Author Topic: Dolphin Rider Koishi - The End  (Read 165220 times)

Sana

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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #60 on: September 17, 2010, 01:51:39 AM »
Akihi-Kou is a great thing and you should be proud of yourself. :V

MysTeariousYukari

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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #61 on: September 17, 2010, 02:28:47 AM »
I am absolutly Loving this! Honestly, wether you update ASAP, or wait till later isn't important to me. I can wait a few hours, days, or even weeks for another awesome update. I say, do whatever you think will have the best effect. I'm gonna read this to the bitter-sweet end, complain a bit at how it's over, and be damn glad I decided to read it, and nothing, and I mean nothing is gonna stop me from reading this to it's end, and then I will read through it all over again later and love it just as much,

Myschi

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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #62 on: September 17, 2010, 02:48:18 AM »
I am absolutly Loving this! Honestly, wether you update ASAP, or wait till later isn't important to me. I can wait a few hours, days, or even weeks for another awesome update. I say, do whatever you think will have the best effect. I'm gonna read this to the bitter-sweet end, complain a bit at how it's over, and be damn glad I decided to read it, and nothing, and I mean nothing is gonna stop me from reading this to it's end, and then I will read through it all over again later and love it just as much,

I can't really add anything to this.

Also, I have never enjoyed fanfiction this much.

Esifex

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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #63 on: September 17, 2010, 03:15:45 AM »
Knuckleduster Mokou is best Mokou

Rou, I love you, so hard

Myschi

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MysTeariousYukari

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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #65 on: September 17, 2010, 06:55:48 PM »
Knuckleduster Mokou is best Mokou

Rou, I love you, so hard

Also, Mokou forgiving Kaguya is just ^-^

Same :V

FinnKaenbyou

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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #66 on: September 21, 2010, 05:40:51 PM »
Koishi didn't want to believe what she was hearing. She hadn't agreed to this. She'd never have agreed to this.

"But...but we promised, didn't we? You said that we wouldn't kill anyone!"

Sango's face darkened. The guilt on her face spoke volumes even before the first words came out of her mouth.

"...I was hoping they wouldn't resort to the mindcoil this early on. I needed to convince you to work with us, Koishi-san...even if I had to, well, say things I didn't mean."

It was as if Sango had leapt over to her and stabbed her in the chest. She didn't realise how much trust she'd put in Sango until now, and all it did was make this hurt even more. Koishi wasn't sure whether to be heartbroken or furious, and fell somewhere in between.

"You...you lied?"

"I didn't want to, I swear, but what would have happened if I'd told you the truth? Would you still have been willing to fight if I'd said there'd be casualties? I didn't just do it for our sake, Koishi-san, I did it for yours! You would have died if I hadn't convinced you - they'd send out those fishmen of theirs to tie up the loose end, and I wouldn't be around to help you!"

Sango was both frustrated and upset, her whole body hanging rigid as she spoke. Mokou tilted her head slightly at the mention of fishmen, but beyond that had to settle for spectating on the argument without a word to contribute.

"I...but...she didn't do anything to deserve this, did she? Maybe she was a mean person, but she doesn't deserve to die, does she?"

Koishi looked over to Cirno's still-unconscious body, floating around in front of them. For a moment, she tried to picture herself doing the deed, mentally giving her a stab to the back of the neck for a quick and painless death.

The thought still made her feel physically ill.

"Believe me, Koishi-san, I don't want to do this either. If there was some way, any way for us to avoid this scenario, I'd take it. But the fact is...the Cirno you know is already gone. They're just using her as a weapon now. I'm...I'm really sorry, but..."

Sango reached into one of her pockets, pulling out a small knife with a coral pattern running down its hilt. The glint bounced off her own Ring of Breath for a moment, making it seem that tiny bit more threatening.

"It's for her sake. I can't just sit by and put her through what the Claw have planned for her."

Mokou let out a heaving sigh, occasionally turning her eyes to Cirno with a look of guilt. If she'd just paid more attention, she could have stopped this from happening in the first place.

"...There's nothing? Absolutely nothing at all we can do for her?"

Sango shook her head heavily. Even from here, Koishi could see Mokou's lip tremble. Eventually the phoenix managed to force a few words of response out, almost choking as she spoke.

"...Do it. Just...do it now. Make it quick, before I change my mind."

Sango nodded towards Mokou, glad that she was willing to accept the circumstances. She placed one hand on Koishi's shoulder, sighing.

"...It's my first time, too. I just hope it's not always going to be this scary..."

Koishi was trembling as Sango started to make her way over to Cirno's body, knife still in her hand. The dolphin took deep breaths, her fingers shaking slightly as she tried to work up the nerve.

They said that Cirno was gone. That her mind was no longer her own, that she couldn't think for herself anymore. That she was just a slave to the Black Claw, and that death was a mercy for her.

And yet there was a lingering doubt in Koishi's mind. A feeling of disagreement. A niggling idea that there was still something deep down that they just hadn't found a way to reach.

"...Hm?"

She became suddenly aware of a burning feeling in her chest. She looked down, suddenly remembering the tendrils and coils along her body, culminating in the closed eye over her heart. The eye was flickering, desperately trying to open, but not quite strong enough to finish the deed.

Not quite knowing what she was doing, Koishi reached downward and pulled it open with one hand.

The shot burst straight from the third eye towards Cirno, a light violet beam that Sango and Mokou were lucky enough not to be in range of. Both of them ducked away on instinct, thinking it was an attack from some unseen accomplice until they turned back and saw its true source.

As the beam enveloped Cirno, Koishi felt her body begin to grow heavy. It started to become a struggle to keep her eyes open, like there was no-one present in her head to do the deed.

"The hell are you doing?! ...Tororetsu-san, you're the one who knows all this crap. What's going on?"

The fatigue only grew stronger over time, until Koishi couldn't keep her eyes open any more. She was only vaguely aware of the beam fading as the world disappeared around her.

"I...I don't know! I've never seen anything like thi-hey, Koishi-san!? Are you okay? Speak to me! Koishi-san!"

She felt someone shake her by the shoulders as the beam finally died off.

Then nothing.

-----

The world she woke up in was different from the one she left.

Most of the time, when people imagined taking a voyage into the mind of another, they saw themselves leaving the cold, harsh, logical world of reality and entering a fantastical realm where you would float around while surrounded by thoughts, hopes, and dreams.

For Koishi, it was the other way around.

The first feeling that came to her mind as she regained consciousness was that she was cold. Very cold. Understandable, given that she was lying in a field of snow, and the blizzard above her showed no sign of letting up.

"H...Hello? Sango-san? Mokou-san?"

There was a stutter in her voice as the cold hit her. She lifted herself to her feet, her legs still trembling slightly, and started to look around herself. The world was white, with snow as far as the eye could see, and not a soul in sight.

"Haa...where is everyone? And...where am I?"

She vaguely remembered opening her third eye, pointing it towards Cirno. The next thing she remembered, she was here, alone and already freezing cold. She walked onwards in the hope that she'd come across some sort of shelter before she froze to death.

Other way around, dummy. You're the telepath.

Sango's words rung in her ears. She was psychic, to a degree, or so she'd been told. This world, like Cirno, was focused on ice. And the last thing she remembered was a feeling of her mind...shifting, for lack of a better word, moving out of her body and somewhere else.

So...am I in Cirno's head now?

Much to her relief, Koishi caught sight of a mansion in the distance before she lost any fingers to the cold. The entire structure was made of carefully-formed ice that looked strong enough to survive any hit Koishi could dish out, and the doors hung open as if to welcome her. Unsurprisingly, she accepted the offer, closing the door behind her to keep the chill outside.

She didn't know how a mansion made of ice could keep her from freezing to death, but all that mattered was that it was warmer in here than it was out there. The main hallway was ornately decorated, showing none of the obvious signs of disuse or disrepair.

"Hello...?"

Her voice echoed through the corridors of the mansion, but after a few seconds pause there was no response. Koishi's first steps into the mansion were careful, but contrary to her concerns there was no monster ready to swallow her the moment she stepped in.

This, it seems, was the conscious part of Cirno's mind - the part that made up her character and personality. There were many doors, many paths, but as Koishi looked around she found that most of the doors were blocked off, held in place by a series of black tendrils running along them.

The mindcoil...?

In the end, there was only one path for Koishi to follow through the mansion, its doors hanging open again as if in preparation for her arrival. To say that she was disturbed by the thought was an understatement, but the alternative was waiting around for the rest of time, so she strode forward regardless.

The corridors of the building had mirrors running along all of their walls, so with every glance to her side Koishi felt like someone was walking beside her. Unconsciously, she started walking the tiniest bit faster, afraid that something was ready to jump out from inside the mirror and eat her alive.

As she moved further down the predetermined path, she started to make out a sound, the first one to break the silence beyond her own footsteps. It was a voice, distant at first, but growing louder the further she travelled. Slowly, the vague and distant sound became clear as it echoed through the corridors of the mansion.

Somewhere in the distance, Cirno was crying.

"Ah...!"

Koishi started to run now. It wasn't loud, blatant crying, more the vague sniffles you'd get as you tried to keep your voice down. The sound only grew louder as she moved forward, until finally she came to a pair of majestically decorated double doors, even more overblown than the rest of the mansion.

Slowly, and carefully, Koishi pulled the door open and stepped inside. She'd found herself in some sort of throne room, her feet treading on an ornate red carpet. It ran the length of the room, coming to an end at a chair that may as well have been made of solid gold, it looked that costly. The figure sitting on it was clad in a regal blue robe, the same colour as the icy walls that made up her little fort. A weighty golden crown was balanced awkwardly on her head, as she looked downward as if in deep contemplation.

It wasn't her who was crying, though. The sound was coming from the room directly behind the throne, the one whose double-doors had been blocked off by the strongest of the black lines Koishi had seen up until now. Her instincts brought her halfway across the room before a voice boomed out.

"Stop right there."

The robed Cirno stood up, with her robe still swaying behind her. Her face carried a confident, regal suave that the real Cirno had never shown in all of her days.

"I've got no idea how you made your way here, but you'd better start making your way back out. You're not welcome here."

She spoke loudly, so as to not be drowned out by the sobbing behind her. That was Koishi's main concern right now - she could see that the mindcoil's efforts were focused here, so if she could destroy that barrier the rest of it would likely come apart itself.

"Cirno-san...I'm trying to help you. Right now I need to get that door open, and-"

"Help? Me? Ha! Good one, good one. Almost makes me wish I didn't have to throw you out."

She laughed heartily, oozing pride and confidence. Behind her, the sound of her own crying still rung out loud and clear. She was in two places at once, split apart in her own psyche.

Koishi put two and two together. This wasn't Cirno she was talking to - this was the ambitious, power-hungry side of her, the one that had been engineered to take over. The rest of Cirno's emotions had been locked away by the mindcoil.

And if she didn't get rid of that, Sango would end up killing Cirno for sure.

"Look, listen to me. If we don't get that door open again, you are going to...die. I'm doing this for your sake."

