994: Persona 3: Trade Me – Chapter 19 Part 2Posted: March 17, 2015
Ert: So, is the fight over?
John Freeman who was Henry Freeman’s Dad: John Freeman hit all of evil out of Magnus!
Nora: He beat the tar out of him so hard he vomited up a few organs. He took off after though, but he’s really hurting after that.
John Freeman: *Lowers head* John Freeman not get blak Lanturn Rung tho.
Goeth: No worries. With you backing us up now, I think things will work out just fine. The others are all out on patrol, trying to hunt him down. In the meantime let’s review this thing.
Ert: Songs like a plan. Also, you know how the last snarking ended with Ken and Aila focusing on stupid bullshit but overall the scene was pretty calm?
A figure took up the entire window pane, blocking the full moon outside. Ken and Aila shared a gasp; the Shadow couldn’t be seen completely, but its dark head and shoulders took up the entire glass frame. With a shrill cry, it rose a hand and pressed against the window until a shatter rang through the apartment. Ken yanked Aila back towards the kitchen, just out of the Shadow’s reach. They both toppled to the floor.
Ert: Yeah it just kinda jumps from that straight into the fight here. Pacing is something that seems to be more of a guideline.
The fingers of the Shadow’s hand were crooked and shriveled, but each nail was perfectly manicured and painted a vibrant red. It tried to stretch further in towards Aila’s legs. Ken was faster, pulling his lance from the counter and stabbing at the fingertips. Another shrill cry echoed through the building.
Nora: *Sigh* you know, all the other shadows had really interesting designs in this story. Demented, screwed up and deformed. And this time? The only part of it we get described is its hands. Oh don’t get me wrong, the idea of its hands being shriveled but with well painted hands is pretty cool, but I’m disappointed we don’t get to see the rest of it.
Give her to me, it begged. GIVE HER TO ME! Ken readied his lance once more, thrusting it between the monster’s fingers. He went to do it once more, but Aila had risen to pull him back. She dragged him away from the Shadow and to her room.
Ert: Um. Between the monster’s fingers? In other words, he missed. And then he tried to do it again? Yeesh, this kid.
“What’re you doing?!” he asked.
Goeth: Stop pulling me away! I would’ve hit it eventually!
Aila released the boy and dove for a small box at the end of her bed. From it, she pulled out her Evoker. Then, she grasped the naginata leaning against her wall and returned to Ken’s side.
John Freeman: John Freeman nevar left wepon in box when combines in area!
Nora: Guy’s got a point. Why is your Evoker in a box during the middle of the Dark Hour? The one point in time you can actually use it.
Just as she reached him, the Shadow appeared at her window. It broke the glass, too, and went shoulder-deep for Aila’s form.
Goeth: Shoulder-deep for Aula’s form? Is that a sexual innuendo?
Ert: I…have no idea.
“Hurry! Follow me!” Aila cried. She led Ken to the bathroom, locking the door behind them.
“Why are we hiding?!” the boy demanded. “We should be fighting that thing!”
Goeth: Yes! Let me stab more empty spaces between fingers. THEY WILL ALL SUFFER!
“There aren’t any windows here,” Aila stated, ignoring Ken completely. “We can wait here until the others arrive…” Both wondered if there was any way to contact Fuuka, but her ethereal voice couldn’t be heard.
Ken felt anger flare inside of his chest. He didn’t want to run and hide! That was what cowards did!
Nora: Oh goodie, the 13 year old is informing us what cowards do. Fuck logic, just do whatever makes you peen feel big.
Ert: Aila’s plan is still stupid because a locked bathroom door isn’t really gonna stop a Shadow. Still, Ken should be whining about that and not the fact that they’re being cowards. A tactical retreat and calling for help would be smart here, which is why these two being left on their own was a dumb idea in the first place.
The door shuddered and Aila took a step back. She bumped into Ken’s chest; the bathroom wasn’t really big enough for two people. The boy watched as Aila rose the Evoker to her head. She hesitated on pulling the trigger.
Goeth: Must be 4×4 if two people who have been established as small can’t comfortably fit in.
“There’s not enough room for Fate,” she kept repeating as something continued pounding on the wood.
Nora: THEN WHY DID YOU COME IN HERE! Also, I don’t think size would be a problem for a Persona. If there isn’t enough room when they are summoned, I imagine they would MAKE room.
“We’ll have to fight our way out, then,” Ken said, wielding his lance.
