Author notes: Hello it's time for a new chapter of Replay today, so beginning this chapter the story won't really follow a game plot, so every chapters from now on will take even more time but eventually we'll reach the end, I hope.
Chapter 12: 0-3=?
How many more time will I see this scenery? White as far as one can see and in the distance a giant slot. How long will I stay here alone? With some luck not that much time.
"Get out!" I scream there is no echo. "You better show yourself fairy book!" From the slot come out a single black butterfly who soon change form becoming something bigger and more human looking. A blond short haired girl with tanned skin, bare feet and wearing a black robe, a pair of purple weirdly shaped wing was sticking out behind her back, betraying her inhumanity, she was pretty small and was sitting on a floating book, reminding me of someone else.
"Yo Darksty how is it going." She closed her eyes, grated he teeth together as a vein popped on her forehead.
"Why is everyone calling me that!? The name is Croire you little shit, try to remember that or has you memory also rusted away? You dumb sword." She is award of my nature, it is normal, it is not our first meeting after all.
"It was you that greeted me after I took this form." Her face relaxed and she smiled impishly.
"Yep, how was it? I'm a good actress, you totally bought into it without a second thought, what a gullible foul." My eyes narrowed. I did not comment on the fact that since I never saw Histoire, at the time, I could not compare her acting with the actual person.
"What is your goal?" She looked at me like I was asking how to breath.
"Make thing interesting of course." And this justifies ruining the life of dozen of people? I asked her if she knew the goddesses, she frowned.
"Yeah, we meet in my past and theirs future, after they got in my way I used the power I got to make history fun..." A wide smile formed on her face. "...And do you believe it I got the chance to mess with theirs past by pure coincidence and so I decided to set the game difficulty on hard mode for them." Gamindustry fall was never meant to be and did not happen, she mad it happen. "But then the new history was so boring, Gamindustry slowly decaying? I won't wait that long and I couldn't speed the process so I decided to have some fun with you." Take Gehaburn fuss it with an innocent human and send it in the past.
"So it was you, disguised as Histoire, that send me back." I smiled. "That simplifies things greatly send me back again." She looked at me suspicious.
"I have no reason to help you in any way, go struggle pitifully on your own like you always did." Kinda expected this answer.
"You and I are linked." I patted my stomach. "I could very much let the world be in this state forever." She laughed it of saying she could easily make me reset the world by force. I agreed but... "There is nothing preventing me from doing the same thing over and over and over and over and over..." I kept repeating the word till she exploded and shot in anger.
"Shut up! I've get it! But you really think the enemy will help you? And I can't fix this timeline anyway" I waved my hand.
"Listen, I'm gonna show you something interesting, in exchange you send me in the game once again."
"It's a deal so you want to go back when you rescued the crybaby candidate right?" I said no with my head.
"I want you to send me three years into the past before the CPUs got captured." Her eyes widened and her face broke again into her impish smile.
"That's interesting!" She snapped her finger, a bluish dark flame began to envelope the border of the slot soon it died down and everything was as it was before. "Done, this power is really fun to us." I passed her heading to the slot. "Thank you little pest." I broke into a run. I had realized something: I can't win, I don't have the time, resource, or abilities, ASIC grew stronger during those 3 years during which the CPUs lost theirs strength but if I can reverse the situation by going just before the shit went down then I'll be able to reach...I Jump into the slot. "My happy end!"
The thing I did not think through was where I would pop out. The place where I would suddenly appear out of nowhere without any warning and crashing at high speed, this proved to be quite problematic.
"Noire, I don't want to meddle into what doesn't concern me but there is someone on top you." After hearing Vert voice I quickly got up and took a few step back, yeah I had just landed on Noire and like the first time I felt insanly quick from the sky, for a first impression, leading to a trustful relationship allowing me to convince them to change theirs actions and thus save everyone, I can, forget about it, I'm actually surprised I did not OK.O her.