A hint of malice rose to Cirno's face.

"Komeiji, I don't need your help. And I sure as hell don't need to let out that wuss over there. Now, get out of here before I have to SHOW you just how well I can handle myself."

This was going badly. Koishi knew that arguing with her right now was unlikely to work, but if the alternative was fighting then she had to at least give it a try. She wouldn't be able to handle Cirno on her own in any form, that was for sure.

"But don't you get it? You must have seen the fight from here. You lost to Mokou-san, rememb-"

"Bullshit!"

Bringing up her failure had been Koishi's one chance, but at the same time it was the one thing she point-blank refused to accept. Cirno lifted an arm up from beneath her robe, revealing a glistening silver blade held beneath.

"Alright, that does it. You can kid me all you like, but when you start claiming I'm a loser, that's when you go too far!"

The robe fell to the floor, showing that Cirno was wearing a long blue dress beneath it, a zig-zag white trim running along the bottom. She weighed the sword in her hand for a moment, then charged down the room towards Koishi with all her might.*

The crying in the background stopped.

It took all of Koishi's reflexes just to dodge the blow. She leapt to the side as the sword crashed down into the ground where she'd stood only moments beforehand, rolling clumsily to the wall. By the time she'd made it to her feet, Cirno was already coming at her again, the blade's edge shimmering for a moment in the light.

"Kyah!"

The sword stabbed into the wall inches from her head, creating cracks in the ice. Cirno growled to herself, struggling slightly to pull the weapon out again and giving Koishi enough time to break away.

Looking quickly around the room, she found nothing that she could think of using as a weapon. The only notable pieces of furniture were candlesticks at the corners of the room, but they were far too heavy for her to even think of wielding. She grimaced, one of her hands curling up into a fist, before looking down on it she had a moment of epiphany.

She didn't have Sango. Or her trident. But she wasn't quite unarmed.

"Dammit. You don't get it, do you?! I'm not the sort of loser who needs to depend on other people to get by! I'm perfectly fine all by myself!"

Koishi wasn't sure if this Cirno could even hear the crying coming from the room behind her, but by the time she was ready to land another swing Koishi was ready for her. She pressed down on the dolphin emblem on her left glove, not taking the time to charge the attack - mainly because she didn't have it.

"Iruka Shot!"

Within instants the bullet had formed in her hand and started its journey toward its target. It struck Cirno's blade, knocking off her balance just enough for Koishi to trip her up in the same fashion Mokou had. Cirno proceeded to eat a faceful of carpet as she fell to the floor, sword held tightly so that it didn't fall to her side.

"Gh...lucky hit! Try doing it again, I dare you!"

She propped herself up with her blade, turning straight to Koishi. Another shot was in the middle of being charged, stronger than the one before it. Cirno paid it no mind, standing up and getting ready to block the moment it fired.

She stopped the bullet with the sword, but she couldn't stop the recoil sending its hilt slamming into her face. The impact was enough to knock her backwards a few more steps as she grit her teeth, clearly in pain.

"I...I'm fine! No harm done! Now it's my turn to rough you up!"

Cirno started charging again with reckless abandon. It was clear now she had no intention of letting up until one of the combatants stopped moving. She was set to kill Koishi now, or die trying.

But even now, Koishi couldn't shoot to kill. It was a fragment of Cirno's personality she'd be killing off - the proud, confident side that told her to keep going when things got tough. Even if she saved her after that, she wouldn't really be the same Cirno she'd been before.

Still...what else can I do...?

She'd achieved nothing, it seemed. All she'd managed to do was make sure it was her hands that were stained with Cirno's blood. Her will faltered at the last moment, and the shot she'd been charging vanished in her hands.

"Take THIS!"

Cirno swung down maniacally, and this time Koishi was too slow to dodge completely. The blade drew a line from her neck down to her armpit, tearing through the fabric of her outfit and drawing blood. Koishi cried out in pain as she pulled away, grabbing at the cut with her arm and running away at full speed.

"Kyahahaha! How does it feel now, huh?! Remember the days when I was the one getting picked on? The one everyone called stupid, pulled pranks on, beat up for lunch money? Well, who's laughing now!?"

Cirno didn't even bother to attack this time around, twirling her blade around as she returned to her demented laughter. Koishi could only stumble further away, still clutching at the wound on her chest, as she continued.

"Yeah, maybe I had to do some bad things. Yeah, maybe I had to hurt some people and break some rules, but who cares about that crap!? People like me because I'm strong, not because I'm smart! I have friends now, right?! I can't lose, or those people will stop giving a damn about me!"

To start with Koishi thought she was seeing things, but Cirno's eyes were beginning to water up. She let off little sniffles, her voice rising to a yell.

"Don't you get it, Komeiji!? I'm the strongest because I NEED to be the strongest! If I let up and lose now, then people will stop liking me! So don't even bother crying about how it's unfair, got it!?"

She was charging again, with tears hanging in her eyes and screaming all the way. She was set to run Koishi through without remorse.

Running on instinct alone, Koishi put together a plan. She had just enough time to dash backwards, behind the throne and with her back to the doors. She felt the mindcoil's black tendrils on her arms, shivering as it touched her skin. As Cirno dashed at her again her mind screamed at her to dodge, but she worked up the nerve to stay where she was. If this plan was to work, she had to move away at the last possible moment.

"Now, hurry up and DIIIIIIIIE!"

The sword came swinging downward, set to cleave Koishi in two.

Now!

Her body was primed, dodging to the side with something resembling fluency this time. The sword continued its sweep, even though the intended target had moved away.

There was an audible sound of snapping as it cut clean through the black tendrils at the gap between the doors.

A heaving groan echoed through the hall, and the entire room began to shake. The coils around the wall flailed lightly before shattering violently, firing fragments across the room. Koishi had to duck in order to avoid one hitting her in the face; soon after, she saw the fragment disintegrate into thin air.

Cirno - or at least, this side of Cirno - took a moment to realise what she'd just been tricked into doing. She stared at the doorway in horror, as its heaving metal doors began to open.

"N...No! You can't...!"

She dropped her sword and pushed back, holding the door shut with all her strength. Her face contorted with the effort, but she fought on regardless through sheer desperation.

"I...I can't...I can't let her out! No-one likes her! If I get seen with her again, no-one will ever like me!"

The tears were plain on her face again as she pressed herself against the doors, struggling to keep them shut. Koishi pulled herself to her feet, still grimacing over the wound that Cirno had managed to give her earlier. There was a tragic side to her story now - the mindcoil had all but faded, but the beliefs it had feasted on had always been there. The mindcoil just allowed them to roam free without letting any of her other feelings get in the way.*

"Dammit! Dammit, dammit, dammit dammit dammit DAMMIIIIIIT!"

She was slowly losing ground, the door pulling open ever so slightly. Even knowing that this girl had tried to kill her minutes ago, Koishi couldn't help but feel sad witnessing this. At last, Cirno's strength left her, and she fell backwards as the door opened in her face.

A figure wordlessly stepped out from within. It was a second Cirno, the polar opposite of the first - dressed in tattered rags, with tearful eyes and a heartbroken expression. She looked down at the self-proclaimed ruler of the mansion, but there was no malice in her eyes - only disappointment.

The two stared at one another in total silence, but the tension was evident. The mindcoil had done its damage. At this rate, she had no idea what would Cirno would be like when she woke up - at its worst, the two sides might split into outright separate personalities.

"Look...you two."

Koishi was nervous as she spoke out, immediately feeling two pairs of eyes fall on her. She gulped slightly before pressing onward.

"I...I understand you two had your reasons to split apart. But you're both parts of one greater whole, so you need to accept each other and move on."

Understandably, neither side was exactly fond of that idea. The humble half simply shot her a glare, while her proud side wasted no time in rebutting her argument.

"Yeah, like there's a point in that! When we worked together, we pulled off jack shit! And when she took charge earlier on and tried all that studying and crap, we got the crap beaten out of us! At least when I called the shots, people respected me for something!"

The death glare quickly made its way from Koishi to the proud Cirno after that one.

"But think about what the two of you could do together. Cirno-san...well, uh, rich Cirno-san, I can tell you've got a lot of will and determination. If you and, uh, not-so-rich Cirno-san worked together, you could easily do enough studying to pick yourself up."

"...But who'd like me?"

Now both of them were wearing the same expression - the look of loss, embarrassment, shame.

 "I'm only working so hard to keep up with everyone else. And even then, there are people that breeze past me without even lifting a book. Who would give a damn about some idiot who can barely scrape an 70 when she studies...?"

Both of them turned their heads downwards, looking generally depressed. The poorer Cirno sat down on the floor, looking her counterpart in the eye. Each side was unconsciously blaming the other for the failings of the whole, and they stared with contempt at each other in another awkward silence.

Koishi reached down, and placed one hand on each of their shoulders.

"I'd like you. It takes a lot of willpower to work that hard, Cirno-san. I'd respect you for putting so much effort into doing the right thing."

Both Cirnos were stunned for a moment, looking at each other in confusion. They turned to Koishi with identical expressions of awe.

""Y-You mean...you would...be my friend?""

Both of them spoke in unison, their voices matching with perfect pitch. Koishi nodded in response.

"Of course. Who wouldn't like a girl as determined and good willing as that?"

The two Cirnos looked at Koishi in wonder and amazement, then turned to one another. A childish, pure smile rose on each of their faces, until the pair reached out and embraced like two sisters, reunited after years apart. Koishi's heart grew a little warmer at the sight, momentarily forgetting all the circumstances that had brought her here.

"...haah..."

The two Cirnos moved closer together, until they reached the point where they merged into one another. Koishi felt her legs buckling, her strength leaving her as she collapsed back to the ground.

Her work here was done.

-----

"...san! Koishi-san!"

Sango's arms shaking her violently quickly pulled Koishi back awake. The dolphin's eyes were flooded with concern, but as Koishi began to finally respond to her movement, it started to give way for relief.

"...Y-You're alright!? You're alright! PHWEEEEEEE~!"

Sango grabbed Koishi with all her strength, pushing her by the chest. Over her shoulder, Mokou sighed with relief at the sight.

"Y-Yeah...sorry about that, Sango-san."

They were back in the alley from before, she noticed, and the costumes were thankfully absent. Maybe they'd been set to take her to the hospital - how long had she been out for?

"H...How's Cirno-san?"

Sango stood to attention at that, her grip on Koishi growing a little more tense.

"Um, uh...I haven't done it yet. I didn't realise how hard it was, and then there was you passing out, and..."

She frowned. It was clear she was taking Koishi's passing out as an excuse not to go through with the killing. Koishi smiled, on two counts; one, she had decided that Sango was a good person, even if she'd had to wrong her in the past.

Two - from what she was aware, Sango didn't have anything to worry about any more.

"Sango-san...check Cirno-san's eyes."

Sango tilted her head at that one.

"Phwee?"

"Just trust me on this one."

