Chapter Five: Mixed Match
Warning: This chapter contains spoilers for BRS: The Game. Unless you don't intend to play the game, or are okay with spoilers, please play up to at least the completion of Stage 3 of the game before reading.
A crescent moon glowed brilliantly in the midnight sky, its light illuminating the forest filled with deciduous trees, all in various shades of brown, yellow and orange. The forest floor was littered with leaves that fell off, creating a collage of color.
Leaning against a tree was a girl. Her silver hair went down to her shoulder blades in the back while her bangs were on each side, framing her face while it was behind a crescent shaped visor. The visor had two different sides, the left was a translucent light purple and covered the majority of her face, while the right side was a solid black, reaching down enough to cover only the right eye. Both points curved upwards and away from the head, giving the girl the allusion of horns. Her eye color was a darker shade of purple as it blended in with the visor's color perfectly instead of standing out. Her body was lithe and nimble
Her outfit consisted of a black leather like jacket that fit snuggly around her chest, contouring to her breasts. Each sleeve had a single white line that went vertically down the side, stopping at the oversized white cuff that had a thin black horizontal line running through the center of it. The jacket extended up to the bottom of her chin, covering her entire neck with the zipper fastener present there while the bottom portion of it was parted, exposing what was a delicate looking violet dress underneath it, in which its skirt extended past the bottom of the jacket to midthigh. Fastened near the cuffs were long black ribbons that had bladed adornments that ended in acute points. Black gloves covered her hands. Her long slender legs were exposed to the elements all the way down to her ankles, where her feet donned black shoes.
The Outsider looked up at the moon as she closed her visible eye.
"What do you want?" she asked as Votum stepped out from behind a tree.
"I came in hopes of finding someone by the name of Farside Bunny. Is that by any chance you?" he asked.
The silver haired girl opened her eye as a smirk formed on her face.
"Yeah, that's me." she said, crossing her arms in front of her chest.
"Excellent. I was wondering if you were interested in doing a wager with me." the ebony Outsider offered while swaying his tail slowly.
The girl's eye lit up in interest as she looked at the man.
"What kind of wager are we talking about?" she asked.
"One that will make you either an ally or opponent for my Alter Ego." Votum baited. "You must have heard of the name Shadow Eater at least."
"You have my attention now." Farside Bunny said as a smug smirk appeared on her face.
Black Rock Shooter stared up in the stone ceiling in silence as she laid on the bed. Her jacket was hanging from a coat rack with her boots standing underneath it.
"Mato…" she muttered underneath her breath before holding her hand up towards the ceiling, replacing it with an image of her other half in her mind with her own hand reaching out while looking at the Other self with her deep blue eyes. After a few moments, Mato was replaced with the image of a smirking Dead Master who only shook her head while wagging a finger in a mocking manner.
The Other Self's hand balled into a fist as the illusionary enemy laughed hysterically, despite no sound coming from her as she faded away. BRS sat upright and briefly winced upon feeling her sides hurt in protest.
Seconds after the movement, the door opened, revealing a female Alter Ego wearing a form fitting black nurse uniform with a large white cross positioned diagonally that spanned the entire front. Her smooth hair was jet black, tied up in a single ponytail. Her hands were delicate in appearance and lacked any gloves. Her feet donned black white stockings with black shoes that were made of ebony steel that went up the ankles. Completing her outfit was the matching nurse's hat with the same style of cross present on the uniform.
Her ruby red eyes focused upon the Other Self as she gently set a glass pitcher of water onto a wooden desk that stood next to the doorway.
"You shouldn't sit up yet." she said in a concerned manner.
The Other Self looked at the nurse with a blank face.
"I need to rescue Mato… Blood Culler…" she replied in a monotonous manner.
The Alter Ego that was named Blood Culler nodded sympathetically as she closed the door behind her.
"I understand you are concerned for your other half's well being. But you are in no shape right now to rescue her." she said softly. "You have two broken ribs, and suffered minor internal damage as well. If you keep pushing yourself , you will not be able to recover properly."
The Other Self tightened her fists before carefully laying back down in silence.
"You remind me so much of Black Fang Tyrant-san when I first met him." the Alter Ego explained as a small smile formed on her face.
" I originally viewed him as one of my enemies, because I heard stories of him slaughtering all who stood in his way. I happened to one day see him fending off a monster we Alter Egos call a Shadeskull Dragon.
The Shadeskull was a formidable beast, but Black Fang Tyrant did everything he could to fend it off. He was covered in his own blood, one of his arms obviously broken, his skin full of scrapes and deep cuts. It looked like he was struggling to stand up to fight. He clearly was outmatched, but he still fought on. The reason why? It was to protect a pair of twins and his sister who were all injured by that monster."
