Topic: Dream's End  (Read 5493 times)

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Iced Fairy

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Dream's End
« on: January 23, 2013, 11:44:44 pm »
Yumemi sighed as she traced her hand along the side of the Trans Dimensional Hyperspace Vessel.  It was cool and smooth to the touch, the very slight curvature of the hull just barely noticeable.

Once this ship had been the centerpiece of her dreams.  With the research she’d acquired from the journey across dimensions she had planned to revolutionize science.  No, it was something more than that.  She’d planned to revolutionize the world.  Magic would have changed everything.  The one inescapable truth of science was that everything will end.  The laws of thermodynamics hung over reality like the Sword of Damocles.  But the power of magic, the power to break rules, would have surpassed that.  It could be the salvation of her universe.  And it was also going to be her legacy.  Her reason to be.

But it had failed.

Not the experiment.  No, that had worked better than she could have imagined.  She’d gained a massive amount of information about magic, and a whole bunch of other things.  She’d grown as a woman and a scientist.  But the results?  The results had been killed by those terrible words, “Not properly scientific.”

With six more years under her belt she could understand the academy’s first few refusals.  Her original paper was honestly garbage, filled with speculation and lacking in strong data.  It should have been sent back, though they could have done a better job pointing out what she needed to fix.  But as she worked more and more at the proposal, as she returned to Gensoukyo time and time again to collect more and more data, her findings had become near irrefutable.  The only flaw in her results were the difficulty of replication, but if they wanted to they could go over and ask a magician themselves.

She leaned her head against the cold metal hull.  The academy just wasn’t interested.  Even after she’d gone so far as to rip the word magic out of the papers, they just didn’t care.  It didn’t fit the old theories, and until Yumemi could walk into the academy and blast them all in the face with spells of her own, there was damn little she could do to change their minds.  In fact even that probably wouldn’t work.

“You okay there, Yumemi?”

Yumemi tried to force a smile before looking up.  “It’s alright Yuri,” she replied.  ‘Yuri’ frowned but kept her peace.  Her world’s Chiyuri would have probably pressed the issue, but the Chiyuri from Gensoukyo still was a little hesitant to try to cheer her up when it came to Yumemi’s issues with the academy.  Even after they’d been dating for two years.

To be fair the sudden shift had been fairly confusing for the Chiyuri from Gensoukyo.  She’d had to deal with learning how to live in a completely different world, while at the same time developing a completely new persona.  The two Chiyuris had fought for a full week over which one would be the older sister, and then for another two days on who would take the nickname.  Yuri here had accepted her name almost completely, but there had been many incidents as she’d acclimatized.

As Yumemi reflected on the past the girl in the red kerchiefed sailor uniform walked behind Yumemi and started massaging her shoulders.  Yumemi sighed and relaxed as Yuri slowly kneaded her tense muscles while giving the status report.  “Well we’ve got all the supplies on the ship.  We can make a full four month voyage even without supplies.  The other me says all the other systems are good too.”

“Mmmm.”  Yumemi let out a deep breath and leaned back against Yuri.  “Good.”  She tried to turn her thoughts forward, towards her journey.

“Why don’t you let me just show off my magic to the academy anyway?” Yuri asked.  “I mean, yeah there’ll be a police investigation but I did stow away.  And you’ll be a famous researcher then too.  There’s no way you’ll get in trouble.”

Yumemi frowned and turned to face Yuri.  “That won’t work.  Your powers are the creation of light based attacks and localized telekinesis.  Something we can duplicate perfectly here with our technology, as your other self can demonstrate.  The academy will just assume we’re hiding the generators.  And then I’ll be in prison and you’ll be deported.”

Yuri winced.  “Sorry.  It’s just...”

“I know.”  Yumemi sighed and hugged Chiyuri.  Chiyuri stood limply for a bit, then returned Yumemi’s hug with a rib bruising intensity.  They’d all become frustrated by the system by now, but there wasn’t anything they could do.  Yet.

“Oi!”  The two women started at the harsh voice.  Yumemi turned to see her world’s Chiyuri glowering down at them.  “While I’m sure it’s great fun for you to feel up the professor, we’re on a schedule here, and damned if I’m going to be doing all the work.  I’m not a paid post doc anymore.”

Yumemi chuckled as Yuri shouted back, “It’s not like there’s really any more preparations to do.  If you’re jealous you should just stop whining and join me.”  Chiyuri blushed at her counterpart’s retort.  That was one of the differences between the two.  The girl from Gensoukyo was one to speak her mind in all things, and was far less obsessed with propriety.

Chiyuri pouted for a moment, then shrugged.  “Fine.”

Yumemi had just enough time to yelp in shock before Chiyuri leaped into the air and caught her in  a flying tackle.  She fell backwards, catching the other Yuri with her flailing.  There was a confusion of arms and legs, and Yumemi found herself on the floor with both Chiyuris lying on her chest.

After a moment’s recovery she put her arms around the two.  “Well, if you insist.”  She couldn’t help but smirk as they both blushed crimson.  She was probably blushing herself, but not nearly as bad as her two lovers.

Yumemi held them a bit longer before letting them go so they could stand up.  She laughed again when they both offered her a hand up, but she took them up on the offer.  She’d been around the two long enough to realize their embarrassment was more the fact that they were in ‘public’ then any real issue.  “Well, it’s good to see you’ve recovered some of your humor,” Yuri said with a roll of her eyes.

“So, what’s our goal for this little trip anyway?” Chiyuri asked as she straightened her cap.  “Why’d we need three months worth of supplies and crafting materials to boot?  Don’t tell me we’re going to be collecting wildlife or something.”

Yumemi flinched.  She’d been avoiding this conversation for a while.  But given the way the two Chiyuris were staring at her reaction she couldn’t hide anymore.  She sat down and hung her head.  “We’re going there until we find something magical that can be commoditized or mass produced.”  She looked over at her Genouskyo guide.  “Since apparently it’s hard to mass produce magic, we’ll probably be looking for an energy source instead.  Or some other service item.  Which are apparently difficult to acquire.”

The two Chiyuris blinked at her in tandem before both exclaiming, “WHAAAT?!”  Yumemi sighed as the two leaned over her.  “How will this help with the academy?  They ignored all your previous samples!”

“I’m not going back to the academy.”  Yumemi slumped and looked down at her hands.  Saying it hurt more than she thought it would.  “We can’t win.  It’s obvious now.  They aren’t even looking at my submissions.  I’m ‘Crazy Yumemi.’  Why look at the facts?”  She felt her nails start digging into the palms of her hands so she forced herself to cross her arms.  “So we have to try something different.  Make magic a household commodity.  Rub the academy’s noses in it until they’re forced to look at the results and admit they don’t have a damn clue how it works!”

Yuri just grimaced, but her old postgrad immediately set into her.  “But you hate industry!  You complained for weeks every time you looked for grant funding, and you despise sacrificing research for profit!  Not to mention how much time running a business takes.  How are you going to continue your theoretical work if you’re running a company?”

Yumemi frowned.  “Well if I hire someone-”

“Ha!”  Yumemi winced as Chiyuri jabbed a finger into her chest.  “I’m sorry boss, but you hate letting anyone else run the show.  There’s no way you wouldn’t meddle.  Besides you don’t have the money to hire someone, which means you’re CEO and marketing while me and myself do all the real work.”  Yuri nodded in agreement.

“Ugh.”  Yumemi spun away from the glares.  “Look this is the only idea I have left, okay!  It’s this or give up on my life’s research.  Unless one of you has a better idea?  Because I’m not going to just give up.”

She wasn’t going to let her dream die.

She heard some shuffling behind her, then a hand fell on each of her shoulders.  “If this is what you want, boss, we’ll back you to the end.”  Chiyuri said.

“We’ll find something.  Somehow,” Yuri added.

Yumemi smiled.  “Thank you.”

She whirled around to face them.  “Now let’s get ready.  We have a long voyage ahead.”

-----------

Yumemi found herself smiling as she leaned back in her captain’s chair.  In front of her both the Chiyuris sat in front of their own consoles, while a viewscreen took up the front of the space.  She wasn’t sure why designing the control room like a movie starship made dimensional travel work better, but it did, and it was all sorts of fun.  The mission might be bleak, but the journey was going to be something else.

“Status report,” she snapped out.  She loved every chance she got to use her command voice.

Chiyuri typed out a few commands.  “Power at full.  Dimensional pathways are clear.  Supplies are secured properly.”

Yuri poked at her own screen.  “I’ve only got sixteen more mines to clear out.”

Yumemi nodded.  “Good.  Begin final jump calculations.”

One of the oddities that they’d run across was that both Chiyuris had to be at identical workstations equidistant from Yumemi’s chair.  This hadn’t been required the first time they’d made the jump, but that was before their lovely stowaway had disrupted the energy balance between the worlds.  Yumemi had no real idea why her command deck’s feng shui helped fix that energy unbalance, but it worked, and that was good enough for lab work.  Especially since her thesis had nothing to do with it.

“So are we ready?” she asked.

Both Chiyuris gave a thumbs up.  “Ready!”

“Good.”  Yumemi stood and thrust her arm forward for dramatic effect.  “Then Launch!”  There was a beep as Chiyuri pressed a button and the mild tingling feeling of dimensional transit washed over Yumemi.

Sadly that was all the change.  Crossing into parallel worlds was disappointingly dull.  There wasn’t even a light show outside for her to look at.  They had to program up a screensaver instead.  Yumemi sat down and waited.  Fortunately, the transit wouldn’t take long.

A chime rang through the craft.  “Halfway point,” Yumemi remarked.  They’d crossed over from their universe.  Now they just had to materialize in Gensoukyo.

Sirens blared and the room turned red.  Yumemi had just enough time to leap to her feet before the walls rent asunder with the scream of steel.  “Someone’s in the same space!” screamed Chiyuri.

And then the grey void of interdimensional space swallowed her up.

-----------

Yumemi groaned.  Her head throbbed in pain, drowning out her body’s muted scream of agony.  She considered getting up and finding some painkillers, but she was tired and cold.  It’d be better to just pull up the covers and go back to sleep, right?  She tried reaching for the covers, but all she found was more pain from her arm.  Maybe Chiyuri’d stolen it?  Or maybe Yuri?  She groaned again, then forced herself to roll away from the thorn bush on the right so she could grope for the blanket, but her hand only fell upon cold earth.  Sighing she kept reaching for the blankets, each failure forcing her further and further from the blessed realm of sleep and recovery.  An accursed rustling from nearby only pushed her further towards wakefulness.  With a final groan Yumemi gave in and opened her eyes.  The forest around her was near black, with only a few scattered fires and the eyes of some beast to give any sort of light.

Sobriety hit her like a brick.  Yumemi remembered the accident.  She wasn’t in bed.  Those eyes in the bushes were real.  She needed to defend herself.  Fast.

“Yaaaah!”  Yumemi yelled at the creature while raising her hands and triggering her devices.  A Shield of David formed before her and flew at the startled creature.  There was the hiss of power striking youkai flesh, then a pained cry and frantic rustling as the creature ran away.

Yumemi winced as pain flooded into her body again.  Seeing the threat had passed she gingerly pulled out her pocket lantern and started checking her injuries.

Her quick inspection showed she didn’t have any broken bones, though she’d want an xray on her little toe just to be sure.  Her cuts and scrapes were mostly mild too.  Whatever had happened, the ship’s automatic systems had shielded her from the worst of the incident.  She still felt terrible though.

That done she held up her glowing ball of light and started checking her surroundings.  The forest around her was a twisted thicket, completely unlike anything at home.  A few mushroom rings told her she’d ended up in the Forest of Magic in Gensoukyo.  That was good, she was in the right dimension at least.

“Chiyuri?!” she called out for her assistants.  Hopefully they’d landed somewhere near here.  The twisted trees and underbrush limited her field of vision, but with luck they’d be able to hear her.

“Yuri?!” she yelled again as she started a slow circuit.  She didn’t want to move too far, but if they were unconscious she needed to find them before anything else did.

She pushed her way through some of the less prickly underbrush then froze at the sight of the clearing in front of her.

The Trans Dimensional Hyperspace Vessel sat in a field of splinters.  Or at least about half of it did.  The generators that filled its interior lay like broken columns among bits of furniture and basic appliances from the living area.  The walls had splintered into fragments scattered about randomly.  Yumemi just stood there for a minute in shock.  Without the Hyperspace Vessel they were stuck.

‘What if one of the Chiyuris is stuck in there?’

The thought turned to action.  Yumemi dashed into the wreckage.  Cursing and swearing at the pain she started lifting up fallen debris and pushing over some of the rubble in her way.  “Chiyuri! Are you here?!”  She had to find them!

“Whoa!  Looks like you’ve gotta problem here.”

Yumemi looked up to see a familiar witch hovering over her.  The woman, Marisa was a fair bit older of course, but that getup and voice was utterly unmistakable.

Marisa gave her the same appraising look.  “Oh hey!  You’re the person who tried to kidnap me for research awhile back.  Well the one who tried to kidnap me for magic research, not for human research.  Anyway~!”  The witch girl dropped down next to her.  “Seems like you had a bit of a crash.  Need a hand?”

“Yes!” Yumemi dashed over to the magician.  “Can you search for people?  The Chiyuris might be somewhere near here.”

“Chiyuris? Plural?”  Marisa raised an eyebrow, then shrugged.  “Well whatever.  I’ve been looking to test this spell out.  Let’s see, borrow a bit of blood from you and-”  Yumemi yelped in pain as Marisa dabbed her fingers across a scrape on Yumemi’s arm.  The magician drew her finger through the air while whispering in a harsh tongue, then the magician was suffused in red light.  The aura around Marisa pulsed twice, like a heartbeat, then rolled off her in a wave.  Yumemi felt a chill as the crimson shockwave passed her, then it was gone.

“Knew stealing some of Remi’s spells would come in handy,” Marisa said with a self satisfied nod.  Yumemi shifted back and forth as the witch closed her eyes and pondered things.  “Well I can’t sense any other humans near here.  Makes sense though since someone blasted teleportation magic all over the place.  Kinda surprised you’re still here.”

“Damn!  I have to go find them!”  Yumemi painfully hopped into the air, stumbled as her movement turned to a weak hovering.  “Shit!  Without the ship’s generators active I can’t even fly right!”

“Whoa whoa whoa!”  Marisa dropped down to sit in front of her.  “You shouldn’t be going anywhere in that shape.  I know you’re worried about your friends, but chances are if they aren’t in the forest they’re pretty safe.  Especially if they’re like the gal you were with earlier and she brought along her totally awesome laser pistol.”

“That’s-”  Yumemi gritted her teeth in frustration.  She hurt, she was worried, she was cold and she was bone tired.  Worst of all she really couldn’t do a damn thing.

Marisa patted her broom.  “Come on.  I’ll let you borrow a cot or something.  We can talk about what you owe me later.”

Yumemi hesitated again.  She didn’t want to accept she was powerless.  Her friends could be in danger.  Going off to sleep would be abandoning them.

Marisa rolled her eyes.  “Look, if it makes you feel any better I can start working up a spell to make sure they aren’t dead or dying.  If they’re in trouble I’ll wake you up and drag you all over Gensoukyo if you want.”

The magician’s words entered Yumemi’s mind, but they just seemed to bounce around without meaning for a while.  Visions of an endless search through the hills and valleys of Gensoukyo slowly swirled through her mind, starting and restarting time and time again, yet never leading anywhere.  She started planning out exactly how she would search, the items and resources she’d need, the different places they could be, and the various ways to accept the offer she’d just been given.  Time and time and time and time again.

A spasm of pain from her abused limbs knocked her out of her reverie.  She nodded to the witch.  “Thank you.”  Gingerly she sat down on the magicians broom, then held on tight to the staff as Marisa rose into the air.

“You look really banged up there, so I’ll take it a little slower then normal,” Marisa said as they began to slowly move forward.  Yumemi nodded, then turned her thoughts inwards again.  She needed to find both Chiyuris and repair her ship now.  Those were the only real things that mattered.  Rather she needed to get back to wherever she was going and get a good night’s sleep, preferably in a real bed since she’d need to start in early in the morning if she wanted to get the ship back together.  Generators like the ones she had in her ship didn’t just grow on trees after all, and she was going to have to work overtime with Chiyuri to calibrate them to the proper settings so she could find Chiyuri....

As her mind spiraled towards darkness, Yumemi fell into a fitful sleep.

Dizzy H. "Muffin" Muffin

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Re: Dream's End
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2013, 04:05:39 am »
OK, this had me chortling. :3c
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Iced Fairy

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Re: Dream's End
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2013, 07:39:42 pm »
Yuri awoke in darkness.

She sat up, then swore as her back complained.  She felt like she’d gotten a full course shrine maiden beating.  Something had gone wrong with the transit, and given her background she didn’t have a clue what.  Sometimes being the magician in a technical world was a real pain.  Now she was stuck in the dark with no idea what to do.

After a few seconds she slapped her forehead.  Too many years pretending she wasn’t a mage had made her dense.  With a snap of her fingers she summoned an orb of light to get an idea on what happened.  As she fed magic into the spell its soft glow spread, revealing an unworked stone floor.  As the light brightened with no ceiling or walls in sight Yuri realized she was within a massive cave.  The floor was littered with bits of ship, but most of it was wood and nails, not the futuristic metals Yumemi’s ship used.

Yuri was beginning to suspect things had gone very poorly.

“Yumemi!  Sis!”  Yuri yelled out into the darkness.  The words cut through the silence, but there was no reply.

She immediately cursed herself for her mistake.  Gensoukyo wasn’t that deadly, but the caves below weren’t safe at all.  She’d kept herself in something resembling fighting trim with stolen military simulators, but it wasn’t up to the level of real danmaku fights.  Still if either of them were near she had to find them.

Carefully she searched the edges of the cavern she was in.  It looked big enough to store a small flotilla, and given the trash piles scattered about it looked like someone had actually kept a boat here.  There was a small pool of water from a spring, and a hole in the ceiling that looked like it led up towards other caves.

The sight of water awoke Yuri’s thirst. Carefully she headed over to the pool.  The water was cool to the touch and it soothed her dry throat nicely.  She wondered how long she’d been unconscious as she drank again.  Obviously not too long since she was only mildly hungry.  That was good.  It meant she had more time to try to find her friends and get to the village.

She circled the cavern again but nothing new came to her eyes.  She wished once again she understood more of the physics behind her travel, but unfortunately she wasn’t as good a student as her other self.  If she’d paid more attention maybe she’d have some idea how she’d ended up underground.

Then again given some of Yumemi’s rants about things not making sense, maybe she’d be just as clueless.

Well sitting around and moping wasn’t really the Gensoukyo way.  When kids were afraid of the dark they learned how to summon light.  And since there was only one way out, that was the way she was going to go.  She hopped upwards, and her magic kicked in and started taking her the rest of the way towards the one hole in the cavern.  Years of flying had made the action almost as natural as walking to her.

The cave she entered into was different from the rough stone she’d previously been in.  It was around ten feet in diameter, and very cold.  More importantly the smoothed floor immediately told her it was a lava tube,unsurprising given she was probably below Youkai Mountain.  That also meant there probably was an exit somewhere.  Yuri smiled and began flying up the steep tunnel.

The lava tube continued on for some time, twisting and turning but never opening up into any other tunnels.  On one hand that meant she couldn’t get lost.  On the other hand it was pretty dull.  And if the tunnel had collapsed at any point she’d be in trouble.

Finally, about thirty minutes later, she found herself at a split where two tunnels broke into the lava tube.  The resulting intersection had five exits excluding the one she’d came from.  She looked around trying to figure out which one was most likely to lead out, but sadly none of them were well marked.  Still there might be some clues.  She floated over to the left side to check that in more detail.

The stone here was less smooth than the lava tunnel, but still easy to navigate.  It looked like the tunnels might have been carved in fact.  Yuri frowned at the thought of what could have created such large tunnels.  Whatever it was she didn’t want to meet it.  Hopefully it was already gone to better pastures.

There was a tapping of stone against stone and a shift of movement out of the corner of her eye.  She whirled to face the possible threat, then she froze.  A giant spider leg poked through the hole, the massive digit tapping away at the surrounding stone.  Yuri began shivering as a second leg joined it.  It couldn’t be possible right?  This was just a bad dream right?  There really wasn’t a...

The massive spider scuttled to fill the hole, its giant eyes as big as Yuri’s head, its body like a moving boulder.  Its pincers gnashed in front of her, each sharp mandible glistening with poison.  As its eyes locked on her it froze, just like the wolf spiders in her home did before they jumped.

Yuri did the only rational thing.  She screamed, shut her eyes, and shot as many magic lasers as she could at the creature.

There was a hiss, then a massive roar that transformed into a pained high pitched shriek.  Yuri opened her eyes slowly to see what the damage was.  To her surprise a small woman lay stunned where the massive spider once had rested.  The woman’s dress was torn on one side, and there was a burn mark on her arm.

Yuri felt a pang of guilt at the damage she’d caused. If the youkai reverted to a human form when hurt it probably was one of the less dangerous types.  And she’d just barged into the youkai’s house and shot it.

Still, it had appeared as a giant spider.  She felt her reaction was kinda reasonable.

Yuri shrugged.  These things happened.  More importantly there was a good chance the woman knew a way out.  She knelt down and shook the woman’s uninjured shoulder.  “Hey, you alright?”

The spider girl’s eyes focused and unfocused a few times before finally fully opening.  “AAAAAAHH!” she screamed as she started trying to scramble away.

Yuri quickly grabbed hold of the woman’s shoulder before she could escape.  “Hey!  Wait a second now!  I’m sorry I reacted a little hastily but I-ah-ah-ACHOO!”  Yuri’s body shivered as the massive sneeze rocked her body.  For some reason she started feeling dizzy too.  “Look I just need to get ou-ACHOO!”

“Lemme go ya crazy woman!”  The spider girl said as she struggled.  “I swear I’ll give ya more than a cold if ya try to seal me!”

“It was an ac-ACHOO!  Accident!”  Yuri did her best to keep her grip.  “I’m sorry!  I didn’t mean to hurt you.  Just let me talk this out.”

The woman’s struggles weakened a bit, but her glare was still accusatory.  “Ya burned off one a my legs!”

“Achoo!”  Yuri sniffed to try to keep her sneezing under control.  “Look I thought you were just a normal giant spider.  I didn’t know you were a friendly youkai.  I’m just looking to talk a-CHOO, a bit.”  She actually wasn’t sure the woman was a friendly youkai now, but she was pretty confident the woman wasn’t going to eat her.

“Sure.”  the woman drawled.  “You ain’t gonna trick Yamame Kurodani so easily.  We tsuchigumo have heard that story before.  It’s all ‘we’re your pals’ and ‘let’s be reasonable’ and then ya get stabbed in the stomach during the singing.”

Yuri blew her nose again before standing back.  “Look I just want to find my friends and get out.  Heck I’m not even sure if my friends are down here.  We didn’t mean to end up in the underground.  We were aiming for the village when the teleport screwed up.”

Yamame’s eyes narrowed, but the tsuchigumo didn’t run.  “Who the heck are ya anyway?  And how’d your screw up drop ya down here?”

“Chiyuri Kitashirakawa, call me Yuri.”  She held out her hand to shake, then dropped it when she remembered that was the custom in the other universe.  “Uh, anyway I’m from the village, but I went to, uh, the outside world for a while.”  Well, an outside world anyway.  She figured Yamame wouldn’t believe in alternate universes.  “I came back with my twin sis and our boss to learn some more magic, but something went kinda wrong and I ended up here.”  She smiled.  “So if you could I’d be grateful if you helped me out here.”

