The Transverse Chronicles
The Beginning, starts like any other…
The day started like any other… I got up, made breakfast for the family and left for the library. After the morning studies were done, I went to school for homeroom. I ran into Akira outside. He was smoking. Not that I hadn’t noticed him doing that previously, nor was it a surprise that he had been up all night. Either way, it was my duty to attempt to discourage this behaviour. Yamamoto-san and Ikuro-san were late. Again, nothing out of the ordinary. Ikuro-san looked like he had been in a fight, so I decided to check up on him after class. It turned out that he fought with one Kouji Ide, over what I still do not know. Mari-san hinted at the fact that she had planted cigarettes in my bag, so I took it to our homeroom teacher, Yamaguchi-sensei. Thanks to the principal’s presence I received detention… For the first ever. I was embarrassed… And yet again, Yamaguchi-sensei didn’t stand up for me. I was hurt as I returned to the classroom. The class had PE, but myself and Yamamoto-san was to report to the nurse’s office for a vaccination. It seemed a bit odd, but I suppose there must be reason for it. As we arrived the nurse, whom I had met ones already as I handled her orientation, quickly screened us off and began with Yamamoto-san. After a bit she came up to me. She was saying… The oddest things. Something about… Unreality, and chains weighing me down. She said that there might be a risk of death… So I hesitated, figuring that she was just trying to scare me. I gave her my wrist, and she injected me with something. I felt like I was drowning as I felt myself slip out of consciousness.
I was being pulled down by chains, as I desperately attempted to get to the surface. As I can’t swim, it was more like flailing than an actual attempt, I reckon. The hands belonging to someone took my own, and helped me out of the pool. A pool of… Liquid metal, is the only way to explain it. As I got out, the ripples that was raging stopped. A metallic vision of the nurse was in front of me. I felt different, but I could not quite tell how. Kannon-sensei pointed out that I didn’t need glasses here… I didn’t believe her until I touched my face, and realised that I was seeing perfectly without them… Actually better than I should even with glasses. I was also naked. In a scramble to attempt to cover myself, I noticed that so too was Kannon-sensei. She asked me what I would like to wear… Isn’t that a silly question? It is school hours still, the regulation school uniform of course! And so… I was wearing the school uniform again. Thinking about it, I did recognise the place… I had seen it in my dreams. But when I was here, I did not wear a school uniform. No, I was wearing an armour. Which, of course, when thinking about it it appeared. Kannon-sensei explained that we would have help our friends by severing the chains. The very same chains that I could feel pulling me back into the Hell as she called it, the real world. I didn’t quite understand, but helping them here, would help them back home… That was all that I needed to know. I wondered how I would defend myself against the evils of this world, but not to worry of course my sword was at my side all this time. For a second I thought about if it was there while I was naked as well, but I didn’t dwell on it. She pointed me towards the village, so I took confident steps towards it.
On the way to the village I ran into Yamamoto-san and legionnaire of sorts. Yamamoto-san did not seem to recognise me. He was difficult to recognise. Body aside, the attitude he gave out was very different. Perhaps that rings true for me as well? I don’t know, I don’t think I acted very differently. They talked about giants in the area. I heard a grumbling some… hundreds of meters away! The legionnaire runs off screaming as I tell them. While myself and Yamamoto-san go to investigate.
Yamamoto-san sped off ahead of me, with ludicrous speed! I hurry after as best as I can. When I arrive a giant is fighting, but I could see prior to this he was a slightly-than-larger man, and Yamamoto-san tried speaking to him. Seeing that immense size, I truly wished that I had an armour that covered my entire body, not just my chest. Well, good thing I was wearing full plate armour… This ability of mine is very useful! We manage to suppress the the giant, and shrink him back down. There was something familiar about him, but I couldn’t place it. He kind of looked like Ikuro-san. Apparently, he was not always like this. His chieftain had partaken in some sort of ritual, turning them all this way. Umat, as his name was, had attempted to resist. Because of this, he was hunted by the others. He had tried to hide among the villagers, but due to anger issues he lost control and turned giant. As he does turn giant, the others can sense, so undoubtedly more would be headed this way. I have a hard time seeing them overlooking the village, as he had been hiding there before… If they come, the village will come under siege. Thus, we went to warn them.
I worked on gaining their trust, upon Umat’s behalf. He had given them a deer he had hunted as food. I assisted, rather poorly, in butchering the deer. I was completely fine, up until it dawned on me that I arm deep inside a creature, which was still warm I should add, clasping its heart. I fought back the urge to vomit, until the heart was out. Then I ran straight to the bushes. I felt rather weak after that… But I had set out to make a meal to the village out of the deer. So I preceded to cook for all that my life was worth! Somehow, this odd scene reminded me of cooking with my mother before. She would tell me: “Do you know what the secret ingredient is?” Of course, I was clueless… “Love.”, she answered. You never cook to feed yourself, you cook to feed others and to please them. A good meal can solve most anything, or at least so my mother used to think. In the meantime Yamamoto-san had built a wall, that would protect against boulders. It was very well built, but he looked very tired. So I brought him, and Umat, some of the soup/stew that I made. Umat finished quickly, and wanted some water. As he was not allowed into the village, still, and Yamamoto-san was busy, I went to fetch some.