"How dare you!" Neptune posted herself in front of me, and pointed her index just in front of my face, she is very protective of her friend as Isee. "What are you trying to pull?! A random guy falling from the sky, landing near the goddesses? Are you trying to steal my protagonist title? I won't let it go this way!"Or she could be a selfish brat wanting to hog the spotlight. Great I've meet them for only 2 minute and they are already antagonizing me, I could swear Croire mad me land here on purpose, next time I die...I feel sad for thinking about naturally assuming I would die.
"Stop blabbering unimportant thing Neptune, someone just felt from the sky, on top of me, just as we were heading out to an important mission talk about suspicious." Noire was glaring at me pretty intensely, I have to find a good excuse.
"I was sky diving that's all you know like cool kid do." Well at least I think they do, Arch wasn't one.
"Why don't you have a parachute then." Pointed Blanc.
"Oh I knew I had forgotten something!" I need to play dumb, because being smart would be too out of the norm .
"You forgot something that vital?" Well you forgot about a hug power-up and a few allies before attacking ASIC, that went well
"I've a very bad memory." It'll most likely pose problem later but right now I really need them to leave me alone to...wait Noire talked about an important mission didn't she? Crap I need to find a subtle way to bring this topic back to figure if it's what I'm fearing it is.
"Let's stop harassing him, everyone." Began Vert. "We need to solve the trouble at the Graveyard quickly so that I can go finish my game before the sequel come out." Wow plot convenience literally is everywhere, why doesn't it happen when I try to get the good end?
"Maybe I should check on Nep. Jr, she's taking her sweet ass time." From the little I've seen them interact I remember that this is how she call Nepgear, this confirm to me that this mission is the attack against ASIC that will lead to theirs 3 years imprisonment. I open my mouth shortly before Neptune leave.
"I'm really sorry for the incident and to have taken so much of your important time, I'll be leaving at once."I bowed as low as I could.
"Now that's a well educated and respectful gentlemen, those are rare those time." Said Blanc.
"Since you've apologized and you're kinda funny I let you off the hook this time." I dashed away, the goal was to get ahead of Neptune, hid, wait for her to pass, follow her and then think of something to prevent them from going to the graveyard.
As I tail her, I begin to recognize where she is going, the Neptower, the highest place in Planeptune where Nepgear would make her speech after becoming a CPU, thinking about this really scramble my head, I don't know what tense to use, it's my past but the future in general. I make my way through the bush, zigzag between the trees on the right side of the main road to keep myself out of her line of sight, she is happily trotting whistling along the way, her carefree way really make thing easier for me, since she isn't paying attention to her surrounding I can relax a little.
"Hum?" As I was thinking that she suddenly turn her head in my general direction, did I make some sound? "Toooh!" She suddenly dash out of the main route like a missile named Bill, I barely have the time to dive behind a tree before she'd crashed into me, did she noticed me. I timidly peak out of my hiding spot. She looking around obviously searching something, this is bad! "Hmm, it was around here I think..." She definitely noticed me, I have to come up with an excuse. What am I thinking? There is no excuse I can make that justify tailing her, I have to ensure she doesn't find me. She slowly edge closer to my hiding spot, still humming, I expect my heart to burst through my chest from how hard it's beating, nervousness is really an annoying feeling. Neptune stop for a moment and turn her back to me. Now. I burst trough my hiding spot, break into a mad run and quickly hid on the other edge, with the road separating us I should be okay. "Haha! Found you!" That was kinda unexpected before I could resign myself I notice that Neptune is still on her side and is holding some sort of grass in the air while humming some copyrighted song. "This is exactly what I needed to synthesize some medicine, I was sure it was around." Apparently she was just looking for ingredient, I sigh in relief. She then dash again in my direction. Are you kidding me? It appear that tailing an hyperactive person with a short attention span is a lot harder than expected. The whole tailing consisted of me running from hiding spot to hiding spot because Neptune kept killing monster, collecting item and other stuff, of course the whole ordeal took longer than it was supposed to since she wasn't advancing in a straight line. I was pretty much out of breath, my legs on fire, barely standing by the end of it. She entered the Neptower, normally it'll be harder for her to pull the same shit inside but anything goes and I don't have the time to think about it or catch my breath, I follow suit. Inside the tower thing become easier while there is less hiding spot there is also no random items around, so Neptune doesn't run around as much and since she has a very small attention span she doesn't really notice me. After climbing close to the top she irrupt in a room.
