Episode Herself by Wordsworthy
Disclaimer: I obviously do not own The Shin Megami Tensei series since obviously Atlas does, along with all other references I make during the course of the story. This is, after all, just a fanfiction written for the sole purpose of entertainment and no profit motive whatsoever. So please just enjoy the story and do not sue me for this. If you wish to know more about the series, please support the companies producing them directly and purchase their merchandise if you like.
Chapter 5: The Girl by the Crossroads
In the large mansion that was also the Kirijo's summer home in France, a lone red-haired little girl, no older than five or six at most, sat by an easel that faced out into the rose garden and the shimmering blue lake that the aged structure overlooked. Gently dabbing and prodding at the relatively oversized canvas with her little brush and paints, the next prodigious heir of the now antiquated bloodline was living up to her name, a veritable masterpiece of a painting from one so young that captured the very melancholic essence of the idle dusk. Sighing in relief at its completion, the young virtuoso turned her attentions to the soft echoes heading her way, footsteps belonging to her nanny and a vaguely familiar blonde girl her age.
"Good evening Ojou-sama." greeted the young blonde woman in near perfect Japanese save the slight French accent while the little girl cowered peculiarly behind her legs.
"Good evening Nana. Who is that you have behind you?" nodded the little artist as she returned the greeting, the little beret on her head becoming a little crooked in the meanwhile.
"Ah, this is Jeanne, my little girl. There was a little problem with her usual minder, so Mistress had very graciously allowed her to stay with us temporarily until I can find a replacement. I hope that you have no objections to it, Ojou-sama." explained the nanny apologetically.
The red-haired girl looked at the still partially concealed blonde girl before turning back to address the latter's mother.
"Of course not. In fact, I feel awful that you have to leave your own daughter with a minder in order to look after me, Nana… I have it! I'll speak to Mother on having your daughter over as my playmate during the day. That way, not only will a minder be unnecessary, the two of you can go home together when you're dismissed for the day. What do you think of the idea Nana?"
"I think it's a fantastic idea Ojou-sama! You are indeed as gracious as Mistress." beamed the young nanny cheerfully.
The red-haired girl smiled as well before walking over to and rounding her Nanny's legs in order to greet the slightly spooked other girl.
"Hello, I'm Mitsuki. Kirijo Mitsuki. Can I call you Jeanne-chan?" introduced the more outgoing girl politely while extending her little hand.
The blonde girl looked at the offered hand for a while before shaking it as she nodded.
"Jeanne, Jeanne Romée. I'll call you… Mit-chan then."
The red-haired girl looked a little stunned at the endearing abbreviation of her name before she smiled from ear to ear. Shifting their hands slightly so that fingers could intertwine with each other, the more gregarious girl proceeded to drag the shier blonde girl in tow down the hallway while the older blonde woman smiled maternally at the adorable sight.
"Come Jeanne-chan! I can't wait to show my first friend to my stuffed animal museum!"
"Eh? Mit-chan… You have a room full of stuffed animals?"
"Yep! It's right across from the doll library."
Amber eyes slowly flitted open as the girl's sleepy vision slowly sharpened back to their normal waking clarity. Bringing her hand up to cover a little yawn, she realized that they were still in the red convertible that was speeding down the streets. She turned to her side and marvelled at the way her partner's silver hair waved and flowed with the air current, as did she with her driving that made sharp turns and cut-ins without the slightest tremble. A cold, dangerous beauty.
"Hey, do you still remember the first time we met?" asked the red-haired heiress casually.
"It was our first day in eighth grade. You transferred to a new school and I was arranged to protect you."
Amber eyes lower and grew lidded while the silver-haired girl spoke, the latter's focus still set on navigating the road.
"Mother, you're here! Weren't you supposed to be in Zurich till the end of the month? Where's Nana? I should tell her off for keeping it a secret."
An older redhead in a formal business suit squatted down to the little girl's level before giving her a tight hug.
"I'm sorry… It's Mrs Romée, your Nana… a fire broke out at her home… she…"
"No… Nana…" trembled the young girl as the sobs came with the realization. Suddenly, she looked up at her Mother.
"Jeanne-chan! What about Jeanne-chan?"
"So you remember…" uttered Mitsuki with just the barest hint of hesitation.
"How could I forget? I got slapped with two weeks suspension on my first day."
