Author's Note: As usual, if there are any grammar errors, plot holes or any other things which you feel can be improved, feel free to drop me a PM or Review about it. Constructive criticism will be taken into consideration while flaming will be ignored and used to roast vegetables for my bunnies. Also, I try not to create Mary Sues and Gary Stus. If the (accidental) creation occurs, please inform me and I will rectify it ASAP.
Thank you and enjoy the story!
I do not own MÄR Heaven and everything in it. I only own my OCs.
Explainations regarding ÄRMs come from Marpedia.
"Holy fucking shit!" I yelled as I fell from the bloody SKY of all things.
The sky was dark, not because it was in the night, but because the air was filled with soot. I closed my eyes and covered my nose and mouth with my hand to prevent the soot from getting in. After what felt like an eternity of falling, I slammed hard into an object and broke through it before slamming into another object.
"Shit… That hurt…" I grumbled, coughing at all the dust flung up due to the heavy impact.
I blinked and looked up, only to see a group of awed and bewildered people gathered around me. I laughed nervously and looked at the people. They were dressed simply, with plain tunics or vests and trousers for the males while the females wore nondescript dresses.
"Get off me, you oaf!" A muffled voice shouted from under me.
Oops. I leapt off like my behind was on fire and turned to see who I crushed. A middle-aged man who looked no older than thirty glared at me from his spot on the ground of a destroyed house. He sat up and grumbled about wrenched shoulders and backs before rubbing said abused spots.
"Kid, what do you eat? You weigh a bloody tonne! It's ridiculous how heavy girls are these days…" The man complained, levelling an accusing finger at me.
"What the…! I do not weigh a tonne! And I'm not a girl! I'm male in case you can't see, you blind old fool!" I countered hotly, my fists clenched to my side as I glared daggers at him.
"I'm only twenty-eight, you insolent brat! You wouldn't look like such a girl if you don't have long hair! Pansy!" He bellowed back, face slightly red from either anger or exertion.
"I do not have long hair! It only reaches my… back?! What the..!" I shrieked loudly like a little girl, though I would vehemently deny it later and claim that it was a manly shout.
"Ha! Who's the blind fool now?" The man laughed, clutching his belly while pointing a finger at me.
"Urk…" My face reddened in embarrassment.
"And where's my apology? You're the one who crashed through the wall of MY house and landed on MY back!" He demanded.
I knew that it was my fault this time so I decided to do the right thing and apologise, no matter how much I wanted to beat the snot out of this man.
"Sorry, old man." I apologised sulkily, my face positioned pointedly away from his surprised gaze.
"Well I'll be… You actually have manners! Though the old man bit was rather unnecessary…" He said, seeming to have gone into shock.
"Shut it, you geezer!" I yelled, my face turning redder in what I hope the others interpreted as anger instead of embarrassment.
"I'm not a geezer, you little eggplant! How did you crash into my place anyway? Chess Pieces punted your puny little ass in?" He teased with a wide grin that made him look like a bloody playground stalker since his rather thick eyebrows were wiggling like caterpillars.
"Yeah, yeah… Whatever you say… Who're the Chess Pieces? Bullies in the town?" I asked, curious to know more about this world.
"B-Bullies in the town? Are you joking?! They're an evil group bent on taking over MÄR Heaven! What rock have you been living under?" He exclaimed while the other villagers stared at me in disbelief.
"I'm not from around here. I'm… From a village that's still unsullied by the Chess Pieces… Yet…" I said slowly, wondering if I should disclose my identity of being from another world.
"I sure can see that!" The man snorted before shooing the other villagers away from his home.
"Repair whatever you can first! I'll deal with the more serious ones later! And bury the dead, for MÄR's sake!" He yelled after them before slamming his door shut.
The man ran to get some wooden boards and hammered them into the hole I fell through speedily and skilfully before taping a piece of cloth over it. He gestured me to take a sit on one of the rickety wooden chairs, which I did out of politeness. He sat on a chair opposite of me and looked at me seriously.