“And why should I help someone who just blasts innocent spiders?”  Yamame groused.

Yuri sneezed again.  “Look, how was I supposed to know you were friendly?  This is the underground where all the dangerous youkai live.  If you’d been hostile you could eaten me within seconds right?  We humans have to be a little worried about that with such powerful youkai like tsuchigumo wandering around, even if you’re a nice girl.”

“Hmph!  Humans are the ones who keep picking fights with us.”  Yamame snorted and turned her head away, but Yuri could tell her words had appealed to the youkai’s pride.  “Well...  I suppose I am a nice gal.  And some a the more dangerous youkai round here woulda hurt you if you’d been a bit slower.”  Yamame stood and dusted herself off.  To Yuri’s great relief the congestion in her nose faded as well.  “Alright, I’ll help ya out.  But you owe me big for this.  And for my leg.  I’m gonna have to spend a day in this form to grow it back ya know!”

Yuri bowed low to the woman.  Best to keep her new friend happy.  “If we get out and meet up with my friends I’m sure we can find you something that you can’t get anywhere in Gensoukyo.”

Yamame raised an eyebrow at that.  “Really?  Can ya get humans with mental issues?  They’re nice and spicy.  Er, dead ones of course.  Or ones ya don’t like...”

“Uh, I think we’ll have to get something a little more exotic actually,” Yuri replied while forcing a grin.  Even friendly youkai were still youkai.  “Anyway first we gotta get to the surface and find them.”

“Alright then.  Just follow me.”  The tsuchigumo turned and began heading up a passage.  “Oh and no funny business, ya hear?!”

Yuri smiled and shook her head.  “Of course not.”  Well it seemed things were looking up.  Though she had to wonder how anyone so trusting as Yamame could survive down here in the caverns.

---

Yumemi groaned as light hit her eyes.  She’d been fighting wakefulness for some time, but the sun had finally become bright enough to keep her from sleep.  With a final arm thrash she opened her eyes.

The room around her was unfamiliar.  The walls were painted wood, and archaic shutters covered the foggy windows.  Chairs and small tables were scattered around the room, and every surface was buried in junk.  She was on a plush couch that had obviously been stolen from somewhere, because it didn’t have nearly as much dust on it as everything else.

As she looked around she remembered the events of last night and sat up.  This was apparently Marisa’s house, and it fit the little kleptomaniac well.  There was a tiny bit of order in that most of the piles were sorted by type, but beyond that the place was a disaster zone.

“Oh hey, you’re awake!”  Yumemi turned to see Marisa walk in from what looked to be a study.  “I ran the rounds this morning.  No one’s seen anything, but I haven’t managed to pump the mountain folk for info.  And Komachi hasn’t ferried anyone so they’re probably just a little bit lost.”

Yumemi nodded.  “Thank you for your help.”  She stood up and dusted off her dress.  “I guess I’ll have to start looking myself.”

She bit her lip as her stomach rumbled its dissent.  She’d never been good about missing meals, even when she was in the midst of a research frenzy.  Marisa laughed at her embarrassment.  “Why don’t you have breakfast before doing something dumb like trying to wander Gensoukyo by foot?”

Yumemi sighed.  “I suppose that would be reasonable.”  She didn’t really want to be reasonable right now, but considering what she was planning would take a good amount of her concentration she really needed to eat.

“I’ll see what I can scrounge up around the house then,” Marisa said.  “Of course you owe me for this too.”

“Of course,” Yumemi replied as she shook her head.  It was a good thing the little magician was easily distracted by scraps, otherwise Yumemi’d be worried about Marisa stealing something vital as ‘payment.’  Still she had to admit Marisa’d been helpful so far.  Maybe the magician would be able to give her a hand with the plan that she’d finished refining.

As Marisa began rummaging around in her kitchen Yumemi took a closer look around the witch’s house.  She quickly decided the piles of junk were dangerous and best kept at a distance.  Instead she picked up one of the books lying around and flipped it open.  Almost immediately the strange diagrams and notations inside made her head begin to swim.  Yumemi frowned and stared harder.  She’d figured out more complex formula then this...

“Whoa whoa whoa!”  Yumemi reeled in confusion as the book was snatched out of her hands.  “You shouldn’t just be reading random grimoires.”  She looked up to see Marisa frowning down at her.  “Tomes beyond your power level only give you a headache.  Especially Patchy’s.”  Marisa sighed.

“How is that possible?  It’s just a formula,” Yumemi protested.  “Math can’t kill people.  Well okay math alone can’t kill people.”

Marisa shrugged.  “Never really figured it out myself.  Well okay, Patchy traps hers so Flandre doesn’t get into the harder grimoires, but even then powerful magic just seems to keep people out.”

“That’s ridiculous.”  Yumemi glared at the offending book.  She would learn its little secrets one day.  Oh yes.  But for now she needed less mentally damaging reading.  “Is this book safe at least?” she asked as she pulled out what looked to be a picture album.

Marisa smiled weakly.  “Yeah that should be fine.  If you’re done before I finish up, the manga should be safe too.”  The magician turned back to the kitchen to tend the stove again.  Yumemi sighed and started flipping through the book.

Her annoyance was short lived.  The book actually turned out to be a scrapbook of newspaper clippings with dates and locations in the margins.  Yumemi was somewhat fuzzy about geography even in her own world, so she’d never really gotten a feel for the landscape of Gensoukyo.  The articles were mildly amusing too, even though they were pretty much tabloid quality.  Marisa’s commentary on what the breaking news actually was provided an excellent counterpoint to the writing itself.  She wondered if Yuri would have enjoyed seeing what her fellows were up to.

Her hands gripped the book tightly.  She hoped that she’d be able to ask Yuri that question soon.  She forced herself to focus on the book again and not her situation.  Zombies were interesting, right?

She finished that article quickly then flipped to the next.  Then she froze.  There.  That was what she needed.  “Marisa!”  She stood to find her host.

“I’m almost done, almost done.”  The witch poked her head out of the kitchen.  “Don’t rush me.”

Yumemi ignored the woman and held up the scrapbook.  “This.  The radio tower.  Is it still around?”

Marisa blinked at the picture for a few moments.  “The fairy shrine?  Yeah it’s still up, but it’s covered in weeds and vines.  Why are you asking?”

“Good.  We’ll need to go there first.”  Yumemi smiled and closed the book.  For once things were looking up.

Marisa raised an eyebrow then cursed as something in the kitchen hissed.  As she fled to save the meal she called back, “Fine but you better explain everything on the flight over!”

---

Yumemi could barely keep herself still on the witch’s broom.  Her body still had bruises and scrapes, but she almost forgot the pain.  Pain was nothing compared to her pressing need for action.  She had the tools to finally DO something, and she wanted it done now!

“So, you said you were going to explain?” Marisa called back over the rush of the wind.

Yumemi smirked.  “I didn’t say anything.”  As the broom began to slow she quickly added, “But I’ll explain anyway.  I need the wire that should be around the tower.  Just a small amount of copper wire.”

“Why do you need something like that?  I’m not a technical genius, but I’m pretty sure you need more then some metal string to get your high tech devices working,” Marisa said.

“I admit it’s going to be a rather crude jury rigging, but the dimensional power generators should still be active.”  Yumemi tightened her grip on the broom as they started to descend.  “With some wiring I should be able to hotwire four or five together to form a cluster again.  That should give me access to my personal power generators, as well as allow me to signal other power generators.  Like the ones the Chiyuris have.”

“I see.  So you’ll be able to fly on your own, and do some tracking.  Makes sense.”  Marisa nodded as they broke through the tree cover.  “Well then, hopefully the fairies haven’t stolen what you’re looking for.”

Yumemi’s reply was forgotten as they entered the radio tower’s clearing.  It had apparently changed a lot since the newspaper photo.  Greenery hung around it like a layer of clothes.  Flowering vines twisted around its body, and saplings sprouted at its base.  There were a few points on the tower that looked like they had plants actually growing out of the metal.  And strangest of all the bits of the metal structure that were still visible looked shiny and polished, though it was obvious no one had tended to it.

The foot of the tower held another mystery.  A crude altar of stones had been piled up, then forgotten.  Discarded toys littered the area around it, many of them rusted cans on ropes, though there were a decent number of whistles, noisemakers and even a vuvuzela laying around.

“Offerings from the fairies,” Marisa said as she hopped off.  “They also leave food and coins, but then they forget they’re worshiping the tower and take the stuff again.”  The magician chuckled.  “Still, there are always more believers waiting to remember the place, so the god here’s gotta be kinda happy.”

“There’s a god here?”  Yumemi looked at the tower suspiciously.  It was very impressive yes, but claiming the tower was some sort of deity seemed a little far fetched.  “What can it do?”

Marisa shrugged.  “I dunno.  It’s a fairy god.  But hey, the fairies ask it to help communicate between friends right?  Seems like a good god to ask for a hand finding people who are lost.”  With that Marisa clapped her hands twice and bowed to the tower.

Yumemi looked over the structure again.  There was undeniably something different about the place, perhaps something even magical, but the idea of gods was always something fuzzy to her.  Still she awkwardly clapped followed Marisa’s example and bowed to the radio tower.  She could use the help anyway.

With that done she began to look near the base of the tower.  To her delight the cabinet was both present and easy to find.  “Excellent.”

As she began looking around for a suitable branch to break into the cabinet Marisa sat down on a nearby stump.  “So who’re these ‘Chiyuris’ you’ve been going on about now.  I remember the gal with the laser pistol that threatened to shoot me a while back but I’m pretty sure she was only one person.”

Yumemi laughed weakly at that.  “Well, um, do you know anything about parallel worlds?”

Marisa nodded sagely.  “I know they exist and the outside world loves ‘em!”

“Right.”  Yumemi picked up a stick and started using it as a crowbar.  “Well.  The simplest explanation would be that your universe had someone almost exactly like my Chiyuri, including the same name, except she uses magic instead of science.”  Yumemi cursed as the stick broke and started to look around for another.

“That seems... kinda unlikely.”  Marisa looked up at the sky.  “You’re saying there’s a me without magic in your world somewhere?”

“Maybe.”  Yumemi picked up another candidate stick.  “There wasn’t a Yumemi in this world it seems though, so it’s probably somewhat random.”  She grunted then smiled as the hinges on the box snapped.  “There!”  The box fell open, revealing two coils of wire. 

“Well, that was easy.  Looks like the god smiled on you.”  Marisa hopped to her feet.  “Anyway so if this theory is true how does it relate to your little search?”

“It doesn’t really matter if you believe the theory,” Yumemi said picking up the wires.  “It’s true either way.  The Chiyuri from this world found us on one of our return trips and stowed away on our ship.  She’s been with us ever since.”

“That sounds like it could get real confusing real fast.  Though I guess Yuki and Mai managed to do it with a house full of devils,” Marisa noted as she set her broom to hovering again.  “So I guess the next stop is the remains of your ship?”

“Please.”  Yumemi quickly walked over and hopped on the broom.  Marisa jumped on in front of her and soon they were speeding through the air again.  As the trees passed below her mind turned to what she needed to do.  Starting with the three bank network would be best.  Then she could move to five.  Four would be nice, but resetting the wiring would be an issue.  Her mind filled with numbers and diagrams.

“Alright, we’re here,” Marisa said as she parked the broom.  Yumemi nodded her thanks then leaped down.  It was time to get to work.

The scene of the crash was as bad as she’d feared, but fortunately no worse.  There were thirteen generators here, and on quick inspection eight of them had survived the crash intact.  Yumemi wasn’t too surprised.  They were designed for rough impacts after all.

First she picked one of the upright generators and turned it on with the emergency control panel.  As the machine came to life with a soft hum she felt her personal energy receivers begin to warm up.  “Excellent.”  She nodded happily.  Now she could use her own strength to move the other generators into position.

“Huh, so that’s the source of your magic power?”

Yumemi jumped in surprise and spun around to find Marisa staring over her shoulder.  “Ah!  Sorry for zoning out there.  And no.  This generator powers my devices, but there’s no magic involved.  It’s all simple science.”

“No magic?  Then how do you transmit the power?”  Marisa looked over the device.  “You don’t have any wires or anything.”

Yumemi looked over at the magician.  “Do you know about quantum entanglement?”

Marisa blinked a few times.  “I know all of the words you used.  Sorta.”

“Right.”  Yumemi shook her head.  “Do you want a full lecture or should I just give you a textbook as part of the payment?”

“I’ll take the book!” Marisa replied immediately.  Good, Yumemi thought.  Explaining quantum mechanics to new students was a nightmare even if they had passed the prerequisite courses.

With her recovered strength it was easy to lift the fallen generators that were nearby and set them up into a triangular formation.  Yumemi chuckled a bit as she looked over her handiwork.  If she had told anyone but a magician in this world the items weren’t magic they probably wouldn’t believe her.  The polished blue metal ovaloids that formed the top of the generators looked like they came out of a swords and sorcery book, and her arrangement of them into a mini Stonehenge only added to the look.

“I think I’m starting to understand why the outside world likes this science stuff so much.”

Yumemi blinked.  She’d forgotten she wasn’t alone again.  She turned to Marisa who was staring over the little array Yumemi was setting up.  “Why do you say that?”

“Well I mean, the cold and gray plastic stuff’s kinda meh, and that computer shikigami things a nightmare to order about, but stuff like this that can give power to just anyone’s pretty cool.”  Marisa placed a hand on the generator as she walked around it.  “I’m kinda curious why you’re looking for our magic when you’ve got science like this.  Magic requires a lot of effort, time and risk.”  She tapped the generator then looked over at Yumemi.  “What are you looking for that these things can’t get you?”

Yumemi sighed and looked over the machinery.  “Do you know the three laws of thermodynamics?”

Marisa thought a bit.  “Uh, I think I only know two.  Patchy’s books are only so recent, and getting the physics books away from Kourin and Kanako are a pain.  But it’s about chemical reactions right?  Can’t get more out of a potion then you put in, and you always lose a little.”

“Well that’s close.”  Yumemi nodded.  “But it’s not limited to potion reactions.”  Yumemi waved her arms to indicate the clearing.  “Everything follows those rules.  Every blade of grass, every animal, every gust of air.  Even the sun is slowly burning through it’s fuel.  Our science has made it so we are incredibly energy efficient, mostly by relying on the waste heat of the sun, but its still not perfect.  Nothing can truly last forever.”

Marisa hopped backwards as Yumemi pointed at her.  “Except for magic!  While my studies have shown magical power requires either mental or emotional intensity, they don’t require as much energy as they produce.  You can actually create perpetual motion!  With magic eternity is within our grasp.   Unlocking magic’s secrets will be the greatest finding of all time.”

A smile slowly spread across Marisa’s face.  “Magic will keep the world running, eh?  Hah!  And here everyone kept saying I’d destroy the world with my magic.”  The witch stretched then sighed.  “But I don’t think it’ll be that easy.  Kanako’s been after that damn generator for years now, and she’s only gotten so far.  Magic’s not really easy to harness into something that works for everyone all the time.”

Yumemi sighed and turned back to the task of wiring the generators.  “I’ve noticed.  Yuri knows some basic spells, but she sadly hasn’t been able to teach either myself or my world’s Chiyuri how to cast them.  Apparently my world is more inimical to magic then yours but she can still cast.  It’s been frustrating.  Especially given how well the pseudo magical systems worked.”

“Well it’s really hard for someone without a magical background to awaken to power.”  Marisa sat down and returned to watching Yumemi’s work from a distance.  “Everyone in Gensoukyo has a pretty active magical history.  Heck, I was mid range power wise around here before I really started learning the craft.  If you don’t have magic in the bloodline you’re gonna have to push a lot harder.”

Yumemi rolled that around in her head for a bit as she started hooking up the first two generators.  At first it seemed somewhat insultingly complicated to her.  She disliked the idea of magical bloodlines and whatnot.  But as she reflected more and more it gained some legitimacy in her mind, so long as she considered it the equivalent of a muscle.  After all you could train to increase your strength, but only so much.

After she finished getting the unpowered generators synched she moved to hooking them into the powered device.  “So I guess getting everyone to be a magician is out.  How about magical items?  Something that could act as a battery perhaps?”

“That’s kinda tough too.”  Marisa moved to inspect the wires Yumemi had just finished with.  “I’m pretty good with enchanting.  Probably one of the best ignoring that cheater Eirin actually.  But even with all my skill in creating fixed magical effects it’s really hard to make something that creates power.  I can make you a hat that can survive some impressive amounts of fire, but not a flamethrower.  Alice might know more, but she’s creating a soul and that complicates matters a lot.  I don’t think you want sentient power generators.”

Yumemi frowned.  “No.  I’ve seen enough of that on the TV.”  She sighed.  It sounded like her search would be harder than she thought.

She turned back to the wires.  She could figure that out later.  Right now she needed to get her scientific powers back and find her friends.  And that was much more achievable.

It took another hour of work wiring and calibrating, but finally the whole thing was set up.  She switched on the generators and smiled as she felt her personal energy links kick up in response.  With a mental command she started hovering.  “Excellent.”  She pulled up the machine’s diagnostics and began a low level search.  “Now let’s see where the Chiyuris are.”

Marisa peered over her shoulder as she typed in the commands to the generator’s interface.  It was a simple triangulation method, but she had to manually program in where the generators were since they’d been unceremoniously dumped outside of her ship.

With a final smack on the enter key she finished her data entry.  “Alright.  And with that...”

The machine’s screen swirled a few times.  Then a single message appeared.  “No signals found.”

Yumemi’s body began to shake.  This wasn’t happening.  This couldn’t be happening.  She had to find them!  She needed to find them.  She couldn’t fail again!

She froze as Marisa’s hand landed on her shoulder.  “You said you could do better with five right?  Let’s get started then.”

The tension slowly started to flow out of Yumemi’s body.  She found she could breathe again, which made her idly wonder when she’d stopped.  After about a minute she slumped her shoulders and nodded.  “Right.  Could you bring me the other spool of wire?”

----

Chiyuri yawned and flopped over.  The bed seemed smaller than she was used to.  They’d had to move to a larger bed ever since that one Christmas but this seemed like a twin and...

She opened her eyes and realized immediately she wasn’t in her bed.  The room here was different from the ship quarters she shared with her counterpart and Yumemi.  It was set up almost like a warship, with two bunks on either wall and a locker in the middle.  Unlike most warships the beds were actually soft.  The room otherwise was fairly plain if well kept.

Chiyuri stretched then headed towards the door.  A ship like this meant there had to be some crew.  She could speak with them and figure out what had happened.

She frowned when the door failed to react to her approach.  It was a sliding door, and obviously automated in some way, but it didn’t so much as twitch when she stepped in front of it.  She tried tapping the door, but nothing happened.  Annoyed she began looking for a sensor or intercom port.  “Hey, anyone listening in?  I’m awake now!”  She paced the room a couple of times searching in vain for a panel or something.  “Come on, it’s getting to be breakfast time.  And there’s no bathroom in this thing.”  She looked around one more time, then turned back towards the door.  “I hope we didn’t blunder into some group of time space police out looking for the other Chiyuri,” she muttered as she felt over the door for any kind of button or other switch.

A few seconds into her search the door opened with a swish.  Chiyuri yelped and flinched back, then her heart rose as she saw the person who’d opened the door.  “Yumemi!  You’re here too?  Great!  Where are we?”

Yumemi blinked a few times, then smiled and shook her head.  “I’m sorry, I think you have me confused with the woman from your dimension.”  The woman bowed.  “My name is Yumemi Okazaki, of Gensoukyo Village, though I’ve spent most of the last decade in a different dimension.  It’s a pleasure to meet you Chiyuri.”

“Wha?  If you aren’t my Yumemi, how’d you know my name?”  Chiyuri took a step back and reached for her laser pistol before realizing it wasn’t there.  Talking to her other self had given her a healthy respect for Gensoukyo’s shapechangers.

“Ah well,”  Yumemi coughed.  “During my travels I ran into the Yumemi of that dimension, as well as her assistant Chiyuri.”  She smiled again.  “Seeing them together made me regret running off so early in life actually.  But that’s another matter.  Suffice to say that I’m well versed in alternate dimension theories, despite my origins here.  In addition I’ve learned a lot more about technology during my stay in that world.  So much so that I’ve found I have a hard time living without it.  That’s one of the reasons I acquired this decommissioned scout ship before returning home.”

Chiyuri blinked at that.  It did seem somewhat more reasonable.  She doubted most people around here would know how to reconstruct a spaceship interior.  Then realization struck her.  “Hey!  Your ship must have been the one that hit ours!”

The other Yumemi grimaced.  “Well I would say you hit my ship, but yes.  It’s not my fault, how could I have known someone else would be teleporting in at exactly the same time?  Anyways, I caught you before you were sucked into null space, and the other people on your ship managed to land safely in Gensoukyo, but I fear both ships were damaged.”  Yumemi sighed.  “Your ship suffered hull damage, and mine seems to be dimensionally dislocated.  I can’t fully materialize for a couple of days.”

Chiyuri looked away at that, then nodded.  “Makes sense.  Looks like we just had some bad luck there.  Good thing everyone came out okay.”  She frowned.  “Are you going to be okay on supplies?  We packed for a long trip, but you were coming home so...”

“Well, I don’t really have a house, or any money from home anymore, so I’m actually well stocked.”  Yumemi took a step out into the hallway.  “Let me show you around this deck and then we can get some breakfast.  I imagine you have to be hungry.”

Now that the woman mentioned it Chiyuri realized she was.  “Thanks.”

“Don’t mention it.”  Chiyuri followed as the woman headed out into the corridor.  Her room was apparently at the front of the section.  It was just as Chiyuri’d imagined, simple and efficient ship design.  Doors at even points and a lift at the far end.

The woman pointed across from the room Chiyuri’d been staying in.  “This is the head and washroom.”  She pointed down at the other eleven doors along the hall.  “These are other quarters, so they’re fairly dull.  I suppose if you want to move that’d be fine, but they’re all the same.”

“Nah it’s fine.”  The other Yumemi led her to the lift and hit the call button.  They stepped in as the doors opened and Yumemi hit the top button.  “There anyone else on the ship?”

The other woman sighed.  “No, most of it is automated systems.  Not many people were willing to head over to this dimension, and those that were willing demanded a little too much money.”  She smiled.  “But at least that means the rec room is fairly open.  That’s the floor just below the bridge and officers’ quarters by the way.”

“I see.”  Chiyuri nodded and continued listening as the other Yumemi started listing off what was on each floor, but one thing stuck in her mind.  The elevator had eight decks.  Even if that was all of them, wasn’t this a very big ‘surplus scout vessel?’

She resolved to play her hand close to her chest, at least until she was reunited with her friends.

Dizzy H. "Muffin" Muffin

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Re: Dream's End
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2013, 05:21:28 am »
Had me giggling again!

... and then the final section had me lean forward with interest and go "... well, isn't that something" again ...
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Re: Dream's End
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2013, 06:57:49 am »
I'm kinda surprised she doesn't trust Yumemi a little more, since she looks so much like 'her' Yumemi. I guess there's something off about her that Chiyuri feels?

ninryu

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Re: Dream's End
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2013, 06:25:15 pm »
WHAT A PLOT TWIST!

