Maiden: Schwarze Feder des Schicksals
typed by the.Merines
started: 08.25.06 18:19
disclaimed: Rozen Maiden, its scenario and characters belong to Peach-Pit, not me. Nope.
Chapter's theme song: Stone Sour – Made of Scars
Seventh Thorn: Enthüllung
Suigintou entered the dream world of her Medium and was immediately caught off-guard. Most of the time, dream doors opened in large, open spaces. This time, however, she found herself in a rather small house made of wood. It could easily have been considered a log cabin, complete with open fireplace burning in the corner. Momentarily deviating from her course of action, Suigintou picked up one of the hundreds of leather bound books which were strewn about the room.
Not surprisingly, it was about doll-making. 'He even dreams about this kind of thing… He's so stubborn.' As she ventured through the room's only door, though, her mouth parted slightly as she gasped. Hanging all over the next room were tens, or maybe even hundreds, of porcelain doll torsos. The room was overflowing with the creations. Suigintou crossed her arms and tried to suppress the emotional reaction inside her. As she quickly ran through the room, several of them fell off their strings and smashed into the ground. The moment the first Sister exited the door, she spread her wings and flew away from the cabin as quickly as she could. "Idiot…" was all she could manage to say.
The bitterly cold air and light snowfall immediately alerted Suigintou. His mind was becoming dormant, which meant he was very close to breaking. As the terrain switched from forest to a large group of buildings, she tried to maintain a good speed. Her inner power still hadn't recovered from fighting against Barasuishou. Just as she spotted Tsugumi on the ground in the distance, a huge rose bush sprung up from below her. Suigintou became entangled in its vines before she could even begin to react. Whether this was due to her fatigue or the immense speed of the enemy, she wasn't sure.
"Onee-sama, you're finally here!" a voice happily exclaimed. Suigintou strained to find the source of the voice, but she was unable to do so. "What's wrong? Are my vines holding on too tightly?" The pressure suddenly increased on Suigintou's body, forcing the breath out of her. "Does it hurt, onee-sama?" the voice asked playfully.
"S-show yourself!" Suigintou yelled through gritted teeth. A white doll slowly floated down from above her. Suigintou was taken aback- this doll was dressed identically to Barasuishou, except for the color. Her hair seemed to be a purer white and was held back by white roses. A white rose also covered her right eye, but as the strange doll leaned in closer to her, Suigintou couldn't see any kind of strap holding it onto her face. This white newcomer seemed to wear a constant smile, unlike the stoic Barasuishou. Still, there was something evil about her smile- something Suigintou didn't recognize but knew well. "Who are you!"
"Why, I am Kirakishou, the seventh doll of the Rozen Maiden and your youngest sister!" the white doll giggled, putting a finger under Suigintou's chin. "I thought you might come here once you realized that your Medium was here. Pitifully easy to break, these humans are. Thankfully all my planning bore fruit! Here I am, face to face with you!"
"If you're so happy to see me, why don't you let me go?" Suigintou asked, trying to play Kirakishou's nice game. The doll wagged a finger at her, putting a few feet of distance between them.
"Ah ah ah, I don't think so! Now that I've captured you, you're going to stay here forever and ever with Kirakishou," the Seventh explained with a carefree laugh.
Laplace's words suddenly came back to Suigintou. 'So, Barasuishou and Kirakishou… which one is the true Seventh and which is the fake? Better yet, how the hell am I going to get myself out of this mess?' She was too weak to struggle anymore against the vines. "Why do we have to stay here, in Tsugumi's dream world? Why don't you come with me to the outside and-"
"Never!" Kirakishou suddenly yelled, pulling away from her sister.
'Oh, so she can get angry too, hm?' "Why not? It's cold here. Don't you want to spend our days together under the sun?"
"We'll leave when I'm ready to leave," was the cold response. "I still have some fun games to play with that human before I break him. I want you to watch, onee-sama, as I get rid of that ignorant thorn in your side."
