FANDOM


Your StatsEdit

You


Class: Bloodhunter

Level: Queen's Nobleblood Knight



Birthsign: The Traitor


HP: 65/112


KP: 15/226


Flashtechs: 2


XP to Next Level: 202


Status Effects: Weak Morphine Addiction, Oni Mana Curse, Ribcage Damage, Sprained Knee, Infected Wounds


Deaths: 4


Inventory:


37,800 Yen


Tsurugi-no-Kusunagi


Kitchen Knife


M50 Police Issue Gasmask [1 Oxygen Canister]


SOV-4000 Body Armor [Type V Bulletproof]


Knight's Cloak [ Type IIIA Bulletproof]


Thermos [Full]


Akaga Gozoku Hira-Shuriken


Threatening Note from Akaga Gozoku


Road Map of Japan


Walther P99AS (Suppressor, Aiming Light, Red Dot Sight, loaded)


SIG Sauer P220 DAK (loaded)


Nambu Model 60 (loaded)


9mm Soft-Point Magazines (x5)


.45 ACP Magazine (x1)


.38 Special Bullets (10)


L109A1 Fragmentation Grenade (x3)


M84 Stun Grenade (x2)


AN-M14 Incendiary Grenade (x1)


AN-M18 Smoke Grenade (x1)


Fighting Style: Historical Fencing, Queensbury Rules, Self-Taught


---Perks---


Uncommon Complexion: play dead convincingly


Devil Trigger: slowly regenerate KP when below one tenth of HP


---Soultechs---

Hematomancy: Level 4 (HP to KP) At level 4 Hematomancy, you can now convert 10 points of HP into 15 points of KP. Or, basically, the required HP is 2/3s of the wanted KP. Still hurts like hell.

Your ability to convert HP (or your blood and bone marrow, I should say) into KP will really depend on your Occult Artes later on.
Example, having a high Hydromancy in conjunction with Hematomancy will allow you to regenerate KP by touching a source of water, or in the case of Pyromancy, touching fire. You get the idea.
You also get stuff for Hematomancy like regenerating KP as long as you stand still (er... meditate), but that's one of the very last ones.

When higher levels are combined with Oneiroscopy, Hematomancy can also lead to sub-Soultechs such as Catoptromancy, which allow you to see the future in bodies of water or in flames, depending on your skill with the needed Occult Arte.


Dririmancy: Level 4 (damage to KP) At level 2 Dririmancy, all damage you take is directly converted into KP. You still take the damage, but at least your KP pool will be filled up some.

As you level it up, it can directly nullify damage and turn it into KP, absorb enemy spells into KP, and so on. But that's a ways away. At lower levels, only absorbs physical damage, and only against normal living creatures; zombies, demons, and ninjas don't count.


Extispicy: Level 1 (absorb KP from defeated)

At first, Extispicy only works on the recently killed, and it has to be those you've killed. You have to make bodily contact to absorb their mana into KP.
Around midgame, you can passively absorb KP from graveyards, cemetaries, morgues, and crypts.
By endgame, you can pretty much gain a temporary infinite KP mode as long as you're within the final 10% of your health. Your skill in Necromancy also has a pretty big effect on your Extispicy as well.


Stareomancy: Level 1 (ability to combine Occult Artes successfully)

Your ability to use different Occult Artes simultaneously without disasterous results.


Oculamancy: Locked

Allows you to go temporarily blind in your left eye, but while blind, you can see the spiritual energy of the world and objects around you. Useful for determining whether someone is possessed or not, a zombie, and lets you follow trails of supernatural activity. Unforunately, it... sort of messes with your depth perception. The higher the level, the better your ability to pick up on supernatural activity. However, if you come face-to-face with a source of power too strong, you can become temporarily blind both ways in your left eye- as in, unable to use the Soultech or see normally.


In most older cultures, this ability is called the Evil Eye.


'Oneiroscopy': Locked

Your ability to have foreshadowing dreams. Allows you to make decisions with a little more understanding of what will happen. Won't give you the exact details of the future, however. Around midgame, Oneiroscopy allows you to regenerage small amounts of KP during sleep. Lessens your chance of being assassinated while sleeping. However, at lower levels, this will cause some sleeping problems (talking in your sleep, headaches after waking up, etc.) that might negatively effect your stamina.


Umbromancy: Locked

Closely tied with Sciomancy. Allows you to greatly damage normal organic enemies by directly attacking their soul in the spiritual realm... their 'shadow', if you would. However, at low levels only Occult Artes can be used. When using this Soultech, your physical body is vulnerable, and if facing a spiritual power too strong you may be instantly killed.


Auramancy: Locked

Closely tied with Photomancy. Allows you to fall into a coma-like state, using all your available energy for cellular regeneration and your immune system. While it helps you regain health quicker, it isn't a substitute for sleep- your body is working hard to heal itself.


---Attributes---


Mesodermal Abilities-


Compressive Strength: 44


Tensile Strength: 50


Shear Strength: 33


Cerebral Abilities-


Logical Reasoning: 28


Abstract Reasoning: 31


Mental Stability: 71


Knowledge: 15


Willpower: 54


Agility-


Acrobatics: 37


Balance: 26


Reaction Time: 32


Reflexes: 28


Preflexes: 15


Endurance-


Lung Capacity: 35


Pain Resistance: 42


Aerobic Respiration: 45


Anaerobic Respiration: 29


Speed-


Short Distance: 28


Long Distance: 22


Social Abilities-


Persona: 13


Presence: 26


---Skills---


-Melee-


Edged Two-Handed: 49


Edged Long: 61


Edged Medium: 53


Edged Short: 38


Blunt Two-Handed: 27


Blunt Long: 33


Blunt Medium: 24


Blunt Short: 21


Fist Weapon: 16


Hand-to-Hand: 45


Shield: 41


-Range-


Thrown Weapon, Small: 5


Thrown Weapon, Medium: 13


Thrown Weapon, Large: 18


Bow: 33


Crossbow: 21


Pistol: 17


Revolver: 11


Submachine Gun: 8


Shotgun: 15


Assault Rifle: 19


Bolt-Action Sniper Rifle: 17


Semi-Automatic Sniper Rifle: 15


Grenade: 20


Grenade Launcher: 13


Rocket Launcher: 13


Explosives: 13


-Culinary Arts-


Hot Beverage: 46


Cold Beverage: 24


Alcohol: 68


Soup/Stew/Curry/Chowder: 30


Seafood: 10


Meats: 37


Vegetables: 17


Grains: 30


Baking: 16


Dessert: 22


-Occult Arts-


Alchemy: 14


Pyromancy: 10


Aeromancy: 2


Necromancy: 11 (Kaos: 21)


Astromancy: 11


Lithomancy: 2


Hydromancy: 1


Summoning: 4 (Kaos: 14 )


Ceraunoscopy: 5


Sciomancy: 1 (Kaos: 11)


Photomancy: 2


-Vehicle-


Motorcycle: 13


Car: 38


Van: 13


Truck: 21


Combat Vehicle (tank, APC, etc.): 8


Helicopter: 6


Plane: 8


Boat: 19


-Charisma-


Charm: 16


Threatening: 29

Provoking: 38


Bartering: 16


Inconspicuousness: 2


-Stealth-


Lockpicking: 21


Sneak: 19


Pickpocketing: 8


Sneak Attacks: 32


-Science-


Electronics: 11


Tracing: 2


Hacking: 3


Programming: 4


Repair: 13


-Medicinal Arts-


Bonesetting: 17


Stitching: 15 Bandaging (and wound cleaning): 22


Herbalism: 13


Resuscitation: 24

---Techs---
Ground Zero Breakdown: Level 1
Zero Hour: Level 2
Helm Splitter: Level 1
Lance Kick: Level 3
Shadowstep: Level 2
Stinger: Level 3
Gargoyle Fang: Level 2
Templar's Mass: Level 2

One Man Sally (Chivalry Break): Level 2

The Campaign Edit

The Queen of England sends you to help the Japanese police with the case in apprehending the murderer. Your sidekick for this dangerous mission is...

Okay, so you and your good friend Pyramid head take the Queen's private jet (where you both have a splendid cup of tea and debate the significance of the silk trade during the Renaissance) to the Tokyo airport, where you're met by Tokyo's chief of police and the head of the investigation, Tanegashima Jinjo.

"Ohayo gozaimasu, sir knights," greets Chief Tanegashima, bowing low.

"Yeah, sup dude?" you ask with a yawn. The Tokyo police accompanying Tanegashima look shocked and appalled. Pyramid Head elbows you in the ribs, looking embarrassed. "Oh, whatever," you grumble, bowing low back to the Chief. "Ohayo gozaimasu." Pyramid Head bows low too, his helmet scraping against the tile of the airport.

"We're so happy you made it so quickly, this case is growing more dire by the day. If you would come with us, we have a car waiting outside," says the chief hurriedly.

"Whoa whoa whoa, hold up," you say. "Look, uh, we've got bit of a problem..."

"... A car?" you groan, disappointed. "Can't we take like a... bullet train, or spider tank, Gundam, or something? You know, like that one that gets the scythe or the one made of guns?"

If the Tokyo police had been offended before, they were definitely not happy with you now. Pyramid Head elbows you in the ribs, reminding you of your manners. He could be a real prude sometimes...

Chief Tanegashima clears his throat, trying to calm down his policemen. "Pyramid-Sama's... knife... was, unfortunately, held back due to safety reasons," he says, quickly changing the subject. "It seems the safety inspectors found some asbestos in the wrapping around the hilt..."

Pyramid Head looks sad.

"However," the Chief quickly explains, "knowing of your great skill with the sword, we requested the Norimitsu Ôdachi be temporarily moved from its museum into your care."

As the Chief says his words, a number of policemen come forward, carrying a massive wooden crate and quickly prying it open with some crowbars. Pyramid Head walks up slowly, looking amazed. If he wasn't wearing his helmet, his eyes would be huge and shining anime-style.

He wraps his gloved hands around the hilt, and raises the sword in the air...

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2dG9jB8fvY
Pyramid Head has obtained the Norimitsu Ôdachi!
http://japantrip.tripod.com/nodachi/norimitsu.html)

"Uh, yeah, that's great," you mumble as Pyramid Head hugs the sword close. "By the way, any chicks on this case? It's a sausage fest in here. I mean, geez."

The Chief frowns. "Why, yes, actually. My daughter is on the investigation team... but why do you ask?"

Score! "Er, no reason. Let's blow this airline peanut stand!"

You leave the airport in an escort of police cars. You stare out the window longingly, wanting to loiter around the streets of Tokyo and see all the wacky sights. But duty calls, and being a knight for the Queen of England isn't easy.

Pyramid Head sees your boredom and pats you on the shoulder.

"Thanks, buddy," you say.

You make it to Tokyo police headquarters, which is... a pretty freakin' cool building. But something feels wrong... you look over at Pyramid Head, and he nods stealthily (or tries, that helmet is huge). He feels it too!

As you step out of the car, you walk over to Chief Tanegashima. "Chief, there's something I gotta ask you..."

"You sure your men are all trustworthy?" you say quietly, looking back at your escort. "We should screen them, one by one!"

"Ah, sir knight, each one of these men have served with me for years, I truly doubt that one of them could-"

"But think! They could be using police records, have inside men as prison guards, be putting slow-acting poison on the criminals somehow! And my friend and I..." you look over your shoulder at Pyramid Head, who is petting a mewling stray kitten on the sidewalk. "... Can be very, very persuasive."

Chief Tanegashima nods, suddenly determined. "You may be right, and after all, you are a sworn knight of Her Majesty. I'll prepare the questioning room," he says, entering the police headquarters.

You scratch your neck, looking back at Pyramid Head. "Ready to rock?"

He nods, kitten asleep in his arms as he follows you in.

-

You sigh. Maybe this wasn't the best idea.

There were more than 40,000 policemen in the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, and this was a crazy big case. The amount of cops in the investigation was insane. Even the Imperial Guards were on high alert.

"Okay, so last Tuesday, you were at the movies."
"Yes, sir."
"... How many pieces were in your bag of popcorn?"
The officer frowned. "I... didn't have any popcorn, sir."
You slam your fist against the metal table. "This investigation is HOPELESS!"

Pyramid Head, who is sitting in the corner doing a Rubix Cube, sighs and pets the kitten asleep in his lap.

"Oh, shut up! You aren't even helping!"
"Is the questioning session over, sir?" asks the officer carefully.
"Yeah, yeah. But watch your back, 'cause I've got my eye on you," you say cryptically. The policeman nods nervously and leaves the room.

Pyramid Head stands up and walks over, kitten in one hand and cup of coffee in the other. You take the coffee gladly and pet the kitten's ears a few times. "Thanks, buddy," you mumble around a mouthful of thin cheap police coffee.

You burned your tongue!
-34 HP

"Crap," you grunt.
Pyramid Head shrugs apologetically.
"Don't worry about it. But now..."

"Let's go to the store and buy some better coffee. This is crap."

Pyramid Head facepalms and shakes his head in exasperation.

"Look, I know there's a killer on the loose, but without high-quality caffeine, I can't go into detective mode. Okay?"

You kick open the door of the questioning room and walk outside, temporarily blinded by the increase of light. Chief Tanegashima rises from his desk and walks over, bowing respectfully.

"The men working the case are to your satisfaction, I trust?" he asks expectantly.

"Yeah, sure, whatever. Look, I need get some... supplies. Yeah, supplies. There a convenience store around here?"

The Chief nods. "Just take a left when you exit headquarters."

"Uh... okay. Thanks." Why is everything so close together in this city?

You jump into the elevator and go down fifty floors to get to the ground floor, wave to the receptionist and security guards and walk out the front door. You take a left...

... And there's a convenience store next door.

"What the hell. This place has it made." You walk through the automatic doors, marveling at all the junk food and bright shiny plastic wrappings and shiny cans of soda. Well, you can kill your heart later, you're on a mission!

You walk up to the clerk's counter. And just your luck, the clerk is a very pretty young woman. You grin, straighten your cravat, and saunter up to the counter.

"Hello young lady," you purr. "Your finest blend of Brazilian black coffee blend, if you please." You throw in a devilish smile for good measure.

She stares at you blankly. "... Police department's next door. I'll scream."

You throw up your hands. "Give me a break, damn! I try and flatter you, and I get this. Christ. Well, coffee me."

Disgusted, she points to a corner brimming with coffee brands. You automatically reach for the most expensive one.

"That'll be 2317 yen," she says, putting on a professional tone.

"... Yen?" Oh, crap! You forgot to exchange your euros for yen! "Um, look, I just flew in from London this morning, I don't have any yen-"

"Then get out."

You sneer at her. "I'll have you know I am an honored knight in the service of Her Royal Majesty. I suggest you show some respect."

"Well, if you had a sword, maybe I would," she points out with a little smirk.

Damn, that's right. As a dual-wielder, you use the Sword of Spiritual Justice and the Sword of Temporal Justice, but since they're part of the crown jewels, you can't exactly take them out of the country! You'll need a new weapon...

"Whatever," you growl at her. You slam the coffee can onto the check-out counter. "Leave this here for me. I'll be back."

You storm out of the convenience store. Ah, crap! You could've asked her for leads or clues! Oh well. Too late.

You sigh and look up and down the busy, wide road of the airport/police headquarters. People coming and going...

Okay, enough fooling around. Prisoners are dying by the day, and the Queen is counting on you!

Okay, you're up against a guy who can kills hundreds at a time at a distance. And you're unarmed.

Yeah... not a good combination.

Looking around the street suspiciously, glaring at any pedestrians foolish enough to wander near, you run back into the police headquarters to find the Chief. In the lobby, however, is a wooden crate and a number of the Imperial Guard.

"Er... hi," you say, somewhat surprised. It's like they were expecting you...

"Ah, sir knight!" calls Chief Tanegashima. "The emperor heard of your swords being left in Britain, so he saw it fit to grant you a weapon in their absence. A knight must have his sword, after all!"

The Imperial Guards pry open the wood box with some crowbars. You dust off the sawdust and raise the blade into the air...

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2dG9jB8fvY
You obtained the Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi!
kusanagi.jpg)

"Whoa," you mutter in awe. One of the three Imperial Regalia! This thing is old as balls!

"His Imperial Majesty the Emperor sends you his best regards," says the Chief.

"Uh, that's great," you say, turning the Kusanagi over in your hands, "but you see... I'm a dual-wielder."

"Even a swordmaster may continue to learn," intoned one of the Imperial Guards.

You sigh. This investigation isn't going so great. "Okay. Well, tell him I said thanks- or, you know- konnichiwa."

The Imperial Guards saluted and quickly left. After testing the sword's sharpness on your finger, you realize it's incredibly sharp!

"Ow, dammit!"

Your finger was pricked!
-24 HP

A sword's a sword, right? No problem. You can kick anyone in Britain's ass with two swords, with one it can't make much of a difference.

Now...

Okay, there's a crazed psycho murderer running around killing prisoners, and you've lost 68 HP already. Yeah... time to get some coffee. And not that crappy cheap police coffee either!

And spin on your heel and walk out of the police headquarters, already tasting that robust delicious restorative Brazilian coffee... with your Kusanagi, that convenience store wench will be sure to believe you!

Then again, you could've showed her your passport... or driver's license... or the tattoo of the Queen's coat of arms you have on your chest... oh well, what's done is done.

You saunter back into the store, a devilish smirk on your face. The clerk, upon seeing you again, rolls her eyes.

"Remember me, babe?" you say smoothly.

"From five minutes ago? Why, no, I have no idea who you are," she replies dryly.

You grin. "Talk all you want, babe. Check this." You throw back your Knight's Cloak in a badass flourish to reveal the Kusanagi sword resting on your hip.

She stares at it blankly. "Nice... replica."

"Replica?" you growl, feeling your eyes go bloodshot with rage.

"Yeah, because a 'knight' from Britain is going to be prancing around with one of the three Imperial Regalia, which has been all wrapped up since 1989. Totally," she says sarcastically.

You clench your fists. You're a second away from flipping out and kicking her ass with knightly fury when Pyramid Head walks in, Norimitsu Ôdachi on his shoulder and a wad of bills in his hand.

"Oh, hey man," you say absently, still glaring at the clerk. But she's stopped glaring at you, and instead is staring, mouth agape, at Pyramid Head.

Pyramid Head hands you a wad of yen notes. He gives you a thumbs-up as you take them.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2dG9jB8fvY
You obtained 50,000 yen!
)

"You got our euros exchanged?"

Pyramid Head nods.

"You da best, Pyra," you say with a grin, high-fiving him.

You snatch the coffee up from the check-out counter and slap down 3000 yen.

"Keep the change, peasant," you say smugly, turning on your feel and walking out of the store. Pyramid Head bows politely to the clerk (still staring at him with big shining eyes) and follows you out.

-

Back at the headquarters lounge, you bust open the Brazilian coffee and prepare to brew it. Pyramid Head is sitting on a nearby couch, petting that stray kitten he always seems to be carrying around.

You
Alchemy: 14
Culinary Arts: 9
Medicinal Arts: 17

Pyramid Head
Alchemy: 6
Culinary Arts: 34 (Birthsign)
Medicinal Arts: 23

Who will brew the coffee?

You look at the brewing instruction on the back of the can and frown. Yeah, it's coffee, but the brewing instructions are in Japanese. Crap.

You look back at Pyramid Head, who is petting that stray kitten again.

"You wanna do it?" you call back to him. He looks up from the ktiten questioningly. "You can read Japanese, can't you?" Understanding, he nods, lays the kitten carefully on the couch, and lumbers over to the coffee machine. You toss the can to him (which he opens with the pointy end of his helmet) and gets to work.

About three minutes later...



Pyramid Head has successfully concocted the Brazilian Coffee!
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2dG9jB8fvY)


He pours some into a styrofoam cup, blows on it to cool it down for you, and hands it to you. You eye it apprehensively, but it's steaming nicely and smells awesome. You take a sip...

+10 HP
+ 1°F+ 10 mg caffeine


Holy crap! Ten hit points per sip? This stuff is awesome! You quickly drink the rest of the cup, fully restoring your health. Pyramid Head helps himself to a cup as well.

"Alright!" you say, doing a fist-pump. "I'm ready to tackle some criminal scum."

Pyramid Head taps you on the shoulder. You turn around and he hands you a thermos full of delicious coffee!

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2dG9jB8fvY
You received the Thermos!)


Enough coffee to fully restore your health twice!

"Thanks, Pyra buddy," you say. He gives a 'what are friends for' shrug.

Now, time to get to work. You head into the main offices with Pyramid Head tagging along behind you. The two of you sit down in the luxurious office offered to you as guests, and scratch your nose. Pyramid Head looks impatient.

Okay. Now what?

You look around your new office, observing the feng shui, bonsai plants, pieces of traditional Japanese art, the huge wall-window showing the dusk-glowing skyline of Tokyo, and say to yourself...

"It's five o'clock, there's a deranged murderer on the loose, and ten prisoners will be dead by morning." You spin around in your cushioned swivel-chair to look at Pyramid Head. "Let's go spar."

Pyramid Head stares at you blankly.

"Come on, don't look at me like that!" you snap, taking a bite of complimentary pocky. "This guy is clearly a master of the combat arts! We need to prepare ourselves!"

With a sigh, Pyramid Head nods tiredly and hefts his Norimitsu Ôdachi onto his shoulder. You saunter out the door, hand on the hilt of your sword, and Pyramid slowly follows, shaking his head.

"Yo! Chief!" you call to Tanegashima, who's passing in the hall. "Where's the closest dojo?"

He bows to you respectfully. "Just down the street," he says, "past the airport."

"That's... convenient," you mumble. Pyramid Head bows to the Chief politely in thanks.

-

You and Pyramid Head stand before the entrance of the dojo, pretty damn impressed.

()

While the main street of the city had been deafening with the traffic of cars and pedestrians, the dojo is incredibly peaceful, with no noise save for the gentle breeze brushing through the cherry blossoms.

"Enough of this, let's go inside," you say. Pyramid Head nods, his helmet gleaming in determination. The two of you walk into the dojo in slow-motion...

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75uAD-XYs6U)

You

HP: 100/100
KP (Knight Points): 200/200
Level: Queen's Knight
XP to Next Level: 352

Weapon: Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi
Armor: Knight's Cloak
Inventory: Thermos [Brazilian Coffee]

Pyramid Head

HP: 130/130
GP (Geometric Points): 250/250
Level: Mathematician
XP to Next Level: 417

Weapon: Norimitsu Ôdachi
Armor: Bascinet of Pythagoras
Inventory: Nothing

Within the innermost garden of the dojo, you and Pyramid Head face each other from thirty feet away. You pull the white band-wrappings away from your Kusunagi and throw them to the wind, where they flow away badass-like. Pyramid Head draws his odachi- but it takes him like five seconds to do so, 'cause it's like thirteen feet long. You both settle into your combat stances.

Silence.

A single cherry blossom flutters through the air, and with a sound like a spirit's sigh, alights upon the perfectly aligned sand.

BATTLE START

How shall you begin your assault?

Another cherry blossom petal flutters to the ground, in maybe less than a heartbeat. To you two, however, an hour seems to pass.

Your fingers slowly tighten, one by one, around the rough and worn hilt of the Kusanagi. Your other hand is suspended in space, hovering in front of your face, flexed so much like a predator's razor-talon claw. Your entire body is tense, coiled like a stone snake.

This is the Cascade Portcullis Stance.

Thirty feet away, Pyramid Head is motionless, not even breathing- then again, maybe he doesn't have to. There's a lot that isn't known about the stranger in the polyhedron helmet. However, underneath that rusted and wartorn helmet, you can sense his face muscles flexing.

He's smiling.

In one slow, steady motion, Pyramid Head sheathes his odachi, moving only his arms as he does so. You narrow your eyes. Some kind of trick? He definitely isn't giving up!

He's still staring at you- that helmet never seems to move. One set of gloved fingers are tight around the hilt of his monstrous sword, the other gripping the saya. His feet slowly slide apart, inch by inch, so carefully his old leather combat boots don't even disturb the lines of the zen garden's sand.

Your eyes widen. Pyramid Head grins.

You manage to dodge just in time as the air distortion from the Judgement Cut rips through the distance between you at Mach 3, slicing the rock behind you cleanly in half. You roll to your feet, ready to face Pyramid Head again, but he's already moving- moved past you, actually.

The air in front of you warps dangerously, but Pyramid Head has already dashed past you! What the hell- ?

You roll to the right, but you can't dodge the distortions from his Rapid Slash, and you feel a piercing pressure push into your ribs and internal organs, squishing them against each other and bone. Damn, you think to yourself, now I really have to piss.

Pyramid Head has already spun around, moving into the forms for a ground-based Slash Dimension, but you have an edge over him- he needs to draw his entire sword to strike beyond the speed of sound while you don't even have- or need- a sheath.

His odachi is halfway out of the saya as you come down on him with a Ground Zero Grind, forcing him to quickly parry the six cuts and slashes before giving him a hard spiral kick. He blocks the kick with the saya, but the power of the blow sends him skidding across the sand.

You don't give him time to recover and follow up with a Stinger, but he simply swings his hilt at you as you rush forward. You duck it and try to elbow him in the stomach, fail, hop over a sweep kick, duck under a roundhouse kick, and backflip away ten feet.

But as you're backflipping, Pyramid Head busts out an Upper Slash that nearly grazes your back and adds too much momentum to your backflip, sending you flying against a zen-garden rock. But you cling to it expertly with one hand, keeping your Kusanagi pointed at Pyramid Head the whole time.

 "That thing too big for ya?" you call out mockingly.

Pyramid Head twirls the 30-pound 13-foot long odachi like a baton, cracking his neck and shaking out his legs. You drop down from the rock, flexing your fingers. The two of you slowly circle one another, eyes never straying, stances never changing. Both of you seem to be barely breathing.

Your fingers tighten around your sword's hilt. Pyramid Head does the same.

Red starts to obscure your vision as you begin to charge your Drive technique. You can tell Pyramid Head is powering up another Judgement Cut, this one more powerful than before. Your breath begins to burn in your chest, stinging sweat runs into your eyes. You're about to blast Pyramid Head out of the zen garden with your knight-tier skill when suddenly...