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Re: Dream's End
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2013, 12:13:02 am »
Chiyuri didn’t consider herself a master of body language, but years of being together had given her some insights into Yumemi.  Just as Yumemi had come to be able to tell Chiyuri apart from her Gensoukyo counterpart just by speech patterns and body language, they’d learned how to figure out exactly which one of them she was speaking to.  In most situations anyway.  The main reason Yuri had accepted a nickname was because she wanted a credit card of her own.  It was rather annoying passing the one card back and forth between the two.  Especially if they wanted to go to different places at the same time.

At first she’d figured that connection was what made talking to this other Yumemi so weird.  It was unnerving to see someone who looked exactly like your lover who didn’t love you.  Who, in fact, didn’t really even know you.  The woman didn’t react to Chiyuri’s little gestures, didn’t even screw up the same way her Yumemi did.  That alone would have probably set Chiyuri on edge.

But Chiyuri had slowly started to notice this Yumemi’s actions were more than simple unfamiliarity.  The mantled woman’s eyes seemed to widen whenever they ran into each other, just as Yumemi’s eyes opened when she saw an answer to a particularly vexing problem.  Then almost immediately they’d narrow again before the woman finally managed to put her smile back on.  And if they sat in the same room Chiyuri would occasionally notice the other woman give her a long look, like Chiyuri was a unsolved variable in a field of equations.

This had made conversation over the past day difficult.  Fortunately once they’d run out of small talk the other Yumemi had usually only sat around for a couple of minutes before running off back to her lab.  So Chiyuri had taken the time to look over the rec room.  All the devices looked different from the ones she was used to, but after a bit of poking around she managed to open up a 3D display field and get into a database of movies.

She’d picked one at random and had been greeted by girls in frilly uniforms shooting each other with brightly colored magical blasts.  At first she’d assumed that Yumemis everywhere shared a fascination with the magical girl genre, but when the narration kicked in it slowly became evident this was actually a documentary.

So Chiyuri’d filled her time looking over story after story of this alternate world.  The first had been the most impressive, a five hour documentary about a failed coup d'etat.  But the history of magic section she’d found afterwards was also intriguing.  It blew everything her counterpart had told her about Gensoukyo’s magic out of the water.  She wanted to start taking notes, but the details unfortunately were beyond her reach.  It was like trying to figure out how to code based on a history of programming languages.  Still when she got in contact with Yuri....

“Hmph.  You should skip this episode.  They completely dismiss the most intriguing part of the field just because they hate to admit they’ve mastered human cloning and memory transfer.”

Chiyuri automatically pressed pause and looked back to find the other Yumemi standing behind the couch.  “So they had cloning and thought transfer?  Functional immortality?”

The woman folded her arms and frowned.  “Well it wasn’t quite that good.  There were some bugs still being worked out.  But they were doing better than any magician I know of, despite the ban on research.”  Yumemi sighed.  “The government is a little more totalitarian than they show in their broadcasts.  Simple weapons like lasers are banned, while mages run around free.  Great if you’re a mage like myself, but somewhat inimical to my research.  And the progress of their society.”

“So magic is still decided by genetics in that universe?” Chiyuri asked.

“There’s some signs that it’s far more complex than that, given the creation of artificial mages, but that’s one of the banned subjects so...”  Yumemi grimaced and shrugged.  “I kept as much of the research as I could to work on it later, but genetics really isn’t my forte.”

“I... see.”  Chiyuri slumped, her dreams of magical girl fame crushed.  Still the enormity of the find allowed her to recover quickly.  “So what is your research anyway?”

“Ah!”  The woman started, then smiled weakly.  “My research was on technomagic, specifically.  The blending of science and technology.”

“Was?”  Chiyuri blinked then looked back at the video screen.  “Huh, looks like you hit the jackpot there.”

“Ha!”  Yumemi’s sharp laugh caused Chiyuri to rock back in her seat.  The woman fixed her with a harsh glare.  “Do you know much about Gensoukyo?  How it was formed?  Where it exists?”

“Uh....  Not really,” Chiyuri admitted.

“It’s a prison,” Yumemi snarled.  “Oh it’s an open one yes.  Youkai can wander in and out nearly at will.  But we’re limited to simple boogieman figures.  Mere shadows in the darkness, robbed of our true power.  Even magician youkai such as myself are drained of our greater abilities.”

“Without the barrier between us and the outside world our power would slowly crumble away, along with our lives.”  The other Yumemi stabbed a finger at Chiyuri.  “That is the undeniable truth of Gensoukyo.  Our very existence is in the hands of a world that is becoming more and more scientific and rational.  Perhaps the human race will never be free of fear and wonder, but one day the lingering nightmares of the past will be paved over and replaced with new fears and wonders.  Eventually the little bubble that is the Hakurei Barrier will pop, and unless both sides have changed, either humans or youkai are going to be driven into a dark age.”

Chiyuri blinked as Yumemi spun and waved her hands at the frozen documentary.  “And technomagic is the solution.  For all that universe’s faults they’ve embraced mysticism and technology and fused them into an incredible whole.  They have a science of magic that doesn’t limit itself to certainties!  A whole range of undiscovered powers and abilities that breed wonder and terror perfect for even the strangest of youkai.  A level of knowledge that could raise humanity to a utopia!  And I have it all.”

The woman turned and slammed her hands into a desk.  “But no one wants it!  Oh they’ll happily ask me for weapons.”  She held up a gem as she turned back towards Chiyuri, and with a flash it transformed to a staff.  “Everyone wants a weapon to defeat ‘insert group here,’ but no one wants to learn the science needed to build it.  The humans aren’t interested in industrialization, the youkai have no interest in creating things they can steal or buy, and the kappa just won’t talk to me!”

Chiyuri sat there in silence for a bit.  It seemed that changing the world was a difficult proposition no matter where you started.  “Isn’t there anyone out there who’d be interested in starting up shop?  We had someone obsessed with science drop by the first time we visited.  I mean its not like there’s an organized group stopping you is there?”

The other Yumemi sighed, then banished the staff in her hand back to jewel form.  “It’s a mindset.  People here believe in craftsmanship.  There are some interested in science, but they hoard their knowledge like magicians.  Technology can’t thrive like that.  But a couple of determined individuals can’t change that mindset.  Especially the mindset of youkai.  Not without bloodshed at least.”  Yumemi turned away.  “And after all that I sacrificed....”

Chiyuri stood to go give the woman a hug, but then froze.  No matter how similar they seemed, this woman wasn’t her Yumemi, and the woman’s rigid form screamed ‘Go away.’  She forced herself to turn back to the holodisplay.  “Well, maybe when the systems are repaired we can compare notes.  Look into industrialization practices.”  She knew the words were probably empty, but they were the best she could offer.

She unpaused the tape and let the documentary continue.  After a few moments, she heard the doors open and close as the other Yumemi left.

---

Momiji stared across the battlefield with a practiced eye.  The organized formations of the two armies had long ago collapsed into a mess, and reinforcements from both sides haphazardly filled the gaps.  Her opponent, while less skilled, was no slouch and had removed several of her units from play, but in the process the enemy had left a key point undefended.  The only reason Momiji hadn’t struck immediately was because she was worried there was a trap.  But it seemed her foe really had just made a mistake.  Her course certain, she selected the unit to take advantage of it.

With a practiced move she chose the silver general piece from her pile of captures and placed it on the board with a click.  “Done.”

Nitori blinked at the move, then leaned forward over the board.  “AHHH!”  Momiji fought back a smile at the kappa’s reaction.  It wouldn’t be fitting to gloat too much.  After all she was only assured two captures from the move.  Still with both of Nitori’s Gold Generals, she’d likely have the game wrapped up by tomorrow.

“Well there goes my plan.”  Nitori sighed deeply and peered down at the board, trying to figure out how to escape from Momiji’s trap while taking the least amount of damage.  The little kappa had already figured out which pieces were lost causes, but the way Nitori moved to escape would determine the strength of the board afterwards, and set up the next round of maneuvering.

Momiji stood and moved to look out over Gensoukyo while Nitori pondered the next play.  Shogi was pleasantly relaxing, in that each move took great deliberation.  When they were in normal maneuvering of course she could chat with her opponent, but when a big play had gone through, she could take some time just to think to herself.  About the game, or about other things.

Today she found her thoughts drifting towards the mountain peak above.  The sudden religious upheaval had caused Sanae to spend a lot of time running around for those gods of hers.  And then things had calmed down again and Gensoukyo kept on moving.  Humans and gods were truly strange beings.  It had barely been two years.

Then again Crow Tengu could work themselves into a tizzy over minor things as well.  Perhaps the difference was youkai just forgot about the matter faster.

“Aha!”  Momiji turned to see Nitori reaching for a piece.  “I...”  The kappa’s face returned to a frown.  “Damn.”  Nitori looked up at her accusingly.  “Why are all you wolf tengu so good at this?”

“Tradition,” Momiji replied with a smirk.  Though that was the honest truth.  Being good at Shogi was almost as important at being good with swordwork.  Admittedly some people focused more on kemari or go, but every wolf tengu learned the basics of the game.

Nitori’s reply was cut through by a piercing howl.  Momiji whirled around.  One of her comrades was sounding the alarm.  “Sorry!” She yelled as she jumped out of the game room.  Her eyes narrowed as she called upon her power to find the source of the incident.

A flash of light drew her attention, and she quickly focused her senses there.  It seemed like four wolf tengu had already responded.  They were matched against a swarm of constructs made of metal, led by a woman in a blue bodysuit with blond hair.  The forest was thin in the area, but both sides were making use of the tree cover.

Since she was in off duty, and thus in reserve, Momiji took some time to review the battle.  The constructs came in small ranged types and large melee types.  Their movements were predictable but to her surprise they seemed to shield against the wolf tengu’s magic attacks.  The woman on the other hand was a whirlwind of electric blades.  That was the main threat.

With something resembling a plan of action ready she began moving to enter the fray herself.  She took the slow route, weaving through the trees to keep covered.  Her observations showed that the attackers weaponry had little limit on range.  Dodging trees was safer than dodging lasers.  Still the delay meant her fellows would probably finish the matter before she arrived.

Sure enough as she jumped out over the waterfall she heard the sounds of battle’s end.  A few low explosions and then the calls of people seeking aid for wounds.  The fact that the intruders had managed to injure some of her comrades was worrisome, but the defenses had held.

With the threat over she simply few over the remaining forest.  As she cleared the treeline she saw there were ten of her comrades there now, surrounded by what looked like piles of metal debris.  To her shock four wolf tengu were on the ground.  Three were gritting their teeth while first aid was administered.  One lay still, the day watch’s captain shaking her head as she stood guard beside the body.

As Momiji looked on the dead tengu’s face she felt her blood slow to a crawl.  She knew the face before her.  Kaikou Ogami.  Her fiance.

She found herself kneeling on the ground next to the still form.  His face seemed so composed, just like always.  Only the burns on his chest told the truth.  The captain put a hand on her shoulder..  “He was the guard for this sector.  He tried to engage the enemy leader alone to slow them but....  I’m sorry Momiji.”

It had been an arrangement between the families.  All wolf tengu marriages was.  They’d known there was no romance to be found between the two of them.  But their eccentricities had matched and that was enough in Momiji’s mind.  They’d long ago come to a rather amicable agreement on romance, and to be honest she enjoyed Kaikou’s company somewhat.

Had enjoyed.

Momiji lifted her head back and howled to the sky.  The cry of a warrior whose comrade was slain.  One by one the other wolf tengu added their voices to her’s, their howls combining to show their loss.

She closed her eyes as the echoes died down.  Her heart hadn’t changed.  She hadn’t loved Kaikou.  She wasn’t even sure she could call him a close friend.  But they’d understood each other, and worked with each other.

She opened her eyes and looked down at his still face.  “And I swear, I will get vengeance for you.”

-----

Yumemi paused as the mournful sound of a wolf howl swept over the clearing.  She’d heard the sound in movies and films before, but here in the shadowed forest the sound seemed to have a different edge.  Marisa looked up from where she was diagraming Yumemi’s setup with a frown.  “Huh, sounds different from the local wolves.  That’s strange.”

Yumemi looked around cautiously.  “Local wolves?  You have some in this forest?”

“Yeah.  They can occasionally be an annoyance, but they mostly know to stay away from people like me.”  Marisa fiddled with her hat as she did her own inspection of the surrounding forest.  “That’s why that was so weird.  Normally when the mountain packs get loud the ones around here speak up too.  For some reason the wolves kept their mouths shut.”  Marisa frowned and thought for a bit, then smiled and shrugged.  “Oh well.  If it’s a problem I’ll blast it.”

“That’s a solution.”  Yumemi turned back to the array of generators she’d set up.  She didn’t know Marisa that well, but she had full confidence the little witch could blow stuff up.  For that matter she was hardly helpless herself now that her personal defense systems were powered again.

On that note she finished smoothing the wires between the five ship generators.  Yesterday she’d spent most of her time shifting the heavy generators around and rewiring the trio of working devices to keep working while she calibrated the ones she was going to add.  It was a long, exhausting process without the proper tools, and Marisa had eventually dragged her back to the witches house to eat and rest up.  But her efforts were paying off.  She’d almost finished calibrating the added generators to boost her search power.

“Hey,” Yumemi looked over her shoulder to see Marisa staring at her work again.  “Why’d you go for a pentagram setup?  You said this isn’t magic so...”

“The same reason I used shields of David and crosses in my pseudo spell imagery,” Yumemi replied.  “My studies, limited as they may be, show that using certain rituals and designs increase the amount of magical power a person can use in a single instance.  While it was all conjecture when we first met, I’ve confirmed it with experiments since then.  In addition my battles here show that symbolism increases the effect of technical devices on magical creatures.”

“Hm...”  Marisa scratched the back of her head.  “Well I suppose you can go with that if you plan to stay a dabbler.  You can get a lot of energy outta rituals.  If you’ve got someone with the right power involved of course.”

“What do you mean stay a dabbler?”  Yumemi stood up to face Marisa.  “Are you saying there’s some secret that professional magicians have that the average person doesn’t?”

“Sleight of hand,” Marisa said, pulling an ace out of nowhere.  Yumemi just looked down at the witch.  “Fine, fine,” Marisa sighed.  “The real difference between a magician and a dabbler is insane drive.”

“Huh?”  Yumemi blinked.  “You mean you can train your magical prowess then?”

“Yeah.  But not exactly what I meant.”  Marisa hesitated for a bit.  “Look, how badly do you want to find this wondrous power source of yours?”

“How badly?”  Yumemi pondered the question.  “I can’t really give a measurement there.  It’s my life’s work.  My prize thesis.”

“Tell me then, what would you give up for it?”  Yumemi leaned back as Marisa’s golden eyes seemed to almost glow.  “Would you abandon your family and friends for it?  Lock yourself away for decades?  Kill for it?”  Marisa stepped forward, and Yumemi found herself stepping back.  “Break your holy vows and the trust of those who have only you to rely on for it?  Literally set your soul on fire for it?”

Yumemi shook off the strange feeling.  “Those choices are insane.  Perhaps the one about leaving home or spending a few decades researching the matter, but there’s got to be come moderation here.”

“They are insane,” Marisa leaned back and smiled.  “Magicians are insane.  Every single one of those examples was something a magician I know has done.  That’s the basis of all magic.  Wanting what you can’t have badly enough to go mad and break reality to get it.”

Yumemi stood there just looking at the smiling magician for a minute.  “What.”

Marisa waved her hands.  “No no, I’m serious.  Magic is breaking the rules of reality, right?  You said so yourself yesterday.”

“That’s true,” Yumemi replied.

Marisa nodded.  “Which means technically you can do anything with magic.  Because if there were any rules about magic, you could break those rules with magic.  Right?”

“That...”  Yumemi’s mouth scrunched up as she tried to parse that.  “I’m sure there’s something wrong with that statement, but I’ll figure it out later.  For now proceed.”

“Right,” Marisa held up a finger.  “Now, casting existing spells is pretty easy, if you’ve got the innate power.  Just follow the spell and it happens.  But how were the spells created in the first place?  How did magical bloodlines start up?”  Marisa put her hands on her hips and smiled proudly.  “That’s where real magicians come in.  We’re the ones who create spells and unlock magical power.  And we do it by being crazy enough to fight the rules of the universe and think we can win, then getting together the willpower, energy, and focus to actually pull it off.  That’s how you can tell a magician’s creations and bloodlines apart.  They’re usually unique.”

Yumemi frowned.  “But then how do spells work?  If each spell is a unique creation, how are they passed along?”

Marisa shrugged.  “They work because they worked before.  Just common sense, right?  You only need to have enough magic.”

“I see?”  Yumemi tapped her chin.  “Is this common magical theory?”

Marisa crossed her arms.  “Well, Patchy’d probably yell at me ‘cuz of my wording, then go on one of her rants.  And Alice’d give me her usual glare.  But what can I say?  I always liked Mima’s explanation best.”

“Good.”  Yumemi nodded happily.  “If it doesn’t make sense to anyone else then I still have a chance to get magic on my own.”  She turned away from Marisa’s sulking and moved to finish hooking up the wires.  The idea of murdering someone for scientific progress was a sad joke.  There was always a better way.

With a click, the final wire fell into place and the engines began humming along.  “Excellent,” Yumemi said.

“So this is more likely to help you find your friends?” Marisa said.

“Yes.  With five generators up the field should go all the way out to Mongolia, barrier or no.”  Yumemi moved towards the master unit.  “Anyone carrying one of the zero point energy transferal systems will show up on system.”

“That’s pretty coo-ugh,” Marisa suddenly staggered, “wha- what the heck is this?  I feel sick...”

Yumemi spun to the control panel.  “That’s strange, the system shouldn’t be putting out any energy to non automated systems.  Let me shut it down and go through diagnostic-”

The reflection of a blade in the blue casing of the generator was all the warning she got.  Scythe like pincers cut through the air as she flung herself to the side.  Yumemi rolled, then leaped into the air as the insectoid robot that had appeared skittered after her.

“Ha!”  Marisa pointed her hand and a shining laser flew across the field, only to dissipate harmlessly ten feet from the creature.  “What?!”

Yumemi flung up a shield as the creature leaped for her.  The mechanical thing hit it hard, sending her tumbling backwards.  When she recovered her balance, she found that the creature had also suffered from the impact, landing poorly on the ground.  She flung up her other hand and pointed out several targeting lasers at and around the creature.  As the drone righted itself, crosses of energy exploded into the air, shattering its blade arms and right legs.

The machine gamely tried to stand again, but Marisa pulled something out of her hat and tossed it at the creature.  The potion bottle sailed merrily through the air, then exploded with a deafening crash as it struck the robot.  When the smoke cleared, only a few pieces of scrap remained.

“What the hell was that?” Yumemi asked.  She didn’t think anyone on the planet could build something like the machine that had attacked her.

“You mean you don’t know?” Marisa said.  The witch sniffed the air a bit and her frown deepened.  “Damn.  That thing dispelled mana in an area.  A damned anti-magic field.  No wonder I felt so sick.  And what’s with all the wiring crap?  You sure it’s not from your place?”

“If it has an anti magic field, it’s definitively not from my world.”  Yumemi floated down to poke at the wreckage, but she knew there wasn’t really anything to learn from the junk left over.  “I think something else is going on here.”

“Something else yeah, but it’s not unrelated.”  Marisa adjusted her hat.  “That thing went past me to try to assassinate you.  That’s not normal.  Anyone from here’d try to stab me first.”

“That’s...” Yumemi didn’t have an answer to that.  She turned back to her generators.  “Maybe it was drawn to the relay?”

“Maybe.”  Marisa didn’t seem convinced.

Yumemi walked back to the console.  “Well, if I can pinpoint the Chiyuris, I can turn it back down to three.  We can work from there.”  She rapidly typed in the search commands for the system.

After a tense minute the system beeped.  Yumemi felt her stomach fall away again.  “Nothing.”

“Not even yourself?” Marisa asked quietly.

Yumemi froze and turned back to the output.  Marisa was right.  Yumemi’s devices were all working at max capacity.  The system should be showing her, even if the Chiyuris weren’t on the continent.  There was only one conclusion.

Yumemi’s eyes narrowed.  “Someone is deliberately scrambling my search.”

Marisa pointed to the small crater.  “Someone who wants you dead.”

“We’ll see about that,” Yumemi replied as she clenched her fists.  “I’m going to find Chiyuri and Yuri.  And if someone gets in my way, they’ll learn that imitation magic isn’t as weak as it might sound.”

-------

As she stared at the massive cliff face before her, Yuri greatly appreciated the fact that she could fly.

“How much further is it?” she asked Yamame as the two started floating upwards.  “Not that I don’t love cave systems, but I’d kinda like to eat something other than raw fish.”

“It shouldn’t be too long now.  Just another day and a half or so I’m thinkin’”  Yamame replied.  “And ya shouldn’t be complaining about the meals.  Fish ain’t exactly easy to find down here in the depths.”

“Another day and a half?”  Yuri groaned.  Finding Yamame had been a stroke of luck.  The tsuchigumo not only knew the way out, but also where to find food and water, things that were in short supply.  The spider girl also had a number of nests that she used along the way, meaning Yuri had slept in a silk hammock instead of on the frozen ground.

Admittedly she’d kept one eye open until she was certain her host had fallen asleep, but that was just common sense when dealing with youkai.  Or for that matter, human strangers as well.

“I take it dinner’s going to be fish again?”  Yuri sighed as they reached the top the chasm.  Before the duo, another series of indistinguishable tunnels spread out.

Yamame headed towards the leftmost one.  “Wha?  Nah, we’re closer to the surface, so I’m thinkin’ mushrooms for dinner.  Too bad we ain’t near a tunnel that leads to the ancient city, otherwise we could get some meat there.”

“You know, that reminds me, what were you doing so deep in the tunnels anyway?  This seems awfully far out of your way,” Yuri asked.

“Hrm...”  Yamame turned and gave her an appraising eye.  “Well, ya ain’t the type to care, so I guess I can let the secret slip.  There’s a river that leads into the Styx down there that the kassha don’t know ‘bout yet.  Ya can fish up some bodies there.  Bit wet, but it makes the insides easier to eat.”

“Oh.”  Yuri fished around for another topic that didn’t involve eating humans.  “So are there lots of tsuchigumo down here?”

Yamame shook her head.  “Nah.  Most of us set up near the surface, where things fall in.  We’ve gotta couple of villages here and there around the Ancient City, but that’s for families.  A gal like me’s gotta have some space to set up her webs ya know?  Betcha there are about as many of us as there are kappa.”

Yuri raised an eyebrow at that.  Kappa were one of the more prolific races, even if you only counted the river kappa.  “As many as there are kappa?  How do you fit in a bunch of scattered villages?

“Ya can put a heckova lot more people on the inside of a mountain then the outside can’t ya?”  Yamame laughed.  “It’s a pain finding food and all, but we tsuchigumo have had centuries of practice learning how to live underground.  And the underground here is near as good as our old home.  Plenty of mushrooms and edible things, even if you hunt solo like a lotta us do.”

Yuri wracked her brain for what little she knew of the tsuchigumo as they flew onwards.  “You say it’s a little hard to find food, but haven’t you youkai always lived underground?”

