morning Musume, and now with Aya’s… using of her…

She wiped the back of her hand across her nose and realized she was crying uncontrollably. Nothing just ever went right anymore… ever made sense…

“You know everyone’s out here looking for you, Mikitty,” a calm and solid voice said from behind her. She didn’t bother to look as she tried to will herself to stop crying, though had no chance at it. She felt in that ever-present sense of things out here the figure behind her look around interestedly, though was too emotional to tell, or care, who it was.

“You’ve sure done a good job with the shield around you, though. I heard that silly agent talking as we were hunting, and from what I can tell they’re never going to find you.” Miki thought the voice came closer as it went on.

“I know you don’t care whether they find you or not. In fact, you’d love to just stay out here forever and not have to deal with them ever again,” Miki now felt a hand on her shoulder and heard a rustle as the girl knelt beside her.

“Go away,” Miki said between sniffs, wiping her face as the tears began to fall more slowly.

“Oh that’s right… You still have hopes of being a famous singer. Hard to do that if you’re never around anyone.” There was a slight pause before she heard the girl continue, “You still can be great though, you know. You have the talent… You’ve known that all along. Especially with what you’ll learn here… All you need is different representation.” Miki sniffed again, tears nearly stalled as she turned her head to face the girl beside her.

Reina lightly held up her own fingers to Miki’s face and slowly wiped a few more tears from beneath her eyes. “What do you mean?” Miki laid her hand on the outside of Reina’s thigh, a normal gesture for her, though she didn’t notice the girl push her leg into the touch, and Miki’s hand slid slightly up her skirt.

“You think you can’t deal with the powers you have. I’m telling you that you can. None of them understand what lies underneath the powers we have. They’re like children playing with a new and impossibly complex toy.” Reina had leaned her face in very close to Miki’s, and was now nearly whispering in her ear, speaking slowly and seductively. “But you’re different..." Her hot breath traveled slowly forward along Miki’s face from her ear as she spoke, and her body shifted closer, forcing Miki’s hand to slide farther up beneath her skirt. "They try to keep you in line, but they don’t understand that you can’t channel the uncontrollable.”

“Uncontrollable?” Miki rasped slowly, nearly in a whisper herself. In response, Reina’s lips found Miki’s, and in a rapidly deepening kiss Miki felt powerful shocks pulse throughout her body, not unlike before… though stronger. However, she felt something else like white-hot fire joining with her shocks, bringing her ecstasy, and she eagerly let herself loose into the moment, her actions, instinct and spirit taking over with wild abandon.

Offline rokun

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Re: Curse of the Dragons (Drama on Sexy Island?) [Reposted to jphip!]
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2011, 06:31:33 PM »
Chapter 12 – Blazes and Hellfire

   The sun had long passed its peak when the worn out forms of Ai Takahashi, Risa Niigaki, and Special Agent Jay Sands came upon a girl looking intently at the base of a large red maple.

   “Gocchan!” Risa shouted out frantically. The two girls ran up to hug her as Sands came to the tree and laid a hand on it to take a rest. The surprised Maki received the hugs, as if she could have done anything about it, and patted Risa’s head.

   “You guys were worried about me?” she said in seemingly genuine surprise, and the girls nodded.

   “We don’t know what might have happened to you! I mean people seem to be disappearing left and right out here…” Ai-chan seemed somewhat embarrassed as she spoke, head slightly down. Risa eagerly chimed in.

   “Did you find Mikitty? We had absolutely no luck and I swear we’ve searched around this whole forest by now.” Sands chuckled at that and Risa gave him an odd look, supposing the forest was much bigger than they may have given it credit for.

   “No I didn’t…” Maki said softly. “But I found something interesting around this tree.” The other girls looked around at the tree and indeed, it definitely looked like someone had been there by the flattened underbrush and some odd marks on the trunk. Sands suddenly jerked back and stared hard at a spot toward the ground near where he was leaning.

   “What is it?” Ai-chan said, peering curiously where he was staring before gasping softly. Just when Risa began to shift over for her own look, Sands knelt down and ran a finger over the spot, bringing it back toward his nose.

   “Yeah, it’s blood,” he said quietly, Ai-chan’s and Maki’s faces now expressionless while Risa’s eyes shot open.

   “But…” Risa stuttered, feeling shaken somewhat. “We had to have passed this area several times already! It’s pretty obvious something went on here, and I don’t see how we would have missed it… and I don’t remember the red maple either…” Sands nodded, and Risa noticed Maki did wisely as well. Ai looked at Sands questioningly before a light bulb seemed to go off in her head and her mouth dropped open.

   “Apparently Fujimoto is more capable than we gave her credit for. If she really was here, and I’m not doubting she was, she somehow managed a very strong shield around this spot which blocked any attempts at our scrying. It would have been just like a big void in our minds that we glossed over as if nothing was here. It also likely blocked anybody trying to look with just their eyes…” He gazed steadily at Risa while saying this, who stared back stonily. “That’s what I’m surprised at, because her shield would have had to be very strong indeed to accomplish it.” As the girls kept staring at him he added deliberately, “…Stronger than she would be able to manage by herself even with extensive training.”

   The sound of the wind rustling the leaves of nearby trees and the varied ever-present forest life was the only thing audible in the ensuing silence until it was broken by a faint rumble. Risa flushed deeply and held her stomach as everyone gave her hard stares until they realized what happened.

   “I’m sorry, Nii-chan!” Ai-chan said, suddenly breaking out into a giggle before walking over and resting a hand on her friend’s shoulder, Risa still rubbing her stomach in intense embarrassment. “I forgot you haven’t had the chance to eat anything yet today!”

   The mood visibly lightened, though with all eyes avoiding the tree trunk, and Sands walked over and patted Risa’s other shoulder. “That’s a good idea. It’s getting mid-afternoon now so I imagine everyone is starving; especially Niigaki here. I’d also forgotten she hasn’t eaten anything all day, and the healing she took this morning sure didn’t help since it drains the recipient of energy.” He poked Risa’s stomach and she held it tighter, bending over in a grimace.
   “Yamete!!! Hazukashii yo…” she whined pitifully, and the rest laughed as they began to walk back to the facility.

   It was an uneventful trip back which Risa was not overly thrilled with since it left her nothing to focus on except her gnawing stomach, but when they reached the facility she wasn’t the only one who quickened her step toward the dining hall. Maki made a quick apology and went to see if anyone else had returned, and when they nearly arrived at the dining hall they heard someone call out from behind, “Chotto matte!!!” They froze in their tracks before turning around at the quickly approaching steps. Risa felt Ai-chan grab her hand and squeeze it, glancing quickly to her, and Risa gasped at the fire that was in her eyes before they both turned back to the approaching girl.

   “I was wondering where you guys all went!” Reina demurred as she reached them. Risa noticed she wasn’t breathing hard at all.

   “We could ask the same of you…” Sands growled as he stepped quickly toward the girl. “You’re the one who disappeared again in the forest this morning and we spent half the day looking for before finding suspicious…” He cut off and glanced at Ai-chan’s hand as it clutched at his arm.

“Jay…” Ai-chan began, apparently ignoring Reina’s level stare. “Give her a break.” Sands looked hard into eyes that gazed back with unwavering resolve before his expression softened and he sighed, stepping back again. Reina then smiled sweetly at Ai-chan as her attention shifted and Risa nearly growled.

“Reina, we were about to get something to eat since we’re starving having been out all day. I know you’ve been wanting to talk with me about our training, so would you like to have lunch with me? If you’ve already eaten, I’m sure we can find some kind of snack, but I’m starved.” Risa’s mouth hung open, and instead of growling at Reina she now just stared at Ai-chan, who was still focused on the other girl.

Reina’s face lit up and she blurted out, “Of course! Oh, I’m sure you can show me so much, Ai-chan! I can’t wait!” With that she grabbed Ai-chan’s arm and began pulling her toward the dining hall. Risa and Sands moved to catch them but Ai-chan spun her head around and gave the two a stern look that said she knew what she was doing. Risa shot her a warning stare, not liking this one bit, but trusting in her friend’s judgment. As Reina and Ai-chan disappeared down the hall, Risa told herself that there was no reason to worry. Reina could be a trifle… odd… at times, but there was no need to be too worried. The blood on that tree had apparently just rattled her. She looked over at Sands who was still staring after them, however, and didn’t like the look on his face. Another growl of her stomach told Risa where she really needed to be now.

“Come on,” Risa said, “They’ll be fine. Let’s go eat.” She wondered if she was telling herself that as much as him.

“Yeah,” was all Sands replied, and as they continued walking Risa thought she saw him fighting inwardly with some demons of his own. That worried her more than anything.

A girl peered out from her hiding spot behind a tree near the northern edge of the forest line at the cave entrance she’d been studying for a while now. She had thought she saw someone enter it as she returned with her search group and hung behind to keep an eye on it while the others went on inside to their meals. She told them she’d noticed some interesting trees that she wanted to explore further, but no one believed her. “Surely I’m not that one-dimensional…” she thought, unconsciously rubbing her stomach, but was broken out of it by her quarry emerging from the darkness.

The girl by the cave looked around for a moment while straightening her shirt, though apparently just out of habit since she didn’t actually appear interested in anything around her, and headed for the door of the facility. The watcher’s eyes tracked her along the way, now recognizing who it was, though surprised at the fluid and sure movements. Miki Fujimoto wasn’t known to be a necessarily… elegant… girl, but the watcher had to admit she looked quite graceful in her strides. As Miki disappeared into the building, the girl held her place for a few seconds before her gaze slowly swerved back toward the cave. She thought she saw something glowing just inside. Are those eyes? she thought to herself, but ignored the thought as they disappeared and she attributed it to a trick of her imagination.

Finally she crept quietly out from behind the tree and along the forest line to the cave entrance. She stared into it for a moment, but seeing nothing but blackness began walking slowly in. She reached out with the strange senses she felt on this island, and it was just enough to feel her way around the many bends ahead in the blackness.

After walking for a few minutes she noticed a dim light coming from ahead of her. As she got closer she noticed it was of a soft red hue and became even more intrigued. Her senses told her that a large cavern was just ahead and she began stumbling faster toward the light, nearly running, though the tunnel was narrowing. She vaguely noted a mound of loose rocks to one side which must have resulted from a recent cave-in, but paid it little heed as the light grew in her vision. Suddenly she burst out of the cramped passage into a brilliant glare that wasn’t just red as she had thought but in fact of many colors. After she halted, the ensuing silence was broken only by her loud gasp.

Hitomi Yoshizawa grunted as she tugged her shoes off, tossing them aside next to her bed and rubbing at her blistered feet. “Itaiii…” she moaned pitifully, vowing silently to kill Miki Fujimoto the next time she saw her. Stripping her sweat-soaked shirt off as well, she wandered into the washroom and began to run a bath. As the water poured out, she stood in front of the mirror and tugged at her hair, which was in much disarray after all the sweating and outdoor activity.

“Oooh, look at me, I’m Miki Fujimoto! I can do whatever I want and nobody will care cause they know I’m an idiot!!!” she finished harshly, a mockingly exasperated huff accentuating her monologue to herself. She suddenly solemnly wished they learned how to raise people from the dead with the silly magic the agents went on about just so she could kill Miki again after she got her hands on her the first time!

   “Calm yourself Yoshizawa,” she berated herself with a mumble. “You know you can’t afford to let your emotions take over anymore. It wouldn’t look very good if you killed your sub-leader…” She grinned after that last and was about to unclasp her bra before she heard the door close back out in her room.

   “Rika-chan! Is that you?” she shouted, half-distractedly lifting her breasts to better fill-out her bra. When there was no response, she licked a finger and smoothed a strand of hair before exiting the washroom.

   When she looked up toward the beds, she stopped suddenly at the sight of a girl’s rear pointing up from where she was digging into her bag. After grinning stupidly for a moment at the sight, the girl’s panties showing just above the waist of her jeans, she finally regained some sense and quickly ran over to kick the inviting target, sprawling the other girl out on the bed ahead.

   “FUJIMOTO!!!” she yelled hoarsely. “What the hell are you doing here!!” Miki turned her head and glared at Hitomi, reaching down to rub her rear.

   “I LIVE HERE YOU IDIOT!!” she yelled back with just as much force.

   “Do you know we’ve been looking for you all day!?!” Hitomi yelled back once more. She shoved her foot in front of Miki’s face. “See what you did to my feet?!”

   Miki suddenly snorted and slapped the foot away, nearly knocking Hitomi off-balance. “I’ve seen worse,” she said with a nasty smirk. She got up quickly and walked toward the door. “What I’m looking for isn’t here anyway.” She then stopped, turning around and giving Hitomi a thorough up-and-down look, taking in the bra and the running water in the bathroom. “Have a nice bath,” she smirked again, and spun around once more.

   “You’d better go talk to Ayaya! She’s a wreck and worried to death about you!” Hitomi shouted after her, this time with more concern etching her voice.

   Miki only waved a hand nonchalantly behind her, not turning her head. “Whatever. That girl can burn in hell for all I care.” With that, she disappeared out the door and down the hall.

   Hitomi sighed, looking down and plucking lightly at her belt. This wasn’t going to be easy. But where had the girl been all day???

   “I’ll kill you in your sleep tonight Fujimoto,” she promised herself solemnly, ashamed at her failure just now. She then managed to actually make it to her bath, though it wasn’t as relaxing as she had hoped, with her mind awhirl now with newer troubles as well as the old. For all their playful fighting, this was the first time she had ever been scared. She only tried to convince herself that her friend’s eyes always looked that way.

Offline rokun

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Re: Curse of the Dragons (Drama on Sexy Island?) [Reposted to jphip!]
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2011, 06:31:53 PM »
Chapter 13 - Passion

Passion... it lies in all of us. Sleeping, waiting, and though unwanted, unbidden, it will stir, open its jaws... and clench tightly onto its unwitting prey.

Throughout their lunch, Ai kept an eye on Reina, who interestingly seemed as ravenous as herself. More so maybe, despite the fact that Ai was the one running all over the forest looking for her and Miki. Their discussions were actually rather normal and casual – Reina, as always, interested in Ai’s perspective on their training and anything she could do to help her out, and mixed with bits of random talk about their careers. Ai never actually spoke at length like this with the girl before, but found she was actually pretty intriguing and Ai’s suspicion of her lessened considerably. In fact, she felt herself become pretty comfortable around the younger Musume. They really shared a lot in common.

Other girls came in and out to eat during their meal, and they greeted them warmly, though they were of course surprised to see Reina there. At looks from Ai though, they kept any further thoughts to themselves. Once they finished eating, Reina asked Ai to come with her to one of the training rooms for some practice. Ai was unsure at first since she suspected they’d soon be resuming their search for Miki, but that was quickly settled as Miki herself strolled into the dining hall apparently searching out her own meal. Reina didn’t seem to think anything of it, but Ai found herself incapable of speech for a moment until Ayaya-san entered the room at a run after the new arrival.

It speaks to us, guides us; passion rules us all. And we obey. What other choice do we have?

“Mikitty, listen to me!” she said imploringly. She glanced quickly at the other seated girls before apparently realizing there were no secrets anymore and grabbing Miki’s arm. Miki turned to face her, her expression as bland as stone. “Mikitty, what’s wrong? You haven’t even spoken to me since I saw you walking down that hall… and it’s killing me!”

“Matsuura, would you let go of my arm so I can get my lunch?” Miki said, her face unchanging. Aya released her arm and shied away slightly. Miki just turned around and received the plate handed to her. Aya stood still, tears appearing once again in her eyes as she looked after, and Ai noticed Reina finally look up and catch Miki’s gaze, which struck her evenly. Ai gasped at what she saw in Miki’s eyes. They were very dark-hued, more than she remembered, and she saw almost… desire?... in Miki’s hungry gaze at the younger girl. When Ai turned back to Reina she only saw her eyes downcast again and a small smile playing at her lips.

“Fine then Fujimoto!” Aya shouted through strengthening tears. “If you’re going to be like that, I’m too strong to bother with you because… I don’t need you!” That last seemed to come out from between gritted teeth and she turned and attempted to stroll gracefully out of the room. Ai stared with respect after her, thinking her attempt quite successful, before noticing Reina was doing the same, if to a lesser extent. Her respect for Reina also rose a bit more.

Miki didn’t seem to notice a thing, though, as she sat down at a table across from Ai and Reina and bent over her food. Ai gave her a look she of course didn’t see before informing Reina that she’d love to go practice with her.

The two girls left the dining hall, Reina insisting on holding Ai’s hand on the way. Ai didn’t really mind anymore, however, and they made their way to the section of the facility where they brought Risa the night before. They found another of the rooms with sturdy futons stacked along the sides, which they now realized were for private training, and sat cross-legged on the floor across from each other.

Passion is the source of our finest moments. The joy of love, the clarity of hatred, and the ecstasy of desperation, horror and grief.

“So Reina, what do you want to do? We can go over what we started training with today, though you seemed to have a pretty good handle of it…” As she trailed off, she began reaching out with her senses and felt the life that was inside the building. Now that she was used to this new sense of things, she didn’t need to be out in the forest to use it.

Reina chimed in, though, with her own opinion. “Oh that stuff’s boring, Ai-chan,” she said, though Ai thought she saw a slightly haunted reminiscence cross her eyes. “This kind of power is what I’m more interested in talking to you about.” With that, she raised her hand palm up between them and it suddenly blazed in a heatless flame. Ai almost couldn’t stop herself from gasping. She’d not seen anyone else with this ability yet. Even the older girls who trained before only seemed to know of that “charisma” power that supposedly would help them in their careers. Well, I suppose it has, she thought curiously. Maki, Aya, and Rika were quite successful, at least in their times and strengths, and Kaori managed to lead Morning Musume for ages it seemed.

Fascinated by Reina’s surprising ability, Ai looked into the flame, seeing Reina’s eyes staring back through it at her. They looked intensely striking through the wall of fire… almost powerful in themselves. Ai guided her hand slowly into Reina’s flame, feeling only exciting tingles along her arm at the immersion, and laid her palm on the younger girl’s. Her eyes closed at the sensation of power that seemed to emanate from that touch, feeling her own flow through her as well, desperate for release. It even seemed as if a voice in her head was telling her what to do with it. ”Yes… With this you can do anything. This is only the slightest taste of a potential you can’t imagine! Let it go. Let it blaze! Feel its raw ecstasy!!!”

Ai’s pulse quickened as her body nearly shuddered with the intense assault of the energy within. Suddenly, though, a counter-voice rang through her mind. This voice sounded like Nii-chan. “No! Ai-chan, hold yourself together! This isn’t what you want! It’s incredible, yes…” The voice held a sense of awe as it spoke. “…But this isn’t what you want.” Visions of Risa and Konkon and the rest of her friends floated to her mind, smiling, and she wanted to just reach out and hug them.

Almost as if in retaliation, she suddenly felt the power hunger for more of her, and for a moment she couldn’t resist. It was just unbelievable what sheer rapture it ignited within her body… within her soul. In a colossal charade of the connection she felt with all the life on the island, it seemed the whole world was at her fingertips. She felt as if that world was hers to control. Control… wait… I don’t want to control everyone! The images of her friends blazed forth once more in her mind, and a heat grew from deeper inside her than that power could deign to reach. It felt like a typhoon how it all spiraled together, trying to tear at her very being, but with miraculous resolve, she wouldn’t let it go any further.

“No!!!” she shouted into her mind against the raging tide threatening to overwhelm her, and her eyes flew open. She found herself lying on her back, with Reina on top of her. Only shock raced through her now as she realized she was desperately holding the girl very tightly to her, and their mouths were locked in an intensely passionate kiss. Reina quickly seemed to notice the change in Ai’s behavior, and she pulled herself away slowly, but not far, leaving Ai breathless.