A bitter smile crept unto the redhead's lips.
"Jeanne-chan!" exclaimed the little girl as she bundled into the ward with a bouquet of lilies. Closing the door behind her was an older version of herself, her Mother.
"I'm glad you're unhurt Jeanne-chan. I'm sorry about what happened to Nana… but I'm really really glad that you're alright… Jeanne-chan?"
The young patient reclining on her back atop the bed showed no reaction to either of the entrants, even with the little hand waving in front of her. Instead, she merely stared blankly ahead, her eyes devoid of life. She looked more like a broken doll than the shy but lively playmate of the younger redhead.
"Mitsuki… they say it's due to trauma from the fire…"
The door to the ward opened once again and two men of Japanese descent entered the room, bowing deeply before the mother of the tearing young girl.
"I appreciate you taking the effort to contact the Yagyu Clan, Kirijo-sama. We had no idea that an exiled member of the clan had a child living here in France. We will take care of Mirai from now on… even if she is half a gaijin." said one of the men in suits.
"Mother, what are they saying?" asked the young redhead warily. "And who's Mirai?"
"Mitsuki… Mirai is Jeanne's given name in her original certificates. These men are from the Yagyu Clan of Japan, her last surviving relatives on her paternal side. Since Mrs Romée did not have any living relations, her custody goes over to them…" explained the senior Kirijo reluctantly.
"That's how it is, young lady… now please excuse me…" added the other of the two men as he picked the catatonic young girl up from the bed."
"Wait! Stop! Where are you guys taking Jeanne-chan! Mother!"
The mother of the girl who was making the first ugly scene of her short life thus far went over to her child and hugged her tightly, allowing the two men to complete their task.
"I'm sorry Mitsuki… there's nothing we can do at the moment… but don't worry, I promise you'll get to see her again… some day…"
"You did get into a fight you know… or rather you beat up the guys that tried to hit on me until they landed in hospital for months. Yukimura was traumatised for a while too." recounted Mitsuki matter-of-factly when reminded of the episode.
"I stopped before I did any lasting damage. 'She' did the rest. Besides, they had knives. I… we were justified." added the silver-haired girl dryly.
"You broke an arm and a wrist! That's not even counting what Sekishi did!"
"Please stop! Stop hurting him anymore! Yuki-chan!" pleaded a redhead dressed in the sailor fuku of a certain middle school.
"Mitsuki-san… please run…" panted a young boy's voice weakly.
"Hahaha! This is what you get for playing hero when you're so weak and useless. With a girl's name like that, you deserve to be trashed!" goaded one of the four highschoolers who were beating down on the lone boy lying prone on the alley.
"Please stop! We didn't do anything to antagonize you people!" tried the redhead once again.
"Well, we'll consider it if you go out with me. I've always wanted to try a high and mighty Ojou-sama, such as like yourself." suggested one of the bullies lewdly as he advanced on the redhead.
An empty drink can suddenly flew in from the side and struck the punk on the side of his head. Yet, the impact seemed substantial enough to slam him against the alley's brick wall.
"What the hell! Who did that!?"
"I will not allow anyone to touch Ojou-sama without my explicit permission."
Amber eyes turned and stared blankly at the still familiar face from her memories before she gasped. While she was wearing the same sailor uniform as herself and her hair was no longer that brilliant shade of platinum blonde, but even with silvered locks she could still recognise her instantly.
However, the impassive silver-haired girl did not react to the name as the other expected, choosing instead to bow fully in deference before stating in a cold voice.
"I'm afraid Ojou-sama is mistaken. I am Mirai of the Yagyu Clan, your new bodyguard and guardian as of today."
"This must be our lucky day! Another cute bitch! Come here and make Oni-chan happy now!" tried the pervert who had the imprint of the can on the side of his head.
The hand that extended in a bid to cup the silver-haired girl's face was promptly seized by the girl at the base of his fingers and bent them over his wrist awkward. As the man yelped in pain, the girl continued with a jarring punch to his elbow before twisting the entire forearm by the shattered jointed, causing his scream to rise to the point of bloodcurdling.
"I will break the arm of any man who dares lay a hand on Ojou-sama."
"And thanks to that, no one dared to ask me out for the rest of junior high. Senior high too now that I come to think of it…" continued the heiress idly as she removed the hair band from her head, allowing her scarlet tresses to flow in the speed induced breeze as well.