Black Rock Shooter turned her head to look at the nurse as she told her story.
"What happened?" she asked softly, her curiosity betraying her blank expression.
"The Shadeskulll attempted to deliver the final blow, but that was when his Flame awakened. Alas, the power was too much for him to handle, resulting in his transformation."
"Transformation?" the Other Self interjected in confusion.
Blood Culler nodded as she inhaled slowly.
"Yes, you see, Black Fang Tyrant's Flame is purple, and his ability is to tap into the power formed from his other self's desires as well as his own. This power manifests in the form of him igniting different parts of his body with his Flame and enhance his physical attributes twofold. However, in doing so, he also takes upon himself all the emotional pain his other self is currently experiencing. Should he be unable to endure the pain, a transformation is triggered. " the Alter Ego explained while closing her eyes.
"This form makes him a being who fights anything that he sees as a worthy adversary. However, his physical strength is something I can't really put into words. He was able to tear off the Shadeskull's head without any difficulty with his broken arm."
Blood Culler paused to open her eyes.
"The transformed being is also sadistic, taking great pleasure in torturing those weaker than him. I know this because I saw him ripping off his own sister's arm with a smile." she continued. "Before he could do anything else to the others, he reverted back to normal after what appeared to be a mental struggle for control. "
Black Rock Shooter looked down in silence, taking the time to process what she just heard.
"Rothcall…" Stella muttered in a saddened manner as a lone tear escaped from her eyelids as she slept.
Stella wandered through the frozen tundra, away from the wreckage of the Draco, from the corpses of the ten men who were the last of the now extinct human race. She herself was badly injured from the blast from one of the aliens who killed two of her own, the one who was also responsible for taking the life of the one man she actually connected with, Rothcall.
Her outfit was torn and burnt in many areas. It took all her strength just to limp a few centimeters.
"Rothcall…" she said weakly before slumping to her knees. "What am I supposed to do now?"
The clone of the singer Sing Love tilted her head back with her eyes closed and screamed into the sky, mourning for the men she fought with, despite the short amount of time they were together. Her eyes slowly opened, revealing them to be dull and distant. She only stared at the sky as tears streamed from her eyes, her mind going blank in order to escape the emotional pain she felt. The girl subconsciously allowed gravity to take hold of her body, letting it slump to the ground on her side before closing her eyes to sleep.
She didn't know how much time passed, but the supposed savior of humanity came around upon feeling her body being lifted from the snow.
The girl slowly opened her eyes, but she couldn't see anything as all due to her eyesight being temporarily blurred from her just awakening. Despite being asleep for a period of time, the girl still felt exhausted, so much that it was a challenge to keep her eyes open.
"I see… You're still alive… " the figure said in a calm tone. "I can sense that you have a desire… To not be alone in a world filled with only enemies…"
Stella looked at the black blur that she assumed was the head of the person.
"You must rest, but before you do, answer this question. Do you want your wish to come true?" the stranger asked. "To not be alone in a lifeless world?"
All Stella could do was nod weakly before succumbing to her exhaustion once again. When she opened them again, she was looking right into the eyes of the Other Self that was her doppelganger while wearing a new set of clothes and her Rock Cannon, which was originally somewhat rusty in coloration, now black with blue highlights.
The Outsider later adopted the stoic demeanor of Black Rock Shooter, suppressing her emotions that were only beginning to appear. The ones that Rothcall brought out of her during their time together. In the world that she found herself in, they were not necessary, as all that she could do was to wander and fight alongside the Other Self, as she was one not for conversation. It was difficult at first, but after two months, she eventually succeeded for the most part, despite them appearing on occasion. She still felt them, but managed to keep them from showing on her face, nor allow them from affecting her choices.
No matter how well she was able to suppress them, she was most vulnerable to them in her sleep, the only time where she is forced to let her guard down to herself, forcing her to relive the moment that always brings her to tears.
The Outsider groaned as she awoke from her slumber. She sat upright and raised a hand up to wipe away the tear that lingered on her face.
"Why did you all have to die?" she asked to nobody in particular.
She heard the door to her room open, revealing it to be Shade Runner. The Alter Ego smiled softly as she looked at Stella.
"I'm sorry for intruding, but I heard you crying. Are you alright?" she asked in a concerned manner.
"I'm… alright…" Stella said autonomously while looking at the feline like girl.
Shade Runner closed her eyes and slowly shook her head.
"My apologies, Stella-san, but I can tell that you are troubled by something." she said. "I noticed it the first time you were here, but kept quiet out of respect."
