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Red face (Visual Novel) Let's Play - Katawa Shoujo!

January 10th, 2012, 07:55
I wouldn't spoil the story (I never completed myself), but it's…unique. For the uninitiated, Visual Novels are…uh…interactive books you can flip through. It doesn't have combat, gameplay mechanics involve around multiple choices that creates divergent paths to the end.

Most people call it 'dating game' or 'eroge' (Erotic-Games). This game…is..a mix of both. I will censor the dirty parts, but to tell you the truth, 5 hours into the game, I've not even seen a trace of panties nor bra. So let's enjoy this story of a boy who nearly lost everything.

But now, in late winter, it feels like I'm standing under a pile of kindling.
I breathe into my cupped hands and rub them together furiously to prevent them from numbing in this cold.

Ah yes…the note… slipped between the pages of my math book while I wasn't looking and playing Terraria.

As far as clichés go, I'm more a fan of the letter-in-the-locker, but at least this way shows a bit of initiative.

As I ponder the meaning of the note, the snowfall gradually thickens.

The snowflakes silently falling from the white-painted sky are the only sign of time passing in this stagnant world. (Ed: Just like the writer's dandruff.)

Their slow descent upon the frozen forest makes it seem like time has slowed to a crawl.

The rustling of dry snow underfoot startles me, interrupting the quiet mood. Someone is approaching me from behind.

ED: Yes, I totally came.

A hesitating, barely audible question.

However, I recognize the owner of that dainty voice instantly.

I feel my heart skip a beat.

It's a voice I've listened to hundreds of times, but never as more than an eavesdropper to a conversation.

I turn to face this voice, the voice of my dreams, and my heart begins to race…

(ED: Now you know how Captain Picard felt in Oblivion)

A majestic love story in Skyrim…

Dammit. I spent all afternoon trying to come up with a good line and that was the result.


Ahmm…yes. I asked a friend to give you that note…I'm so glad you got it.

A shy, joyous smile that makes me so tense I couldn't move a single muscle even if I tried.

*DOKI* (This is the Japanese sound FX for heartbeat, I'll be replacing it for the current popular convention of majesty: FUS-RO-DAH!)

So..ah..here we are. Out in the cold…

ED: Looks like there's only one way to warm up..

Once again, the wind stirs up the branches. The cacophonous noise is music to my ears. And the tapping of the keyboard of the writer echoes in his room, copying down the damn narration, word by word.

Iwanako flinches ever so softly against the gust of wind.

As it passes, she rights herself, as if supported by some new confidence.

Her eyes lock with mine and she lazily twirls her long, dark hair around her finger.

All the while, the anxious beating of my heart grows louder.


My throat is tight; I doubt I could even force a word out if I tried.

Music: Romance in Skyrim


You see…


I wanted to know..


..if you'd go out with me…


Dovahkiin, Dovahkiin

naal ok zin los vahriin


wah dein vokul mahfaeraak ahst vaal!


Ahrk fin norok paal graan


fod nust hon zindro zaan

Dovahkiin, fah hin kogaan mu draal!

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January 10th, 2012, 15:51
I'll be following this. I always felt curious about this game, yet the theme is kind of too disturbing and shocking for me to go and play it myself.
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January 10th, 2012, 17:19
@ Zafira
It's not. I mean. Yes…at first look. I went : WHAAAAAAT?

Then it felt…serious. It wasn't making light of the situation, though the protagonist could use some guts.

My parents are here. It's been a few days since I've last seen them. Both of them are even sort of dressed up. Is this supposed to be some kind of special occasion?

It's not a party.

There is this ritual the head cardiologist has. He takes his time, sorting his papers, then setting them aside as if to make a point of the pointlessness of what he just did.

ED: Is he from Pakistan?

Then he casually sits down on the edge of the bed next to mine. He looks me in the eyes for a moment.

Hello, Hisao. How are you today?

I don't answer him but I smile a little, back at him.

I believe that you can go home, your heart is stronger now, and with some precautions, you should be fine. We have all your medication sorted out. I'll give your father the prescription.

He hands a sheet of paper to my dad, whose expression turns wooden as he reads it quickly.

Over 9000 midichlorians? So many…

I take it from his hand and take a look myself, feeling numb. How am I supposed to react to this?




Side effects, adverse effects, contraindications and dosages are listed line after line with cold precision.
I try to read them, but it's so futile.
I can't understand any of it. Attempting to only makes me feel sicker.
All this..for the rest of my life, every day?

I'm afraid that is the best we can do at this point.
However, new medications are always being developed, so I wouldn't be surprised to see that list fade over the years.

Years…What kind of confidence booster is that? I'd have felt better if he hadn't said anything at all…

Also, I've spoken with your parents and we believe that it would be best if you don't return to your old school.


Please, calm down, Hisao. Listen to what the doctor has to say…

Calm down? The way he says it tells me he knew full well that I wouldn't like it. Am I going to be home schooled?
Whatever of my concerns shows, it's ignored.

We all understand that your education is paramount; however, I don't think that it's wise for you to be without supervision.
At least not until we're sure that your medication is suitable.
So I've spoken to your parents about a transfer.
It's a school called Yamaku Academy that specializes in dealing with disabled students.

Disabled? What? Am I….

It has a 24-hour nursing staff and it's only a few minutes from a highly regarded general hospital. The majority of students live on the campus.
Think of it as a boarding school of sorts. It's designed to give students a degree of independence, while keeping help nearby.

Independence? It's a school for disabled kids. Don't try to disguise that fact.

If it was really that "free," there wouldn't be a 24-hour nursing staff, and you wouldn't make a hospital being nearby a selling point.

Of course, that's only if you want to go. But…your mother and I aren't really able to home school you.

ED: So I have a choice?

We went out there and had a look a couple of weeks back; I think you'd like it.

It looks like I really don't have a choice.

ED: Sorry I asked.

Compared to other heart problems, people with your condition usually tend to live long lives. You'll need a job one day and this is a good opportunity to continue your education.

This isn't an opportunity at all, don't call it an opportunity. Don't call it a goddamned opportunity.

Well, you should be excited at the chance to go back to school. I remember you wanted to return to school, and while it's not the same one…

A special school. That's…
An insult. That is what I want to say. It's a step down.

It's not what you think. All of the students there are pretty active, in their own sort of way.

ED: ……you wanted to say UNIQUE didn't you?

It's geared towards students that can still get around and learn, but just need a little help..in one way or another.
Your father's right. And many of the graduates of the school have gone on to do amazing things. A person doesn't have to be held back by their disability.
On of my colleagues in another hospital is a graduate.

I don't care. A person doesn't have to be held back by their disability? That's what a disability is.

I really hate that something so important was decided for me. But what can I do about it? A "normal" life is out of the question now.

It's funny, I had always thought my life was actually kind of boring, but now I miss it.

I want to protest. I want to blame this reaction on shock, or fatigue. I could easily yell out something now - something about how I can go back to school anyway. But, no.

I don't say anything. The fact is that I know now it's futile.

I look around the room, feeling very tired of all this. The hospital, doctors, my condition, everything. I don't see anything that would make me feel any different.

There really isn't a choice. I know this, but the thought of going to a disabled school…what are those even like? As much as I try to put a positive spin on this, it's very difficult.

But let me try.

A clean slate isn't a bad thing.

That is all I can think of to get me through this. At least I still have something; even if it's a "special school," it's something. It's a fresh start, and my life isn't over. It would be a mistake to just resign myself to thinking that.

In fact, gates in general seem to do that, but this one especially so.

Red bricks, black wrought iron and gray plater, assembled into a whole that didn't feel welcoming at all.

I wondered if it looked like what a gate for a school should look like, but couldn't really decide. Probably no.

Of course I didn't want to get stuck on thinking about the gate for too long, so I entered through it with a brisk pace that felt surprisingly good.

Moving forward feels good.

The grounds are incredibly lush, filled with green.

It doesn't feel like the kind of grounds a school would have, more like a park, with a clean walkway going past trees and the smell of fresh-cut grass and all other park-like things.

Words like "clean" and "hygienic" pop into my mind. It makes me shudder.

I shake them off. Stay open-minded now. It's your new life. You have to take it as it comes.

That's what I tell myself.

A few big buildings loom behind the leafy canopies, too big and too many for just a school.

Everything seems off; it's different from what I thought I knew about schools.

It's an uncanny valley. Even though I was told this is my new school, in the back of my head it doesn't feel like one.

I wonder if the feeling is real or caused by my expectations of a school for the disabled.

Speaking of that, I don't see anyone else here. It's kinda eerie.

It makes me wish there was somebody here so I could anchor myself to something tangible instead of having this feeling that I stepped into another dimension.

The trees hum with the wind and the green hues flashing all around me catch my attention.

It makes me think about hospitals again, how they say that the operating rooms are painted green because green is a calming color.

So why am I feeling so anxious, despite all this greenery?

Only after I stand in front of the haughty main building, I surprise myself by realizing why the gate bothered me:

It was the last chance I had to turn back, even if I had no life I could return to.

But still, after entering, there was absolutely no way I could go back anymore.

Feeling nervous and with this realization set in my head, I open the front door.

So you are. Excellent. I'm your homeroom and science teacher. My name is Mutou. Welcome.

We exchange a handshake that is neither firm nor sloppy, and he looks at his watch.

The head nurse asked you for a brief check-in visit, but there's no time for that now.
Oh, should I go later?
Yes, afternoon is probably fine. We should get going and introduce you to the rest of the class. They're waiting already.

Waiting for me? I don't really like being the center of attention, but I guess it's inevitable in a situation like this.

Somehow, not knowing what is waiting for me make me feel really nervous.

Thinking of this, I almost miss what the teacher is saying.

Why? Do I have to?
Of course not. That's why I asked.
Let's go then.

ED: I hope we get another heart attack.

Mutou opens the door and enters.

I hesitate for a split second at the door, freezing on the spot.

Ah, get a grip! This is a big step, I know that… But there isn't any point to worrying so much about it, at least not this soon.

It's pretty spacious; the ceiling is unusually high and there's lots of space left over around and in between the desks.

ED: What about the normal-looking chicks, Dovahkiin? Or has heart-attack made you impotent?

An entire wall taken up by blackboards and the high, old fashioned windows only make it seem larger.

ED: ……yes, what about the girls…FFS?!

The students' desks are just standard wooden desks with a shelf underneath for books and wooden chairs with metal frames. Simple and efficient.

ED: I give up.

I stop walking in front of the classroom and face the other students. They all look normal, like students in any other school. But then, why would they be here?

ED: Maybe it's not just the outside that's broken? Maybe it's the inside?

ED: The camera shifts to the right…extending the whole view slowly. Very nice effect IMO. Indies should pay attention to this feature.

I notice a flash of dark hair and see that someone is looking at me. A girl with really long, straight hair that is pretty eye-catching. As she sees me looking back at her, she covers her face with her hands as if it will make her invisible.

ED: ..which ONE? WHICH ONE?

There is one boy with a cane leaning against the lockers at the rear of the class. It's weird seeing someone so young with a cane.

ED: A guy? Pshhhh! Who cares!

Another girl seems to be making some weird hand motions. Sign language? She peers at me over the rims of her glasses, then goes back to whatever she's doing.

She's kind of cute.

ED: So you like glasses, eh?

So is the cheery-looking girl with pink hair sitting next to her. She's kinda hard to miss, I don't know how I didn't notice her the moment I walked in…

ED: Dovahkiin rediscovered his dragon. True story.

…please welcome our newest classmate.

He claps his hands and so does everyone else, except one girl in the first row who has only one hand. I cringe a little, but hide it by bowing in thanks for this applause I did not deserve.

After the applause, there is a brief silence that nobody seems to want to be responsible for breaking.

The teacher soon realizes that he should probably say something. He opens up with some unintelligible noise, shuts up as he loses his momentum, and then starts introducing me.

ED: This is Dovahkiin - he had a heart attack when a girl confessed to him in a snowy day at the park. FUS!

Nobody seems to be interested.

Maybe I should've said yes to the self-introduction thing.
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January 11th, 2012, 05:13
Mutou sensei, probably realizing he doesn't know anything about me, ends up saying my name wrong again, and asks me to write it on the blackboard.

I do that, and turn back to face the class, feeling awkward.

Poor, poor, Avatar….

I listen to the teacher as he drones about getting along while letting my gaze sweep across the classroom.

Everyone seems to be listening to him intently and when he's done, they clap their hands again which feels like a weird thing to do.

ED: It appears we have found nomask7's secret schooling style which he spoke of.

The first row girl claps on this ground, with her one hand against her other wrist that ends in a bandaged stump.

ED: Why, god, why.

It makes me feel a little bad.

ED: A little?

ED: This part …makes me hate the game, so so much. Or maybe the LP, cause I really want to get the whole emotion displayed properly to my dear readers. As I've did before in Mass Effect. I try to capture the character's angry face, sad, or happy. But at least this time they're static.

Yeah, it's fine with me.

ED: Play nice, Dovahkiin.

That's good, you can work with Hakamichi. She is the class representative.
She can explain anything you might want to know. And who else would be able to do that better, right?

How could I know?

The teacher passes out the day's assignments and announces that we will be working in groups of three.

It hits me that I don't know who Hakamichi is. Slow. The teacher seems to catch my helpless expression.

ED: Jesus, Dovahkiin, just follow the quest compass FFS. Or ask for rumors. I heard it helps.

Oh, right. Hakamichi is right there, Shizune Hakamichi.


ED: I don't like pink hair, sorry.

Hey, I guess you're Hakamichi, right? It's nice to meet you.

ED: My guess is that she's mentally retarded. Or she is the bastard child of Sengoku Rance. Or both.

What? I'm caught off guard by her laughter.

It's nice to meet you, too! But~! I'm not Hakamichi, I'm Misha! This is Hakamichi. Shicchan~!

ED: …..flat chest.

She has short, yet carefully, neatly brushed hair, a pair of oval-shaped glasses balanced on the tip of a dainty nose, and dark blue eyes that seem to alternate every few seconds between analytical and slightly bored.

It's nice to meet you.

ED: Good start.

She immediately looks at Misha, who smiles and makes a few quick gestures with her hands.
Hakamichi nods and makes a few gestures of her own.

ED: ….Oh god. She's mute?

I start to wonder if the teacher was messing with me, saying things like "you'll be able to talk to people" and "who better to explain things to you."

ED: (Intelligence) It's obvious intelligence is Dovahkiin's dump stat.

I can see you're a little confused, right? But, I understand why you would think I was Shicchan!

ED: Cause you're the first one to come on screen when her name is called? Seriously?

Shicchan is deaf, so I'm the person who translates things back and forth for her.
I'm like an interpreter~!! She says it's nice to meet you, too!

ED: You ARE an interpreter. FFS.

ED: That's three deep ellipses man. I am totally drawn to Shicchan already. Totally not.

You're the new student, aren't you? Well, Shicchan, of course she is! If he wasn't, he would have been standing up there for no reason, right? Right~!

ED: Now I know how Luke Skywalker felt when he's chatting with C3PO and R2D2. It's like they're having their own conversation, and you're just there for the ride.

Misha looks at me with a weird expression, then continues.

We don't know much about him, but maybe we'll find out later.

Maybe I shouldn't introduced myself after all. Anything would've given a better first impression than the teacher's drone and fumbling with my name.


We knew there was going to be a new student, but we didn't know you would be here today. So soon! Hicchan, right?

ED: No, but you can call me Shepard.


Yup~! It fits, doesn't it?

Did I say it out loud? It's just a surprise. I've never liked that nickname.

I don't really see how.
It fits~! You look just like I imagined!

ED: …… is she laughing at me? Is dat deaf bitch laffing at me?

Hahahaha~! Yeah, you look just like a Hicchan!

ED: I should've…introduced myself properly and not get stuck with retards like this. That pakist girl in the front row looks so fine right now…

I wonder why everyone seems to think so…

ED: …that's not the right question; WHAT IS A "HICCHAN?!"

Poor, poor, Hicchan…

Hakamichi taps her fingers on the desk to get Misha's attention. They gesture back and forth to each other excitedly, their hands a blur.

ED: I foresee great times with their hands in the near future.

Misha seems a little overwhelmed.

Ahaha~! Er, sorry about that!
Shicchan wants you to know that she's the class rep, so if there is anything you need to know, feel free to ask her.

ED: And she will answer me, without you translating the whole sign language, right?

Do you like the school so far? We can show you around a little if you haven't had the time to walk around and…fami- familiarize yourself with it!

Misha stumbles with the hard word a bit, making it stick out in her otherwise fluid translation.

ED: The fuck - oh. Sign language. Anyway, no thanks. I had enough of you two already!

Thanks, that would be pretty helpful. Yeah, I just kind of came straight to class today.

ED: Nooooooo.

ED: What?

Hahaha~! That's no good! You should always try to learn as much as you can about where you're going before you go there. Not just with school, either~!
Always! Even if it's a trip to the convenience store! Really, Shicchan? Hahaha~!

ED: You control freak. You stay away from me!

Learn about where you're going? I guess I didn't bother to do that, or just didn't care enough to do so.

I didn't look forward to this,

ED: The right words are… "I didn't ask for this."

even if I committed myself to go along with it half-assedly, but anyway.

I don't say anything, and Misha signs something that ends in a shrug. What was that? It seems like it was about me.

I feel like slumping over in my seat. Both of them are smiling, but that shrug hit me unexpectedly deep.

ED: Misha uses Shrug! It's effective! Dovahkiin takes 9 emo damage.

You look down, are you okay?

ED: I just got shrugged.

ED: Don't look at me with pity!

Don't take it the wrong way, please~! I hate it when people are afraid to ask questions! That's how people learn things, by asking~!

ED: Oh.

Asking for help is perfectly normal, as much as needing help! Stop looking like you just failed a test!





ED: Oooooh.

Ah, and another thing, you don't have to call Shicchan something so formal like 'Hakamichi' or 'class rep' all the time! Just call her Shicchan~!

ED: Shizune uses Blush! RK47 is not impressed. Shizune lost a turn and influence.

Ahah~! Okay, maybe that's too casual. Maybe 'Shizune' would be more appropriate?

ED: Whatever.

Yup, yup~! 'Shizune' is fine!
Heh. Okay, that would be a lot easier for me.

I feel a lot more at ease. Both of them seem so friendly, so I feel like an idiot for being so apprehensive earlier. Especially about Shizune, who I assumed would be all business.

Well, she still seems like that. Just less so, I guess.

ED: Don't lower your guard, Dovahkiin.

Huh? Oh right, we haven't even touched the assignment! We should start work now, or Shicchan will get mad.

ED: Let her.

The assignment is also kind of long, so we should start now if we want to finish it before the end of class.
Wahaha~! That too!

ED: What now?

Shizune glares at the two of us impatiently. I don't need to know sign language to understand that.

Okay, okay. I get the message.

After class, we can take a walk around the grounds together. It's a nice day today! Okay~?

ED: Yeah, maybe I'll take the opportunity to escape from these two once we're outta here…. Nice going, Dovahkiin!

Previously, Dovahkiin has schoolwork to do, thankfully, the class rep and her interpreter is around to help out! Let's take a look at these abled youth, shall we?

Still, we finish it a few minutes earlier than anyone else in the class, despite our late start. Shizune and Misha are really capable.

ED: It was a team effort.

They're quite different, though. The class rep is as calm and professional as she looks, while Misha is a lot more playful and girlish. Not to mention a little more easily distracted.

ED: So Misha suffers from …. Attention Deficit Disorder?

To be honest, the two of them did most of the work. I feel guilty about that.

ED: Don't be. I'm just left clicking to the next interesting scene.

The clock tower bells ring, signaling the end of the period. Time for lunch.

Without knowing what else to do, I follow Misha, who is beckoning me into the hallway and down the stairs.

We descend even below the lobby where I met Mutao, down to the bottom floor.

Its big windows open to the courtyard, towards the main gate.

It's the cafeteria~!

Her enthusiastic statement of the obvious makes people around us stare, but Misha doesn't seem to care so we proceed to the line.

There is a rather long list of menu options, which seems great until I realize that many of them are to accommodate students who need special diets.

How nice. It almost feels like I'm back at the hospital, eating portions measured with scientific precision to meet the needs of the patients.

ED: Gee, Dovahkiin - you're with girls! Come on! The nurses you were with did not even give you a hand job!

I pick something at random and follow Shizune to a table, sitting opposite of her.

As I nibble indifferently at the food I'd rather not eat, Misha pokes in the side to get my attention and points to Shizune.

ED: Oh?

Ed: Oh! What is it?

I don't understand sign, so the point escapes me.

Maybe looking at a person who "talks" to you is proper and polite?

Do you want to know something?

ED: Yeah, when do we get to the ecchi parts?

About anything! We're your guides so you should ask if there is something~!

ED: Oooooooh! Ooooh! OOOOOOH! Ask them about…


ED: I guess not asking anything is a little bit stupid. Might as well ask about the library.

Oh, yeah. Is there a library in the school? Lately I've gotten into reading a lot so I'd like to check it out.

Misha gives the kind of frown that makes it clear she doesn't consider reading a healthy hobby, but then picks up her smile again.

There is! It's in the second floor, we can show it to you sometime!

I return to my food while the girls talk between themselves.

Misha and Shizune sign back and forth very animatedly, throwing sideway glances at me but Misha refrains from translating. Maybe they are talking about secret girl stuff or something.

I quickly notice a conversation in sign is not enough to fill a silence.

We arrive in the classroom early, but we're not the first.

ED: Oh gawd, kill it with fire!

She shrinks deeper into her seat. I can feel her tension all the way from here, as if she were slowly turning into stone just from our presence.

Misha and Shizune either don't notice or don't mind it, as they walk directly past her to their seats and begin to converse.

ED: Guess nobody cares about her.

I'm left wondering about her, even when the classroom slowly fills with other students and finally, the teacher.

ED: Dovahkiin cares. He cares for the abandoned.

Getting into the rhythm of school feels strange; it's as if my brain remembers how this is done, but my body doesn't.

Towards the end of the class I start yawning and counting the minutes left.

I shouldn't be this tired of my first day of school.

Maybe it's the long time spent in the hospital that made me like this. I'm even feeling physically weak and lifeless.

Before long , the final bell rings.


School is finally over for the day.

Beside me, Misha and Shizune are having a short conversation. After a bit of deliberation, Misha turns to me.

ED: What?

Unfortunately we can't stay and show you around today, Hicchan. We've got to hurry already, since there is a lot of work for us to do.

You'll find your way around here, I'm sure of it.
Ah, wait! The teacher said I'd have to see the nurse. Where do I have to go?
Is that so? We can at least show you that much~!
Come on, the nurses have their own building, so we have to go outside.

We join the flow of students making their way down to the stairwell and outside, with the girls pointing out other senior classrooms in the same hallway as ours.

When we get outside, the girls make their way to the smaller building right next to the school.

It's built in the same style, so it looks like it's actually a part of the main building.

This is the auxiliary building here. There's a lot of official and important stuff inside, like the Yamaku Foundation office and all the nurses' offices. They even have a swimming pool!
How is that official?

ED: You mad?

Don't be silly, Hicchan! It's for physical therapy of course.
Anyway, all the nursing staff facilities are in there too. The head nurse's office is on the first floor.
You'll be fine from here, right~!? We'll be going, then! See you tomorrow!
Yeah, thanks. Bye.

ED: Good riddance!

A whole building for stuff that has nothing to do with the actual education?

I guess it's necessary for a place like this.

On the white door on the left is a green cross with the text "Head Nurse" and a nameplate.

A voice from inside responds to my knock almost immediately, but I can't quite make it out.

It sounded a bit like an invitation to open the door, so I invite myself further in.

ED: Can't wait to see the nurse..maybe she's changing now and we get to fu fu fu fu fu-



ED: A man?!

He is young-looking and sort of rugged, but the dimples in his cheeks wash that impression away when he smiles.

Erm, are you the nurse?

He smiles like a person who has heard this very same question hundreds of times.

Why yes, I am. It says so on the front door, no?

ED: You can stop smiling now. It's creeping me out.

You can call me by my name or just 'the nurse' like everyone else.

ED: So..you examine the girls as well?

Of course. I shake off my confusion, realizing I probably should grab his extended hand. His handshake is rather firm and friendly.