Although she clearly had no idea why she was being asked to do it, Sango nodded. Holding Koishi closely with one arm to be safe, she walked past Mokou towards the fallen Cirno, still passed out. She reached down, carefully lifting up one eyelid.

The eye beneath it had returned to its normal light-blue tint.

"...Oh...ohhh..."

Sango let go of Koishi, examining the other eye quickly to check if it wasn't a trick of the light. Sure enough, the other eye was back to its lighter colour as well - a sign that the mindcoil had disappeared.

"...Heh. Not bad, Komeiji-san."

Mokou caught the gist of Sango's surprise without hearing a word, offering a thumbs-up from her spot against the wall. Koishi stood up, nodding in return.

"Thank you. I...can't say I know what I did in there, but it looks like it was enough."

A relieved smile drifted onto Mokou's face. She had wanted to save Cirno to, but like Sango she'd been all but resigned to the mercy kill. Seeing that they wouldn't have to resort to it was the best news anyone could have given her at that moment.

Sango finished her inspection of the body, still looking down in wonder. She reached into a pocket, pulling out a small cellphone with (unsurprisingly) a dolphin strap attached to it. She hit a number on speeddial and put the phone to her ear.

"...Ma'am, this is Agent Sango reporting. I need to bring the Sirens to you, right now."

Koishi and Mokou turned to Sango in surprise, even though the conversation wasn't directly aimed at either. Sango's expression was still incredulous as she spoke, as if unsure of what she was saying.

"...Yes, I know protocol says to keep it secret, but this is serious. ...She just performed a successful mindcoil extraction. ...Yes, I've checked. ...Yes, I did it twice."

The voice on the other side of the phone murmured something. Sango nodded in response.

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

Sango hung up, placing the phone back in her pocket. She sighed, looking head-on at the two Sirens she was working to protect.

"Well, looks like you two are gonna be meeting the boss a little sooner than we'd planned..."

-----

おまけ

"Wait, we're meeting Sango-san's boss?!"

"She just said that, Komeiji-san."

"But what sort of woman would Sango-san work for?"

"Uh, well...that's a good question, actually."

"Maybe...it's a whale lady?!"

"Damn, I hope it's not a jellyfish..."

"Or what if it's a shark? Or an octopus?! Or even-"

"Stop badmouthing my boss, phwee! I'll get demoted if you two keep it up!"

Next Episode: Shadowy Figures! Fighting The Secret War?!

"Tororetsu-san. What were your friends saying there?"

"PHWEE?! F-Friends?! I have no idea who these people are, ma'am! Really!"

-----

As a warning, updates for this and just about everything I'm writing will probably be much slower now that university is starting up. Glad I managed to wrap this arc up before the actual work started. :V

Iced Fairy

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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #67 on: September 21, 2010, 07:45:47 PM »
As I said before, perfect mahou shoujo style there.  I'm looking forward to the revelations ahead as well.  There's a lot of awesome potential here, and you've been using it well.

Kinzo the Astro Curious

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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #68 on: September 22, 2010, 10:30:53 AM »
FANTASTIC.

I loved the Cirno's subconcious part. Whole thing was really entertaining and it was fun to draw a mental picture of the scenes.

Can't wait for more of it!

FinnKaenbyou

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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #69 on: October 06, 2010, 11:10:33 PM »
Apologies for shortness, but beyond anything else I want to prove this is alive. Plus I am up at 8 tomorrow and it is after midnight so :ohdear:

-----

Technically, Sango was meant to have blindfolded the Sirens before leading them towards the meeting place. Protocol insisted that since neither of them had been officially accepted into the Order, they were to be assumed as potential spies and treated accordingly. The White Pearl was a small enough society already - it wasn?t willing to take risks being doublecrossed by its own members on top of everything else.

Besides the obvious difficulty she?d have in guiding two blindfolded teenagers through the busy city streets, there was the still passed-out Cirno they had to carry around. Besides, so far the girls had shown themselves to be good-hearted, so Sango was willing to trust them with a secret or two.

Luckily, no-one seemed to pay much attention to Koishi and Mokou as they carried Cirno along, helping her down the street like friends seeing to a drunken classmate. Sango lead the way, retracing the path the trio had taken before. Mokou in particular focused all her attention on keeping Cirno from collapsing - the last thing she wanted to do right now was get distracted by thinking about Eientei as she walked past. She would deal with it later, in her own time. Not now.

?Uh, Sango-san??

Koishi piped up with a question as she examined the buildings around her.

?Phwee??

?Doesn?t this street lead back to school??

Sango seemed confused by the question, shrugging.

?Koishi-san, the Sirens are all gonna be girls around your age. Where do you think is the best place to set up shop??

Koishi nodded slowly as she took understood what Sango was trying to suggest. Apart from the occasional home-schooled student, every teenager in Gensouto would visit that one high school, at predictable times, on predictable days. It was the perfect place to be on the lookout for the Sirens, not to mention listening out for the rumours that the Black Claw were so fond of spreading.

Sure enough, the busy crowds started to dissipate as they continued down the path. Gensouto High loomed over them, eerily deserted as the sun began to set. Any of the students who had stayed behind for clubs were long gone now, and the gate had been locked shut some time ago. Entry was strictly prohibited at these hours, but the ominous chain gate usually did enough to convince wannabe thieves that it wasn?t worth the effort.

Sango reached into her bag again, rummaging around. Koishi watched her hand intently, waiting to see what sort of magical gizmo she pulled out next. An enchanted key that could open any lock? A bottle of acid that would melt away the metal bar? She hated to admit it, but she was starting to really get into this whole magic business, and there was a feeling of genuine curiosity as she watched the dolphin pull out her latest gadget.

She was disappointed to see Sango pull out an ordinary key. No glitter, no sparkle, nothing. Sango caught a sight of her downbeat face, and gave her an awkward look.

?I?m not gonna steal anything, I promise.?

?No, I just thought it?d be...flashier.?

Sango saw that Koishi was looking at the key in her hand, then sighed.

?Koishi-san, let me get this straight. You humans have invented a system that lets you cut spare keys to any door. No fuss, no pizazz, no evidence. You?re telling me that you?d rather I had to go through a lockpicking charm every time I wanted to get in here after hours? Jeez, and you say that I?m crazy.?

She couldn?t argue with that one, but Koishi still felt like it was a little too mundane compared to everything else she?d been exposed to in the last few days. Had it only been that long? Already it felt like she?d been doing this for months, but maybe that was because the rest of her memories around that timeline were the same dreary school days repeating ad infinitum. Mokou, meanwhile, still seemed slightly shell-shocked by today?s ordeal - understandable, in all fairness - and was relieved to see Sango resorting to methods that were relatively sane in order to open the gate.

Clearly the school board had been banking most of their money on that gate, because there was nothing in terms of security as they continued to carry Cirno along the grounds. The classrooms were supposed to be locked up by teachers at the end of the day, but it was a job that no-one really saw a point in actually doing. When was the last time anyone had broken into this place, exactly?

And even in spite of all that, there were more measures that should have served to keep intruders out. Every now and then, at the end of a corridor, a camera would glare down on Koishi. No doubt there would be evidence on the security tapes of the breakin and there would be all sorts of trouble in the morning, she thought. It was only later that she found out that the Pearl had thought ahead, and that the cameras between the entrance and the meeting place had their tapes ?conveniently misplaced? by a member of staff.

As a final result of all of this preparation, Sango led Koishi and Mokou through the school unseen by the guard on duty. The path spiraled, twisted and turned, like she was trying to lose a pursuer, but eventually came to a stop in front of a familiar classroom.

Namely, Koishi?s math class.

?...No.?

She shook her head, mentally refusing to process it. She could have dealt with it being a janitor, a class rep, some clerical worker, maybe even a teacher she?d never worked with. But not her. Please, please, PLEASE not her.

Sango didn?t even need a key this time around, simply opening the door with a twist of the knob. It creaked audibly, in a way that added a dramatic flair to the discovery of what was waiting inside. It was clear that dramatic flair was exactly what their contact was aiming for, because she?d positioned her chair to be in the midst of the light from the setting sun, deliberately turned backwards so she could twirl around when the time called for it.

?Evening, girls. You certainly took your time getting here.?

Koishi?s prayers went unanswered. Their contact saw her opening, and kicked on the floor with one high-heeled foot to spin her chair towards them.

?I assume you aren?t here for tutoring...??

Sitting comfortably, still in the dress she?d been wearing earlier, was Professor Kawashiro.

Alfred F. Jones

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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #70 on: October 06, 2010, 11:31:59 PM »
>Sultry voice: "Oh, yes, I'm here for tutoring, Kawashiro-sensei."
>Purr, then approach her while pulling off your shirt.
>Push her back onto her chair and then

Sorry, I forgot where I was for half a second.

Koishi's starting to get used to the magic, eh? This should be fun. :3

Drake

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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #71 on: October 07, 2010, 12:07:55 AM »
caaaaalled it

A Colorful Calculating Creative and Cuddly Crafty Callipygous Clever Commander
- original art by Aiけん | ウサホリ -

Myschi

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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #72 on: October 07, 2010, 01:16:43 AM »
So, so glad that Nitori's not a bad guy. Because for some odd reason, I expected her to be.

Unless she's a double agent! But she could be a double-double agent. A triple agent! Ow, now my brain hurts and I'm paranoid. :ohdear:

Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #73 on: October 14, 2010, 04:27:37 AM »
You know, it's this story that made me register for this forum.

Anyways, this is fantastic. I have to say, though, that while everyone was making Kanji Tatsumi jokes when Mokou was introduced, I was thinking more Shinjiro Aragaki.
Spoiler:
Thankfully without the whole dying issue. Or at least not permanently.

So, I guess the thing to do now is randomly guess who the other Sirens are.

FinnKaenbyou

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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #74 on: October 15, 2010, 09:00:00 PM »
Sango stepped forward without a hint of awkwardness, bowing towards the professor on the chair.

?Well, they?re all here, and last I checked they were just about intact.?

She walked over to the teacher, standing to her side like a bodyguard. It was to her that Sango?s allegiances were truly aligned, after all - she was protecting Koishi under orders. On that note, Koishi had recovered just enough to offer some sort of verbal response to her discovery.

?K-K-Kawashiro-sensei? You mean you-?

Professor Kawashiro held a hand up in objection, silencing Koishi mid-sentence.

?Please, Koishi-san, call me Nitori. We?re all going to be needing to help each other out in the next few weeks, so we should put aside the student-teacher business for now.?

?That?s not the point! You were in on this?!?

Koishi raised her voice, enough to earn her a cautious glare from the two girls across the room. There was little to fear, though - no-one was hanging around the school at this hour, so the words harmlessly echoed through empty corridors.

?You?ve been here for years, haven?t you?! I was hearing the rumours about how you turned two and two into five by the end of my first week here!?

Nitori cringed slightly at that one. She forgot to carry one digit on one calculus question, and now she couldn?t go five minutes without someone bringing it up in her presence.

