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Author Topic: A Young Girl's Odyssey [Epilogue ~COMPLETE~]  (Read 36462 times)

Offline rokun

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Re: A Young Girl's Odyssey [28]
« Reply #140 on: June 15, 2007, 09:26:13 PM »
Thank you, JFC, for your thoughtful responses. :) Keeping an eye on my views a little, either a bunch of you read this or one or two of you kept checking it over and over. :lol: Either way, I'm glad I'm sparking some pretty good interest in you guys. Of course I love reading what people have to say... but I also understand this is the sort of story where not much may need to be said... Anyway, as you can probably tell I'm reaching a climax of the story and am trying to do my best to write what I see in my head as well as possible, so as always, I hope you all enjoy...


Chapter 28 – The Scent of Freedom

Reina felt blinded by brightness and thought the fire had claimed her before she opened her eyes. They were indeed assaulted by some searing radiance, but quickly adjusted as she realized it was the dawn sunlight blazing through the bedroom window. She let herself adjust for a moment, clutching a soft light sheet to her chest, until she realized there was nothing separating the sheet from her skin.

The previous night’s events came flooding back to her, and she turned her head slowly to see Ai sleeping soundly very close beside her, facing her direction. Reina’s cheeks flushed slightly before a smile came to her lips. She now fully remembered the night, and finished turning carefully onto her side so she could watch the other girl sleep. The figure beside her looked so calm and vulnerable, totally unlike any character Reina had seen her exemplify in so long. This incredible girl whom she had looked up to in both awe and fear for so long was now hers. She remembered the confusion she felt the night before, but now she couldn’t imagine things to be any different.

Slowly and carefully sitting up, she kissed the girl lightly on the shoulder and slid out from underneath the sheet. Unable to find her skirt and blouse, she searched through Ai’s drawers for some suitable clothing. Thankfully they were basically the same size. Reina didn’t want to be wandering through the streets in a nightgown again. She smiled as she remembered that time.

Finding something appropriate, she slung it over her arm and left the room, closing the door gently behind her, and headed to the bath. After cleaning up, she came out to find Ai leaning against the bedroom doorframe in a thick bathrobe and drinking something that appeared to be steaming. The scent of warm tea came to her nostrils. Apparently the girl had been busy while she was bathing.

“Good morning!” Reina said with a smile.

Ai took another sip of her tea. “Good morning,” she said in a low but not unpleased voice. “I was wondering if you would ever come out of there. We do have an internationally nefarious and evil organization to overthrow today, and probably some people to kill. Or maybe you’d forgotten…” The girl looked down at her cup with a small smile as she trailed off, not terribly subtly indicating why she thought Reina might have forgotten the day’s activities.

Reina felt herself color slightly. She was proud she didn’t show it even more; she must be getting a little stronger at least. “I haven’t forgotten…” she said in barely more than a murmur. Truth be told, she almost wished she had forgotten about today. Sure, they would put hopefully at least a serious dent in the ideology she had been fighting against almost since she technically joined in its pursuit, but Ai was right about there probably being some people to kill… That part, she wasn’t looking forward to.

“Have a cup of tea,” Ai offered, tilting her head in the direction of the kitchen. “As you know in a way, traditional tea making is an art I’ve somehow managed to pick up along with everything else lately, so it’s quite good. It’ll give you the energy and nutrition you’ll need later.” Draining her own cup, she nonchalantly set it on an end table and headed past Reina toward the bath herself.

As she brushed past, Reina felt her take her hand gently and they turned to face each other. “Oh, and feel free to leave whenever you’d like to do whatever you need to get ready for this evening. You might want to call Ayaya. After I’m finished here I’ll need to get ready and leave right away to get everyone together and talk to the Council members one last time, so won’t have time for…” With that, she leaned over and kissed Reina, who leaned into it easily. It was over all too soon though, and with a light smile that Reina noticed didn’t really reach her eyes, the suave girl strode into the washroom.

Reina just closed her eyes for a moment at the pleasant way she now felt. It was the best since… She opened her eyes, a small pang of guilt tickling at her stomach as Eri sprung to her mind. Well, that was no longer her world, and she was the one that was betrayed first after all. The feeling didn’t go away though until she poured herself a cup of tea and took a sip. It really was as good as Ai said it was, and it had just a hint of milk. She looked down into the cup, swirling it slowly. She wondered if that was a skill she might be able to pick up too.

She stared into the remnants of last night’s fire, sitting in one of the armchairs as she drank her tea. In minutes she was done, and supposed she might as well be off. That last kiss seemed to be Ai’s farewell, and she did need to get some things from her apartment for the day’s work. She also needed to check in with some of her businesses, and apparently call Aya… Reluctant to leave the place she’d spent the night, she took her handbag from an end table where it had been since she arrived and slowly headed out the door.

After making a short stop at her apartment she made her way outside, breathing in the freshness of the mid-morning air. They’d slept in perhaps a bit longer than they should, but it was of no matter. Despite all the preparations they were going to make, what it would come down to was how the both of them would perform at the end, and Reina felt last night was the best preparation they could have had.

She paid only half of her attention to the managers and presidents of the various offices and even breakfast-serving fast food establishments she visited at a leisurely pace. They were as thrilled as always to see her appear, but all the same they couldn’t deny how their business had improved since she made them aware of the inefficiency of their traditional practices, except for places like the fast food restaurants. Since they were already sufficiently modernized, all she’d had to do with them was get them to relax and put the best interests of their customers ahead of their own money-making, and in some cases laundering, schemes. Many of them were quite surprised at how their profits actually increased once they stopped focusing on them so much.

However, eager to see her or not, Reina told them all the same message this morning and into the afternoon, leaving a trail of somewhat confused faces that stared after her long after she was already down the street. The message was simple.

“Today we celebrate liberation,” Reina told one nervous-looking fellow who managed a downtown warehouse. His eyes kept dancing to the sides as if one of the many passing labourers would come to him angrily demanding why he was talking to this young girl who wore a slim-fitting and short pure white dress that was clasped with a large belt with a buckle that looked, and in fact was, gold-trimmed. It was in stark contrast to the dim warehouse environment they stood in.

“After today your business will be only yours. You’ve learned how to turn revenue to support yourself as well as a good bit extra, so you no longer need the backing of NDI. You’ll no longer be held to their standard… But be careful. If you lose your integrity again, I’ll still be watching…”

The warehouse manager, no longer shivering with anxiety, silently stared at her as she weaved through the busy labourers and departed the warehouse without a backward glance.

Back in her apartment finally after a day of mostly the same errands and friendly warnings, she stood at a window looking out onto the streets packed with vehicles and people. The sun was quickly lengthening its evening shadows. It wouldn’t be long now. However, she still had a call to make.

“Hello?”

“Good evening, Aya,” Reina said calmly into her phone as the other girl greeted her.

“Reina!” came her response quickly, though there was a hesitation before a quieter, “It’s nice to hear from you.”

“Thanks,” Reina said automatically. She was momentarily pleased with how much stronger Aya sounded now. Miki must be taking good care of her. “How are you holding up in your new surroundings?”

“Well, it’s honestly quite a lot to take in. I couldn’t believe the organization Mikitty has developed. Do you know there are dozens of people working with her toward this end?” Reina didn’t, actually. “You know… I think their plan may actually work. Are you and Ai-chan still dead-set on the crazy idea she thought up? I didn’t think much of it before, but now that I’ve worked with Mikitty… I hope you’re not about to go on a suicide mission. We’ll be acting tonight too, you know.”

That, Reina did know. What Aya didn’t know however was that her concerns about Reina and Ai were uninformed. Of course ultimately it would come down to skill and steel, but that was something she had a feeling neither Aya nor Miki could envision with any bearing on reality. Still, it was good to know they weren’t alone. Reina felt as if she would never be alone again...

She smiled throughout the rest of their conversation, which mostly consisted of Aya’s feelings on adapting to a situation that was very unlike being an idol as well as confirmation that they would be ready to put Miki’s careful planning into action.

After she finished talking with Aya, Reina made herself a large bowl of ramen to give her the final energy she’d need for later. As she sat at her dining table, chopsticks seeming to clang loudly every time they hit the bowl, she looked around at her otherwise silent apartment. It was still largely unfurnished since she hadn’t had the time nor motivation to do anything about that, and the small sounds she was making while eating seemed quite amplified off the walls that surrounded the living and dining area which was at least three times larger than the entire apartment she maintained prior to her initiation before the Council.
 
It had certainly been a whirlwind few months. A lot of the time she missed her other friends from Hello! Project and the performances, but she also was more satisfied lately in a way because she felt she was making a difference in the lives of many people. This morning was actually quite fulfilling in that regard. This didn’t apply to the supervisors she spoke with of course, but she knew the influence eventually would be felt on the working-class labourers beneath them. They weren’t the ones that were licking her boots all the time; in fact, she was relatively ignored by almost all of them. To them she was just another executive, albeit an oddly dressed and young one, but all the same nothing they cared to become involved with.

After stowing her bowl away to be washed, she headed to her closet to pull out her clothes for the evening. She began by changing into a dark leather skirt that was of course considerably short. She didn’t think she could wear anything that stretched much beyond mid-thigh. Tightening a wide carbon fiber belt around it fastened with a large shiny jade dragon’s head, she also pulled on a light white tank top which she covered with a tight-fitting yet plain denim vest. Overall, it was a plain yet at least in spots particularly durable outfit. Durability was the key for now; she had no need to impress tonight.

As she was closing her wardrobe, she thought she heard a light knocking coming from the front of her apartment. Immediately wary, as she was not expecting any visitors now and no one else should even know she lived here, she headed toward the front door and unfastened the locks, pulling it open. She stared at the figures standing in the doorway.

“I see Koha-chan was right. You have gone fully sukeban, Reina-chan…”
« Last Edit: June 15, 2007, 09:56:47 PM by rokun »

Offline glcorps2002

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Re: A Young Girl's Odyssey [28]
« Reply #141 on: June 16, 2007, 12:16:15 AM »
^ Risa and Eri, am I right?

Offline JFC

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Re: A Young Girl's Odyssey [28]
« Reply #142 on: June 18, 2007, 01:15:50 AM »
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Unable to find her skirt and blouse, she searched through Ai’s drawers for some suitable clothing.
Sounds like it was quite a night.  :pimp:


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Ai took another sip of her tea. “Good morning,” she said in a low but not unpleased voice. “I was wondering if you would ever come out of there. We do have an internationally nefarious and evil organization to overthrow today, and probably some people to kill. Or maybe you’d forgotten…”
Aichan still has that focus, she still sees that goal that they're both striving for.


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That last kiss seemed to be Ai’s farewell, and she did need to get some things from her apartment for the day’s work.
Might that be some foreshadowing I see?


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However, eager to see her or not, Reina told them all the same message this morning and into the afternoon, leaving a trail of somewhat confused faces that stared after her long after she was already down the street. The message was simple.

“Today we celebrate liberation,” Reina told one nervous-looking fellow who managed a downtown warehouse.

...

“After today your business will be only yours. You’ve learned how to turn revenue to support yourself as well as a good bit extra, so you no longer need the backing of NDI. You’ll no longer be held to their standard… But be careful. If you lose your integrity again, I’ll still be watching…”
So basically, Reina's telling them that she won't be coming around anymore because they no longer need her to check up on them like she has normally been doing.  So long as they keep up with their new business practices, they'll be fine. Yet, if they should start slipping up, they'll once again be seeing her, and not in a good way. 


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“Well, it’s honestly quite a lot to take in. I couldn’t believe the organization Mikitty has developed. Do you know there are dozens of people working with her toward this end?” Reina didn’t, actually.
Looks like Miki's been rather busy while she's been "dead". ;D  She's on the ball, she knows that she'd have to bring in more manpower to take down the organization.


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“You know… I think their plan may actually work. Are you and Ai-chan still dead-set on the crazy idea she thought up? I didn’t think much of it before, but now that I’ve worked with Mikitty… I hope you’re not about to go on a suicide mission. We’ll be acting tonight too, you know.”
So not only does Aya know of the plan, but she's also helping/participating in it too? I guess I can see why. If there was an organization that tried to have my best friend killed, as well as turn two other friends into assassins, I'd want to help take them down too.


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As she was closing her wardrobe, she thought she heard a light knocking coming from the front of her apartment. Immediately wary, as she was not expecting any visitors now and no one else should even know she lived here, she headed toward the front door and unfastened the locks, pulling it open. She stared at the figures standing in the doorway.

“I see Koha-chan was right. You have gone fully sukeban, Reina-chan…”
Oh crap, Koharu snitched? :O

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

Offline iacus

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Re: A Young Girl's Odyssey [28]
« Reply #143 on: June 21, 2007, 09:58:00 AM »
Maybe I'm reading this the wrong way, but it seems to me that Aichan is kinda messed up in the head and the one thing that's been keeping her from falling apart has been her mission to overthrow the organization. And, now, Reina I guess has also been helping her keep her sanity and her humanity intact.  I do wonder what's going to happen to her, mentally, after the mission is over.(assuming she survives that is)   I would also wonder how loyal Koharu is to the syndicate and to Aichan. Did she tell whoever is at the door (Eri?) by herself? Or did Aichan order her to?

Offline rokun

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Re: A Young Girl's Odyssey [28]
« Reply #144 on: June 22, 2007, 02:26:55 AM »
I like your thoughts, Iacus. :)

Thanks everyone for reading and responding! Your detailed comments make me happy that people are really paying attention to my writing... This chapter is, well, there's a lot in it. I hope you enjoy this prelude.


Chapter 29 – More Worth Than Gold

Eri, Risa and Sayu, who showed a more pouty-looking face than usual, stood before Reina in front of the door. Reina didn’t speak right away because even though it didn’t show on the outside, she hadn’t in her wildest dreams expected these girls to show up at her front door. While Risa and Sayu stared her up and down, she herself stared with unblinking eyes into Eri’s, who gazed straight back.

Sayu was the one who spoke, but Reina ignored her comment. “What are you guys doing here?” she asked in a low voice.

In response, Sayu walked straight past into her apartment. Reina could have stopped her, but for some reason she didn’t want to interfere. After looking around inside her apartment a moment, Sayu spoke up again. “I’m very upset with you, Reina-chan.”

Reina finally broke her eyes from Eri’s challenging and hurt-filled gaze to see the younger girl, who was dressed in a shiny pink jacket and skirt and carrying a black handbag, still scrutinizing her living space. Heading over to one of the armchairs, Reina sank down into it, pulling her knees together. She should have just shooed these girls away, especially with her tight schedule this evening, but something inside her told her they deserved this.

Sayu walked up and stood before her, fists on her hips. Reina looked back into the accusing glare. “I told you to let me know if anything went on with you. I thought that’s what best friends did.” Reina looked back at her blandly. The girl began to tap her foot. “But then we go to our concert in Kobe and you don’t show up and eventually I find out that you were missing and thought dead.

“Of course I didn’t believe that for a second. I know you would have told me were you going to be kidnapped or killed, but still, that didn’t answer the question of where you were.”

She now turned to the other two girls, who had entered the apartment and stood not far from Reina and her lecturer. Risa was giving Reina a hard and angry look, and Eri looked so meek it seemed as if she would melt into the floor.

"Then these two started keeping to themselves and hardly talking to anyone else. Every time I would try to talk to Eririn and tell her that there was obviously nothing wrong with you, she would run and hide like she couldn’t face the world anymore, poor thing. When I managed to find her, Gaki-san was always around and shooing me away.

“I tell you!” she exclaimed with a flourish of her arms, her handbag flying wildly, “I could have sworn they were going out, as crazy as that might sound, because I couldn’t for the life of me imagine what else it could be! Eririn had a new girlfriend, and so couldn’t be bothered with her best friend anymore. At that time, I was getting very angry,” she said with a stern look on her face that from her looked like absolutely nothing other than a very severe pout, “And so imagine my surprise when one time I was eavesdropping on them and I heard them talk about you running away with Ai-chan, of all things!”

Reina stared up at the girl, dumbfounded. She managed to squirrel out so much, but there were such huge gaps in her knowledge Reina wondered how she managed. It was amazing she turned up with socks on every day! Of course, Reina was sure her nearsightedness definitely did not stretch as far as her fashion.

The pink girl now had her arms crossed, a finger to her chin as if she was in deep thought. Reina thought it looked like very hard work. “Well I’d had enough! I barged right in and overwhelmed them with my irresistible cuteness, and so of course they told me what happened. I still wasn’t sure I believed it until I came here and what do you know! Apparently you did run away to Tokyo! I don’t see Ai-chan around, but I know she lives in this building so that part of your story is likely true as well…” She now studied Reina’s face closely as if the mysteries of the universe would unravel themselves to her from there.

While the girl contemplated, Reina looked back toward the other two. Risa was now looking disdainfully yet long-sufferingly at Sayu, where Eri, not anymore looking like she’d melt away, studied Reina’s face as well, although in a far different manner than Sayu. Reina felt a guilty sadness as she gazed back at her and Eri, as if suddenly realizing something in her mind, widened her eyes.

“Speaking of finding you,” Sayu continued, oblivious to anything else going on, “We checked your apartment when we returned to the city, but since it looked like no one even lived there anymore, I was at a loss about how to find you with nothing more to go on than that you ‘ran off to Tokyo’!”

Reina licked her lips slowly as she shared Eri’s wide-eyed gaze, since they suddenly felt very cracked and dry. Eri stretched out a hand slowly toward Reina as Sayu took up again. “But…! One time after weeks had passed when we were discussing whether we should just give up on you since you’d obviously given up on us, Koha-chan was passing by, and when we mentioned your name we heard a crash. Looking over, the girl was frozen with hands still out that no longer held a plate that had dropped to the floor and exploded. Too late, she apologized quickly and bent to clean it up, but I was on her in two cute shakes of a rabbit’s ear since I knew something was up, and after torturing her found out quite an absurd story about ravens and yakuza and hookers and you and Ai-chan, as well as where likely to find you. After that of course…”

Trailing off, she finally seemed to notice what the other girls were doing. She spoke so fast, Eri’s hand had just now stretched almost all the way to Reina, but the so-vulnerable-looking girl retracted it suddenly as if from a coiled viper.

“What are you two doing?” Sayu demanded.

Eri’s eyes were still wide and Reina, now with the realization of what the girl had understood, lounged back in her chair to look at her with slit eyes.

“Iya~!” Eri cried softly, and with a passing look at an extremely puzzled Sayu turned to face Risa, who was also looking among the three in slight confusion. Suddenly and with a quickness that impressed even Reina, Sayu gasped as Eri dove at Risa, kissing her hard and long. Risa struggled for a moment, but eventually gave in to the other girl’s aggressiveness.