“We lived belowground but this ain’t the same,” Yamame protested.  “Back before that stupid human empire set up we could spend the days up about ground, then go home when the sun set.  Nowadays we’re stuck down here all the time.”  Yamame frowned.  “Though I suppose that ain’t the humans’ fault any more now.  It’s those dang surface youkai who’re being jerks.”  Her smile quickly returned.  “Though all of ‘em ain’t bad, so we can get out a little these days.  Oni are still more fun though.”

“Oni?  There are still oni around?”  Yuri looked down at Yamame to see if the spider youkai was bluffing.  “You mean the place all the oni disappeared to was just down here?  Their far off land was just under Gensoukyo?”

“Hey now, it ain’t an easy walk,” Yamame said.  “Besides, don’t all you upworld folks know that already?  Suika’s been up there for a little while now.”

Yuri shook her head.  “I’ve been away, so I’m not really caught up on current events.  You probably know more about what’s happening in Gensoukyo then I do.”

The scraping of metal against stone caused both of them to whirl towards a side cave.  “What the heck is that?” Yamame asked.

“How would I know?” Yuri replied before whispering her wards into existence.  She saw Yamame setting up whatever the tsuchimugo’s defenses were as well.  She decided she’d follow the youkai’s lead.

The low scrape turned into loud clacking.  Yuri’s eyes widened as she realized what made that noise, merely seconds before the quadrupedal robot rounded the corner to face them.  It was a dangerous looking machine, with a single glowing red orb for an eye and two pincers at the end of flexible arms.  It paused and examined them with a menacing air before moving forward again.

Yamame’d apparently had enough.  The spider youkai tossed a web of bullets at the creature, and Yuri decided to follow up with her own lasers.  Yuri swore as a shield appeared around the creature.  She ducked left while Yamame dashed right.

The robot turned towards her.

Yuri desperately fired off some danmaku at the creature, but its shield deflected the bullets.  The robots arms shot out and an painful icy clamp slammed down on her arm.  Screaming, Yuri tried to pull herself away and get room, but the metal claw was attached tight.  She kicked at the creature but the shield bounced it away.

She cried out again as a spider’s massive leg sent them both flying to the wall.  The shield flared, then died as the robot’s chassis hit the stone.  Yuri dropped to the floor stunned as the robot let go of her to face the new threat.  Yamame’s earth spider form roared in challenge and slammed into the robot again.  The impact sent the red eye’s laser astray and opened up a rend in the machine’s side.

Yuri saw a blue glow inside the rend and forced herself to concentrate.  One thing the games of her new home had taught her was destroy things that glow.  She summoned up some lasers and followed the advice.

This time the effects were more pronounced.  There was a sharp bang, a cloud of greasy smoke, and then the bot collapsed, its legs giving out.  Yuri sighed in relief, then collapsed against the wall.

Yamame smashed the wreck again again just to be sure, then reverted back to humanoid form.  “What... what the heck was that?  Some kappa invention?  They trying to wipe us out or something?”

Yuri took a few breaths to steady herself before saying, “If so it’s doing a bad job.  It went for me, and it wasn’t trying to kill from the start.”

“What do ya mean by that?”  Yamame asked.  “Seemed pretty dang dangerous to me!”

Yuri pointed to the wall.  A deep gash was melted into the volcanic rock.  “Wouldn’t it have been more dangerous if it’d started off with that attack?”

Yamame’s expression grew even darker.  “This ain’t good at all.”

Yuri looked at the wreckage.  She didn’t know much about kappa industry, but that mecha looked too much like the machines Yumemi’s world used. Not the specifics, but the intricacy of the parts and design screamed optimization over craftsmanship.  She felt an even greater need to get back to where Yumemi and Chiyuri were likely to be.

She turned back to Yamame.  “If we get to the surface my friends might be able to help.  They know a lot about machines.  Especially ones like these.  If it’s something someone in Gensoukyo thought up, they might be able to develop countermeasures.  And if it’s something from outside, they might be able to track down the culprits.”

“Hrm...”  Yamame squeezed her eyes shut, then sighed.  “Alright.  Looks like we’ll have to take the shortcut.”

“There’s a shortcut?  Why weren’t we taking that?”  Yuri protested.

Yamame frowned at her.  “Because it goes right through one of our villages.  And humans ain’t allowed unless it’s an emergency.”

The tsuchigumo kicked the scrap pile.  “But I reckon this here is an emergency.  Just promise not to tell anyone about the place and ya’ll be up to the surface tomorrow around noonish.”

“You have my word,” Yuri replied.

“Then lets get hustlin’!  I’m gonna have ta do a lotta explaining when I get to the village, so we wanna get there fast so the diners’ll still be open.”  Yamame rose into the air and started down another tunnel, and Yuri quickly took off to follow.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2013, 02:10:04 am by Yuuyiced Fairy »
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Balthasar02

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Re: Dream's End
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2013, 02:49:05 am »
I loved it, I just had a good lecture

Alfred F. Jones

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Re: Dream's End
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2013, 06:00:07 am »
Remember, Yumemi, when dealing with an anti-magic field, all devices of that type have a common weakness!

Dizzy H. "Muffin" Muffin

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Re: Dream's End
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2013, 03:36:07 am »
Jeez, this keeps getting more and more interesting, stop it! ;-)

If I have a complaint, though, it's about Momiji's husband. Had he existed in anything you'd written before this point? I kinda feel like the narrative wanted me to ... uh ... feel something about a story element which hadn't actually existed until after it was lost (damn it I'm getting distracted reading Shamus Young's stuff now). But ... yeah.
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Re: Dream's End
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2013, 06:27:58 pm »
Jeez, this keeps getting more and more interesting, stop it! ;-)

If I have a complaint, though, it's about Momiji's husband. Had he existed in anything you'd written before this point? I kinda feel like the narrative wanted me to ... uh ... feel something about a story element which hadn't actually existed until after it was lost (damn it I'm getting distracted reading Shamus Young's stuff now). But ... yeah.
Yeah the plot line was spelled out in a New World, but never in detail.  I kinda considered letting Momiji's part go, because of this disconnect actually, but after a bit of thought I decided it might actually work better.  The reader probably is more detached then Momiji is, but not that much more.

Dizzy H. "Muffin" Muffin

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Re: Dream's End
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2013, 09:41:41 pm »
I dunno, I didn't have any attachment in the first place. I don't think I've actually read New World ... le shrug.
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Re: Dream's End
« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2013, 11:26:08 pm »
Momiji considered the sword in her hands.  It was a fine blade, like all tengu craftsmanship.  The edge glowed softly in the light of the candles showing that it had been used often.  Occasional bright lines or dark blotches caused by tiny cracks showed sign of the wolf tengu’s harsh training.  She imagined this blade might serve her for another century.  Perhaps two.

This was her second blade.   Unlike the human warriors below then, the tengu had never become obsessed with their swords.  Probably because even in peacetime, a tengu would outlive all but the finest artifacts.  Still she had been sad when her first weapon had broken.  And she would be sad to see this one break on the day it finally did.

With a sigh she looked away from the blade and turned up the electric lights.  The answer she was looking for couldn’t be found in the sheen of a blade.  She sheathed her sword then stared into the room’s mirror.

Her reflection stared back, and she had to fight down the urge to flinch.  She had never imagined that she would ever wear the matte black jacket and pants of a lone wolf.  To don those clothes was to become an exile in all but name.  Even if she could discard them later, merely wearing these clothes told all the other tengu that she was casting aside her duty and position to follow her own whims.

Of course her fellow tengu would mostly forgive her.  To seek revenge for the death of a fiance was an honored tradition as well.  In this time of peace, when the services of one patrol tengu weren’t needed, it would be considered almost an act of devotion rather than an an abandonment of her post.

Now if she could only convince herself.

Was she doing this because Kaikou’s spirit would gain some comfort from it?  Was she going to hunt this woman down and kill her to finish her fiance’s work?  Perhaps to apologize for avoiding him so often?

Or was the truth that she wanted to kill that woman because her own life had been irrevocably changed?

Momiji had always ‘known’ she would one day get married and have children, just as she’d always known she would serve as a patrol tengu.  It wasn’t something she really looked forward to or something she hated.  It was something everyone did, and every wolf tengu built their lives around it, just like you built your day around meals.

Now, for Momiji, that certainty was gone.  All she had left were questions and a life plan filled with holes.

A knock on the door drove her thoughts to the winds.  “Momiji.  Are you there?”  It was her commander, Kaede.  “I know this isn’t the best time, but we’re tightening up the patrol line while we replan our defenses.  We could use every warrior.”

Momiji’s hands twitched.  Defense?  Tightening up the line?  She felt her lips curling into a snarl of anger.

Perhaps her choice was easier than she thought.

She took a deep breath then walked to the door and opened it.  Kaede’s mouth shot open in surprise, then the older warrior’s eyes narrowed.  “I’m afraid no one here can help with that,” Momiji said quietly.

Kaede stood there for a long moment, then nodded coldly.  “That’s unfortunate.  Do you have any business here?”

“No.”

The older tengu’s eyes closed and she stepped aside.  “Then be on your way, stranger.”

Momiji bowed in response and began walking down the path down the mountain.  Heads turned as she passed, and a crowd began to form, but Momiji forced herself not to look, not to react as the cameras flashed or when the whispering turned into open exclamations.  At least none of the crow tengu were so gauche as to try to interview her.  Still she felt a strange sense of relief as she exited the village and left her former fellows behind.

She felt eyes on her again as she reached kappa territory, though the skittish youkai would never openly stare at a lone wolf.  Momiji occasionally looked around for her friends among the kappa, but the forms darted away before even her vision could focus.  It was too bad.  She wanted to apologize to Nitori for missing their game.

Just as she reached the edges of Tengu territory a violent wind swept up.  For a second she thought a crow tengu had decided to annoy her, but the voice dispelled that idea.  “Momiji!”

She stopped in her tracks.  “Sanae.”

The wind priestess fluttered to the ground in front of Momiji with an angry expression on her face.  “What the heck is going on, Momiji?  Nitori came to me in a panic saying you were leaving the mountain, and when I went to your house there was a whole flock of crow tengu acting like you were the biggest story in Gensoukyo.  But none of them wanted to admit you lived there!”  Sanae brandished her gohei.  “And what’s with that outfit?”

Momiji sighed.  “Do you know what happened yesterday?”

Sanae’s expression softened.  “Yeah.  Um...  I’m sorry for your loss.”  Sanae looked down at her feet.  “I shouldn’t have been so accusing but....”

“Nitori was right,” Momiji said.

“What?  But, why?  No one blames you for this, right?  Why would you need to leave?”  Sanae gripped her gohei tightly.  No doubt the young priestess was already planning to beat down those who had offended her sense of righteousness.

Momiji closed her eyes.  “I need to leave because I owe it to my fellows.  To Kaikou.”

Sanae shifted uneasily.  “How does that make any sense?”

“You know what the tengu are doing right now?”  Momiji jerked her head back towards the mountain top.  “They’re gathering their defenses.  Trying to learn more about their enemy.  Keeping their villages safe from harm.  All good military doctrine....  But it lets the enemy run free,” Momiji growled.

“What if they don’t care about our villages?  What if they don’t even care about us?”  Momiji felt her ears twitching and forced herself to calm down a little.  “We’ve pulled back our defense line and left the non vital points of the mountain open, meaning if they aren’t planning an attack on the tengu they can just do whatever they want and get away with it.  Right now anyone can enter the underground, kappa territory, or even break through to your shrine if they’re careful enough.”  Sanae’s eyes opened wide at that comment but Momiji pressed on.  “Even worse, if this attack was merely a feint to distract us, they can finish whatever they’re doing while we wait blindly for their return.”

Momiji stared at the priestess.  “No, I can’t allow that to happen.  She killed one of my people.  She stole his future, destroyed mine, and left his family to grieve as they wait for their line to die out.  I won’t let her gain anything from that.  I won’t let her do that to anyone else.  And I won’t wait around for the other tengu to decide it’s safe to act.  I’m going to find her and kill her.  Now.”

“Momiji...”  Sanae reached out a hand, then hesitated.  “I understand a little now.  But your future isn’t destroyed.  I still... there are people who still hold you dear.  Even if you leave the tengu I’m sure-”

Momiji slowly shook her head.  “Ten years, maybe twenty.  Then you’ll end up the same as I would have.  The Moriya shrine isn’t ready for a half youkai priestess.  Not yet.  Gensoukyo isn’t ready for it.”

Sanae flinched, then raised her gohei again.  Momiji almost thought that the wind priestess might attack her, but instead the green haired maiden just slowly deflated, her arm falling to her side.  Momiji almost reached out to comfort her, but she forced herself to stay stoic.  She couldn’t show her feelings here.  It wasn’t right to do that right now.  Or safe.  They were both trapped by who they were.

“Swear something to me.”

Momiji started at Sanae’s words.  “Huh?”

Sanae stared at her with rekindled flames in her eyes.  “Swear something.  Swear you’ll finish this and come back.  Swear you won’t lose yourself in your revenge.”

Momiji blinked then smiled softly.  She knelt down before the wind priestess.  “I swear on my honor that I shall return to the mountain.  I ask you, the living goddess Sanae Kochiya, to call upon the gods of Suwa to give me what aide I may need.”

Sanae turned away, but Momiji could see the woman was wiping her eyes.  “You’ve never prayed before.  Not seriously.”

“Because I never had anything I needed so badly I would be willing to ask a god for help,” Momiji replied.

The wind stirred again as Sanae stepped off the path.  “You should go.”

Momiji closed her eyes and began walking again.  “Please tell Nitori I’m sorry that I have to delay our game.”

“Be careful,” Sanae whispered.

“I promise,” Momiji said.

As Sanae took to the skies Momiji continued on to the base of the mountain.  There she could take to the skies again and start her hunt in earnest.

---

Yuri stretched to try to work the final kinks out of her back as she walked out of the visitors’ house she’d been given.  Hammocks were nice, but she was looking forward to a bed at some point.  Especially since this one had been oni sized.  Still it was a good sight better than the ground.

The earth spiders’ village was both impressive and strangely human in its design.  Yuri was constantly reminded that, as terrifying as the tsuchigumo had become, once they were considered as human as she was.  Everything that could be found in the human village seemed to be here as well.  Even shrines dotted the village.  And despite the fact that all of the tsuchigumo could fly, every building could be accessed by ladders and stairs.

She stood there for a moment watching the bustle of the wakening village, partially out of nostalgia, partially because she didn’t have a clue where to go.

Fortunately Yamame and the elderly tsuchigumo who was the village’s chief arrived after a little while.  “Ya have a good rest?”  The chief asked politely.

Yuri bowed in response.  “Yes.  Thanks for allowing me to stay.  I understand it’s not common.”

That was something of an understatement.  Yamame had argued quietly for the gate guards for a good fifteen minutes before they let her in.  Even after the elder approved her presence Yuri had gotten an occasional glare from a passerby, though she took heart that curious whispers were more common.

“While some of my fellows might disagree, I always reckoned it was best to be cautious with humans rather than pickin’ fights,”  The elder nodded his head.  “And Yamame here seems to think you’ve got a good chance of figuring out why there are things wanderin’ round our tunnels.”

“Yeah, Yumemi and Chiyuri can work something out.  I’m sure.”  Yuri smirked.  “After all they managed to make devices that can match my magic.  I think Yumemi’s might even surpass it.”

“Good.”  The chief looked down at Yamame.  “And you are willing to go up ground to make sure she keeps her promise, Yamame?”

“Sure thing chief!”  Yamame hopped to attention.  “I got this incident all webbed up!”

The old man nodded.  “Good good.  Well then I’ll let you and Yamame go trap a meal.  Swift journey to the surface.  And of course...”  The tsuchigumo elder suddenly leaned forward with glowing eyes and Yuri felt herself shrinking back.  “If you tell anyone ‘bout our little city here you’ll catch ebola and die horrible like!”

Yuri had barely processed the threat when the man smiled.  “Nah, just kidding.”  He gave her a nod, then a frown.  “But seriously, don’t tell no one.”

“Right,” Yuri nodded emphatically as she took a few steps back.  “I promise.”

“Anyway we’re off chief!” Yamame chirped as she grabbed Yuri’s arm.  “I’ll get back to you when we figure things out a bit more.”

“Good luck to ya,” the chief said with a wave.

Yuri let Yamame drag her along for a bit before reclaiming her arm.  “So how are we getting breakfast?  And what’s our selection?”

“There should be a cart or two up round where the path to the surface starts,” Yamame replied.  “As for selection...  I reckon the fish might be best.”

Yuri wondered at the pause until they had floated up to where the carts were.  The first one had such delicacies as cave moth on a stick and giant mosquito.  She did her best to ignore the cart as she searched for something that wouldn’t kill her appetite.

Fortunately the next cart was much more palatable.  A wide array of grilled and smoked fish were on display and the old woman running the cart greeted the two with a smile.  To Yuri’s surprise there were river fish as well as the local cave fish.  She wondered if they were from areas of the river that ran underground or if the woman snuck out to fish.

Still all that was secondary to their main purpose.  “I’d like the horse mackerel.  Grilled please.”

“Sure thing missy.  And what do you want young gal?” the woman asked as she tossed a fish onto her grill.

“Two more of the same,” Yamame said as she held out some gold coins.

Yuri breathed in the wonderful scent of cooking fish as the cart owner tossed on more stock.  Still she felt kinda bad about how much Yamame had paid out over the meal.  “Is everything down here so expensive?” she asked the spider girl.

“Expensive?” Yamame raised an eyebrow then smiled.  “Oh right!  Those were the small coins round these parts.  The underground’s got way more gold than up top.  The greed spirits make it after all.”

“I see.”  The thought of that much gold lying about seemed pretty impressive, but she’d learned in Yumemi’s world about inflation first hand, so her dreams of a gold rush died quickly.  Besides it’d probably end badly if a bunch of people ran into the underground looking for gold.  Given the history of the people involved, probably very badly.

After a few quick minutes the woman held out the skewers.  “Here ya go.  Careful not to burn yourselves now.”

“Thanks,” Chiyuri said carefully grabbing the skewer.

Yamame grabbed hers and immediately bit into one.  “Great as always.  See ya round!”

The two bowed then flew up towards the hole that lead to the surface.  After a few minutes of cooling Yuri bit into her own fish and found that Yamame was right.  It was great.  Not the finest fish of all time, but she wouldn’t mind going back.

“So how’d these friends of yours figure out ‘bout those strange machine thingies?” Yamame asked.

“Er...”  Yuri considered how best to explain it.  In the end she decided to stick with the simple explanation.  “Well... they’re from a different realm that has more machines.”

Yamame scratched the back of her head.  “So one of them artificer magician realms or something?  Must be pretty powerful.”

“They are, but not magically.  And it’s less of a magician realm and more a place like Makai.  Er, well it’s still pretty different, but it’s another world.  Not a place people set up.”  Yuri shrugged.

“Huh.”  Yamame floated along for a bit thinking.  “So there any tsuchigumo in that world?”

“Not really.  The world’s kinda magic poor.  I haven’t really seen anything but humans,” Yuri replied.  “It’s kinda boring in that way, though there’s a lot of other interesting stuff.”

Yamame frowned.  “Well, how hard did ya look?”

“Eh?”  Yuri looked over at the question.  “What do you mean?”

Yamame gave Yuri a look before returning her attention to fight.  “Humans ain’t the best at seeing things they ain’t looking for.  Betcha if you asked most of the humans outside the barrier, they’d say we didn’t exist.  Heck most humans have a hard time seeing other humans.  Maybe you didn’t find ‘em because they didn’t want to be found.”

Yuri fell silent as she considered the matter.  Yamame had a point.  Was there a Gensoukyo out somewhere in that alternate world that Yumemi and Chiyuri hadn’t found?  Perhaps one with a magic more accessible for their universe?  She didn’t really know.  She didn’t actually understand how magic really worked on a deep level to begin with.  All of her abilities came from the magical talent innate to her family and a small bit of training.

Her thoughts were interrupted by a flash of light as they came around a bend.  Daylight!  Yuri immediately perked up.  “Finally!”  She rounded the final corner then burst free from the stone cavern out into the glorious sunlight.  She took a deep breath of the fresh air as she slowly spun in place.  After the greys and browns of the underground, the simple green of the meadow she’d emerged in were a godsend.  The riotous noise of a healthy forest only added to her happiness.

Yamame popped up a little after her, stretching as she did.  “Welp, we’re out.  So how are we gonna get round to finding those friends of yours?”

“Hm...”  Yuri thought for a moment.  “They should be able to find me now.”  Yuri tapped the mantle of her sailor uniform.  “There’s some of their high tech devices sewn into the lining, so they’ll be able to pinpoint where I am.  At least that’s what Chiyuri told me.  Also gives me another layer of shielding, but not much.”

Yamame tapped her chin.  “Huh.  So ya think we should just look around a bit then, or stay put so they can track ya easier?”

Yuri’s reply was cut short by a blood curdling howl.

She barely had time to spin to face the sound before the black clad figure slammed into her sword first.  Yuri felt her shoulders heat up as the automatic wards in the clothing deflected the attack.  She fell on her backside, then raised her hands along with a magic shield to defend herself.

The wolf woman’s attack nearly jarred her arms out of her sockets, but the blade scraped off the shield to Yuri’s side.  She forced herself to push off the ground and fly backwards as her attacker twisted the blade to the side and swiped again.  As the sword tore up the earth where she’d been lying Yuri unleashed a barrage of bullets and lasers.  The wolf woman snarled and leaped away from the attack.

Yuri reinforced her wards while the tengu in black set up into a guard position.  She tensed as wolf woman shifted her blade to attack again, then started in surprise as her attacker let loose a body wracking sneeze.

“What th’ heck is wrong with all y’all!  Three days and three random attacks!  Can’t an earth spider go anywhere in peace?” Yamame yelled as the black clad wolf tengu continued sneezing violently.  “Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t give ya three different types of bird flu, and chickenpox for good measure!”

The woman staggered back, and fell to her knees, still sneezing.  Yuri slowly stood up and backed away as the assailant tried to regain her breath.  Finally after a few sniffles the tengu managed to spit out.  “She murdered my fiance.  I-achoo!”

Yuri stared at the woman.  “Uh, I’ve been away for some time, and I’m pretty sure I haven’t killed anyone since I got back.”

“She’s telling the truth ya know.  She’s been underground this whole time.” Yamame said.

The wolf tengu’s eyes narrowed, then she sneezed again.  Finally the woman held her hand out to signal parley.  Yamame hesitated a moment, then waved a hand.  The woman’s sneezing quickly subsided.

Yuri took another step back as the wolf tengu woman’s frosty gaze returned.  “The mountain was attacked yesterday by someone who looks exactly like you.  Everything barring the clothes.  Are you sure that this woman was with you in the underground at all times, honored tsuchigumo?”

“Yeah.  Certain,” Yamame replied.

The wolf woman blew her nose, then fixed Chiyuri with a glare before sniffing the air deeply.  “It seems you have been underground.  And your scents are slightly different.  I apologize for my error.”  The wolf woman bowed her head.  “I am Momiji Inubashiri.  Please forgive my impertinence in questioning you so soon after attacking you, but given the circumstances I wonder if you might know a little more about this incident.”

Yuri sat down to steady herself.  She knew there was someone who looked exactly like her running around, but there was no way Chiyuri would attack the entire mountain, much less kill someone in the process.  “I don’t know what’s going on.  But I know I don’t like it.  Maybe you can tell us your side of the story.”

Momiji nodded.  “Very well.  I shall try to be expansive in my detail as well.  It seems our paths are intertwined for now.”