We did not speak for long, until I could make out the faint rumbling of giants approaching. They were three giants strong. one went straight for Umat, while two of them went for Yamamoto-san. I wasn’t sure just strong he was, so I figured that it would be a good plan to get the attention of one of them. I yelled something that, in retrospect, could be very insulting towards Yamamoto-san. but the one holding a log charged me. I readied for him. But as he was seemingly unable to move due to Yamamoto’s shear force, I went to assist Umat. Then the giant came towards me. He swung the log at me, I thought I was done for, but I managed to swing my sword with enough might to cut through the log. Umat was flung into the wall behind us, seemingly out of the fight. I had another giant charging me. I deflected both attacks, and managed to knick the giant that fought with Umat previously, in the neck, taking him out of the fight. The log was heading towards my head. I couldn’t react… My body got heavy. The armour around me changed, as if my subconscious, or whatever, had noticed the danger and bolstered the armour, severely hampering my movements. It was dark, spiked, and had a cursed aura about it. The blow still managed to knock the wind out of me. Even with such heavy armour, these brutes still pack a punch. Yamamoto was buried under the fist of the one I left with him, with heavy breath I yelled his name… And thus he appeared, uppercutting the brute. He proceeded to finish his battle, and with some team work, we were able to finish the one I was fighting as well.
I went up to Umat, after the battle, put my hand on his shoulder to check on him… And a strange bright light appeared around my hand. His wounds seemed… Less severe somehow. I tried the same on Yamamoto-san, again a strange light, and his wounds seemed to heal themselves. I wonder if I could do this to myself, and indeed I can. It felt warm, and reassuring, somehow. After a short exchange with Umat, we were transported back to our world. Yamamoto-san was back with his unmoving legs, and I grabbed for my glasses. I knew this would happen, so I had time to prepare. But Yamamoto-san… He was angry, depressed… To back in that broken body, I can’t blame him. But in order for him to remain over there, we must fix the chains from both sides, or so Kannon-sensei told me. Yamamoto-san did not seem convinced he could do much from here, but he seemed willing to try, if only a little, at least.
The Wrong First Impressions
I was back, I was really back. It barely registered to me that I was late, for the first time ever, to the student council meeting. Takeuchi-senpai’s extra classes was also cancelled, I found out. I knew the principle had stopped many of us, but even Takeuchi-senpai? Senpai suggested a cheap alternative of evening classes. Senpai’s philosophy was that everyone should be able to afford the extra classes, should they want them. I did not want to suspect senpai, but I felt that there was something more to it, but I did not want to push the subject. I went passed the principle on the way out… Kannon-sensei said a lot of things as I returned, one thing that did stick to mind was to watch for the principle. I informed him about Akira Fuji smoking, as we had been told to report directly to him. He suspected me of being the one to smoke, as cigarettes had been found in my bag earlier… I question his logic, and he asked me about who may have put them there, I said that Mari Matsumoto may have suggested that she did. Then I left, and caught up with Takeuchi-senpai by the gate. Every time I speak to the principle I feel like the air itself is strangling me, as if his mere presence is… Wrong, somehow. Either way, Takeuchi-senpai seemed distracted and stressed herself, so we left for the evening classes.
We took the tram to a very… Bad part of the city. The place looked very run down, as well. As we enter an older, balding, man was looking at us. A younger woman. We were split up, I went with Ide-sensei, who turned out to be Kouji Ide-san’s mother. She was wondering how he did, after leaving school and all. She was aware that he hung around school. I mentioned that he was close with one of my classmates, Mari Matsumoto-san. But, we started to study English. It was a bit difficult, but I got it in the end.
I met Takeuchi-senpai outside, and looked distressed. I managed to get out of her that the balding old man had been rather creepy with her. She looked uncomfortable, and her uniform was a bit frazzled. She suggested that next time we go in there together, and perhaps with more people. She lived nearby, apparently, and decided to walk home. I offered to go with her, but she said she would be fine. So I took the tram and went home. I was later than usual, but I was still home before mother. I started making food… And it reminded me of the moose… I almost threw up again. Mother came home when I was halfway through cooking. I couldn’t tell her that I got detention. I did tell her about my problems with the curriculum, and that I had to get night classes elsewhere. She mentioned that information about proper tutors had been circulated. And suggested that I speak to some of them the next morning. I explained that Takeuchi-senpai wanted affordable options for all students. Mother said that this was not an issue for me, and I understood her… But I cannot let senpai go to that place alone. I tried to explain to mother, but I remembered that senpai may have other motives about this being a cheap option, and dropped it. Father came home as I was setting the table. We ate together, for the first time in a long while… Barely a word was spoken. I finished and went up to do my homework. I grasped my pen… It seemed longer than usual, somehow. I must be getting tired, better hurry then. All of a sudden the numbers from my book disappear, and I see the metal… I was already asleep, apparently. This time, the chains did not hold me down as it did last time.