?We?ve had a lot of time to prepare for this, Koishi-san. We needed to secure the school as a vantage point, and if we left it until the last minute we couldn?t guarantee there?d be a space for us to put an agent. I figured deep cover was the best option, so I decided I could afford to spend a few years teaching teenagers how to put the Ohm in Ohmygawd.?

The smile that rose onto her face suggested there was more to it than that. Given the magical prowess of the White Pearl, their leader seemed to be surprisingly scientific.

?Uh, guys? Hate to break up your discussion, but the kid here is pretty damn heavy.?

Mokou, still left out of the magical loop, was focusing her attention on the teenage girl currently weighing down one of her arms.  Cirno still seemed to be soundly unconscious, almost asleep standing as she was held upright. The rest of the room turned to look at her after Mokou?s complaint, suddenly reminding Nitori of why she?d had to bring them here in the first place.

?...Ah. Yes. Sango, this is her??

Sango nodded, looking uncertain. She didn?t seem to believe herself, either. With a quick shuffle of her eyes, Nitori directed the Sirens to lay her over a pair of desks. She stepped calmly and simply towards the body, any sign of the drunkenness she?d displayed at Lorelei?s now firmly gone. She had been there, watching while they ate dinner together, and she hadn?t been quite as intoxicated as she?d let on. Koishi had put her presence down to sheer coincidence, something not worth thinking about.

Coincidence, as a word, seemed to be losing meaning by the day.

Wait...didn?t she...?

Her mind looked backwards, to the time she?d spent at school today. After the fight with Cirno, the professor had appeared and checked if they were okay. In particular, she?d gone up to Sango and ran a hand down her jacket to check for bruises. There was no way she would have been able to do that without feeling the fin underneath. In retrospect, it was blindingly obvious, but Koishi was too busy licking her own wounds to think about it at the time.

?Now, then. Let?s see what injuries you?ve given this poor girl...?

Even as she joked, Nitori examined Cirno?s unconscious body with a steady and experienced hand. Physically, she?d taken a bit of a beating, but nothing worse than some nasty bruises. She?d be up again in half an hour or so.

?Most importantly...?

She turned to Sango, and the dolphin quickly started rummaging around her boss?s desk. She pulled out a contraption similar to a penlight, the sort that doctors used to check for consciousness. Given the pale green glow emanating from Nitori turned it on Cirno?s eye, though, it was designed for something a little more mystical. Nitori?s eyes grew wider with every second, not because she saw anything unusual in Cirno?s eye, but because she saw absolutely nothing out of the ordinary.

?...It?s gone. Not even a trace.?

A hint of awe rose to her face, as she realised what this discovery was worth. She?d been skeptical when Sango told her the news over the phone - mindcoil extraction was something that the Pearl had been looking to accomplish for years, maybe even decades - but in the face of cold, hard evidence, she had no room to argue with Sango?s claim.

Placing the penlight to the side, she looked to Koishi and offered her a small round of applause.

?Thank you, Koishi-san. You saved this young girl?s life, and for that I?m almost as thankful as she is.?

Nitori looked genuinely relieved, and her shoulders relaxed slightly. She?d just been given one less thing to worry about. This was a feeling that Koishi hadn?t quite expected - a look of utter thanks and respect. She blushed in response, twiddling her thumbs as she took a new interest in her feet. When was the last time anyone had said something like that to her? She couldn?t even remember.

?Uh, well, um...you?re welcome, I guess? I can?t really say I knew what I was doing but...I guess it worked??

Nitori turned to Koishi, examining her form more closely. She took a glance at the closed third eye upon her chest, intrigued.

?I was wondering, actually. How did you manage to close it? From what I?ve read on your ancestry, you aren?t supposed to be able to turn off your ability like that.?

Now it was Koishi?s turn to look confused. She looked down on herself for good measure, confirming that the eye was as dormant as it had always been.

?I?m...not sure where you?ve been reading. As far as I know, it?s always been like this.?

Nitori?s eyes widened in surprise for a moment, before she descended into thought. She leaned downwards, placing her head right next to the third eye and giving it a quick examination.

?Well...that isn?t supposed to happen. Not at all.?

She frowned, poking at one of the tendrils that emerged from the eye. Immediately Koishi yelped, as a feeling akin to a cold weight pressed against her chest. She slapped away Nitori?s hand violently, and the teacher?s frown deepened.

?Ah, sorry. I was checking to see if it responded to touch. I forgot it was that sensitive...?

Koishi needed a moment to catch her breath. She could touch the veins fine enough, but apparently they didn?t react well to the hands of others. The feeling passed, and she looked to Nitori with another question.

?How do you know all this, exactly? And what do you mean, ancestry??

?Oh, after Sango saw you on the beach that morning and told me she sensed you were a Siren, I did some reading into your bloodline. Magic isn?t completely original to everyone, after all - more often than not, it?s inherited in the blood, so when I went to look up families possessing third eyes like yours the Komeiji family was easily the most prominent in Gensouto.?

Nitori stepped backwards, looking at the blackboard behind her. Another equation had been drawn up earlier, and as usual with Nitori it was totally incorrect.

?As for how...it might be better for you to see that in person.?

She took a piece of chalk from the side, and began to draw a picture on the corner of the board. It was a simple picture, drawn with a series of strong, practiced strokes. The symbol was hardly easy to recognise - a circle inside a square, touching its outer edges - but it was a symbol that the machine behind the blackboard took in with perfect clarity. It was the White Pearl?s covert symbol - a pearl within an oyster, a sign of safe haven.

The room rumbled slightly as the blackboard shuffled across the wall, moving a few feet to the side. Where it had been positioned, an ominous-looking doorway was built into the wall, through which Koishi could make out a poorly lit room. She blinked incredulously, realising what would logically be on the other side.

No way...Room 495?!

The room next door had long since been abandoned due to some sort of health and safety scare, to the point where they?d built a wall over the door inside to stop meddling kids from peeking inside. They?d never given a straight explanation, though - she?d heard jokes about how it was all a coverup and there was some sort of deep dark secret behind that door, but she never expected them to be right.

Sango hung behind to watch in case Cirno came to her senses, while Nitori led the Sirens into her den. Immediately their eyes fell on the largest object in the room - a computer, almost as large as the blackboard in the room behind it, with a pair of extra screens attached to the sides. Mokou gasped slightly.

?...Damn. Didn?t know I had that sort of fan.?

The screen was still displaying the last information Nitori had been looking up - the history of a Mokou Fujiwara, one of the most recent descendants of the family of the Phoenix. The computer only offered trifling details about her - her age, her school record, but no photographs or pictures - but on one of the side-screens she could see a family tree spanning backwards at least five generations. On the other, an encyclopaedic entry on the magical traits of the family had been half-read, stopped midway. Nitori must have been reading this before she went to trail the trio at Lorelei?s. On the bottom, in much larger text than the rest, the words ?RANK: A? stood out far in front of the rest of the entry.

?We have operatives working at the hospitals around here, before you ask how I got hold of this. Know thy enemy, as they say, and every girl here could be both our best friend and our worst nightmare.?

There was a tone of smugness in Nitori?s voice as she spoke about her masterpiece. There was no chair for her to sit on - she?d taken it outside in order to perform her little introduction. She settled for standing as she reached down to the keyboard in front of the screen, typing faster than Koishi?s eyes could follow.

?And as for you...?

After a few seconds, the screens flashed, and Koishi saw her own name on the screen. It was an even stranger experience seeing her own name, her own history recorded by a woman who she barely knew. Her family tree, listing great-grandparents she?d never heard of, let alone met. And on the last screen, a full explanation of the powers that she didn?t know she had a week ago.

Or so she thought, before she started reading.

?Take a look yourself, Koishi-san. Doesn?t add up, does it??

The whole entry was far too long for her to read now, but mercifully there was a summary at the top that cut the whole thing down into one tidy paragraph.

?The family of the Eye is potentially one of the most powerful in Gensouto, if correctly trained. If unaware of their abilities, members of this family are likely to be very sensitive to the opinions of others, and highly skilled at guessing their emotions and thoughts. Upon discovering and accepting their abilities, this premonition evolves into outright knowledge, as they gain the ability to read the minds of nearby creatures at will. However, the power comes at a price - once it is activated, it cannot be turned off, and there is history of family members being driven insane by the unending onslaught of thoughts the world forces into their minds. The family name is very simply derived from the manifestation of their power - a third never-closing eye, balanced around the chest, held up by a series of bright red tendrils.?

It seemed half right. It was definitely close, that was for sure, but it didn?t fit Koishi. For one, all she could do was pass on thoughts telepathically, and only with youkai. She'd never been able to actually see what people were thinking, though she'd experimented with it occasionally in class to no success.

And besides that...

Koishi looked down again at herself. The tendrils connecting her to the third eye were purple, not red. And the eye they were holding up was firmly closed, refusing to open unless Koishi reached down and pulled away the eyelid. Given what had happened the last time she did that, she decided against repeating the process.

?You?re definitely part of the family, Koishi-san, but at the same time there?s never been one quite like you before. You may not have the same powers as, say, your mother did, but in exchange you seem to have something different entirely.?

Nitori grew tired of standing, moving the keyboard to the side and sitting on the desk it had been placed on. She looked at Koishi with the interest of a child at a zoo exhibit, only looking at the interesting parts and ignoring everything else. In this case, it was the eye that caught her attention, and Nitori continued speaking without giving her eye-contact (at least, not in the usual sense).

?I?ve only got one theory as to how this could have come about. There?s only one way for your family to close your third eyes, and that?s in death. I heard from Sango that you had a bit of an accident when you were young, and they had to bring you back after your heart stopped.?

The eye gave no response despite Nitori?s relentless glare. It hung in place as always, cold and lifeless. Koishi realised what Nitori was trying to suggest, and her heart skipped a beat.

?Looks like you came a lot closer to dying than you thought, Koishi-san. And it left a bigger mark than you could possibly imagine.?

Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #75 on: October 15, 2010, 10:07:19 PM »
Wowness.
I have...a terrible need...shall I say the word?...of religion. Then I go out at night and paint the stars.

Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #76 on: October 16, 2010, 04:57:49 AM »
Sango and Mokou are oddly quiet in this scene. Well, maybe not Mokou, since she's pretty tactiturn, but Sango's quieter than usual.

So, will Mokou get some sexy glasses as well, or does she not need them?

Zemyla

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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #77 on: October 16, 2010, 11:34:43 PM »
I thought this was just a joke when I first saw it.  Then, I thought it was just a real-world AU.  But now, I can see that it's awesome.
Possibility of Interminable Reciprocity - A Touhou RP

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FinnKaenbyou

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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #78 on: December 08, 2010, 11:36:51 PM »
?S-So, what are you trying to say? I?m half-dead??

?No, no, nothing that dramatic. Consider it that your third eye is comatose - not quite awake, but still working to some degree. You can still read the minds of youkai, right??

Koishi nodded. Sango had been ?borrowing? answers from her in class so it wouldn?t be totally obvious, but...wait.

