Topic: Dolphin Rider Koishi - The End  (Read 71444 times)

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Himekanken

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Dolphin Rider Koishi - The End
« on: August 18, 2010, 12:43:59 am »
This story is proof that I am physically unable to write a totally non-serious story. It proves that I can't even cover a light subject like mahou-shoujo without turning it serious business. Ruro what have you done to me ;_;
I do intend to have a happy ending, at least, so cut me some slack with that one.

This piece is unlikely to receive regular updating, considering I am still juggling several stories at once. I am mostly satisfied simply that I managed to get some ideas on paper with this, so...yeah.

People who don't read PLotSS will have no idea where this is coming from. :V

---

Beep. Beep. Beep.

Stop that.

There were mornings when she wished that she could just will the alarm clock to turn off and bury her head in the pillow. She tried it out of desperation, sending a psychic message through the air towards the machine. 'Turn off. Turn off. Turn off.'

It didn't work.

"Awww..."

It was too late now - Koishi was awake, whether she liked it or not. She stayed in bed for a few minutes out of spite, but eventually she rose up in response to the cacophony of the alarm clock. She'd slept badly, of course - the same dreams as always were haunting her, pulling her back into the world of the waking with a desperate scream and a face soaked with sweat.

She went through her daily motions with as much - or little - enthusiasm as usual. Leaving her pyjamas in the heaping pile of dirty washing she left beside her bed, to be washed at the end of the week. Lazily putting on one of her identikit yellow shirts, and picking out a green skirt to match. She hadn't cared about the school uniform for...how long had it been now? She didn't want to think about it.

"Nyaa..."

A cat made its way around Koishi's obstacle course of dropped books and discarded food wrappers. It rubbed up next to her leg, purring with something resembling a whine. Koishi sighed as it looked up at Koishi with a concerned stare, its tail wagging absent-mindedly behind it.

"Rin, I'm sorry. I don't have time for this right now. I'm late enough as it is..."

Koishi disregarded her pet's concern as she quickly set out a bowl of food for her. Above her head, a cage had been carefully hung, and its feathered resident was just as concerned as Rin was. Unlike Rin, though, the raven had learned that these metal bars would stop her from making contact, so she just didn't try any more.

"Utsuho, don't do anything crazy while I'm gone, 'kay?"

Koishi did her best to sound enthusiastic as she gave her bird a bowl of seed to feed on, but she couldn't stop her words sounding horribly forced. That's because they were - enthusiasm was an alien substance to her now, something that just didn't belong.

It was hard to think this place had been in order once. Every room was filled with various fallen tidbits that Koishi just hadn't cared about enough to put back into place. It required some serious dexterity on her part just to make it to the front door with her bag and shoes.

"Ah, there's the-"

Reaching for her keys on the ground, Koishi froze in place for a moment. Something was looking back at her, something that shouldn't have been there. It wasn't alive - it had never been alive, in fact. It was nothing more than a picture frame, a photo that had been taken years ago when Koishi was still a kid.

She despised it.

"...Rin, I told you to leave that thing alone. Do I need to make you skip dinner again?"

A mumbled 'nyaa' sound made its way out of Koishi's room. It was strange - some days she almost felt like she could understand them, like they were speaking her own language. Maybe she just needed to get out more if she was forming that sort of relationship with animals.

She placed a hand on the picture frame, and silently turned it face down. She hadn't had the nerve to throw it away yet. Maybe she never would. It was all she had left now, wasn't it?

"...Well, that's me out. See you guys when I get back from school."

She waved goodbye to her pets as she closed the front door behind her with a dramatic thump. Took too long to close it quietly, she figured, as she left the almost uninhabitable abode behind. She would grab something quick on the way to school, something cheap and almost inedible. It would keep her conscious, that was all that mattered.

Dammit, Rin had done it again. Every time it felt like she was finally forgetting about it, it would be that picture to bring it back. That picture of herself, smiling with a bright an innocent grin, while over her shoulder another girl looked on proudly. The memories of how things had been a few months ago, back when there had been two girls in that household. She hung her head down as she slowly trudged to school so no-one could see the tears starting to form in her eyes.

Why? Why can't I just act like I never had a sister...?

The worst part was not knowing what had happened to her. She had simply stayed late at school one night, and apparently disappeared from existence. No traces of her could be found, no witnesses came forward, and none of the teachers were charged. It was almost as if she had simply never happened to begin with.

So why couldn't she make herself believe that? Why did her heart keep trying to tell her that Satori Komeiji had really existed? Why did she keep forcing herself to remember something so painful?

Onee-chan...get out of my head, or come back to me. Don't leave me like this...

-----

Her eyes never looked up as she made her slow, deliberate walk towards the school grounds. Gensouto was a large city with only one high school, and it was on the other side of the city from Koishi. She'd move closer, but the inheritance from her parents was barely enough to cover the rent as it was. And she couldn't touch Satori's portion either, because until she was found one way or the other she would simply be classed as 'missing' rather than...the other classification. She refused to even think that word in terms of Satori.

The path took her past a simple confectionery store called the Scarlet Bakery. She walked in, bought herself a sandwich to keep her essential functions going, and walked out all without looking the attendant in the eye. She heard murmurs of concern from the other side of the counter, but that was nothing new. They would always mutter worries, but never would they actually care enough to ask her if there was anything wrong.

People like that were useless. She couldn't depend on them for anything. They wouldn't look after her like Satori did.

Koishi munched absent-mindedly at her sandwich as she continued to trudge along to the schoolyard. She walked past the coast now, around the city's beach - technically there was a shorter path, but it wasn't like punctuality mattered to her anymore. She let her shoes leave careful, precise imprints in the sand beneath her, making a mark on the world around her as if to prove she still existed. There was a pier here, though it was never used anymore - boats never passed by here any more, so their absence someone had come up with the idea of building a shrine on it. It was a ridiculous idea, and as a result it failed miserably, so all that remained was a rickety-looking donation box and a few mossed-over statues.

Her head finally pulled itself upward when she suddenly heard a clicking sound coming from nearby.

"Huh?"

It didn't sound artificial, and the clicks were soon followed by whines and whistles. They were coming from further down the beach, and Koishi decided to approach it and find out what was making the sound. It was curiosity, she told herself, nothing more and nothing less.

"Hey, is that a...?"

Something grey was lying in a distant corner of the beach, just off the shore. As it came into view, Koishi looked down on the fluid and graceful form of a dolphin, trapped in an environment where it was anything but. It flapped its back fin around uselessly in an attempt to push itself back into the water, but all it managed to do was send itself further into shore. Its clicks and whistles grew more desperate, more strained.

"Oh, that poor thing..."

Koishi didn't realise how quickly she was moving until she had arrived in front of the dolphin, seeing it look up at her with friendly black eyes. Her arms reached down and wrapped themselves around it, before she heaved and lifted the creature in one motion.

"Gah...! Y-You're heavy..."

The dolphin gave off an angry sounding click at that one. Koishi's eyes widened slightly - did it...understand what she was saying?

"Nah, what am I thinking? It's a dolphin, of course it's got no idea what I'm saying. It's like saying that Rin and Utsuho know what I'm saying to them back home."

It took a lot of heavy lifting, and a lot of wet sand in her shoes, but Koishi finally managed to drop the dolphin into deep enough water for it to swim again. The creature let off a series of overjoyed clicks as it swam around in front of Koishi, before coming back in to float just in front of her. Its eyes looked up at her in a wordless thanks.

"Don't go doing that again, okay? I only have so many pairs of shoes for you to ruin-"

The school bell rang in the background, and almost immediately Koishi's face turned back to its default, frowning state. Had she been smiling? She hadn't noticed.

"Oh. Sorry. Guess I need to go."

She turned on the spot, and started heaving her soaked shoes up off the beach again. She didn't really care if she was late, but she at least had to make some sort of effort to make it to school. Otherwise they would call her up as some sort of delinquent, and that wasn't worth all the trouble it would cause.

Koishi didn't notice the dolphin's eyes following her as she trekked onward to Gensou High, and she certainly couldn't tell what it was thinking of as it watched her.

She would soon enough.

-----

Class time was a blur for Koishi nowadays. Her eyes would simply look dully at the blackboard as the teacher muttered on about subjects she didn't care about. She took in just enough to keep her grades from slipping too far down, but for all intents and purposes her brain was in the off position.

The only time she ever really paid any attention to her surroundings was in between class and during lunch break. It was a matter of survival, trying her best to keep her head down and avoid anyone who would give her trouble.

Unfortunately for Koishi, that was a rather large chunk of the school's population. Her attempt to avoid making eye-contact backfired miserably as someone in front of her stopped in their tracks, allowing her to walk right into them.

"Aah!"

Koishi toppled down onto the floor, with the books she had been carrying falling at her feet. She started to pick them up, still gambling on the off-chance it had been an accident and she could get away before anyone took advantage of the opening, but it was far too late.

"Oh, I'm sorry. Are you okay down there?"

The student she'd walked into turned around, looking down at the fallen student. Koishi should have guessed who it was from the tattoo on her left arm - a picture of a 9-ball from a pool game.

Of all the people, why did it have to be Cirno?

She was one of the school's problem kids, and the head of a small-time gang of thugs known as the Fairies. Her brunette hair had a series of blue streaks - wait, were they extensions? They couldn't be natural, but no-one else seemed to pay them any mind. She looked down at Koishi with a twisted grin, reminding her that this was no time to ponder about hair.

"Aw, grandma fell over again, didn't she? Isn't it about time someone went and put you in a care home or something?"

Cirno let out a little laugh as she stamped her foot onto the closest of the books. This was their favourite jibe at her - grandma, as a result of her silver hair. Her hand reached down to tug at it.

"This isn't a wig, is it? Never seen an old lady with as much hair as this. Let's just check, shall we?"

With that, she yanked at Koishi's hair violently, prompting a little squeak from her victim.

"S-Stop it! That hurts!"

Koishi's eyes looked out onto the crowd passing by, hoping that someone, anyone would look on and intervene. But Cirno wasn't the sort of person any student would mess with willingly - word was that she'd brought the Fairies to power by beating down everything that stood between them and the top spot, so anyone who valued their life stayed as far away as possible.

So the students of Gensou High simply turned a blind eye to the goings on, and allowed Cirno to continue her little 'test'. Koishi's eyes were watering from the pain, and her arms were trying in vain to pull Cirno away.

After what felt like an age, the Head Fairy decided she'd had her fun and let go. Koishi rubbed at the sore spot on her scalp, hoping that the floor would open up and swallow her.

"Well, looks like you passed that test, grandma. I'm gonna be checking up on you now and again, though - I don't want you tripping up in the middle of the hallway again when I'm not around, y'know?"

A cruel cackle slipped out of her mouth as she darted back into the crowd, leaving Koishi to pick up her books again. She sat on the floor for a few seconds, numb, as her head sunk into her knees.

She'd always been a target for being picked on thanks to her hair colour, but it had never been this bad when Satori was around. Unlike her, Satori was brave enough to stare these bullies down, and she would always come to Koishi's rescue.

But now that she was gone, Koishi was a sitting duck. She was too weak to defend herself, and too much of a coward to confide in anyone. That'd just get them mad, after all, and things would only go downhill from there...

The bell rang in the distance, pulling Koishi back into reality. She realised that her face was soaking wet and wiped at it with her sleeve. She clumsily picked up the fallen books, straightened her skirt as she stood up, and tried her best to merge into the crowd again.

She felt smaller than the people around her, afraid that someone would step on her and crush her under their heel at any given moment. She didn't belong here. She was a level below these people. She was too weak to fit into this crowd.

Please...someone, somewhere...help me...

Deep inside Koishi's heart, something began to glow with a faint orange light.

-----

Math. Koishi hated math. She hated most classes nowadays, but math outright had to be one of the worst for her.

"And as you can see, the when you integrate the derivative you get the original function...wait, that's what's meant to happen, anyway. Sorry, I think I've made a mistake somewhere..."

The teacher was doing her best, admittedly, but it was blatantly obvious that Professor Kawashiro wasn't trained to teach mathematics. She was a physics teacher by definition, and physicists left most of their number crunching to calculators, so when it came time for arithmetic she was hardly very trustworthy.

Koishi buried her head in her textbook. How was she expected to pass this class when even the teacher had no idea what she was talking about?

"...Hey, you hear that story that's going around?"

Koishi twitched slightly as a whisper reached her. It wasn't aimed at her - it was part of an exchange between the two girls in front of her. Koishi couldn't remember their names - one of them was a higher-up member of the Fairies, and the other was a timid-looking librarian. Koishi could see green and red streaks in their hair respectively - apparently the hair-colouring thing was all the rage nowadays or something. Even the teacher seemed to have those blue streaks, though hers were slightly darker than Cirno's.

"Um...you mean the one about the shrine on the pier? But aren't they telling all kinds of stories like that nowadays?"

"Hey, we only need one of them to be right, don't we? They say if you drop a 1000 yen bill into the donation box and make a wish, it's guaranteed to come true! We've gotta try it, really! You can get the day off library duty, right?"

"M-Maybe...but I don't exactly have 1000 yen to spare at the moment. I don't get much of an allowance, and I had to return a lot of overdue books yesterday, so..."