I shot out of the pool, and landed. This time not bare skinned, but I was sensibly enough wearing some kind of underwear. the same could not be said about Yamamoto-san, however. And well, wow. I equipped my armour, and one of the legionnaires had a kilt available for Yamamoto-san. And we headed towards the village. The defenses had been fortified, and things seemed to be going well. Umat was nowhere to been seen, however. We were told that he had left for the city of New Albion. We set off after, through the forest. Yamamoto-san is very fast now… I, on the hand, is not. Getting to the forest took some time. There was a lot of movement in the forest, and it was not long until we came across a woman riding a panther, pointing a stone spear against Yamamoto-san. They were radically against the usage of steel and metals, which was an issue given that my appearance is very steely. In order to get passed, without trouble, we had to meet with their leader, or sorts. He was clad a metal necklace that said “ambassador”, in English. He also reminded me of Nobuta Noda, a student council member. I explained that we were not enemies, and that we were not allies with the Steel City. He did not believe me. He required proof, I attempted to explain that the steel that I wear is part of my soul, and not something I put on, as such. It was hard to explain, since I barely understood it myself. He asked if I could make it look like their pelts. I pondered for a second, went up and touched his pelt… And it felt like I could. But instinctively I kept my gloves and my boots, making it look rather weird. He said that it might be difficult if I’ve never worn one, and gave me one. I unequipped my armour, and put on the… Loincloth pelt. At first I barely thought about the fact that I almost naked in front of all of these people I barely knew, and Yamamoto-san. I was more curious about how my power worked. I put on the loincloth, and it disappeared into me, in the same yellow light as when I change my armour. After that I could equip easily into the loincloth… But I added to pelts covering my top part as well, that did take a bit more concentration. He accepted us, and gave us a tooth, to prove that we had his approval. He was apparently part of the council of New Albion. The woman, and her owl followers, followed us for sometime as we headed towards the other side of the forest, but laid off some time before we reached the end.
We came out to a road network of industrialised farms and factories. Very different from what we had seen thus far here in the Transverse. We got up to the road heading towards the city, and ran into a horse and carriage. The carriage had a cage with people in it. The man in the front was very brazen with them being slaves. Yamamoto-san went back to speak to them. I can’t explain it, it was like we both knew exactly what had to be done… I heard him speak to them, and instantly he punched out one of the guards and I cut the horses loose. Then he went to kick the other guard off the carriage, and I cut him as he fell down. As I cut him, the man had sent off a flare, and backed off to shoot a flare straight at me. I can’t explain it, my body moved on its own… And just continued the sword motion to cut the flare as well. Yamamoto-san caught up with the man, and punched him from behind, and I reacted, again, faster than I knew that I could… And my sword went straight through him. I had killed a man… I didn’t have to more than reflect on it, before I looked over to the prisoners, and cut the cage. It was as if I understood the weight of killing a man, but also that he deserved to go to one of the hells, or something… It is difficult to explain, it was not a thought I had had before, it more of an instinctual way of handling killing someone, I think. We dashed towards the forest, seeing that one of the airships was gearing up to shoot us. I was lagging behind. We had brought one of the living soldiers, as well as the man in carriage. The others reached the forest, but I could tell… I could not without risking being shot. My battle instincts kicked in, and counted how long it would take for the shots to reach me and ran in a straight line, to dodge out of the way at the last second. That trick would not work again, so I just bolted to the forest after that. Yamamoto-san called for the woman with the cat, and she took us to a bear cave. We woke the guard up, and questioned him. We ultimately decided not to kill him, but to blindfold him, and use him to help us get into the city. The prisoners, as well as our hosts, was less than happy about this, but said that it was our choice. I had removed his armour, and absorbed it… I did this almost instinctively. Similar to when I healed Umat, it’s as if my body knows how my abilities work, and can’t wait to tell me all about it. Absorbing armour is useful, as it allows me to wear them perfectly, fitted and everything. We decided to sneak in, Frida, one of the prisoners, decided to come with us. The guard would also come with us, the rest elected to stay with these people.
The Mechanised City
Sra lead us to the edge of the forest, away from where the luddites usually move. As we approached the city, we noticed a party of highlanders. In the middle of the party was a beautiful woman riding a white horse with a horn… A unicorn?! So they exist here, that is pretty amazing. We decide to enter shortly after them. They let us in easily enough. Rob reminds us about the steak he promised, but before that we had to sell the pelts. Ron navigated through the tight streets with ease. The market place was all but closed down, only an older lady, with only one good eye, was still open. I go up to her and attempt to sell the pelts. I have read a bit of business, while no business woman myself I do understand that you need to be firm and unapologetic about your claims. Thus, I managed to get both payment as well as information about where they would be worth the most. Ron had explained the currency earlier. But it did not seem straightforward, while there was no set value per echo, different echoes valued differently to different people. We received a nightmare coin of weakness, three non-specific, as well as a first-kiss echo. The first-kiss echo brought back a memory I had all but forgotten… Back before I lost my brother. This is not the time for memories, though. This was the time for steak. Good steak, apparently.