"Why did you attack him!" Suigintou abruptly raged, finished playing with this strange Sister. "If you wanted to get to me, all you had to do was wait in my n-Field! To do things in such a roundabout way… It's unsightly of my youngest sister! You should know better than to involve a human in your game!" she chastised, causing Kirakishou to look a little guilty.
Suigintou felt the vines slowly begin to loosen as Kirakishou lowered her head. Then, out of nowhere, a blast of red rose pedals collided with the white doll. She was caught completely off-guard and was thrown to the ground far below. "Shinku!" Suigintou exclaimed in surprise. A quick slicing sound came from below her position, and the vines immediately disappeared. "Souseiseki! Suiseiseki, Hina-ichigo and the human…" All of them floated around her. "I told you not to follow me," she said, quickly regressing back to her usual self.
"Maybe you should follow your own advice desu, about humans," Suiseiseki noted as she looked down on the fallen stranger.
"I think a 'thank you' is in order," Souseiseki stated in a low tone as she floated by. "Just who is that doll down there?" Suigintou looked down. The white doll remained still where she had fallen.
"Kirakishou. She claimed to be the Seventh, but so did that Barasuishou," she explained. "They look almost identical."
"This is all quite confusing," Shinku admitted as she floated towards Suigintou. They met eye-to-eye peacefully for the first time in many years. "Oh, and you didn't say we couldn't follow you. You said 'you don't have to help.' That is, unless my memory is fading." The sweet smile on Shinku's face was something Suigintou hadn't seen in person since…
"Yes, it must be your memory," the first Sister responded. "Now, if you all don't mind, I have a Rosa Mystica to take." Suigintou spread her wings and descended towards Kirakishou.
"Um… Wasn't she so driven earlier to rescue Tsugumi-san?" a confused Jun asked. Shinku sighed loudly.
"I suppose it cannot be helped. I had hoped that she may change her ways, now that she has a Medium, but… Old habits die hard, it seems," she said with a twinge of sorrow. "Suiseiseki, take Jun and Tsugumi. All of you return to the real world immediately. Take Hina-ichigo with you as well."
"Shinku…" Jun said, voicing his concern.
"Don't worry. Suigintou still has Lempicka. It would serve her no purpose to leave us in Tsugumi's dream world, so don't worry," she replied smoothly. "We cannot be sure of this other doll's power. I want to have a look for myself."
"Perhaps we can figure out of she is the real Seventh doll of the Rozen Maiden," added Souseiseki.
As the two dolls and the Medium flew towards Tsugumi's position, Suigintou was on the ground below. She was crouched above the fallen Kirakishou, who still seemed to be very dazed. All was silent as Suigintou analyzed the situation. Something was definitely wrong; if Kirakishou truly had been beaten, her Rosa Mystica would have been expelled from her body. That wasn't the case…
Kirakishou's yellow eye snapped open, and she immediately smiled upon realizing that Suigintou was holding her down. "Ah, onee-sama! Thank goodness it was you!" Suigintou narrowed her eyes, slowly removing herself from Kirakishou's abdomen. Kirakishou grabbed onto her outstretched hand and was pulled up, her face full of absolute joy. The black-clothed doll gently brushed off her counterpart. "Onee-sama is helping me… Onee-sama loves me!"
"Yes, that's right," Suigintou responded. Her influence over this Sister was painfully obvious. Anyone who knew the doll would know that such words held no meaning, but to suppress Kirakishou's attacks… It was worth the embarrassment. 'I'm in no condition to be fighting such a worthy opponent right now. All I can do is hinder the inevitable, but if that saves Tsugumi…' In the corner of her eye she saw Shinku's Medium pull Tsugumi off the ground. "Now, little sister, I have an interesting little bit of information for you."
Kirakishou latched onto Suigintou's arm. "Really? Tell me! I really want to know!" Suigintou grinned maliciously.
"There is another doll claiming to be the Seventh." Kirakishou released her arm and pushed herself closer to Suigintou.
"No, that's a lie, onee-sama! That other doll is a liar!"
"Oh, really? Now little sister, I'm trusting you. If we leave here, I'll show you where this liar is. Are you interested?" Kirakishou nodded furiously.