The clone fell silent while lowering her head, averting her gaze away from the Alter Ego. She wanted to deter the cat like girl from pressing forward, but yet couldn't find the right words to say.
"I also heard you call out to different people, some of them were Bob, Phobos, and Rothcall, right?" Shade Runner asked. "Are they your friends?"
Stella looked up at the girl upon hearing the three familiar names. She gripped the bed sheets as she felt tears threatening to come out in force.
"They… They're all dead…" she relented in a soft tone before lowering her head again.
"My apologies… Death of anyone dear to you is always painful. But… that's all the more reason to move on in your life. You're an Outsider… therefore, you can endure the pain that I cannot handle. I will not deny that I cannot fully comprehend how you feel, but I can relate to a degree.
"You see, I almost lost my brother to his power, and everyone thought that he had to been killed. I was afraid of losing him for good. My older sister lost her arm while he was lost. I know you are aware of this now, but us Alter Egos instinctively fear losing those closest to us. That fear was how my brother came around. Our emotions are what drive us to survive, and to control ourselves. To ignore them is to suffer a pain that is far worse than any physical wound. "
Stella remained quiet as she only nodded silently in acknowledgement. Shade Runner smiled softly and walked right up to Stella before placing a hand onto the Outsider's shoulder.
" Remember this, let your feelings be heard, not locked up inside. This world maybe filled with mainly conflict, but you are with friends who will listen and support you, like myself and my older brother, Black Fang Tyrant."
Stella nodded as she smiled softly.
"Thank you, Shade Runner…" she said, a hint of gratitude present in her voice.
Black Fang Tyrant's Room.
Black Gold Saw watched in worry as the unconscious Alter Ego coughed up more of his blood, staining the sheets with the purple liquid.
"Tyrant! Don't you dare die on me!" she shouted at the boy as she grabbed his shoulders and began shaking him in an effort to awaken him. "SOMEBODY COME HERE QUICK!"
The door swung open as Chain Buster ran into the room.
"What the hell is going on-…" she said before seeing the male Alter Ego's current state. "This is not good." She then turned around and ran out of the room before screaming at the top of her lungs. "WE HAVE A PROBLEM!"
As the Alter Ego fled the room to alert those within hearing range, the Other Self looked at Tyrant as she gently tightened her grip on his shoulders.
"What's happening to you, Tyrant-kun?" she asked in a whisper.
"I can explain what is going on." a familiar voice said.
"Votum…" Black Gold Saw hissed as she raised her head to look around the room.
"Don't be alarmed, I am here to assist you. After all, that Alter Ego you are fond of is essential for my current plans, and losing him will ruin everything." the Outsider's voice explained.
The Other Self was silent for a few seconds to contemplate.
"What is going on with him?" she asked. "Is he dying?"
"Not exactly, you see, his other self , Masamune Kira, has lost his physical body in my reality, therefore severing his connection with Black Fang Tyrant. The whelp is experiencing the backlash of this. His powers were practically dependant upon Kira's emotions and desires. Without that, his body is struggling to adapt." Votum explained. "If he doesn't establish a new connection with someone, he will indeed die."
"If he needs a connection, then let me be the one!" Black Gold Saw said without any hesitation.
"I understand your concern for him, but neither Alter Egos or Other Selves are compatible with forming such a connection with him. It has to be with an Outsider who doesn't have an Alter Ego." Votum explained calmly. "Fortunately, you have such a being nearby already, the one called Stella."
Black Gold Saw's eyes widened upon hearing that.
She had very few options at the moment, but she could tell that Votum was speaking the truth. It was a bitter pill for her to swallow, but accepting the enemy's help was the only option to save the Alter Ego, even though said foe would benefit from it greatly.
"Tell me what I have to do to, Votum." she said without a second thought.
"Very well, here is what you must do." Votum began, instructing the Other Self of what to do in great detail.
Black Matagi and Demonic Cannon User sat quietly as Brave Shot was doing maintenance on her bike nearby.
"Can we really trust her Matagi-san?" the cat eared Other Self asked in which her comrade only nodded in response.
"I can hear you from over here, Cat." the Alter Ego said while looking over her shoulder.
"Sorry…"DCU squeaked in fear before falling silent.
"Don't apologize. I'm almost done here." Brave Shot said calmly before turning her attention back to her bike.
Silence filled the air as the trio ceased all conversation for different reasons. Several minutes passed before the ground shook beneath them as a loud crash echoed through the air. Black Matagi rose to her feet as her flame appeared. The Alter Ego stopped working and also rose slowly, drawing the Brave Edge from its compartment in the bike.
"We're not alone…" Matagi said.