The big Fairy frowned at her friend's poverty, putting her head back onto the desk to catch some sleep between classes. She used her textbook for cover, though with the way Professor Kawashiro was darting around the chalkboard she had no reason to worry about being noticed.

"Ah...reduce the power, carry the three...I didn't forget the C constant, did I? Aah, it all looks right to me, but the numbers aren't adding uuuuuuup!"

The class let out a collective giggle at the teacher's misgivings. She was popular enough, and in physics classes it was more than clear she knew what she was talking about, but here she was very much out of her depth.

Koishi more or less paid no attention to the teacher, her mind caught on the discussion she'd overheard. Maybe it was nonsense, true, but in her situation it was a risk that was infinitely worth taking. If it failed, she might be 1000 Yen poorer, but if she succeeded...everything could be better again. She wouldn't have to go through this masquerade she called life anymore, and she could live for real.

The bell rang, signalling the end of class and the end of the day. Professor Kawashiro slumped onto her desk, defeated.

"Uh, well...read your textbooks so you understand what I was trying to teach you here! I'll see you next week when we move onto the quotient rule! (...Ugh, how do I do that again...?)"

She mumbled something as Koishi walked out the door. It didn't matter. Her feet were still damp from her earlier escapade, but she started to make her way back to the beach regardless. Maybe she'd have to go hungry for a little while if she was wrong, but she could live with that.

The light inside her shone a little brighter.

-----

Fortunately, the trip out of school was relatively uneventful. The occasional shove, a cry of 'grandma' from down the corridor, and one outstretched foot she managed to step around. She'd been through a lot worse, so she managed to emerge from Gensou High with her spirit still intact. Her path quickly broke away from the one taken by her fellow students, leading her back out to the coast she'd walked past this morning. The shrine was still standing, assuming 'standing' was even the right word for it any more.

She tread the planks of the pier with care, hearing them creak audibly under her feet. She was afraid for a moment they would collapse under her weight, but she managed to make the journey across unharmed. She took a glance into the donation box, and found that it was empty save for a few cheap coins hanging around the edges.

Who would even build a shrine around here, anyway? Gensouto had two shrines already, the Hakurei and the Moriya, so there was hardly any room for a third. No wonder it had been abandoned.

But still...it can grant wishes?

Now that she'd come all the way out here it sounded even more like nonsense to her. A broken down shrine, making people's dreams come true for the low price of 1000 Yen? That was class-A crazy, no doubt about it. She was an idiot for even considering that it might be true, and now was when she should have just turned around and headed straight home.

But she couldn't bring herself to do it. Her feet were glued in place, and she stared intently down at the donation box. Even if it was ridiculous, absurd, a trillion-to-one chance, disregarding it when it could be true would be absolutely horrific. Her hand reached into her bag, where she'd stored a purse along with her school equipment. It came back out, holding a weathered 1000 yen note, fingers trembling slightly.

Please work...whatever god this shrine is meant to appease, please let this work...!

She held the note above the box, her whole hand shaking now. She was terrified, but at the same time placing her whole heart into this. She already knew exactly what she would wish for - she could recite it with perfect clarity. In fact, she would, just so that this gracious deity didn't misinterpret her.

She dropped the note into the donation box as the words flooded out of her.

"Please, I'm begging you...I want someone who can look after me! Someone who I can depend on, who'll defend me for the rest of my life! Someone strong, someone brave, someone who'll always care about me! Please!"

The girl made a heartfelt wish known to the world.

The orange light within her exploded into life.

-----

A single eyebrow was raised.

"So, it's begun."

The woman put a finger to her head, whispering something in a language no land-dweller would understand.

The Siren has sung. Retrieve the Teardrop, and bring it to me.

No need to do the dirty work herself, she thought. After all, the girl was not even aware of her own strength. All it would take was a few helping hands off the pier, and she would be one step closer to her goal.

"Heh, an abandoned shrine that grants wishes? If only I could make them all this creative."

-----

A voice jumped into its mind.

The girl had made her wish already? It was not meant to have happened so quickly. But that was irrelevant. It seemed that she was waiting at the pier.

...Which will put her right in harm's way. Dammit!

No time to be lost. It was a long swim to the pier, but there would be a life at stake. This would put another teardrop in the hands of the enemy if she was too late.

It swam like a creature possessed, desperate to stop a tragedy from occuring.

-----

...Nothing?

Koishi continued to stare down into the box, waiting for some sort of spirit to emerge and grant her wish. Like something out of a bad children's movie, a genie trapped in the box would give her a wish for his freedom or something absurd like that.

But no puff of smoke popped out from inside the box. No kind spirit appeared to reward her generosity. The box was exactly the same as it had always been, except it had now swallowed 1000 extra yen.

Koishi slumped down onto her knees.

"What's wrong with me? Why did I...Why did I think something stupid like that was going to work?"

She was crying again. She'd been an idiot, and absolute moron. Maybe they'd deliberately dropped a rumour like that in front of her just to see if she'd fall for it. Well, she'd given them what they wanted, just like she always did.

She was such a dumbass. Satori would have told her to think straight if she were here.

...But she isn't, is she?

Koishi continued to weep, too far out for anyone to notice her. She heard something fall to the floor with a strange jingling sound.

"...Eh?"

She opened her eyes, wiping tears away in order to see properly again. Something was lying on the wooden plank in front of her, and her hand instinctively reached down to pick it up. It glinted in the light of the setting sun, shining a beautiful shade of orange.

"Is this...some sort of jewel?"

It was shaped like a teardrop, without a flaw or a crack within it. It was only as large as her pinky, but it was made of a clear substance that Koishi had never seen before. It was firm to the touch, but it was warm in a way that metal shouldn't have been.

This is...weird. Maybe I should take it into school tomorrow and ask Professor Yagokoro-

A splash.

"Huh?"

Did something fall into the water behind her? Koishi looked out to sea again, checking if the shrine had finally collapsed and fallen into the coast.

Her heart stopped as she looked more closely.

Nothing had fallen in. Something was coming out.

"K-Kyaaah!"

What was it, what was it, what was it? Her brain told her that a creature like that couldn't exist, it was absurd, just look at it, it had the figure of a man but the scales and head of a fish, what sort of animal looked like that, that's right, none of them, and now it was climbing up onto the pier in front of the shrine and looking at her with those ridiculous eyes...

Koishi's brain did everything in its power to deny the creature in front of her. It was unnatural, it was impossible, it was outright wrong. If denial were a force in and of itself, it would have been enough to kill the creature a dozen times over. But it stayed standing regardless, and trudged along towards Koishi with its huge webbed feet.

"S-Stay away from me! What do you want?!"

Koishi got to her feet and stepped backwards, trying to edge herself off of the pier. The boards continued to creak again, and now the fear of them collapsing beneath her was felt doubly so. She couldn't run - a sudden movement could just make it strike out at her. It had to be slow and precise...

Bump.

"Eeh?"

Her back pressed against something. Something cold and slimy.

And scaly.

A-Another one?!

Before she could turn around to confirm her fears, the creature grabbed her by the shoulders and held her in place. Her legs kicked around in the air, but she was too far away to hope for any contact.

"Aaaah! Let go of me, please! Don't hurt me! Please, don't hurt me!"

She sounded pathetic, and she knew it, but how else was she meant to react? The other creature yanked at her bag, tearing the straps and pulling it off of her body. It looked inside, clearly searching for something, but after a quick examination it dropped the bag on the pier unfulfilled.

What are they looking for...?

Her thoughts turned to the gem she'd found, now clasped tightly in one hand. Was she supposed to just hand it over to these...creatures? They refused to offer her a response.

The fishmen looked at each other, silently arranging a plan. They nodded to one another, before the first creature grabbed Koishi's feet. Its companion locked its hands around Koishi's wrists.

"H-Hey, what are you...?!"

They dashed down the pier, with speed that no human could possibly hope to match. For a moment it looked like they were going to crash into the shrine, but they leapt over it with impossible agility, rising at least twenty feet in the air. Koishi was their unwilling passenger, struggling in vain to break their grips as they started to lose height.

The trio descended into the depths of the sea, unnoticed by the people of Gensouto.

-----

"Mmh! Mmgbl!"

Let go, let go! Please, don't do this!

The fishmen ignored Koishi's desperate flailing, holding her with iron grips as they descended deeper and deeper into the water. Her chest was already aching, and despite her best efforts air seeped out of her nose and upwards into the distance. The surface was only barely visible now - even if they let go, it'd be almost impossible for her to reach the surface.

Why? What did I do to deserve this...?

It wasn't fair. All of it, losing Satori, being so powerless, so gullible, so foolish, and now this - none of it was fair. What had she done to deserve this sort of punishment? Had she broken some divine law? Was this some god's way of striking her down?

"Onee-glan! Onee-glaan!"

Panicking, Koishi cried out for her saviour, praying that someone would rescue her from these...things. She couldn't look after herself, she needed a hero to defend her in her time of need.

No-one was following from the surface.

"...G-gglbl..."

Of course. Who'd waste their time trying to save a loser like me...?

She was starting to feel faint now. The world around her started to dim, and her eyes began to close as her air seeped out of her. She went limp in the arms of her captors, on the brink of unconsciousness.

"Click, click!"

Hmm...?

That noise sounded familiar, and Koishi just about pulled her head back far enough to see where it was coming from. It was hard to make out, just a grey dot in the distance, growing larger and larger by the second-

Wham!

If she'd had any air left in her, that impact would have knocked it right out of her. The fishmen were knocked aside as the grey projectile charged, carrying the ailing Koishi on its back.

...Huh? You're the dolphin from earlier...

Her brain was too oxygen-deprived to think straight right now. She was hearing things now, voices in her head that didn't have people to go with them.

...ring...

Koishi's eyes lazily looked down, still ready to pass out at any moment. There was a small ring on top of the creature's fin, shining faintly in the darkness.

...wear the ring...

She didn't know where the voice was coming from, and frankly she was too tired to care. Wherever this voice was coming from, she decided that she would obey it as her last act. Her right hand still held the gem from earlier, but she balanced it in the palm of her hand as she picked up the ring and - with some difficulty - lodge it on the ring finger of her left hand.

There. Now I can-

Her body reached its limit, and forced her to take a breath in. This had to be it, this had to be the end of her.

So why did she feel better?

-----

She cursed in the empty classroom.

"The damned Order made it there first?! Son of a submariner!"

-----

Jeez, I didn't cut that half-close. You okay?

This was beyond surreal now - this was definitely water she was breathing now, but there was no choking or drowning. She was breathing it like she'd breathe regular air. And even now, she was still apparently hallucinating this voice in her head.

Wait. Is that voice...

It took her a few seconds to work up the nerve to speak underwater, but the words came out with perfect ease.

"Um...hello? Is that you?"

She looked downward, seeing her mount look up at her with a smile.

You sure look fine enough from here. What a relief - the boss would have me served for dinner if I let you die like that.

The dolphin stopped in its tracks, turning back the way it had come. The fishmen from before were coming back, and they looked pretty mad.

OK, kid, here's the deal. I'm going to ask you to do some something that'll make absolutely no sense to you. I need you to trust me on this one, got it?

The dolphin's glance at her looked sterner now, as stern as a dolphin could possibly look. Koishi blinked once before replying.

"Let me get this straight. I'm riding a dolphin while I'm breathing water and being chased by two fish-man...things, and you think there's anything here that makes sense?!"

Huh. Good point.

The fishmen came closer still. They weren't armed, but their fingers unveiled claws that looked set to turn Koishi and her ride into a nice little pile of bits.

"...Alright. What do I have to do?"

Koishi was still running on adrenaline from her near-death experience. By now any semblance of rational thought had flown out the window in her head - she was ready to do just about anything now.

Good. See that gem in your hand? Squeeze it really hard, and then just let out any words that come to mind.

Well, the dolphin was definitely right - her suggestion made absolutely no sense to Koishi. Still, if it was a choice between following a ridiculous order and getting sliced up, there wasn't really a choice at all. The gem was still in her right hand, and she squeezed down on it with all her strength.

W-What is this?!

The jewel started to shine with a pale orange light as she pressed at it, and before she even realised it there were words seeping out of her mouth. The light of the gem started to pour across her own body, surrounding her in an orange aura.

"Wherever evil forces be,
On the land or in the sea,
All who sin should cower and flee
From Dolphin Rider Koishi!"

The light enveloped her entirely, running across her entire body. She felt her clothes falling away, but the light was gracious enough to stop her from being exposed. Something else began to run across her body, clinging carefully to her like a second skin. Looking down, she saw a white fabric forming around her, covering her torso like a swimsuit while leaving her bare legs exposed. A pair of gloves appeared on her hands, a perfect fit. Her hair began to flow freely behind her, floating naturally in the water without so much as a hair moving out of place. Her outfit began to grow more accessorised - a ribbon appeared around her neck, and her gloves gained a pair of dolphin emblems. The orange gem reappeared on her chest, fused with her clothing and shining with a brilliant glow.

In her hand, she felt a sudden weight, and something cold entered her grip. Looking down, she realised that she was now holding onto a golden trident, its tips glistening with deadly sharpness. The orange tint around her began to fade, and she became one with the world again, holding her weapon towards the enemy with a dramatic pose.