“No. It doesn’t want you, Ken. It wants me. And Minako would kill me if I didn’t keep you safe from it.” Aila knocked the boy over into the tub. He hit the back of his head onto the soap holder. Pain swept through his skull, but he remained conscious.
Ert: The fucking fuck? Ken is an annoying character but smacking him into a tub and then hitting him in the back of the head? Fuck you lady. Also, yeah, disable your only ally and assume the Shadow just won’t gut him. THAT’S A SMART IDEA!
(Mary Sue Counter: 35)
Aila began yelling at the door: “Hey! If you’d shut up for a second, I’d tell you that I’m willing to come out!” The thundering stopped. Everything went too quiet.
Goeth: Personifications of negative human emotions are well known for how civil their are.
Aila looked to Ken, her naginata poised for combat. “I’d rather you stay in there and wait for the others to come pick you up.”
“W-wait,” Ken muttered, trying to rise. Aila gave a peculiar laugh.
“Weren’t you the one that said that you were tired of being betrayed by adults?”
Nora: Be betrayed by a teenager instead! I mean there’s really no other word for what I just did to you.
Ken felt his every muscle stiffen-her voice had changed. And when she looked at him, her eyes seemed different, too. “Trust me, Ken. I promised to always protect you, right? Just because I haven’t been around for a while doesn’t mean that I will go back on my word.”
Ert: Ok, this story needs to stop and make up it’s mind on if this person is Minako or not, you can’t just keep flipping flopping back and forth every chapter.
Ken was at a loss for words, staring dumbfounded from the stupid little tub. Then, everything shifted. Aila, in control again, returned her gaze to the door. “Don’t go out until I’ve lured that thing away from the apartment.”
Goeth: I can be safe on my own but you can’t! NAH NAH NA NAH NAH!
… …. …
Aila rushed out of the bathroom, finding two small Shadows waiting for her on the other side of the door.
John Freeman: Smalled Shadows kill knocked on head child!
Nora: Seriously, what’s stopping the small, wild and mindless Shadows from tearing the incapacitated Ken to pieces.
They were easy enough to handle. But, before she could even take a breath,
Ert: Wait, she killed them already? COME ON! Show things!
the large Shadow came at her with its hand again. She dodged its crimson nails, hearing her kitchenware break and shatter. She ran for the front door next; no way she’d let this thing destroy the only home she had.
Nora: Nice priorities lady. Lead it away from the 13 year old you disabled? Nah, you just don’t want it to break your stuff.
The monster’s dark reflection followed her every step up the apartment’s stairway, breaking glass and even some walls as he attempted to snatch her up. Aila felt her thighs and calves start to burn as she ascended, but she refused to give up; she barely had enough of a head start to keep her one step ahead of the Shadow’s strikes. She desperately wished that she could reach for the gun at her side, but knew that she had to get somewhere with enough room to summon Fate.
Goeth: This is really a bizarre conflict to base a fight on. For such a powerful spirit this Fate thing is…underwhelming.
Ert: And if size is a big deal, how come she doesn’t just use the power of the Wild Card and summon a smaller Persona? She’s clearly got access to more if she was able to summon Thanatos out of nowhere.
First, she needed to make it outside. Then her Persona would have her freedom.
It became oddly quiet as Aila burst through the roof entrance. The sky was clear of any clouds, and the Shadow from before was absent. Aila, after catching her breath, stalked to the ledge. Looking down below, the giant Shadow was sprawled on the ground-something had cut off its most vital climbing fingers.
John Freeman: All fingers climbing vital.
Ert: True dat. Mind telling us which ones were cut off?
A few moments later, Ken came bounding up the stairs. He was out of breath as well. Aila whirled around to look at him. He gave her a meaningful glance-it wasn’t one to start up a friendship, but it displayed loyalty to his duty and his teammates. Aila gave him a silent and appreciative nod. She glanced back down at the Shadow; it was regaining its strength and climbing back up to the top.
Nora: So much for its “Vital” climbing fingers being cut off, it seems to be climbing back up just fine.
Aila grabbed her Evoker, warning Ken that he should do the same. After only a few moments, the creature was up top, its torso heavily leaning onto the ledge with them. The girl gasped; this creature, now that it was close-up, looked familiar.
“What?” Ken asked, putting his finger against the trigger.
Ert: Oh……..fuck you.
