A/N: First off, thanks for the reviews! At least i don't feel alone in the universe anymore! Second off, sorry for the delay, but if you've read my stories before, i update randomly. Don't go knocking on my door just because i haven't updated. I rarely answer my door anyway.
Okay, first off, from the first chapter, a lot of people did not know what i meant when i wrote Noel's part "You're a M" is basically a sentence commonly found in anime, and anime related games. It stems from the term S&M, and there are cases where a person is either sadistic (S), or a masochist (M). S is someone who takes pleasure in dishing out pain, and M is someone who takes pleasure in receiving the pain. Disturbing, i know, but it fits the context. Since this game is more or less a Japanese one, with lots of themes coming from the anime termology dictionary, i highly recommend you brush up on your otaku terms, or ask me if you have any questions. I will be using a lot of terms that is common in the anime community, so be prepared.
Another concern people have, Rachel not sounding sophisticated enough. Okay.... this chapter is to satisfy all you who aren't happy with Rachel having her bossy attitude toned down. I went full blast with her here, though i still had to keep it within the RagnaXRachel portion. Another thing i need to say to justify why i toned her down. If you listen to the Japanese voice, not looking at the translations (which i think have more mistakes than my failed exam paper), you will find that Rachel actually doesn't always talk in her bossy, sophisticated manner. In one of Rachel's endings, she actually talked rather kindly to Ragna, and she didn't sound bossy at all. And she doesn't have the sound of bossy attitude towards Noel in the True Story. And come on, even all 'ojou-sama' characters have a break down of their high and mighty air once in a while. My story's Rachel still has her attitude, but she lowers her guard around Ragna and Noel, happy?
Now..... it isn't a big concern, but people say i have mistakes in my chapters.... sure, i do, i admit it. But i don't care. Small things irritate me to no end, but i'm lazy to correct every single mistake i make. Oh yeah, English is my first language. It isn't my mother tongue, but i was brought up speaking english, taught in english, write in english, swear in english. But i'm lazy, and i write my stories like how i talk to others. Lazily. I'm a lazy obsessive compulsive person. What an oxymoron.
Oh yes, i've changed this story to a 'T' rating. Thanks for telling me. Now i can swear all i want, and it would only be a matter of time before i have to change it to 'M'.... speaking of 'M' ratings.... i wonder if anyone would read if i wrote a lemon for this.... but i've not written a lemon in over 4 yrs. Nah, better not.
Okay, now that i'm done with all of that (and lost about half of my readers from my ranting and swearing), let's move on to this chapter. Personally, i don't think it's up to standard, but i needed to get it out. I planned to have Taokaka in by this chapter, but somehow it went on without anyone new appearing. By next chapter, i swear! Oh yeah, i still think my stuff is crap. I just like writing because it keeps me from being bored, and my brain from rotting.
Disclaimer: I don't own Blazblue, but it would be cool if i did.
Cycles of the Unknown
Dogs should keep quiet
if they know what's good for them
The dark shadows around each corner frightened her. It was obvious what she was afraid of, after she had so blatantly shouted it out for all in the vicinity to hear. Each little sound would make her jump, scream, and cling onto his arm like it was an immediate repellent to whatever she was afraid of. Of course, it did work to some extent, his arm being a repellent, that is. Each time she grabbed him squealing, his face would contort to pure irritation, frightening any small critter away. It was amusing to see at first, but maybe it was starting to get old. She sighed, stopping her pace completely after the girl screamed again.
For one, Rachel Alucard was not a very patient person. Her dress was more or less ruined from all of the walking, and her boots were starting to hurt her soles. The vampire had not let on to her two companions the real reason for not using the instant teleportation armagus to get them there. Well, there was the reason she did say, that she wanted to spend more time with them in private, in particular Ragna. Ragna had always intrigued her, not simply because he was a bad mouthed barbarian with possibly no sense of delicacy or grace, and a mouth more foul than an unclean toilet, but because his constant tenacity to keep going. Even in the face of impossible odds, Ragna had always impressed her with his determination to change what should not have been possible to change.
Well, his uncouth side did have its perks as well, though whether that was what she really found intriguing about him was a mystery. Back to her real reason for not using the teleportation armagus. Terumi was a sly one, and he would use any method at his disposal to get what he wants, which meant Noel Vermillion. The former NOL agent had a lot of potential, and she had the ability of commanding the true Azure Grimoire. There was no way Terumi would lose any opportunity to get Noel. The barrier she had set up around the city was more or less sufficient to prevent that slippery worm from doing anything fancy or dramatic, which suited his style. Of course, the part where he disguised himself as a NOL officer was something new that Rachel could not account for.
For that reason alone, Rachel couldn't afford any slip-ups. Terumi could interfere with her armagus, causing her to teleport somewhere random, or worse, right in front of him. Her teleportation armagus didn't work too well once, and she ended up having to go through a long and rather bothersome line of battles that not only ruined her hair, but it made her miss her tea. Rachel's features turned sour the moment she remembered that time. If that sort of situation ever happened again, she would tear Gii a new hole.
