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Chapter Thirteen: System Restart
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I ran a hand through my jade green hair. Earlier, for merely comfort purposes, I had revealed my wings, which I knew where a spring green with tendrils of darker shades, although the dark of the cell hid them from view. Now, and unexpected development had occurred. A pair of glowing symbols had split through the darkness. Kokoro, obviously, made no comment. Her eyes were no longer functional, due to the less than gentle way we had been treated when that Naminatae bitch had found us.
First, I notice the light blue symbol for six, Roku (六), that had radiated from Kokoro's collar. At this, I had notice the green glow coming from below, and upon examination, my eyes narrowed at the light green symbol for seven, nana (七) that had appeared.
I closed my eyes and leaned back against the wall. A gentle hand met the side of my face, and I opened my eyes to see Kokoro's innocent face, her expression serious as a blue glow emitted from her hand. It was a gentle, soothing feeling that followed as the skin on the side of my head knitted back together.
Ageha Kokoro was more than just a delicate Tsubasa, but also vessel for hundreds upon thousands of Nanites, little micro-robots that healed Ageha specifically. Our cell structure was too complex to heal itself within a reasonable amount of time, so Kokoro's ability was indispensable. It was her role to heal her sisters, and she did so compulsively.
Roles. They each had one. Ageha Nozomi was the Counselor, the leader. Ageha Yume had been the Overseer, the one who made sure we were all functioning properly. Ageha Shinrei, she was known as the Gatherer, the one who would bring us together. Ageha Hana was the Performer, the one that gave us happiness. Ageha Ai was known as the Archivist and she would remember every little thing that ever happened. Kokoro was the Healer. I… I was the Protector, and I had watched over the more fragile ones in our group, Kokoro, Hana, and Yume, because hearts are easily broken, flowers wilt without proper care, and dreams can be shattered. Muteki, the youngest among us, had a role I never understood. She was called the Savior. When I asked Maker about it, he simply smiled and said that only Ageha Ai was allowed to know. It was a frustrating answer, but I made do with it.
As my wound healed, I quietly thanked my sister, and shortly after fell asleep.
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The Ageha Who is a Mother
I couldn't believe my luck.
I made sure I not only woke up before Kyo, but also that I covered my chest well. The glowing orange symbol was annoying, and I had no idea what had set it off. I prepared breakfast and packed Kyo's lunch before leaving for the market to sell the apples, writing a note saying where I was going and when I expected to be back.
The market was unusually busy today. Stopping at the usual vendor, I lifted the heavy load of apple onto the table and grinned. "Ten pecks," I stated as the vendor's eyes bugged.
"Ten pecks?" he exclaimed. "Wow, Amane, you've out done yourself this time! I don't think I can pay for it all."
Smiling, I replied, "That's fine. Consider what's left over a gift for you and your family. I've got a couple pecks left at home, and I'll bring some pie in tomorrow, if you'd like."
He nodded happily, "That would be great!" He reached into his pocket and pulled out a coin purse. "So, how much do I owe ya?"
I was about to reply, but a woman with auburn hair walked up to the stand. "Excuse me, but my dimwitted companions would like a snack. How much for three apples?"
"Make that four, Kohaku!" a man called.
She turned to the voice, "Not you, too, Yokawa?" she sighed, and turned back to the vendor, "Make that four."
"Wait a minute!" an oddly familiar voice called. My eyes widened. No… it couldn't be! "I KNOW THAT HAIR!"
Suddenly, two forms plowed into me from behind. I struggled to stay upright, only being able to keep myself up by grabbing ahold of the fruit vendor's stall.
I looked at the two girls that tackled me, and I was left speechless. The childish face, the dark blue eyes, the sandy blond hair of Ageha Hana. The slender, delicate form, the turquoise eyes, the golden hair of Ageha Muteki. "Nozomi-nee!" they cried in harmony.
"H – H – Hana… and Mu – Muteki, as well…" I stuttered, "How… why are you here?"
The auburn haired woman snorted. "The other night we were woken up by this overzealous one," she poked her finger at Hana, "Who decided that just because both of them had a dream and glowing chests, that we had to leave immediately to go look for the rest of their sisters."
"Now you can come with us to help us look for the others!" Muteki exclaimed.
My face fell. No. I couldn't leave to help look for my little sisters. It may seem selfish, but I had too much here to leave behind. Too many responsibilities. I opened my mouth, about to speak, when suddenly…
"Mommy, mommy, mommy! Katsuro's being a meanie again!"
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I smiled when I noticed the little kids. Kids were cute, and I generally liked them.
It was when I noticed to whom they were running to that I began to freak out.
The little girl ran right up to Nozomi, her little hands tugging on Kazu-Ichi's green skirt. "Mommy, mommy! Katsuro ate my pancake!"
"Did not!" the little brown-haired boy refuted.
"Kids, kids," a man's voice said. I looked to see who had spoken, to see a man with light brown hair like the boy's and grayish eyes like the girl's. He was rather handsome, but not in that pretty boy way Ryu was. More in a fatherly way. He picked up the little boy in arms and leaned in to plant a kiss on Nozomi's cheek. "What's up with that, leaving so early?" he asked with a happy tone.
Ageha Nozomi gave a meek smile. "I need to get some stuff for lunch, and I wanted to beat the late-morning crowd."