“Well, Ai-chan, you should have just told me how you felt,” Reina purred, louder than Ai would have expected, and seemingly having no trouble at all with her own breathing. Ai’s now mortified face suddenly shifted to the side at a noise and, as if returning from the most vivid of fantasies, she awakened to the reality of their surroundings.

It appeared that she was lying on a bed of feathers, thousands of which covered the floor and everything else they could stick to. The futons were nowhere to be seen. The bulb in the ceiling light was shattered, leaving them in a foreboding dimness, and she noticed there were blackened splotches all over the walls as if the room had very nearly been burned to the ground. The only light came in through the doorway, and it was interrupted by a figure standing very still within it.

Jay was staring at the two of them with the most expressionless face Ai ever saw, and she randomly wondered how long he’d been standing there. It must have been quite a scene; Ai was still lying on this bed of feathers in this ruined room, her arms clutched tightly around the girl on top of her and their faces still only centimeters apart. Reina was smiling pensively.

“I just thought I’d let you know,” he said quietly. “Since Fujimoto and obviously Tanaka have appeared back here…” He spoke with a hollowness and flatness that both startled Ai and tore at her heart. “...we’ve decided to resume the lessons. Kuro-gumi will meet outside in a half hour. Don’t be late, because nobody will be waiting up.” With that, he immediately left the doorway back into the hall, not missing a step. Ai lay stunned for another moment until she felt a hand on her chest, and she violently pushed the other girl off of her.

“Get the hell off of me!!!” she screamed, anger rising in her like a tsunami crashing onto shore. In her horror and rage, the light seemed to dim even further and the very walls felt like they were drawing in.

Reina slowly picked herself up from where she’d crashed into a corner, and deliberately wiped the back of her hand across her slightly bleeding mouth. She coughed lightly while beginning what Ai thought was an abomination of her cute laugh. “Why, Ai-chan?” she said slyly and seductively. “That’s right where you seemed to want me just a minute ago.”

Horror once more joined Ai’s anger and she fought to regain control. Reina was fully standing now and stiffened as if ready for anything, dark flames rising within her eyes as she gazed fiercely back at Ai. Her perceptions were right; the walls were indeed drawing in. She could hear the massive structure around them groaning in its resistance.

“What are you going to do Ai-chan? Ne~? Are you going to fight me?” Reina took a confident and unconcerned step toward her. Ai was still struggling with the whirl of emotions inside of her, but one began to override all the others: loathing.

“No…” she said softly, and Reina halted, eyes no less dark but gazing curiously at her rival. She didn’t know what it was, but something was telling her to back off. “This isn’t the time.” The creaking in the walls ceased, and Ai’s arms lowered to her sides. She suddenly realized that they had been raised, baring fists afire in deep red flame. The flames went out.

“I’m disappointed in you, Ai-chan,” Reina seemingly pouted, the blaze of the darkness fading somewhat from her own eyes. “And I thought I could learn something from you...”

She then walked forward and past the stiffly standing Ai, her body swaying, an image that in this instance made Ai think only of a snake. A crooked but satisfied smirk played along the corner of her mouth. After a moment she was out the door and gone down the hall, leaving Ai alone in the charred and chaotic remains of the former training room.

After a long class and field training session, Risa wearily walked back along with her fellow Shiro-gumi members Yossi, Rika and Konkon toward the door. They hadn’t actually gone into the woods, which made Risa glad because of her already not-so-great experience in there. Their team leader, Agent Cage, told them they were out here to begin to get a feel of the special connection to nature necessary for their magic to work. He said they had enough potential to feel it fairly strongly and to develop pretty quickly, but that he wanted to take things slow. He seemed thoughtful as he was elaborating on this and Risa was reminded of the apparent conflict between his and Sands’ philosophy on their training.

The afternoon had gone by pretty much without a hitch, however, except that Konkon seemed distracted for much of the time and kept glancing off to the north. Risa couldn’t imagine what could be so distracting, but she didn’t worry too much about it. Konkon always kept a level head and probably judged things the most rationally of any of them. However, those thoughts also made Risa keep a close eye on her…

When they entered the facility again, Konkon hastily made apologies and headed off apparently to her room, and Yossi and Rika did likewise while grinning to each other, hurrying for what Risa assumed was a different reason altogether. However, she really did not want to think too much on it. Cage likewise excused himself leaving Risa to wander alone.

Since it was just now past dinnertime food entered her thoughts, but she didn’t really feel that hungry since they all ate a late lunch. Instead, she decided to head to her room to check and see if Ai was back. She was worried about how the “chat” with Reina went… Though apparently it wasn’t too bad, because she was sure she’d have heard during her training if something drastic happened.

As she arrived at her room, she heard muffled sounds from inside the cracked door and ran in to find Ai lying facedown on her pillow weeping uncontrollably. “Ai-chan!!!” Risa cried in alarm, and she joined her friend on the bed and attempted to hug her close, patting her back. Ai jerked away though, rubbing her eyes which were a deep red.

“Stay back!” she growled harshly, before realizing who it was and noticing Risa’s hurt look. “I… I’m sorry, Nii-chan…” she stuttered, sobbing, and she wrapped her arms tightly around herself. “I just don’t feel very clean right now. You’re probably best off to stay away from me…” She began crying harder again, shivering now as if trying to pull herself into as tight a ball as she could manage.

Risa, now moving slower, scooted toward the girl. “Ai-chan… What did she do to you?” If Tanaka had truly scarred her as badly as it seemed… Risa’s own tears began to well up slowly. Suddenly making a decision and throwing her friend’s caution to the side, Risa threw her arms around the shivering Ai. This time she didn’t resist, and just leaned in to the embrace, Risa making sure to hold her as tightly as possible. For all of her efforts though, Ai’s body didn’t loosen a bit, her arms still held tightly around herself.

“I’ll kill her…” Risa mumbled lowly into Ai’s hair. She then released her hold and jumped up headed for the door. “I’ll kill her!!!” she nearly shouted through her tears.

“No, Nii-chan!!!” Risa turned back and stared into her best friend’s eyes; eyes which now held the desperation of someone who fears she’s about to lose everything. “Please…” she cried. “You don’t… now’s not the time…” she trailed off, her arm finally away from her body and extended outward toward Risa, who felt her heart tug her painfully in opposite directions. Almost without thought, however, she surrendered to her friend’s trust and rejoined her. This time they embraced each other tightly through a long while until they finally stopped crying. Then, the best friends still in each other’s arms, Ai imparted the story of her past few hours. Risa barely kept control of herself as she listened to the unbelievable tale, but never gave a second’s thought of parting from her companion’s hold. From the trial in the small room to the uncomfortable training session out in the woods with Sands treating her as if she were a rock and Reina smiling sweetly and innocently at everyone except Ai, who swore she saw only satisfaction in the girl’s dark eyes, Risa listened quietly to it all throughout the evening. Eventually, they fell asleep.

It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion, maybe we'd know some kind of peace. But we would be hollow. Empty rooms, shuttered and dank. Without passion and the hope and determination for tomorrow it can still inspire, we'd be truly dead.

Not long after that, another girl came by their open doorway and peered into the darkened room, as night’s blanket had fully fallen. She looked intently at the red-eyed pair lying curled up sweetly in each other’s arms, and blushed slightly before closing the door with extreme care. As she walked into the room across the hall, thoughts of caves and bright lights and fantastic artworks contrasted with thoughts of loyalty and friends and enemies. I know what I need to do now… she thought silently as she knelt at her bed for a nightly prayer. Closing her eyes, she wished more earnestly than ever before, “Please, grandmother, grandfather, kami-sama… Give me the strength, will, and enlightenment to do what I know I can… what I know I must…”

Outside, clouds drifted across the blackened sky, unveiling stars that winked down at the nigh insignificantly tiny island, and a moon that glowed a soft red to the unseeing slumbering eyes of its tenants below, but to no one else in the vast world.

Offline rokun

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Re: Curse of the Dragons (Drama on Sexy Island?) [Reposted to jphip!]
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2011, 06:32:12 PM »
Chapter 14 - Revelations

A week passed, and the incoming autumn saw the leaves on many trees in the first stages of their annual metamorphosis. The days rapidly became shorter, and chill winds, which seemed straight from the arctic, left their first marks upon the wildlife. The varied creatures of the land and sea felt instinct begin to signal tidings of the chill to come.  A breath of one of these northern gusts brushed the arms of a girl meditating peacefully in a small copse near the forest’s edge, causing goose bumps to arise from her flesh and momentarily interrupting her concentration.

“Aaa~, cold…” Risa murmured, and she looked intently at a bare spot on the ground. After a moment, as if swept up by that wind, a small pile of leaves drew together, tightly packed. Once settled, they burst into a soft flame. Risa then let her concentration ebb and lifted her hands above the fire, rubbing them together while enjoying its warmth. She closed her eyes and smiled as she caught the sweet scent of the burning leaves. She didn’t need the kindling for the flame, of course, but she liked the smell of the freshly fallen leaves. She randomly wondered if that was because of the texture of the leaves themselves, or of the juices inside them. If it was just the juices, then that heavenly smell would be gone once they started drying out more… Hmm…

It wouldn’t be long before their time on Ryugu Island came to an end. This was, after all, just an opportunity for them to hone their skills to supplement their careers. It’s not like it would have a huge effect on their everyday lives. Risa briefly gazed into her fire, wondering if things were really at all as they thought. Though, as the agents and senpai explained, use of the power to excite their fans would become almost natural before long, and they’d constantly emit its energies, making heads turn all around even if they just walked down a common street. As if they didn’t before… she thought to herself with a slight smirk, even though it hadn’t been as true recently.

Training sessions, for her, began in a classroom where they learned the basics of how to connect with the power inside them. Soon, though, they moved outside, where she knew Ai-chan’s group had been from the beginning. Over the course of several days her team explored the connection the power gave them with all life, and they learned how to use it to give them, in a sense, a natural artificial charisma. This, of course, is meant to boost their careers, but they were given warnings that its effects were only as good as its use. Without the motivation, someone who knew even as much as they did would be only as attractive as a tree stump.

Of course, Risa had learned much over the past several days that wasn’t taught; at least, not by any official means. Ai-chan was quite unhinged for a couple days after her encounter with Reina, but toward the end of the week, once Risa showed her how well she was able to control her own power, she finally caved in and worked with Risa on other things. Such as this flame… Risa thought, staring into its red glow once more. She hadn’t learned a whole lot from Ai-chan yet, at least not as much as she was sure her friend was hiding, but she was happy still. Ai-chan surely had reasons for not wanting to share it all, if truly she did know more than she let on.

There definitely was something else going on with Ai-chan, too, that she wasn’t sure of… She hadn’t heard all that transpired between her and Reina that second day here, and thinking it too difficult to talk about she hadn’t pressed. Still, there was something between her, Reina, and Sands…

“Ohayou~!” came a voice suddenly from behind the seated girl. Startled suddenly, Risa jumped up and turned to see Konkon walking up to her.

“Ah! Ohayou, Kon-chan!” Risa finally responded cheerfully. “Up early, too, eh?” Risa had actually woken up well before breakfast this morning to get her mind focused for one of the final days of training. She also hoped to entice a bit more out of her friend today…

The other Musume nodded, gazing at Risa’s fire. Risa hadn’t actually spoken much with Konkon over their time here, even though they were in the same group. She supposed they both had their own affairs to attend to. Risa, for one, couldn’t keep her mind off whatever was going on with Reina and Ai-chan, and Konkon always seemed distracted for some reason as well.

“Did you make that fire?” Konkon asked, nodding her head toward it.

“Yep!” said Risa, without thinking, before she suddenly caught herself and added, “With… the leaves there! And I rubbed a couple twigs together… I know they’re around here somewhere…” Her eyes darted around the area they stood in, and she began rummaging around, as if searching for the missing twigs.

Konkon’s eyes didn’t leave the fire, though, and after a moment she raised her arm and opened her palm toward the flame. Risa felt a strong gust fly past her toward the fire, and the leaves she’d packed together swirled up a few feet almost violently, though only in that spot, before the whirlwind dissipated and the smoking leaves fluttered randomly back to the ground.

Risa noticed her mouth was hanging open and closed it before turning back to Konkon, who was now staring intently into the impressed girl’s eyes. “Where did you learn that?” she asked almost breathlessly. “How...?” Her voice trailed off, her eyes once more taking in the leaves, which were now settled, the blackened parts of them the only evidence of any disturbance. Speaking of things Ai-chan hadn’t taught her… but how did Konkon know how to do that? Risa had some control over air, but Ai-chan mostly only taught her things to do with fire and heat.

“I promise to explain at least some of it to you eventually,” Konkon said matter-of-factly. “But for now… Would you like to join me for breakfast?”

Risa, long since having given up on the chance her watch would be working here, replied, “It’s that time already?” At Konkon’s nod, she took her arm and they headed back toward the facility. Risa decided something quickly. “I have some things to tell you too…” she said mysteriously, but she didn’t notice Konkon only smiling and nodding in return.

Miki’s eyes opened to the sun streaming through the window right onto her face. “Kuso!” she cursed under her breath as she rolled over and immediately dropped hard onto the floor. Thankfully the floor muffled her next curse, because it would have been much louder.

Noticing she had no clothes on as she was sprawled out on the floor, she crawled up the side of the bed. Her head suddenly began pounding. Peeking over the edge, she swore again at the sight of a peacefully slumbering Hitomi Yoshizawa wrapped up in Miki’s sheets. The sheets accentuated all of the curves of the other girl’s body, signifying that she was obviously nude as well.

“Shit,” Miki swore, mumbling, for the fourth time in her minute since waking, “How much did I have to drink last night?” She remembered dinner, a meeting with Tanaka, and then a party in their room with Yossi and Ishikawa. Briefly wondering what happened to the last, she struggled to her feet and found the washroom, where she took a long, cold shower.

When she sauntered back into the bedroom after drying off and saw Yossi’s clothes lying scattered across the floor, an idea struck her. She knelt down next to the girl’s underwear and picked them up as if to put them on. However, once off the ground the drawers turned into a very white piece of frozen underwear, and she left them at the side of the bed, grinning stupidly to herself.

As she headed past the bed over to the dresser to find some clothes, she felt herself step in something. Jerking her foot up in the shock, she saw that there was a small pile of ash just off the foot of the bed. What the hell!? she yelled inside her own head. Did we smoke joints all night too??? Sighing dramatically, she hopped across the room back into the washroom and clumsily stuck her foot in the sink to wash it off. Once she was satisfied, she stepped carefully around the ash, determined to finally manage to put some clothes on. Though y’know… she thought once more, It wasn’t too long ago I had my clothes off for much longer than that… She grinned almost wistfully whilst reminiscing. 

Once she accomplished the stupendous feat, donning a pair of tight orange sweatpants and a green T-shirt and idly wondering if she actually had her clothes off more often than she had them on anymore, she dug into Yossi’s suitcase for every last piece of her spare underwear. She then dumped them all into a drawer and stared hard at them as if willing them to disappear. A black flame burst suddenly and intensely in the drawer, and she pulled back, half-surprised at her own skill. The odd flame, though, was gone as suddenly as it had appeared, and so was the underwear.

Now feeling very satisfied with herself, she stretched her hand out toward the ash on the ground, and a very concentrated whirlwind suddenly snatched all of it up. It coalesced into a rapidly spinning ball of powder, and she made it whirl above her hand as she walked over to the washroom. Once there, it left her hand and all blew into the toilet, which she flushed immediately, grimacing at the disgusting image it presented.

She wiped her hands against each other, even though they were perfectly clean since she just took a shower and hadn’t actually touched the stuff, and headed out into the hall. Maybe Tanaka was actually right. Confidence did seem to make things work much better. Of course, she now had to be careful not to use any of the real powers in public view, as nobody else knew they even existed.

She paused momentarily and stared at the door across the hall. She knew nobody would be inside this late in the morning, but still she felt an annoying urge to enter. She fought against that urge, however, and headed down to see if she wasn’t too late for breakfast. Abruptly she realized that the throbbing in her head had ceased, and fleetingly wondered if that was due to her confidence and use of the power as well.

Upon reaching the dining hall, she realized that it was most definitely too late for breakfast, as it was vacant and no smells permeated the air like usual when a meal was being served. Thankfully, there were some rice cakes set out on a table, though, so she took a few of those and gobbled them up eagerly. The kitchen help was by now certainly used to many of the girls not showing up on time for these things.

Once finished, she began sauntering down the hall toward an exit when a voice echoed throughout the corridors, making her groan. “Miki Fujimoto, please report to training room seven. Hitomi Yoshizawa, Rika Ishikawa, Eri Kamei and Sayumi Michishige, please report to the grounds.” The agents had taken to doing this announcement whenever someone didn’t show up for their assigned practice, which someone so far managed basically every day. Agent Sands’ dull drone grated on her as always, and she turned around to make toward the training room. The man didn’t always sound as if he’d been castrated, so she constantly wondered what happened. Maybe little Takahashi was too much for him to handle. A cackle suddenly burst from her throat and a frantic Sayumi and Eri, running in the opposite direction, stumbled a bit to stare at her before going on. Dark eyes raised and rolled at the kids’ antics.

Miki found her way through the twisting corridors of the facility, feeling rather comfortable about knowing the way since she’d spent so much time here now, even though she’d never been in training room seven before. She wondered what it would be this time.

They’d only been indoors a few times for these sessions – a couple of times in a weight room; once, in the studio where they surprisingly actually rehearsed some of the dances from “Iroppoi Jirettai” and their new single, which they just found out about a few days before coming here; and another time in a dark room with futons spread out for the four of them, where they worked on their focus and meditation. She finally arrived at the door labeled with the small sign “Training Room 7” next to it, and walked in.

As the door closed behind her, she briefly wondered if she was in the right room, as it was completely dark. Glancing around aimlessly for a moment, she caught sight of a small light that seemed to be far away – much farther than this room should be extending. Shrugging, she walked toward it, and as she drew closer she noticed her surroundings change slightly. First, she felt the ground beneath her feet become somewhat uneven, and second, she felt as if she was actually descending some type of slope… Indeed she was, as she now noticed the light was actually coming from a point somewhat below the level she was standing.

A little uncertain now, she also began to hear water dripping along the sides and as illumination was cast over more of her area with the light coming near, she realized she was most definitely no longer in the facility, but in some cave that apparently was underneath it. The light seemed to be coming from around a turn in the path ahead of her, and upon reaching it, she sighed in apparent relief before catching herself.

Takahashi, Tanaka and Matsuura were leaning against the walls along the sides of the medium-sized room. Agent Sands stood in the middle, and, seeing Fujimoto, waved her over to one of the cave walls as well.

“Well, now that everyone has decided to join us…” he said, not even glancing at Miki. That was probably for the best, as only a dark-eyed glare was returned. “…we can get started.” As he began rummaging through his pockets for something, Miki glanced around the room. Reina was staring coolly at her, and Miki felt a shiver in her spine at the deep blackness she saw in those eyes. She didn’t know, however, whether it was of fear or excitement. Takahashi was just frowning at her, apparently studying every inch of her. The damn girl did that all the time lately, and it made her shiver almost as much as Tanaka. The other girl she just ignored, though she could sense the third gaze on her as well, with pleading, if resigned, eyes.

“Please, have a seat,” Sands continued, apparently finding what he was looking for, and Miki plopped down to the floor. As she hit it, she had time only for a glance at Sands moving quicker than anyone she’d ever seen toward something on the ground before hell broke loose and her vision exploded in a blaze.

Reina felt herself scream in the white light that enveloped her. At least, she thought it was her scream. She couldn’t really be sure, since all she knew was bright, blinding light. Yes, it was definitely her scream, and she found she wasn’t the only one letting one out as reality came back to her in a burst after a split-second that had seemed like hours.