They don’t seem to have newspapers the same we do, but they have clippings on a wall, instead. While we waited for the steak, that Ron kindly ordered on his tab, I checked the clippings for any sign of Umat. It was all very exaggerated, but one kind of fit the bill. It was about a ugly person who had broken into an alchemist shop, in order to steal sedatives. This made sense, given that he wanted something to calm him down, so he would not turn into a huge hulking rage monster. This had lead him to get arrested and was kept in the mines, for now. The clipping said that he was waiting for beheading… But all of them said that, so I’m not sure… I would like to think that they have more punishments than just beheading, but I cannot be certain at this point. At this point Yamamoto remembered to call me over, as the food had arrived sometime ago. The food looked AMAZING. I have not had a proper steak in some time. Making steaks was always my father’s area of expertise. But since Kazuki passed, I’ve been the only to cook. Mother occasionally does, but not to the same extent as we used to. I actually tried being a vegetarian for a while, as I understood that it would be better for many reasons, but I could not live without meat for long.
When we finished the barmaid came by and we asked about lodging. When we said two rooms, she looked at Frida and said she felt sorry for her. At first I didn’t understand, then I had a moment of clarity… Me and Yamamoto-san… Sharing a room?! Nope! Not appropriate! It doesn’t matter how handsome he’s gotten, or how… strong he appears to be, nope! When I said that I would share with Frida, she looked at Yamamoto-san and hinted at sharing with her. I gave Yamamoto-san a stern look, and I began telling him that it wasn’t appropriate… But I felt different, as if the chains clutched at me again. I shook it, and we were shown to our rooms. We were given a rickety room, that felt like it’d fall down, should I put on a heavier armour. Frida asked me what this armour’s deal was. I looked down, I had unwittingly changed into my pyjamas. Orange, covered in white bunnies… I was embarrassed for a moment, but told her that it helps me sleep better. We drifted off into sleep. But I woken up, or at least I thought I was, by Kannon in the window. She explained that the city was controlled by a minion of someone from her realm… Or at least from an Up realm. When she used the word up, she used it as if it was a physical elevation, but I think she meant a world with a higher form of conscience. That would make sense, given that she doesn’t seem to have fully grasped the pragmatics of spoken word. Perhaps she would have no need for it, where she comes from? She explained that the Principle of Emptiness may be able to sense her, but we should be fine. That said, given that she is currently with us, even if… Dreaming puts us in a Upper state of being, meaning she only here because our physical bodies are, but she’s connecting through through dreams that are more Up… It was confusing, but I think I understand. Anyway, technically she is here… Therefore, the Principle had sensed her, and sent assassins for us.
I woke up, and I was surprised at my clearheadedness. I did not feel clear headed, being that I was newly awoken, but I barely reacted to there being a clockwork assassin standing above me with blades about to cut me. I changed into my full plate before it had a chance to react, and felt the room shift a little. Frida was still in the room with me, so I figured I’d wait. Should the room, fall, I would have the catch her. I stopped the blades, as the robot tried to cut me. The room seemed fine, so I responded with a stab. I tried to stab something that looked important, but I have no real clue about what is actually important to it. The strange this was… Blood came out, boiling blood. It was warm to the touch, but didn’t seem to harm me. It jumped backwards, and began shooting kunais at me. Again, worrying at the state of the room, I decided to deflect them out the window… Something I had no idea I could do, but there you go. I charge up and manage to stop the shooting. Frida had snuck up behind the robot, and whacked it over the head with an oil lantern, setting fire to my bed. The clockwork robot re-equipped his second sword, and began to spin towards me. It seemed like a weak attack… But. It spun in such a fashion that Frida was in risk of being hit, so I pulled the robot towards me, parrying the first blade, but the second blade cut into me. It was also warm, but my armour protected me. Before I had time to react, another robot came crashed through the wall. It sounded as if it had steam, or something, building up. It was about to blow, I decided. I barely had time to react, but I grabbed it and flung it towards the other, aiming to knock them both out and destroy them both in the blast. The one I was fighting previously was knocked out, but the one about to explode remained in the room… Right next to Frida. For some reason I felt that she was fine, though… So I took my sword and flinged the bed up, to cover me. I jumped over the bed to check on Frida… She was wearing armour. It is strange, it was an armour I had never seen before, but I knew it was mine, somehow. I must have transferred my armour to her, or something. I also knew, I can get it back… But I need to touch the armour, like when I took the guise of Noad’s armour. I healed her as I grabbed her shoulder… It was then I realised that I could hear nothing, the blast must’ve overloaded my hearing, or something. As she was mouthing towards me, but I heard no sound. Yamamoto-san appeared, seemingly newly awoken and confused. He understood the situation, and jumped down towards the robot I had tossed out. I jumped out after… Was I mad? Such a leap, why did I feel as if it would be fine?… Wait, it didn’t hurt? This armour of mine sure is useful! I landed with a slice, to finish off the second robot. Frida came down as well. Yamamoto-san went up to fetch his clothes. Just as the police showed up, in the silvery corvette. We had been told that the Prime Minister, the minion of the Principle of Emptiness, had the police under his thumb, but running away would seem all the more suspicious, so I remained and answered their questions. A man leaned out of the silver corvette. The features were unmistakably Fuji-sans. His name was Cillroy Funicolari, Cid for short.