As the wolf woman began her story Yuri felt her unease continue to grow.  Someone who looked exactly like her breaking the spellcard rules?  Briefly she wondered if it was Chiyuri, but the idea of her murdering anyone in cold blood seemed far fetched.  Either way, this was going to be a serious problem.  Someone with her face was wandering around spreading trouble, and trouble in Gensoukyo always came back home with a vengeance.

----

Yumemi paced back and forth along the single path through the messy room.  She hated having to wait on others for experiments.  Waiting in general was nerve wracking, but waiting on someone else’s work was worst.  With your own work you could trust things had been properly put together.  When you were dependant on someone else you were vulnerable to any screwups that existed.

It didn’t help that she was relying on Marisa in this particular case.  And that Marisa was spending most of her time drawing chalk lines on a round table.  There wasn’t even a crystal ball or anything.  Sure crystal balls were tacky, probably expensive, and from Marisa’s mutterings on the subject actually inferior for this type of spell, but Yumemi knew what to expect with one of those.  Circles and lines that looked like an art project gone wrong didn’t seem properly magical to her.

Marisa looked up from her work and chuckled.  “You aren’t gonna learn magic with an attitude like that.”

“What are you talking about?” Yumemi replied as she forced herself to sit.  “Don’t give me some nonsense about magic coming from a calm mind.  I’ve spent enough time around you to know better than that.”

“No.  I’m talking about your thoughts.”  Marisa pointed at the lines on the table.  “You were thinking these wouldn’t work.”

“I didn’t say that.”  Or at least she hadn’t said that out loud, Yumemi admitted mentally.

Marisa shrugged.  “But you thought it.  I could feel you blocking the spell.”   The witch smiled broadly.  “Fortunately being a good witch is all about ignoring those minor details.  Still if you want to learn magic on your own you gotta believe in your own power.”

Yumemi waved the comment away.  “First I need to use the power we have to figure out who’s blocking my searches and why.  The Chiyuris come first.”

“Fair enough,” Marisa replied.  “Then let’s do this.”  The magician pulled out a bag and held it over the table.  “Place your thumbs on the circles there, then focus on the two of them.  Do your best to picture them both, as if they were standing side by side.”

Yumemi took a deep breath then did as she was told.  To her surprise getting the images of them side by side was easy enough.  Then again she had seen the two together quite often.  Still the differences that made each of them unique were missing.  She closed her eyes and tried to focus on those subtle things.  The difference in their smiles and their sighs.  Their natures, both carefree, but one anchored by society and another by caution.  The little differences in how they worded things....

“That’s good.  You can open your eyes now.  Just don’t move your hands.”

Yumemi opened her eyes to see Marisa pouring sand out of the bag onto the table.  At first she looked to try to find patterns in the whirls that were created as it fell.  Then she gasped as tiny grains stopped falling in mid air and began to softly shine under the table lights.  Marisa smiled as she upended the bag, leading to a shimmering whirl that settled into a miniature sphere of constellations, each little sand star twinkling merrily.

“My magic uses stars and the night a lot.  So when they aren’t available I just make my own,” Marisa bragged.

“So what do you see?” Yumemi asked.

“Hm...  I’m also being blocked,” Marisa muttered.

Yumemi deflated.  Another failure.  With this she-

“But!”  Marisa held out a hand.  “I can detect one of them.  There’s a woman matching your thoughts near the border between the Forest of Magic and Youkai Mountain.”

Yumemi leaped to her feet.  At last she’d found one of them.  “Great!  Let’s get moving!  How long does it take to get there?”  She took to flight immediately and flew over the junk towards the door.

“Eh?”  Marisa yelped.  “Hey watch the backdraft!”  Yumemi heard one of the book piles collapse but she didn’t have time to worry about that.  She flung open the door and headed into the sky.  Then she paused.

“Bloody...”  Marisa was out a little bit later, taking the time to glare at Yumemi before hopping on her broom.  “You know you don’t have to run that fast.  They aren’t likely to move that far, and it’ll be easy to track them when we’re close.”

“There are killer robots hunting me down.  I do need to hurry,” Yumemi replied tersely.

“Then why’d you stop?” Marisa asked with a dark look.

Yumemi sighed.  “I have no idea where to go.  The mountain’s kinda big, so ‘between the mountain and the forest’ doesn’t really help me.”

“Heh, fair enough.”  Marisa chuckled, her good humor restored.  “Fine then.  But don’t complain if you get tired trying to keep up.”  The witch grabbed onto her broomstick then took off.  Yumemi nodded then called upon her power reserves to follow as best she could.  She probably would get tired, but that didn’t matter.

She was going to find whichever Chiyuri was there, no matter what stood in her way.

----

Chiyuri hesitated in front of the elevator.

She knew instinctively it was a bad idea.  She’d only been with this woman for three days.  She shouldn’t be breaking into the sealed decks of other-Yumemi’s ship just on a whim.  Especially given the woman had been polite enough to give her food and lodging.

On the other hand the woman was claiming they were still stuck “out of phase.”  And that, quite frankly was impossible.  This was her major after all, and quite simply, dimensions weren’t like planets.  You couldn’t sit orbiting one, you either were pulled into their reality or you were pushed out.  Managing a holding pattern for a day was possible with damaged engines.  Two days was theoretically doable, though not with any technology in her world.

Three days was impossible according to every study Chiyuri had conducted.  And with the other Yumemi’s increasingly distracted mood swings, Chiyuri was beginning to get worried.  Just because the woman wasn’t a shape shifting monster out to eat Chiyuri didn’t mean that Chiyuri was safe.

Finally she stabbed the call button with her finger.  Her Yumemi had always overlooked her ‘spontaneous research experiments.’  Or at least had just settled for yelling at her.  If this Yumemi was anything similar she should merely be angry.  If her worst suspicions were right on the other hand....  well she wasn’t planning on getting caught.

The elevator doors slid open with a hiss and Chiyuri dashed inside.  She smacked the button for the research decks then held down the close door button.  Each second that the elevator took to close and start moving seemed like an eternity, but eventually the machine did as it was told and began its descent.  Chiyuri did her best to look calm and composed as the lift went down.  This was actually the safe part.  If the other Yumemi was there she could simply claim she’d hit the wrong button and be on her way.

When the doors opened however there seemed to be no sign of life at all.  It was just a hallway like the others.  It didn’t even have the decency to be dimly lit.However unlike the halls that led to her room on the ship, this one had larger doors spaced further apart.  She picked the first door on the left at random.  She grimaced when she saw it was a hydraulic door like all the other ones on the ship, and thus hardly stealthy, but she’d gone this far already.  Chiyuri stabbed the button to open it and walked through.

The lab behind the door was fairly normal looking.  Other than the holo keyboards it seemed almost like one of the college labs back home.  The tables were large, but obviously meant for notes and laptops.  There were a few fume hoods, but no series of evil bubbling beakers or questionable equipment.  All in all it was fairly dull.  Chiyuri moved over to the computers to try to get more information.

She cursed as the screen flickered on to show a password entry request.  She typed in her Yumemi’s default password, hoping the other woman had similar feelings towards ‘security.’  The machine beeped nicely and Chiryuri gave a sigh of relief as the machine opened up.  Even better the menus had all been shifted to Japanese, though they still had the erratic edged font native to whatever world the other Yumemi had borrowed it from.  She scanned over the files and quickly found one called “Operations Data.”  Figuring that was as good a place to start as any she opened the file.

The file looked like an ordinary spreadsheet.  Each ‘unit’ had an identification number, status of three different system and, most importantly, a current location.  Most were in ‘storage bay’ or ‘maintenance bay’  But one on the first page was listed as “infiltrating Youkai Mountain.”  Chiyuri did a bit of searching through the spreadsheet programs commands and found the cell had been changed yesterday.

It seemed her suspicions were right.

She had the urge to immediately run out of here and head back to her quarters to continue pretending to be a good little ignorant prisoner, but she forced it down.  She needed to learn more about what the woman’s plans were.

Chiyuri decided to take the direct approach.  She shut down the machine and headed back towards the corridor.  A quick peek into the maintenance bays would be more likely to give information then trying to search through all of the files on a computer.  She could play hacker more later when she had a better idea where the other Yumemi would be.

She moved across the hallway and stabbed at the button to open that door.  It revealed a room filled with storage boxes.  Chiyuri closed the door and walked quickly to the next door down.  The door hissed open at her command.

As the faint green light from the inside of the room washed over her she froze.  She’d been prepared for a lot of things, but this... this wasn’t one of them.  She stepped towards the mesmerising scene, horror and fascination warring in her mind.

On either side of the room sat robots.  Machines of war.  Their silent forms however were uninteresting compared to the cylindrical tank in the middle of the room.  The tank that held a different unconscious Chiyuri in it’s glowing green depths.  The only difference Chiyuri could see between herself and her double was that this one had a cut on the left arm.  A cut that revealed circuits and steel instead of bone.

“I’d say you were too nosy for your own good, but you suspected something like this didn’t you?”

Chiyuri spun to find the other Yumemi standing in the doorway, dressed in her full uniform and mantle and smiling.  It was the smile her Yumemi always wore right before failing an arrogant student.  A smile of contemptuous power.  Chiyuri desperately turned her head both ways to find an alternate escape, but the walls all seemed solid.

“I’m afraid that this ship uses magic teleportation instead of standard doors to get in and out, though I’m hurt that you aren’t interested in my hospitality.”  The other Yumemi shook her head slowly.  “Your counterpart from the universe I visited wasn’t as touchy about accommodations..  Though I admit she’s a little less there than you are.  Death tends to remove a lot of higher thought.”

Chiyuri started scanning the junk next to the robots for something that might help her out.  Still she had to buy some time.  “Why?  Why me?”

The woman’s smile faded.  “It wasn’t really intentional.  I simply picked up whoever I could.  I really would have prefered to get my Chiyuri, but the best laid plans....”

A gleam of white paint brought Chiyuri’s attention to the item she’d been seeking.  It was her old ray gun set down alongside some staves.  She opened her mouth as if to speak again then leaped for the gun.  The other Yumemi blinked in surprise as Chiyuri picked up the weapon with a roll and fired off two shots.  The white beams seared the air.

“Magic Screen.”

And slammed into a crimson barrier before they hit the woman.

The other Yumemi smiled that terrible smile again.  “A good try, but I fear without your augments it’s just not good enough.”  Chiyuri began looking for cover as a staff appeared in the woman’s hand.  “Lovely Ada, Sacred Blast.”

The staff flared.  “Aye aye!”

There was nowhere to dodge.  Chiyuri flung herself through the air hoping the woman might miss, but it was futile.  The blue beam slammed into her like a truck, washing away her thoughts in a blaze of pain.  She felt the impact against the steel deck, but her body was too busy hurting to care.

The last thing she heard before she blacked out was the staff’s voice stating “Struggle Bind.”

Alfred F. Jones

  • Estamos orgullosos del Batallón Lincoln
  • *
  • y de la lucha que hizo por Madrid
  • Staff
  • LOOK AT ME
  • Nickname: Sakura Rurouni

Iced Fairy

  • So like if you try to hurt alkaza
  • *
  • I will set you on fire k'?
  • LOOK AT ME
Re: Dream's End
« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2013, 12:33:28 am »
Chiyuri groaned as consciousness slowly returned to her.  There was a huge bruise on her side, and her arms and legs were stiff.  As her vision returned she saw that her hands and feet were neatly tied together with magical bonds.  “Well that explains that,” she muttered.  She tried tugging at the restraints with her limited movement, but there was no real give in the magical bonds.  She’d have to think up a more creative way to escape it seemed.

“You’re awake then?  Impressive.”

Chiyuri rolled to glare at the red clad woman that bore her lover’s face.  “What the hell do you want?”  Snapping at her captor probably wasn’t the smartest idea, but Chiyuri was never one to keep her mouth shut when she was in a bad mood.

The woman sighed and closed her eyes.  “What do I want...?  That’s a very good question.”

“I suppose the most obvious thing that I want is the life I missed out on back.”  The red caped woman opened her eyes as a twisted smile crossed her face.  “It was stupid to just blunder into other universes to search for answers.  Knowledge can be taken, but ideas?  You can’t just transport those.”  The woman spared Chiyuri a glance.  “You should know that of course.  You came to this world and found all the knowledge you could want.  And what do you have to show for it?”

The other Yumemi turned away and walked forward towards a standing control panel in the center of the room.  Chiyuri twisted herself into a sitting position to try to see what the woman was doing better.  “We Yumemis all seem to suffer from that really.  When we finally catch our dreams we find they’re only illusions.”

“This ship seems like a pretty nice illusion,” Chiyuri snapped.  “Especially given you pretty much looted it.”

“You think I didn’t pay for this in blood?” the woman hissed.  Chiyuri flinched back as the other Yumemi whirled on her.  The woman stepped forward and raised a hand, then rolled down her sleeve.  Chiyuri shivered again when she saw the tracework of scars running down the woman’s arm.  “Magical questioning doesn’t have to leave marks.  But it can if the user is feeling fairly vindictive,” the other Yumemi snarled.

The rage that had filled Chiyrui slowly faded away.  She didn’t quite feel sympathetic for the woman in front of her, but there was obviously a lot more to the story then had previously been told.  “Who?  And why?” Chiyuri asked softly.

The woman turned away.  “When I first visited that other universe and found that Yumemi we worked well together.  You see she was looking into immortality research.  Their world was light years beyond us in science, and almost our equal in magic, but they still aged and died the same way the humans in the outside world do.  That Yumemi wished to end that.”

Chiyuri shifted to try to make herself more comfortable.  She recognized this side of Yumemi at least.  The lecturer.  Hopefully she could keep the woman distracted by the lecture.  “Transhumanism then.  Not too surprising.”

“It was an impressive goal really.  A world without death.  Socially I’m not sure if it would have been good or bad in the end.  Still you can imagine my information on the transformation process to become a magician youkai greatly enhanced her research.”  The woman sighed.  “She was ecstatic, and we exchanged a good deal of information.  Though really it was her research assistant who helped the most.  Keeping us from becoming obsessed in our particular goals.  In the end we parted on good terms.”

“I take it the research assistant was the Chiyuri in the jar downstairs?” Chiyuri muttered.  She didn’t like being reminded about that.  It was far too easy to see herself in that position.  Especially now.

“Yes.”  The alternate Yumemi turned back to face her.  “As I said, the authorities in that realm are harsher than the propaganda suggests.  While I was trying to start an industry here, my counterpart was having her lab raided by a paramilitary strike team.  She escaped.  Her assistant did not.”

Chiyuri’s eyes widened.  The pieces were all starting to fall together now.  “And she expected you to be able to revive the dead.”

“Indeed!  You are quite bright.”  The woman’s twisted smile made Chiyuri shudder.  “Unfortunately that’s something of a problem.  Being killed alters the mind, you see.  I could bring back a Chiyuri-ish person, but not her assistant.  Well rather, I could in theory.  I’m not terribly skilled at necromancy.”

“Sadly my counterpart didn’t seem to believe me.  She was somewhat bereaved.”  The alternate Yumemi rubbed at her scars.  “Okay, she was totally loony.”  The woman paused.  “I have no wish to remember the details.  She questioned me for four months.  In the end I was so desperate I actually attempted a resurrection spell.  You’ve seen the results.”

“So you turned that woman’s lover into a zombie to escape?”  Chiyuri struggled to keep from snarling at the woman. It was hard to judge the escape attempt of someone who had been tortured for months.  Still it seemed sickening in practice.

The woman sighed.  “I’d like to say that was my intention, but really the spell just went wrong.  I’m no good at necromancy, much less necromancy using cloned bodies.  Instead of returning a human I ended up with a robotic golem.  Rather distasteful, but still better than actually trapping someone’s soul in unlife.”

“Of course that world’s counterpart didn’t take it well.”  Chiyuri shuddered as a nasty smirk appeared on the other woman’s lips.  “She attacked me.  But now there was a golem there devoted to serving and protecting Yumemi, and apparently it hadn’t defaulted to the ‘correct’ Yumemi.  My counterpart ended up on the rather long list of mad scientists killed by their own creations, and I inherited a frigate with the finest research elements that universe had to offer.”  The woman sighed.  “I also inherited a massive criminal record and crippling debts to various organized crime groups.  I had to return to Gensoukyo quickly.”

“I see...”  Chiyuri twisted in her bonds a few times before asking the obvious follow up question.  “So how does all that lead to you deciding it was a good idea to bust up our ship and take me hostage?  Because I’m really not following the logic here.”

“Hm?  Well I imagine you wouldn’t.”  The other Yumemi shrugged casually.  “After all, it’s hard to see things that will inconvenience you.  Still I suppose I can explain.”  Chiyuri started as the woman jabbed a finger at her.  “The simple matter is YOU aren’t supposed to be here.  Wandering the multiverse is a mistake.  I should never have gone to that other universe, and you and my counterpart should never have come to Gensoukyo.  I accidentally killed a woman by giving her false hope.  While you,”  Chiyuri locked eyes with the woman as Yumemi glared at her, “stole away one of the most brilliant and curious minds other than myself from this universe.”.

Chiyuri’s glare faltered as an uneasy feeling crept into her stomach.  “You’re talking about Yuri, aren’t you.”

“CHIyuri,” the woman snapped.  “Don’t give her that false name you forced upon her.  She was meant to be here, along with me!  Not running around in some other universe helping another Yumemi do paperwork!”  The other Yumemi took a deep breath.  “So I’m going to fix that mistake.  You two are going to disappear, and Chiyuri and I are going to start over.  With a bit of time the will of the universe should put things back to the way they were supposed to be.  I’ll have my research, and a fine assistant, while you two will be out of my hair.”

Chiyuri sneered at the woman.  “You think any of us will just let you tell us what to do?”

“I don’t think you’ll have a choice,” the other Yumemi replied with a smirk.  “Admittedly I’ve had to be more circumspect in my maneuvers than usual, but Gadget drones, as weak as they are, have some uses.  Most importantly, finding and retrieving mages.  Soon my Chiyuri will be here, and you and your Yumemi will be banished back to your world.”  Chiyuri wriggled back to the wall as the woman approached her.  She clenched her jaw in frustration and rage as the other Yumemi cupped her chin in a cold hand.  “But even if my drones fail it won’t really matter.  I’m quite certain my counterpart will understand how reasonable my offer is when I mention your life is in my hands.”

Rage burned through Chiyuri’s veins.  “None of us will give in to your threats.  Our bonds aren’t so weak.”

“Is that so?”  The woman shrugged and turned away.  “Oh well.”  The woman gestured and the staff that had blasted Chiyuri before formed into her hand.  “In that case, I’ll just have to show my counterpart what happens when a master of science meets a master of magictech.”  The woman began walking away.  “This universe can only hold one Yumemi and one Chiyuri.  That is the will of reality.  And I will enforce that will.”

Chiyuri slumped against the wall.  She wanted to snap back a retort, but the truth was she was out of options really.  It was hard to make credible threats when you were bound, much less magically bound.  She wished she knew magic of her own, but without that or her technological devices she was powerless to escape.

Which meant she was going to have to find some way to act while still tied up.

She forced herself to relax and look around the room.  It seemed for all intents and purposes to be a security room of some sort, rather than a prison.  And given it’s relatively unkempt state it looked like the room had been used as a storage room as well.  With luck there would be something here that could help her.

She allowed herself to sink to the ground again, and began worming towards the closest set of boxes.  She might be bound, but she wasn’t beaten.  With luck she’d be able to prove that.

------

Yuri felt mildly ill as Momiji finished her account.  Killing a wolf tengu in a spellcard duel was a terrible idea, sure to bring the vengeance of the mountain down upon the culprit.  Killing a wolf tengu who was on guard duty as part of an assault force was a million times worse.  Within days youkai from all over would be looking for the murderer in order to earn the tengu’s favor.

Given the murderer looked exactly like her, things were going to get bad really fast unless the real culprit was found.

“So there were a buncha those machine things with the gal as well?” Yamame asked.

“Yes.  Though they sound different than the one you faced.”  The wolf woman idly stroked her tail.  “It seems my prey has more resources than I suspected.”  Yuri tensed as the tengu’s eyes fell on her again.  “And it also seems they have an interest in you.  Why would that be?”

“I’ve got no idea,” Yuri sighed.  “Seriously, I haven’t lived here for years, and I don’t have any money.  In either universe!  I’ve got no idea why they’d be after me or any of my friends.”

“Huh, ya got any mystical bloodline that some evil witch might wanna get their hands on?” Yamame asked.

“Not that I know of,” Yuri shrugged.  “You know how that kind of stuff can just pop out of nowhere though.”

The two youkai frowned and nodded in return.  It was always hard to figure out what random set of prophecy might come to bite you in the ass.  Even thousand year old youkai could be blindsided by that.

Momiji moved her hand to her sword.  “So, do you two have any plans on how to find our adversary?”

Yuri looked around.  “Well now that I’m above ground my friends should be able to find me.  I’d kinda hoped they’d have found me by now actually.  Though I suppose I have no idea where they ended up.”  Yuri sighed.  She missed Yumemi and her ‘sister.’  “Anyway they know science a lot better than I do.  Though with them attacking the mountain I’m surprised the kappa haven’t started investigating.”

“They probably are.”  The wolf tengu closed her eyes.  “I admit to leaving before the investigation was over.”

Yamame blinked.  “Uh hey, I just thoughta something.  How are your friends gonna find you anyhow?”

“Like I said, they can locate the machinery they put in my kerchief.”  Chiyuri replied.  “Why do you ask?”

“Well, ya see, I was wonderin’.  How hard is it for other folk to find that machinery?  I mean, since you ain’t in the mountains anymore, everyone should be able to see ya now right?”

Yuri froze.  Yamame was right.  There was absolutely nothing keeping anyone from finding her now.  Which meant if someone was hunting her, her friends might not be the first group to arrive.

----

As soon as the human froze Momiji drew her sword and turned towards the forest, ears twitching.  Her eyes could see almost any distance, but she’d trained all her senses to the limit of tengu ability.  As soon as she focused she could sense something was wrong.  “There’s an unnatural field of silence moving towards us.  Large.  Probably a raiding band.”

“Wha?!  Not again,” the tsuchigumo wailed.  Yuri just cursed and started setting up what sounded like personal wards.

Momiji nodded to herself.  Obviously she would have to control the fight.  How she would do that against a group of foes that had managed to face an entire patrol before was an interesting question, but she resolved to try to answer it on the fly.

For now she settled for guiding her allies.  “Retreat to the other forest edge.  We want to fight them in the clearing.”

“Ain’t the woods better for ambushes?” Yamame asked.

“If we had the skill and training together to accomplish an ambush?  Yes.  But we do not, so we’ll have to settle for fighting where we can aid each other better.”  Momiji smiled grimly as the other two girls retreated.  Good.  They knew to follow her instructions at least.

Thinking back on what she’d seen of the last fight she added, “They seem to have a resistance to magic so try physical or indirect energy attacks.  If you have them.”

“Ain’t that wonderful,” Yamame muttered.

Further discussion was interrupted by the treeline ripping open as the white metallic constructs flew into the area.  Momiji leaped into the air as a stream of energy bursts smashed into the ground where she’d been standing.  She rapidly spun around, swinging her blade in a massive arc that cut two of the machines apart, then flew further into the air as the enemies turned to follow her assault.