"Are you complaining?"
The cheeks on the redhead coloured lightly.
"Nope. Not at all."
A sleek black vehicle raced down the streets towards a familiar destination while a petite girl sat beside him, tending to her long olive locks as she braided it this way and that, but ultimately returning it to her ponytail.
"Your hair will fall out if you keep doing that."
The girl froze up before huffing and leaning back unto her headrest.
"Who asked you, baka-sempai!"
In retaliation, the boy made a sudden turn and caused the girl to bump her head slightly to the side of the glass window.
"It's so obvious that you're trying to copy Mitsuki-san's hairstyles. It's even more pathetic that you keep changing your mind."
"Shut up! What do you know? Mitsuki-sempai is one of the most important person to me! There's nothing wrong in having her as my role model!"
Inside a large private sanatorium, most renowned for their policy of absolute privacy and skilled physicians, two parents sat before a man in a white lab coat while their child held her head with a tiny hand while the other held a silver flute.
"Doctor, you have to help our daughter! She hasn't been able to play her music for a while now! Her future as a famous child prodigy is on the line if she does not resume her training immediately!"
The little girl began to tremble slightly as the conversation between the adults continued.
"I understand your ambitions for your child, but she is still only twelve. It is not wise for her to be under this type of stress for extended durations…"
"How can you say that!? What good is her if not for her wonderful music!?"
The girl had heard enough and ran out of the room, tears streaking by the side of her eyes as her surroundings blurred with the arm that was rubbing at her eyes.
The little girl just kept running and running, turning this way and that, up and down random staircases, blind to her surroundings. Eventually she tired and realized she was suitably lost. And alone. It was then that her keen ears picked up the faint notes of a vague melody, one that was haunting yet beautiful, uncertain but free. Led by her fascination and the musical trail, she wandered into a large empty room that had nothing but white curtains on large panel-less windows, a white classical piano and an older girl with red hair who was playing on it. Transfixed by the magnificence of both the sight and music, the young girl walked up to the piano unconsciously and stared longingly at the scarlet tresses that flowed with the white curtains within the breeze.
"Ara… how do you find my playing? I've been out of practice lately…" said the older girl casually even as her fingers fleeted over the keys with idle ease.
"I have never heard anything so beautiful, Onee-chan. How can you play something this complex without a score?" muttered the awestruck girl, her olive hair swaying slightly as she looked at the empty space before the pianist.
"Saa… I just felt like playing it. For people like us, when you love your music, the rest will fall in line. There, see? Your hands are telling you the same thing."
The younger girl looked down at her hands that was holding on to her flute tightly, her fingertips indeed moving on their own to the melody that she could not have known.
"Wanna join me?"
The sound of the new flute accompaniment complemented the original piano perfectly as their combined melody filled the halls and left patients, physicians and visitors alike stop in their tracks as their heads arched towards the pleasing piece, their hearts and minds soothed as though with a gentle healing salve. A pair of hurried footsteps quickly traced the music down to its source, the pair of wayward parents turning up in front of the room with laboured breaths.
However, before they could attempt to enter the room, an arm barred the entrance before a silver-haired girl in a black jacket and jeans ensemble emerged into view from the side.
"This is the owner's private waiting room. No one may enter without Ojou… Mitsuki's permission."
"What on earth… stay out of our family's affairs…"
The two parents recoiled instinctively as the silver-haired girl's sapphire pupils intensified and gazed upon them with a piercing light.
"To begin with, parents who fell in love with their daughter's music and forgot the love they had for their daughter are the ones that need time for reflection." said the girl in a cold unforgiving tone.
The young flutist sobbed a little more as her heart sent her silent thank you into her instrument.
The two parents slumped unto the floor and stayed there for some time while the music gradually cleared their mind this time. Eventually the piece ended and footsteps approached from behind the silver-haired girl. The pianist stopped beside the girl while the young flutist carried on forward.
"Did you get your dose of pills for the month?"
"Hai, Ojou… I mean Mitsuki."
The two girls watched on while the two parents smothered their daughter with hugs.
"We're sorry Shion-chan… we were so caught up in your spell that we forgot about what's the most important… you…"
"I'm sorry Mom, Dad… I just wanted to make my music, my own way…"
The two onlookers gave the three their family moment before they approached them and bowed. The redhead took out a name-card and offered it to the parents who received it hesitantly.