The Shadow heard her, lifting its head up. The thin face that her parent once wore was sickly and pale. Its rounded nose was the best indicator of its resemblance to the girl, but otherwise appeared to be deflowered by a drug-induced high. The eyes in its sockets were the size of Aila’s and Ken’s, leaving the rest of the space dark and empty. The small red pupils made the Shadow look frightened and distraught.
Ert: No, no, no. Shadows don’t work this way. If they’re not a personal Shadow that reflects the inner darkness of a person before turning into a Persona. Shadows don’t just randomly take on the appearance of people the person fighting them knows. Or is this Shadow supposed to actually be her mother? Either way, it’s stupid.
Give her to me! It yelled, piercing the companions’ eardrums. She must die! Give her to me! Two fingers-the thumb and the middle one-thrust towards Aila. Ken shot in front of her and took away another red extremity. The Shadow cried out.
Nora: *Snort* the way it’s worded make it sound like a parent taking a child’s toy away. Also, Ken honey, you’re allowed to attack things besides the fingers.
“Fight!” Ken hollered. Aila snapped out of her shock. She drew out her Evoker and yelled for her Persona to come forth. Fate obeyed the broken cry, snapping the strings in place. Ken rose his as well, calling for Kala-Nemi. Both creatures were ready to protect their users.
No! You are mine! You will not be taken from me! The Shadow Mother’s finger transformed into a smaller underling. Ken directed Kala-Nemi to use lightning to demolish the beast. Obey Mother Dearest! I will not let anyone else have you! You are mine! You will die for me!
Goeth: It turned into an underling? To quote our dear friend Taco “AHA! A thing!”
Fate guided Aila to strike at Mother Dearest’s arms, causing long and dreadful cuts in the Shadow’s deathly skin. A scent permeated from the blood that spilled over; Aila recognized it as the expensive perfume that her mother always used to shoplift, but couldn’t remember its name. Mother Dearest started slipping off of the ledge, its feet the only thing keeping her even remotely stationed.
Ert: So, this turned into a Binding of Issac story out of freaking nowhere. This is a completely different tone from what Persona usually does.
“Kala-Nemi!” Ken rose his voice over his enemy’s screams. “Myriad Arrows!” Fate pulled Aila back as a shower of sharp projectiles struck Mother Dearest. The Shadow slipped further down the building, but was relentless as its remaining fingers dug into the sides of the complex.
John Freeman: It haz moar fingars than Combine science from outer space!
Nora: Seriously, how many fingers has it lost by this point?
I will have it all…. When Ken’s attack finished, Mother Dearest began climbing again. I will have you. I was promised everything with your death. When you’re gone, I’ll have money. I’ll have status. I’ll have jewels. I’LL HAVE RESPECT. I’LL HAVE WEALTH. I’LL HAVE EVERYTHING I EVER WANTED! It’s head popped back into Ken and Aila’s view. When you’re dead, I’ll have everything I ever wanted.
Ert: You know, there’s a number of reasons this falls flat. First of all, we only ever learned about Aila’s mother a few chapters ago, and we didn’t even get to see her personally, we only ever got second hand accounts of her. Second of all, what little we did learn of her is barely supported in this chapter. We got implications that she was a bit of a control freak, but in terms of being spied on by the government, not in terms of controlling her daughter. Third of all, we had no real evidence to show that her mother made that much of an emotional impact on her, so seeing her being forced to confront her mother doesn’t feel that satisfying.
The dark blood oozing from Mother Dearest’s wounds started to buzz. A bruise-colored circle appeared around the two fighters, and some sort of dark fog rose from the rooftop. Ken could feel himself suffocating as Kala-Nemi weakened and vanished. Darkness…he couldn’t handle Darkness…. It was soon going to take him over.
Goeth: Apparently this Shadow’s blood forms a circle which then becomes some sort of gas. That must be in massive abundance considering that this is a wide open area. Simply put, this doesn’t happen.
Aila took over the strings to guide herself and Fate behind Ken. They spread their arms out, starting to glow with a bright light.
“Hamaon!” Aila cried out. She watched as the space around Mother Dearest began to shimmer. A white card rose above the Shadow just as a black one appeared in the center of the dark circle. Aila hurriedly poured her energy and concentration into the attack-she just had to strike her mother before its charge could finish.
At the same time, both cards burst. Mother Dearest was knocked off of the roof and tumbled back towards the ground.
John Freeman: Mommy isn’t tough fite. Even less slow than bear hands.
