Saturday, February 25, 2017

Yokaishiteru! Chapter Three

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Momoko stayed in the group.

The idea of the PVs was scrapped for the time being, though.  After what had happened, they decided not to post any of the promotional clips until Momoko was able to make hers, as she insisted she needed to do.  Unfortunately, Box Hako had filled the role of ‘guidance counselor’ at Korekara, so Momoko had nobody to tell her what to do.  She decided the best thing to do was just keep trying, and eventually she’d be able to stand before a camera without panicking.

With that sorted out, idol activities continued as usual.  The five current members practiced on the roof every day, and gradually improved their coordination and melody.  It was two weeks and three days after the PV debacle that Izuna remembered something that had happened the day Kamui invited her to join Yokaishiteru.  During a break from practice, she leaned back against the roof’s fence and related her memory, “You know… There’s a third year, who hides behind the wall there and watches the practices.”

“Really?” Kamui asked, then turned on her heel to look that direction, “Where I found you that day, right…?  Was she there then?”

“When practice was over, she climbed up on top of the roof for the stairwell and lay down on her stomach to hide from you,” Izuna explained, “I didn’t realize what she was doing until it was too late to avoid you, of course, but I’d bet that she’s still there.  I think she may have been watching because… She wants to be a school idol.”

“Well,” Momoko pressed her hands together and smiled, “If that’s the case, then shouldn’t we invite her to join us?  If she’s too shy to ask, then it’s best if we go to her, right…?”

“I suppose so,” Sakazaki nodded, stretching her arms out above her head before she walked over towards that wall at a brisk pace, and managed to see the girl as she was climbing up to the roof area, and grabbed her ankle, “Going somewhere, mon amie?”

“...” The girl turned and looked down at Sakazaki with a blank expression, no tone whatsoever in her voice, “Oh, so you’ve caught me, Yuu-chan… It figures you would be the one,” She started to climb back down, so Sakazaki released her ankle and waited for her to straighten out her clothes and stand up straight, “It’s nice to meet you, officially.  I am Mishio Oujouno.”

“Erm… Who are you?” Sakazaki asked, tilting her head to the side, “You look familiar, in a way, but I’m sure we haven’t met…”

“Huh?  Of course you’ve met,” Kamui made a face as she walked up to them, “If you’re both third years, then you’re in the same class, right?”

“That would be the case, if either of us attended class on a regular basis,” Mishio’s head fell forward a bit, as if she’d given up on supporting it, chin dipping towards her neck as if she were nothing more than a ragdoll, “As it is, neither of us do.  Very few people know me.  But I know Sakazaki Yuu.  Anyway,” She turns away and looks out over the roof, “If I look familiar, maybe you’ve seen me without realizing it.”

“Huh?” Honoka approached now, raising her eyebrows, “Oujouno-senpai?  I’ve never even heard of you… At least with Yuu-senpai, I’d heard myths about her existence, but you…”

“I keep a low profile,” She looked at Honoka for a moment, gave a slow blink, then stepped closer to Sakazaki.  She was a full head shorter than her, so she looked up and beyond those yellow glasses to make eye contact from under her chin, “You are fascinating, Yuu-chan.”

“...What?” She questioned, taking a step backwards, “Oujouno-san, you’re getting a little close there… Ahaha…  I’m not much one for personal space myself, but it’s a bit distressing coming from you, somehow, though we’ve just met…”

“I’m distressing?” Mishio questioned, still betraying no emotion whatsoever, “Well, I can understand that.  It’s fine.”

“You’ve…” Momoko stepped forward now, eyes drooping closed as she moved, “Been watching us for a while now, haven’t you…” Her words trailed off as she fell asleep where she stood, and Sakazaki moved to catch her so she wouldn’t get a concussion.

“Hm?” Mishio turned to her, then nodded, “That’s right.  I’ve been spying on you.  Mostly, I’ve been watching Yuu-chan, but you’re all impressive,” She held a finger to her own chin, but her expression didn’t change, “You’re going to ask me if I want to be a school idol, aren’t you?  The answer is yes.  However, I don’t think you’d want me.  I don’t have any charm points.”

“Ehhh?” Kamui walked up to Mishio, who was of a similar height to her, “Oujouno-senpai!  That can’t be true, I think you’re cute!  I want you to join Yokaishiteru!”

