The Heavy Music Club
A Story By Tastychainsaws
"Way of ways, and in a way I'm heading toward the sky!
We never will die, we never know why...
Just never hold back now, and I'll be happier still!
Oh! Everybody will know, I am so happy now!"
-Planet of the Apes by The Devin Townsend Project
(Author's Notes/Forward- This is just a fun little story I want to write to get away from the really dark and unfun things I usually write. This is a tribute to nerd culture, heavy metal, and just giving no fucks and having fun. So read this, give no fucks, and have fun!)
The concept of escapism was an interesting thing to someone like me. I had never really thought about being anyone other than myself, since I considered my life to be rather wonderful. Video games, anime, and role-playing games were all things that simply didn't interest me as I felt no need to live out a virtual vicarious fantasy. However, when Sawa-chan suggested one of these things as a social activity, I was positively intrigued. The idea of pretending to be a magical bearded wizard fighting dragons while rolling dice seemed positively weird alone, but with friends? It almost sounded fun.
Now, I'm getting ahead of myself, and don't worry, this is all important. My story is a bit of an odd one, where trouble came to Sakuragaoka High School. I think part of the reason I didn't need to go on pretend adventures was because I was dragged into something of a real one. Not that crazy make-believe story from before something a bit more down to earth... kind of. I suppose when trouble calls, there is no one more heroic than Kotobuki Tsumugi to deal with it. In the end, I possessed a certain set of skills and traits I had not even realized that helped me save the day.
Our story starts with dice. Not the normal kind with little dots and six sides used for the kind of board games me and Sumire would play. No, these were dice with all sorts of shapes and sizes, and I was already fascinated. This all started when Sawa-chan told us she dug up an old game that the first and legendary incarnation of the Light Music Club would play together. She said it was only natural that the newest generation have a taste of it too. It was a pretend game of dice, monsters, and treasure. She also said with some beer and good friends, it could be about the most fun thing there was. I did not doubt that one bit, but I didn't need beer to have a good time.
I decided to come into this prepared, as not to let my friends down. A little internet research told me of a cute little shop down town only an hour away that sold all sorts of peripherals for this game and many others. I was very excited to explore this new place.
Upon dressing to leave, my mother confronted me, curious as to where I was going. I found the answer particularly strange and difficult to explain because I wasn't sure entirely myself. She did not share my enthusiasm for this venture, and urged me to dress in something a little more 'casual' for that part of town. She also urged me to carry that bottle of pepper-spray she had gotten me for my eighteenth birthday.
I set out prepared for adventure both pretend and possibly real. I was dressed in a pair of blue jeans and a green, collared t-shirt. I took the train and a bus across town, comfortably listening to Mozart's Requiem K.626 among other pieces of his. It was almost hard not to fall asleep to it, but the incredibly expensive decaf veggie white chocolate mocha I'd bought along the way was keeping me going.
Downtown was bustling with the usual activity of people so nondescript they may as well have not even been colored in. In my jeans and shirt, I felt like I blended in quite well save my striking blonde hair and general northern European features. I was lucky to not have inherited all of my mother's genetics or else I would be a head taller than everyone in the country. I was not sure I could go through life like that comfortably.
I found the place following the map I had doodled up for myself on a napkin. It was right between what I thought looked like a gay bar, and a place that sold ashtrays shaped like kitten paws. I was torn between whether the latter was a sort of propaganda device set up to convince the youth to pick up smoking so they could justify purchasing these ashtrays or a shop with so little demand and business that it was really a front for black market Yakuza operations dealt out of the back. Either way I was deep into foreign and potentially enemy territory.
I'm having so much fun, I thought. The store I was looking for was conveniently named Friendly Local Game Store, and I hoped the title was not deceiving.
The inside was certainly more than I had imagined, even though my limited imagination had not pictured much at all. It was a small, quaint place decorated with circular tables and chairs with all the walls covered in shelves that displayed all manners of books and little toys for countless pretend games. What confused me the most was that all these toys came incomplete, and required the buyer to not only put them together but purchase multiple expensive paints to finish them. I felt capitalism had fallen apart somewhere here, and it made me a tiny bit uncomfortable. Over the speakers, the song Gone Guru by Lifeseeker was playing, and a couple patrons across the store were bobbing their heads to it.