Nora: Seriously, all that about it being her mother and she gets knocked of the roof by s spell that shouldn’t work on her?
The Darkness missed Aila and Fate…but Ken was not so lucky. He started to cry out, but it was cut short as the card’s waves hit his chest. The boy collapsed.
“NO! KEN!” Aila fell to the boy’s side, Fate keeping to her mirror-actions. His eyes were open, but no one was home.
Goeth: Heh, it’s squishy…right, guess I should put it back.
Fear and anguish encased her body in a deadly but invisible shell. Aila’s shouts got louder as she was taken over by it. Her cousin’s suffering was almost all that was present now. Aila felt her own soul being pushed aside, and Fate started to shiver in the air like a broken TV screen.
Ert: Yeah, that comparison really makes sense.
…. …. ….
Pain was such a bother.
Nora: Ok, new decree. Talking about how much of a bother things are isn’t charming, it’s annoying.
It clouded your judgment and made your brain fall silent to your heart’s suffocation. Aila had felt it before, but never like this. She had emotions from herself and someone else clash repeatedly until they were completely indiscernible from each other. An overwhelming question entrapped the body and mind from moving: “What is the point?”
Goeth: We’ve been asking that question since chapter one honey, we aren’t getting an answer anytime soon.
Aila was slipping into an internal tornado. She didn’t know where it was taking her-back up to where she belonged? Or would it bury her in the deepest, darkest pit? She reached for anything to latch onto, but because her own brain was beginning to blank, nothing came to her rescue. Was there nothing she could do to stop this takeover? Was there a way that she could return to the outside, where her body was being absorbed by something else? Nothing came to mind….
A girl’s sobs took the place of howling wind. Aila listened to it for an eternity. It was so sad, so sad…. It wanted to die right then and there, and it wanted to take the host’s body with it. Aila helplessly let the sobs bombard her chest; it was all she could do until a specific one hit her heart: her own.
Suddenly, the girl’s soul was rejuvenated; she’d found herself again. Aila reached out once more for something to stop her spiral and was this time successful. A doorknob was her anchor against the wind’s cry. As Aila fought to twist it open, the tornado slowly started to die down. When the door was unsealed at last, the storm silenced; it now recalled it’s rightful place….
Aila snapped back into her own eyes, her own mind. Ken’s body was still warm in her were falling from her eyes and onto his unflinching face. She swore that she could still feel his soul hovering nearby, tumbling into darkness. Aila brought his head into her chest; there was still something that she could do.\
Ert:…Ok, does anyone have even the faintest clue of what just happened? Because I’m completely in the dark. Where was she? What was she doing there? How did she escape? I just…ugh.
“Fate!” The creature, cradling air, flooded Aila’s eyes with a matching amber sap. “SAMARECARM!” The strings binding Fate to her master began to charge and shiver. If Aila hadn’t known better, she would’ve expected them to snap and release her Persona from this plane. When she felt her every muscle and organ pulsate, she gave out the order. “Fate, take whatever you have to from me to bring back his soul! Give him everything, if you must!”
Nora: I am PRETTY damn sure this line is ripped from the climax of P3. Mitsuru says something pretty damn similar to this during the final fight.
Fate obeyed. The string from Aila’s right hand disengaged and her Persona rose it towards an area nearby. Aila followed her gaze and, through Fate’s eyes, saw a small butterfly floating away. It was orange, listlessly fluttering here and there as if unsure of its purpose or direction. Fate flicked out her string to grasp the little creature. The insect panicked, but was pulled back so swiftly towards Ken to really process what was happening. Using the same string, Fate sealed the butterfly to the chest of the boy in Aila’s arms. The girl’s insides started twisting and turning as the winged creature slowly sunk into Ken’s heart. Aila was certain that she was going to die-her insides wanted to either jump ship or implode inside of her. She was beginning to believe that the latter is what they would decide on.
Goeth: Note to self, acquire Fate. It can apparently manipulate souls.
Ert: Yeah, without any explanation, it can just take souls and shove them back into people’s bodies. Also that weird smoke thing can apparently rip souls out, but it didn’t for Aila because she had that weird tornado thing and-GOD THIS CHAPTER MAKES TWELVE KINDS OF NO SENSE!