After pressing together for what must have been a full minute, during which time Reina’s grip unconsciously became tighter and tighter on the padded arms of her lounge chair, they finally parted with Eri still looking into Risa’s face and the other girl taking loud quick breaths. Nobody spoke again until Sayu let loose a small squeal.

“You two are going out!!!” she breathed in a quite shaken voice. “I…” she  began, “I…”

Risa, having caught her breath, was looking carefully at Eri. Eri turned to look at Reina, who noticed her eyes flicking to hands that she quickly unclenched from the arms, but she was too late.

“Yes we are,” Eri said in a calm voice. “Sorry I haven’t told you Sayumin, but I was too embarrassed,” she finished, sounding and looking nothing of the sort. Reina looked coldly into eyes that were nearly as hard in return.

“I see…” Sayu said, quickly gathering herself. If there was one thing the girl had going for her, it was an unflappable composure when matters didn’t require her drama queen appearance.

She turned back to Reina. “This is quite a day of surprises, I see.”

Reina looked back at her, pointedly avoiding looking at the other girls. “Yes,” she said emotionlessly. “It is.”

“So,” Sayu continued, sounding now as if there was nothing surprising at all going on, “Now that we’ve found you, you can come back with us and put all this sukeban nonsense behind you. Tsunku will be so relieved. He and UFW have been a wreck. What with Mikitty and Nono and everybody else graduating or missing, I’d heard talk of him even shutting us all down and going totally independent with TNX. Of course he’d draft me to come along with him, but I’d be worried for Eririn and Nii-chan over there.” She gave them a sideways look. “Although maybe with this new scandal of their own, they might be of enough interest to stay around.”

She leaned over, pulled Reina up from her chair, and started for the door. Before she’d gone two steps however Reina’s arm slipped easily out of her grip. She didn’t even realize it until she’d taken another.

“I don’t think so,” Reina said, giving all three of them a cool look. She was pleased to see a somewhat abashed look on Eri’s face in response to her new attitude. “If Koharu really did tell you everything, then you should know that it’s all true, and more.” She heard Eri gasp softly, but Sayu still gave her a disbelieving frown.

“What are you talking about?” the ichiban kawaii asked. “You’re no assassin… working with the yakuza to run illegal businesses… and prostitute rings… all over Tokyo!” She couldn’t keep a straight face while saying that, and fully broke out laughing when she ended at the clear ridiculousness of the idea. However, when she noticed she was the only one her laughter died out quickly. She glanced nervously from Reina’s serious posture to Eri and Risa’s understanding yet somewhat horrified expressions. “You can’t be…”

“I have to go,” said Reina hollowly, buttoning her vest and walking past the three girls to the door. “Please lock up when you leave. I can afford to have this place refurnished if everything is stolen, but I’d rather not bother with the hassle,” she continued as she opened it, not looking back.

She paced out into the hall, not bothering to shut the door while the other three were still behind, but was surprised to hear a soft ‘click’ seconds later and the sound of feet running to catch up with her. Risa and Eri pulled up on either side of her, matching her pace, and she stopped, shifting her eyes between the two of them.

“We’re going with you,” Risa said, her voice as dead serious as Reina’s was just moments ago.

“We’re never leaving you by yourself again,” Eri said from the other side. Reina looked back at her into eyes that still held deep hurt and now some guilt, but steely resolve as well.

“There’s no way,” Reina said, now the one sounding disbelieving at the ridiculousness of the situation. “You have no idea what’s going on. There’s no possible way you could…” The two girls’ resolute expressions never wavered, and they didn’t move from her side as if they would protect her from anything that could come along.

What are they doing?! Reina thought frantically. She had just decided to bolt into a run ahead that they couldn’t possibly keep up with before a pigtailed girl came around them and halted directly in front of Reina.

“We lost you once…” she said in the most serious voice Reina had ever heard from her. “Gods know what you’ve gotten yourself into, but I think I finally understand that none of it is a joke.

You may not think we need to know everything, but we’re still best friends, and we’re not letting you go that easily. If you try to get away from us, I’ll have you know we have the best driver Tokyo Taxi has to offer, and he won’t have any trouble keeping up with you. One way or another, we’re going with you. Of course, I’d prefer if it was together…” She finished with a determined yet slightly pleading look as if to appeal to Reina’s good sense.

Reina stared at her. She felt the two girls on either side of her slide over so closely they almost touched her shoulders. Why were they being ridiculous… She and Ai-chan had to do this alone…

An image popped into her head of Miki’s and Aya’s faces. Aya told her again that they would be ready to put Miki’s plan into action. Their faces faded into a vivid text message telling her she could never control everything, and there would also always be others striving for the same ends. Nobody need stand alone. She felt her body calm as she felt the unfamiliar camaraderie standing among these girls gave her. However, she still wasn’t fully convinced of the sense of it all.

“But you’ll be killed… I may not even survive…” she said, almost defeatedly now. This time the three girls looked at each other before anyone responded.

“You’ve helped me through so much…” Risa said. “Although I’ve been upset with your disappearance lately, I know a lot of it is still my own fault. Along with Ai-chan…” She paused a moment. “...you are the closest friends I know. I’ve even used Eririn for my own selfish ends…” The two of them shared a long look, but it ended with slow nods. “Now I want to return some of all you’ve given me. I can’t say I know much about dying, although these last several months have made me grow quite a bit, but I’m sticking with you until the end.” She shared a look with Reina, but Reina nodded with little hesitation.

“We’re best friends,” Sayu said simply. “I want to go wherever you do. I don’t want to… die…” She said the word with distaste. “But if you can survive then I can.” Reina looked at the girl, deciding once again if she was a devil or an angel. The girl had no idea what she would face; it wasn’t as simple as them all conquering some foe together. Well, she would take care of that when it came up. A plan was already forming in her head. She nodded.

Expecting more again, she looked at Eri. The expression returned caught her breath and made the butterflies of guilt flutter in her stomach once again. Eri looked at her with love that she couldn’t fathom mixed with white-hot resolve.

“I’d go with you to hell and back,” the girl said in a tight yet quite strong voice. She felt the other two girls’ breaths catch as well. Apparently this was something they weren’t expecting. As Reina looked into those deep eyes, she realized that their owner was perhaps the only one of them who fully understood the magnitude of what they were facing.

“I’m sorry…” Reina breathed. She wished to say more but couldn’t. She knew the love that radiated out at her wasn’t reflected from herself. She’d made her choice. However, at her words Eri just shook her head as if to brush it aside, and Reina nodded and smiled sadly.

“…All right,” Sayu said after a time, still looking between Reina and Eri. Apparently deciding to leave that be for now though, she began to turn around. “Let’s go.”

The four girls marched down the hall to the elevator. There was no large muscled man reclining against the wall this time. Once down to the lobby they crossed it and left the mansion. There wasn’t a soul in sight.

They were led by the young girl in pink with a black handbag, whose serious and set expression looked so out of place on that porcelain face. Behind to either side walked girls in stonewashed jeans, one with a t-shirt and short leather jacket and the other simply in a green polo shirt. They kept protectively around the focal point of the group who walked in the middle, an even smaller and younger girl who walked as if she held the weight of the world on her shoulders. Indeed, the garments she wore reflected the weight of piles of gold, but it all didn’t seem quite as heavy as it had just a short time ago.

They arrived at a limo whose driver was a young man that looked curiously at the four before at a nod from the youngest he opened the door for them. Before they got in, the one in front turned around.

“So… Where are we going again?”

Offline JFC

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Re: A Young Girl's Odyssey [29: Treasure]
« Reply #145 on: June 22, 2007, 05:41:19 AM »
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Eri, Risa and Sayu, who showed a more pouty-looking face than usual, stood before Reina in front of the door. Reina didn’t speak right away because even though it didn’t show on the outside, she hadn’t in her wildest dreams expected these girls to show up at her front door. While Risa and Sayu stared her up and down, she herself stared with unblinking eyes into Eri’s, who gazed straight back.
And now, we await the dramatics and the waterworks. :)


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Sayu walked up and stood before her, fists on her hips. Reina looked back into the accusing glare. “I told you to let me know if anything went on with you. I thought that’s what best friends did.” Reina looked back at her blandly. The girl began to tap her foot. “But then we go to our concert in Kobe and you don’t show up and eventually I find out that you were missing and thought dead.
Holy, didn't quite expect Sayu to be the one giving the lecture. That dark side of hers really has a way of sneaking up on you.   :O


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Sayu took up again. “But…! One time after weeks had passed when we were discussing whether we should just give up on you since you’d obviously given up on us, Koha-chan was passing by, and when we mentioned your name we heard a crash. Looking over, the girl was frozen with hands still out that no longer held a plate that had dropped to the floor and exploded. Too late, she apologized quickly and bent to clean it up, but I was on her in two cute shakes of a rabbit’s ear since I knew something was up, and after torturing her found out quite an absurd story about ravens and yakuza and hookers and you and Ai-chan, as well as where likely to find you. After that of course…”
See, it's stuff like THIS that show why Aichan picked Reina to be her kouhai in this endeavor over Koharu.  When you're getting into what they're getting into, you need nerves of steel. You can't just break down and spill your beans like that.  :err:


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“Iya~!” Eri cried softly, and with a passing look at an extremely puzzled Sayu turned to face Risa, who was also looking among the three in slight confusion. Suddenly and with a quickness that impressed even Reina, Sayu gasped as Eri dove at Risa, kissing her hard and long. Risa struggled for a moment, but eventually gave in to the other girl’s aggressiveness.

After pressing together for what must have been a full minute, during which time Reina’s grip unconsciously became tighter and tighter on the padded arms of her lounge chair, they finally parted with Eri still looking into Risa’s face and the other girl taking loud quick breaths. Nobody spoke again until Sayu let loose a small squeal.

“You two are going out!!!” she breathed in a quite shaken voice. “I…” she  began, “I…”
CUE THE ANGSTY-DRAMATIC MUSIC!  :mon blowhorn:


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“What are you talking about?” the ichiban kawaii asked. “You’re no assassin… working with the yakuza to run illegal businesses… and prostitute rings… all over Tokyo!” She couldn’t keep a straight face while saying that, and fully broke out laughing when she ended at the clear ridiculousness of the idea. However, when she noticed she was the only one her laughter died out quickly. She glanced nervously from Reina’s serious posture to Eri and Risa’s understanding yet somewhat horrified expressions. “You can’t be…”
Poor Sayu. She talks about Tsunku and UFA being a wreck, when by the sounds of it she's really talking about herself. Thinking that they had lost Reina & Aichan, that she had lost two of her closest friends must have really been a shock for her.  So many changes have happened recently in her life, and it must just all be so overwhelming. Sayu just wants some normalcy back in her life. She wants things to go back to the way they were.


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“We’re going with you,” Risa said, her voice as dead serious as Reina’s was just moments ago.

“We’re never leaving you by yourself again,” Eri said from the other side. Reina looked back at her into eyes that still held deep hurt and now some guilt, but steely resolve as well.

“There’s no way,” Reina said, now the one sounding disbelieving at the ridiculousness of the situation. “You have no idea what’s going on. There’s no possible way you could…” The two girls’ resolute expressions never wavered, and they didn’t move from her side as if they would protect her from anything that could come along.

What are they doing?! Reina thought frantically. She had just decided to bolt into a run ahead that they couldn’t possibly keep up with before a pigtailed girl came around them and halted directly in front of Reina.

“We lost you once…” she said in the most serious voice Reina had ever heard from her. “Gods know what you’ve gotten yourself into, but I think I finally understand that none of it is a joke.

“You may not think we need to know everything, but we’re still best friends, and we’re not letting you go that easily. If you try to get away from us, I’ll have you know we have the best driver Tokyo Taxi has to offer, and he won’t have any trouble keeping up with you. One way or another, we’re going with you. Of course, I’d prefer if it was together…” She finished with a determined yet slightly pleading look as if to appeal to Reina’s good sense.
This here is true friendship. Sure Risa, Eri, and Sayu have no idea whatsoever of what they're getting themselves into. They have no idea of the possible dangers that awaits. However, none of that matters to them. All they know is that Reina's going to do something big, and that's reason enough for them. Regardless of whatever other issues they may have between themselves, as they said, she's their friend, and they're going to help her no matter what.  That type of friendship, that type of loyalty is worth way more than the gold trinkets Reina has been wearing lately. It's worth more than the bodyguards and the weapons and all that other crap...it's priceless.

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

Offline rokun

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Re: A Young Girl's Odyssey [30: Crimson]
« Reply #146 on: June 26, 2007, 02:01:12 PM »
I'm glad to see a few people are still reading... This is perhaps my most-edited chapter. I hope I expressed what I hoped to. Cue drama...


Chapter 30 – Eve of Crimson

The four girls were mostly quiet as Daisuke-kun drove what seemed like forever to Kobe. Reina sometimes rode in buses this long to their tour sites, but it seemed quite different in the relatively cramped confines of their limo. The four of them had plenty of room of course since this was a luxury automobile after all, but still each seat was designed for only two. Reina shared hers with Sayu while Risa sat beside Eri.

Sayu thought this arrangement was appropriate since the other two were apparently dating. However, the pair didn’t hold hands or even really touch along the way. In fact, the closest they came to any sort of affection was when Eri fell asleep at one point with her head on Risa’s shoulder. Reina suspected Sayu would meet the same fate at some point, but to her surprise she was as alert as herself. The girl seemed to have unexpected energy behind her porcelain façade.

When they first had entered the limo, in response to Sayu’s question Reina filled them in on the general points of what they were going to do. There was of course far too much background to explain everything, but Reina thought they should know a little of what they faced.

“So you and Ai-chan are going to be heroines of Japan after this! That’s so wonderful!” Sayu had commented at one point.

“If we do our job right, no one outside of the Council will know exactly what goes on tonight,” Reina corrected. “The rest will just think there was an assassination and shuffle in leadership.”

Sayu was quiet for a second. “Assassination…” she repeated to herself, as if it was a strange and unfamiliar, and ultimately distasteful, word. Quickly though she pushed that minor aspect aside and pouted. “No one will know…” she complained under her breath. “What’s so romantic about that?” Reina kept her face steely. Eri and Risa exchanged looks. At least they seemed to get the idea.

Reina spent most of the rest of the trip pondering how to get rid of Sayu since, as well as not possibly being able to help in the night’s activities, she obviously grossly underestimated the situation. She was surprised the girl didn’t try chatting with them more throughout the trip, but she spent most of her time gazing out the window at the countryside they passed. Reina did a little of that herself. It truly was beautiful, and she didn’t really have the time to enjoy it while traveling normally. Although, as the hours passed, dusk spreading over the fields beneath a crimson sunset shrouded much of the view.

Finally the squat buildings and glimpses of the sea along Kobe port came into view through the darkness. It wouldn’t be long now before she would meet her fate, whatever that would be. As they came ever closer to their destination, Reina pondered that very thing. She supposed the Council would be dissolved and all the major figures arrested; the Chairman likely killed. That was to be Ai’s battle. Even though Reina didn’t know exactly what it was, the two of them had a history that made Ai’s face darken nearly every time his name was mentioned. Reina felt very sympathetic toward Ai for that, but she still hoped there was some way they could accomplish their aims without killing anyone. It was very likely she would have to kill someone for the first time tonight, and the thought sent chills down her spine like very little else could any longer.

The limo slowed and finally came to a stop in front of the nondescript building Reina remembered from her last appearance there. It wasn’t the most pleasant memory. Seeing Reina’s interest, Risa poked Eri awake and the other three girls peered out the side, odd looks appearing on their faces.

This is the headquarters of Nippon Dai Ichi?” Risa asked. “I was nearly expecting a palace…” She and Eri gave Reina slightly odd looks, though they extended no further than that. Sayu however gave her quite a different one.

“You’re not just making all this up to scare us, are you Reina-chan?” she asked, but Reina was prevented from replying by the door opening and Daisuke-kun looking in at them.

“We’ve arrived, Tanaka-Taisho.” He looked around at the other girls. “Will you all be departing here?”

Reina nodded, giving Sayu a glance that told her she’d be talked to later, and slipped out the door. Risa ducked out after, followed by Sayu and Eri. Reina took a few determined steps toward the building before turning back to direct the others. As she did, she heard the limo door slam shut and what came next happened in a rush.

The sound of metal being unsheathed, something her ears had almost been trained to catch if heard a kilo away, rang through the night. She drew two of her own long daggers that were hidden down the outside of her thighs and with a cry leapt forward toward the sound, unsure at first where it had come from.

However, that soon became apparent as with her movement time seemed to slow. She saw a pained look flash across Eri’s face, and the girl began falling to reveal a blood-stained knife being thrust forward by Daisuke-kun, whose face was set in focus and concentration with no other emotion, such as the anger Reina might have expected, interfering.

Apparently noticing the movement behind her Sayu began to turn, but her head was knocked back around by Daisuke’s blade, a spatter of blood flying from the side of her face toward Reina, as well as Risa, who she had just passed in her desperation to get to their attacker. Daisuke had just dropped his arm in order to strike his weapon through the pink fabric of Sayu’s midsection when Reina reached him, feeling both her points strike true as time seemed to come back into focus. Her vicious momentum pushed him back hard, pinning him to the door he had just closed after them.

They stared hard into each others’ eyes, Reina’s with a look of rage fueled by her friend’s blood spattered on her face and vest, and Daisuke’s with an infuriating calmness that softened as the life was slowly being drained out of them. His blade fell to the pavement from a hand that no longer worked right, and his body began to go limp, now held up only by Reina’s twin daggers thrust through his chest and ribs.

“Why…?” Reina growled in what was barely a whisper as she held him fast and hard. Daisuke opened his mouth, but no words came out other than a trickle of blood. “Tell me!” she ordered through gritted teeth. “Why did you attack my friends?!”

He coughed, bringing some more blood to his lips, but finally seemed to find his voice. “The Council has taken care of me ever since I joined when I was a boy and had nowhere else to go,” he said somewhat weakly. “I’ve had a wonderful life ever since. Their backing allowed me to go to the best college... My work for them let me land job as photographer to girls other men in Japan my age would do or pay anything to be near to.” He seemed to become dizzy and disoriented, his eyes opening and closing before focusing once more on Reina’s. “They allowed me to meet you…” His lips spread into a faint smile as he went on, “But when I found out what you were up to, I had to stand up for our Chairman…” His eyes focused harder on hers. “Although, maybe this is for the best. Good-bye… Reina…” With some last weak coughs, his head fell forward to Reina’s chest.

With watery eyes Reina wrenched her daggers back and Daisuke fell to the ground. Hesitating for only a second at what she’d just done, she turned around to see Risa cradling Eri’s head in her arms and smoothing her hair. Sayu sat off to the side with her legs bent and a glazed look on her face, as she held her hand to her cheek while staring at those in front of her. Seeing Eri’s state Reina quickly knelt next to her and put her hand over Risa’s, which was held at the girl’s side. Risa looked up at her.