They also had trading cards; there was a single one for a game I did not know sat on display. It had a picture of a dark flower and the price listed was over three-hundred thousand yen. I was beginning to wonder if there was a large joke going on here that I was not in on.
"Need help finding anything?" A young-looking man behind the counter asked me. He was dressed well, but looked a little bit like the shut-in type.
"Oh, maybe, I'll let you know," I replied, when my eyes found just what I needed. It was a large display of dice of all shapes and sizes. Sawako-sensei told us these were the essentials of the game, so I had come here in search of my own. There must have been thousands of them! They came in at least a dozen shapes and sizes. Not just that, but the variety of colors was incredible as well. There we solid colors, marble patterns, splattered patterns, leopard patterns, and ones with Roman numerals. I had never seen anything like this, and I wished someone like Ricchan were here to explain it all to me.
Next to me was another girl perusing dice. She was an interesting short, wearing shredded jeans with fancy boots and studded wristbands. Her tank top was black with a neat little orange and white design that kind of reminded me of the yin and yang symbol. Above it were orange and splattery letters that said Decapitated in English. I wondered if that was a movie or rock and roll band.
"Excuse me," I got her attention, happy that a girl my age was here. The only others in the store were slightly overweight men playing with little toys of guys in bulky armor and big guns fighting each other. Two of them were arguing over something called codexes. "Are you familiar with this kind of stuff? My friends and I are looking to start playing a role-playing game and I don't know what kind of dice I need."
"I, uhh..." she turned away, looking quite shy but cute in her own way. Her hair was long, nearly waist length, and her face was decorated with dark make up. "...d-don't know. T-Two of each... four six-siders for character creation."
"Oh! Thank you!" I chirped, trying to tilt my head to meet her gaze. "Have we met before?" I asked her.
"N-No," she continued to stammer, but turned her head towards me enough so that her eyes met mine. "Do you go to Sakuragaoka High by any chance?"
I nodded with a smile, "Why yes I do. I've never seen you before, are you a transfer student?"
"I..." She looked away, and suddenly hurried away making for the door in a hustle with her head down. I was awfully confused, but just assumed she was shy. If I saw her around school, I would attempt to be friendly again. If that theory of her being a transfer student was correct, she may not even have any friends there yet. The idea saddened me. I blocked out sad thoughts by thinking of inviting her to our club and seeing if she was interested in our musical fun. I was sure anyone with a shirt that said Decapitated on it could use tea, sweets, and light music.
I paused to wonder just how 'light music' could be defined and gathered up dice in pretty colors. Using a felt bag that nearby, I found green ones, pink ones, blue ones, one that had a kitten paw in place of a six. Happy with my purchase, I went to find the clerk to make my purchase with daddy's credit card caught my eye. On the far side of the store, previously obscured by a neckbearded, overweight male, was a glass display about chest high. In that display was the most peculiar thing I had seen in at least an hour after that man who looked like a lady on the bus. It was a single scissor blade, bright red.
With a cheerful sort of gait, I sauntered over and inspected it further. It was stylized in a cool way that caught my attention, and the tag said it was from some anime I hadn't watched. Fully metal, and being sold at an exuberant price, I decided this would be the perfect accessory for getting into character for our upcoming game. It would be even better for cutting hair if I found the other part of the blade; and had very large hands.
Thankfully it came with a strap so that one could carry it on their back. While the applications of this seemed awfully limited to me, I supposed it could make an interesting accessory... at least until my shoulder hurt too much to carry it any longer.
I waved my hand to the clerk that had spoken to me briefly, and he approached me. In my usual friendly demeanor, I pointed at the weird red scissor sword and said, "I wish to buy this."
"Uh," he blinked. He looked at the sword. He looked at me. "This product? Wow, I mean, uh, put the price tag on it this but we didn't think anyone would buy something so, just kind of... dumb if I can be honest."
"You think it's dumb?" I tilted my head and suddenly felt bad for the large unwieldy piece of metal. It was like a puppy at the pound nobody wanted to take home. A fat, silly looking puppy incapable of love or pooping. My heart went out of it.