(Mary Sue Counter: 37)
However, as the butterfly’s bonding process finished, Aila’s body went numb. Fate set down her hand, not bothering to reattach the link to her master’s wrist. Aila stared down at the boy for a few moments, wondering just what Fate had done-and more importantly, if it had worked. As Ken’s eyes flickered and became wet again, the girl felt relief sweep through her. The boy’s breathing restarted, though it came in tight, desperate gasps. Aila let him sit up from her arms, slowly wobbling as his weight was lifted off of her.
Nora: I get the feeling what Fate just did is on a long list of things that we are never going to find out.
Ken stared at his hands, his eyes hurting from how wide they grew. “H-how did you-?!” Yukari had used her abilities before to revitalize her comrades, but it hadn’t left them feeling as unsettled as Aila’s healing.
“She almost didn’t let me,” Aila heaved. “Her memories…her feelings for you…they all felt like they were going to break inside of me.” She wanted to give a grin, but it came out as a distorted frown. “They almost kept me from helping you.” They heard a wicked cry from below; Mother Dearest wasn’t finished. And, from the sound of it, she was ascending again.
Ert: So just for the record, whatever the flying Hell just happened is getting Ken’s soul back is getting no form of explanation what so ever. It just sorta happened.
“Ken-kun! Aila-chan!” Came Fuuka’s voice. “Don’t worry! Everyone’s here! We’ve come to help you!” Ken tried to refocus on the battle, rising shakily from the ground. Despite how…wrong it felt to be reborn like this, he knew that he had all of his power back. Even the gash from the soap holder was absent.
Goeth: It seems that friends coming to help must abide by dramatic timing. I can’t say I’m surprised.
“Get up,” he told Aila. A disfigured hand grasped the ledge ahead. “We need to finish this thing.”
Fate shattered in the air and Aila fell back onto her elbow.
“I don’t think I can do any more fighting,” she said. “You’ll have to get it on your own.”
Ert: Wait why?
Nora: PROTAGONIST IS TIRED NOW YOU DO ALL THE WORK FOR HER!
Ken had no problem with that; he’d kill this thing by himself.
Voices down below called up as Mother Dearest’s creepy eyes came into view.
“Aila! Ken!” Came Akihiko. “Hold on!”
Aila wanted to yell back to them, but she didn’t have enough energy for it.
Goeth: Honestly if you look at this the right way, the lack of description in terms of Aila being drained in anyway just kind of makes it look like she’s just lazy and sitting on her rear. It’s kind of funny.
Ken picked her up by the arm and, without moving his eyes from the Shadow, dragged her back to one of the metal cubes nearby. When Aila was propped against it, she figured that it may have been a heater or generator or something. Regardless, it wasn’t working in the Dark Hour.
Nora: Once again. AHA! A thing!
Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mother Dearest drug her entire upper half onto the roof, her severely scathed legs dangling over the edge. She is mine to kill. She will die for me. I will not let her escape.
Ert: Because this was a thing with Aila’s mom. Apparently.
Ken picked up his lance. “Shut up! You’re not going to have her!” Mother Dearest turned her gaze to him.
Stupid little boy. She’s mine. Mine. Mine! It will all be MINE! Her bloodied stubs jabbed at him. Ken dodged them easily, raising his Evoker to summon back Kala-Nemi. Caesar, Castor, Athena, and Artemisia appeared behind the beast as well. Mother Dearest attempted to swat them away as they took turns striking her shriveling body.
John Freeman: Persona jump high like racket ship?
MINE I SAY! MIIINNNNEEE!
“You, can’t have me, you old hag,” Aila mustered. The Shadow gave her a wide-eyed glare.
No. You are mine. I will ALWAYS have you!
“Bull.” Aila coughed. Her body was being overexerted as she tried to speak. “You never really wanted me in the first place. Isn’t that what you said when I was a kid?”
Ert: Character development that is totally key, fleshed out and not shoe horned in, GO!
“You played the role of a mother, but I have to say that you royally SUCK at acting.”
“You just wanted the various perks that came with a daughter. A slave. A thief apprentice. A stuffed animal to hug when your bed was empty. A future organ bank. That’s what you saw in me.”
“I left you because I didn’t want to be your property anymore. I didn’t want to be the little doggy in your purse.” Aila wheezed again as she tried to sit up. Her comrades nearly had the monster cut to the spine-if it had one. “At least dad cared about my well-being. But you…you didn’t deserve me. In fact, you never should’ve been allowed to have kids! The most generous thing you ever did for me was let Minako live with us!”
