2019-04-20 - A Wish Granted: Someone Scary's Coming

From Battle Fantasia MUSH
Jump to: navigation, search
A Wish Granted: Someone Scary's Coming

A wish is granted.


Eri Shimanouchi, Rika Kumori


Ohtori Dorms

OOC - IC Date:

4/20/2019 - Ambiguously late May to Early June 2015

<Pose Tracker> Rika Kumori [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Signum Malum - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VD-09cfiLk

A silvery cord has been hanging on the ceiling for weeks. It's over by the dresser, only about three inches long, and of such indistinct color it is hard to notice. At night it seems glossy; during the day, dull. It is somehow always in the corner of one's eye, inoffensive though it is. Is it insulation? Is it a bug, or some sort of animal waste? It's like an eyelash on the lobe of one's brain.

Eri asked what it is.

It was supposed to be there, Chichi said

Eri was relieved. So it's safe then, she said.

I didn't say that, Chichi replied.

That was today. Now, tonight, it has moved over the bed. Eri can see it get longer and longer, stretching, or dripping. She can't move, or something bad will happen. But it's getting closer. It's reaching down to her chest, right above her heart. It looks so cold, cold enough to gasp and--

Awaken. Eri is in bed, in her dormitory. There is no ceiling thread. There never was.

Her bed glows faintly from moonlight. The window is open--did she leave it so? Surely she did--and the curtains ripple gently. Cool spring air washes across her, but a twist of luscious summer warmth flavors the breeze.

Something is wrong. Eri can feel it in the way her digital clock changes minutes; the number snaps over, taking away something precious. She can feel it in the matchstick flicker of moonlight cast across her bedside table by her glasses. She can feel it in the restless tacky texture of her sheets, now an unwelcome film of cloth to be torn away if her skin is to breathe.

There is nowhere in the world that Eri belongs, suddenly, except the worst place of all. Shinjuku. It has to be Shinjuku.

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Muddy Waters - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ss8t7a8n0U4

If you blink hard enough sometimes the minutes of the digital clock move faster. It's true.

The closing of your eyes sometimes changes nothing. And sometimes you notice the differences in the passage of the time.

What do you think the moral of that story is Eri-?"

A child who can't be older than half of her years blinks her eyes behind her glasses, thinking upon it in that easy to read way that children do.

I think... the thread broke because he was selfish. He was concerned with his salvation over others.

That's right.

It's over the dresser. It's supposed to be there though.

Was he sad about it?

It's over the bed. It's stretching down.

Only for a little while...

Some primal instinct knows it offers not salvation, sending a shiver through her sleeping self - even that amount of movement means too much.

Blink again she does anyhow. What happens.

...it's hard to feel anything for someone like that for long.

Blink. The numbers are moving strangely.

Blink. Her bedsheets are feeling all wrong. All her senses are swimming in it.

...maybe this /is/ Hell...

Abruptly the girl draws in breath like she was drowning, throwing off the sheet.

A hand groping sidelong to a bedside table for her glasses, which slide off of it. Behind it.

She doesn't move to pick them up. She simply looks within the dark for a while. Then slowly starts to get up.

There's only one place she belongs.


Boots tap down upon a train in motion, as she crouches down, three fingers atop it. The momentum sweeps through her hair, the smells of the city assaulting her rapid fire as she lowered her head. The echo grew louder abruptly in the dark and the strobe light of the tunnel. Then out on the other side she could see it.

Shinjuku is not a pretty place from the distance - even at night to her eyes. The few things she loves here are kept in isolated places. Cordoned off like they were imprisoned.

The monuments to avarice which squeeze the city dry. The bright lights in the distance closer to street level where the vulnerable are spellbound by the allure of the wicked.

She knows - because she could mark every place where human suffering could be exploited there.

And that is how she knows...

She doesn't belong in either of those places. Where she truly belongs are the two worst places.

An alleyway. The Metropolitian Building.

What does it matter if the bloodstains are dry by this point?

Abruptly she swings off - leaping to tap down on a pole dotting the powerline - then to the top of the train station where her landing sprays dirty water from a rooftop puddle.

That awful wrong-smelling rain scent permeates her despite there not being any signs of rain in sight.