“There’s so much blood…” she said blankly in a voice that rang even hollower to Reina’s ears.

Reina slowly pulled Risa’s hand away, and indeed the side of Eri’s shirt was soaked through and had turned from green to a dark crimson. Quickly she placed Risa’s hand back against the wound. “Keep holding your hand there,” she directed. “Tightly.”

Rising quickly, she headed toward the car and lightly kicked Daisuke’s unmoving form away from the door before opening it and leaning inside. She unlatched a compartment and took two small towels before ducking back out and kneeling once more next to Eri. Telling Risa to lift her hand, which the girl did reluctantly, she slid Eri’s shirt up to reveal an ugly gash beneath her ribs that made Risa gasp. Reina pressed one of the towels against it and tightly tied the other around her body to hold it there.

She glanced up after she tied it off to see Eri look groggily at her with half-shut eyes. “I feel cold…” she said in a wispy and ethereal voice. “It’s dark… and I want to go to bed...”

Reina leaned over her, inches away from her face. “You need to stay awake a bit longer,” she told her gently. “You’ve got a big performance to do in just a few minutes. You don’t want to miss that, do you?” Hovering over Eri as she was, Reina too felt like shivering. She couldn’t lose her… She didn’t know why, but a sharp tingle twisted at her stomach. She looked at Eri’s lips while they moved slowly as if trying to form words that wouldn’t come. She wanted to lean closer, but knew she couldn’t. Instead, she pulled back.

“Gaki-san, you have your cell phone right? Call 119.” Risa nodded. Reina looked back toward the building in front of them. She wanted to stay with Eri, but the tall structure standing out forbiddingly in the night called to her. Looking back at Risa, who was now on the phone nearly in tears while looking at Eri, she made up her mind and stood. It wasn’t her place right now. Risa would take care of everything, and she had Sayu too. She looked over at the girl who still had her hand at her cheek. Sayu was looking back up at her, and when Reina caught her eyes she stood slowly.

“Are you all right?” Reina asked, noticing the blood seeping from around her fingers.

“My face…” Sayu said. She pulled her hand away to reveal a long thin slash across her cheek that blood was running slowly down from. As if someone had flipped a switch, she looked down and dug into her handbag to pull out two rolls, one that looked like it contained bandages and the other tape. Tearing off one bandage, she dabbed it to clear up what had already bled, although it still left blotty marks, and then she pressed another to the cut, using the tape to hold it in place. Reina watched quietly as she did this. The cut must not be too deep – it wasn’t bleeding through the bandage.

Sayu stuffed the rolls back into her bag and tossed the soiled bandage to the ground, looking up at Reina. Her mouth was tight and her eyes carried a fire Reina had never seen in them before. She glanced down at the other two girls. Risa was apparently finished on the phone and was back to holding Eri, whispering something softly to her. Raising her eyes past the limp form near the car, she brought her gaze back to Reina.

“Why did he do this?” she asked in a hard and cold voice. Reina stayed silent. “Tell me, Reina!” she yelled, stepping forward and clenching her fingers onto Reina’s shoulders.

Reina met her gaze calmly. “It’s what they do. He lived in an artificial world he thought contained happiness, but was only a slave just like all the others. If somebody gets in their way, they’re quietly disposed of like we almost were.” Sayu looked hard at Reina through the silence that followed.

Reina looked down at Risa and Eri but spoke to the other girl still. “I have to go now. Stay with them and help Gaki-san look after Eririn.” She turned back to see Sayu’s heated gaze capturing hers once more.

“I’m going with you,” she said in a voice that brooked no argument.

Reina immediately shook her head. “I can’t have you –“

Reina’s ears rang as her face was jolted to the side. Sayu pulled her hands back and took a step away. “Don’t you dare tell me I’d only be in the way! You’re not doing this alone, and you may be surprised by how well I can take care of myself.”

Reina looked back at her, rubbing her jaw. Well, the girl apparently did have an astoundingly hard forearm at least. Deciding it would be useless telling her she would be meeting up with Ai inside, but still full of doubt yet feeling happiness deep inside at how loyal her friend was, she nodded. Glancing back again at Risa tending to a too-still Eri, she started toward the building. Sayu, a thin line of scarlet just now becoming visible through the bandage on her cheek, followed at her side.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2007, 02:02:53 PM by rokun »

Offline JFC

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Re: A Young Girl's Odyssey [30: Crimson]
« Reply #147 on: June 26, 2007, 07:52:45 PM »
Quote
The four girls were mostly quiet as Daisuke-kun drove what seemed like forever to Kobe.
I wonder if the other girls recognized Daisuke?


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“So you and Ai-chan are going to be heroines of Japan after this! That’s so wonderful!” Sayu had commented at one point.
Typical happy-Sayu reaction. :P


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Reina spent most of the rest of the trip pondering how to get rid of Sayu since, as well as not possibly being able to help in the night’s activities, she obviously grossly underestimated the situation.
In a situation like this, underestimating just how serious it is can get you killed. Reina will have to find a way to keep Sayu out of harm's way, both to protect her as well as to protect Reina, Eri and Risa.



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He coughed, bringing some more blood to his lips, but finally seemed to find his voice. “The Council has taken care of me ever since I joined when I was a boy and had nowhere else to go,” he said somewhat weakly. “I’ve had a wonderful life ever since. Their backing allowed me to go to the best college... My work for them let me land job as photographer to girls other men in Japan my age would do or pay anything to be near to.” He seemed to become dizzy and disoriented, his eyes opening and closing before focusing once more on Reina’s. “They allowed me to meet you…” His lips spread into a faint smile as he went on, “But when I found out what you were up to, I had to stand up for our Chairman…” His eyes focused harder on hers. “Although, maybe this is for the best. Good-bye… Reina…” With some last weak coughs, his head fell forward to Reina’s chest.
Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit! So Daisuke has actually been with this organization since he was a kid? That would definitely explain his loyalty to the Chairman.  Considering Reina's skills, he probably knew that if he didn't succeed, he was as good as dead.  Still though, his loyalty and desire to protect the Chairman would have compelled him to at least try.


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She glanced up after she tied it off to see Eri look groggily at her with half-shut eyes. “I feel cold…” she said in a wispy and ethereal voice. “It’s dark… and I want to go to bed...”
Crap Eri's going into shock from the sudden loss of blood. If she loses consciousness she's as good as dead. :o


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“Why did he do this?” she asked in a hard and cold voice. Reina stayed silent. “Tell me, Reina!” she yelled, stepping forward and clenching her fingers onto Reina’s shoulders.

Reina met her gaze calmly. “It’s what they do. He lived in an artificial world he thought contained happiness, but was only a slave just like all the others. If somebody gets in their way, they’re quietly disposed of like we almost were.” Sayu looked hard at Reina through the silence that followed.
Welcome to the underworld.


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“I’m going with you,” she said in a voice that brooked no argument.

Reina immediately shook her head. “I can’t have you –“

Reina’s ears rang as her face was jolted to the side. Sayu pulled her hands back and took a step away. “Don’t you dare tell me I’d only be in the way! You’re not doing this alone, and you may be surprised by how well I can take care of myself.”
Looks like Sayu's finally realized just how deep they're in this. Let's hope now that she just doesn't do anything stupid.

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

Offline Sukoshi

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Re: A Young Girl's Odyssey [30: Crimson]
« Reply #148 on: June 27, 2007, 09:21:08 AM »
O M G ! :scared:  If you kill one of them off like in your last epic!!!!  :OMG: AHHHH!!!!  ERI!!!  I can't believe Reina's leaving her there with only gaki san!  It's just not safe !  :scolding:

Ugh...can't form proper thoughts..... :gyaaah: *takes a couple of breathes before continuing*

Reina already killed someone and they haven't even entered the building yet  :stoned:  I expected her to have to kill but it's still shocking!

I have a serious suspicion that there is way more than meets the eye with Sayu.  I mean the way she handled herself after her cut and by how strong she is when she slapped Reina...wow...that was pretty darn cool ! :mon innocent:

Offline rokun

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Re: A Young Girl's Odyssey [31: Harsh Reality]
« Reply #149 on: June 30, 2007, 05:49:57 AM »
Well, here's your next chapter. I'm getting back toward my original length, and apparently my original detail too before my vacation now that I'm writing pretty hardcore again... I hope it's worth it and everyone here enjoys. :) Thanks everyone for reading!


Chapter 31 – Onwards and Upwards

The two girls entered into an eerily silent lobby. Even though it was late, Reina knew there would normally still be plenty of people walking around; plenty of security. However, not even the receptionist was at the high front desk. Their steps seemed to echo among the columns as Reina strode purposefully across the hard floor, Sayu sticking close beside her looking all around, apparently impressed with the size of the hall.

“I see there’s more to this building than you’d think from the outside…” she eventually said in a low voice as if one any louder would be heard by unseen specters in the shadows. “But it seems as if there should be more people here.”

“This means that Miki has done her job,” Reina responded in a normal voice. Sayu stopped dead, and although noticing it, Reina took a few more steps forward before halting herself and turning casually to look at her companion. Oh yes, there was one thing she had forgotten to tell them about.

“Miki?” she asked, though disbelief barely registered in her voice now. Apparently her outlook on things had changed considerably as the evening commenced. “Was she involved in all this before she died?”

“She’s not dead,” Reina explained profoundly, and as if on cue they heard two gruff yells, and two men wielding long swords came rushing at them from those dark shadows.

Reina instantly drew her knives again, still bloodied from earlier, and adopted a preparatory stance, darting her eyes around to see what of her environment she could use in her favor. From the corner of her eye she caught Sayu hunched down as well, baring her fists and casting Reina a curious glance. Reina shook her head. The girl must really be determined to be brave enough to stand up against these men with nothing but her own two hands. Of course Reina’s own two hands would have been enough even if she didn’t have her knives, but Sayu hadn’t had the torturous training to develop that skill.

In a quick and fluid motion, Reina reached down to her ankle and pulled a short dagger from her sock. She tossed it to the girl in pink who smiled gratefully, and the two small musume resumed preparation for the men who were now bearing down on them.

However, their preparation was for naught as blasts that echoed loudly through the oppressive silence rang out to their ears, and both men stumbled and fell to the ground, swords flying, with bullet-holes in their backs. Reina casually knocked away one of the flying swords that had come their direction and subsequently clanged off the reception desk before fluidly resheathing her weapons at her sides, peering into the dark at the direction the shots came from.

One man and one woman, both likely near middle-aged, ran toward them with pistols still cocked and pointed upwards. They didn’t relax when Reina and Sayu came clearer to them, but another low female voice yelled out from behind them that it was safe. Upon hearing it, the two lowered their pistols and stuck them in holsters at their belts, crossing their arms while still looking suspiciously at the two girls before them. Reina glanced over and noticed Sayu still had her dagger raised, so she laid her hand on the girl’s arm. She jumped slightly, but with a look at Reina lowered it and stood erect. However, she gasped softly as three figures walked out from the shadows their rescuers emerged from.

“Will everyone please stop doing that when they see me?!” Miki complained, rolling her eyes. She, dressed in tight jeans below a dark leather jacket swung open to reveal a bright t-shirt, eventually came to a halt before Reina and Sayu along with Aya, who wore a tight black leather suit with her hair tied back, and Detective Kitamura in his usual trench coat and looking as relaxed as always.

Sayu was staring at the two women as if they had just come back from the dead which, Reina thought, as far as she knew they actually had. Reina herself raised an eyebrow at Aya’s outfit and looked her up and down.

“You did not wear your outfit from Sukeban Deka here, did you?”

She noticed Miki stifle a snicker, and Aya blushed, shooting her friend a glare as deadly as any she had ever infamously dished out herself. “I thought it would be appropriate for the situation,” she said in a low and dangerous voice. The girl could pout almost as well as Sayu if she tried. “Mikitty here seems to think I overdid it a little though.” Miki could help herself no longer and burst out laughing, provoking a hard jab to her side from Aya.

Apparently looking for a change in subject, she ignored the other girl’s laughter and stared into the two faces in front of her. “What happened to you two? You have blood all over your face Reina-chan, and Sayumin…” She trailed off as she looked at the bandaged face of the girl she addressed. “Why are you even here?” she finished quietly. At her words, Miki finally stopped laughing and silently peered at them herself.

“My driver attacked us after we left the limo,” Reina said. Aya’s eyes widened, though Miki didn’t look surprised. “And the story about why Sayu is here is too long to tell right now, but Eri and Risa were with us as well. Eririn got injured badly though, and Gaki-san’s taking care of her outside…”

“Do they need help?” Miki asked quickly in a business-like voice.

“Risa called 119,” Reina replied, but Miki shook her head. However, it was the detective who responded, speaking up for the first time after clearing his throat.

“They won’t come,” he said in a low, smooth voice. “Local law enforcement has orders not to come here tonight. What we are doing is rather… out-of-bounds of what would normally be called ‘legal’,” he said, glancing at the two men lying sprawled on the floor near them. “But the administration is more than willing to… overlook… activities here on a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ basis.”

“We have some medics who we can send to help them,” Miki said, giving a look to the pistol-wielding man and woman, who at it nodded and spun, heading back off into the shadows. “They can also get them to a hospital if need be.”

She turned back toward the two of them, now looking hard at Reina. “I’m sorry you got attacked already. We did our best to clear everyone out.”

Reina shook her head. “There’s nothing you could have done about this one. He was somebody I trusted.” Silence hung in the air for a moment after her words until Aya spoke again.

“I hoped we’d be more successful than we already have,” she said in disappointment. “But we’re barely able to hold onto the ground level, as you can tell.” She brandished an arm at the men on the floor.

“We can’t locate where the inner chambers are either,” Miki said in almost a growl, as if upset with their failure. “Not that we’d be able to get to them…” She glared at the two dead men as if it was all their fault.

“It’s hidden,” Reina said. “And even if you knew where to look, I doubt you’d have much luck finding it. That’s where we take over.” She gave Sayu a glance that was returned coolly, as if the girl knew what she was thinking.

“Are you sure?” Miki asked with a frown, and she looked Sayu’s pinkness up and down. “I can send some of our people with you if you’d like.”

“No,” Reina responded decisively. “You’ll need everyone down here.” That was partly true; mostly, she didn’t want to get anyone else involved. She and Ai themselves would hopefully be enough, and any more would be too many. She hoped Sayu was right in thinking she knew how to take care of herself.

Miki didn’t press the issue, though she did keep looking skeptically at Sayu. “All right,” she grudgingly agreed. “We’ll keep this area free for when you’re done.”

“If we succeed, you’ll not need to bother,” Reina said with a shadowed look to the three she addressed. Miki and Aya both returned her gaze as if they’d never see the two of them again.

“Are you sure about this?” Aya asked softly again.

Reina didn’t respond, but turned away and motioned Sayu to follow. The girl glanced at her and then looked down at the two men below them. “If you’re getting second thoughts, I don’t need…” Reina began, but she stopped speaking as Sayu moved toward the bodies. Before reaching them, she knelt down next to one of the dropped swords. She picked it up carefully, looking the blade up and down. Then she stood, and holding it tightly in her hand gave it a few swipes with flicks of her wrist. Reina watched impassively, even though the girl did surprise her. Miki and Aya were staring as if they’d never seen her before.

Sliding the blade beneath the wide belt around her skirt, she walked back and looked among the four still assembled before turning to Reina. “So are we going or not?” she said in a solemn voice that Reina wouldn’t have even thought was hers except that it was still somewhat high-pitched.

Reina nodded and turned once more toward the elevator, Sayu trailing behind. “Good luck…” the two girls behind them called out, before the sound of their retreating steps echoed through the lobby as well. Arriving at the elevator, Reina pushed the button to go up. She glanced at Sayu, whose eyebrows were narrowed in a frown.

“Are you sure we should be using an elevator for something like this?” she asked as the sound of it descending could be heard hollowly from within. “Who knows what they could do to it…”

Reina turned back forward. “If we’re going to be fighting on the way up, I’d rather do it on a flat platform rather than stairs, wouldn’t you? Plus, I’m not even sure if normal stairs would take us where we’re going.”

The two of them were quiet as the elevator descended. Reina thought they must have been holding it at the top floor. If so though, she wondered why they let it come down for them. They must have seen who it was and planned some kind of trap… Well if so, that would be the first of many Reina expected tonight. So as not to over-agitate Sayu, she slouched slightly as if bored.

Eventually they heard it slide behind the steel double doors in front of them and ding its arrival. When the doors slid open, two men stood crouched with different-sized blades brandished in both hands. They let out cries of attack when fully revealed and lunged forward, but Reina was quicker.

Taking advantage of her hands on her waist in the bored pose, she pulled her knives out and flung one at the man who lagged behind slightly and jumped out, spinning to avoid the jabs of the nearer. Almost casually to her, although it would have seemed lightning-quick to an observer such as Sayu, she chopped at his far wrist with her free hand, jerking it back and knocking the shorter blade out of his grip. His other arm and weapon were already overextended past Reina’s small body, and she shoved her own knife into his gut, driving him back slightly as he nearly bent double, but quickly withdrew since he had now been dealt with.

The other man was grunting in pain in an effort to pull his arm away from the elevator wall, which it was stuck to by a dagger through the forearm. She intended to knock the man out with a blow to the head and reclaim her weapon, but before she could get to him the blade of a sword flashed into view and lodged itself into his chest. Reina halted her movement as the man’s grunts turned into blood being coughed up, and she turned to see Sayu holding the weapon pointed straight out with both hands, one foot forward in a stance that was the impetus of her thrust. Her mouth was pursed tightly as she watched the man give his last breaths, and she didn’t withdraw her blade until he became still.

Reina reached up for her dagger, and as she took it from the wall the man fell to the ground to join the other, who was in pain that kept him from moving more than he needed to, but definitely not dead. She watched as Sayu wiped her sword on the clothes of the man she just killed and re-sheathe it beneath her belt.

“I told you I could take care of myself,” she said cooly when she caught Reina watching her.

Since this wasn’t the time to find out what was going on with her, Reina just nodded and the two of them pulled the two men out into the lobby so they could enter the elevator, which they did carefully to avoid slipping on the now blood-streaked floor. Sayu raised a quizzical eyebrow as Reina pushed the button that seemed to be attached to a blank spot between floors twelve and fourteen, and Reina gave her a meaningful look.

“So the place doesn’t even really exist, huh?” Sayu asked in a voice that wasn’t really questioning. Reina nodded as the elevator lurched upward. “No wonder Ayaya and Mikitty had trouble finding it.”

They watched as the lights ticked slowly upward along with the elevator’s movement. “Best be ready for anything,” Reina said. “Who knows what will be awaiting us when we get up there.” Sayu nodded without hesitation, clearly expecting as much at this point.