"You're not from this world, aren't you?" He asked quietly, steel hidden in his voice.
I gulped and ruminated over whether to tell the entire truth or not; that I came through a gate guarded by a wraith that had a clown's face with crossed eyes. The man gazed at me intently with tensed shoulders and seemed ready to attack me if I were to be hostile or lie.
'Well, might as well tell the truth… It's not like lying will get me anywhere in a foreign world…' I thought to myself.
"I… I come from a parallel world. I entered through a strange gate that had the face of a clown with crossed eyes." I started, staring at the man to gauge his reaction.
He looked shocked, which was understandable. After all, it's not like there's a lot of people from parallel worlds, I think…
"Y-You got here through the GATEKEEPER CLOWN?! Do you know how rare and powerful that ÄRM is?" He cried out, jolting out from his seat as he gesticulated wildly.
"Err… No? Since I'm from a parallel world and all… What's an ÄRM?" I asked tentatively.
"W-What's an ÄRM?! Now I really do know you come from a parallel world… ÄRMs are artifacts known to every resident born in the land of MÄR Heaven and used by almost all for a variety of purposes. They range from simple chores like gardening to more complex things like elemental manipulation or teleportation. ÄRM's creation and its magical counterpart, magic stones, originated from the Magic Kingdom, Caldea. They were manufactured by the wizards through special metallurgy, giving them extraordinary power in the form of normal accessories. ÄRMs can almost always be "upgraded" with magic stones. They contain the abilities of other ÄRMs as well as magical power to boost any ÄRM's abilities." The man explained.
"I-I see… Do you have an example?" I asked while concealing my excitement of such an amazing thing.
"Sure. Now which one should I show you…?" The man muttered, shoving his hands into the pockets of his brown cargo pants.
"Ah! How about this one? Weapon ÄRM: Chain-Sickle!" He announced, brandishing a ring with a sickle motif.
A blue glow surrounded the ring and it seemed to burst into particles before reforming into a kusarigama. I gaped at the sight, my eyes bulging out in shock. The man guffawed at my awestruck expression and twirled the chained weight of the kusarigama around casually.
"Here's something better! Extend!" He shouted.
The weighted chain extended and shot through the wall again before retracting. My jaw fell to the ground at that sight, rendering me speechless from shock. The man somehow made the kusarigama dissolve into particles to form the ring again before closing my open jaw and snapping his fingers in front of my dazed face.
"That was pretty cool! Are there any other types of ÄRM?" I asked, eager to know more.
"Of course! There are many types of ÄRM. On the whole, there are nine types of ÄRM - Weapon ÄRM I've shown you, Simple ÄRM which are a little more than tools like hoes and shovels, Holy ÄRM used for healing and curse breaking, Guardian ÄRM where a monster or guardian of sorts is summoned, Darkness ÄRM which are used to curse people, Dimension ÄRM which can teleport anyone to different places and create pocket dimensions, Nature ÄRM which are used for elemental attacks or body enhancing effects, Ghost ÄRM which attach to the user's body and allows the user to use his or her body as a living weapon and finally, Unique ÄRM that cannot be classified into any other category." The man explained, pausing for breath in between the long introduction.
"Can you teach me how to use these ÄRMs?" I requested, staring at the man intently.
"No." He replied bluntly.
I was about to protest but closed my mouth when the following words were uttered.
"An ÄRM's power depends largely upon the user's aptitude - mentally, physically and above all, magically: one must have magical power - without it, the user is incapable of using powerful ÄRMs, or in case he/she uses weak ÄRMs, the effect is minimal. You don't have a drop of magical power in you now, not even a tiny drop."
"There has to be some way to build up magical power then! Please teach me!" I was almost begging by now.
"Well, there are two ways to do that. The first option is to train your compatibility with the ÄRM by using it in multiple fights or synchronizing with it – think that the ÄRM is a part of your body. The second option often requires what one calls 'sixth sense' - the stronger the sense, the more skilled the user will become." He stated.
"I see. Could you help me with that?" I asked politely.