"Halt, villains! I, Dolphin Rider Koishi, have emerged to put a stop to your evil deeds! In the name of the sea, prepare to be punished!"

Then her brain turned back on again.

"Wait, what the hell am I wearing?!"

No time for talk, kid! Two overgrown tuna, twelve o'clock!

The dolphin's voice in her head reminded Koishi of her priorities. The creatures didn't look any happier for having witnessed her transformation, and they continued to charge at her with their claws at the ready.

These guys should be no problem for you. Just give 'em a little beamy goodness and you'll be fine!

"Beamy...goodness?"

Just point the trident, and let the magic do the rest!

Koishi wished the dolphin would give some more precise instructions, but when there was so little time to work we she decided to be content with the cryptic crossword version. She pointed the trident towards the oncoming enemies, and willed her power into it.

The tips of the trident hummed, as tiny dots of light began to emerge from them. They shone a light orange, growing in intensity as Koishi focused her mind on it. The fishmen dashed forwards regardless, either unaware or unafraid of her attack.

"Now, disappear beneath the waves and never return!"

Words were flowing out of her mouth again, and subconsciously Koishi flinched as she realised the nonsense she was spewing. Then again, if it kept her alive, it was an embarrassment she could handle. The trident was now pronged with three orbs of pure orange light, and letting off a loud humming noise. The creatures were almost in range.

Now!

"IRUKA BEEEEAM!"

The three spheres merged into one, forming on the centre tip of the trident. For a moment, the ball turned white.

Then it exploded forward into a pillar of light, almost blinding its owner as the blast knocked Koishi back. The resulting magic encased a huge area in front of her, as wide as she was tall. The fishmen barely had time to realise what was going on, let alone avoid the attack. They were caught in Koishi's onslaught, collapsing into a dozen fish of various breeds and darting multiple directions.

The light faded, and Koishi turned the trident away. She looked on in amazement as her mind processed the outcome of her actions.

"...I...won?"

She struggled for breath, panting heavily. The dolphin looked up at her with concern.

Crap, you really went all out on that one, didn't you? I should've told you to start off a little smaller...

Koishi continued to pant, giving off a faint smile.

"I...I did it..."

Her body fell forward, resting on the dolphin's fin. She suddenly felt fatigue weigh her body down, and her eyes fell shut without a hint of resistance.

Dammit, don't pass out! ...Great, now I have to take this girl home...

The dolphin started heading for the surface, carrying its exhausted passenger in tow. She slept soundly on its back, dreaming for the first time of something other than Satori. She saw visions of herself, flying through the air without wings, soaring through the sky like a free bird.

It was a welcome change.

-----

"Ma'am, this is Agent Sango reporting."

"Did you manage to extract the target?"

"Confirmed, ma'am. Contact has been made. The Siren has become Aware."

"Combat abilities?"

"I haven't seen enough to be sure, but she has definite potential."

"Excellent. Get her informed ASAP. We don't have a minute to lose on the other Sirens."

"Yes, ma'am. Agent Sango out."

The call ended, and the woman placed her phone to one side. She groaned to herself, looking at the board behind her.

"I can get all of that running, but I can't get this to come together right..."

-----

Spot Rurobait, gain 5 points.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2013, 10:19:40 am by Rousaka Hiyoko »

Chaore

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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Horribly Wrong
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2010, 12:51:55 am »
...what the hell did I just read.
Hey. C'mon, let's die together.
I have too many dagons.

Moerin

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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Horribly Wrong
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2010, 12:54:32 am »
Already told you what I thought about it on IRC, but I'll just reiterate here:  That was awesome and you should write more of this.  It's a really promising start, and I think it has the potential to be something great~

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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Horribly Wrong
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2010, 12:59:02 am »
Rurobait - Dolphin Rider Koishi's bare legs

I think you mean 'Passing Joke Gone TOTALLY AWESOME'.

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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Horribly Wrong
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2010, 01:05:23 am »
This is incredibly silly :V

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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Horribly Wrong
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2010, 01:34:21 am »
This needs to be incorporated into PLotSS somehow. Perhaps these adventures are mentioned and referred to by Koishi, I dunno, but it'd be awesome if they tied together.

Bonus points for making it a silly delivery.

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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Horribly Wrong
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2010, 03:29:17 am »
I think you mean 'Passing Joke Gone TOTALLY AWESOME'.

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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2010, 06:22:45 am »
Ahahahaha, good work Rou, that was awesome to read  :D

Quote
People who don't read PLotSS will have no idea where this is coming from.
Nah, it's understandable without knowing that one, I have just proven that.  :V
But I guess I might read PLotSS anyway~

Quote
Two overgrown tuna, twelve o'clock!
:3

And lastly:
I think you mean 'Passing Joke Gone TOTALLY AWESOME'.
I agree and have taken appropriate measures  ;)

Esifex

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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2010, 07:37:00 am »
And lastly:I agree and have taken appropriate measures  ;)

Some might argue that you're abusing your powers, Sakana.


I, however, think this is an appropriate use.

<Sakana> Power abuse where? :derp:
I wouldn't have done it if it was actually the title of the work, but as it's more like an annotation in the thread-title, I think it's okay. And it's the truth, so hey :3


Like I said - appropriate abuse of power.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2010, 08:18:20 am by Esifex Gonna Eatya »

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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2010, 09:52:58 pm »
Fair enough, I'll treat this as a passing joke. Highly entertaining, nevertheless.

Considering I've actually got plans to continue the whole thing, it's not really a joke anymore. So if you had any plans for this, don't, uh, throw them away or anythingPlease don't stop drawing your art is beautiful ;_;.

<Nwbi> Oh, fine. I still have one more immediate thing for Sango before going somewhere else, which won't come until the next HURR PLotSS UPDATE. <3
« Last Edit: August 18, 2010, 10:11:31 pm by Nwbi »

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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2010, 10:13:17 pm »
...what the hell just happened?

...then again, silly things seems oddly fitting for a character like Koishi~ :V

Moerin

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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2010, 10:23:53 pm »
Quote
Considering I've actually got plans to continue the whole thing, it's not really a joke anymore.
Not really my style to say something like this, but...

ilu Rou~♥

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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2010, 10:38:21 pm »
Oh man.  You actually did it.

 :3

The catchiest endings are usually the best.

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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2010, 12:22:59 am »
EXPOSITION WARNING
CONTINUE AT YOUR OWN RISK

-----

"Nnngh..."

Koishi was cold. Her entire body was soaking wet, and her clothes were drenched. She held the covers tightly against herself, shivering.

There were strange thoughts running through her head. She had visited a shrine on the coast and made a wish there, but everything after that spiralled into absolute madness. Fishmen leaping out of the water, a dolphin appearing to save her life, a ring that let her breathe underwater, and worst of all that...whatever the hell that costume had been. Maybe she'd had a fever and she just hallucinated the entire thing in bed.

"Yeah, that makes sense..."

In any case, the best solution then would be to get some more rest. Koishi laid her head down on the pillow again and relaxed, waiting to drift off to sleep once again. Getting sick was pretty handy for her - it meant that she wouldn't have to go into school tomorrow, and she'd get to avoid Cirno and her gang for a whole day.

"...Hey. You awake yet?"

These hallucinations were more believable than she thought. That one sounded just like someone was sitting next to the bed, talking to her. But that was impossible - she never had visitors. The voice sounded vaguely familiar, but she couldn't put a face to it.

"I heard you mumbling to yourself. Rise and shine, okay?"

The voice was getting more irritated. She'd heard it last night - yesterday? This morning? She didn't know what time it was right now. Whatever time it was, she wanted them to just be quiet and let her sleep.

The hallucinations were apparently a lot stronger than she expected, because the pillow that slammed into her face felt incredibly real.

"Ow!"

It didn't hurt much, but it was enough to get Koishi to wake up. She sat upright in bed, clutching at her nose with a groan.

"Morning, sleepyhead! I was wondering when you'd come back into the realm of the living."

The voice sounded a lot more cheerful now that Koishi had woken up in full. It annoyed her that she couldn't place it - it wasn't a classmate, but who else could it be? The only voice she'd heard recent was in that dream of hers, the one from the dol-

Oh, god.

She didn't want to open her eyes. She had a horrible feeling that if she did, she'd see something ridiculous again. It would just be a good idea to lie down and go back to sleep...

"Do I need to throw something else at you?"

Well, if it was a choice between slight physical pain and witnessing something that would shatter her view of reality forever, Koishi could only really go with the latter. She counted to three in her head, then opened her eyes wide in one movement.

Another girl was sitting in the chair at her side, looking down on her with dark blue eyes. Her shirt had an odd bubble pattern running along its sleeves, and her skirt was dripping onto the carpet. She looked like she was soaked as well, but it didn't seem to mind.

For a while, it didn't seem all that bad. It wasn't one of those weird fish-things from before - it was an ordinary-enough human being. Her hair was strange, true - a shade of silver, just like hers - and her outfit was a little eccentric, but she didn't have scales or anything else freaky like that. She could deal with odd hair and fashion sense.

Then the girl turned her head slightly, and Koishi saw the fin sticking out the back of her neck.

"Ah-"

Koishi's cry caught in her throat as she promptly fainted.

-----

She awoke more violently the next time around, as a bucket of water was dropped on her face.

"Don't collapse on me again, please. I need to talk to you about a ton of stuff, and it's sorta hard to do that when you're unconscious."

The words should have been irritated, but the dolphin girl stuck her tongue out as she spoke. Apparently having a legitimate reason to drop a bucket of water on someone's face was enough to entertain her. Koishi spluttered momentarily, but she was definitely awake this time.

"...Am I high on something? I swear it looks like there's something sticking out of your neck from here."

"Yeah, that's a bit of a nuisance. I'm not exactly undercover right now, so I didn't see any point in hiding it. After all, you know who I am, right?"

Koishi struggled for a response for a few seconds.

"Um...not really. Unless you want me to say 'a magical dolphin who saved my life'. And I really don't want to say that."

The dolphin leaned across the bed, her face wearing an absurd-looking smile.

"Aw, why not? You know I'm adorable. I can see it in your eyes - you just wanna give your friend Sango a big hug and tell her what a great person she is, right?"

"Not really."

Silence. Sango pouted.

"...Oh. Well, I'm sure we'll get to know each other a lot better. We've got a lot of work to do together, after all!"

Sango seemed excited about this whole thing now, trembling a little in happiness.

"Um...what work?"

Koishi tilted her head in confusion, still completely out of the loop. Sango's eyes widened, as she suddenly realised she'd forgotten something.

"Oh yeah, I was meant to give you a rundown on everything, wasn't I? Sorry, this is my first time working with a Siren, so I guess I'm making mistakes every now and again."

Another term that Koishi didn't recognise. This definitely wasn't a hallucination now - even if her brain was going haywire, it would still make more sense than this.

"A siren? What, were you that desperate to wake me up?"

"No, silly, I'm talking about you. See that gem you have over there? That's proof that you're a Siren."

Sango pointed to the desk next to Koishi's bed. Turning to it, Koishi saw that sitting on top of it was the orange jewel from earlier. The one that she'd...

"That gem is what we call a Tidal Teardrop. They're magical jewels with incredible power - what let you do that whole Dolphin Rider thing a few hours ago, basically."

Koishi picked the Teardrop up. It glistened slightly, letting off that beautiful tint it had earlier.

"The legend goes that at one point in time, 7 girls from this town are chosen to become Sirens, and they realise their power when they make a wish from the bottom of their hearts. Following me so far?"

She remembered the shrine. The wish she'd made to find someone who would look after her. Had Sango appeared to grant that wish...? Koishi nodded, putting together what had been said so far.

"Why 7 in particular?"

"Hell if I know. Magic just seems to like certain numbers for some reason. Don't ask me, I just work here."

Sango shrugged sarcastically. Apparently she wasn't as in the know as she claimed to be.

"Now, this is where things get a little weird, so bear with me, okay? I want you to start by looking down on yourself."

Koishi stared blankly at Sango for a moment, but eventually she complied and pulled the covers away.

"What the-?!"

Something was running across her body - a series of purple cords travelling along her legs and coming to an end at her chest. A dark blue sphere was attached to them, centred over where Koishi's heart was. An eyelid hung shut on it, and didn't look set to open any time soon.

How hadn't she noticed this? This thing was attached to her in four or five different places, but she couldn't feel its presence at all. It was almost like it had been part of her all her life-

"Wait. No, that's impossible..."

Sango smiled.

"I'm not introducing you to any new world, Koishi. I'm just helping you see what's already there."

-----

"What happens when you're a kid, Koishi? Your folks will tell you fairy tales and stories about princesses in castles who get saved by Prince Charming, right? Thing is, they don't expect you to honestly believe in that sort of stuff, because they don't believe in it either. No-one does. Magic doesn't exist, right?"

Koishi shook her head. She didn't believe as much - hell, after everything she'd seen in the last 24 hours, she couldn't - but she shook her head on instinct.

"Bzzt. Wrong answer!"

Sango held her hands up in an X to denote a wrong answer. Koishi pouted, afraid that Sango had actually taken her seriously with that.