They were quiet for another moment as the slow-seeming button lights flashed upward past seven. Debating with herself before speaking, Reina said, “That man back there…” She felt Sayu glance her way. “Why did you kill him? I was about to knock him out, and we could have gotten past just as easily.”

There was a slight pause before Sayu responded in a tight voice, “One of them hurt Eririn…” Reina caught her glance to see her mouth pursed tightly again and that unfamiliar glint in her eye. “And they’re all after you, too… Nobody messes with my friends.”

Once again Reina wondered where all this was coming from, but instead commented, “Still, I do my best not to kill. I care about my friends too and I wish you’d…” She trailed off though as she caught a glance at the button panel, where a light had just flashed next to fourteen with no sign of the elevator stopping. Wary once again, she stared at it hard as it hit fifteen. Wherever it was taking them, she wanted to keep it on her terms. She hurriedly punched the emergency stop button, and the elevator screeched to a halt apparently somewhere just above floor sixteen. Sayu grabbed her arm in order to keep steady, now noticing what she was looking at as well, and didn’t release it until a few seconds after their motion stopped.

Waiting a moment to make sure they weren’t going to start up again, Reina looked around at the plain paneled surfaces of the elevator. Telling Sayu to move to the side, she reached within her vest and pulled out a short and straight knife. Sayu looked at it curiously, since it shone with a gleam much different from that of normal steel. Reina held it in front of her with the point down and smiled at her friend before dropping her knees and thrusting her hands violently downward. The blade cut straight through the floor to the hilt, and with all her strength Reina pulled. As she did, it slid almost smoothly through the hard tile as well as the steel below it, and when she had about a half-meter square cut, she pulled it back, stepped away, and kicked down at the middle. The square fell away down the shaft, leaving a hole gaping into the darkness just large enough to admit one of the small girls.

Reina peered down, lowering her head below the carriage, and saw cables at each corner of the elevator. The door to floor sixteen was just below them, softly bathed in the light shining through the hole. Sayu knelt down to peer with her, but Reina pulled her up and gestured her back to the side. “Stay there,” she said quickly, and she dug in one of her vest pockets. Pulling out a small round object about the size of a hockey puck and with a pin sticking out of the side, she pulled the pin, dropping it down the shaft. Kneeling down quickly, she dropped her arm below their carriage and waited. One… Reina counted to herself. Two… With a light flick of her wrist, she tossed it toward the door to floor sixteen and quickly rose up and back, hugging Sayu close. The girl offered a small squeak of protest, but it was quickly drowned out by the sound of a blast and the carriage shaking. Reina stood her ground hard, partially using the other girl for support. Sayu clung to her in return.

It ended almost as fast as it happened, and the elevator steadied until it only vibrated slightly. Reina pulled away, Sayu looking at her with wild eyes, but before the girl could say anything Reina bent down to look below them again. Half the door was torn away, with only charred remains along the side lit by dim light spilling from the hallway beyond. “Come on,” Reina said, and gestured Sayu down to her.

Reina took her hands tightly, looking into her once more set face. “I want you to slide slowly down through the hole,” Reina instructed her. “I’ll hang onto you, and then swing you over through the doorway when you give the signal.” She squeezed the girl’s hands tighter. “From what I’ve seen so far, your arms should be strong enough for it, right?” Sayu nodded. “Ok then, go. We don’t have much time.”

Carefully, which Reina was glad of considering how brash Sayu had been so far about most things, she dropped her legs into the hole and began sliding slowly into it until she finally dropped, hanging suspended with her hands tightly clutched to Reina’s. Reina struggled to hold the girl’s weight. She’d developed quite a bit of strength through her training, though this was testing it much more than she was used to. She was glad the girl was as thin as she was. “Okay, ready?” she asked, then without waiting for Sayu’s nod began swinging her slowly toward the door. Back and forth they went like this for a few seconds until they gathered more of an arc. “Tell me when you’re centered on the door…” Reina said through gritted teeth. Holding the girl was one thing, but swinging her weight was quite a different matter. She saw Sayu begin bending her knees as she swung.

“Ok…” Sayu began on her backswing. “Now!” she cried with a breathless voice. Reina gave one last heave and released her, hoping such a risky trick would work. She also hoped that if she missed, Sayu would have enough presence of mind to at least grasp the cable not far away. She didn’t want to lose another friend tonight. All she heard was a muffled plop and groan though, and she looked down, rubbing her hyper-extended wrists. She couldn’t see through the door, but Sayu called out that she was okay.

Sighing with relief, her muscles recovering quickly, Reina slipped one leg into the hole herself and looked beneath, where she saw a bar on the side toward the door. She reached out to grab it, and then quickly slid the rest of her body down, swinging by the hand grabbing the bar until her other hand joined it, and in one fluid motion curled her body while releasing her hold and catapulting through the blasted doorway. Unfortunately Sayu was standing right there in concern over her friend, so they both ended up on the floor in a tangle of arms and legs.

“Itai…” Sayu breathed, and upon untwining herself from the girl Reina noticed the bandage on her face was becoming redder again. The fall must have broken open her wound. She appeared to be slightly bruised in other places as well.

Reina offered her a hand, which she took, and she was pulled up. “If I keep on trying to protect you like this Reina-chan, you’ll be the death of me…” She apparently couldn’t help a smirk at the end of that, and Reina smiled.

“You’re the one who insisted in coming along, you silly girl…” Reina responded with suppressed mirth, and she poked the girl in the side.

“Because obviously you need my help…” she answered prissily, and turned to take in their surroundings.

They were now in what looked like a fairly normal office area. There were partitions separating a multitude of desks, and doors off to the sides for some of the more private offices. They were all quiet now, although papers left out on some desks and equipment whirring seemed to indicate their stewards had left quickly.

“Well,” Reina said. “Now to try and figure out how to get down three floors.” They walked through the tight lanes, keeping close together in case of any surprises, until they came to the entrance to a staircase. “Well, I guess we’re not avoiding stairs after all. Still, two or three floors are better than thirteen…”

They walked out into the well and treaded carefully but quickly down the steps. They passed exits to floors fifteen and fourteen, but where thirteen should have been there was just a plain wall. This didn’t really surprise Reina.

“You can do that thing you did with that odd dagger in the elevator again, right Reina-chan?” Sayu asked curiously. Reina scrutinized the wall. She supposed she could, but she had no idea how thick this wall would be. That dagger was a weapon after all and not designed to be used even for cutting through elevator floors or walls, but she supposed she could try.

She didn’t have time to even bend down to retrieve it though before the wall in front of them exploded from the other side, knocking both girls off their feet and throwing them into the opposite wall. They were lucky they weren’t knocked down the flight of stairs, but with bits of rubble covering them Reina still felt almost every part of her body ache. Sayu seemed unconscious beside her. She willed herself to try and rise, gently brushing debris from her stomach, but then the sound of voices came to her as if they were closing in quickly. She caught glances of hard-looking men emerging from the dim light beyond the broken wall, and she tried to rise more quickly, but for the first time in a long while her body wouldn’t listen to her, and when one of the men reached them and saw she was awake, he clubbed her hard on the side of the head and she fell into darkness.

Offline JFC

  • Miki's Birthday Twin
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Re: A Young Girl's Odyssey [31: Harsh Reality]
« Reply #150 on: July 05, 2007, 04:56:14 PM »
Quote
The two girls entered into an eerily silent lobby. Even though it was late, Reina knew there would normally still be plenty of people walking around; plenty of security. However, not even the receptionist was at the high front desk.
Not a good sign, not a good sign at all.  Could it be that they know of Aichan & Reina's plan?


Quote
“I see there’s more to this building than you’d think from the outside…” she eventually said in a low voice as if one any louder would be heard by unseen specters in the shadows. “But it seems as if there should be more people here.”

“This means that Miki has done her job,” Reina responded in a normal voice. Sayu stopped dead, and although noticing it, Reina took a few more steps forward before halting herself and turning casually to look at her companion. Oh yes, there was one thing she had forgotten to tell them about.
Miki? Was that her part of the plan? To provide some sort of distraction that would lure away a good chunk of/if not most of the personnel there?

But wait...Sayu still thinks Miki's dead, doesn't she?


Quote
“She’s not dead,” Reina explained profoundly, and as if on cue they heard two gruff yells, and two men wielding long swords came rushing at them from those dark shadows.

...

However, their preparation was for naught as blasts that echoed loudly through the oppressive silence rang out to their ears, and both men stumbled and fell to the ground, swords flying, with bullet-holes in their backs.

...

One man and one woman, both likely near middle-aged, ran toward them with pistols still cocked and pointed upwards. They didn’t relax when Reina and Sayu came clearer to them, but another low female voice yelled out from behind them that it was safe. Upon hearing it, the two lowered their pistols and stuck them in holsters at their belts, crossing their arms while still looking suspiciously at the two girls before them.
Police? SWAT team? Military black ops?  :?


Quote
Reina glanced over and noticed Sayu still had her dagger raised, so she laid her hand on the girl’s arm. She jumped slightly, but with a look at Reina lowered it and stood erect. However, she gasped softly as three figures walked out from the shadows their rescuers emerged from.

“Will everyone please stop doing that when they see me?!” Miki complained, rolling her eyes. She, dressed in tight jeans below a dark leather jacket swung open to reveal a bright t-shirt, eventually came to a halt before Reina and Sayu along with Aya, who wore a tight black leather suit with her hair tied back, and Detective Kitamura in his usual trench coat and looking as relaxed as always.
Miki in tight jeans and a leather jacket... :drool:

Aya's outfit...is it just me or is anyone else suddenly reminded of her Sukeban Deka battlesuit?  :D  It is also, BTW... :drool:


Quote
Sayu was staring at the two women as if they had just come back from the dead which, Reina thought, as far as she knew they actually had. Reina herself raised an eyebrow at Aya’s outfit and looked her up and down.

“You did not wear your outfit from Sukeban Deka here, did you?”

She noticed Miki stifle a snicker, and Aya blushed, shooting her friend a glare as deadly as any she had ever infamously dished out herself. “I thought it would be appropriate for the situation,” she said in a low and dangerous voice. The girl could pout almost as well as Sayu if she tried. “Mikitty here seems to think I overdid it a little though.” Miki could help herself no longer and burst out laughing, provoking a hard jab to her side from Aya.
Holy crap she DID wear the Sukeban Deka battlesuit! :on lol:


Quote
“My driver attacked us after we left the limo,” Reina said. Aya’s eyes widened, though Miki didn’t look surprised. “And the story about why Sayu is here is too long to tell right now, but Eri and Risa were with us as well. Eririn got injured badly though, and Gaki-san’s taking care of her outside…”

“Do they need help?” Miki asked quickly in a business-like voice.

“Risa called 119,” Reina replied, but Miki shook her head. However, it was the detective who responded, speaking up for the first time after clearing his throat.

“They won’t come,” he said in a low, smooth voice. “Local law enforcement has orders not to come here tonight. What we are doing is rather… out-of-bounds of what would normally be called ‘legal’,” he said, glancing at the two men lying sprawled on the floor near them. “But the administration is more than willing to… overlook… activities here on a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ basis.”

“We have some medics who we can send to help them,” Miki said, giving a look to the pistol-wielding man and woman, who at it nodded and spun, heading back off into the shadows. “They can also get them to a hospital if need be.”
Oh crap, no ambulance? Kitamura had better get those medics over there FAST!

So the plan requires plausible deniability huh? Must be a contingency plan in case the strike fails to get the desired results.


Quote
“I hoped we’d be more successful than we already have,” she said in disappointment. “But we’re barely able to hold onto the ground level, as you can tell.” She brandished an arm at the men on the floor.

“We can’t locate where the inner chambers are either,” Miki said in almost a growl, as if upset with their failure. “Not that we’d be able to get to them…” She glared at the two dead men as if it was all their fault.

“It’s hidden,” Reina said. “And even if you knew where to look, I doubt you’d have much luck finding it. That’s where we take over.” She gave Sayu a glance that was returned coolly, as if the girl knew what she was thinking.
So Miki's group is to distract them while Aichan and Reina do a surgical strike and take out the leaders. That's just so damn cool.
:cool1:


Quote
Reina didn’t respond, but turned away and motioned Sayu to follow. The girl glanced at her and then looked down at the two men below them. “If you’re getting second thoughts, I don’t need…” Reina began, but she stopped speaking as Sayu moved toward the bodies. Before reaching them, she knelt down next to one of the dropped swords. She picked it up carefully, looking the blade up and down. Then she stood, and holding it tightly in her hand gave it a few swipes with flicks of her wrist. Reina watched impassively, even though the girl did surprise her. Miki and Aya were staring as if they’d never seen her before.
Sayu got katana skillz? Never expected that.  :shocked:


Quote
Arriving at the elevator, Reina pushed the button to go up. She glanced at Sayu, whose eyebrows were narrowed in a frown.

“Are you sure we should be using an elevator for something like this?” she asked as the sound of it descending could be heard hollowly from within. “Who knows what they could do to it…”

Reina turned back forward. “If we’re going to be fighting on the way up, I’d rather do it on a flat platform rather than stairs, wouldn’t you? Plus, I’m not even sure if normal stairs would take us where we’re going.”
Hmmmmm...both make valid points here. If it weren't for Sayu tagging along, the leaders might just think that Reina was coming to help defend them (assuming that they didn't know of her part of the plan to kill them). But now...they could very easily just send the elevator car crashing to the bottom of the shaft.  On the other hand, it's never a good thing to be engaged in an UPHILL fight. You just leave yourself open too much.


Quote
The other man was grunting in pain in an effort to pull his arm away from the elevator wall, which it was stuck to by a dagger through the forearm. She intended to knock the man out with a blow to the head and reclaim her weapon, but before she could get to him the blade of a sword flashed into view and lodged itself into his chest. Reina halted her movement as the man’s grunts turned into blood being coughed up, and she turned to see Sayu holding the weapon pointed straight out with both hands, one foot forward in a stance that was the impetus of her thrust. Her mouth was pursed tightly as she watched the man give his last breaths, and she didn’t withdraw her blade until he became still.

Reina reached up for her dagger, and as she took it from the wall the man fell to the ground to join the other, who was in pain that kept him from moving more than he needed to, but definitely not dead. She watched as Sayu wiped her sword on the clothes of the man she just killed and re-sheathe it beneath her belt.

“I told you I could take care of myself,” she said cooly when she caught Reina watching her.
Okay, either Sayu used to/has been taking kendo classes, or there's more to her involvement here than would first appear.
:dunno:


Quote
Sayu raised a quizzical eyebrow as Reina pushed the button that seemed to be attached to a blank spot between floors twelve and fourteen
Well, there are a lot of high rise buildings that deliberately do NOT mark a floor as being the 13th (out of superstition if nothing else). Question here is, will this button actually lead them anywhere?


Quote
she caught a glance at the button panel, where a light had just flashed next to fourteen with no sign of the elevator stopping. Wary once again, she stared at it hard as it hit fifteen. Wherever it was taking them, she wanted to keep it on her terms. She hurriedly punched the emergency stop button, and the elevator screeched to a halt apparently somewhere just above floor sixteen. Sayu grabbed her arm in order to keep steady, now noticing what she was looking at as well, and didn’t release it until a few seconds after their motion stopped.
They know Reina's coming for them, don't they?


Quote
“I want you to slide slowly down through the hole,” Reina instructed her. “I’ll hang onto you, and then swing you over through the doorway when you give the signal.” She squeezed the girl’s hands tighter. “From what I’ve seen so far, your arms should be strong enough for it, right?” Sayu nodded. “Ok then, go. We don’t have much time.”
It's risky, but they need to get out of that elevator shaft FAST, before the car can be released and sent plummeting down to the bottom.


Quote
“Ok…” Sayu began on her backswing. “Now!” she cried with a breathless voice. Reina gave one last heave and released her, hoping such a risky trick would work. She also hoped that if she missed, Sayu would have enough presence of mind to at least grasp the cable not far away. She didn’t want to lose another friend tonight. All she heard was a muffled plop and groan though, and she looked down, rubbing her hyper-extended wrists. She couldn’t see through the door, but Sayu called out that she was okay.
Yokatta... :sweat:


Quote
“Well,” Reina said. “Now to try and figure out how to get down three floors.” They walked through the tight lanes, keeping close together in case of any surprises, until they came to the entrance to a staircase. “Well, I guess we’re not avoiding stairs after all. Still, two or three floors are better than thirteen…”
And at least they'll be going downhill instead of uphill. If they should run into any resistance in the stairwell, having the higher ground will definitely be more of an advantage.


Quote
They walked out into the well and treaded carefully but quickly down the steps. They passed exits to floors fifteen and fourteen, but where thirteen should have been there was just a plain wall. This didn’t really surprise Reina.

...

the wall in front of them exploded from the other side, knocking both girls off their feet and throwing them into the opposite wall. They were lucky they weren’t knocked down the flight of stairs, but with bits of rubble covering them Reina still felt almost every part of her body ache. Sayu seemed unconscious beside her. She willed herself to try and rise, gently brushing debris from her stomach, but then the sound of voices came to her as if they were closing in quickly. She caught glances of hard-looking men emerging from the dim light beyond the broken wall, and she tried to rise more quickly, but for the first time in a long while her body wouldn’t listen to her, and when one of the men reached them and saw she was awake, he clubbed her hard on the side of the head and she fell into darkness.
CLIFFHANGER!!!  :scolding:

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

Offline rokun

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Re: A Young Girl's Odyssey [32: Destiny]
« Reply #151 on: July 12, 2007, 03:22:05 AM »
How is everyone doing? I hope you all are enjoying my story since I haven't seen many comments lately... and a big "thank you" to JFC for your wonderful detail. :) For those still hanging in there, I hope this will be a treat for you... Enjoy...


Chapter 32 - Destiny

Reina felt a hard poke in her side, and she opened her eyes to see a face centimeters above her own. She thought the sight would give her a shocked fright upon suddenly waking, but she felt herself only gaze calmly into the dark eyes boring down into her own. Her bearings came to her, and she realized she was lying in her bed, her pillow soft against her flowing hair. The girl whose face she was staring at must be on top of her. Even as that thought came to her, she felt the sensation of the girl’s warmth just above her body, and legs to either side of her own.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you here,” she said as if through a fog. She didn’t know why her voice sounded like that. Was her brain working right? Was it just because she had just awoken?

“Thought you weren’t crazy after all, huh? Silly girl, you should know better than that…” With a quick kiss to Reina’s cheek, the girl rolled over to lie next to her. Reina didn’t turn her head to look, but she knew that, like herself now, the other girl was also staring up at the ceiling.

Am I crazy?” she asked in that same, faraway voice.