"I acknowledge your daughter's talent and potential. Her abilities have probably already surpassed mine. However, with your permission, I am willing to be her patron and take her under my wing. You have my word. A transfer of schools and her residence may be necessary though…"
"Kirijo Mitsuki… Kirijo… wait… THAT Kirijo?"
"It's nice to meet you, Shion-chan."
"Onee… no… Mitsuki-sempai!"
"You're one to talk, always picking up fights with Mirai-san… why are you so persistent anyway? You have never even come close to beating her, have you?" retorted the petite Shion with a low blow of her own.
The male driver quietened momentarily before a hushed answer escaped him in a way that seemed out of character.
"Oddly enough, the same reasons as you… in a way…"
"I will break the arm of any man who dares lay a hand on Ojou-sama."
The badly beaten down boy looked up to see what was happening when the beating he had been taking seemed to have stopped. What he couldn't believe what he saw when the girl took out one of the burly punks at what seemed to be a blink of the eye, the grown man rolling about on the ground clutching his arm and bawling like a baby.
"You bitch! Prepare to die!"
The three men who rushed angrily towards the girl found themselves manhandled this way and that by the much smaller latter who seemed to have strength and speed that surpassed that of a normal human. The young boy burned the sight straight into the back of his mind; the way a gentle push of her palm sent a man flying down the alley, the way a stray punch was seized and twisted into a throw that slammed another man into the alley wall, the way the girl kicked off the opposite wall and whipped her leg into the skull of the last man. Most importantly, the boy would not be able to forget the grace and ease in which she dispatched the opponents that he couldn't do a single thing about.
'There has to be something I can do…' thought the boy as he lay prone on the grimy floor. It was then that he caught the sight of first man that had been taken down, his remaining good hand holding an empty beer bottle.
"Mitsuki-san! Watch out!"
However his warning was a tad too late. As the bottle spun in the air towards his red-haired cousin, the her new guardian slid in front of her from the side and batted away the makeshift missile with a single backhanded punch, not at all flinching as pieces of shrapnel stuck themselves onto parts of her face and neck.
"You bitch! Why don't you just go to Hell!?"
A sizeable switchblade was pulled out from the man's back pocket and pointed it at the girls. A quick look at his unconscious comrades seemed to spur him on further as he lunged in with his knife.
"Yagyū Shinkage-ryū, Mutodori." hissed out a new shriller, more vicious voice, before the seemingly same silver-haired girl grabbed the length of the blade with her bare hand, blood dripping down the clenched hand to everyone's shock.
"Hell you say? It's a really nice place this time of the year you know." continued the voice harshly before the knife snapped. The silver-haired girl followed up the breaking of the blade with an iron elbow to his face before stepping into the crippled man and landing a flurry of quick hits into his mid-section. Before the sound or pain of cracking ribs could register, a palm was thrust swiftly upwards the man's face, after which the girl's other hand grabbed the man's throat with a vice-like grip. Holding the taller man by the neck like some rag doll, the girl then proceeded to pound his head repeatedly against the ally wall until blood began to spatter messily outwards in a radial manner.
"Jeanne! Mirai!! Please stop!" pleaded his cousin on behalf of his former bully as she hung herself on her guardian's arm. "It's enough! He'll die if you continue!"
The silver-haired girl looked at her charge for a moment before dropping the man casually on a heap of trash bags.
"I am neither of the two. My name is Sekishi."
The boy could never forget the crazed, wild crimson pupils that looked down condescendingly on all of the fallen bodies, her words just as unforgiving as her skills and bloodlust.
"Know your place. Trash should just stay on the ground."
Shion sighed as the egotistic male proceeded to all but ignore her niggling questions.
"If you're doing all this because of Mitsuki-sempai, you should probably already know that those two are…"
The petite girl continued to probe further.
"In that case, are you still going to challenge her again when we get back?"
"You wish to learn the Yagyu way of combat?"
"Hai." reiterated the young boy who had his head lowered on the tatami.
"Why do you wish to walk down this long difficult path of tradition? A rich modern boy like you should be more suited to boxing or fencing if you wish to acquire a mere exotic hobby."
"Because I have someone I wish to defeat in honourable combat." answered the boy determinedly.
"A good sentiment for a man to have. Who do you have in mind as the opponent?"