"Well, what people don't realise is that a mindset like that is exactly what blinds you to magic in the first place. People who don't believe in magic can't see it, and they see the world in the boring mundane way everyone thinks they're supposed to see it. It's that denial that basically blinds them to the real world.

"And what's life like in the real world? Well, imagine everyone you ever knew had some sort of superpower or magical ability. Everyone in your class is some sort of magical girl, and they all look like it as well - crazy hair, weird eye colours, and in your case an extra eye on top of the two you've already got. But again, no-one realises it, so all of that magic just goes to waste. As long as people don't realise that they're magical, they'll never BE magical."

Koishi raised her hand, puzzled.

"Hair? You mean, people having blue hair for no reason and not being aware of it?"

Sango stopped her monologue, taken aback by Koishi's question.

"W-Well, yeah, pretty much. How'd you know that?"

"I, uh, sort of see it sometimes. People with weird strands of hair that no-one else seems to notice...is that normal?"

Sango bit her lip, which was enough to tell Koishi the answer was a definite 'no'.

"...Well, you must have somehow been semi-aware of the magical world. I dunno how, but it probably isn't unheard of. Anyway, you'll see these things full-force now.

"So the majority of mankind is unaware of their secret abilities. Hell, there are only two ways to really realise it nowadays - to honestly believe that magic exists even when everyone around you thinks you're crazy, and having someone else push you into the truth. That, uh, was sorta what I had to do to you, but it was that or you got drowned by those fishmen, so I hope you understand."

Koishi suddenly realised she'd never offered thanks to Sango for her help earlier, and immediately she felt guilty for having forgotten.

"Um. You saved me from those...whatever they were. Thank you, Sango."

"No problem. Anyway, the other thing people don't realise about the world is that there are people around them who've been aware of the truth the whole time."

"You don't mean wicca folk and stuff like that, do you?"

Sango sighed, pointing to her fin again.

"Here's a hint."

Koishi stared at the fin while her brain processed the question. Her jaw slowly opened.

"You don't mean...animals, do you?"

"Yup. Most people would just think I was a dolphin - kinda smart, but not as smart as one of you. How wrong can you get, huh?"

Sango smirked, taking a proud stance and looking dramatically into the distance. It was clearly meant to impress, but Koishi disregarded it entirely.

"So, we animals are in two minds when it comes to you humans. Most of us think things are fine the way they are, and that humans are best kept in the dark in terms of the whole magic deal. Humans are already volatile enough creatures as it is, so giving them all their power is basically begging for trouble.

"But there's a small minority who think otherwise. They think that all that magic is going to waste if we don't tell people about it, so they want to bring magic into the public eye. They only have a few rare moments to strike, but if any of them were to be successful it could lead to the whole world learning about magic and everything going to hell. They call themselves the Children of the Black Claw."

Koishi frowned. This was all getting horribly complicated...was she trying to say that there'd been some sort of secret war going on around her her entire life? That seemed ridiculous, and she was a lot happier being in the dark about it. No way to unhear any of this, though, so she had no choice but to let the whole story come out.

"This, here? It's one of those rare moments. Those Tidal Teardrops of yours? They give you a ton of magical power, yeah, but they can be used for more than just magical girl antics. And getting all 7 of them together...well, with that, the Claw could basically unleash any sort of magical disaster they liked. They'd own the world, in short.

"So that's why there's another sect designed to keep their forces at bay. We're not exactly a large group, but we're devoted and highly skilled. It's our job to keep the Teardrops out of the hands of the villains and keep the peace in the world."

She bowed gracefully, to the extent that it was almost parody.

"And so it's with great pleasure that I can offer my services to you as Sango Tororetsu: Initiate of the Order of the White Pearl, and your new personal bodyguard."

-----

"Think you can understand all of that?"

Koishi took a moment to think it all over, but eventually she nodded. So basically there were bad guys who wanted to use that teardrop to take over the world, and Sango was here to protect her? That made sense.

"So, um. How long do we have to wait before they stop looking for the Teardrops?"

Sango's face fell.

"Wait? We're not going to wait for them to get bored, Koishi. We've got to go at there and find the other Teardrops before they do! True, they won't get all seven, but even four or five in their hands is really dangerous!"

Now this part Koishi didn't like. Her voice grew a little more flustered as she began to question the dolphin.

"W-Well, can't you just wait for them to make their wish or whatever, and save them like you saved me?"

"I can't be responsible for all of the Sirens at once. If I go out of my way to save someone else, that would leave you in danger, Koishi. And like I said, there aren't many of us in the Order - I'm pretty much the only agent they could send to look out for you in person."

Koishi was starting to tremble a little now.

"But...that means we'd need to fight again."

Sango shrugged.

"Maybe. The Claw will probably gather forces from nearby - revealing the truth to some of the local girls, and getting them to work as soldiers for them with the promise of power. If they find a Teardrop that way, all the better for them, but if we sit around and wait it'll be us versus an army of other magical girls. And while that Teardrop gives you a lot of power, it's not gonna be enough to take on a dozen people at once."

Koishi fell silent. Her eyes started to water a little, and she sank back into her bedcovers. Her heart was pounding with fear just at the thought of going through another fight like that again - it had been adrenaline alone that guided her through her battle against the fishmen, and now she was being asked to fight people she knew? People she'd gone to school with her whole life? It was too much, far too much.

"I...I don't want to fight."

The dolphin sighed.

"Koishi. I know it's scary, but I'm counting on you to-"

"You don't get it! I can't help you, Sango!"

Koishi burst out at Sango, raising her voice to a shout for the first time in the discussion. Sango was physically taken aback, startled by Koishi's sudden rage.

"I'm not some magical girl who can fight evil. I'm not some superhero destined to save the world from the forces of darkness. ...I'm not even an ordinary high-school student, living out an ordinary life with ordinary friends and ordinary grades. I'm a coward, a weakling, a loser...you may as well take that stupid stone of yours and give it to someone else. It's wasted on the likes of me."

Koishi pulled the covers over her head, slumping down into bed again. Sango bit her lip - she hadn't just struck a nerve, she'd stabbed a knife through it and run all the way along.

"Koishi...don't say stuff like that. You saw what you did to those fish-freaks, didn't you? You beat the crap out of them!"

"What if I just got lucky? And besides, it's only going to get harder from here, right?"

Sango couldn't answer that one, and bit her lip as she tried to come up with a response. There wasn't much she could do, though - if Koishi wasn't going to accept that she'd managed to succeed, she could hardly convince her to change her mind after knowing her for all of an hour.

"Take that Teardrop, and give it to someone else, okay? Just act like I never had it."

Koishi pulled the pillow over her head, effectively ending the conversation on her part. Sango bit her lip, wishing she could do more here - she wasn't willing to give up on Koishi, especially after that show she'd put on. She wouldn't admit it herself, but Koishi had kicked some serious...wait, fish didn't really have rears, did they? Anyway, she was incredibly strong for a beginner. She had potential, and with Koishi's help they might just be able to win this war. But how could she get her out of this rut?

"...Maybe I should leave this to someone who knows you better."

Koishi barely heard her from beneath the pillow, and her words didn't make any sense anyway. She heard Sango walk towards the doorway.

"I'll be hanging around for a while, so feel free to think this over. Later."

She made her way out of the room, but she didn't stop talking. Koishi heard Sango say something else, but it clearly wasn't aimed at her.

"You two can see her now. Hopefully she won't be too surprised."

Two voices let out little yelps of joy at that one. Koishi was confused - who on earth would be wanting to visit her at a time like this? She still didn't have any visitors, and the only living things that stayed here besides her were Rin and Utsuho-

Wait.

She pulled her thoughts back to what Sango had told her earlier - animals were part of the magical world as well. So...did that mean...?

"K...Koishi-sama?"

A new voice entered the room, asking after her with concern. It was joined by a second, more aggressive one soon after.

"Nyaah! Outta the way, outta the way! I can't get in with you blocking the doorway like that!"

There was a sound of someone being pushed, and two shouts as the newcomers tumbled onto the floor in a heap. Koishi was torn between looking over the edge of the bed and confirming her fears and holding this pillow down for just long enough to suffocate herself. Survival instinct won in the end, however, and she satisfied her curiosity.

Two young girls were looking back up at her - one with a pair of raven's wings emerging from her back, and the other sporting a set of feline ears. There was no doubt about it - these were the pets she'd looked after since she was a child, except they'd apparently been a lot more intelligent than she'd previously imagined.

There was an awkward silence as the pets prepared to speak with their master for the first time.

"Uh...hi?"

Nine West

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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2010, 12:49:14 am »
"Aw, why not? You know I'm adorable. I can see it in your eyes - you just wanna give your friend Sango a big hug and tell her what a great person she is, right?"

I nearly died. Well done.

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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2010, 01:23:41 am »
Jesus Christ it's 2:20 in the morning why do I never finish these at a reasonable hour
Or in a state of full consciousness, for one =_=

-----

On one hand, there was still a way for things to get more embarrassing than this. At least they were wearing clothes, though Koishi had no idea where they'd come from. Rin was dressed in a long dark green dress, and Utsuho was clad in a white shirt with a light green skirt. Both of them had long, flowing hair; Rin's was red and tied in a pair of ponytails, while Utsuho's was black and tied with a single green ribbon. In regards to looks, they looked almost like normal people.

Except for the ears and the wings, anyway. But she'd have scored them 9 out of 10 on the looking-human-ometer.

"Nyaah! Koishi-sama, you're alright! When the fish woman showed up at our front door with you in her arms after school, we were so worried about you!"

Rin was the first to recover from her case of paralysis, pulling herself off the floor and wrapping her arms around her master. She then promptly leapt away, flapping her arms madly.

"Brr...! You're still soaking, Koishi-sama! You must be really cold wearing those! Should we make you a fire or something?!"

"I'm fine, Rin. Really."

Rin's flailing stopped, and she pouted. She held a finger up to Koishi in a matter that made it look like she was the master in this relationship.

"OK, this is something I've wanted to clear up for a while. Call me Orin, dammit! Rin Kaenbyou is way too long a name for a cat, nya!"

"Uh, but that was the name that onee-chan gave you. I didn't think I was allowed to-"

"I give you permission, okay?! That's a silly name for a cat, and I don't like it!"

Rin - wait, no, it was Orin now - flailed around a little as her rant came to an end. Utsuho came to her feet at last, and in every way she looked a little slower than Orin did. Every motion of hers seemed slow and meticulous, carefully planned out and thought over.

"Um. Koishi-sama? Please call me Okuu from now on."

This nickname made even less sense than Orin did. Koishi simply stared at her in confusion, eventually convincing Utsuho to offer an explanation.

"Well, um...Uzuho...Utsuo...my normal name is hard to say, so Orin said I should just use Okuu instead."

Compared to Orin, Okuu's speech was much more childish. She was probably a little less intelligent than her partner - bird-brained, for the lack of any better word.

"Yeah, Okuu was one I came up with. It's the same kanji you guys used for Utsuho, right? So there's no problem!"

Koishi nodded along. She was surprised that Orin was familiar with kanji as well, and she had a feeling that it was a skill that Okuu didn't share with her.

"So, uh. You're telling me you two have known about this whole magic thing the whole time?"

"Yes."

Okuu answered instantly, without a hint of embarrassment. This earned her a prompt bopping on the head from Orin.

"Unyu!"

"S-Sorry, Koishi-sama. I know it looks really bad that we kept you in the dark, but it's kind of an unspoken agreement, y'know? I guess dolphin lady filled you in on a lot, so..."

Were they like this whenever she wasn't around? Come to think of it, they must have been in this form to let Sango in while she was passed out. They'd probably make a good manzai pair, actually.

"It's okay. I understand that you weren't allowed to say anything."

It felt awkward doing this when they looked almost human now, but Koishi gave her pets the usual playful treatment, scratching just behind Orin's ears and running a hand down Okuu's hair.

"U-Unyuu..."

Okuu in particular seemed to enjoy the feeling, letting out a little sound of satisfaction. Orin was mature enough to keep her pleasure to herself, simply responding with a bright smile.

"But, Koishi-sama...you sounded angry when you were talking to the dolphin lady earlier. Is something wrong?"

The hand scratching Orin came to a halt. She could feel it tremble slightly as Koishi let out a long, heaving sigh.

"It...It's a long story..."

Koishi did what she could to explain the situation, putting it into simple words so that Okuu could keep up. After a few minutes she was satisfied that she'd got the point across, and expected her pets to understand where she was coming from.

No such luck.

"Unyu...if it's your stone, doesn't that mean you should be taking care of it?"

"Koishi-sama, do you realise what this means?! You get to be a hero like in one of those anime they show in the mornings after you've left for school!"

Koishi suddenly understood why she found the television on when she came home, but that was hardly the point right now. Maybe animals just didn't have the same sense of danger as humans did.

"Look, it's not that easy. It'd be hard, and brutal, and it'd be a waste of time for me to do it when there are better candidates out there."

She slumped back into bed again, her own words draining the life out of her.

"There are a thousand other girls my age who'd be a better hero than me. It's stupid for me to risk my life when there's no point, you know?"