"Oi, Usagi, why did you stop?"
Ragna's voice just had to add to her subtle irritation. It was a good thing she was patient. Or at least she hopes she is.
"I'm tired. Ragna, carry me."
Silence from the man in red for five full seconds, which felt like five hours to the group.
Was all he said. She turned to face him, feeling a strange urge to slap Ragna ten times over. She'll have to satisfy herself with one.
Ragna's head could have twisted off if not for his unusually irritating tenacity. Or was it his body construct? That would be partially her fault.
"Wha- WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT FOR YOU DAMN USAGI?!"
"Stop talking, your breath is rotting the air. Now, act like a proper slave, and carry me."
He simply stared at her as though she had just asked a ridiculous request. Was it so ridiculous?
"Who's the slave?!"
"Ara, i don't see any other plebeians around, do you? Now stop your useless banter and kneel down so that i can step on you. You should feel honoured that i have allowed you to even stand within five metres of me."
Does she have to tell him every single time? Maybe his brain is rotting.
Noel's scream made Ragna turn, as well as her clinging onto his arm again like some frightened mouse. Rachel did not bother to turn to what frightened the NOL officer, but she raised a finger, pointing to the point of origin for Noel's fears. A sudden bolt of lightning struck down at that point, frying whatever small critter was trying to distract the group from proceeding further. It was already grating Rachel's nerves that she had to walk in filth, put up with Ragna's barbaric nature, and listen to Noel scream at every single shadow that moves.
"Noel, dear, must your screams get an octave higher each time you are afraid of something that moves in this sewer?"
Rachel tried to ask in her sweetest tone, which must have been awfully frightening, because Ragna and Noel were both now sweating bullets, shaking their heads at her question. Why is Ragna doing it as well when the question was directed to Noel? Well, no matter. Maybe this will control that pea sized brain of his.
"So? I'm waiting, Ragna."
Rachel crossed her arms, staring up at Ragna, who took a moment to remember what Rachel wanted. That moment was far too long. If it was Gii, she would have ripped his head off by now. But this was Ragna. He was useful, and she did have her attachment to him. A certain attachment that she could not really understand why it existed in the first place. Ragna knelt down, and winced at each step she slowly took on his body with her rather large platform shoes. She made herself comfortable on Ragna's shoulder, before the latter got up, muttering something about 'women'.
"You have something to say?"
She questioned him. Ragna simply shook his head casually.
"No, not really."
Rachel looked at Noel from the corner of her eye, and noticed that the NOL officer was having a slight look of irritation. That same look again. Rachel could not help but feel a small sense of victory. And she allowed it to show with a smile that bordered on evil smirk. Noel caught that, and her face was now getting rather angry. Oh dear, it seemed that Rachel had stepped on a rather sensitive landmine. Well, it doesn't matter.
"Hmm? What is it now, 'your highness'?"
Ragna's sarcastic tone didn't go unnoticed, and Rachel slapped him one more time.
"Wha- WHAT THE HELL?!"
"Walk straight, and with grace. You're making my back hurt."
"You mean your butt."
One more slap.
"And watch what you saw to me. Such foul language directed at a lady, you'll be lucky if your words don't rot my ears. This is why I dislike untrained servants."
Rachel sighed, shaking her head. Ragna snorted at that comment, still continuing to walk on with her on his shoulder.
"Then why bother making me one?"
Ragna grumbled. Rachel looked at Ragna, curious herself why she is so intent on watching over him. His rough character, his uncouth mannerism, his unwanted smell of sweat, blood, and dirt. Why did she ever choose him? Why did she want to be close to him? To watch over him? She did not know, and maybe she would never know. Rachel smiled to that thought. Something that she did not know the outcome, or future to. It somehow sounded nice in her head.
"What now? Another slap?"
Rachel reached over, and kissed him lightly on the cheek. That made Ragna's face go immediately red. As for Noel, she was in shock, again.
Ragna was stunned for the moment, and Noel blew her top.
"WHAT WAS THAT?! HEY! YOU'VE GONE TOO FAR!"
Rachel turned to Noel with another mischievous smile on her face. Though she had to wonder why she did kiss him on the cheek. It was merely on impulse, and yet that lone impulse in itself was a puzzle that Rachel could not comprehend. She had always thought through things carefully, always calculative, or so she hopes to be. This act of impulse was something she needed to understand. No, maybe she did understand, but she did not want to accept it.
"Oh? And what exactly have i gone too far with?"
Rachel looked on with certain amusement at Noel's flustering attempts to get Rachel away from Ragna.
"And how does it concern you?"
"I-i-i-i.... DAMMIT IT JUST DOES! GET AWAY FROM RAGNA!"