She jumped up to her feet, darkness cascading ferociously in waves from around her to block out the burning light, and she saw people yelling across the room. Matsuura and Takahashi were huddled together in a corner of the cave, with Sands positioned protectively between them and Reina. Though after a moment, seeing Takahashi break away from the other girl, Reina wondered if his move wasn’t only to keep Reina away from them

Reina began giggling, and she nearly floated over to where Miki was lying slumped against the wall. The light was still all around, but it couldn’t penetrate the darkness surrounding Reina. Sands was shouting something at her, but apparently Reina’s shield blocked out sound as well. Soon, she came in close enough to Miki to where the darkness enveloped her as well. Miki groaned and stirred now that the light was no longer present.

Closing her eyes, Reina concentrated on her surroundings, feeling the life in the room as in the basic lesson they all learned their first day here, and sensed a pulsing beat coming from something soft in the middle of the room. It almost beat like a heart… if a heart could be the size of a beach ball. Reina concentrated all of her energy against it, and it blasted apart, pieces disintegrating immediately upon rupture, though a warm gooey substance splattered the room, including the five people in it.

Reina felt her power surge and fluctuate as the liquid hit her, and she gasped for a moment at the sheer energy she felt. Quickly, though, she recovered, and the room was back to normal, the glowing rocks along the walls illuminating the grisly scene. Miki was still groaning and unconscious, while Sands and the other two girls, apparently shocked at the warm shower, were just now regaining their feet.

They regained it quickly, however, and Sands stepped furiously toward Reina before she threw up her hand and he stopped in his tracks. The blood-soaked Takahashi jumped forward emotionally at Sands’ halt, raising her hands.

“STOP!” shouted Reina. Takahashi hesitated a moment. “You don’t want your lover to get hurt, do you?” Reina grinned widely, growling in furious intensity. Sands’ eyes bored into her over immobile lips.

Takahashi lowered her hands. “Let him go…!” she growled between gritted teeth. Reina just tilted her head, the sadistic grin still on her face, and knelt down, wiping a finger along a spot of blood on the floor. Rising again, she narrowed her eyes at her finger and licked it slowly. Oh the power!!! She wanted to close her eyes so badly and just enjoy the sheer ecstasy of it, but she couldn’t let the wretched girl have any opportunities. Takahashi spat to the side in disgust.

“Oh come on Ai-chan, I’m disappointed in you again. You know this turns you on…” She slowly licked the blood from along the front of her arm, all the way to her fingertip, never taking her eyes from the girl’s opposite her. After she was done, she spared a quick glance for Matsuura, whose eyes were fixed on Miki. Miki had yet to regain full consciousness. Then, as she caught Sands’ frozen look, all she saw there was pure hatred.

“You’re sick…” Takahashi breathed almost unbelievingly.

“No more than you, Miss Perfect…” Reina responded sardonically, and she threw out her hand once more, this time in Ai’s direction. Takahashi was ready, but she was no match for Reina’s boosted power. Her body convulsed and arched forward, and her arms rose of their own accord. Reina forced Sands’ head to the side toward her, and Takahashi’s eyes widened, and then focused, before a red flame burst forth above her hand. Suddenly, she was fully released from her enspellment, though the flame still pulsed its warm glow. Sands' eyes became questions aimed at her.

“Yes, Special Agent Jay Sands, you know that’s fire I’m incapable of making,” Reina said conversationally, which had a more chilling effect on the room than any scream could have. “I suppose I underestimated you… Maybe you do know a little of what lies hidden on this piece of rock. I should have realized it when you brought us down here. Of course, I’m not the only one who’s surprised this morning…” Smiling sweetly again at Takahashi, whose eyes were now downcast, the flame still alive in her hand, she released Sands, who still didn’t move. She then caught Miki’s arm as the girl finally rose unsteadily, and pulled her against her body.

“No!! Mikitty!!” Aya cried, jumping toward them, but she saw only the dark pools of Reina’s chiding eyes blazing on her as the two girls vanished into blackness.

Offline rokun

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Re: Curse of the Dragons (Drama on Sexy Island?) [Reposted to jphip!]
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2011, 06:32:34 PM »
Chapter 15 - Sparks

   Once the light again illuminated the area where two young girls previously stood, a solemn stillness invaded the small room beneath the earth that held the shadowy forms of the two remaining girls and the dumbstruck agent. The silence held for a moment before one of the remaining girls released a subdued cry of anguish upon reaching that formerly occupied spot. Aya fell to her knees, seemingly unable to comprehend what they just saw with their own eyes. Ai could scarcely believe it, herself.

   She couldn’t shake the feeling of total dominance exerted upon her by the small, seemingly awkward younger girl. Her hand rested on her chest ever since the compulsion, since it felt like her bones nearly broke when her body arched so violently. However, her eyes were fixed upon two deep blue ones staring back at her intensely. She didn’t think she saw betrayal, but… Suddenly, they snapped away, and Jay ambled over to Aya, laying a hand comfortingly on her shoulder.

   “Come on,” he said warmly. “They’re gone. There’s nothing more we can do down here.” Aya nodded and rose unsteadily, her eyes seeming distant above her blood-spattered visage, as if not able or willing to adjust to reality. Jay turned slowly back around toward Ai and continued, “We should go clean up. I know the power the blood tempts with is appealing, but I think you know it’s better if you–”

   “You knew,” Ai interrupted bluntly. Her mind working at light speed, the pieces finally clicked into place. She stared hard into Jay’s once handsome face, now tarnished with the blood and exertion of the past few minutes.

   Unblinking eyes stared intelligently back at her. “Yes,” he responded simply. “We knew ever since your trip out into the forest your first night here. We had to let you go your own way, though.”

   “Why?!” Ai suddenly cried out, jumping out toward him. “There’s so much you could have helped with! I’ve been fumbling around by myself… nearly getting my best friend killed… And for what?! I could have ended up like them!” At that last, she made a flourish toward Aya’s spot, the girl occupying it seeming just now to comprehend reality once more.

   Another moment of silence passed, Ai’s nostrils flaring as she stared daggers at the man, before he spoke again, calmly, “Like I said, we had to let you go your own way. Any interference we might have given may have only made things worse. Besides, none of us are able to perform the acts you all can. I’m dead honest in saying I never saw the like of what just happened here.”

   At this admission, both girls’ attention became rapt, until Ai finally regained her wits. “But… why?”

   “Look at me, Ai Takahashi,” Sands said, nearly exasperatedly, gesticulating forcefully. “I’m just a man. I may have some unusual talents and skills, but I’m just a worker trained by the American CIA. I could have been assigned anywhere; I joined the ICAA unit because I feel there’s a greater purpose for these feats that not many others recognize. I joined it because I have a deep interest in Japanese people and history. However, it’s still a job. It’s what makes me a living.”

   He started a circuit around the room, hands folded behind his back, looking around at first but recoiling slightly in revulsion at the blood-soaked walls. “You girls are special. You earn a living, yes, but it’s in no way comparable to a normal person’s life. Your job is just to be seen… to be popular… to be talent. Even the least talented among you has the stirring inside which this power craves. That gives you an incredible advantage over even the best of us.”

   “Yes…” Aya interjected, eyes thoughtful. “When I first trained, I didn’t dream of anything like this. There were only a few agents here, then, and they could teach the theory, but they never used the power themselves…”

   Ai, however, felt taken aback at Jay’s frank language. What he said is true, but… “What does that matter!” she cried out, seeming to plead for assurance, wishing none of this was real. “You’re just like everyone else! Our fans treat us like we’re angels - like we couldn’t be more perfect… But that’s not true!” Eyes glistening, she went on, “We’re people, just like you… we’re no different… no different…” She fell to her knees, tears beginning to fall as well.

   Jay, now still and gazing at Ai with intense sympathy, said very softly, “I don’t claim to understand what you feel. However, I’ve seen enough celebrities come through here to know that indeed you are human, just like the rest of us. Be that as it may, your country’s history and your fame have marked you for something different. You long to live a normal life, perhaps, though I know you are attracted to the life of a celebrity. You both are, very much.” He included Aya, who stood in her own sober reflection, in the gaze as well.

   “Unfortunately, I’m afraid that life may no longer be the same. And definitely not in a condition you’d regard as ‘normal’, either. You worry about ending up like your friends. But you didn’t. You may not like it all, but horrible acts are always done by humans - it’s our nature. Not everyone has the clarity and fortitude to always stay on the straight path.” His eyes seemed to burn with passion now. “The question now is… What will you do? You’ve held steadfast in what’s right; your friends, even though wrongheaded, haven’t fallen all the way. It’s your choice whether or not to help them and begin making a difference in the world. You can ignore this and live your life, and they can live theirs, however horrid it may be, or you can embrace your gift and maybe give this old world something to smile about.”

   Ai stopped crying during Jay’s eloquence, and she felt a firm resolve flare forth in the girl standing across from her. It was that girl who spoke first. “I’ve always been an entertainer… It’s what I love doing. I admit, I love it when people love me. However, I also… love Miki-chan, and if I can help her, even if I couldn’t change a single other thing in this world, it’d be worth it.”

   Still with her head bowed, Ai spoke up stolidly. “No, Aya.”

   Aya stepped back a little, face paling in sudden mild outrage. “What the hell are you saying?! Miki is the only thing I care about right now. She’s…”

   “Going to be all right,” Ai finished, interrupting the other girl and finally getting to her feet. She looked hard at the two others standing in front of her. “They’re both going to be all right. Everyone else who has the slightest inclination toward whatever Reina’s found will be all right. But that’s not all.”

   She stared hard at Jay now as she continued. “You’re right. I may not be happy with it, but now I have a responsibility. All of us do.” Her eyes shifted to Aya once more at that last. Aya nodded, transfixed by her powerful gaze. Ai nodded back to her.

   “Now, let’s go get cleaned up. This blood is making my skin tingle, but I can’t say it does much for my complexion...” Sparing a wry glance at Aya, she continued, “…Or yours.” Aya’s eyes widened and she let out a small yelp, as if just realizing her fancy white goldtrimmed shorts and shirt were defaced horribly.

Jay barked out a short laugh as he nodded, and the three walked back up toward the facility, the lights snuffing out behind them as they passed.

   Once Aya left them to head to her hall, Jay and Ai strode toward their own silently. Thankfully, nobody else was around, since they all had training outside. The sun had nearly reached its peak, though, so they’d soon break for lunch.

   “There’ll be no more trainings after lunch today,” Jay spoke up quietly after a moment. “Now that we’ve found some of the girls went astray with the power, we have to make sure there aren’t any others and keep them all close. Hopefully, it’ll also help us find Tanaka and Fujimoto…” he trailed off, the tone of his voice nearly appearing to seek approval from Ai, who just nodded agreeably.

“I suppose I should have come to you earlier,” she uttered reluctantly after a moment. Jay shifted his gaze to her as they walked on. “I knew something was going on with Reina. You saw our… encounter… that while back, but of course you couldn’t tell what went on like I did.” A brief shadow seemed to play across his face as she spoke that last, but it was quickly replaced by warmth in his eyes. Ai felt nearly to tears again, remembering that “encounter”, and he must have noticed because she felt an arm drape over her shoulders. She looked over to him.

“I’m sorry,” he said simply. “I shouldn’t have judged you so quickly like that. I just didn’t expect…” he trailed off, his eyes averting back to the front in shame. “We knew there was something more to the power than we could discover so far. This charisma – making people more attracted to you whether they like it or not – itself had the potential of being used for disreputable purposes. That was part of the training – setting you all along the right path and making sure you followed it. I don’t know what could have happened to influence Tanaka in that way.”

“Yeah,” Ai responded. “I think none of us expected it. Reina always was somewhat of a loner, but… I couldn’t have thought her capable of what she seems to be doing now.” Her voice cracked as she felt sadness begin to overcome her once more.

He suddenly halted as they passed a crossing corridor and grasped her arm, making her do the same. She looked up at his disheveled figure, sniffing. “Listen, Takahashi. I said earlier that Tanaka isn’t lost yet. She may have done some despicable things – to you especially, I think – but she’s far from being the scum of the earth.” As he spoke in a soothing but firm voice, she thought she finally understood his meaning. Yes, it could be worse…

“She’s still got a chance, but I think it’s up to you. You were very noble back there in the cave. I felt as if years of work and hope finally came to fruition when you spoke with such commitment. You need to be the one to take us through it, because right now, nobody has what you do. I think even I know a fraction of what you hold inside.” Ai felt her eyes water again, but this time not from despair. His words touched her. She knew she was no hero, but he kindled some kind of fire inside her that wasn’t part of this power. He made her want to try.

She nodded finally, resolve now shining through the tears glistening in her eyes. “I know I’m not much,” she said meekly. “But I’ll do what I can. It’s the least I can do for a girl who’s just lost and maybe needs a friend.” Unconsciously, Ai had taken his hand in both of hers and was holding it just in front of her chest. "And..." she said in what almost seemed an afterthought, though a very intense one. "Call me Ai."

They stared deeply into each others’ eyes for a moment until he pulled her close with the arm that never left her shoulders and whispered into her ear, “I’m sorry Ai. I didn’t know you, but I maybe gave you too little trust from the beginning.” He pulled his head back to gaze once again into her eyes, their faces nearly touching. “Maybe I was scared by what I felt. But not anymore…” And with that, he embraced her lips with his. After Ai recovered from her initial mild surprise, they shared an intensely emotional and passionate kiss, their troubles flowing into each other until they became one. Ai’s world ignited in a lust-filled fire, feeling her power ignite as well and flow into him along with her troubles. He didn’t seem to pay it any mind.

At the end of one of the crossing corridors, hidden in a shroud of now flickering darkness, even darker eyes saw the scene down the hall unfold. They watched, betraying no emotion except a white-hot essence that undoubtedly could even have been seen through the darkness, until the lovers parted and continued on hand-in-hand.

So… Reina thought with finality. This final blow to her plans and desires only cemented what she now saw as the only option. Dispelling the darkness, she strode evenly down the corridor toward her hall. The other girls were now returning from their classes, she could sense, and when she arrived at her room, the tall youngster who shared it was just leaving. She stopped dead, however, when she saw Reina coming, a mood about her that she couldn’t fathom.

“Hello Reina-chan,” she said with a shaky smile. “You want to come to lunch? I’m just off to join Eririn and Sayu.” Her smile became more confident as Reina made no move to interrupt, but at the lack of response she started to walk away before halting suddenly to turn back.

“Oh,” she said excitedly, seeming to just remember something and reaching into her pocket. “I found this outside near a cave in the woods. I thought it was somewhat odd, so I was going to take a look at it with Sayu and Eririn, but I’ll show you, too, since you’re here now!” She pulled an object shaped like a slightly squished sphere out of the pocket. It was of a dark red hue, but a blue glow seemed almost to pulse from inside it, steadily… It was of the size of a stone, but had a texture none the like. Reina’s eyes widened at the sight of it, and heat suddenly seemed to literally emanate from her body. Koharu finally caught a look into Reina’s eyes as she raised her head. The jealous darkness in them was the last thing she saw.

Without a word, those eyes glowed a brilliant red, and the young innocent’s mouth gaped to utter a scream that never came. Reina stepped forward and caught the object as it fell toward the floor, its previous holder lost to existence. “Why thank you, Koharu-chan. What a thoughtful gift.” After pocketing the gem, she paid a final visit to the room she used to share.

Aya knocked on the door in front of her. She could sense someone inside, and though she couldn’t tell whom, her suspicions didn’t ease. She knocked again, once more given no response. Turning the handle to rather not surprisingly find it unlocked, she pushed it to and walked in. The atmosphere of the room made her shiver for some reason, even though the sun was streaming in through the lone window, and its curtains blew back gently with the noon-time breeze.

Once she entered fully, however, she only had eyes for the girl lying on the bed, apparently asleep. “Mikitty!!” she cried, rushing to the girl’s side and clasping her wrist. She shook Miki almost roughly, but no part of her body stirred. Sighing with loss, she sat at the top of the bed very ladylike and stroked Miki’s hair gently.

Their relationship had never been a smooth one, what with their careers and Miki’s temperament, but Aya found something in this girl that she couldn’t express with words. One minute, Miki could be biting your head off, and the other… Aya blushed at thoughts of some of those “other” moments with Miki. Maybe that’s what left her so helplessly in Miki’s control.

Aya had for years developed an unimaginably cute and pristine image. She sang about peaches, rivers, and love like she had not a care or corruption in the world. She enticed her fans with sexy performances that made her seem very available and willing, while putting forth such an innocent school-girlish image.

Innocent she was, she supposed. She’d never done anything daring in her life, shy of becoming a pop star. She felt that was just thrust on her, though, because of her natural talent and appearance. She didn’t really do anything to deserve it.

Innocent she was, at least, until she got to know Miki Fujimoto. Early on they became friends, and quickly the best of friends. Miki, being young and (she thought) naïve herself in the bright lights of show business, didn’t exude any of her true nature except for an air of instability. Aya thought this was when she first actually became attracted to the girl. It was 2003 and Miki was succeeding well in her solo career.

“Ishikawa, what do you think you’re…” Aya started, snapping out of her reverie at Miki’s mumbling in her sleep. Her eyes stayed closed, however, and Aya couldn’t discern much more of her noises, aside from a few references to Rika and Yossi. By the tone of these, she tried to forget she heard them. She knew about their party last night, of course. Rika had appeared apologetic as she left their room, but by the sounds of laughter and gaiety Aya heard across the hall, she realized how heartfelt it must really have been. Rika told her she wasn’t invited because it made Miki feel too uncomfortable, and as it was supposed to be a special occasion for the 1985 Musume, that’s where it was left. Aya lost many tears at the other sounds she heard later in the evening while unsuccessfully trying to fall asleep.

As her mind drifted back into the past, trying to avoid that line of thought, she remembered the time when Miki learned she was to be included in the next generation of Morning Musume members. Everything seemed to fall apart. The reassignment wasn’t the only sign, however… her popularity had fallen throughout the year, but Aya felt Miki hit rock bottom on her Momusu introduction day. She still remembered it: Miki, having not been successful for a while, was thrilled just to be on stage again. But when she left it… What Aya had seen in her eyes tore at her heart. Miki became sullen for a long while afterwards, and Aya rarely saw her.

This was partly caused by the blooming success of Aya’s own career, even though it moved slowly for the good part of a year. After Miki learned she wasn’t invited into the new special group, Nochiura Natsumi, in that summer, she seemed to finally realize her place, and regained some of the spark she’d lost for so long. However, she also lost a lot of her innocent naiveté, and Aya knew a dark streak had permanently scarred her. She blushed thinking of that, knowing how the less innocent, darker Miki actually turned her on more.

Perhaps because of this lost innocence, Miki seemed to notice something about her, and somehow found out the feelings Aya had been holding in for so long. It all culminated in a night Miki appeared at her door… She blushed more at that, gazing down at the sleeping Miki with love in her eyes and that fire in her heart. After that night, Aya was no longer innocent.

“Ayaya…” Miki moaned pleadingly in her sleep, and the named girl shivered at the recognition, leaning closer to Miki’s face.

“Yes, Mikitty, I’m here… Are you all right?”

“Aya…” Miki repeated, and her eyes opened. Suddenly her mind seemed to come back to reality, and who was facing her, and she jerked up, knocking the other girl in a sprawl toward the end of the bed.

“What are you doing here…?!” Miki growled warningly. Any person not in love with the voice’s source would have cowered under the ferocity of the comment and intensity of her glare.

Aya picked herself up from the mattress and stood near the bed. “I was worried about you, Mikitty. I don’t know what happened to Reina, but I don’t want you to get involved. I know you don’t want to…”

“What do you know of what I want!!!” Miki half-shouted in response. “What do you really care…” The last came out nearly as another growl. “You’ve taken me for yourself this whole time. Maybe it’s time I try resisting! Try out someone else! Who knows, maybe I’ve wanted to all along…” Lightning seemed to crackle in her eyes as she continued her glare.