The clerk nodded, "Yeaaahh, um, you were looking to buy those dice?"
I nodded, "And that sword. I think it's a sword. Is it a sword? Because I have a license to own a weapon."
He stared at me in disbelief. I nodded, being that father's family believed every Kotobuki should be armed and trained. It made sense given our lineage. I reached into my purse to fetch my wallet but he raised his hand and shook his head.
"No, no, you don't need to show me," he said. "I don't think this thing could be classified as a weapon. I'm not sure it even has an edge and... God, getting that thing into the display case was hard enough. Do you have a car? Or someone you can call to help you carry it?"
I shook my head and smiled, "Oh no, I'm certain I can carry it. It doesn't look that heavy."
He gave me a strange look and unlocked the glass case with a key from his pocket, and lowered the front panel. He gestured for me to try lifting it. I grabbed the blade in one hand, finding it not sharp at all, and the circular sort of handle by the other. With a little grunt I picked it up out of the case and held it up against my shoulder with one hand. It wasn't too heavy, thirty kilograms at the most. With a strap, it could carry this easily.
"I..." he stared at me in disbelief. "...do... do you want me to ring that up for you?"
I nodded, "That sounds lovely."
We both turned around and I severely underestimated how low that glass case was. I winced as a symphony of shattering glass greeted my ears. With the sword over my shoulder, I had accidentally knocked the tip of it into the case while turning around.
"Oh no," I gasped. "I-I can pay for this!"
"I say have it your way
I stay heavy for my god!"
-Planet of the Apes by The Devin Townsend Project
As I rode the bus home with my dice and red scissor blade beside me, I briefly thought on my monthly allowance. While Daddy gave me a lot of money to do as a pleased with, I was beginning to worry that I had gone through most of it in one day. There was at least a week left in this month too! The dice were pocket change. The scissor blade was a little more, but the broken case, the broken glass door, the broken windows around the door, and emotional damage to various scared customers had put me closer to the red than I would have liked. On top of that, everyone on the bus was going out of their way to sit at least three seats away from me.
I could not understand their problems, but was not letting it get to me. I drowned out the bus and train ride home with some Bach and frowned as I saw the weight and edge of the scissor sword had done irreparable damage to the seat next to me it had been resting on. I left a few yen notes on my seat as an apology and hoped the homeless wouldn't steal it.
When my commute ended I made the short walk home to the estate. Both cars, the ones Mother and Daddy were driving this month at least, were gone from the driveway so I knew I was the only one home. I made my way up to my room thinking about what I was going to have for dinner. First I felt like I needed a bath. In my room, I set my new purchases onto my bed and was greeted by a meow.
Why, it was my pet cat, Pickles, the Cat. I had met him during some previous adventure I was not the main character that felt like it had happened years ago. He was not a particularly nice cat, some breed of Maine Coon and demon that I had met somewhere in Tokyo. We had gone on several adventures together, and he served a voice of reason for me.
"Meow," he said.
"No, I don't know what it is," I replied, looking at my new scissor sword.
"Meow," he asked.
"It seemed neat, and it needed a home," I answered, meeting his incredulous cat gaze. His gaze was so sharp it could pin things to that notice board we had down stairs that was filled with the names and faces of people Daddy needed to make 'disappear'.
"Don't you say that about..." my voice trailed off as I needed a moment to think of a name, "Scissor-chan! She's your new sister and you two are not that alike. How would you feel if I just left you where I found you? On display for the entire world!?"
I looked away and sighed, shaking my head, "You're right. I didn't mean that. I lashed out and that's not fair to you. You came first, Pickles the Cat."
We hugged in apology and I let him stay to bond with Scissor-chan while I went to take a bath. Clean, warm, and cozy I went to make a character sheet using internet help for the RPG session tomorrow. Sawako-sensei had given us directions on how to find the pdf files we needed. I printed off the character sheet and found the pdf on my laptop.