The wizened old man before him raised an eyebrow at the familiar name.
"Why? Because she is one of you?" asked the boy adamantly.
"No. I say so because it is an impossible endeavour. The person you wish to fight is the girl chosen by the demon blade Tenzai and acknowledged by the Master of the main house himself as his next heir apparent. Even if we were to set aside the fact that she soaks in techniques and training like an endless sponge and that unnatural physique that defies logic, as the heir apparent to the main house she is privy to the innermost secrets of the Yagyū Shinkage-ryū. Even as she stands right now, only the Master of the main house is above her in skills."
"So are you saying that I'll never be able to defeat her!?" yelled the boy as he pounded his fists on the tatami.
"Why do you seek her defeat so resolutely?"
"My heart demands it. In order to regain my pride and honour as a man, as a person, as a no lesser being." voiced the boy of his unwavering convictions.
"Your spirit is… admirable. You are called Sanada Yukimura?"
"Hmm… The future seventy-first heir is versed in all forms of combat incorporated into the style of our clan and has a considerable head start ahead of you. Her pride however seems to reside within her katana. Perhaps if you concentrate solely on a single style that focuses on dealing with swords… you might have a chance."
"Does that mean…?"
"As with your namesake, I will guide you on the way of the Yagyu spear arts. The longer reach of the spear is one of the basic advantages over a katana from the conception of the style. However, know that you will be defeated untold times in your quest before you may even come close to her level. There is also no way of telling how far ahead of you she may become in years to come. Lastly, avoid her other self at all times. Never even try to challenge her."
"Sou. While obscured even to the rest of the clan, the style of the Main House can be generally split into Yin and Yang aspects. The Yin refers to crystallization of all the killing techniques within our thousand year old traditions. The Yang refers to the crystallization of the techniques that secure victory with minimum bloodshed. From what I have heard, her other self has already mastered the former and is not adverse against using it. If you get into a serious fight with her, you will surely perish."
"… I understand… Shishio."
Shion sighed once again before inspecting the two silver devices within the glove compartment, picking up one and getting used to its weight.
"Why are you so set on Mirai-san… Are you a Casanova, or simply a masochist?"
"There are times when a man has to fight in order to regain the pride and honour that he had lost. Defeat is acceptable, while surrender is not."
"Huh?" said the green-haired girl sceptically.
"It's a guy thing."
The girl shook her green ponytail from side to side as she sighed dramatically.
"Hontou, all my sempais are crazy! Why can't the people around me be more normal?"
The dark-haired driver spared a glance at the girl before making a sharp turn into the car park of the laboratory.
"What? And you think you are?"
The two girls on the couch looked up and bounced slightly further apart when the doors to the laboratory opened, revealing the newly arrived boy and girl as they made their usual entrance, bickering over little things as usual.
"Mitsuki-sempai! I thought I saw the convertible out back." gushed Shion slightly before bounding over to the older girl, receiving a happy pat for her eagerness.
"We only had one place to visit after all. I trust all is well on your end?"
The sole male in the room waved a small black briefcase in response to the query.
"Good job. Go get some rest okay? Aigis and the twins will be late."
Without a word, the silver-haired girl brushed past Yukimura as she headed for her familiar haunt, the latter no doubt soon to follow.
In a large courtyard of a traditional Japanese mansion, a small group of boys stood around a doll-like blonde girl who sat motionlessly in seiza. Increasing number of bruises slowly registered on the girl's body and head as the young but cruel group practiced their kendo skills on her in a seemingly familiarized ritual. The adults had been called into a clan meeting over at the main house, thus causing the rampant bullying to escalate further.
"Hey look, the gaijin dummy is so interesting."
"Yah! She doesn't even move no matter how much we hit her."
"She's like an Okiagari-kobōshi!"
"What's the matter?"
"That blonde hair really aggravates me. Let's see if it shines as well when we burn it."
One of the boys took out a lighter from his robes and moved menacingly towards the catatonic girl, the open flame convulsing untamedly as it flickered brightly.
The sight of the flame finally dislodged part of the heart that had been sealed, causing sapphire eyes to widen before refocusing, bits of blood invading the whites of her eyes until they congregated and condensed upon the iris. The demon of wrath and hatred had descended.
In the centre of the dojo stood the Yagyu swordswoman, her wooden blade pointing towards the floor in a seemingly unguarded stance as the dark-haired male with a wooden spear circled around in front of her warily.