“Mikitty…” Aya began, her voice this time not tremulous at all. “You know that’s not true. I’ve loved you for so long… and I know you love me. You truly love me. You can say whatever you want about what I should know, but you know it too.”

Miki seemed to hesitate for a second before the lightning blazed forth in her eyes once more. “Love you… hah. What did you ever do for me? You pathetic, naïve girl. Why would I love someone who couldn’t even satisfy me?” Aya recoiled as if struck by a blow. In a way, she was struck harder than ever before.

“That’s right!” Miki went on, seeming to gain confidence. “You know nothing. You tell me to stay away from Tanaka, but she, in her first attempt, took me to places you couldn’t even dream of. And she did it for hours…!” Miki finished that last with a harsh bite, and the next thing heard was the door slamming as Aya ran out and down the hall, weeping hysterically.

Miki felt the roaring fires in her heart and soul die down, though her breath still came raggedly. She nearly felt tears in her eyes at what she just said, but she fought it down.

“That lying and manipulative bitch doesn’t hold a candle to me…” she said to herself, almost as if for her own reassurance.

She got up and washed her face in the washroom. In the sink, Reina’s face stared up at her through the water with burning red eyes. She quickly turned off the faucet and toweled her face before leaving the room. Not able to miss looking at the door across from her, she stalked down the hall in a traditional Miki mood. That is, glaring at anything and everything as if she was an angsty teenager. However, through all that glare, turmoil continued in her mind between visions of a face with dark eyes and a doe-like one with eyes that seemed only wide and angelic... and full of love.

Offline rokun

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Re: Curse of the Dragons (Drama on Sexy Island?) [Reposted to jphip!]
« Reply #15 on: April 11, 2011, 06:32:55 PM »
Chapter 16 – What History Can Teach

After being sent to lunch straight from their lesson, Risa tried to eat as quickly as she could, glancing askance at Konno while the other girl seemed to eat at a similar speed. That speed was normal for her, however, as she liked to eat as much as she could in what time she had. Risa always wondered at Konkon’s eating her dessert before the rest of her meal, and there was a huge ordeal when she became adamant about it to the kitchen staff in their first days here. They’d since adjusted, however, and had begun forcing the other girls to take their dessert first as well, since they didn’t want to bother making it twice in a mealtime. Risa’s mochi sat melting while she wolfed down her omuraisu. For kitchen helpers, Risa thought they weren’t very helpful. She was glad they weren’t like that back home.

Usually they had some free-time before coming to lunch at their own whims, but Cage’s mood was sourer than usual this morning since Rika-chan never showed up for training, so he went on an annoying power trip. She felt sorry for the girl for whenever he would get his hands on her. As it was, she felt sorry for themselves for having to deal with his harsher than usual training. Thankfully, though, Ai-chan’s help made the actual effort unchallenging; still, the drills he set them on… Her brain still felt fried after handling all of it. She glanced over at Konno again, noticing her expression while eating the food implied that she was quite relaxed and could never be happier. Sometimes she wished she had Konkon’s learning aptitude and stomach for difficult tasks. However, another aspect of Konno’s mystery was on her mind at the moment…

Ne~e, Kon-chan?” Risa cried astoundedly when the girl began on her third helping, with Risa just finishing her first. “How do you eat so fast? And so much, too, and still keep your body so perfect!” That’s something she really was jealous of. Konno just shrugged and kept eating. Finally Risa got to her mochi and finished it, with Konno actually filling up as well. Now excited to get her alone, Risa jumped up and dragged the other girl from her chair.

“Matte~!!!” Konno whined, apparently not ready yet to be parted from her food, but Risa wasn’t a weak girl and would have none of it, so before long they were out of the dining hall and walking down the corridor. Konno adjusted like always and now contentedly walked beside Risa.

“Konkon… what do you think happened to Rika-chan? I suppose if it had to be anyone, it’d be her, or Miki… but it’s still not like her to just not show up to something.”

Konno shrugged again. “Who knows. She and the rest of the senpai probably had some wild party last night and she got a hangover. They do that all the time, and the occasion of one of our last nights here would fit.”

Risa did have a fleeting interest in Rika, but it was only an evasion around the thing she really was interested in. What her and Konno had discussed before training this morning… That was part of her problem with Cage then. She could do the stuff easily, but she was so distracted that she made a few too many mistakes and definitely didn’t help his irritation over Rika’s absence. The worst thing was, Konkon didn’t really even tell her much… That’s why she was so excited now.

The girls made their way outside and Konno led her toward a small cave opening that nestled below the north cliff wall to the side of the forest. Risa didn’t think she even noticed it before since it blended in so well. Still, for some reason it filled her with a sense of foreboding, and she clutched Konno’s arm tightly as they neared it.

“Gaki-san, do you intend to squeeze all the blood out of my arm?” Konno said after a moment, trying unsuccessfully to pull from the stronger girl’s grip.

“What?” Risa said, shifting distant eyes to her companion. “Yeah… sure.” Her grip didn’t loosen. Risa of course didn’t notice, but Konno kept walking, apparently having given up any use of her arm in the near future.

They reached the cave mouth and ducked inside, Risa with not a small bit of reluctance. Konno, however, showed no fear, so Risa fed off that just enough to follow her in, nearly her entire body now wrapped around the other girl’s arm. As the light disappeared behind them, their footsteps echoed in the darkness. Risa was scared, but she was doing her best not to be. It’s just a cave, after all…

Deep in the darkness beneath the earth, a form cloaked in black shadow awoke, sensing an intrusion far above. Slowly, it began to stir and slither upward through the vast darkness…

Risa silently thanked her ancestors that she wasn’t claustrophobic as the two girls’ unnaturally loud footsteps reverberated from walls that couldn’t be a meter apart. She couldn’t tell for sure, of course, because darkness surrounded them and seemed to weigh her down.

Gratefully, a dim red light suddenly appeared from somewhere ahead and illuminated the tunnels more widely the closer they got. Risa almost felt as if the light was calling to her, so she began gaining confidence as she stumbled on next to the other girl, who observed Risa earnestly, taking note of her attraction. Before long, after a final turn, the cramped tunnel opened into a large cavern, and Risa blinked, hardly believing her eyes.

The chamber was strewn with a usual amount of stone formations common in caves, but many of the formations themselves were far from usual. Stalagmites all across the nearly polished floor were carved into forms Risa couldn’t begin to identify. They hearkened to bizarre creatures and even more bizarre symbols. The artistry was incredible, Risa thought, as the breath left her lungs in amazement. They were not by far the only oddities in this strange place, though.

Risa gained enough coherence to notice that even though she halted at the sight, Konkon had gone on into the cavern and was walking toward a formation of elegantly carved stalagmites near the center that surrounded a central area on three sides. Risa couldn’t see what was in the center, but her attention couldn’t be focused on it, yet, as she drew her eyes across the expanse at what else lay inside. It appeared that some type of writing was drawn all along the walls, along with pictures and diagrams Risa couldn’t begin to fathom. Some of the glow of the cave came from these drawings, whatever ink was used to make them apparently having some fluorescent quality. Red was the predominant color, but they seemed to appear in nearly every color of the rainbow. Risa tried to tear her eyes away from them and began to walk unsteadily along the path Konno had taken, which led to the center structure. The other girl had disappeared into the area enclosed by stalagmites. As she walked, she tried closing her eyes to regain a sense of herself, but the glow seemed to penetrate right through them, branding the writing into her mind as if it were an aspect of her own imagination. Risa wasn’t sure that it wasn’t.

As the great beast of shadow continued its deliberate trek toward the surface, it caught a familiar sweet scent that it knew belonged only to humans. It realized they had entered the chamber of one of the great ones and, holding to its sacred duty agreed to in ancient days, increased its slithering speed through the extensive tunnels.

When Risa neared the elaborate formation, she could now see to the other end of the cavern. It seemed larger than the other side; bowed out, as if to hold something that couldn’t quite fit in its previous depth. Walking into the middle of the expanse, she also received an assault on her senses of the wonders that lay all around her. A sense within her realized how ancient the chamber truly was, and it filled her with a sense of awe. This sense also gave her an intense feeling of meekness, as if she didn’t belong in a place as spectacular as this, or even a world that could contain such a place.

Attempting to close her eyes to unsuccessfully shut out the grandeur once more, she passed through the gate between the stalagmites and entered this central area that contained her friend. This area was bare except for a slight rise toward the middle where it seemed something could be placed, almost as if at a crude altar. On the floor, however, were designs much like the ones along the walls, and around the rise were twisted spiraling patterns as if to portray a significance to what might have lain in the center. They seemed similar to the pictorial characters she knew, but had crude differences, as if they came from some language far less developed. They also didn’t appear to be in any order she could reconcile, and the ones nearer the center were like nothing she’d ever seen… Dumbfounded by this, a random thought of her environment crossed her mind. Was the light in the cavern becoming dimmer?

Konno flourished an arm toward one of the spiraling patterns, and finally spoke words that echoed unnaturally throughout the chamber. “Amazing, isn’t it?” Risa stared back at the girl, flabbergasted at such a ridiculous understatement. Konno didn’t seem to notice and went on, “I stumbled onto this place the day after we arrived on the island. That was the day Miki went missing.” She seemed to look for some indication of understanding from Risa, whose expression didn’t change, before going on, “I saw Miki enter and leave this cave, and since the last anyone heard about her was her disappearance, I thought it merited investigating. I don’t know if I was prepared for this, however…” Her eyes left Risa as she gazed around the space they occupied.

Risa, however, couldn’t keep her mouth shut any longer. “Do you have any idea what you’re…!! Kon-chan, this…” Despite her best efforts, she couldn’t avoid stuttering like a madwoman. “Is this where…? Kon-chan… nani?!?!” she finally spluttered, anything but elegantly.

A small and possibly amused smile crossed Konno’s face, filling Risa with rising anger along with other emotions scattered beyond recognition. “I wasn’t sure what I found, and I didn’t want to put anyone in danger needlessly…” She said the last part delicately, and Risa smarted at remembering her experience with Aichan their first night. “…so I didn’t want to tell anyone at first. I didn’t do anything myself at first either, except run from here as fast as I could. This place can get pretty scary when you’re alone…” She looked almost ashamed at her admission. “But that night, when I saw you and Aichan together in your room…” It was Risa’s turn to blush now. “…Along with some things I guessed at which happened earlier, I knew I had to do something to help. So early the next morning I came back determined to look at this place rationally, and began studying what I could. I worked as hard as I could at it all week. I was astounded by what I discovered, and the next new thing I learned only made me thirst for more.” Risa now realized why her friend had been so distant for the past week. She’d never been as close with Konkon as with Aichan, but she still regarded her as a great friend and coworker. She was a gokkie, after all. She also always had a deep respect for Konkon’s ability to understand things more than any of them seemed to. Far more than Risa herself knew she could. If what she hinted at was what she thought it was, that respect sure wouldn’t diminish anytime soon…

Konno looked worriedly at Risa, seeming to ask for forgiveness after some great ordeal. Risa responded with a smile and a very tight hug, after a moment reluctantly letting go, terror seeping in of what she knew she was about to learn.

Indeed, Reina worried her considerably. She still felt a raw hatred of the girl attempting to claw its way into her soul after what she did to Aichan, but what she had learned already shed everything in an entirely new light. Miki was the one Konno saw coming out of this cave on that fateful day. Miki was the older and more seasoned girl, and even though she knew the rokkies weren’t very close, there was likely some connection between them all that might have driven Reina to a similar fate. Besides, Miki was the one to explode on her, um… on Aya, so with her emotional state like it was, who knows what she might have done. Suddenly a terrifying thought entered her bruised and battered mind. If Miki and Reina both could be involved in this… whatever they were involved in… who else might have been dragged into it? She jerked back from Konno as if from a poisonous snake, but the girl only stared back at her passively, and maybe a little sadly.

“Asami, are you…?” Risa now felt sharply terrified, lost for words.

“Am I what, Nii-chan?” Konno replied, her question seeming authentic, and sadness still in her voice.

Risa suddenly came to the conclusion that if her friend had really betrayed her, there wasn’t a whole lot she could do about it right now. She saw what kinds of things Konkon might be capable of this morning, and in this strange and bewildering place, she knew that if she had been betrayed, the best she could hope for was that she was a lamb led to the slaughter.

“Are you going to tell me anything about this place? You said you studied something here…” she continued, deciding there was nothing she could do but trust her friend. They had been through so much together, so there’s no way Konkon could do something like that to her… As she kept telling herself that in her mind, Konkon’s eyes brightened as if it was an early Christmas and eagerly began her tale.

Light began to seep through to the shadows from the deep, far away yet still discernible by senses so attuned to the darkness, causing slight pain at the intrusion felt only at instances millennia apart. At least, until recently. Exasperation began to invade the ancient mind at how quickly events were moving lately. New kinds of these humans seemed to intrude constantly. It would have thought it a daily occurrence if it had any rational concept of what a day was after so long in nothing but darkness. As it was, the gaps were but moments to an intellect as ancient as this.

As it drifted closer and the light brightened, the scent became sharper and it realized it came from two separate humans. That must be why it seemed so strange at first, even though, as it now realized, one of the scents was one it knew quite well by now. The other, however, was unfamiliar, and the beast groaned at amazement of how another scent could be this sweet and seductive. It had been unacquainted with humans far too long.

“Well,” Konno began, adopting an almost lecturing tone, one that Risa knew she was fond of in cases like this. “Like I said, I came back the morning after I saw you two in your pungent situation. With my head clear after a night’s rest and my spirit guided by the gods, I came into this room determined to experience no emotion except that of a joyful discovery. I studied the carvings all around, as well as the writing and diagrams on the wall. I couldn’t initially make heads or tails of them, but they still irritated me with how familiar they seemed. So, studying some for a time so that they left a good impression in my mind, I left the cave again to seek something to write with myself, as well as to get some breakfast and attend our morning training session.

“It was hard finding time to think about this important task around our busy schedule, but I was at least able to make some notes during the day. The mornings and evenings, though, are when I was able to make the most of my time. Thankfully, as well, the more I learned, I began needing less and less sleep, so I could spend time in here deep into the night.

“As I began playing with the characters and trying to discern some type of pattern, I realized that they weren’t all that different from the ones we use today. Some of the expressions are quite disjointed, but they made a strange, if crude, sense when applied to specific patterns. I won’t bore you with the details of the semantics of the language, except to say that for one so primitive, it was actually quite brilliant. It was also a lot more general than Japanese is today… Here, let me get my notebook. The content of this page discusses the characters found just around this mound, which I’ve found out since to be an altar, though maybe not in the sense we think of one today. These characters are also found many other places in the cavern; I just show them to you here because this is what’s important.

“The first revelation I came to that gave me a burst of excitement was of what the diagram is that surrounds several of these characters. Because of our location, I was looking at all of this from the mindset of a Japanese person toward our own language. However, this dates back to a period that may even be before the Japanese became considered a separate entity from the various cultures we originated from. Something bugged me about that surrounding circle, and at about the middle of my first night studying here a light bulb flashed in my head and I realized that the design is actually a cartouche! You’ll know what a cartouche is, of course, in your studies of Egyptian history. No? Well we’ll have to talk about it some day. It’s very helpful since our languages are so similar – they came from the same roots – and it really can be quite fascinating! …and vitally useful for us right now.

“The cartouches here signify important names which are meant to stand out from the rest of the characters, just as they do the Egyptian pharaohs. This helped me identify the names at least – they’re not so much different from our names today, only longer. For example, this name I identified as Yamadashita. You see the resemblance to the Chinese characters we use today? There are only slight variances here… and here. However, not knowing this was a name I would likely still be floundering in the attempt to figure out what it was. Yamadashita, in fact, was apparently one of the Chief Sorcerers of the band that settled here… Oh! I’m so sorry… This isn’t important; I digress.

“With the names helping me identify what many characters meant, I was able to piece together most of the writing around the whole chamber. It was very difficult; just as the names were longer, many of the words were very awkward, too, but as I came to understand more and more, they taught me more and more also.

“These people were apparently quite adept at communing with nature and the powers the Earth holds. I thought it was something actually tied to the island, but I was wrong! There is a power here, but what we use is energy from the Earth itself. There are many meticulous descriptions of how certain powers can be summoned and used which could hardly be called anything but mathematical. Some of those took me hours to decipher, but in the end I was able to learn how to develop my own power and channel it into doing my bidding. You see, it’s all about control, and not firstly of the power, but of yourself. That’s why they ran us through so many meditation exercises in training. They apparently don’t have the polished understanding of it that I gleaned from these records, but at least they’re on the right track.

“Now that you know these people didn’t learn all this on the island, you’ll understand more what some of the other records say… One of the uses of the energy of wind I discovered here allows a person to exist on very little sleep. I was so glad when I discovered this; it was in the third night, and it enabled me to spend nearly the duration of the subsequent nights trying to decode the history of this tribe and determine how things ended up the way they did. Unfortunately, what I found in the historical records disconcerted me more than even descriptions of the potential of these powers…

“The earliest records are engraved on the stalagmites surrounding us and seem to be only rough notes of how certain rituals are supposed to work – many of their most potent abilities came from ritual and not sheer force of will – so I was disappointed that there wasn’t anything more detailed of how they came to be here. From the tone of certain parts, though, they seemed to have a deeply ingrained bitterness about it for some reason… There is also vague description of what life was like on the island for a long time. These people apparently were outsiders, and I was able to distinguish phrases such as ‘The fantastic and fearsome inhabitants of this accursed island resisted us initially. We had to employ all the means of our vast arsenal of sorcery to counteract them. However, once we conquered them into submission, we found that they had an innate power, the potential of which far surpassed our own! If they had not but a rudimentary understanding of it, we would have stood no chance…’

“The records never really became clearer than that… unfortunately… but I would hazard a guess that with the clues I found and the lore of this island, the race they ‘conquered’ was what were called dragons… Although, I don’t think they took nearly the form we think of one as having today. I think this because I learned that once the conquest was completed, this dragon race became as slaves to them. However, envious of their power, the tribe began breeding with them and fusing their blood. As generations passed, the combination grew sleeker, more powerful, and more devious and deadly, and great calls were made that they should go back and ‘reclaim’ lands which were rightfully theirs, and which they now could overcome. They wrote of sending their children off to war, and elaborated grand depictions of glorious victories. I can only guess these lands they spoke of include Japan of today…

“The final haphazard accounts describe a discontent among the honoured elders of the homeland, which is how they described this place, over news they heard from overseas. Or, I should say, news they didn’t hear. They felt their youth were being led astray from the precepts of the tribe, which had now grown so large that it could scarcely be called such, and that they began to work with the peoples they encountered instead of destroying them. That nothing could be purer than the blood they carried in their veins was the basis of their culture, and any unclean race needed to be eliminated. I think this was actually a lore dreamed up on this island as an excuse to overrun those lands, though… because as I intimated before, their initial purpose was to displace some usurpers. However, the culture that grew out of this became so powerful and unique that it had to establish values and legend that were its own; it was too great any longer to be only a tribe unjustly separated from some whole. At least, I hope this is true, because the idea fascinates me! Nobody could really explain why a culture that was just so much a mingling of races concentrated on an eastern island had so much enrooted in itself that seemed to come from nowhere discernible. This could shed a whole new light on Japanese history…

“This only further indicates the genious of those honoured elders! They took a ragtag tribe who seemed to be outcasts, led them to conquer a powerful race that inhabited this island, and further led them to astounding victory overseas! Oh! I’m so sorry… I digress again.