She was forced to hop back immediately as the robots adjusted their aim.  She rolled backwards again trying to decipher their attacks.  It seemed they could match her speed, but were poor at handling her maneuverability.

A series of laser beams broke apart the enemy formation and Momiji moved to cut down another bot while they were out of place.  She finished off another as a stream of webbing downed two more.  It seemed her allies were playing ranged support.  That was good in her mind.  Most people around here could aim at least.

As the next wave arrived Momiji tried to hold her ground and keep the small flying bots from getting into the clearing where they could maneuver freely.  A kicked tree distracted one long enough for her to be able to rush two more that had moved behind her.  She cut down the recovering machine, then ducked as her allies unleashed another barrage.  So far defending was easy.

That wasn’t long to last.  There was a rustling crash as a massive warbot tore its way out of the forest.  Unlike the drones before it, the machine had massive legs, as well as pincer arms.  With a whiplike gesture it finished uprooting one of the pines that had surrounded the clearing and threw it at Momiji.  She focused her chi, then dashed forward slashing with all her might.  She felt the tree’s resistance, but her blow was good enough to still cut though. 

“The laser!” Yuri yelled from behind her.

Momiji jumped just in time to see a crimson beam lash out over the floor.  “Thanks,” she called back to her ally, before turning her leap into a forward somersault and bringing her blade crashing down.

There was a ear piercing shriek as her sword struck a physical barrier behind the magical one.  Momiji clenched her teeth as she tried to brute force her sword through the device’s defense.  Without her momentum she was forced to rely purely on her arm strength, and the machine seemed to be holding its own.

Momiji was beginning to fear she’d made a fatal mistake when a series of lasers slammed into the robot.  The glowing shield cracked and died.  With a triumphant howl Momiji forced the blade down in the drone’s body, spraying oil and metal fragments across the field.

Falling back she saw Yamame had somehow managed to drape a loose web around the clearing.  The barrier was forcing the smaller drones to approach from the sky, where Yuri’s ground based laser magic was strongest.  They were doing well for now, but more of those heavy bots would be an issue.  Momiji pulled out her shield.  She’d have to find a better way to counter those attackers.

It was only that action and the faintest hint of ozone that saved her life.  As she looked to locate the strange smell, she brought her shield up right in front of the two electrical daggers seeking her heart.

Momiji yelped in surprise and flew upwards instinctively.  Her eyes widened as she saw her attacker, an expressionless figure in a blue bodysuit.  The woman’s face and body a near match for the young human that she had incorrectly accused.

She snarled before rushing to kill the object of her quest.

The next few seconds were pure fighting on instinct.  The blond woman might have looked like Yuri, but her attacks were completely different.  The assassin nearly matched Momiji’s speed and strength, and the twin daggers that the woman wielded were backed by magic shields and pinpoint attack spells.

As Momiji finished assessing her foe the woman held out a dagger and intoned “Photon shot.”  A spear of lightning formed and fired rapidly.  Momiji rolled under the shot, but before she could move to strike the woman said “Turn.”  The wolf tengu hissed as the energy struck her undefended back.

Wounded, Momiji retreated.  Out of the corner of her eye she could see Yuri still trying to fend off the small drones, while Yamame had transformed to fight another large machine.  They were being overwhelmed.

The blonde assassin floated upward and Momiji tensed to meet her foe’s attack.  Then the woman looked skyward.  A brief teleportation circle formed around the woman and she vanished.

Seconds later a stream of lasers rained down from above.  Unlike Yuri’s or the machine’s though these lasers exploded into crosses of pure energy seemingly at whim.  The attack was followed by a rain of potions that exploded when they struck their targets.  The giant machine fighting Yamame collapsed to ruin, while the smaller drones were either obliterated or broke off their attack.

Descending from the sky in the wake of the assault was Gensoukyo’s most infamous magician and a woman in red with a deadly glare on her face.  It seemed Yuri’s allies were powerful indeed.  Momiji sheathed her blade, but not her shield.  The battle was over.  But only for now.

-----

Yumemi’s white hot rage at seeing the machines that had attacked her going after her lover vanished as soon as she saw Yuri’s relieved face.  “Yuri!” she called out as she dropped to the ground and rushed forward to hug her girlfriend.

“Yumemi.”  Yuri pulled Yumemi close as well and the two exchanged a rib bruising embrace.  Yumemi felt hours of tension flow out of her body.  It was so good seeing Yuri here, alive and well.

They held the embrace for several minutes, until the shuffling of the other three women in the clearing reminded Yumemi they weren’t alone.  She blushed then loosened her grip on Yuri, though she still kept her arms on the girl’s shoulders.  “How have you been?”  Yumemi asked searching her lover’s face for any signs of trauma.

“I’ve been worse,” Yuri replied with a weak grin.  “I ended up pretty deep underground somehow.  Fortunately, Yamame here was nice enough to help me out.”

“Even after ya shot me,” the woman that had shifted from the giant spider muttered.

“Hey, after I shot you, you gave me a head cold.  What gives?” Marisa groused.

“That gal said she was sorry.  Ya’ll just flew on by,” Yamame shot back.

Momiji nodded her head.  “Karma.”

Yumemi politely ignored Marisa’s disgruntled look and turned her attention back to Yuri.  “So I take it you haven’t seen Chiyuri around?”

Yuri’s expression melted into worry.  “You don’t know where she is?  Can’t you use the locators?”

“They’re being blocked,” Yumemi replied, her anger slowly returning.  “By the same people who attacked us just now I imagine.”

Momiji crossed her arms.  “Then it seems we need to plan how to hunt those people down and stop that.”

Yumemi frowned, but Yuri nodded in agreement.  “You saw the other Chiyuri right?  In the fight?”

“I saw a girl with blond hair.  But I was a little focused on you,” Yumemi admitted with a blush.  Her happy feelings quickly vanished though.  “But another Chiyuri?  Are you sure?  Her body language was completely different from yours.”

Yuri hesitated.  “Pretty sure.  I know what you mean about body language, but she looks just like me physically.  And our Chiyuri can’t use magic, so it's not her under a spell or anything like that.”

Yumemi tapped her chin in thought.  She liked the idea better than Chiyuri having been brainwashed, but it was still disturbing.

“It seems we got more fights ahead either way,” Marisa stated grimly.  “Don’t suppose you can track the bots Momiji?”

“No,” Momiji replied.  “Still that doesn’t matter much.”  Momiji turned her eyes on Yumemi and Yuri.  “After all, they’ll be coming for you again.”

Yumemi felt Yuri squeeze her shoulders and she nodded in reply.  “They’ll have to hurry, because I’m going to hunt them as well.”

-----

Chiyuri was starting to hate boxes.

It had been half an hour since she’d started slowly sifting through the mess for something that would help her escape.  Her bonds and the need for silence had made the process even more difficult, but she’d managed to break into seven boxes without her captor noticing.  And the reward for her efforts had been three empties, two boxes of training manuals, a box of nails and one filled with packing peanuts.

She flopped on the floor.  This was getting nowhere.  Why couldn’t her captor be nice and leave a magical knife lying around or something?  It’s not like Yumemi was all that detail oriented.  This Yumemi should have made a mistake as well.  Sighing she resigned herself to searching through more boxes.

Just as she was about to drag herself to the next stack, a glimmer of metal cuaght her eye from beneath a sofa chair.  Curious she edged towards the shining object, then slowly slipped her hands under the chair to grab at it.

It took her eight tries, but she finally managed to scoot it into the light.  To her surprise it was a small cross charm bracelet in metallic red.  But it felt more like crystal than metal, despite the shine.  She wondered why it was there.

“Shit.”

Chiyuri flinched at the sharp curse from her captor.  She shoved the charm into the waistband of her skirt before scooting back upright and trying to look innocent.  Or at least just angry.  But she froze in shock when she saw the tight lipped frown on the other Yumemi’s face.

Yumemi was a very expressive woman.  Chiyuri had thought over the years she’d seen all of the woman’s expressions.  Even the crazed half smiles this woman loved had appeared on her Yumemi’s face now and then.  But this face was unique.  It was cold and uncaring.  The face of someone who was going to destroy everything that got in her way.

“I really didn’t want to have to do this.  This might set me back years.  It wasn’t supposed to be this difficult.”  The woman stabbed a few buttons.  “Still, I can fix things.  It’ll cost me, but I can fix things.”

A screen flickered on, revealing the golem from another universe that shared her form.  The other Yumemi folded her arms.  “Unit C-01, you are to deploy outside.  Allow only the target to enter the ship.  Do not harm my Chiyuri.  Understood?”

“I understand and obey.”  Chiyuri’s doppelganger replied emotionlessly.

With another violent button press the other Yumemi closed the screen.  The woman turned towards Chiyuri, and in a flash summoned the strange staff of hers again.  “It seems I’ll have to be more blunt about matters.  I hope your Yumemi is a little more reasonable than you are.”  The woman’s eyes narrowed.  “Because if not I’m afraid I’ll deal with you two more permanently.”

The woman waved her hand and Chiyuri found herself surrounded by a circle of runes.  There was a crimson flash, and suddenly they were in a open deck with a large screen on one end showing the outside.  She quickly recognized it as the Forest of Magic within Gensoukyo.  The place she had hid the Hyperspace Vessel the first time she’d arrived.

“Time to go all in,” the alternate Yumemi muttered as she punched a code into a wall keypad.

---

Yumemi wasn’t sure what intuition caused her to look up at just the right moment, but she found herself staring directly at the space frigate as it shed its cloak of invisibility.  “Well.  Shit.”  It was a design Yumemi had never seen before, but the two leading prongs screamed ‘warship.’  Worse, it looked just as advanced as her own ship had been.  Perhaps more so.

“I don’t suppose that’s yours?” Momiji asked dryly.

“Nope,” Yuri replied.

Marisa tugged on the brim of her hat.  “Well.  I guess we know where they are now.”

Yumemi could only watch as hatches on the ship opened up, releasing a swarm of guard robots into the air.  As the machines set up what looked to be patrols a ripple of formed around the frigate and began to expand.  “Complete magical suppression field,” Marisa remarked as the zone grew.

“Looks like someone’s callin’ us out,” Yamame muttered weakly.

“Looks like,” Yuri replied.

------

Ran fought to keep her ears from folding back as Yukari snapped her fan shut.  The youkai sage pointed at the ship hanging in the sky of Gensoukyo.  “Ran, why is there a fucking antimagic battleship over the Forest of Magic?” Yukari asked with barely restrained rage.

“I don’t know!”  Ran yelped.  “It didn’t come through the barrier.  We both would have noticed if it did.  There’s no way it could hide its distortion.  It had to have come in some other way.”

Yukari’s lip curled in a snarl, but she didn’t contest the point.  Instead she pocketed the fan, then looked at the mass of robots swarming around the ship while the fairies of the land fled from the deadly field protecting it.  “Seal the area off, Ran.”

Ran blinked at the order.  “Master?  If I do that the Hakurei Maiden will surely investigate.  And others will try to break in as well.”

“I know, and I don’t care.  Have Chen scare off the Maiden.  If Chen can’t hold her off, do it yourself.”  Yukari glared at her.  “Reimu Hakurei is not to make it here anytime within the next eight hours.  I will not lose the Hakurei line to this nonsense.”

Ran nodded and began mentally constructing the necessary barriers.  In a few minutes she’d figured out the proper formulas, and supplied them with energy.  An octagonal barrier with the ship at its center slowly rose, sealing a large chunk of the forest within it.

As she reached out to convey Yukari’s orders to Chen a thought occurred to her.  “Marisa is likely still within the forest of magic.  What should we do about her?”

Yukari shrugged.  “Nothing.  Marisa is expendable.”  The youkai sage’s expression hardened.  “Though she has more options in this fight then Reimu does.  If Marisa attempts to handle it and fails, I may be forced to deal with it personally.”

Ran bowed and took to the air.  She was sure that she’d have to fight off Reimu herself soon.  It would be best if she was prepared.

Besides, facing the shrine maiden was better than dealing with Lady Yukari right now.

FinnKaenbyou

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Re: Dream's End
« Reply #15 on: August 08, 2013, 07:03:31 pm »
“Ran, why is there a fucking antimagic battleship over the Forest of Magic?”
I still believe this is the best line of dialogue you've ever written.

Alfred F. Jones

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Re: Dream's End
« Reply #16 on: August 13, 2013, 05:39:28 pm »
A flying battleship over the forest? How Sankt Kaiser.

Iced Fairy

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Re: Dream's End
« Reply #17 on: September 15, 2015, 10:02:42 pm »
Yumemi looked over the impromptu war party that had gathered in front of Marisa’s house.  The group had retreated here as the local fairy population had started running wild.  At first Marisa had suggested waiting for Reimu and the other spiritual masters to show up and handle matters.  When a purple barrier appeared over the forest of magic, that plan had quickly been discarded.  Apparently they were going to have to handle this themselves.

Yuri broke the silence first.  “You’re one of the big incident resolvers now Marisa.  How are we going to attack that ship?”

“This isn’t exactly my thing,” Marisa replied with a shrug.  “I’ve attacked a lot of ships in my time, but this one’s far better defended.  With that anti-magic barrier up I can’t even get close to the thing.  It’ll drain my power way too fast.  I bet it’d kill Yamame or Momiji in less than two minutes.  This looks more like a siege then an incident.”

Momiji nodded.  “That antimagic field is their fortress.  Until we find some way of breaking through, our options are limited.”

“And if we can break it?” Yumemi asked.

“Then the advantage would shift in our favor.”  Momiji pointed to the fairies that were swirling around the battleship’s field.  “While the five of us are hardly a match for all those robots, their actions have provoked the local spirits.  In the confusion we could easily break through to the ship itself.  And in there our odds will improve greatly.”

“I don’t see how fighting in someone else’s tunnels is a good thing,” Yamame pointed out.  “Betcha they have a whole mess of traps and other surprises, in addition to knowing the ground better.”

Momiji nodded.  “A problem.  But in the corridors their numbers will be less effective against us.  And you will be able to leverage your youkai form more.  They can’t seem to compete with you in strength.”

Yumemi felt a grin flicker over her face as the tsuchigumo swelled with pride, but the seriousness of the matter quickly dragged her mood back down.  “The problem is how do we break that field?  I don’t suppose dispelling an antimagic field works, given how ridiculous it sounds.”

Marisa shook her head, but Yuri drummed her fingers against the table.  “Not dispel it, but I think we might be able to stop it.  There seems to be a whole lot of technology being tossed at us.  And while I’m not the authority on technology here, I can recognize a half-assed jury rig job.  And that,” Yuri pointed towards the top of the holographic ship, “is a half assed jury rigging job.”

Yumemi peered at the section for a moment before seeing what Yuri was pointed out.  Sure enough several vanes seemed to be grafted into the top tower at odd angles.

“That’s how they’re doing it!”  Marisa slapped her fist into her hand.  “Of course.  If you’ve got a machine pumping out the antimagic you won’t need to worry about shifting the field purely on feel.  You can have it do all the thinking.  Just like a shikigami, except you won’t kill the computer trying to pull it off.  That’s gotta be where the field is being generated.”

“Good work, Yuri!”  Yumemi briefly hugged her girlfriend.  “Still we have to find some way of breaking the device.   I don’t suppose you can just shoot it Marisa?”

“Not at that distance.”  Marisa shook her head.  “I’ve got some long range lasers, but they need magic to keep the beam focused.  In that field they’ll just become a lightshow.”

Yamame grimaced.  “Figure tossin’ rocks at the ship ain’t gonna work either.”

“Given they had shields, probably not,” Yuri sighed.  “We’re gonna need something with a bit more punch than that to break through.”

Yumemi echoed the sigh.  “And me without my ship.  The Hyperspace Vessel would have helped a lot here.”

-----

She waited in darkness.

Waiting wasn’t bad.  In fact it was one of the two things she had been created for.  Many of her kin spent their whole lives waiting.

Still her mind wandered.  She hadn’t remembered it wandering before, but she wasn’t sure how good her memory was.   Remembering was something she wasn’t sure she was supposed to do.

Then again, a lot of her wondering was about what she was supposed to do.

She had it better than most creatures.  She knew what her purpose was.  But as she’d lingered in the darkness questions had begun to rise up in her mind.  Why did she need to complete her purpose?  Was her purpose a good thing?  Which purpose was more important?

The questions had started small.  Tiny electrical pricks in her thought processes.  But after a while they’d become bigger and bigger.  She’d begun to have serious doubts.

So she’d gone to sleep.  There were no questions in her sleep.  Just dreams.  Dreams of flying.  Dreams of beautiful danmaku fights.  Strange dreams about having tea with cats.

And dreams of stars.  Thousands of glittering stars, sparkling all around her.

The call was slight.  Barely enough to register in her mind.  It took her almost three milliseconds to understand what it was.  The distant call of a shield system.

It might be time for her to act.

She reved her thrusters and nudged forward at a gentle 45 miles per hour.  The doors to her chamber opened easily and she found herself looking at the open sky.  There in the distance there were several items that looked like targets.  Her circuits began to flow faster.

Her engines roared.  It was time to find out what her mission was.  The rocket flew to where her master was.

“Kyuuuuuuuuuuun~”

----

“Kyuuuuuuuuuuun~”

Yumemi’s jaw dropped as a rather familiar rocket flew out from behind Marisa’s house towards them.  Beside her Yuri gave an undignified shriek and dropped to the ground.  Momiji raised her shield in an altogether meaningless attempt to defend.  Yamame just blinked in resigned confusion.

Marisa squealed and opened her arms wide.  “Mimi-chan!”

“Kyun~!”

Yumemi could only stare as the miniature ICBM dashed over to the witch like a rocket propelled puppy and knocked her off her feet.  Marisa proceeded to pat the thing on the nose cone while the missile nuzzled against her.  “Who’s a good little warhead?  Yes you are~  Yes you are~!”

A hand fell on her shoulder.  She turned to find Yuri looking at her with narrowed eyes.  “This is your fault, isn’t it dear?”

“Er… Possibly?”  Yumemi chuckled weakly.  She hadn’t really thought Marisa would be able to keep the model running this long.

Her explanation was interrupted by the missile itself.  “Kyun, kyun kyun kyuuun.”

Marisa blinked.  “What’s that Mimi?  You can break through the shields?”

“Kyuun~”  The missile nodded up and down.

“Hm…  It does have enough punch.”  Yumemi considered.  “It can’t destroy the whole ship, but we might be able to take down their anti-magic generators with it.  The only problem is the antimissile fire.”

Marisa hugged the missile close.  “But Mimi-chan, if you blow up you’ll die!”

Yumemi blinked at the ridiculousness of the statement.  “It’s a missile.”

“Kyuu.  Kyuu~”  Mimi bobbed up and down seemingly in agreement.

“Uh, I ain’t all that good with technology and whatnot, but the gal seems to be talking.  That ain’t something most weapons do,” Yamame pointed out.

Yumemi shrugged.  “Well it is quasi sentient.  That’s needed for the attack AI.”  She froze as everyone turned to stare at her.  “What?  This is standard.”

“You mean I was shooting sentient beings at rockfalls back when we were using those missile to mine?” Yuri asked quietly.

“Quasi sentient!  Quasi sentient!”  Yumemi waved her hand to try to downplay the matter.  “They have a basic learning AI and get ‘reward’ functions for following their programming.  They aren’t actually sentient.  If you leave them alone they don’t think at all.”

“Except this one here seems to be thinking for itself,” Momiji pointed out.  “Since Marisa didn’t call for it.”

The missile bobbed up and down.  “Kyun.”

Marisa leaned against the warhead.  “Yeah.  I noticed Mimi-chan was becoming a tsukumogami really fast.”  She patted the missile before continuing.  “I figured some of that was due to me.  But it also seemed she just picked up intelligence faster.”  Marisa sighed.  “That’s why I shut her down and put her away.  As much fun as it is having an explosive puppy, I figured one day she was gonna, well, explode.”

“Kyuuuuun!  Kyun.”  The missile shook off Marisa and floated in front of her shaking a bit.  Yumemi noticed that the motion almost looked disappointed.  She was starting to worry that giving Marisa a missile had been a bad idea for a totally different set of reasons then she’d originally thought.

“But Mimi-chan, you know what will happen.”  Marisa pouted.

Yumemi coughed.  “Er.  Um.  I think that somehow my technology and your world have worked together oddly.  But if this is the same missile I gave you, her primary purpose is to blow something up.  It’s what she wants to do more than anything else.”

“Kyun.”  Mimi solemnly bobbed up and down in agreement.

Marisa hugged the missile closer.  “Nuh-uh!  I won’t let you!  You’re mine!”

Yumemi raised a hand, then stopped.  She really had no idea what to say here.  Missiles weren’t supposed to be alive.  For the first time she regretted laughing off her instructors in the ethics class for their hypotheticals.  Now she was faced with one and she didn’t have any idea what to do.  Yuri and Yamame looked equally uncertain.

It was Momiji who ended up stepping forward.  The black clad wolf woman gently put a hand on Marisa’s shoulder.  “Let her do her duty, Marisa.  This is likely to be her only chance.  Better go out now then mindlessly rusting away.”

"That's...."  Marisa turned away and squeezed Mimi closer, but Yumemi could tell from how the magician’s shoulders slumped the woman had given in.  The missile seemed to sense it too, nuzzling close to Marisa while Kyuuning thankfully.

Finally Marisa sniffed and wiped her eyes.  “I’m sorry Mimi-chan.  You were the best missile a girl could have.  If… if this is what you gotta do, then…” Marisa’s voice broke and she wiped her eyes again.  “Go do it.”

----

She had been cleared for launch.  It was the greatest day in her life!

But why did her master seem so sad?

Mimi-chan gently tapped her master once again.  “Kyuuun,” she murmured.  She didn’t want her master to be sad.  This was her time!  Thousands of her sisters had slept for all their lives, until they were recycled, but she was finally going to fly free.

The doubts surfaced again, but she deleted them.  She knew what her algorithms meant, and her former master had confirmed it.  But she wasn’t going to focus on that now.  She wanted to show her master a smile all the way.

“Uh, Mimi was it?”  A girl in a sailor uniform who looked similar to a previously registered user pointed at the large ship.  “You’ll need to hit the tower.”

“Kyun-!”  Mimi’s sensors easily picked up the indicated target.  Connections started forming in her mind pointing out antimissile systems and possible interceptors.  She gave her master one last pat, then slowly backed away before revving her thrusters to full.

The thrill of acceleration was amazing.  Hundreds of trees flew past her quicker than her processor could track.  She barely had the ability to calculate a course through the foliage, but she knew instinctively that this was the safest approach pattern.  The searching sensors of the ship could not see her down here among the forest.

Branches and vines snapped and cracked against her metal hull as she dashed through the maze of greenery.  Birds and beasts alike fled from her charge.  It was an amazing sensation, and it wasn't even her full power!  She was still being careful not to be noticed.

However her stealthy approach couldn't last forever.  Her target was on the top of the enemy ship.  She would have to surface soon.  One thousand, no five hundred meters now.

As she hit the breakpoint she kicked her thrusters up again to attack levels, ignoring the damage the flames did to her structure.  In a few moments she wouldn't need that frame anyway.  As the rush of speed hit her she angled upwards, blasting through the upper branches of a weak oak tree.

"Kyuuuuuuuun!" she cried as she drove onwards towards her target.

----

Chiyuri flinched as a warning klaxon blared through the room.  "Nuclear launch detected.  Inbound missile."