"I know… it's those damned Armaments…" Brave Shot said.
"Armaments?" Demonic Cannon User asked in confusion. "What are they?"
" They are machines that are controlled by a group of Outsiders called the Apostles." Brave Shot explained. "However, they are isolated into only areas like this for some reason."
The trio turned their attention as they heard buzzing coming from a distance.
"They're coming…" the Alter Ego warned. "and no matter what happens, don't let them neblade you."
" What's 'Neblade' mean?" the cat eared Other Self asked.
"I'll explain later." Brave Shot replied curtly.
Unbeknownst to all three, a figure in a tattered black robe stood on top of a rooftop was observing them.
" The Arcana who hide… the Apostles who conquer with the Armaments… The Alter Egos who wish for peace… The Other Selves who know only to fight to preserve bonds…" the figure said in a deep gruff voice. " I have forced a great burden upon Black Fang Tyrant, but I know he can prevail. To rescue the Beast from the monster known as Shadow Eater…"
The robed man turned and walked away from the group who stood on the ground.
"I wonder now… who will he choose for his Empress? The Other Self who was born to be accepted as an equal? The Outsider that I have rescued from a dead world? Or shall it be the Beast herself? Perhaps it could be all three…" he mused to himself out loud before chuckling softly. "Heh, that sure brings back memories of when I was the Emperor… but still… my rule is over… this new land must have a new Emperor and Empress of Calamity to guide its inhabitants to the unseen future."
The former Emperor of Calamity held out his left hand and the scenery in front of him rippled like water before he walked into it, vanishing from view in a way as if he was submerging into a body of water.
"I understand that Black Fang Tyrant needs to form a connection to survive, as his other half is missing. But to create it… we need to do what exactly?!" Chain Buster asked incredulously.
"Trust me… I don't like this as much as you do." Shade Runner said with a frown. "But we have no other choice. Everything Blood Culler did had no effect on him. To think we need to remove the seal for his Flame…"
A group of seven had gathered in the bedroom of Black Fang Tyrant, six of them surrounding the bed while the seventh sat on the bed, refusing to leave the side of the Alter Ego who was starting to pant heavily while coughing up some blood at random intervals.
Black Gold Saw explained to them about what was going on with Black Fang Tyrant, and what could be done to save him. Shade Runner and Chain Buster were shocked of one of the requirements, which was the removal of the covering for the Alter Ego's eye. Blood Culler was there to keep an eye on his current condition, while Wraith Cutter was busy assisting the nurse when needed. Scythe stood by quietly, even though her face showed her concern towards the only male in the room.
However, the last member of the group was looking at the ground, uncertain of what to do. Stella was brought to the room upon Shade Runner learning that she was the only one who could help her brother.
"Why does it have to be me?" the clone asked in uncertainty. She couldn't fully understand the situation that was going on, but she did get that the life of one of her Allies is on the line.
"Everyone else here is either an Alter Ego or Other Self." Black Gold Saw explained to the Outsider. "We are all incomplete beings, therefore incompatible with him for this kind of thing. You on the other hand, are a complete being… and one without an Alter Ego…"
Stella nodded once before looking at the Alter Ego they were talking about. In her mind, her fears began to manifest. Memories of the final moments of her only friend, Rothcall, flashed before her eyes.
Shade Runner saw the slight indecisiveness and fear present in Stella's eyes. The Alter Ego collected her thoughts before speaking to the Outsider
"Stella-san, please help my brother…" she pleaded softly. "I know you're scared, but you are his only hope… Four lives are literally in your hands…one of which is my very own."
Stella looked up at Shade Runner with a surprised look on her face.
"What…should I do?" the Outsider asked in uncertainty.
"Do what you feel is right…" the feline like Alter Ego said with a reassuring smile. " Just don't give into what you are afraid of."
Stella closed her eyes as she inhaled slowly. The clone that was designed to be the final hope of humanity in her world came to conclusion before opening her eyes, in which her Flame appeared as her face became focused and calm.
"I'll do it… I do not wish to see anymore of my friends die…" she said.
"Thank you Stella-san." Shade Runner said as tears formed in her eyes. "Thank you…"
The Outsider nodded and gave a ghost of a smile before turning her attention to Black Gold Saw.
"Alright… can someone explain how to remove that covering on Tyrant's eye?" the Other Self inquired.
"It's simple, just pull it off." Shade Runner replied while wiping away the tears from her face.
Stella nodded as she raised a hand out towards the black covering that was over Black Fang Tyrant's eye.
She hesitated briefly, the memories of Rothcall's death trying to hold her back.