ED: No homo.

Right…err, I'm a new student and my homeroom teacher told me to come and meet you. My name is Hisao Nakai.

His eyes light up with revelation and he snaps his fingers.

Oh you're THAT Nakai. I was just reading your file in the morning.

ED: getoutgetoutgetoutgetout

Some kind of chronic arrhythmia and related congenital heart muscle deficiency.

He gestures me to sit down in a vacant armchair in front of his desk.

Eh, yes.

Good. Well, you've probably been briefed about the school enough, so I'll just go over this quickly.
We have all kinds of facilities available, mostly physical therapy and such.
There's always someone from my staff around, even at night, so never hesitate to call us if there is a problem.

The famous twenty-four-hour nursing staff.

ED: Well, can't have a kid dying at night alone, can we?

Wow, this like a hospital.

ED: Wow, you're SO smart!

Well, not exactly. For instance, we don't do brain surgery here.

ED: HA HA. Ha ha. Ha. Ha?

His joke feels so out of place that I'm left thinking why he even said it.

Yeah…just that it's really weird to have so many medical people at a school.
You'll get used to it.

I'm not sure of that myself but I don't let the nurse know it.

Now let me just find your file again…

While he searches for something from his computer and shuffles stacks of papers around, I let my gaze wander around the room.

It's the epitome of generic, I'd like to say.

ED: This is a nurse office, not Skyrim. FFS, Dovahkiin!

Beige walls and ceiling, dark gray laminated flooring, and all the equipment you'd expect from a school nurse's office.

Even the ridiculous education posters are hanging on all four walls, reminding me to eat properly - three times a day and from all the food groups.

Smiling, the nurse draws a thick file from a stack of similarly thick files and opens it.

So, you already have medication for the arrhythmia, just remember to take your pills every morning and evening or it won't be much help.
Apart from that…do you have any sports? Rash stuff like…I don't know, boxing?

ED: I love to LP.

He grins to his own joke but I don't.

ED: There's a joke there?

Eh, well. I played soccer occasionally with some classmates.
All right, I'm afraid I'm going to have to recommend you refrain from doing that. At least, for the time being.

My lack of reaction makes him raise an eyebrow, but really, I'm not too bothered by him forbidding me to kick a ball around.

I guess I never did it out of burning passion for the sport. Just to have something to do.

Any kind of concussion might be very dangerous to your heart and risking another attack is not a good idea.

ED: Damn right, we should hide the Halbech missiles somewhere safe. Oh wait, wrong game.

Was the previous one caused by a sudden concussion to the chest area? There is no mention of the cause in your papers.

ED: A girl's confession did it. XD

Err…not exactly.

I sidestep the question acceptably, and he glances at me over his papers, with a more serious expression on his face.

ED: Fuck's sake, Dovahkiin, what if another girl confesses to you in this school? Why don't you tell your doctor?!

PSA: You should ALWAYS tell your doctor what caused your disease, not matter how embarrassing it could be. It might be the key to save your life. Also, don't put flaccid cocks in plastic bottle and expect a great pleasure to come out of it. That's all.

Still, you need to keep your body healthy so some exercise would do you good.
We have physical therapy and such available as I said, but I don't think you really need such heavy measures.
Just get some light exercise regularly.

ED: Hand jobs would be sufficient.

Brisk walks, or even light jogging, jumping rope, that sort of thing. Swimming, maybe? There's a pool there.
So I was told.
You were? Very good.
At any rate, and I'm sure you've been told this before, you just need to take care not to overexert yourself.

He wags his finger to emphasize the point. No need really, I've heard this a thousand times already,

Absolutely no unnecessary risks. Take care of yourself.

ED: No sex?


He goes over my papers one more time and sets them on the desk, obviously content.

Good, that's it, then. Come meet me if you ever need something.

I'm ushered out before I even realize it. A quick visit, indeed.

It's the first real look I get at the other students, so I watch people coming out of the school, going towards the gates or the dorms.

Everyone seems to know where they are going.

ED: …..This is…just inane.

And I still keep thinking that most of them don't look too special for being students at a special school. Then again, neither do I.

Does that make me one of them?


One of us?



I should go somewhere too, to prevent me from getting lost.

It's around dinner time, but I feel tired instead of hungry.

The weariness in me only grows as I trudged towards the dorms, set a little way apart from the main building complex.

It dawns on my tired mind that the smell feels novel because I haven't been outside at all for so long.

ED: My god, visual novels are so descriptive. I wonder if I should read more. Or try to narrate my own experience of using a toilet. Would make for some interesting reads.

Room one-one-nine.

ED: If you reverse…it's… :tinfoilhat:

Despite the ornate exterior, the inside of the dorm is fairly new, functional, and boring.

Just like in the main building, the halls and the doors are wide to accommodate wheelchairs. the same goes for the elevators at the end of the hallways.

ED: Hopefully the elevator doors are strong enough to withstand the fury of a wheelchair bound Korean. God bless his soul.

I poke my head around the corner of the common room.

Inside, a few students are watching the TV.

One nods and gives a quick "hello" before turning back to the TV.

Seems that only the girls around here are sociable. I suppose that's perfectly fine with me.

I climb the stairs to the upper floor.

Each of these minor halls seems to have a toilet and shower, as well as four rooms.

About halfway down the hall, I spy room 119.

The name plates of the rooms adjacent to mine are blank. I guess there are just two of us here.

Light shines from below the door of room 117, so I knock lightly.

Hello, is anyone home?


From inside, I hear a few movements, then the cliicking of way more locks than I thought these doors had. After a few moments, the door squeaks open.

Who is it?

Blind? No, at least not completely, why would he have eyeglasses if he was?



Hisao Nakai…I'm moving into the next room. I thought I should introduce my…

His face suddenly brightens in realization, and he stands back upright, thrusting his hand out in a smiling greeting, almost straight to my diaphragm.

Oh, 'sup dude? The name's Kenji.
Ah, hi.

I take Kenji's sweaty hand and shake it, still a little rattled by the sudden change of attitude and vehement welcome.

There were some suspicious-looking people going in and out of your room earlier.
It was probably my parents.
Your parents? You sure? 'Cause they could've been some other people, too. You can't judge a book by its cover.

ED: The fuck? This guy must be suffering from some paranoid disorder.

His out-of-place proverb is left hanging between us awkwardly as I try to think of some way to respond.

I'd say the chances are high enough.

He shudders and makes some exaggerated hand gestures.

You're a brave man, Hisao.
Me, I don't think I could trust the chances.
The only one I trust is myself.
Does that mean I shouldn't get to know you, either?

ED: Real smooth, pal. I can't wait for the cyanide pill he slips into your water in the morning.

He thinks about this for a while.

A wise decision.
Damn you are smarter than you look.
What do you look like? I hope not smart.

ED: I got nuttin'.

Never mind, it doesn't matter.

With that, he turns, fumbles around for a moment in search of the door handle, and shuts the door behind him.

I slide the key into the lock of the door marked 119.

It's no one's room; impersonal, like my hospital room was.

My bags are sitting at the foot of my bed, looking a lot emptier than they did this morning.

The closet is sitting open, stocked with my clothes.

Also, it seems that there are a number of school uniforms hanging there as well.

A note is pinned to the sleeve of one of the shirts.

ED: Aww, thanks, middle-aged man and woman! Now on to our adventure! How about we spank the monkey while thinking of the -

Well at least I don't have to worry about unpacking.

ED: You're so goddamn fun, Dovahkiin.

I kind of hoped I would have, then there would be something to do.


It's still too early.

ED: Oh.

I put the note down on the desktop and lie down on the bed, feeling drained.

Lying there makes me want to read something, but I have nothing with me.

I wonder if the hospital conditioned me for wanting to read whenever I have nothing to do.

The restless urge just keeps growing until I have to stand up.

ED: It's ON!

Maybe it's stress or something.

ED: Gawd I haven't done it today as well. Just playing this game….FFuuuuuuuuus!

I was pretty nervous about it before coming and for the entire day today too. I still am, I think.

Damn, I have to distract myself somehow, so I won't be this unnatural all the time.

Tomorrow, I'll go borrow some books from the library.

Yeah, I'll do that.

But for now….

ED: Are we? Doing it? Now?

ED: Oh.

I pick one and shake it just to hear the contents rattle inside, and then read the glued-on pharmacy label.


It doesn't really say that, but it could just as well.

It's kinda twisted, having your life depend on chemicals like this. I resent it a little, but what choice do I have?

With a sign, I begin my new daily ritual taking the right number of pills from each bottle, being careful to check the correct dosage.

I lie down again, feeling hollow and uncertain, and after that I keep staring at the blank, unfamiliar ceiling for a long time.

ED: Can I just sleep then? Fuck's sake it's midnight and you won't even do anything interesting!

The sheets feel slightly more comfortable, warm and nest-like against the chill that passes for room temperature here.

Soon the lighter shade of darkness that is the ceiling looks like every ceiling does at night, and it becomes the only thing I recognize anymore.

ED: The inanity…..*holds head* AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

The night beckons me to sleep, and I feel the coldness of unfamiliarity and fear creeping up my spine once again.

I keep drfiting further away from the world I knew.

Yes, rest, Avatar, so that you may restore your strength to face the challenges before you. Pleasant…dreams.

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January 12th, 2012, 03:53

ED: Great. Let's hope today is a better day than yesterday…

ED: Did I ask too much?

Solid morning light shimmers against the light gray ceiling. I had forgotten to draw the curtains close last night.



This is my room, isn't it?

ED: Oh god.

My room….

This is the third room this year that I'm supposed to call "mine."

Various things around here remind me that indeed, it's me who is supposed to be the one living here.

ED: Right.

My bags on the floor, my new school books on the desk.

My numerous medications on the night table.

I stare at the bottles for a moment, deliberating, until I open a bottle, shake out a pill and pop out a tablet from a foil sheet.

I down them with a chaser of water without thinking about the chemistry.

Yes, that is the right thing to do, Hicchan.

My uniforms are in the closet.

ED: Why can't we skip school FFS.

I slink out from under the sheets and stretch my back before dressing up.

Putting on a new school uniform feels like dressing in someone else's clothes.

ED: Yeah, it almost makes you wish for a nuclear winter.

The artificial smell of generic detergent invades my nose, but the feeling of fresh cloth against my back is a good one, a natural one.

ED: Can't wait to read the sex scenes. Powerful verbs, adverbs, adjectives and vocabulary. Nucular science!

It feels like a school uniform, as it should. It's not much different from what I used to wear before.

That goes for other things too. So far, this place seems more or less like a normal school.

Except for the people.


I think back to my talk with Kenji yesterday, Misha's constant laughter, and Shizune's sweeping sign language gestures.

Well, I've only met three students so far. Maybe they aren't that normal, but I'm sure others are.

ED: Yeah, like the disfigured girl at the back of the class, right?

Or, perhaps, people like them are what passes for normal around here?

Yeah, what does pass for normal around here? What do people do?


I didn't see a lot of kids hanging around after classes yesterday, so maybe there are clubs. IF so, I wonder if I should join one.

ED: Good thinking, let's join the computer club!

Later, during class.

After all, she did say if I had anything I wanted to know, I should ask her.




ED: Time to hire a new interpreter? Or can't you just write what you wanna say? Why so dependent on your friend? Just because you can ask for help, doesn't mean you always should rely on it. +1 Wisdom -2 Sanity. RK47 gains a level. Updated his journal.

Oh~…I see! Hm…that's a good question, Hicchan.

My first thought is that means she doesn't know, which is worrying. Maybe I'm being too negative.

ED: No, you're being inane. Completely inane.

Well, anyway, Misha, please don't prove me right.

Oh, that's right! Everyone is encouraged to join a club. A lot of people do so because there isn't really anything else to do.
There are also school events, like the festival coming up in a few days. Almost every student in the school tends to help out with it, doing whatever.
So! You actually transferred in at a busy time…maybe you can help out, too~!

ED: ….I thought we agreed not to spend more time with these two?

What's the festival about?

Misha freezes.


Wahahah! I don't know, Hicchan, the truth is it's a local event, and I'm not from this area, so…

ED: Wait, where are you from then?

She starts signing desperately to Shizune, asking her to bail her out. Shizune adjusts her glasses at the end of an oddly grandiose flourish and starts signing hard and heavy.

Huh? Oh.

ED: Ok…so?

Who cares?!


Misha puffs out her chest as she shouts Shizune's words out at me with a disproportionate amount of pride.

Too loud. I can see heads turning to look in our direction.

Not so loud…

Human beings evolve with each new generation! The ideals and beliefs behind a festival will inevitably change with time.

ED: Yeah, just like Xmas. It used to be about…uh…Jesus' birthday? Then it's about some fat dude in red suit with flying reindeer dropping down a chimney for milk and cookies. And he's all out of milk. Oh man…

Now, it's about delicious fried food and amusing little games that you play to win prizes~! Hahahah~!

ED: Is THAT Shizune's words? Or yours?

The teacher clears his throat very loudly, batting his long wooden pointer against his other palm like a baton. He shoots a pointed gaze at us.

ED: Thanks for shutting her up, teach.

Finally noticing where we are, Misha stifles a yelp and quickly quiets down. Shizune doesn't seem embarrassed at all, though, brushing it off without a care.

ED: Of course, she's using sign language! Nobody can hear it!

ED: Oh, what is it now?

We are in the middle of class, and should start working.

ED: No shit.

That's right, Shicchan~!

ED: Dat face.

It could've been my eyes playing tricks on me, but I think I saw a suspicious glance exchanged between them. Misha's tone has also changed, although it does that every other word, anyway.

Yeah, I was thinking about it.

ED: Not good. Not good at all.

Misha and Shizune look at each other again.

ED: You poor, poor lamb.

I'm about to ask what they have in mind when something dark flutters in my peripheral vision, catching my attention.

Out of the corner of my eye, I see the girl with long, dark hair get up from her desk and slip silently towards the door.

It doesn't seem like she was working in any group, and no one seems to notice her but me.

ED: The disfigured one? Heavens, no!

I glance at the teacher, who's also looking at the dark-haired girl go.

Why doesn't he say anything?

ED: Maybe he doesn't care?

Hicchan? Is something wrong?

ED: …Everything.

Do I look as uneasy as I feel.

Or was Misha just looking at me looking after the girl who left?

ED: If you're so interested, why didn't you just ask the class rep? FFS!

No, nothing.


ED: Looks like Shizune doesn't give a fuck either.

Okay! Well, like we're asking, you don't have any plans for lunch today, do you?

I thought i would go to library and pick up some books.

ED: Yeah, and maybe the librarian, too. Tell them to fuck off.

…Not really.


Do you want to have lunch together then?

ED: You're in for it now, Hicchan..


ED: They're too damn happy about this. Is this it? Is Hicchan gonna get laid, finally?

Yay~! Wahahah~! Okay, Hicchan~! Perfect!

The rest of the class passes uneventfully. The girl with the long hair never came back.
Before I have the time to put any more thought into where she could have gone, the teacher informs us that it's time to stop working.

ED: I have a thought. Perhaps this situation of us being stuck with these two obnoxious girls is due to our stuck-up introduction to the class. Alas, it's too late to reverse the situation. So let's not isolate Hicchan further, else we may end up in a bad ending where we have to stay in Kenji's room. Duct-taped. Naked.

Yes it is, Hicchan!

ED: What? Did I miss something?


ED: …Did I skip over some dialogue lines by accident?

I've noticed this before, but it's kind of funny how Misha is always moving her hands and signing not only everything she says, but what anyone else is saying at any given time.

Obviously, it must be so Shizune can understand it. Her eyes dart back and forth between Misha's hands and me.

ED: +1 Wisdom. So…in order to break communication between the two, I must simply get rid of the pink one. Then the spectacled one will be left alone, isolated; unable to communicate to the outside world.

I don't know who I'm supposed to be looking at. I'm talking to Misha, but that might be wrong; maybe I should face Shizune. I'm used to looking in the direction of the person whose voice I'm hearing, but really…

ED: I think there's another scary possibility that our first time in bed with Shizune will end with Misha explaining to me how Shizune is feeling as I plunge Excalibur into her sheathe. "Shizune says it's painful- oh wait, no! No. don't stop! Shizune says she wants more!" I can only pray this isn't the case.

Shizune can't hear me, but it would be disrespectful to talk to her only through Misha. Then again, isn't that what she's doing? No, she's at least looking at me. This is all very confusing and will take some time to get used to.

It's not a contest, because contests are competitions over a prize. If there's no prize on the line, its' not really a contest.

ED: …That was what you three were arguing? Seriously?

Shizune's eyes flash dangerously with a competitive glare. She stares at me, as if surprised that I'm challenging her. I think maybe this is a contest to her.

ED: Hey, what are we talking about, man?

I never noticed before how dark and blue her eyes are; it's truly an alluring gaze.

ED: ….I…I never asked for this. *cries*

Are you sure, Hicchan?

ED: Oh no. Gods, no.

Very sure.


Hahaha! You're wrong, Hicchan. Because~!, I don't want to be the slowest one in the class. Therefore, what's on the line is my confidence in my abilities, and the prize is the satisfaction of proving them.

ED: Let her win, Hicchan…Let her win.


ED: That's why.

Shizune pushes her glasses up the bridge of her nose in a very matter-of-fact way.

ED: I think my vocabulary's improving. This visual novel idea is great. But man, what am I reading this for, really?

I'd argue more, but the bell rings, and she quickly gets up and picks up her bag, looking at me expectantly.

I had almost forgotten that I was supposed to have lunch with them.

ED: Play nice, Hicchan. They may be your only friends for now…

Where do you want to eat?
The cafeteria?

ED: …Oh man, not even a choice?

Hahaha~! That's so plain… Okay~! Let's go!

Plain? Well I guess…

ED: Seriously, Hicchan. You need to act naturally. This is all pretty fun compared to Emo Hospital. Think of all the chicks we can meet.

At my old school, I liked to eat outside, near the back of the building. It was a good spot, but I didn't find it until near the end of my freshman year.

I wonder if there is a similar place to eat here. Misha seems to imply as much.

ED: Well, this line of thought of pointless since you never asked.

After we finish eating, Misha picks up where we left off earlier.

So, Hicchan, you wanted to know about clubs and stuff, right?, right~?

ED: Socialize, Hicchan. This may be your last chance.

Right, Shicchan! Okay, I guess it makes sense to ask first.

Exchanging little nods of confirmation, they turn to face me again and Misha straightens her posture as if she is about to deliver a speech.

Hicchan, do you have anything you're really interested in?

ED: I like to LP. Something Awful was my inspiration.

I used to play soccer, but I'm not really into it. I don't follow the teams and players or anything like that.

ED: OK. I guess your answer's fine, too.

As of late, I usually just read a lot.
Hm…There is a book club, right, Shicchan? Right! But~! It seems like they have all the members they can possibly have right now. Sorry, Hicchan… It's a really popular club.

ED: Damn! No sexy librarians for us.

ED: Why is she looking so happy about this though?

Ah, okay! But, more to the point, Hicchan, does this mean that you don't have anything already in mind?

ED: Uh oh.

Not really.

ED: You fool!

Good! Great~! That's great, Hicchan! Really great! Hahaha~! Wahahahaha~!

ED: You're fucked.

Why's it so great?
No reason.

ED: Eeep.

Well, Hicchan, other than clubs and the upcoming festival, there is one other thing…

ED: Here it comes…



I see. I didn't know this school had a Student Council. That was a very melodramatic setup, though, just to tell me that.

I'm pretty sure the two of them know this, because Shizune looks a little embarrassed about it, and Misha is laughing.

Shizune quickly retakes control of the discussion, in a manner of speaking. After all, it's still Misha who has to voice whatever she says.

Hahah~! Hm? Right, right… Hicchan, maybe you should join the Student Council! They could use more poeple~. Yes! Definitely! You should definitely join!

ED: I know I said socialize, but this is a little bit too early to commit.


ED: Glad you have the willpower.

Well, for one, we could hang out every day, Hicchan~! Shicchan and I are both in the Student Council.

ED: I guess…the three of us could…y'know…I mean…we have no other friends.

Actually, Shicchan is the president.

ED: Wow. You translate her speeches to the whole school?


I'm starting to get the suspicion that Shizune and Misha might not exactly be the most unbiased people to talk about this with.

ED: Sometimes you're kinda smart, Hicchan. But…really, what are your options now? The disfigured girl? Eeeps.

As if reading my mind, Shizune quickly adjusts her glasses and signs something to Misha.

Hahaha~! Of course, we're not trying to get you to join just because we could obviously benefit from you joining the Student Council and therefore have an incentive to try and get you to-

ED: Wow. Shittiest lie ever. 0/10.

So, you're admitting that-

Ahaha~! No! We admit nothing~! I mean, Hicchan, of course it would be nice if you joined and we'd appreciate it.

ED: Please. Continue. I want to know where this goes.

But even without all that, joining the Student Council shows a healthy interest in the workings of one's school.

ED: …..She has a point. But…there's other classmates. We haven't met them all. Why limit ourselves, Hicchan? Get along, but don't close your circle.

Yup~! It's true, Hicchan. Besides, don't you want to spend time with us after school, Hicchan?

ED: Is that…..uh…was that?

I can't tell if she is being genuine or if this is just really good acting. Both of them seem to be trying hard to look their cutest, although they are already pretty cute to begin with.

ED: Hicchan, be careful. Your heart…


So it's settled, then. Welcome to the Student Council, Hicchan~!


What? No. No!

ED: Thank god.

Aww…See, Shicchan? Of course it wouldn't go so easily.

Yup! That's right, though, it would be boring if it went that smoothly. Oh well~! Shicchan owes me a candy now!
You were betting on it? Hey, my life's not a game here!

Shizune seems very intrigued by this when Misha signs it to her. The aggressive glint returns to her eyes.

ED: We're not getting away that easily.

Wahaha~! That's interesting, Hicchan. Let's play a game!

ED: We are. Aren't we? Oh wait.

That's not what I said.
How about Rich Man, Poor Man, Hicchan? If you lose, you have to join the Student Council~!

ED: …I don't even…

No, absolutely not.
Aww, why not?
Well, because you both have the same incentive, and therefore the same goal, which is to get me to join the Student Council, right?


ED: Assclowns.

Yeah, that isn't my goal. But what this means is that both of you can team up and I'll be at a clear disadvantage. So, I will have to decline.

ED: How about Strip Poker?


It's hard to tell where Shizune's influence ends and Misha's thoughts begin.

In order to atone for hurting a young girl's feeling, you should definitely join the Student Council!

ED: Right…..

How about a game of paper football, instead of Rich Man, Poor Man?
Paper football?
Yeah~! It's a game they play in America~!! You make a paper triangle, and then you try to shoot it past goalposts that the other player makes with their fingers!

ED: Really? Americans play paper football?

Isn't it cool~? It's the ultimate form of competition between two people, Hicchan~!

And it's also played by elementary and middle school children, Shicchan. Wahaha! That means it's a game that really separates the boys from the men!

ED: *Scratches head*

More like the boys from the slightly older boys. Anyway, I'm not going to play that either. Just the fact you know about it means you're probably good at it.
Hahaha~! Yeah yeah~, that's true! How did you know, Hicchan?

ED: I'm so tired.

Shizune frowns at Misha, telling me that she probably wasn't supposed to admit that so readily.

I wouldn't say that I'm happy with their attempts to get me into the Student Council, but I'm a little curious about what the Student Council does here.

I've never been on one before, or even known anybody who was a member, so it would interests me. I also kind of like Shizune and Misha, so maybe it wouldn't be so bad.

ED: …Whatever man. Let's just get this banal words over with.

Okay, Hicchan, how about Risk? The game of world domination!


I don't know what that is.

ED: You are a sad, sad man.

It's really fun, Hicchan. You fight for control of the world, with armies and everything.

Sounds like Shizune would be good at it.

ED: Well, no risk no gain. Amirite? You might win a prize.

If you want to play, we can play after school.

Ah, really, Shicchan? We can play just for fun, Hicchan. Shicchan hasn't played in a long time, so if you want to, there are no strings attached~!

ED: …..I believe you.

Well, okay.
Okay, okay okay! Perfect! We'll see you after school in the student room, then, Hicchan!
Wait, why there?
Because~! That's where we keep the game.

