Author's Note: I go back to school in two weeks, and I'm gonna start moving my stuff back to my college apartment next week. I have a lot going on in my life right now, but I'll be working on this story whenever I get sudden bursts of inspiration. That's my process: sudden bursts of inspiration and timing. I can't write a single thing if the two don't sync up.
In any event, here's the next chapter: the tension is building between the Squid Faction and the Lemon Shack. Who will bring home victory? And who will be shamed?
"The Invasion Grows"
"Is it hard to invade?"
Erika shivered in fright at the sight before her. "W-w-why are there so many Oneesama's here, degeso?" She cowered behind a table, far away from the Squid Girl helmets that were lined up on the shelves around them. Isumi had decided that for the snowball war, the Southern Winds would be their base of operations. In exchange, however, she had to let the owner and his daughter, Ayumi, be on their team. Of course, Isumi was skeptical, given the old man's track record, but in the end decided they would be tactical officers.
"Ika-neechan is taking this really seriously, isn't she…?" Takeru laughed nervously.
"Of course I am, geso!" Isumi retorted, jumping off the stage. "This war-game is practice for when I invade humanity, so I must give this one-thousand percent, degeso!" Fire lit in her eyes, indicating that she was completely serious about this one.
The Invasion Club, however, seemed to lack Isumi's tension. They had found a table and had gathered around it like they were customers at the restaurant. "This game seems really fun!" Tomomi exclaimed, throwing her hands up in excitement.
"It sure does," Ayano breathed into her hands to warm them up. "It's like we're actually launching an invasion, right?"
"These rules have been really thought through to make sure no one has an advantage over the other," Kiyomi skimmed through the rule sheet that Takeru had given her earlier. "Although, given Ika-chan's motivation, I doubt we'll stand a chance of losing…"
"Don't be so sure about that, little miss…" The Ayumi's father came up to them, hearing their idle chatter. "I was just observing some of my surveillance equipment and found some new intel…" He brought his laptop over to the table. "The Lemon Shack is calling together some more hands to help them…"
"Hmph…" Isumi shrugged it off. "That was why I gave them an hour to fortify themselves, geso…" She walked over to the table. "It wouldn't be in good sport to bowl over them without time to prepare, would it?" She actually had another reason, though. 'Chizuru would be really mad if we just ganged up on them, geso…' She thought to herself. 'Better have her loss seem like a game, geso…'
"Well, your plan may have cost us the advantage," He retorted, showing her a list of people going into the Shack. One look at the list caused the squid's blood to run cold.
"Oh, squid me…."
Sticking out like a sore thumb, a fake Ika Musume head was placed over a lamp post, with its eyes focused on the Lemon Shack…
"Thank you for coming, everyone…" Chizuru announced amidst the wreckage of her shop. "I'd like to apologize for the lack of sitting space, but we're still cleaning up after the 'incident' that happened a few weeks ago…" She put extra emphasis on the word 'incident', directing her displeasure at the guilty shark in the room.
"Yeah, sorry about that, saru…" Satsuki blankly apologized as she leaned against one of the support posts. Everyone could tell that she wasn't even slightly sincere.
The forces that Chizuru had assembled could not have been a more incredible group. Goro, wearing a red jacket and a striped beanie; Sanae, donned in a heavy-looking blue coat; Nagisa, wearing a green, hooded coat; Cindy, sporting a white jacket and an 'Alien-Print' scarf; the three stooges, wearing lab coats that had been buttoned up; and finally Satsuki, wearing a light, black jacket and a new pair of blue jeans, because the ones she had when she arrived were torn.
"I don't know how you do it, Aneki…" Eiko said as she looked around the room. "But you certainly know how to get people on your side…" She turned her attention to Sanae, who was rubbing her hands together for warmth. "Why are you here, though? I was certain you'd go join Isumi and her Invasion Club…"
Sanae looked up, putting on a face of maturity. "Oh, Eiko…" She shook her head in disapproval. "The mysteries of a woman's heart are as vast as the ocean, don't you understand that?" Eiko's vein popped up on her head, but she walked away. As soon as she was far enough away, Sanae turned to face the wall and smiled evilly. 'Once the battle starts, I'll use this as a chance to humiliate those hussies in the Invasion Club, proving to Ika-chan that I am a much more dependable person to be with…' Sanae drifted off into her little world as Chizuru read out the rules for the game.
"Okay, let's see…" Chizuru read aloud. "The object of the game is to capture either the base of the opposing team or its commander. The commander is chosen among the members of the team and is required to remain within twenty feet of the base. The commander is also required to wear a bandana, any color will do, around their left arm. The scarf must be visible to everyone in play…"
"So one of us will have to remain near the Lemon Shack at all times, huh…" Goro thought aloud. "By the way, where is the other team's base?" He asked.