“Well that may be a matter of great debate, but would you call yourself that for conversing with dead people? Wait, I’m not dead anymore… And this could just be a dream, couldn’t it? Unlike those other times, you certainly hadn’t just dozed off in this quite comfy bed of yours.” Miki chuckled, and Reina could feel movement as if the girl was adjusting herself somehow, but still didn’t turn to look. She was preoccupied with her own thoughts.

“Yes,” she responded, raising her hand to feel the side of her head. “Somebody hit me.” Immediately she felt the warmth of blood soaking through her hair and leaking around her fingers. She heard the girl click her tongue and turned to face her. Miki’s face was already turned to hers, and they stared at each other not unlike in one of their previous encounters.

“You have to be careful, you know,” the girl warned. “You can’t let your mind be clouded by your heroism.”

“What are you…?”

   Arms suddenly wrapped around her and she felt herself being pulled close to the other girl. Sayu’s face, paler than usual and with blacker eyes, now stared back at her, close enough that she felt the exchange of their hot breath.

“If you keep hiding yourself from the truth,” Sayu whispered, “It’ll be much harder when you’re forced to accept it. You may also not find the comfort you’ve always been able to rely on in the past…” The girl trailed off with her eyes moving to the side as if avoiding Reina’s. There seemed an odd hint of sadness in them.

“Truth?” Reina responded in a voice well above a whisper. “I thought I already found it?”

The black eyes within the porcelain face before her began to moisten, and Reina sensed frustration that she didn’t understand. Suddenly they darted forward again. “It’s time to go back;” Sayu breathed, and Reina’s stomach buckled in sharp and searing pain. She looked down to see Sayu’s hand extended with Reina’s dagger thrust into herself. Her sight faded away, but the horrible scene was immediately replaced with blinding light.



Her body jerked, but she found she couldn’t move much except for her midsection, the burning pain in which was still fading away. As the light dimmed and her sight and sensation returned, she realized that she was stretched near a wall, her arms parted above her head and her legs spread apart and chained below. She froze, trying not to make a sound while she took in the rest of her situation.

Straight ahead of her a few meters was a large and well-lacquered cherry wood desk. Papers and unique looking statuettes and other objects sat atop it, but what caught Reina’s eye was the man sitting behind it, reading a document he held just above its surface. His face was in shadow, but his short cropped and gray-streaked hair was enough for her to identify him. She would never forget his appearance. This time she also noticed he bore gold rings on the first two fingers of both his hands. Unlike their last meeting, he now wore a black silk shirt that she could see rising just above the desk.

Tearing her eyes away from him, cold hot fury threatening to overwhelm her concentrated focus, she turned her head slowly. Pictures hung on the wall – portraits of men old and young, and works of art that nearly all seemed to depict some sort of raw violence. As her gaze swept to beside her, she saw Sayu chained just as she was, though unconscious, her head still hanging down.

Schooling herself to calmness, once more realizing that she wasn’t only responsible for herself, she looked back toward her captor. His chest rose and fell heavily with his breathing, and she thought she could hear muttering beneath it at what he was reading. She carefully tested her chains again, and with regret that she wouldn’t be able to free herself stared hard at the Chairman and cleared her throat. The man’s eyes rose to look at her, studying her closely, and he let the paper he was reviewing fall to his desk.

“Bad news?” Reina asked in a very low and slow, chiding voice. She heard stirring from beside her, but kept her heated gaze forward.

Yamagata stood slowly, revealing a well-proportioned body, obviously very strong, and billowy black pants, another change from their last meeting. He looked away from Reina as he walked around his desk, folding his hands behind his back. He walked leisurely, and Reina began to worry slightly at the lack of concern he was exuding, until he stood before her.

He raised his head slowly, but before she could catch his eyes she felt her face painfully jolted hard to the side. She couldn’t help a small gasp before pain bloomed in her cheek and jaw and her overstretched neck. Pulling herself under control though, she turned slowly back toward him, the aching not ceasing. He now held his hands below his chin, one rubbing the other that must have hit her. Reina felt blood begin to run down the side of her face, and she also noticed a red wetness on one of his rings.

“You will learn proper respect,” he threatened softly and almost emotionlessly as if a master giving instructions to a pupil. Reina spit some of the blood that had collected on her lips at his face, and his hands froze but made no movement toward her.

“Reina…?” came a groggy voice from beside them, and Reina couldn’t help darting her eyes to see Sayu awake and blearily looking around as well. Reina cursed to herself when she realized the Chairman noticed her glance, and he stepped over to the other girl, turning his attention on her.

“And who are you?” he asked in that same horribly quiet voice. “I know this one…” He glanced again at Reina. “She was another of the mistakes I made in my blind passion. But you…” He lifted a hand and grazed a ringed finger along Sayu’s cheek. She struggled in resistance, but couldn’t move any more than Reina within her chains. “You’re a pretty one… one of the best I’ve seen, and that’s quite a compliment… but I’ve learned my lesson now.” He finished by flicking her head to the side. “Still, I might have a use for you later once I’ve dealt with this rabble. Some things must not be wasted.”

Reina tried her best throughout his one-way conversation with Sayu not to shout out in defense of the girl, something she knew would not help her at all, and so relaxed slightly in relief when he turned from her to walk back behind his desk. It was unfortunate she even had to relax; she needed the utmost focus right now, and the distraction of having to worry about her friend might very well cost her.

Standing behind his desk, the Chairman looked once more at Reina. “You’ll need to be executed, of course,” he remarked casually almost as if saying it needed to rain. “I knew you would be trouble from the moment I laid eyes on you, but it seems I underestimated…” He paused for a second. “No matter. After your pathetic rebellion is destroyed, we will return to the old ways my grandfather brought this Order to glory with.” He looked between the two girls spread before him with lust-filled eyes. “Women will once again know their place,” he growled between gritted teeth.

As he said that, a loud bang brought Reina’s attention to the side of the office, where the door had been torn off its hinges and was now lying on the floor beneath the bulk of what looked like a security guard. The unconscious man had a knife still clutched in his hand, and a pistol fell out of a pocket onto the door.

From beyond, a figure stepped through the doorway that took Reina’s breath away. Reina’s eyes began at the bare feet tensed upon the floor, rising up along taut legs covered with tight dark red leather pants not unlike Aya’s Sukeban Deka suit, although these looked much more durable. Above it she wore a top also of red leather with sleeves down to the elbow, where black gloves that came to just below the joint covered hands that held a shiny and blood-reddened sword raised in a relaxed posture. Her hair was tied tightly in a single ponytail that hung down her back.

Her eyes found the Chairman immediately, who had from somewhere pulled a sword of his own that he held parallel to the ground before him. “And what place would that be?” she asked in a voice nearly as quiet as the one he had been using, but that to Reina sounded infinitely more dangerous.

The Chairman crouched slightly above his weapon, eyes narrowed in furious concentration. “Where they have always belonged,” he growled, emotion finally etching its way into his words. “Never to leave the house and always ready in bed at night.”

Reina noticed Ai’s jaw clench at his words, though fury barely escaped in her expression. By every position of her body Reina knew she existed within unwavering focus. “It always amazed me how swine such as yourself came to your position. Or did you just eliminate everyone else on your way up?”

Yamagata’s lip curled in a wicked grin. “Of necessity I did, of course. But you’ll find that there’s far more to me than my misogynism. I even tried to lay part of it aside thinking there must be better ways to do things. Obviously, I was mistaken.”

“Yes, you were,” Ai responded, strafing slowly toward Sayu. “About many things…” In a flash, she raised her sword and swiped it through the chains holding both Sayu’s and Reina’s wrists, and the two girls fell to the ground next to each other. “Keep low,” Ai warned, her eyes never wavering from the Chairman behind his desk.

Barely needing the warning Reina turned to Sayu, who had attempted to stand, and pulled her down, hugging her close as the two girls huddled against the wall, still held in the chains around their ankles. She could sense Sayu’s fear as she held her in her arms; could feel the sweat beading on her skin. She looked back up to her lover.

Ai and Yamagata were now staring at each other with weapons at the ready over the great desk, either communicating silently or with a loss for words at their long-awaited confrontation. After a time though, the man behind the desk spoke again, and as he did so Reina thought she could even see him flexing his muscles through his clothes. For his apparent age, he appeared to be in quite incredible shape.

“No one has ever defeated me, you know,” he said softly, returning to his nigh emotionless attitude. “You may have some small talent, but I ask you to think carefully about what you intend here. If you surrender your blade, I will make sure you are not punished… long…” He said that last with a twisted smile that nearly reached to the scar beneath his eye.

“Your words are meaningless,” Ai responded in a voice just as calm. “Your actions over countless years have done all the speaking necessary.” Reina could not see her eyes, but she imagined them blazing with that fiery passion that had made her lose herself to the girl. Of course, the meaning behind the fervor would be quite different focused at the man across from them.

“Have they…” he rumbled even more quietly, to where Reina could hardly hear him. Then, without warning, with shockingly amazing speed propelled by a push-off of his foot against his chair, he leaped over the desk with his sword slicing down to the small yet composed woman standing near Reina. Ai reacted instantly, meeting his blade with her own, and with a shower of sparks Reina’s mouth dropped open as they began what she could only call a perfectly executed dance, not unlike what she and Ai shared that night at the club so long ago, although immensely more refined.

Reina knew that if she hadn’t been extensively trained as she was, she’d likely be able to make nothing of the blurs in front of her. She doubted whether Sayu could make anything of it, but from the corner of her eye, since she couldn’t tear her gaze away from the two combatants, she noticed the girl watching intently as well with her mouth slightly open.

Each of their thrusts and swipes was met by the other as their bodies spun fluidly to give as much strength as possible to each attack. The Chairman, being much taller, seemed to be having trouble finding cracks in Ai’s defenses. Aside from her talent, her size allowed her quickness of movement that he couldn’t match. His superior strength offset that for a time, as Ai was forced to put increased effort into her parries that didn’t allow her the quickness she needed to gain much advantage, but still, before long the Chairman came to be on the defensive himself, focusing the greater part of his energy into keeping up with her speed and endurance. Reina could tell that he was surprised by Ai’s own strength. Reina’s mouth became set in grim satisfaction. His underestimation of women might yet lead to his undoing.

They performed their deadly dance while hardly moving from the center of the room. Reina knew from her lessons that the greatest duelists used their feet only sparingly, adjusting them for nothing other than to give extra power to jabs and lunges. This was good because of the space they were in; it was not a small office, but still hardly the place for an extended fight.

She felt Sayu shiver in her arms. Tearing her attention away from the battle for a moment, she glanced at the girl she held. Sayu’s mouth was still open. Apparently she noticed Reina’s attention though, saying, “I can’t believe it…” Her eyes were wide while watching the fight. “I can barely even see what they’re doing.” Reina pursed her lips again. No, she couldn’t catch as much detail of the duel as Reina, but it was impressive that she noticed even that much.

She turned her face to Reina. “I’m scared…”

Reina studied her face carefully. Whatever Sayu’s prior experience with fencing, she still obviously hadn’t fully appreciated the situation they were in. That is, until now, when two warriors of supreme skill battled barely meters away. Reina pulled her closer and began to stroke her hair. “It’s going to be okay. Ai-chan will prevail and everything will be okay…”

She turned back to the melee. Sweat now shone on both fighters, although the Chairman looked like he was nearing exhaustion while Ai exuded no less energy than when they began. In fact, she looked even quicker. The old man was still on the defensive, and Reina noticed his parries and counters were a fraction slower than they were at the outset. Their arms and bodies still whirled in dizzying motion, but the consternation on his brow told the truth of what even he knew what was happening. Unless he somehow got lucky, he was going to lose.

After she deduced that fact, Reina’s eyes became glued to Ai. The sweat shone on her face and beaded high on her cheeks. Strands of hair were loosed from her ponytail at the velocity of her movements. The leather she wore fit even tighter on her moistened body, and Reina noticed bloodstains on it that she hadn’t caught before. She widened her eyes upon seeing that and coming to a realization. The red leather she wore wasn’t just for fashion; it was to match the color of blood that happened to stain it. Ai had obviously expected many such stains… The poignant horror of that thought complemented the rest of what Reina took in about the girl. Right now, she was the sexiest thing she had ever seen. Unconsciously, she tightened her hold on the girl in her arms.

For a moment, waves of heat overcame her and the blur of the battle became a blur within her soul. The violence before her fueled the passion she already possessed, heightened by her own recent appreciation of violence, and she felt almost as if she had left her body until she heard a loud groan of pain and the clanging of swords and scuffle of bodies fall into silence.

She returned to her body, but the heat did not diminish. Passion still overflowing within her, she realized her mouth was pressed tightly onto another. She was locked in a very deep and passionate kiss with the girl she held desperately tightly in her arms. The taste was exquisite and the body so hot against her, but still she felt something was wrong…

Feeling a pang of regret, she broke the kiss to see Sayu’s face with her eyes shut in submissive enjoyment. Quickly though the girl’s lids fluttered open and her eyes widened. Her brain momentarily frozen, Reina turned her head to where the duel had been occurring and saw Ai leaning forward, face not far from the Chairman’s, her sword sheathed in his midsection with the point sticking slightly out of his back. Time, which had slowed as Reina broke the kiss, sped back up to reality, and the Chairman gave another groaning cough. She noticed his sword had fallen from a hand that was limp at his side. It looked like he was trying to say something the bloody cough prevented him from, but Ai spoke first.

“Your reign of terror is over…” she said in a low yet strong voice. The sound of it almost made Reina swoon, as she still felt quite hot, and she guiltily loosened her grip on the girl she held. “I want you to look into my eyes, knowing that everything you have worked so hard to build over your lifetime will be razed within the time it takes for you to be dumped into the cold, dark ground.” Now Reina almost gasped. The girl exuded hate toward her victim stronger than anything she had ever seen before. It was almost enough to frighten her…

Finally Yamagata seemed to clear his throat and, staring into her eyes as he was instructed, was able to speak himself. “Will it?” he coughed out, and Reina thought she could almost hear a wheezy laugh. “What I’ve done is more lasting than you realize… You think everything will have a new image? I can even see it now… in your eyes… My ultimate victory…” He hacked a cough again, blood spattering and immediately disappearing into the crimson of Ai’s attire. He didn’t seem to have many words left. “You are wrong…”

In a split-second burst of motion Ai jerked the sword from his stomach and swung it upward. Reina squeezed her eyes tightly shut before hearing a gasp from the girl beside her and the sound of something falling to the floor, followed by the squelch of something lighter doing the same. She held her eyes tight for a few seconds longer before opening them slowly to see Ai now standing erect with her sword sheathed on her back and the man’s body lying on the floor in an awkward position with its legs bent. It had fallen away from her, but Reina could see enough to notice blood seeping from the stump of a neck that was no longer connected to anything.

Simultaneously disgusted with both the sight and herself for being so weak to even witness the action, Reina fully released the girl beside her and wrapped her arms around her knees. Ai stared at the corpse for a time before looking over at the two girls huddled against the wall. She walked over to them and drew a short knife from her belt, which she used to cut the chains holding their ankles.

“I’m afraid we’ll have to leave these…” She gestured to the cuffs. “until later, but at least now you’ll be able to move.” As she helped the two girls to their feet, Reina carefully avoiding Sayu’s interested gaze, people of various ages dressed in fine attire began walking through the doorway that now stood completely open. A few of them gave glances at the security guard lying on the demolished door, and as they filed around the desk every one stared grimly at the headless body lying in front of it. Eventually six had entered the office, and they stood in an arc behind the desk and thus separated from the bodies.

“You’ve defeated the former Chairman in an honorable challenge..” said a middle-aged man, one of the two at the center of the formation. From the last time she was in this building, Reina remembered him speaking first at that time as well. He must be the most senior of the group. “Thus fulfilling one requisite of the right to succession,” he continued. He glanced around at the others near him. “Do any here dissent?” The Council members stayed silent as they studied Ai. She now stood very still near Reina, her jaw locked as she stared back at them. Reina felt the urge to reach up and take her arm to comfort her, but in response to the apparent formality of the situation didn’t move either.

After a moment’s pause the lone woman, looking regal and dignified with her silvery gray hair, intoned, “Then so shall it be. We greet Ai Takahashi, Eye of the Raven, and head of this Council.” All six bowed low over the desk, and this time Reina couldn’t help herself and lunged forward, wrapping her arms tightly around Ai’s waist and burying her head in the crook of her neck.

Offline glcorps2002

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Re: A Young Girl's Odyssey [32: Destiny]
« Reply #152 on: July 12, 2007, 04:15:59 AM »
Man, let's find out in 20 years time Aika has to stop all this and becomes the new leader.
P.S.: I really thought you would say that Sayumi would be the leader's daughter.

Offline JFC

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Re: A Young Girl's Odyssey [32: Destiny]
« Reply #153 on: July 12, 2007, 04:41:08 AM »
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Reina felt a hard poke in her side, and she opened her eyes to see a face centimeters above her own. She thought the sight would give her a shocked fright upon suddenly waking, but she felt herself only gaze calmly into the dark eyes boring down into her own. Her bearings came to her, and she realized she was lying in her bed, her pillow soft against her flowing hair.
Her bed? Dude, don't tell me everything up until this point has just been a dream? :?



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“Well that may be a matter of great debate, but would you call yourself that for conversing with dead people? Wait, I’m not dead anymore… And this could just be a dream, couldn’t it? Unlike those other times, you certainly hadn’t just dozed off in this quite comfy bed of yours.” Miki chuckled, and Reina could feel movement as if the girl was adjusting herself somehow, but still didn’t turn to look. She was preoccupied with her own thoughts.
Oh, so THIS is the dream then? And she's dreaming that she's lying in bed, talking with Miki? Freud (and Aya) might have something to say about THAT. :P


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“What are you…?”

   Arms suddenly wrapped around her and she felt herself being pulled close to the other girl. Sayu’s face, paler than usual and with blacker eyes, now stared back at her, close enough that she felt the exchange of their hot breath.
Miki changed and became Sayu? Now I know this is a dream. :yep:


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“If you keep hiding yourself from the truth,” Sayu whispered, “It’ll be much harder when you’re forced to accept it. You may also not find the comfort you’ve always been able to rely on in the past…” The girl trailed off with her eyes moving to the side as if avoiding Reina’s. There seemed an odd hint of sadness in them.

“Truth?” Reina responded in a voice well above a whisper. “I thought I already found it?”
What truth is she talking about? The truth that Reina and/or Sayu and/or Aichan and/or any of the others might not make it out of this expedition alive? The possibility that Aichan is going to betray her and was actually setting a trap for Reina? (I know, I'm not sure where that last one came from either)


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Her body jerked, but she found she couldn’t move much except for her midsection, the burning pain in which was still fading away. As the light dimmed and her sight and sensation returned, she realized that she was stretched near a wall, her arms parted above her head and her legs spread apart and chained below. She froze, trying not to make a sound while she took in the rest of her situation.
Ok, so she's being restrained. Obviously this means that they think she's a pretty serious threat.