ED: Or the BDSM gears…


ED: Not helping.

I grimace to tell them how much I do not like this, but it's more for show than anything.

ED: You're done.

So in the end I agree, but only after getting Shizune to acknowledge that I don't mean anything concrete just by accepting to take a look around and play a game with her.

Lunch ends, and we go back to class.

During afternoon classes, the long haired girl comes back and sits down in her seat without a word.

ED: Who gives a shit. We have a game! WITH TWO GIRLS! HOLY CRAP!

Again, no one seems to notice, or if they do, no one says anything. I want to ask Misha about it, but I don't want to be nosy.

ED: ….you're done for.

I feel a little offended, but I'd been considering it. Nevertheless, I'm a bit disturbed that enough people have made a break for it in the past that they're on their guard.

What's with the escort? This doesn't make me feel very comfortable.

In fact, it makes me feel like a dangerous prisoner being transported to his cell.

Wahahaha! What's wrong, Hicchan?

Yeah, what's wrong, Hicchan?

That's right, we're just going to play a game of Risk, remember?


I don't know, Misha, this all seems a little sinister to me. I start thinking that when we sit down to play the game, they'll tie me down and torture me until I agree to join the Student Council.

ED: 2 Girls 1 Guy. Come the fuck on. You have a weak heart, but one's deaf..and the other one….has a pink hair.

Well, that's highly unlikely, but still… For some reason, it just seems like it would be so plausible.

What? That's it? This makes you guys being so on top of me seem a little silly.

That's not true, Hicchan. Shicchan says that when their life is threatened, people have shown the capability to pull off superhuman bursts of speed.

ED: You translated THAT off sign language? How?

Life is threatened?

ED: OH, yeah, more important matters.

Her expression unchanging, Misha signs something amusedly to Shizune, who makes a baffling face and puts her hands behind her back, looking pleased with herself.

Mm~hm hm hm~…

ED: What.

Misha feigns deafness and hums cheerily. Stop that, I know you heard me; you have no excuse, unlike Shizune.

ED: There's the window. Check if it's bullet proof.

There's a big table in the center surrounded by chairs, and a smaller desk prominently placed in the back that I assume is Shizune's. There are a few regular desks and chairs stacked to one side, as well. Extras, perhaps?

Aside from the tables and chairs, the room doesn't have much else to offer. Just a couple of filing cabinets and bookshelves stacked with old school records and documents. Not much else. In fact, nothing else.

ED: It's a trap.

This is…a pretty bleak room. They could at least put a potted plant in here, or something. But the most noticeable thing that this room doesn't have is other people.

ED: Enjoy the rape.

Are we early?

ED: *Facepalms*

What do you mean 'no'? Does it mean nobody else is coming today?

Yeah, that's right~.

Before I manage to ask why that's the case, Shizune claps her hands together very energetically.

Hicchan, let's play Risk! Come on, you promised, didn't you? You have to~!

ED: *Muffled noise*

Hahaha~! Okay okay okay~! Do you want to know the rules? We can explain to you while we set everything up!

While Misha is talking, Shizune takes out what looks like a board game from behind one of the filing cabinets and throws it on the table.

ED: Eep? We're playing? We're playing a Risk? Really?

Actually, this looks kind of interesting.

After Misha spends a little too long for her liking running through the basics with a somewhat vague and confusing tutorial. Shizune cuts in and declares the game has started with a decisive motion, slicing her arm through the air.


It's time to DUEL!


Shizune's aggressiveness is rubbing off onto me. I start feeling more competitive than I intented to be when I agreed to this.

Halfway into the game, while I try to ponder how to defend against Shizune's assault from two fronts, she breaks my concentration by drumming her fingers on the table to get my attention.

Hicchan, Shicchan wants you to know that you are taking too long to make a move.

I thought this was a game with no strings attached.

Just the fact that she would dangle that over my head as an offer means that she knows I care about the outcome of this game.

Aibou, you can't surrender that easily. We can still turn this game around! We our combine chikara!
And anyway: No!

I hate losing. Especially to girls.
Shicchan admires your fighting spirit and would be a benevolent dictator who will spare your people if you agree to join the Student Council~!
Yeah, right.
Don't listen to the noise, Aibou. Focus on the strategy!
You're so competitive, Shizune.

She seems to take this as a compliment.

I would expect the Student Council present to be a little more magnanimous.
Nice mind games, Aibou!

She doesn't seem to know what the word means or how it's signed, so she pulls out a piece of paper and writes it for Shizune, who in return signs it back to Misha.

Misha presses her index fingers against her temples, as if trying to physically imprint the word into her memory.

Let's hope that confuses her long enough for us to come up with a winning strategy…

Suddenly, Shizune bursts into a flurry of gestures. Misha looks daunted by the pace of her heated signing.

Ah, wait, please slow down, Shicchan… Um, Hicchan~! Shicchan says you're going to lose!

Tell her I will crush her world empire with my rebellion.
That's the way, Aibou!

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January 13th, 2012, 10:18
This could be a trap….I could play defensively, not falling for her ploy…but I'm sorry, Ai-BROs…

Music: Hyperdrive

…that is NOT my way of duelling!

I have nothing else to lose, though, so I might as well try something different.

That's the spirit, Aibou!

Maybe if I spread out my forces and try to control more territories, I can recoup the advantage.

Yes, yes yes!

Shizune seems to focus on conquering whole nations, so maybe I can sacrifice my hold on continents to gain more small countries.

Yes, fuck Australia!

It's worth a shot.

To victory!

A few turns later, I end up losing the game anyway.


Shizune adjusts her glasses victoriously and allows herself to tentatively pump a fist in the air in celebration.

I win, I win~! Yay~!

ED: You did?

There's no need to translate that, it was pretty clear.
Wahaha~! Don't look so sad, Hicchan~! You were really giving it your best, that's what I thought!
Sometimes your best just isn't good enough, though~. If anyone knows that, it's me~! You did very well for someone who just learned how to play today!

ED: Are we being cheered up by Misha or Shizune? I get lost sometimes.

Hicchan, you attacked Iceland and North America at the same time, that's very daring move. Shicchan is impressed~!

ED: ….It didn't work in Fallout.

The mark of great people is that they are daring, and that they can follow through~! You're already halfway there; isn't that great, Hicchan?

ED: Thanks, Shit-chan. I'll pay attention to that on my next annual job performance appraisal.

That isn't enough though; just potential isn't enough! There is no point to potential if you don't take the first step, and there is no point to that if you don't keep going. I want to see more.

ED: Eh? What?

You're right, Shicchan~, but, that's so demanding…

ED: She's right…but…why push yourself so hard? I mean, yeah life goes on. Fail or succeed. Life moves. With or without. Keep the pace. But overtake it will take some effort…maybe you shouldn't push…if…

Shizune leans forward, suddenly looking a lot less playful and more like the serious person I expected her to be from the start.

ED: I'm sorry…Shizune…you're not my type.

Hicchan, would you like to join the Student Council?

Music: The Council

She really doesn't waste any time, does she? But…

It's only my second day of school, so I'm hesitant about committing to something so early.

ED: Thanks for being smart, Dovahkiin. We shouldn't rush things.

I haven't even taken a look at any other clubs yet.

But spending time with Shizune and Misha doesn't seem like something I would hate.

ED: Well…it's not like…I hate them and all…..Hmph!

I still need more time to think about it before I decide for sure.

Maybe. I'll get back to you on it.

ED: You mad?

Okay, Hicchan~! But, I hope you're not just saying that so we don't feel bad.

ED: Well, actually…

No, really.

ED: Oh, what the fuck.

Hicchan, if you're going to say that, you're that it is definitely the truth, and there can't be any~ mistaking it~!

ED: Fuck this. I'm out. Oh Dubya Tee. Out.

I know, I guess I should have my revenge for losing, at the very least.


I take a glance at the clock on the wall and realize I've spent far longer playing Risk than I expected.

Sorry, I think I have to go. I wanted to go to the library. It's not closed yet, is it?

Shizune scratches her head and gestures at Misha.

How hard can it be to determine whether the library is open? There's a clock right there on the wall.

It should be, unless the librarian is absent.
I think you're right, Shicchan.
We…think the library is open. It's on the second floor; can't miss it. Do you want us to show you where it is?

ED: I think that's enough sign gesturing for a day, Hicchan. Flip them the bird and let's get outta here.

No thanks, it's okay. See you tomorrow.
Bye bye!

ED: They're good people. But we should find out more before ..y'know. Shizune's not my type. Mickey could be nice to cuddle…but Pink hair? Eeeks.


The second floor hallway is a carbon copy of the third floor one.

Wide, of course; and plain, like only hallways can be.

ED: No signages?

The problem is that the library's whereabouts are not as easily determined as one would think.

ED: The lack of quest compass is debilitating to Dovahkiin. I knew I should've played the console version.

The classrooms are marked with signs stating which class they belong to, but then there is a plethora of other, unmarked rooms.

Is the library one of them? Or is it just somewhere down the hallway?

I bet on the latter and choose my direction at random.

ED: What's the worst that could happen? Seriously…

After I turn around the corner, an unmarked door draws my attention because it's not closed.

It's not open either though, just barely ajar so that I can see it's open and nothing else.

ED: …..You see a door. It's not closed. Yet it's not open either. What do you do?

It would make sense for the library door to be invitingly open, and while this one is not quite that, it's good enough.

At the very least it means that someone is inside and I can ask for directions no matter how embarrassing that is.

I gingerly push on the center of the door with my fingertips, every muscle in my arm ready to pull back at a moment's notice.

Yes, THAT is the correct direction to travel to, Avatar.

The feeling of being an outsider to this school can't be shaken from my mind, so much that I instinctively fear doing something wrong by entering.


The door slowly creaks as if groaning from a deep sleep, though is much easier to open than I'd anticipated.

Leaning over and poking my head ever further inside to gain sight of the room as fast as possible, the meek "Hello…?" on my lips is quickly snatched away.

Music: I came in my eyes

ED: Ma…ma…

ED: Majestic!

I mindlessly let the door open to its full extent, taking in the sight of the solitary figure taking center stage in the otherwise abandoned room.

The situation steals my voice, leaving me standing at the doorway staring at the beautiful girl.

Evidently having taken her time to assess the situation, the girl gently puts down her teacup, and opens her eyes, but doesn't look at me.

ED: Lock the door, Hicchan. Let's PARTAYYY~!!

Staring directly in front of herself, the movement of her lips seem to break the silence rather than the words.

ED: I'm sorry, please don't hurt me, Mistress.

However it's the soft, measured voice that reminds me she's a being separate from the room itself.

Not only is she likely the tallest girl I've ever laid eyes on, but even among the foreigners I've met she's strikingly distinct.

ED: Dovahkiin. Please. Say something. The girl isn't going to eat you.

Uh, hi. Sorry for intruding, I was just…kind of lost.

She takes a moment to formulate a response before speaking. Every action she takes feels as if it's carefully choreographed beforehand.

Care to take a seat?


….unexpected, considering that I'm intruding upon her.


I slowly step towards another seat opposite of her, the girl resting the teacup and saucer on the wooden table in between.

The way she doesn't track my movements with her head is telling…that, and the slight cloudiness to her eyes means she must be at least partially blind, like Kenji.

ED: ….Ah…the flawed Goddess. My cup runneth over….

Come to think of it, her voice doesn't have any detectable accent either. I guess she must be half-Japanese.

ED: …We were speaking in Japanese? …I …uh… Never mind. Continue! Name! Job! Date!

As I take my seat, her composure takes me slightly off-guard. Her air of relaxed confidence makes the silence entirely comfortable.

The calming atmosphere is so very different from the student council office.

ED: …DO NOT. I repeat. DO NOT. EVER. RETURN THERE. AGAIN. Come here instead.

I take it you're a new student to Yamaku?
Ah, yeah. I just transferred in yesterday.

I get the distinct feeling my speech patterns don't match the formality of hers, accentuated by her restrained bow of greeting.

ED: Quick. Thou art a rose amongst thorns! Thine beauty puts the greatest …..CHEESE to shame!

One which I hasten to match, before realizing the futility of the action.

I'm Lilly Satou. Pleased to meet you…

ED: 47. RK47.

Hisao. Hisao Nakai.

She gives a nod before gesturing roughly in the direction of her teacup.

Would you care for a drink?

ED: It would be a great decline if you decline now, Dovahkiin.


As much as it pains me, I can't keep step with her formality in the proceedings.

ED: Try addressing her as "Your Grace" or "Lady British."

She gives a kind nod, taking the request in stride.

A brush here, a brush there, her left hand often lightly touching the side of whichever container she's pouring into..it seems to be a process she's followed dozens of times before.

As I lean sideways to see around her back, she seems to use her long, dainty finger to measure the right amount of water in the cup.

It's one thing to see the different disabilities the students in my class have, but it's quite another to see how everyone seems to adapt.

Shizune and Misha have no problems working together to communicate to me, and Lilly herself seems to have workarounds for problems I'd never thought of.

ED: …Yeah…it's survival. Adapt…or…be crippled.

While I feel slightly guilty about her doing the work, she seems pleased to be following the "correct" process of the offerer preparing the drink.


Her soft voice brings me out of my silent observance.

Which room were you looking for? It's not often this classroom is visited after school.
The school library. Shizune and Mi- I mean, some classmates, told me it was on this floor.

She finishes pouring water into the teacup as she nods, a small metallic tapping coming from the teacup indicating it being stirred.

I'm aware of Miss Hakamichi, as are most students. To be with them means you're in class 3-3, no?
That's right. In the science room with Mutou.

ED: Eh? Was that a pitying laugh?

He's quite a character. I imagine you'll come to like him; most do.

ED: I hope you don't have a crush on your teacher or something.

Nonetheless, the smell's quite nice. I hardly think it'd be hard to choke down.

ED: Drink you goddamn tea, ingrate.

Thanks, Satou. It tastes really nice.

She smiles and quickly waves her hand in front of her face.

Lilly, please. There's no need to be so formal.

She says this in spite of her exceedingly well-bred speech. Oh well.

ED: Elites gonna leet.

I guess I should try and ask her about herself, as it really does seem as if she's catering to me.

ED: Job. Class. Interests!

So which class are you from? I imagine it's one of the third-year classes.
Correct, I'm in class 3-2; which is on the third floor, same as yours. It's taught by Miyagi, and is specifically for both blind and partially blind students.

ED: Wish you're partially blind, Dovahkiin. Then we can skip this shitty class and move on to hers.

I see.


Ah, I mean, uh, s-sorry…

I feel like slapping myself for the faux-pas. Looking at her face, though, she doesn't seem in the least bit put off by it.

My my, there's no need to change your speech on my account.

ED: I thank you for your generosity, Your Grace.

As, sure. Sorry, I guess I'm really showing my newness shere.
An environment like this would be a big change, so I can't fault you for it. While the same can't be said for everyone, many have come to terms with their conditions.

ED: … Hear that, Dovahkiin. You're one of the lucky ones. You have all your senses and limbs.

A category which would include her, it seems. All too ready to jump ship from this particular topic, I segue into another.

Do you come here to drink tea often? It's a really nice place.

Thinking on it, this might be her version of the place behind my school that I like to have lunch at.

I come here fairly often during lunch times. My duties as class representative don't leave enough time for an 'official' club, so a friend and I use this room for having tea.

Class representative, huh?

Compared to Shizune, her mannerisms seem to be almost completely opposite. While Shizune's blunt and fiercely driven, Lilly seems relaxed and calm, almost aloof.

ED: And goddamn beautiful, too.

Come to think of it, she might be useful for a less biased view of the school's clubs.

ED: Oh jeez, way to ruin the moment, Romeo.

What kind of clubs are there to join?
Hmmm… the more popular ones are on the track and field club, which uses the field near the school during lunch times, the baseball club, and the book club in a room near the library.
There are also numerous small ones too, though, such as the art and music clubs.

At a time when I'm just wanting to get on my feet, rushing into a club right away seems slightly unappealing.

ED: Yeah, just stay here, man. It's nice.

I wonder if this school shares the same rule as my old one…

Is it compulsory to join a club?
It isn't, though it is encouraged.
Ah, good. That's a relief.

I've really let down my guard around this girl to let such a thing slip out. The fact seems to slightly amuse her.

Not wanting my tea to get cold, I finally start drinking it as Lilly does the same.

Even here, time doesn't stand still.

ED: Turn based games are so yesterday.

Huh, the time's gone quickly.


Right. She's blind. Of course she can't see the sun setting.

ED: Damn. Life's simple joys..watching porn. Seeing that beautiful actress…and watching Naruto will be a thing of the past if I ever lost my eyes. Blindness sucks.

It just looks like the sun's starting to set.

It seems to come as a surprise for her. I guess she must have lost track of the time.

Sorry, Hisao. I didn't mean to keep from the library for so long.

ED: No, don't be. We want to be here, don't we, Hicchan?

I quickly move to allay her concern.

Ah, no, it's okay. The library's still open, isn't it?

She pauses, and takes a moment to think on it.

It's probably something I should've asked Shizune when I had the chance, but Lilly seems likely to know in any case.

True. It's open until six-thirty during weekdays.

A quick glance at my watch confirms I have well enough time to get there.

Hmm, I might get going in that case. It's been nice talking with you, Lilly.

ED: We'll be back! For sure!

She smiles and gives a deep nod, her hands still neatly folded on the table in front of her.

It way my pleasure.
Oh, come to think of it…shall I show you to where the library is?

ED: I dunno. Being lead by a blind girl seems….improper.

I couldn't possibly ask for more help. I should be able to find it all right.

Well, unless my navigational skills fail me. Which them seem to have a habit of doing.

ED: Well, fuck. If you had found the library, you might not have met Lilly. It's a good thing.

It's all right, I was going to be talking to the librarian there in any case. I could introduce you.

This gets better and better. It's pretty hard to deny her offer.

ED: Dovahkiin, have ever considered that Lilly is simply making up excuses to help you out? FFS, so dense!

If you're sure, then that'd be great. Thanks.

Compared to the cane the boy in my class had, Lilly's look much thinner and longer. His must be for support, whereas Lilly's is for navigation

Together we leave the peaceful room and enter the empty hallway on the way to the library.

Side by side, my pace carefully slowed to match hers, we slowly walk through the hallway.

It doesn't take long for us to arrive at the door to the warm-looking room, apparently situated in the center of the floor rather than either wing.

Ladies first.


It easily dwarfs my old school's library, with the distinct smell of old books giving the place an almost old-world air.

There don't seem to be a lot of students here. Considering the time, it isn't a big surprise, everyone's probably either in the school grounds or the dorms.

Yuuko, are you here?

She says it to thin air since the librarian doesn't seem to be present and of course Lilly can't see this.

What's unexpected is that it draws a reaction.


Something from under the counter thuds against it, followed by a quiet wail.

ED: Don't fear the psyker.


The origin, apparently the librarian, quickly crawls out and bounces up to extremely rigid attention.

Her voice is strained in a failing attempt to sound casual and she's rubbing the back of her head.

Good afternoon. What happened just now? I heard a strange sound.
It's nothing, I just hit my head.
See, I dropped an eraser under my desk and while I was looking for it a pencil dropped and when I was looking for both of them you came and surprise me…

ED: Not sure if she's disabled…

Are you all right? I'm sorry, I couldn't know-
It's okay! It's okay, sorry for making you worry.
This is nothing, I've had worse happen to me.

She's quick to reverse Lilly's apologies, almost frantically trying to push aside the possibility that she could be in any way inconvenienced by bashing her head on the counter.

Yes…worse things have happened, hehehe…

ED: So…job? Name?

The girl fidgets with her fingers as Lilly doesn't seem to drop her concerned expression and then she shuffles some papers around the counter for no reason.

A little shorter than Lilly, replete with glasses, freckles and a very troubled look, she seems to fit a library perfectly.

ED: You mean person with no glasses, no freckles and completely at ease wouldn't fit a library? You're a strange person, Dovahkiin.

Ah, Lilly! Did you get my message?
Oh, the two imported books that arrived?
Right! Right! They finally came! I can't believe it took so long, but-

Amidst her celebrations, partially for managing to change the topic I'm sure, she notices from the corner of her eye and freezes on the spot when she does.

Oh no, I'm sorry for not noticing you before!

ED: … *shakes head*

Did you need to check out a book? Or return one? I'm sorry! I'm sorry!

The way she can so quickly shift between moods is a little unsettling.

ED: You're too damn kind, Dovahkiin.

Pleased to meet you.
Hisao. Right. Hisao. Pleased to meet you, two. Hisao.


For a second she visibly attempts to engrave the name on her mind so she won't forget.

Yuuko often arranges to import foreign books in Braille for me.
Would you like to tell Hisao a little something about the library?

ED: Sure, where's the Lovecraft section. Heh heh heh…

Lilly's innocent suggestion is met with an expression of abject terror.


I…Please Lilly, I can't.


I don't know what he could be interested in. This is too much responsibility.


ED: No! Your Grace, PLEASE DON'T!

So, there are a lot of books in Braille here?

ED: Saved!

I attempt to save the day by asking the first thing that pops into my head. It seems to work at least partially, as Yuuko seems to…not exactly relax, but at least look slightly less tense.

Well…I think about a third or a fourth of Yamaku's library is either in Braille or audio.

ED: Wow. Lovecraft audio books are AWESOME!

Makes sense, given all the blind students that'd be here.

If it's only that, how come this library is so big in the first place?

ED: Because the school has a lot of blind people?

Ummm, well, we get a lot of new books regularly because the library is adequately endowed. That's probably why.

ED: Library gets more books because it's big. Gotcha.

They spend more on new books than on my salary, and then I have to organize and shelves all of them.


It's so troublesome and they weigh so much, I wish I could quit this job.


A very awkward silence follows this revelation of too much information.

Umm…I'll go check the aisles then, if you don't mind.

It's probably best for all of us if she doesn't keep talking to me.

ED: Amen to that, Ai-BRO!

Very well. Meanwhile, Yuuko, I would have those book if it's all right with you.

ED: Ah, farewell, Graceful One. We shall meet again.

My impression was right; the library is surprisingly big.

Ambling down the narrow asiles, I study the spines of the books in random order, occasionally sliding one out to read the blurb, taking it with me if it looks good.

In a few moments I have a respectable stack of books in my arms.

I guess I'll never be stuck for choice here.

The normality of the library sinks in. Sure, there are large-print and Braille books scattered throughout, but it is what it is: a library.


It's as if the calm mood from the room I had tea with Lilly in snuck with us in here, unless it was here to begin with.

Something about that puts me at ease, just like before.

I reach the end of the aisle and find a collection of desks, set up for study or personal reading. Going a little further, though, I discover a nice quiet corner at the back.

While the rest of the library has the odd student sitting a a desk either reading or stealthily sleeping, the back is pretty much deserted.

As I glance around, I see someone who I recognize sitting on one of several beanbags.

ED: Shizune? Maybe we can talk to her finally, without her pink translator around.


She's reading a book, keeping it close to her face which makes her look like she's really into it.

From the way she was acting today, I had her pegged as more of a delinquent than a bookworm. In fact, her mysterious disappearance from the class raises all sorts of questions in my head.

ED: That is the least of the problem.

Intrigue floats slowly but surely towards the surface, and before I know it I'm walking towards the mysterious long-haired girl.

ED: ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!

I guess there's no harm in introducing myself as I would with anyone else. She's a classmate after all.

Walking over to another beanbag, I take a seat and lay my books beside it.

The girl starts, looking scaredly up at me from underneath her fringe.

This is the first time I've seen her this close. Underneath her long, dense bangs, I can see that part of her face, at least a third if not a half, is pretty badly scarred.

My eyes are immediately drawn to the scars, subconsciously peeking past her hair until they meet her own eyes.

You had best not do that, Avatar!

For a second, I am shocked, and divert my eyes to the book in her hands, before I realize that looking away probably only makes it worse.

ED: This is bad…
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January 16th, 2012, 18:10

ED: Let's be natural. I'm sure she knows us already.

Sorry, I didn't mean to startle you.
It..it's okay.

The girl certainly doesn't look like it's okay, but I let it slide.

So, umm… do you mind if I sit here?

She seems to be very uncertain whether it's okay or not for me to sit, but finally she nods, just a little.


I take the seat next to her, and she hides herself behind her book.