"Ha! Why must I help an impolite little punk like you who calls me geezer and old man?" He snorted, hands crossed over his chest.
'I must be polite. I must not hit this old fogey. I must be polite. I must not hit this old fogey.' I recited this mantra in my head as I struggled to think of a reason.
"I could help you with the Chess Pieces problem. I'm sure they won't raid the village only once. There should be bandits around this area too, right? I can help to defend the village against those too." I offered, giving the best reason I could think of.
"It's true that I alone wouldn't be able to protect the village much… Tell you what, brat. I'll give you a trial period. Prove yourself to me that you are worth teaching first." He stipulated.
"That's fair… I'll do it. Any particular way you want me to prove myself?" I was no stranger to working hard and proving myself to people so this shouldn't be a big problem.
"Go help the villagers. See if they need any help."
Well, that's something I could do. There was just one problem.
"I don't think the clothes I'm wearing now will cut it though. Got any spare clothes, old man?" I asked.
"No! I don't have clothes for rude little shits like you!" He yelled furiously.
"Oh come on. Get over it! You're old! Well, older than me anyway. I won't be able to help the villagers to my fullest ability if I wear this!" I wheedled him.
"Oh fine! Wait here." He gave in and stomped to another room which I assumed was his storage room.
He returned with some peculiar clothing which I wore rather reluctantly. Clothes were clothes after all. I wore a black, elastic and tight mid-drift top* that was sleeveless with a turtleneck collar that covered three-quarters of my neck. Following that were black loose chiffon pants that bared the sides of my hips and were held in place by white bandages slung low around my waist*. The wide ends of the pants were secured to my ankles with white bandages that covered my ankles. My feet were covered by plain black Nei Lian Sheng cloth shoes. Black fingerless gloves made from cloth extended from my palm to my elbows.
"You have weird fetishes old man, giving me a mid-drift shirt and pants that show my hips." I teased, making him flush crimson.
"I do not! These are the only clothes I have that fit your size! And stop, calling me old man! I have a name, damn it!" He practically deafened me with his screech.
"Oh, so your name is damn it? Well, it's unusual, but I guess I can still call you that." I needled him, a Cheshire smile on my face.
"Argh! My name's Günther, you cheeky little twit!" He roared in frustration.
"I'm not a twit! The name's Shin, you old bastard!" I shouted back.
The thing I hated most were to be called stupid and being underestimated. They pissed me off to no end. The people who did that generally ended up bruised and bloodied, with broken bones if I was feeling unmerciful.
"I'll call you by your name if you stop calling me any variant of old. We're doing nothing but pissing each other off otherwise." He suggested.
"Fine." I agreed.
"Right! Off you go to help the people!" He shoved me outside of his home and slammed the door with a loud 'bang'.
I grumbled various obscenities and vulgarities under my breath but ultimately decided to just ignore Günther. I peered around the village to see what I could help with. There were many rubble and wood splinters around so I decided to help them clear it. I approached a villager who was struggling with a rather large piece of stone.
"Hey, do you need any help? We can carry it together." I proposed.
The villager turned to look at me and dropped the heavy piece of stone with his mouth open. I quickly caught the rubble, expecting it to be ridiculously heavy and yet it was lighter than a feather. This time, it was my turn for my jaw to drop. The rubble easily required two people to carry and yet it was lighter than feather for me? That was strange but hey, super strength helps a lot.
"Well, I guess I'll carry it alone. It's ridiculously light. Where do I need to put it?" I asked as I lifted the large rubble with only one hand.
"Um… Er… Urk…" The man sputtered, unable to answer.
"Hey, you okay?" I asked, concerned for the man who seemed to be choking on his spit.
"Y-Yeah… I-I'm fine… Just put it at the pile of rocks over at the quarry there." The man seemed to have finally gathered himself and pointed to the direction where many villagers were headed while lugging some rocks.