"I am! I'll show that you can trust me. You can trust Kirakishou, not that lying other doll! And besides, that's a good reason for me to leave your pitiful human Medium alone. I'm not some kind of fool, onee-sama… If you're lying to me, though, and there isn't an imposter…" Kirakishou's face twisted into that of a true psychopath. Wide-eyed, she stared at Suigintou from a distance of no more than half a meter. In the skies above, Shinku and Souseiseki readied their attacks.
"I know," Suigintou stated firmly. "Why did you think I was so tired when you found me here? The other doll, the 'imposter', had appeared in my n-Field. Since you'd subdued my Medium, her influence over my Field was stronger than I expected."
"The imposter… hurt onee-sama?"
"So, if I… kill her… Onee-sama will be indebted to me… and… my body will…" Suigintou waited a few moments as Kirakishou's face returned to its prior sweetness. "Fine. Lead me to this imposter, and your Medium will no longer be my target. I'll… even if he's a human, I'll treat him like I treat Onee-sama…" The first doll was suspicious of her willingness to cooperate. "Those two sisters in the sky… What about them?"
"If you'd like, they can leave. However, they… will help me find the imposter for you," Suigintou responded, thinking quickly. Kirakishou shrugged. "Then it's OK."
As the four dolls filed out through Lempicka's open door, Jun, Suiseiseki and Hina-ichigo had reached Tsugumi's position. Jun looked down on this senior, unsure of his course of action. Suiseiseki, though, didn't hold back as she began slapping the young man's face rather roughly. "Your usual violent methods…" Jun said, annoyed. She stopped after a bit.
"Chibi human, he isn't waking up!" she exclaimed.
"Jun, what should we do na no?" a worried Hina-ichigo asked. "Even if he's Suigintou's Medium, he's not really a bad person. Shinku even said so…"
"I know," Jun responded. "Suiseiseki, can we just take him out of his dream without waking him up? Would he be OK in the real world?" Having previous experience in visiting one's own dream, Jun sympathized with his colleague.
"I'm not sure… I've never encountered a human who was so close to breaking before desu… To be honest I'm surprised he's still alive. The state of his dream world is so strange, as if it's being held together by his subconscious will," she quietly explained. "We don't have any time to waste desu. If he won't wake up here, we have to get him out anyway. He'll die if we don't."
Jun, through Tsugumi's unconscious thought or by the odd properties of a human dream, was able to carry Tsugumi's relatively huge body over his shoulder. As the party carried his dream body through the portal, Tsugumi's physical body faded away, melding with its missing counterpart. On the other side of Jade Dream's door was (what everyone assumed to be) Tsugumi's apartment. To Jun's mild shock, the room was relatively normal-looking. A bit sparsely decorated, with the only furniture being a bed, desk, and small table, it was a very small apartment.
'He lives on his own though, right? He had some fight with his parents, according to Tomoe, and moved out on his own. Even so, it must be rough living alone at such an age. It would be different to have a full-time job or be a university student, but he's neither. Living alone, with no real human contact… almost the same as me,' Jun thought as he bent over the bed, letting gravity to the rest of the work.
"Now who's being violent desu?" Suiseiseki screeched.
"You ill-mannered doll, shut up! What if he's brain damaged or something?" She shrugged nonchalantly. "Jeez, you really are heartless… I wouldn't be able to live with that on my conscience…"
"What conscience?" Suiseiseki whispered as she rummaged through the kitchen's cabinets.
"What are you doing?" Hina asked, tugging on Suiseiseki's dress.
"Looking for some tea, now stop that before it tears desu!" Hina-ichigo pouted a little and walked towards the stricken Tsugumi. "Great, all that scary human has is green tea. Not one black tea at all!"
"Maybe Suigintou prefers green tea," Jun thought out loud.
"Hey, hey, Jun… He's Tomoe's big brother, right?" Hina-ichigo asked. Jun nodded.
"I played with him a bit when we were younger, but he was always quiet and kept his thoughts to himself. Honestly, I looked up to him," he reminisced. "I guess it's because my father was always overseas on business… Tsugumi was kind of like a big brother to me back then. He wasn't too much older, but there was a four year gap between us… I don't know, but I feel like I should stay here until he wakes up." Hina nodded in agreement.