“That’s impossible,” She crossed her arms, “I don’t know how to be cute like all of you.  Watanabe-chan is a stunning amalgam of traits that men find desirable… Nanako-san fits the image of a perfect Japanese wife… You’re a catgirl… Tosaka-san is a huge attraction for lesbians,” She uncrosses her arms, waves a hand in the air and closes her eyes, “Not to mention Yuu-chan, of course.  A charming focal point, with her heritage and flirtations, and her body, she’s a hallmark of beauty.  I don’t have anything like that to contribute.”

“I don’t care about that!” Kamui reached out and clasped Mishio’s hands, leaving her to open her eyes again to a grinning underclassman in her face, “Oujouno-senpai!  You’re forgetting about westerners!  You’re an archetype that appeals to American teens, all the time!  They love characters who are edgy and somewhat frightening!”

“So you think I’m scary too, you just think that being scary can be a charm point…” Mishio’s flat look turned to a glare.  So she could form expressions.  At least one, anyway, “I think that you’re mistaken.  I’d just ruin your reputation.  If I was to join… I would work hard, of course, but the only thing I’m really good at is sewing.  Anyway, I'm sure that you already have somebody making costumes.”

“We don’t!” Kamui insisted, “Please, senpai!  If you’re sad, then that’s why you should join us!  I made Yokaishiteru so we could all become good friends,” She nodded her head, leaning even closer to Mishio’s face, “I’d really like to see what you look like when you’re smiling, you know!”

“Well,” Mishio shrugged, then looked over Kamui’s shoulder at Sakazaki, “If Yuu-chan would like me to join, then I’d do it.”

“By all means do, mon cherie!” Sakazaki called over, still holding Momoko up, “Idol groups flourish the more members they attain!  The group can remedy any failure on the part of an individual!  It doesn’t matter if somebody as strange as you joins, it will still strengthen us in general!”

“That’s a good point…” Mishio nodded, “And I’ve been watching you for so long, I know all your choreography, and the songs that you’re using, so I suppose that I couldn’t cause too much harm when we get down to it.”

“Of course!” Kamui nodded, then let go of Mishio’s hands and spread her arms out wide with a small twirl, “Welcome to Yokaishiteru, Oujouno-senpai!”


“Kyoko-chan…” Ayano mumbled, kicking her legs as she sat on her desk, “I wonder.  Why is it… That you haven’t joined those idols yet?  Didn’t you want to get back into that scene, now that Misaki-kun gave you his blessing?” She looked up at the ceiling, over at the wall, anywhere but at Kyoko, “You quit so you wouldn’t call attention to his accident, didn’t you?  He told you that it was fine though.  I even asked them to let you join if you wanted.”

Kyoko Shirato
“I guess,” Kyoko looked at Ayano and flipped her hair over her shoulder, “That I just don’t want to associate myself with such obvious amateurs.  That first year… She thinks that being an idol is like it is on television.  What an idiot.”

“Hm, I wonder,” Ayano mumbled, “Maybe, Kyoko-chan, but I think there’s a different reason.  Nobody wants to sign you on as a solo idol anymore, you and I both know that.  That group is your best shot, but…” Finally, she looked at Kyoko, fluorescent room lights glinting off of her glasses, “Could it be because of that girl?  Because that girl is one of them?”

“O-Of course n-”

“You don’t want me to kill her,” Ayano cut her off with a cold voice, now making direct eye contact.  Kyoko seemed afraid, and her hand started to shake, “You’re worried, that if you start spending time with her, if I see you with her too much, if I see the way that you look at her… That I’ll kill her, so I can keep you all to myself.  Isn’t that right?”  Kyoko didn’t answer, so she just looked away again, “That’s a phobia, you know.  I’m still taking my medicine.  Killing somebody… Isn’t something which I’m usually capable of, you know.”

“But jealousy is,” Kyoko shot back, glaring at her now with the fear gone, “Ayano-chan, who’s to say… That you don’t get jealous and stop taking them?”

“I don’t think I will, Kyoko-chan,” She crossed her legs and closed her eyes, “Get jealous, that is.  I think of you being with her, and it doesn’t scare me… At all.  Not like it used to,” She sighed, “And I guess, it was never like the thought of somebody stealing Ruka-chan away from me?  When we started this, I knew that you’re attracted to maturity, and I’m too childish.  I could never really… Be the kind of object you go for,” She opened her eyes again and gave Kyoko a soft look, “I’m not like you, Kyoko-chan.  When my love is not requited, it will fade.”

“...We’re not good people, Ayano-chan,” Kyoko sighed, rubbing her palm against her neck as she closed her eyes, “So when it comes down to it, what’s the harm in sticking together?  Just because you’re cute instead of sexy, it’s not like I could get anyone else.  Do you think you could?”