"I think it's the Southern Winds," Chizuru responded. "I tried calling in Ayumi as well, but her father answered the phone, yelling 'You are the enemies this time!' before hanging up." Everyone sweat dropped, remembering that the old man had a habit of getting directly (and sometimes rudely) to the point of anything. The result ended up being his daughter growing up a shy, pretty wallflower that had to hide her face with a mask in order to talk to people.
"Continuing on…" Chizuru cleared her throat. "There are a couple rules for the game: 1) If a player is pegged with a snowball by three separate members of the opposing team, the player is considered 'Captured' and must wait in an area designated by each team. This area is considered the 'Holding Pen'. In-action members cannot step inside the Holding Pen of another team, but Captured players may move about the defined space as long as they do not interfere with the game. If the commander is Captured, the game is over. 2) If a player is in the opposing team's Holding Pen, and two members of the player's team are able to grab onto both of the player's arms, the player is then 'Rescued' and may return to the game immediately following their release from confinement…"
"So even if one of us is Captured, two of us could mount a rescue operation to get them back in the game?" Cindy remarked. "Very interesting…"
"3) In order for a team to capture the opposing team's base, four members of the opposing team must be inside the base, and plant some sort of marker that deems it to be 'Captured'. This marker may be anything, so long as it's completely visible to the opposing commander."
"Marker?" Satsuki yawned. "So…like a flag or something, saru?" She looked around the room. "Do we even have something like that lying around, saru?" Her eye caught a glimpse of Nagisa, who was fidgeting against the wall. "What's wrong with you, saru?" She asked curiously, causing Nagisa to jump.
"Wah!" She put her arms up in defense. "D-d-don't get any closer!" She insisted. "I'm well aware of what you are, and I won't be turning my back on you or your Squid friends!" Nagisa was already nervous about Ika Musume being around, and when her sister washed ashore and almost pulled her under, she started to freak out even worse. When she heard about Same Musume, she considered leaving town for good. However, her delusions went full circle, and she once again felt it was her obligation as a human to remind the ignorant masses of the danger that was right in front of them.
Satsuki shook her head. "Whatever, saru…" She shrugged. "Humans like you leave a bad taste in my mouth anyway, saru…" Nagisa froze in place, obviously taking the shark's comment in a way completely unintended.
"The boundaries for the game are the entire beachfront, the road overlooking it, and the three blocks between the two bases. We are free to fortify each base as we want, so long as it does not compromise the stability of the structure….well that's obvious," Chizuru added, directing her attention to the scientists. "I hope you realize just how important it is for you to follow this rule in particular, right?" She opened her eyes slightly.
"Of course," Harris answered shakily.
"We won't allow any more harm to come to this restaurant," Clark added.
"We have some tools that we've been using in our experiments with the Same-Seijin that would be perfect for a situation like this." Martin pulled some suspicious gadgets from his bag, granting a worried reaction all around.
"Alright, so…" Eiko turned to her sister. "Who's going to be the commander, Aneki? You?" Chizuru thought for a moment.
"Hmm…" She put her finger to her lips, then smiled. "I think it should be Nagisa-san."
"EH!" Nagisa jumped at the mention of her name. "What? Why? Why should I be the commander? Then they'd all come after me!" She was on the verge of having another one of her panic attacks.
"I know, but I feel that out of all of us, you would be the person best at avoiding trouble…" She grinned. "Besides, I'm assigning you a bodyguard…" She turned her gaze to Satsuki.
"No way, saru…" She outright refused. "I don't wanna guard some human who can't even look me in the eye without freaking out, saru…"
"I'll throw in extra dessert with that meal I promised you."
Satsuki moved faster than Nagisa could react, putting her arm around her neck. "She's in safe hands with me, saru!" She declared. "Not one snowball will even touch her so long as I still stand, saru!" Nagisa, frozen with shock, passed out in her arms.
"I guess that's settled then…" Eiko sighed as she pulled out a black handkerchief and tied it around Nagisa's unconscious arm. "I guess all that's left is to set up the base of operations…" She looked at her watch. Thirty minutes till the start of the game. 'Let's see if Isumi is even half the invader she claims to be…'
So the rules have been established. The laws of the battle have been told. What kind of strategies will come into play as this winter warzone gets torn asunder by the ocean's thunder!
...that was a terrible pun. I apologize for coming up with it. In any event, why does no one respond to my question about Kanabe's Journal? I have no motivation or inspiration to pull from if I don't recieve constant criticisms or compliments on my work. So review my work if you want to hear how Ika Musume/Isumi Kanabe came to be born between a human and a Squid Ocean-Walker beauty...
Finally, I know that I have yet to make true the statement I made a few chapters ago, but I'm still working on it. The 'TaKo' is a hard character to write about because we've only ever seen her twice. I refuse to introduce her until I've created a personality, background, and setting that will not shame her mysterious nature, because I am proud to say that I, too, am a fan of this mystery Ocean-Walker, and I will not disgrace her.