It is this wretched place's way of telling her - 'Welcome back.'
COMBAT: Eri Shimanouchi transforms into Puella Magi Eri!

<Pose Tracker> Rika Kumori [Juuban Public School (3)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Lights in the Sky - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yd0nIsGHIvc

The rooftop repairs are completed at last. It's recent; the scaffolding hasn't even been taken down fully yet, and the concrete in that section is a much ligher color than the rest. But the wound has healed. The longer-lasting scars are in flesh.

Phosphourescent in its own nocturnal haze, Shinjuku gleams in the dark. It always ends up Shinjuku, and Shinjuku always ends up here. The restless feeling, like the air itself wanted to spit Eri out, is gone now, replaced by a strange sense of peace and belonging. This is her castle, now. She conquered Yaori. She conquered Mami. And when the Chevaliers reclaimed Shinjuku, she conquered Sayaka, too. Now the Chevaliers have no one who can find Witches, track familiars. What will become of this place is a question for Nori Ankou and the others, now, but how, half-blind in the most densely-populated area of Japan, are they to /stop/ Eri if she wishes to cultivate again?

But there's an eyelash on the lobe of her brain.

It takes some time to spot it. An anxious minute or two. But there it is, unbelievable and inevitable. A silver thread on the edge of the roof.

As soon as she sees it, it slides away, slithering off the edge. She can reach the edge fast enough to see where it goes; it's dreadfully long, meters and meters of it. Glinting like a spider's silk in the night, it falls, and is slurped into an open window below, right below where the towers split.

There is no choice but to follow. Eri's boots crunch broken glass as she pursues the thread, which is already slipping away down the hall, gleaming quicksilver in the carpet. It whips around corners silently, always seeming to catch the light even as the halls grow darker. This is a place with no easy escape route, no windows, and too far up to jump from them if you reached one. This is a frighteningly good spot for an ambush.

Eri should know. She picked it.

She realizes what she's about to see just before she sees it. A long hallway with a red carpet. Glass walls with conference rooms within. A ruddy, dim emergency light above two bathroom doors. And a small, dark-haired girl.

The girl doesn't move. She has an odd little staff in her hands, wooden with two notches cut all the way around the circumference near the tip. The thread dangles like fishing line from one of those notches. A large bow on her back spreads like wings, marked with large spots, like strange eyes. She wears a grey skirt and bodice with a stark red triangle on the chest, and in her shortish black hair, two feather-like red ornaments on either side. Her outfit is narrow at the shoulders and flares out dramatically, giving a triangular impression that matches its signet.

She is small. Her eyes, though strangely intent, are also wide and startled. Even in the dark, the shadow of scar tissue mars her face heavily, and leaves one of her eyes the color of a moonlit cloud. Eri has seen her before, around Shinjuku, but never like this.

With the taciturn shyness of a child, Rika gives her odd, crooked staff a twist, and it begins sucking up the thread again, into one of the notches. Once it has disappeared, she hesitantly lets the staff down, turning her head reflexively to present Eri with the good side of her face. She regards her with that eye, curious and diffident, as if waiting to be spoken to.

It must be said that her outfit would probably not be red, in normal lighting. Probably it would be orange, like her sister. Flat yet poofy, delicate yet fey, her garments seem to blend into the dark at the edges, but that symbol all but glows.

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Does she remember the moment the light faded from her eyes?


Could she count the pieces of her soul gem as they shattered, glittering ephemeral?


Which girl was it?


Something moves in her vision and Eri moves serpentine quick, dropping off the building, her lash unspooling as she flies Through the window after it. She ducks into a roll. Tugging upon her line simultaneously, feeling it come unravelled.

By the time she's back up on her feet it's in her hand.

Glass crunches under her footsteps as she jogs. And jogs.

The floor is familiar.

She knows it.

Before and after images flash through her mind - the office. The ruined - shattered - drenched husk.

She remembers.

So it stands to reason she should know what she's going to find at the end of her chase.

That's before her breath is strangled out of her throat.

Her eyes slip over her. Up and down.

Neechan loves you, Rika. She loves you so much. She's always going to take care of you, forever and ever.

She's older. And there are more differences besides from what she saw. Her eyes settle upon the shadow that she knows must hide the scar. "Rika... right?"