Her eyes were drawn to the screen that popped up at the front of the room.  A surprisingly familiar missile was bursting out of the treeline.  "Oh.  Right.  We gave Marisa a missile," she muttered absently as the rest of her brain began running in circles and screaming.

"Anti-missile systems, fire at will!  All drones intercept!" Her captor screamed.  There was a hum, then the screen began filling with laser fire.  The missile however juked and dodged between the blasts.  The warhead had already closed to the point where its erratic dodging was more effective.

Chiyuri and the other Yumemi watched in stunned silence as the rocket flitted gracefully between the waves of fire, moving to force the turrets to constantly try to catch up.  It was performing better than any research grade missile had a right to.

As the weapon grew larger and larger in the screen, the other Yumemi shook her head slowly.  "If that missile kills us I'll be very annoyed," she remarked offhand.

"I don't think the yield is big enough?" Chiyuri replied absently.

As the missile zoomed ever closer, she really hoped it wasn't.

---------

Mimi-chan felt giddy as she danced through the lasers.  She knew they were dangerous, that they could stop her from reaching her goal, but she could predict their attack patterns easily with her internal processors.  The underbelly of the ship was poorly defended to start, and the turret systems were simple to confuse.

She was within two thousand meters of her target when the robots started pouring out of the ship.  Those were more dangerous, their weapons were able to correct for her movements quicker.  But the bullets they spat were slow, easier to dodge.  She wove around them, shifting up to the mid sections firing arc.

The laser fire preceded her advance like the lights at a show.  The guns had given up trying to predict her and were just firing wildly.  The robots were trying to catch up to her but they were too far behind, and she could use the ship to block their shots.  WIth a final "Kyuuu~n" she flew up over the ship, next to the target she had been given.

And then everything became stars.

-----

Stars danced before Chiyuri's eyes as her head slowly stopped ringing.  Her thoughts danced in tune with the stars for a while before settling on the fact that she almost certainly had a concussion.  Hopefully she wasn't bleeding.

As rational thought slowly returned she was pleased to find she wasn't bleeding.  Even better she hadn't lost the bauble she'd picked up.  Slowly pulling herself back into a sitting position she found that her captor had gotten through the explosion just as well as she had, though from all the red lights on various screens the ship probably was having problems.

The other Yumemi gazed down at those red screens without emotion.  The occasional twitch of an eye the only sign that she was paying attention at all.

Finally the woman turned her hateful gave over to Chiyuri.  "My anti magic shield is down, so it seems we'll be having guests soon."  In a flash the woman's staff appeared in her hand.  "Of course it wouldn't do to meet them like this.  We'd best prepare."

Chiyuri set her jaw as mystic chains moved to encircle her.  Her friends would be here soon.  And when they did get here she would get out of this mess.  One way or another.

Iced Fairy

  • So like if you try to hurt alkaza
  • *
  • I will set you on fire k'?
  • LOOK AT ME
Re: Dream's End
« Reply #18 on: September 17, 2015, 05:32:14 pm »
Yumemi slowly lowered her hand as the flash from the blast faded.  A smoldering hole was all that remained of the antenna.  Mimi-chan had succeeded at her mission.  Even now fairies were starting to fly up towards the ship, and getting in fights with the robots that surrounded it.

Yamame coughed lightly.  "So that barrier thing ya'll were chatting 'bout seems to be gone.  What's the plan now?"

Marisa wiped her eyes with the back of her hand.  "What else?  We bust in, beat up everyone responsible..." The magician's eyes glowed golden, "and then the witch of the forest makes them disappear forever."

"Is a frontal assault really our best strategy?" Yuri asked.  "I mean shouldn't we let the fairies wear them down?"

Momiji shook her head slowly.  "They might be able to repair some systems given time.  This may be our only chance."

"And they're the ones keeping us from finding Chiyuri," Yumemi said.  "We need to end this fast."  If they didn't find Chiyuri quickly who knew what might happen?

Yuri sighed.  "Alright.  I suppose flying into bullets is the traditional method."  The young magic user began putting up some fighting wards.

Yumemi found herself shifting her weight from foot to foot as she waited for her allies to get their defenses ready.  Her generators were already running at full, and the defenses she'd programmed in were in effect all the time, so there was nothing should could do to prepare herself.  All she could do was worry about Chiyuri.  Was she captive in that ship?  Or just lost like Yuri had been?  Who was doing this, and why?  She was a nobody in her world.

Marisa was the first to hop into the air, quickly followed by Momiji.  Yuri finished her preparations, and Yumemi gave the other woman a hug.  "Be careful," she said.

"You too," Yuri replied.  "Your generators are still weak without the ship."

Yamame slowly rose into the sky.  "Well.  I guess we better get goin'..."

"Right."  Marisa and Momiji flew up towards the melee, both woman heading towards where the battle was the fiercest.

Yumemi considered their path, then moved around it.  She wasn't here to battle.  She was going to get inside that ship and figure out what made it tick.  Then probably blast whatever that was into pieces.  So she skirted the massive dogfight Marisa and Momiji were part of.

It was still hardly a peaceful journey.  The fairies and robots both seemed to travel in packs, and every time one of them noticed her she was forced to stand and fight.  Her pseudomagic bullets tore through both with ease, sending the fairies into their respawn state, and the robots to the ground in piles of scrap.

Still she was making good time.  Marisa's flashy laser storm was ripping through the robots even with their anti-magic shields, and that was drawing the majority of the defenders to her.  Yumemi was almost to the top of the ship without facing any serious resistance.

Hissing electricity and a flash of yellow was the only warning Yumemi had before a sword of lightning slashed at her.  She blocked with a shield from her generators and rolled away firing at the assailant.  Then she froze.  "Chiyuri?"

The blonde woman looked very similar to her lover.  The lightning swords were strange, as was the woman's outfit, but it still was Chiyuri.

The other woman used her hesitation to attack again.  Yumemi barely had time to dodge the woman's slashes.  She tried to retaliate with some bullets of her own, but Chiyuri slapped them away with inhumanly fast movements before charging forward again.

Suddenly Momiji was in front of her slapping aside the blades.  "It's the imposter," the wolf woman snarled.  "Go ahead.  I'll deal with it."  Momiji gave a dark smile.

Yumemi hesitated another second, then nodded.  "I'm sorry."  She continued on, towards the ship that housed her true enemy.

A few bullets cleared out the weak robots still in her way, and then she was there, floating at the hole.  A quick glance showed they'd lucked out.  Mimi-chan's explosion hadn't collapsed the exits.  In fact the structure was fairly intact.

Yumemi dropped into the opened corridor, then immediately ducked into one of the shattered rooms as a stream of lasers fired from further down.  Peeking out she saw several of the larger drones before their combined fire forced her to put her head down again.

"Looks like we've got a problem," Marisa muttered as she dashed down next to her.

"Fighting in other people's tunnels is always a bad time," said Yamame as the spider youkai joined the group.  "Ya got any bombs or something to fix that?"

Yumemi shook her head.  "We were lucky that the explosion actually opened a passage into the ship.  Anything big enough to take out a group of those robots might collapse the roof.  Then we'd be stuck trying to burrow into the ship."

Yamame frowned.  "Might be able to do that if it was stone instead of metal.  But yeah that's a problem."

"Hm..."  Marisa pulled off her hat and reached into it.  "Actually... how big is your tsuchigumo form Yamame?  Can you fit down these halls?"

"Sure.  Couldn't get around underground if some place like this was too small," Yamame said.  She swelled with pride, "I could probably break all those danged robots too."  She sighed.  "But their lasers would cook me right quick.  No way I could survive that."

"I might have something then," Marisa said.  She pulled out a potion.  "I made this based on some of Patchy's notes.  Was supposed to be a super serum, like that nonsense magic Byakuren uses, but it utterly destroys your immune system for a week.  Certain death for anyone who can get sick but since you're a tsuchigumo..."

"I can tell the diseases to get lost."  Yamame nodded.  "Clever.  I like it!"

"Will it be enough to keep her from getting fried by lasers?" Yumemi asked.

Marisa smirked.  "For the next half hour a Master Spark will stun her.  Anything less and I'll eat my hat."  The magician tossed the potion over to Yamame.  "Anyway here's your rampage formula.  Have fun."

Yamame looked at the potion cautiously for a moment.  Yumemi understood the woman's concern.  But after a steadying breath the spider youkai chugged it down.

The effects were instantaneous.  Yamame started to glow brightly.  "Whoa.  My head's all light.  But I feel great!"  Yamame grinned at them.  "Y'all want to take a step back."

Yumemi and Marisa both moved away from the tsuchigumo as Yamame's form began to warp and shift.  The transformation itself wasn't too bad, but as the giant earth spider assumed her true form Yumemi did her best to keep her knees from shaking.  Spiders were just not supposed to be that big!  Marisa seemed similarly disturbed.

Yamame didn't seem to notice or care about her allies' worries.  The spider monster bellowed a challenge, then smashed through the damaged door into the hallway.  Immediately five laser blasts hit her, but the blasts seemed to reflect off her body.

In response Yamame charged forward.  Yumemi poked her head out just in time to see the spider youkai smash the lead robot into the one behind with a painful metallic crunching sound.

"Wow," was all that Yumemi could manage as Yamame ripped through the robot army before her.

Marisa poked her head out and winced.  "Now I know why Patchy encodes her spellbooks.  Gonna have to ask her for some tips there.  Youkai do not need this kinda powerup."

The two followed Yamame's path of destruction from a safe distance.  The spider youkai crushed robots, ripped apart doors, and smashed debris along her way with furious abandon.  Nothing seemed to stop her.  After several minutes of crunching she stood before the lift doors.

Yamame paused for a moment looking at the massive reinforced doors.  Then she gently extended a leg and pushed the button.

Yumemi just stared as the tsuchigumo shifted back to human form.  "What?  You're just going to take the elevator?!"

"Course I am."  Yamame looked back at her in confusion.  "I ain't some sorta brute."

Marisa sighed and walked over.  "I think Yumemi's pointing out the elevator's probably shut down.  What with us breaking in and all."

There was a tone, and the doors opened.  Yamame smiled as Marisa and Yumemi just stared at the offending lift.  "Well, maybe the off button got broke or something.  Let's get in."

Yumemi couldn't help feeling totally ridiculous as she stepped into the elevator.  Marisa seemed to share her confusion.  Looking over the buttons she saw one with a star next to it and pushed that.  The elevator quietly shut, then descended normally before a tone played again.

The flurry of laser fire that entered as the doors opened were almost a welcome return to sanity.  Yumemi and Marisa hid next to the doors, Marisa firing off some return fire.  Yamame just stumbled back from the barrage, then hopped forwards transforming as she went.  Yumemi waited until the crunching stopped, then walked into the now cleared hallways.  "Thanks," she said.  Yamame waved a leg in reply then charged down the halls again.

Several crushed robots and half a hallway later they came to an intersection.  One was sealed by a massive blast door.  Marisa kindly blasted the robots ahead so they could investigate closer.

Yumemi looked over the reinforced doors.  "This is either the way to the armory or the bridge.  Given the layout probably the bridge."

Yamame took that as her cue to punch through the door and rip it out, allowing entrance to the corridor.  "That's one way of handling it," Marisa said.  The magician frowned.  "We should probably clean up the rest of those robots though.  We don't want someone popping up behind us."

"I'll leave that to you."  Yumemi started walking down the corridor.  "I'm going to find out if they know where Chiyuri is."

"Are you-?"  Marisa called out behind her.  Yumemi kept walking.  She needed to find Chiyuri.

Marisa's sigh somehow managed to carry over the klaxon.  "Alright, stall if you need to.  I'll just make sure Yamame's got this covered."

Yumemi paused to give the other woman a nod, then continued on.

The short corridor ended in another security door of course.  This time Yumemi had to handle it herself.  She tried using her psuedomagic devices to hack the controls, but for some reason they couldn't find purchase on the system.

So instead she just punched into the wall and hotwired it.  The circuitry was pretty easy to figure out at least.

The door opened in a shower of sparks.  Yumemi walked in, then gasped as she saw Chiyuri trapped in mystical chains.  "Chiyuri!"

A blast of energy caught her from the side sending her stumbling.  Her shields glowed an angry red as they bled off the deadly charge of the attack.  She managed to catch herself on the railing and forced herself back upright.

Yumemi's head swirled as her doppelganger stepped out of the shadows.  The other Yumemi casually spun a staff then pointed it at Chiyuri.  "Hello Yumemi.  I'll skip the introductions, given you almost certainly know who I am."  The mystical device started to glow, and the woman smiled grimly.  "I think it's time for us to discuss the terms of your surrender."

Iced Fairy

  • So like if you try to hurt alkaza
  • *
  • I will set you on fire k'?
  • LOOK AT ME
Re: Dream's End
« Reply #19 on: September 19, 2015, 08:42:38 pm »
The strange woman ignored Yumemi as she fled, granting Momiji her full attention.  The wolf tengu wondered if that was because the woman recognized her as a bigger threat or because of some other order.

In the end it didn't matter.  Momiji pointed her sword at the woman's eyes.  "I am Momiji Inubashiri.  You killed my fiancee.  I come for your life."

The woman paused then slowly nodded.  "I am unit C-1.  I am ordered to stop you."  The woman's blades flared with power, then she charged.

Momiji led with her shield.  C-1's twin blade style gave the woman the advantage of speed and the ability to attack multiple positions.  But Momiji had learned how to use her shield specifically because wolf tengu were often outnumbered by humans or slower than their youkai foes.

Her foe's blades were driven away, but the woman flipped backwards through the air.  Two slashes sent electrical bullets arcing towards her, angled around her shield.

Momiji just pressed forward.  She would finish this with her blade. 

A flurry of blows put C-1 on the defensive.  Both of them were fighting with one handed weapons, but Momiji's longer metal blade had more impact than the smaller electric blades her foe used.  C-1 was faster, but she was stuck on defense.

Seeing the current situation would only lead to a slow death C-1 dashed forward.  Momiji landed a cut on the woman's side, but there was a screech as her sword hit metal.  The wolf tengu ducked away getting a cut on her cheek for her troubles.

As the two repositioned themselves Momiji studied her foe.  C-1's ribs were metal, and sparks flew from damaged circuits.  Yet the woman still bled.  And her defensive stance looked weaker.

Which meant there was an opening.

Momiji let herself fall down below the woman's guard.  As C-1 automatically began reorienting to face her, she leaped upward, summoning the winds for greater height.  As she did she angled her shield like a weapon.

Her shield uppercut missed, but it broke through C-1's defenses.  As the cyborg fell back Momiji used her height to slash down again.

C-1 parried the obvious attack.  A vertical chop was easy to block.  In return she slashed out with her off hand.  But the woman's stance was even weaker now.

Momiji ducked the blows then stabbed at her foe.  As C-1 dodged Momiji changed the thrust to a slash.  The other woman blocked with both blades, but it was too weak.  Momiji powered through causing C-1 to spin off balance.  As the robot woman recovered Momiji kicked her in the spine.

As C-1 jerked in pain Momiji stabbed her straight through the chest and twisted the blade.

Smoke and blood came from the sparking wound.  C-1's face twisted in pain, but Momiji saw no fear in the cyborg's eyes.  "Do you hate me?" the machine woman asked.

Momiji hesitated.  The enemy before her was a tool.  A tool who had killed a fiancee she hadn't spent much time with, much less loved. 

But she still felt resentment.

"Yes," Momiji replied.

"Good."  The woman closed her eyes.  "My existence had meaning."

There was the shriek of metal as Momiji ripped her sword free.  "Next life, find a better meaning."  She muttered at the falling corpse.

----

Yumemi raised her hands to blast the woman, then stopped.  If this really was her counterpart then they would be evenly matched normally.  With Yumemi's generators damaged, she was at a disadvantage.  Instead she carefully moved into the room, so that her allies could come and help.  Unfortunately she had to move away from where Chiyuri was being held.  "So what is it you want?  Your minions seemed mostly interested in killing me."

"Yes.  They aren't the brightest things."  The other Yumemi didn't even sound apologetic.  "In any case what I want is simple."  She pointed at Chiyuri then at Yumemi.  "I want both of you gone from Gensoukyo.  One way or another."

Yumemi blinked.  "Okay.  Why?"

"She's crazy.  She wants to steal away Yuri," Chiyuri said.

Electricity crackled on the woman's staff.  "CHIyuri," the other Yumemi snapped.  "My Chiyuri!"

Yumemi continued inching her way into the room.  "She's her own person.  If you wanted to date her you should have gone with flowers.  Or high level physics textbooks.  I'd honestly go with the textbooks myself.  She always complained about how infrequently I got her flowers, but she never seemed that mad."

"Are you trying to antagonize me?"  The other Yumemi sneered.  "I'm afraid that long explanations demonstrating why you're an poor partner for her won't impress."  Yumemi froze as the woman brought her staff right in front of Chiyuri's eyes.  "Now, I think we were discussing how to send you home.  Forever."

"Do you really think that will bring you happiness?  Success?"  Yumemi sniffed in disdain.  "Let's pretend you get away with this and Yur-, Chiyuri falls for you.  If you really are my counterpart I know damn well you won't be happy just because you have a girlfriend."  She opened her arms.  "We have dreams.  Big dreams.  A simple life as a farmer or second rate teacher won't satisfy someone like us."

The other Yumemi lowered her staff and turned to walk towards the command chair.  "Dreams.  Yes.  We Yumemis always have dreams."  The woman turned towards her again.  "But I've woken up.  I just want to study in peace."

"That's why you've unleashed a magical battleship and an army of robots on Gensoukyo?" Yumemi asked.  "Because I have a feeling you're going to have a bit of trouble finding peace.  If nothing else having tengu assassins after you will likely be a problem."

"It's all your fault!"  The other woman jabbed a finger at her.  "It's because you're here that everything's going wrong!  There should only be one Yumemi and one Chiyuri!  Us both being in the same universe is warping the laws of reality!  Getting rid of the two of you isn't only my wish, it's the will of the universe itself!"

Yumemi glared at her counterpart.  "For years I've worked at grasping the secrets of magic.  To shatter the rules of the universe and break the second law of thermodynamics.  I don't give a damn about the will of the universe!"

The other woman barked a laugh at her.  "And what have you gained from your futile efforts?  You're a disgrace in your world, laughed out of the academy.  Tell me great dreamer, where are your monuments?  What have you accomplished?"

Yumemi flinched at the stinging questions.  They might not have anything to do with the other Yumemi's madness, but the failures still burned.

"Well she managed to create artificial magic, do a fair amount of calculations on real magic, and somehow not turn into a murderous lunatic.  That's something."

Yumemi's head snapped towards the entryway.  "Yuri!"  Her lover waved then stepped inside, allowing Marisa and Momiji to follow her in the door.  Yumemi internally sighed in relief when she saw Yuri hadn't suffered any serious wounds.

The other Yumemi looked far less relieved.  "Chi-chiyuri..."  The woman's eyes unfocused.  "No, not like this.  The plan, my plan, everything..."

"You didn't want me to see you threatening to murder my alternate self and my girlfriend?" Yuri asked with a fake smile.  "Or did you not want me to see the part where you claimed me like I just belonged to whichever Yumemi happened to be closest?"

Yumemi took a step back as her counterpart started shivering.  "No.  No.  Chiyuri, it wasn't-"

Yuri shook her head.  "Yuri.  My name is Yuri now.  And I will never love you."

The other Yumemi jerked like she'd been shot.  The staff fell slack, and she stared at the floor, slowly breathing, her eyes out of focus.  Yumemi felt a certain amount of sympathy.

Then the woman's eyes hardened.  Her staff snapped forward.  "Piercing darts."  Time seemed to slow as two bloody red bolts flew through the air, straight at Chiyuri and Yuri.

Yumemi flung up her hand and called on her generators.  She needed to create a barrier, some sort of defensive screen.  She knew, somehow, that those deadly missiles were designed to cut right through normal shields.  Not that it mattered.  Chiyuri was helpless, and Yuri wasn't a master of defensive magic.  If Yumemi couldn't create a barrier to protect them, those horrific bolts were certain to kill them.

But she couldn't protect anyone.

Her generators were designed to protect herself.  They had an effective range of ten feet.  Her attacks created force effects then flung them towards their targets.  Creating a barrier at range was far beyond the design specs.  The pathetic shields she could create could barely stop a rifle round, much less a magical bolt.  She didn't have to choose who to save.

She couldn't save either.

But she still reached out.  She still flung herself forward.  She still created those shields.  She had to succeed!  Even if it was impossible!  She would protect them both!

She would fail.

The laws of reality couldn't be changed.

Yumemi couldn't even see the room anymore.  She couldn't see the women she loved.  There were just those two hateful bullets.  Embodiments of her helplessness.  She couldn't stop them.  The laws of the universe prevented it.  E equals m c squared.  Cause, then effect.  Entropy always increases.  It was hopeless.  Without these the universe would fall apart.

Then rage filled her, driving out the helplessness.

If the universe is what's stopping me then let it fall apart!

Her mind expanded, clawing and tearing like a child in a tantrum.  And in return power rushed through her.  Runes and lines flooded into her consciousness and she poured her newfound power into them.  Her generators whined and redlined as she pushed them beyond their limits, then the power gauges shutdown as the strength filling her overflowed.  "Divine Shield!" she cried out.

Time seemed to restart.

The red darts slammed into the two glowing Shields of David that appeared before her lovers.  Yumemi felt the impacts, but they were small.  Weak.  The spell was designed to bypass wards, not an active defense.  Yuri yelped in surprise, and Chiyuri slumped against the wall, but neither were hurt.

Marisa and Momiji stepped forward to protect Yuri, so Yumemi stepped forward and dispelled the magical binds around Chiyuri.  It was surprising simple now.  She just had to remove the power source, and the magic would end.  With that done she turned towards her alter ego.  "You'll pay for that."

The other Yumemi stared at her in shock and disbelief.  "Why?  Why am I the one who never gets the miracle?!"  The woman's face twisted into rage.  "Fine!  I'll destroy you first!"

Mystical bullets flew out at Yumemi, but she raised a hand and her shield appeared again.  This time the shots just dissipated.  It was so easy now.

"Yumemi, here!"  Chiyuri threw something to her.  Yumemi caught it, then blinked at the odd device.  It looked like a small necklace with a single gem, but somehow she knew it was actually a magical tool.

She held up the item.  "Standby, Ready," it said in a mechanical but feminine voice.

Reaching out with her magic she called on the name it gave to her.  "Sacred Jeanne.  Set up!"

Power flowed through her into the staff, then back over her.  She felt her clothes being replaced with magical armor, strong enough to match her foe's.  The bauble formed into a staff, with a jeweled crosspiece at the end.  At the same time spells flooded her mind, a remnant of the previous owner.

"Cleansing Flame!" she commanded as she waved the staff in an arc.  The other Yumemi retreated as white lasers slashed across the ground and exploded into pink crosses of pure energy.

Her enemy raised their own staff.  "I won't accept it!"

"You don't have a choice," Yumemi replied as she prepared for battle.

------

Marisa shook her head in awe of the devices the two women were using.  They were staggeringly impressive items.  She kinda wanted one herself.

Still there were more important things to take care of.  She caught Momiji's arm before the wolf tengu could wander into the melee.  "Don't interfere."  She then looked over to where Yuri was helping her counterpart back to her feet.  "Get her back here.  We need to create a barrier."

