Mom walks up to the table Asai is sitting at. The perpetual smile which he normally has plastered on his face has been replaced by a more stern and solemn expression.
Immediately, Mom pounds her palms right on the table.
"Here I am, you got to see me. Can you turn everything back to normal now?"
Right, Mom. Like I haven't tried that one with him already.
I am Itsukuma Masami, it's been a tough day.
Fortunately! The person who is the reason that it's a tough day is sitting in front of me. I have him in this time-out place I invented which should safely contain him and keep him from causing more trouble.
Unfortunately, he's already caused so much trouble that I'm not sure how I'm going to undo it. Like for one, he unleashed a giant monster on the city, and I don't have a giant robot or a belt to fight it!
I need to stop watching Sunday Morning kids shows.
"Izumi. Sit down." Asai beckons to Mom. She merely glares at him.
Asai looks in my direction, noticing that Kaori, Julie, and myself are still here, and then looks back at Mom.
"I would greatly appreciate it if we had this conversation in private."
"No!" Julie yells. She's been saying that a lot lately.
"It's fine, without his building he's powerless." Mom crosses her arms. "He has way more to be afraid of with me being here."
"Mom, I insist that I stay!" I pull at her sleeve.
"Fine, I'll let Masami stay, but that's all. The rest is personal business between Izumi and I." Asai smiles wryly.
I get a chill down my spine, that guy is creepy.
>I'll just excuse myself.
>Go hide the others secretly. This is YOUR house after all. You can find a place to hide them so they can eavesdrop.
>"Please just get this over with, it's been a long day.."
"Okay Mom, I'll put them back out and you can have that conversation with him alone."
"But-!" Kaori tugs at my sleeve.
"Wait! You can't do that!"
I want to push them off and just yell at them to stick with the plan, but Mom would suspect that!
Even Mom is eying me warily!
"That was way too easy, Masami."
Am I really that bad at lying!?
"Mom, I'll get my siblings out of here. Just have that talk and figure out what we need to do to stop it, okay?"
Mom smiles at me, but not before I walk past her and glare Asai right in the eyes.
"And YOU, I'm already THIS CLOSE TO STABBING YOU. I want to do it REALLY BADLY, even more than I wanted to punch out the chairman. Don't tempt me anymore!"
"Pfeh." He seems unamused. "Don't be so harsh, I behave when Izumi is around."
I REALLY DOUBT THAT, but I'll refrain from stabbing him.
"Come on." I lead the four other children to separate parts of the house.
"(Masami! You're not gonna really-)"
"(The second floor.)"
My eyes turn to Kaori, and then to Julie, and Haruko. "(This house has a second floor. I haven't been there yet, but I know what it looks like. You should be able to listen in to the whole conversation from up there. )"
Kaori nods to me. Slowly, she shows the rest of the children upstairs.
I quickly reappear in the dining room as if I had just teleported back in.
Fortunately for me, they're busy talking between each other while exchanging angry glares.
"Tell me how to stop the building."
"Tell me why you rejected me."
Oh this isn't going well at all!
"You have to be an idiot not to know!" Mom stands up, her fists are balled on the table.
"And you have to be the most stubborn person I've ever met!" Asai raises his voice, which may be the first time I've heard him do that.
>Mom.. Just tell him why and we can continue.
>Asai.. Behave or I'm changing my mind about stabbing you.
>Okay, okay. Let me mediate. This isn't getting anywhere.
"STOP! ENOUGH!" I stand up.
They both immediately look guilty like neither of them did anything wrong.
"Okay, okay! This isn't working! We're not getting anywhere and there's a big monster outside wrecking the city!"
"So what do you want us to do?"
"Listen, I'll mediate, you two just keep that fact in mind. We don't have a lot of time!"
Asai and Mom both look irritated that a kid a quarter of their age is now mediating their conversation, but I don't care! I don't need the dumb argument right now!
"Okay, who goes first?"
"I just want to know why she dumped me."
"I just want to know how to stop the building."
"You'd know how to stop it if you told me."
"If you ever listened to a damn thing I said, Asai; You would already know that I find you repulsi-!"
"If that's the way you feel, I just won't tell you anything then." Asai puts on his fake-hurt face and turns away from Izumi.
I lean over to Mom, "Just tell him what it was and we can continue."
"I don't want to. If he doesn't know by now then telling him isn't going to help."
"Mom, please! We're wasting very precious time!"
I can see Asai looking at me through one opened eye.
"Very well." Mom sits down, still glaring at him. "If you MUST know. I rejected you because I think you're a terrible, awful person. You treat other people like tools, you have NO sense of empathy."
"Izumi, you know that's not true, I saved your-"
"You saved my life a very long time ago when you thought I could be useful to you. But since then you have been hung up on this poorly planned out revolution thing for the last ten years. Even when I told you it was a dumb idea."