"You know, that doesn't work in real life."

You lose concentration and your stance wobbles. Pyramid Head comes out of his combat stance, looking somewhat embarrassed.

Coming up the steps of the dojo, a katana with snow-white carved ivory hilt and saya and red tassel on the pommel resting against her shoulder...

Is the convenience store clerk girl. You narrow your eyes at her.

You frown at the sword resting on her shoulder. You've always hated over-elaborate and gaudy weapons that were made to look good instead of kill good- a mockery of the art of war, you always say. I mean, sure, the carved ivory of the hilt and saya looked cool, and the tassel blew in the wind all badass-like, but still...

"Nice sword. Must be a one hell of a letter opener."

The clerk girl quirks an eyebrow at you. "At least I didn't have to rent a sword like a small-time mercenary."

You growl, flexing your fingers and charging a Demon Fang. Not to use, just to give you something to do so you don't kick her ass all over the place. "Talk is cheap, peasant. What're you doing here?"

"I could ask the same of you, really." She walks up to you, standing maybe a foot away, staring at you defiantly. "What's Britain's best knight-detective doing sparring in the zen garden of a dojo when there's a murderer to be caught?"

You cross your arms. "A knight should always be ready to cross swords. You wouldn't understand."

She sighs. "You're impossible." She turns to Pyramid Head, looking up at his imposing helmet nervously. She was completely fearless to you... what the hell. "Konban wa, Pyramid-sama," she says with a low bow. "I am Tanegashima Wakako."

Pyramid Head bows low as well, the tip his helmet touching the sand.

"If I may say so, your control of ki was... spectacular," Wakako says shyly, looking everywhere but at Pyramid Head. "Its rare that foreigners have such skill with their blade. Rare, but welcome."

Pyramid Head shrugs.

You clear your throat. "I said, what're you doing here?" Wait... Tanegashima... is she related to the Chief? His daughter, maybe?

"One, I live here. Two, I'm part of the investigation, you idiot."

You feel a dead weight in your belly. Great. An amateur like her slowing you down.

"I don't feel the need to listen the the braying of a peasant," you say smugly, turning back to Pyramid Head and readying a combat stance.

Agility: 14

You don't react to the kick fast enough and you hit the sand, clutching your balls.

"See you at HQ," Wakako says, turning on her heel and walking away down the steps of the dojo.

Pyramid Head helps you up, holding by the arm to steady you. Wobbling a little, and waddle around to get the feeling back into your balls.

"That *****," you growl. Okay, now you really need to take a piss or you're gonna explode.
BATTLE END

You gained 13 XP!
Pyramid Head gained 8 XP!

As Pyramid Head leans you against a zen-rock in the garden to regain the feeling in your balls, you slowly begin wrapping the blade of your Kusanagi in white bandages to preserve its edge.

"Alright," you mutter as you work. "Enough fooling around. Let's return to the constabulary's station and look into the case, shall we?"

Pyramid Head nods, hefting his odachi across his shoulders.

You exit the dojo in slow-motion, cherry blossoms fluttering all cool-like as you do.

-

As you walk down the street, you look towards the city longingly, staring at the lights and people and bars and restaurants. But you grit your teeth and promise yourself you'll go party up Tokyo some other time. Pyramid Head hands coins to nearby hobos on the street.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTqo0mQr39U)


You enter the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department's station lobby, nodding to the security guards on duty and to the receptionist. You and Pyramid Head pass through the metal detectors and Geiger counters without incident, though Pyramid Head almost got his helmet stuck in the metal detector.

You hit the elevator button for the fiftieth floor and the two of you step inside.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tAcIGhh5Yo&feature=PlayList&p=83DF21ED9CC56838&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=26)

You rock back and forth on your heels, humming to yourself. Pyramid Head twiddles his thumbs. Man, what a catchy tune...

On the twenty-seventh floor, the doors open up and Officer Tanegashima Wakako is standing before you. Her expression hardens upon seeing you, but as she enters the elevator she bows to Pyramid Head, who bows back. It's a big elevator.

"Great," you grumble to yourself.

"Consider yourself lucky. It's not every day you get the luxury of a joint investigation," she points out.

"I don't need 'help'. Especially not from a Ninja Mart clerk."

Wakako's hands ball into fists, but her voice is calm. "Britain's ratio of unsolved cases isn't exactly impressive, you know."

You feel your eyes go bloodshot with anger. Is this *****... insulting... THE QUEEN?!

Pyramid Head moves between you two, crossing his arms. Wakako looks ashamed and looks away. You look away as well, letting your fury simmer. Silence. Except for the awesome elevator music, anyway.

The three of you get off at the fiftieth floor. Wakako bows to Pyramid Head before she leaves.

"Oh," she says. "My friends call me Ko." Pyramid Head takes her hand in his huge gloved ones and presses the front of his helmet to her knuckles. She blushes a little.

You roll your eyes, squeeze past the two and through the offices of the investigators, finally coming to the bathroom. You kick open the door to a stall and piss for a good five minutes.

+ 20 Psyche + 10 Energy

Much better. You feel freakin' ten pounds lighter, geez. You wash your hands and kick open the door back into the offices (them door handles have germs dammit!) and cut back through the offices to yours. You sit down in the comfy swivel chair and stare at the thick stack of documents on your desk.

()
...

You sigh. Pyramid Head walks in and sets his odachi in the corner before he sits down. You split the stack of papers in half and hand one half to Pyramid Head. He takes it diligently, busting out a magnifying class for reading fine print.

This wasn't what you had in mind... but duty is duty.

Loading...

It's one o'clock in the morning.

You yawn.

Blimey, what a case. You've dealt with stuff from Brazil to Australia to Wales to Siberia to Canada, but this... this is no normal mystery.

So far, there are seventy-seven dead prisoners being stored in the morgue. All of them died of heart attacks- every single one- but unusually enough, even the ones with no history of heart conditions suffered from them. Some were in solitary confinement, others in the normal cells. No matter where they were, they died within minutes.

Each of the victims- well, criminals- had a history of rape, murder, or both, usually with theft and kidnapping mixed in. Interesting... so that means the murderer himself is an underworld figure and knows exactly what's going on with these guys!

Pyramid Head slides a note along the table.

Yeah, it reads, or he has access to the police files somehow.

Well, one of the two. However, it seems that most of the earlier killings were of high-profile criminals who had been covered by news broadcasts, while the later ones were a bit more varied. Most of the killings seem to take place in the later evening and at night as well...

You lean back in your chair and put your feet upon the desk, pushing aside some of the sushi take-out boxes Pyramid Head went out and got a few hours into the investigation. Late evening and night... what did that mean?

A virus...? Infected food? No, that made no sense. Maybe it was an inside job. A security guard was poisoning the inmates with something that could kill them at a later time. That made sense... but this case covered more than one prison, it went across prisons almost all around Japan.

Pyramid Head scribbles another note and slides it to you: A criminal organization, perhaps? The Yakuza getting revenge on certain traitors and informants? They'd be able to infiltrate even the toughest of prisons... There's a doodle of a stick figure with a triangular head shrugging at the end of the note.

You nod thoughtfully, chewing on the end of a fountain pen. With another sigh, you take a long drink from your cup of Brazilian coffee.

+10 HP
+ 1°F+ 10 mg caffeine


Damn, this stuff is good. You should buy more...

Well, you've gone through the entire case report and barely gotten any leads. Now what?

You stretch with a sigh, leaning back as far as you can in your swivel chair without falling over. All this murder and crime is making you sleepy. And it's hard to think when you're sleepy!

"Yo, Pyra. I'm gonna waltz around Shinjuku Central Park, clear my head. You down?"

Pyramid Head shakes his head and points to the mess of takeout, coffee cups, empty boxes of pocky, and classified documents spread all over the table.

"They have janitors for that, mate! Come on, get real." But Pyramid Head just shakes his head and starts cleaning up. Man, what a hard worker. No wonder the Queen's Guard made him an honorary squire to you. You almost feel like you don't deserve his awesomeness. Almost.

"Fine, mate. Fine. Do it your way."

"If you wanna be the janitor, be my guest," you grumble, walking out of your office and leaving poor Pyramid Head to clean up the mess. What a jerk.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tAcIGhh5Yo)
As you bob your head to the elevator music, you decide to wait in the lobby for Pyramid Head. I mean, come on. Just ditching you squire would be a lame move.

Getting to the ground floor, you nod to the security guards and receptionist and sit down on a nearby couch. You yawn, get up, and look into the big fancy fountain in the middle of the lobby for yen coins. Unfortunately, you find none.

"Damn," you mumble.

You hear the ding! of the elevator opening and Pyramid Head lumbers out, his odachi over his shoulder. You're surprised the thirteen foot sword could even fit in there.

"What, you think we'll battle some hoodlums on the way there?"

Pyramid Head tosses you the Kusanagi, which you catch. You hang it on your hip. "Fine, whatever mate," you say with a shrug.

The walk to Shinjuku Central Park was twenty minutes, but you don't mind. The night air is slightly chilly, and the rumble of traffic gives a nice background to your thoughts.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c66t0TpUmMw&feature=related
http://www.flickr.com/photos/monkey_pushover_tree/2316247654/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ajpscs/213319241/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/paradoxbox/2912216133/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/craigchislett/2031981580/)

Man, talk about calming. You aren't even at the park yet. Pyramid Head seems at peace too. Then again, Pyramid Head doesn't get annoyed by anything, really. Except for bad manners and littering and stuff like that, anyway.

You make it to the park, where even in the dead of night the cherry blossoms are beautiful.

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/varf/443693819/)
With a relaxed sigh you walk into the park, kind of glad that no one's around. Pyramid Head is immediately amazed by a koi pond, pointing at the whiskers on the fish in wonder.

You roll your eyes. For being six feet of killing muscle, he could be a kid sometimes.

You leave him to stare at the fish in amazement and continue deeper into the park, to the point where it's dark, everything around you is silent, and even the breeze seemed to be holding its breath.

You close your eyes, letting your senses guide you. In this peaceful state, you can reflect on yourself as a person...

You don't know how much time has passed.

You don't really care.

You open your eyes, feeling... calm, at peace, yet kind of... sad. Remembering where you came from is always a painful thing to do. Especially when you're the dreaded son of-

You stop walking. You're in the middle of the park, lost and alone. Or at least... think you're alone. No... you feel a presence, all around you. It's silent, invisible... but you can definitely feel it. This isn't good... it's all around you. How long has it been there? You pull your cloak tightly around yourself, feeling nervous.

Something lands at your feet. You look down to find... a shuriken? With a note attached! You pick up the shuriken and pull off the note, straining to read in the moonlight. It's in Japanese, too... urgh.

Disrespectful ignorant foreigner! Your foolish meddling in the affairs of the Japanese are not welcome. Return to your homeland unless you wish a horrible, red death!

... Or something like that. You feel the pissed-off and malicious presence closing in around you. Can you reach the hilt of your Kusunagi in time? Crap, crap... it feels cold all of a sudden.

What do you do?

The circle of maliciousness begins to close in on you! You hold your breath, eyes going this way and that, wondering where they are. It's dark as hell, and they aren't making a sound...

A knight fears nothing. Not pain, not death, not sickness- or even fear itself!

"PYRAMID HEAD, LET'S ROCK!" you howl into the night sky. The closing circle stops for a split second, but as you grab the hilt of the Kusanagi and rip the tape from it they close in, flexing into your fighting stance.
BATTLE START
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loeunXkzv2k&feature=related

The first thing you notice is little distortions in the air- at first you think it's your enemies, but as the small blades whistle past, you realize they're shurikens and kunai! You swing your sword back and forth, doing your best to parry the thrown weapons, but as you do so, you feel a disturbance just to your left...

You spin, holding up your sword in a block. There's a spray of sparks and for a split second you can see the ghostly outline of a ninjato, but then it's gone. You have no time to think about that as more opponents have snuck up on you, and you have to rely on your knighly instincts to figure out where they are!

You make a 360-degree spinning slash in hopes to clear some space, but your invisible enemies simply jump back and close back in! Four, five, six, seven- you lose count of how many different swords you're trying to block, parry and dodge.

You decide to risk being stabbed and Stinger your way out of the mob, making an awesome slide under a park bench as you do so. You kick the bench at your approaching opponents- and it's slashed into twenty different pieces.

... Crap.

You look down for a second to see yourself covered in countless small and not-so-small cuts. Man, you're all bloody and tired and these guys aren't even trying. Honorless, invisible bastards!

Another shuriken comes flying at you, and you use the opportunity to duck under it and make a stab where it came from. You only hit air, however, and have to make a quick twist to parry a ninjato slice.

As a kunai grazes your cheek, you close your eyes and concentrate. Can't see or hear them... gotta feel the fires in their souls instead!

Status Effect: eyes closed
KP +10

Three of your enemies come at you with ninjatos extended, but you bust out a Chain Lance Kick to their chests, propelling you back. They're unstunned, however, and try to follow up with a lightning-fast combo that you can barely counter. You backflip onto another park bench, trying to concentrate even harder and find their leader... but they're too powerful, they're all like minibosses to you. Crap!

A kunai cuts deep into your knee and you stumble off the bench onto your ass. A bad guy tries to finish you off with a falling stab but you roll out of the way in time, giving him a kick to the face for his trouble (more like a kick to empty air, them be too fast!). You backflip to your feet, but only end up backflipping onto an outstretched ninjato!

You feel the steel stab about three inches into your chest.

Not so bad. It'll heal, in maybe-

The tip of the ninjato bursts out of the other side of your chest in a spray of blood. You stare at the gleaming red steel poking out in front of you, kind of confused.


Yeah, right. Is this what it's like to be stabbed? It's not so ba-
The blade is yanked away, and more blood sprays out of the hole in your chest, along with your air. It seems cold all of a sudden...

You're still on your feet.

You raise your sword, and realize that even with your eyes closed, you can see your enemies perfectly now- they've been drenched in your blood. They move like red ghosts in your mind-vision, so easy to see...

But as you move forward to strike, they strike faster, leaving cut and gash faster than you can react. Your fencing skills seem to be useless against so many. Ten? Fifteen? No, there must be at least thirty...

You fall to your knees, the Kusanagi stabbed into the ground in front of you. You grip onto the hilt for dear life, not sure if you'll get back up if you hit the dirt. You're almost unconscious, a pool of blood forming beneath you rapidly. So cold...

You're dimly aware of someone standing in front of you.

You look up, and in your blurry vision, see an impossibly dark flickering bloodstained shadow, fiery blind red eyes, and the business edge of a katana coming right down on your face.

Oddly enough, you aren't afraid. Just notice all you smell are... moths.

GAME OVER

Continue? **** Yeah/Hell No

LOADING

Fog, all around you. Nothing new in England, but this dreary morning, this cold fog is different.

You stand on the very top of the Tower of London, dual swords drawn and ready. Thirty feet away from you, his family sword in hand, is your enemy.

"It's finally come to this," you say quietly. Your voice seems weirdly loud in the morning silence. "Finally."

He says nothing. He just looks at you with eyes colder than the morning.

"Finally. After all this time, it's over. I can kill you and end it all."

Again, nothing. His grip or stance don't change at all. For all his movement, he might as well not be hearing you.

He's always done this. Never spoken to you. Treated you like a curse, a demon, a monster- !

"Have at you, Father! Time to die!" you dash towards him, swords aimed to kill. He walks forward calmly, with the expression of someone about to dissect a corpse.

-

You slowly open your eyes.

That's... funny. You can't see.

For a second, you freak out, wondering if you're blind. You put a hand to your face, and feel... bandages? Pulling them off, you shield your eyes from the freakin' bright light that seems to come from everywhere.

Damn, your head hurts. So much you can barely stay conscious. But you gather the willpower to stay awake and try and figure out where you are.
Willpower: 53

Okay, okay! You squint your eyes and try to ignore the pounding in your head. From the looks of things, you're...

You groan, blinking a few times. Damn, it even hurts to blink...

Hanging above you from a long wire is a dirty, flickering lightbulb. And that... is your only source of light.

You groan, swinging your legs over the side of the rusted bedframe and sitting up, putting your head in your hands. What a headache...

As your sensitive eyes finally adjust to the light, you realize you're in a cell.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/tomdebiec/244940545/

An old, abandoned cell.

Just great.

You sit there for a minute, catching you breath, trying to remember what happened.
The edge of a katana... the smell of moths...

You should be dead. There's no other way...

You look down to see that you're wearing a white jinbei. Well, it used to be white- some blood has soaked through the bandages covering your body. Wait, bandages? Who-

You shake your head. You're alone, and you don't have your sword. You stand up, wobbling a little, and pad over to the bars of your cell. Hey, they even gave you sandals...

You tighten your fingers around the bars and push, but they won't budge. You pull- and duh, they don't budge.

"Just imagine, knight. This is what it's like... to wait for death..."

You freeze.

"Today, tomorrow? You never know, until it's too late..."
Great, you're starting to hear voices. You try to ignore them for now and you look closer at the lock on the door...

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/150/432841297_de99ae0284.jpg?v=0
Damn, rusted but still works.

What do you do?

You take a steadying breath. Okay, maybe you aren't crazy. Maybe your cellmate just is... you know... an ass.

"Hey!" you snap at the walls. "Who are you? Where are we?"

"A shadow in a moonless night."
"That doesn't... help. At all."

"Nothing can help you here. Not even yourself."

You pound on the wall in irritation. Your headache is either getting really, really bad or the voice is coming from inside your head. Not good. "How do I get out, dammit?"

"So many before you have asked that question... and so many still do."
"Bugger me arse sideways, quit'cha bein' so bleedin cryptic!" you yell at the ceiling, making the lightbulb flicker. That accent always comes out when you're pissed...

"Can you imagine? Those lost souls, waiting to die, whether it be burst heart or lost head? Can you imagine?"

Wait... burst heart... "You know about the murderer?" Well, of course, all prison inmates did at this point. "What do you know?"

"What you know is what matters, but even that won't save you..."
****! This is going nowhere!

Okay. Looks like your prisonmate (or, you know, schizophrenia) isn't being too helpful. Great.

You look around your cell, trying to ignore the pounding in your head and how itchy all your wounds are. The big, gaping hole in your chest is without doubt the worst. It's like whenever your heart beats a little blood squirts out of your chest. Ow.

You notice the crappy toilet in the corner of your cell, the bolts holding it down loose and rusted. Perfect!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kenthenderson/21201379/
You sit down on the floor, brace your feet against the wall, and pull with all your might!

Compressive Strength: 41
Tensile Strength: 43

... It doesn't even budge. ****. You decide to take a slightly more sensible route and pull the rusted bolts from the toilet...
Repair: 13

You manage to pull the bolts out without much trouble, but the toilet is so rusted it's stuck to the ****ing wall. ****!

You can hear a ghostly giggle, just barely, somewhere in the distance. Dammit, that prisonmate of yours is a real *****.

You fall back onto your back, panting from the effort and your arms hurting from strain. Damn. Nothing's going your way today...

Looking around your cell, you find nothing of use... except for a brick in the corner! Awesome!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/mukluk/459475585/sizes/l/

You pick up the cinderblock and lug it over to the door, and start beating the crap out of the lock!

Blunt Short: 19

The lock crumples a bit, and the door shifts. Huh. The door wasn't even locked... just rusted shut. Then how did you get into the cell? Weird...

You push the door with all your might, and it slowly, grindingly, squealingly opens. You have to stop and pant, hands on knees, from the effort of getting it open.

You limp out of your cell, wallowing in the glory of your awesome escape... and then look to your right.

http://alexiuss.deviantart.com/art/Grind-Necrosis-87442573

Er... maybe left...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/brokenpixels/108953641/sizes/o/in/set-72157619709886185/

Light? That might not be the best idea... who knows who's down here...

What now?

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/brokenpixels/108953641/sizes/o/in/set-72157619709886185/)
Okay... it obviously doesn't look safe, but hey, it's better than a pitch-black and narrow hallway, right?

Squeezing through the opening you managed to muscle in your cell door, you carefully tiptoe over to the open door, trying to be quiet as possible.
Sneak: 18

Your beaten-up legs, the gash in your kneecap, and your straw sandals make it hard to be stealthy, however. Oh well. Good enough. You lean up against the wall adjacent to the door, inch closer, closer, closer... and look into the next room.

At first you're blinded by the extreme light, but your eyes adjust...

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/brokenpixels/131726892/in/set-72157619709886185/http://www.flickr.com/photos/brokenpixels/108547742/in/set-72157619709886185/)

That's... weird. A bunch of control panels? You pad into the room and look down at one of the panels. Dials, switches, buttons, levers... damn. This is pretty complicated stuff. Must control the cell doors and lights and lockdown and crap. But who cares? You move deeper into the room, looking for an exit...
(http://www.flickr.com/photos/brokenpixels/131726893/in/set-72157619709886185/)

Damn. Looks like that light you saw before wasn't sunlight, just backup emergency light. You feel a little claustrophobic and wonder just where the hell you are, when you notice...

()
Alright, a way out! Only problem... is that it's an electrically powered security door. ****. And it looks like the prison's main power is out, since all of those backup lights are on. Why does this feel like a ****in' Silent Hill game...

You look over your shoulder at the hallway you just came out of. You feel vulnerable in all this light, especially in your wounded state. Crap, crap, what to do...

Okay, seeing that you have no light source of your own, and you have no idea how big- or how deep- this prison is, shutting down the emergency lights is probably a bad idea. But turning all the power back on... that's going to be tough. You know the prison is still getting electricity, but still...

You lean against a control panel and scratch at the gaping hole in your chest- it's kind of itchy.

Okay. If anything you've learned during your studies at Oxford, the main electric generators are going to be at the lowest level. You're going to need to find some stairs.

But the control room itself seems to have no power aside from the emergency lights. You look around for the fusebox, and finding it, pull off the cover.

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/sameli/176219579/)
... Right. All the fuses are blown. Great. Going to need to find some replacements if you want that security door open.

There's a door off to the left of the security door that leads to some maintenance stuff- probably your best bet. You carefully walk through the door...

(

http://www.flickr.com/photos/brokenpixels/109456600/in/set-72157619709886185/)

... Damn, more control panels, more fuseboxes. This is no ordinary prison... if it's even a prison. You keep moving forward, your footsteps loud and echoing in the massive, silent hallways. Your breath is almost misting in the air. It's cold...

Interior Temperature: 65°F
You try and shrug it off, but there's something wrong... the air seems to cling to you, like it's lonely... or angry.

You shake your head and keep moving.

At the end of the hallway, you run into... oh, hell.

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/brokenpixels/108456481/sizes/o/in/set-72157619709886185/)

You sigh. Damn, this place is a maze.

You decide to go right, seeing as you don't want to walk past an open door. Besides, left is the path of evil. It always has been! Maybe that's why your father was left-handed...

Anyway. You creep up to the door, your back to the wall, and peek inside the room.

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/brokenpixels/60694899/sizes/o/in/set-72157619709886185/)

The emergency lights are spaced out pretty widely, making it hard to see. But you can tell that the room is huge as you walk through it. There's a thick coating of dust on the ground, and you kick it up as you scuffle along the concrete- no one's been here in years. Decades...

All this concrete, all this metal, but what for? Just a prison? So much space... something must have been kept here, once. Either something big, or something with a lot of friends...

As you walk across the room, you spot some stairs leading down. It's dark, but you see an emergency light below. You make your way carefully down the stairs, making sure not to slip on oil or anything.

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/brokenpixels/106105612/sizes/o/in/set-72157619709886185/)

Bugger... it's getting colder. How deep is this place? You look over the side of the banister, but everything is dark except for the way down. Great.

You go down the stairs for a good five minutes, beginning to pant with the effort of working your slashed up legs so hard. You finally reach the bottom, and stopping to catch your breath, you look around.

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/brokenpixels/122864953/sizes/o/in/set-72157619709886185/)
... This is no prison.

You look around, and notice that there's a bit more light then usual coming from the far end of the room. You limp that way, amazed at how the dust down here is so thick you could mistake it for dirt. You look left and right for fuseboxes or storage rooms or anything, but you see nothing of the sort. But once you're in the lighter part of the room...

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/brokenpixels/60694897/in/set-72157619709886185/)

A lot of emergency light is coming out of a window, along with a lot of noise. This must be the way to the main generator. At least, you hope so...

You push open the door, and take a sigh of relief.

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/brokenpixels/105493007/sizes/o/in/set-72157619709886185/)

A generator. It's not exactly huge, but chances are they've spread out generators through the prison for safety precautions, instead of having one huge-ass generator. Huh, it seems to be running already. Something must be wrong with it...

Electronics: 11
Repair: 13
Hacking: 3Ceraunoscopy: locked


Okay, best idea would be to...

You decide that logical thing to do would be to just hit the restart button- I mean, come on. What could go wrong?

You look around the room for something that would be the generator's main power switch. Valves, dials, gauges you can't make sense of... hey, here we go!

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/brokenpixels/115523308/sizes/o/in/set-72157619709886185/)
Four big switches, hooked up to a whole lot of wiring. If this isn't the power switch, well, you're out of ideas.

You flex your hand to stretch it out a bit, claw it dramatically, and slam your hand down onto the lever's grip, clenching onto it like the very claw of death!

...

It doesn't move. You try the rest, and while they move just a little, the rust is too much. Damn!

Thinking quickly, you duck into the storage closet in the back of the generator room and look for something to loosen up the levers, whether it be water or oil or whatever.

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/brokenpixels/60313456/sizes/o/in/set-72157619709886185/)

... It's a big closet, almost pitch black. It's slightly flooded, too, with maybe a centimeter or so of dark water coating the ground. Well, you hope it's water... and not radioactive.. or worse... but as you wade through the thick water and it soaks into your sandals and goes between your toes, it just feels ****in' cold. You know, like most water you'd find in an random abandoned prison.

You check the shelves, finding pieces of machinery you don't recognize from either age or obscurity. Useless rusted scrap, for the most part. Except... hey, wait! You find a dusty wooden box with a faded Japanese character on the side you don't recognize. You look inside... and you can't help but feel a little better.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2dG9jB8fvY
You discovered a box of fuses!
)

Pretty big as far as fuses go, but no big deal! You put the box under your arm and look for anything else useful on the shelf.