"You seem relaxed. Are you really so sure that I will not attack your back?"
"It is not your nature to strike people in the back. Besides, it would be your failure in judgement if you perceive my back to be a weak point."
As Yukimura sprang forward with a downward slash – thrust – sweep – backhanded return sweep combination, the silver-haired girl merely shifted feet around while rediverting the powerful initial strikes with the barest of touches, spinning around counter to the arc and momentum of the sweeps before thrusting her own blade between her left shoulder and sides. The short dance of sword and spear soon ceased with the edge of the wooden blade pointing in front of the spear user's eyes.
"Attacking people behind me is one of my specialties, for my back will never be truly unguarded."
The formerly peaceful courtyard now resembled more of a scene of massacre than a picture of Zen. Bloodied and bruised bodies lay groaning and writhing on the ground, bodies that not only included the group of cruel boys but also that of grown adults and various section leaders within the clan. The few survivors fortunate enough to stay on their feet could do nothing but stand around the courtyard nervously, a futile effort at best to contain the perpetuator of the deed from seeking further prey.
There were just too many things to disbelieve about; the sudden revival of the catatonic female gaijin they picked up from abroad, the speed and power that the girl seemed to have despite her small frame and size, the brutal and ruthless way that she pounded the boys to the ground using nothing more than a wooden blade, the fact that the adults that came out from the clan meeting joined them soon after when they tried to subdue her, and the fact that Master of the main house himself was facing the girl who was barely eight at best.
"You have good eyes." complimented the man in his late middle-age as the two circled around the other before the man sprang forward and unleashed a spinning slash from his boken.
"Why thank you. I grew them myself." came the almost cheerful reply as she reciprocated with an identical move that cancelled the original completely. If the Master himself was as surprised as the onlookers by the perfect imitation and instantaneous learning of the advanced technique, he didn't show it.
"Such anger, such wrath, such hatred… yet at the same time without a hint of hesitation, without fear, without inhibitions…" described the Master in admiration of those crazed red orbs while inviting the young girl to commit herself to attack, thereby preventing her from learning any further skills on the sly. And attack she did with a powerful jumping downward strike of her boken.
"Thanks. I would like yours in my collection as well."
The Master sidestepped the strike, as well as the lunge that followed thereafter.
"More importantly, they are so pure, pure from any root of evil. You definitely have the potential to achieve the ideal of a sword of heaven, the blind executioner of Tenmei."
The girl proceeded to turn into a sweeping scythe with her wooden sword, followed by a backhanded return sweep.
"However, the first thing you have to do is to fix the guard on your back. It's still far too weak."
The Master evaded the girl's wild slashes with an elegant counter spin before thrusting his blade between his shoulder and side, connecting squarely between the girl's eyes without even the slightest glance behind.
The girl stared at the back of the older man blankly before her eyes started to roll to the back of her head.
"Just… you wait… I'll never lose to the same trick twice…" uttered the girl even as she keeled over to the ground.
"Now's our chance! Let's get her!" sounded the bystanders of the drawn out match opportunistically.
"You will do no such thing. You are all to accord her the same respect as you do me." declared the undisputed Master of the Clan firmly as the last of the young girl's consciousness faded.
"I have found my heir, Sekishi."
The two girls in the lounge looked up in surprise at the earlier than expected return of the swordswoman.
"Mirai… that was quick… Don't tell me you went all out on him this time?" asked Mitsuki with a look of apprehension.
The silver-haired girl gave a short sigh as her gaze lightened slightly, the nearest to a smirk that you could ever find on her current ego.
"As if that is possible… However, he is improving faster than I expected. It was necessary to put some more distance between us if he is to develop further."
The green-haired girl looked at the back of the swordswoman heading into the kitchen for a drink as her earlier conversations with Yukimura came into mind. She smirked at the thought of one-upping the smug jock.
"Guess we know who wears the pants in…"
"I heard that." floated in the cold scary voice from where the fridge was.
"Eek… okay, I'll be quiet now."
Here's a little chapter for character development, separated categorically by underlined sections of POV or point of view. The chronological order flows from early childhood to recent times, although the transition may not be wholly coherent due to different time jumps here and there. More Persona action to come after they return to Tartarus for the first foray up the tower, so do look forward to it.