He nodded and laughed. "Understandable."
My mind was blank. This entire situation was completely and totally impossible. Utterly unfathomable. Absolutely absurd. In entirety inconceivable.
Does not compute.
Does not compute.
Does not compute.
Apparently, Hana was in the same exact state as I, because the man and kids were looking as us oddly, and I was snapped out of it by Yokawa waving a hand in front of my face. I jumped, startled out of my trance.
Kazu-Ichi seemed snapped her fingers, "Ah, yes, Kyo, these are my younger sisters, Hana and Muteki."
He seemed confused. "I thought you said you had no family, Nozomi," he said.
She blinked. "It seems I was wrong."
"So," Kohaku began, "You're Ageha Nozomi?"
Nozomi shook her head. "That's my maiden name. I'm Amane Nozomi now."
"That's – that's –that's – that's – that's – that's – that's…" I repeated, staring at the children, "That's – that's – that's…" I blinked, "They're yours, right? You didn't… adopt them?"
The elder sister sighed. "Yes, Imoto-chan, I gave birth to these children, Chikaya and Katsuro."
My head was spinning. No… no… "Kazu-Ichi, but how?"
She smiled a lopsided grin. "Well, it all starts when a man and woman love each other very much…"
"No, no, no! Not that how!"
Does not compute.
Initiating Primary System Precaution Functions.
System Shut Down imminent. Would you like to continue operations?
The world was spinning. This made no sense. No sense… nonsense… Nonsense. Definition: One, words or language having little or no sense or meaning. Two, conduct, action, etcetera, that is senseless, foolish, or absurd. Three, impudent, insubordinate, or otherwise objectionable behavior. Four, something absurd or fatuous. Five, anything of trifling importance or of little or no use. Noun. Adjective form: Nonsensical. Abverb: Nonsensically. Alternative Noun Forms: Nonsensicalness; nonsensicality.
Vocabulator Systems functional. Continue System Evalutation?
System Shut Down imminent. Continue operations?
Shutting down… shutting down… shutting down…
For a moment, my entire vision went dark. I could see nothing, feel nothing, think nothing. It was like I just… was.
Startup sequence initiated…
Running Primary Restart Functions…
I gasped, my eyes flying open as I frantically gasped for breath, taking in my surroundings. Murasaki was standing next to me, and others were gathering. We were in a house. A house of some sorts.
Running Primary and Secondary Cognitive Functions…
What had just happened? I opened my mouth to speak, but no words came out.
Running Primary Speech and Vocabulator Functions…
"W – what's happening?" I gasped out.
Running Primary Motor Functions…
Testing Primary Motor Functions…
Without warning, I twitched. It felt odd, for it was an extremely small movement, yet it seemed big, as my whole body was preforming it.
System Evaluations Complete…
System complications have lowered life span by ten.
System is nearing age 8-7…
System has three(3) years to live.
Initiating Last Functions…
System needs the file 'Purpose' in order to run Last Functions.
Searching System for 'Purpose'…
No results for the query 'Purpose'.
'Purpose' has been deleted by User: Archivist
See User: Archivist to restore deleted files.
Everything just… evened out. I inhaled deeply, and exhaled slowly.
"What the hell… was that?"
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During the chaos, I went outside where no one would hear me.
I took out my cell phone and dialed.
I tapped my foot impatiently until the phone was picked up.
"Hello, this is Ravenheart Flooring. How can I help you?"
Checking around me, I made sure there was no one to listen in. I said quietly. "You can always try putting the flooring on the ceiling," it was dumb password, but hey, I didn't make it up. "This is Undercover Agent Kogasu. Please connect me to Red Leader."
There was a silence. "Okay, Kogasu. You check out. Connecting you to Red Leader."
Another short silence. This one was greeted by a smooth voice. "Eh? Kogasu? What've you got for me?"
"The Ageha Muteki is malfunctioning," I said simply, without any emotion or such, "If I may go out on a limb here, I'd say we have less time than we thought before they all turn."
"I'll tell-" there was a slight struggle. I held the phone from my ear until it calmed.
"Hello," came a flat, inflectionless voice. It was more high pitched, and I assumed it was a small girl. "You are Kogasu Kohaku, correct? I am Ageha Yume. Now, tell me, how is Imoto-chan malfunctioning? I may have caused it by accident."
"She gradually started panicking, and she had this dumb look on her face like she wasn't understanding a thing that was said. Then she fainted, and after about fifteen minutes, she woke, gasping for breath. At first she still seemed confused, then she suddenly seemed intelligent again. She tried to speak, but at first she couldn't, and shortly after she regained the ability to speak, she began twitching. At the end of all this, she was completely normal."
"… Imoto-chan… is… but… she should have thirteen more years before…"There was a silence. "Kogasu Kohaku, keep Ageha Muteki at her current location. I am going to examine her situation myself."
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A/N: The chapter itself was EXACTLY 2,000 words. :D
Anyways. Computer sequences like that are fun to write. But I've just unintentionally complicated my own already complicated plot. Gaah… And yes, in case you didn't quite get it, Kogasu Kohaku is an agent of Shinsei Karasu.
Someday, just because of the effort that's gone into the complexity of this, I may re-work it as an original fiction. It's BARELY a fan-fiction now.