The Break Out
The police arrived. We had been warned about them from Kannon. However, I figured that running away at this point would only seek to cause suspicion towards us. A sergeant landed and started asking us questions. I answered as best as I can. Yamamoto-san started flailing and seemed to feign being more upset about the situation then he was. I managed to explain the situation to them, and to not take Yamamoto-san away… Not that he seemed like he would let them. They gave us a silver bug, of sorts, that would allow us to call the police should we need assistance again. Yamamoto seemed to think it was bugged. Personally, I felt that it was perhaps a bit too obvious, but it did make some sense. He flung it up in the air, while we discussed what to do next. The second time he flung it Cillroy caught it. Paying little mind to that, we split off. Myself and Frida towards the palace, and Yamamoto to the mines, where Umat was being kept. Yamamoto did not give over the fang we had been given. His reasoning made sense, so I did not push it, but said that maybe he should go to the palace then. That said, I realised that I would most likely not have to show, if at all, until I got as far as being on my way to the actual meeting. Thus, we stuck to the plan. Myself and Frida left for the palace. It was a wondrous sight. I had read about similar palaces in books, but seeing it up close like this was quite the moment, indeed. It looked like one could just stride inside, but the guards stopped us. Bertrand and Reginald, was their names, I learnt later, Captain of the knights. They asked for name and purpose. I continued with the title of “Occupation-Student”, as it seemed to work well here. Inside was a big entrance hall, with clerks to the right and left. Before us was a mole-looking man, bickering with what seemed to be a high ranking clerk. Lady Winterbottom, as her name was, was adamant that the queen was not taking anymore requests from the machine church. When he turned around to leave, I could not help but to butt in. I asked if everything was alright. The mole man, named mister Vole, said that he had been trying to get the queen to approve something for him. Lady Winterbottom threw a snipe remark. So I grabbed his shoulder and told him that patience is a virtue, which seemed to calm him down. He left in a much better mood than he otherwise would have. Someone dear to me used to say that: “A good deed is sometimes it’s own reward.” In this case it was, it made me smile, something I needed after the stressful morning. We spoke with lady Winterbottom, and managed to get an audience with the queen. She offered us many things, a bath among others. I imagine that she was mostly offering a great many things to say that they have these, like nobles do. But I felt like I was in the need of a bath, so I took them up on the offer, something that surprised them. Frida joined me. It would take sometime to set up, so I went out to Reginald and Bertrand, asking them to tell Yamamoto-san that I was inside. As I went back inside, Cillroy joined me. He was intrigued by us. He questioned my being nice one of the machine churches’ people, after what they had done. I answered that nothing was proven, and that we hold no gripe towards them, until proven otherwise. He mentioned that some of his crew knew of Kannon, the goddess of compassion and revolution. That seemed to make sense with my take on her. He mentioned that he had his airships following me.
I had been to onsens and, the more western, spas with my family before. But I had never received this kind of attention… There was a swarm of 4-6 women at any given time washing me. I realised that removing my armour would not be an easy task for them, seeing as it’s a part of me. So I removed it, revealing only my under garments… Whom I believed to be actual clothes. But as it turned out, they to, was a part of my armour… Which meant that earlier, when I gave my armour to Frida… I was naked. It had not dawned on me to check at the time, since I was busy being exploded upon. Frida pointed out that I was naked all the time, seeing as the armours are my own energy wrapping around me. I was not sure I appreciated this, though I supposed it makes some sense. I was scrubbed clean by the swarm of servants. It felt very uncomfortable, but at the same time… As they say in the strange west “When in Rome.”
Sometime passed, and we joined back up with Yamamoto-san. We had to choose a mask, and a role, for the audience with the queen. A trio of jesters joined us, and started singing the tale, of, what I assumed to be, the queen. About a queen who died, without an heir, and a girl who had lost everything who was chosen to take up the Role of a queen. I believe that Role part is important in understanding everything that is going on here. We were lead in to see the queen, who was chained to her throne. We mentioned our plea, and explained Umat’s situation. At first I believed her to be enthralled because she liked stories… But we quickly changed pace, less story like, and more real-like. There was something familiar with her voice, but I couldn’t quite place it. She seemed unaware of her jurisdiction, as well as what she was capable of, so we negotiated our way to an agreement that would work. We asked about the chains… She feigned ignorance of them. Yamamoto-san offered to remove them. I noticed the jesters draw blades. Their dance before made it clear, they would be dangerous foes… And I could not tell if they were her wardens or her bodyguards. We left at that for now, and went to leave our masks. We started building a plan. We would attack in the evening. But there was three things that needed to be done before that. Firstly, getting rid of the airships. Then Frida, who wanted to join the fighting, would need some equipment, and something that wasn’t underwear. I had read that people used to wear entire dresses as underwear, but I wasn’t sure that applied to this world. And lastly, food. The first was easy. Frida had split off from us, and Yamamoto-san moves faster than eyes can see. And I, well, I can change appearance, to a degree. We just walked under a roof, Yamamoto-san ran away, and I changed clothes, and walked out the way I came in. The last was also easy, we found a nice curry place near the mine. Frida returned wearing a more colourful dress, along with a helmet, a shield, and an axe. We set up the plan… Mostly Yamamoto-san. Something that really impressed me. I never saw him as the thinker type, but he had really thought this through. And as nightfall hit, we left the curry place.