With that, I headed to the quarry, whistling as I went. I ignored the stares of the people and dumped the rubble onto a stack of rocks and looked around for more things to do. Noticing that there were a lot of people struggling with their load, I went forward to help them. My appearance and ridiculous strength were met with more than a few raised eyebrows, unhinged jaws and sputtering. I guess bright orange isn't a normal hair colour here and neither is super strength a common thing.
"Well, that's a wrap." I muttered to myself as all the rubble were finally stacked in the quarry.
"Thank you for the help." The first villager I met bowed in thanks, the others following suit.
"There's no need to bow. I just did what I could. Is there anything else I can help with?" I asked the various villagers.
"The dead have been buried. The rubble is stacked. The wood is already in the shed. I don't think there's anything else to do…" The villagers murmured among themselves.
"Help! There's a monster rampaging near the edge of the village!" A woman shrieked as she puffed and panted over, gasping for breath
The villagers gasped and started to whisper and point for each other to go and stop the monster. It was clear that no one wanted to risk their life. I snorted at the cowards and volunteered myself. Seeing that, the villagers started to gain courage and volunteered themselves too. In the end, the whole lot of us went to stop the monster.
"What the hell…" I muttered when I saw the monster.
It was a nekomata, a bloody fucking nekomata in all its fire-breathing, two-tailed glory. The nekomata was white with black tribal designs that stretched from the crown of its head to the start of its tail and was about the size of an elephant. The tribal designs looked like wings of a demon. Right on the pattern sprouted black wings reminiscent of a bat, the wing tips burning with a ghostly blue fire. Around its legs and tails were black rings where blue fire emerged from. The nekomata looked pretty angry, its slitted red orbs glaring at the screaming humans. Looking down at its feet, I saw what seemed to be a bear trap tightly clamped onto one of its forepaws.
The villagers quailed at the wrath of the raging cat demon while I groaned and face palmed. The nekomata was obviously attacking the humans who it thought attacked it and went for the nearest human settlement. Sighing, I walked towards the enraged nekomata and ignored the calls of the frantic villagers. The nekomata was about to send its blue fire to burn me to a crisp but stopped and sniffed in my direction.
"Good nekomata… Good nekomata…" I cooed, trying to calm down the agitated creature as I approached it.
The nekomata didn't react and continued to sniff in my direction, seeming to have calmed down a little. I went forward to its injured paw and was met with an angry hiss and an attempt to bat me away.
"I'm just going to get that thing off your paw, so calm down, okay?" I told the nekomata that was hissing furiously.
The nekomata looked at me distrustfully but decided to let me enter its personal space. I went straight to its injured paw and scrutinised the bear trap, trying to come up with the best way to remove it without hurting the giant cat any further. There seemed to be no other way but to pry it open, which I did effortlessly thanks to my super strength. The nekomata grunted in pain from the initial attempt to pry it but let out another hiss of relief once the bear trap was pried off its paw. It licked its paw in an attempt to heal it.
"Get me some bandages, disinfectant and ointment, quickly!" I ordered one of the speechless villagers.
He scrambled to follow my order and came back minutes later. I grabbed the medical supplies with a grunt of thanks and moved towards the giant cat. Seeing me approach, the nekomata gave me a cursory glance but did not stop me from getting close again, perhaps because I helped to get rid of the item that was causing it pain. I went to its injured paw and raised up the bandages with a silent request for it to extinguish its flames. Thankfully, it did as requested and I was able to disinfect the wound, apply the ointment and bandage the wounded paw.
The nekomata craned its neck to inspect the dressed wound before deeming it acceptable and gave me a lick with its large tongue as a gesture of thanks and appreciation, or so I assumed. I patted the now friendly cat and gestured for it to leave before turning to head back to the villagers who were silent in awe. Unexpectedly, something tugged at my pants and I turned around to find a miniature version of the giant nekomata, without any flames pulling at my pants. The cat, now the size of a kitten mewled and rubbed its head against my leg.
"What do you want?" I asked gruffly, unused to anything showing me affection.
The nekomata gave another mewl and did a figure-eight around my legs, purring incessantly as it did so.
"You want to come along?" I asked.