“Well, obviously not.  Nobody wants to be around me, since Haruhi-chan let them know who I was,” Ayano mumbled, eyes blank, “Box-sama understood us, didn’t she, Kyoko-chan?  She didn’t care about the things we’ve done, she didn’t care that we’re like this.  She was our friend, though.  Understanding, that’s what friends do.  Would two people as awful as us be better off as friends, do you think?  Maybe I’m just bad at love, but I don’t like being a relationship where I don’t feel jealous at all.  Even if you did that to her…”

“If that’s the case, then maybe you’re right,” Kyoko opened her eyes again and looked at the ceiling, “What I wanted from you was to be wanted.  If that’s not the case anymore, our relationship doesn’t have a leg to stand on, and we’re better off supporting each other as friends.  That’s fine by me, of course, assuming that you still don’t mind me being me if you aren’t in love with me anymore.”

“I do want to be your friend, Kyoko-chan,” Ayano tilted her head to the side and looked her in the eyes with a cold chill that went right through her, “After all.  I know you only do those things because you really love them.  It’s their own faults that they can’t love you back, if it hurts them.”

“Whatever happened to the middle school girl who wrote ‘shitty lolicon’ on a chalkboard next to a teacher’s corpse?” Kyoko questioned with a chuckle, holding one hand to her lips, but then frowned, “Ah, I see.  Yet another thing The American changed about you, is that right?”

“Of course,” Ayano nodded, kicking her feet again as she looked forward once more, “He really loved me, and that’s why he did it.  I can’t blame him for the fact I didn’t love him back.  If I did, then it wouldn’t have hurt me.”

As her words hung in the air, Kyoko left the room, and as the door slid closed behind her the scent of her shampoo was left behind while Ayano sat there, staring at the wall and wondering if the paintings that hung there could just swallow her up already; She was tired of trying to get a handle on what love meant.  Before she knew it, the door opened again, and somebody walked up to stand beside her.  She turned to see who it was.

“Ueda-chan,” One of her fellow first years stood there, scarf held close to her face.  She didn’t even look at Ayano, “I saw Shirato-senpai leaving the room.  Are you alright?  I’ve heard stories of how she can be…”

“She’d never do that to me.  She doesn’t love me, after all,” Ayano whispered, holding her hands to her chest, “I told a lie again, Yamaguchi-chan.  It hurts…” She tapped her own skin in between her collarbones, “Right here, and everything else is empty.”

Sayaka Shinku
“It’s Shinku when somebody could overhear, remember?” Sayaka glared at her, “Or Sayaka, if you want.  I think we’re close enough by now.  What was the lie that you told?”

“I said that my love for her faded. It's still there, I just understand she won't feel the same, and I don't feel jealous like I did when I was in love before,” Ayano answered, turning to watch the reds in Sayaka’s outfit.  Despite the color being a staple of the uniform, some people did wear it more than others, “And I claimed to know why it was, that Dawson... Maybe I did get hurt because I didn’t love him back, but… Maybe I only think that way because he told me so much that love was the reason why.  Love… it’s a strange thing, don’t you think?  I was in love once.  In love, because she loved me too, and then she died, and ever since everything else seems like a pollution of love.”

“First years don’t usually understand love,” Sayaka agreed with her, then sat down next to Ayano on the desk, “I definitely don’t.  Watanabe-chan understands comfort and betrayal, but not love.  Haruhi-chan, doesn’t even seem to understand friendship… There's a lot to think about. You can be in love and still be confused when thinking about what it could mean. It’s not something which you need to understand yet, so stop trying to think of everything in terms of what love is, and think in terms of what you feel,” She leaned against Ayano and sighed, “You and I, we aren’t really Tomuras.  We may be bred killers, but we don’t need to be taught to feel.  We’re… Bootleg Red Women.”

Ayano couldn’t help but chuckle at that, though it faded and her voice was still sad when she spoke, “If we take love out of the equation, then I feel like Dawson Packard tried very hard to destroy me and he nearly succeeded.  I feel like even if Kyoko-chan wanted, she couldn’t fix me because she’s still… Like him.  Except I was safe from her, because she didn’t… Want me.”

“What type of person do you think could fix you… Ayano-chan?” Sayaka asked, leaning into her just a bit more, “Could anyone?”

“I don’t know,” Ayano wrapped her hands around the cross necklace which she never took off.  One of three comfort items that she always kept on or near her person, “I thought that ssnad, over at the church… He’s my friend you know, he tries to help me and we don’t get anywhere, and I pray and pray and pray to God some more, that I could just stop being broken, even a little bit.  Tighten a screw, tape up a crack, but there’s nothing there.  Without Hikari… It seems I was just fated to fall apart,” Her voice was cracking now, and her eyes were watering.