“Anyway, so you see why the elders became worried when their army became detached from the ideals of their homeland. They stretched out their powerful hands in attempts of bringing them back to the fold, but seemed to be unsuccessful. Eventually, they realized that their children had fallen too far, and this terrified them greatly as specters of revenge grew in their minds. They holed themselves deep inside one of the caves of ‘an ancient of the old race’, which I believe to be here, and spent months developing a magic they described only as ‘The Final Ritual’. After a few initial expositions of its early components the record stops, and the only writing since has been the twisted symbols leading up to this mound right here… These are far different from anything else in the cavern, ingenious almost, and I’ve been tortured these last couple days attempting to find some reason to them… I’ve nearly given up, except I felt a stirring in them early this morning. I have a feeling it might be a response to some artifact which is missing from its perch on top of this ‘altar’. It bothers me terribly; as far as I can tell from what my power and these outlying symbols tell me, there should be some piece here that is central to that ‘Final Ritual’. I know it had to be here recently because any disturbance would have caused stirrings such as I felt this morning. Because of timing I’ve calculated, it was removed not long before I first entered… Perhaps Miki found her way down here and took it for some strange reason. Anyway, because of that stirring I knew something was coming, and this snapped me back to reality where I knew I had to find someone to tell this all to…

“I know you’ve been waiting there for a good while. You might as well come out now,” Konno said suddenly and seemingly randomly into the air after completing her discourse. Risa, her head spinning with all the information crammed into it with her friend’s speech, opened her mouth to utter confusion until she realized Konno’s attention was focused on something else.

A low rumbling came from a side of the chamber she couldn’t see behind the stalagmites surrounding them, and Risa just realized that throughout Konno’s speech the glow in the cavern had diminished into just a dull luminescence. She noticed a shadow rise over the stalagmites just before the glow disappeared completely into the engulfing darkness, and twin red orbs shone through it above her. Suddenly, she was too terrified to even scream as a feeling of intense panic washed over her like a tidal wave. Suddenly, she knew she was going to die.

Offline rokun

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Re: Curse of the Dragons (Drama on Sexy Island?) [Reposted to jphip!]
« Reply #16 on: April 11, 2011, 06:33:19 PM »
Chapter 17 – The Hunt Begins

Risa closed her eyes tightly, feeling paradoxically relaxed while great danger loomed above her. Over the course of a fraction of a second that seemed like hours, her mind drifted in a vivid dream-like state back to her home in bustling Yokohama. She saw her parents; smiling, but with unshed tears in their eyes over her leaving at such a young age to pursue her career of fame and glamour. They were assuredly immensely proud of her success, just a small awkward young city girl who somehow managed to catch the eye of a powerful man. They couldn’t show their sadness, since she was nervous enough as it was. They had to be strong for their energetic and youthful daughter who was going on to make something of herself. Risa realized she was so naïve and innocent back then…

Her vision rushed forward in time to an awkward meeting with the girls she would be introduced with as virgin celebrities. There was Mako-chan… a girl who seemed nearly as energetic as herself. She remembered she thought at first sight that because of this, they would get along wonderfully. They never had any problems but… For some reason they never became very close either…

Then she noticed Ai-chan. She seemed a shy girl, even though she was older than the rest of them, but there was a tenderness in her features that bespoke of something just as soft underneath. There was also a nearly hidden confidence that belied something nearer the surface. She didn’t always embrace it, but once Risa began to see the girl perform, the things she could do were breathtaking, and Risa admired her abilities greatly, hoping that one day she might be able to measure up in some small part. Maybe that’s how their friendship began… The other girls either kept to themselves or were friendlier with the senpai, and one day Risa found Ai doing her ballet practices alone. As she admired the girl’s fluidity of movement, she realized that nearly every time she saw her apart from their group rehearsals and practices, she was alone. Even though she was uncomfortable in those first days with the girls who would become like her sisters, she had no small measure of bravery. Determined that this seemingly talented and passionate girl she admired didn’t deserve to be alone, she walked up to her. The smile she received after her new friend noticed her presence and ceased her exercises she would remember forever…

And then there was the other fifth generation girl…

Time rushed forward in her reflection again, and she saw the four of them eating dinner at her apartment in Tokyo. It was not long before the stadium performance they were torn away from, and Risa held the party to celebrate a goal she’d held since leaving her parents on that day so many years ago. On her seventeenth birthday, she would finalize the deal that would give her a fantastic house in Meiji-era style in one of the nicest areas of her hometown of Yokohama. At this location, she still wouldn’t be far from her work, yet she would be closer to her family as well. Her family was expecting to make the birthday a special celebration of one of her dreams come true. Her earnings from the long hours in the studio, supplemented with her family inheritance, allowed her to buy a house that even surpassed the one her parents had kept for so long. The house she grew up in. She could just imagine the tears that her mother would finally let flow, seeing her daughter’s dreams fulfilled, as well as her happiness. She loved her mother dearly… She always wanted only the best for her little girl. Well, she supposed she wasn’t little anymore.

Her friends, sitting cross-legged and eating around the table with her, seemed to be happy with their apartments. Even Ai-chan, who was the eldest and, Risa presumed, got the highest paycheck of them all, kept only a modest condo in Harajuku. It was always Risa’s dream, however, to have a place of her own that stood on its own foundation, just like the spirit her parents had instilled in her to stand on her own two legs. Because of this, she always shot for the stars… and many times, reined them in. The girls around the table began avidly discussing their trip to Hokkaido and the baseball game, as most of them hadn’t been there often. Except for one girl whose mouth seemed so constantly stuffed with food that she could never say anything… Risa caught the girl’s eyes, and the warm and friendly welcome in them suddenly took a dark and sinister sheen…

Risa suddenly snapped back to the present and the silence around her. After the split-second vision, time resumed its normal course and the ominous danger crashed back into her senses. Still, she stayed calm, the only thought crossing her mind that she would never be able to show Ai-chan her beautiful house.

The seconds passed and nothing seemed to happen, her senses seeming numb. Am I dead? Thoughts drifted across her consciousness, and, gathering her strength and the spark that always suffused her soul, a will flamed in her that resisted death. No… She wasn’t going to go today. She felt the world coming back to her and opened her eyes.

At first, all she saw was darkness, though she heard not a sound. She heard only her breathing and that of the girl still across from her. Suddenly light grew around them, and she saw Konno holding her hand up, the glow coming from it. She gasped and jumped up as she noticed a creature behind Konno. Two stubby arms ending in nasty-looking claws clutched two of the carved stalagmites, and its bulk, which looked like the length of a snake, wrapped around nearly the circumference of the stalagmite circle around them. It wasn’t a snake, though; there were what looked like down feathers over the joints of its limbs, and its head…

Down feathers began to appear again at its neck and continued up over its head gracefully. The head itself was shaped almost like a hawk’s, though with a tough leather beak that didn’t look like anything she’d ever seen on a bird. Of course, obviously, this wasn’t a bird. Risa couldn’t help her mouth from dropping open at its strangeness, and felt no desire to do anything else since it only seemed to gaze over the stalagmites at them peacefully. She nearly jumped again, though, when a long forked tongue issued from its beak, testing the air like a snake’s before disappearing back inside. As she looked into its dark wise eyes, it gazed back at her with a stare that froze her where she stood. She didn’t know whether to scream or bow at the presence exuded from those eyes.

She suddenly felt a touch on her arm which finally made her yelp softly, and she noticed that Konkon had risen also and walked over to her, looking into her own eyes. “Kon-chan, what…?” She couldn’t for the life of her come up with a coherent thought beyond that.

“He seems to like you,” the other girl said cheerily, and indeed, no sooner had she spoken than it bent its head closer, its long tongue issuing again, and lightly grazing Risa’s other arm. Risa shivered, as its touch was amazingly dry, but a chill swept through her soul. She looked back into its ancient eyes, and, now becoming more aware of her environment, noticed that its body seemed almost to draw the shadows to it, so that it could hardly be made out, even in Konkon’s impressive light. Between the chill she felt and the darkness, she wondered if it even existed fully in this world.

“You’re right, in a sense,” Konkon said, bringing Risa’s gaze back to her. Risa didn’t realize she’d spoken her thought aloud. “I don’t know too much about Osiris, but I’ve gathered that he must have been some guardian left by one of the races that lived here. What he’s supposed to be guarding, I’m not sure… but apparently he recognized something in me when he saw me in here one of my first nights, and decided I wasn’t a threat. I don’t know if I can go so far as to call him a friend… but knowing he’s been down here has made me feel safe these long nights studying in this unusual place. Anyway, I think he was left to carry out his service for as long as it needed to be taken care of, and since they didn’t know how long that might be, they did something to him to make him live forever, in a sense… Though, as you can tell, he’s touched death as well. I suppose that was necessary in order for him to live so long…” She paused, tapping a finger to her chin in thought, her eyes adopting a faraway look.

Risa, whose impressions of her friend had swung from excitement to suspicion to awe to horror, now found herself in disbelief at the calm way in which she spoke of this… monstrosity. She decided right then that this was a girl she needed to get to know better. Still, she wasn’t sure of her true intentions…

“And, Konkon… what… why did you bring me here? If you’re not going to feed me to this thing which you think… likes… me, then what’s going on?” The last came out as almost a desperate question.

Konno’s eyes grew wider as Risa went on, apparently taken aback for the first time Risa had seen since arriving on the island. “Feed you to Osiris? Oh, goodness gracious no! He doesn’t eat people. What gave you that idea?”

“Osiris…” Risa repeated, her mind blank to anything else. “It – he – has a name?”

“Well,” Konkon replied, apparently satisfied that Risa had dropped ridiculous notions of her being devoured. “Not one that I know. He doesn’t exactly say much…” She turned her head to look at the beast, which tilted its own to gaze back intelligently. “Well, to be truthful he doesn’t say anything. But since on those first days my head was thinking about Egypt, I named him that since of course I had to have something to call him, and I thought the name appropriate. Don’t you, Osiris?” The beast only flicked its tongue again in response.

“See?” she said, as if the matter was settled. Risa now began wondering if insanity should join the mix of impressions she held of the girl. Well, if nothing else, from this point on she would never spend days alone in a dark cave… not that she ever had any intentions of doing so before.

“Anyway,” Konkon went on, wasting no time. “I brought you here to tell you what I’ve found. I told you something stirred this morning; something’s coming, Gaki-san, and since I think I’m the only one who really knows anything about this, I think we need to do something about it. However, even with what I’ve learned, I can’t do it myself…”

She looked up with determined eyes into Risa’s. “I think whatever was on this altar has something to do with the Final Ritual those ancient elders performed. It has to; they seemed to just disappear during it somehow, and nothing in this chamber has been disturbed since. Nobody noticed it before because there was a cave-in in the tunnel we arrived through. Somehow, that barrier was broken, and all of this is open to anyone who walks in. We need to find who has that item. And… we need help.”

Konno looked at Risa insistently at the last, and Risa realized that there was trust in her eyes. The girl knew anyone could be a potential enemy, and she was taking a big risk in revealing so much to someone. Risa had seen the things Reina could do, and if someone like Miki was capable of the same… she was also older, and likely meaner. Konno of course knew what she was facing; she likely knew more than Risa could imagine, and apparently she came to the person she thought she could trust most. Risa felt her eyes water, ashamed of herself that she’d ever been suspicious of her friend, and patted her shoulder.

“I think we need to find Miki…” she said finally, and Konno nodded, immediately embracing her new position as follower. She may be a genius, but Risa had always been the braver of the two. “But first,” Risa went on, “We need to find Ai-chan.”

She didn’t look, but she felt huge dark eyes flash above her. Far from violent, the flash was of determined hope. The creature saw strength in the girl; in both of them in fact, and it knew of the other she mentioned. It was in touch with the island in the same way the girls had discovered since coming here, and though it couldn’t feel weaker traces of spirit like these girls had – the strength it felt in the two of them had a different source – there were some it could feel. There was only one they could be referring to, and it feared coming into contact with the others. Feared, and hoped, that its crucial duty might finally at last be fulfilled.

Sayu and Eri enjoyed their evening meal in the dining hall in the company of some of the older girls, but they kept to themselves. They giggled between each other, but avoided sitting too close as to be too suspicious.

“Eririn, didn’t your mother ever teach you not to play with your food?” Eri looked down at her tiramisu, just realizing that she had molded it into the shape of a heart. Blushing, she plucked at one of the sides and stuffed the delicious cake into her mouth. Sayu was always teasing Eri and making jokes at her regular spaciness. She didn’t know why she put up with the girl. Sayu just stifled her giggles, bending over her own soup to hide her face. The thought crossed Eri’s mind to slap her. However, Sayu suddenly brought her head up, sucking a long noodle into her mouth, and Eri’s opened on its own as she just stared at the irresistible cuteness in front of her.

“What? Do I have something on my face now?” Sayu raised her hand slowly and poked Eri above her nose as if testing some strange animal.

“Heeey!” Eri whined, and stifled another giggle from Sayu by stuffing a forkful of cake into her mouth. The girl looked even cuter with her cheeks puffed out with food and chocolate smeared on her lips. That chocolate looked so delicious, and Eri felt scandalized enough that she gave up some of her precious cake, that she bent forward sticking her tongue out before some steps and shuffling reminded them that they were in a very public room with several people quite nearby, and both faces flushed deeply. Eri jerked back fully into her seat and Sayu delicately patted her napkin to her lips to remove the chocolate stain.

Maki, Kaorin, Makoto and Yossi were seated in hushed conversation on the other side of the room near the entrance, gratefully oblivious to anything near the two of them, but the noise came from the shuffling of newcomers who were just now coming through the doorway. However, they ignored the group nearest them without a glance and began to cross the room. They seemed to be heading straight toward the two girls seated in the back corner. Eri gulped at the looks on the faces of Ai-chan, Ayaya, Risa, and Konkon. They were very grim, and their eyes were clouded in suspicion. All except Konkon, who looked as blissfully content as ever. It was to her Eri looked after sharing a terrified gaze with Sayu, hoping for some miracle. They had been found out - she knew it. Sayu found her hand under the table, and they clasped them together tightly.

“Do you two know where Miki is?” Eri was taken aback at the unexpected question, but she kept her eyes fixed on Konkon’s, who, noticing the stare, gazed back evenly. However, she didn’t step in to help.

“Miki?” Sayu squeaked beside her, and Eri’s eyes snapped to Sayu’s face, which was fixed intently on their questioner.

“Yes, Miki,” Ai-chan responded, seemingly impatient at her suspects’ cluelessness. Eri finally looked into her face, which seemed almost a typhoon of emotion. Anger seemed to be the predominant one, though, and Eri shrunk into her chair trying to disappear. Unfortunately, that wasn’t one of the skills she learned that week.

“Oh! Miki!” Sayu responded, seeming to finally recognize the name. “No, I haven’t seen her since… we bumped into her on our way to class this morning, didn’t we Eririn?” She cast her glance at her friend, drawing the four sets of eyes her way, and Eri shot back a look of horror. She was struck too stupid to stop her, however, and the girl went on, “Yes, she looked really scary, and we figured it was because she was late for training, too, and…” Her voice died out as she realized what she just said. A helpless squeak began in Eri’s stomach, caused by, she figured, it dropping to her toes, but it never reached her mouth. The on-looking eyes were now focused on both of them.

“You were late for training again?” Aya asked, betraying no emotion, but the question fell on deaf ears once more. Eri and Sayu were now not moving an inch, even though Eri’s heart felt as if it was about to burst out of her chest. The girls from the other side of the room began taking interest in the exchange, and cast curious glances their way. Eri prayed to every god she could possibly imagine for mercy.

“Tell us, why were you late? Rika was late too, we heard, and Hitomi, but at least she had a good excuse. You didn’t run into Rika too, did you?” Aya continued, eyes almost glowing, and Eri felt almost compelled to respond.

“Rika-chan? We don’t know anything about her… We haven’t seen her at least since dinner last night,” she said quickly and breathlessly. “I thought she was going to some party with some of the other senpai…” The interviewers cast looks between each other, and seeming to have decided something, looked back at the two terrified young girls.

“We also haven’t seen Koharu-chan since last night when we went to our halls. That’s odd, because she usually hangs around her and Reina’s room at lunchtime and whenever there’s a break,” Sayu added, eagerly willing to evade the subject. A pained look crossed three of the faces at the same time, and they looked at each other, sadness joining the other emotions betrayed by their eyes. Eri began breathing easier, thinking they were successful, until…

“That still doesn’t answer the question about you two,” Konkon, the only one seeming untroubled, indeed, by anything, finally spoke up, and Eri’s heart sunk at the question from the girl she thought might be their only ally.

Because of this, her mind blanked, and she spoke softly, hardly conscious that she even was speaking, “We were…” she began, and another squeak issued from the girl sitting beside her, “We overslept…” she said, her eyes cast down. She was quite aware, however, of Sayu’s eyes boring into her head.

“Overslept.” Ai said shortly. “You must do a lot of oversleeping, because I’ve heard you were late nearly every day this week.” Sayu seemed to choke on something invisible.

Risa leaned over to tilt Eri’s head up and force her to look, terrified, into her eyes. “We know what you’ve been up to.” More choking from next to her. “We know it’s because of her.” The terror in Eri’s eyes grew, and her eyes shifted slightly to Aya, who oddly looked the same as the other senpai. A voice itched to escape her throat. “All you need to do is tell us what you’ve learned…” Eri’s face became flushed now, extreme ideas filling her head. “...and we’ll try to help you. Either that, or we’ll have to resort to…”

“Nooooo!!!” Eri cried out, nearly in a scream, and she now most definitely had the attention of everyone in the room. “Don’t tell Tsunku-san! I’ll do anything… anything!” Risa had pulled back, an odd and confused expression coming over her face, and Eri, nearly hyperventilating, looked over at Sayu, whose eyes were wide with shock. She turned back to the senpai. “We’ll do anything!” She felt an elbow jab her side at her presumption, but she didn’t care, and went on.

“We know it’s wrong… we just heard about Miki and…” She kept her eyes focused on Risa, mostly to avoid looking at anyone else, and gulped without finishing her sentence. “We haven’t done much, though, honest! Only a bit of playing around, that’s all, I swear! It kept us up late, so that’s why we…” She froze, thinking she may have said too much, because obviously if something kept them up late until they fell asleep and… This just wasn’t working out at all. Or at least, that was her logic in her frantic state.

All of the other girls, however, had been attempting to get a word in edgewise, but Eri’s quick speech didn’t let them until now. “Tsunku-san??” Aya asked, bewildered. “What does he have to do with…”

“What on earth are you talking about?” Ai finished, appearing flabbergasted, and Eri, fraught with confusion, sought Sayu’s eyes, though the other girl had only begun to cry, and realization struck Eri suddenly like thunder.

“Please don’t tell Tsunku-san…” Sayu whined, pleading between tears. Light bulbs seemed to suddenly go off in the heads in front of them, and silence descended upon the room, broken only by a chuckle from one of the girls who had been across the room. They were now walking toward the strange scene as well.

“Oh,” said Ai simply. “Ohh…” she said almost right away again, a little more heartfelt this time, and she screwed up her face in a strange way. The other girls didn’t seem to know how to react either, and Aya coughed, slight embarrassment flooding her cheeks at the revelation from the girls, now realizing what they’d been talking about this whole time.

Yossi walked up to them, smirking at the two chastised girls, who were now sitting meekly below all the uncomfortable eyes which now were doing their best to look at anything else in the room but them, Sayu weeping quietly and Eri just in stunned silence. All eyes but Yossi’s, that is. Yossi’s smirk faded, though, as she shifted those eyes and looked intently at the four questioners.

“I think I have some idea what you guys are looking for, now,” she said quietly. “I have something to tell you about Miki last night.” The other girls adopted their emotionless looks again and nodded toward the girl who seemed to know she was no longer the philosophical leader, but attempted to contribute some final wisdom. “As for these two…” she flourished an arm toward Eri and Sayu, whose moods remained unchanged, “I don’t think you need to worry about them. I haven’t seen Miki near them, and besides.” She now looked almost disdainfully, though almost sympathetically, at them, and Eri’s eyes finally focused, catching her gaze. “How could they? They have about as much charisma as a baboon.” Eri giggled softly in spite of herself before trying to work out if she’d just been insulted. The only others who shared her amusement, though, were Konkon, who chuckled softly as well, and Yossi, whose smirk had returned. It faded again, though, as she turned to the hard eyes of the others, and she motioned for them to lead the way out of the dining hall.