Again and again and again. Her mind wouldn't let her stop considering it.

There's a shake of her head, almost like a willful, numb denial of this awful reality. The creature that is Kyubey is dead - gunned down by Homura Akemi.

Not before taking one more contract though.

"Ohhhh..." It's like the thought jams needles into her skin, her eyes sliding over her, "... Oh Kyubey..."

There's nothing threatening about the way she holds her lash. There's a laxness to the wrist holding the lash despite the fact that every other part of her is tense - taut like an overwrung and overstretched vine. Kyouko has taught her that anyone who threatens their bottom line must be eliminated.

Even as those lessons scream at her - her mind makes excuses to exclude her.

She's so small.

She's too young.

She shouldn't be a Puella Magi.

She can't be a killer.

She can't be a predator.

She can'tbE A wITcH

The denial is wrenched from her in another step, as the light shines just right and she catches just enough of that scar tissue.

An awful symmetry in the world's cruelty seizes her.

"... why would you make a girl like this a Puella Magi?" It comes from her throat like the hoarsest possible whisper. The sprinklers could be on - and she'd still be breathing in the steam drifting off the ashes of what she's done.

Yaori Kumori did what she did to her because she was terrified of bullies tormenting her. Bullies who were desperate and frightened girls just like her. In coming back - in killing her with such overwhelming force - she only proved her right.

The lesson she learned was not that some Puella Magi are demons. She learned instead that all it takes to make a Yaori Kumori is to make someone desperate and scared enough.

I know... girls can be broken... Eri-chan...

And now the world was either going to kill this girl young if she was lucky - or grind her into the dirt - centimeter by centimeter - until it reshapes her into something terrible.

And just like with Sayaka Miki Is aLL hEr fAULt

<Pose Tracker> Rika Kumori [Juuban Public School (3)] has posed.

With an eyeblink, Rika sets the point of her staff on the ground, holding it like a tiny wizard might. No, perhaps a tiny pixie; the impression of wings is keen, as is the sense of unnatural eyes staring from them.

"You know Kyuubey?" It's hard to tell if Rika's voice is hoarse because she's too shy to talk enough to keep it clear, or for some reason related to her scar tissue. If it is the latter, it does not seem to trouble her, and she carries herself with a little more confidence than Eri remembers from her earliest days as the Shinjuku groundskeeper. She may not have heard the whisper, however.

"Puella Magi," she cites to herself, as if to hear it aloud. The word comes to her tongue readily; children are used to learning new words every day. "Senpai," she decides to herself aloud, softly.

Her eye shifts back to Eri, and she bows tentatively. "Sorry... if I scared you with my thread. I'm waiting for someone."

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Eri's wordless in the way her chin drops in assent about knowing Kyuubey.

It's not as hard as it seems, Rika-chan.
It's hard.
I thought so too. Nobody likes you when you're quiet.

Eri marks it as shyness more than anything. The girl never wanted friends after all. She only wanted one person.

The way the girl recites the words causes the muscles in her cheek to grow even more tense. She's so new.

If she has confidence - then perhaps it's from determination.

However then she says a word and Eri looks like she's been struck. "Please don't call me that." She whispers sharply, remembering the cruel words she spoke - that Yaori was the best senpai she had before Kyouko Sakura. She taught her the most important lessons.

However then she closes her eyes, and starts again, "Sorry just..." Her eyelids move back to wide open. "... I'm Eri. Eri Shimanouchi." It's a hollow sounding request though perhaps it might sound friendly to her, "You can call me anything else if you want though. Anything at all."

Her breath saws in her chest, feeling like nettle teeth in her lungs as the girl mentions she's sorry - that she's waiting for someone...

"It's fine. This... life tends to make us all a little..."

She stops, tries to think on her choice of words, but ultimately decides, "... jumpy."

Her eyes slide over to the staff, with it's little notches and designs. The threads look so similar to her sisters. So difficult to see. So deadly.

Eri suddenly feels tired - she's exhausted all the time lately. Yet right now it feels like something deeper than that.

Taking a few steps sidelong - her gait just this shuffle as she works her way over to a nearby office-chair. The desks are a good distance away. "It's just..." There's something terrible and loud and accusative in her ears. Like they were being watered with fluid despair and could only ring under the pressure. She can only accept her own cruelty.