"Nothing of use here," you mumble to yourself.

You turn around to leave the closet, and once you're back in the generator room, you put down the box of fuses in the corner and think for a second. You need something to lubricate those levers...

"Oh yeah."

You take your wet and dirty sandal and scrub the levers!

Repair: 13

After a good thirty seconds of scouring off the rust, you put your sandal back on (now much less comfy... oh well) and throw each switch, one by one.

Tensile Strength: 43

They take a lot of effort to move, but you put them all into the off position. But as you throw the last switch, you hear a horrible grinding noise as the machine turns off. The emergency lights shut off.

You're in pitch blackness.

"Always so eager to prove his worth."

That voice again! "Who are you?" you demand. You can't tell where its coming from... everywhere?

You suddenly feel movement beneath your feet. But... it's beneath the floor.

No... not just the floor. The entire generator room seems to be surrounded by something... massive. There's a weird scratching noise in the walls, the ceiling, so faint you almost can't hear it. But it's everywhere now, a skittering, grinding sound, like the cement moaning in pain...

Freaking out, you throw all the switches as fast as you can. The horrible grinding begins again, but it's louder, higher pitched... and the faint skittering becomes a heavy scratching. The emergency lights flicker on, dimmer than before, and keep flickering. You can barely see...

The skittering and scratching stops. The whole room seems to be holding its breath.

You let out a slow, unsteady breath.

Looks like this is just the backup generator. At least you got your fuses. Now what?

You don't know what's out there- or in here, for that matter- so you decide to give yourself a little backup lighting.

Pyromancy: 1
... Um. Well, you have to start sometime, right? And no better time than the present!

HP: 17/100KP: 0/200

That's weird. Something about this prison is keeping your Knight Points from regenerating. That means you'll have to turn to Hematomancy in order to conjure fire.

[Note: Hematomancy is the process of sacrificing 10 HP for 5 KP]
It's hard to concentrate with the backup generator clanking and grinding in the background, but you squeeze your eyes shut and focus on the darkness. Darkness... and the light that would spring from it...

You feel an agonizing, burning burst of heat that singes your every nerve ending! You groan in pain as some of your blood's oxygen is used to fuel the flame. Your right hand begins to glow a fierce red, until you can see the dark shadows of your bones in your hand. The air around your hand begins to distort from the heat waves and steam. But slowly, carefully, you feel a warmth in your hands. You egg it on, willing it to grow. Finally, you feel a flare of heat in the palm of your right hand.

(You casted Flame of the Dragon!
HP: 7/100
KP: 0/200http://himstress666.deviantart.com/art/Flame-88441177)


Well, it's the lowest of the low, but it's not like you need to smite anyone right now anyway. Watching the small flame flicker, you feel proud of yourself. Not bad for a level one Pyromancer!

You walk over into the corner of the room, careful not to walk too fast and snuff out your little candle. But as you pick up the box of fuses you found, the backup generator suddenly makes a horrible squealing noise and a BANG! You almost drop the fuses in surprise. The lights immediately shut off.

... Crap. It's not making any sound... guess it's broke. Now you don't even have any backup power to work with! Bugger!

You sigh. A skittering noise above you snaps you to attention, however. Not just above you... the walls, the floor. That quiet, almost inaudible scratching... rats, maybe?

Whatever. Now what?

As the small flame flickers weakly in your hand, you get a better hold of the box of fuses under your arm. Right! These fuses should power the control panel just fine. Now, you just need to backtrack and not get lost in this pitch blackness. It could be worse, though.

You exit the emergency generator room, immediately noticing that it's a lot colder than before. You shiver, your toes curling in discomfort. You wish you had your sturdy boots instead of these stupid woven sandals...

Environment Temperature: 50°FYour Body Temperature: 96.2°F

Whatever. If you can get out of here back to the control room, the fusebox should keep you warm. You look down, planning to follow the footprints your had left in the dust on your way down here.

... They're gone.

You blink a few times. The light in your hand is only strong enough to let you see ten feet in front of you, but... they were right there. The dust... is just the way it had been before. Like you've never been there...

You gulp, shaking your head. It's just the light. You know the way.

"Can so dim a flame defeat the darkness?"

That voice. It's... in your head, you're sure of it now. But it seems to echo in a weird way, like it's... bouncing around the walls. How does that work?

You head forward, trying to keep your teeth from chattering and concentrating on keeping your pyro-candle burning. As you make it to the stairs and start heading up, you feel way more relieved.

As you climb up the stairs, your sandals making a dull metallic footstep, you suddenly stop.

Is.... this the right stairway?

You shake your head and keep going. Your sandals make a kind of funny noise from being wet- you know, from the semi-flooded storage room. Funny, they almost sound like bare feet.

Schlup.... schlup.... schlup....

Yeah, a weird sound. You stop for a second to see how wet your sandals are...
... schlup.

Oh ****. That wasn't you.

Speed- 18Short Distance: 28


You haul ass up the stairs at a full sprint, pumping your arms even with the little flame. You don't look back.

You make it to the top, stumbling on the top step, but manage to regain your balance and run down the hall to the control room, slamming the door, locking and bolting it.

That wasn't so hard. Hey, chances are you were just overreacting. You turn around, ready to fix up those fuses...

(Image is banned on Japanese consoles. Please use European, American, or African console to view.)

... By the Queen's mercy.

You can barely see it- your flame has weakened so much you can only see five feet in front of you. But... you've seen some weird **** in your travels as a knight, but this... thing...

It hadn't seen the sun in decades, maybe more. At seven feet tall, it was so terribly thin it must have been emaciated, little more than a skeleton, but you could see now outline of bones beneath the ashen, moist skin. Its fingers were freakishly, horribly long, and all the exact same length- same with the feet. The head was bald and bare, seeming to have a skull but no underlying face bones. The face... oh, God. It had no eyes. Just two holes in its head, two dark empty bottomless holes. It's mouth was the same, just a frozen hole, as if stuck at the end of a delirious "Hello?"

And it was standing six feet away from you, just out of your circle of light. Its breathing was wet, hollow- like it was drowning.

...

... What... what do you do?

You look at the horrifying creature standing in front of you, not sure what to do. Maybe... maybe...

"Er... 'ello, guv'nor. Top 'o tha evenin' t'ya!"

The... thing... just stares at you. You gulp, and keep going.

"Wee bit nippy down 'ere, don'cha know? Me bollocks aw shiv'rin like shaved sheep!"

It hasn't moved at all. Maybe it's not listening. Maybe it doesn't have ears. You can't really tell. Okay, you've already said hello and talked about the weather, maybe it knows how to get out of this hole!

"Aw, beggin' yer kindly pardon, me boyo. See naw, 'tis a bit too dark 'n dreary down 'ere fer a sunny bloke like meh- joo' 'appen to knaw the ways t'tha lift?"

More staring. Christ, you can't even tell if it's staring at you, it has no ****ing eyes! And its breathing hasn't changed at all... oh, God. This thing is... worse than anything you've ever seen before. This makes Silent Hill look like nothing.

Mental Stability: 67

You breath deep, trying to calm yourself, but your tummy is flipping and flopping and you can feel your organs sloshing around in terror. Easy, man!

"Bugger me bleedin' arse sideways! YE BE DEAF, BOYO?!" you scream at the creature.

... It... it stopped breathing. It seems to be... waiting for something.

The room suddenly feels a lot colder, and your feel sick. Your lack of KP suddenly feels a lot more noticeable...

You gulp, and steeling yourself, you concentrate a bit harder on the small flame flickering weakly in your hand. You need more light to figure out just what the hell this weird thing is.

You take a careful step forward, holding your flame out ahead of you.

It takes a step back. Its feet make a wet schlup sound.

You blink. You take another step, a wee bit more quickly this time.

Again, it steps back.

Er... okay. You frown, trying to peer closer at the creature hidden in darkness. Maybe it doesn't like the light...

You take a fast hop forward and shove the flame close to the thing's face. It doesn't move, and you get a good look.

(This image is banned in Japanese consoles. Please operate a European, American, or African console to view.)
"Oh... me... Gawd."

Its eyes... they... you thought it just had empty eye sockets or something, like an everyday skull, but the holes in its head... seemed to go on forever, like you were looking into train tunnels. The light or your flame couldn't see all the way in. The mouth was the same- pale, bloodless lips frozen in an expression of complete, shocked horror and terror, mouth dark and cavernous. The face... had no features. Just smooth, unbroken skin, with no bones seeming to frame the face from underneath. Its skin was freakishly pale, like it had no blood left in it. The entire body was smooth, like it had spent years upon years slithering through pipes and behind walls and under floors.

You can't move. It's suddenly colder, and you feel even weaker. The thing, breathing like its drowning, suddenly lifted its huge, spindly hand. You try to jump back, but you're so tired...

It wraps its long fingers in a grip of iron around your flame-holding hand, snuffing it out. But when it touched you, it's like it wasn't even there... like it forced your hand closed with willpower. It's all gone dark, and you feel the fingers in your left hand beginning to twist and snap and break. You want to howl out in pain, but...

So cold...

Oh God oh God oh God. It's pitch black, you can't see anything. It's crushing your hand, and you can feel the bones in your fingers and hands and wrist being crushed and twisted out of place! With each pop and crack, white-hot fireworks of agony go off in your head. You can't take much more of this.

You can't fight like this. You only have one choice... and it sure ain't honorable.

You stop breathing, shut yours eyes, drop the box of fuses and slump to the ground.

Or... try to. The horrible thing is still holding onto you! You're hanging from your broken left hand, dangling just above the tile floor of the control room. You feel the bones in your arm begin to crick and crack painfully, so much that you nearly lose consciousness...

But then you hear a wet ripping sound and you hit the floor hard. Something warm and slick is pooling beneath you.

Your arm... you can't feel your left arm...

It's all fading out. All you hear is that rattling, wet breathing... Like someone drowning.

HP: 0/100
KP: 0/200

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dlr90NLDp-0)MOURN, YE FAITHFUL; A HERO HATH FALLEN


Number of deaths: 1
Number of honorable deaths: 0

It's been one day on the job and you've died already? Come on! That's like dying in the tutorial level!

Reload last save?


**** Yes/Hell No

LOADING...
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8KveQdaNmA&feature=related)

 You attempt to charm the freaky, darkness-dwelling creature with the accent you picked up in London, but it's not very effective.

... It... it stopped breathing. It seems to be... waiting for something.

The room suddenly feels a lot colder, and your feel sick. Your lack of KP suddenly feels a lot more noticeable...

You get a bad feeling about this weird Silent Hill thing standing in front of you.

Carefully, you begin to sidestep slowly. Inch by inch, you circle around the freaky horrible creature from the 666th layer of Hell and make your way towards the fusebox, your little palm-held flame flickering to match your fear. However, as you move, the thing watches you. It doesn't come any closer or move away or anything... just turns to watch you move, never moving its eyes (er, sockets... whatever) from you.

Christ, this is creepy. It's not even breathing.

Still facing it, you feel your back bump into the fusebox. Alright! You set down the box of fuses, pull open the fusebox panel, and start yanking out old blown fuses, one by one. It's pretty hard to do, though, since the fuses are rusted and caked with old battery acid. Not to mention you're keeping your eyes on the creature the entire time, so you're groping blindly around for the fuses.

You peek back at the fusebox for a split second, and seeing that it's empty, start placing in the new fuses one by one. The weird creature simply watches.

Alright! All the fuses are in. You close the panel and throw the switch on the wall next to it. The fusebox sparks suddenly, blinding you for a second, but that you hear the whir of machinery moving and the beeps of the consoles in the control room booting up. The emergency lights flicker back on- weaker than before, but better than nothing.

You glance back to see what the creepy creature stalker thing is up to...

It's gone!

And all the doors are closed... except for the one that leads to your cell. Interesting...

You limp over to the control terminals and try to open the security door. The door's getting power, apparently, but from what you can figure out (despite that you know about... a day's worth of Japanese) in a dusty and faded instruction manual you find on the ground, it looks like that security
blast door thing won't open unless the prison's main generator is on. At least, that's what you can figure out from the little pictures...
Okay, with 7 HP and no KP, you're not doing so great. At least you've got your little flame in your left hand, though. Now what?


You look at the open door leading back to your cell thoughtfully. Maybe that... weird Half Life 2-style stalker thing... isn't even hostile? It hasn't attacked you or anything...

But then again, can you trust the honor of a underground-dwelling demon banshee wraith ghoul thing? Yeah, not the greatest idea there.

You glance back to the door you bolted and locked before that leads to the emergency generator. Say... you haven't tried that left door yet.

You unlock and unbolt the door, and holding your wisp of Dragonflame out ahead of you. Even though you've been down this corridor before, knowing that wraith-ghoul-banshee thing is somewhere in the building is more than enough to make your nervous. You make it to the end, where the two doors are...

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/brokenpixels/108456481/sizes/o/in/set-72157619709886185/)

This time you head left, glancing into the door on the right (just in case!) anyway. You stack up next to the left door, and gathering you courage, peek around the corner.

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/brokenpixels/60313460/sizes/o/in/set-72157619709886185/)

What have you here? In the flickering emergency light, you've got another corridor. But there's a lot more piping and ventilation and stuff... this must be one of the ways to the main generator.

You carefully move forward, making sure not to bump into any switches or levers or anything. There are a few doors here and there, but the bolts have rusted shut. With a shrug, you continue on. You soon come to the end of the corridor, and opening the door, find yourself in another stairwell.

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/ryanpolicky/3872159812/in/pool-trespassing)

Stairwell... bollocks, this used to be a missile silo or something. You head on down, careful to watch your step on the rusting stairs. You come to the bottom and head through what seems to be the only door that can be opened. Weird, it's like... a path, set out for you. You open the door...

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/dystop/4013072107/sizes/o/in/set-72157622464711085/)

More corridors? You sigh. If this were a videogame or something, you'd swear that this would be a trap. But you've been down in this prison long enough to know that it's anything but conventional.

You walk along, limping as you go. Your health is in pretty bad shape, and your kneecap where you were slashed before is throbbing painfully. You should probably try and find the hospital wing of this place if you want to survive any longer... but whatever, maybe later.

You make it to the end of the corridor and push open the door- they've been getting heavier and more metal-inforced as you've gone down. As the door opens, you can only blink.

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/brokenpixels/105086455/sizes/o/in/set-72157619709886185/)

...

A prison? No... something else. But what? What kind of place would have so many massive buildings beneath the ground, only God knows how deep? From the temperature... pretty damn deep.

More walking. Your understanding of machines and technology doesn't cover this... stuff. All you can really tell is that this is related to how the prison gets electricity. But what were they doing down here, to need so much of it?

There's a lot of light coming from the other end of the room, through a crack in the huge sliding metal doors. Looks like you found what you were looking for. You squeeze through the doors...
And can only stop and stare.


(http://www.flickr.com/photos/brokenpixels/116084554/sizes/o/in/set-72157619709886185/)

Turbines? TURBINES? The kind of stuff you find in energy plants, with reactors... in a prison? And these are no ordinary turbines... they're old, but each one is a good three stories tall. Turbines! Bugger!

You begin to move among the huge structures, both amazed and a little scared. To think that places like these... still existed. Made you think about humanity in general. What manpower could do... and what could overpower manpower.

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/brokenpixels/119019041/sizes/o/in/set-72157619709886185/http://www.flickr.com/photos/brokenpixels/117825750/sizes/o/in/set-72157619709886185/)

You look up, and squinting in the glare of the emergency lights, see a catwalk leading to what looks like a control room. Capital!


You scratch at the gaping wound in your chest thoughtfully, chipping at some of the dried blood under the reddened bandage. Chances are, if you get these huge-arse turbines running again, there'll be enough electricity running through the prison to get you wherever you need to go.

You walk around one of the turbines, looking for a ladder. Then again, these things are pretty high up... maybe there's a lift somewhere...

Aha! You take a small flight of stairs up to what seems to be the stairwell. And it has a lift, what luck! Chances are, the emergency power doesn't go to elevators, but...

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/snapsi42/2797164480/sizes/l/in/set-72157606709220900/)

Er... yeah. You'll go for the stairs.

You head up the stairs step by step, your kneecap slowing you down the entire way. You have to grip onto the handrail to keep your balance a few times. Wouldn't want to fall this far up...

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/snapsi42/2796317307/sizes/l/in/set-72157606709220900/)

You stop to catch your breath, breathing heavily. There's only a single emergency light in this stairwell, a lone bulb at the very top- and it's flickering more than you'd like. The Dragonfire in your palm is starting to sputter- you hope the emergency generator can keep going for a little longer.

You reach the top and walk out onto the catwalk that crisscrosses the entire room. Damn, it's a good three stories to the floor... this is a huge room.

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/no3rdw/2543322085/)

You creep along, careful of your balance.

Acrobatics: 35

You wobble a few times, but manage to keep a grip on the rusty and dusty rails. You hop off onto a solid platform and walk into the room overlooking the turbines.

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/mahlainen/4050338425/sizes/o/)

Finally! The main energy grid controls. You quickly check the fusebox of the terminals, and thankfully all the fuses are still working, if old and unstable. You limp over to the main control panel...

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/mahlainen/3849522712/sizes/o/in/set-72157622052510732/)

Alright. Looks like this room is in better shape than the one next to your cell. All you have to do is supply a starting jolt of power.
How are you going to do that?


You sit down heavily in one of the swivel chairs in the control room, taking a breather. You itch at your kneecap, wincing as your fingernails scrape at the forming scab. If only you were a little stronger... those honorless cowards in Shinjuku Central Park wouldn't have had a chance.

You sigh. You can think about revenge later, you need to get those turbines going. You definitely don't want to sacrifice the emergency power you have now, and the chances of you finding another backup generator around here aren't exactly a hundred percent. And it's not like you have the mechanical skills to start up those turbines manually...

This looks like a pretty crappy situation.

You stand up, wobbling a little on your bad leg. At this point, you only have one choice... the flashtech you've been developing for the past few months. Either that or death, so it's not like the odds are against you or anything.

You close your eyes, and begin to build up your concentration. You tap into the electric messages jumping from neuron to neuron, feeling the voltage of each spark run along your bones and making you shiver in the cold air of the prison. You suddenly become aware of all the electricity around you- the streams of yellow, staticky wattage running like blood through the rusted veins of the prison, giving just enough energy to charge up the emergency lights.

A world of so many lances of light and color and heat you've barely noticed all your life. And now, you can feel it, feel it all beginning to build up inside you-

ZAP!

The control room- the entire world- is gone.You can't hear. Or see. Or feel. All you can smell is the sickly smell of burnt skin and hair, and all you can taste is a burnt tongue.

The white in your vision finally fades away, and you have to blink a few times to get rid of the afterimage stuck to the inside of your eyelids. Your hearing slowly comes back once you recognize the flickering sound of the emergency lights. Your tongue still feels burnt, though. Oh, man... you feel like ****.

You're on the floor, and you slowly, painfully push yourself up into a sitting position. You bring a hand up to feel for a bump on your head, but you stop and stare at it in wonder.

(http://anatomy.med.umich.edu/images/cut_veins_hand.jpghttp://www.elecplay.com/screenshots/b/bioshock-08.jpg)
All the veins in your hand... are glowing from beneath the skin. A bright electric blue that pulses along to the beat of your heart. It's so bright that in the darkness of the control room, it gives off a gentle blue glow.


It looks like the effort of using that flashtech snuffed out your little Flame of the Dragon, but your Supercell might just do the trick. You flex your left hand, and little arcs of bright blue voltage shoot between your fingers. You can't help but grin.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mj78_bnFIQc
You have learned the Occult Arte of Ceraunoscopy!)


You feel a weird little tug inside your chest... the flashtech remuneration that you'll have to pay. Whatever! You decide to worry about it later and without a second thought, slam your open palm down onto the control panel and unleash your Supercell.

The panel explodes, sending shrapnel and circuitry everywhere. You cover your face as metal gets stuck in your arm!

Superhot sharp rusting metal fragments are stabbed in your arms!-2 HP

Great, now you're at 5 HP. But looking on the bright side, there's a grinding metallic noise that has effectively made you deaf- and that means the turbines are starting up!

You sigh in relief, flexing your left hand. The electricity has stopped surging through your hand... looks like you'll have to pay the flashtech remuneration to use lightning techs again. Damn.

You walk over to the window and watch the turbines power up. The main lights are starting to slowly flicker on, and you blink in the new light.

But now you're pretty much defenseless... and something in this prison is still preventing your KP from coming back...
Alright, making progress. But now what?


The force of the turbines powering up rattles the entire facility. Blimey, it's almost difficult to keep your balance. You limp out of the control room into the next corridor over, stopping to lean against the cold wall and breathe deep.

Okay. The turbines are charging up, and should start supplying maximum voltage to the entire prison within at most ten minutes. The main lights are beginning to flicker on already- you have to squint in the harsh glare after being so used to the weak emergency lights- so it shouldn't take long.

But now that the prison is operational again, that means any electric security doors are now open. Security doors that have been keeping you in... but keeping you relatively safe.

You look glance down both ends of the corridor, scratching you chest.

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/dystop/4013071877/sizes/o/in/set-72157622464711085/)

Maybe it's the new light playing tricks on your eyes, but it definitely seems like there's less dust around here. It's been abandoned for some time, but not as long as your cell block had been. Funny, that...

The grinding roar of the turbines' machinery keeps you from hearing anything at all, so you keep looking over your shoulder constantly, just in case your pale wraith demon friend shows up again. You sigh, wishing Pyramid Head was with you. He'd know what to do. He was into that whole urban exploration- or 'urbex', the swish kids called it- scene. You wondered what Pyramid Head was doing right then... probably snogging with Wakako. That manly man.

You shake your head, and immediately feel dizzy. You have to concentrate! Okay. This is the main power source, so logically most work would be done here. Therefore, more work related accidents. Therefore, a hospital wing should be nearby.

You head down the corridor, mentally running over the path back to your cell's adjacent control room. It's weird... it's like you can remember this prison perfectly. And yet the outside world... it's so hard to remember. Just fuzzy shapes. You've been down here too long, the asbestos and mold is messing with your head or something.

You take a right and head down a short flight of stairs. New corridor, still like the last one.You keep moving, checking every door. Locked, locked, locked. Not only the doors, but they have padlocks hanging off of them too. Damn. Not only would you need lockpicks, but a hammer or crowbar or something...

Five minutes later, limping along. You keep moving, until finally the corridor seems to split into more routes. You take the best lit one. As you move away from the noise of the turbines, you're aware of a weird scratching noise. Not in the air around you... but in the floors, the walls, the pipes, the ceiling. Sometimes it would go away, sometimes it would be so soft you'd shake your head and think your imagination is getting the better of you.

Bingo.

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/brokenpixels/sets/72157619709886185/with/115537597/)

You must be in the hospital wing now. The turbines are a lot fainter, and these rooms have beds and stuff in them. Like an ordinary hospital. Fancy that.

You keep walking. That feeling of unease that's been building up in your chest is starting to grow unbearable. What is it about this place? You trained for years inside the deepest and darkest torture chambers inside the Tower of London, where the air is still stagnant with blood. Even so, this place... is even worse, somehow. The entire building seems to be suffering.
You take a quick left and find yourself in a bathroom. Finally.


(http://www.flickr.com/photos/5y12u3k/2104602522/sizes/o/in/set-72157603326278403/http://www.flickr.com/photos/5y12u3k/2104693908/sizes/o/in/set-72157603326278403/)

You walk up to a sink, but the piping is gone. So are the water handles... ****! But there's still some water in most of the basins, even if it's all rusted and disgusting.

You plunge your hands into the water and splash some onto your face. The water is freezing, and it stings the cuts and bruises that are still on your face- most of them a touch away from bleeding- but it makes you feel a bit better. You watch the flakes of rust and dirt swirl around in the sink, making morbid little patterns. Almost immediately, the water stills, as if you've never touched it.

Weird.

Whatever. You move on, glancing at each room. But there's... wait. Something seemed off about these rooms. They're hospital-like, but...

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/5y12u3k/4012034191/sizes/o/in/set-72157603326278403/)

Cages? What the ****? What kind of hospital- hell, insane asylum, even- uses cells? You shake your head and keep moving. Can't stop now. But you come to a slightly open door, and you do stop.

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/5y12u3k/2330944467/sizes/o/in/set-72157603326278403/)

You can't read Japanese, but you know a hospital lab when you see one. You open the door slowly and peek in.

Yep, a hospital lab if you've ever seen one. Everything's got a coat of dust and some of the cabinets are thrown open and there's broken glass everywhere and all that, but it's good enough.

Searching through the cabinets, you don't find much. Samples of liquid you don't really want to think about, some pills that probably cause birth defects, lab equipment and stuff. Hey! You find a box of bandages, though. The one you're patched up with now are soaked through with blood and pus, so you should probably switch them out, even it they're dusty and stiff. You take the box of bandages out of the cabinet, walk over to a table and find something... at least slightly promising.

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/andregovia/3251115323/sizes/o/in/set-72157607064082147/)

Bottles of some medicine or other and some needles that aren't very clean. Right.

Medicinal Arts: 17

Most of these glass vials are filled with stuff you don't recognize, but a little bottle with crust on the cap is clearly morphine. Hey, and a bottle of rubbing alcohol.
Health points are health points, you know.


You scratch at your chest, wincing at the sting your provoke from the gaping wound. **** limping around like you've stepped on a land mine, you've got detective work to do, dammit!

You pop the cork out of the big bottle of alcohol, and ripping off a small piece of clean bandage, rub down the the needle of what looks to be the cleanest syringe. It's not perfect, but it's better than nothing.

You take the vial of morphine and fill the syringe up as much as you can.

()

Er... okay. You gulp. It's just expired morphine...

You jab the needle into your arm, and you inject a good five milliliters.

Current Status Effects: +5% Damage Resistance -5% KP Regeneration

You wait about five minutes and feel the pain in your injuries start to fade away, and that headache that's been bothering you eases up too. Not bad... but this stuff feels pretty good. Maybe just one more. You jab the needle into your arm again, injecting ten millimeters.

Current Status Effects: +10% Damage Resistance
-15% KP RegenerationYou've developed a 'level one' reliance on opiates!