"And you finally started calling him by name. Before you only called him 'you', or 'Ragna the Bloodedge'. Ragna, since when did she start being so formal with you?"
Rachel turned to Ragna, who had somehow recovered his former composure, and now looked rather indifferent.
"I didn't do anything."
"Hmm... and that reminds me. I do not recall allowing you to call me by that ungraceful nickname."
"You don't like to be called 'usagi'?"
"I'm not an animal. I am a lady who needs proper respect."
"I do not recall allowing you to call me by my name."
Ragna recoiled from the slap, nearly losing his balance.
"Wha- THEN WHAT SHOULD I CALL YOU BY?!"
"Hmm... 'master' should do just fine."
"Don't look my way when you talk to me."
Rachel sighed, brushing her hair aside. Noel had calmed down a bit, and to be honest, she looked rather amused at how Ragna was getting slapped about by Rachel, albeit slightly irked that Rachel was sitting on Ragna's shoulder, and that Rachel was the one having all of the interactions with Ragna. Rachel knew how little Noel felt about Ragna. That small feeling that had grown within her ever since they met in the depths of the cauldron. No matter how much Noel denies that feeling, it would only grow stronger. Rachel smiled at that thought. She wasn't one to talk about others on this. She too, had realized the small feeling within her that longed for the shinigami in red.
The parts she hated about him were also the parts she liked about him. Strange and contradictory. If Kokonoe heard about this, she would no doubt start to rant on about how illogical that was. But you should never ask a mad scientist, who thinks attaching a rocket punch to her subordinate is fun, about that one feeling. Rachel placed a hand against her own chest, feeling the slow rhythmic beat of her heart. She had always been calm, always knew what to do, though at times her boredom did cause her to do irrational things.
But Ragna, the very thought of him made her heart beat a little faster. Just a little. This ache that would never go away till she was by his side. The feeling that kept festering within her no matter what she did. She knew what this was. This was the most irrational feeling, the most illogical, and the most worthless emotion of all. Yet it was the one emotional that had fueled many endevours, that gave strength to those who needed it. In the face of all adversities, it still persists. This was lov-
Ragna screamed so loudly that Rachel thought she would go death.
"WHAT THE HELL-"
Now Rachel's hand was feeling rather swollen from slapping Ragna around. But hers still didn't compare with Ragna's now swollen face, which had grown to the size of a melon.
"Don't scream at me, do you want me to go deaf? What a useless servant. And didn't i just say that you were not allowed to talk to me? Your very breath is detrimental to my complexion."
Ragna did not even want to argue back, so he just kept walking. He probably thought he would get slapped again if he said something stupid, then again, he probably thought he would get slapped anyway if he said anything at all. As for Rachel, her face was still holding onto its emotionless and uncaring expression. Though if one were to look closely, you would notice that her cheeks were slightly pink. Rachel managed to stop herself from thinking too deeply before, and it would have been dangerous to go any deeper. That was why she slapped him. In denial of her feelings, and trying to correct her thoughts.
If her thoughts betrayed her now, who knows what could happen. Maybe nothing would happen. Nothing would come out of it. Rachel knew what drove Ragna so far, what had been his sole reason for carrying on. And it wasn't her. Rachel had watched countless cycles of the endless tragedy that had unfolded before her. She was powerless to do anything, merely standing by the sidelines as the silent spectator. But when the cycle was finally broken, she found excitement in exploring something new. Yet, at the same time, she was afraid. Afraid of things that weren't predictable, that she could not foresee. Things that she wasn't prepared for. Like people's hearts. His heart.
Rachel placed her hand on his cheek, the sore point a mere red by now. Pain was all she could give him. Pain and suffering. The help she could offer him seemed miniscule, mere words of encouragement, and guiding him to the right place. But weren't they for her own agenda? Still, Ragna didn't care about that. He followed her words, he fought hard against the fate that was laid before him. He survived.
"Usagi? What, you're going to give me another slap?"
Ragna asked lazily, not caring what she did to him anymore. What more could she do to his cheek in one day? Wait, better not answer that.
"... Ragna, do you hate me?"
Rachel wondered if all of the things she did to him made him hate her. Not that she should care, but it did make her heart heavy just thinking about it.
"What's with this question all of a sudden?"
"Just answer it."
Ragna paused in thought, while still trudging through the damp and flooded sewers. The pause made Rachel feel uncomfortable. If it were Gii or Nago, she would have shocked them till they burned into dust. And just when Rachel's agitation was reaching its peak, Ragna answered.
"Not really. I mean, you do slap me around, order me to do stupid things like i'm a slave, bad-mouth me, insult me, and almost killed me a couple of times, but no. I don't hate you."
That answer made Rachel smile a little. Maybe not knowing what the future holds, or what lay in people's hearts wasn't so bad after all.
"That was one word too many, slave."
After all, all she wanted to know was something so simple. For her the only reason she wanted to hear, was one that would take up three simple words.
The Wheels of Fate are Turning