Ken, who’d made a hearty stab at the Shadow’s flailing wrist, glanced back at the name. His eyes were in pain, but he summoned a nod; one last fiery statement would distract the creature enough for a final blow.
“You were a dreadful mother. And do you know what dreadful mother’s get?” Aila inhaled deeply, gather what strength she had left for the last word: “NOTHING!”
Nora: Really this makes about as much sense as it would have if the story had come to a grinding halt and gone on a massive rant about how Aila never had any friends and how everything would’ve turned out all right for her if she jsut had a few and then pretending like that was always an important part of her character. This just comes out of nowhere. We never really got an implication that Aila’s mother had that big of an impact on her, we still don’t know if this thing really is her mother or not, and frankly this doesn’t really add anything to Aila’s character. What’s the point of this? To show that she’s independent? Yeah, the way she beat the crap out of a random monster shows that she got over those mommy issues the story suddenly decided that she had.
NOOOOOO! Mother Dearest wailed as Ken took his stance.
“Kala-Nemi!” He exclaimed. “HAMAON!”
A light stronger and brighter than Fate’s surrounded Mother Dearest. The Shadow became completely undone, struggling fiercely to wriggle her way out of the circle and close in on Aila. The girl looked at the monster without fear and refused to move. She instead focused on regulating her breathing to show the Mother her resolve.
NONONONONONOOOO! YOU’RE MINE, ALL MINE!
Goeth: GRRRR! Steady breathing! Truly this gir;’s will knows no peer!
The card rose over the Shadow’s head, spinning for only a moment before collapsing over its victims heart. Aila was blinded as Ken watched his enemy start to dissipate. The girl reflected that this must’ve been what it felt like to be hit with a flash bomb; her ears were ringing and her vision was painted over with white nothingness. If she’d had more strength, Fate would’ve probably been able to protect her from the blast; Light was nullified when the Persona was at even half it’s usual power. Nonetheless, the effect didn’t last long.
Ert: Half it’s usual power? Oh Christ, don’t tell me that we’re introducing DBZ style power levels into this, I really don’t think I would be able to take it.
We will not fail. Aila heard Mother Dearest a few moments later. Her parent’s voice sounded less desperate and more normalized, though the supernatural undertone was still present. He will ensure your demise. He will ensure that you are killed before you can recognize your true purpose. He will ensure you, Chosen One, do not last the year….
John Freeman: Chosed by whom know?
Nora: Seriously. People love to talk about chosen ones in crappy fanfiction, but something that they surprisingly seem to forget is that they don’t really explore why they are chosen, what they are supposed to do and really who chose them.
Then, as Aila’s sight became mostly clear, she saw a roman numeral rise from Mother Dearest’s ashes. It was the number XV, but Aila realized that this was her seventh enemy defeated to date (not counting the two-in-one battle back in November). Before she could mull over what they’d battled so far, the roof access door opened. Akihiko was the first to burst through it and, when his eyes found Aila, he rushed to her side.
“Are you alright?!” He asked, hurriedly inspecting her body.
Goeth: Yeah, don’t worry about Ken. Blunt trauma to the head is healthy for a kid his age.
“Yes, yes,” she replied, waving off his worried gaze. “Just tired.” She looked to Ken, who was standing a foot away and staring down at the two. He had a limp hold over his lance-its tip was lazily resting on the ground and the staff portion was slipping out of the fingers that held it. Aila vaguely noticed Shinjiro move past him to get to Aila’s other side.
“I…,” the boy began. Aila say confusion and remorse in his eyes. She speedily started speaking; she wanted to help him save face in front of his comrades.
Ert: Confusion and remorse from what exactly? The time he wasn’t very nice to you? He wanted to stick by you in the fight, he didn’t exactly abandon you the way you abandoned him. In fact, you owe him an apology lady.
“Thank you for everything, Ken.” The boy jumped as she said his name. This time, she was certain that it was her own voice coming out of her throat. “If it weren’t for you, I never would’ve made it.”
Akihiko stared at the boy, his gray eyes doing a quick sweep over the teen to ensure that he was uninjured as well. “Good work,” he told him after the brief glance-over.
“B-but I-,” Ken looked as though he had to tell everyone about Aila’s help; she’d saved his life after all. That wasn’t something he could take credit for.
Nora: So we’re deliberately avoiding talking about that stupid ass little incident where Aila stuffed your soul back into your body? Fine by me.