You yank the needle out of your arm and chuck it across the room, the glass shattering against a wall. Christ! You only use 15 milliliters and you already feel a bit off-balance. Maybe you should've looked for some syrettes or something, like an instruction manual on how much to use...

You shake your head, and turning back to the table, pull of your blood-spattered jinbei and start removing your bandages. You rub the alcohol into your wounds, feeling a little sting and being glad you shot up on morphine first. Once your wounds are cleaned out, you bind them up with the new bandages. They're kind of stiff and scratchy, but they're clean.

Current Status Effects:
+10% Damage Resistance
-15% KP Regeneration
Opiate Reliance: level 1Healing Modifier: +5%


Alright, looks like you're as fixed up as this hospital lab will allow. You don't bother with the pills- you aren't medically aware enough to really know what they're for. Hell, they could be cyanide for all you know.

You turn to the door to leave, but suddenly you hear the ventilation ducts rattle like crazy. You freeze. The main energy grid didn't turn the air conditioning on, that's for sure.

You take another step, and you hear a grating, scratching noise, louder than the one from before. The last one sounded like something moving in the walls... but this one... sounds like something is trying to get through the walls. Get through to you.
Now, the ceiling. The scratching noise is coming from everywhere. A frigid chill runs along your skin and settles into your bones. The dread in your chest is building up. You aren't alone.


The scratching sound coming from inside the walls is getting louder. ****! You Run over to the door and close it, locking the rusted bolt with a bit of effort. You then start stacking all sorts of crap in front of the doors- wheelchairs, gurneys, crates of random chemicals, anything. You've made one hell of a barricade; you can't see the door through all the stuff blocking it. Nice.

You turn around (and get a little dizzy in the process- that morphine has more bite than you thought), looking to see if there's anything else in the miniature lab you can use. Hm... doesn't look like this is the kind of lab you'd perform experiments in, more like a medical one. Maybe you won't find much of use...

You look through the cabinets anyways, pushing around jars and bottles of liquids you don't recognize. Man, you should've paid more attention to your chemistry professor at Oxford... but man, his voice is was droning, and the girl that usually sat in front of you was a real fit lass. Good times.

You shake your head. Dammit, come on! For all you know, they could be-

More banging around in the ventilation ducts, and now that scratching sound is less like plaster being chipped away, and more like metal being sawed through with a rusted knife.

Oh, ****! You look around hurriedly, and see a pair of bloodrusted scissors. Perfect!

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2dG9jB8fvY
You discovered the Bloodrusted Autopsy Scissors!
)


Edged Short: 35

Right! You spin around, armed and lethal, ready to take on whatever this prison-asylum-hellhole has to offer.

BANG!

You notice some of the plaster fall from the ceiling, along with a fine dust.

BANG!

More plaster falls from the above, and a crack forms in the ceiling.

BANG!

The crack splits open and a section of ventilation duct falls through, and on top of it is...

(This image is banned in Japan. Please use an African, American, or European console to view.)

OH ****! It's another one! But there's something wrong about this one... it's looking at you. The one from before wasn't exactly looking at you, but through you. This one... knows you're here. And it seems very interested in you.

It takes a step forward, making a wet slapping sound as it walks. It's toes are long and all the same length, just like its fingers. Like the first, it's a good seven feet tall but skeleton thin, but... you can't see the bones beneath its skin, just that smoothness. And... It has no nose, you realize. No skin, no cartilage, not even slits where the nostrils would lead. Just a flat, smooth face with three gaping round craters.

And that wet, heavy, rattling breathing, like someone drowning.

You back up against your barricade. It's gotten cold all of a sudden... weird spots of color are showing up around the edges of your vision, and you suddenly feel weak. That dread in your chest feels like its about to explode.

...
Now what?


You slowly turn around to face the wraith-ghoul-banshee monster, suddenly feeling calm and cool. You don't feel cool for long, though, for your unstoppable hot-blooded chivalrous blood begins to boil!

"WRETCHED CUR!" you snarl, pointing dramatically at the ghostly demon. "Thou dareth affront mine honor, mine kingdom, Her Royal Majesty? Such blasphemous impudence, such heathen temerity! Thy name is forfeit, thy soul unfit to descend unto the infernal cauldron! Nay..."

You breath deeply. KP or KP, you're a ****ing knight.

"In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit... by the sovereign power invested within me by the mercy of Our Heavenly Father... by the Heavenly honor of the royal blood! CAST IN THE NAME OF GOD, THOU ART GUILTY! AMEN!"

Scissors drawn, you lunge toward your enemy, roaring like a proper British lion. Your foe simply stands there, waiting. It has no idea what's about to hit it.

BATTLE COMMENCE

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPZTByW5L9I&feature=related)
You have no KP, but you sure can still fight. What's your first move?


Echo of the Manshee: Lost Prison Combat Theme!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bv6k342Kpwk&feature=related)

Lunging at the demon foe, you quickly snake your left hand out and grab the bottle of alcohol as you pass the lab counter. Once you're in arm's reach, you bring the bottle around with all your might towards the face of the ghoul-banshee-wraith (manshee)!

However, with disturbing reflexes, the manshee bends backwards and the bottle hits air! You quickly counter his dodge by using the table as a springboard and launching forward with a spinning roundhouse kick to its face, but it rolls underneath your flying kick and does a sliding kick under the table, putting you both at opposite sides of the room. Sneaky bastard!

"Have at you, heretical wretch!" you snarl.

You kick the table over, sending beakers, test tubes, scalpels, and all sorts of dangerous lab equipment flying towards the manshee, but it rolls to the left out of the way. You sprint forward a few steps and jump onto the table and it slides forward a few feet, and rolling off of it, you use the momentum to do a double-leg sweep kick.

The manshee jumps over it, and stretching its long arms to the ceiling, clings to a hanging light and uses it to swing to the opposite wall. As it does so, you grab a fistful of syringes and chuck them all at the mid-air manshee!

Thrown Weapon, Small: 5

The syringes stab into the wall inches away from the manshee as it clings to the wall like a spider, all of its spindly limbs splayed out. It skitters around in place and twists its head all the way around to stare at your with expressionless, eyeless sockets. Bugger the bloomin' bastard, it could at least mock you!

You grab a beaker full of acid and chuck it at the manshee, but it leaps from the wall with inhuman speed and makes a fast sliding kick across the floor towards you. Perfect!

You dodge to the right and make a slash at it with your rusty scissors, but it dodges with a simple tilt of the head. It springs to its feet and comes at you, and you make at it with a stab. Which it dodges. You fire off a rapid-fire flurry of stabs, but it manages to dodge each and every one, and it's less than two feet away from you.

You stop, panting. The creature only looks down at you soundlessly.

"**** you," you growl.

It lifts its arm and drives its long fingers through your chest so fast you barely notice. You look down in surprise to see the pale, smooth wrist, and can feel the bony fingers wiggling on the other side of your back.

You can't breathe, and a black edge is flickering around the fringe of your vision. You slowly slide off of the manshee's arm, and as you fall away to the ground with the sound of bloody suction, the last thing you hear is a rattling, wet breathing.

Like someone drowning.

MOURN, YE FAITHFUL; A HERO HATH FALLEN.

Number of deaths: 2
Number of honorable deaths: 0

Come on, people. You've died twice on the first level now. How're you gonna take on actual bosses?
Reload previous campaign entry?

**** Yeah, I'm Just Getting Warmed Up!/Hell No, This is Broken as ****!
LOADING...


As you gaze into the dead, empty sockets of the manshee, you realize that this one is no where near as friendly as the first one. Escape is the only option here! But pulling apart your impenetrable fortress of a barricade would take far too long...

Aha! The table in the middle of the room!

Short Distance: 28

You sprint forward a few steps, the morphine working wonders for your slashed kneecap. You then leap onto the table and use it as a springboard as you flex your legs and propel yourself towards the ripped-open ventilation duct!

Acrobatics: 35

You sail over the bald head of the manshee and manage to grab onto the ledge of the duct, and with a bit of effort, pull yourself in. You quickly begin scrambling as fast as you can through the duct, not daring to look back. You hope that manshee isn't too interested in following you around...

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/mr_magoo_icu/493651448/sizes/o/)

It's almost pitch black in the ventilation duct, and it's dustier than ****, but at least the gratings in it give you a little light. You keep moving forward, having no room to turn around and it being a tight fit as it is. You notice a few side-passages in the main ventilation passage, but from all the videogames you've played, these usually lead to dead ends, and you can't risk that. You hear a few metallic bangs now and then, but it's probably just the metal warping from old age and disuse. Crawling forward, you find a grating that seems to be not too far from the floor... this is probably your best chance.

Tensile Strength: 43

You grip the edges of the grating and push with all your might. The flexing of your arms muscles causes all the scabbed-over scratches and cuts along your arms to open again, but you barely notice. With a loud creak, the grating gives out and falls out, causing you to fall out with it.

Acrobatics: 35Reaction Time: 27

You fall a good fifteen feet, but manage to get into a good position and land with equal force on your arms and legs. No damage taken!

You grin, dust of your hands, and begin to walk forward. Time to open that security door!

You hear a wet, rattling noise behind you.

You turn around...

(This image is banned on Japanese consoles. Please use an African, American, or European console.)

"... Bugger me bleedin' bollocks," you whisper weakly.

The door to the hospital lab has been torn off its hinges and lies in pieces on the ground. All of the stuff you used to barricade the door is littered across the tiles. Slowly, the duct-dwelling manshee steps out of the lab, footsteps slapping the floor wetly.

That's what the bangs up in the vents must have been...

Suddenly, another door flies off its hinges and hits the wall. Another manshee steps out.

The ceiling cracks open, and from a torn-open duct, another manshee drops down from the ceiling.

They all stare at you. And together, take one step forward.


(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bv6k342Kpwk&feature=related)

Your heart is hammering in your chest so hard you feel a few of your scabs begin to budge. ****, ****, ****... three of them? THREE?

Still keeping your eyes on each one, you slowly, slowly begin to walk backwards, retracing your steps to the turbine room. The three manshee slowly stalk forward towards you, their steps in perfect sync. Oh man, oh man...

Preflexes: 15

It's a good thing you're a swordsman- your muscle memory is incredible. This makes walking backwards yet knowing where you're headed a hell of a lot easier.

After about five minutes of this you begin to hear the rumbling of the turbines- excellent! You're halfway to the very first control room and its security door!

But the closer you get to those grinding, ground-shaking turbines, the more the three manshees seem to be irritated- they no longer walk in perfect unison, and begin to slouch and claw their long, freakish fingers. They move faster now, with shorter steps, walking on the spindly toes of their feet.

"Oi, nae... easy nae, boyos, easy... no need t'geh all narked 'n bothered by meh. Jus' passin' through, don'cha nae? Heh heh... jus' direct meh t'tha lav and I'll be gone in a jiffy!"

They stop. They aren't breathing.

You stop. And gulp. You can feel the sweat running down your forehead. Maybe... maybe they understand? Maybe they'll let you go-

They fall into a predatory crouch and spring forward, dashing towards you on their hands and legs like wild dogs. Their breathing has become a rasping, crunching whine, like bone and muscle and organs being mashed together. From the craters of their mouths, long, slimy, red ropey tongues lash out, long as whips. Wherever they strike, a long, deep acidic gash is left in the wall or floor.

"BUGGER!" you scream, spinning on your heel and hauling ass as fast as you can.

Short Distance: 28

You can feel them right on your heels, and in your peripheral vision you'll sometimes see a flash of red like a pissed off acid-covered viper. ****! They're like hardcore lickers from Resident Evil, but... real. ****!

You manage to keep away long enough until the noise from the turbines becomes deafening. A long corridor stretches in front of you... and you remember! You've already gone up a few flights of stairs, so all you have to do now is take a left to get to the turbine room, and from there you're basically home free!

You take a quick left and pump your arms harder for a burst of speed, but then you ram into something that knocks you back onto your ass.

You lie on the tiles a second, dazed. You lift your head up to see what got in your way...

(This image is banned in Japan. Please use an African, European, or American console.)

Jesus unicycling Christ.

It's the first one. The one from before. The one that was in the first control room, the one that has followed you all the way through the prison, either wall in the ceiling or vents or walls or floor.

But... it's not looking at you. It's staring at the three manshees that are following you.

You glance back. The hunter manshees have stopped, still swinging their horrible red tongues left and right, but are sort of milling in place about a hundred feet away. They're growling- sort of like the sound of marrow being sucked out of crackling bones- but aren't moving any closer.
You shake your head to get rid of the dizziness, and slowly get to your feet. You edge around the statue-like manshee blocking your path... it doesn't look at you once.


The other three manshees roar- a sound like a human body imploding- as you sprint like you've never sprinted before to the turbine room.

Once there, you take a stairwell to the ground level and run all the way back to where the two door split is. From there, you're running out of breath and jog to the first control room, where you bolt and lock the door to the rest of the prison.

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/brokenpixels/131726893/sizes/o/in/set-72157619709886185/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/brokenpixels/108547742/sizes/o/in/set-72157619709886185/http://www.flickr.com/photos/brokenpixels/131726892/sizes/o/in/set-72157619709886185/)


Finally. Now... you're slightly safe. But the silence now is a little creepy...

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPUR6hPbf3Q&feature=related)

Whatever. No time. Gotta open the door!

()

There it is. It's receiving power... you walk over to a control panel and hit what should be the right panels. You hear a whirring noise of machinery moving... that should be the locks.

You walk over to the door, and gripping the handle tightly, pull it open...

...

Inside, it's a huge dark room. Pitch black. All except for an electric chair in the very center of the room, with a naked bulb hanging over it. You're so surprised at what you see, it takes you a few seconds to notice the girl sitting in it.

Her legs are crossed and she's resting her chin in the palm of her hand expectantly. She's shrouded all in black.

"Hello, knight," she purrs. A voice like silk rustling along razor steel.

(http://tknk.deviantart.com/art/eyes-140690089)
She's been waiting for you.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbP-kirriBE&feature=related

You smile suavely at the girl and take a few swaggering steps forward. Hey, she's a pretty fit lass, that should make it easier.

"And a hello to you this fine night, fair madam." you say smoothly, bowing in a proper knightly fashion. "A most unseemly locale for a proper damsel such as thee, would you not agree?"

She smiled, pink lips making a thin and hard line. Like the curve of a katana. "My, my. One moment you're cursing in the coarse tongue of your foreign land, the next courting me impeccably. What an intriguing character you are, sir knight."

You freeze. How could she know about all that? Wait... that voice! The one you heard in your cell and around the prison!

"I am a simple man, with little more than honor to my name," you say, trying to hide your shock. "And I would assume that you are my host for this evening?"

"But of course."

"And therefore... you applied my previous bandages?"

"Yes."

"... And gave me a new set of clothes, while taking mine?"

She smiled again. A pretty sexy 'lil smile, you find yourself noticing. "Nothing escapes your notice, sir knight."

Okay. She hasn't flipped out on your ass or turned into one of those Silent Hill freaks yet. Just keep it going...

"But one little thing has, I believe. Where... am I?"

She stopped smiling. "If you had stayed in your land, gaijin, you wouldn't be asking that question."

Oh. She's like that. "Maybe so. I'd appreciate an answer either way," you state sharply. You're sick of this ****in' prison!

"Fifty years ago, this accursed... place..." -she says the word like it's poison- "Was the training ground for the Emperor's greatest guardians."

"Wot, the Imperial Guard trained in a prison?"

She ignores you, brushing a strand of pitch black hair out of her eyes and tucking it behind an ear. "Beneath a prison for the cruelest and most honorless criminals in Japan, this place was perfect. Quiet, isolated..."

You glance over your shoulder towards the open door. You hope it doesn't automatically close or anything...

"One by one, the very worst of the criminals- traitors to the great nation of Japan- would be... 'executed', and their remains never found. However... they didn't fully die."

You feel dread building in the pit of your stomach. "You don't mean... those guys back there-"

"Those are not people!" she says fiercely, her eyes flashing. "Not anymore. Their vitals were removed, their bones and muscles crushed together and folded over thousands upon thousands of times, much like the katana... and were kept alive the entire time. Their pain was unthinkable. Always starving, always dehydrated, blind and deaf. Only sensing through vibrations. They should have died, but were kept alive only by the most forsaken of Necromancy." She pauses and takes a breath, as if freaked out by them herself."

"They are... the Hougyo Oni."

Bestiary Encyclopedia has been updated: Hougyo Oni!

You shake your head. That's impossible. Even the best of Necromancers can't just... turn people into invincible death machines like that. Not consistently! The amount of mana needed...

"However... as time wore on, they were not needed and were sealed in their place of birth. Sealed here."

"That's... great. Really, it is. Thanks for the plot dump. So why are you here?" you ask, growing impatient. "Why did you bring me here? And where are my boxers?"
She rolls her eyes. "The murderer. That is why."


You blink.

"He has been systematically killing the worst of criminals. Naturally, I assumed that perhaps the government was spawning more Hougyo Oni... but if they are, it's not here."

You hold your head. Jesus, this is crazy. The morphine isn't helping you think either. "You're looking for the murderer too? What are you, a freelance reporter?"

"No, gaijin. I am a kunoichi."

You're about to say "and I'm a ****ing sock" when you remember the ambush in Shinjuku Central Park. You also notice that she's wearing a stereotypical ninja outfit.

(http://drigzabrot.deviantart.com/art/Ninja-Sara-108328671)

Huh. Maybe you should've looked closer before... and damn, it's pretty tight-fitting too. Very nice...

"Wait... you! You were with them! Those ninjas!" Your anger comes to a boil and you forget your pain as you move into a combat stance, readying your scissors.

"Not quite. The leader of the clan was about to finish you off, but I managed to spirit you away in time. My clan may hate foreigners with a passion, but finding the murderer is simply more important."

You don't ease up just yet. "Why do you ninjas care?"

"We, as a clan, live on honor. We kill the honorless. We are practically the capital punishment system of Japan, but the government would rather you didn't know. Yes, sometimes we kill for money, but mostly honor. And now this murderer is going about, killing whoever he pleases..." she gripped the armrest of the electric chair so hard you could hear the iron twisting. Jesus!

"Okay, got it. Ninjas want their targets to not get murdered. You think the government is using these prisoners for supersoldiers. You want me to help."
She smiles at you prettily, fluttering her eyelashes. "Yes."


You take a deep breath. It seems like in the past 24 hours, you've dealt with more weird **** than your entire tour of duty in the SAS.

"Just... hold on a tick. If the Japanese government wanted to use the whole murderer story as a coverup for making demon supersoldiers, why call for me? Wouldn't it be easier for the police to just cover things up themselves?" You shift your weight from your right foot to your left. Your slashed kneecap is sore.

She tilts her head to the side thoughtfully. It's kinda cute, actually. "What better way to not arouse suspicion? If a truly dangerous killer was on the loose and the Emperor refused foreign help, would that not be odd?"

You put your hands on your hips, nodding as you stare at the cement between your feet. She's making a lot of sense... but you can't imagine the cops being the bad guys. The Chief might be a bit overexcited sometimes and Wakako can really be a ballbreaker (literally), but they don't really seem like the evil conspiracy types. Besides, you interviewed every agent on the case. They call checked out.

"Alright then, my dear madam. I'll tell you wot; return my belongings to me, and I'll put a great amount of thought into your offer." Hey, you could always use a new party member. Not to say Pyramid Head isn't great or anything, but he's a dude...

Uncrossing her legs, the ninja girl slowly stands up and glides over to you. Damn, that ninja suit is tight... her hips are outlined perfectly as she walks. "Don't you worry, gaijin. I'll give you something that'll... encourage you," she breathes.

All right. Score.

She gently takes your left hand and turns it palm-up. She licks her ring finger slowly, keeping eye contact with you the whole time. She then draws a Japanese character on your palm, so quickly you can't tell what it is.

"What's this?" you ask, flexing your left hand. Her hands are so soft... but ice cold. That's kinda weird. You look up to her face, and realize something very strange.

(http://uni-student.deviantart.com/art/Eyes-18069133)

"When the time comes, you'll know," she whispers. "You'll find your belongings as you exit. Until we meet again, sir knight."

Suddenly, she bursts into a cloud of red moths.

Mental Stability: 67

"BUGGER!" you yell, jumping back. The moths swirl around the room for a few seconds, ramming into the light bulb hanging from the ceiling, before finally escaping through the air vents in the ceiling.

You're all alone now.

You sigh. Looks like the exit was closest all along...

You walk back through the control room to the hall holding your cell. You look down the corridor into the dark...

(http://alexiuss.deviantart.com/art/Grind-Necrosis-87442573)

Well, gotta take risks sometime. You keep one hand on the wall for support, flaking away paint chips as you go. You move forward towards what you believe to be the outside world... if that ninja girl was telling the truth. Damn, you didn't ask for her name! Oh well. You can't forget a face that pretty.

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/jgmundie/701032553/sizes/o/in/set-72157600299041114/)

Light! Finally. It looks like turning on those turbines did some good. This place actually looks like a normal prison now.

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/jgmundie/516271242/sizes/o/in/set-72157600299041114/http://www.flickr.com/photos/jgmundie/541859574/sizes/o/in/set-72157600299041114/)
You run into a few gates now and then, but you push them open with hardly any effort. Man, compared to before, this is nothing. But that ninja girl... she had heterocrhomia... red and blue. What could that mean?


(http://www.flickr.com/photos/brokenpixels/115537597/sizes/o/in/set-72157619709886185/)

Bingo. It only took a few minutes of walking (well, the morphine made it feel like a few seconds, but whatever). You're not sure where it goes, but it's up. You haul ass up the stairs.

...

And keep hauling...

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/maxblack/3943899015/sizes/o/)

Jesus! How high does this thing go?

You go up what feels like a few more floors before you finally hit a landing. The door looks like it hasn't been used in a while- the padlock is rusted. You use the scissors to pry the lock off and it breaks without much trouble.

You push the door open with some effort- it squeals like crazy- and you find yourself...

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/dystop/4038606083/sizes/o/)

... A parking garage? What the hell? All the signs are in Japanese, at least. And it looks pretty damn new...

"Excuse me, sir?"

You freeze. Slowly, you turn around.

A police officer on patrol is holding a cardboard box. You look at it, confused, and then notice the red cloth on top... your knight's cloak! All your stuff!
"This was found just recently in the bottommost level of the parking complex... would it happen to be yours?"


(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsn-OgXzbaM)

"Why thank you young man!" you say in a lordly, exaggerated tone. "It certainly is nice to see gentlemen these days who truly join the police force out of care for the commonwealth!"

The young police officer looks embarrassed as he hands you the cardboard box. "I-it's nothing, sir. Really, it's my first day on the job."

"Nonsense!" you boom loudly, your voice echoing throughout the parking complex. A few people turn around to observe the boisterous foreigner. "An upstanding young man like you shouldn't be confined to mere patrol duty!"

There's a flush of pride to the man's face, but he tries to keep you from making a scene. "Really, sir. It's nothing. Even the parking complexes need to be guarded in times like these- especially if it's the Sunshine 60 building!"

Sunshine 60? And there are a bunch of civilians around here... sounds tacky enough to still be in Tokyo.

The police officer glances at his watch. "Thank you sir, but it's seven o'clock and I should get back to duty!" He nods respectfully to you and marches off.

... Six o'clock? You went to Shinjuku Central Park at one in the morning... you spent only FIVE HOURS there? It felt like days!

Whatever. You rip off your bloody jinbei and kick off your woven sandals (causing the civilians to gasp and turn away in shock at your nakedness, but you're too badass to care) and reach into the box to get your old clothes. Huh, despite the beating you got last night, your Knight's Cloak is unscathed. Good thing it's bulletproof (Darker Than Black style)!

You're dressed, and throw your cloak around your shoulders. A few nearby civilians applaud as you do so.

(In red and gold, of course!)

YEAH! Now we're talking!

You make your way to the elevator nearby and squeeze in with a few other people. You stop the elevator at the ground floor, and at the sight of sunlight, you dash toward the doors.

()

Oh man. If you were any less manly, you'd fall to your knees and cry big sparkly tears of joy right now. The fresh, smoggy, polluted air! The honking and screeching of brakes in traffic! The constant drone of pedestrians! It's wonderful!

You turn around to look back at the building...


(Sunshine_60_Ikebukuro_Tokyo_20070304-03.jpg)

... What the hell? That's no prison... that's a skyscraper! So the prison was deep below the earth... interesting. You'll have to research into this... Sunshine 60 building. It must have a dark past.

But that doesn't matter right now.

ACHIEVEMENT ACCOMPLISHED!
Ain't No Rest for the Wicked(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sghv7aS6gPc)
Survive the Cursed Oni Shrine with less than three dishonorable deaths!

Reward:

You learned the Soultech of Drimimancy!
Convert physical damage into KP.

You learned the Soultech of Extispicy!
Absorb KP from enemies you've killed.

You feel a strange power stir within you... the horrors you've seen have made you stronger.

Your Mental Stability skill has ascended to 71!

You may not have come to Japan to battle nightmares... but you sure as hell are ready to.

+236 XP

-

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQMpRWuT6hk)
REJOICE, YE FAITHFUL; A HERO HATH ASCENDED HIGHER THE STAIR OF HEAVEN.


You yawn. Blimey, it's been a rough night. Attacked by ninjas, dealing with Lovecraftian horrors in an underground prison lab, pondering that ninja girl's crazy conspiracies, and now it's seven o'clock. You're late for work...

Oh well. You bust out your the thermos full of delicious Brazilian coffee that Pyramid Head made for you.

'

You drink about eight ounces of it, careful not to spill any. Oh man, even after like fourteen hours, it's still warm and steamy and awesome.

HP: 105/105
+100 milligrams caffeineThermos: Brazailian Coffee [95 HP]


Alright! You feel better already! The caffeine and the morphine mixed together makes you feel kind of weird, but no big deal. You're still able-bodied and ready to kick ass!

KP: 0/210

... Huh. Looks like something's still stunting your KP regeneration, though. That's not good...

You suddenly feel an odd pull in your stomach. You look around, and realize that you have this unexplainable urge to...