“Do you think it would help if you became a school idol?”

“No.  Even without my reputation, I don’t want men staring at me like that,” Ayano held her hands to her face, “Why did one man ruin men for me?”

“It’s okay, Ayano-chan,” Sayaka reassured her, “Do you think it would help if you dated somebody who was nice to you and liked you, like Hikari did?”

“I don’t think any one person could be like her,” Ayano sighed, crossing her legs as she looked up at the ceiling, “Hikari was a unique sort of person, after all.”

“Why don’t you tell me about her?” Sayaka asked, closing her eyes.

“Maybe another time…” Ayano let out one more sigh as she relaxed.  Talking to Sayaka was always a good way for her to calm down; They were fellows in arms, afflicted with the same compulsion.  Ayano was not alone in the world, even if she resented the fact she was created to be this way.  She was a living weapon, but she was not the only one of her kind.


“What the hell are you doing!?” Kyoko shouted at the idols practicing on the roof, immediately abrasive within seconds of seeing their routine, “Good grief!  Didn’t anyone ever teach you to project?  Your voices are fine, but nobody’s gonna be able to hear you in any auditorium without top-notch acoustics!”

“Projecting…?” Kamui questioned, then got even more confused, “Wait a second, who are you!?”

“I am Kyoko Shirato!  You hear that? Ky-o-ko.  Doesn’t that tell you who I am?” She flipped her hair then stuck a hand on her hip, “I’m the spectacularly famed Boss Idol!  If I were in your group, my fans would flock from all over just to see me, and by association, you!”

“Oh, so it’s you!” Honoka clapped her hands together, “We were just wondering the other day, why you hadn’t come to us yet, and we figured it was because you didn’t want to work with amateurs… But if you’re here to whip us into shape, that would be great!”

“Of course!  Now, to project, you need to make sure you’re singing from your diaphragm!  Be loud, but don’t yell,” She instructed, pointing at them, “With that tip, go through your routine again and I’ll offer more critique when you’ve finished!” She was harsh and bossy, but everyone was glad to listen to her.  After all, she was the one who had experience with the idol industry.  After they went through the routine over again, she stomped her food, “Dreadful!  I see the problem…” She sighed and held a hand to her forehead, “This choreography, it’s too mature!  Only the third years look even vaguely passable doing these steps.  It isn’t a bad choreography, but you need to make sure your dance steps suit the people doing them.  What Oujouno-san can do without mistakes, and what’s captivatingly beautiful by Yuu-san, just makes me cringe with the rest of you.”

“Well…” Honoka thought, “I guess you’re right, I did kind of design this choreography with Yuu-senpai in mind, since she’s the center.  It never crossed my mind just how strange it looked for me or the first years to do it, but now that you say it…”

“This is where the importance of subunits comes in!” Kyoko glared and crossed her arms, looking away, “See, no matter who the center is, you need universal choreography for a large group.  Subunits are where that type of choreography can shine.  A mature choreography like that, you’d give to me, Yuu-san, and Oujouno-san.  Maybe Nanako-chan could pull it off, if you wanted to mix it up.  Nonetheless, it’s a crucial thing to consider when you’re a large group.  Subunits let specific charm points stand out more.”

“Well, there’s seven of us, so that can’t divide evenly…” Momoko mumbled, “But since you’re just joining us now, do you think that maybe more people will still be joining us?”

“Nobody asked you, Watanabe,” Kyoko snapped, but then turned her eyes forward again and gave an exhausted sigh, “She’s right, though.  Seven members can’t make good subunits… We need to be divisible by three, for maximum unit charm.  That means that we need to get two more girls to join, though I’m sure that won’t be a problem now that I’m here.  Anyone would want to work with me.  Why, I bet just my presence in Korekara’s school idol group will draw more girls to the school!”

“That doesn’t make sense, Shirato-senpai,” Izuna frowned, stepping in front of Momoko defensively, though Sakazaki had already gone to her side in a comforting way, “This school is invitation only.  Nobody applies here, it doesn’t matter if they want to go to Korekara, only people who are invited here can attend.  And I would appreciate if you weren’t so rude to Watanabe-chan.”

“Whatever,” Kyoko rolled her eyes, then turned around and looked up at the sky, “Well, if we’re lucky, then maybe those girls will see fit to join up with us.  Of course, we’d have to prove that we’re worthy of them!  So we need to get to work, your whole routine needs polishing, and there’s a complete revamp of the choreography for that song.  Of course, I’ll practice with you this time,” She tucked some of her hair back behind her ear, “So let’s get started.”