However, Aila gave him a subtle shake of her head. “You don’t need to say anything. If I didn’t have you as my bodyguard tonight, who knows what would’ve happened? I’m just glad that I was able to count on you for help.” Ken didn’t look particularly satisfied, but he seemed to get the gist of what Aila was trying to do for him. He gave her a nod and refused to meet anyone’s eyes after that.
Goeth: We could’ve just gone with the others, but now I’m using logic and am due to be executed for heresy.
“Can you stand?” Shinjiro asked. Aila glanced over at him. From beneath his beanie, his dark eyes were glossed with concern-though he kept it at a distance from his tone.
“I don’t think so.” She didn’t want to admit it, but maybe they’d at least appreciate her honesty.
“Tch. What did you do this time, moron?”
(Moron Counter: 3)
Ert: Is douchebag the only personality trait that this guy has in this story?
“Leave her alone, Shinji,” Akihiko cut in, threading his arms beneath Aila’s legs and back. He lifted her with ease.
“He’s just teasing me,” she insisted.
“It’s not the time for jokes,” Akihiko argued with her. “You’re exhausted, and need some rest right now.”
Nora: You’re my girlfriend and not his! How come you keep dong this to me!…Wait…
Aila nodded at first as Akihiko brought her around towards Mitsuru and Aigis. “Oh, wait. Our apartment’s kind of….” Broken, was the word she was looking for, but the Kirijo leader seemed to already know.
“I’ll have to have someone come and take a look at it in the morning,” Mitsuru stated. “Until then, I’ll put you three up in the Shadow Operatives building. Keep in mind that after you’ve rested, I’ll need a full report from you and Amada.”
John Freeman: Aila’s mommy was made at her four having too many boyfriends.
“Of course.” Aila wasn’t sure what she’d tell the Ice Queen,
Ert: Fuck you Aila.
but she would worry about that later. In the meantime, she was just relieved to be with someone safe. She relaxed into Akihiko’s strong arms, setting her head against his beating heart, and let her consciousness drift away.
Goeth: Of course, because man meat is so comfortable, especially when you’re standing up.
…. …. ….
“You’re getting much better at this. I’m sure that you’ll be able to find out the truth before it’s too late.” That laugh again; gentle and light. Where was it coming from?
Nora: Well, that added a lot.
Aila rose from her guest bed, realizing that she was being restrained by some sort of log. She did her best to flip around underneath it and glared into the darkness at what exactly was keeping her against the mattress.
Oh, of course. The massive anchor was Akihiko’s arm.
Ert: Hur, hur, he’s big.
Aila had to squint very hard in the dim light to see the boy.
Nora: Ok, I’m with Herr, how come the narration keeps calling him a boy? It’s freaky. Boys and and girls are for under 18, man and woman are for over 18. Call them young adult if you want to emphasize that they’re still young, but don’t treat them like they’re children.
He was sleeping peacefully with only a slight snore to disrupt the room’s silence. His bed companion recalled waking up briefly to Mitsuru giving her and her roommates separate rooms. Obviously, someone either didn’t listen to their leader, or they just didn’t make it past putting the damsel in her chambers.
Goeth: If we have learned anything on the Library it’s that people always end up in the same beds as each other, even if one has recently been raped. So not too surprising.
Gently, Aila pressed on Akihiko’s arm. It would normally be a useless effort, but something in him seemed to relent. He tossed himself towards the other side of the bed, his bare back to his friend. She caught a whiff of the previous battle still on his skin, but found it alluring.
Ert: The battle that he didn’t take part in except for a few seconds. Of course. And what does it smell like? Gun powder and ashes? I don’t know, the story doesn’t exactly explain.
Without thinking much of it, she touched him. It didn’t take her long to find the scars embedded into his skin. They were long and uneven, seeming to scorch beneath her touch. She tried counting how many were on him, but without her sight, she lost track more than once. It also didn’t help that many of them crisscrossed over the other ones, creating many interlocked paths along his muscles.
Nora: And now we will use this observation on his scars in order to-WHOOPS bored now!
Akihiko mumbled something as she stroked his old wounds and Aila swiftly withdrew her hand. What was she thinking? Any normal girl would’ve been alarmed to find a man in her bed-and they especially wouldn’t start touching his back. However, Aila found that she could only feel relief; she was glad that she wasn’t completely alone.
Goeth: Please disregard that reading a few paragraphs out of context was enough to make her run away and be alone for several months.