?Yeah, but it goes the other way too. I can get Sango-san to hear what I?m thinking as well.?

Nitori nodded, working frantically at the keyboard. She began to add a note at the bottom of Koishi?s file, keeping track of all these new abilities that were popping up.

?Hm...interesting. You?ve found a way to not just tap into the minds of others, but form a psychic connection. Impressive.?

The cursor shifted down to the large text at the bottom, currently listing Koishi as a Rank B adversary. The B was promptly removed, and replaced instead with XS+++. Presumably, this was Nitori?s personal grading system, because it seemed too convoluted for anyone else to understand.

?Hm...is your power shifting inward, perhaps? Redirected so it can allow your thoughts out as well as letting other thoughts in? Yes, this is definitely worth looking into further-?

?Hey, teach. Sorry to interrupt, but I?ve got a few questions for you.?

Mokou had started to lean back on the wall, examining the other gadgets and gizmos lined around the room. There were various cupboards and drawers, filled with artifacts both scientific and supernatural. Most likely they?d have more glasses and rings so that the remaining Sirens could avoid mundane threats like insanity and drowning respectively. Besides the storage space, there were two large cylindrical tanks, filled to the brim with a green liquid unlike anything she?d ever seen before. Each had a computer in front of it, requesting input with regards to ?Subject Anatomy? - an experimental tank, maybe? Healing? Analysis? She couldn?t tell, and it was just one more question to add to the mountain she?d managed to assemble in the last few hours.

?Hm? Oh, yes, they haven?t had the chance to fill you in, have they? Apologies. When it comes to new discoveries, I can get...ahead of myself.?

Nitori?s attention was drawn away from the computer, leaving her note on Koishi unwritten. She seemed to suddenly remember that Mokou even existed, momentarily putting the entire situation to one side so she could further her own scientific curiosity. Already Mokou didn?t like the idea of trusting this woman as a superior - she was already enough of a ditz in math class, from what she remembered.

?Well I?m sorry that I don?t have some sort of new power you?ve never seen before, but in the space of about 20 minutes I went from being an ordinary high-schooler into some sort of high-tech-on-fire-brawler with a fancy glove, freaking WINGS, and a penchant for not dying. Also, since when was your hair blue? And the kid?s? And all those people out on the streets??

Perhaps it was a sign of how far Koishi had managed to immerse herself in this new magical world that the mention of Nitori?s blue hair did nothing surprise her. She?d seen signs of it before, so she was unsurprised to see that when her glasses came off the dark brown hair turned a much more dramatic shade. Mokou, though, was seeing it for the first time, and admittedly her response to it was much more calm and dignified than Koishi?s ?running through the streets in a panic?.

?Well, then. I suppose you?ve earned an explanation of what?s going on. You too, Koishi-san.?

?Um, Kawashiro-sensei, I already know-?

?I already said, I prefer Nitori. And if Sango has told you what I ordered her to tell you, you still have plenty to learn.?

Nitori regretfully left the note on Koishi?s file unfinished for the moment, though she?d undoubtedly finish it later with an eager hand. For now, it was time to get these two up to speed, and for that she led them backwards towards the far end of the room. Mokou and Koishi followed behind, still unable to make out any of the contents of these mysterious drawers and cupboards. Each of them had been locked securely, and given the jingle of keys coming from in front of them Nitori was presumably the only one who could access them.

There was a desk here, with a much more mundane looking computer than the one she?d been working on earlier, and a projector screen had been set up behind it. Nitori took her place behind it, on another of those spinning chairs (maybe the one she?d been given to work on had rubbed off on her?) and without needing any guidance the pair of Sirens stood in front.

Nitori started to activate the computer. Presumably it was running on purely mundane technology, given that she had to wait a few minutes for it to start up.

?So, while we?re waiting, Koishi-san. Mind telling me exactly what you know about this whole mess? So we can get your phoenix friend up to speed.?

Koishi blinked. She was being asked to condense everything she?d been exposed to in the last few days and simplify it into a few easy paragraphs? That was sort of a big ask, but regardless she tried to come up with a synopsis.

She needed to take a deep breath first.

?OK, so. First off, everything you know about the world is wrong. Magic exists, everyone can use it, and hair colours spread across the whole rainbow now. Animals can walk and talk like humans do - you?ve seen Sango-san, right? She?s an example. They call themselves youkai, and they basically know all this stuff we don?t. There are some bad guys who are trying to bring magic back in the limelight, and there are good guys trying to stop them from getting their hands on these jewels of ours. They?re called the Tidal Teardrops, there are 7 of them all around Gensouto inside other girls called Sirens, and they let us do all that magical crap after we make a really really important wish. We?re trying to get our hands on them before the Black Claw - that?s the bad guys, for the record - kill them off and use those Teardrops to do all sorts of crap.?

Koishi gasped again, tiring herself out. Mokou?s expression didn?t falter all the way through - she?d had her stage of being shocked and confused, and now she just simply took everything in her stride. It was impressive, if slightly disturbing.

?Excellent description, Koishi-san! Not very detailed, missing a lot of important facts, but that?s all you were meant to know anyway.?

Nitori?s compliment was double-edged, to say the least. Koishi frowned slightly, while Mokou took the initiative to ask a question that had never come to her companion.

?Teach, one thing I don?t get. So, these Black Claw guys want to let the world know about magic again? What makes you so sure that?s a bad thing??

?Besides the fact they?re willing to kill off innocents to bring it back? That they hypnotise unsuspecting humans and force them to do their bidding??

?And what about you? You?re asking seven clueless teenage girls to come do your fighting for you. If you?re so powerful and useful, why do you expect us to defend ourselves??

Koishi could see the anger working its way onto Mokou?s face. Evidently, she wasn?t as at ease with the situation as she?d let on, and she was letting rip on the professor for it full-force. Nitori?s face darkened, but she offered no response.

?Don?t think I?m scared about fighting these guys. Hell, if they?re using kids like Cirno as playthings, I?ll be more than eager to start cracking some skulls. But who says everyone else is gonna be that eager? What if they die? Why are we fighting your war for you??

?Because we don?t have a choice.?

Nitori was irritated as she responded, but her anger wasn?t pointed at Mokou. She seemed to be looking out into the distance as she started to speak, having been given a perfectly good opening to vent.

?You know what most youkai think of you human beings? They think you?re a race of sniveling, cheating cowards. They?ve seen you kill yourselves in pointless wars, tear apart all the wildlife around you, pollute the skies and seas with your waste, and now you?re on the verge of bringing the whole world down with you. Frankly, there?s a large group of youkai that think the world would be better off if mankind happened to suddenly disappear.?

Mokou?s anger floundered. Nitori?s words hit hard, and there was no way she could counter them. Mankind had done all of that and more. Koishi could feel her own heart wavering, as if she?d just been stabbed in the chest.

?If magic comes out into the open, there?s a good chance you humans will do the job yourselves. You were all so excited and threatened by nuclear weaponry, but magic will let you destroy on a scale even greater than you?ve ever achieved before. You?ll be able to wipe entire continents off the face of the earth - and given your history of peace, there?s a very good chance you will. It would just be a waiting game, and then the Claw would just pick up where you left off and take what they claim is rightfully theirs.?

Nitori?s typing at the keyboard grew more aggressive. Koishi could hear the violent staccato of key taps almost louder than her own words as she spoke.

?But some of us...some of us can?t do that. We aren?t willing to let billions die, no matter what you?re going to do. We?ve got faith in you as a race. Sure, you screwed up, but you?ll put things back together before it?s too late. So we?re not going to just sit back and let them kill you off. Maybe there aren?t a lot of us, and maybe we?re aren?t strong enough to fight for you. But we can give you what you need to fend for yourselves, and as long as we can do that the White Pearl has a use in the world.?

Nitori finished entering whatever command she needed to enter and practically smashed the return key as the computer burst to life. The act was cathartic, and her shoulders slumped a little as she came to the end of her rant.

?Is that a good enough answer for you, Mokou-san??

Mokou was, in all honesty, unnerved by the professor?s sudden aggravation. She wondered just what sort of madness those dark blue eyes had been witness to, what sort of fanatic death-cries she?d been forced to hear from her people. It was a thought she didn?t dwell on for long, and she offered a small nod in response. Koishi simply stood in place, feeling a little numb at the sound of it and working to fight off the voices in her head that told her to succumb to meaningless guilt. Maybe she?d have given in to them a week ago, but not today.

?Anyway. Now that both of you are up to speed...?

Another series of hastily entered commands, and now the projector burst into life. For now, it displayed a simple black slide.

?It?s time to let you both know exactly what we?ve had to drag you into.?

The black slide was replaced with a white one, with text written across it. Nitori had been kind enough to offer the Japanese translation - the original had been scribed in a language no human would ever understand.

Koishi and Mokou both flinched as they read.

?The History Of Humans And Magic: The War Of Cataclysm?

Chaore

  • Kai Ni Recipient Many Years Late
  • *
  • You Finally Did It, Kadokawa.
Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #79 on: December 09, 2010, 12:58:45 AM »
People being stupid and racist is why Mokou and Koishi have to fight. Makes sense!

Man, and Youkai think they're different than us. :V

Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #80 on: December 09, 2010, 01:11:59 AM »
Fuck the youkai, weeeee got the booombs, o-kay?!

... Well, okay, I guess they also have Okuu, but she's not nuclear yet.

Anyways, I guess Mokou and Koishi better settle in for Death by Powerpoint.

FinnKaenbyou

  • Formerly Roukanken
  • *
  • blub blub nya
Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #81 on: December 09, 2010, 02:02:31 AM »
Ah, the days of staying up writing until 2 in the morning. How I missed you.

-----

There would be no text for a while - all that Koishi and Mokou needed to see were pictures. The first was one of the planet Earth, but not the one that they were familiar with - it was older, and the continents had yet to shift into their current positions. Thousands of years? Hundreds of thousands? Neither of them were familiar enough with geography to tell.

?You humans weren?t always clueless when it came to magic. Back in the beginning, you didn?t just know about it, you embraced it. Magic made up your societies, your daily lives, everything.?

The slide changed again, displaying a labyrinthine metropolis. Man-made, no doubt, from the sight of humans walking around, but the entire architecture was impossible. For one, there were tunnels and walkways blatantly floating in midair, and as the camera suddenly zoomed out it became clear that the entire city was built on a floating hunk of rock. Mokou let off a low whistle at that one.

?We revealed ourselves to you, thinking that our kind could share with yours. The races of the youkai were talented, but mankind was unique in the diversity of its powers. A pyromancer could be the next door neighbour of a telekinetic, and both of them could live across from a sage of history. You were unusual, and powerful.

?But you were also devious and ambitious. It started with one or two human magicians testing their strength against the local youkai, but those skirmishes grew in size and magnitude. Within a few months of our first appearance, it had evolved into outright war. We had never seen a conflict this devastating, even in wars among the youkai races, and thus began what later became known as the War of Cataclysm.?