" , are you finally ready? Today is "bring your child to your workplace" day and since your my little sister you'll do just fine."
"Ah, big sis, wait a sec I'm preparing some survival tools that might come in handy."
"Arr, that's boring and useless since I'm gonna blast the bad guy super easily with my totally broken Neptune Break!" If only she knew. "Come one I want you to see how cool I am so that you buy me pudding." I need to think of a quick way to delay theirs departure... now that I look from here over the window we're quit high. Neptune is waiting for Nepgear while looking outside the window open, that remind me of something Compa told, on how she met Neptune. Silent like a ninja, not the kind slaying demons, with my barely touching the ground,I wordlessly get behind Neptune it's the kind of situation where I need a cardboard box, once behind her I notice how small she is, she look just like a child marveling at the wonder of the world, when I think about what ASIC made her go through I'm filled with anger and hunger, never gonna get rid of that bad habit. I strengthen my resolve, swearing again to protect her and the CPUs...
Then I kick her in the ass sending her over the window.
"Nepuuuuuuu!?" A loud crash resound in the whole nation, seriously how much does she weight to make that much noise? Had a giant robot crashed it would have made less. She probably should go easy on the pudding. Immediately after sending her over the edge, I dash out of the tower heading straight to the impact point trying to be the first on the scene, the goal is to pass it has I was passing through when she crashed. I quickly look around no one just Neptune the feet in the air her head buried in the ground...I hope I did not kill her. I look in the direction form where Neptune and I came and see the other CPUs hurrying along.
"My goodness!" I don't even need to turn my head to know that Nepgear had come out of the tower and just discovered her sister body. Since I was on the scene first I'm asked what happened. I lie and tell a story I had devised in preparation of this event, I tell them I was going home when suddenly something fell and crashed in front of me, I had practiced enough in my head to be able to answer any question quickly and natuarlly. As they discussed what just happened I got volunteered to carry her to Compa, the other CPUs decided to cancel the expedition for the time being and to wait till Neptune state is made clear. The unconscious CPU is surprisingly lighter than expected, at least way more than she should be compared to the huge crater we're leaving behind. We went to Compa house and dropped the unconscious goddess on her bedroom. Compa commented on how similar to her first meeting with her the situation was. I did it on purpose. Compa head to attend to Neptune.
"I'm gonna patch her wound, just wait here." Staying alone with Nepgear is not my favorite situation honestly.
"By the way mister why did you come along." Well and she have to question me huh? I know how Nepgear is if I say I want to repay Neptune or even that I'm just tagging along out of good will, it'll go swimmingly and it does she doesn't question my motive further on the other hand...
"Argh!" Upon hearing a dying scream we run upstairs, in the room Compa is applying the first aid to Neptune by suffocating her, I kinda forgot she wasn't that good of a nurse. Heh at least Neptune is awake now, blue from the lack of oxygen, with irreparable brain trauma from the fall and suffocation but awake. I leave and let Nepgear handle the rest, yeah Neptune is also close to nude and thus it's not appropriate for a young man to stay here, also getting a dead end because of that would be ridiculous. now that Neptune is awake, decently dressed and recovered enough come the moment of truth.
"Nice to meet you my name is Neptune but you can call Nep-Nep, I'm the awesome protagonist of this series and mysterious amnesic heroine."
"What the goodness! What do you mean you've lost your memory big sis!?" A smile curl on my lips, now that I've gained some time, I just have to place the players on the correct case and manipulate them accordingly to get to the desired event: ASIC destruction. So as for when they face any kind of set back ranging from "ASIC is taking control of Gamindustri" to " We don't have any milk anymore!" they asked Histoire for help.
"So that's the situation." Histoire began to ponder before answering
"As thing are we'll have to postpone the attack on ASIC till Neptune get her memory back."Yeeeees.
"But Histoire do you really think the other CPUs will simply wait and stay put till Neptune is healed?" Asked IF, due to the pressing situation and that one of her best friend got hurt she immediately rushed to our location once Compa called her.