That was a difficult point to respond to, and it was the first one to put a stopper on that mouth of Orin's. Okuu sat and gazed into space, not looking like she was paying any attention to the conversation at all, and Koishi took their silence as consent.

"...Can you guys go tell Sango to leave? She can have the Teardrop, no problem. I don't want it, anyway."

Koishi picked up the gem on the desk, flinging it across the room towards her pets. It landed in front of Okuu, who looked down at it curiously. She seemed fascinated by the light bouncing off of it, holding it at all sorts of angles and inspecting it rather than actually following Koishi's order.

"Koishi-sama?"

Koishi didn't respond. Right now she'd done all the explaining she needed to, and she just wanted to get some sleep. She wanted all of this magical crap to just leave her alone and go away.

"You didn't mean any of that, did you?"

They couldn't see her from here, but both of them could make out Koishi jerking under the covers at the sound of that. Okuu wasn't verbose, but she was good at getting to the heart of the matter.

"You're running away, Koishi-sama. You're scared."

It wasn't meant as an insult - Okuu was just speaking matter-of-factly. Her grasp of tact was non-existent, and she relentlessly hit Koishi right where it hurt.

"O-Okuu, maybe you should give Koishi-sama some time to herself..."

Orin did what she could to silence her friend, but the damage had already been done. The covers were shivering now, and they could hear Koishi sniffling from beneath them.

"It's just...I could die out there! What if I'm not good enough? They already nearly killed me, and they could do it again, and, and..."

Koishi's sniffles stopped. She still trembled beneath the covers, but all sorts of thoughts were filling her mind. If it was magic involved, there were even more ways for her to die - they could burn her, freeze her, stab her, impale her, crush her, and all sorts of other ideas that were equally distressing. That was it - she couldn't do this. They couldn't ask this of her.

"But Koishi-sama. What happens if you pass it on?"

It was a simple question with a simple answer, but Koishi hadn't stopped to think about it. If she turned it down, the only thing Sango could do would be pass the Teardrop onto someone else. Then they'd get left to make the same decision she had to make, with the added pressure that the previous candidate chickened out.

"Ah...Okuu has a point there. I know it's scary, but someone has to do it, Koishi-sama-"

"But why me? Why do I have to be the hero? I'm no fighter, you two. I won one fight on a lucky fluke, and now she wants me to go save the world? I can't do it! She's wasting her time on me!"

She knew full well she was being irresponsible now, but she didn't care. She was too weak to be a hero like Sango wanted her to be. There was no question about it - she was a loser, and she always would be.

Orin wore a pained expression as she watched her mistress squirm around in bed. Okuu still sat wearing the same confused expression, apparently unable to understand why Koishi didn't follow her logic.

"...Koishi-sama. You're going to get mad at me for saying this, but..."

Orin took a deep breath. She was deathly afraid of hurting Koishi's feelings here, but if this was the only way she could get to her she'd have to go for it.

"You need to move on, Koishi-sama. You can't go on forever thinking that you need someone to protect you. You're a young woman now, and there's no-one around to look after you anymore. ...I'm sorry, nyaa..."

Orin immediately felt like she'd said too much, and felt her stomach cave in a little. Koishi took a while to respond, the words barely creeping out of her mouth.

"...You don't understand, Orin. It took so long..."

Orin bit her lip hard. She was afraid that this would remind her of that incident, and all remembering it was going to do was make Koishi even more afraid.

"They told me I was gone for thirty seconds, but I remember it lasting forever..."

-----

It was summer, one of the last few days of cram school. My class ended up finishing early because the teacher was sick, though, so I got to sit around for an hour waiting for onee-chan to finish up. There was nowhere for me to sit inside the school, so I got stuck waiting outside the school for her to finish up.

I dunno how long it was. I just started walking laps around the school to pass the time, but I got bored eventually. I figured I could get away with heading a little further away from the school - I'd see onee-chan coming out anyway, and it was still pretty light.

There was something I wanted to check anyway, so I took a little stroll to a lake nearby. I pulled out the treasure map one of my classmates handed to me earlier, marking the lakebed with a giant X at one point. There was hidden treasure there, apparently, and I wanted to see if I could find it for myself. I only had to pay a good 500 Yen for it as well. Tewi was a good friend, I thought.

I took off my bag and shoes before treading carefully into the water. A little cold, but I could handle it. We'd just finished doing swimming lessons in school, so I figured a little lake couldn't be that much of a problem. I swam out into the water, remembering the instructions I'd been given from the teacher, arms straight, legs straight, everything perpedicular to the surface. No problem.

That was about far enough, I thought. I took a deep breath, and plunged down into the water below. The X should have been round about here, according to the map, so I swam along the bottom to inspect it in further detail. I couldn't see any of the markings that Tewi pointed out on the map, like the rock shaped like a cross of the dead man's skull. All I could see was seaweed, seaweed and more seaweed.

I was beginning to wonder if I'd been tricked by a simple prank when something yanked at my leg.

"Agglubl?!"

I turned on the spot, feeling my left leg stuck in place. There was seaweed tied all around it in some impossibly complicated set of knots. I tried to jerk my leg out from the seaweed's grip, but it was firmly caught in its grip.

That's when the fear started to set in.

I reached down and started tugging at the tangled weeds with boths hands, doing what I could to untie myself. But with every move, they seemed to get tighter, and if anything all my efforts managed was to get me even more trapped.

"M-Mmbl! Mmmggglbl!"

My chest hurt. I hadn't been under long, but I was panicking. Can you blame me? I was a kid who barely knew what death was, and now here I was trapped in a forgotten lake with no-one around to help me.

My efforts to free myself grew more desperate. I clawed at the seaweed, trying to somehow cut it with my nails as I kicked in every direction I could think of. Nothing, and all I managed to do was tire myself out with it. My lungs were on fire.

Help me! Someone! Anyone!

The lake was empty. I was dying, and no-one even knew it.

"G-glagglb!"

My hands clutched my throat suddenly, as my lungs decided they weren't going to take any more of this. The little air I had forced itself out in a few violent, panicked gurgles. My head was feeling light, and the world was getting dark around me. Maybe this was it...if I just passed out here, then maybe this wasn't such a bad way to die.

Then my body decided to breathe in against my will.

It hurt in ways I never even thought possible. It felt like someone had set off a bomb inside my chest. I started flailing madly, not even thinking anymore, totally overwhelmed by that pain.

Ithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurts

Every breath my body made me take just brought in more water and more pain. I was vaguely aware that this was all my fault - I'd been the idiot who jumped into a lake unsupervised and got herself trapped. All of this was because I was an idiot.

Ah...it's getting dark...

I started to feel numb as my brain shut down. It was a welcome escape, as I stopped trying to make an escape and just let my body go limp. For a moment, I thought there was something in the distance...someone, coming closer. But it was probably just my mind playing tricks as it suffocated.

The instant I closed my eyes, the world around me ceased to exist.

---

The next thing I remember was three hours later, waking up in a hospital bed. It was hard to breathe - there was a doctor next to me, spouting out long words like resuscitation and cardiac arrest. I wasn't really paying attention to him.

I was busy being hugged by Onee-chan, who'd been waiting at my side ever since I'd been checked in.

"Koishi...oh, Koishi!"

I only found out later that her class had finished just after I went off on my little expedition. She couldn't find me, saw my things lying next to the lakeside, and put two and two together. By the time she found me, though, I'd already passed out, and she had to lift my limp body to the surface after cutting me out of the seaweed with a set square.

"I...I thought I lost you...Koishi, I was so worried..."

Onee-chan could barely speak then, she was struggling that hard to fight with the tears. I noticed something a little weird then - I always remembered her having light brown hair, but all of a sudden it was a light shade of pink. I recall asking her about it later, and her not having a clue what I was talking about - but everyone could see that my hair was pure silver now.

While my sister was holding me tightly and crying into my chest, I realised that if she hadn't shown up and saved me, I would have drowned for sure in that lake. I'd be dead. I'd be nothing.

Without Onee-chan, I would be nothing.

Without Onee-chan, I wouldn't exist.

Without Onee-chan, I was worthless...

-----

Koishi came back into the present, well aware that her face was streaming with tears.

"Don't you get it? If I didn't have Onee-chan, I'd be dead. If I go off and do my own thing now I'll probably get myself into another situation like that, and this time she won't be around to save me."

The air in the room felt heavier than rock. Orin couldn't bring herself to raise her head up, and even Okuu was well aware that the atmosphere in the room was sullen.

"Onee-chan went to a lot of effort to save me. I'm not about to throw that life away trying to be a hero. I...I can't do it."

Orin's head was spinning. There were a thousand things she wanted to say at once - she wanted to apologise from bringing those memories back up, she wanted to make a joke to lighten the mood, she wanted to walk out and tell Sango to get lost, she wanted to just break down into tears right in front of Koishi.

But one emotion was welling up above all of those. It was the emotion a mother felt when they heard their child say they were going to do something incredibly irresponsible, the feeling someone got when kind words went out the window.

Orin disregarded her former fears about upsetting her master. These were harsh words, but they had to be said.

"Look, I know I'm not the person who you want saying this, but Satori-sama isn't here so I'm gonna have to do it for her."

Okuu watched as her friend got to her feet, anger starting to flare up in her eyes.

"You think this is what she wanted you to be like? Lying in bed moaning about how terrible you are? Honestly, sometimes I'm glad that Satori-sama isn't around, because if she saw the state you've managed to get yourself into it'd just about break her heart!"

Orin pulled the covers off the bed, revealing the cowering Koishi underneath. She looked up at her own pet with frightened eyes.

"Yes, maybe this is gonna be dangerous. Yes, maybe if you screw up you're going to die. But tell me something - just what kind of life are you living right now? You let people walk over you all day and spend all night lying in bed and doing nothing. This is your chance to go out there and do something! This is your opening to go out there and live your freaking life! And if you don't make something of it, I'll...I'll scratch at your bed at night when you're trying to sleep! I'll follow you into school and refuse to leave you alone! I'll stare at you when you go to the bathroom! I'll...nyaaaaah!"

Her anger boiled over, and Orin slumped onto the floor. She couldn't find words to express her emotions any more, and she finally settled for resting her head on Koishi's lap. She'd said some horrible things, things she couldn't take back, things she regretted, and she felt lousy for having shot her mouth.

"Unyuu..."

Okuu groaned nearby. This was all going to quickly for her to follow now, and she just had to sit back and watch things unfold. The cat continued to squirm around, waiting for some sort of response from her master.

She finally received another stroke behind her ears, and the stress in her body melted away.

"Okuu."

"Ah?"

Koishi's face seemed calmer now, more accepting. Maybe Orin's rant had managed to get through that thick skull of hers. She still looked nervous, but she took a deep breath and managed to get the words out.

"...Call in Sango. I want to agree to this now before I chicken out again."

-----

Honestly, the dolphin wasn't very hopeful for Koishi's chances - with denial that strong, it would likely take a miracle to get her to cooperate. She expected to have the Teardrop thrown violently at her the instant she entered the room as she got yelled at to get out of the house.

Instead, she walked in to see Koishi sitting upright in bed, looking a lot braver that she did before. It was a look that didn't come to her naturally, but she was clearly doing her best to act strong.

It needed some work, but it was a good start.

"Sango, can I make one request?"

She liked the sound of that. It was the sound of success and cooperation. Sango grinned.

"Shoot. Your wish is my command."

"I don't want to kill anyone. If we have to fight someone, knock them out, run away, whatever, just don't kill them. I...don't think I can do that."

Sango's heart lifted a little. She expected her to join out of payback if nothing else; to see such a peaceful angle coming from her was a pleasant surprise.

"Alright, then. I'm not gonna be a slave driver, so you can take tonight to rest. You just came through a long day, so I figure you deserve it."

Sango made to leave the room. She'd borrow the couch for now - she didn't really need sleep in the same way humans did, so she'd survive.

"One question, though - what made you change your mind?"

Koishi looked to Orin with a small smile.

"...I guess an old friend told me something I needed to hear."

-----

Well, that's Koishi just about out of the worst stages of her emo. Thank god. -_-
« Last Edit: December 07, 2010, 11:42:47 pm by Roukanke[Z] »

Moerin

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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #16 on: August 21, 2010, 01:30:22 am »
Jesus Christ it's 2:20 in the morning why do I never finish these at a reasonable hour
Or in a state of full consciousness, for one =_=

Because you put lots of effort into your work, and it shows.  Really, you're doing great with it so far~  I'm really looking forward to the next part.  Keep at it, okay?  This really is awesome so far~
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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #17 on: August 21, 2010, 02:43:34 am »
This seemed silly at first, but I really like this alternate Gensokyo-like universe you've set up.
I find myself like this more than PLotSS :V, can't wait to see more of this.
and how many times are you going to drown Koishi
In my defense, she's only actually drowned once. >.>
« Last Edit: August 21, 2010, 09:37:49 am by Roukanken »

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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #18 on: August 21, 2010, 06:54:32 am »
I'm definitely familiar with emo Koishi :ohdear:

I'm very glad to see her gain some courage, though. This is already such an interesting read.