Another slide. This one showed the same city again, but now it lay devastated. It had fallen into the ocean and any sign of the technology that had dwelt there had been thoroughly destroyed. There were tiny figures lying in the streets, and for the sake of keeping her stomach?s contents where they were Koishi refused to give them more than a vague glare. She saw Mokou taking a closer look, and the taller girl gulped audibly.

?We were strong and experienced, but you were diverse and numerous. The battles wore on for months, and it became clear the youkai would be driven to extinction in a fair fight. So our finest mages and summoners came together, working to create a creature that would singlehandedly wipe out the human opposition. It was black magic, against every creed that all of our races followed, but it was considered necessary to ensure our survival. It would be the strongest, most intelligent creature in existence, and it would exist only to destroy.?

Nitori sounded downhearted now rather than angry. This was a piece of history she was not proud of.

?...Maybe it?s hard for you to tell, but I?m a lot older than I look. I was young then; freshly graduated and a prodigy among my people, the kappa. I was chosen to be part of this special team, and saw it as simply as a chance to earn myself some fame. I would become the hero who worked to save all of the races from the threat of mankind. I?d earn countless medals, be praised everywhere I went, and-?

She caught herself rambling, and stopped herself with a sudden cough. Neither girl could be angry - the look of guilt in her eyes was absolutely genuine. She?d clearly learned to regret her ambition, and they soon learned why.

?...Sorry. Anyway, we worked for months in the scientific and magical circles to create what would be the ultimate combatant. We gave the creature no name; we knew it simply as Project 046.
When we released it on mankind, they quickly nicknamed it the Ravager.?

This slide was perhaps even more frightening than the last. What looked back at them was a creature unlike any they?d ever seen or heard of. It stood on two legs, perhaps as an act of irony for its target. It stood a good eight or nine feet tall, and every inch of its body was covered in a jet black carapace designed to withstand all attack. Its arms looked brutally efficient, able to kill with a swipe, and its face - its face was frankly terrifying. Four eyes looked out, each glowing faintly red, and a set of three dozen jagged teeth was arranged beneath them in a sadistic grin.

?The Ravager did its job, better than even our most optimistic expectations. It sliced through the human forces with ease, killing anything and everything that dared to cross it. Within days, the war had been won, and the creature was ordered to return to base.?

This was where Nitori fumbled. Koishi and Mokou knew what she was going to say before she even said it.

?...It refused, and killed the messengers we sent to reclaim it. It turned back, but now it was fighting our own forces. We had made it too intelligent, and after it achieved sentience it wanted to rule over everything itself. The researchers hadn?t considered a killcode, and we weren?t strong enough to stop it. Worse still...?

Another slide. The Ravager stood proud and ready, but this time it wasn?t alone. A dozen youkai of various races - lions, eagles, sharks and the like - stood behind it in battle poses. They were not as threatening as their leader, perhaps, but they all shared the same cruel glint in their eyes.

?It was intelligent enough to find followers. It valued the strong, and agreed to spare their lives in return for their servitude. That was the birth of the Children of the Black Claw, and with allies on its side the Ravager grew stronger still.

Finally, we came to our last resort. We were fortunate enough that our leader, a high-ranking youkai by the name of Yukari Yakumo, had survived this far. She was a special case - no-one knew exactly what sort of youkai she was, but we knew that her power was unrivalled among any of the races. She personally visited the remnants of the human forces and agreed a truce so that both sides could eliminate the true threat - the Ravager and its minions.?

There were no slides for this one. Presumably, there had been no chance to record the battle - after all, when you were at war with your entire world at stake, there really wasn?t room for journalism.

?We would not have won the front-on battle that occured. We subdued the Claw, but the Ravager itself was too powerful for us. No-one could hope to harm it, let alone defeat it. Every remaining man, woman and child fought with the youkai that day, but it was a battle we seemed destined to lose.

That is, until Yukari revealed the ace up her sleeve.?

What was presumably the last slide came up. A transcript had been typed out, again presumably a translation from the original. The receiver was a name neither Siren recognised - probably the leader of one of the youkai races.

?Each of the racial heads was given one of these letters and given orders not to open them until the battle had ended. The contents more or less speak for themselves.?

They certainly did. As Koishi and Mokou read along with the scrolling text, they could almost hear a voice in their head reciting the words - a light, soft voice, trembling but managing to stay confident.

?Dear ---,

It is with great sadness that I abdicate my position as leader of the youkai. It is not out of cowardice I do this; in fact, it is anything but.

If you have survived to read this message, then you will already know that I am dead.

This creature - our own creation, built out of a desperate struggle - has turned against us. It is only right that we must pay the price to seal it. I have been doing my own research into sealing rituals for some time - after all, we have no way of destroying the monster, so we must instead contain it. At last I found a spell that would allow us to be free of its menace, but the price is painfully high.

Firstly, our human allies. You will have noticed that after I completed my incantation, each of them collapsed to the floor unconscious. Do not be alarmed; they are not yet dead, but something has been taken from them. The knowledge of magic, the secrets the world of youkai holds - they have now been lost to mankind.

Take your armies and leave this place. Leave no trace of your existence. It is better that our peoples live apart rather than quarrel and fall into conflict once again. Live among them, but keep yourselves hidden. Let no sign of our existence emerge, but wish them no harm - violence has solved nothing in this war, and there is no reason to believe that will change.

Secondly, the spell required a life to be sacrificed. This was a point I thought over for a long time - perhaps the researchers responsible would have been willing to offer themselves for atonement, or a warrior looking to ensure his name was remembered for all time. In the end, though, I decided that neither option would suffice. I ordered the research to be performed; the fault lied with me, and thus it is only fair that I should pay the price to repair the damage that I have caused.

One final warning: For all that has been spent to bring this victory about, it is not final. Long into the future, in the place where ideas come to life, there will be seven Sirens. Each of them shall carry within them a solemn wish, and when this wish is uttered they will regain the powers that mankind has lost tenfold. They shall all be worthy combatants, but their items of power, the Tidal Teardrops, have uses beyond simple magic.

If the Ravager?s former minions were to collect these Teardrops, they would find ways to manipulate their immense power to their own needs. If all seven were to fall to them, perhaps they could even go so far as to reveal the world of magic to humanity once again, and that will simply repeat the cycle of bloodshed that has brought us here in the first place.

I implore you. Watch for the Sirens. Ensure that they are kept safe. And most of all, make sure that the Teardrops do not fall into the wrong hands. I ask you this, as a former ruler of your people; for I would rather you had a kingdom still standing to rule.

Yours,
Yukari Yakumo
?

As the last few words scrolled onto the screen, the slide flickered and eventually died. Nitori?s voice once again grew irritated as she picked up where the slideshow left off.

?Technically, no-one won the War of Cataclysm, but both sides walked away heavily wounded. We had all suffered heavy losses, and mankind was forced to rebuild civilisation from scratch without their magic to guide them. We maintained Yukari?s orders and kept ourselves hidden: firstly out of grace and respect for our comrades, then out of spite as they turned their powers to polluting the land to survive, and finally out of fear as they began to produce weaponry that could even make a youkai bleed.

It has been thousands of years since that battle ended, and many have forgotten their vow. The Black Claw does not refer to itself by that name in public, but it has gained great influence in every race of the youkai. Those who were willing to stand vigil for the seven Sirens Yukari spoke of diminshed, until finally there was little beyond a few ragtag folks who had taken part in the war and young ambitious initiates looking to do the right thing.

We are those final few. Those last youkai who remain loyal to Yukari Yakumo, and will follow her orders to protect both mankind and the world. We are the Order of the White Pearl, and as long as we draw breath we will aid you in any way we can.?

Nitori motioned out to the compartments filled to the brim with devices and gadgets, still unseen.

?I?m not really a fighter, to be honest. All I?m good at is building things. But damn if I?m not pretty good at that. You want it, I can make it. Hell, if you can dream about it, chances are I can put something together. All I ask of you is one thing.?

She looked out at Koishi and Mokou, a tiny glint in her eyes. This clearly meant more to Nitori than to anyone - it was her own failing, and it was one she would do all she had to in order to repair.

?Fight with us. Stop the Claw from regaining their lost power. And above all, make sure this meaningless war doesn?t claim even more lives.?

Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #82 on: December 09, 2010, 02:13:45 AM »
Oh, so you're in Morocco?

Interesting, there. I totally expected Yukari to still be alive, or at least somehow involved with the Black Claw.

Anyways, so I guess that means that, barring any post-mortem fooling around, Ran's the Siren from PCB? Also, I think I remember hearing something about the Black Claw already having a... pincer?... on a Teardrop or a Siren...

Chaore

  • Kai Ni Recipient Many Years Late
  • *
  • You Finally Did It, Kadokawa.
Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #83 on: December 09, 2010, 02:45:35 AM »
I see the buildings of Koishi going awesome.

I trust you will not let me down, Roukan. LESS YOUR HEAD BE DINNER.

Esifex

  • Though the sun may set
  • *
  • It shall rise again
Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #84 on: December 09, 2010, 09:13:17 AM »
Mighty fuck, man.
You think you're no good at writing?

I am ashamed of myself for daring to submit my own literature alongside yours. There's a reason you're one of the Librarians, and it's not just because you know how to read.

You have a very obvious appreciation for the written word. Even if you haven't noticed it, it's there.
You're weaving stories - DRK, Delphi Sancti, TEiPW, PLotSS, all of 'em - with such expertise and skill. I would earnestly love to look you in the face when I say this - these are damn fine works, on par with any fantasy fiction author I've ever had the pleasure of reading.

To borrow an anecdote from Brent Weeks - I'd be the guy reading your work, and promising to let you know if you should 'give up and get a real job'. Well, don't. Fucking don't stop writing, man, cuz you've got a gift, a talent for it. You can say you spend so long slaving over your stories, torturing yourself over whether or not this scene flows right or if this dialogue sounds forced or if this character is too flat, or whatever - but I'll tell you something... I do the same. And I'm honestly blown away - completely blown away - by the sheer literary quality of your work. The time and effort that you're pouring into your stories shows, and in a big way.

I hope you feel so proud of yourself for being able to do this that your head swells up and you risk floating away - you've earned it. You've earned it many times over.

Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #85 on: December 09, 2010, 10:14:00 AM »
Mighty fuck, man.
You think you're no good at writing?

I am ashamed of myself for daring to submit my own literature alongside yours. There's a reason you're one of the Librarians, and it's not just because you know how to read.

You have a very obvious appreciation for the written word. Even if you haven't noticed it, it's there.
You're weaving stories - DRK, Delphi Sancti, TEiPW, PLotSS, all of 'em - with such expertise and skill. I would earnestly love to look you in the face when I say this - these are damn fine works, on par with any fantasy fiction author I've ever had the pleasure of reading.

To borrow an anecdote from Brent Weeks - I'd be the guy reading your work, and promising to let you know if you should 'give up and get a real job'. Well, don't. Fucking don't stop writing, man, cuz you've got a gift, a talent for it. You can say you spend so long slaving over your stories, torturing yourself over whether or not this scene flows right or if this dialogue sounds forced or if this character is too flat, or whatever - but I'll tell you something... I do the same. And I'm honestly blown away - completely blown away - by the sheer literary quality of your work. The time and effort that you're pouring into your stories shows, and in a big way.