"Life of Pi"… Never heard of it.

So, err…sorry again for startling you. I'm Hisao.

She looks up from her book, stalling a little before replying.

I.. know.

ED: I told you so!

We…are in the same…same class.

Her speech is stilted and so quiet that it is barely audible even in the still library.

Somehow I think that my "delinquent" impression of her was wrong.

ED: You're scaring her.

I resist the urge to say "that's a nice name" just to have something to say, but really, it's the only thing that I can think of.

I feel like an idiot. Everyone here must be used to being different to each other, and here I am being all bothered and fussed about that kind of thing.

ED: Is that why you're sitting near her? Just to get a better look? What an asshole you are, Dovahkiin!

Don't let me interrupt your reading. I'll…just check these books if you don't mind.

She nods a little, and sighs a little sigh of relief.

So I try to read the covers and the introductions of the books I picked up and she buries her face in her book.

Uncomfortable silence consumes us.

ED: It's your own damn fault.

My eyes still wander to her direction, and I sneak peeks at her flowing hair and the scars it's hiding.

ED: You sick, sick fuck.

After a while I realize that she's doing the same, and only pretending to immerse in "Life of Pi."

ED: This isn't going to turn out well.

Her gaze is not inquisitive at all though, it darts around like a scared rabbit.

ED: Oh no.





Without warning, Hanako takes off and runs towards the counter.

ED: What have you done, Dovahkiin?!

Her hare-like takeoff catches me so offguard that I don't manage to go after her until she has a good head start.

ED: Why are you still trying to catch her? You just scared her away!

By the time I reach the counter she is nowhere to be seen.

Lilly and Yuuko are happily chatting away.

Knowing that I won't be able to catch Hanako myself, I approach the girls.

ED: Catch? What- what are you thinking?!

Um, maybe…what did she look like?
Long, dark hair. Kinda shy. She had…well…some scars…on her…face.

ED: Asshole.

You wouldn't be talking about Hanako, would you?
Yeah, that's her. I saw her reading and tried to talk to her, but I think I scared her off or something.

ED: Seppuku is the only answer, ingrate.

Oh dear. Yuuko, would you excuse me, I had better try and find her.
S-sure. I'll just hold onto these until you come back.

ED: Damn, look at what you did? You make yourself look like a douche in a front of Lilly!

Um, what's going on?

ED: Douche is an understatement. Uber-douche.

I'm sorry, but I'll have to explain it to you some other time.

Right. I'll see you later then…

Lilly hastily grabs her cane and hurries out of the library, leaving me alone with Yuuko.

I don't think I'll ever get the hang of this place.

ED: What the fuck is your problem?

ED: Kill yourself.

What did you do?

ED: Bullshit! You STARED at her!

I was just looking for some books and then she got this fit and ran off.
The most offending thing I can think of was that I might've looked at her general direction a few times.

ED: …………..Rider Punch.

Well, she is a very timid girl.
You have to be very careful around her. She can be very jumpy, I think, and she's not accustomed to talking with other people.
Isn't that a bit…strange?

ED: I give up.

I wonder…it's just how she is, I think.

Yuuko doesn't sound all that convincing. Then again, maybe this is just the norm around here.

Everyone has their own problems, or else they wouldn't be here.

But how should I deal with these people? Forcing myself to act overly casually only makes me feel phony.

ED: …you're goddamn dense, aren't you?

Like I was supposed to be ignoring the elephant in the room?

ED: W-what?

Yuuko fidgets, looking like she wants to say something to that, but resists it.


I guess she doesn't have a good sense of self-restraint. It makes me smile, and she blushes heavily.


W…what? Did that sound stupid.

ED: No. Not at all.

No no, it sounded really wise. I guess you're right. It's more about me than anyone else.

ED: Thank god you have a soul.

Neither of us has anything to add so Yuuko fills the silence by shuffling some papers around.

People who have papers on their desks really like doing that.

Did you find any books? I should be closing soon. I mean this library should be closing. But I have to do it. I hope that's not too inconvenient for you.
Oh. Yeah, I want some books, but I left them over there because…

ED:….stop. Stop. Stop!

…I'll just go get them.

I fetch my stack of books from beside the beanbags where Hanako and I were sitting and return to the counter.

Wow. You read a lot, don't you?

ED: Not enough to learn EQ.

I surprise myself with that too, honestly. At least, when I really think about it.
I had a lot of free time earlier this year, so I just kind of…started reading books to fill that time. I couldn't do much else.
I see.

But she doesn't say anything else, and just checks out my books for me.

I guess this is what they call "tact."

ED: Better learn that…and apologize to Hanako next time you meet.

With that, I leave the library.
Holding the library books with one arm, I trawl my pocket for the key to the door.

"Who is it?" asked the person behind me.

ED: Not you!

It's just me.

This makes him pause and lick his lips nervously.

ED: ….back away. Reallll slow.

Who is me? I don't know anyone called me. Are you some new guy again?

ED: He's blind, try moving closer.

His voice is suddenly strained and quick.

ED: Hurry, before he pulls out a pocket knife.

Yes, but we've met before. Yesterday.
I don't think so, I would remember someone who I met only yesterday. …When was that? What day is it today?

ED: Roll for initiative.

I try to ignore him. Is he joking or what?

PROVE that we've met before!

ED: Shit.

You live across the hall. You're Kenji.

ED: It's been an honour watching you, Hicchan. May the Gods have mercy on your soul.

Kenji jumps back, his eyes filled with an uncomprehending fear.

ED: ….Would you like to load a game?

He pauses..

A psychic spy.

His eyes dart around me, trying to peek into my room, although it's hard to believe he can see anything through those thick glasses.

His mood swung from friendly to manic in less than a minute.

I'm not a psychic.
How do I know that? I'm not a mind reader.

Kenji points a finger in my face damningly!


Stop that, man. We met yesterday. What's wrong with you? I live in this room.
Lies! If you think you can pass as Hisao because I'm legally blind you are sorely mistaken!

ED: FFS, go smoke a dick.

You don't even look like him. I mean, the resemblance is real, real slim. Maybe at a distance, but who do you think you're kidding?

I want to grab him by the shoulders and shake him. Exasperated, I rub my eyes and let out a heavy sigh.

Stay there.

ED: You deserve it, Douchevahkiin.

Sighing again, and then once again for good measure. I step backwards, just in case.

What's up, man? You don't look too good. I think. Something wrong?

ED: Every fucking thing.

I don't know. Just had something stupid happen to me. A few stupid things, actually. Even if you discount this one.

ED: WRONG. You DID something stupid. Asshole!

I can't get a proper touch on other people here, and I have no idea if it's because of me or because of them.

I don't know why I'm telling this to Kenji. It's not like we've had any contact either.

That's rough, dude. Yeah, I'm sorry about calling you a psychic spy and all, but you can never be too careful.

ED: Riiiight.

It's hard reality we live in.

I'm slowly starting to think that Kenji isn't necessarily living in the same reality as the rest of us.

You see? This is how it is, this world. There is no justice. You see? Even when I lose, I win, because I don't lose the lesson.

ED: What is this I don't even

What does that even mean?
It doesn't matter.

He dismisses it flatly with a wave of his hand.

So what happened? Why the long face? Do you have a long face?
Eh, it's nothing, I just scared some girl off accidentally. Literally too, she actually ran away from me.

ED: How? How can I make you understand?

Was my fault, really, I think. I'm not really…used to all this yet.

ED: Oh, good. So you're not a full blown aspie after all.

A girl? A cute one?

ED: W…what?

Cute? That's a hard question. She had a nice body and …


..really beautiful hair…but the face…


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January 17th, 2012, 06:50
Despite how wrong it feels to call her 'cute', the other alternative would be to call her something negative. We've hurt enough feelings today. Let's play nice.

I knew it!
There are a lot of cute girls here. A strangely disproportionate amount… I believe this is one of the dark secrets of this school.

ED: Well, aside from the male head nurse, and the inclusion of heart attack as a form of 'disability.' Perhaps…but hey, what are you in here for anyway? Near blindness?

I tried to warn you man, but you did listen…

Music: I never asked for this

I don't remember any such warning.

Dark secrets?
Yes, dark secrets. Extremely dark. Like a black hole.

ED: Bioware please take note.

Have you noticed that the number of girls in this school is slightly but significantly higher than the number of boys? It's like 60-40.

He turns his head to the left and stares off into the distance at nothing.

ED: Well, maybe it's because we're in a dating game…

Why is it like this? I mean, to the untrained eye, it doesn't appear to be that bad, but that is a full 20%.
One would think that a school with such a huge pool of women would be a man's dream. But no!

ED: I think you forgot the disabled part.

What I am about to tell you could blow your mind. Are you ready?

I don't know where this is going, but I think won't be missing much by cutting out now.

No, I am not ready.

ED: Wise move, now, let's get in our room before…

I only get as far as turning the doorknob before Kenji starts talking again, showing that he doesn't really care if my mind is blown or not.


I believe that this school is a battleground.


The site of a feminist infiltration.


This disparity in the number of men to women is a clear sign of how far they have come. In case this cold war turns hot, they will have superiority in numbers.
Just another skirmish in the eternal war against the forces of the feminists… They're everywhere. In Japan, women outnumber men. It's not a 60-40 split, but it's only a matter of time, man…
Even in America, women are the majority by a hair. They're building up their numbers. In the past, the buildup of a military has always been the clearest sign of the imminent war.

ED: Dark times, indeed…

Japan is just the first step. Our economy is badass, and the country itself is small and isolated, yet a huge part of the Pacific in terms of political value.
The perfect target. They are cunning…As expected of women.

ED: I'm so, so scared now.

Soon, the day will come, when…

Kenji's voice trails off ominously.

ED: What should we do, Ken-sama?

Oh, hell no…

I can't stop myself from blurting it out.

Hey! What the hell does that mean?
You said it, not me.

It's the best I can think of.

So? You're not supposed to say something like that! Damn, so rude.
Where was I? Oh, yeah, vast feminist conspiracy.
Stop it. Stop! I lost you way, way back there somewhere. Somewhere around 'feminist infiltration.'
Too hard to follow? It's cool, I have some graphs and stuff in my room. And puppets. You like puppets?

ED: I- I think it's time to leave.

No puppets.
You don't like puppets, okay. Graphs are still cool, though, right?

He speaks energetically, responding almost before I'm done talking, moving his hands in an animated way as he continues to rant on.

This is too strange, I had him pegged as relatively normal, but it's clear that I was wrong.

ED: This is why he's here. In this school, Hicchan. Just like you.

Something on your mind, dude?
Just thinking about what it's like to be the last sane man in an insane world.

Kenji frowns, looking deeply upset.

You mean that's you? That can't be, because I'm the last sane man in an insane world. That is my dream, you can't just steal a man's dream.
What the hell, there can't be two last sane man. It would invalidate that whole 'last' part…and that part is kind of important.
There can be only one, like that foreign movie where there could be one, and in the end there is only one dude left, because that was the point.

ED: He's gone, Hicchan. Let's go.

I have never seen anyone talk so heatedly and so defensively about absolutely nothing before.

Anyway, if you wait here, I can get my graphs. I also have a list of other dark and complex conspiracies that this school holds, as tangled as…
Quick, finish my analogy for me. Be a pal.
I'm going to bed now. It's extremely late.
That doesn't sound like an analogy. But whatever.
I like you, you seem like a cool dude.

ED: Kamisama. Is this a divine punishment for scaring Hanako away?

Most people don't understand what I'm talking about when I try to explain the vast feminist conspiracy to them. Denial is a terrible thing.

He slaps me on the back and then vanishes into his room so quickly and quietly it's like he didn't even open the door but instead walked right through it like a ghost.

ED: We're safe. Lock the doors, Hicchan.

This school is like some kind of bizarre and surreal island. It's isolated on top of a mountain, and each person is stranger than the last.

I just can't seem to fit in. What irony, one would think that fitting in a place that's made for people who are unfit for anywhere else would be easy.

ED: Haven't you learn your lesson yet? Come on, Hicchan…let's not fuck it up tomorrow. Find Hanako and apologize.

Maybe I'm trying too hard.

ED: You were?

Although I say that, it doesn't help take the edge off, and the words are left echoing off my empty walls.

I guess it's not as bad as I expected, though. This place really is more a school and less a hospital pretending it's a school than I thought it would be.

If nothing else, the scenery is beautiful.

I open one eye, seeing the schoolbooks and bottles of pills arranged side by side on my desktop.

Maybe this place is too much like a normal school, after all.

The next day…

I feel very tired this morning, probably because yesterday itself was a very tiring day. On top of that, I woke up far earlier than necessary.

I don't have a problem with that now, though. Shizune and Misha might jump on me trying to get an answer about whether or not I've decided to join the Student Council, even if it's just one day.

ED: Oh, shit. Try to avoid that please. I really don't like Pinkie Pie.

I wouldn't put it past them to try, and I don't have an answer for them if they do. So, this situation is convenient for me.

About ten minutes into class, Hanako walks in and takes a seat, but no one looks at her. The teacher doesn't even comment on her lateness.

ED: Remember: APOLOGIZE.

He does, however, stop us to say that we're going to break into groups again.

ED: Shit.

I turn my head and see that Shizune and Misha are looking at me. Shizune gives me a smile that is equal parts cute and menacing. This is a smile that says "We have you now. There is no escape."


ED: Ganbatte, Ai-BRO.

Jumping out the window isn't the best option, sadly.

ED: Karma is such a bitch.
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January 18th, 2012, 17:58
Oh…Hicchan, have you been thinking about what you said yesterday? You said that you would think about joining the Student Council, didn't you?

ED: Ulp.

It's okay, Hicchan. We were talking about it after you left, and it would be rude to expect you to already have an answer for us this early, right? Right~!

ED: Riiiiiiiight.

ED: Ha. Ha. Ha?

I'm so happy you two are able to have a laugh at my expense, and even more pleased to know that you both know how crazy the two of you can be.

ED: OK, Ai-BRO. We're not hanging around with these psychos any more. EVER.

Now that that's over, Shizune snaps back into serious mode and smacks today's assignment with the back of her hand in an overly dramatic and important way.

When I actually look at the stuff, it's mostly just reading. In fact, there are only two problems to solve.

I almost want to say something about how her rush to get started seems a bit much, considering the small amount of work. In fact, Shizune probably knows how little there is and simply doesn't care.

ED: Just play along, when the bell rings, get the fuck out.

Yeah, it seems like the workload doesn't matter to her as much as the fact that there is work; the actual amount is unimportant. She approaches everything with the same level of ambition.

While I'm reading. I let my eyes wander around the room and catch Hanako trying her hand at solving the problems. It looks like she's working alone.

ED: Why don't you try to get the four of us together? Balance the crazy. She's their class mate, I'm sure she won't be so scared in numbers.

Thinking back to how shy she is, it's understandable.

ED: Worth a try, c'mon. Let's make up for yesterday's mistake.

Hey, that girl over there…
Huh? Who, Hicchan?
Her. Hanako. Over there. Does she always work alone?
I think so, Hicchan. Do you feel sorry for her because she's alone?

ED: That's…..that's not the point you…jerk!

I was just thinking that maybe she could work with us, or something.

ED: Nice! You learned something, finally!

Hmmmm. No, I don't think that would be a good idea, Hicchan.

ED: Wh-what?

Why not?
Shicchan wouldn't get along with her.

ED: Eh?


Misha shuffles around the question, letting out a laugh that sounds very strange; it's nervous, but still has that lilting up-and-down quality present in everything she says.

ED: This is getting stranger by the moment.

Just because, Hicchan.

ED: *Scratches head* Try again.

By now, Shizuna has noticed our conversation, and it makes me realize again how Misha has been signing everything she has been saying this whole time.

ED: Uh oh…

ED: What the fuck? You're the class-rep! Why are you talking like this?!

You said it anyway.
I know, Hicchan, it's fine if you overhear~!

I wonder if this is Misha's way of keeping things fair, since without her, I wouldn't be able to understand a thing Shizune is saying, and vice versa.

Is that also why she signs all the time, so there is never a conversation Shizune will be left out of?

ED: Be very careful about this whole mess. Who knows this involves Lilly as well, Hicchan..

Anyway, we should start on the problems now, Hicchan.

ED: Leave it be. You're still apologizing, though.

We finish with the time to spare, and I decide to ask if there are any alternatives to the cafeteria, as frankly, the food so far has been subpar.

This sends Shizune and Misha aruging among themselves about their favorite restaurants. All of them are downtown, so I don't think we have time to go all the way there. And what about the bill?

Are they arguing just for the fun of it?

ED: Maybe their hobby is posting in the internet forums.

Maybe. They seem so distracted by it that they don't even notice the start of the actual lunch break.

ED: This is your chance - Dovahkiin! C'mon! Be sincere!

I look over my shoulder towards the back of the classroom.

It's an odd sight; everyone else in the class is busying themselves with the lunch break.

Socializing, gossiping, rearranging desks, the ones with actual boxed lunches mixed in and chattering like everyone else, only interrupted by short bouts of eating.

But, when I watch Hanako, it feels that I'm the only one who can see her. Almost as if she was invisible; sort of hiding in plain sight.

ED: ……maybe you're drawn to her scars? Let's…not dwell on those things. You did something wrong, let's make it right.

Is she being bullied? Is she isolating herself from the rest of the class on her own accord?

ED: Good question, but don't you even dare to ask her this question.

I see her look over her shoulder towards the classroom's rear door.

Come to think of it, she hasn't turned a page since I've started watching her.

I guess she's waiting for someone.

ED: Go for it.

I still feel bad for making her run away yesterday, so I'd better say something.

Um, hey there, Hanako.

ED: Okay, easy there. No sudden moves.

Well, at least she remembers my name.

ED: Apologize motherfucker.

Hey…I just wanted to apologize for yesterday.

ED: Good start.

I didn't mean to startle you or anything.

ED: Yeah, he's a newfag and part aspie. Be kind to him.

I'm just new here and thought I should get to know my classmate.

As Hanako looks up at me, I notice her scarring once more.

ED: Whatever you do, do not use the word 'scar.'


ED: Huh….okay. That's good. *Lets off a long breathe of relief.* Making progress.

It…it was my fault.
Nah, that wasn't anyone's 'fault', it just kind of happened.

ED: Don't push your luck.

So, are you waiting for someone? I saw you looking at the door before…


Oh, you mean Lilly the blind girl?


Hanako only nods in response, and I can't help but wonder if defining people through their disabilities is a faux pas of the worst kind or just normal here.

ED: That life, please return it to God.

I guess that explains why Lilly took off after her yesterday.

She seems like a nice girl. Are you two friends?

As if hoping for Lilly to appear, she checks over her shoulder again.

I think I'm making her nervous again.

ED: ….I can't help you now. I hope Pinkie Pie and Twilight Sparkle don't barge in now and make this worse.

*I hope I'm not disturbing you right now…

ED: Pleasedontrunawayfromhimagain

N-no, that's not it.
Its just easier if Lilly doesn't come here…
Oh, because it's hard to get around the classroom?

Hanako's gaze drifts past my shoulder and towards Shizune.

ED: Shit. I was right! But why?!


Hanako nods again.

What about her? Don't they get along?

Hanako shakes her head. Clearly this is something she doesn't want to talk about.

It does make a strange sort of sense, Shizune and Lilly not getting along so well.

ED: Uh…this should be good.

Communication between the two would be all but impossible. It's hard enough talking to Shizune through Misha, even when you can see whose hands are "talking."

ED: ……I…I get it! A blind person like Lilly wouldn't trust Misha enough since her translation could be anything - Shizune can never say the words herself. So..it makes sense if both aren't really on 'talking' terms. But is this true in the real world? Will the blind look past the scars and the deaf stick with the talkative one?

Hanako is so focused on Shizune that I am the first to notice Lilly at the door.

ED: Thank god.

Oh, she's here now.

Hanako spins around to confirm this. Upon seeing Lilly, she moves quickly to the door.

ED: Stay with them, whatever it takes.

ED: Good morning, Your Majesty.

Ah, Hanako. Good morning. Is the president here?

ED: They must be talking about Shizune.

Hanako glances over her shoulder at Shizune again, as if to confirm she can't hear them even thought that's impossible.

I suppose we'd best be off, then.

Lilly's sigh and tone of what seems like frustration makes me raise an eyebrow. I guess there's some kind of enmity between the two.

It's intriguing, but that's not really something I'd ask about. I'm sure if they wanted me to know, then they would tell me.

ED: Well, fuck me, invisible man. Why don't you say hello to Lilly first?

It's only my third day here; I should be trying to make friends, not finding out why people are enemies.

ED: Good point.

Still, it's a little funny to find out that this school has little feuds, just like my old high school.

Even if people are more tolerant of others, they're still going to get on each other's nerves.

ED: Sounds like RPGCodex

Hey Lilly. How are things? I'm sorry I made you run off yesterday…

ED: Finally!

Oh my, is that Hisao? I didn't realize you were here…

ED: Hiding in plain sight.

It seems that Lilly is a little embarrassed about being so frank in front of me.

S-sorry Lilly. I thought you realized.
No, it's all right, Hanako.
Hisao, please don't worry about yesterday. It was just a misunderstanding.

ED: I hope so.

If..you say so. I'm still working this place out.
Well then, I think you'll find most people here a lot more forgiving than elsewhere.
If you are feeling a little confused, please don't be afraid to ask questions.


Sure I'll remember that.

Lilly gives a small nod of acknowledgement.

I'm sorry Hisao, but we must be off.


Hanako really doesn't look all that comfortable here right now, and Lilly still seems a little embarrassed.

I wonder if my apologies made any impact.

ED: Can't chance it! Go with them! Whatever it takes!

Mind if I accompany you two?

I know I'm kinda pushing it, but Lilly hmms quietly, still smiling.

ED: Yeah, anything but Pinkie Pie and Twilight Sparkles.

I'm sure that we could accommodate you, can't we Hanako?


She looks at Lilly, then at me, and then she freezes, wide-eyed.




Well then, shall we go?

I'm sure Lilly wouldn't this so easily if she saw how scared Hanako looks, but it can't be helped now.

Declining after the deal is sealed would only cause confusion and problems.

ED: Ku ku ku ku ku.

So we leave, all three together.

ED: The blind, the scarred, and the aspie. Ahhhh. What joy!

Although it make her walking that much harder, Lilly takes it in stride.

ED: Awww.. Lilly's so kind. Let's hope Hanako will ease up a bit in the future. But things are looking bright, eh, Dovahkiin?

As we turn around the corner of the hallway, something hits me in the chest with the force of a steam train. Hanako shrieks a little and my vision goes black.

ED: Me and my big mouth.

ED: …get up…you got a hot date…get off the floor…weakling..

ED: Right, now punch the sucka- oh..hello! What's a nice looking girl like you doin-

Opening my eyes, I see a pair of saucer-like green eyes looking up at me.

ED: ..oh, man…


She wears a PE Uniform and a very worried frown. The former strikes me as a rather strange thing to have on during a lunch break.

ED: Please don't say that outloud.

You had best not do that, Avatar!

ED: Not again. FFS.

They look disturbingly artificial and unnatural. It almost makes me forget that my chest is hurting.

The girl winces a little, rubs her nose and jumps up.

I wasn't looking where I was going, and you just came out of nowhere. Sorry…Sorry!

She's looking really apologetic, in the hurt puppy way of looking apologetic.

I quickly forget about being angry or anything, since hurt puppies are my weak spot.

ED: Bitch.

It's okay. Don't worry about it…ouch.

ED: Uh oh.

Don't overexert yourself, don't forget your medication and most of all, don't get hit in the chest.

ED: Oh, for fuck's sake, just when things are getting better…there's only one way to solve this. Pop-a-mole style.

I try to rub my solar plexus to chase the pain away, holding my breath in an attempt to hear my heartbeat.

It seems normal…

ED: How about you give me some mouth-to-mouth?

The worried, high-pitched voice of the girl snaps me out of it.

I stare at her for a few seconds dumbfounded, until I realize that I probably looked worse off than I really was, doubled over myself and looking all tense.

Damn, I'm overly worried about my heart.

Err…no need, I'm fine.

ED: We should stay away from this….machine.

Managing to say something in response, I pull myself upright, feeling my sore ribs one last time, and take a deep breath.