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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #19 on: August 21, 2010, 10:06:18 am »
So I just caught up on the new updates, and:
It proves that I can't even cover a light subject like mahou-shoujo without turning it serious business.
I now totally agree. Poor Koishi ;_;

Looking forward to what happens now that she finally pulled herself together, though~

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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #20 on: August 21, 2010, 10:50:07 am »
To be honest this is one of the best stories I've ever read, you're doing great Roukan o/

Just try to stay away from the emo I think we kinda got it all out there :x

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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #21 on: August 21, 2010, 07:16:18 pm »
So this is what I've been hearing about on #meido all this time.

I like where this is going. Keep it up! :3

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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #22 on: August 25, 2010, 12:34:32 am »
OK, let's step away from the emo for a while~

-----


When she woke up the next morning, she wondered if everything that had happened had been some sort of surreal hallucination - her own, twisted way of telling herself she had to move on and make a change. As she opened her eyes and found herself welcoming in another ordinary morning, Koishi wondered if she'd just had some sort of great epiphany.

Orin - if she wanted to be called that, she'd call her that - stroked up alongside her leg, looking a lot more relaxed now than she usually did. She noticed the slight spring that had emerged in Koishi's step, and it seemed to relax her.

"Alright, you two, eat up. A little extra today won't hurt, right?"

To be honest, it wasn't as harmless as she wanted to admit. There was always enough trouble when it came to paying off rent and all, and things were just barely hanging together with what she had. After the incident, she'd always looked a little off-kilter, and her family had been more than keen to act like she'd passed on. When Satori wanted to move into her own residence and take Koishi with her, there were no complaints.

Her mother had died in childbirth, and her father had only passed away recently. Most of the inheritance went to Satori, the 'capable' daughter as their parents put it, and indeed she was sensible enough with her spendings to keep them afloat. Honestly, Koishi hadn't been that heartbroken by her father's death - she had never been particularly attached to him, instead finding solace in her sister whenever it was needed.

Now that Satori was gone, though, the budget she had to work with was much shorter. It was an effort to pay the rent and keep the pets at the same time, but she knew that it would have broken Satori's heart to see them kicked out, so she looked after them regardless. She'd figure out a way around it. A part-time job, maybe. She could do with some time out of the house.

Yup. Whatever sort of dream she'd had last night, it was definitely having an effect on her. She decided to go and splash her face with cold water, just to get herself wide awake. She opened the bathroom door, slightly surprised that the light had been left on.

This was quickly overwritten by the very major surprise that a dolphin was floating in her bathtub.

"Wha-!?"

Koishi jolted back for a moment, her brain immediately telling her that there was no reason for something like that to be residing in her home. Instinct gave way quickly, though, to the memories of what she had assumed simply to be merely fantasy.

She looked at her hand for confirmation. The ring was in place, just as she remembered.

...Sango-san?

The dolphin didn't seem to notice her. In fact, it didn't seem to be responding at all. Its face was submerged in the water, but she could see its blowhole occasionally letting out little bursts of air. It was breathing, that was for sure.

Is she...asleep?

Only one way to find out, Koishi decided. She tiptoed over to the bathtub, towards the slumbering sea mammal. She reached out with a single finger, dipping it into the cold water.

Then, she poked the creature in the side.

The change happened to fast for Koishi's eyes to properly make out. By the time she had finished blinking, there was no longer a dolphin in the bath - now, instead, a  young girl was pulling her head out of the water, mumbling to herself.

"Initiate Sango Tororetsu, reporting for duty! Service with a smile, or your money back!"

The ellipses were practically hanging above Koishi's head. If there was anything to make you feel comfortable dealing with a mission to save the world, it was knowing that your bodyguard was competent and reliable.

Sango did not appear to be either of these. Not when she woke up later than the person she was ordered to protect, and especially not when she had to be woken up by them.

"...Uh. Oh, yeah, I'm already on duty, aren't I?"

She slapped herself in the face to wake herself up properly, before nonchalantly stepping out of the bathtub. Her hair was soaking wet, leaving tiny droplets on Koishi's carpet. They seemed cleaner for it, though, so she paid it no mind.

Or maybe she was distracted by the fact that Sango didn't seem to be wearing anything.

"...Please put some clothes on."

"Huh? Oh yeah, you guys get all touchy-feely over being naked, don't you-"

"NOW."

-----

She eventually goaded Sango into getting changed, mainly on the principle that if she wanted to blend in being caught streaking was not a good idea. That, and the dolphin fin was a good giveaway that something was wrong.

Sango insisted on wearing the same clothes she'd worn the day before, a fact that concerned Koishi until she inspected the clothes in question. They were immaculate, as if they'd never been worn before, but they'd simply been left on the radiator overnight.

Magic. It does all sorts of weird stuff, apparently.


Koishi convinced Sango to wear a jacket over her normal shirt, for the sole purpose of covering up the fin on her back. The dolphin groaned, but finally accepted the burden as part of her duty.

"So, what did I walk in on? You were a dolphin, and then..."

"Yeah, animals can switch between forms at will. We can either look like the animal that most people would recognise, or we take on a more humanoid form for the sake of cross-species conversation and blending in. We call that a youkai form, and obviously we don't show that one to humans."

"Youkai? As in the monsters from folklore?"

"Hey, we make mistakes now and then, right? Every legend has a speck of truth in it and all that crap."

Koishi looked back into her room, towards her pets. It made a lot of sense for them to stay like that at feeding time - probably made the food a bit more filling.

"So, I need to head to school. Sorry, I can't take you with me on this one."

She tried not to let the nerves slip into her voice too much as she spoke. Honestly, going back to school still scared her a little - Cirno would be looking out for her, like she always did, and Sango could hardly walk into school unannounced.

"Ah, before you do that..."

Sango ran off into Koishi's room, pulling out the orange jewel from yesterday and also taking something else out of her pocket.

"Keep the Teardrop safe. Also, you're probably gonna need these."

She handed Koishi a pair of ordinary looking glasses. Koishi seemed confused by the gesture, examining them carefully and seeing nothing particularly strange about them.

"Trust me, you'll understand when you head out there."

That really wasn't much more productive, actually, but Koishi didn't have time to worry about it. She was probably running late as it was, and if she wanted to try and make a change she was going to have to pick up on her punctuality. A quick peek into Scarlet Bakery for some breakfast, then a good jog across Gensouto to make it in on time. The usual, just with a little more zest than she typically approached it with.

"Alright, see you guys later!"

"Nyaa!"

"Unyu!"

"Look both ways before you cross the street!"

Koishi stared blankly at Sango from the doorway in response to that one, eventually closing the door with an awkward expression. Sango looked up, confused.

"What? That's what they told me when I accepted this job..."

At Sango's feet, a cat looked up and sighed to itself.

"Anyway, I'd better get ready, too. Can't be late on day one, can I?"

-----

The world seemed a little brighter as she stepped out into it today. Maybe it was because she was looking at it with a little more enthusiasm, or maybe yesterday's experiences had made her see something in the word she didn't see beforehand. Either way, Koishi felt happier being part of the world now than she did 24 hours ago, and she made her way over to the Scarlet Bakery with a hint of cheeriness.

It was a small shop, a local one. The owners were the descendants of foreigners who'd moved into the area a few generations ago, and thanks to good old xenophobia the shop had never quite gained the reputation it deserved. Koishi would attest that its pastries and sandwiches were delicious, and the prices they were sold for would make the high street weep if they ever reached the public eye. That didn't look set to happen any time, though, so she decided that it was going to be one of her little secrets for now. She strolled into the shop with a smile, for the first time in months.

"Morning!"

"Ah, Koishi-chan! You're looking awfully chirpy today."

Koishi reached down for her purse, looking for the change before even making her purchase. It was the same sandwich she always got, but she decided that today she'd spoil herself and get a drink to go with it as well.

"Thank you...it's Meiling-san, right?"

"Ah, yes, Hong Meiling. You remembered! That's more than some people in this place can do. Isn't that right, Sakuya?"

The attendant yelled something into the kitchens behind her. There was no response for a moment, until eventually a voice rose up from inside with a tone of absolute calm.

"Just do your job, China."

Meiling flinched visibly at the sight of that one. They seemed to have this sort of relationship, though Koishi had never met this Sakuya in person. She always hung back in the kitchens, and never seemed to step out to do her job. When she finished cooking, her dishes would appear in a stall to the side, but Koishi never managed to catch her putting them there no matter how hard she tried.

"Anyway. You'll be having the usual, I assume?"

"Yeah, and I think I'm gonna have a carton of orange juice to go with that as well."

She didn't know why the colour orange was on her mind. Maybe that Teardrop had done more to her than she thought. She continued to scour through the purse, not looking up until she had the money to offer. She heard Meiling rummaging through the sandwiches that were freshly made, pulling out Koishi's normal order and placing it in front of her along with a carton of juice.

"There ya go. 150 Yen, if you please."

Koishi nodded, counting the coins one last time as she finally raised her head.

"Here. Thank y-"

Koishi's words caught in her throat. The coins dropped out of her hand onto the counter as her body froze. Meiling tilted her head, confused.

"Hm? What's wrong, Koishi-chan?"

The woman looking back at her wasn't the Meiling who had run the counter before. That Meiling dressed sensibly, and wore a simple work apron along with a shirt and pants. She certainly didn't have bright red hair like that, nor did she wear a green dress that looks like it had just been delivered first-class from China. The new beret on her head had a star symbol on it, saying something in Chinese. She didn't know, she didn't read it, and she had no clue why all of a sudden Meiling was trying to beat her over the head with her nationality.

"Helloooo? Koishi-chan, are you alright?"

Koishi snapped out of it, pulling herself away. Maybe this was just a prank. Maybe it was Chinese New Year, and she'd forgotten about it. That made more sense.

"N-Nothing. Sorry. Thanks."

"OK, if you're sure you're fine. Come again!"

Koishi took her meal and literally ran out the door. Meiling was left watching her go, staring awkwardly at the swinging door left in her wake.

"...Is there something on my face?"

-----

The journey to school did nothing to relieve Koishi of her panic. Everything around her looked different, looked strange, looked wrong. People looked at her awkwardly, dressed in their fancy clothes and flaunting their silly hair and not seeming aware of it at all. She was sure a few of the people she passed had wings, little fluttering ones like a fairy's, but none of them ever bothered to fly. The world around her had changed dramatically, but it seemed totally unaware that anything was wrong.

What's happening?! Why can no-one else see what's going on here?!

She wanted to ask someone what was happening, but she could already see how that would end. Yeah, sure, you think everyone around you has blue hair, that's lovely, now get in the van so we can put you in a psych ward. She suffered in relative silence, though her desperate run to school did attract a few confused glances. They'd just write her off as a schoolgirl late for class, luckily.

Wait a minute...what was it she said?

Sango had mentioned this before, hadn't she? During that big monologue she gave on the 'truth' and all that nonsense.

"And what's life like in the real world? Well, imagine everyone you ever knew had some sort of superpower or magical ability. Everyone in your class is some sort of magical girl, and they all look like it as well - crazy hair, weird eye colours, and in your case an extra eye on top of the two you've already got. But again, no-one realises it, so all of that magic just goes to waste."

Koishi suddenly came to a realisation, stopping dead in her tracks. Nothing about the world around her was unusual - she just hadn't been looking for it. This was what the world around her really looked like. She looked down - the purple cords along her chest were still there as well.

Koishi's hands ruffled into her pockets for the glasses she'd been given. They still looked generic enough, but Sango had said she'd need them. Given what she'd just witnessed, she was willing to believe her on that count. She carefully put the glasses on, wondering slightly what she looked like in them.

The world around retreated into the realms of sanity. The blue and pink hues of hair in the crowd disappeared, returning to the familiar dull shades of brown and black. No more ornate dresses, just school uniforms; no wings, just backpacks.

Koishi breathed a sigh of relief. The world was normal again - or at least, the normal that she was familiar with. She finished the walk to school, no longer worrying about what sort of magical creatures stood between her and her next class. Now she could focus on the real problem - getting in without Cirno catching her.

The back door seemed her safest bet, because Cirno would usually hang around the front to pick on kids who were running late. Even if she was earlier than usual, she didn't imagine Cirno would move between both outposts, and went around the back entrance. It was a shady place, with smokers and delinquents sitting around doing nothing in particular, but a quick step and a bowed head got her through without any incidents.

Her plan was an overwhelming success, and Koishi victoriously collapsed on her desk. Even if all she could say was that she hadn't been picked on before first period, it was a little achievement that she hadn't managed yesterday. Now, for a change, she had time to get ready before class began.

First up today was math. Normally that'd be enough to depress Koishi for the rest of the day, but this time around she was willing to try and put a positive spin on it - she was getting the worst subject out of the way now, so she wouldn't have to worry about it later. And there was always Professor Kawashiro to poke fun at when she added two and two to somehow create five on a regular basis.

The register was taken. Names were checked. The registration teacher seemed thoroughly surprised when Koishi declared herself present, but he shrugged once and continued the list. When he got to the end, everyone made to sit down again, but he cleared his throat to signify he had another announcement to make.

"Now, everyone, I know it's an unusual time for it, but we have a new transfer student joining the class today."

The class erupted into a wave of oohs and aahs. Koishi raised an eyebrow - a transfer student, in the middle of March? Seemed a little late for someone to change schools.

The teacher opened the door, allowing the new student to step in.