"Hmm... name..." I muttered to myself, and wrote down while speaking aloud, "Lady Mugi-chan the Brave. Species?" After looking through the rulebook on my laptop I decided on 'Space Dog' for the +2 bonus on smelling space bacon. I had a feeling this would come in handy. "Let's see... Profession? Sith Lord, or Paladin? Definitely Sith Lord."
From what I understood role-playing in this fashion was a form of collaborative make-believe storytelling in a social atmosphere. Dice were used for resolving conflicts and contested actions, as Sawako-sensei explained. However, looking through this rulebook and the content provided, I was frankly unable to paint a picture in my mind as to what sort of narrative could be possibly told here. Still, I shrugged and wrote in the stats for my character's dual M240 machine guns and the wrist-mounted Shiba Inu canon I also had. The Shiba Inus were also ninjas.
Having filled out all the details of my proficiencies in various forms of cooking eggs and cutting onions, I fell asleep at my laptop on my bed. Pickles the Cat curled up at my feet and my sword remained where it was because it was a sword.
I awoke the next morning to a regular breakfast of regular bacon (not space bacon) with eggs, toast, rice, and Evan Williams. With that, I dressed, readied my school belongings, waved goodbye to my Mother and left before she could notice the thirty kilogram red slice of metal I was carrying with me. I took the tram and bus as per norm, provoking countless strange glares. I was beginning to wonder if this was a social blunder I was making carrying this scissor sword around. It wasn't fair to Scissor-chan, she just wanted to be with her mother! (Me.)
A weird part of me accused myself for rationalizing my outrageous purchase of this thing and the damage it had caused so far. At least now it wasn't hurting anyone as it heavily rested on my back by the strap beside my heavy keyboard as well. I was feeling a little back heavy.
I made my way to homeroom as many eyes were upon me. I was enjoying the attention somewhat, and entered our classroom to greet my friends. I wondered what sort of characters they had made.
"So, I was saying," Ritsu continued a conversation I had only heard part of. "A tamed fox just doesn't make a good pet. They bite, scream and poop even more than regular pets."
"But they're just so cute!" Yui argued. "I sometimes see a fox out in the woods by my house. Mio-chan, don't you think a cute fox would be the perfect pet!?"
Mio did not seem to want to be involved in this, "I don't really think you can just go out and grab a fox to- Mugi what is that!?"
"Certainly not a fox," I replied and joined them.
"Uh," Ritsu looked at me. "Mugi... I don't want to alarm you, but there's something on your back."
Yui tilted her head and asked, "Isn't that from an anime?"
I shrugged, "I don't know, but I got it at the same place that sold dice! Isn't it cool!?"
"Cool..." Mio repeated that word and gave me a long hard look, like a mother having to tell their preschool son that wearing lipstick did not make him a pretty girl, "...Mugi, I don't suppose you could have left that at home?"
"Isn't it heavy?" Ritsu."
"Extremely," I nodded and smiled.
"Mugi-chan, doesn't your back hurt from carrying that and your keyboard?" Yui asked me.
"Incredibly," I nodded and smiled.
Mio bit her lip and asked, "Want to bring that up to the clubroom and drop it off with your keyboard?"
"Incredibly," I nodded and smiled.
I got by with a little help from my friends, and tried with a little help from my friends to get up to the highest level of the school. Along the way, Mio simply suggested I didn't carry around the scissor sword, but at this point I was too far in to just give up on this. This was not my mind trying to justify and rationalize this outrageous purchase. I was simply going to leave it in the clubroom since I could list off at least three teachers who wouldn't think this thing was as neat as I did.
Up in the clubroom I sighed in relief and dropped the sword on a chair and winced as the weight demolished the chair. A lot more gently, I set my keyboard down. I was beginning to realize that Scissor-chan was becoming a force of destruction. I needed to housebreak her somehow, although I was not sure where to begin.
"So..." Ritsu spoke up, gathering a broom, dustpan, and the garbage can. "Sawa-chan wants to play that game after school. Did everyone make characters?"
Yui nodded and replied as she helped clean up my mess, "I made a character using the Holy Diver profession. I have harpoons, and a bonus to riding tigers and fighting vampires."