"If we called Tomoe, maybe she could wake him up!" she exclaimed. Jun shook his head, much to her disappointment. "Why not?"
"She has enough to worry about- the end of the first term is pretty close. Besides… If damage has been done, I don't want her to see it…"
"You mean you don't want her to know it was your fault?" The voice alerted everyone. The room's mirror glowed brightly, and Suigintou stepped through soon after. "If anything is wrong with him… If I'm stuck with a broken Medium, you will be the one who pays, human," she stated, her voice dead serious.
Jun realized then just how much Suigintou cared for Tsugumi. He nodded slowly. "I know… So what happened with that other doll?"
"Where Souseiseki and Shinku!" stormed Suiseiseki before a single black feather, which whizzed mere centimeters from her face, silenced her.
"They're back at your happy home," Suiseiseki sneered. "As for little Kirakishou, we learned something interesting. I'm sure Shinku will tell you all about it. In any case you will all leave, now. Your mental contamination is what's causing Tsugumi to remain unconscious."
"Contamination?" Jun questioned. Suigintou sighed angrily.
"Tsk, are you all so thick-headed! There wasn't any contamination between these dolls and you, human, because you are very close to each other. Now, none of you are close to Tsugumi at all, correct? All of you appearing in his dream world was disruptive to the state he was in, since his dreams of you are virtually nonexistent. Are you beginning to get the idea?" she asked, exasperated.
"I think so…" Jun responded.
"So leave!" boomed Suigintou. "You have a lot of thinking to do. Little Shinku seemed very upset when she learned the truth about that doll, plus the fact that there is another doll who is the same type as us, who probably was not made by Father."
"Alright. Hina-ichigo, Suiseiseki… let's go," Jun said, giving up on the hopes he had of staying near Tsugumi. After the three of them had left and the mirror gone silent, Suigintou finally breathed a sigh of relief.
"My… They are all so unbelievably dense…" A great deal of tension was holed up inside the doll's tired body. She turned and looked at Tsugumi's unmoving body. His deep, slow breathing was the only sign of his life. His eyes, still open, stared blankly at the ceiling.
Suigintou sat down on the edge of his futon, near his legs. She tried to enjoy the peace and quiet she deserved, but her Medium's condition was too much of a distraction. 'Is this some kind of side effect of the Contract or my true feelings?' she pondered. 'Either way I wouldn't be surprised. What Shinku said after we lost Kirakishou may be true… The appearance of not one, but two Maestros… Surely, that is a sign from Father that he wishes for the Alice Game to begin, right? Why am I even questioning such a thing? Father's will is for his creations, Rozen Maiden, to play through the Alice Game until there is but one doll left, with all the pieces of the true Rosa Mystica together at last. He only wishes for Alice to be born; he will only see Alice.'
"So I must become Alice, so Father will see me," she whispered.
"I… couldn't… sorry…" The voice of her Medium snapped Suigintou's mind back to reality.
"Tsugumi! Are you awake?" His eyes still stared ahead in the same way. He was stuck somewhere between his dream and reality.
"You're right… I… Tsugumi… I'm junk…" Her eyes widened as he muttered the word she hated so much. "I… I don't have any goals… Because I'm comfortable as I am now, I don't feel the need to move forward… I'm not as strong as I pretend to be…" He coughed suddenly, blood spattering over his face. Slowly, small open wounds were beginning to open all over his body. Suigintou realized that his sheets were already stained with blood.
"Tsugumi, what happened? Why are you…?"
"I'm a human…I'm weak… Maybe it would be better for you… if I wasn't around," he continued, oblivious to the fact that he was bleeding out quite a bit of blood. "Yes, if I die, things would be easier for everyone…"
"You idiot, don't mutter such things in your sleep," she whispered, the faintest hints of tears forming in her eyes.
"But I'm not asleep… or am I…?"