We snuck closer to the quarry, and saw the light where the deal was going down. Yamamoto-san had insisted that we save the women over there, that was being sold off to the creepy guy in the vampire-looking gettup. Myself and Frida charged up to the light. I figured I would try a civilised approach, at first. That did not work, as the vampire-looking man-who turned out to be an actual vampire, go figure-disappeared into the darkness. A fight ensued, gangsters in the front, and a vampire at the back. Me and Frida made our way to a gangster each, and began taking them out. One of them had thrown a bat carrying some kind of liquid. The vampire controlled the bat to explode behind us. I attempted to bat it away, which was an amusing idea… Batting away a bat. Perhaps now was not the time for my horrible humour, though. I managed to defend myself, but Frida took the damage. The gangster in front of me picked up one of the chained ladies, and had her at gunpoint. I simply stared at him, and told him to let her go. He dropped the gun and the lady, telling his boss to leave. Frida went up to kill them both. The guard who was there, seemed to have trouble with his mecha. To be fair, he was lucky he was not crushed when Yamamoto-san turned it over. Yamamoto-san had freed Umat, so we left.
The Dog Prank
We made it back to the curry place, and the owner let us stay in one of the rooms. I was exhausted, and fell asleep hunched by the door. I woke up back in my room, homework not quite finished. It was almost time for me to get up anyway, so I decided to get ready and finish the homework at school. I was wearing a blanket, meaning that my parents did check on me, if nothing else. I arrived to school, and began doing my homework. Before long my classmates showed up, and then the teacher. The day was uneventful, until halfway through chemistry class. We were dealing with metals, but before I had time to write a complete hypotheses Mari, my lab partner, poor some of it down my school uniform. At first, I didn’t realise, but as I did I started to panic. This metal is dangerous to humans, I attempted to inform her. She handed me the bottle, and blamed me for the spilling. I left to change wash it off, and to change clothes. I saw Ide-san on the schoolyard. I tried to muster up the courage to tell him that he wasn’t allowed here anymore, but I couldn’t. Instead I returned to class, wearing my PE clothes, having left my school uniform in the PE locker. Mari had left the classroom already, so I was left to set everything up on my own. The hypotheses wasn’t perfect, but it would have to do. I attempted to rush through the process, as I pretty much already knew what would happen, and how to do it. But in rushing, I forgot that I was in my clumsy “Hell” body, and not my somewhat more gracious Transverse body, and attempted a maneuver that would speed up the process, meaning that I actually spilled some of the metal. Crescent-sensei rushed over, and showed me under the safety shower, and sprayed the metal off me… Making my PE uniform wet, in the process. I approached him after class and asked him if I needed to re-do it. He proposed that I do it during detention later, which seemed like a good idea.
Before detention, during our last class, a policeman came by and picked up Uemoto-san. After class, people started talking about it, as if he was a criminal. Both me and Yamamoto-san opposed that idea. Yamamoto-san left as he said it. Everyone was surprised that he even voiced his opinion at all. But that goes to show, Yamamoto-san will grow into a good ally in this world, as he already is in the next. After this I went to tell Takeuchi-senpai that Uemoto-san couldn’t join her, but that I would. As I knocked one of the senpai’s opened and let me in, her name was Yamamoto Haruka, as it turned out. While I was speaking to Takeuchi-senpai, I noticed something out by the schoolyard… A dog wearing a school uniform. The scenario went through my mind, and I just knew that it was my school uniform. I ran out, attempting to calm the dog, but I was panicking so naturally the dog would not calm. Students had gathered around, and I heard laughing and whispering. I was about to give up, about to cry, when Haruka, from earlier, sprints past me and starts wrestling the dog. She managed to get the uniform off it, but she got bit in the process. I picked up my tattered uniform, and helped Haruka to the nurse’s office. I was so freaked out that it took me a minute or so to notice that Yamamoto-san.. ehr Kentarou.. was there. Which is when I learnt that they were siblings. He had asked Kanon to do what she could, so Kanon injected her with… Something, and asked me to heal her. Heal her? This is not the Transverse, I don’t have such an ability here… She ensured me that I could. I tried, and I felt… Something. But to no avail. And right afterwards, the principal showed up. He said that Mari had been quite the troublemaker, and that if she hurt anyone again that Kanon should tell him. At first I wanted to say something, the thought of her leaving the school was a good thing, or so I thought… But my heart skipped a beat… Her leaving the school? Despite how she had treated me the year, or so, I didn’t want her to leave.