As the last of them disappeared out the doorway, Eri just stared after dumbly. Sayu, still sobbing, lunged over and hugged Eri’s neck tightly. Eri patted her arm absentmindedly, still staring after the senpai, before saying simply, “That was weird.”

Offline rokun

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Re: Curse of the Dragons (Drama on Sexy Island?) [Reposted to jphip!]
« Reply #17 on: April 11, 2011, 06:33:41 PM »
Chapter 18 - Naked

Miki paused in pulling her jeans back on, her mind drifting away while looking at the tree in front of her. At least it was a tree, she thought, taking in the neat split down the center. One side still pointed desperately toward the sky, seeming to struggle to keep from falling down. As for the other… the bottom half still stuck up steadily since it didn’t have to support its bulk above that point, fragments of which were strewn around the copse as if an explosion had shattered it. She supposed one had, she thought with a slight flush.

Her mind returned to the moment, and she zipped up her pants after her fingers absently grazed a bruise on the inside of her thigh. She was kneeling beside the tree’s trunk, leaning against it a bit for support since she was still overwhelmed with the sensations that minutes ago wracked her mind and body. Dusk had fully fallen now, and she saw only a faint glow to the west where the sun disappeared. She momentarily wondered where it went, since the last time she noticed, it still hung only moderately low in the sky. Still, to her darkened eyes, what little light remained was quite enough to support her sight. She caught herself drifting off again and pushed against the tree in an effort to rise. That effort was unsuccessful, though, as her legs felt like they had no strength left.

Her eyes finally wandered to the figure standing close to her who was just now pulling her skirt tight and clasping it. They traveled up the girl’s body, one that Miki had gotten to know quite well, and into her shadowed face. She couldn’t see her eyes as the shadows seemed only to coalesce at them. They seemed to be nothing more than pitch-black holes. Shivers ran down Miki’s spine at what she saw in that darkness, and memories of earlier in the evening raced through her head.

“You were pretty disappointing in the cave earlier, Mikitty,” Reina’s voice demurred next to her ear. “It makes me feel like I haven’t taught you anything…” She felt the girl’s hand run familiarly along the front of her body, the girl herself pressed close to Miki’s back. The unrestrained invasion of Miki’s body by that hand at the same time gave her feelings of revulsion and intense excitement. She hated that she let herself, at only the touch of this girl’s hand, shiver and nearly melt. What was so special about her anyway? She’s not at all her type, and in no way has as much experience as… The thought was cut short by movements of the hands upon her and the girl biting on her ear, making Miki nearly gasp out, all other thoughts flying from her head.

“I haven’t seen you for a while. Have you begun to realize the power that I told you was inside you? Do you have something to show me to demonstrate how far you’ve come?” Miki felt affronted at the girl’s commands and clear superiority over her, wanting to scold her and put her in her place, but when she opened her mouth all that came out were scattered grunts and moans at what Reina was doing to her.

Finally she caught her breath enough to speak, though what came out when she spoke was not at all what she thought she intended. “Yes, Reina-sama, I think I’ve done well. Last night…” Her words froze on her tongue like ice as she realized what she was talking about. Reina-sama? Her head clouded and her thoughts became muddled. She thought she heard a bird cry out in the tree above.

“Miki, Miki, Miki…” the other girl continued, “I see you’ve been as lazy as always. Here I only tried to help you out - give you what you desire - and you don’t even put forth the effort. You still can’t even control your own body.” Miki nearly cried out at something the girl did to her then, and tears came to her eyes in what she wasn’t sure was a response to pain or ecstasy.

“I can’t help it!” she breathed out, her voice faint in response to the sensations beginning to overwhelm her senses. “I think about it, but I just can’t…”

“You can’t focus,” Reina finished for her. “You still cling to your old life. You don’t realize what’s open for your taking. What’s in front of you right now! Well, I gave you what I could to get you started. Anyone who isn’t as dumb and thickheaded as you would have picked it up like child’s play. I’ll give you one last chance, though. One last gift. However, you’ve the misfortune of finding me at a bad time, and so I’m going to take my payment also. It’s time for me to get what
I need, from you.”

All Miki could remember after that was screaming. She didn’t know if it was all screaming from pain, though… Momentarily she was very aware of her body feeling as if it was on fire. Some of it definitely was. Though, she didn’t know if it was all something bad. It definitely wasn’t, in fact, because as much as she tried to deny it, she did remember what happened after that. For the whole time the sun dropped through the sky. She didn’t think Reina would ever let her forget it. Emotions flooded her head as she continued staring into the eyes above her, and she couldn’t begin to imagine which ones were even real.

Reina, finished with her clothes, glanced behind them at the tree, a smirk appearing through the shadows of her face. “Well, at least now you should believe me when I tell you what power you have.”

Miki looked at the tree again and said hollowly, “I did that?” Through all the memories of the past hours, she didn’t recall destroying a tree as one of them.

“Of course,” Reina responded condescendingly. “I certainly don’t make a habit of slicing apart and blowing up trees in my spare time. Besides, I had something else to focus on.” She grinned down at Miki. Miki wasn’t sure if it was a grin like lovers would give each other while being playful or like a scientist would give to a rat just before subjecting it to some grotesque experiment. Either way, it made her feel as if the clothes she had just put back on didn’t exist. The situation would seem to make the choice obvious, but there was something else she detected in the girl’s voice. It was nearly… sadness and disappointment? She looked into her face again to try to get some clue, but her musing was cut off abruptly as the girl spoke again.

“Well, you’re on your own now. I hope you find some way to put your lazy ass to use.” Any trace of emotion Miki might have detected from the other girl had vanished. She didn’t sound either vindictive or sad now.

“Why did you…?” Miki began to ask, teetering between desperation and anger.

“Why did I what?” Reina asked, looking down at Miki. Miki stared hard at the girl in a glare that would have bored holes into most people. She remembered times when it did. Times that seemed so long ago… That is, it would have bored holes in someone who hadn’t just had her way with Miki for the past few hours. Someone who hadn’t just finished totally dominating her. Miki looked down, tears and anger welling up inside of her, though this time the anger was directed at herself. She was…

“You’re so weak,” Reina said, as if finishing Miki’s thought. Miki smarted at the sharp bite to the words as though Reina had actually kicked her in the stomach. “Do you even have any idea what you want? You come in here looking like you’re mad at the world. Yes, I noticed how you acted even before we arrived on the island. You’re always the same. Ever since you screwed up your solo career you’ve been moping around and not seeming to care about anything, even though I know you do. Believe me, I’ve gotten to know what’s inside Miki Fujimoto quite well this past week. Still, you whine and you glare and you act all big-shot. Inside you’re just a scared little girl. You do hide it so well.” Reina cupped Miki’s chin and jerked her head up, forcing her to look into the shadowed face again. Tears were coming freely to Miki’s eyes, and although she tried her hardest, she had no chance to make them stop.

“Miki Fujimoto!” Reina spat out into her face. “You acted as if your solo career being over was the end of the world, even though you were added into a group where you’d get more exposure than you could have dreamed of if you kept going by yourself. You knew this, or you would have left and gone out on your own right away. Still, you couldn’t handle it, and it’s festered inside you so much that now you can’t handle anything. I don’t know what I was thinking believing you could handle the power I could give you. What I’ve shown you so far is only the slightest glimpse of what’s possible.” Reina now became more heated and violent with each sentence. “You couldn’t even handle it when you encountered the first test from the one you love. You didn’t even have the guts to face her, so instead you ripped her heart out and went off crying like a baby, trying to be all cool and in control. Then by showing you just a glimmer of something amazing, you gave me your body and your soul. Little did I know that you don’t have the slightest clue what control is. You gave yourself to me the minute you ran out on the girl you love. You submitted to me like a good little dog. You let me dominate you in every way. I think you actually get off on being controlled like that because you have no real idea how to keep any control yourself. You must either be a pathetic case for a human being or a slut. Considering what I heard about last night, I’m going to go with slut.”

Miki felt like Reina pummeled her with blow after blow after blow in each sentence of her rebuke, and at the last burning word she indeed did throw Miki roughly to the ground, drawing back with her breathing becoming quicker than Miki could ever remember hearing it. Through the pain and agony she herself was in, she faintly sensed a copy of it coming from the girl above her. However, she knew Reina always kept her shields up so well that she usually never showed a thing, so the fact that Miki was able to sense even emotion this faint now meant that what Reina actually felt must be exponentially greater than her own misery. She couldn’t begin to imagine why, but the curiosity quickly faded in the tumult of her own emotions and self-hatred. It wasn’t Reina that was flaying her to the core - it was herself. It always had been.

She thought she must look quite the pathetic thing like Reina said, with her shirt now torn and lying facedown in the dirt as if someone had tossed out her dirty laundry. She knew the wetness on her face was mixing with the dirt and marring it with horrible stains, but she couldn’t move. She felt as if she wanted to die as she lay there weeping into the ground.

“To think I used to look up to you,” Reina said softly while looking down at the sobbing, dirty, bruised and battered girl, almost sounding as if her own voice was now choked with tears. A long silence dragged on after those words, broken only by the sound of a sobbing Miki, until she finally spoke again. “Now I have things to do. There are things I want, and I, at least, intend on getting them. You just stay there and…” As her voice trailed off, Miki never got to hear what Reina thought she should do, and the girl walked off into the trees. Stay here and keep being pathetic? Stay here and die? She figured Reina didn’t really care which. Under the girl’s domination, Miki most definitely was made aware of where exactly she stood to her. She was nothing but a doormat - a warm body to use and abuse. And she let her. For gods’ sake, she wanted her to. Reina was perfectly right; Miki was so weak in herself that she couldn’t handle a real relationship with anyone, and in the end was nothing but a lapdog, getting off on domination, whether it be from Reina herself, Yossi, or Aya. Aya… She had turned her back on the girl she loved – the one girl in the world that she trusted with anything. Anything except, apparently…

Thoughts came and went after that, flying randomly from Aya to Reina to power and trees exploding and birds being struck down as if by lightning. Night grew around her, and the forest life that thrived in the darkness began issuing its mysterious cries. Miki lay unmoving on the ground, bereft of the energy to even raise a hand to swat at insects that found her a tasty treat, and sobbing into the night until at last the tears ebbed and sleep stole her blessedly away.

“So both Ishikawa and Kusumi are missing now.” Jay stood with his hands folded behind his back, staring into the darkness at apparently nothing outside the window of the candlelit conference room, which now held most of the people remaining on the island.

Ai was seated between Risa and Konkon on one side of the table, and the other held Aya, Yossi, Maki, and Kaori. The other agents stood along the walls, blank faces betraying nothing. It was certainly a far cry from the buoyant group that set foot on the island a week ago. Ai, Risa, and Aya had all been affected deeply by the result of whatever Miki and Reina had gotten into, and so held faces rife with worry and emotion. Aya definitely looked the worst for wear, and Ai sympathized with her greatly. She wished there was some way she could help… Well, that’s what they were here to do. Aya had everything stolen from her, whereas Ai had at least one comfort left. She let herself look dreamily at Jay’s stolid figure for a moment, feeling warmth at memories of heated kisses. Enough, she decided. She was here for a reason, and they needed to find Miki. And Reina. And hopefully Rika and Koharu…

“Matsuura, you said you saw Fujimoto this afternoon, right? If so, that’d be the last any of us saw of her. The only other time we can recollect is when she and Tanaka disappeared from the cave.”

Aya nodded. “She was…” She trailed off, obviously fighting off some emotion. Ai felt her heart reach out to her. “She wasn’t acting herself. I don’t know what she intended to do, but it seemed like she was about to leave. Maybe for good.”

Jay turned around and regarded them all before saying quietly, “It’s getting late. I don’t think it’d be a good idea to go searching outside anymore tonight. They seem to be at home in the dark, and we definitely are not. They would likely hold every advantage.” The girls murmured their agreement, and he went on. “Plus, I know we’ve all become very worn out after a very long day. Especially since it followed a very long week. Training isn’t meant to be light, because of course, we don’t expect something like this to happen…” His eyes shifted slightly toward the other agents as he said this, and Ai could detect at least one stare of disapproval returned to him.

“So,” Jay continued, regaining any composure he may have lost. “I think we should all go to bed. We’ll wake up refreshed in the morning, and begin our search again, if necessary.” He looked toward Yossi as he went on, “If you see any sign of Ishikawa or Kusumi in your halls overnight, let us know immediately. We’ll give you emergency call buttons in case anything comes up.”

“Sir,” Agent Cage began, a hint of sarcasm in his voice. “We can’t let this continue a moment longer. I suggest we call in a pickup for all the girls immediately. We’ll call more agents in and comb the island completely to find anyone who is to be found.”

Jay unclasped his hands and walked along the table, stopping near Ai. She could tell his hands were balled into fists, and his veins bulged with tension. She almost raised a hand toward him until she heard him mumble, “You fools have no idea what you’re up against.” Taken aback a moment, Ai’s hand fell back to her lap.

In a normal voice this time Jay spoke, “The pickup crew is already scheduled to arrive at noon tomorrow. The girls will be fine until then, and we need them for the search.”

“But sir!” Cage started, though London restrained him.

“That’s enough!” Jay commanded emphatically. “Eric, please,” he said in a softer and more desperate voice. “Believe me when I say these girls are our only hope. Things are as they are now, and we have to deal with them how they must be dealt with. Past issues can be addressed when the time is appropriate.”

Cage stared hard at him for a moment before saluting and striding stiffly from the room. The other agents gave more sympathetic glances before proceeding after him. Jay sighed, and Ai couldn’t restrain herself any longer from grasping his hand tightly. He gratefully squeezed it back, turning back to face the girls.

“I hope I’m not speaking out of turn for you all. I think you know your role in all this, though.” All the girls nodded, and the ones across the table rose.

“We’ll meet you in the dining hall at breakfast time in the morning,” Yossi said softly before turning and heading toward the door. Aya didn’t follow at first, sharing a long look with Ai, her eyes showing thanks for the support Ai was fervently exuding. A tinge of desperation marred them, however, before she turned and left quickly. Ai knew this would be a long night for the poor girl.

Konkon and Risa stood up finally also, and Ai, almost reluctantly, rose to join them. “Thank you for telling us what you know, Kon-chan,” Ai said, using her free hand to squeeze the addressee’s arm. “It’s filled in several holes for me, and I think I’ve finally become comfortable with knowledge of the power.”

“Of course, Ai-chan,” Konkon replied casually, as if she hadn’t earlier that evening unveiled to them secrets to their powers hidden for thousands of years. “I just hope it’ll be enough to match Mikitty if it comes to that…”

Ai nodded. “I’m sure it will be. You were really a great help.” She smiled, and Konkon returned it, taking it for the sincere praise that it was. “I want to ask you just a couple more things before bed, though.” For all the others’ seeming blame of Miki as being behind all this, she wasn’t convinced herself. Miki definitely seemed the likely choice, but… She looked over at Jay. He seemed to read her thoughts, and she knew he felt similarly. Something bugged her about the whole situation. Plus, the other two girls weren’t in the cave earlier that day… For all the stories her and Jay told, she knew that what really occurred put them to shame. That’s part of the reason the other agents thought as they did. She involuntarily shuddered at the remembrance of what Reina did to her in there. If Aya was on their side, it would be much easier, but it was clear her only concern was Miki, so anything involving her clouded her judgment unreasonably.

Konkon nodded at Ai’s request, and her and Risa began exiting the room. “I’ll catch up with you in a minute,” Ai called after them. Risa rolled her eyes and pushed a confused Konno out the door. Ai’s face clouded and she almost felt she could slap her friend at that moment. Then she almost giggled at the thought. Any thought of giggling left her, however, when she felt Jay’s soft hand on her face and it pulled her gaze over to him. She nearly melted when she looked into those deep blue eyes.

“You should get some sleep, Ai. You’re going to have a long day tomorrow, I’m afraid.” Ai detected something in his voice she couldn’t put a finger on, almost as if he wanted to say something more but couldn’t. She noticed a hard tension in his features that didn’t go away as he bent down to give her a soft kiss. Even the short kiss seemed to relieve tension of her own that she didn’t know was there.

She looked him hard in the eyes a moment before saying herself, “Yeah, I should. And you should too.” She still sensed that unspoken thought within him, but hoped what she said would do. Suddenly, though, she pulled him down to her once more for a much longer kiss. When they finally broke apart, she said softly, “I need to go join my friends. I’ll see you later.” He nodded, and she released his hand to leave the room. As she walked through the doorway, she looked back to see him gaze after her before turning and placing his hands on the windowsill, looking once more out into the blackness of night. Turning back herself, she walked down the long and lonely halls to her room, knowing that even though Reina and Miki and who knows what else might be hiding anywhere, she could handle whatever they would throw at her.

Agent Sands looked out toward the forest beyond the little ledge that supported the building he stood in. He knew the ledge could support something much greater as well, but he hoped he wasn’t looking in the wrong direction for it. It had all seemed to make sense. Bring celebrities with many varied personalities to the island, and it would rise. Well, something rose all right. He just hoped it wasn’t the hellfire it seemed to be. He smiled at a thought of Ai, knowing that wasn’t fully true.

He finally tore his eyes from the serene sight and walked down the halls back to his own room, accompanied by his troubled thoughts. There wasn’t any excitement along the way, even though he almost wished it, but he knew he couldn’t hope to handle it on his own. He really thought that finally he’d bitten off more than he could chew. At least he had Ai. She was wonderful support, and he really believed she could accomplish anything she set her mind to.

Arriving at his hall, he listened for a moment at the door to the girls’ rooms, hearing chatter as Konno apparently filled them in on their questions. It seemed to be calming down now, though, the girls likely entering their beds, so he unlocked his own room and walked on in. He didn’t lock the door from the inside since he wanted to be readily available if any emergency came up overnight. All the agents had decided to keep their doors open for this reason.

After preparing for bed, he turned off the lights and found his blankets. Once beneath them, he meditated for a few minutes on the silence of the night and the warmth of his sheets, his eyes gazing out the window lazily. The night was so calm – so uncharacteristic of the events unfolding even as he slept. He really hoped the two missing girls would turn up all right. He also hoped the two misled girls could find their way back, somehow…

He let himself surrender so that sleep could overtake him, but before it did, he heard his doorknob rattle slightly and the door open and close quietly. He stayed silent beneath the covers, even though he was now quite alert. In the blackness of his room he couldn’t see anything, but he heard soft footsteps coming closer until there was a tug on the edge of his covers. Overcome with a feeling of warmth, he lifted them slightly, and a small body slid beneath them, snuggling up next to him. He smiled and whispered softly, “I’m surprised you came.” The girl didn’t respond, but she pressed her body lightly against him and he felt soft lips timidly graze his cheek. Thinking that she was likely nervous, he wrapped an arm around her and rolled her on top of him, looking up in the dark at a face outlined above and feeling hair flowing down behind it. He could imagine the smile on her face as she leaned in to kiss him, and he gave into desire, knowing they both needed as much relief as they could find before what was to come. He gave her his love, which he was more than willing to give to this wonderful and amazing girl that carved herself a permanent place in his heart.

Offline rokun

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Re: Curse of the Dragons (Drama on Sexy Island?) [Reposted to jphip!]
« Reply #18 on: April 11, 2011, 06:34:11 PM »
Chapter 19 - Tempest

The next morning dawned with a blood-red sun struggling to shine through rain clouds scattered throughout the sky. The rain had not yet reached the islands northeast of mainland Japan, but surely it would arrive before the sun did on this day – the last day a tormented group of girls would spend on this island so far from the land that was so familiar to them.