('Skyscrapers_of_Shinjuku_2009_January.jpg)

Climb Mt. Fuji? You wonder why that could be, but then you remember... your remuneration for that flashtech. Damn. There must be something on top of Mt. Fuji you need to satisfy the conditions. Talk about inconvenient...
Okay, now what?


Your stomach growls. Even though Pyramid Head's Brazilian coffee was unbelievably delicious, you should probably find some solid food before you pass out from hunger. Maybe that's why your KP is stunted...

Then again, you think to yourself as you walk through the bustling streets of Tokyo, that weird, foreboding feeling you felt down in the prison still seems to be stuck to your skin. Huh... maybe a shower wouldn't be such a bad idea after all... you still look all haggard from rolling about in the dust underground.

(http://www.tropicalisland.de/japan/tokyo/images/NRT%20Shinjuku%20Tokyo%20-%20street%20with%20Tokyos%20largest%20camera%20stores%203008x2000.jpghttp://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/3c/Tokyo_street.jpg/800px-Tokyo_street.jpg)

Blimey, with all these people going on with their lives, it's hard to believe that all that crazy **** really happened. Then again... you flex your left hand, the one that ninja girl drew some symbol on. You've hard worse days.

Let's see... you still have 47,000 yen, so that should be enough to get you some decent breakfast and hopefully a spot of tea. You don't see any five-star restaurants around here, though. Bollocks, what's a knight to do...

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/21108322@N04/2065613372/sizes/l/)

Aha! Excellent! A ramen cart! And with no customers in line! You dash over and sit down on the bench, and are almost immediately greeted by the ramen-selling-chef-guy.

(http://artgerm.deviantart.com/art/Samurai-Spirit-7-105661479)

"Ohayo gozaimasu, weary traveler!" he says warmly. "What can I get you?"

Jesus, for a ramen seller he seems to be a complete badass. He must be like in his early thirties or something- isn't supposed to just be old guys who sell ramen? Bah, whatever.

You hand him 1000 yen. "A piping hot bowl of your finest ramen, good sir!"

He holds up his hands. "You can't pay me now. I have to prove myself, first."

What a badass! Refusing money like that. He quickly sets to work, chopping up ingredients and all that with the speed and skill of a ninja. In the meantime, he hands you a cup of tea.

()

You drink your tea. You drink it up with a fury. Man, even at full health, you're just hungry as hell. Guess that explains why you're so sleepy, too. Thankfully, the awesome chef guy finishes up your ramen just as you finish your tea and sets it in front of you.

()
It smells incredible and is steaming wonderfully. It'll probably burn your tongue horribly, but you really don't care. He watches expectantly as you take a bite.


...

()

"It's... it's beautiful," you choke out, trying to not burst into tears. Oh God. How could one spoonful be so wonderful?

The chef nods and refills your teacup. "Blowfish, stingray, colossal squid, giant crab, shark, deadly scorpion venom and saffron. Took me years to get it right. But even today, it needs something else..." he looks into the distance thoughtfully. "Maybe... jellyfish..."

You gulp down the rest of it so fast your nearly drown, but you don't care. It's... so... GOOD. It almost makes that whole underground prison crawl worth it.

"Thank you," you whisper weakly, and push your whole stack of money towards him.

The chef shakes his head. "On the house. Making a weary traveler feel better is its own reward."

Damn, this guy is beyond badass. You sip your tea a bit, and then...


You pick at your teeth with a fingernail, trying to get the little pieces of stingray from between them. So good... "Ah, pardon me, good sir chef. I am an Imperial Knight of Her Royal Majesty of Great Britain, and I am currently on a mission to hunt down the prisoner-murderer you most likely know of."

The chef nods, scratching his stubbly chin. Manly stubble! "Right, introductions. Just call me... Muramasa. And yes, I've heard of this murderer. You could say everyone has around these parts."

You blink. Something about that name... "Very good, sir Muramasa! In that case, would you join me in my quest to bring this criminal to justice?"

Muramasa beams. "A call to adventure, sir? A true honor!" he suddenly looks downcast. "But I'm afraid I cannot. I have... sins to repay."

"But good chef!" you exclaim, "to bring such a villain down would be to repay any sin!"

"Not for me. You see... I am the descendant of Muramasa, the great sword smith. His blades, no matter how great their were forged, were weapons of war, and have spilled far too much blood. It is now my duty to repent for my ancestor's deeds, even if he committed them with the best of intentions." He gestures to the ramen stand. "By feeding the poor and weary, I may slowly redeem my family name."

You can't help but feel moved. What a truly honorable soul. Kind of funny, you have daddy problems too.

"I thank you anyways, sir chef Muramasa, for your food fit for a royal feast and your hospitality.," you say sincerely, bowing to him.

"I'd like to help you any way I can, though," adds Muramasa. He gestures to you to come behind the counter, and you vault over it to observe his little mobile ramen kitchen.

In about a minute, he explains how fire has to be just started to make something good, how to stir something both clockwise and counterclockwise, how the phase of the moon will affect the boiling point, and how to cut your vegetables into ditrigonal icosidodecahedrons to maximize flavor and deliciousness.

Soup/Stew/Curry/Chowder: 30 (+7)
Seafood: 10 (+3)
Meats: 40 (+3)
Vegetables: 17 (+4)Grains: 30 (+7)


Wow. Despite this being incredibly complex stuff, he manages to state it in terms you understand, mostly by videogame references and sword shapes.

"Capitol! Thank you, Muramasa!" you say again, shaking his hand.

"It's no problem, sir knight. And if you ever need advice or help or anything at all, just try and find me. I'm usually around this area." He says this as he packs up his ramen cart to move it along. "Good luck then, friend, with your quest!" he disappears into the crowd.

Damn, what a badass.
Okay, now what? You're no longer weak from hunger, you picked up a load of cooking skills too.


Well... it's 7:06 AM, the sun is shining and chances are another ten prisoners have died of heart attacks. Oh well, that's life. You're really too tired to care about the case right now, so you decide to head on to your hotel to get some sleep. Pyramid Head will cover for you at the station.

Let's see... you begin walking down the busy streets as you try to remember which hotel was booked for you. It was... something kind of important sounding... that the Emperor would get for you...

Oh, right. The Imperial Hotel Tokyo. It's in Chiyoda-ku, which thankfully isn't too far from where you are now. You remember being kinda pissed you weren't given lodging at the Imperial Palace as an honored guest, but now it doesn't seem so bad.

To get out of the hustle and bustle and noise, you decide to cut through a few back alleys.

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/12818061@N00/116837037/sizes/o/)

Nice and quiet and empty. Good show.

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesjustin/3790586904/sizes/o/http://www.flickr.com/photos/tigerzombie/3646065252/sizes/l/)

Kinda weird. You'd think more people would use these convenient side-roads, but hey, things are a lot different than in London over here. At least they still have tea time. And good manners.

You've stopped to take a closer look at a poster on an alley wall advertising some sort of nanomachine implant service when you hear a scream of terror!

You look around quickly, springing into knight-mode almost immediately. You dash around the corner to find a girl cowering on the ground, surrounded by a number of badass delinquents!

(



http://www.jd-zoot.com/site_data/cabinet/newjd-cabinet/1-jd-casual/5setup/lslp47-m.jpghttp://www.jd-zoot.com/site_data/cabinet/newjd-cabinet/1-jd-casual/3cutsewn/st146-m.jpg)


...

Christ, six badass fittingly dressed delinquents. With the same haircuts and everything. These kinds of uncommon situations are what ALL TRUE WARRIORS FIGHT FOR!

Your knight's honor won't let you pass this up. You storm up to the six punk-arse yobs and cross your arms.

"And what, may I ask, are you lads doing with this lady here?"

The one with the bleached hair- their badass leader, apparently- turns around and sneers. "Get bent, gaijin! This is Yakuza business! Leave and you might just live to see the sun set!" His minions chuckle menacingly and make a semi-circle around you. The girl on the ground whimpers in fear. Pfft, coward.
You don't have KP, but you don't need it for these punks. Now what?


You can't help but grin cheekily. Finally, a chance to redeem yourself for getting chased around by those Hougya Oni things in the prison.

You crack your knuckles menacingly, taking a few steps forward. "As you wish!"

A strange silence settles over the alley as the badass delinquents come closer. The girl is silent, huddled on the ground. Reminds you of your days as a badass street punk in the mean cobbled backalleys of London.

"In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit... by the sovereign power invested within me by the mercy of Our Heavenly Father... by the Heavenly honor of the royal blood! CAST IN THE NAME OF GOD, THOU ART GUILTY! AMEN!"

()

BATTLE COMMENCE
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCjG0eDTzXo)

For a split second, the delinquents are stunned by the sheer power of your howled speech. They quickly recover, however, and one of them with the hat rushes towards you, fist pulled back for an anti-gaijin punch! He's a good ten feet away, though, so you kick a nearby trash bin at him, causing him to trip up. That gives you enough time to grab his arm, twist it around, dislocate it, and bust out a hard knee to a spinning snap kick, sending him crashing the approaching delinquent with the red jacket!

However, the rest weren't just standing there as you fought. One of them circled around and made a low sweep at your feet!

Reaction Time: 30

What a punk! But you easily backflip to safety, landing elegantly on the tipped-over garbage bin you kicked at the other foe. The delinquent in the black jacket kicks away the garbage bin from under you, but you've already jumped into the air and grabbed onto an overhanging pole. You swing from it and axe-kick the punk with the red jacket, knowing from the nice thunk noise your booted heel made against his clavicle that it's sprained like hell. However, the punk with the black jacket attempts to uppercut you as you come down!

Thinking quickly, you use the red-jacketed punk as a support and backflip away just in time, so black-jacket just uppercutted red-jacket, and now he's down for the count.

You land smoothly on your feet. Three to go, and they sure don't look like they're gonna give up. Two come closer, one with a crowbar and another with a length of chain. Aww yeah!

The one with the crowbar makes a running swing at you, but you casually turn to the side and let him trip past you. The chain-armed delinquent, with a mighty yell, swings the chain at you.

Hand-to-Hand: 45

You simply lift your right arm and let the chain wrap around your wrist. You then yank the punk towards you as he holds on, dumbfounded, and you sucker punch to rising elbow to falling elbow him to the face.

You let the chain unwind from your your arm as the punk falls back, knocked out cold. The punk with the crowbar, terrified, tries to get up and run away! But you spot a nearby bike...

Thrown Weapon, Large: 18

You chuck the bike at the escaping delinquent and knock him out. Nice.

You casually turn around. The bleached-haired leader of the delinquents is holding the girl hostage, a fancy balisong held at her throat!

(http://www.balisongcollector.com/kris.html)

"Don't move, gaijin!" he snarls. "Or it's over!"

You can't help but chuckle. You lean over and beginning unlacing your boot.

"Wha... what're you doing, gaijin?"

You don't respond. You pull your boot off.
"Gaijin, I said, what're you-"


Thrown Weapon, Small: 5

You're at a close enough range to plink him in the head with it. The leader falls back, unconscious.

You strike a victory pose.
(http://www.creativeuncut.com/gallery-06/art/mgs4-liquid-ocelot.jpg)

YOU ARE VICTORIOUS!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krdsLXJP6zQ&feature=related

XP Gained:

Badass Delinquent × 5 = 35 XP
Badass Delinquent Boss = 13 XP
XP to Next Level: 294


You walk over to the girl, who's obviously a bit freaked out. You reach over to get her dropped purse and glasses and quickly put all of the dropped contents back into it. Your knight's eye notices her ID, though.

Akiyama Mai

Nice name. You hand her her purse and help her up.

"T... thank you, sir," she says shakily, putting her glasses back on.

"Of course, dear madam! It is my duty as a knight to assist the beleaguered!" you pause, looking back at the groaning delinquents. "If I may ask, what caused them to assail you in such a way?"

She looks embarrassed. "Well, I, uh... stole their bikes."

You stare at her blankly.

"... Wot?"

"Their bikes. I... stole them. And they wanted them back..."
Hasn't there been talk of a bike thief recently? Bollocks.


You sigh, putting your hands on your hips and shaking your head. Have you really lost your edge, just jumping into situations without thinking first? You remember what your quartermaster at the Tower of London on your very first day of training to become a true knight...

(http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/authors/MorganFreeman.jpg)

"A truly chivalrous knight must know both sides of the story; every villain believes he is a hero, every hero believes he is incapable of being the villain."

Good old master. You wonder what he's doing right now... probably giving more deep, life-changing advice. He's really good at that.

You stop having a flashback montage and turn back to the girl, who is slowly edging away from you.

"Not so fast, lawbreaker lady." You step closer, placing a hand on the hilt of the Kusunagi. "As a knight, in this series of events, I must be the judge, jury..." you pause menacingly. "And just maybe, executioner."

Her eyes flick around, looking for an exit. Apparently she's made escapes before. A skilled thief, huh? You hate thieves... honorless vermin!

"State your name, madam, and your business."

"I'm Izumi. I go to the University of Tokyo, and now I'm gonna be late for class. Can I go? Please?" she tries to put on a show of being impatient and having important things to do, but you can feel the undertone of fear. Fear of righteous judgement!

"Really. Izumi. Even though your ID card says... Mai Akiyama? And it's Saturday? And on foot, it would take you three hours to get to the University? And your uniform..." no, wait, she is wearing a college uniform. Bollocks! "Er... right. You're coming with me."

"Hey, whoa, wait, you have to understand!" she exclaims, tears in her eyes. Yeah, right, like that's going to work. "I... I'm broke. My college tuition cost all of my money, and my parents are scraping by as it is, and I don't want to ask them for any more, and they're so proud of me, and I don't want them to know..." she turns away from you., face in her hands.

"Yeah, right, lass," you say exasperately, grabbing her by the shoulder and roughly turning her to face you. And...

(http://emeraldus.deviantart.com/art/Sad-girl-38404355)

Bah, Christ. Her glasses are all fogged up and she looks all depressed and everything.

You sigh, pull a handkerchief out of your breast pocket and hand it to her. She wipes her tears away, embarrassed.

"Look here, madam," you begin again, a bit more gently. "I... believe I was too rash in judging you. After all, the Lord asks us to be merciful... and not too long ago, I was a street punk, just like you."

She giggles around a sob. "Hey!"

"It's true." You hold out a hand. "Tell you what... be my apprentice for a day, and I'll show you how I changed my ways."

She sniffs, and smiles. It's a nice smile. She takes your hand.


You hear a groan behind you. The badass delinquent boss is coming to his senses, and tries to push himself off the ground but is apparently too dizzy. "Gaijin baka! She-"

"Yeah yeah, stole your bikes, I know. I'll take care of it."

The badass boss blinks a few times, then narrows his eyes. "You shamed us for nothing!"

"Yeah. Sorry, mate." You have a bad feeling you'll be running into these guys again. Recurring bosses and all that. Oh well.

You and Mai walk out of the alley, leaving the unconscious delinquents to wake up. You decide not to loot them, judging that they weren't really bad guys. Besides, you got some XP.

Casually walking away from the alley full of unconscious and/or moaning-in-pain delinquents, you pull on the boot you knocked out the punk leader with and lace it up. Good old boot.

"Okay, listen up lass," you say suddenly, and Mai gives a start. "This is going to be heart-wrenching, bone-crushing, and mind-blowing. Becoming a knight is no small deal. Even one day is enough to make a boy a man... or a girl a woman. Whatever." You stand up, dusting the prison-rust off your hands. "Got me?"

"Sure."

"Sure, sir knight," you snap.

She sighs. "Sir... knight," she mutters.

"There. Lesson one! Respect your superiors, for their knowledge and nobleness far outclasses your own, peasant! But in time you'll almost understand that."

You look towards the Tokyo street. Alright, not too far to the hotel. Maybe she can help with the case somehow. If not, well... she can do coffee runs for you.

"Oh, by the way. Got any cigarettes?"

Mai shakes her head. "Nope, sorry.

(http://kwerfeldein.deviantart.com/art/Anger-102986132)

You give her your best knightly glare, and in one smooth movement, reach over her shoulder into her purse and pull out a pack of cigarettes.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2dG9jB8fvY
You obtained the Pack of LARK Cigarettes!http://www.japantrends.com/en/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/lark-cigarettes-push-pack.jpg)


"Lesson two. Don't lie to knights, peasant. They can smell sin like curry."

She mumbles something under her breath. Man, so far she's a crappy apprentice.

You don't have a light and you have no KP, so you stick the pack of cigarettes in your pocket for now. You and Mai head along the main streets, and you quiz her on random European Medieval history, kings and queens, swords and sorcery, chivalry and heroism.

"So you see, portcullises would have pointy ends so when you drop them on invaders, they die. Very innovative. And you see, murder holes..."

Mai looks kind of bored. She's paying attention and nodding at the right times, but she doesn't seem to care much about the whole knight thing.

"Bugger it, lass," you say at last, stopping in front of her with your faces only inches away. "Now that I think of it, what the unicyclin' Christ were you thinking? A dashing man randomly shows up, beats down six people, and offers you apprenticeship without showing you any form of proof or anything, and you agree to it. Are you insane?"

She shrugs, flicking a strand of hair out of her face. "Seemed like an adventure."

Well... yeah, guess she does have a point.

You arrive at the Imperial Hotel Tokyo within thirty minutes.

(http://www.lhw.com/cache/b/5/a/eeaa5084227ac264af64ef27119a3.jpg)


Yep, pretty sure that's it. You walk in nonchalantly, but Mai hangs back a bit as she follows you.

(http://www.fivestaralliance.com/files/fsa/nodes/2009/10642/08562_0_fsa-g.jpg)

... Damn. Not bad. You waltz up to the receptionist's desk and a concierge immediately shows up.

(http://www.fivestaralliance.com/luxury-hotels/tokyo/imperial-hotel-tokyo/gallery/08562_2)

"Salutations, citizen. I am-"

"The honored knight, of course!" The concierge hands you a room keycard. "We've been expecting you! Everything is as you asked, and if anything is unsatisfactory, please let us know!"

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2dG9jB8fvY
You received the Imperial Tokyo Hotel Room 666 Keycard!http://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/01/1c/87/b5/key-card.jpg)


You blink a few times. Mai stares at you incredulously. "Ah... splendid. Thank you, good citizen!" You head off towards the elevator, Mai following after you.

"****," she breathes. "You... really are a knight."

"What, didn't believe me after I defeated those ruffians?"

She shrugs. "Well, I mean, you know... I sort of thought you were an insane wandering hermit or something."

You look at your reflection in the elevator's shiny metal wall. Yeah, after that whole cursed prison thing, you do look like complete crap. Guess she had a point.

You get off on your floor and find your room. As you open the door, you tell Mai to stay outside for a second.

"Why?"

"You'll see."

Logical Reasoning: 27
Sneak: 18
(http://www.fivestaralliance.com/luxury-hotels/tokyo/imperial-hotel-tokyo/gallery/08562_1)


Well, the room looks clear. No traps, no wires, nothing suspicious. You wave Mai into the room, and she sits on the bed, hand on hip.

(http://lokmanlam.deviantart.com/art/Tee-for-girls-134792448)
"Okay, knight. Now what?"


The first thing you do is pull off your bulletproof red-and-gold Knight's Cloak and throw it over the back of a nearby armchair. You continue to undress, as Mai looks on with a furrowed brow.

"Er... I'm not that kind of girl, knight. Apprentice or not."

"Yeah, yeah, I know. Can't a man take a shower?"

"Oh! Uh, yeah, sure."

(http://www.formerfatguy.com/sunrider-foods/blog/muscular-ectomorph.jpg)

She stares at your manly pecs and abs for a minute before turning away, a bit red. "Can't you do that in the bathroom?"

"If it bothers you, fine." You toss her the Kusanagi. "Cover me," you instruct her as you head into the bathroom and close the door, pulling off the last of your bandages as you do.

Taking a shower, you feel a hell of a lot better. As the rust and dirt and dust and crusted blood is rinsed away, you feel... lighter, somehow. And when you pull the shrapnel that was embedded in your forearms out (from the exploding terminal), you feel... even better. It's like the prison's aura is no longer sticking to your skin like Canadian maple syrup.

KP Regeneration: stunted

Hm. Something's still stopping you, though... then again, that mysterious heterocrhomatic ninja girl did say the place was cursed. Damn! Maybe you're carrying the curse now... oh well. You wash the last of the asbestos out of your hair and step out of the shower, not bothering to dry off like the badass you are. You throw your knight's uniform back on and step back into the room.

Mai is flipping through channels on the TV, looking bored as usual. Apparently that's just her default expression. She passes an episode of Black Lagoon to get to some breaking news.

"Hey! Change it back!" you whine.

But Mai isn't listening. Her eyes are wide as she watches the broadcast. You don't understand much Japanese, but you can tell that it isn't good news.

"Oh my God..." she whispers.

"What?"

"Fourteen prisoners died last night, all of heart attacks... and seven police investigators. The murderer... he's targeting the police now!"

You aren't really surprised. Would an honorless coward really stick to criminals anyways?

"You think... he might target you? Target... us?"

"You've been my apprentice for like forty minutes. Target me, yeah, probably." You're not sure why you're so calm. You should be panicking, fearing for your life... but you just feel unusually warm. Like your blood is simmering with excitement... excitement for a battle soon to come.

"Tell me... what do you call this bastard?"

"The news anchors..." she makes a face. "They call him the murderer, but on the street, everyone just calls him Kira."

You nod, staring into space and narrowing your eyes. "Kira," you breathe, tasting the word, the name, the title. The enemy.

"You know... they don't just call him that because of Death Note, right?"

Mai shrugs. "Probably."

You sigh. "Kids these days." You pick up the phone on the desk and dial a long string of numbers.

"Calling home?"

"Something like that." You close your eyes in irritation as the usual call-waiting-tone comes up...
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_aKY25JQYM)


It's five minutes of waiting and tapping your foot before the familiar voice blasts through the speaker. "HOLLA!"

"Bartholomew, hey, it's me-"

"MAH BOI! Where ya at, knightinator? Krunkin' **** up n' down in Chinatown, am I right? Am I right?"

You rub your eyes. Bartholomew Shepardson is probably the greatest Ceraunoscopist and marksman Britain's seen since King Arthur, but his remuneration... well, it really grates on the eardrums. Sometimes you doubt that's actually a remuneration and just does it to annoy everyone.

"Yeah, sure. Listen, I need some good gear. This mission isn't anything how I thought it would be."
"Fo' sho', mah main samurai-slicin' compatriot! What'cha need to make 'em bleed?"


"Look, I need something I can keep under my cloak. I can't go around with a heavy machine gun. Just... send me a P99. Can you do that for me?"

You hear Bartholomew clanking and clinking around with stuff in the background and the tap-tap-tap of a keyboard. "Hell to the yeah, mah boi. Gotcha just da thang. Walther P99AS, suppressor, LAM, Trijicon RMR, night sights... and five mags, fifteen rounds each."

(http://www.dreadgazebo.com/gunporn/wp-content/uploads/2007/06/p22_target_5_b_lrg.jpg
http://lib.store.yahoo.net/lib/yhst-99971461949815/RMRFeatures.jpg
http://images1.opticsplanet.com/180-180-ffffff/opplanet-insight-technology-an-peq-6-laser-aiming-module-lam-1000.pnghttps://armamentsales.sslpowered.com/photos/albums/userpics/10001/normal_IMG_8460.jpg)


A small smile comes to your face. "Thanks, Bartholomew. And-"

"Grenades? You bet 'cher bollocks. Three L109A1 fraggers, two M84 flashbangas, one AN-M14 TH3 toastie, and one AN M18 smokie. And some kevlar. I'll dig some up somewheres."

(http://www.lexpev.nl/grenades/europe/unitedkingdom/l109.html
http://www.big-ordnance.com/fortrade/M84new1.jpg
http://www.imfdb.org/images/c/c7/M18red.jpghttp://images.military.com/pics/Defensewatch_101905_2.jpg)


Man, Bartholomew delivers. No wonder he's a ****in' Cavalier. "Thanks, mate. I appreciate," you say sincerely.

"Sho, sho. Uh, look though. Gonna take a day to get all this through screening, so... yeah."

You pause. "A... day?"

"Next mornin'! Bright and early! You know how them gun laws are over in ninjaland!"

You sigh. "Fine, thanks. Just make it happen."

"'Course, bro! Later!" he hangs up. You chuck the phone at the wall, leaving a dent.

Mai raises an eyebrow. "Not worth the long distance fees, huh?"

"Shut the hell up." You flop onto the bed, burying your face into a pillow.

"There are two beds, you know."

"This one's toasty."
She snorts. "Men." She turns back to the TV, watching the news intently. You fall asleep to the drone of the news anchor woman, speaking in a language you barely understand...


You doze off into a twitchy sleep. You probably wouldn't have been able to if it weren't for Mai's warmth against you. For a street-punk thief, she's pretty nice.

As it fades to black, you feel a bad flashbang montage coming along...

-

It is a dark day at Westminster Abbey.

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/vgm8383/2494484915/sizes/l/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/juanillooo/475517258/sizes/o/)

Beneath the cold earth, away from the sunlight, you stand in the presence of the dead. Most have rested here for hundreds of years...

But there have been some new additions recently. And it is because of them you are here.

It is dark, and yet you don't need to see. You know that the countless bodies are mangled, almost unrecognizable. That if not knowing beforehand, one wouldn't even know that the charred and minced corpses were even human. And the smell...

Burning hair, burning nails, burning skin. The spells were cast days ago, but you can still smell the stench of boiling flesh, still hear the echoes of their screams. These were... good men and women. And... children. Some noble, some innocent and pure. So many, you can't count. And to think...

The door to the crypt is thrown open and bright light spills in behind you. You don't bother to turn around.

"Leave me."

Your master takes a step forward. "My apprentice, this is no place for you."

Your hands are shaking. Your knees are weak. Does no one understand?

"This is the only place I belong!" you scream, your voice echoing harshly in the cold chamber. "I'm no better than they are, now! I'm- I'm-"

You fall to your knees, hands pressed against your eyes. God. Don't cry. Men don't cry. Not in front of master.

You feel a comforting hand on your shoulder. You turn and look up to see your master looking at you understandingly.