I hope you feel so proud of yourself for being able to do this that your head swells up and you risk floating away - you've earned it. You've earned it many times over.
I fully agree with everything written here. Except for the ashamed of my self line, on grounds I haven't actually written anything.... which is probably more shameful, come to think of it.

FinnKaenbyou

  • Formerly Roukanken
  • *
  • blub blub nya
Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #86 on: December 09, 2010, 09:35:07 PM »
Sango wasn?t in the room to hear this briefing - no need, since she?d learned all of this back when she became an Initiate. This was why she?d been assigned to simple guard duty, watching over a subject who wasn?t even conscious.

Not exactly the most taxing work, but if it had to be done she?d do it.

?Phwee...Fujiwara-san sure packs a punch.?

Cirno seemed nowhere nearer waking up. Sango had tested the theory by poking her occasionally in the side, but there had been no response. Occasionally she?d started to wonder if the girl was even breathing, leading to a panicked examination and a relieved sigh.

This cycle repeated every five minutes or so.

There was only so long she could spend concerned about the well-being of their guest without getting bored, though. She wished she could be joining in with the briefing, if only because she figured her side performance would help to liven the mood. She did a really great Ravager impression, but no-one had given her a chance to show it off.

Her attention turned to the chair behind Nitori?s desk. She?d never sat in one before - she was used to the solid backs of the school chairs, practically stabbing into your spine to keep you sitting straight. This, though - it was flexible, and she felt more comfortable just looking at it.

Initially, she gave the piece of furniture a light prod, seemingly afraid that it would collapse at her touch. When this calamity proceeded to not happen, she found the nerve to pat it with a hand. The blue fabric gave way slightly, like a pillow had been built into the actual chair.

Sango?s eyes glimmered. She lowered herself down into the chair with the utmost care, hearing it squeak as she came to rest. It felt almost like she was melting into it, but in the best way she could imagine.

?Why don?t we students get awesome chairs like this??

She pushed off the floor with one foot, sending the chair twirling with an unexpected burst of speed. She?d turned a mundane piece of furniture into a fairground attraction, and she was loving it. She?d buy a chair like this and insist Koishi let her sit on it at home. She?d write her own name on it if she had to, but she couldn?t get enough of this comfort.

Unfortunately, though Sango had invented the sport of swivel-chair pirouettes, she hadn?t quite got the hang of balance. She wasn?t aware that the chair was tipping until it was already too late for her to stop.

?Phwee?!?

It fell backward, rattling against the floor with a rough sounding clang. Sango smacked her head on the back of the chair - enough to make her wince, but no lasting damage. Her first reaction was to pick up the chair and return it to its original spot so that there was no sign of her little playaround.

Her second reaction was to panic at the sight of Cirno shuffling around.

Crap, the sound must?ve woken her up!

She dashed over to the Fairy as she began to rise up into consciousness. She had to stop it, right now - if the girl woke up and saw the base in Room 495, she?d be in all sorts of trouble.

Now, how was it that human lullaby went again...?

-----

?So, you two. Are you willing to help us??

Nitori?s question carried a slight hint of inevitability. From what she?d heard of these two, she didn?t expect either of them to actually refuse, but she left the option on the table. If either them wanted to step away, it would be best to do it now before things got too complicated. They?d have to settle for one less Siren, and one more Teardrop that Nitori would have to hold onto herself.

Mokou, at least, made her decision obvious. She put her hands down firmly on Nitori?s desk, a grin rising to her face.

?Taking out a bunch of self-righteous youkai who want us all to blow ourselves up? Yeah, you can count me in for this one.?

Nitori smirked. She?d figured the phoenix would react like that. She was good at concealing it, but there was a violent temper locked down in that girl, and she?d be all too keen to channel it for a good cause.

?And what about you, Koishi-san? If you want to turn back, it?s still not too late.?

Koishi didn?t share her companion?s hot-blooded eagerness, but the look on her face was one of quiet determination.

?...So, this power of mine. It saved Cirno-san??

She didn?t seem to believe what she was saying, and looked to Nitori for confirmation. The professor?s face was solemn as she spoke.

?...Yes, it did. If you hadn?t shown us that new power from your third eye, we would have had no choice but to kill her. She?s alive now thanks to you.?

She?d saved a life. Her, all on her own. They couldn?t have done it without her. The words floated around in her head for a while, struggling to be accepted. She felt important, useful, in a way she hadn?t before.

Even though she was smiling, she could feel her eyes watering as she offered her response - not out of sadness, but out of pride.

?If that?s the case, then I?ll do it. There are going to be people depending on me, relying on me...I can?t let them down.?

It was still strange for her to think about. People relying on her, of all people! It flew in the face of everything she?d believed in a week ago, but it felt so good to hear it and believe it.

?Excellent, you two! I?m glad to have you both as our allies. Now, that leaves us with one problem - what to do with our Fairy friend. We don?t know what effect Koishi-san?s powers have had on her mind - whether she can still see magic, or if she can even remember the events of this evening. We need to test her, and the best way to do that is for you both to speak with her and see what she still knows.?

Outside, there was the sound of a chair clattering against the floor. All three of them looked in its direction, but of the three Nitori sounded the least unfazed.

?Given Sango?s antics, I?ll suggest you get to it post haste. Wipe the blackboard on the way out, please.?

They didn?t want to know how Nitori was so sure of what was going on, and frankly they didn?t care. Koishi and Mokou dashed out of the hidden chamber back into Nitori?s official classroom, quickly seeing Sango circling Cirno?s murmuring body in a panic.

?Rock-a-bye fairy on the tree top, when the wind blows the tree branch will rock...?

She was trying to sing the girl back to sleep, but given that Cirno?s mumblings were getting louder she wasn?t doing a very good job of it. It didn?t help that her knowledge of human lullabies was pretty horrendous.

?When the branch breaks, the fairy will fall, and...wait, fairies can fly, can?t they? This song makes no sense, phwee!?

?Outta the way, babysitter!?

Mokou took point before things could get any worse, grabbing Sango by the shoulder and guiding her towards the hidden room. She took the chalkboard eraser and wiped at the Pearl?s mark; no longer seeing the sign of entry, the wall closed back in on itself and left Sango and Nitori on the other side. They weren?t trapped by any means; Nitori could open the passage from her side, but she obviously wouldn?t do so until the coast was clear.

?Mmh...uuugh...?

Cirno groaned as she finally returned to the world of the living. Her first conscious motion was to clutch her left cheek, muttering profanities her mother would have been ashamed of. Koishi and Mokou were standing over her as she awoke, looking down with genuine concern.

?Kid, you alright??

Cirno needed a moment to get to terms with where she was. Her eyes glanced around the room, confirming that she was in the math classroom. This was unusual, given that math was one of the classes she skipped on an everyday basis.

?Uh...I think so...but what happened??

Koishi and Mokou turned to one another. Had she forgotten? And if so, how much? For now they?d have to test it, and Koishi quickly came up with a story to pass on.

?You tripped on the way home, remember? We tried to take you to the nurse?s office, but she?d left for the day, so we stayed here to make sure you woke up.?

Was it an iffy statement? Undoubtedly. But Cirno was drawing a blank, and right now the pain was clouding her judgement anyway. She pulled herself upright, still rubbing at her cheek.

?Y-Yeah, sure. I remember. Heh, I must?ve looked pretty dumb back then, huh??

Koishi caught it, even if Mokou didn?t - that tiny hint of sadness in her eyes, the flickering of a tear in the light. It wasn?t the sort of weakness she imagined Cirno letting anyone see. She?d changed, slightly but visibly.

A breath caught in her throat. She?d done more in Cirno?s head than remove the mindcoil - she?d seen Cirno?s two halves, her pride and her determination, and she?d brought them together. This was no longer the self-absorbed leader of the Fairies, even if in terms of appearance she remained exactly the same.

She looked over to Koishi, her lip quivering slightly. Words were trying to come out, but she was struggling to say what was on her mind. Mokou looked on from the side, raising an eyebrow, unsure exactly what was unfolding in front of her.

?I...I?m...?

Cirno rose to her feet, looking Koishi straight onward in the eye. It was easy for even Mokou to see now - the Fairy?s eyes were streaming with tears, as the words finally started to take form.

She bowed down towards Koishi, as far as her back would let her.

?I?m really, really sorry...!?

-----

?So, she?s forgotten about the magic as well...that?s a shame.?

Nitori was still firmly placed in her chair, watching the conversation unfold from the relative anonymity of the back room. Sango stood besides her, watching the computer with as much attention as her superior.

?Phwee? But isn?t that a good thing? It means we don?t need to worry about her passing on any info.?

?True, but it also means she can?t tell us who gave her the mindcoil. We?ve never had a chance to properly interrogate a victim of the Claw?s brainwashing, and it seems like we never will.?

Nitori muttered to herself as she continued to observe the girls? discussion. Cirno appeared much more docile than had been purported - perhaps there had been more to Koishi?s intrusion than simply giving her back her free will? She would look into it.

?You sound disappointed, ma?am.?

?Do I? Sorry. I guess that with all the other miracles Koishi-san?s worked for us today, I shouldn?t have been expecting this one on top of everything else. I should be happy enough that she?s saved us from getting our hands dirty.?

A painful silence hung in the room; both because they needed to avoid being overheard next door, and neither of them had anything cheerful to say. After what felt like an age, Nitori broke the deadlock.

?You shouldn?t have been playing around on the chair.?

Sango?s head drooped.

?Sorry...it just looked so comfortable, and...?

?Sometimes I worry about your professionalism, Sango. Do you know how much trouble we could have had to clean up if she?d seen this passageway? Perhaps you are still too inexperienced for this post...?

The stern tone in Nitori?s voice was enough to bring her subordinate to attention.

?Y-Yes, ma?am! It won?t happen again, I promise!?

Her words were genuine...perhaps too much so. Nitori looked up, and saw that Sango?s eyes were filled with genuine fear at the thought of being taken out of the battlefield. There were others she could take in - one or two other dolphin youkai who could take her place.

But none would have reacted to the fear of demotion with the same concern Sango had.

?...Still haven?t forgiven yourself, have you??

Sango flinched, and slumped back downwards again. She shook her head.

?You couldn?t have done anything. The Claw took us all by surprise with that attack.?

?I know, I know. But still...I need to make up for it. For her sake, and for everyone else?s.?

Sango needed a moment to pull herself together. Eventually, with a deep breath, she rose back upwards and stood straight.

?But...can I make one request, then??

Nitori raised an eyebrow. She wasn?t sure what to expect from this; Sango had never requested anything beyond her rank before.

She certainly hadn?t been expecting a smile, that was for sure.

?Can you tell me where you buy these swivel chair thingies? I?m gonna get one at home so I don?t have to borrow yours.?