The Old Friend
I went to detention, which was an unfamiliar concept for me. I was going to re-do the lab with Mari, but she wasn’t there. Crescent-sensei went to look for her, but couldn’t find her. I had just about begun, when the principal showed up, with Mari in tow. The principal didn’t approve of this method, and ordered Crescent-sensei home, and told us to write papers instead. In my head, I believed the principal to want at least one of us to fail. So I wrote both our papers, and handed one to Mari. She got angry with me, saying that she could have done it herself. I clumsily said that she could have, had she tried. I have seen her try, and she can do it, yes… But sitting around twiddling your thumbs for most of the time does not a paper make. she pushed me to the ground, and the principal was about to enter. She asked me what my problem was, so I asked her if she wanted him to win. She started cursing at the principal, and was quickly dragged away. I was left alone, so I stacked up the papers picked up my things, and left.
I met up with Takeuchi-senpai, and we left for the after-school classes. She told me about Iro Shonin, a highly rated tutor. I said that I would contact him after classes with her. This time we were in the same room, as I study math on senior level. That man truly was creepy… Really, he did nothing more than lean over me, checking my progress and patted my shoulder. But somehow, everything seemed off. His words were too lean, he leaned a bit too close, his hand was my shoulder a bit too long. And this was with a room of quite a few students… How must he have been alone with Takeuchi-senpai? I dreaded the thought of her coming her alone. I did my studying, but also I studied him. Alas, my senses in this world are not very attuned, and I could learn nothing of him. I could not tell if he was brave enough to do anything untoward, beyond acting like a creep. Even so, the lesson ended and we went separate ways, Takeuchi-senpai ones again walking further into the rough neighbourhood.
On the way home I contacted this Iro Shonin, and set-up a tutoring meeting. He only had late evenings free, as it turned out. Since it was so late, having the session in my house would make the most sense. So I went home, and he was waiting outside as I got home. I apologies for being late, and opened the door. There was something familiar about him, but I couldn’t quite place it. But as he started teaching me economics it hit me… I killed this man. He was the slave trader that we ran into outside of New Albion… I killed this man, and now he’s teaching me. I did my best to hide my panic… Should he remember me… I cannot defend myself in this realm. It was fine though, he did not seem to retain memory from that life. And my father came home, so we ended the study session. I made sure to cook, and mother came home just as I finished. I went up to do my homework, and went to bed. I woke up with a jolt, half expecting to be in the Transverse, but I was just in my room. Things felt… Normal. I prepared for school, fixed my bento, and left. It seldom that any of my classmates arrive to school before, this was such a day, as Uemoto-san was there. I asked him if he was okey, he was talking about his friend needing a place to stay. It was easy to see through what he really meant, and it saddened me a little that he didn’t trust me in this world, like he does in the Transverse. He does trust me enough to ask for help, that is still something. I looked up rates for motels and hotels nearby, but it didn’t seem to catch his fancy. I hinted at the possibility of maybe staying at my place… But he didn’t seem to fully pick up on it. We do have an empty room, though I am unsure that my parents would rent it out. Or maybe I don’t want them to? It’s difficult to say. I then checked with him if was still OK to go with Takeuchi senpai for after-school classes, he seemed to shine up a bit at this idea. In my head I picture myself paying for it, but I don’t think I actually communicated it… At all, in retrospect.
Before long our classmates started pouring in. We had our morning period, and to my surprise everyone was there… Even Mari. She was without her phone, however. During class I caught a note being passed to Sakura Kawasaki-san, and went to throw it out. After class the girls started insinuating that myself and Uemoto-san had some sort of relationship. At first, I am ashamed to admit, I didn’t understand what they meant, but I caught on before long and made an attempt to clear up the matter. As, the normally very quiet, Yamamoto-san had said good morning to both myself, and Uemoto, there was also some rather uninspired words surrounding the three of ours relations. Classes went on until lunch, most classmates cleared out, either to eat elsewhere, or to eat in the cafeteria. Makoto came up to eat with me, as usual. Mari came up to us, and told me thank her for yesterday. I did, and asked her if she was okay after that, even apologising. She began insulting Makoto, so I tried to stop her. And she was wondering why I defended him, and in my anger to her I threw out that he was my best friend… While true, given our previous relationship, it was a very harsh thing to say in such a manner. She got visibly angry, and stormed out. I felt horrible, as if when you knowingly insult someone you care deeply about.