"... I used to call your sister that..."

Turning one sideways, she allows herself to sink into it, the chair rolling a few centimeters from the lack of resistance of her feet, her posture slumped a little forward like someone in a class that had gone on far too long.

"... even though I'm older."

There's something whispery thin in her voice as she rubs her hands over her eyes, the coils bearing thorns in one palm brushing the skin without grazing them seriously. More's the pity.

"She thought that was funny."

<Pose Tracker> Rika Kumori [Juuban Public School (3)] has posed.

The reference to her sister gives Rika a start, the big ribbon-wings at the small of her back bobbing briefly. She doesn't turn her body to follow Eri as she walks over and slumps in a chair, just her eyes, until she can't anymore. Rather than turn her head, she drops her gaze to the tips of her narrow boots. Eri is on the bad side of her face, now, mottled and darker. But her eye has that same soft thoughtful look as the other, even clouded.

"Eri-san," she tries. Eri's family name is a bit long, and Rika's not the first who has gone a bit more casual than they might have because of it. Her eyes refocus, and she finally turns her head over her shoulder to look at her. "I think it's funny, too."

Eri remembers the soft soles of Yaori's boots. Rika, too, makes little sound as she walks over to the wall near Eri, and, with the self-conscious double-takes of a girl about to sit at the far end of the popular table, seats herself a good few yards away, against the wall.

"I thought she hated me," Rika says. Kids are good at learning words, and good at saying weighty things to strangers. "But..." Her hands twist contentedly on her staff. "Kyuubey says she saved people. I guess even big kids like Eri-san called her senpai. Even if it's instead of me... that's better."

She doesn't look away from Eri when she's done talking, like she ought to. Her large eyes just stare, blinking occasionally.

"Someone scary's coming," she remarks, strangely lightly.

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

The sound of her name so casually from those lips makes the pressure in her ears increase. She would say this was her punishment.

Yet she knows this is her sin. Not her punishment.

There's a difference, her senpai would not accept a kouhai who couldn't understand that much.

She could have climbed that thread long ago - but it snapped and sent her back down. Her selfishness is plain. It's twisted and taken root in her soul like the most stubborn of weeds.

Even the way Rika walks reminds her of Yaori - the girl she once thought she wouldn't hear when she finally came to murder her in her sleep.

If only she'd now been so stupid as to realize - the girl didn't care enough for that.

She just wanted her gone from Shinjuku forever.

When Rika starts talking to her like that, she runs her hands over her face again. This time there's only the faintest graze on her cheek.

Lowering her hands, she looks at her. Her expression stricken and twisted at how lightly she says someone scary is coming.

It's so like her that it's soul-searing. The thought of the person coming being a boogeyman. A demon. A Youma. That's who the killer must be to Rika.

Just like Yaori was to her. It makes her feel more childish than the child in the room - at what her immaturity caused her to do. Instead - the scariest thing in the room is already here. A couple of witches to be.

She can imagine her breath steaming in front of her face. "She didn't hate you. She just felt bad about what happened to you. So bad..." There's something in her breath that hitches like a sob, even though her eyes are dry save the slightest itch that makes it feel like they're about to water, "... that she must have wished to disappear. She-she loved you more than anyone though. That's why she felt... so horrible..."

Why is she telling her this? It doesn't change anything. It doesn't change the wish that she made because of her sin. It doesn't change the fact that her sister can't tell her these things on her own. It doesn't change the fact that it's /worse/ that she's hearing these things from sOMeOnE SCarY.

"Sometimes it's hard to face up to the things you've done."

If she were truly Kyouko Sakura's kouhai - her disciple - her student - she'd get close and shatter her gem before she knew what was happening.

If she truly felt bad about this, she could just give her what she wants right now. Hand her her tainted soul gem. Let her crush it in her palm.

"I'm such a coward."

The girl whispers almost inaudibly.

One choice kills a threat to her bottom line. One choice turns the other child into a murderer and condemns her.

Even knowing now what she does - she cannot countenance considering the idea of killing her a mercy, sparing this life.

She is not some hand of mercy.

She could never be that.

And if she walks away right now - she'll keep feeling the urge to come back here. She realizes that now.