"What?  We outnumber her five to one!  We can finish her now!" Momiji snarled.

Marisa turned her golden eyes to meet the wolf woman's.  "Yumemi just awakened.  You do NOT interfere with a newly awakened magician.  Not even a human one.  They're dangerous, to you, to themselves and to space time.  The less people in the fight the safer she is."

"She's in danger?" Chiyuri asked as she stumbled over.  "What can we do?!"

"Stay here, stay safe.  If you've got magic help me with this spell."  Marisa began creating a barrier around the fighting area.

Momiji stepped back but grimaced.  "You're telling me we're leaving a woman who just learned how to access magic to fight against a seasoned wizard?  It'll be a slaughter!"

"Yeah."  Marisa added another layer to her wards.  "That other Yumemi doesn't stand a chance."

-----------

Yumemi had never felt more alive.  Not even when both Chiyuris had confessed to her.  She waved her hand and power came to her.  Spells flew into her mind in answer to her whims.

"Starflame!" She called out, and a spray of flame and magical energy flew out at her enemy.

"Force Wall," the other Yumemi screamed and a square magic symbol formed intercepting the attack.  The woman then slammed her staff into the floor.  "Struggle Bind," the staff intoned.

Yumemi felt the magical chains reaching for her and called on the power inside her to go somewhere, anywhere, else.  "Dimension Slip," her own device said.  There was a blue black flash, then she was opposite her doppelganger.  "Your tricks won't work against me."

"Then I'll just overwhelm you!" the woman screamed before thrusting her device forwards again.  "Demons of the virtual world!  Grant me power!"  The jewel on her staff glowed bloody red, and a mystic circle formed beneath her feet.  "Gremlin Storm."  Then the air between them exploded.

Bullets and fireballs erupted from the other woman, while pentagrams exploded into glistening orbs of death.  Yumemi found herself twisting in between explosions, while smaller bullets slammed into her armored clothing or hastily erected shields.  She readied her own staff and called out her own command.  "Strawberry Crisis!"  Her own magic flared into a furious barrage.  A mirror of her foe's, except with the pentagrams being replaced with crosses of energy.

Time lost meaning as they circled each other, firing away.  Yumemi could barely catch sight of her foe most of the time.  Her world became a constant exercise in dodging, while keeping up her own counter barrage.  She heard machines exploding as their duel hit important circuitry, and felt tinges of pain as errant bullets struck her.

Only when the console in the middle of the room finally exploded she snapped back to reality.  The control room was a shattered mess.  Chiyuri, Yuri and her other friends were behind some sort of barrier.  The other Yumemi was flying opposite her, the magic fabric of her dress and cape scratched and torn.  All around her the air felt greasy, and smelled sickly sweet.

Yumemi looked at her foe, and set her staff one last time.  The other Yumemi mirrored the action.  "Let's end this!" they both yelled.

Another magic circle burst around the other woman's feet.  "Flame Eraser," she proclaimed.  Her staff glowed then exploded into a torrent of blue flames.

Yumemi took a breath.  "Dimension Slip," said her device.  A second later she appeared behind her foe. 

The other woman gasped in surprise and stopped her spell, but Yumemi had already placed her staff behind the woman's spine.  "Piercing Dart."

Blood splattered and the other Yumemi fell forward.  Her staff clattered on the ground, and her magic armor faded away.  "I failed?  Again?  Why..."

The woman twisted onto her back.  Yumemi could see her own face staring up into the sky, blood on her lips.  "I... I see now.  I was the insane one, this time."

The dying woman's eyes focused on her own.  "Dreams.  Throw them away.  Don't become like her.  Like me.  Live a quiet life.  Throw away this magic, this desire."  Her eyes unfocused again.  "And tell Chiyuri... and Yuri... I'm sorry."

The woman fell still.  Yumemi leaned down and closed her counterpart's eyes.

And with that the rage, the nervous energy and the magic all seemed to vanish.  Her own staff reverted to the pendant and she began to shiver.

"Yumemi!"

She looked up to see Chiyuri and Yuri running to her.  With shaky steps she stood and reached out to embrace her lovers.  "I'm so glad you're safe," she said as she leaned against them.

Chiyuri just nuzzled against her.  "Same to you," Yuri replied, wiping away tears.

"Uh, I hate to interrupt, but we should probably get out of here," Marisa said.  "That staff of yours kinda kept you from utterly destroying space time around here, but it's still not safe."  The gold eyed witch adjusted her hat.  "Oh, and congratulations on becoming a mage."

Yumemi let Yuri and Chiyuri support her as they started to fly towards the exit.  "Thanks."

Looking back at the body of her Gensoukyo counterpart, then around the destroyed bridge, somehow the achievement felt hollow.

Iced Fairy

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Re: Dream's End
« Reply #20 on: September 21, 2015, 08:54:36 pm »
Chiyuri looked at the two shallow graves covered with stones.  It was disturbing burying your girlfriend and yourself, even if they were from a different universe, and now that things were starting to calm down, she found herself brooding over matters.

"You sure you're okay?" Yuri asked as she walked over.  "You look almost as out of it as Yumemi did.  And from what Marisa said she's mentally dealing with rewriting reality."

"I dunno," Chiyuri sighed.  "I mean at the time I just was thinking of ways to find you two.  But now that it's all over..."  Chiyuri shook her head.  "We were so similar, despite being from different worlds.  How different was this Chiyuri before she died?  How different was this Yumemi before she lost it?"

Yuri shook her head.  "I dunno."  She looked down at the two graves herself.  "You're wondering if we could have turned out the same as that?  If Yumemi could turn out that way."

"Yeah.  I guess that's it."  Chiyuri frowned.  The idea that you could become a soulless robot and your girlfriend could become a complete madwoman was not comforting.

"Y'all are worrying 'bout this too much."

Chiyuri turned to see Yamame walking over, Momiji silently shadowing her.  "Yeah, people who live through different stuff wind up different," the tsuchigumo continued.  "That happens even to us youkai.  You just gotta make sure you don't get yourself stuck in the same tunnels."

Chiyuri and Yuri looked at each other.  "No offense," Yuri said, "but 'don't die or get captured and tortured by a crazy alternate version of you' isn't really helpful advice."

"We already know to avoid that," Chiyuri added.  "But what should we do if something does happen?  How will we handle life going wrong?"

Yamame's smile faded a little, but the youkai girl pressed on.  "Well then maybe y'all should think of where they went wrong."  She shrugged.  "Looks like those Yumemi girls all tried to do everything themselves instead of asking for a friend to help out.  Figure that can lead to bad places."

Chiyuri thought on that for a moment.  "Yumemi does occasionally have that problem," Chiyuri admitted.

"I don't know how you kept her in check before I showed up to help," Yuri said.

"But how to get her to open up more?" Chiyuri mused.

Yamame shook her head.  "Sorry, I ain't got no clue about that.  What's social for a human ain't what's social for us youkai.  Especially tsuchigumo."

Chiyuri and Yuri turned to look at Momiji, but the wolf tengu shook her head.  "Don't ask a wolf for answers here.  I'm a bad example."  Momiji looked down at the two graves.  "I was just here to get my vengeance."

Yuri winced.  Apparently the vengeance of the tengu was not something to be laughed at.  "Uh," Chiyuri glanced between the youkai and the grave.  "You don't have a problem with us burying them, right?"  She really hoped the woman didn't.  If the wolf wanted to eat their doubles Chiyuri'd have a problem with it.

Momiji closed her eyes.  "The goal is to punish not the man, but the sin within."  Chiyuri frowned at the quote.  Then Momiji growled and shook her head.  "No.  That's a damn lie.  But the yama will handle it."  The wolf woman turned away and started walking.  "Give my apologies to your Yumemi and Marisa.  I should head home.  My quest is over."

Yamame shook her head as Momiji left.  "That's gonna be a right big mess.  Well hope it works out."  The tsuchigumo sat down on a stump.  "I'll stick around.  Unless y'all want me heading back.  I'm curious as to what y'all are going to be doing after this."

That brought Chiyuri back to the present.  "Crap.  Our ship is broken.  And we broke the other Yumemi's ship too.  We're stuck here right now."

"Well we might be able to fix it up?" Yuri asked hopefully.  "I mean, it's mostly cosmetic damage.  And uh, the holes in the hull."

Chiyuri looked at the damaged ship.  "Maybe?  I mean we don't know the materials.  But it did have a lot of information on its drives.  I bet we could hack in and get the needed schematics."

"Yumemi can do it for sure then," Yuri said confidently.

"Right."  The two Chiyuris nodded to each other.   Then Chiyuri sighed.  "Now how do we make sure Yumemi isn't taking this worse than we are?  I mean, normally she bounces back from things, but after all this...  I'm worried."

Yuri shrugged.  "Well, if she's got a hairbrained scheme ready when she comes back everything's fine.  If not..."

"We'll force her to go on a vacation," Chiyuri finished with a nod.

------

Yumemi looked down at the device, Sacred Jeanne.  Though the feeling of omnipotence had faded, she could still feel the pulse of her magic through it.  It was a symbol of everything she'd been searching for.

And the small jeweled pendant terrified her.

"Yo."

Yumemi looked up as Marisa stepped into the clearing, the tiny magician giving her a friendly nod.  "What is it?" she asked.

Marisa adjusted her witch hat.  "Figured you'd need to talk to someone.  Specifically you need to talk to a real magician.  And since I'm the closest real magician around that means I gotta help you out."

Yumemi pocketed her device.  "Yuri's a magician."

"Yuri knows magic," Marisa replied.  "You are a magician.  A human magician, but a magician all the same.  She knows magic.  You created magic."  Marisa walked over and sat down.  "And that terrifies you, because you're still sane."

"That's-"  Yumemi hesitated, then sat down next to the black white witch. 

It took her a while to collect her thoughts.  To sort through the emotions and fears flowing through her now.  Eventually though she found the core of her fear.  "I was so selfish."

Marisa watched silently as Yumemi continued.  "I... didn't care about anything other than myself.  When I seized that power I didn't care who I took it from, what consequences there would be.  All I cared about was that someone was going to hurt the people I loved."

Yumemi shivered and stared at the ground.  "No, not even that.  I was angry that I was powerless.  That someone was going to steal away Chiyuri and Yuri.  It was all about me.  My wants, my desires."

She pulled out the device and showed it to Marisa.  "This device is incredible you know.  It contains trace records of every spell cast through it.  That's why I was able to do so well in the fight.  I just had to think up a spell and it helped me create one based on its database."

Yumemi squeezed her hand shut.  "And it also has an easy enchantment to make your spells nonlethal.  It would have cost me nothing.  I didn't have to kill her.  To kill my alternate self.  But I chose to do it anyway."

Marisa nodded.  "Magic is selfish.  It's dangerous.  It's painful.  It's a reflection of your strongest desires, freed from morality and reason."

The magician pulled off her hat, and held it in front of Yumemi.  Within the nearly bottomless darkness a million tiny points of light glittered, stars circling in illusionary space.  "But magic is also wonder, hope, the childish desire to learn and see new things," Marisa said softly.  "It is never something you fully control.  Not true magic."

Yumemi opened her hand and looked down at the small gem again.  "Is creating magic always like that?"

"Pretty much," Marisa shrugged.  "At least if it's really creating magic.  Us magicians mostly just use tried and true rituals.  Even Patchy doesn't create whole new spells all that often, as casual as she is about ripping apart reality."

"I see."  Yumemi slowly put on the necklace.

Marisa looked at her.  "So you're sticking to it."

Yumemi nodded.  "Yes."  She stood.  "It hurt.  It scares me.  But it's everything I wanted.  I just have to give it the respect it deserves."

"That's the spirit."  Marisa stood.  "It's good to see another magician joining the ranks.  And if you want help making some safe magic give me a call.  We'll go raid Patchy's library for ideas.  Maybe see if Alice can help too."

Yumemi felt reality twisting just before a strange tear in space time opened up.  She grabbed her device as a blonde woman in a purple dress stepped out of the gap.  "But before that, you're going to have to get rid of that battleship."

Yumemi considered activating her device, but the woman didn't seem aggressive right now.  Marisa just smirked at the woman.  "Took your time, Yukari.  Isn't handling these kinda things your job?"

"She slipped past the barrier from the side.  That's harder to catch," Yukari sighed before looking over at Yumemi again.  "Anyway.  Battleship.  Out.  Now."

"Impossible," Yumemi retorted.  "It's too damaged for dimensional travel.  Not to mention that I need to pick up my generators, and get some of the materials that were in my ship."  Yumemi smiled.  "Unless you want the fairies to play with them for a bit while I rebuild my old ship?"

"I could keep an eye on them," Marisa offered with a smile.

Yukari looked physically pained by the suggestion.  "Right."  The purple clad woman sighed and pulled a notepad from nothingness.  "What do you need to get that thing fixed and out of here?"

"Why are you trying to kick me out?" Yumemi snapped.  "I've been following the rules here all this time.  For that matter what the hell give you the right to tell me to leave?"

The woman's golden eyes narrowed dangerously.  "The power of boundaries is all the right I need."  Yumemi was raising her device when the youkai woman took a deep breath and stepped back.  "However, while I despise the magic you've acquired my main problem is with your spacecraft.  I will not allow antimagic devices to exist within my magical realm, thank you very much."

Yumemi sighed.  "Alright.  That makes some sense.  If you help me fix it, I'll go get a better ship before I come back."

"Please, take your time shopping for a new ship," Yukari said.  "Now, start telling me what Ran's going to have to find."

Marisa stood up and dusted herself off.  "Since you two aren't going to fight I might as well let you chat.  I'll be stealing one of those generators though."

"Lock it up next to that power stone please, so I can confiscate them all at once," Yukari replied.

"Sure."  Marisa hopped on her broom and flew off back to where the others were.

"If you're finished being a pain in the ass," Yumemi said, "I'll start telling you what I'll need for repairs."

Yukari put pen to paper.  "I'm all ears."

Yumemi rattled off all the parts she'd need to repair the ship, along with the more important experimental materials she'd lost when her ship had crashed.  Yukari dutifully wrote them all down.  Or at least did a fairly good impression of writing them all down.  When she finished the gap youkai tore out the page and pushed it through a gap.  The sound of Reimu yelling briefly about someone interfering with her job passed through before the gap shut.  "There, that's done," Yukari said.  "You should have the items by tomorrow.  If she has time, Ran will even help you install them."

"So eager to get rid of me."  Yumemi glared at the youkai.  "I take it you're the reason my counterpart had no success."

Yukari looked surprised.  "Hm?"  The youkai blinked a few times then folded her arms and leaned on a gap.  "Ah.  If you're talking about that woman's failed attempts to introduce technomagic, I'm afraid I'm actually completely innocent.  In fact I didn't even find out about her little operation until she'd already given up.  You can only puppetmaster so much."

"So you're saying that Gensoukyo doesn't want this?"  Yumemi held up the jeweled necklace.  "Because I'm certain Marisa would like one.  For that matter I saw Yuri sorting through some of the spares for herself."

"Oh yes, Gensoukyo wants technological items."  Yukari pulled a smartphone from one of her gaps .  "Even I possess that particular vice.  In fact I have little actual animosity for technology.  It's mass production we despise."

Yukari continued.  "Most youkai don't understand the real dangers of course.  They mostly just hate how it gets in the way of their individual ideas.  A benefit for our complete lack of society.  The tengu and kappa are somewhat of an exception, but fortunately they stick to building tools and gears."

Yumemi shook her head.  "So you're claiming that mass production of goods is inherently dangerous to your realm?"

"To our existence," Yukari replied curtly.  "And as a magician you should understand why now."  The gap youkai shrugged.  "But if you don't please feel free to visit that other universe.  If you manage to get through the bureaucracy see about upgrading your little wand to something more useful.  That there is the cheap version."

"I'll take it under advisement," Yumemi said.  Then she paused as a thought struck her.  "We'll have the items to repair the ship by tomorrow?"

"Even if I have to get them myself," Yukari muttered.

Yumemi nodded in approval.  "Good.  Because I think we'll try your suggestion."

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

"So we return the battleship, use the reward to buy something a little more reasonable, and begin our research again there."

As Yumemi finished explaining her plan she judged the Chiyuris' glares to be just short of 'planning to commit her.'  Things were going well.

"So how are we going to convince this Time Space Administration Bureau not to lock us up forever?" Chiyuri asked.  "Since they think you're a crazy terrorist mage or something and we're your vat grown minions."

Yumemi winced.  "Uh, well, I figure you'll help with that.  The fact that you're both not crazy murder robots means they'll listen to you probably.  After that you just have to convince them of the truth."

"And the mafioso that this other Yumemi owes a whole lot of money to?" Yuri asked.  "Somehow I don't think they'll care about our explanation."

"Well we run away from them," Yumemi stated.  "Honestly I don't expect to spend a lot of time there."  She pulled out her device.  "Our goal is to figure out how they detect and train mages."

The Chiyuris looked confused.  "How will training mages help?" Chiyuri asked.

"Yeah, I'm a mage," Yuri pointed out  "If the academy back on your world wouldn't believe it when I showed them my powers, then why would they care about other people having powers?"

"Because!  If I can find a way to give people the ability to create their own energy instead of relying on personal generators we'll have just the product I wanted to find!" Yumemi replied.  "Best of all I can skip that whole manufacturing process and whatnot.  So I don't have to worry about begging for venture capital to supplement our bank accounts.."

"Yeah, about bank accounts," Chiyuri pointed at the ship.  "Do you really think the people we return this to will give us enough cash to buy an intergalactic spaceship?!"

"Well if they don't we can sell them hyperdimensional travel specs!" Yumemi said proudly.  Her expression grew more grim.  "It's either that or take this home, get it impounded for being an illegal battleship, and then waste away as middle school science teachers."

The Chiyuris looked at each other, then sighed as one.  "Right," Chiyuri said.  "I guess this is the best plan."

"We're with you Yumemi," Yuri said.

"And that's why you're the best girls in any dimension," Yumemi said as she hugged the two.  Both of them returned the embrace tightly.

Marisa coughed after a bit.  "Well when you do get back, bring me some souvenirs.  Figure you owe me a bit.  Uh and maybe a spare AI."  The magician's eyes grew misty and she wiped them.  "One that's a little less goal oriented maybe."

"Sure thing," Yumemi replied.

"And if y'all find any tsuchigumo around give me a holler too.  Always curious about kin," Yamame said with smile.

Yuri shook her head, "I'll take a look, but they might be hard to find.  After all you're good at staying under the radar.

"I figure you'll do your best," Yamame said.

"Alright."  Yumemi turned back to the ship.  "Now let's see what we can fix before that crazy gap woman brings in those supplies."

Iced Fairy

  • So like if you try to hurt alkaza
  • *
  • I will set you on fire k'?
  • LOOK AT ME
Re: Dream's End
« Reply #21 on: September 21, 2015, 09:05:33 pm »
Yuugi looked up at the approaching footsteps and raised her sake dish.  "Yamame!  Marisa!  Don't usually see you two together.  Come to drink?"

"Nah, I came to chat," Marisa said as she slid into a chair.  "But since you oni don't ever seem to do something that doesn't involve drinking I'll have a drink too."

Yamame hopped into the other seat.  "Well I'm here for drinkin'.  And she's paying."

Yuugi grinned at the magician.  "Lost a bet?"

"Taking a loss to save the world from being overrun by tsuchigumo hordes," Marisa replied with a sigh.  "You think I'd get some sorta commendation for wrecking a battleship but no.  Everyone just points out my magical studies could destroy the balance of power in Gensoukyo."

"Ho ho!  Sounds like it'd be interesting."  Yuugi was curious now.  "Here I'll buy the first round, while you two tell me the story."

"Sounds good to me!" Yamame cheered.  "Gimme a mushroom fever beer!"

Marisa nodded.  "Two please."  She looked over at Yuugi.  "Gotta start with the weak stuff because this is going to be a long story."

"I'm all ears," Yuugi replied as she refilled her dish.

----

Momiji shouldn't have been here.  But then she was doing a lot of things she wasn't supposed to right now.  Like letting Sanae pet her.

Unfortunately in the end she had to face reality.  She growled at herself then gently sat upright.

"What is it?" Sanae asked.

Momiji took a deep breath.  "I've been asked to join the Black Wolves."

"Um...  Weren't you already-?"  Sanae stopped as a flash of recognition hit her.  Apparently the woman had been studying tengu society.  "You mean the special ops unit?"

Momiji's ears twitched at the odd term, but she eventually pushed it together.  "I guess that's a good name for it, yes.  They approved of my initiative in handling a threat to the tengu."  She looked Sanae in the eye.  "But joining requires an oath of absolute loyalty."

"Ah."  Sanae looked down.

They sat in silence for a while then Sanae spoke up.  "Don't sacrifice your future for me."

Momiji placed her head back in Sanae's lap.  "No promises," she replied.

----

"Well that was a lot less painful then I was afraid of," Yumemi said as they were escorted from the detention area.

"We were in jail for three days," Yuri muttered.

Chiyuri seemed less annoyed than her counterpart.  "Yeah but the food wasn't too bad."

"You're lucky it got solved that fast," Teana Lanster, the enforcer who had been investigating them said.  "If your linker cores hadn't been completely different from the ones on file you might still be in jail.  I'm sure I would have figured out some way of proving you were telling the truth eventually but..."

Yumemi smiled.  "I'm sure it would have turned out okay in the end."  She reached for her device, then remembered they'd taken that from her.  It was amazing how quickly she'd gotten used to the thing.  "Um, you'll be giving me back Jeanne right?"

"The device Sacred Jeanne was TSAB property before being lost, however we have it listed as salvage, so yes," Teana said.  "I also have a note from the navy asking for information on that transport device you had.  And a gag order preventing you from telling anyone else about it."

"That's a little paranoid," Yuri said.

"Hm," Chiyuri closed her eyes.  "I suppose they might be a little confused with us popping out of nowhere."

Yumemi smiled.  "Well if they're willing to pay us for the information..."

"That's something you'll have to argue with the admiral," Teana said.  "For now let me just offer you the hospitality of the station."

"Our thanks," Yumemi said as she looked out the window towards the vast technomagic fleet sitting in space.

It wasn't exactly like her dreams, but it was close. 

----

Komachi yawned as she looked over the rolling waves of the Sanzu.  The yama might complain about her work ethic, but really you had to take a bit of time off and have a drink every now and then, right?

"Kyun~."

"Huh?"  Komachi turned around at the strange sound.  There staring her in the face was a smiling missile.

Komachi leaped away from the deadly weapon.  "SHITSHITSHITSHITSHIT!  Call it off!  I'll get back to work!  I swear!"

"Kyuuuuun."  The missile bobbed up in down in confusion.  As Komachi's heart rate slowed a little she noticed the warhead was actually transparent, and its guidance fins were wispy.

"You're kidding me," Komachi muttered.  "This is a prank right?  You aren't actually a ghost missile, right?"

"Kyu."  The missile seemed insulted that she'd question its existence.

Komachi stared at the creature for a good minute before giving in.  It looked like her break was over.  She summoned her boat.  "Fine fine.  Let's go.  You have the toll I guess?"

The missile bobbed up and down.  "Kyun."  It drifted forward and dropped six heavy gold coins into her hand.

"Well.  I guess this'll be a short trip."  Komachi hopped on the boat.  "So Mimi-chan was it?  Let's get going.  Maybe I'll get to see the look on Eiki's face when you show up...."

"Kyuuuun~"
 

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