"The possibility that they attack on there own exist."Not only does it exist it's around 99.9 sure they will do this stupid thing. The amnesiac Neptune opened her mouth.
"It's okay even if I don't remember anything, I can take care of any baddies and if thing turn for the worst I'm sure my secret power will awaken granting me strength to wipe the floor with anyone while at the same time making me look totally cool." Alright my turn.
"If only there was some sort of secret and powerful entities hidden in each Nations that could lend us its strength to fight ASIC and heal Neptune." Histoire gasped, raised her head, her eyes wide open, having figured something.
"Of course, there is a way: the mascotes." My inner smile widened even more. The plan turned the same as after we waked Nepgear up.
"While you search for the mascotes location we're gonna do some quest with Neptune to gauge if her abilities were affected by her memory loss." Last time I got smashed by a dogoos, can't we jump straight to when you kiss her?
I'm not gonna suffer through another long, convoluted series of side quest to teach Neptune the rope anew, one tutorial is already too much. And more importantly I have lot of planning to do, since I'm accompanying Neptune I'll be consistently respawning near her, so it is better to be prepared against as much contingency as possible...
"Look it's one of the wanted monster." Of course…
"Wait big sis don't rush like this!" ...since I can't explain all of this to them, I am forced to follow them and be ill prepared, thing can never go my way, huh? Neptune as usual charged alone and ahead against one of the monster we needed to kill, however.
"This isn't the right one! This one is way stronger!" Exclaimed IF, it's a palette swapped one affected by ASIC virus and now, the amnesiac goddess is facing alone a monster that need a full party to be dealt with and of course she can't access her HDD yet. "Gear, go HDD immediately we need to take care of this thing if we want to rescue Neptune!" Ordered our dear chief IF, Nepgear obliged, a white light flashed and in place of her usual attire and weapon Nepgear was now wearing a white bodysuit and wielding a cross between a gun and a sword. I addressed the newly transformed candidate
"I'm getting her away from the monster when your line of sight is clear shoot it!" I ran in the monster direction being the fastest of the group I made it in time and kicked Neptune out of the monster path and now I'm facing it alone. The monster charge at me and try to bite me, this kind of remind me of that time when I saved Nepgear sorry ass, yeah then Cave saved mine, the monster is now inch from my face, no one is gonna save me this time I threw all those relation away, I've never meet Cave but anyway I don't need to be rescued anymore.
I crouched before lunging myself forward, using my body as both a bow, and a arrow, I pass under the monster and he pass over my head suddenly an energy blast hit it on the side of its stomach sending it crash into the ground, the other then join me, the blast came from Nepgear weapon of course and with her teammate she make short work with the monster.
"This is so unfair." Complained Neptune as we were heading back to the Basilicom. "I'm the elder, I should be the cool looking one taking care of threat, rescuing and protecting my little sister..." She threw her arm in the air. "...so why does she have this super cool and sexy transformation and I don't!?"
"Calm yourself big sis you do have it too and your more awesome." Nepgear tried to calm her.
"And your boobs get way bigger when you transform." I said jokingly, in passing.
"That's not really..." Nepgear was however cut short by Neptune who began to invade a little too much my private space.
"How much do they grow? Do I grow in other part too? How does my ass look like? Do I become a super-sexy goddess?" I pushed her with my hands, apparently being annoying is her very nature.
"Just transform and discover it yourself." I said
"Alright, super-sexy-cool-purple transformation goooo!" Nothing, I sincerely hope she did not break the part controlling the transformation that would be bad.
"Would you stop screwing around you two, Histoire called us because she located the mascote the sooner we get it, the sooner Neptune will be cured." I addressed Neptune.
"Apparently if you kiss IF it'll make you go HDD." Neptune began to assault IF under the worried look of Nepgear and interested one of Compa. Familiars faces but different situation and relation, I'll keep going and fighting in this world and time. Be ready Arfoire we're taking you down.
Author notes: So for a while I've been searching for a beta reader for this story with mixed result at the moment finding one would be too time consuming and I have other thing to deal with sadly. If I find one and that previous chapters end up corrected I'll be sure to notify you. Thank you for reading. That's all folks.