“What do you mean, those girls?” Kamui questioned, tilting her head to the side, “Shirato-senpai?”

“There’s a pair of girls who play piano and sing in the music room after school, but they’ve stopped lately,” Kyoko explained with a sigh, “Makoto Narahashi and Sachiko Ryuunosuke are two of the most musically talented girls in the school, and that’s what earned them their positions here.  However, neither of them are in the light music club, and their level is much too high, even for me.  Ryuunosuke-sama has legions of fans on the internet thanks to her cover songs…” Kyoko clenched her fist, “It’s so… Unfair…”

“You mean… Ryuunosuke-senpai, who’s in the occult club?” Kamui questioned, then her face broke into a hysterical grin, “Shirato-senpai, you must be mistaken!  There’s no way that she’d ever do something like that!”

“Well, doubt me if you want, it doesn’t change that we have a lot of work to do if we want anyone else to join us,” Kyoko snapped her fingers, then walked into the group, “So, come on.  We’ll get to work right away.”

With Kyoko’s help, the Korekara School Idol Club spent a fruitful afternoon practicing.  When they were finished, Momoko hung behind, and just as she hoped would happen, found herself approached by Kyoko, “What do you want, first year?”

“Well, not a lot.  I’d just like to tell you something that I already had to tell Oujouno-senpai,” Momoko giggled, then opened her eyes and gave Kyoko a hard stare, “Do you really think you could so easily steal Sakazaki-chan away from me, if I was able to get a flirt like her to commit in the first place…?”

“Of course I do,” Kyoko frowned, looking down her nose at Momoko, “A puny first year like you who probably won’t even let her make out with you?  I give it a month until she’s bored of you, so… I’m really just biding my time here.”

“I think you’re wrong,” Momoko gave a sweet smile, holding her hands to her chest.  The art of being passive-aggressive was one which she’d mastered quite some time ago, “Sakazaki-chan could have any girl she wanted, but she picked me, even knowing everything wrong with me.  I don’t think you stand a chance.  Oujouno-senpai was a bit more like her type, of course, but she’s well aware that she can pursue Sakazaki-chan as much as she likes, but won’t ever get her.”

“So you aren’t telling me to back off?” Kyoko questioned, now confused as to what Momoko’s motives were in this conversation.

“I don’t have to tell you to back off.  By all means, try, just don’t go thinking that you’ll succeed,” Momoko closed her eyes again and laughed, “I have complete trust in Sakazaki-chan!”

“So…” Kyoko looked away and held a hand to her chin in contemplation, “Oujouno-san is my competition to be next in line when you inevitably break up… Hm.  It seems I’ve acquired a rival.”

“It’s not that deep,” Momoko informed her.

“Stop acting like you’re better than me!” Kyoko slumped her shoulders, “Just you watch!  I’m going to achieve my goal!”

“Okay, let’s make a bet,” Momoko raised a finger in the air, “I think that being in Yokaishiteru will make you a better person.  If you’re still the same by the time I graduate, then… I’ll die.”

“What!?” Kyoko questioned, “Why would you go that far?”

“Well, you’d like it if I died, wouldn’t you?  And you see, there’s no way I could give up Sakazaki-chan while I was alive.  She’s my lifeline, after all,” Momoko explained, “But that’s only if you continue to be horrible.  I think, though… Being a school idol will change you for the better.  I’ll stake my life on it.”

“You’ve got a deal, Watanabe.”


Kamui’s living situation was an easy one; The different members of the occult club put her up in their homes as a pet cat, more or less.  She could catch small prey outside to feed herself, and needed very little space to sleep.  On occasion she’d take her human form for a short chat, but for the most part, she was a no-maintenance houseguest.  In this case, however, she definitely wanted to have a chat with her host of the week.

“Ryuunosuke-senpai,” Kamui questioned, lying on the floor underneath her desk; the warmth of the computer tower was very comfy, after all, “What sort of hobbies do you have, anyway?”

“I read, reread, and analyze the Chronicles of Barronak,” Sachiko answered immediately and truthfully; There was a fictional book series that she prescribed to as a sort of holy book, and she was reading it often.  Kamui thought she might be translating the English book into Japanese in order to further spread the word of Barronak.

“Well, I know that, but what else?  That can’t be the only thing that you like to do,” Kamui noted, “In fact, just disregard any and all occult activities, what do you do to relax, or for fun, on your own?  Do you play games?”