She just knocked the wind out of me. Big time. But it's nothing more than that.

ED: Yeah, get up you little Italian tank.

You sure you're okay? I hit you pretty hard.

ED: It's okay, it's just like Battlefield 3, stay under cover after taking 2-3 bullet to the chest, and wait till the red tint on screen disappear.

It's okay. I said I was fine, and nothing's broken. No harm done.
That's good! I was-

ED: Nothing, just survived an attempted murder.

She's not quite up to speed for obvious reasons, but she sounds very worried. More than what the situation deserves, really.

Someone just bumped into me, nothing serious. Just winded.

ED: … She's too good at this.

That 'someone' here is Emi, isn't it?

The little girl coughs quietly and shuffles her plastic or metallic feet, looking down at them before saying anything.

Hi, Lilly. Hanako.

ED: That was FAST.

I guess the girls know each other.

Do please try to be more careful. You might be sturdy enough to endure these sorts of accidents, but there are people who aren't.

ED: And that person could be a man, standing with two ladies.

The girl blushes and starts to fidget nervously like a little boy caught masturbating.

ED: Oh wait, misbehaving. Sorry.

It's so cute I find myself smiling.

I know that! I-I, um, I was just…
Ahh! I gotta go!
Teacher will have my head, I promised to help with printouts but I went running instead! Sorry, but I've gotta change and everything!

Before any of us can say a thing, Emi has already bolted away, leaving the hallway eerily quiet.

Does that kind of thing happen often around here?

ED: You mean a pussy boy taking more than 10 seconds to get up after a girl bumped into him? Hmmm….

There are more rules in Yamaku than usual for running in corridors.
…but that rarely stops Emi, it seems.

She shakes her head weakly and offers a slight, composed smile.

I don't think there's anything we can do to stop her, I'm afraid. Shall we be off, then?

ED: You can try taking those augmented legs off…but OK, let's have some tea, Your Grace!

Lilly heads off along the hallway, and Hanako hurries after her.

The route to the room the two use for tea is fairly simple to retrace, being still fresh in my mind from yesterday.

Lilly and Hanako quickly go about the business of making lunch.

ED: Yay, we're here! Our sanctuary! Where no Pinkie Pies dare to trespass!

So, this is what you meant by coming here almost every day?
Yes, Hanako and I usually have lunch here. It suits both of us, so we ended up using this room regularly.

After seeing Hanako's reactions to me over the past couple of days, I can understand why that is a boon. That, and Lilly being able to get some quiet away from her class as well.

I take my seat last, after Lilly's poured tea for us and sits down.

ED: This is perfect.

The more time I spend with these two girls, the more I think they're a perfect foil to Misha and Shizune.

ED: Aww, do we have to think about those two psychos? Don't ruin the moment, man…

ED: I wish this lasts forever.
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January 19th, 2012, 07:58
Now I really want to know where this will be going.
ESO-playing machine

Semper HiFi!
Motto of the 54th Groove Bde.
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January 19th, 2012, 16:12
We return to our wonderful lunch programme with my fair lady and her scarred friend…

Apart from getting lost every now and again, and being crash-tackled outside my classroom? Fine I guess.
You…you looked pretty hurt before. Are you really…okay?

For a brief moment, I consider telling Hanako and Lilly about my condition but then, I hold it back.

ED: Not even a choice. Why?

I can't tell why, but for some reason I feel uncomfortable talking about it to these relative strangers, even if they have been pretty friendly.

ED: Well, better do it eventually. I mean, what's the harm in that?

Yeah, it's nothing. I was just a bit startled.

Judging from the two girls' expressions, I don't think that they're buying it. But in, what I assume is their way of respecting my privacy, they don't press the matter.

I guess that is one of the unwritten rules around here; "don't ask." Even if people's conditions are obvious, like Hanako's, there's still bound to be a story involved.

Everyone has things that they don't feel comfortable speaking about, and I think everyone here recognizes that.

So, uh…how long have you been in this school? You both seem to know your way around pretty well.
Hmm..well, I've been here since the start of high school, but only moved into the dormitories a year ago.
Hanako joined at the start of high school as wel, and moved to the dormitories when she did, if memory serves me right.
That's right. Since…high school.
So you've known each other since then.
Since I moved, yes. Hanako lives next door to me, so it's only natural, right?

ED: Let's hope the natural does not come to pass between you and Kenji, Dovahkiin.

Yeah, of course.

ED: Actually. No. Not really. I don't believe for one second it's that simple, and I'm glad Dovahkiin is smart enough to realize it on his own.

Living next to someone is probably reason enough to befriend them, though I'm guessing that Lilly's blindness played a part in it as well.

I can't imagine Hanako easily making friends with someone who has to deliberately avoid looking at her scars.

ED: Yeah, it's kinda mean to say it…but it's true.

With the immediate conversation dried up, we start to eat our lunch.

It isn't long before the bells are signaling the end of the break. Like me, the girls pack up their lunches as efficiently as they set them out.


I guess I'd better be off. Are you going to go with Hisao, Hanako?

ED: Oh dear.

Hanako looks up at me, and for a second I can see that she is considering skipping class, maybe just to avoid walking to the classroom with me.

ED: Roll for reaction.


ED: Wow. Hanako influence gained IMO!

I don't know what to think of it. Hanako really is delicate to the point of breaking if looked at in the wrong way. It makes me a bit nervous too, but I push the feeling aside, trying to be as natural as I can.

We should hurry then. Class has already started by the sound of it.

Lilly gives a nod of farewell as she bends down to take her cane, Hanako and I filing out before her.

We walk quickly down the empty halls to our respective classes.

As we reach the door to Lilly's 3-2 classroom, she turns towards me.

ED: Let's do it again <3!

My pleasure, Lilly.

ED: Now for the hard part…

So, do you really want to go back to class now?
Okay then.


I feel like I should say something more to her, but it's hard to come up with anything that would be appropriate and safe enough.

And Lilly was right; the more time we spend out here, the more explaining we have to do.

I open the rear door to the class, and walk in.

ED: Whoops. Are we late?

However, as Hanako follows me in and closes the door, he simply nods to us and continues his lecture.

ED: Hanako-chan to the rescue!

This is the third time that Hanako has had her truancy practically ignored. There's definitely something going on here.

ED: We can skip class with her help, meat-head!

ED: Good riddance!

I wonder if it is some form of informal agreement with the staff, or if it's a "perk" afforded to the unique students of this school?

Trying to make as little disturbance as I can, I extract the relevant textbooks from my bag and start catching up.

The class goes on quietly.

The teacher seems like an okay person despite the weird first impression I got, and the material is relatively interesting.

However, the way he teaches is really bizarre. It's as if he expects that everyone is a natural genius.

ED: Pretty ironic, considering where we at. Oh well..

When the final bell sounds, I realize that there is still a lot of time left in the day, and I'm left wondering what to do.

ED: Why don't you stalk Hanako-chan some more? Err…not for unsavoury purposes, mind you…

It's odd, at the hospital I had 24 hours a day of free time, but here filling the considerably shorter hours feels difficult.

Everyone else leaves, and I'm left alone with the teacher.

ED: Wha- why?! Stupid! You could've done something else!

Mutou sensei is examining the assingment sheets we were working on earlier, marking them with a red ballpen.

Raising his eyes fro mhis papers briefly, he notices me and furrows his brow.

ED: Sigh.

I jump at him addressing me, but I guess it's natural to spark some conversation since there is nobody else around.

Umm…nothing. Thinking about what I'd do after school.

The teacher slowly puts the cap on the pen he is holding and arranges his papers into a stack, clacking it against the desk twice.

He seems very methodical and for a brief moment I am reminded of Shizune, but the teacher is more unhurried and relaxed, much more routined.

You have no plans?
No. I considered joining a club, I don't know what kind of club would interest me.
Go observe a meeting of someone else's club. Might pique your interest.

ED: That is your mission.

I guess…

ED: This isn't a training exercise. Your targets will be human beings. Keep that in mind.

I just…

ED: Quit screwing around!

But I don't know how to continue from there.

Mutou looks at me in a way that makes me quickly want to take the words back to avoid a conversation.

But I can't, so I have to forge ahead.

I just don't know how to deal with people.


I mean, the other students.
I'm talking to people and everything, so it's not that I'd be isolated or anything.

ED: I wish I had an answer for you, but you'll have to decide for yourself who you can trust.

Damned if I do, damned if I don't.

The teacher scratches his cheek absent-mindedly, looking very unresponsive.

These things are only an issue if you make them one.
You can talk normally with someone, evne if they are blind or something.
Try to look behind the superficial. There's not a single student here who isn't just a normal kid behind whatever they might seem at first glance.

ED: That is going to be so much help.

He says the same thing as Yuuko did.

I know they're right, but it's hard. How can you not consider for example Shizune's deafness, when the only way to communicate with her is to talk through Misha?

ED: You can try learning sign languages.

Or Hanako…it's not like you can ignore her face.

ED: I thought we were over this, what the hell, man?


ED: Enough! You have a job to do!


I'm interrupted by the door of the classroom suddenly slamming open.

ED: Oh shit.

Misha crashes in, hand straight in an enthusiastic greeting, her voice loud and lively enough to wake the dead from their graves.

She starts towards the teacher's desk with her bouncing step, hands energetically swinging with the rhythm.

Mutou, visibly dismayed at the interruption and Misha in general, slumps in his chair.


Misha stops in her tracks and looks around cluelessly, as if she's sensing from his tone that something's wrong but has no idea what.

We have talked about volume control before.

But she doesn't lower her voice at all, and the teacher just rubs his eyes.

So, what is it?
I…we need help! We are running out of supplies for the festival stands!
This is a distress!

ED: …We should escape when we can, Dovahkiin….

She waves a pink slip of paper she's holding around.

So…go get more supplies from the art room. What's the problem with that?
Plywood! Plywood is always the problem! Last time we wanted more there was only a little, but that time we just took it all and went with that.
Now there's like none left there, so do you know where is some?
I don't understand. How would I know?

ED: ….uh…we should go.

Shicchan..I mean the president thought that a teacher would know if there is plywood. Was she wrong?

Mutou looks like he is in great pain, frowning with his entire essense, and Misha doesn't get it at all.

Looking at the two of them communicate is terrible, like looking at a man being tortured by drilling his skull open while blasting pop music at full volume at the same time.

I'm afraid I have no idea if there is any plywood in the school, let alone where it would be if there was any.
Awww…what should I do?
Perhaps try to find Mr. Nomiya? I'm quite sure he would know where to find everything you need.
You'd have to pry them from his cold, dead hands, but that's a different matter.
Aaaah! I don't have time! We are so busy!

She holds her head with both of her hands, looking as despairing as it's possible for a person like her. Without even noticing, she crumples the note she's holding against her hair.

I shouldn't even be fetching these things, there is so much to do and we are falling behind the schedule!

Mutou looks at her gravely and then, suddenly smiles. Smiling doesn't really fit his face. I think it'd be better if he didn't'.

I wonder if you could get some temporary help?

ED: :vader: NOoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Eeeehhh…I guess I can give you a hand.

She pauses, does a double take and then points to me with her finger, yelping "Ah!" and looking very puzzled.

Come to think of it, what's Hicchan doing here? Class is over, you should be having fun~!

ED: Even Pinkie Pie knows more than you! The SHAME!

We just had a little chat.
Oh no! It's not detention is it? Are you in trouble, Hicchan?
No, I'm not.
Is Hicchan in trouble, teacher?
No, he's not.

Mutou sighs deeply and I feel that I have to help Misha to get her off the teacher's back.

ED: She's not worth it.

So what do you need?
Here's a list. I can try to find the plywood from somehwere if there's none in the art room.

She offers me the note she's holding. I take it, hesitating a bit.

I said I'd help you, but this has no implications on whether I'm joining the council or not.

ED: Wow, you're really butthurt about that loss, aren't you?

Still, thanks, Hicchan. Try to be quick, we are in a stall-building streak now, we must hurry hurry hurry!

She bounces out of the classroom, leaving me and the teacher looking at each other with something that feels like a silent agreement.

ED: She's a psycho, all right.

Well, there you have it, Nakai. You have something to do now.

Looking at the list with a number of items ranging from paint to plywood, all written with small, neat handwriting that is undoubtedly Shizune's, I heave a sigh.

ED: We don't have to do this, you know…

I'll be going then.

Waving the long list limply at the teacher, I exit to the hallway.

The classrooms closest to ours are designated belonging to classes 3-1 and 3-2 on the right side, and 3-4 on the left side, each door looking exactly the same.

Further down the corridor still with identical doors, are rooms that I didn't think were used for classes.

I guess the art room is not a classroom as such.

I carefully push open the furthest door, and peek in.

Desks and chairs are all around the room, a thin layer of dust settled on them. There are some easels in the corner so at least this looks like the right place.

The room is flushed in sunlight from the big windows, shadows creeping all over the desks.

Specks of dust are dancing in the stagnant air, making the beams of light almost visible.

Jokingly, I call into the empty room.

Hello is anyone-

Something catches my eye and I stop mid-sentence.

ED: …

Sitting on a desk is a short-haired girl; curiously wearing a boy's uniform, with a fork between her toes, a morsel of food stuck firmly on the end.

This odd way of dining seems to be caused by her apparent lack of hands, but her presence here is what takes me aback even more.

I'm not being too observant today, as a whole.

The girl seems to be frozen in place, staring at me with her huge eyes like a rabbit in headlights.

She's staring at me, her mouth wide open, ready to accept the fork.

I'm staring at her, my mouth wide open, suddenly remembering I didn't finish my sentence and trying to think if I should.

This weird stalemate keeps us both stunned into silence, punctuated only by the wall clock ticking rhythmically.


The girl stuffs the forkful in her mouth, and is now staring at me expectantly while chewing. This is a bit awkward.

Umm….hello. I was told to pick up some supplies from here. For some festival stalls I think. I didn't think there would be someone here.
There isn't. That's why I came here, too.

She picks up another forkful.

Doesn't that mean you're here, then?

She raises her eyebrows as if she was suspecting my observation was false.

This girl is pretty straightforward, isn't she?

ED: I got nothing. Just…get along. Grab the wood. And be done with this.

I'm Nakai, Hisao Nakai. I just transferred in on Monday.
I'm Rin. Tezuka Rin. Rin Tezuka.
I won't shake hands with you, but at least we know who we are now.

ED: !!!!

That's very nice.

Her deadpan manner of talking makes it hard to determine whether she's joking about shaking hands or not.

ED: I think we just got trolled.

It kinda bothers me, joking about these matters doesn't feel appropriate at all.

While I'm trying to figure what's appropriate and whether this girl is, she seems to have lost interest in me and is now gazing yearningly back at her food.

Can I continue my lunch? If you don't mind me, I won't mind you.
If you need to get your stuff, the supplies are at the back.
Go right ahead. But…lunch? School's already over for the day.
What word would you use then? There is no word for a meal you eat after lunch but before dinner, right? It bothers me very much too, but I don't really know what I should say.
I don't think you are supposed to eat a meal between lunch and dinner to begin with.
But I'm hungry now and my delicious boxed lunch would go to waste otherwise.

ED: This is pretty goddamn inane. Come on you two! Break it up!

I have curry. It's very delicious.

ED: That's nice, I had some too for dinner.

With much decisiveness, Rin once again picks up the fork between her toes and with at least as much impoliteness, she points it straight at me.

So, Nakai, what brings you to this place?

ED: A confession in snow-laden plains.

Like I said, I was told to look for these things.

ED: …wow.

I came to a full stop, opening my mouth but not getting a word out.

I can guess. I am good at guessing. Better than most people.

ED: Whatever, squirt. Heh, Rin's pretty casual. I think you can stay loose around her.

Rin cuts me off before I can answer her question, or skirt around it somehow. I don't know which I would've done.

I froze in front of this issue again. I haven't even told anyone here about my condition, or maybe it's only because it hasn't really come up.

I do get the feeling that not making issues of this is a part of the social code here, as the teacher said.

I wonder if the people here could relate? Probably not any better than any normal person could.

ED: Hey, how long are you gonna keep her waiting for an answer?

I can't relate to Shizune's circumstances, or Lilly's, either.

ED: Sigh. Whatever. Goddamn aspies.

Naturally, while I go through this in my head, Rin keeps considering what my condition could be, with an overtly contemplative look on her face.

She puts her fork betwen her lips and leans back, looking at the ceiling as if the answer was written up there.

A beam of light illuminates her face from the window side, creating a mask of dark shadow on the other side.

ED: Aren't we here for plywood, man?

I don't think it's anything in your head, and something in your guts would be boringly ordinary, like this lunch of mine. And less delicious.

ED: …hey, Dovahkiin. Let's -

ED: :incline: Yeah, maybe. Hahah. You deserve this sort of shit, Dovahkiin.

This messed-up Sherlock Holmes kind of statement and the sheer lack of tact it was delivered with catches me completely off guard.

I think I might've reeled back even physically as Rin's eyes widen in revelation and astonishment.

So I was right! There's something wrong with your tackle, isn't there?

ED: What's wrong, Dovahkiin?

Still partially in shock but recognizing the need to reply something, I spit out the first thing I can think of.

No! Nothing like that. I have a heart problem. Arrhythmia.

ED: Pwned by an armless girl.

I said it. More like blurted it out, but I said it.

ED: Big fucking deal.

The girl in front of me purses her lips together and glowers at me, looking very disappointed.

How boring. Trouble in the pants would have been much more scandalous.

ED: Hahahah. Lay it all on him, baby. This guy deserved it.

What's with this reaction?

I'm sorry I let you down.
I forgive you. Just, I collect people and a person, with, you know, that kind of problem would've been really great.

ED: OK, now you're scaring me.

Collect people?
People with different problems.
Huh, so you just…like, go around asking people what's wrong with them?
Pretty much.
I see.

With little left to say, Rin resumes her lunch and the conversation dies away, but I keep thinking about what she said.

It's the first time I told anyone else about my condition. All the other people have either known about it already, or heard about it from someone else.

Or didn't need to know about it, like every other student here, so far.

Should I have told it as a natural part of introductions? Is it expected of me?

ED: Hi, I'm the Nameless One. I have an amnesia and an immortal looking for a cure.

"Hi, I'm Hisao. I have a very serious heart condition."

ED: That'll work.

Is that how I'm supposed to go around introducing myself from now on?

ED: Oh, here we go again…

As if our disabilities would define us. What a disgusting thought.

ED: Hey, I'm not the one that said, "Lilly the Blind Girl."

Or maybe this Tezuka girl just has an unnatural interest in such things.

As I walk to the back of the room to pick up the items on Misha's list, a chance opens to study Rin from the corner of my eye.

Her hair is a burnt auburn, almost orange, and cropped short. Long hair would probably be impossible with no arms.

The boy's uniform and the lack of arms make her look very thing, almost scrawny.

She is not particularly pretty except for her murky green eyes which flicker restlessly from below her short bangs, even when she eats.

The distance and the shadows make it seem like they don't reflect sunlight at all, but instead absorb all of it within them like deep wells.

She moves her feet almost as deftly as a normal person would use their arms.

However, I can see how this sight could discomfort people, especially while eating. It makes me feel a bit uncomfortable at least.

I hesitate to think about the word "unnatural" but it's too late now, isn't it?

ED: Everything is too damn late with you.

I keep searching the cabins and shelves for Misha's things, but after enough time passes the silence grows too uncomfortable, so I try to force some conversation out of this strange girl.

So do you always eat alone and this late? Or do you get the occasional visitor?
Visitors…maybe you are my first occasional visitor. But I don't always eat alone either.
Sometimes I eat with a certain person on the roof, if she's not horsing around.
She likes to do sports.

ED: I think it's pretty obvious who this is.


And that's all I can think of to say.

Both of us fall silent again as Rin forks the last bits of her meal to her mouth.

I look down at my haul and double check it with Misha's list. It seems I have everything except plywood.

Umm…so, I think I have all the things now.
That's very nice for you. Don't feel obligated to stay I was about to take a nap anyway.
You need to do whatever you are going to do with that stuff anyway, right?
Or perhaps you like to watch girls sleeping?

ED: You just don't quit, do you? Hah.


I'm not sure what to make of this, but Rin looks serious.

Even if I did, I think I have to be going.
I…I'll catch you around, Tezuka.
You can call me Rin.
I feel that our relationship at this point good enough to warrant this much.

ED: Okay no 18 year old talks like that. FFS.

I was already turning to make my exit, but she draws me back in.

Fine, then I'm Hisao.
Then you are.

Rin looks at me hard in the eyes but that intimidating feeling you get when someone stare at you isn't there.

It's like she's actually not looking at me at all.

She blinks a couple of times, and I can't figure out why a pause like this just popped between us out of nowhere.

See you later, Hisao.

ED: I have no idea what to make out of that.

There is something like a tiny smile there in her face, maybe.

I quietly back out of the room. As I shut the door in front of my face, I whisper to myself.

What an intriguing person…

From inside, I hear a muffled sing-song voice:

I heard tha~t!

ED: Wow. This is just overkill. But at least she's fun to talk with. Unlike someone else we kn-


I jump at the sudden appearance of Misha, who I had not heard approaching despite the completely empty hallway.

Somehow she had gotten to jumping distance of me without making a sound. Creepy. It briefly reminds me of Kenji's nutty theory about a global feminist conspiracy, but I push that thought aside.

Shizune, standing slightly behind Misha, looks aloof as she couldn't have heard the remark that drew Misha's attention, but Misha is visibly excited.

ED: Just..give them the stuff and get out of there…

ED: Too late.

She tries to curiously peek past me, even though the door prevents her from seeing anyway.

What are you doing here?
You took so long that we had to come check what's wrong. That's no good, Hicchan~

ED: Feminazis.

She wags her finger at me scoldingly.

I found plywood, but everything else is still missing because you are tardy.
Oh, sorry. Err…I got the things here, was just going to bring them.
I think you were up to some mischief, Hicchan~! Who was in there with you, I wonder…

ED: … I have my rights.

Misha signs something quickly to Shizune, pointing at her own ear a couple of times.

ED: Goddamn snitch! You goddamn psychotic snitch!

Shizune immediately pushes her way past me and opens the door into the classroom I just left.

I can only imagine the shock she is experiencing.

With Shizune's diligence and attitude, the insolence of daring to deface the school property by sleeping on top of it must be too much to bear.

ED: Heil Fraulein. Sieg Heil.

Instead of blowing up, Shizune just takes a few deep breaths, adjusts her glasses and slams the door shut, turning to sign furiously at Misha.

She shoots a very loaded stare at me too, as if it was somehow my fault that Rin is sleeping on one of the tables.

I hope she's not getting any funny ideas about the reason of my tardiness.

ED: … what you mean she thought we did it with that girl in the room? Please say yes if she asks.


Rin's voice comes from the other side of the door and it takes a few eyeblinks to realize she might have trouble opening it.

I open a door to find Rin directly behind it, looking at us with a half-interested, half-sleepy face.

ED: Perfect. Now we can have a threesome.

ED: Problem?

Miss Tezuka, what do you think you were doing? You absolutely are not permitted to use school property for such…err, disgraceful? activity!

ED: Oh?

It sure is suddenly very crowded in here. I didn't know I was this popular.

ED: This girl's pretty fun to have around. Haha.

It's hard to say whether she's happy or unhappy about this turn of events.

At any rate she ignores Shizune/Misha's scolding so they have no choice but to drop the issue.

Shizune taps Misha's shoulder, points at Rin and makes some quick signs.

Popularity aside, please don't do that anymore.

Anyway, how is your project going? Will it be done for the festival?

Rin looks at them blankly, apparently at ease under the pressure Shizune's cold stare is putting on her.

I keep wondering about that myself too.

Will think about it harder.

As Misha signs her reply to Shizune her face turns into an unsatisfied frown.

ED: Keep it up, Rin. Keep it up!

Miss Tezuka, please try to take this seriously. It'll be a disaster if the wall looks like someone threw up their lunch onto it.

Rin nods assertively.

Will think more seriously.

Misha actually giggles at that, but Shizune doesn't, not even after translation.

She just shakes her head, takes the materials from me and takes off with Misha in tow.

Rin frowns thoughtfully as she looks after the retreating student council duo.

ED: Man, she just owned those two! You could learn some stuff from her, Dovahkiin.