Mio held the dustpan as chair debris was swept into it and I spent like five minutes trying to remember how spell 'debris'. She answered, "I made a wizard, daughter of Lord Akiyama of the land of Sakuragyfli."
Ritsu frowned and teased Mio, "No offense but that's really lame. Sounds like something out of a story that totally sucks."
Mio frowned back, "Oh yeah, what did you make!?"
Ritsu puffed out her chest in pride, "A Renegade of Funk, with a whole bunch of points in dancing and jamming. Moogs, what did you make?"
I smiled at that silly pet name and replied as I hefted the remains of the chair into the trash, "You'll see! I spent a lot of time on this, and I'm sure it's going to be very fun!"
"Probably a Sith Lord, it fits her character," Ritsu whispered to Yui, who nodded in agreement.
Mio shook her head, "No way, she'd be a Paladin who would win over my character in an unrealistic manner. Then the villain would kill me in a tragic way, and it'd be sad but the story would never end after when-"
Ritsu groaned loudly, "That sounds like the worst thing ever. Look at the time everyone, class is about to start. Mugi, try not to break anything else with your, uh, scissor thing."
I nodded and set Scissor-chan down on our couch, and cringed as the blade dug into the cushions with a tearing noise and the point scraped the hardwood. This sword and I were just not getting along. I gathered my things and we journeyed down to our classroom like a group of adventurers. I wondered what Azusa was up to, but then a thought crossed my mind.
She said she had been practicing guitar for something... something important. I think at the time I had been talking to Yui about what was the best Hendrix song and not been listening like I should have been. Once again I was proven to be a horrible person, but I remembered snatches of what she had been saying. Something about a festival.
"The culture festival!" I blurted out, remembering now.
"Yes, that's next week," Sawako nodded, and added, "Right now, we're in class."
"Oh yeah," I replied, getting lost in thought. We needed to play a show as a recruitment/conscription project for new members. That Jazz Music Club kept stealing potential members, so I really needed to think of something good to win the hearts and minds of our school. I wondered what Scissor-chan could do to help. I could slice my keyboard in half on stage, but when my friend Miyuki convinced me to do that in Middle-school I was scolded by Daddy. I wondered what that old Thespian Extraordinaire, Miyuki, was up to these days. Probably nothing good.
That didn't matter much, all I had to do today was get through the school day and-
"Oh!" Sawako-sensei-chan-sama spoke up, "That reminds me, whatever thing I was previously talking about, we have a new transfer student. Everyone, meet Himizawa Eiyoko. Her and her sister in a younger year have just moved here, please be kind and friendly to her!"
From her desk in the back I hadn't even seen stood a girl with long black hair and a glare that was incredibly condescending towards everyone around her. She bowed once, and sat back down. Suddenly, I realized I had seen this girl. It was the girl at that shop! I remembered her as being a little shy, but not unfriendly, but here she was looking quite mean and scary. Her skin was pale like the sun avoided her, and under her eyes were dark circles of eyeliner and shadow. She reminded me of a raccoon with all the same charm as one of those silly little creatures. Her nails were painted black as well.
She faded into obscurity as nobody was really interested in getting to know her. During our breaks and lunch, she simply listened to music loudly from her headphones that sounded like a blur of hellish static and double bass drums. I wanted to get a chance to introduce myself, but her unfriendly demeanor surrounded her like a swarm of flies that obscured the sun. I was beginning to think her shirt that said Decapitated meant nothing friendly at all.
But after school was our game time. We were going to have fun, and I could worry about making friends with Himizawa later.
TO BE CONTINUED
(Author's Notes/Other Silly Shit- I hoped you all liked this! I love seeing reviews, and will reply to any that aren't guess ones. If you have comments or criticisms, please leave them! I'm excited to tell this quick, fun story and indulge in heavy metal nerdisms! I can only apologize for the many music and lyric references that don't make sense if you don't know the source, as well as the self-depreciation humor that some may not get if they haven't read previous stories of mine.
The story itself is inspired by a certain Devin Townsend album, as the man has been my single greatest creative influence for over a year. I'm channeling that inspiration and influence into something positive instead of the bestiality child rape of my last story. This space is dedicated to thanking editors.
This space is dedicated to thanking editors.