“Not often,” Sachiko shrugged, “Sometimes, if they’re free, but not often.  Servants of Barronak should be free from trivial mortal pleasures.”

“...Ryuunosuke-senpai,” Kamui began again, “Do you sing?”

“From time to time,” She answered, then closed her eyes and leaned back in the desk chair, “I record it, anyway.  The only person that I can sing in front of for real is the Aria Apostle…”

“That’s Narahashi-senpai, right?” Kamui asked, “But… I never took you for the shy type.”

“Of course you didn’t.  Barronak grants me strength to spread his word throughout the land!  However, should I try to speak of things other than his holiness… Chaos overtakes me and I find myself unable to speak,” She opened her eyes again, staring at the ceiling as she sounded out the next words in English, “Social Anxiety.”

“Well…” Kamui sighed, “That means that if you weren’t anxious, you would have joined Yokaishiteru, right?  Well, how can you know if you could perform in a group if you don’t try?  After all, the focus won’t be on you…”

“I am not ready to undertake such a trial…” Sachiko sighed, “But… It seems that you will be the next students of Korekara to fight against the ever-creeping chaos, so I am grateful to you.  Perhaps if Barronak witnesses your pursuits, I will be blessed with the confidence to stand beside you onstage.”

“Well then, I’ll be patiently awaiting that day, Ryuunosuke-senpai,” Kamui grinned, then transformed to her cat form once more and curled up in the warm air generated by Sachiko’s computer.  What a lovely evening.  The human world sure was nice~

Next Chapter --->

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Mini Lore Bomb: Demon Summoning

Being Summoned by an Idiot is a term which seems to come up an awful lot in Akuma No Imouto, isn't it?  And of course, Kamui was summoned to Korekara!  So how exactly does summoning a demon work, and what exactly is being summoned by an idiot?

The steps to summoning a demon are as follows:

  1. Make sure it hasn't been too soon since the last time you summoned a demon.
  2. Research, research, research!
  3. Make the proper chalk circle.
  4. Be certain the chalk circle has no gaps if you're summoning something dangerous!
  5. If you know what you want from the demon, make sure to write your wish in small words in pencil on top of your chalk circle.
  6. Do the summoning ritual.
  7. Tell the demon your wish.  The demon will draw up three different contract options exchanging some service you can provide for granting your wish.
  8. Choose a contract.
Now, being summoned by an idiot means that step eight was skipped.  Without a contract, the offices back in the demon world won't know that the demon is in the mortal world!  Not for a while, anyway.  Contracting is staffed very well, but summoning records are understaffed and several months behind.  So if you summon a poor demon and don't make a contract with it, then you're trapping the demon in the human world until the summoning division gets to their file.  You wouldn't want to hurt a demon like that, right?  Not to mention that if you did decide to summon something dangerous for some reason, it might decide to come back for revenge...

Of course, with the epidemic of Idiot Summonings, young demons are making their contract options more and more lenient to avoid being trapped in the mortal world, so if you do intend to make a contract, this is definitely the best time to do it.  Some are even so scared that they'll offer something like 'all the strength you could ever hope for' in exchange for 'one month of weekly blood donations in the nearest Gateway'.  What, does that sound like an unfair exchange for the human to you?  At least it's more civilized than the 'your soul' requests of old!  Most soul-eating demons these days are stuck settling for the synthetic things unless they've got a job which helps with that...  Besides, Gateways can be fun places to visit!  More on that in the next mini lore bomb!

Of course, despite summoning contracts being the only way for the demon world to get ahold of fresh blood, dreams, et cetera, there are many dangers too.  Aside from Idiot Summonings, some will make requests that must be fulfilled by the summoned demon rather than bounced back to the Contracting departments in the demon world.  Wishing to be stronger or more attractive is fulfilled by companies in the demon world, but wanting a bodyguard or a lover isn't outsourced, instead getting assigned to whatever you summoned.  This is why it's important to write the wish on your chalk circle, so you could get a dragon or a succubus for those roles respectively, instead of getting them the other way around!

Commonly, Idiot Summonings are the result of Occult Clubs or curious individuals who just want to summon a demon for the sake of summoning, rather than to fulfill a wish.  Especially in the case of Occult Clubs, every member needs to make a contract; partial contracting can cause bigger confusion than non-contracting, for reasons only the bureaucrats know.  This is what Yamiko Tori fell victim to, as at the time of her summoning she got contracts from Chigau Ko and Sachiko Ryuunosuke, but not Yoshiko Nishimura.

Chigau Ko (Original Uniform)

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Art Feature Wednesday 4

This week's art feature is a commission of Shizuka Inbo in a casual outfit from @ribboneels on Twitter!