ED: In-fucking-deed!

It's true though, I must finish my project before the weekend. There will be dire consequences if I don't.

ED: Oh?

The end of the world as we know it.

ED: *chuckles*

Like weekends usually are, but more dire.
Much more dire.
Maybe I'll postpone my nap. To unforeseen future.

I am about to ask what project she has and what are these apocalyptic consequences, but she walks back into the art classroom.

ED: Hey, let's hang around her. This could be funny.

Since you have nothing to do, would you give me a hand?

ED: Err…sure. Heheh.

This paint can doesn't fit into my bag but I need it.

She kicks lightly at the huge can of paint that's lying on the floor next to the table she was sitting and sleeping on.

It lets out a dull clang.

Being the gentleman I am, I naturally pick it up.

ED: Great. Enemy of my enemy is a friend.


Yeah, sure. Where do you need to take it?

And with that, she takes off to the hallway, me and the paint can following since there's little choice for either of us.

The hallway is quiet and empty now with Shizune and Misha gone, so we too leave towards the stairwell at the other end.

Rin strolls on beside me with an uneven pace that I have trouble matching, or maybe I am walking weird because of the extra weight.

It seems one of us is constantly walking too slow or too fast, and I can't figure out which.

Two flights of stairs below, trouble appears in the form of the head nurse and his fox-like grin.

ED: I don't like this…

He nods courteously to Rin who does not acknowledge him back, then turns to me because obviously it's me who he had some business with.

There is something I forgot to mention on Monday.

I nod and wait impassively because I can't begin to guess what he forgot. The feeling of the handle delving deeper into my skin doesn't make me feel enthusiastic about this interruption, either.

It's about your medications. Since you haven't been that long on your current medication there might be some unexpected side effects, which might require adjusting dosages or even changing to another kind of medication.

ED: Yawn.

So we will do a few tests regularly, but what I'd want is for you too keep an eye on everything in your condition that feels off, if you get what I mean.
Nausea, headache, anything. And come see me if something happens.

ED: Yeah sure, go back to your lab and examine a patient or something. I'm just trying to have fun here.

All right.
So how are you? Everything fine?

I give up and drop the can to the floor before answering him. Apparently this takes longer than my biceps can handle.

I'm about to say something generic as an answer, but then I raelize how often I've done that lately.

Other people have asked me that too. Teachers and students here. My parents, visitors, nurses, doctors at the hospital.

ED: Can't be helped, there are only some things the patient would know himself.

Everyone seems to be concerned about that. It's natural for a hospital, not to much for a school. Except this school.

ED: What's your point? Just get it over with, man!

This is a small school, and both the student base and the faculty seem to be very tightly knit.

ED: ….You're starting to sound like Kenji…

At least that's the feeling I'm getting.

And this is not the kind of school that gets transfer students too often.

The thought sends shivers up my spine, but I give a generic answer, anyway.

ED: An answer that is so generic, it took five lines of monologues to spit out yet not displayed for the viewers to read. What the fuck?

That's great. Also, one other thing.

ED: Spider sense - Tingling!

My sources tell me that you've been at neither the school track nor even the pool, so I'd like to know if you have taken up exercising as I asked.

ED: The hell?

Of course I haven't, but his way of inquiring gives me the feeling that I should've been running my ass off on the track since the very first day.

ED: Sources? The hell is he talking about? That's such a strange word to use. Unless…

Not as such. I just happen to know a few people. But that's not the issue here, so I don't try to slip out of it.

ED: Who could it be? Mutou-sensei? Yuuko the Librarian? Or one of the students?

Well, I was actually just doing some improvised weight lifting, as an exercise.

I pick up and lift the can up and down a few times like some sad imitation of a bodybuilder, even though it's weighing down on my arms painfully.

The stupid grin disappears from his face for a second, then comes back like it was never gone.

ED: Again…Spider Sense…tingling!

Tezuka, would you give us a second?

ED: I don't like this…

The nurse grabs me by the shoulder without waiting for Rin's permission which he didn't need in the first place and drags me aside.

ED: Fuck you. What is your problem?

ED: !!!!

I understand that you are still on your first week and all, but please don't ignore the importance of this.
The reason I'm coming down this hard on you is that habits are not easy to form.
The more you slip and postpone, the harder it'll be. It's the same with everything, like dieting.

ED: What's the matter? You scared your treatment will fail and lose a patient? The fuck man?

ED: Don't like this bastard the moment I met him on first day… but maybe I should just bluff him to get out of this situation. This is so goddamn sinister all the sudden.

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January 20th, 2012, 04:39
ED: OK, so our objective in this school cum hospital is to graduate with better health. I know making friends is important, but surviving is kinda integral with that too. So. Let's take up the creepy nurse's suggestion. Or maybe just give him lip service. I dunno, he totally freaked me out.

He studies me for a moment and then shrugs, smiling again.

Okay. That's more like it.
If you go to the school track tomorrow morning, you'll meet my 'spy,' who probably has no qualms offering consultation to you if you want to jog a bit.

ED: I think I know who it is.

See you around.

He leaves with a wave of his hand and no answer, and I walk to Rin who has been waiting, idly leaning against the hallway wall and staring at the pale lighting fixtures in the ceiling.

Even when I approach, she doesn't move her eyes off them.

Are you getting augmentations for your heart thingy?
Were you listening?

ED: Eh, lay off the girl, dude.

It comes out more accusatory than I intended, accidentally lashing out on her.

But even so, I don't really want to start talking about it. I just met her, I don't know her. It's not her business.

ED: What's the harm?

The nurse seems to be happily ignorant about confidentiality too, talking about that kind of thing in public.

But it's not Rin's fault, is it?

ED: Good, you're learning.

I look up at her, suddenly feeling a bit guilty, but Rin is just staring past my shoulder quizzically, her head tilted like a bird's.

ED: She's different. Just be more casual, you don't need to be so edgy around her.


I don't know why this is so hard for me. It feels like there is some inexplicable lock that prevents me from being more upfront about this.

…yeah. They're for my heart.

ED: My augmentations, let me show you them.

…no, not really. They just make me a little less worse.

Rin keeps looking at me for a while longer, and she neither says anything further, nor displays any kind of emotion I could discern.

I'm thankful that she doesn't. I think I'm still not quite used to all this.

At the hospital it was easy, but I still haven't sorted my feelings about having to live a "normal" life with this disability.

We leave the main building, and Rin leads us onwards towards the dorm.

We stop at the small patch of greenery in front of the dorm building.

The dorm is built on a slightly elevated ground, with a wall and a few trees that everyone has to circle around every time they come or go. It's probably the only inconvenient design in the school.

The entire wall, made of the same kind of bricks as the building itself, has been covered with some sort of painting.

Most of it is still mere sketches, quick lines drawn with black and white against the gray plastering that covers almost the entire length of the wall, but some places look a bit more finished.

There are human faces and legs and hands, I can't quite say what the painting as a whole might portray.

Stacks of what seem to be paint cans are arranged in piles on the ground, beside the wall.

It's because I couldn't get in the mood yesterday so I gave up and went to meditate instead. Then it was suddenly morning.

ED: Yeah, I have the same problem while doing updates too.

I have to work on it, but the guys from art class are helping with the negative spaces and base surfaces whenever, which is a problem.

ED: Eh?

It's easier to paint big areas if there are a lot of people, with hands.
The reach is better, and it's faster too.

She goes on a tangent of a tangent, waving a little with her arm, or whatever of it there actually is, to demonstrate even though I got the point already.

The while cotton of her sleeve flaps around, and it makes me think it could look sadder than it does.

But it makes me feel out of place, like almost every tangible reminder of the student base's…special properties has in the past few days.

This girl doesn't notice my dreary feelings of course, or the fact that she lost me a while ago already…and just keeps on blabbering.

…so that's why I'm trying to figure out if there is something I need to figure out and then figure that out before it's too late and all hope is lost.

ED: ..this is getting stupid.

Why would the hope be lost?


Because paint has to be painted and then it has to dry and then it has to be painted over with another kind of paint.
It takes time.

She finally stops, apparently thinking she made some kind of a statement that makes sense.

I think it's best to start from the top.

So, this is your project? You did…this?
Yes. Yes.
All of it?

ED: I hope this conversation goes somewhere.

Nice. But…

ED: But what? Seriously!

I stumble with my words, suddenly feeling like I've walked straight into the mine field of political incorrectness.

It's ok, you can say it. I probably won't get mad.

I blush really hard. I don't really know what would be the right thing to say, if any. It feels that I'm way more sensitive than Rin is, though.

ED: Come the fuck on.

This is really awkward.

Don't you want to ask?
How do you paint without hands?

ED: *picard-double-face-palm* Are you DENSE? Are you just retarded? She has goddamn feet, man!

See, I'm an easy person to talk to, right? With my feet.
I almost guessed that already, but isn't that hard to do?
You're good at guessing. Anyway, I don't think it is. But maybe I'm used to it by now.

I can't get my mind around the fact that she could be an artist, but seeing how adept she was using her feet to eat I figure painting might not be a problem either.

Neither of us has anything more to add to the subject.

The afternoon light works pretty well. I was afraid it would look too flat but it's not like that after all.
I think it's actually pretty interesting. I wanted to see what it looks like in dim light. Do you think it's flat?
Eeeh well, paintings tend to be flat.

ED: This guy…

Not like that flat. You know, flat. Like some people are, no substance, no meat where there should be some.
I know a few girls who-
Okay I get it. But I couldn't really tell, I'm not that good with art. I can't name many artists or artistic terms.
So I don't really have anything to say.

ED: Wow. You're Japanese and can't even name 2 people who illustrated your mangas? Goddamn.

Rin shrugs her shoulders at that, saying "suit yourself" without saying it and looks up at the sky as if trying to look for something up there.

I didn't think I'd get any actual work done but if you give me a hand with the paints I could do a little before it's too dark.
I wanted to get a halogen lamp like the ones they have at the sports track but there aren't any.
Rin sure is quick to recruit my help, as was Shizune. It really makes me feel that the festival is such a big project that every pair of hands is needed.

ED: Eh, stick around. You've got nothing better to do anyway.

Why not? I'm not really sure if I can be of any help, though.
It's just mixing some paints, you can do that. Probably. Do you have motor control problems, like you know, those people who have some?

ED: Better hurry before she burns your ego again.

Cerebral palsy, maybe?
Not that I know of.
I get it. Heart thingy has nothing to do with that.

She gives me a sly look for no reason.

No it doesn't.
Let's do it then.

So she sits on an empty wooden box and very naturally picks up a wide brush between the toes of her bare right foot.

I open a few of the cans and pour some of the contents into shallow bowls for mixing.

The thick paints flow lazily from the can to the bowl, like syrup.

I mix them, creating funny, hypnotic looking swirl patterns that melt quickly into each other to form a new monotone hue.

Rin sets to work, every now and then asking me for a hand with something or the other.

Finding different brushes is easy enough, but mixing the paints to be the exact tone this girl is apparently seeing in her head is a frustrating ordeal.

She wants precision down to the last mililiter before she is satisfied, but her instructions are obscure at best.

I crouch down to pick up the can of bright green.

The other green. This green.

I carefully pour some of the other green paint into the mixing bowl.

No, that's almost a whole splash. More white.
Is green a good color to add?
No idea. You're the artist here.

A hint of smile appears in the corners of her mouth.

Do you lack an opinion.
No, it's just that I have no idea.
It's OK, because I just got an idea. Add more white.

With this exclamation, I pour a miniscule amount of white into the bowl and mix it. It looks slightly…whiter.

That's not good. It has to be like…like the color when you wake up and you know that you saw the meaning of life in your dream but can't remember it.

ED: Buh.

Maybe it's yellow.

Despite the impossibility of mixing a color like the change of seasons or any other nonsense that's being imposed on me, I find myself enjoying it more than I thought I would.

Seeing a painting being born on the plastered wall feels like magic.

I spend the moments I have between mixing paints crouching down on the paving and just looking at her work.

It feels slightly intrusive at first, like breaking some imaginary intimacy, but Rin doesn't seem to mind the least bit. Maybe it's just in my head.

Her entire presence emits a completely different air as she patiently works the details, adding layers of paint on top of other layers of paint, steadily moving her foot across the all to add new shapes.

When I manage to produce a passable mixture of paint, the rare smile on her face is oddly rewarding.

Apart from the few words when discussing paint mixes, neither of us says a word for the longest time.

And even those short discussions soon evolve into a shorthand, both of us developing and using weird impromptu code words for various paints and hues.

ED: Oblivion Grey. Skyrim White. Morrowind Brown. Etc

As if there was some need to conserve words and breath and sound.

Day 4

The sound of an alarm pulls me out of a fitful slumber and into the unpleasant state of wakefulness.

I linger under the blanket for a few minutes, gathering energy to rise up while making excuses as for why I already haven't.

Honestly, I wouldn't mind staying here for all day. School is surprisingly exhausting after a long pause, and the culture shock still has not faded, I think.

Still, despite getting an impression that skipping class is easy here, I don't think they are going to let me get away with that easily.

And the nurse is bound to keep breathing down my neck with the talk of exercising as well.

ED: I don't think we want to have a private session in the pool with him. So let's get up.

So eventually I do rise up, swallow the morning meds and put on my old soccer jersey.

Thanks to my condition, I was exempted from taking part in gym classes at Yamaku, so I didn't get issued with a gym outfit.

I'd order some to cover such a contingency, but wearing my old soccer outfit is kind of nostalgic.

I can't use them for that any more, so maybe they can get a new life this way. A bit like me.

After all, if I'm going to start taking care of my self, I can't afford to slack around. I'll start from the basic.

Basics which include keeping the rest of my body in shape along with what little I can do to strengthen my heart.

ED: That's good…

Maybe then I can go back to something approaching a normal life; or at least something where I'm less likely to fall over dead at any minute.

Later, at the school field…

I'm surprised to discover that I'm not the only present at the track.
Not just that, but it's a face I've seen before.
The prosthetic-legged girl who bowled me over in the hallway yesterday is running on the track lithely, like a half mechanical gazelle.

What was her name again? It was a short one, but I can't remember.

ED: …Jeez. It's Emi.

She seems to be running laps at a somewhat easy lope, her prosthetics legs clacking rhythmically on the hard track surface.
I wonder what reason she has for running this early in the morning. Maybe it's something akin to mine, and the nurse is oppressing the poor girl to jog just like he is oppressing me.
I certainly wouldn't be here if it weren't for my health, and his prompting me to do so.

ED: Suck it up, already. Come on!

And even with things being like they are, it's only because I wanted to get it out of the way early.
The fact that I would be less likely to encounter someone who would witness my pitiful attempts to get in shape was merely a happy accident.

I'd leave, but it seems that my former assailant noticed me on her last lap.
She waves at me cheerfully and jogs over.

She grins, seemingly pleased that she'd remembered my name.

ED: I think my sugar level just increased.

You may not remember me.
Emi? I knocked you over in the hall yesterday.
How could I forget such a er, blunt introduction?

Emi has the decency to look vaguely apologetic for a moment before giggling.

Yeah, sorry about that. Again.
Hmm, well, so long as you don't make a habit of it, I suppose I'll be fine.

I'm not sure she realized I was joking.

So the 'spy-consultant' the nurse was talking about…is that actually you?
That's right!
I was expecting someone from the nursing staff, to be honest.
What, are you saying I don't look like I could be a spy?
No, this is more like a relief. I was afraid he would have someone to watch my every move.
Unless you are here to do exactly that.
No, I'm here for my own reasons, the nurse just asked me if I had seen a messy-haired transfer student who looks like he's 'kinda lost' around the track.
So why are you down here?

Emi strikes a dramatic pose.

For what?
Ah, I see. You're on the track team, then?

Emi nods enthusiastically.

Yep! I'm one of the better runners, too!

ED: Let me reach for my insulin.

And modest about it, too.

Hey, you should join up!
It's a good exercise, you know.

I think that much activity is probably out of the question for me.

Nah, I'm not even sure I really like running all that much.
Plus I'm just not into organized sports, you know?

It's true. I never even really got that much into soccer.

I mean I'd run around with my friends and all, but that was really the only reason I ever played.
It wasn't for the glory to be found on the field, that's for sure.

Emi seems to understand my meaning.

I see, I see. Not that into the whole organization thing.
But now that you're here, I guess we're going to run together, huh?

ED: …Ok..*stabs insulin needle* Deep breaths…

What? Er, sure, I guess.

Emi seems pleased.

Are you going to warm up?

ED: You wanna watch?

Real men don't warm up.

ED: OK. Try not to scream like a girl when you pull a muscle.

Oh no, you always should warm up! Bad Hisao!

ED: ..spank m- Oh, no no. I meant nothing like that.

She scholds me enthusiastically, but then smiles and leans closer.

ED: …I can hear the police sirens…

ED: Any time now…the undercover feds would come out and handcuff us. We'll be back!
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January 21st, 2012, 02:52
I wanted to kick off 2012, gaming-wise, on a sorta outrageous note and
this seemed kinda outrageous to me so I checked it out.

First I´ve lost the first act (which was pretty cool), then I went with the artist gal, coz´ she seemed like the most potentially intriguing one, and it was worth it.
Well written, well manipulated, well closed.
I´ve shed a tear or two, which to me means a mark of quality .
Dunno anything about the other "paths", but the "Rin path" was fun and its ending was pretty fucking awesome.
The writing was here wordy, here clichéd, but overall the author managed to make a solid emotional rollercoaster with a very interesting character in the center out of all of it.
Thanks for the LP a lot, I wouldn´t have checked this otherwise. This was good .
Last edited by DeepO; January 21st, 2012 at 04:24.
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January 21st, 2012, 05:18
Glad you enjoyed it.
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January 22nd, 2012, 20:25
She laughs suddenly.

As if to confirm her statement she bounces up and down a couple of times, giving a passing impression of standing on a pair of springs. Her legblades seem to be quite elastic.

ED: Her legs are definitely augmented.

Let's go!

ED: Wh-

Emi moves fluidly, throwing herself into the run with a sort of wild abandon.

ED: Remember your heart..don't push yourself when you can't do it.

I find myself concentrating more on running properly.

Hands spread, right?

And something about hitting on the balls of your feet, rather than the heels…

I try to match my stride to Emi's but it's pretty difficult.

Apparently I'm not very good at it.

ED: Don't even think about doing that, four months in hospital is not gonna help.

Maybe Emi could help me with that sometime.

I'm really not feeling up to more than a couple of laps today, and slow to a walk pretty quickly.

ED: …Well. Maybe you can try something less … vigorous in your own room?

Emi keeps running, and doesn't seem to notice I've stopped until she passes me a second time.

She quickly skids to a halt, breathing steadily in contrast to my own somewhat gasping demeanour.

ED: Yep. Unless you want to give Dovahkiin a mouth to mouth.

I hang my head ruefully.

Heh, yeah.
I'm not in very good shape right now.

Emi nods and then grins at me again. She seems to do a lot of smiling.

Well, the important thing is you started, right?

ED: Well, yeah. It's a start.

ED: Yes, ..I'll… I'll hold it in…longer..

I'll keep that in mind.
But I think right now I'm going to go get ready for class.
Shouldn't you?

Emi shrugs unconcernedly.

Nah, I've got plenty of time.

I notice that she's not wearing a watch.

Are you sure?

Another careless shrug.

Not really…but I've got to finish my routine!
See you later, Hisao!
Er, yeah. See ya.

I am not sure whether this morning's experiment was a success or a failure, but I'll admit that I do feel slightly good about getting out there this morning.

And like Emi said, I just need to keep at it in order to get better, right?

ED: Yeah. That's true.

Practice makes perfect, or something like that.

It's nice at least to feel like I've taken some semblance of control over my own health.
I'll have to try to keep this up.

I head back to the dorms to wash and change into my uniform, trying to resist the urge to take a really long and hot shower.

ED: …yeah I know the feeling.

Out of nowhere, a shadow appears within the mist, looming and radiating malicious intent. It bursts through the fog.

ED: …It can't be. You're going to get laid?

I should be asking you that. I've been looking for you all over the place, man.
What do you mean 'all over the place'?

I want to ask if he's been looking for me like that, stark naked, but hold my tongue back.

ED: Can we just get out. Like, now?

I finally realize I'm still naked too and quickly hold up my shirt in front of me, but Kenji doesn't seem to notice a thing.
His glasses are fogged up. But then, why doesn't he wipe them off? Is his vision so bad it's like he's perpetually seeing through fog?

You know, your room, and…Yeah, that's it. Hey, I mean. I still had to get up, though. Whatever. It's not important.

ED: What?

Can I borrow some money?

ED: Oh.

He puts on an innocent face and looks away, trying very hard to look very casual. It doesn't work; he's as transparent as his windowpane-sized glass.

Talking neutrally like this, wearing nothing, feels awkward.

Actually, somehow it's even more awkward to be naked in front of someone when they can't see me being naked. To say nothing of the fact that he's naked as well.

ED: This is not turning me on. Just…pay him off. Quickly.

I try to brush the feeling off, with little success.

Money? Sure.
Wait, why do you need it?


Can't you just give it to me because I had the good will not to run through your pockets while you were in the shower? I could have, but I exercised restraint. And in the end, isn't it the thought that counts? Come on, be a pal.

ED: Listen to the man, just give the goddamn cash!

This makes no sense. If it's the thought that counts, I should withhold payment, since his thoughts were so clearly impure and his intentions-


- are probably even more sinister since he can't tell me what they are. I say as much to him.

I'm offended man, but if that is your game, then fine. I guess I have no choice. I want to order a pizza, and I already have most of the cost of the pizza. I need your help for the rest.
I get some of the pizza too, right?

ED: Why do you even want any, at this point even?

Are you serious?
Yeah. I would give you some, but you have class, you don't have time to eat the pizza.
What about you?!
I am not going to class, I have to wait for the pizza and pay the guy. And then eat it. It's not easy. You have to obtain the pizza stealthily. If you don't everyone will see you. And the pizza. And they will ask for a slice.
It's a hard world out there. Everyone wants a piece. Then you're left pizzaless in an unforgiving world. It's happened before, that's how I know.
Every day, I plan my vengeance, so that when people who wronged me order a pizza, I will be there. Ever vigilant!

Kenji strikes a dramatic pose, completely without irony.

But yeah, I only need like 400 yen. Please! You're my only hope! I can't go outside and buy my own pizza, it's too far!
I try not to go out unless it's absolutely necessary. Let me tell you what happened the last time I went out without carefully planning it out in advance.
I went outside. I can't remember what I was doing. Something. Standing? Maybe wondering how I got there.
And then, out of nowhere, it happened.
Like a flash of lightning, splitting the sky, like how you split a sandwich into two equal pieces to make it more manageable to hold and eat, a bird crapped on my head.

ED: We're still naked BTW.

It was the second most shocking moment of my life.
What was the first?

He ignores me and keeps going. I want to grab him and shake him. Is he just trying to keep momentum? I'll go with that, even if it's more likely he just didn't hear me.

It was like in the openings to some kind of anime show, you know how there is always a part where the main dude is fighting his rival, and they fly at each other and clash swords and there's like, a big dramatic colored auras and zoom?

ED: No.

It was like that, but with poo.
So yeah, I need some money. Please? Don't leave me hanging , man. I only need like 1000 yen.
I thought it was 400.
I'll pay you back, I swear.
You'd better, that's what it means to borrow stuff.
I don't know when I'll be able to pay you back.


You have one week.


Kenji winces and makes a noise like a dying cow, a particularly disturbing fact given that his baton is conducting freely.

You're not supposed to be so tight assed about money between brothers in arms, man. Men have it bad enough as it is. Did you know that male porn starts only make about half of what female porn stars make?

ED: Oh god. I want to play Terraria so badly right now.

That doesn't mean anything unless you're a porn star.
So maybe I am a porn star, on the side, struggling to make ends meet as I fight the feminist agenda, and you can't even spot me your crumbs, you bastard. Nobody understands. Nobody.

Wouldn't feminists be against pornography in the first place?

ED: Oh, Tzeentch, why do you test me so?