As silently as she could, Aila slipped out of the covers and explored the environment for a restroom.
Goeth: *Snort* little dramatic in terms of wording don’t you think?
It took a few minutes of walking into desks and stubbing her toe on walls for her to at last find the door, but Akihiko didn’t even flinch at the noises. His companion assumed then that not even a stampede could wake him.
John Freeman: Aila’s walking make noises like millions of thousands of angry Combines?
Ert: Only way that line makes any sense really.
As the girl washed her hands,
Nora: Well, at least the story does it to both genders. I guess that’s a plus.
she noticed that she was still wearing her clothes from earlier; a long white tank top with a pair of faded jeans. The backwards number XXII shimmered at her in sparkly silver paint. She caught the scent of rotting Shadow flesh on it-which was much heavier than regular human flesh-and nearly vomited in the sink. She wondered if she should bother showering, but that wouldn’t get rid of the smell in her clothes. She sighed and shook her head; a shower could wait until morning.
Nora: Shadows don’t have rotting flesh for the love of God. Stop making things up on the spot.
Aila’s eyes were drawn to her face and hair. She’d once been so proud to have the same pupil color as her cousin, but now couldn’t decide how they made her feel. Everyone that ever looked into those eyes revealed the pain that they’d been trying to bury for years. She thought of Ken especially, who had been much more forth-coming than anyone else about how Aila’s red windows made him feel. She’d hoped that assuring him of Minako’s care and affection had helped ease his soul-even if it was only slightly.
Ert: Ken was a creepy little kid who wanted to bone someone way too old for him, end of story.
The boy’s still, dead face suddenly flashed through her mind. It made the whole noggin jerk with pain and Aila had to grip her temples to make it stop. She was losing control to…well, whatever was happening to her.
Goeth: Losing control to the Daemonic possession I’m guessing.
When Minako’s memories and pain of the teenage boy’s near-death encounter had flooded Aila’s brain, she thought for sure that she wasn’t going to recover from it. The emotions had been so strong that she could’ve been eating them, tasting every sour fear and feeling of hopelessness that Minako had been storing in the most secret parts of her heart.
Nora:…Could’ve eaten the memories. Could’ve tasted fear. There is no way in the world to make that not sound stupid.
It had nearly been Ken’s downfall…it had nearly meant his eternal slumber. If Aila hadn’t regained control in time, she may have been too late to save him.
Aila stared at herself in the mirror, feeling an intense frustration-her own-start to spill into her eyes. She was a danger to everyone around her.
Ert: Uh, I would like to point out that Shadows really don’t focus on one person, kill them, then leave everyone else alone, so I don’t want to hear about how everything is all about you.
This hadn’t been her first time losing control and succumbing to the memories of someone else’s friends, but she wanted to ensure that it’d be her last. She had to take over. She had to find a way to make this stop.
Goeth: First time losing controls and succumbing to memories did what exactly? You accidentally a word there.
She stared at the half brown, half blonde locks falling over her face. She gave them an angry exhale, to which they levitated for a moment only to fall back against her cheek.
John Freeman: Glared at hare, which suddenly hate. Out of no wear
In the corner of her eye, Aila found a cup filled with grooming tools-among them was a pair of scissors. With very little consideration, she snatched them up and began chopping the blonde sections off where she saw fit. The split had started about halfway down her neck, so that’s where the guide was. When she’d finished, she stared down at the blonde locks below. They were gone…one of the few things that had made her different from her cousin now sat in the wet puddles that had forgotten how to find the drain. When she looked up, however, she was swept with relief. Her hair was now (mostly) shorter than Minako’s had ever been. Even if the strands were uneven-some brushing her chin and others dusting the creases between her neck and shoulder-she had never felt more comfortable in her own scalp.
Nora: This reeks of desperation. “I don’t want to be like Minako and I don’t want her memories taking me over. So I’ll cut my hair. SEE! I’M DIFFERENT NOW!”
Setting the scissors down, she gave an unsettling laugh. Somehow, she felt that fighting Minako’s memories wouldn’t be as easy as changing her hair style.
Nonetheless. She reveled in the satisfaction that she felt at that very moment. It was the first step towards change
Ert: The change from being a bland character to a slightly different bland character. And with that, this chapter comes to an end. I didn’t get much sleep while writing this, so I’m just gonna stop here and go pass out. Good night everybody!