"... What are you going to do to them?" She asks - as distantly as if she were back in her bedroom - noticing the cord dangling again for the first time.

<Pose Tracker> Rika Kumori [Juuban Public School (3)] has posed.

Taking her staff close to her chest, Rika folds her arms around it. Her bare knees knock together and tremble there. She sniffles softly, a tear tracking smoothly down one cheek, and circuitously down the other. Her eyes are wide, pained. She had given up hope on believing the sorts of things Eri just told her, and healed around them.

"I just missed her," she protests, meek at first, then more forcefully. "I just missed her, so why?"

Eri's question stills her. After a few seconds, she wipes her tears, and stands up, wobbly as she gets her weight beneath her, her crooked staff planting on the ground again. "Kill," she answers distantly. There's no venom to it. Mortality, even for Rika who suffers so frequently in its shadow, is such an abstraction at her age. Looking towards the bathroom door, she stares at just the spot on the ground that, to Eri, most glowers with pain. How does she know?

"My wish to Kyuubey was to find the person who killed neechan tonight. So they'll get here soon."

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

"I know." Eri says and the first time her eyes aren't actually dry tonight is in the sight of a child who cries upon hearing truth from the last person who should be offering truth unto her.

"I know you did - do. She loved you so much that it... was just... too awful. She hated herself for it."

As Rika says 'Kill' Eri's eyes drift to the spot where Kyouko initiated their ambush.

Eri remembers being Rika's age. To her mortality was pulling up flowers that didn't make it. Pruning. It wasn't hard at first - it got harder as her legs got longer and she truly considered mortality.

It's not too dissimilar to why she became a vegetarian.

The thought - the hypocrisy of a girl who won't eat meat raising witches to glut themselves on people makes her nauseous. Like it's the first time such a thought is really settling in to her.

Like that night, she feels sick.

A hand clamps down over her mouth as she starts to dry heave behind her hand.

How cruel was the little witch-maker to have not told her she could just wish for her sister back. How terrible would it be for her just to tell her that now.

To break her even further with the knowledge of what she could have had.

It feels like if she wasn't dry heaving, she'd be screaming. "Oh god... oh... god..." The words are smothered by the rhythm of her breathing behind it.

It's a good thing the girl didn't call her senpai. Right now the child is acting more mature than she is. Saline drips over the edge of her hand and moistens the vine she holds.

Rika Kumori's wish has already been fulfilled - and she doesn't even know it.

She's been wanting to run from the world's terrible cruelty like her senpai does - run away like it's a hot stove. Yet it keeps catching up to her kouhai - getting to Eri. Or perhaps it's just that she doesn't run from it. That she presses her hand against it until it consumes more and more and more and more.

And in that moment the most twisted sort of epiphany is revelation.

Slowly wiping away with the back of her hand, she pushes a hand against the back of the chair, and pushes herself up to a standing position. Forcing herself to look away from that spot - from her. "I'm not... going to tell you not to." She'd be the worst kind of hypocrite if she did. "Who-whoever did it - deserves it."

Still looking away from her, her soul gem on the other side of her head. She says almost deathly quiet, her face starting to split into shadow, "I'm not your senpai Rika, but... here's some advice for you. Take Shinjuku as your territory to hunt witches. It was your sister's."

Her own cruelty in telling her to take Shinjuku no longer surprises. No longer horrifies. It's intrinsic. It's like breathing.

"And if you don't find who killed her tonight. Stick around."

Eri's head turns, her hair shifting back over her ear, and there's this strange look in her eyes and this smile that's more than a little unsettling. Like someone who's happy at a funeral.

"I'm sure you'll get 'em soon."

<Pose Tracker> Rika Kumori [Juuban Public School (3)] has posed.

"Eri-san, wait," Rika objects weakly. To be so lightly made the custodian of a ward that is a city unto itself is dizzying. She would have asked more about it, but Eri's next comment was one of the few that could have been even more important.

Falling silent again, Rika watches Eri depart. Soon the hallway is clear, and she is alone with her vigil once more.

As Eri is leaving the Metropolitan Building, she notices that silken thread slip out the window again, climbing up the windows. Like a blind worm, it makes its way, bait for a fish Rika's already thrown back.