But where's Sayu? :O


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His chest rose and fell heavily with his breathing, and she thought she could hear muttering beneath it at what he was reading. She carefully tested her chains again, and with regret that she wouldn’t be able to free herself stared hard at the Chairman and cleared her throat. The man’s eyes rose to look at her, studying her closely, and he let the paper he was reviewing fall to his desk.
So she's in the actual office of the Chairman.  He must be pretty confident and/or arrogant to let her be so close to him (even with the restraints). He had better hope that those hold, and/or that he has bodyguards really close by. If Reina gets loose, he's a goner.


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“And who are you?” he asked in that same horribly quiet voice. “I know this one…” He glanced again at Reina. “She was another of the mistakes I made in my blind passion. But you…” He lifted a hand and grazed a ringed finger along Sayu’s cheek. She struggled in resistance, but couldn’t move any more than Reina within her chains. “You’re a pretty one… one of the best I’ve seen, and that’s quite a compliment… but I’ve learned my lesson now.” He finished by flicking her head to the side.
"Blind passion"? What's that mean? Is he admitting that he jumped too quickly at the prospect of being able to "recruit" Reina for his organization? Was his eagerness just because he thought Reina was cute? Did he not supervise her "training" and indoctrination enough? :dunno:


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“Still, I might have a use for you later once I’ve dealt with this rabble. Some things must not be wasted.”
Hmmmm...maybe here his already seeing Sayu as a possible "replacement" for Reina (since she's obviously shown that he can't trust her).


Gotta ask though, where the hell is Aichan???


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Reina tried her best throughout his one-way conversation with Sayu not to shout out in defense of the girl, something she knew would not help her at all, and so relaxed slightly in relief when he turned from her to walk back behind his desk. It was unfortunate she even had to relax; she needed the utmost focus right now, and the distraction of having to worry about her friend might very well cost her.
This is one of the things that Reina was worried about. If Sayu hadn't insisted on coming along, Reina might have been able to take some riskier/alternate approaches that wouldn't have let her get caught. More than that though, now that they WERE caught, the Chairman can use Sayu against Reina.


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“No matter. After your pathetic rebellion is destroyed, we will return to the old ways my grandfather brought this Order to glory with.” He looked between the two girls spread before him with lust-filled eyes. “Women will once again know their place,” he growled between gritted teeth.
And to top it all off, he's a chauvanist too.


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As he said that, a loud bang brought Reina’s attention to the side of the office, where the door had been torn off its hinges and was now lying on the floor beneath the bulk of what looked like a security guard. The unconscious man had a knife still clutched in his hand, and a pistol fell out of a pocket onto the door.
Please be Aichan! :cry:


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From beyond, a figure stepped through the doorway that took Reina’s breath away. Reina’s eyes began at the bare feet tensed upon the floor, rising up along taut legs covered with tight dark red leather pants not unlike Aya’s Sukeban Deka suit, although these looked much more durable. Above it she wore a top also of red leather with sleeves down to the elbow, where black gloves that came to just below the joint covered hands that held a shiny and blood-reddened sword raised in a relaxed posture. Her hair was tied tightly in a single ponytail that hung down her back.
Damn, picturing that...that...that's just...hot. :jerk:


Quote
In a flash, she raised her sword and swiped it through the chains holding both Sayu’s and Reina’s wrists, and the two girls fell to the ground next to each other. “Keep low,” Ai warned, her eyes never wavering from the Chairman behind his desk.
In other words "Keep out her out of the way so that you don't accidentally get sliced and diced while I'm trying to slice and dice HIM." :cool1:


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Ai and Yamagata were now staring at each other with weapons at the ready over the great desk, either communicating silently or with a loss for words at their long-awaited confrontation. After a time though, the man behind the desk spoke again, and as he did so Reina thought she could even see him flexing his muscles through his clothes. For his apparent age, he appeared to be in quite incredible shape.
Well, he woundn't have gotten to where he is if he couldn't take care of his own business.  Can't rely on bodyguards all the time, the really powerful criminals are the ones who know, and who are even willing, to get their hands dirty once in a while.


Quote
Sweat now shone on both fighters, although the Chairman looked like he was nearing exhaustion while Ai exuded no less energy than when they began. In fact, she looked even quicker. The old man was still on the defensive, and Reina noticed his parries and counters were a fraction slower than they were at the outset. Their arms and bodies still whirled in dizzying motion, but the consternation on his brow told the truth of what even he knew what was happening.
Well, despite his skill and advantage in strength, Aichan was after all, an idol for many years.  She's just bound to have better endurance, what with all the years of touring all over the country performing at concert after concert after concert. The longer she can hold her own, the better her chances.


Quote
Unless he somehow got lucky, he was going to lose.
Or if he used some dirty tactic like suddenly threatening Reina and Sayu to force Aichan to put up her blade.


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The leather she wore fit even tighter on her moistened body, and Reina noticed bloodstains on it that she hadn’t caught before. She widened her eyes upon seeing that and coming to a realization. The red leather she wore wasn’t just for fashion; it was to match the color of blood that happened to stain it. Ai had obviously expected many such stains…
And that right there, is both cool and sad at the same time. While everyone knew that it was highly unlikely, if not impossible for this endeavour to be bloodless, Aichan in particular realized/knew just how bad it would be.  To wear red so that the blood spatter doesn't show as much...was it for a tactical advantage, in hopes that it might cause her opponents to underestimate her if they didn't see just how bloody her outfit was?  Or was it for her own sake? Was it so that she wouldn't have to look at all that blood and remember the men that she killed? Was it her way of keeping herself from getting distracted from seeing it?


Quote
For a moment, waves of heat overcame her and the blur of the battle became a blur within her soul. The violence before her fueled the passion she already possessed, heightened by her own recent appreciation of violence, and she felt almost as if she had left her body until she heard a loud groan of pain and the clanging of swords and scuffle of bodies fall into silence.

She returned to her body, but the heat did not diminish. Passion still overflowing within her, she realized her mouth was pressed tightly onto another. She was locked in a very deep and passionate kiss with the girl she held desperately tightly in her arms.

...

Feeling a pang of regret, she broke the kiss to see Sayu’s face with her eyes shut in submissive enjoyment. Quickly though the girl’s lids fluttered open and her eyes widened.
Uh-oh...one of those "heat of the moment" type things. :o  It sort of makes sense though, that Reina would sort of get "turned on" by this. It is, after all, a large part of what she's been constantly exposed to all this time. It would be weird if she DIDN'T feel anything during this scene.

Still though...not sure how Reina's going to handle this, nor do we know how Sayu and Aichan will react to what Reina did.


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Reina turned her head to where the duel had been occurring and saw Ai leaning forward, face not far from the Chairman’s, her sword sheathed in his midsection with the point sticking slightly out of his back. Time, which had slowed as Reina broke the kiss, sped back up to reality, and the Chairman gave another groaning cough. She noticed his sword had fallen from a hand that was limp at his side. It looked like he was trying to say something the bloody cough prevented him from, but Ai spoke first.

“Your reign of terror is over…” she said in a low yet strong voice.
WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO AICHAN!!!!! :rockon: :rockon: :rockon:


Quote
Finally Yamagata seemed to clear his throat and, staring into her eyes as he was instructed, was able to speak himself.

...

“What I’ve done is more lasting than you realize… You think everything will have a new image? I can even see it now… in your eyes… My ultimate victory…” He hacked a cough again, blood spattering and immediately disappearing into the crimson of Ai’s attire. He didn’t seem to have many words left. “You are wrong…”
Option 1 - This could mean that the organization is even bigger and goes even deeper into the underworld of society than Aichan and Reina realize.  It's almost like he's saying "you may strike me down, but there will be another to take my place".  If this is indeed the case, then Aichan and Reina aren't out of the woods yet.

OR

Option 2 - Another possibility (and I shudder to think it), is that Aichan plans to dismantle the organization from within. To do this she would likely have to become the new Chairperson herself, and that she would use that immense power and influence that comes with that position to try and undo what Yamagata has done. However...we all know what they say about what happens when one has that type of power. 


Quote
In a split-second burst of motion Ai jerked the sword from his stomach and swung it upward. Reina squeezed her eyes tightly shut before hearing a gasp from the girl beside her and the sound of something falling to the floor, followed by the squelch of something lighter doing the same. She held her eyes tight for a few seconds longer before opening them slowly to see Ai now standing erect with her sword sheathed on her back and the man’s body lying on the floor in an awkward position with its legs bent. It had fallen away from her, but Reina could see enough to notice blood seeping from the stump of a neck that was no longer connected to anything.
THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!!! (sorry, too easy, had to say it :rofl:)


Quote
“You’ve defeated the former Chairman in an honorable challenge..” said a middle-aged man, one of the two at the center of the formation. From the last time she was in this building, Reina remembered him speaking first at that time as well. He must be the most senior of the group. “Thus fulfilling one requisite of the right to succession,” he continued. He glanced around at the others near him. “Do any here dissent?” The Council members stayed silent as they studied Ai. She now stood very still near Reina, her jaw locked as she stared back at them. Reina felt the urge to reach up and take her arm to comfort her, but in response to the apparent formality of the situation didn’t move either.

After a moment’s pause the lone woman, looking regal and dignified with her silvery gray hair, intoned, “Then so shall it be. We greet Ai Takahashi, Eye of the Raven, and head of this Council.” All six bowed low over the desk, and this time Reina couldn’t help herself and lunged forward, wrapping her arms tightly around Ai’s waist and burying her head in the crook of her neck.
Well then...Option 2 it is. :O 

Question now is...will Aichan have the strength of will to fix what this organization has been doing? Or will she succumb to the allure of the power, and become like the man she just killed?

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

Offline rokun

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Re: A Young Girl's Odyssey [32: Destiny]
« Reply #154 on: July 12, 2007, 10:36:13 PM »
Well, glad to see you guys enjoying. :) I thought I'd answer a few of your comments/questions in the hope of fostering some more discussion since I haven't really explained a lot so far and this is a pretty complex story ... XD And we do also seem to be nearing the end... *ahem*


Man, let's find out in 20 years time Aika has to stop all this and becomes the new leader.
P.S.: I really thought you would say that Sayumi would be the leader's daughter.
Hey, that's an awesome idea! I don't usually think of fictional relationships like that (I have a hard time departing too much from natural reality), but something like that would be quite interesting... Don't worry though, there's still a good bit of Sayu to come. :)


Quote from: JFC
Oh, so THIS is the dream then? And she's dreaming that she's lying in bed, talking with Miki? Freud (and Aya) might have something to say about THAT. :P
Haha, remember all those other times she was with Miki in bed too though? :lol: Since Miki was alive all that time those were apparently dreams or hallucinations too... It's part of Reina's... er... delusion. ;) Or perhaps it's just her sub-conscious noticing things that her awareness doesn't. Either way, her mind looks a little fucked up. ;) There are other signs of that, too...


Quote
What truth is she talking about? The truth that Reina and/or Sayu and/or Aichan and/or any of the others might not make it out of this expedition alive? The possibility that Aichan is going to betray her and was actually setting a trap for Reina? (I know, I'm not sure where that last one came from either)
Since I'm not sure which truth you actually mean, let me answer this two-fold. ;) The truth Reina thought she already found out was that Miki wasn't actually dead. Remember her dreaming/hallucinatory encounters with Miki in the past? They talked about a truth then too... What Miki is talking about now though... well... That isn't fully revealed yet. :) There are just hints so far of what it might be.

Quote
"Blind passion"? What's that mean? Is he admitting that he jumped too quickly at the prospect of being able to "recruit" Reina for his organization? Was his eagerness just because he thought Reina was cute? Did he not supervise her "training" and indoctrination enough? :dunno:
The bolded part is where it began. Well, in a way. Remember, he and Ai had some sort of history (that darkens Ai's face every time she thinks of it). He was "blinded" by his desire for her and let her become too powerful. Something that he now regrets...

Quote
Hmmmm...maybe here his already seeing Sayu as a possible "replacement" for Reina (since she's obviously shown that he can't trust her).
Replacement, yes. But more for Ai as I mentioned above than for Reina... Remember he thought Sayu was pretty... *cough* And he'd never have trusted girls with that much power again.

Quote
To wear red so that the blood spatter doesn't show as much...was it for a tactical advantage, in hopes that it might cause her opponents to underestimate her if they didn't see just how bloody her outfit was?  Or was it for her own sake? Was it so that she wouldn't have to look at all that blood and remember the men that she killed? Was it her way of keeping herself from getting distracted from seeing it?
This I'll leave up to your own imaginations. :)

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Uh-oh...one of those "heat of the moment" type things. :o  It sort of makes sense though, that Reina would sort of get "turned on" by this. It is, after all, a large part of what she's been constantly exposed to all this time. It would be weird if she DIDN'T feel anything during this scene.
Thank you! :D You were spot on there. I'm glad to see the stuff that I've tried to do with her character has come out at least somewhat. It's definitely more than just "Reina randomly kissing Sayu" (yuu know who I'm responding to there :P). Exactly how much more we haven't been able to see yet since Reina's done her best to avoid Sayu since it happened. And her embracing Ai like she did at the end makes things even more uncomfortable. ;) ergo the next quote, which won't be followed by another comment, though remember, Ai was "distracted" by the little matter of someone trying to kill her:

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Still though...not sure how Reina's going to handle this, nor do we know how Sayu and Aichan will react to what Reina did.

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Well then...Option 2 it is. :O 
:)
« Last Edit: July 12, 2007, 10:47:32 PM by rokun »

Offline JFC

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Re: A Young Girl's Odyssey [32: Destiny]
« Reply #155 on: July 13, 2007, 03:49:59 AM »
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Either way, her mind looks a little fucked up.  There are other signs of that, too...
Yeah, all that training (both physically and mentally) that she went through must have really pushed her to her limits.


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He was "blinded" by his desire for her and let her become too powerful. Something that he now regrets...
Well, technically he can't regret it "now".

The guy IS dead, after all. :lol:


Looks like Option 2 is gonna be VEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERY interesting, yes?

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

Offline iacus

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Re: A Young Girl's Odyssey [32: Destiny]
« Reply #156 on: July 17, 2007, 08:10:42 AM »
I'm still reading! I just haven't had time to read for the past two weeks that's all.

Boy Sayu is interesting, she was apparently expecting something (what with the band-aids) and when it became obvious how bad it might be (the lobby) she just went in both arms one sword swinging. Risa and Eri (poor Eri! :'() were in a similar situation but weren't forced to go to the extreme that Sayu did. Actually, Sayu wasn't forced either as for the most part she did it all of her own free will.

And boy, Reina getting turned on by Blood Splattered! Aichan, while perfectly understandable, is a little screwed up.  I guess that's what you get when you take the fear out of violence. 

And God, leave us on a bigger cliffhanger why don't ya? JFC's option 2 is pretty much the only reasonable outcome I can think of at this moment; though I'm not as good at pulling things out of my ass as he his, so I may be missing something. And I don't even want to speculate about what's going to happen to the other side of the story. (the rest of the musume, etc.)
« Last Edit: July 17, 2007, 10:39:41 AM by iacus »

Offline rokun

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Re: A Young Girl's Odyssey [33: Respite]
« Reply #157 on: July 20, 2007, 10:07:15 PM »
Well, this is probably easily the longest chapter I've ever written. I wasn't planning on posting anything else so soon, but certain things that happened this week just made me want to write this. Also, posting this tonight I'll get in just before Harry Potter and other things take over my life. While writing this I realized something about what this story is. I suppose it's an experiment of sorts for me. It's my first dive into serious writing, and you'll see certain things in here that are, well, apart from the story. I know not everyone who comes here will like it, but I hope those who do are pulled into it as deeply as I while writing it. Well, now that I've made my token philosophical statement, onto the story. Please enjoy the ride Reina is taking...


Chapter 33 - Respite

Walking through bright halls, Reina looked from side to side. She didn’t feel very out of place, although the outfit she now wore was a bit tamer and considerably less expensive than what she displayed the night before during the raid. She wore the same leather skirt, white tank and vest that she had the night before, but the accessories were not quite as extravagant. For example, her belt was now just plain leather. She was surprised how easy it had been to find one before she left in the morning.

Still peering down side passages and into rooms with open doors, she slowed as she passed an open crossing with a desk stretching across a corner of it. Walking up to the counter, she looked around until she found the short woman sitting behind a computer on the other side. The woman looked up at her, but apparently didn’t recognize her as she spoke in a tired voice, “Visitation hours are nearly over for the afternoon and our rooms are all full. Is there something I may help you with?”

Reina considered a moment before responding. “You sound tired. Was it a rough morning?”

The woman hesitated, clearly surprised at the unusual comment and question. “We had… an unexpectedly large number of admits late in the evening into early morning. Some have passed on, but the ones who survived have meant plenty of work for all of us.” She looked into Reina’s eyes, apparently seeing her sympathy in them, before continuing, “I was called in early myself to help out. Some of those wounds…” She shivered before freezing and widening her eyes as if thinking she’d said too much.

“I’m sorry,” Reina apologized, though she knew the woman didn’t realize how genuine it really was. Her overwork today was in a large part Reina’s fault, after all. The woman waved it away like it was nothing. “I know visiting hours are up soon…”

“I’m afraid we cannot allow anyone in,” the woman politely interrupted. “Once the last guests leave, we will close the ward.”

Reina continued almost as if the woman hadn’t spoken. “...But I was hoping to see a friend of mine here. I understand…” she commented idly, looking at her fingernails as if examining them, “that many of the injuries were accomplished by clean cuts. That’s most unusual here, isn’t it?”

The woman now scrutinized her closely. After awhile, she apparently decided to respond. “We get the odd one from incidents that involve certain… parties.” The woman peered at Reina, looking her up and down, and frowned as she took in her age. “Though I’ve not seen a group like this in my nine years working in this wing.”

“Parties, you say…” Reina said, tapping a finger to her chin as if in thought. She looked around to see two men with tattoos visible from just beneath the cuffs of their suits coming toward the exit to the ward in hushed conversation. The woman noticed her look and followed it to the men, visibly catching her breath while staring at them as if hoping to shrink out of sight so they’d pass her by quietly. However, Reina noticed them glance toward her and the woman. When they kept their eyes on the two without returning to their conversation, the woman shrank back further.

With an air of some formality, the men paused as they passed Reina and bowed deeply. With narrowed eyes, Reina held their gaze for a second before giving them a slight nod. “Do you have a friend in there?” she asked them in a quiet voice.