Koishi slammed her head into her desk the moment she saw the jacket the girl was wearing.

"Everyone, this is Sango Tororetsu. I'd appreciate it if you made her feel welcome here."

Sango offered a wave to the class, watching carefully so that the hood of her jacket didn't come down. She would have given Koishi a wink, but Koishi was too busy making dents in her desk to make eye contact.

How did she...what the...how...?


It would probably be easier not to think about it for now. So she didn't.

"Now, Sango-san, you'll need a seat. You can sit...there, in the back, next to Koishi-san."

Sango nodded, bowing to the teacher in a particularly stilted manner. She must have had to practice this sort of etiquette beforehand, given that it wasn't particularly common outside of human society. For a moment, the teacher's eyes widened as he caught a glimpse of something grey under the hood, but he dismissed it as the light playing tricks with him.

Sango took her seat next to Koishi, and immediately slid her desk over to her friend's side. She gave her a symbol she'd learned from passing divers, and gave her the OK sign.

"Sorry about that. Had to get a contact to set some stuff up. Can't leave you alone surrounded by potential Siren candidates, after all."

The words jumped into Koishi's head, but she noticed that Sango's mouth wasn't moving along with them. She vaguely remembered the first time she'd heard Sango speak, back when she was a dolphin.

...You're telepathic?

"Other way around, dummy. You're the telepath. Well, with us youkai anyway, not other humans. What, you think that eye on your chest was just for show?"


Koishi blinked, doing her best not to let her surprise shift onto her face. She'd always had a strange affinity with animals, hadn't she? It was strange knowing that all those strange unexplainable things she'd always known about the world probably had an explanation behind them after all. Granted, the explanation was probably stranger still, but that wasn't the point.

"Still, good to see you stayed sane. Guess you know what the glasses are for now?"

Koishi nodded. Needless to say, she was going to keep hold of these whenever circumstances allowed - that trip had just been too unusual for her.

"Heh, Gensouto's a strange place when you see it for real. I honestly think you guys named your city wrong sometimes."

Sango grinned. There was a look of experience on her face, meaning that whatever she was about to say had probably taken a lot of time to come up with. She pulled out a piece of paper and started scribbling on it, eventually producing 元想都, or Gensouto.

"You write it like this, right? The city where ideas are born, or something fancy like that. Well, honestly, you got it pretty damn wrong there. This whole place is a facade, an illusion, a little whirlpool of magic no-one notices. You shoulda just called it this, really..."

She took the piece of paper and rubbed out the first two kanji, replacing them to make the name read as 幻想都. It still read as Gensouto, but the meaning had changes entirely - now it simply meant the city of illusion.

Koishi offered her friend a quiet round of applause at that one.

How long did it take you to come up with that one?

"Pretty much all of last night. Still worth it."


The bell rang for first period as Sango finished up her word play. Professor Kawashiro entered as the registration teacher left, carrying a pile of papers onto her desk. Koishi bit her lip - she'd forgotten that the professor was fond of random pop quizzes.

"Alright, people, you know the drill. Take one, hand them down, don't start until I tell you to. You get half an hour, and anyone who scores over 95 gets a cookie."

Koishi saw Sango's eyes light up at the sound of that, as she eagerly grabbed at her piece of paper. Koishi frowned - even if she hadn't been good at math, at least she'd attended the class. Sango, though, had probably never even heard of calculus, let alone studied it.

The handing out of tests came to an end. Professor Kawashiro pulled out a stopwatch, a look of overpassionate excitement entering her eyes.

"Ready...go!"

Two dozen students opened their test papers at once. Koishi saw Sango open hers with utter confidence, and frowned.

Sango-san, you don't expect to score a 95, do you? Have you even studied math before?

Sango looked over to Koishi, offended.

"Hey! I'll have you know that dolphins are highly intelligent! I can pass your silly human tests no problem!"

The dolphin looked back at her test, examining the paper. Her face looked serious as she read the questions over.

Seven seconds passed. Koishi knew as much, because she sat and counted to see how long it would take.

"Hey, what's the answer to question 1?"

Koishi raised her hand.

"Kawashiro-sensei, I don't feel well. Can I go home, please?"

Mishou Maisuri

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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #23 on: August 25, 2010, 12:55:23 am »
Man, I wish cool stuff would happen when I take my glasses off. Instead, I become unable to see anything that isn't a foot away from my face. I also tend to run into things. :<

I will not be held responsible if this fic inspires you to do silly things without your glasses on. You have been warned.

<Matsuri> Been there, done that. Caffeine makes it a little more fun. :3

<Ruro> Well, my glasses give me +5 Manliness 8)

<Matsuri> Yeah well mine give me uh... the ability to read and not die while driving :V
« Last Edit: August 25, 2010, 02:02:31 am by Matsuri♥Komeiji »
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Spread your arms and become a flower, bright and in full bloom~
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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #24 on: August 25, 2010, 01:59:37 am »
Her mother had died in childbirth, and her father had only passed away recently. Most of the inheritance went to Satori, the 'capable' daughter as their parents put it, and indeed she was sensible enough with her spendings to keep them afloat. Honestly, Koishi hadn't been that heartbroken by her father's death - she had never been particularly attached to him, instead finding solace in her sister whenever it was needed.
Should I find this vaguely familiar, or is it just a coincidence?

If I said it was unintentional (and a handy way to write the parents out of the story), would you believe me? :V

And there was always Professor Kawashiro to poke fun at when she added two and two to somehow create five on a regular basis.
This is why physicists are hilarious.

Anyway, this was a nice update, and I can't wait to see what else is in store. The wordplay with Gensouto was also nice. :3
« Last Edit: January 17, 2011, 11:39:42 pm by Roukan And So Ken You »

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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #25 on: August 26, 2010, 03:36:50 pm »
Don't worry Matsy, some would say the ability to drive without dying to be absolutely essential!

Also, sounds like Koishi got some PERSONA GLASSES :O

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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #26 on: August 26, 2010, 03:57:14 pm »
I thought the divers OK was a nice touch. That and the occasional links are great.

This fic is infinitely better than I could have imagined. I thought i'd be walking in on something like that horrificly badly written on purpose fic thing there was ages ago, skim it over, maybe get some lulz, maybe not and give up.

instead I got a suprisingly seriously written fic about a topic that I wasnt expecting to be done seriously, and its come out awesome.

Keep this up. I give it 5 dolphins.

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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #27 on: August 27, 2010, 10:21:15 pm »
As bad as this sounds, with the amount of work I put into the setting I actually prefer writing this to writing PLotSS. >_>

-----

She gave Sango enough of the answers to at least fail honourably, but not enough to make their sheets look blatantly similar. Koishi realised that Sango probably tried to guess the last few questions, using whatever sort of insane dolphin logic she had. She took a moment to wonder what sort of absurd nonsensical answers Sango would provide.

She never got to see them, but the sudden raised eyebrow from Professor Kawashiro as she marked the papers spoke volumes.

Koishi scraped a pass, as usual, but today was something unusual in that she was disappointed in that result. Before, a 60 was a sign that she'd escaped the dreaded failing grade, but now she started to reminisce over the days when she had scored 80s or 90s on tests like these. She knew she could do it, she just had to put the time in like she used to.

Sango was less fortunate as she got her paper back.

"Hey, what do all these crosses next to my answers mean?"

She spoke out loud now, since no-one could hear her other than Koishi over the hubbub of gossip that had erupted. There was almost more red ink on her paper than there was black, with various comments along the lines of 'I have no idea what you were trying to do here'. The number 42 was jotted in the corner in a rush, as if the professor was tired with this paper and decided to just give the result as quickly as she could before moving onto a less hopeless student.

"Wait...you scored a 60, right? And I have 42...so does that mean that if we work together, we each get half a cookie?"

The hope in Sango's eyes as she asked the question nearly broke Koishi's heart. She reached out and gave her dolphin companion a pat on the head, trying to break it to her in the lightest way possible.

"Hit the books."

She failed.

"Aww..."

-----

Sango didn't do much better in other classes either. She earned the wrath of the religious studies teacher when she asked if a Buddhist was some sort of dessert, and when the geography teacher asked her to name the largest mountain she'd heard of she offered the answer 'the hill on the way to school'. Lunch went badly when she asked for fresh mackerel, and her grasp of chemistry verged on the non-existent. There were several people who wondered if she'd ever attended school in her life, or if she was some sort of ruffian raised by wolves and finally returning to normal society.

The sad part was that they weren't so far off.

As a consolation, her knowledge of hydraulics and fluid dynamics managed to salvage her some respect. Her reputation around the class jumped from 'clueless moron' to 'idiot savant'. A personal victory, perhaps, but Koishi didn't bother mentioning that both of those subjects were too advanced to actually appear on the curriculum.

Which brought them to the last period of the day. Koishi matter of factly pointed out that they were due for swimming lessons, and Sango's heart almost melted in her chest.

"Swimming?! Alright, that's awesome! Maybe I'm not so good at all that other stuff, but in the water there's no way anyone's gonna beat me! C'mon, Koishi-san, let's go!"

She made a dash for the pool, wondering if she would get one of those weird blue swimsuits that all the middle-schoolers wore when they took trips to the beach. Either way, it was going to be totally awesome-

"Ah."

Koishi had grabbed her by the hood, stopping Sango in her tracks. She used a few fingers to rub along the fin down Sango's back.

Yeah, wearing a school swimsuit is going to be a giveaway. I've already called in sick for both of us, so let's just go home.

Sango looked off towards the pool in the distance, then back to Koishi, then back to the pool. Her heart sank like a rock, and once again Koishi could make out the disappointment in her eyes.

"But, but I...I'd look so cool, and...stupid, stupid fin."

Sango pouted childishly as she pulled her hood back up, clearly mad that she hadn't had a chance to show off how well she could perform in her element. She walked alongside Koishi as they made for the exit, letting her friend go through the usual effort of checking for passing teachers.

But I don't get it, Sango-san. Why did you need to follow me anyway? Surely a school is the last place I'm going to get attacked.

"It's not that simple. Like I said, the Black Claw's gonna recruit anyone they see around here who they think has merit, and show them their power the same way I showed you yours. Everyone here's a potential enemy, and when magic is involved crowds don't matter."

Koishi's head tilted. Sango sighed - maybe she wasn't very good at this whole school thing, but when it came to magic Koishi was more or less on the same level.

"Look, when two magicians fight, there are a buncha rules you have to follow. First, you've gotta make physical contact with your opponent and challenge them. They can't refuse, and then the two of you get to sort out your problems through some good old combat. Most people can't see this sort of thing happening - it sort of jumps into a separate plane where all the mundane folk aren't around to cause you trouble. All that most people will see is two people disappearing."

Koishi realised the conclusion Sango was trying to lead up to.

You mean...crowds are the best place for them to attack?

Only now did she realise that Sango had been holding her hand almost all day, all the time they'd been moving between classes. The dolphin nodded.

"Bingo. No-one's gonna miss one or two people in a crowded room, right? So you've gotta be careful at all times."

That was a little unnerving, she had to admit. Koishi bit her lip as she caught glances at some of the kids hanging around in the corridors - none of them looked particularly keen on the sight of her, and she could tell that if someone were to offer them fortunes for taking her out they probably wouldn't think twice.

"But hey, it works both ways. If they can recruit people, so can we. We just want to keep our numbers as small as possible, so we keep our recruitment down to the Sirens when we can."

And how do you find the Sirens, anyway? Do you need to wait until after they've made this big wish of theirs?

Sango turned around at that one. The cocky grin again, which inevitably meant she had something she wanted to show off. She coughed a little, suddenly wrapping her arm around Koishi's shoulder.

"Man, I can't wait to go home, phwee~"

The phwee sound at the end sounded like some sort of verbal tic, but as she said it Koishi noticed her ears wriggling ever so slightly. She closed her eyes for a moment, standing in place.

Then, with a single motion, she reached down to Koishi's far pocket.

"Hey, what are you-"

Sango grabbed at something inside, grinning like an idiot.

"Putting the Teardrop in your pocket? You're begging to get robbed, Koishi-san."

Sure enough, her hand had clasped itself around Koishi's Teardrop. She'd never mentioned where she'd hidden it, but without so much as asking Sango had found it.

...How'd you do that?

"Just a little trick I picked up with the White Pearl. It's like sonar, but with you Sirens and your Teardrops. Needs a little work, though - I'm not very good at picking up Sirens who haven't awakened yet, but I can tell there's no-one else around here who has a Teardrop."


Koishi's eyes widened. Sonar? As in that thing with sound bouncing around? So that was what the phwee sound was for.

"Wait. Does that mean..."

Sango looked back, puzzled.

"Mean what, phwee?"

Her ears wriggled again. They must have been listening out for any magical feedback or whatever it was they were picking up.

"That you're going to be saying that all the time...?"

Sango shrugged.

"Better safe than sorry, phwee." "And besides, it's only for school, right?"

Koishi grit her teeth.

"But...it's kinda annoying."

"Hey, I think it's sort of cute, phwee. You'll learn to like it!"

Sango wrapped her arm tighter around Koishi's shoulder, leading her out towards the exit.

Or better yet, Koishi thought to herself, I'll learn to ignore it.