And this week's fact! Kamui's mentioned that Shizuka's family is the subject of a reality show; This show is called 'Inside the Inbo House' and has all the drama you'd normally expect.  Shizuka appears from time to time, but aside from that, the camera crew mostly avoids her.  As the youngest Inbo, she was never paid much attention by anyone in her family, which she took advantage of to follow her passion; Video Games.  The show was shut down after a member of the camera crew had an affair with Shizuka's mother, and several other crew members claim relations with various different Inbos now that it's no longer a secret, though none of those claims have been verified.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Mini Lore Bomb: Red Women

There is a legend which states that Japanese women born with purple eyes are natural soldiers, and those with gray eyes are natural assassins.  Of course, there's one factor more defining than the color of the eyes.  The inability to see any color but red.

A factor which comes up occasionally in this world is the existence of "Red Women".  The truth behind this phenomenon is that it's a gene which has been passed down through a family which has, until recently, used the surname "Tomura".  The gene and family name are passed through the women, and it is considered a great honor to be a Red Woman of the Tomura line.  Asuka Tomura, however, rejected this aspect of her heritage and took the last name Same when she married the politician Masura Same.  Hence, her daughter Iwako Same does not use the Tomura family name despite being a Red Woman.

Tomuras with purple eyes are prodigies who pick up easily on anything that they are 'taught', ie, any task they witness another person performing or read instructions on.  This ability can serve well on the battlefield, and they are known throughout history as emotionless killing machines, sought after by any army in feudal wars, due to the fact that they only learn how to feel emotion if they are taught.

Those with gray eyes have the Red Woman gene, but are not Tomuras, either being relatives so distant that their family is no longer associated with the Tomuras, or having the gene artificially recreated in their blood.  These girls are normal humans learning at a normal pace, excluding the compulsion to kill and the lack of an inherent moral compass.  Due to the inability to learn complex military tactics with ease, gray-eyed red women are usually trained over time to be stealthy killers.

Both types of Red Women are unable to naturally feel guilt for their actions, and are compelled to commit murders, however medicine does exist to prevent the compulsion.  This medicine also removes the barrier preventing guilt, however, so most are unable to handle taking it after committing a number of murders due to the overwhelming burden on their conscience.  The only red woman currently known to be on this medication is Ayano Ueda, who began taking it after her first girlfriend was killed by somebody else.  Despite not feeling guilt at the time, she could understand that the loss she felt would be the same loss others felt if she killed the wrong person.  Until then she had only been killing people she considered "bad", thus the lack of crushing guilt when she started medicating.  Ayano is gray-eyed, and known to have had the gene artificially created.  Her favorite way to see the color red is by collected stuffed animals which have red eyes.

Other known Red Women include:

 Sayaka Yamaguchi, who is working as a hitwoman in the Yamaguchi-gumi, biggest yakuza group in Japan.  She enjoys killing but will not kill children or act on requests made from anyone who doesn't seem to be thinking straight.  In addition, she worries that her actions are too evil; despite not feeling guilt, she gets self-conscious when it comes to making friends with people she perceives to be normal.  She is a gray-eyed Red Woman.  Her favorite way to see the color red is by eating red foods, but not apples.

Iwako Same is the doctor at the infirmary of Korekara Academy.  Despite rumors, she doesn't kill patients at that school; though it's not uncommon for important people to disappear from hospitals she works at.  Having known her status for most of her life, Iwako has her compulsion under control and can go quite a long time without killing anybody.  In the past, she worked for an organization who gave her hits to carry out on unfortunate enemies who came under her care, but deserted the group around five years before going to work at Korekara in order to mentor Ayano.  Her favorite way to see the color red is red clothing.

Ryoko Tomura was Iwako's mentor, and used her prodigal abilities to create a shrine to her ancestors and learned how to channel them, offering to help criminals and the misguided, as well as offer blessings to soldiers.  Ryoko also used this as a way to find targets to kill, going off of prayers she received from those who had been hurt.  Her favorite way to see the color red is red drinks.