If I stop… he will die…but I am afraid… I am afraid of failing and he dies because of me… I am afraid of losing a friend…
Gathering as much willpower as she could, she grasped the covering and pulled it off.
" Please don't leave us…" Stella said before she took one of Black Fang Tyrant's hands and held it with both of hers before closing her eyes. "I do not wish to see another friend die…"
The Alter Ego's breathing began to ease slowly with each breath as his face relaxed. All the others watched on in nervous anticipation.
"Tyrant-sama…" Scythe whispered softly. "I know you can pull through."
"You can't leave me behind…" Black Gold Saw said. "You just can't… not after what you said to me…"
The sound of a weak groan filled the air, alerting everyone in the room. Everyone all focused upon the Alter Ego as he began to stir, coming around.
"Urrggh…. Why does my head hurt so much?" he muttered weakly with his eyes closed still. "What the hell happened?"
"Can you open your eyes?" Black Gold Saw asked.
"Yeah… I can." Tyrant said weakly before opening his eyes. Everyone focused their attention to the left eye, which was the one he always had covered. As the eyelids lifted, everyone's own eyes widened in shock.
"His eye… It wasn't like that before…" Shade Runner pointed out. "It was just like his right."
"My eye is different?" Black Fang Tyrant asked in confusion.
"It's a different color, and also has a different pupil." Black Gold Saw replied. "I guess it's to prove that there's now a connection between you and Stella."
"Huh… A connection?" the Alter Ego asked in confusion.
"It's a long story…" Scythe said with a soft smile. " Simply put, you are no longer connected to your other half, as he no longer has a physical body. To save your life, you basically became Stella's Alter Ego until your true other half is restored."
The Alter Ego nodded as the blonde spoke untill hearing the last part, in which both his eyes widened in shock.
"I'M WHOSE ALTER EGO NOW?!" he blurted out incredulously as he sat upright.
Black Gold Saw sighed before slapping him in the back of the head.
"Calm down, you idiot." she said flatly.
"It wasn't easy for Stella-san to do it." Shade Runner added as she smiled at the Outsider. "She was afraid at first, but she pulled through."
"Really? I really didn't think of her as the type to be scared, I find that pretty cute ." Tyrant said with a smile, causing the mentioned Outsider to feel a little nervous. She did her best to keep a straight face, but a faint blush began to form on her cheeks.
She glanced over at Tyrant, looking into the mostly blue left eye that looked exactly like her own with a ring of violet present around the outer edge of the iris.
Farside Bunny frowned as she reached the edge of the forest. She recalled the so called wager that she agreed upon.
She was to confront an Outsider named XNFE, or Nafe and to coax her into betraying her comrades. Votum said that it would be easy to succeed, but she had one more part of the wager. To also convince her to work alongside Black Fang Tyrant and her enemy from her world, Stella.
When she asked about the appearances of each person, she was given detailed descriptions for Nafe and Black Fang Tyrant, but the ebony man refused to describe Stella, saying that she'd recognize her immediately.
The Arcana looked on at the scenery that the forest gave way too.
"This isn't going to be easy…" she muttered as she stared at the frozen Tundra that stood before her.
The girl fell silent upon seeing a floating machine that was brilliant pink in coloration, It was molded in a hexagon shaped like a triangle with two protrusions coming up from its top, having it resemble a rabbit's head. Farside Bunny grinned as she recalled Votum saying that the machine was Nafe's Armament of preference. If one of them were in the area, the Apostle was sure to be close by.
"Must be my lucky day after all." she said.
Final Thoughts: Other Edition
Blazorna: Words cannot describe how much I love Black Rock Shooter: The Game… despite the graphics being slightly dated and a pretty straight forward battle system, it has a great storyline that is surprisingly darker than I anticipated, and I'm only up to the fourth stage. I am also grateful that the original Japanese dialogue remained intact during localization. And damn it… I actually find Stella to be very cute with her personality!
Now that I got my hands on the game, I can be more accurate with Stella's personality. If I recall correctly, I had Stella be a bit more expressionless in this story than she really is in the game. Hopefully, this chapter managed to explain that in an convincing way. Also, I will begin to have her act more like she does in the game too, but I'll try to make it a gradual change.
I also am becoming a bit of a fan of Nafe. She's cute, in both voice, personality and looks, but perhaps the rogue aspect of her is what draws me to her the most. Hell… I can actually imagine her being with Black Fang Tyrant if I had him as an antagonist from the start.
I still don't fully understand what Neblade relates to exactly… but I feel that I'll find out soon enough.
There isn't much more I can think of, so I'm stopping right here. Don't forget to leave a review if you can, and hope to see you all next chapter.
Now... back to the game for me!