"Marie wasn't going to take Aiko and leave this time. Marie is after something." Ken'ichi searches the brick masonry. What's he looking for?
"Namely." Ken continues, his finger slides into a tiny hole in the brickwork. "Marie is after you."
I am Itsukuma Masami, and things just keep getting worse!
I did it! I captured Asai and stopped his evil plan!
Which, has opened the door for more villains and their evil plans! Oh no! Evil works faster than I could have imagined!
Next villain up to the plate: Marie. Marie is the worst! I'm not sure if she beats Asai in jerkiness, but she's up there!
Her evil plan now appears to be stealing Aiko and then coming after me!
I'm not sure why!
I thought we had this all worked out!
Uh oh, there's a text message on my phone.
It's from Aiko!
Quickly, I take it out and tap the tile.
"Run." are the only letters on the screen.
"Ken, Ken!" I tug at his shirt, he seems too pre-occupied to notice. "Look! Look! It's from Aiko! She says we need to run! Hurry!"
"Stop tugging, and let me concentrate."
I hear tires squealing in the distance.
Headlights peer down the alleyway I've found refuge in. Two high-beams pierce the safety of the darkness.
I don't know by who, but I've been found.
>Wait for whatever Ken is doing!! He seems calm!
>I-It's probably not who I think it is! Just stay here!
>DON'T MOVE A MUSCLE!
>Use a card!
I press up against the brickwork, and continue to wait for whatever Ken seems to be doing.
He seems calm! Calm people know what they're doing!
His fingers scrape against the mortar between the brick. I'm not entirely sure what he's doing, but he better hurry it up!
From down the alleyway, two figures who are roughly the same height step out of the vehicle. They cut the power to their transport and turn off the lights.
That's when the flashlights come out.
They're pointed right at me!
"Ken? Ken! We're spotted! Ken! Ken! Ken! What do we do!? What do we-"
The formless shadows continue their march down the alleyway. One of them says something, but the echo of the stone corridor is too strong to make out what it is.
"There." Ken says, finishing his trace of the brick wall.
"'There'?! 'There' what?!"
He shifts back a pace, and then gently pushes the wall.
I hear a terrifying, and sickening crumble.
The entire slab of brick falls over in a perfect rectangle! It's like someone just made a doorway here!
"Cmon." He grabs my hand as we rush inside.
And of course it has to be the boy's bathroom!
He shoves his way out the door, and into an completely abandoned restaurant. Chairs are flung in every direction, food is scattered on every surface, and tables are thrown to the ground.
Ken directs me to a side-exit in the building. It opens up into yet ANOTHER store!
"If we keep going like this, we'll be in the hardware store down the street. The place is made of metal, so much metal that our cell phone signal will drop out."
Our cell phones?
"By the way," He snorts, shoving open another door. "Leave your phone here."
>But that's how I call Mom!
>O-okay, but only if we hide it.
>Just do what he says and keep going!
He wants me to leave my PHONE behind!?
But that's how I call Mom!
"How am I supposed to call anyone without it!?"
"Hey, you can either leave it behind now or later, the sooner you do it the easier things will be. "
"I-I'll do it a little later."
"Suit yourself." He puts a cigarette in his mouth. "This is the last door."
He smashes it open, and various metallic instruments pour out from behind the door.
This place is an even bigger mess than the restaurant.
"Huh, looks like the bags of concrete exploded." Ken steps past empty bags filled with a kind of fine-white powder. "Musta gotten wet."
Yeah, must have. Surely they couldn't have stood up and walked away.
"S-so, where do we go now!?"
"I was thinking we'd stay here a bit."
He reaches into his pocket and takes out his own cell phone.
Hmph, he's all for giving away other people's cell phones, but NOT HIS.
"Good, no signal. We're safe for the moment."
Outside, a siren blares past the window.
Followed by the screeching of more car tires. The head lights of his one look similar to the car that cornered you in the alleyway.
He pulls up a folding chair and sits down. With no sense of caution or fear, he re-lights his cigarette.
>"Ken, how did you find me?!"
>"Ken, why do you keep helping me?"
>"I barely know you!"