The cat gave its version of a smile and nodded its head. It then proceeded to hop onto my shoulder gracefully before climbing up to my head. Deeming it a suitable perch, it laid down and curled its two tails around itself and gave a mewl, possibly an order to start walking. I snorted but walked towards the village, the villagers giving me a wide berth due to the nekomata resting on my head.
'Feh. Foolish humans… Fearing what they do not understand. I hate it when they do that.' I thought as I clenched my fists hard, fingernails digging into my flesh.
I stalked to Günther's house and opened the door without knocking.
"Hey! Haven't you heard of knocking?" Günther exclaimed, shaking a fist at me.
"Yes, I have. I just choose not to do it." I smirked.
"Urk… You little… Have you helped the village?" He demanded.
"Yes. I stacked up rubble and saved those idiots from an enraged nekomata that got caught in their bear trap." I replied, feeling irritated at those silly people.
"You wouldn't be referring to the one atop your head, would you?" Günther asked curiously.
"I am. You have a problem?" I challenged.
"No, none at all. It's rather cute by the way." Günther commented and stretched out a hand to pat it.
The nekomata, disliking the comment that it was cute, hissed at the approaching hand, causing Günther's hand to pause in mid-air before reaching forward and patting the cat anyway. To be honest, I was rather surprised at Günther's reaction. He wasn't like those paranoid villagers who thought that the cat was dangerous because it attacked them, not noticing that it was their actions that caused it. It was quite a pleasant surprise.
"Well, you aren't so bad after all." I said after a short moment of silence.
"Ha! You finally see the greatness of me." He boasted, making me roll my eyes.
"What's the little guy's name?" He asked, stroking said little guy.
"I haven't come up with one yet. Want to help me with that?" This raised Günther's eyebrow.
"Well, aren't we nice today…? How about Cat?" He suggested.
"You have got to be joking…" I muttered in disbelief.
"No. I'm serious." He stared at me intently.
"No way!" I rejected, with an approving hiss from the cat atop my head.
"Tails? Kitten? Kitty? Snowflake? Paws?" He proposed, much to my disgust.
"How about no, no, no, no, NO!" I exploded angrily, wondering if he was really serious while the cat hissed furiously.
"Relax! I was just joking! I'll be serious! I swear!" Günther held his hands up in surrender as a bead of sweat slid down his tanned skin.
"You'd better be." I muttered while the nekomata hopped off my head onto the floor, glaring at Günther.
"How about Chase or Orion?" He offered.
"Those actually sound good." I was surprised.
"Which one do you want? Raise your left paw if you want Chase and your right paw if you want Orion." I told the nekomata who looked deep in thought.
"Ha! The cat wouldn't…do…that…?" Günther trailed off, his eyes bugging out when he saw the cat, or rather, Chase, do that.
Chase gave the gaping Günther a superior smirk and a smug sniff before hopping onto my left shoulder.
"What an evil cat… I bet it got that horrible personality from you!" Günther cried out, pointing an angry finger at me.
"Like I'd have enough time to influence Chase! Anyway, I've already helped the villagers, so help me build up my magical power!" I demanded.
"Well, alright. I did promise. Here we go! Dimension ÄRM: Training Gate!" He yelled, raising a chain with the head of what seemed to be a dragon with a ring in its mouth at the end of the chain.
The chain glowed brightly and I found a large gate beneath me. The gate opened abruptly, causing Chase and I to fall in.
"You damned old fucker!" I yelled, shaking a fist at the grinning Günther who tossed in something as well before the gate snapped shut.
I started to free-fall dangerously fast, Chase clinging onto me tightly with his claws. With a loud thump, I crashed into the ground for the second time that day. I saw nothing but black soon after, going unconscious from the impact of my head slamming into the unforgiving ground, but not before seeing something sparkle at the edges of my darkening vision.
Words with Asterisks (*)
Mid-Drift Top - Think Envy's shirt from Fullmetal Alchemist.
Pants - The top of the pants is like Harribel's pants from Bleach, just that the pants are black and the belt holding them up is changed to white bandages.