"Now," Mom crosses her hands on the table. "Tell US how to stop YOUR stupid revolution thing."
"Hmm." He smiles.
>I'm going to stab you.
>Stab him anyway. It can't hurt him, right?
>Just beat him up a little.
>Yell at him, don't act yet.
>Let Mom act first. She's scary when she's mad.
>Let Mom act first. She's scary when she's mad.
Folks either this next post or the one after will be my last for the night. I haven't been sleeping well.
Let's see how quick I get this next post done.
I almost take out Belle's sword and skewer him right then and there.
But, I'm noticing something.
While Asai is still smiling, Mom is still smiling back at him.
It's not the kind, motherly smile that I know her for.
This could turn very ugly, and turn ugly very quickly.
"Now, I can think of a way, but let's talk a bit more about-"
Faster than my eyes can even register, Asai is pinned against the wall behind the table. Mom somehow hit it with such force that it slammed him against the wall directly behind Asai.
She's applying a TREMENDOUS amount of force against that table, and she barely looks like she's even trying.
"Asai, I'm going to ask this again. How do we defeat the big monster?"
"Well, I was going to say something, but now that-"
I'm hearing a humming noise in the air.
I turn around to notice that the cozy brick fireplace has some implements clattering near it.
Floating through the air, almost as if suspended by string, is a red-hot firepoker. Considering the fireplace isn't turned on; I'm not sure how it got so hot.
I do know one thing: It's slowly gravitating toward the table which has Asai pinned. Slowly, it presses into the wooden frame.
Then it starts to pierce through.
"Izumi." Asai says, some tension in his voice. "I know we're off to the wrong foot, but this isn't like you."
"I know, this is all new to me as well." She says, with an edge to her voice.
"Mom." I say, something is starting to worry me. "The table is catching ON FIRE!"
"Mm, I guess he better start talking soon."
"Izumi." Asai says, not letting his cool off. "All I can do is suggest to the building that it stop moving. So if you'd be so kind to let me out."
"Hmm." Mom hums with a smile, "I think you should consider our other options."
>Mom! The table is really burning up! I think that's enough!
>Put the fire out, anyway. Thinking long-term isn't Mom's strong point.
>Egg her on.
>Go get the kids upstairs and evacuate.
I quickly rush over to the sink and grab a bucket out from beneath it.
The bucket's contents splash over the inferno, dousing the fire and just leaving the poker halfway through the table. Mom gives me a sour look.
"(Don't stop!)" I press Mom, "(Keep going! This might be the only way to get him to talk!)"
She smiles back at me in a way that almost makes me feel uncomfortable. She turns her attention back toward Asai.
"So, Asai honey." She has that grin again. "YOu ARE going to tell us how to stop Fortune HQ, right?"
"Izumi." He says, still maintaining his cool. "I AM Fortune HQ."
Mom is silent for a moment, and the words seem to roll off my ears like they mean nothing.
"What?" She responds, deadpan.
"I'm saying." Asai pushes the table away, with great difficulty. "I'm Fortune HQ, I'm the reason it went insane."
"Yes, I know that part." Mom spits at him, "So fix it! The building is part of you, right?"
"..Yes, but it works both ways Izumi, I sort of-"
Asai makes a waving motion with his hands, and then points toward her.
"Angered it." Mom seems less angry and more upset.
Yes. Angered it. You see, after Masami attacked the last time; it sort-of quit listening to me."
"..How long has it 'sort-of not been listening to you', Asai?" Mom is less amused than ever.
Asai seems extremely careful with his words, "A week, maybe? Long enough to do, well. That."
"So let me get this straight." Mom is getting that edge back to her voice. "The building itself, which is a magical entity, has been out of control for a week and you didn't tell anyone. Especially me, who may have been able to do something about it a week ago."
"Right." Asai seems, oddly sheepish.
"I-" Asai adjusts his voice, "This is rather embarrassing, but I was worried you would think less of me if I couldn't get it under control by myself."
There's silence in the air. Upstairs I can hear chattering and murmuring.
"You're going back behind that table." Mom says, suddenly.
"But Izumi, I told you what-"
"No no." She pushes him back behind the wood barrier, "No excuses. Stay in the corner and think about what you've done."
Mom turns to me with a sour look on her face.
I want to ask her 'What do we do now?', but part of me already knows what she's going to say.
Thanks for the thread everyone, sorry it wasn't longer. This thread really feels like the part 2 continuation of last thread. Which is kind of sad because I wanted this to finish faster than I had anticipated.
I'm hoping to run on Thursday uninterrupted. In the meantime, think about how you want to deal with the problem presented.
There are many ways!
Until next time!