PE was the only thing left on the schedule. The changing room had become very awkward since Erika Honda-san had confessed to Sayuri Hashida-san, not so much because of anything she does, but because of how over-aware of it Tsuyo-san and her gang is. During PE we had dodgeball. So much fun was had. Erika was taken out very quickly every round, because of Tsuyo-san, and her gang. Mari was a beast, as usual. And I was up against Sakura Kawasaki, on my end. Seeing as we both just about as equally terrible at sports, it often ended up like this… Or well, in the good cases… The times I didn’t end up with bruises all over my body. Towards the end, she charged up towards me, and I got ready (i.e. stumbled clumsily backwards) but she looked as if she was going to faint and stumbled over ending up face planting. I rushed over to help her up. She came to, and yelled out that I was creep for touching her. I asked her if she was alright, but she barely responded. She did seem anemic, but it is hard to say. She went to sit down, at least. And Mari was charging Makoto, who was tackled to the ground. He seemed to be hurting, so I went up to him and tried to convince him to go the nurse’s office. This caught the teacher’s attention. Mari started to insult Makoto further, and I told her to stop. She did not. We got into an argument, and for ever reason I got very angry. My heart started pounding, and in my head I kept thinking that I couldn’t believe that that sweet little girl I once knew turned into this brute of a person. PE class ended, and I managed to calm myself down. Things had normalised a bit, but my sudden touching of Kawasaki-san, as she collapsed, had reawakened the Tsuyo gangs extreme hesitation to shower while Honda-san was still around. However, now I believe some of that pointed towards me as well. Even Mari took her time just staring at me angrily, normally she just gets it over with to get out of there. So, in fear that myself and Honda-san would look at them getting naked, and showering… Instead they stared at us getting naked, and showering, putting our clothes back on, and even while leaving. They never were the brightest bunch, so fair enough. That said, it was supremely awkward… I’m not certain I cared so much about Tsuyo and her gang, but my argument with Mari had brought up memories I’d rather have stayed down. A-anyway. I apologised to Honda-san as we headed to the student council meeting, since my incident with Kawasaki-san, and then speaking to her, had caused them a re-invigoration of their teasing of her.
As we arrived, Noda-san was manning the door, as usual, and seemed to be very upset about something. He said it was about the school uniforms, that our proposition had been declined again, but I felt as if there was something more behind it, but I did not press the subject. The first order of business was exactly that though, the school uniforms. We had a short discussion, before myself and Takeuchi-senpai went to the principal. He is a very scary and creepy man, not creepy in the way that the teacher in the after-school classes place, but we somehow managed to have him agree to going through another round of changes to the current school uniform, instead of getting a new one. We returned to the student council classroom. We sat down to begin discussing the new changes. My vision started getting blurry, and I felt like something was weighing me down. My eyelids was getting heavy… And I couldn’t help but to think: “No, not now!”, but before this line of thought had any physical impact on what I was doing, I grabbed my chains and used them to climb up. I came up inside the mine where we saved Umat. Yamamoto-san joined me before long, naked as usual. Due to how PE went, I was very aware of his lack of clothes. He didn’t approve of the clothes that I found, possibly due to them being slaves clothes, so he took the trousers of one of the thugs we had fought here before. We rejoined our friends in the curry shop. They wanted some proof that it was us, so I transferred my armour to Frida… At which point I remember what I realised last time we were here. I took it back, and gave a sharp look towards Yamamoto-san. He complimented my… abs? I hadn’t really thought about it, but in this world my body seems a lot stronger. Hm. Cool. As we got in, I looked for the emotion that I had my pocket before… I found it, and held it tight in my hand. Holding this made the memories that I remembered earlier somehow lighter.
After breakfast, we decided to quickly get the young ladies that we saved out of the town. So we went to the luddites. Yamamoto-san and the ladies went through the forest, while myself, Frida, and Umat, went to the library. The librarian did not seem quite human… He seemed more like a part of the library. He said that we needed to pay in order to get his help. I held on to my First-Kiss emotion, and started to consider it, until he pointed out that you pay with secrets here, and gave me a piece of paper. Since it was so heavily on my mind, I wrote down what happened between me and Mari. It seemed to be enough. So I began researching giants, and how that could relate to poisons and curses, in order to figure out what Umat had been inflicted with. We found a type of giant called the Fomori, that can turn humans into giants like them using a ritual involving their blood. I cross-referenced potions and poisons that fit with the description, as well as Umats description of what he drank. It seemed like there was theories about how to cure it, such as perhaps potions that could reverse it, but the most conclusive seemed to be to simply kill the one who originated the blood acting as the core. While researching someone entered the library, asking for a female knight, not belonging to any of the orders. Part of me felt that it may be that he was looking for me… But I did not speak to him, since I did not want to endanger Frida or Umat, should that be the case. After I was finished with the giant research, I became interested in the history of New Albion, so I started reading up on it. The strange this was that most all of the pre-New Albion history was written in a fairytale manner. Considering how the queen and her castle was set-up, this made a strange amount of sense. But I still needed some confirmations, before I could claim to understand what any of this meant. So I asked the librarian. He asked me for another secret. So I told him of where I originated. He found this acceptable, and told me that the Queen of Masks had ruled for 867 years… But the average lifespan of a person seems to be the same here, as where I come from. So that means that this current “flesh” behind the mask, was not the first.
To confirm his words, I spoke to my companions. It seemed like living for longer than a human in Hell is not impossible, however very unlikely. The Fomori originated in the highlands, so as Yamamoto-san returned, we went for lunch, with the intention to then go to the highlanders that arrived when we did, and speak to them.