Nitori had to stop herself from laughing at that one. Maybe she wasn?t the brightest tool in the shed sometimes, but she couldn?t deny Sango could put a smile to her face when she tried.

Yup, Nitori thought to herself. These kids might just do alright as a team.

-----

Koishi and Mokou tended to Cirno as she sobbed herself dry, apologising profusely for everything she?d done. It had taken a lot of careful wording to stop Cirno from descending to far down into depression, and the occasional compliment along the lines of ?it?s brave of you to admit this? kept her from clamming up halfway. She had to let out everything she wanted to say before she could fully move past it, and the two Sirens listened patiently to every word.

After what felt like an age, Cirno?s apologies and confessions drew to a close. She sniffed weakly, rubbing at her nose and wiping the last few tears from her face. She?d had her rant, she?d made her apologies, and it was time to get out of this state before it devolved into sheer self-pity.

?...I?m gonna have to hit the books pretty hard, aren?t I? I?ve got a lot to catch up on.?

?Hey, same here. I?ve not really been the best pupil myself.?

Mokou placed a hand on Cirno?s shoulder for support, pulling the Fairy close. Cirno was about a head shorter, and it was all too tempting for Mokou to ruffle her hair, but treating her like a kid probably wasn?t the best idea right now.

?Koishi-san! You?re a brainiac, right? Feel like helping us two morons get back up to speed??

Koishi hadn?t been told the plan would involve running personal study classes, but regardless she nodded. For one, she could use something to do with her time, and they always said the best way to learn was through teaching. Maybe she?d be able to get back to her old standards as well with this.

?Sure thing, but I think we should make that four. I think Sango-san could use some help as well. Do you mind, Mokou-san??

?You bet. That fine with you, kid??

Cirno seemed to have gotten lost in the conversation. Her eyes drifted from Mokou, to Koishi, then back to Mokou again. She was looking for some trace of sarcasm, some hint that they were simply kidding with her and this was just another shot at her intelligence. All that she saw was a pair of cheerful, smiling girls, offering her help without asking anything in return.

They almost seemed like...like...

?S-Sure! If all of us work together we?re gonna ace those exams, no problem!?

...friends.

Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #87 on: December 09, 2010, 11:02:36 PM »
Quote
Occasionally she?d started to wonder if the girl was even breathing, leading to a panicked examination and a relieved sigh.
Was totally imagining Sango flipping the fricking-fricky-frick out here.

Anyways, on the one hand, the last scene is a cheesy shoujo befriending scene. On the other hand, the story is cheesy (in a good way), so it's all cool. Plus, Cirno's crying scene is a manly, snot covered affair, not one of those girly single tear things, which is always good in my book. Kind of early for Mokou to call Koishi a "brainiac", though: the only reason's she's ahead of Mokou and Sango would be because she at least attended class over the last year, and (if? when?) Ran shows up...

Drake

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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #88 on: December 10, 2010, 06:54:14 AM »
Mundane!

It's a fun word. :V
« Last Edit: December 10, 2010, 09:09:18 AM by Roukanke[Z] »

A Colorful Calculating Creative and Cuddly Crafty Callipygous Clever Commander
- original art by Aiけん | ウサホリ -

FinnKaenbyou

  • Formerly Roukanken
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Re: Dolphin Rider Koishi - AKA A Passing Joke Gone Totally Awesome
« Reply #89 on: December 12, 2010, 12:24:54 AM »
Part 1 of Filler Arc gooooo

-----

Things petered out rather comfortably after that. Cirno had been true to her word; though she ended up facing a lot of flak from all the teachers and pupils she?d inconvenienced during her stint as gang leader, she took on the task of winning back their favour with a brave face and a proud smile. It was the same expression she wore during her weekly study session with Koishi and friends - at least, when she wasn?t rubbing her head in confusion and asking for clarification.

From the way Nitori had been so fervent to win her over, Koishi had expected every day to be a riveting adventure, with brutal combat and epic battles taking place on every street corner. She was happily disappointed, then, to learn that Claw activity seemed to be focused mainly on finding the Sirens now. They knew that the Pearl?s two new allies were too powerful for them to take on with their current forces, and as potent as the mindcoil was it couldn?t place someone under the claw?s control without a grudge to control them through. They needed a reason to attack, and in all honesty the Sirens were either too well-liked or too unknown for the Claw to have any worthwhile targets for recruitment.

This meant that the search for other holders of the Teardrops took precedence for both parties. Sango would routinely go out for walks alongside Koishi after school, letting off a phwee or two when no-one else was looking to scout the area for potential Sirens. So far, they hadn?t found anything, but there had been no sign of the Claw getting hold of anyone either, so it was more or less a stalemate.

Sometimes these trips would have the pair out until the dead of night, but today they?d chosen to finish early. Koishi had a test impending for the next day, and given that they?d had no luck up until now she figured she could afford to spend an evening revising. Sango would be doing some revision too, whether she liked it or not - Koishi wanted to be able to focus on her own results for once without needing to give everything she knew over to ensure the dolphin didn?t get taken down a year.

They returned home much earlier than normal, and Koishi didn?t bother to knock as she entered the house.

?I?m ho-?

No voice responded to her, but the sound of hurried movement out the hallway spoke volumes. Koishi barely had time to acknowledge there was a figure standing there before it had vanished, but it was wearing familiar shades of yellow and green.

Her clothes? Definitely.

?Koishi-san, stay back!?

Sango leapt in front of Koishi, holding her arms out as if to block the corridor. The move stunned Koishi as much as it confused her.

?Sango-san...what are you doing??

Sango looked back at Koishi with the most serious expression she could muster.

?Protecting you, phwee! Someone?s here to attack you, and it?s my job to keep you safe!?

Koishi needed a second to fully take in Sango?s line of reasoning, before finally pushing her out the way.

?H-Hey, didn?t you hear what I just said?!?

Sango didn?t go to the full extent of holding her back, but she motioned for Koishi to stop in every way she could imagine. The girl walked on regardless, heading straight in the direction the mysterious figure had ran. The trip led her into her own room, and immediately Koishi could see that her wardrobe was hanging open, ruffled with pieces of clothing hanging out. It had been recently invaded, that was obvious, but the thief was nowhere to be seen - at least, not immediately.

Koishi, though, had a good idea of where to look. She only knew one person who took refuge here, and she always chose the same spot. Sango stood in the doorway, mystified, as Koishi walked over to her bed and pulled up one of the bedsheets that had fallen over the side.

A long black tail was beneath it, wriggling around anxiously as its owner hid under the bed. Just as Koishi had expected. She reached down, running her hand down it quickly but carefully.

?Nyaah!?

Orin practically flew out from under the bed, pinning herself to the opposite wall. She wasn?t wearing the ordinary dark green dress, instead having chosen to wear Koishi?s traditional garb. Given the obvious differences between the two, it didn?t quite fit her - in particular, the shirt was beginning to strain slightly, thanks to Orin?s human form being considerably more endowed than her master?s.

The awkward silence in the room may well have lasted an eternity. Koishi wasn?t keeping count. The cat looked up, her face bright red, and Koishi?s eyes looked down at her in mild confusion. She didn?t say anything, but the thoughts rushing through her mind said more than enough.

OhcrapohcrapohcrapKoishi-samawasn?tmeanttoseethisnowIlookreallyweirddon?tIhowamIsupposedtoexplainthisnyaanyaanyaaaaaaaaaah!

It took a long time for Koishi to muster up enough sensibility to react. The sight of Orin dressing in her own clothing had been enough to stun her into silence, but eventually she managed to offer a useful response.

She giggled.

?Orin, if you wanted me to get you a change of clothes, you could have just asked.?

That was enough to take Orin?s composure apart. The panicked thoughts in her head started pouring out into words, inconsistent and desperate.

?N-No, Koishi-sama, that?s not it! I just always thought you looked cute in these clothes, so I wanted to try them on while you were away and - wait, no, that sounds even worse, doesn?t it?! Nyaaah, I?m not really this strange, I swear!?

She was almost on the verge of tears, sniffling and covering her chest. Sango had yet to recover from the initial shock, still standing in place with her jaw hanging wide open. Koishi looked into her head, but all she could hear was the word ?phwee? being repeated over and over.

She?d have to move things along herself, then. Looking away from Orin for a moment, Koishi reached into the wardrobe and pulled out a large black hat with a wide brim. A yellow ribbon ran around it, the same colour as the shirt it accompanied. Walking over to the frozen feline, Koishi placed the hat as neatly as she could on Orin?s head. It stuck up a little higher than it should have, mainly thanks to Orin?s ears.

?There. Now the outfit is complete.?

Orin seemed confused for a moment, reaching out and touching the brim of the hat to confirm it existed. She pulled herself to her feet, looking over at a nearby mirror, and realising she didn?t look half bad in it. The shirt was definitely too small, though - if she wore it for much longer, the thing would probably end up tearing.

?S-Sorry about this, Koishi-sama...I won?t do it again, I promise...?

Koishi took the whole thing in her stride, smiling.

?It?s okay! And I?ll get you some more stuff to wear in the next few days too. Sango-san, you?re fine with paying, right??

Sango didn?t answer. The poor girl?s brain still hadn?t managed to come to grips with this whole idea, and now she was muttering her phwees to herself out loud. She probably needed to go lie down for a while.

?O-Okay...thanks. But there?s one other thing you should know. Okuu is-?

?Unyuuu!?

Sango?s inanimate body was shoved aside as Utsuho burst into the room. Koishi and Orin both turn their attention to her, and once again the sight left them both speechless. She?d tried to do the same thing, but apparently the concept of putting on a shirt had been slightly beyond her, and she was currently wearing it upside down. Her wings were poking out of the arm holes, her arms jutting out alongside them, and the entire piece of fabric looked set to come apart at any moment. On the bright side, though, at least the skirt seemed to fit.

?Orin...am I doing this right??

Koishi?s face shifted from confusion to amazement to hilarity. She couldn?t hold it in any more. She laughed, loud and hard, harder than she could ever remember laughing in months. It was a ridiculous incident, but it was the sort of thing that she?d never have had before she was wrapped up in this whole Dolphin Rider nonsense. She?d never interacted with Orin and Okuu like this - indeed, she?d barely acknowledged their existence, feeding them and giving them as little attention as possible beyond that.

She regretted that, but all she could do now was make up for lost time. So she laughed as loud as she wanted to, putting aside her thoughts of civility and manners. She laughed until her throat hurt, before finally promising she?d offer Okuu the same as well, and she?d even go so far as to cut in little slits for her wings to pop out of. The raven was touched by the act, cheerfully hugging her mistress, and the cat joined in soon afterward. They hadn?t been this close to each other in who knows how long.

Of course, while all of this was happening, Sango was still standing straight, staring out blankly with a look of total bafflement on her face. Koishi could probably have waved a hand in front of her face and got no response, and it took her a good minute or two to regain her composure and return to the world of the living.

Phwee...this isn?t what I signed up for...