This feminist agenda stuff again?
This stuff is important. I can see that you don't give a shit, but this is serious, here. Feminists…are a dangerous enemy, make no mistake. You take them lightly, and you'll wake up in the morning with a knife in your back, bam! Out of nowhere!
How do you wake up in the morning if someone stabbed you in your sleep?
Women are terrible at stabbing things.
I thought you just said don't take them lightly.
Well, I mean don't take them lightly for the big things. Individually they're not a threat, but if there was some kind of war, like a big war, with men on one side, and the feminist forces on the other side, it would be pretty ugly.
And that day will come, when the feminists come out of their central top secret worldwide headquarters, and say 'It's on now, motherfuckers!'
You're being ridiculous, there's no big worldwide feminist HQ, where would they even hide that? I mean, it'd have to be massive, you couldn't hide that on Earth, someone would notice a big fortress with women only in it.
Who said it was on Earth?

ED: God help us all.

I turn away from Kenji and start practicing frowning faces in a mirror so that I can figure out what kind of frown will best express my emotions. He can't see me from this distance anyway.

Which unfortunately, means that he just keeps on ranting without any regard to sense or sensibility.

Yeah, there is a war going on. A war not many know about, but it's a great one that will one day boil over and encompass all of the known world. Then, we will have to pick sides. We will have to make a stand. In fact, it's happening right now.
Imagine it, the bloody battlefield. A vicious conflict without end.
I almost gave up, when I thought this cause was silly…when I grew tired of the bleakness of our fight… When I mistook the time the power went out for a feminist raid and thought the end was near…
But then I realized that if I gave up, it would be all over, and I was like, 'whoa' and knew I had to get serious. Because I am the last sane man in an insane world. It is about duty.
Must be a pretty crappy movement if it all hinges on one naked guy, ranting in a bathroom at another naked guy.
So can I have the money?

He's blocking the way out, it's getting cold because I'm still naked, and I want to go to class, so I agree to spot him the money.

ED: We're victims of school bullying.

Awesome. Thanks, dude. We should go bowling later on.
Yeah, it's the ultimate sport. There are almost no women bowlers either, making it also the manliest sport.

ED: Let me out.

Should I wear my pink bowling shirt with matching shoes or the pastel green with flower accents?
There are bowling clothes?
Anway, you had better pay me back.
I cna pay you back in stuff, right?

I don't have time to ask him to elaborate on what that means.

I don't know. I have to get to class, you're kind of in the way.
Oh. Sorry. Yeah, I don't want to hold you up, and I have some stuff to do myself. The time has come.
The time for what?
I just like saying that.

ED: Why. Are. We. Still. Here?

Okay, now the time has REALLY come.
For what?
I have to use the bathroom. Get out out it.
I was just going to! And what does that mean? It's a big bathroom!
So? I hae to be alone or I can't go. The pressure…
Okay. What if someone else comes in?

I'll think of something.

I gave him my practiced frown and it looks kind of silly reflected in his glasses. He either doesn't notice or doesn't see, anyway, so I get dressed and run back to my room, feeling as though an eternity has passed since I woke up.

That is time I will never get back. I'll get him for this somehow.

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January 25th, 2012, 19:22
I'm the first person in class today, although I think I'm a little too early. Then again, sitting alone here for twenty minutes sure beats having to suffer that time with Kenji.

The combination of fatigue, frustration and boredom starts making me feel very tired.

Eventually, I hear a tapping noise outside in the hallway, and Lilly's tall figure appears in the doorway. She's not in this class, so she must have some other business. Maybe she's looking for Hanako.

ED: Well compared to the shower scene, this is HEAVAN!

Lilly stops at the door, looking hesitant as if she was a vampire who can't come in unless invited. I consider doing so because she looks rather lonesome standing there.

She steps in on her own accord though, after straightening her skirt and shirt collar as if it was of importance to look prim when entering our classroom.

ED: This is just like the time we were refugees in RPGWatch, eh, Codexians? Monocleds gotta monocle.

ED: ….That face is kinda hurt to look at.

She calls into the quiet classroom with a probing, delicate voice. I realize the silence might unnerve her because of her blindness so I break it.

Good morning, Lilly.
Hisao? Good morning. I didn't hear you come in.

I wonder if she thinks it's suspicious I didn't say anything to her before. It's likely. If I were to tell too big a lie now, it would sink me.

ED: …why do I suddenly have wicked thoughts about this? I mean..she's…vulnerable as heck. Like Black-kun said. She won't see me coming. Literally.

Well, I was already here, just asleep until now.
Oh. have you seen Hanako today, by any chance?
No, she seems to have come in only just before the bells right…or after that. Do you want me to tell her something for you?
No, it's fine. It's strange, but I think we're the only two people in the school right now. I didn't hear anyone else on my way here.

ED: That's PERFE- I mean..why, how did that happen?

I shouldn't have gotten up so early today, I guess.
You're chastising yourself for doing something that other people should? Punctuality is a good thing. I think so, anyway.

ED: *Nods vigorously*

It's a very busy morning today. The festival is coming up soon, and today is the deadline for event registration, budget reports and any other official paperwork.
It could be that everyone is trying to complete the necessary forms at the last minute. Maybe that is why it's so quiet today.

ED: Dang, glad we're not part of any of that shit. If Shit-chan and Himmler had dragged us-

ED: Fuck. What's with this bitch's timing?

Misha pops into the room with Shizune as if on cue, shouting with a loudness that makes Lilly visibly flinch.

ED: Hi yourself, retard.


ED: Yes, Mein Fraulein?

Look, it's the class representative~! Hello~!

Lilly smiles, probably amused by Misha's - or Shizune's use of the word "look."


Good morning.

Of course, you're not the representative of this class, right, right~?

ED: ….I can't take much more of this.

I'm not.

Lilly seems a little more guarded in her answers to Shizune than she was with me the other day. I guess they really don't get along at all.

ED: No shit, Sherlock. Time to score points! EXPLOIT!

Then I realize that Lilly might actually not know Shizune is present and she's trying to detect whether or not she is, to know who she is talking to.

For all she knows, she is talking to Misha, but knowing that she and Shizune are practically inseparable, she might expect Shizune being the one that actually talks.

Damn, how complicated. I decide to help Lilly out, for my own peace of mind more than anything else.

ED: Good. Showing some initiative would even things up a bit for Lilly!

You're here early, Shizune.

ED: Dropping sonars.

ED: Wha-why are you frowning?

You were here even earlier than us!

ED: Target detected.

Misha puffs out her cheeks angrily. Why is she angry? Does she feel emotions on Shizune's behalf, too?

ED: …can't wait for dual orgasm then..oh wait. Not gonna happen. No sir.

It's not that weird, though, that Shizune did not like my little comment. It's true, I was here earlier than them, so me saying something like that could definitely be misinterpreted as anything.

ED: You're late. You suck?

Especially to Shizune, who doesn't have the benefit of hearing tone to gauge intent.
Before I can start weighing whether or not I should apologize, Shizune has already moved on.

ED: Uh oh..

Class rep~! It's a good thing you're here~! We have to talk.

The festival is coming in three days, right? Every other class has already handed in their projected budget reports for their events! Even the first-years! Except you~!

ED: Don't sound too happy about that you Feminazis…


ED: That does it.

There is still time to hand it in, isn't there?

Yes, that was me. Planning something on this scale is not a small task, and a week is too small a time frame to expect a whole class to work out such a complex issue completely.

Do you want to know what's harder than distributing the funds for one class event? Handling the same matter for every class in the school and then some~! The one who does that is me!

ED: War. War never changes.

Misha puts her hands on her hips and stands up straight. Wow, she is really getting into the role. Lilly doesn't look like she's very amused, though.

Hey, Shizune, aren't you being a little too hard on her? There's still a whole day left.
Please, Hisao. It's all right.

Lilly seems happy I'm taking her side, but a bit conflicted that I might not think she can take care of herself.

ED: Hmm….wait and see. If the Carrier is in danger. Intercept and assist.

If this is about the budget, then I am disappointed you think I have forgotten about it. I understand how important it is.

Then~! Can I have it, please?

ED: No you can't, retard.

Shizune, she might not have it on her at this exact second.
It's not here right now. I asked two students to take care of it for me. Students from my class.

She emphasizes the last sentence much to my surprise. Does she know about Shizune and Misha's efforts to rope me into the Student Council?

ED: Oooooh.

I guess word must've gotten around, so now she's using me as ammo against Shizune. This just gets better and better…

It was your responsibility~! A budget report isn't something you should be delegating away; as class rep, it's your job to be on top of things! This kind of disregard for proper procedure is really just terrible~!

ED: Hey, I think that's kinda-

They completed it, being capable of doing so, but the students have been sick recently, so they could not come to school and give it back to me. If you want, I will apologize on their behalf for getting sick.

ED: Grrr.

Although Misha misses Lilly's little jab entirely, Shizune doesn't, and she seems torn between being offended by Lilly's daring and jumping for joy at the prospect of a challenge.

ED: Come on girls…let's just drop this.

Lilly, don't they live here at school? That's a five minute walk, you know~.
What could they possibly have that prevents them from taking five minutes out of their busy lives…to drop off something that will affect the enjoyment of their entire class?

Misha tries her best to convey the same passion, but can't seem to lose her normal cheerful tone. The result is interesting and somewhat surreal.

ED: *Sigh*

And what's with that attitude~? I said that it's not something you should be delegating away; are you the class representative or aren't you?
Tell me the names of those two students, they should have your job if you can't even handle this simple yourself.

ED: Kisama :rage:

One form isn't the full extent of what I am supposed to take care of.

Lilly's tone is growing slightly impatient, but she is doing a good job of not letting Shizune see how unsettled she is becoming. She's playing her cards close to her chest.

Shizune, on the other hand, wraps her fingers cheerfully along the edge of her glasses, knowing Lilly can neither hear nor see how excited she is.

ED: ….Fuck this. I'm taking punch Shizune dialogue as soon as it's available.

Of course, you do so much, class rep~! It must be so difficult being you~!

Lilly tightens her lips at Misha's words, clearly understanding the intent behind them even though Misha delivers them without a hint of sarcasm which they were meant to have.

ED: Oh shit.

Music: Those who do not fight will not survive!

ED: Eh,…what?

What are you talking about?

Aren't you taking part in the festival, Hiccan? You are, aren't you? Then~! I hope you're going to do a lot more to make sure it goes smoothly than this person~!

ED: …Are we gonna take it like a bitch? Huh? Dovahkiin?
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January 25th, 2012, 19:24
We'll defend Lilly's honor . In true Codexian fashion of winning arguments.


Music: Kamen Gaider Decline

It's not like I could've done much, even if I wanted.
That's right, you shouldn't expect a transfer student to jump right into it on his first week.

Lilly taking my side feels oddly comforting so I decide to back her up too.

ED: Step 1 : Point out their flaws. Take a side with another poster, so if you fail to counter-argue, he/she will be available to fight your battles. You may also earn Bro/Sis-fists this way and the share of Kodex Kool Kredits if both of you end up winning the argument in the end.

Yeah you're being unreasonable with us both.

Excuses, excuses. Miss Class Rep has had plenty of time to deal with her report.
And we repeatedly offered you a position to help with the student council work, but you refused to commit yourself to making the festival a success.

ED: Step 2: Wait for it…

I don't have time for this right now; no matter what I do, it will mean being drawn into a confrontation with Shizune and that is what she wants.

ED: Step 3: Since they presented a counter-argument, and we're too lazy to be dragged into their argument plus presenting our own version of supporting quotes, evidences as well as counter-arguing…we'll employ the internet forum's best function ever.


brofists this.

Lilly, class is going to be starting soon, we can talk more later. I'll tell Hanako you were looking for her.

I can feel Shizune freezing. Maybe this is the first time she has ever been ignored in such a blunt manner.

ED: What's wrong, Shicchan?

Thank you, Hisao. I'll leave now, then.
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January 28th, 2012, 18:44
As soon as Lilly walks out of the door, I suddenly start feeling reluctant about turning to face Shizune.
I can feel her eyes burning into my back, and I can't bring myself to look at her. She must be furious. I keep expecting Misha to say something to alleviate the tension, but it really is wanting too much.

In the end, I go back to my seat and listen to the sound of Shizune's footsteps as she marches out of the room. She doesn't return until a few minutes before class.

Hanako doesn't come to the morning class at all, leaving her seat looking empty and lonely in the back of the classroom.
I have to tell her that Lilly was looking for her if I see her later.

After the events of this morning, class is pretty boring in comparison. I turn the pages of my textbook lazily.
I have a bit of catching up to do, despite trying to keep up with my studies at the hospital, but I'm not feeling that enthusiastic about it.

The clock at the front of the room sounds unbearably loud. The teacher hasn't said anything in over seven minutes, instead, opting to cover the board in rows and rows of equations taken directly from the book.

The rhythmic clashing of chalk on blackboard seems to synchronize perfectly with the ticking of the clock.
I start to copy down the equations just to pass the time, even though they are right there in the text book.

When the bell rings, I'm not in a hurry because I have nothing to do, so I stay for a while, reviewing what we covered in class today. I prefer to leave last anyway, so I don't have to deal with crowding in the hallways.

I notice Shizune and Misha have also stayed behind, talking to someone from another class.

ED: I thought we're ignoring them. C'mon now.

Shizune's signing so fast that her hands make noises like swords cutting through the air.
Maybe there is pent up anger in there.

Misha is trying desperately to keep up, but it's clear she can barely manage to even understand her.

I put my head down. Whatever they're discussing, it looks like serious business.

Shizune signs to the point where her wrists crackles, and Misha struggles to spit it out in word form.
Sometimes she trips over herself like she's dealing with tongue twisters. And then on top of that, she has to sign back anything the other girl says.

Seems like a rough job. Misha looks tired, like she's about to faint.
Luckily for her, their business is soon finished and the girls sit down on their seats again.

She's hanging her head limply on her desk, looking exhausted.
I'll use the opportunity to reconcile with Shizune a bit, without getting roped into the student council thing again, though I suspect that door is now closed for me.

ED: …Do what you want, man. We showed that bitch who's boss.

Festival preparations must be tough for you.

Indeed, the people in this school seem to be taking the festival very seriously. Whenever I see people idling around before and after classes they're always talking about their plans for it.

It's kind of neat to see everyone being so enthusiastic about it.
I'm probably the only one who doesn't have anything to do.

ED: Leaves you free to chase skirts, eh?

Shizune scoffs at me first, as if trying to decide whether to ignore or sneer at me, but in the end she starts signing without doing either.

ED: Heh.

Misha perks up, looking at her hands with slightly unfocused eyes.

She signs with harsh, heavy dramatic strokes.
Misha translates her signing into speech for me.
She does it so well it's almost like Shizune is actually speaking, transmitting her thoughts directly through Misha.
She must've practised it vigorously.

Well of course, we're in the Student Council, you know, so we're pretty busy.

It's an important duty of ours, to ensure the success of the festival with all our strength.

We would shame ourselves in front of the past student council generations if the festival were to fail.

ED: Again? Why do we keep listening to this shit? Let's get out..

That's why there must be no flaws, no…err I think that was 'incumbrances,' no nothing that might make the festival short of perfect.

ED: That will be hard when you're in a school full of imperfect people.

Shizune's passionate speech and Misha's enacting are really oddly fitting of them.

Oh? Hello~!

ED: Hm?

I look over my shoulder and see Hanako peering timidly into the classroom, most of her body hidden behind the door.

ED: Oh, hey! About time- let's split! To hell with these two. Let's find Gold Leader.

Hanako blushes hard at Misha's straightforward jab, even if it was only in jest.

ED: Don't let your butthurt leak onto the floor.

Maybe she is showing her dislike of Hanako by association of her dislike of Lilly.
It appears so, and Hanako probably knows it as well.

What is it, Hanako?
H…has Lilly been here?
Sorry, haven't seen Satou. She, eh, came by in the morning though.

Hanako keeps looking uneasily at Shizune, who stares back at her with her usual studying gaze. What is she trying to do?
Of course Shizune isn't going to look away, and she is intimidating enough as it is, so I can only imagine how terrified Hanako would be.

It is a little uncomfortable, watching Hanako's reaction to Shizune's normal behavior. This is what happens when two people of different extremes meet, it seems.

Do..do you know where she is?

ED: That question was meant for you! Come on! Don't let them scare her away!

If she has any sense in her head, she's in her classroom, working on their festival project. But who knows where that woman is loitering at.
You need to find her? She was looking for you in the morning, but I guess you have missed each other.

She waits a little without answering the simple question, looking awfully like she's not sure if it's proper to answer such question.

I can come with you.


If it's okay.

Hanako nods fractionally, still on guard, her shoulders stiff like wood. I get the feeling that she might be more comfortable by herself after all, but it's too late to back off now.

She has this really troubled expression she seems to wear almost constantly, one that makes me constantly be on guard myself. I wonder why.

I kind of understand why she always seem to be so wary…or maybe more like, why there could be a person like her.

But I still have no idea how I should act around such a person.

It's dinnertime soon. Were you planning to eat with Lilly?

She nods slightly. So she must have been trying to get into the cafeteria.

Well, there's something of a dinner crowd, just like the cafeteria is crowded during lunch.

It's not as bad because dinnertime is longer than lunch hour, but I can understand why Hanako could be discouraged from going in.

I pick up my bad and we take our leave. Hanako skips a little to meet my initial pace, so I slow down to match her speed.
It doesn't take long for us to be walking at a comfortable pace down the hallway.

It almost feels like we're going for a stroll together; something I can't say I've really done with a girl.

ED: Baka..it's not like I like her or something! Means to an end!

Hanako doesn't seem to be thinking the same thing though. Even though we are walking at the same pace, she never comes within arm's reach of me.

I guess she's still a little uncomfortable around me. Given how shy she is, there doesn't seem to be much helping it, at least for now.

Hanako's head sinks even lower than usual.

Have you looked somewhere else already?
J-just at the library…I was reading…

So she does spend the classes she skips at the library.

Ah, so not exactly a thorough search then. Well, if I had to guess, she'd be in her own class like Shizune said, right?

ED: Don't you have her number? Or are mobile phones banned in this school?


With the slightest of nods, Hanako agrees with my reasoning.
God, she's being so awkward.

Its like I need double layered silk gloves with padding to even begin interacting with her.

Some small talk might help her become a bit more used to me. It isn't hard to tell that the silence between us is hovering on the edge of both our minds.

ED: So I heard you like mudkips.

So you and Lilly usually hang out together after class, right?

I'm not quite sure what I expected from her answer, nor why I even asked the question. That much was rather obvious, after all.

ED: This is so full of fail. Come on. Let's go already!

She doesn't seem like the type to cultivate a social circle, either, so I Suspect that Lilly may well be her only friend.

Must be a pain being in different classes, I'm guessing.

She gives a sharp, almost reflexive nod. Compared to Lilly's careful thought about her actions and speech, Hanako hastens to make her answers as prompt and short as possible.

Lilly…comes by the classroom, though. Even when she's busy.

She gives a small smile as she says it, evidently appreciating the fact that Lilly goes out of her way to help her.

ED: Tell Lilly that I told you to tell her that I love her.

It's pretty cute, really. There isn't any need to say more, both of us content that the discussion's reached an end.

ED: ….So is the rest of the Codex. For fuck's sake!

As we ascend the stairs back to the lobby we are met by a group of students heading downstairs like a school of fish moving from one feeding area to another.

ED: !!! Oh?

Hey, are you all right?
J-just keep going…

ED: Genesis 15:1 "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward."

The students pass us without as much as a second glance, and Hanako takes up position to my side again as we enter the building, her momentary reprieve from her anxiety all but snatched away.

Even as we climb towards the third floor, she doesn't seem to relax.

It isn't as if I've never known a shy person before, or even shy girls, but Hanako seems to be pretty far beyond what I'd call normal in her fear of other people.

If it weren't for Lilly acting as a mediator, I doubt Hanako would have even been able to walk beside me like this. She seems to completely shut down in the presence of others.

The rest of the walk up to Lilly's classroom continues in strained silence, while I rue her inability to socialize at all.

After we make up our way up the stairs, the noise coming from Lilly's classroom is audible from halfway down the hallway. I wasn't expecting such a din at all.

Well, I guess we found her…

This wasn't hard. Did Hanako come here first then come to me for backup, I wonder?

ED: Don't think too hard. Your heart might explode.

Well if that's true, then at least she's starting to trust me a little. That can only be a good thing.

Eventually the two of us reach the door to class 3-2. With Hanako less than subtly positioning herself behind me, I open the door.

Going by the paint cans, decorations and banners being made, it must be for the upcoming school festival.

I guess my first priority should be finding Lilly…


Finding her among the din is surprisingly easy, not the least because of her looks.

With a couple of students gathered around her as she stands at the front of the class, she seems to be in charge of the preparations, or at least busy organizing them.

Carefully negotiating a path through the various students hunched over the floor for lack of desk space, I raise a hand entirely out of habit as we finally reach Lilly.

Hi, Lilly.

She perks her head up as she breaks off talking to a noticeably smaller girl who must be her classmate, trying to listen as best as she can.

Ah, sorry. Hisao. I have Hanako too.

ED: Mission Accomplished. Influence Gained: Lilly, Hanako.

She's pretty skittish. Considering the number of people around, it isn't too hard to work out why.
Lilly takes a moment's pause to assess the situation before turning to the other student once again.

For the moment, just ask Moriya for his advice. Kenji's busy with painting one of the banners already.

A quick nod and she bounces off, fingers carefully sliding along the wall's face for orientation.

ED: Oh. So this class is for the vision-impaired…

ED: No fucking way!
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January 31st, 2012, 17:07
I quickly turn about, leaning to the side to see past Hanako.
Sure enough, in a corner of the room, Kenji's hunched over a sheet of cloth as he paints it. His eyes remain only inches from the brush, reminding of how close he had to be to make out my face when I met him.

Sorry about that. Our class doesn't have many students with even partial eyesight, so they're in high demand.

ED: In the land of the blind…oh yeah, I guess that made sense. Kenji is near blind, so he's in the same class as Lilly's.

That's right, class 3-2 was specially for students with poor vision. Preparing for the festival must be pretty arduous for them.

ED: I can't even fathom why Shizune would even go down so hard on this class. Goddamn Nazi. Let's lend our pair of eyes, Dovahkiin.

Need a hand? I could give you help if you need some. Maybe Hanako could too.

ED: Wow, you remembered Hanako? Amazing.

A chance to set her mind on something would do her good, but I doubt she has the courage to ask outright. She quickly nods in affirmation afterwards, so I'm confident I made the right move.

ED: Eyes on the prize, Dovahkiin.

Lilly gives a noticeable sigh of relief.

Ah, that's good. This might actually get finished before everyone goes off to dinner, now.
Would you be able to help the person painting the main banner? It's a big task for him to do, but nobody else can help.

ED: Not trying to look down, but vision-impaired folk and art craft isn't really…I mean, how do you even do your budget reports? In Braille?

Kenji? Sure.

ED: Only because YOU asked.

She seems surprised that I know him. I can't really blame her.

ED: Hah.

I take it you've met?

ED: Don't tell her about the shower incident.

Our rooms in the dorm are right next to each other. Hard to miss each other, really.
Well, it's good to see you're getting friends so fast.

ED: Wish she ain't blind so we can make a face about that statement.

Friend…I wonder if that's the right word to use for him.

ED: Calling him 'friend' would be an insult to all friends.

Hanako's silence during the proceedings reminds me of the reason I put her up to helping in the first place.

ED: I'm getting impressed with your Hanako awareness skills.

We'll go help him then. He knows what needs doing, right?
That's right. Just ask if you have any problems.

Chorusing in assent, Hanako and I begin another trek across the classroom.
Kenji sits crouched on the floor, his gaze fixed on the white calico in front of him.

ED: Maybe if we pretend to be someone else…wait no, that's a bad idea. He might murder us in our sleep.

Hey, Kenji.

No answer. He continues dragging his paint-soaked brush along the large half-painted letters that's sketched on the sheet in pencil.


If this is the way he treats class members, it's no small wonder he's working on this alone.

It's me, Hisao. From the-
Right, right, I know that, man. What are you doing here, though?

His dismissive attitude annoys me.

ED: Endure. In enduring, grow strong.

He must be the type to really get focused on his work, hating to be disturbed by anyone until he's done, I suppose.
While we talk, the sound of Hanako's footsteps as she walks out from behind me reminds me that she's here.