Miki Fujimoto lay huddled in the lee of a once grand tree that was now reduced to a blackened skeletal fork desperately trying to soar once again to the heavens. The fitfully sleeping girl, however, was desperately struggling against demons certainly not from any heaven. This struggle, however, was fought in the darkness within her mind and not over the expanse of the world as the sun fought those forbidding clouds.

“Miki Fujimoto!” Rika slurred, propped between her two friends, who were having just as much trouble keeping themselves upright on the bed that they presently shared. Miki’s mind clouded every few moments it seemed, though she couldn’t tell if it was from all the contraband sake they’d shared, or something else.

Rika nearly fell backward before Yossi caught her, though apparently lacking the energy to sit back up, propped herself instead on her elbows. “You really should come join us more often, you know! I haven’t had this much fun in… in…” Her head lolled a bit before she leaned up slightly to poke Miki in the stomach, giggling hysterically. Seemingly lost for more words, as well as to the rest of the world, when she leaned toward Miki she couldn’t stop her momentum, and her head fell into Miki’s lap, the girl it belonged to apparently passed out cold.

Miki and Yossi laughed at the girl’s weak stomach, and with joyful shouts of “Kanpai!” quaffed another shot each. As Miki’s head spun with the feeling the sake she’d just drunk went up her body instead of down, she crooned, “Oi, Yossi! How did you ever manage to smuggle such good stuff along on our trip?”

Yossi leaned toward her ear as if about to divulge a secret, and attempted to whisper, “Being the leader has its advantages, you know!” Her voice, no longer able to be controlled, came out as more of a rasp than a whisper. She patted Miki on the shoulder. “Some day you’ll be able to get up to the same tricks. I’m amazed you haven’t figured it out yet!” Miki glared at the slight, though in her present state her face became overly animated, and Yossi snorted a laugh.

“Now just you listen here, Miss Yoshizawa-sama…” she said, brandishing her shot glass as if it was a weapon. The effect was lost, however, when her fingers didn’t seem to work anymore and the glass fell, bouncing off Rika’s firm butt.

Both the girls laughed wildly at that, and finding themselves unable to stop with the drug taking over their bodies, began poking and squeezing the butt in question. Miki’s rational mind was lost to the world, and all she could think of was the warm soft mass of flesh in her hand. This distracted them enough that neither noticed the girl it belonged to stirring once more. Since their eyes were focused somewhat further down the lithe body, they didn’t notice the movements of the head in Miki’s lap, nor the girl’s slow and wobbly arm movements, until Miki, feeling something strange down below herself, looked down to find her pants unzipped and tugged down slightly, long black hair the only thing visible above her lap. Her eyes rolled back into her head as pleasure began rushing through her body. She became even hotter after being warmed up quite a bit already by the drink which now made her mind blank to all but the most primal of emotions.

A short time later, Miki knew nothing except that her body was entwined in something just as warm and soft. She had somehow fallen with this unknowable companion to the floor off the foot of the bed, but she gave that small detail no notice, her attention focused only on the form entwined with her, and the only emotion she knew was a hotly rising passion. Whatever her companion was doing to her, it overwhelmed her, and her body began convulsing in ecstasy.

Deep within her, however, shocks began reverberating throughout her body, tempting Miki with the sense that if released, she would feel something like she’d never felt before. A calm Miki would have seen the darkness hidden within those white-hot shocks. However, this happily engorged Miki was nothing of the sort, and what little self-control she may have had fled with the increasing temptation inside her. She cried out with passion and dropped all of her protective walls, immediately feeling rapture invade her being mercilessly.

Hers wasn’t the only cry, however, and as she opened her eyes that were saturated with tears of joy, she saw Rika’s face in front of her. However, hers wasn’t a face of rapture reflected from her own. Instead, she saw in the eyes across from her terror beyond comprehension, and crashing back to reality, Miki heard the girl scream out, “Mikitty! Wha-AAAAHHH!” The face in front of her disappeared, and she caught only a glimpse of Yossi passed out on the bed behind them before she heard herself echo Rika’s horrible cry.

“Ahhhh!!” Miki cried breathlessly as she jerked up from her sleep against the tree just behind her. Clothes stuck to her body soaked in her sweat, but not from that only. Rain was pouring down on her through the gap in the canopy above caused by yet another of her horrible climaxes. It helped wash the sweat from her, but with the same effect of making her clothes cling tightly around every curve of her supine figure.

Miki continued breathing heavily, her mind replaying Rika’s unearthly cry over and over in her head. She squeezed her eyes violently shut in an attempt to shut out the images that seemed burned into her brain, but they only became more vivid. She jumped up in front of the severed trunk, her hair draped haphazardly over her face, and moaned, “No… no! I didn’t do anything… I couldn’t! It wasn’t my fault!”

She ran across the clearing in a stumbling trot, clashes of thunder reverberating menacingly from the shrouded sky above. “What have I done?!” she wailed, falling down to her knees in agony. At the moment, in the insanity of her mind, she struggled for some redemption to the visions that were suddenly plaguing her. As she was now awake, her mind tried to grasp on the hope that all she saw had been just a dream, some horrible, grotesque travesty of a dream. She didn’t consciously know what she’d done that night she partied with her two contemporaries. All she remembered was good times and lots of sake until she woke up the next morning. In bed with Hitomi. And no one else in sight. An image appeared in her mind of a mound of black ash just off the foot of the bed, and she knew what tormented her wasn’t just a dream.

She jumped up again, wild-eyed, desperately looking all around in the torrential rain for somebody to help – something to cling to. All she saw, however, was a soggy and empty forest with a blackened tree displayed prominently in the center of her vision as if it existed only to scorn this girl who had nearly lost her mind. Rika’s blackened and charred face appeared just above the inverted arch of the split trunk and stared at her with horrible, blood-red eyes.

The scream of the girl as she hurtled violently away from it and into the forest could have been heard for miles if not for the accompanying howling of the rain and wind behind her, blending with the scream and even melding it with the violent cruelty of nature’s fury joined with that of the tormented, but exceptional, girl.

The downpour pattered against the windows of the training facility in a ceaseless rhythm as the day began to dawn, the few rays of sunlight that made it through the clouds spilling into the room where Sands lay peacefully and contently in his bed. The depth of his slumber had been waning with the brightening of the light outside, and a movement beside him woke him fully. He rolled onto his back, not yet opening his eyes as morning energy began to seep into his body.

After a moment he felt lips on his own, and his hand reached up to caress the tender bare flesh above him as he returned the kiss happily. The girl pulled away, leaving a delighted smile on his face as he stretched his arms before opening his eyes for the first time.

“You sure know how to start the morning off right!” he cheerfully commented, as his eyes slowly focused onto his surroundings. He turned his head to gaze at the object of his affection - a girl with her back to him who was just now fastening a dark red skirt around her slim hips. He hadn’t seen her in a skirt yet, and he reclined, enjoying the sight, though something nagged in the back of his mind that something wasn’t quite right about the picture. Her body looked a bit different than he remembered – arms a little slimmer and hips not quite as rounded. Maybe it was just the skirt, although that was part of the trouble.

After fastening her skirt, Reina turned to him and grinned back, though with her turn, the smile quickly disappeared from his own face, replaced by a look of horror. “Why thank you, sweetheart,” she said sweetly, thunder cracking ominously through the walls in stark contrast to her voice. “I just thought I’d thank you for such a wonderful night!”

Sands was stunned at the revelation of the girl’s identity. How could he have been so stupid as to mistake her for Ai? Sure, she was about the same height. She had let her hair down as Ai usually did. Her body was similar, though it still didn’t show the well-developed maturity of Ai’s. Her kisses came from a smaller mouth… The night before replayed itself at light speed within his head, though the girl he was making love to in this vision was obviously the one standing now in front of him. The night no longer shrouded her appearance and confused his mind as it had done in reality. The only things that now went through his mind were thoughts of having given too much into desire. He hadn’t been close enough to Ai often enough to tell her apart from all other women in the world even if all senses had fled him. Instead, he had taken this girl who was hardly yet a woman to his bed and ravished her shamelessly. He began to feel sick inside, and his vision clouded in response to the blood pounding throughout his body.

Lost to all thoughts of the world except what was in his hysterical mind and the sight of the young girl in front of him, he hadn’t noticed that he’d drawn up his blankets over his nude body to his chin, knuckles white in their grip on their edges, as if he wanted to bury himself in them and cut himself off from the rest of the world. His eyes stared hard at the girl standing beside the bed, and he lay with his mouth open as if all ability to speak had left him.

Reina shrugged and turned toward the door. “As much fun as I had, I would hardly bet you could say the same, so it’s probably best for me just to leave.” Halfway to the door, she turned back around, and looked back with a small hint of sorrowfulness in her black eyes. “That isn’t quite true… It was easy to tell that you had as great a time as I did last night. I just wish it was because you wanted to make love to Reina, and not someone else.” She suddenly seemed to catch herself showing some unbecoming emotion and widened her eyes before bestowing a glare on him that was dark as night, as if blaming him for it. Steeling herself to the point where she showed no more trace of anything that might even be called human, she whirled around and left the room, slamming the door behind her.

Sands stared at the bare door where she last appeared, muscles still afire as if they would explode, before raising his eyes to the ceiling and desperately breathing in English, “Oh god…”

The wind howled just beyond the window of the small bedroom as if in an extension of the wailing cutting through its occupant’s heart and soul. The rain continued to pound heartlessly against the pane as he left his bed as if in a severe stupor and began to dress in his most professional and decorated uniform. He tipped his cap onto his head as he walked through the door, the room behind him deathly silent and still except for the thousands of raindrops striking the window glass and cascading in unvarying paths along it on their way back down to the earth.

An unusually loud peal of thunder woke Ai Takahashi from her troubled sleep, full of dreams of events from the past week and possibilities of what might come today. She sat up stiffly, her eyes flying to the window, which was rendered opaque by the torrential rains.

Lightning flashed what seemed like every second, and during one of the brightest strikes she caught out of the corner of her eye a figure sitting motionlessly at the foot of her bed. Her eyes moved over to the apparition, and she couldn’t tell what she saw at first in the gloomy morning’s dimness before another flash illuminated all the features of Reina but her eyes, which it seemed no light had ever touched.

“What the hell are you doing here?!” Ai tried to shout, though her voice came out only as a raspy cry from having been unused all night.

“I just thought I’d pay my dearest Ai-chan a little visit before fulfilling my duty,” Reina said, face expressionless. Ai didn’t know what she expected in the girl’s voice, whether hate or condescension or lust, but what she found in it confused her beyond measure. As the girl continued, the enigma became no clearer.

“This is a big day, you know. The world’s never going to be the same. You should feel honoured to be a part of it. Of course, you’re nothing compared to me.” Was it just Ai’s imagination, or was Reina trying to convince herself of that as much as Ai? Whatever the case, Ai let her go on, mind whirling as to what action she should pursue next.

“Yet…” Reina continued, head turning toward the window and raising her hand to tap her chin with a finger. “Yet, there are still some things I can’t understand. Why you? There’s nothing special about you.” She looked back and sneered at Ai’s form below the covers in apparent disgust. “You’re just a bit older. You obviously don’t look a whole lot different. You might have some small talent, but I do as well.” Ai was now totally lost as to where the girl was going with this.

“Maybe it’s your innocence.” Reina’s eyes traveled up and down Ai’s covered body, and a chill that froze her spine shot through her, as if she were just lying there naked in front of the girl, with all her thoughts and dreams exposed as well. “Perfect little Ai-chan. Angelic little Ai-chan. Who wouldn’t love her?!” The last nearly came out as a shout. Ai now wondered if the girl had lost whatever part of her mind she had left. She stood up between the beds, thunder cracking harshly in the background, this time in perfect harmony with her language, and she leered menacingly down at Ai.

“Well I’ll have you know something!!!” Ai didn’t even know who the girl was talking to anymore. It didn’t seem like she was talking just to her. “Innocence isn’t everything! You should have seen the happiness I gave him last night… the passion! You wouldn’t have been able to even come close!” At this direct language, Ai realized that she still was at least somewhat talking to her, and her confused mind worked for a minute on what Reina had just said.

“Reina… What the hell are you…?” Realization seemed to strike her suddenly like the lightning bolt outside the window, and she finally took in the appearance of the girl in front of her. Reina was standing with her hair unusually down. Combed down, in fact - not bushy at all. She had a nightgown on her arm that appeared to be damp with something. Sweat? She had what looked like fresh marks on her neck. Ai was stunned for a moment before she returned to reality and anger like she’d never known welled up inside her.

Reina backed away slightly. “I could love him just as well as you. I did love him better than you could have imagined!” Tears now streaked the young girl’s face, but Ai could no longer look upon it without seeing vile corruption and her own hatred reflected from the dark pools of her eyes.

Ai threw off her blankets and rose up, just as much a thundercloud as those which hovered low in the sky above. “You… You slut!” she nearly spat. “How could you? I never knew anyone could… First me… and then him!”

Reina’s face became darker almost to match her eyes even as Ai began speaking, and her fists clenched before she shouted back, “I’m not a slut! I only loved one man. I only wanted one man! Now I took him, but I can never fully have him because of you! I hate you!”

Ai growled at her words, not really noticing them as thoughts of the girl and Jay wound around each other tortured her mind. She raised her hands, fingers splayed out and strained to their limits, and fire rose from them as she shouted, “I’ll kill you!!!”

Reina quickly stepped back once more and shot her hand behind her, holding it just above the neck of the sleeping Risa Niigaki in the adjacent bed, who somehow slept throughout the whole storm. “Stop!” Reina commanded, darkness swirling about her hand and distorting the very air between her and the peacefully sleeping girl’s tender neck. “Or do you want something unfortunate to happen to your best friend?” That sentence came out hardly more than a hiss, and terror and fear now overwhelmed Ai at her truest friend’s peril.

“Reina,” she pleaded through gritted teeth, hating herself for it. “Don’t hurt her. It’s me you want…” Her hands had fallen to her sides, though they still glowed with a red sheen of power anxious to be unleashed.

Reina’s hand didn’t move, and her eyes never left Ai’s. An odd peal of thunder suddenly reverberated almost through the very walls, and Reina nearly jumped, suddenly showing some sense of urgency in her flickering eyes that began to overwhelm the emotions she previously exhibited. She coughed a laugh and spoke softer, hoarsely, “Well, that’s more like it I suppose. At least I can see you begging before you die. Because I know you’ll die.” She glowered across the room again. “If anyone dies, it’ll be you, and it’ll be far more than anyone! Too bad, too, because you show a lot of promise.”

Ai tried to control her emotions and keep her hands to her sides, with the effect of her speaking no words at all. Her fists only clenched unconsciously, her own glare boring holes in the evil across from her. For she couldn’t be a person anymore – Ai could see her as nothing anymore except the evil she displayed.

Reina looked out the window, careful to not move her hand an inch from above the small innocent sleeper. “Anyway, I don’t think you have time for me anyway, do you? A typhoon’s coming, one you’ve been preparing for, and I think if you don’t go out to meet it soon, you’ll lose far more than your ideal of innocent love.”

Ai looked hard at her through glistening eyes, confused at what she was talking about, and Reina looked at her, eyes wide as if trying to tell her something. “You don’t remember? Well, I think you’ll see what I mean when everyone wakes up.” At this, Risa began to stir out of her slumber and Reina looked down at her. “Well, I leave you to it. I have my own responsibilities now. Good luck. Now I guess you’ll see what the power of love really is like!” Then, before Ai could react, Reina raised her hand from above the waking girl’s neck and waved it in front of herself before vanishing from sight, leaving Ai staring through to the squall beyond the window.

Ai was still staring out into that turmoil when Risa sat up in her bed and cheerfully greeted her friend. “Good morning Ai-chan! You’re up already, ne?” She yawned, and the previous night’s events seemed to suddenly come back to her. She spoke more softly now, “Do you see anything out there? We’d better go find the others. We need to find Miki as soon as possible, remember?” The seemingly ceaseless thunder crashed in the background into the silence that followed.

Offline rokun

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Re: Curse of the Dragons (Drama on Sexy Island?) [Reposted to jphip!]
« Reply #19 on: April 11, 2011, 06:34:30 PM »
Chapter 20 – The Yang

A subdued group of girls quietly ate their last breakfast of egg and sausage onigiri in the dining hall amid the storm outside which showed no sign of abating. Ai ate as if she was in a trance, Risa glancing nervously and unnoticed over at her from time to time. While all the girls were quiet this morning with the idea of what they needed to do, especially in this unbelievable weather, Ai was unusually so, and something seemed to weigh down her mind terribly, which in turn worried Risa even more terribly.

Ai had hardly spoken a word since waking this morning, and Risa quietly observed her dressing and preparing for the day as if she was a zombie. She wondered once again about the day’s mission of going after Miki, which Ai never seemed to embrace fully. She seemed much more focused on Reina, though Risa could imagine at least one reason why that was.

“Dou shita no, Ai-chan?” she said softly to Ai next to her, momentarily pulling the girl out of her thoughts. Ai looked back at Risa, who was staring intently at her, with wide eyes as if she’d never seen her before. Risa began to worry even more, though she tried not to show it on her face.

“Um…” she began, face completely blank. “I’m just worried about what we have to do.”

Risa nodded slowly, though she knew that something else was bothering her friend much more. Ai seemed to notice Risa’s disbelief, and her nose scrunched. This nearly brought a smile to her face, and she was proud that she knew Ai better than just about anyone. However, due to Ai’s deliberately private nature, she knew that sometimes the girl wished she didn’t.

“I just wondered,” Risa went on just as softly, eyes returning to her food, though still peering at her friend through the side of her vision. “You haven’t touched your onigiri.”

Ai stared vacantly down at her bowl, seeming to notice for the first time that there was food in front of her. She demonstrated absolutely no desire to begin eating now, though, and just sat there motionlessly, staring into her bowl and apparently returning to her thoughts. Risa sighed.

No one had seen Sands this morning. Risa, of course not knowing any of the night’s or morning’s events, had knocked on his door to see if he wanted to come to breakfast with them. Ai hadn’t wanted to come with her to ask for some reason, which Risa thought odd considering how close they seemed, so she stood at his door alone. He didn’t respond, but she found it was unlocked and went on in. The curtains on the window blew out at the sudden channel for the breeze to follow, and Risa shivered at the chill of the early morning squall’s draft. Seeing that obviously no one was in the room, she hurried over and shut the window, feeling dampness on the sill where the rain had drizzled in. She looked around and saw a room which appeared to have let the typhoon outside into it.

Drawers stood open with clothes strewn over the edges, spilling onto the floor. The sheets of the single large bed were unmade, appearing as if someone had thrown them off in haste. There were a few damp spots on the sheets from who knows what, but it fit in very well with the streams of water sliding down the now closed window. Risa thought it was a very depressing room that he kept before she slipped back out the door and joined Ai on the way to their breakfast.

Risa woke from her own reverie when Yossi spoke lightly, “You two sure look a pair this morning.” She received two blank stares in return before both girls noticed their responses and blushed, leaning low over their food.

“It was a long night,” Ai stated plainly.

Since the two younger girls seemed unwilling to offer anything else, Yossi shrugged and went on, “I think it has been for all of us in some way. I just hope we find Miki… unharmed.” She hesitated a little at that last word as Aya walked up to join them, and soon the other girls appeared as well, having finished their own breakfasts.

Aya looked around nervously with red eyes. She looked like she’d been crying all night. Risa figured she probably had been. “Where’s Sands? Cage? London? Any of them?” she asked in a tremulous voice. Nothing but silence replied to her.