The two men looked at each other before the shorter one responded, “We have a comrade who has taken ill, honored one.” Reina knew the nurse behind the table wasn’t fooled for a second by the intimation that the grievous wounds that must have been suffered by their friend were due to a sudden illness, but they must keep up appearances.

“How is he?” Reina asked honestly. The men apparently weren’t used to such an expression, and obviously didn’t believe her intent, and looked at each other again before the same one replied.

“He will survive, honored one,” he said plainly.

Reina held her breath for a second. She definitely wasn’t yet used to all this “honored one” language everyone involved with the Council now used to refer to her with apparent necessity in every comment they directed her way, and chose at the moment not to dwell on the reason behind it. “I’m happy to hear of it,” she said with a smile. She thought the corner of the taller man’s mouth flickered in the same, but only for a split second. “Please take my best regards for a full and speedy recovery.”

The two bowed deeply once more, fists to their chests, and mumbled deepest gratitude for her concern before heading away stoically and no longer in conversation. Reina smiled though as she thought they walked with a lighter step and could almost feel them keeping themselves from turning back to look at her in confusion and wonder. She would take people calling her “honored one” in every sentence if it meant the new way she hoped things would be had already spread among the ranks.

She turned back to the nurse, who was now staring wide-eyed at her, her fingers on her computer completely ignored in her amazement and apparent fear. Reina could have done without the fear, but she knew some things took time. “As I said before, I was hoping to see a friend of mine in here. I believe some other friends are already with her. Do you mind if I catch up with them?” She didn’t wait for the woman’s slow nod before striding in the direction the two men had come.

As she passed doors which in this private ward were nearly all open, she looked in to see men and women lying on beds, most with wide bandages covering various parts of their bodies. Some were missing portions of their limbs, but none appeared the least bit desperate. From the hardened men of the Council they could trust to the less able but perhaps more dedicated men and women Miki and Aya had brought along, they all knew the worth of their injuries. Miki’s companions held themselves proudly and usually gave a smile to Reina as she passed if they were alert, while the other men had generally experienced much worse and knew they likely would again in the future. Their eyes caught Reina’s when she passed, and though they did not smile, they quickly lowered the gaze in humility at her recognition. Reina didn’t like causing such people to humble themselves before her, but she supposed it was her responsibility now to act the role she had claimed. The problem was, she disagreed with it in large part and wished she had no such “honor”. However, considering the situation, she had a feeling even then it might not matter.

Finally she reached a door from which she heard hushed conversation in high, youthful voices, much different from that in any other room she passed. She paused at the door and stood in it a moment, just looking within. Four girls stood around a bed, two on each side, where a fifth was lying with her hands laid lightly on her stomach. The attention of all four was on her, and she had her eyes closed, so nobody noticed Reina at first.

“…why you didn’t ever tell me anything about this. I was your senpai, you know!” Reina heard the end of that statement spoken by a girl in a black polo shirt and checkered seifuku skirt. The girl beside her was kneeling at the side of the bed, clasping the hand of the girl lying on the bed within her own. The standing one in seifuku was apparently speaking to the taller of the girls on the opposite side.

“What exactly was I supposed to tell you?” said the apparent addressee in an almost harsh, frustrated voice. “That Takahashi-san was my Mistress and that she would kick your butt if you mistreated me? Of course Mistress would have, but I didn’t really want to see you poked with a sword either…”

“First of all,” the first girl responded, and Reina smiled, noticing heat now in her voice. Her impression of Sayu had completely changed since the night before. “I’m not so sure anyone would have been poking any swords in me. And another thing…” She didn’t continue however as Risa took one of her hands from Eri’s to place it on her arm.

“Please don’t,” she requested gently. “I don’t want Eririn to hear you two squabbling again if she happens to wake up.” Sayu turned her glare to the girl, still fired up in her scolding of Koharu, but it softened immediately at whatever she found in Risa’s face.

Reina thought it flashed into a pout before she made her expression straight again and responded softly, “I’m sorry. I… I guess I’m still heated up a bit from last night…” Reina smiled again at the girl’s completely abashed expression. She was pretty sure the girl didn’t know as much about Risa as herself, but apparently whatever Sayu had seen in her face expressed it enough. If anyone deserved to be upset for many reasons…

“Rei… Reina-chan…” she heard Eri breathe from the bed, and she looked to see the girl lifting her head up slightly with a smile and looking straight into Reina’s face. The other girls quickly looked her way too, most with eyes widened in surprise as Reina finally stepped in to make her entrance.

“Hey Eririn,” Reina said warmly, and after giving her an expressionless look Sayu stepped back so she could kneel next to Risa. Eri lifted her other hand across to take Reina’s. Risa looked at her also, giving her a small smile, and in return Reina hugged her comfortingly before they shared a look in which Reina let her know she wouldn’t interfere. She looked back to Eri, who was bleary-eyed but smiling up at her.

“How did you get back here?” Aika asked from the other side, a puzzled look on her face. “They said I was the last one they’d allow in since visiting hours were almost over…” Koharu gave her a hard pinch, and the girl yelped as the taller rolled her eyes at her as if to say “Think!” They were all quiet a moment after that.

“How are you feeling?” Reina asked Eri, softly rubbing her thumb over the girl’s palm.

“I’m all right,” Eri breathed. She didn’t seem to have much in the way of a voice at the moment. Right after she spoke, with a hiss of breath she clutched her stomach tighter. Reina noticed Risa squeeze her hand and almost rise up as if to see what the matter was. After she relaxed again though Eri continued, “I guess my stomach hurts a little, but they say I’ll be all right. I have to stay here for now though, and they didn’t say how long…” She trailed off as if contemplating on that thought.

“Yes you should,” Reina said, clenching her jaw as she felt the corners of her eyes moisten. “You need to get some rest before you can go back to singing and dancing again! I know I’ll miss your energy until then.” Eri smiled, but it seemed she was drifting off again into sleep as her eyes fluttered closed.

Reina suddenly noticed she was holding the girl’s hand as tightly as Risa was and relaxed her grip, though still reluctant to part from it. She looked over at Risa, who was also looking into Eri’s face but had apparently noticed Reina’s glance.

“They have her on a high dose of morphine,” she said in a tight voice. “Apparently the pain’s really bad. They took her into surgery almost right when she got here, although they won’t tell me what they did. They said I have to be family…” Risa was now rubbing Eri’s hand between hers as if trying to give the girl some of her own warmth. “Her parents are supposed to be coming down from Tokyo this afternoon. I guess we’ll have to wait until then... They’ve apparently stitched her up pretty well though, and there are bandages covering the wound.” One hand parted from Eri’s and stretched out a little toward the spot she just mentioned, shaking as it hovered in the air. Reaching out, Reina took it, and as if that was a signal Risa fell into her, sobbing and clutching her tightly. “Oh Reina… I thought things couldn’t be much worse than what happened to me, but something like this happening to her…” Reina just held her, soothingly shushing the girl as she cried into her shoulder.

“I know,” she whispered. “It’s not right. Eri could hardly be more innocent. She didn’t deserve it.”

“No, she didn’t,” came a voice across from them that seemed like it spoke through clenched teeth. “If it wasn’t for you, nothing would have happened to –“

She cut off as Risa tore away from Reina and stood up, glaring at the girl so hard that Koharu fell back almost as if she’d actually been hit. “It’s not Reina’s fault!” she said in a broken half-shout through her tears. Reina thought she would have yelled herself hoarse at the girl except that she didn’t want to wake Eri again. “We made the choice to come with her because we’re her friends! We weren’t forced to! In fact, Reina even tried to stop us from coming but we wouldn’t have anything of it! Of course, you wouldn’t understand that because you have no idea what that kind of friendship is about!”

Koharu staggered at each of Risa’s exclamations almost as if she was physically being assaulted, and Aika stared wide-mouthed between the two. Reina felt such a surge of affection for the girl beside her that it almost drove her to tears again. She felt hands from behind clutch her arms and pull her back slightly until she stood as well, and then she felt warmth up and down her body as Sayu pressed against her from behind, hugging her tightly. She could feel the girl’s own tears leak against her neck as she nestled her face into it. Reina didn’t move, letting the girl embrace her, surprised that she’d touch her after what happened last night.

“In fact,” Risa said in a much quieter and calmer voice, “I’m not even sure why you came here today. So far you’ve done almost nothing but argue with all three of us…”

Aika now focused on Risa and made as if to speak, but Risa spoke first. “I know you don’t think that way, Aika-chan,” she said in a warmer voice. “But I just wish your senpai could grow up a little…” She trailed off and Koharu hugged herself in apparent shame, although she also glared at the girl who scolded her.

“I… I’m sorry, Gaki-san,” she eventually said in a tight voice, looking down at Eri again. She didn’t speak for a moment before continuing, “Maybe I’ll just leave…” With that, she tore her eyes from the girl lying on the bed and quickly walked past Aika and out the door. Aika looked desperately from the three girls across from her to where Koharu had disappeared beyond the door before with a slight shrug and apology in her eyes set off after her senpai.

Reina could still feel Sayu hugging her tightly, her eyes apparently no drier, and Risa closed her own before kneeling back down beside Eri. “I’m sorry,” she said to no one in particular, though Reina thought it was likely most directed to Eri. “I shouldn’t have yelled at her. She did come to visit you, after all. I’d hoped more would but I guess… They’re the only others that knew something about what was going on...”

As she began stroking Eri’s hair, Reina noticed that she was becoming very warm pressed up against the girl behind her. Slowly she turned, pulling Sayu’s hands away from her waist, and looked into the pretty girl’s face. She couldn’t glean much from it aside from the sadness that had been making her cry. “Don’t cry…” she said, and almost without realizing it reached up to wipe a tear from the corner of her eye. However, she immediately noticed what she did, and stepped away from Sayu around to the foot of the bed before turning to peer back at the two still where she had left them. One thing she definitely did not want to do was complicate things more than they already were. She had cast her lot, and would not have things different for the world.

“I’m glad to see Eririn’s doing better,” she said softly. “I’m sure you’ll find out everything will be okay once her parents arrive.” Both girls turned to look at her. “Since they should know the whole story of what happened to their daughter, for example how brave and what a good friend she was, I probably shouldn’t be here when you tell them. I know what you two think, but I have a feeling they’ll have their own views about me after that.” The two girls looked at her grimly, but with understanding.

Reina looked back at Eri. “Eririn…” she said in an even softer voice. “I know you wouldn’t want to hear it, but I’m sorry for everything. Thank you though, for…” She couldn’t finish, but walked around the side the two younger ones had just vacated and leaned down to kiss the sleeping girl’s cheek tenderly. As she did so, Eri shifted slightly and rolled her head to the side. Reina smiled and returned to the foot of the bed.

“I also need to go for other reasons. Ai-chan will be expecting me, and we have much to do.” She carefully avoided the two girls’ faces as she spoke, but she didn’t even know if they were looking at her anymore. “You two take care of her.”

She turned and headed for the door, but before she reached it she heard Sayu call out in a surprisingly strong and insistent voice, “We’ll see you soon!” Without turning around, Reina smiled again and left the room.

The trip back through the hallways seemed much longer than on the way in, and she didn’t even bother to check if the nurse she spoke to earlier was still at her station. Stepping outside, she waved a taxi down after a few minutes and stepped into it. She no longer trusted having a driver of her own, and she had always thought there was a certain sense of romance to riding around the city in taxis and trains, so she’d decided that would be her mode of transportation once again, and from now on. Granted, it would make her much more visible to the public eye, but she felt she really had nothing to fear about that here in Kobe, and as for anywhere else… Well, she hoped that before long Reina Tanaka wouldn’t have the need to hide herself from the public anymore.

The taxi arrived at the nondescript building near the center of town and she departed, sparing glances through the early evening twilight at the traces of blood still near the curb that were unable to be totally cleaned away, just as she did when she left a few hours ago. Only allowing herself a moment though, she pulled her vest tighter and walked toward the entrance, which was now flanked by one man and one woman leaning up against the walls as if just happening to be there by chance. They were not, of course. The woman was from Miki’s group, and the man was part of the Council’s security. When she passed, the latter bowed to Reina as low as the ones in the hospital had, but the woman just nodded her head with a pleased expression. She was no “honorable one” to Miki’s group, but they knew her place and still treated her with a large amount of respect. There were very few people the woman at the door would even give as much as a nod to.

Walking through the entrance hall, which was once again filled with well-dressed people walking to and fro, she saw one of the others the woman would nod to standing behind the tall reception desk. As she neared it, the people around her gave her a wide berth; the lower echelons of the Council’s guard and the actual businessmen that worked here did not know what exactly went on last night aside from the fact that the Chairman was dead and another had taken his place. She was sure rumors had spread though throughout the day, and she caught many more than one look as she passed. Each was calculating, as borne from the personalities of those around her, but there was usually another expression as well: of curiosity, or awe, or even fear. Any of those emotions were quite reasonable of course, as she could easily understand a well-respected businessman or guard who heard that their new supreme leader was a very young woman being frightened of the strangeness of such a concept. And, in Reina’s case, having heard she had a very close companion that shared her offices and chambers, was even younger, and was even more mysterious just for being largely unknown and yet attaining such a position. In fact, those that knew anything about her were probably only those that were close in the Chairman’s confidences, and they were all… being dealt with.

She didn’t continue that thought though as she arrived at the high reception desk. “How is she?” asked one of the girls behind it in a quiet and concerned voice.

Reina gave one last glance around her before focusing her eyes on Miki. “Not too good…” she said slowly and with a slight shake of her head. “They’re saying she’ll be all right, but apparently she had some kind of surgery this morning. She’s so weak…”

The two girls must have caught her looking off into space, because after a moment Aya spoke up. “Reina, can I talk to you?” Reina looked at her. The girl stared back sympathetically. She gestured her head to the side and walked around the desk to head off in that direction. Reina looked at Miki again, who nodded at her grimly, and followed.

Catching up to Aya, she matched her slow pace as they walked down the hall. There were less people here, but still some passed them by, many giving Reina slightly wide-eyed or careful glances.

“Do you suppose you’ll ever get used to that?” Aya asked, looking around.

“What?” Reina asked distractedly.

“I mean,” Aya explained. “Everybody looking at you like that… If it was me, I’d be so self-conscious I’d have to check my hair all the time and I’m sure I’d hide whenever I got the chance. You act like you don’t even notice anything…”

“Do I?” Reina asked. For some reason, she felt a twinge of sadness. She stopped and leaned back against a wall, looking at her companion. She decided this was a subject she didn’t want to talk about right now. “Did you have something to tell me? I can’t imagine that was it…” The other girl looked slightly abashed. “I’m sorry,” Reina said quickly. “I guess I just don’t think about it anymore.”

Seeming to feel a bit better, Aya considered her a moment before speaking. “You’ve changed a lot from the girl who was there for me when I… thought Mikitty was dead. And I don’t just mean because you were sent to kill me.”

Despite herself, Reina broke into a short giggle. She was going to apologize, but Aya smiled too. “Well I’m glad to see you laughing. You must not be too worried about Eririn.”

Reina stopped giggling but kept the smile on her face. “Well, she’s not dead yet,” she said optimistically.

“Still…” Aya said. “Even though Mikitty turned out all right, I had a few months to experience what it was like when someone close to you dies. I hope you know that…” She stepped a bit closer to Reina. “if anything happens to anyone, please feel like you can come and talk to me…” She lowered her chin to give Reina a level and serious look. “It’s the least I owe you for everything you’ve done for me.”

Reina tried to hide a blush at the girl’s words by retreating into her own thoughts. She thought of the time what seemed like so long ago when she talked to her mother about death. She definitely had a different opinion of it after all that had happened since, and she was no longer frightened of it. Still, it wasn’t something she wished on anyone. The paired faces of Daisuke and the Chairman floated through her mind and she kept a sigh from escaping her lips. No, not even on them.

“Reina…?” she heard Aya ask, and returned to the present to see the girl looking at her with concern. “You okay?”

“Yeah,” Reina responded. “I was just thinking. I hope Eririn will be all right.” Aya nodded solemnly. Pulling away from the wall, Reina hugged the older girl. “It’s going to be all right.” The other girl didn’t move for a moment before patting her back and hugging her tighter. Reina released her quickly after though, and pulled back to see that the girl’s eyes had moistened a little. “Miki’s waiting for you,” Reina said with a smile. Aya nodded, though seemed unsure if she should go. “I have things to do anyway,” she assured the girl. “I need to see Ai-chan.”

“Of course you do,” Aya choked, and with a pat to Reina’s shoulder walked back toward the desk. Miki being back or not, Reina was afraid the girl was still rather unstable. She supposed months of thinking her best friend was dead before being told she herself was marked to be assassinated and not long after that finding out the friend was not dead at all would of necessity leave a mark…

Grimacing ruefully, Reina turned and walked the opposite direction down the hall. She still ignored the looks of those that passed her, as well as a few that seemed to want to address her as she walked quickly past. Without a doubt they would have liked to shed some light for themselves about the mystery girl that took up residence on the thirteenth floor, but Reina figured being even more mysterious by seeming as if she didn’t notice them wouldn’t hurt anything.

Actually, she guessed as she walked, strolling about her business apparently as mechanically and obliviously as the multitude that surrounded her wasn’t all that different from on the streets outside where salarymen passed each other in the street without even a glance, oblivious as to whether the person passing them was the lowly mail clerk in a dingy factory or the governor of the prefecture.

Sometimes she wondered what they must think though. Whatever their ties, many of these people were likely parents who have learned in recent times that the younger generation are not to be trusted and regarded them with a certain amount of fear borne of tales heard from their acquaintances who had children in schools where even junior high students rose up violently against those in authority. What they must think, now that a girl who to them was as good as one of the dangerous high school students they’d heard so much about now led one of the most inherently violent organizations in Japan? Even more the unknown menace of the girl closer to her than anyone who really was a high school student and played on their worst fears of youthful degenerated morality in an atmosphere of the most degenerately amoral?

Reina looked again at the faces that turned to her. She thought she saw in their eyes some of the fear she imagined. The Chairman used fear as a powerful tool to control and dominate, and no matter how powerful these people were in their own circles fear still drove them from above. Now Yamagata was no more and the youth in his place bred a different type of fear in them, but it was fear nonetheless. Reina hoped it didn’t sink too deeply; she was convinced there must be chance to alter the stars. Reina passed her hand in front of a scanner on a door near the end of the hall, which opened to reveal a small and secret elevator. She was determined to find that chance!