I was just going to help with the banner. Hanako and I, that is.

ED: Don't worry about the face. He can't see shit. Maybe lower your voice pitch a bit..

Oh. Er, hey. I guess that's okay.

ED: Too late.

As soon as Hanako enters the equation, his demeanor takes a complete about-face. His sudden faux-hospitality is slightly unsettling. Oh, right. Women. On second thoughts, this may not have been a great idea after all.

Hanao and I grudgingly set ourselves down on the opposite side of the cloth banner to Kenji, noting several small paint tins on the ground around it.

Class 3-2…noodle stall?

ED: Did they submit it for blind-tasting yet? Ah, hyuck, hyuck. Blind. Taste. Get it? Ah hyuck, hyuck. Wait. Why am I making fun of blind people? Shit. Sorry.

You guys selling noodles at the festival on Sunday?
Yeah, some stalls outside. Or something.

"Or something?" His noncommittal nature sparks a fair amount of suspicion on my behalf. The task at hand comes first, though.

So how do you want to split this? We do borders while you do the text? Or do you want to switch and do the borders?
Text is mine. You do borders.

He has surprisingly strong feelings on the topic.

As I reach over to grab a brush, I notice Hanako's already debating between colors to use.
By the time I've put brush to cloth, she's already started on the delicate pattern.
Looks like my idea of taking her mind off everyone around her worked.

ED: Eh, half the class literally can't see anyway.

With a dark blue stroke, the three of us silently get to work.

ED: Well, this is as close as we can get to Lilly for now.

Not before Kenji takes advantage of Hanako's working to lean towards me and whisper conspiratorially, though.

ED: You don't have to answer that question.

Hanako just wanted some help to find Lilly, that's all.

ED: GOOD answer.

He apparently disapproves of my motivations.

ED: Stay back…

I get it. It looks like I misjudged you.

ED: Uh oh.

You're infiltrating them, aren't you? Going deep undercover.

ED: I'd love to go undercover, but I think we're both thinking different things.

I should have guessed. Letting the truth slip by him would probably be better than outright lying or annoying him, in any case.

Is that why you're here?
Obviously. It sucks, but there's no better way to get intel than going in yourself.
We gotta stick together, man. This is a harsh school, a harsh world.
Yes, very harsh.

He misses my true meaning as he leans back, satisfied I'm sympathetic to his cause. I'd better get down to work.

ED: I hope he doesn't catch on to our romance attempt. He might end up killing the girls or something.

Looks like I am too. Good job.

The two of us connect up the lines of our patterns, mine being as close as copy as I could manage of hers.
With a grunt, I lever myself up from the floor and look around.

Aside from Hanako and myself, there's only Kenji left finishing off a sign as well as Lilly and a couple of students talking among themselves in the classroom.

Looking at my watch, it's no surprise. It's getting pretty late.

Need a hand?

I offer a hand to Hanako, which she uses to get herself up.

ED: …it's not like you- Ah, I give up. Do what you want with her.

As she does it, I can't help but glance at her wrist; if her scars extend even to there, just how much of her body was burned?

ED: Fuck you, man.

Looks good, doesn't it?

ED: *Psyduck* Have you gone mental?

She looks surprised for a moment before noticing that I mean the banner.

ED: Phew.

It does…I guess.

Her smile shows that she feels a slight sense of pride in the result, just as I do.

With the floor significantly neater for the decorations being placed on desks and shelves, it's much easier to get to Lilly as we cross the room.

We've finished the banner. I guess that's all that needs to be done?

Lilly gives an appreciative nod.

Thank you Hisao, Hanako. If there's any way I can thank you…?
It's fine. Beats sitting in my room studying, at any rate.
I don't mind either.

She nods, before suddenly remembering one last person.

Oh, is Kenji still here?

ED: Who gives a fuck?

Just as I open my mouth, Kenji gives the answer from the other side of the room.

ED: His ears. We must cut his ears.

Yeah, just finished.

He carefully slides his sign onto an empty section of shelf to dry, before quickly walking past us and out of the door.

ED: I hope not.


The remaining two students say their goodbyes to Lilly before taking their cue to leave as well, leaving only the three of us.

Well, I guess that's everyone.
I hope we won't have to do anything like that again.
Working past schooltime?
Indeed. The class's plans this year were ambitious. Maybe too ambitious.
The stalls look nice, though.
She's right, it shows that a lot of work's gone into them.
My my, I'm sure a lot of us would be glad to hear that. At least now there's not much work to do until the festival itself.
Umm…It's getting pretty late. Should we go?
That's probably a good idea. Are you going back to the dorms as well, Hisao?
Yeah, I guess I'll tag along.

The night time lighting really makes the gardens look quite different. Compared to the usual look of lush greenery, things are much more calm.

Being that it's so late, the lack of students around probably helps. The odd one or two can be seen scurrying to and from the dorms trying to eke the most out of their approaching curfews, but no more.

All that can be heard is our footsteps, in addition to Lilly's cane regularly gently tapping the ground in front of her.

It's nice to finally be able to relax a bit after the mad rush during school.

Without even noticing it, I let out a small yawn.

Yeah. Still getting used to the flow of things, I guess.
The…uh…thing..with Shizune took me kind of off guard, though.

ED: Who cares about those two?

I grit my teeth a little at the candid mention of their rather public spat. That said, I do want to sort out what in the world was behind it.

Ah..about that..
I'm sorry about it being so public. Shizune and I…go back some ways.

Her voice seems slightly irritated as she remembers Shizune, obviously unwilling to discuss it any further.

ED: Better not ask again.

I glance at Hanako for her views on this, but her expression is, unsurprisingly, evasive and difficult to read.

Either way I guess her apologizing for it is something, even if my curiosity goes unanswered.

I'll be glad once the festival is over, in any case.

The change of topic is welcome, clearing the thickening air quickly.

I can imagine. My old school's festivals were a lot more low-key than this.
Yamaku stresses the idea of a school community, so the staff likes to make our festivals and such special occasions.
And yet the students are the ones who do the work. What an unfair world.

Hanako and Lilly both chuckle in agreement, savoring the fact that non of the staff are around to hear our grumbling.

I suppose coming from a strict all-girls school helped me a bit with Yamaku. Compared to there, Yamaku is much more relaxed.

That'd go a way towards explaining her well-bred speech and behavior, in any case.

As we come up to the dormitories, it eventually comes time to leave for our respective rooms.

See you Lilly, Hanako.

The two give polite nods before setting off to the women's dorms, just next to the guys'.

ED: Maybe we can stealth our way in.

ED: Guess not.

Walking past him, I quickly stretch my arms and rub my neck, both quite sore after having worked on the floor for so long, before walking to my room.

It feels good to actually have direction, though. After so long in the hospital, the everyday facts of studying, homework and teachers seem almost a blessing.

I guess if things continue like this, my time at Yamaku might turn out okay.


Adhering to the nurse's nagging voice in the back of my head, I set my alarm clock to wake me up early enough to go jogging again.

I made a promise and I'm going to keep it. Besides, Emi is bound to rat on me if I don't show up.

ED: Damn you, Rainbow Dash.

But it's not all that bad.

End of Day 4
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January 31st, 2012, 17:09
Day 5

My morning alarm goes off, and I flail about useless for a while until I remember that I'd decided to give morning runs another shot.

I don't know if this was my greatest idea, but I'm determined to keep going.
This is about my health, after all.

Sure, things have't been great lately for me, but that hasn't made existence so intolerable that I'm not going to try everything I can to stay healthy.

ED: Don't get too cocky, punk.

Besides, it's all about asserting some kind of control over this thing, right?
If I can manage that, well, I can manage anything.
At least that's what I keep telling myself.

Once again, it would appear that I'm not alone in my run.
Emi has apparently been here for some time.
It looks like she's already worked up a good sweat.
Just when the hell does she come down here, anyway?

ED: Hi, Rainbow Dash.

I'm surprised to see you again!
Why's that?
Well, not many people actually manage to come back for a second try.

She frowns, seemingly annoyed by a passing thought.

Like the rest of the track team, for instance.

ED: Huh. Now that I think of it: Where is the rest of her team?

Still, it was only supposed to be on a volunteer basis, so it's not that big of a shock.
And I guess it's pretty early in the morning…

A shrug, and suddenly it appears that she's forgotten what she was talking about.
The frown disappears entirely, and she seems to snap back to her previous train of thought.

So! Come on, then!

ED: Why so enthusiastic over this?


ED: There goes the sugar level again.

Well, yes.
So come on!

ED: This could be dangerous…

Things seem to be set on mirroring yesterday's run.

It's incredibly bothersome, to be so easily worn out.
I know I should be patient, work toward things gradually, but…
It's difficult to stay positive about this.
We round the track and start on our second lap.
Emi seems to have grown impatient keeping pace with me, and begins to pull away.
This is where I gave out yesterday.

ED: Alright eye of the…Whoa, hold on there! I don't know about you, but I thought the nurse said something about the dangers of pushing yourself too much? You're not gonna beat bionic girl on your second day. Take it easy, FFS.

I let Emi go with her own pace, and she doesn't show mercy, pulling half a lap ahead of me in an instant.
I don't blame her.
I mean, it's not as if I'm really putting up any sort of real fight out here, is it?
Instead, I'm just running at a steady pace, which is what I should be doing, right?

ED: Right, right.

There's no need to go pushing my limits at this stage of the game.

ED: Game? Wait, what? My immersion!

God, is this even worth it?

ED: You're asking ME?

As we finish the second lap, I break off again.
Emi keeps going, and it almost seems to me that's she's disappointed.

Well, that's stupid.
I don't have anything to prove to her - come to think of it, I've got nothing to prove to myself, either.

ED: Where did this side of you come from? I'm just telling you to take it easy, not making up excuse to quit!

I'm just fine the way I am.
And what I am is not a runner.

ED: … Updated my journal.

This was probably a bad idea.

ED: Whatever you say.

Maybe there's something else I can do instead of this.
Getting up this early sucks, anyway. There's got to be some other way to keep healthy.
Walking, maybe. Nice afternoon walks.

ED: With Lilly?

Yeah, that sounds good. Running isn't for me.

I wave to Emi and head back to my room.
I'll think of something else later.

It's annoying. I thought I was okay. I thought I had made my peace with this thing, gotten over it.
But what I really did…I allowed myself to forget that I have a problem. Being here really reminds me of the reality, and trying to fight against it just hurts.

ED: Okay, fine, you can quit your run. FFS.

Reflecting on it is only going to do so much. I've done this before, for months. It seems like it's time to get over it.
If I allow myself to forget that my life is definitely not going to be as long as those of others, I won't get anywhere.

My life may be different from others. But it is a life in progress.
That is how I'll rationalize it.

I down the usual handful of pills, trying to push the sudden dreary feeling out of my head. Then I prepare to head out to class early, as usual.

ED: Right. No wasting time. We're available for a limited time only. The clock's ticking. Let's make up for the lost time. No more going emo, participating in stupid student councils or running in the morning. We follow the Golden Path. FULL SPEED AH-



He jumps at the sound of my voice.

I think it's more like he didn't see me, but that's not the issue.

Where have you been this early? Shopping?
Nah, I wasn't shopping. Sometimes I have to visit…the math teacher. Yeah, I figured it would be a good idea to find out when the next exam is, since he tells you in advance if you want.
So then, what's in the bag?
I thought I'd go shopping while I was outside. I need supplies to continue the fight against the vast feminist conspiracy.
Uh, okay.
I thought you didn't go outside.
I wear a hat now.

ED: …this update is finished.

I decide not to point out that he is not wearing a hat.

An awkward silence settles between us and then Kenji breaks it by pushing his door open slowly, releasing a creaking sound into the air that only makes the moment seem more awkward. He sets the bag down inside his room and then closes the door.

I'm surprised you went out of your way to find out a test date. Trying to take advantage of an opportunity to study is pretty diligent.
I never study.
I just wanted to know when the next test day was. I'm still going to take it, duh. I need to know so I know what day I can't afford to skip class. He usually sends out updates on that crap by phone, so I had to step out and check up on it.
And why do you have to go out, when you can get it on your phone?
I don't carry a phone.
What do you mean you don't carry a phone? You mean you just leave it at home?
Nah, I don't use phones. I don't have a phone. Phones. I have no phone.
Why don't you have a phone? How can you not have a phone? No phone at all? No phone?

ED: Why the fuck are we still talking to him?

I just don't like phones. Actually, I'm kind of scared of them. I don't know why. I think its' some kind of repressed trauma.
But, basically, when I hear a phone, I get nervous. It's my darkest secret.
I have two theoriest on it: either I have some fear of receiving some undefined ominous, life-altering doom call, or I was beaten with a phone in the past. Beaten so badly I can't remember it.

ED: Let's relive it, shall we?

Beaten in the head.
Well, where else could I get beaten with a phone that would make me unable to remember it? The ass?

Unexpectedly logical. I feel very depressed now. Sensing this conversation is more or less over, Kenji opens his door again and prepares to head inside.

Yeah, I'm going to sleep, dude. Have a good one.
Class is going to start in like twenty minutes.
I already did something today. Too tired to go to school.

ED: Fine fine, let's leave him. C'mo-


Thanks but no thanks.
Whatever, man.

He swiftly enters his lair, finally letting me go to the class.

Day 5 - 'I used to run in the morning - *insert meme here'

For a change, I'm not among the first ones to come to morning class.
Instead, almost everyone else seems to be here already. I recognize most of my class by their faces by now, though the names escape me still.

The class goes on lazily. I think I'm starting to get into the rhythm of the school.
I have even stopped worrying about taking notes and being overtly attentively. The first days, I was pretty high-strung in class.

ED: Well, as long as tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum don't mess around with us, we should be cruising till lunch bell rings.

Mutou finishes his lecture about electricity early, but continues without pause about the festival.

Have a good time, but also come Sunday, please keep the meaning of this festival in your minds…
Games and fried food!

Everyone bursts out in laughter, and so do I.

ED: Ha ha ha. She said games and fried food. That was totally the opposite of- No. It wasn't funny.

Yes, thank you Mikado. But what I meant was more the-

The remainder of his sentence is buried beneath the ring of the lunch bells, and everyone starts packing their things.
Mutou deliberates for a moment, but since almost nobody seems to pay attention any more, he gives up and sits down.

ED: LET'S GO, DOVAHKIIN! Let's have lunch and tea!

ED: Damn, since when is it this crowded? There was no crowd the past 2-3 days!

ED: Huh? Oh, it's you!

ED: I thought the CIA gave up already? Fuck's sake…I'm not a lolicon. And you're 18.

Emi's home made lunch boxes, and the privilege of enjoying them in private with two bombshell beauties!

ED: I told you, I am not- wait, did she say TWO?

Her overly flirtatious sales pitch echoes in the hallway, a remarkable feat since it's full of people.
Emi strikes a very confident-looking pose as though as an attempt to one-up her own ridiculousness, puffing her very modest chest and making the V for victory sign with her hand.

ED: I dunno…why - I'm a guy. You're a girl. We only met for a run or two..why would you-

Sounds delicious. To what do I owe this honor of being invited?
You stood there looking really lost and sad so I thought you could use some company.

ED: So she thought you were a loser and decided to feed you some biscuits. Goddamn.

That is probably the most depressing reason imaginable.

So how about it? You're probably really lonely and would eat that awful cafeteria food all alone, otherwise.

ED: I really want to drink that awesome tea in that awesome tea room again…

I'm kidding, I'm kidding!

ED: Whatever, it's just lunch. It's not like it's a date or something. It's lunch for 3.

Sure, I'll have your lunch offer. With pleasure.
Let's go to the roof!
The roof?

ED: Huh…oh great, chance for the lens glare FX demo.

Why the roof?
Because that's where we eat lunch!
And if I don't get up there, then she'll probably wander off and then I just know she'll go hungry because she never packs a lunch for herself!
who will?
Come with me!

Without answering my question or waiting for a response, she grabs me by the arm and drags me through the hallways.
I attempt to make conversation on the way.

Why do you have extra lunch?

ED: Was it…uh.. specifically made for us?

Emi smiles guiltily.

Actually, it's yesterday's lunch.

ED: Bleh.

I slipped in a run at lunch and forgot to eat it.


ED: What? Disappointed?

At the top of the stairs is a door, complete with a missing padlock.
I wonder who the intrepid individual was that removed the lock?

ED: Maybe it's Kenji.

Emi shoves the door open and steps beaming into the sunlight.

ED: I don't know what's the deal with Japanese students and rooftop lunches. I cannot recall a single time in my school life eating lunch on such a location. But hey, JAPAN CULTURE! PAY ATTENTION BAKAGAIJINS!

Suddenly, a tall dark stranger appears out of nowhere, standing imposingly in front of us. Emi flinches back, almost falling back down the stairs.

ED: Oh, FBI? CIA? Interpol?

Yipes! You scared me, Rin!

ED: Oh man, this is gonna be one fun lunch.

Wait, isn't she..

ED: Ahahaha.

Noticing that Rin is speaking to me, Emi looks curiously at me.

You two know each other?

I look confusedly at Emi.

She's that friend of yours?

ED: Wait let me correct that: She's that BOMBSHELL friend of yours?

Rin has turned her gaze towards the clouds drifting above the school.

I didn't know you knew this person, Emi.

The awkward silence lasts only for a few seconds until Emi lets out a tiny giggle, shrugging the coincidence off.

I invited Hisao for lunch. If you know him, that's just better.
Oh. Does this mean I don't get food? Or did you invite him for lunch without the lunch?
Erm, neither, I have food for three.
Nice thinking.

They walk to the other end of the roof while I stay at the clock tower for a while taking in the atmosphere.
There is nobody else but us here. I guess the roof is not as populas as it is in other schools.
A few rundown benches and the tables are scattered around the edges, perhaps in an attempt to make the rooftop look less desolate.
The small pebbles covering the roof rattle beneath our feet.
I peek through the chain link fences to take a look at the school grounds and beyond.
Students are strolling in pairs and groups around the quadrangle and at the cafeteria.
A few delivery trucks are driving past the school towards the convenience store nearby.
Somewhere a watchdog barks at a passer-by.

Somehow, when I look towards the town center, the small-town feel strikes me very strongly, almost palpably.
The hectic lifestyle of big metropolises seems so far away and foreign here; nobody has to run to catch a bus like their life depended on it or get their senses overloaded by the neon lights and traffic jams.

ED: ..Hey, you're still 18, aren't you? Good. Think with your dick please.

I feel surprisingly optimistic about this new life of mine, looking at my new home town, even if it's going to be mine for only one short year.
Finding out about my illness and having to move away from home all came so suddenly I haven't had time to think how I feel about it.
When I step out of the shadow of the clock tower to the open I feel warmth touching my back.
The sun shines from a perfectly clear cerulean sky.
A cool breeze sweeping over the rooftop makes me shiver, but only briefly.
The wind carries the scent of trees and flowers, not smog and car exhaust like it used to, just a few weeks back.

ED: Hey, asshole. We're having lunch. Okay? LUNCH.

Emi settles on the bench with Rin in tow and produces one big and two small lunch boxes from her bag.

Come on, Hisao! What are you waiting for?

She is beckoning me to join them, making room on the already small bench.
I seat myself on the corner of the bench to take as little space as possible. It's pretty cramped, but somehow all three of us fit on it.

ED: Incriminating photographs are taken of our hapless lolicons from a safe surveillance points across the small town.

Impressive view.

Emi suppresses a giggle and places a lunchbox in front of Rin, and hands another lunchbox to me.

ED: Yum.

Homemade, no less. I'm impressed.

Wow. This looks really good.

ED: It's so good, you never even told us what it's like, what meat is used or sauce, or even the goddamn smell nor taste. It's almost like you just open the damn box and found a generic script to read from it.

Thanks! I make 'em myself when I can.

Conversation dies off as I set about the business of feeding myself.
Taking a few bites, I glance up and notice Rin deftly opening the lunch box and popping a forkful of food into her mouth using only her feet.

Even though I've seen it before, I can't help but be impressed at her dexterity.
It's also a reminder of the sort of place I am in right now.

Will I ever get used to sights such as this?

ED: Sigh. You kept going one step forward and two steps back.

I can't decide if getting used to such a thing would be a good thing or a bad thing either.
Does getting used to this place mean that I'm giving up on being a normal person?


Or does it just mean that I'm becoming more understanding about those around me?

I'm distracted from my thoughts by the sight of Emi tearing into her lunch as if it had insulted her ancestors.

You seem pretty hungry.

Emi looks up, mouth half full, and swallows before nodding.

My morning run always works up an appetite.
Which is great, because then I burn through lunch pretty quickly.
Helps me keep my girlish figure.

ED: Diabetes. Diabetes. Diabetes.

What would happen if you'd lose it? Would you become a man?

I very nearly choke on my lunch trying not to laugh.

ED: Oh god, thank you. I feel so much better now.

It's a figure of speech.
Does your figure have to run in the mornings too?
Do you always talk like this?

I think that answers my question.

Er, never mind.
So, uh…

I struggle to think of small talk and settle on the obvious question.

How'd you two meet?

Rin seems content to let Emi answer this question.

Someone in the housing department thought that we'd complement each other well, so we were assigned rooms next to each other.
Complement each other?
Like shoes and a suit.

ED: Wait, you can't mean-

Emi giggles at my confusion.

Put us together and we've got all our limbs, get it?

ED: *facepalm*

So I started helping Rin get ready in the mornings, and that was that!
I mean, you can't help someone get dressed every morning and not get along.
I see.

ED: I don't want to visualize it.

Rin chooses this moment to interject.

I have trouble with shirts.
Right, that seems…fairly obvious.

ED: Oh shit.

Kind of..?

This isn't helping, but at least Emi seems to find the whole thing funny.
That, combined with the fact that Rin is genuinely curious, makes me feel slightly better and yet, confused.

I mean, you've got no arms.

ED: Yep. No arms, baby. Totally.

So uh, putting on a shirt seems like one of those things that would be … difficult.

ED: I can think of other things that she might find difficult to put on as well.

You know what? I'm going to just stop talking now.

ED: Good idea.

It'll save me a lot of trouble in the long run.
Rin nods in what I suspect is meant to be a sage manner.

I see.

The conversation dies as I turn my attention back to my lunch.
It's really quite good.
Emi finishes her lunch first and makes a contented noise.

Ah, that was good.

As she busies herself with cleaning up her lunch, Rin speaks up.

I'm thirsty.
Oh! I almost forgot about that! Sorry!

With a flourish, she reaches into her bag and removes a trio of juice boxes.
She tosses me one of that appears to be cranberry juice, one to Rin that appears to be some kind of strawberry milk (complete with pink color scheme), and keeps a (equally pink) box of some kind of fruit punch for herself.

Rin dexterously stabs her straw through the top of her box and begins to drink.

ED: *Attempt to visualize this act has sorta failed me*

I'm once again impressed by how flexible she is, but this time I keep my comment to myself.
Somehow I don't think either Emi or Rin are the sorts of people to think twice about the way they work around their particular disabilities.

Rin especially so.

Indeed, she gives off the impression of being entirely unaware that she's missing any limbs at all.
Whether or not that's a conscious decision is another matter.

I'm honestly not sure.

So Hisao, how do you like it up here?
It's quite nice, actually. I like high places, for the view.
Thanks for inviting me up here.
And for the lunch, too.

Emi grins a thousand-watt grin, pleased by my response I suppose.

No problem!

ED: …I can't say no to free lunches.

I won't make you a lunch, but you can bring your own up here.
No lunch service? I don't know…

Emi looks mock-offended.

Trying to take advantage of my good nature? The nerve!

She giggles.


I'm suddenly assaulted by the most heart-rending puppy-dog eyes I've ever seen as Emi pouts.

Kidding! I was kidding! I'd love to eat lunch up here again.
Good location, and the company's okay too.

Emi frowns a bit at my declaration of "okay" but seems happy enough that I've accepted her invitation.

I guess think makes us friends now. Or at least acquaintances.

ED: Better than the first two psychos we met.

The lunch bell rings, signaling a return downstairs.

Rin, you didn't finish your lunch again!
I wasn't that hungry.
If you don't eat more, you're going to fade away!

Rin shrugs, as if this is an acceptable risk.

Come on, we'd better get going.

The three of us head down the stairs together.

ED: What a lunch.
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