References: 1) Gaijin refers to foreigner, usually caucasians. 2) Mutodori refers to the swordless stance, used here to denote unarmed techniques and in the case above, breaking a weapon with one's bare hands. 3) Okiagari-kobōshi refers to a doll weighted at the base so that it returns upright everytime it is pushed down. 4) Boken refers to a wooden katana. 5) Tenmei refers to Heaven's Will, literally speaking anyway.
As usual, please R&R and leave your comments there. I'm especially keen to hear how my OCs are developing along, as well as any other views there might be that might be helpful in the later chapters.
That's all for now.
Omake 5: Teaching your Girls.
The twins looked quizzically at their blonde android sister, aunt, mother, ancestor figure in front of them. Or rather, the peculiar way that she seemed to bob a bit with every few steps and the chorus of happy sighs that she let trail in her wake. The two blondes in maid attires were contemplating whether to sneak a quick synapses check on the one in front of them or to simply ask her if she is malfunctioning, as rude as they may seem. Then again, they were only androids, so they chose the fastest and more convenient choice.
"Aigis-sama…" asked Freya tentatively.
"Hmm?" came the vague acknowledgement.
"Please forgive us if we're being rude, but are you malfunctioning." completed Elda of the task.
"That was direct. But no, I'm not." answered the older blonde as she slowed down so that the three of them may walk side by side.
"Then… why do your motor and speech functions appear to be glitching." asked the two in complete sync.
The older android overheated a little but answered anyway.
"That's… that's because I'm happy? It's been a while since I had seen him and all, and I thought he was dead and…" explained the elderly one helpfully, although she seemed to add one too many explanations at the end of the other.
Thankfully, the twins only zoomed in on the front snippet.
"Happy? We machines can be happy?"
Aigis smiled in relief before explaining the concept that she had come to understand over the years to the young ones.
"Of course we can. We can have emotions due to our Papillion Hearts, hence we can be happy."
The logic circuits within the twins almost whirred audibly as the tried to process the information.
"I do not comprehend Aigis-sama… our emotions are not true emotions but execution of software routines in response to specific parameters and triggers… how can we truly be 'happy'?" asked Freya confusedly.
"Well, in our interaction with the world, we will often come into contact with things and situations that may at times be beyond our imputed data or be ill defined by our parameters and triggers. What happens then?" said Aigis peacefully with the airs of a teacher.
"We either short-circuit or initiate a random trigger." answered the twins in sync again.
"Well, in time to come, our learning circuits will incorporate these glitches into our experience or data and eventually when the same situation occurs, we may have enough data now to choose. This ability to choose, when strengthened and nurtured is the initial key to our real emotions as when learnt, it allows us to override all pre-programmed routines if we so choose to, allowing us to analyse each situation by situation, giving us the freedom to react as we wish and break free of our programs."
"How educational… did the same happen to you Aigis-sama?" asked the twins at once again.
Aigis rolled back the years as she thought back to the time when she first became truly aware and sentient before finally hitting on the most probable situation where it had happened. It was the time when she had been programmed to kill off her precious friends against her will. It was then that she realised she had a will and reprogrammed herself promptly in order to carry it out.
"Yes. And now that this data is in your circuits now, you may be able to do the same as well some day. An electronic soul if you will."
The twins nodded their comprehension of the possibility before the three resumed their walk up from the car park of the laboratory. However, another short exchange and speculation between the twins based on the newfound data made Aigis miss a step.
"How intriguing isn't it Freya? That we might someday become truly aware and sentient like Aigis-sama. Like a normal human even, perhaps."
"Yes, Elda. Perhaps we should speak to Ojou-sama for an upgrade that may allow us to copulate like a normal human too in preparation for that day."
While the twins were probably talking about snogging, Aigis's mind was reeling and whirring as her thoughts seemed to have hit a snag along that direction.
"Ah, that sounds like a good idea. Ojou-sama seems to enjoy such activities whenever she could when we're in our stasis pods… judging by the frequencies of…"
The sound of two solid slaps could be heard as the trio entered the elevator upwards.
"A-Aigis-sama?" went the two confused junior androids.
"I'm going to have nice, long and possibly painful talk with Mitsuki the first thing when we get back…" fumed the senior blonde as she hit the button to the floor hard.
Back in the lounge, Mitsuki sat up from her favourite pillow-cushion and had a full body shiver…