-----

Another long walk home, though it had been a while since she'd taken this trip with a companion. There was a nice view of Gensouto from up here as the sun started to set in the distance, and Koishi and Sango got to enjoy the trip alone thanks to leaving earlier than they were supposed to.

It had been a lot to take in for Koishi. The last 24 hours seemed to have consisted of nothing but madness, to the point where Sango had needed to sit down and explain things to her for ages on end so that she could keep up. She only hoped that she'd just about wrapped her head around this whole magical business by now, and she could focus on actually doing this scouting out tomorrow.

But besides that, something else about her seemed different. She hadn't noticed it until now, but all these antics with Sango had brought on something that she didn't recognise.

"Sango-san, can I ask you something?"

Sango looked back, puzzled.

"What, is there something I forgot to tell you?"

She'd dropped the phwee now that they were outside. What a relief.

"Uh...this is going to sound weird, but am I smiling?"

Sango looked blankly at Koishi in response to the question, puzzled.

"Well, yeah. You look like you're pretty happy. Why do you ask?"

So that's what the feeling was. Her chest felt a little warmer than it had before, like her heart was slowly coming back to life. It was a strange feeling, but she liked it.

"It's nothing. Just...never mi-"

"But I don't wanna do this any more!"

Koishi was forced out of her little nostalgia moment as a voice filled the air. They were passing the coast by now, walking alongside the beach on the way back home.

Which meant the shrine was nearby.

"Look, you know how hard I had to beg my dad for this money? We're doing it, and we're gonna wish for a million wishes, just like we planned!"

It was the duo from earlier, the big Fairy and her librarian friend. Now Koishi could see them standing on the other end of the pier, the Fairy holding a 1000 Yen bill over the shrine's donation box.

Both Sango and Koishi looked on in worry. They were out of earshot, and the only reason they overheard the conversation was because the pair had resorted to shouting.

"Sango-san. Are either of them..."

"Lemme check, phwee."

Sango pressed two fingers into her temple, focusing harder than usual this time as she read the sonar. After a few seconds, she shook her head.

"Nope. They're just two ordinary girls. Well, as ordinary as you get in Gensouto, anyway."

Koishi sighed with relief.

"Ah, that's good. So that means they're in no da-"

"No. The two of them are in deep, deep trouble."

-----

*insert commercial break here because I keep seeing this as an anime in my head whyyyyyy*
« Last Edit: December 08, 2010, 12:03:34 pm by Roukanke[Z] »

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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #28 on: August 27, 2010, 11:00:41 pm »
Oh, things are about to get interesting. Looking forward to the next update~ (which is already in the works, as I just heard :3 )

Liking the way Sango uses sonar.

Also:
Quote
I keep seeing this as an anime in my head whyyyyyy
That's how I write all my stuff :V

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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #29 on: August 28, 2010, 12:20:43 am »
Dolphin Rider Koishi is sponsored by White Rose and sleep deprivation.

And now, back to our feature presentation.

-----

"Huh?! But San-"

Sango reached out and put a hand over Koishi's mouth as the pair crouched behind a nearby set of bushes.

"Be quiet. We can't have them hear us, remember?"

Koishi's immediate panic faded, and Sango pulled her hand away. Now, though, there was a sick feeling in her stomach as she watched the pair argue some more.

"...But why are they in trouble? They don't have Teardrops, do they? They're just a pair of kids following up on a stupid highschool rumour."

"Where do you think all these rumours come from, Koishi-san? Do you think that rumours that would just so happen to reveal a Siren just get made up by a bunch of bored highschoolers?"

Koishi's blood froze in her veins.

"Y-You mean..."

Sango nodded.

"Yeah. The Black Claw set that rumour up to lure people in. And I get the feeling they won't be too pleased if a pair of kids start spreading around that it didn't work..."

The argument at the shrine reached its peak. By now the Fairy had grabbed her friend by the shoulder to keep her in place as the note fluttered over the donation box.

"Look, you've got nothing to lose from this! It's my money, so let's just do this already!"

"But it's scary! What if it's one of those spirits that takes your wish and turns it into something horrible? What if we wish for a million wishes, but then we have to sit and say all of them in a row without breathing or something crazy like that?"

"Oh, come on, Koa. Now you're just being paranoid! Personally, if Cirno taught me anything, it's that who dares wins. So even if it is some sorta genie like that, I'll figure out a way to beat him!"

This was not going to end well. By now the Fairy was holding the note over the box with only two fingers, and she was ready to let go any second now. Koishi took off her glasses at last, so that if anything were to attack the pair she'd be able to see it.

It disturbed her slightly how calm she was with seeing the two transform in front of her eyes; the first girl was now a literal fairy, with bright green hair and a pair of fluttering wings behind her back, while her companion looked like a lesser demon with dark red hair and two black wings poking out of the sides of her head. But now wasn't the time for little matters like that. She'd seen her fair share of strange colour choices today, and then some.

"Wait for it..."

Sango reached down to her waist, and Koishi noticed that there were a pair of vials that she hadn't seen before. One of them was filled with what looked like simple water, and the other was filled with salt. She looked ready to pull one out at any moment as she waited for the situation to come to a head.

She didn't have to wait long.

"Alright, whatever spirit lives in this thing. Gimme a million wishes, or else!"

The note began to fall through the air.

"NOW!"

Sango yelled as she bolted out from behind cover. Koishi followed closely behind, charging down the pier in quick succession.

The two girls at the pier had just enough time to turn around in confusion. Koishi could make out the fairy's lips shaping a word that Koishi wasn't supposed to say in front of children.

By then, Sango had swept at them with one of the vials, sending salt flying through the air. They gasped on reflex, unintentionally inhaling it and letting off coughs.

"Ack, ack! What the hell do you think you're-"

The fairy started out on an angry retort, but the last word of her sentence never emerged. Her eyes suddenly turned blank, and she fell backwards without resistance onto the pier. Her friend didn't even let out a cry of shock before she collapsed.

Sango placed the vial of salt back on the belt around her waist. Koishi looked down at the two fallen bodies, immediately thinking the worst.

"Relax, they're not dead. It's sleeping salt."

Sure enough, the two girls let off a light snoring a few seconds later. Fortunately, by now Koishi's concept of reality was so far gone that this didn't surprise her too much.

"They'll wake up in an hour or so with no idea what just happened. More importantly..."

Sango walked over to the edge of the pier. A trio of shadows were rising up from beneath the water. Koishi could tell what they were from that alone: they were the fishmen, the ones that had tried to kill her the day before.

"Alright, Koishi-san. Looks like it's go-time."

Koishi nodded at Sango's call. She use one hand to link with Sango's, and pulled out the Teardrop with the other. She squeezed it in her hand, and it let off its beautiful orange light. The pair stepped into the water in unison, making a quiet splash before disappearing into the water below. It took Koishi a moment to stir up the courage to speak underwater, but the words from before began to rise up out of her heart once again.

"Wherever evil forces be,
On the land or in the sea,
All who sin should cower and flee
From Dolphin Rider Koishi!"


Once again, Koishi was engulfed by the Teardrop's light, feeling herself transform under its power. Her clothes fell away, and were replaced with the same absurd design she had found herself wearing the day before.

"Halt, villains! I, Dolphin Rider Koishi, have emerged to put a stop to your evil deeds!"

She wondered how much of this was viable, and how much was simply the forces of magic having a twisted sense of humour. The swimsuit made sense, yes, and the trident was pretty cool, but was it all really necessary?

"In the name of the sea, prepare to be punished!"

...Well, maybe it was kind of cute, but-

Look out!

Unfortunately, now was a bad time to sit and analyse her magical girl outfit. Sango had taken on her dolphin form again and pushed her out of the way of an attack, the claws of the closest fishman slicing at the water where she'd been floating moments before. She was winded for a moment, but Koishi caught her breath and took her place on top of Sango soon afterward.

You okay?

"Y-Yeah...sorry, I got distracted there."

They'd made some distance between themselves and the fishmen. Technically, there was nothing they could do to stop them from rising to the surface and going for the two sleeping girls on the pier, but they had no reason to. Not when there was a genuine Teardrop right in front of them - oh, how the master would praise them if they could retrieve that Teardrop!

Alright, Koishi-san. These guys are small fry, honestly, so feel free to try out some new stuff now so you don't need to figure it out later. And don't go full power and knock yourself out again, you're really heavy to carry home.

Koishi frowned at that one, bopping Sango lightly on the head. The dolphin let off a little 'phwee', granting Koishi a hint of catharsis.

"Alright, let's see here...what do I have to work with?"

She examined her clothing for anything else besides the trident that could act as a weapon, but all she could see were the gloves on her hands and the ribbon around her neck. She looked at the latter, poking at it with a finger.

"What's this thing for...?"

As she touched it, the ribbon came undone around her neck, beginning to glow with a bright white light. It wrapped itself around the trident in her hand, and it started to grow lighter in her grip as it became engulfed in the same white aura. The light faded a few seconds later, revealing that the trident had metamorphosed entirely.

"A whip?!"

Koishi-san, just whip it at something! Don't worry about hitting anything with it! And hurry up!

The fishmen were coming closer now, moving in from three different directions and once. Koishi ran on adrenaline, lifting up the silver whip in her hand and lashing forward with it. Again the words flew out of her mouth without her thinking them.

"Iruka Charge!"

Sango blinked white for a moment, before the world around Koishi blew past her in an instant. Her dolphin mount was blown forward by a magical force, sending both of them flying through the water at breakneck speed. Sango shone with a bright red aura, ready to ram through anything that was unfortunate enough to get in her way.

The fishman Koishi has lashed out at had no chance to react. Sango slammed headlong into it, dispersing it into a few dozen fish before blowing past its two companions. By the time they'd turned around again, Koishi and Sango were well away from their enemies.

Not bad, and better yet you're still consciou-phwee!

They had time. She could afford to pound her mount on the head when it deserved it.

"OK, next...what do these gloves do?"

She examined them more intently, looking at the dolphin emblem imprinted on their backs. She pushed in the emblem on her left hand, and there was an audible click as it came to life. Her palm began to glow with a pale light, a ball of energy beginning to form in her hand.

"Is there any part of this costume that isn't some sort of weapon?!"

Not really, but are you complaining?

Koishi raised her hand, pointing it at the remaining fishmen. The ball of energy continued to grow until it reached the size of her palm. It seemed she could charge it at will, or fire several weaker shots in the same length of time. Something to keep in mind, but right now it looked like it was as strong as it was going to get.

"Iruka Shot!"

The bullet flew from her palm straight forward towards the enemy, advancing without any care about petty things like gravity. This time one of the fishmen was aware enough to dodge the attack, not caring in the slightest as his partner took the attack to the face and was promptly engulfed by an explosion, dissipating into a school of sardines and fleeing.

Koishi decided not to think about how she could make things explode underwater, at least until this last enemy was defeated. She ran a hand along the whip, and it returned to its original trident form as the ribbon retied itself around her neck.

"Let's finish this! Sango-san, charge!"

Sango nodded, dashing towards the last enemy. Koishi readied her trident, prepared to slash through her enemy as she passed by. The fishman darted towards them, claws ready to fillet Koishi at a moments notice.

"IRUKA SLASH!"

The two foes passed, striking at once.

For an instant, neither moved.

Then the fishman let out a choked cry as three slashes ran across its chest, before he collapsed and fled in a dozen fishy forms.

It was over.

See? I knew that you had potential. Trust your pal Sango once in a while, alright?

Koishi leaned on her trident as she took deep breaths to calm down. So much of that had been instinct, but she'd won convincingly against the enemies that had horrified her yesterday. True, she had Sango's help, but this was a big jump from the girl who almost died 24 hours ago.

"...Thank you."

Koishi tickled Sango beneath her chin as they made for the surface again.

No problem, it's my job. So, what're you gonna do now?

Koishi gripped her trident tightly, grinning.

"Well, I think I might accidentally tear that donation box into a few dozen pieces. So much for that silly rumour, huh?"

-----

"Curses!"

She saw the battle remotely through the eyes of her minions, up until the final blow left the Siren victorious. She slammed a hand into her desk, cursing in a language no-one on the surface would have recognised.

Not only had she lost, but likely the Dophin Rider would damage the shrine to the point where her vantage point would be useless. It was by far the best position she had to strike, and she had lost it within a single day.

"...Perhaps I need to begin acting sooner than I had thought."

She paced around the room, mumbling to herself. She would need to scout, search for girls here who showed potential, and recruit them into her ranks. She would promise them all the riches of the mortal world in return for the head of Koishi Komeiji.

Not that she had any intention of fulfilling the bargain, but that was a problem to resolve another time.

"...Komeiji, hm...who would have imagined?"

-----

OMAKE:
"Phwee~!"

"Sango-san, cut it out..."

"But it's so fun! Koishi-san, try it out already!"

"Look, aren't we busy? I thought we had to go start finding the other Sirens!"

"I know, but that's why I'm doing it! Phwee, phwee~"

"Please tell me we find someone soon..."

Next Episode: Finding Friends! Sango-chan's Phwee Phwee Adventures!

"Let's go save the world together, phwee~!"

* The editor responsible for this nonsense has been sacked.
 

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