>"Is this our big plan? Sit here until they find us?"
>"How did you know that was going to happen?"
>"Ken, are you magic?"
"First off." I point an accusationary finger at Ken. "How did you find me? Have you been stalking me?"
"Pfeh." He puffs his cigarette. "Stalking you would be a waste. You're not a hard person to find."
I feel, almost insulted by that!
"What does that mean!?"
"All I gotta do is go toward trouble, and there you are." He smiles. I pout.
"That doesn't answer my question."
He stretches, "I just have a sense about these sort of things."
Outside, another police siren blares past the window. I freeze for a few moment as Ken'ichi laughs.
He pulls up another foldable chair.
"Sit down, have a seat. We're good here."
I'm not sure how he knows this, but I comply anyway.
"How do you know this place is safe, and-" I look around, trying to see if I can spot any security cameras, "-And how did you know that was going to happen?"
Ken doesn't answer me, he instead leans back in the chair.
"You're awfully loud, try to keep your voice down." He groans.
We sit in silence as more lights flash outside the window.
I take out my phone in hopes of being able to see a news report.
Nope, no signal. Ken wasn't kidding.
WAIT! HE DIDN'T ACTUALLY ANSWER MY QUESTION!
"Hey, come on now, how did you know that was going to happen?"
"Ken... Ken are you magic?"
His head leans over to stare at me through his big dumb glasses. He smiles.
>Tell me! Tell me tell me tell me tell me!
>You knew all of this was happening the whole time!?
>Why aren't you more helpful then? This is a great power!
>O-Okay, why are we waiting?
>What.. do you sense right now?
"Tell me!" I yell at him, his head lulls around to face away from me. "Tell me, tell me, tell me!"
He sighs, "It's not that simple Masami."
"Yes it is! I tell people about my magic all the time!" I pout.
"Just." He stretches his arms, "Just be glad someone is watching out for you, that's all."
Wait, if he knew about this, then-
"You knew all of this was happening the whole time!?"
Wait, if he knew about THAT, then-
"You knew EVERYTHING that was happening the whole time!?"
"Knew about that."
"We went drinking once. He left me with the tab."
"What DON'T you know about!? Why aren't you more helpful!? This is a great power!"
"It's a great power to keep me out of trouble, is what it is." He leans back.
"What do you mean?"
"I'm not hot-blooded like Ryouta." He points his cigarette at me. "I don't go looking for trouble, and I try to keep my head low. If it comes to running or fighting, I'll run every time."
"So then.." My eyes narrow at him. "Why do you help me? You always seem to be there when I'm in danger."
He sighs, looking toward the ceiling. "I don't know."
>C'moon, TELL ME TELL ME TELL ME TELL ME
>Well, thank you.
>I wish you were a bit more proactive.
>Or just told me these things, that would help!
>I don't know anymore.
Consider this a pause. I'll return with the last vote in the thread.
I'll be back in a few hours. Depending on how long they decide to stay.
First of all we need to try not being found, I guess.
Otherwise evfade Marie until we found Mom or Haruka and Julie so we can beat her if necessary.
Its true, things are kinda confused right now though.
"Okay." I slump down into the folding chair. Not exactly satisfied with the answers Ken's been giving me. "I wish you were a bit more proactive."
"I mean," My gaze tracks across the hardware store. "I just wish you were a bit more proactive. I'm not asking for much, but couldn't you have told me about any of that? About Kaori? About Fortune? I find it hard to believe that you knew it all along when you wouldn't even tell someone about things that directly affected them."
"It's not that I didn't tell you because I was lazy. I didn't know about it either until afterwards." He sits upright, "I only knew about the general effect it was having, not the specifics. That's how I stay out of trouble, I don't go hunting for specifics."
"So you're just incompetent." I frown.
"Nah, I'm good at what I do, but bein' hero is not one of those things."
"It could be." I hug my arms close. "You could be a hero real easy with those kinds of powers. Ryouta would love that, and you just use it to slack off."
"Ain't it great?" Ken lays the chair back. "All the benefits with none of the work."
"Mm, I see." I bite my lip. "So you're actually a coward."
"I won't argue with that." He smiles.