“I would guess they’re gone,” Ai said, somehow having stood up unnoticed by Risa. She rose to join her friend, stuffing a last bit of the delicious rice into her mouth that made her cheek puff out. She was going to miss the cooking at this place. She’d like to thank the cooks, she thought fleetingly. However, looking around the room a little bit, she realized that they had never seen anyone prepare the meals. There was an occasional server who restocked the buffet from time to time, but this morning even he had been absent. It struck her how lonely it really felt this morning, with only her nakama with her in this place which still felt strange and foreign, and thunder cracking outside the large windows.

She shook herself suddenly as she realized all this had gone through her head in the span of a second or so, and found that she was staring into Ai-chan’s face, which looked darker than usual this morning. Darker than Risa had ever seen it in fact. Did anything happen last night? She tried to jog her memory.

Ai continued speaking to the confused looks that surrounded her. “They’re gone, and it’s up to us now.” The finality in her tone and odd-seeming determination that she expressed that it was true quelled any further curiosity.

“Come on you guys. We need to find Mikitty.” Aya’s voice was so sorrowful and pleading that it seemed to soften even Ai’s expression somewhat. She tugged at Yossi’s sleeve and glanced between the other girls. Yossi stroked her chin with a finger as if she felt uncomfortable.

Any softening in Ai’s expression didn’t last long. “Yes. We do. We won’t get anywhere standing around here. She’ll likely have some kind of shield around her keeping us from sensing her with our power, so we’d better just split up into groups and hope that she doesn’t have enough of a shield to block even our sight.” Her tone was calm and commanding, but Risa noticed some doubt in it as well. If Miki truly was behind all this, there was likely little chance she’d overlook a detail like that.

The girls all looked expectantly at Ai as if awaiting something further, though a trace of discomfort flew across her complexion before she went on. Despite that, Risa felt pride almost stronger than she ever had before. Probably, because this time it was for real. There was no doubt who everyone expected to take the lead in this. Yossi may have led Morning Musume, and Kaori and some of the rest might be used to being in control, but this was a far cry from the life they knew as celebrities. Risa wondered if they could ever go back to being Morning Musume. It seemed so childish now. So immature, how they played around acting cute and singing strange songs created by an even stranger man. Thoughts of what might have happened to Koharu and Rika changed all that. Risa flushed slightly once again. What was she doing thinking she was so mature? She was nothing more than a scared little girl on an island in the middle of nowhere surrounded by friends who were in more pain than she was sure she could imagine, though she didn’t always know why. As Ai-chan cleared her throat and spoke, Risa’s heart went out to her, and amidst the pained girls with attention now focused on only one place, she knew nothing would be the same again.

“Well, if we’re going to split up and search, we’ll have to make teams. We’ve been in our own groups the past week doing all sorts of crazy things, but I think today we just need to be around those we trust the most. Take two or three of the people you feel that way about, and we’ll start doing our job.” Ai-chan’s eyes focused on Risa toward the end of this, and she tried to keep her eyes from watering as she nodded and shuffled closer to her dear friend.

A small, though empty-looking, smile crossed Ai’s face, and she looked now toward Konno, who returned her gaze intently and joined them as well. Konkon seemed to lack the emotion Risa felt, but that smile appeared on Ai’s face once more nonetheless.

The other girls shuffled around a little, darting glances between each other. A few looked interestedly at the three girls standing still in front, but quickly sought others of their friends and crowded in closely with them. Risa smiled as she saw a subdued Eri and Sayu look around uncertainly before being joined by Maki, who smiled at the two young girls. They weren’t really that young – not much younger than Risa in fact – but they sure looked alone in a room of adults today. They smiled back at Maki gratefully and hugged her.

Yossi, Makoto, and Kaori formed the last of the three groups, leaving Aya standing alone in the middle, eyes glued to Ai-chan’s. “I know you’re going to find her,” Aya said intensely, surprising Risa at the certainty. She wasn’t sure about the girl’s claim, but a glance at the other two groups found no disagreement. Eri and Sayu seemed to dearly hope, in fact, that they would have a quiet search. “I want to be with you when you do. I… need to be,” She said, a plea in her voice once more that seemed as if it couldn’t get more heartfelt.

Ai stared back at her for a moment, and Risa thought she might almost be embarrassed, before nodding. “If that’s what you wish. I can understand.” If she did, she expressed it in an odd way, because Risa thought her voice couldn’t get hollower. Aya sighed in relief, unsmiling, and joined the three quietly.

“Well. Shall we?” Yossi asked, obviously in Risa’s general direction. Everyone nodded. “We’ll go into the forest to the south,” she continued, her tone again requesting confirmation.

“We’ll head to the north,” Maki said with a bit more confidence, making the two girls next to her jump.

Ai nodded. “Then we’ll head east straight through the middle.” Risa thought that there may have been no need for the confirmation, somehow getting the impression that those paths had been determined before anyone even spoke. She looked out the large dining hall window into the dark gray sky, wondering about things that are maybe just meant to be.

The girls left the dining hall in their tight formations and didn’t stray from each other through the quiet corridors, knowing they needed to rush, but still reluctant to do so fully as they donned their rain hats and coats. When they finally made it outside, Risa tightened her coat to the wind and rain before joining Ai, who strode forward with a determination she’d never seen before, her coat billowing out with the wind as if she didn’t even feel it; Konno, her face thoughtful as always, mind whirring, Risa imagined, with plans and strategies taking advantage of her knowledge and cunning; and Aya, who also tugged her coat close to her, but stared ahead with her red eyes not unlike Ai, determination guiding her weaker steps. Before long, they entered the forest.

The wind howled mercilessly through the dense trees in what seemed like the darkest part of the forest. It seemed to only be getting worse. Risa shivered in the cold rain which seemed to come sideways against her, and sometimes even fall up. Her soaked underwear beneath her long jacket was a testament to that. The others generally seemed to be affected as well. Aya looked as weak and drawn as she always had since not long after she arrived on the island. Konkon’s eyes were still shining in thought, but the rest of her body was apparently feeling the effects of the maelstrom. Sometimes she would huddle close to Risa or Ai as if to share their warmth. Risa felt like doing that herself quite often.

As for Ai… Nothing seemed to stop her determination in continuing on through this horrible forest. The rain didn’t seem to affect her as much as the others, and Risa wondered if that had something to do with her closer connection with the power. If that was all, though, surely Konkon would be doing better as well. Her literal knowledge of the power surpassed Ai’s, and perhaps, anyone on the planet. At least, Risa couldn’t imagine anyone learning more about it. Especially since it seemed like such a rare “gift” to have. As if the girl was summoned, Konkon joined Risa in the shelter next to a tree trunk for a momentary respite from the rain. Risa didn’t mind, and threw her arms tightly around the other girl, the two holding each other close against the sharp wind. They watched Ai-chan as she seemed to walk in circles, her eyes frowning as if something didn’t seem right with their environment.

She slowed to a stop, staring into what looked like a copse of trees and brush too dense to venture into. Apparently she saw something in there with some kind of sense of hers, and Risa hoped that she didn’t think they needed to try to get in there. She supposed they could burrow through it with their power, but it would still take a while to burn through enough of the brush to make any headway. She didn’t see what could be in there, anyway.

Aya stood off to the side, kneeling in a half-crouch to try to keep herself from blowing away, but looked intently at Ai, hope in her eyes as always. “Do you think something’s in there, Takahashi-san?” she shouted above the wind at the girl standing almost defiantly against it.

“I don’t know…” Ai responded, as if she was trying to work something out. “It looks like there’s plant-life packed in really tightly there, but I don’t understand it, unless it’s all dead inside…” She mumbled something else to herself too softly for the others to hear amid the howling of wind and rain. Though, Risa supposed, under normal circumstances it could probably be called a shout rather than a mumble.

“Dead?” Risa said, then immediately felt stupid because Ai-chan of course wouldn’t be able to hear her. Konkon looked at her with understanding, though, and guided her eyes back to Ai-chan, who now had a hand raised toward the barrier. By this time Risa knew what that meant, but she saw nothing come from the outstretched hand, only consternation on the face of its owner.

Suddenly, a flicker caught the edge of her vision, and her eyes moved from the girl to the thicket. She squinted, thinking the rain was muddling her vision, but the sight didn’t change. The brush Ai was pointing at seemed to almost blur for a second before going back to normal.

“Ha! I’m starting to learn your tricks now, Fujimoto. Just give me another minute…” Ai moved toward the brush, and Konkon stood up, dragging Risa with her by a hand, and set off to follow slowly. Aya was trailing closely behind the leading girl, seeming to not want to miss any glimpse of something that might happen and lead her to Miki.

The three girls were now close enough to make out Ai’s mumbles, and they listened intently through the wind as she began to kneel down. “I see what you’re doing. What you’re doing… Haha… You probably don’t even have any idea what you’re doing. This looks like it was just thrown together by some crazed emotion expressing itself with Earth. Though, this other aspect is what troubles me. What is it… It almost looks like… electricity?” She began her evaluation by staring at the ground, but was now staring at what seemed like nothing toward the brush, which was now only meters away. “I don’t really know anything about electricity, but surely, if I just…” She raised her hand in front of her face, palm stretched out facing the wall, and closed her eyes. The brush seemed to blur again, though this time it didn’t go back after a few seconds like before. Eyes closed and hand still in front of her face, Ai got up swiftly and began walking the last distance to the thicket, which seemed to get blurrier with each step.

Putting her trust in her friend as always, Risa started after her. The others soon followed her lead, and right when it seemed that Ai-chan was going to walk straight into the small tree ahead of her, the wind blew at them in a sudden strong gust, distracting their vision. When they were able to see forward again, Ai was striding briskly into a clearing that seemed to have come from nowhere. There was no sign of the brush – only the soft forest bed underneath and a lone tree standing in the center of the area, looking as if it had been struck by lightning.

Risa noticed that her jaw had dropped, and quickly closed it when Konkon smiled over at her, grabbing her arm and tugging her on. Aya ran after Ai as if heaven itself were somehow inside that tree. When the three caught up to Ai, she was kneeling at the base of the forlorn trunk, anger now etched on her face.

“What’s wrong Ai-chan?” Risa asked worriedly. Ai’s gaze traveled up the trunk to its severed height before answering.

“Miki’s been here,” she said quietly, and Risa was for possibly the first time scared of her friend’s voice. “But she wasn’t alone. This tree’s crying out, though it’s only faint now. So faint… It’ll be dead soon.” Risa tried to widen her senses and feel what Ai-chan said about the tree, but to no avail. Giving up on that, her mind began to reason and it asked herself, Do trees usually die after being cut like this? There’s still plenty of trunk left. Maybe so, but certainly not this quickly…

“She’s near,” Ai stated evenly, standing up once more. “The emotion she put into that wall wouldn’t be that strong if its source was too far away. I’m actually surprised it’s still there at all. Terror is what dominated what I felt in it, like she was running from something. If she did, though, she must have come…”

“Bravo, little girl. Maybe you do show that small measure of promise that…” The voice trailed off, but the effect it had struck in the four girls by the tree was better than the lightning flashing above could have. The wind suddenly picked up, cycloning through the clearing and detailing the girl that stood at its edge as if she were the center of the entire storm. Rain pelted in all directions, and lightning flashed brighter and quicker above them, easily illuminating the form of Miki Fujimoto.

Her face seemed as twisted as the storm, dark eyes outlined red and mouth twitching as if unsure whether to smile or frown or grimace or laugh maniacally. Her hands were clenched tight in fists at her sides, anger from some source feeding off the storm around them. Or was the anger feeding the storm? She just stood there, but the reaction of the other girls was anything but hesitant.

Aya and Ai shouted at once. “Mikitty!” “Fujimoto!” They ran toward her, but were stopped short by a lightning bolt crashing to the ground at their feet apparently from nowhere, and Risa screamed at the explosion in her ears, falling to her knees. At least she thought she screamed. All she could hear was an immense ringing.

Her senses returned finally, and she opened her eyes ahead to see Aya lying unmoving on the ground not far from them. Konkon was pressed up against the tree, steadier than Risa but looking as if she was actually trying to pull energy from the tree itself to stay standing. Ai, however, stood her ground, her own fists at her sides, seeming to show no effects from the blast as she stared at the girl who now definitely was laughing maniacally. The cackle was unlike anything Risa ever heard anyone make before, and she wondered if the girl truly was insane.

“Weak little Matsuura!” she managed to gasp out between guffaws. “I suppose I should have expected her to go down after just one hit. She always was just soft and prissy. Nothing hard in her whatsoever. Good thing she didn’t need to live a day in the real world.” The laughter increased in volume once more. “Though that would have been more interesting!”

“Shut up!” Ai said, kneeling down and thrusting her hand forward. As if her arm were a slingshot, a beach ball sized ball of fire grew along it as it extended and lashed out toward Miki, growing only bigger as it flew along. The girl’s laugh ceased and her brow knit slightly until a small whirlwind sprang up in front of her, reaching speeds faster than Risa could imagine, and engulfed Ai’s now pathetic-looking 3 meter wide ball of fire, pushing it up its core until the flames dispersed harmlessly into the sky.

Ai didn’t hesitate at all though before unleashing another attack, this time collecting the torrential rain around them into dense daggers of water, hundreds of which flew from all over the clearing toward the girl behind the dissipating cyclone. Miki’s laugh resumed again, and she flung out her arms wide, spreading her legs as well, as if to make an even larger target for the thirsty daggers. Risa didn’t know what the girl could possibly be doing, and apparently it caught Ai somewhat off-guard as well, as she focused her full attention onto the inviting attack. All Risa knew was that this was a fight she desperately needed to stay out of, and preferably far away from. Somehow, however, she got a bad feeling about the situation and remembered Aya lying on the ground not far away. Damn my compassion, she reprimanded herself, and jumped forward, throwing herself over the seemingly unconscious girl.

At just about the time Risa covered Aya, the daggers hit Miki in a dense shower, and she disappeared from view behind the exploding water. However, the picture didn’t stay solid for long, as the water that targeted her, along with, it seemed, all the rest of the rain in the clearing, blew toward the three girls standing between Miki and the tree. Ai only had time to give a look of shock before tides of water crashed against her from all sides, and Risa hung as tightly onto Aya as she could while she felt it crash over them as well. She’d been surfing before, but these waves were stronger than anything she’d ever felt, and it wasn’t long before Aya was torn from her grasp and she felt herself being whisked away.

The journey was a short one, though, because soon she felt her body slam hard into what seemed like a tree, and as the water passed, she realized she was high on a trunk stripped bare of its branches by the ungodly wind and tide before sliding roughly down it and crashing onto her side, the curve of the trunk rolling her out a meter or two before coming to a stop.

Amazed she was even conscious, she wrenched open her eyes and tried to move an unresponsive body, only managing to lower her head a little to see that she was actually off to the side of and behind Miki, who seemed to be dancing in the rain that had resumed its normal course, looking ahead at a crumpled thing lying in a large puddle toward the tree that could only be Ai. Poor Ai-chan, Risa thought. She must have caught the full force of whatever Miki did. This distracted her thoughts momentarily from the numbness that was her own body. She almost didn’t care whether she’d ever feel anything again beside her concern for her friend who seemed to have been crushed helplessly in that puddle.

“Who do you think you are trying to use the storm against me!” Miki shouted insanely. “You little bitch! Well now you understand! I am the typhoon! Nobody else can stand against the raw force of nature unleashed, and so you definitely can’t, especially when it’s guided by me!” She paused, bent over in fits of laughter, before continuing on. “And you think you could even stand against Tanaka! She’s who your real gripe is with, isn’t it, little Ai-chan.” A low swirl of wind snatched the body from the puddle and pulled it toward the triumphant girl, dropping it not far from her feet. Risa couldn’t tell how bad she looked from this distance, but at least it looked like she was fully intact…

Miki stood above the body now, laughter ceasing as she looked down at it more seriously now. “It’s good that you found me before you found Tanaka in the cave.” Her voice adopted almost a fearful quality. “You’ll think of what I’m doing to you as a mercy compared to what she… You girls don’t realize that the only power that matters is the kind she has. I don’t even know what she’s planning to dig up down there…” Her eyes seemed to glaze over, and Risa couldn’t do anything but moan at the confirmation of Ai-chan’s intuition that Miki wasn’t the cause of all this. From the sound of it, she didn’t expect that Miki started anything at all. If only she could have trusted her friend… Then what? Miki was able to nearly tear them to pieces seemingly without much effort. If Reina had half as much power as Miki intimated, they’d all be dead in seconds flat. Risa’s vision began to cloud as hope and consciousness began to leave her. A squeal brought her attention back to the girls before her, though.

Aya had her arms locked around Miki’s stomach and her head pressed into her back, seeming to squeeze her as tightly as she could. The squeal had come from the typhoon girl. The sounds now formed themselves into words which Risa could barely make out in front of the impending darkness. “What…! What are you doing! Who is…”

“It’s me, Mikitty!” Aya cried against her back, and Miki froze, hesitating at the unexpected twist. She regained her senses quickly, though, and began funneling wind and rain around her to try to pry off the insistent girl. It didn’t work, however. The girl’s arms embraced her as if in a final desperation with inhuman strength. Some of the strength probably was inhuman, in fact, but in other ways, it was the most human it could be.

Amidst Miki’s thrashing and attempts to remove the girl from around her, she cried out again, “Mikitty, I know things haven’t been the easiest for you. It’s true I can’t understand them because I’ve had so many good things happen to me. I’m not trying to torture you with it, though…” Miki seemed to start thrashing around less, though her fists clenched tightly to her sides and lightning crackled around them. Lightning seemed to be a much more unpredictable and uncontrollable force of nature, however. “The time in my life when I was happiest was when we were both having our own successes and when the whole idea of being celebrities was new to us. Those were the times when we had no doubts about anything and loved sharing it all with each other. Well, the times might be different now, but our sharing and love don’t need to change with it! All I want is to share with you the great things that are happening to me. And I want you to share all the things that happen to you, too, because I care… and I love you.”

“No…!” Miki yelled out, all fight gone from her now as she seemed to be yelling through tears. “You’re lying… Nobody could care about what I’ve become…”

“I care about you now the same as I always have, Mikitty! That’s what friends… That’s what partners do. They share everything, good and bad, because they love who each is inside. You’re still the joyous and successful Miki from a few years ago. I’m the Aya from before anyone knew my name and from when I’m old and ugly and nobody could give a shit about me anymore. I just don’t want you to be alone anymore. If this is you, then I’ll live with you this way. That’s all I want to do… be with you…”

Aya’s tears fell freely as she finished, but her commitment appeared to not be as dire as she would have accepted, as Miki fell to her knees, weak now in Aya’s never-weakening embrace. She turned around and their tear-soaked eyes connected as if either of them couldn’t see a more beautiful thing in the world. Miki finally returned the embrace, which only tightened in their mutual need, and Risa smiled softly, thinking how wonderful it must be to have someone love you like that, before the smile left her face as the darkness at last consumed her.

Deep within an ancient cavern, Reina’s meditation was disrupted momentarily by a shock of unwanted power, and the lighting in the chamber flared chaotically in response to her mood. So, Fujimoto had somehow left her. It didn’t really surprise her. She figured the girl was too weak to handle what she promised. What they promised. It was of little consequence now; Fujimoto was only a small vessel, and the ritual had progressed quite far enough already. She smiled darkly as amorphous shadows danced around the walls, uncast by anything that could be seen within, and focused her attention back on the low altar before her.

That focus lasted only a moment again, however, as her amplified senses picked up some others entering the tunnels leading to the cavern. Sighing, she gave her attention to them long enough to identify two girls who seemed to be terrified led by a calmer and thoughtful one whose presence clouded Reina’s mind in memories for a moment. She quickly cleared them, though. Memories were long past, after all.

She carefully rose from her meditation, the shadows fading a little at her broken concentration. She almost thought she could hear wailing, as well as… something that stirred a fear deep inside herself. This had better be the last interruption, she thought dourly, as she prepared for the girls who had the misfortune to be the cause of her rapidly darkening mood.

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