"Just don't die!" she yelled as her throat began to tighten. Tsugumi bolted into a sitting position; those words had triggered some buried memory from his past. His vision was completely white and his head felt dizzy, which slowly faded back to normal as a decent amount of blood was pumped into his brain. He looked down on his arms and the many small punctures draining blood. "T-… Tsugumi?" He slowly gazed up at Suigintou and felt a twinge of sadness in the back of his mind. Her face, usually so cold and confident, looked like it was on the verge of tears.
"Did… I… What happened? I… There was another doll in the mirror… then…" Slowly regaining all of his brain functions, Tsugumi realized that Suigintou's dress was dirtied and torn. Her headband was also missing. Without the decoration, she somehow looked more human to him. "I'm sorry… It seems like I wasn't there when you needed me…"
"Don't say such idiotic things… What if I was worried!" The doll leaned forwards towards him, placing a hand on his right leg for support. Something was odd, though. Her Medium's eyes quickly widened as she put more pressure on the leg. She felt no heat from the appendage, and it seemed completely hard. Human tissue was supposed to be warm and soft, right?
He averted his eyes from her questioning gaze, a regretful smile on his pained face. "So… now you see… You thought I was being metaphorical when I said that I'm junk…" he whispered. His hands began to shake uncontrollably. "I wasn't. I… I'm a broken human already. That's why… I'm not suitable to be your Medium, with this incomplete body…"
Suigintou blinked in confusion as he reached down towards his feet. Only then did she realize that the lower part of his left pant-leg had not one blood stain on it. He pulled the pant-leg up to his knee, revealing a skin-colored prosthetic. "See? I'd tried my best to keep this hidden, not only from you but from everyone…"
"I… I don't understand…"
"Your Father left you unfinished, correct?" he asked, having regained most of his mental faculties. "My parents… I was in an accident when I was young and broke this leg. Something happened when they reset the bone, and it became infected. I ended up having to get it amputated… My parents sued the hospital and won a great deal of money from the legal proceedings. But instead of getting one of the robotic limbs which were offered to them, they chose to get me a simple plastic prosthetic leg, despite the fact that they had made so much money because of my misfortune. During my junior high years I refused to use it; I was confined to a wheelchair. When I finally did use the leg to make my parents happy, I was ridiculed by my classmates because I had trouble walking. I was able to master the thing eventually, but that stigma stayed with me all through secondary school. I couldn't play any sports or participate in P.E.
"I try so hard to mask it, but in the end you found out anyway. I guess in a way, we're similar. Both of us suffered needlessly because of our creators, because of some imperfection. Don't you think so?" Suigintou's face produced a small, sad smile.
In a bright field of grass, Kirakishou shielded her eyes from the warm sun. She stared off into the distance, towards the mansion across the field. 'Even though Onee-sama abandoned me, her information was correct. The imposter… and her Master- both of them will become food for my roses. What is the saying… Pushing up roses?' The white doll smiled maliciously, slowly floating towards her counterpart.
In that same mansion, Barasuishou stood next to her Father. As he did in his free time, he was making dolls. Barasuishou felt a glimmer of jealousy. Perhaps she would have taken action if she only understood that emotion. All she really understood was happiness- her Father's happiness. Laplace's Demon suddenly stepped into the small room. "Sorry to bother you, but you have company."
Moments later the trio stood on a rather large balcony. Enju stared over the rolling meadow in horror. "No, that can't be! How… How did she find this field? Demon!" he stormed, assuming that the rabbit had double-crossed him. The abstract being held up a hand.
"Not I. Kirakishou was led part-way here by the first Rozen Maiden and found the rest of the way herself. It isn't unheard of- all of these types of dolls can sense each other's presence. Rozen's final creation would no doubt be the best at such an ability," he explained.
"Damnit!" Enju stared down at Barasuishou's blank face. Was she ready to fight the doll she'd been designed from? 'Of course… She's more than a copy. If she beats that cursed doll, it will simply be another proof that I am greater than that fool Rozen!' "Barasuishou, intercept and destroy that doll. She is your enemy- take her Rosa Mystica at all costs!"
The doll nodded. "Yes, Father."
End of Seventh Thorn.
Enthüllung means exposure.