(http://skepticalbrotha.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/582007122408am_portrait51.jpg)

You swallow hard, and nod. Pulling yourself to your feet, you turn away from the mass of dead and walk back into main of the Abbey with your master.
"For this, father," you think to yourself, "death is too kind a punishment."


-

You're pulled out of your unpleasant flashback dream by Mai, who's shaking you. Blimey, what does she want? You're tired.

KP Regeneration: stunted

****! Sleep didn't work!

"Go 'way, Mai. Can't sex you now. Lemme 'lone."

"Dammit, wake up! Someone's at the door!"

You roll out of bed, rubbing your eyes. "Bugger," you grumble. One thing after another!

You shamble over to the door and look through the eyehole.

It's... Wakako, the Chief's daughter! How'd she know you were here? Crap!

"Knight, I know you're in there. With a street whore, probably. Open up."

You pull away from the door, thinking furiously.

"You know her?" asks Mai.
You nod, scratching your head.


You sigh. Well... the ongoing murder case is the reason you were sent to Tokyo in the first place... maybe you should actually start doing some investigation.

Readying yourself for a long rant about laziness and how the foreign devil will bring dishonor to Japan, you open the door. Wakako is standing there in her police uniform and with a suitcase, looking professional as usual. And slightly pissed...

(http://www.interzone.com/~cheung/World/Jap/General/Policeman.JPG
For the uniform, no hat though.
http://features.cgsociety.org/newgallerycrits/g30/240030/240030_1255300056_large.jpgSo you finally know what Wakako looks like!)


Her pissed-off expression suddenly has a touch of amusement. "You air conditioning break down, knight?"

"What?" you glance down.

(http://www.formerfatguy.com/sunrider-foods/blog/muscular-ectomorph.jpg))

"Oh." you shrug. "Just took a shower 'n airing things out. And... how'd you know I was here?"

"Your location came up on the police scanner. Everything's computerized now. Pyramid-sama was overjoyed when he found out you were alive." she walks past you into the hotel room and comes to a stop when she sees Mai sitting on the bed.

Mai smiles sheepishly, smoothing out the wrinkles in her clothes. "Um... hi."

Wakako turns and stares at you coldly. "Knight, people are dying and you're ****ing the local high school dropouts? How strange, I thought you were a man of honor and duty."

"Whoa, whoa, hey! She's nineteen, everything's legal!" you pause. "Wait, that's... not the point. She's part of my investigation task force now. My hacker, tracer, translator, and guide to Japan."

"It doesn't matter to me, knight. Just keep your personal life away from this case." Wakako sets the suitcase on the bed and opens it, revealing... more documents. ****! "These are the names, ranks, locations, and all other usable information of the investigators who died last night." As she hands you a few papers (not all of them, thankfully), she notices your expression doesn't change. "So, you've heard."
"Yeah, on the news. Good thing I had my translator." You grin at Mai. She just looks embarrassed. "But I thought this was a top-secret case. Why does the public know all about it?"


Wakako closes up the suitcase. "We have practically nothing to go on with this case and we need all the info we can get, accurate or not. Just this morning we've had twenty one calls in with 'information' about... the murderer," she says the last word sourly. "Nothing useful. Mostly kids prank calling."

You nod, thinking quickly. Can you trust Wakako? She's the Chief's daughter, so for all you know she's in on the whole conspiracy. Then again, can you trust that ninja girl? Then again... that cursed prison was proof enough.

"And even if this isn't a top-secret case, knight, the department would appreciate it if you didn't bring random civilians into the case. Especially high schoolers."

Mai shoots Wakako a sharp look. "I'm nineteen."

"Good for you."

They glare at each other. Great, nothing like friends in the workplace...
You thumb through the papers, not really reading them. Man, if only Pyramid Head were here... oh well. Time to get to work.


You stare at the pistol holstered at Wakako's hip- a Sigarms P220 semi-automatic pistol chambered in eight rounds of .45 ACP, one of those new Elite Dark models.

(http://www.sigsauer.com/upFiles/catalog/product/P220-DElite-detail-L.jpg)

Well... it's not that you don't trust Wakako or anything... but this investigation is just too weird. You should probably look into these weird events a bit more before you tell her about the cursed prison.

"So, what's Pyramid Head been up to?"

"Worried sick about you. What the hell happened last night? He came to the station in a panic and we couldn't find you. Only an hour ago the hotel logged your location and we found you."

Pyramid Head saved you? From the ninjas? What a badass bloke! That's how you didn't die. "Well I was, uh... how do I put this..."

Wakako crosses her arms, waiting expectantly.

"... I was attacked by tactical ninjas. With active camo."

Wakako doesn't look impressed, but she reaches forward and touches your chest. Her hands are warm... "So, that's how this got there?"

You glance down. She's touching the scabbed-over area where you had been stabbed through the chest with a katana or ninjato or whatever. Hell, your entire upper body is covered in scabs and scratches and bruises.

"Yeah. They gave me this, too." You walk over to where you cloak is and dig through the pockets, pulling out the hira-shuriken with the note that was thrown at your feet in Shinjuku Central Park. You hold it towards Wakako. "Any ideas who these jobby chavs are?"

(http://www.trueswords.com/images/prod/c/TS-G8PKF3_540.jpgBlack steel, red moth kanji in center!)

She takes a step back in surprise, eyes wide. "How-?!"

"I told you, ninjas."

Wakako shakes her head in disbelief. Mai just stares in amazement. "Knight," Wakako whispers, "that shuriken is exclusive to the Akaga Gozoku zaibatsu!"

"... Can't say I've heard of them."

"They're one of the most respected ninja clans in Japan- their name in your language is Red Moth clan." Red moths... that ninja girl! She can Shadowstep using red moths! Holy crap! She is a ninja! "No one can survive if they're targeted, so usually the government lets them do as they please. To think they attacked you, and you survived..." she looks at you with a new respect. "Not bad, knight."

You shrug. "All in a day's work, I guess. Tell Pyramid Head I'm fine, okay?" you say, pocketing the shuriken. Might need it later.

"You aren't coming back to the station?" Wakako asks, surprised.

"Yep! Got to get a move on this case, Madam Tanegashima. Don't want any more deaths in your department. Especially you, you know," you say a bit more seriously as you pull on your shirt and Knight's cloak.

You grab Mai by the hand and drag her out of the hotel room. "See you around, investigator!"

"Knight? One last thing."

"Yeah?"

"Don't die."

Easier said than done.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2dG9jB8fvY
Akaga Gozoku Hira-Shuriken is now usable as a weapon!)

You take the elevator down to the lobby, and once you leave the hotel, you lean against one of the big squarish pillars outside thoughtfully.


"So... ninjas, huh?" Mai hands you the Kusanagi back. "That's... pretty extreme."

"Yeah." Damn, you should've asked Bartholomew for some cigarillos. Damn, you should've asked Wakako for a light. Damn, you never should've taken this stupid assignment in the first place! "Okay, enough faffing about. Time to get Kira. Where can we research?"

"Um... well, there's the library at Tokyo University-"

"Let's go!"

"... But it's an few miles away-"

"****!"

Mai rolls her eyes at your melodramatic antics. "But," she says pointedly, "there's a cybercafe near here. That good enough?"

"I'd rather visit my local library, but I guess beggars can't be choosers, huh?"

You start walking behind Mai, admiring the view as you go. Of Tokyo, not Mai, dammit. Even in the morning (well, it's eight o'clock now, but whatever), the city manages to be an amazing sight. All those buildings stretching up to touch the sky...

"Hey... Mai?"

She turns back for a second. "Yeah?"

"Why'd you do this? I mean, a random foreigner comes outta nowhere and offers you apprenticeship, and you say yes. You're dealing with a murderer, ninjas, pissed off cops, and loose cannon knights who don't play bridge by the rules. Don't you have a family to think of, lass?"

She shrugs. It seems like she's been expecting this question to be repeated. "It's an adventure, you know? A hotblooded adventure you always see in movies and read in books, and now I'm in one. You did the same thing, right?"

Yeah. That's how you met your master, really. Guess she has a point.

A bit of walking and asking friendly hobos for directions later, you get to the cybercafe. Walking in, you're kinda... surprised. You expected a high-tech badass lab with touchscreens everywhere like in MI6, but instead...

(http://www.pokharacity.com/photos/lifestyle/cybersex/cyber-cafe.jpg)

"It has... waitresses?" From the amount of sweat you could smell in the air, they were probably paid a hell of a lot. Man, seemed like all the customers were just playing MMORPGs, drinking pop, and trying to hit on the waitresses. What a depressing place.

"I know. Come on, to the back."

(http://www.cyberpunkreview.com/news/media-immersion1.jpg)

Mai drags you past shelves of manga, anime, video games, walkthroughs, and so on, until you're at what appears to be the back of the cybercafe. The smell isn't so bad, and it's a lot quieter...

Mai walks into a private booth and waves you in. "Come on, detective."

(http://therawfeed.com/pix/tokyo_cyber_cafe.jpg)

Damn, this place is dapper. You join Mai on the bed as she starts up the PC and logs in.

"I'm guessing you've been here before?"

"All the time. Home away from home. Kinda sad, I know." She brings you to the Japanese Wikipedia site.


"All right. Where do we start?"


"Right then... look up everything you can on that Sunshine 60 building."

"The office building? What's so important about it?"

"Just trust me. Its history, weird accidents or incidents or events, you name it. Also... check out what those conspiracy chavs have to say about all this crazy stuff. Maybe we'll get a lead."

Mai cracks her knuckles and begins typing furiously, her glasses reflecting the bright light of the computer monitor in a kinda badass way. As you get up from the bed and walk towards the door, Mai glances up. "Where you going?"

"To take care of... knight business. Be right back." You slip out the door and into the main spread of the cybercafe.

You walk along the tables full of monitors and sweaty nerds and underpaid waitresses, keeping your eyes sharp. It's a good thing these customers are more interested in their MMORPGs than you...

Aha! That'll suit your needs just fine.

http://news.showji.com/UploadFiles_news/200711/20071106211830736.jpg

A mobile phone just sitting there on the table, with its user busily bragging to an uncaring waitress about his level-whatever character in some irrelevant MMORPG. Now, time to act...

Sneak: 18

The cybercafe is loud and busy, making it easy to swipe the phone.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2dG9jB8fvY
You have stolen the NEC N905i Mobile Phone!)


You slip the phone into your pocket and walk casually towards the front of the store, where you come across a... cafe type place. Huh, they have food and stuff here. Nice. You get in line and begin dialing a long number into the stolen phone...

It's ringing. Now to wait...

"You should have a reasonable explanation for this."

"You had better have a bloody reasonable explanation for this."

You blink. "How'd you know it was me?"

"A long-distance call from Japan at eight thirty seven in the morning from a new-model mobile phone with a call history mainly to stores selling pornographic material. Call it a sixth sense."

You sigh. Sebastian Edgeworth is probably one the best swordsman and hackers in all of the United Kingdom, and one of the few Royal Paladins who still exist. Known for his velvety smooth monotone voice, the eyepatch over his left eye and scarred-up face, constant calm towards all things, and daily one-night-stands, he's pretty much one of the main sources of badassery in London. You suspect that the one-night-stand thing is a remuneration for something, since despite that Sebastian is a smooth operator he spends almost all of his free time either training or watching anime. Pfft.

"Right. Look, Bass, I got me some serious **** here. This line secure?"

"It always is, you imbecile."

"Okay, good. I go to take a walk at night in a park and I get attacked by ninjas and wake up in a prison-dungeon and get chased by demon things and get out and it turns out to be beneath this office building or something. I need you to run a scan through the Imperial Archives and see what you find about this place, alright? And while you're at it, look up secret bioengineering experiments, modern ninja clans, and... " You pause for a second. "Yeah, that's it."

"I'll have it done by the morning."

You blink. Maybe it's that Sebastian took you completely seriously for the entire call, or maybe that you're honored to be working alongside one of the biggest badasses in Britain. "Uh... okay. Thanks, Bass."
He hangs up. You reach the counter of the cafe, and with a bit of pointing to stuff and waving yen around, manage to buy a cup of coffee and bowl of ramen. Nice!


46,000 yen left in inventory!

You bought the most expensive crap on the menu, but you'd like to pay back Mai for her help somehow. As you walk back to your private booth in the back, you yank open the back panel of one of the computer towers and chuck the stolen mobile phone into the overclocked computer's cooling fan, shredding it instantly into plastic shrapnel. You put the panel back, and no one seems to have noticed. Heh, evidence destroyed.

You shoulder open the door to the booth and set down Mai's breakfast on the bedside desk.

"Enjoy, lass."

She glances up, surprised. "Oh! Look, uh, knight- you didn't have to-"

"Hey, you said you were broke, so-"

She cuts in angrily. "I'm not broke! I just- can't throw money around like you do, okay? I can make ends meet!"

Okay, hit a sore nerve. "Okay. I understand. I... apologize for presuming as much." You bow low. "But you're my apprentice, madam. You're terribly pale, and your stomach's been growling all morning." She blushes at that. Your knightly hearing isn't useless after all. ou mentally thank your master for all the seemingly pointless trials he put you through.

With a quick thanks, Mai tucks into her breakfast as you glance over what's on the monitor. "Okay, what've you got?"

Mai sips a bit of coffee, the steam fogging up her glasses. You chuckle. "Well," she begins, wiping at her glasses with the corner of your cloak, "the Sunshine 60 building is haunted, for one."

... No ****.

"Or at least that's what they say. The office building was built on the site of a shut-down prison-Sugamo Prison, they called it- for political prisoners in the 1920's, usually Communists. Then World War II came along and the Allies took it over and used it as a camp for war criminals."

War criminals...

"It was closed around 1970 or somewhere around there. Asbestos, bad piping, stuff like that."

You nod. "So, commie-prison-ghosts, huh?"

"Basically. They say some weird stuff happens in the offices, like hearing voices in the walls or banging in the vents and elevator shafts, but no deaths or anything."

Damn. That's not much to work with. A prison, fine... but how about a lab-asylum-dungeon? "Anything else? Underground, maybe?"

"Nope. It was a pretty small complex."

Bugger. The Internet has failed you. Guess you'll have to wait on Sebastian's data.

"Oh, and the conspiracy forums are going on about how it's a secret plan between the Emperor and the Vatican or something stupid like that. Morons."

Huh. The Vatican? There aren't many Roman Catholics in Japan, what would they be up to? Can't be right. You've bumped heads with the Vatican before, and you know them pretty well. The Pope isn't so bad himself, nice guy really, but some
of the more militant diocesan bishops... and a certain extreme wing of the Vatican...
"So, yeah. That's all I got," she says, slurping up her ramen noisily.


Alright. Well, it's 8:30 AM, you've got the whole day ahead of you, and it's going to be until tomorrow before you get your guns, armor and data from Britain. It's probably not the best idea to go out and battle everyone who looks at you wrong, so... huh. You sit on the edge of the cybercafe booth's bed as Mai browses GameFAQs. What to do now...

You feel a weird tugging feeling in your stomach. Huh. You're not hungry or anything... oh, right. Flashtech remuneration. Something to do with Mt. Fuji, that's all you know. But what would electricity magic have to do with a semi-active volcano?

Wait...

"Hey, Mai...?"

"Yeah?"

"Check the weather for tomorrow."

A few clicks later... "Eh... seventy nine degrees, clear all day. Except... they've put out a warning to tourists. Looks like there's gonna be a bad thunderstorm at Mt. Fuji. Why'd you want to know?"

A thunderstorm...

Lightning strikes...

Remuneration.


...

Oh, ****.

"Just wondering," you say weakly. ****! You never should have used that flashtech! It's not like there's a guarantee that the remuneration won't kill you or anything!

You sigh and fall back onto the bed, staring at the ceiling. Man... Pyramid Head's probably worried sick about you. What a great friend, saving you from those jobby ninja chavs like that. He's always been there to watch your back...
Mai yawns, bringing you back into the present. Okay, decision time.


With a loud and dramatic sigh, you spring up from the bed and crack your knuckles. Sometimes, a knight simply must do the impossible to bring honor and glory to his Queen. And if that means getting toasted by the smiting fist of God himself...

"Knight... don't tell me-"

Then that's what you'll do.

"Knight! Wait! What're you thinking? It'll take ten hours to get up there, and if you do you'll be killed!" Mai jumps off of the bed and stands in front of you, holding her hands out. "Look, I know you must do hotblooded stuff all the time in Britain, but things are different here!"

Huh. Your big, manly knight heart is touched by her worry. You pat her on the head and pull your yen out of your pocket. You hand her 5,000 yen.

Current yen: 41,000

"Knight-"

"Mai, you're a knightly apprentice now. It's hard to understand, but... as long as I die honorably, everything will work out." You lift her from your path and sit her down on the bed. She stares up at you in disbelief with those big brown eyes of hers.

"Please-"

You press a finger to her lips, and without another word, leave the booth.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrhZs6M5Z3w)

As you walk through the cybercafe and step into the chilly street outside, you feel a cool calmness settle over you, like snow settling over a corpse. You always get that sick feeling in your stomach when you're about to do something borderline suicidal, but this time it's different... knowing that you could walk away and live to see another day.

But that... you flex your left hand, the hand that ninja girl drew that symbol on. That is what a coward would do!

You stand in front of the cybercafe for about five minutes, trying to hitchhike.

(http://www.thelakewoodscoop.com/news/wp-content/uploads/Hitchhike.jpg)

Man, this feels like it's taking forever. You don't want to spend all day walking to the mountain just to stumble up in the dark like a drunk and daft mountain goat. Finally, a car skids to a stop in front of you, rolling up onto the curb and almost running you over. You're about to box the driver's ears when the car door opens.

(http://img32.imageshack.us/img32/770/66462921.jpg)

"Hey there, big boy," the driver says seductively. "Going somewhere?"

You glance at the back seat of the Mitsubishi Lancer.

(http://images.2dayfm.com.au/2009/02/03/119849/japanese-girls-peace-v-ENT-400x248.jpg)

Er... road trip, apparently.
"Why yes, madam," you say smoothly. "Mt. Fuji."


The girls in the back giggle hysterically. Guess you accent is funny. Hmph!

"Then come on in, climber-boy," the driver purrs. You hop into the passenger's seat, trying to ignore the horrible music that's blasting over the surround-sound as the car gets moving again.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOXEVd-Z7NE)

Ugh. Even Bartholomew wouldn't be able to stand this ****. You try and concentrate on the honking and screeching of tires instead.

So your driver is training to be a cab driver or something, cutting into the other lane and running through red lights like no tomorrow. At least you're making good time. Hopefully you don't get pulled over.

It's maybe thirty minutes later before you make it closer to the mountain. You pass a toll road and gladly pay for the girls driving you, which makes them only giggle more.

Current yen: 37,800

No problem. So according to all the signs around here this is the eastern side of the mountain, making it the most popular trail for tourists. Well, hopefully most popular also equals fastest. Kira is killing prisoners and you're off trying to get your shock back. Good thing Sebastian's not here.

The girls drop you off and you thank them profusely, trying to give them more money for their troubles, but they say it was... 'their pleasure' and drive off. Bah, peasants. Don't make sense sometimes.

There are a bunch of people milling around the base of the mountain, mostly weird looking tourists speaking really crappy Japanese, mostly words like 'kawaii' and stuff like that. Hmm... so, the sign says this is Yoshidaguchi Trail. Whatever.

You push through the crowd, knocking over annoying tourists as gently as you can. As you're about to start climbing up the mountain, you hear a voice behind you.

"Excuse me, sir! The climb has not begun yet! Please wait for everyone!"

You turn around, ready to tell this peasant fool to piss off...

(http://i586.photobucket.com/albums/ss303/BRADISTIGHT/asian-haircut-fail.jpg)
... Holy ****.


This lowly peasant dares get in your way? You have knightly work to do, and he's blabbering about tourism! Bah!

"Away with you, fool! By mine honor I must needs ascend yonder heavenly peak to fulfill my destiny!"

"But sir!" objects the mountain ranger, "As a tour guide, it's part of my honor code to make sure all tourists are safe?"

Did he... did he just call you a tourist? Blasphemy!

"Wretched dog! On mine honor, we must battle!" You draw the Kusanagi, making some in the crowd of tourists gasp. Some guy with a nasal voice points at that it's not as good as a katana because katanas are like uber tier.

The tour guide frowns, his entire face hardening like ice. He reaches back into his huge, belted-up, furry and flappy jacket...

(http://gb.fs.boldernet.net/0/0/64/64655-275.jpg)

And draws out a beastly ice axe!

(http://www.climber.org/gear/images/IceAxeEckertClimb.gif)

So! This man is clearly a mountaintop-living druid or something, from the way he must take people up the slopes all the time. He must draw all sorts of powerful mana from the spirit of the volcano!

(300px-Ogata_Gekko_-_Ryu_sho_ten.jpg)

"Aha! We must now see whose honor is stronger, volcanic warrior!"

"Yes. We must." His voice suddenly echoes with an unmistakably badass-ness, like cold wind blowing through the mountaintops and icicles rattling.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9Mozhc-FTAGet set! This mission is ice cold!)
Doesn't take much to start an incredible battle of ultimate destiny around here.


(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9Mozhc-FTAGet set! This mission is ice cold!)

A cold wind blows around you, making your knight's cloak whip around your feet. You slowly extend your left hand forward, fingers flexed into a claw of iron, your right gripping the Kusanagi and holding it high, point aimed at the volcano druid. Even without KP, even in a foreign land, the Cascade Portcullis Stance is enough to keep you calm. Let him come. You are ready.

"Prepare yourself."

The druid rushes forward, arm pulled back to swing his ice axe. You're partly surprised by the move- it's slow, uncoordinated... something you'd expect from an apprentice, really. You casually bring the Kusanagi into a parrying stance, when suddenly you feel a strange disturbance in the air. What... ?

The ice axe whistles through the air, crashing into the iron blade of your Kusanagi with an inhuman power behind it. The force of the strike makes you step back in surprise, and you feel a stinging soreness in your right wrist. What the hell?

The druid continues to swing at your like a ferocious mountain goat battling for a mate, not seeming to blink as he raises his ice axe again and again to strike. You parry his attacks with growing difficulty as his attacks seem to come faster and faster. Not possible-!

Wait. Even without KP, you can feel mana moving around the druid, around you. If anything, you can feel mana more acutely now, being cut off from it. Is he channeling the spirit of the mountain?

The druid comes at you with a high overhead slash, which you use to easily feint high and kick him squarely in the stomach. But as your foot connects, it feels like you're trying to kick down a block of ice! You roll to the side just in time to avoid the attack, slowly circling around the druid.

The tourists are cheering below, egging on their tour guide to beat the pompous British man. Dirty, uneducated peasants! If you had the time, you'd teach them all a painful lesson...

Another swing, which you aren't fast enough to dodge and are forced to block. As the ice axe's head and Kusanagi collide, you feel the shockwaves run along your arms... but your hands are so cold, you hardly feel it.

Cold...

Body temperature: 97.32°F

Your eyes widen. That's it! That's the mana flow you're feeling! You duck another high swing and roll away as the druid attempts a low sweep. The druid is using some sort of passive mountain magic to slowly drain your body heat away! That's why you seem so sluggish! But no, not only that... he's moving the particles of moisture in the air around, making a clear path for his ice axe to travel through without wind resistance!

As you circle the hard-faced druid, you realize you're fighting with a Hydromancer. Whether this man knew what he was, you don't know- or care, really. You have to finish this before your blood is frozen solid!

Body temperature: 96.75°F
The druid brings his ice axe up again, persistent as a Viking battling a sea serpent. His years of mountain climbing have made him strong, and years of being one with the mountain may power his spirit, but in the end, he's just a man!


You rush towards him, ducking low, and drive your elbow up into the druid's nose.

(http://www.chesterfield-fc.co.uk/javaImages/e6/6/0,,10435~3606246,00.jpg)

You hear a loud snap of cartilage and blood spurts freely from his nose, making him gasp in pain. He stumbles back, trying to clutch at his face, but you've already clamped your hand onto his nose, absorbing the warmth of his blood into yourself.

You pull away, letting the druid fall back, struggling to rebalance his mana and coping with the pain in his nasal cavity. You look down at your bloody hand without much expression...

(http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3578/3417953826_4c6314b304.jpg)

Funny. Your master said to never draw blood unless you absolutely have to... and yet, you've begun ignoring his words more and more recently.

You turn back to the tour guide and the shocked tourists below. "If thou dareth impede mine ascent, thy judgment shall be most dreadful!" you shout, clenching your bloodied hand into a fist at them.

Without another word, you turn and begin your climb.

Dishonorable battle end. No XP awarded.


LOADING...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8KveQdaNmA&feature=related


It's about one o'clock in the afternoon, now, and you're about halfway there. The sun has moved over the peak of the mountain and has put the eastern slope in shadow, making it cold as hell for you. It's not so bad though, really. Because of the storm warnings, there aren't any damn tourists slowing you down. And besides! The view is great from up here!

(http://www.janhoo.com/2003/mountfuji/pic6.jpg)

It's too bad you didn't stop by the station and bring Pyramid Head along. He loves nature walks and stuff.

Oh well. You keep hiking up the side of the mountain, sticking your hands in your pockets to keep away frostbite. You didn't bring food or water or... any sort of supplies at all, but since you're making such good time it doesn't bother you much.

You look up, seeing the peak shrouded in clouds. The air tastes like lightning...

Up you go. No time to waste.
LOADING...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8KveQdaNmA&feature=related


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=an7tqOtycsk&feature=related

The air is thinner up here. London's elevation is low as it is, and now you're breathing as hard as a mountain goat birthing triplets.

Lung Capacity: 35
Aerobic Respiration: 45 Anaerobic Respiration: 27


Blimey, you have to take a huge gulp of air just to get a normal amount of oxygen. You're used to training in extreme places- your master has taken you to the mountaintops of Africa, Nepal, and the Andes to train alongside the natives and learn their ancients arts- but not without knowing you could fall back on mana.

An oxygen tank would be nice right now. Or maybe some food. Water isn't really a problem- you munch on some snow whenever you get thirsty. Not bad stuff, really.

But now it's four o'clock in the afternoon, and colder than balls. Dark clouds are beginning to swirl around the peak of Mt. Fuji, and you're less than an hour away. You can feel the flashtech remuneration twitching in your chest, ready to be satisfied like a ravenous dog. You can smell the lightning in the air... it's stronger, now.