"That's not a good thing!"
"Is it? Is it really?"
I pout, but I can't think of a good argument right now.
"You should try it Masami. Being a coward is great. No one bothers you, and you can just run away whenever you want."
"I can't just run away whenever."
"You should consider it."
Just then, the door opens!
I jump to my feet, and immediately consider putting Belle on!
"Psh, relax." Ken leans back, "It's just my contact."
A little girl wearing a skirt too short for her walks through the door. She seems confused, and a little lost!
"Wait, that's not my contact."
>Cirrus!? What the heck are YOU doing here!?
>Cirrus! No! Don't get involved with this!
>Go home right now!
>How did you even find me?
>Close the door before someone sees you, Cirrus.
>How did you even find me?
>Close the door before someone sees you, Cirrus.
I'm noticing how much time has gotten away from me. Next few posts will wrap up tonight's thread.
"MasaaamiiiiiIII!" The short-skirted figure shouts. The door is still hanging open behind her. "Where AAAARRREEE YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUU!?"
My mouth must look so dumb right now. It's hanging open, and I lack the willpower to close it.
"Ah-" I try to speak, but- "Cirrus! Close the door before someone sees you!"
"Oh! Hi Masaaaamiii!" She's waving to me from the door! That's no good at all!
"Door! Close! PLEASE!"
"Oh, oh, sorry." She closes the door and walks over to where Ken and I are sitting. "What'cha up to?"
"How did you even find me!?"
"I was about to ask the same question."
"Oh! Well, that blonde boy, Emillio or something, said it was okay to go home! But, I realized you left with my home in your pocket. So I came and found you!"
"Well, you were carrying my home, so it was easy. Right?"
I don't get this girl at all!
I take the Cirrus card out of my pocket. It's missing the design that's usually on the front of it.
Of course, because the design is standing right here.
I try to salvage the situation.
"So, um, Hi, I guess."
"Hi! What are you doing?"
"Running from the law."
"That sounds hard!"
Ken is laughing, but I don't think it's funny!
"B-before you go home, why not sit here with us?"
>Can you go give a message to someone?
>Can you return to the card for a little bit so I can do some jumping?
>Can we, like, experiment with transforming without needing you in the card?
>That would be really nice.
>Can we just go to sleep, I'm tired.
>Where is your contact?
You slowly turn to Ken, who has almost fallen asleep.
"Where is your contact?"
"Huh, not sure." He pushes his glasses up on his face. "He'll be here."
You cross your arms and sit back in the folding chair.
Just for Cirrus to SIT DOWN IN YOUR LAP, OOF, HEAVY!
"You're so warm and comfy!"
"Will you two keep it down." Ken is already trying to fall asleep again! He's just so lazy!
"Erhg, uh, Stop! Get offa me!"
"You're warm and it's cold outside."
I stand up with Cirrus in my arms. I set her down and then grab her shoulder.
"While you're here, there's something I wanted to do. I want to try transforming with your card so I could still jump."
She seems confused.
"But that's my home."
"I know it is! But it's also my card! C'mon, I just need to try it!"
I try stepping into the card, and it's an empty feeling. Like walking through a doorway.
Though, surprisingly, I still have the clothes on!
"Wow!" Cirrus gasps, "We match!"
"Huh, I didn't expect-"
I step about ten feet away from her, and I can feel the feeling almost collapse.
I'm back to normal.
"Hold on! I-"
"My contact is here." Ken interrupts, and stands up.
There's a whump as something decends through the skylight.
No, wait. It's-
"What are you doing here?" I say to the friendliest monster in the world.
"I- uh, could say the same."
"We have a lot to talk about." Ken crosses his arms. "What's the news on the outside?"
"Marie has given Izumi her demands." The monster sits down. "I don't know what it is, but Izumi flat-out rejected them."
"Does she know where Masami is?"
"She lost her within the past hour."
Ken smiles at me. Maybe he was right about the cell phone.
Thanks for the thread everyone, but I'm falling asleep.
I really enjoyed tonight. It was very fun, even though it was erratic.
But thanks to everyone for the thread. And please let me know what you thought of it. Thank you!