The elevator slid open and she entered it as the previous door closed behind her. Nobody passed it, since they all knew well to avoid the way to the upper offices. The carriage was barely large enough for four men, but ascended so smoothly Reina could hardly tell she was moving. This was one of the perks of her new residence she didn’t at all mind. It rose without her pushing a button because there was only one floor this elevator stopped at. Before long it dinged and the doors slid open onto that floor – into an antechamber with torches along the sides to give light. Well-muscled men stepped out from the shadows at her arrival, but once they recognized her face retreated with short bows. These elite guard had much higher status than those from the hospital and the lobby, so half the gesture of respect her position required of those men was sufficient for them. Reina couldn’t have cared whether they all fell prostrate before her or ignored her as if she didn’t even exist.

Giving them slight acknowledgments, she strode across the room and through the door into another circular area. In this one, three ornamented doors graced the walls on each side. Another, larger and much more heavily ornamented than the others, stood across from her at the other end. It was to this one she strode, and she pushed it open easily to reveal a small but still quite lavish office where a middle-aged woman sat at a desk in front of a computer and another heavily-built man sat as if lounging next to a door beyond the desk. Both looked up as she entered, but the man returned immediately to his slouch while the woman’s gaze lasted slightly longer before returning to her screen. Reina scrutinized her for a moment. She used to be the assistant to one of the Council members before being “promoted” to her position in this office. Reina could tell she still wasn’t quite used to a young girl coming and going freely to the chambers of the one whom she assisted. Of course, young women frequently went to Yamagata’s chambers, but they had passed through in far from the relaxed way Reina did.

Nodding to both woman and guard, Reina crossed to the final door and took a breath before entering. This office was not much different from when she first came to in it the night before, but she was glad to see some of the portraits had been removed from the walls. The expensive-looking statues of various gods and exotic animals still stood on the desk, though Reina supposed she couldn’t even find any fault with them herself.

Ai sat back in the chair behind the desk, her legs crossed and hands folded in her lap as she listened to the two men addressing her from before it. Her hair was still pulled back in the ponytail, but this evening she wore what looked almost like white sweats with a black belt fastened around her waist and a dark navy blue robe around it all that billowed out onto the chair at her sides.

The conversation cut off as they noticed her arrive in the room, and Ai looked at her and smiled while the two men turned and gave tentative bows. The Council members still weren’t accustomed to how they should act around Reina, although Ai had been quite explicit that she be treated as if she was her equal in command. The Councilmen apparently couldn’t bring themselves to go quite that far, but still they showed Reina more respect than anyone but Ai herself. The fact that Ai even was honored so much still was odd to Reina, but the Council members seemed to take it in stride. Apparently she had met all the rites of tradition and in their minds was the undisputed leader they claimed her as. Reina had no misconceptions that at least some of them were plotting how best to overthrow her and take the power for themselves, but apparently that was the case no matter who the head was as it had been throughout history. She supposed that was their way of making sure the strongest of them all constantly held the place of honor.

“Reina!” Ai exclaimed as she rose and walked toward her. When she arrived, the two girls hugged and kissed. As they parted they stayed in each others’ arms, and Reina couldn’t help a dreamy smile. That always seemed to happen when Ai kissed her.

“Greetings, Honored One,” the Councilmen intoned stiffly, giving additional nods. As uncomfortable with Reina herself they might be, they were much more so with the relationship the two girls shared. Apparently the “Eye of the Raven” wasn’t far shy of a holy figure, and the idea of someone in an equal romantic relationship with her, especially another woman, was a lot for them to handle even with all that happened lately.

Ai turned to them. “Are we finished discussing our business?” she asked. “If so, I’d like to retire for the night. It’s been a long first day and I still have much energy to recover from last night.” That was true; she seemed almost inhuman in her fight with Yamagata, but Reina knew it was much more draining than it appeared. She’d put all her energy into his defeat. Yet, despite that, they had been in bed for only a few hours before Ai woke and left Reina to begin the day. Reina had wanted to go with her, but Ai told her to stay in bed because she needed the rest. Ai of course needed it too, but she wouldn’t let Reina argue the point, and Reina fell asleep again too quickly to make much of it anyway. By the time in mid-morning when she finally left bed herself Ai was gone, and so she took a while absorbing her new surroundings before descending and finding Miki, who told her that Eri was in the hospital.

“Yes, I think everything is settled,” one of the men responded. Tokuyama, she thought he was called. His nod seemed suitably submissive, and the other shared the expression. Reina looked carefully at them. Perhaps they weren’t scheming against Ai. She prided herself at her intuition as of late, and she detected no hint of dishonesty against Ai from these men.

“By the dawn, then?” Ai asked in a hard voice. Reina looked up at her face.

“By the dawn, the traitors will be extinguished,” Tokuyama confirmed. Extinguished? Reina thought Yamagata’s remaining loyalists would be imprisoned, but the man’s words sounded somewhat more final…

“All will be well, then,” Ai responded, and she bowed with them before they proceeded out.

Once the door shut behind the men, Ai walked over to the door opposite where Reina entered. “Are you coming?” she asked in a tired but warm voice, much unlike that which she just used with the Councilmen. Reina nodded and followed her into her chambers.

The domed sitting room they passed through first had two huge plasma televisions along the walls, which Reina imagined Yamagata used to keep tabs on his organization, as well as perhaps for some entertainment. It also contained comfortable-looking designer couches and recliners, but the two girls hadn’t tried them out yet. Deciding she would now, Reina walked over to one of the couches, and after removing her vest and draping it over the back plopped down in it. It really was quite as comfortable as it looked.

Ai had walked on into the bedroom, so Reina looked around and saw a remote control on an end table beside where she sat. Picking it up, she clicked the power button and the larger of the televisions in front of her flared to life. The brightness was so sudden she involuntarily squinted her eyes. Once adjusted, she watched the scene in front of her with great interest.

The grand lobby spread out across the television screen, and she could see the fine detail on each person who passed by. Much better than an average security camera, this would obviously be perfect for keeping an eye on every person who walked through the front doors. Reina knew it was used for horrible reasons, but she still couldn’t help being slightly impressed at the expense and effort the Chairman had obviously put into it all.

“Anything good on?” came a voice from behind her. She turned quickly to see Ai smiling at her from the bedroom doorway. Her face darkened though when she looked at the screen. “I see he needed the best toys he could find to do jobs that are done so much better by people with the right skills. Too bad he despised the lot of them.” From her voice, it sure didn’t sound to Reina as if it was too bad at all.

Reina began to feel slightly nervous. She hoped with Yamagata’s death Ai would be able to shed some of the ghosts that haunted her, but apparently they had not all gone. In fact, she hoped more had not taken their place with the blood she spilled last night.

Ai seemed to shake the shadow quickly though and turned back to Reina. “How was Eririn?” she asked softly and sympathetically.

Reina licked her lips before responding. Of course the girl would know where she had gone. “I’m not sure… She looked all right, but she was still recovering from some kind of surgery.”

“I’m sorry that happened to her. I should have known about your driver,” Ai continued. Reina wondered how the girl could keep so much heat in her gaze, as tired as she must be. “I won’t miss something like that again though,” she continued in a steely voice.

Reina now began to feel concerned. Ai could obviously barely stand; she was leaning heavily against the door frame, but still her knees looked as if they were about to buckle beneath her. “Come here,” Reina ordered, shifting over and gesturing to an obvious place next to her on the couch. “You need to relax.”

Ai gave her a hollow smile before making herself stand erect and walk over. When she sat down beside her, Reina immediately took the girl into her arms and held her close. Ai seemed reluctant at first, but soon relaxed into her, laying her head on Reina’s chest. “I could have you executed for ordering me around like that, you know,” she said with a wry smile, playing with a strand of Reina’s hair.

“Then execute me,” Reina said offhandedly. “You’re going to have a nice long rest first, though.” Ai chuckled a little at that. They held each other silently for a time, and despite the warm contentment Reina felt at their embrace, she eventually let out what had been bothering her since she entered their office. “Ai-chan…” she began carefully.

“Mmm?” the girl responded in a sleepy voice as if she was about to doze off.

“Those two Councilmen you were with when I arrived…” Reina continued. “You were talking about extinguishing people. By traitors I take it you meant Yamagata’s loyalists?”

“Yes,” Ai responded, this time bracingly and as if not sleepy at all.

“What… exactly… are you doing with them?” Reina asked the question she wanted desperately to avoid, and the girl’s response was exactly what she feared.

“They will be executed,” Ai said plainly.

“Oh,” Reina said in a voice barely above a breath.

Ai pulled her head from Reina’s chest to look closely into her face. “They had a choice, and all of them knew who they were working for. It’s the fate…” she seemed to hesitate for a second before continuing, “…they deserve.”

Staring back into the deep black eyes before her, Reina’s mouth dried, but she nodded ever so slightly. Her own beliefs were clear to her, but perhaps an exception could be made in this unusual circumstance. The conviction of the girl’s words, and the love in her eyes, were at the moment too real. “Come here,” Reina whispered, and she reached a hand behind Ai’s neck to pull her into a long, loving, and even sweet, kiss. The silent television showing people nearly life-sized before them was quickly forgotten as they began their night together.

Offline glcorps2002

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Re: A Young Girl's Odyssey [33: Respite]
« Reply #158 on: July 20, 2007, 11:08:02 PM »
Reina must stop her from going down that dark path before it's too late!!!

Offline JFC

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Re: A Young Girl's Odyssey [33: Respite]
« Reply #159 on: July 21, 2007, 02:35:29 AM »
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Walking up to the counter, she looked around until she found the short woman sitting behind a computer on the other side. The woman looked up at her, but apparently didn’t recognize her as she spoke in a tired voice, “Visitation hours are nearly over for the afternoon and our rooms are all full. Is there something I may help you with?”
Reina's at the hospital? Must be there to check up on Eri.


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“I’m afraid we cannot allow anyone in,” the woman politely interrupted. “Once the last guests leave, we will close the ward.”

...

“...But I was hoping to see a friend of mine here. I understand…” she commented idly, looking at her fingernails as if examining them, “that many of the injuries were accomplished by clean cuts. That’s most unusual here, isn’t it?”

The woman now scrutinized her closely. After awhile, she apparently decided to respond. “We get the odd one from incidents that involve certain… parties.” The woman peered at Reina, looking her up and down, and frowned as she took in her age. “Though I’ve not seen a group like this in my nine years working in this wing.”
The nurse must know that at least some of the patients that were admitted here were the result of the Organization and/or other gang-type activities.  After a few years, she probably just put 2 and 2 together.   :O


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“…why you didn’t ever tell me anything about this. I was your senpai, you know!”

...

“What exactly was I supposed to tell you?” said the apparent addressee in an almost harsh, frustrated voice. “That Takahashi-san was my Mistress and that she would kick your butt if you mistreated me? Of course Mistress would have, but I didn’t really want to see you poked with a sword either…”
Koharu DOES have a point here (pun not intended). She was also probably scared at having her own butt kicked if she blabbed to anyone about it. :yep:


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“First of all,” the first girl responded, and Reina smiled, noticing heat now in her voice. Her impression of Sayu had completely changed since the night before. “I’m not so sure anyone would have been poking any swords in me. And another thing…”
Oh Sayu...:lol: Guess that means that she thinks she's too cute to get poked, huh? :lol:


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“Hey Eririn,” Reina said warmly, and after giving her an expressionless look Sayu stepped back so she could kneel next to Risa. Eri lifted her other hand across to take Reina’s. Risa looked at her also, giving her a small smile, and in return Reina hugged her comfortingly before they shared a look in which Reina let her know she wouldn’t interfere.
Shit, that must be really hard for Reina to do. She obviously still cares a lot for and misses being with Eri. :(


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Eri could hardly be more innocent. She didn’t deserve it.”

“No, she didn’t,” came a voice across from them that seemed like it spoke through clenched teeth. “If it wasn’t for you, nothing would have happened to –“

She cut off as Risa tore away from Reina and stood up, glaring at the girl so hard that Koharu fell back almost as if she’d actually been hit. “It’s not Reina’s fault!” she said in a broken half-shout through her tears. Reina thought she would have yelled herself hoarse at the girl except that she didn’t want to wake Eri again. “We made the choice to come with her because we’re her friends! We weren’t forced to! In fact, Reina even tried to stop us from coming but we wouldn’t have anything of it! Of course, you wouldn’t understand that because you have no idea what that kind of friendship is about!”
Both Koharu and Risa have valid points here. Koharu's right in that if the others had not come with Reina, none of them would be here now in this situation. Reina could have (and some might say should have) tried harder to convince them to not come along. She could have even had them detained somewhere or somehow found a way to prevent them from coming.

However, we all know that at that time, nothing less than some actual type of confinement would have kept them from coming along. And given the circumstances/timing at the time, that was very unlikely to happen.  Reina did her best to warn the girls of how dangerous it could get, and they still chose to risk it and come along.  When your friend is willing to put his/her life in jeopardy like that, it's not that hard of a decision to stand with him/her.


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“I’m glad to see Eririn’s doing better,” she said softly. “I’m sure you’ll find out everything will be okay once her parents arrive.” Both girls turned to look at her. “Since they should know the whole story of what happened to their daughter, for example how brave and what a good friend she was, I probably shouldn’t be here when you tell them. I know what you two think, but I have a feeling they’ll have their own views about me after that.” The two girls looked at her grimly, but with understanding.
Unfortunately all Eri's parents will remember in all likelihood is that Eri was hurt because of something big that Reina was involved in.  It's unlikely that they'll be understanding of the circumstances of the situation. Actually, for their own safety it's probably better that they DON'T find out a lot about the circumstances of the situation.  In any case, they'll be feeling helpless and they'll be looking for someone to blame, and regrettably it's most likely that once they find out the details, it will probably end up being Reina and Aichan that get targeted.


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“I also need to go for other reasons. Ai-chan will be expecting me, and we have much to do.” She carefully avoided the two girls’ faces as she spoke, but she didn’t even know if they were looking at her anymore. “You two take care of her.”

She turned and headed for the door, but before she reached it she heard Sayu call out in a surprisingly strong and insistent voice, “We’ll see you soon!” Without turning around, Reina smiled again and left the room.
I suppose this is Sayu's way of telling Reina that they WANT to see her soon. It was probably hard enough for them when Reina and Aichan disappeared the first time. They don't want them to disappear again.


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She was sure rumors had spread though throughout the day, and she caught many more than one look as she passed. Each was calculating, as borne from the personalities of those around her, but there was usually another expression as well: of curiosity, or awe, or even fear. Any of those emotions were quite reasonable of course, as she could easily understand a well-respected businessman or guard who heard that their new supreme leader was a very young woman being frightened of the strangeness of such a concept. And, in Reina’s case, having heard she had a very close companion that shared her offices and chambers, was even younger, and was even more mysterious just for being largely unknown and yet attaining such a position.
Well, this situation is probably one that was completely unexpected and likely has no precedence whatsoever. A change in leadership is one thing, but to suddenly have a young, obviously powerful and deadly pair of girls as their new leaders...it's enough to cause anyone to be uneasy. No one here knows how Aichan and Reina will deal with things, how they'll handle things, how they'll run the organization, etc.  No one here knows if they might be on the "chopping block" so to speak (both figuratively as well as literally).


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In fact, those that knew anything about her were probably only those that were close in the Chairman’s confidences, and they were all… being dealt with.
A necessary evil, I'm afraid. There are bound to be hard-nosed people within the organization that are still fiercely loyal to the former Chairman. If they're not taken care of, they'd be a danger to Aichan and Reina, as they'd likely be plotting something along the lines of an act of vengeance.


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Reina looked again at the faces that turned to her. She thought she saw in their eyes some of the fear she imagined. The Chairman used fear as a powerful tool to control and dominate, and no matter how powerful these people were in their own circles fear still drove them from above. Now Yamagata was no more and the youth in his place bred a different type of fear in them, but it was fear nonetheless. Reina hoped it didn’t sink too deeply; she was convinced there must be chance to alter the stars.
In comparison to what lies ahead for them, getting rid of the former Chairman was the easy part. While the man is gone, the legacy that he left behind...his "stamp" on this organization still remains, and it's going to be a hard one to change. There are undoubtedly others within the organization that capitalized on and/or otherwise used the fear the Chairman used to run it.  People working for the organization have lived with this cloud of fear hanging over their heads for a long time, and it's something that they can't just forget.


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The Council members still weren’t accustomed to how they should act around Reina, although Ai had been quite explicit that she be treated as if she was her equal in command.
Well, up until this point, the Council has likely been used to the thought of having just one, single leader. That way, any and all decisions were final. There would be no dispute, since it would be the call of one single person.  To suddenly hear that their new leader (Aichan) has decreed that Reina has authority and power equal to her own is just...different, and something that they're still not used to.  If one of them thinks "A" and the other disagrees and thinks "B" instead, what are they to do?


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“By the dawn, then?” Ai asked in a hard voice. Reina looked up at her face.

“By the dawn, the traitors will be extinguished,” Tokuyama confirmed. Extinguished? Reina thought Yamagata’s remaining loyalists would be imprisoned, but the man’s words sounded somewhat more final…

“All will be well, then,” Ai responded, and she bowed with them before they proceeded out.
It would be nice if they could just be imprisoned, however so long as they remain alive, they remain a threat.  Under the circumstances, there's only one way to deal with that thread in a manner effective enough to make it CLEAR about who was now in command.  What's scary though, is that Aichan came up with this "solution" so quickly and, on first impression, seemingly without hesitation.


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Reina began to feel slightly nervous. She hoped with Yamagata’s death Ai would be able to shed some of the ghosts that haunted her, but apparently they had not all gone. In fact, she hoped more had not taken their place with the blood she spilled last night.
Aichan won't admit it (assuming that she's even aware of it), but it's very traumatizing to actually kill someone and watch the life drain from their eyes.  She might think that she's dealt with it, but chances are that subconsciously, she's still trying to sort through it all. Doing that, while now assuming a position of such power and influence, it's easy to "take the easy way out" sometimes.  She has done it by ordering the executions of Yamagata's loyalists, and even though she (hopefully) is joking, she shows signs that she's capable of it when, after Reina tells her to come sit beside her, she says:
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“I could have you executed for ordering me around like that, you know,”



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“They will be executed,” Ai said plainly.

“Oh,” Reina said in a voice barely above a breath.

Ai pulled her head from Reina’s chest to look closely into her face. “They had a choice, and all of them knew who they were working for. It’s the fate…” she seemed to hesitate for a second before continuing, “…they deserve.”
The fact that she says this with no hesitation, as if it's the most normal thing in the world...it's a sign, and it's a bad one.  As I've said before, in Aichan's eyes, it's probably a "necessary evil" that has to be done if she's to make the changes that she said she wanted to make.  If she's not careful though, the only thing that's going to change is Aichan herself. She'll change into what she despised and what, or rather who she killed. 

Reina needs to be Aichan's conscience here, or at the very least a voice of reason, a second opinion to show Aichan and to remind her that her goal was to get rid of Yamagata, not to become him.






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