The closer you get, the darker and thicker the clouds become, and you see some faraway flares of bright light in the depths of those black, roiling clouds. So close...

http://prodiligo.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/sea-storm-clouds.jpg)

It's like you're in another world. The wind is fierce, making your cloak snap in the wind and scouring the bare skin of your face and hands. Your fingers are numb, but they haven't turned black and blue just yet. Then again, in the dark light, you really can't tell.

(http://img5.travelblog.org/Photos/60274/328440/f/2927378-The-crater-on-Mt-Fuji-2.jpg)

Yes... this is it! You feel your heartbeat quicken and your soul react violently once you see the crater. This is where the remuneration must take place!

You slide down the slope of the crater and stumble into the middle, falling to your knees. You breath heavily, struggling for oxygen. Your lungs are burning from the cold, your sweat has frozen on your forehead. Your finger joints are stiff with cold...

But you feel alive.

The smoky black clouds are whirling faster now, circling the peak until it seems like you're inside a dark smoky tornado. It seems to grow even colder, if that's possible, but your nerves feel like they're each running with a thousand watts. Your every neuron is on fire, ready to sense, to feel. The hair on your hands, the back of your neck, and your stubble is standing on end.

Is this it? Is this it? You feel like the earth is a great anvil and Thor's mighty anvil is soon to meet you. Inevitability. Yes. That's it. That's what you feel, coursing through every atom of your being.

The screaming wind seems to deafen everything, making the world somehow quiet. There is hardly any light, but somehow you can see as far as the volcano's height would allow. As if you've become one with the spirit of the mountain...

The spirit of the mountain...

You close your eyes, and taking a deep breath, stretch your hands up to the heavens.

" Thou that takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.
Thou that takest away the sins of the world, receive our prayer.AMEN!"


Everything becomes clear. For miles around, the area around Mt. Fuji is illuminated by a blinding light, making everything around clear as day. The noise is deafening, rolling down the slopes like a tidal wave.

Around you, seven columns of lightning strike the rim of the crater, creating glowing, blinding pillars, as if a shrine.

And one bolt, bigger and brighter than the others, comes down straight towards you.

A bright light, and then... nothing.
GAME OVER


It's a nice day.

The sky is clear and blue and soft, no hint of rain. A light breeze ruffles your hair, just cool enough to be comfortable.

A lone cloud floats by, without a care in the world.

"It would be nice, wouldn't it? To be a cloud."

You look to your left, where your dad is laying in the grass next to you, hands behind his head. His eyes are thoughtful, distant. More than usual, anyway.

"Yeah," you say, looking back to the sky.

(http://interfacelift.com/wallpaper_beta/Dc80d538/02050_thenameoftherose_1280x800.jpg)
You see the door to your house open, and your mom appears in the doorway. Well, time to go in.


-

The first thing you notice is a blinding light. Huh. Are you blind? No, that can't be right. Your head is pounding, too. And you can't hear. Your skin feels sensitive and raw, like you've been rolled through a field of volcanic glass in Malaysia.

You try to crack open an eyelid, but it's way to bright and you shut your eyes from the pain. You still can't hear anything.

Though... you have a sudden craving for a cigarillo...

Whatever. That makes no sense.

You try and roll onto your side, but your ribs are sore. Oh, blimey...
You force your eyes open again, and after blinking through the pain and blinding light, you realize you're...


Blimey... so bright...

You blink rapidly in the white light, ignoring the pounding headache mashing your brain. You take a few gasping breaths, getting oxygen back to your starved brain cells. The white begins to seperate into reds and oranges and yellows, and you remember where you are.

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/kryptos5/3042973027/sizes/o/)

On top of Mt. Fuji, in the crater. That's right. You stretch out, feeling your muscles cramp and sting in protest. How long have you been out? You can't feel your arms or legs...

You force yourself to sit up, wincing at a blunt pain in your back. The snow in the crater is undisturbed for the most part, except for where you lie in the very middle, with a black, smoking scorch surrounding you.

Bloody hell. You only survive something like that once in a lifetime.

You push yourself to your feet, wobbling a little. The scorched earth is still hot to the touch. Weird contrast to the freezing snow surrounding it. Bollocks, it's cold...

You slowly and stiffly climb up the side of the crater, sometimes failing to get a good hold and slipping down a ways. You manage to make it out, however, and as you pull yourself over the rim you're blasted with a gust of frigid air. Damn, that's right. The crater was keeping you out of the wind. Now it's even colder...

But you're alive, at least.

HP: 34/105
KP: 0/210
KP Regeneration: stunted
Completing flashtech remuneration within 24 hours: +25 XP


You've taken a beating from that lightning bolt, though, and you're probably developing some mild frostbite. Laying unconscious in the snow will do that to you, it seems.

But on the plus side, your remuneration is gone. You no longer feel that annoying little itch in your chest, and you can practically feel electricity arcing between your fingers. Almost, anyway. If it weren't for that ****in' curse...
It's six o'clock or so now. Not much sunlight left, and you don't want to be up here once the sun goes down or you're a goner. You pull your thermos out of your cloak and hold it in your hands, trying to defrost the nerve endings. Nice that there's some coffee left, too... about 95 HP's worth...


(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zovOPTaOX8Q&feature=relatedA shocking development! The hotblooded beat of your heart is the roll of heavenly thunder!)

Ceraunoscopy Flashtech Remuneration satisfied.Ceraunoscopy is now unlocked for your use!

Blimey, it's a proper good view from here... but while you'd like to hang around and watch the sunset, there's no time to waste!

With the sun setting, the eastern side of Mt. Fuji will be dark and cold as hell. Not that you don't have faith in your climbing skills or anything, but you'd prefer not bouncing and rolling to the bottom of the mountain. 34 HP isn't exactly a good state for daring feats of mountaineering.

In that case, you decide to take the western side of the mountain. You'll see where you're going and maybe not lose a few fingers to frostbite.

Speaking of frostbite... you look through your inventory.

Inventory:
37,800 Yen
Tsurugi-no-Kusunagi
Bloodrusted Autopsy Scissors [+Tetanus]
Knight's Cloak [Type Type IIIA Bulletproof]
Thermos [Brazilian Coffee, 95 HP]Akaga Gozoku Hira-Shuriken


Er... yeah. Maybe you should consider carrying around a first aid kit... and a flashlight. Yeah, that'd really help.

Well, you can take care of that later. Pulling your cloak around you tightly, you begin sliding down the western side of the mountain. If you keep up a good pace, you should get to the bottom in about two hours.

LOADING...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8KveQdaNmA&feature=related

You make it to the foot of the mountain without much problem. Having gravity on your side this time made the descent a hell of a lot easier.

Achievement Accomplished: Do I Look Like a Local to YouAscend and Descend Mt. Fuji Without Dying: +20 XP

Huh. Funny, they say climbing Mt. Fuji is one of the things you've got to do before you die. Looks like if you end up dying horribly on this case, you'll have done one thing right!

Ha ha... ha.

Now, let's see here. You're on the western side of the mountain... but to get back to the Tokyo police station, you need to go east. ****!

(http://trip.ee/files/images/Fuji%20(184).preview.jpg)
You're surrounded by trees, but there's one road heading west into a city or something. Damn.


It's about eight or nine o'clock now, and it's starting to get properly dark. You know, seeing as you don't have a compass, flashlight, or anything like that, maybe trekking around an unfamiliar forest at night isn't the best idea. With a sigh, you set onto the road stretching in front of you, your eyes locked on the glow of city lights far away.

(http://imagecache2.allposters.com/images/DANPOD/US18_AJE0016_M-FB.jpghttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ze8OUFT1YFY&feature=related)

Bollocks, this is going to take forever. Makes you wish you carried a mobile phone... but you left yours on the Queen's private jet. Hm, next time you have a break you should call Bartholomew and ask him to send it over...

But more importantly, you keep a sharp lookout for phone booths or anything else you could call the station with. You'd really prefer to not be faffing about during the night like this. It's not exactly honorable, sneaking and skulking about. You aren't a lowly highwayman or brigand!

You keep walking, casually rummaging through your pockets and finding that pack of LARK cigarettes that you, er... 'borrowed' from Mai. Huh, forgot you had them. Now that you can use Ceraunoscopy again, you'd really like to find a light...

You know... it's weird. Forests are supposed to be full of life and stuff, but ever since you've gotten down from the mountain, you haven't heard one owl hoot or cicada chirp or any show of life at all. The wind itself seems to be gone, as if too afraid to linger around these trees.

But why? You ask yourself that a few times, wishing you weren't cut off from your mana. As you walk along that long road, you feel as if the pavement beneath your feet were the only thing protecting you... from something. Not like a feeling of being watched, but...

A feeling of drowning, all alone.

You shake your head. That thin air on the mountain must have killed a few brain cells.

You keep walking, and it's maybe four or so miles more with nothing of interest happening. But then...

You notice there's a thin mist around everything, so faint you barely noticed. It's like the beginning of a fog, putting a scant gray film over everything... strange. How long has that been there? Huh, seems to have gotten a lot colder too... and you can't really see the lights from the city anymore...

You press on, walking a bit faster now. Where are all the ****in' payphones?

You stop, and turn your attention from the sides of the road to the middle of the road itself.

(http://c2.api.ning.com/files/M2QS2gto2lnd-pD3ozR19jk1tDRFQxS-6JkNw336D1n0jXmAKylR8JWZyEzN56qvQIhcgok5-Omgz4MZi6PPSi*b5RhnWFvX/DarkForest.jpg)

Two shadows- a short and a taller one. A boy and his dog, maybe, walking towards you slowly. They just seemed to appear out of the mist, and haven't seemed to see you yet.
Your left hand involuntarily grips the hilt of your Kusanagi. Bit late for a walk. Especially this far out.


(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pPHeRNF1tI&feature=related)

Crap, crap, crap! They getting closer!

Okay, wait, doesn't look like they've seen you yet. Perfect. You hit the dirt (er, pavement) and splay your arms in a convincingly dead manner. Ah, blimey, the pavement's all wet from the fog and cold. Bah. Good thing you're cold as bollocks- you actually feel all corpsey! Then again, frostbite isn't exactly healthy...

You squeeze your eyes closed and take soft, shallow breaths. You strain your ears and begin to pick up light footsteps and the clicking of a dog's unclipped feet. They're maybe thirty feet away... and haven't seen you in this fog. Crazy.

Suddenly, the dog barks and darts forward. You take a deep breath and hold it.

Lung Capacity: 35

Okay, now cold and stock still, you look pretty damn dead. Good thing you have such a weird complexion.

The boy runs after the dog, calling for it to slow down in Japanese. He sounds kind of scared... and positively gasps when he nearly trips over your cold body.

Taking a few steps back, the boy begins to breath heavily in fear. He's whispering to himself- "what the ****" most likely. The dog is chewing on your ear and growling. Stupid dog, go away...

The boy tiptoes forward and begins pulling at the dog's collar, trying to pull it away. You crack your eye open slightly and took a look at this late-night dog-walking peasant.

Hm... he's wearing a yellow raincoat and must be around ten years old. Or something like that; the shock draining the blood from his face is pretty much age-universal. Huh. What's a kid doing around here at a time like this? From the way his eyes dart left and right fearfully, he's no killer or anything...

The dog keeps growling, pawing at your face and trying to bite your nose and ears. It's breath is all warm and sticky... bleh. If you ever see this dog again you're kicking its ass.

Having pulled the dog away a few feet, the boy leans over your body in a sort of curious horror. He looks around again, confused and not sure what to do. The dog's still growling.

The boy then holds his hands out in front of him and mumbles a few words you don't understand. A prayer for the dead, maybe? How... courteous, for a peasant.
But that dog... it's staring at you like you're a bloody monster.


(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pPHeRNF1tI&feature=related)

Hm. Well, it doesn't seem like this kid is a ninja in training or a government agent or anything, and that dog is just... you know, an annoying-ass dog... and the pavement is kinda uncomfortable. You decide that it'd probably be best to ask the kid what's up before that damn dog chews your ear off.

(http://interfacelift.com/wallpaper_beta/D7f3f476/01726_noiresquedog_1280x800.jpg)

Creepy ass dog...

You roll off of your stomach onto your back, groaning and gasping for air melodramatically. The boy and his dog both jump back in surprise, and the boy has to keep a steady grip on his dog's collar to prevent it from charging you. You keep groaning, twitching and rubbing at your eyes and stuff. It's not exactly honorable, but it's not exactly lying either. It's like... being misleading. Yeah, that's it.

After about thirty seconds of totally convincing acting, you push yourself into a sitting position and look around as though in a daze. You then look at boy, pretending to notice him for the first time and giving a start.

"Uh... hi," you say slowly and tiredly.

The boy stares at you in half fear, half amazement. "Er... hi," he says back carefully. Hey, maybe he can speak English.

You push yourself to your feet, ignoring the stupid growling dog. You look around- not just for show this time- at the forest and the sudden thick fog. You have a bad feeling about this...

"What happen?" asks the kid. Huh, for a little guy he's pretty brave.

"I... don't know. Lost," you say with a shrug. "Why're you out here?"

He frowns for a second, trying to remember back to his English class or something. "My brother," he says finally, pointing to the surrounding forest. "Lost. Disappear. Gone."

Hm. So his brother's lost in this forest or something. But why look at night?

"But it's dark and dangerous out here..." you say, a bit confused. "Why look at night?"

The kid frowns again, trying to find the right words. "He... uh... that's when... only... um." He scratches his dog's ears thoughtfully, then shrugs helplessly. The dog nuzzles his hand, but still keeps its eyes on you.
Hm. Kid's brother is lost. The honor of a knight can't let this adventure go!


From the way this kid is staring around at the surrounding shadowy forest, he must be dead-set on finding his brother. For a peasant youngster, he's pretty bloody honorable...

And besides, what kind of decent knight would leave a kid all alone in dark and scary forest?

"Um... okay. I'll help look for your brother, and then you gotta go home, alright? It's dangerous at night. There might be highwaymen about!"

He must've only understood about a third of what you've said, but he nods gratefully and walks past you back towards Mt. Fuji, dragging along the growling and snarling dog. Jesus... he finds a had-been corpse foreigner on a dark forest road and just keeps going. For a kid, he's pretty badass.

You tag along after the one-boy-search-party, looking around at the forest along with him. Seems like the closer you get to the base of Mt. Fuji, the darker and foggier it gets. Huh... guess you were leaving just in time. Had you taken any longer to get down the mountain, you'd have been trapped in this suffocating fog...

The boy stops, maybe remembering something. He waves to you, and points to the trees bordering the road... he steps into them, and you quickly follow. His dog has stopped growling at you...

(http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2052/2998768459_cef08d95ac_o.jpghttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iv-bosQ8CoY&feature=related)

God... the trees are thinner here, but there's more of them. They stick straight of the the ground like charred, bare fingers... pointing accusingly to God, their forsaker. The fog is denser now, so much that you can only see maybe ten feet in front of you. The kid is just a vague outline now, and you're following the sounds of his footsteps rather than actually following his image...

You lose track of time. The fog... it feels like it's in your lungs, your eyes, your ears, being breathed in and out of every pore. You're cold, can't feel your fingers or toes or lips... but you can't shiver, just can't. You can't see the sky. It seems like all these dead trees are the same, ones you've seen before, and yet each and every one seems to have its own place here... what's wrong with this forest? No, not a forest... it's a graveyard. There's no sound...

No birds... no insects... even your footsteps seem muted, your breathing unnaturally loud.

What is this place... ?

You notice that the kid has stopped. You walk up to him, and he barely acknowledges you. He's staring straight ahead...

(http://thumbs.photo.net/photo/8487493-sm.jpg)

There's someone there.

"Kid," you whisper hoarsely. Your voice sounds freakishly loud to you in the fog, but then again, you haven't spoken in a while. "Kid... is that... him?"

The boy doesn't move. The dog isn't moving either, tail in between its legs.
The small shadow in the fog is staring off into the distance, at nothing, it looks like. The fog has gotten unbelievably dense, you almost can't see the forest floor...


(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8N_PXTGdlGw&feature=related)

The kid is clearly in some kind of trance. You may be cut off from the mana around you, but there's something wrong with this forest (... obviously). You grab the kid's shoulder and give him a shake.

"Hey... hey! Lad, come to!"

But the boy just stares into the mist, eyes glazed over, at the faint shadow far into the distance. What trickery is this? Even the dog seems paralyzed, too afraid to move. Jesus, what's going on...

Well, might as well ask, right?

You gulp, realizing your mouth is pretty dry. "Uh... good day?" you call out hesitantly to the shadow. Your voice sounds freakishly loud in the silence. Like you're speaking from the inside of a small, airtight cell... "Good day? Can you hear me, stranger?"

The shadow doesn't move. Even from this far away, you can tell it's looking at something else...

Suddenly, the boy takes an awkward step forward. And then another, and another. The dog starts barking and tugging on the boy's pant leg, but the kid keeps stumbling forward towards the shadow.

Finally, the shadow turns towards you, its attention drawn to the kid. You feel a horrible leaden feeling in your chest as the shadow begins to drift closer, and closer... and with every inch it creeps nearer, it becomes more and more defined... a body, a face...

"Who are you? Name thyself!" you snarl at the shadowy figure, but it can't seem to hear you. It just drifts closer and closer...

Until you realize you're looking at a copy of the boy.

You blink, looking from the kid you found on the road and the once-shadowy figure. They look... totally the same. Brothers. He was looking for his brother...

But no, no, no! Something's wrong! Something's-

(This image is banned in Japan. Please use a North American, European, or African console to view.)

The mist begins to pull back from the brother, and you realize you were wrong. Your imagination was just filling in the blanks- they're both the same size, the same stature- but the brother is horrifically pale, whiter than salt, his eyes wide and bulging and staring, so much you'd think they'd pop out of the sockets. His face is twisted into a permanent expression of complete shock and horror- something he had seen in the mist, in the forest, has paralyzed him... leaving his mouth hanging open, his teeth twisted into sharp stalactites, his nails freakishly long...

And he's slowly walking towards the kid. His footsteps don't disturb the dead leaves on the ground...
The boy is just standing there in a daze, and the dog is freaking out. Your hand tightly grips the hilt of your Kusanagi...


You feel that heaviness in your chest again, that solid, cold, frozen fear. The same you felt in the lab beneath Sugamo Prison... this is all insanity.

The oni-brother glides forward across the dead leaves of the forest floor, hands outstretched towards the kid. The dog is whining, still tugging on the boy's pant leg. You feel the same way, really. But this kid did want to find his brother... maybe he wanted this to happen. Maybe you should just let the two... reunite?

But the dog is clearly freaking out. Why else would the kid have brought him along, except as a safeguard against something like this?

You shake your head. The oni-brother is only ten feet away now. You can see his bulging, filmy eyes- blind eyes- staring right through the kid. The kid is staring right back. It's like they're communicating somehow...

You take a small step back, deciding to let the two have a little bonding time. Knowing how oni-monsters can be, well... fighting might not be the best choice here.

Exactly one foot away, the brother stops. The two boys stare at each other, one's expression blank, another's frozen in paralyzed terror. They could probably be twins... the dog is quiet now, sitting dejectedly behind the kid with its nose between its paws.

As you watch this strange reunion, you slowly pull your thermos out of one of your jacket pockets and unscrew the lid as quietly as you can, careful not to disturb the silence. Then again, they both seem completely oblivious of you, so...

You take two quick gulps of Brazilian coffee. The suddenly blast as flavor overwhelms your dry mouth.

HP: 74/105
+20 mg caffeine
+2°F
55 HP's worth remaining in thermos!


You don't take your eyes off the two brothers the entire time. The fog seems to be thicker now... choking out everything, the trees, the sky... and yet there's light, somehow. Just enough to see...

This isn't right. You know there's something ****ed up going on, but without any mana, you can barely tell. You flex your hands, and using some of your blood plasma as fuel, you cast a quick Hematomancy spell on yourself.

HP: 64/105

...

But where's your m-

KP: -10/210

You fall to your knees, clutching at your left hand. You squeeze your eyes shut, gritting your teeth so hard they feel like they'll shatter. You've been shot, stabbed, eaten shrapnel like crumpets... but concentrated into the palm of your left hand is a pain you can't begin to describe. A fourth-degree burn and frostbite and bullet ant venom and white phosphorous and sandpaper and oh God why won't it stop-
You force your eyes open, and turn your left hand over to look at the palm- almost passing out from the effort. You uncurl your fingers, and your eyes widen...


(http://kylierussell.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/img061red.jpg?w=450&h=426)

No... no... your entire hand pales as blood in your hand concentrates into the palm, into... the symbol of a red moth?

That ninja girl... she drew a Japanese kanji on your hand... a glyph... did she... ?

She betrayed you! There was no curse! She was just using that whole prison, the oni, the dungeon crawl- all as an excuse to leech your mana!

You feel lightheaded at the realization, and only remembering about the kid and his oni-brother keeps you from passing out. You stagger to your feet, dizzy and sick at having reverse-mana-syndrome, and notice the dog is gnawing on your boot. You're about to kick it away when you see why-

The kid is being led away into the mist by his demonic brother, his face... frozen into an expression of utter fear and despair, his skin slowly but surely becoming the same salt white of the mist.

"NO!" you scream, your throat hoarse and dry. "LAD! Fight back! Don't- don't-!"

But the kid can't hear you. He simply walks after his brother. His... no. Not his brother, not anymore.

The thing turns its bulging, staring eyes at you. It may have an expression of horror, but... you can see the mockery in its eyes as clear as day.

On your knees, nauseous, and beginning to pass out, all you can do is feel a white-hot hatred begin to flare in your stomach. A white-hot hatred encased in a frozen block of hopelessness.

It all fades to black as you hit the forest floor. The dog howls mournfully into the mist.
GAME OVERhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yQhqpV0zlM&feature=related


He stood there for a long, long time.

You kind of understood- you were pretty sad too. But your father, he stood in front of that grave for hours- in the pouring, icy rain, when all the other mourners had left. Everyone had given their condolences, their apologies, their happy memories... but you don't think your father heard.

All these important people you had never seen before, shaking your hand and telling you to do the family proud, it's what she'd want. Serious faces, old faces, full of sorrow, full of sympathy- full of hope.

They approach your father but he can't see or hear them, he's far away now.

So now you sit against the gargoyle in the cemetery, freezing and wet and miserable, but you'll wait for your father. It's only when you look up at the dark clouds overhead to you notice that your father has already walked out the gate.

You hurry after him. He doesn't seem to notice you, though.
He didn't notice anything after that.


-

The dreams again. Why the dreams... why do you have to keep reliving the past, the worst parts of it?

If only you could sleep without dreams...
But where are you? What is this strange place?


And so the investigation continues... but not the way you expected.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbYqSq80e8g&feature=related)

This is no forest... you feel solid flooring beneath you. Tatami, maybe? Feels like it... then again, your senses are all ****ed up to hell ever since that new breed of oni showed its ugly face... damn it, why couldn't this just be a bad dream...

You blink a few times, wondering confusedly why your sight isn't coming back to you. Just a flicker of red or orange around the edge of your vision here and there... but you can't see. You can still smell, though. It smells... nice. Kind of pungent, though... like... incense? And it's warm in here. Not uncomfortably warm, just right. Candle warm...

You flex your hands, and finding your fingers still operational (though frustratingly stiff and numb), you reach up to your face to feel at your eyes. Maybe there's something wrong with them, or maybe you're blind...

Your fingers feel warm cloth, and you take a shallow, painful breath of relief. Good. You aren't blind. You're about to pull the cloth away when a cool hand lays onto yours.

"Not yet, knight. You are still healing."

You feel your breath catch in your chest.

No...

That voice... like a razor-sharp blade being drawn from a velvet sheath. You quickly pull up into a sitting position, only for your back muscles to spasm and leave you twitching on the floor again. Blimey... it's like someone had a go at your spine with a cricket bat, you're so stiff.

"I suggest you take my advice, knight."

Your breath hisses out through clenched teeth. "You- !"

You have to stop and gasp for air. Christ, it feels like you're a corpse or something, struggling to stay alive.

The mysterious ninja girl places a hand on your forehead, feeling for your temperature. Huh... for a ninja, her hands sure are nice and soft. You'd think they'd be roughed up from swordfighting and training and stuff. Though they are unnaturally cool... maybe a few degrees below normal human warmth...

"Your muscles are producing body heat at a more normal rate, knight. You should be able-bodied soon enough."

She pulls her hand away, her slender fingers trailing through your sweaty hair. You gulp a few times to get the muscles in your throat working again. "The... kid... How long-?"

"The fog was about to consume you when I stepped in. If it weren't for that brave hound, you would've..." she trails off. You then notice a warm bundle laying at your feet... hey, it's that dog!

"You have been recovering here for five hours, knight. Slower than I expected, but for you to heal at all from such unspeakable events is... a miracle."

"Why?"

"Letting you become one of... those... would not help me in finding the murderer, knight."
"You... used me..." you croak. God, it's tiring just to talk...


You feel her hands again, moving along your wrist, checking your pulse. She's surprisingly gentle... "Yes, and no." She checks your other wrist for your heartbeat. Er... shouldn't they be the same? "The moment you woke below the earth inside that forsaken shrine to evil... you were infected by the Hougyo Oni."

"You took me... there..."

"I had no choice. After your squire intervened in your clash with my clan, I had to put you where they wouldn't sense your mana trail. That shrine, cursed as it is, was the only place where I could keep you alive."

"The curse... my hand..."

"You know of this already, knight. Oni are not human, or truly living- they do not use mana. Infected, any time you use mana, you will begin to transform into an Oni. By placing that seal on your hand, I could keep you from becoming any worse."

You snort. "Just... as... planned?"

She grips your hand tightly, almost apologetically. "Deceiving you may not have been honorable, but had I told you of everything, I could not have studied the effects of the infection. To be honest, you're the only one who's suspended the infection for this long. I'm afraid that even my seal won't protect you forever."

You nod weakly. "So now... ?"

She hesitates. This can't be good...