Mishio Oujouno has purple eyes and emotional shortcomings, as well as being able to pick up on Yokaishiteru's choreography very well just by watching them, but doesn't seem to have killed anyone.  Perhaps this is because she was raised in a very strict environment, by a family which has no idea about the legend.  Her favorite way to see the color red is red thread.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Dear Diary Info

Hey everyone!  Looking at my pageview stats, Dear Diary seems to be the least popular story here... And also happens to be the one I'm least excited to write at the moment due to the fact that all the plot points I'm fond of require a lot of setup with slow pacing; Thus, in order to improve the quality of my stories, I'll be putting Dear Diary on temporary hiatus so I can focus more on other stories and projects for the time being.  With one of the four stories in the lineup out of commission, however, I'll be sure to post more supplementary content, such as the Sayaka lore bomb I just posted!  Thank you!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Mini Lore Bomb: Sayaka Shinku

 Sayaka had no last name for several years, until the current Obayun of the Yamaguchi-gumi's Grandmother heard a certain legend.  Girls with gray eyes who could see no color but red were considered throughout history to be born assassins, and Sayaka was exactly that.  With this adoption at age three, she became Sayaka Yamaguchi and immediately began training to stand alongside her brethren.  She's often referred to as a 'little sister' of the expansive yakuza syndicate based in Kobe, and is fully involved.  When she was four she began the long process of full-body tattooing.

At age six, Sayaka had an encounter with a strange man.  She was running an errand at the time, delivering a warning to a small business in the area which had neglected to pay their 'tax' to the Yamaguchi-gumi for the past several months.  She thought as she carried the letter down the street that it was generous of  the syndicate to give a warning like this even after it became clear the payments were being purposefully ignored.  Along the way she was stopped by a man named Kiyoteru Tanaka.  He was another businessowner in the area, and knew where she had to return to, telling her she was going the wrong way after she delivered her envelope.

He offered to bring her there since she was so off-track, and she felt so foolish that she could have forgotten her way through the city she was sure she knew by now that she didn't think about the potential consequences of taking him up on that offer.  Tanaka was a liar, a liar in the area who had been watching Sayaka for a long time.  He was a pervert who owned a house out in the mountains, and there was nothing she could do by the time she realized that he had no intention of helping her.

Sayaka spent two weeks under the control of this man.  One day, after having his way with her, he instructed her to go out into the backyard and chop firewood.  She hadn't been allowed out of the house before, nor had she been able to get her hands on any sort of weapon.  This was her first opportunity to put her upbringing thusfar to use, so she did.  So she killed him, and stole a cherry lollipop from his cabinet before she walked home.

It took four days of walking, but she reached Kobe once more, reached her home.  Arriving was bittersweet.  She was glad to be home, she was welcomed back, but as far as she was concerned she had made a mistake of unacceptable magnitude.  The child of the mob should not have been so easily tricked, she thought.  All mistakes needed to be punished, and this one was of such an extent that she decided to atone for her transgressions by cutting off the tip of her pinkie finger.  That was the last time she made such a large mistake, and the last time that her loyalty to the Yamaguchi-Gumi was ever in question.

Sayaka was a good liar, and with a prosthetic finger and long clothes, could disguise her origins while attending school, which her grandmother insisted upon her doing.  She took up the false surname 'Shinku' and worked her way through school with mediocre academic grades, which she did not consider to be a failure due to the perceived irrelevance to her life.  The only skill she focused on which had no bearing on her life as yakuza was baking, a hobby which often salvaged her grade in Home Ec.

When a third year in middle school, Sayaka received an invitation to a school in Nagasaki Prefecture called Korekara Academy, which was a school for "Troubled and Prodigal Young Girls".  Despite the implications of being invited to a place like that, it was known to send those troubled girls out to do great things in adulthood, and it was a better school than Sayaka's grades could earn her, so she set off to attend.

In her first year, Sayaka received another odd invitation, this time to play a video game in development called Faetale Halidae.  At first she had little interest, but accepted nonetheless.  The game was an experiment in Virtual Reality of a degree the world had yet to experience, but did factor skill and ability in real life into the stats of the avatar.  Sayaka didn't play often, seeing as her actual combat skills left early enemies no challenge to her, but raid bosses implausible to tackle solo.  Her avatar was a Pixie Rogue called Red who was given the title of 'Battleaxe Assassin'.  She did, however, join a guild called Mensch Marchen when a friend of hers named Kurumi Hoshikawa asked her to, and eventually took to using Red as a nickname in more common settings.

Red, the Battleaxe Assassin

Art Feature Wednesday 3

This week's Art Feature is this Art Trade I got of Box by @minkshame on twitter!

And here's the fact!  Up until I started writing Checkboxes, the Korekara Academy uniforms consisted of a light gray skirt and some sort of white shirt with a lilac-colored peter pan collar.  The problem with this uniform was that it was very unflattering for some of the girls; The new sailor-style uniform in dark colors has more options, but Box is still one of the girls who looked great in the original uniform!  The collar matches her eyes, after all.