"Now, knight," she says softly, "there are two things we can do. You can either continue as you are with your seal, cut off from your mana, and delay your death- or should I say, transformation into an Oni... or you can reject your mana, and..." You can hear her licking her lips in anticipation...

"Become a living, breathing Oni."

Wait... what? "Wait... what?"

"You know this already, knight. Oni don't use mana. They use the opposite- kaos. Anti-matter, dark energy, the emptiness of the universe- to them, it is like life. If we transplant your mana with kaos, we might be able to prevent you from completely becoming an Oni. But... there would be a cost..."

"Such... as?"

"I don't know. This is all speculation, knight." You feel her hand on your bare chest, pressed against your heart. It seems to be beating way slower than usual... "But we don't have much time. And if you die, countless more will be murdered. I may be an... 'honorless assassin', as you say, but I do have my clan tradition: 'Never give up'."
... Bollocks. That... was a huge plot dump. Seems like whenever you run into this lass she drops a massive info-brick on you. Jesus!


You take a deep breath, filling your nose with the warm smell of incense. What is that... cherry blossom or something? You've made your decision...

Even with the seal over your mana, you have no idea how long you'll be able to prevent your Oni-infection from getting worse. You don't want to take the risk of becoming a mindless Lovecraftian ass-kicking machine before you can hunt down the murderer... after all, this Kira bastard has started killing police investigators. What's stopping him from moving onto civlians?

You reach up to your face and pull away the cloth over your eyes. You blink rapidly, blinded painfully at the sudden light. But... something's wrong...

You're just... floating. A white mist surrounds you in every direction, seemingly casting its own light. You can see shapes moving far, far in the distance, but... you can't exactly make them out. What is this... a dream?

Suddenly, you feel a hand gripping your wrist. You look down at your arm in surprise, and at first see nothing. But then, color begins to seep back into the world, the mist lifts... and you find yourself in a dimly lit shrine. And you're naked again. Great.

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/bacillus/4019172257/)

"What..." you work your throat. Your mouth is dry. "What was that?" you whisper. The mysterious ninja girl lets go of your wrist.

"Your infection... it affects your senses one by one. You... were seeing into the spirit world. Or at least, I think so. Worlds coexist, knight... and from what our ancestors have learned, Oni and humans live side by side without even knowing it."

You shake your head slightly. Even that's enough to make you a little dizzy. Blimey, this is insane. "My eyes... ?"

"They're turning red, knight. They... glow."

You look at her in amazement. You hold a hand up in front of your face, and a soft red light bathes your hand. Holy ****...

"I have to do it." You slam your fist into your open hand. "I have to find Kira!"

"Are you sure?"

You look at her, suspicious. Could this be another set up? From the way she stares at your with those heterochromatic eyes...

(http://tknk.deviantart.com/art/eyes-140690089)

You can't trust anyone now. Not the police, not the Emperor, not the ninjas. But even so, you gotta finish this mission.

"I'm bleedin' positive. Make it happen, lass."

And to your surprise, she smiles. Not a dark, deceiving one... but a warm one. "Thank you, knight. Even though we may be enemies... in another life, we could've fought side by side."

Blimey, that's... something. You nod to her mutely. She gently pushes you down onto your back, and places her hands on your chest- on each side of where your heart is. "Prepare yourself, knight. This... will be painful."

You close your eyes. But instead of seeing the usual black... you see that strange world of mist again, and the odd shapes in the distance. Could that kid's brother be there, in that alternate-dimensional fog? Could that kid be there right now?

You have no time to ponder such questions, for your heart has just stopped.

HP: 1/105KP: -210/210

You're... floating. Just floating along in the mist... at one with the spirits all around you. They seem... agonized, tormented, afraid, and most of all, enraged. These spirits... want to destroy everything. Not dead, not alive... just pissed.
Then, suddenly... out of the mist emerges that Hougyo Oni from before! The one that protected you from the others below Sugamo Prison! It looks at you with its empty, vacant eye sockets sadly, and then turns and melts back into the mist...


You feel your every cell, every particle of DNA being changed, inverted... from mana to kaos. You see, hear, taste, touch and smell things you never knew... never believed possible. Unbelieable pain, pleasure, happiness, sorrow... Your mind opens... you are at peace, and yet... you become part of something you can't begin to understand.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGEZe34in1sListen to all of it. This is your soul being rewritten!)

Are you... human? You don't really care any more.


You open your eyes. The candles are flickering like crazy, and it has grown much colder inside the shrine. The ninja girl pulls her hands away from your chest- she's shaking and sweaty. That dog is still dozing at your feet. Creepy ass dog...

You keep looking around at your surroundings. You feel... different. You're not sure how, though. Stronger, weaker? Just... turned inside out.

Ninja girl looks at you expectantly. "Knight?"

You look at her coolly. From the tint of red touching her face, you can tell your eyes are still glowing.

"... Knight?"

You hold up your left hand. Your palm is clear.

Mana curse status effect removed.
HP: 64/105KP: 210/210


About ****ing time.

Achievement Accomplished: The Devil Gene
Convert KP pool from mana to kaos. +100 XP

"Your name."

Ninja girl blinks in surprise.

"I don't know your name, lass."

She smiles. "Yoei Yoruyonaka. Few know that name and still live, knight. Be honored."

"I am, madam Yoruyonaka."

"Call me Yoei."

You push yourself to your feet, stretching out your stiff and numb muscles. Your sense of touch is coming back, finally, and you feel sore all over. Oh well.

You notice your clothes and gear in the corner. You shamble over and get dressed, strapping the Kusanagi back onto your hip. All geared up, you turn back to Yoei.

"Thank you, madam. For everything." You bow low.

"Don't thank me yet, knight. We have battles to fight still."

And she's right! But you mentally look over your new kaos-based techs...

Physical techs: clear
Alchemy: clear
Pyromancy: locked
Aeromancy: locked
Necromancy: boosted, x0.5 KP required
Astromancy: clear
Lithomancy: locked
Hydromancy: locked
Summoning: boosted, x0.5 KP required
Ceraunoscopy: locked
Sciomancy: unlocked
Photomancy: unlocked
Class: Dark Slayer


... Well, ****. Looks like you've become a summoning, cursing Necromancer overnight. Not bad.
You look around, wondering just where this shrine is. And what time it is, for that matter.


It's dark in the shrine, so you have to fumble about for a while before you finally find the entrance. You hold your hand in front of your face, expecting to be blinded by sunlight after so long inside that shrine, but it's early morning and the light isn't too intense.

(http://www.thegardenerseden.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/Morning-Light-at-the-edge-of-the-forest.jpghttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbP-kirriBE&feature=related)

... Blimey. If you weren't on a life-or-death mission right now, you'd say this forest is pretty damn beautiful. The kid's black-furred dog trots out after you and sits at your feet loyally. Poor bastard, his human buddy gets demonized and there's nothing he could do...

That Dog has joined the campaign!(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gB1HugK6i_4&feature=related)

Okay, it's about... five o'clock in the morning. Your third day of the investigation. Time flies when you're crumbling crumpets, huh?

"Looking for the lost brothers, knight?"

You turn around. Yoei walks up to your side, looking out over the morning-lit forest. "Yeah," you say, turning back to look at the dew on the forest floor.

"Knight... I should tell you now. This forest is cursed-"

"No, really? I had no idea,," you grumble under your breath.

"-From the massive amount of suicide committed here. So much negative energy has made these trees safe for no one."

Negative energy... kaos? That's why you feel so much stronger... all the sorrow, anger, hopelessness surrounding this forest... it empowers you!

"This shrine is one of the few safe places around here, if not the only one left. And now that you've become an Oni yourself, it may have been tainted beyond repair." She crosses her arms, looking thoughtfully at a falling leaf as it lands at her feet. "You won't find the brothers, knight. Once you're lost in the mist... there's no coming out."

"Bollocks. I came out."

"Thanks to me and a lot of luck."

You scratch at your chest, where that wound from the ninja ambush is still healing. It doesn't bleed anymore, but it aches in the cold. Kind of amazing, really. Not every day you get stabbed through the ribcage and survive to keep kicking ass.

"Yoei... please. Is there anything I can do?"

"Nothing, knight. They aren't dead, aren't alive- only drifting between the lines. You can't summon them, resurrect them with Necromancy- you have to understand, people have been trying to do this for thousands of years."

You nod weakly. "Yeah. Yeah, I understand."

"So now you know the history of Aokigahara, knight. The forest of suicides. In a sense, you're one of them."
"Yeah."


You reach down and scratch that dog behind the ears. Poor bastard... all alone now. You look at his collar... and blink. You've seen that kanji so many times now...

Kira.

Then again, everyone is Europe names their dog Berserker or whatever, so really it makes sense. Funny in this situation, though.

"Alright," you say finally. "Alright, Yoei. How far are we from where I passed out?"

"Half a kilometer west. The road is just over there," she says, pointing the the left. Huh. In the sunlight, you realize she's not just wearing a stereotypical ninja getup... it's all carbon-fibery and stuff. Kind of like a kevlar weave, but only to resist handgun rounds. For ninjas all hell-bent on tradition, they're
packing some serious tech. And damn... that is one tight stealth suit... for a fit lass, she's got some pretty swish curves... especially...

No. Don't even think it. That's something Bartholomew would do.

You bite your lip.

... Dat ass.

You squeeze your eyes shut. Oi. Not knightly. Not chivalrous at all.

"Something wrong, knight?" she asks. God, her voice is so sexy! Resist, dammit!

"Um... no. I should get going." You take a few steps forward, with canine Kira tagging along at your heels- well, waist really, it's a big dog- before you turn around and look at Yoei. "Look, uh... you need any help, or... anything with the case, just ask, okay? We're on the same side."

"Enemy of my enemy?" Her blue-and-red heterochromatic eyes have a glint of understanding to them.

You shrug. "Yeah. Something like that."

She smiles- one of those secretive ninja smiles. "Maybe not today, knight. But one day we might be fighting back to back. Just maybe." And with that, she phases out of thin air in a cloud of red moths.

Jesus. You'll never get used to that.

You trek over a bit of grass and moss and fallen trees to the road and start jogging west.

(http://www.irfnews.org/files/images/buyers-guide-pics/road2005.jpg)Long Distance: 22

You should make it there pretty soon now. The canine Kira trots along after you, easily keeping up. Day three, get ready. The Dark Slayer is here.


LOADING...(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8KveQdaNmA&feature=related)


As you get farther away from Mt. Fuji and Aokigahara forest, at around five thirty in the morning, you start noticing some country homes here and there.

(http://www.edutraveller.com/jp/images/photos/weather.summer.01.jpg)

Huh... that kid looking for his brother must've lived around here to be looking around that forest at night. Man... what will his parents think? You feel a pang of guilt in your chest for leaving the twin brothers to their doom... but Yoei's right. There's nothing you could do. Not yet.
You keep on jogging and eventually make it onto a busier road. The cars are kind of a surprise after running such a long way in complete silence. Finding a little sidepath, you trek up it to a hill to get a better look of the surrounding countryside.


(Atami.jpg)

Er... oh. Looks like you're here.

Not a bad place, either. A nice, long beach not too touristy, good stretch of water, green trees... what more could a knight ask for?

You slide down the hill and cut through a few back yards until you get onto a city street. You can't read any of the signs (all in Japanese), but you can tell you're safe here.

You sit down on a bus stop bench, and leaning back, look up at the sky. It's early in the morning, and Kira is off killing. The honorless bastard...

Canine Kira nuzzles your hand, and you pat him- or her, whatever- on the head. Looks like you two might get along, despite initially hating each other.

Well, it's six o'clock in the morning in a bustling Japanese city you aren't familiar with. The time is ripe for adventure!


(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfXwIFS-LsMA calm, bloodless morning!)

Well, no use sitting around. You pop up from the bus stop bench and look around. You walk along the street a wee bit, looking through the windows thoughtfully as canine Kira tags along at your heels. Suddenly, one building snags your attention!

(http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3227/3381347005_84c2cc4472_o.jpg)

Oh God. A cafe. It's been hours since you've last eaten... yesterday morning, with Muramasa? Jesus! And you climbed Mt. Fuji and everything!

You push the door open and take a step inside, but suddenly you're stopped by what seems to be the manager of the cafe.

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/chefglen/3120541532/)

"Er... ohayo," you say, bowing. He doesn't look amused. At all. And there's no way to walk around him.

"This is an eatery, right? If you would allow me to enter-" he just stands there, arms crossed. Huh.

Why doesn't-

You glance down, and see that you're covered in dirt, gravels, grass, and scorched earth. Oh. Not to mention you smell like you climbed up and down a mountain...

You sigh, and turning around, haul ass towards the beach, sprinting across the streets without so much as looking at traffic. You then dive into the ocean, clothes and gear and everything.

(http://www.deskpicture.com/DPs/Places/beachSplash.jpghttp://farm4.static.flickr.com/3068/2407488733_9b40b1c532.jpg)

Hell yeah! The dog just sits in the beach, looking at you in exasperation. You roll around in the water, noticing how the surrounding ripples are all brown and red. Jesus. A shower would've been nice, but the cold water is a refreshing kind of shock.

Weird, too. You know you're cut off from mana now and can only use kaos, but you still feel a kind of bond with the natural elements. Mana is held together by kaos, and kaos held together by mana... you'd think they'd be able to work together...

You slosh out of the waves and shake the water out of your knight's cloak, spraying it all over the dog, who growls in irritation. You grin at canine Kira and dash back to the cafe.

The owner sees you approaching through the glass, and again stands in the doorway, but now that he sees you dripping wet and smelling like sea water instead of man sweat, he nods sternly and lets you in. Canine Kira waits outside, guarding from intruders. Pretty badass for a dog.

You sit down at a table and lean back comfortably. A kitten is asleep in the chair next to you. You rub its tummy.

(http://fashion-stylist.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/04/Japan_Cat_cafe2.jpg)

As you do so, a waitress comes up to your table.

(http://www.stockphotopro.com/photo-thumbs-2/stockphotopro_17878BHX_no_title.jpg)

She looks a lot less stern than her boss. A nice change. "Good morning! Can I take your order?"

You smile at her. "Yes, thank you kindly madam. I'll have..."


You squint at the menu, reading the little English captions under the Japanese kanji and pictures of delicious food. Hm... might be best to not offend the waitress by butchering her native language.

"I'll take this," you say, pointing at a bowl of spicy-looking beef and rice. "And a spot of green tea, please."

She nods. "Coming right up!" she says cheerily, scooping up your menu and gliding away. Blimey. Why are Japanese girls always so... upbeat and positive?

Well, not like it's a bad thing. You lean back in your chair and look out the window at the morning sun reflecting off the waves. Beach-goers are starting to flock towards the beach, making traffic a bit heavier. Canine Kira looks kind of bored outside. He's nosing around what looks like a vending machine. Crazy dog better not steal anything... you'd never work alongside a thief, dog or not!

Well, except Mai. But that was different.

Speaking of Mai... you dig around through your damp knight's cloak and find that pack of LARK cigarettes.

(http://www.japantrends.com/en/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/lark-cigarettes-push-pack.jpg)

Huh... now that you're using kaos instead of mana, you don't have to worry about any remunerations except for Necromancy, summoning, and anything else you'll learn through kaos. Not a bad deal, really. Now you won't have to die from lung cancer!

But still... remunerations. Necromancy and summoning are pretty big deals... the kaos cost and remunerations for those won't be pretty.

You stuff the cigarettes back into your pocket, deciding to save them for later. You pet the kitten asleep in the chair next to you, only for it to wake up, meow a 'good morning' to you, and pad off to the kitchen. Their rat-catcher, most likely.

Blimey... kaos. What a weird feeling. Being... half-dead. Undead. But still alive, breathing, warm. Weird as it gets.

A few minutes of inner monologues later, the waitress comes back, all smiles. She sets down your breakfast in front of you. "Enjoy!" She says. Well, you're like the only one here, no wonder it didn't take long. She glides back to the front of the cafe, leaving you in peace.

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaimewalsh/3817622316/http://www.mellowmonk.com/images/tea_tumbler_1.jpg)

... Oh great merciful Lord Father in Heaven.

So... good. You pick up your chopsticks, making sure to keep the pointy ends away from your face.

Blunt Short: 21

You get used to them pretty quickly, and in about a minute chomp up your bowl of cow-based goodness and slurp your tea. So... good!

Status Effects: not hungry as ****

Yeah... that's better. You lean back, feeling energized already. It's like you're sucking the mana out of your food and converting it into kaos as you digest, or something crazy like that.
HP: 105/105KP: 210/210


Good. Ready to kick ass.

The waitress comes back, and is surprised to see that you're done already. She takes away your empty plates. "You must've been starving!" she says with a giggle.

"More than you'd believe, madam," you reply. You reach into your cloak and pull out your wad of yen. You pull away 1000 yen and hand it to her. "Keep the change."

Current yen: 36, 800

"But sir, this is too much-"

"Think of it as a tip for excellent service, and a compliment to the chef." You push your chair back and stand up, stretching a bit. It's 6:30 AM now, and the city is finally waking up, people going off to work and kids heading to school.

The waitress bobs her head. "Thank you very much, sir!" she says.

"Think nothing of it." You turn back to the window, squinting at the crowded sidewalks. You flex your left hand involuntarily.


"Ah... just a tick of your time, madam."

The waitress turns back. "Oh- something else I could get you?"

"Something like that. I'm... new around here, if it weren't obvious enough. Would you kindly tell me what city I'm in, exactly?"

She holds back another giggle. "Nothing wrong with asking for directions. All the tourists do." She sets down the dishes and gestures out the wide window. "This is the city of Atami, sir. Part of the Sh*zuoka prefecture."

You scratch at your chest thoughtfully. "Capital. And as for its distance from Tokyo...?"

"Just a short drive."

You take a breath of relief. Good. You were pretty sure you couldn't be too far from headquarters, but it's always good to check.

"Please excuse me, but one last question-"

"Of course! Go ahead!"

"Where might I find the police station?"

Her brow furrows as she thinks about it. "A bit higher up from the beach, maybe a half kilometer in. It's a pretty crowded place, so you'll find it without much trouble."

"Capital. Thank you, madam," you say smoothly, bowing low. "And for now, goodbye."

"Bye! Have a nice day!" she says cheerily.

As you walk outside, canine Kira immediately butts his head against your leg.

"Bugger? What do you want of me, hound?"

He looks up at you accusingly.

...

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mn_PIAh72A&feature=related)

You sigh. "Fine."

Sneak: 18

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/71502646@N00/2190648921/sizes/l/)

You reach into your pocket and pull out one of the peppermints you stealthily stole from the from counter when no one was looking. You unwrap it and toss it to canine Kira, who snaps it out of the air with surprising skill.

"There. Call that even for me failing to save your kid."

The dog glares at you.

"Oh, stow it. I'm joking."

Two Peppermints now usable in inventory!

You sprint across the street (jay walking! Criminal scum!) and shoulder your way through the crowded sidewalk to the payphone. As you get closer to it, you figure out why you had such a hard time finding them before...

(http://www.worldpayphones.com/asia/jpn-payphone1.jpg)

... Green? Seriously? You had just assumed they'd be black with a red booth, like in Britain. Oh well. Things are different here.
Oh... bollocks. Looks like it doesn't take bills, only coins and phone cards. ****!


(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mn_PIAh72A&feature=related)

You sigh. Okay, you have no coins, no phonecard, and prying apart a payphone with scissors might be a snaffley way to puzzle out how phones are made in Japan, but... you don't exactly have time to faff about with **** like this. Canine Kira wags his tail, ready to set off into the city. With a glare at the payphone, you turn, run back across the street, and begin your journey to the heart of Atami!

You shoulder your way through the crowds, trying to keep up a decent speed. It's nowhere as crowded here as it is in Tokyo, but still, the streets are thronged with people. Seems like they're all headed towards the beach. This place seems like a touristy kind of place. You glance back towards the water...

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/akilea/1524696477/sizes/l/in/pool-16115953@N00/)

Blimey! It's only a tick past seven and the place is tossed. Kind of makes you glad you live in dreary old England, where the only tourists you put up with are the lost ones looking for Paris.

Huh... speaking of lost, you don't like how slow this crowd is going. You quickly cut through a side corridor and end up in what appears to be an indoor mall... market.

(http://images.travelpod.com/users/fiseb/jet_exchange.1188114120.img_0289.jpg)

Okay, less people in your way. You make your way through the mall, glancing at the stores here and there, looking for a upstanding forge, but it looks like there aren't any blacksmiths around here. Guess you'll have to deal with no dual-wielding for now. Oh well.

You come out into the street again and start moving towards what appears to be downtown. It's still a shopping-ish place, but at least you're getting away from the crowds. You know, you first thought this was more of a big city, but maybe it's just more of a big town... or small city. Not a metropolis like Tokyo.

(http://happy-peace.img.jugem.jp/20070604_317291.jpg)

Canine Kira trots along behind you, keeping up pretty impressively for a lowly peasant dog. However, small children keep trying to pet him, making progress difficult! Seeing no other choice, you cut through some back alleys to lose the street urchins!

(http://a1.vox.com/6a00cd97846c6af9cc00e398dfc1490004-500pi)

And it just so happens you're going the right way. Capital! Now without any annoying civilians, you can enjoy the walk.

(http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_RI2u360vL_8/ST2AzAmYbkI/AAAAAAAAB4Y/kxg7uei2gu8/s400/wantanya_street1.jpghttp://image.mapple.net/img/user/00/00/03/00/H0000030021.jpg)

Alright, you're pretty high up now. You look back over your shoulder...

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/katakanapacket/3162979557/sizes/l/in/set-72157612111175506/)

Yep, definitely downtown. Turning back to the street, you recognize a big official building with the rest of the financial quarter. The police station. Finally.

(http://farm1.static.flickr.com/16/20354426_00dbbb5a11_o.jpg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTqo0mQr39UPolice theme jingle!)


You jog up to the entrance. The guard at the door looks at you and canine Kira suspiciously.

"Good morning to you, sir officer!" you greet.

He says something in Japanese you don't understand. You stare at him, trying to remember what nani meant, when another officer comes through the door to meet you.

"Are you the investigator sent from the United Kingdom?"
Investigator? He's clearly mistaken, you're a knight! "Why... yes. I am."


He nods. "Right. This way." He waves you in, and you follow him into the police station. Canine Kira sits guard outside with the... police guard. Guess he's literally a guard dog...

As you take the elevator to the main offices, the officer shakes your hand. "Sergeant Saito Tanaka, sir knight. An honor to meet you."

"And an honor to meet you. How did you recognize me?"

"Your uniform."

(http://images4.wikia.nocookie.net/castlevania/images/2/27/Alucard_002.jpgIn red and gold and white!)

"Ah. Right then."

(http://yeinjee.com/asianpop/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/japanese-takuya-kimura.jpg
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/227/494989714_08357db5e6_b.jpgStandard Japanese police uniform, by the way.)


Tanaka stands deathly still as the lift goes up. Jesus, this guy can't be older than twenty seven and it looks like he's soon all sorts of batty ****. Guess he's one of those hardboiled cops they always show on the telly. Or maybe that's China...

The doors open, and Tanaka steps out. You follow into his office, where he immediately picks up the phone and hits a speed dial.

"Excuse me, sir Sergeant, but if you would kindly tell me what Kira's been up to? I've been in the field and had no way to receive data."

Tanaka stares at you blankly. "Our criminal has comitted thirty four more murders. Thirty one prisoners, and three investigators."

Oh... bollocks. "Right. Anything unusual?"

Tanaka, again, stares at you blankly. "Knight, maybe you aren't familiar with this case, but this criminal has been killing prisoners for weeks now. Only in the last two days has he been targeting investigators."

"Right. And what's happened in the past two days that might've caused Ki- your criminal to grot things up?"

"Your arrival, for one."

Er... yeah. He has a point there. You feel a bead of sweat on your forehead.

"Also, we've generally become more and more focused on the case as his murders have progressed. We've also done everything we can to discourage popular support among the civilian population."

"Wot? Why would-"

"Because to the families of criminals, he's a hero. To young people, he's an inspiration. But to everyone, he's dangerous. Understand?"

The call goes through. You hear the sound of a phone being picked up, and a cool, professional voice answers. "Moshi moshi?"
Tanaka hands you the phone. You raise an eyebrow at him, but take it anyway.


"Good morning, madam Wakako. You sound especially lovely today."

There's a slight pause on the other side of the line. There's a weird grinding noise in the background... you glance at the phone...

(http://www.engeniustech.com.sg/admin/prod/prodpic/EIP%207012%20SIP%20IP%20Phone.jpg)

Oh, wait. That's Wakako grinding her teeth. This can't be good...

"Knight, where the **** have you been? Why are you at Atami station?"

You have a bad feeling everyone at the Tokyo station is listening in on this. Oh well. "My, it's been a busy two days! First, I climbed Mt. Fuji, then encounter demon boy in a haunted forest, and..." You pause for a second. Better not tell Wakako about Yoei and the whole mana-kaos thing. Pagan elemental magic is somewhat taboo in Japan unless you're completely trained to use it. Besides, the police won't sit with the idea of you fraternizing with ninjas. "And... had a jolly good breakfast on the seaside. How have you been, madam?"

You barely finish speaking before she goes off on you. "Knight, thirty four more are dead-"

"Yeah, I heard-"

"And you were nowhere to be found for the last twenty six hours! Damn it, knight, this is joint investigation! You can't go ****ing around with whores and ghosts and whatever the **** else!"

"Actually, it was a demon-"

"I don't give a ****. Get on the next bullet train to Tokyo. Now."

"... Put Pyramid Head on the line."

"... What?"

"Madam, I'd like to speak to my friend and squire Pyramid Head. Can you hand him the phone?"

Wakako grates her teeth again. Jesus, sounds like a steel mill... then the sound of hands fumbling with a phone and a loud clank as Pyramid Head's helmet collides with the phone.

"Pyra! How you been, blood bruv?"

Pyramid Head shrugs, but gives a thumbs up.

"That so! Well, good to hear that the Tokyo police are a sharp lot. I always trust your judgment!"

Pyramid Head then pantomimes a square in the air, and draws a Union Jack in the air with his fingers.

"Oh, that's right! Bartholomew sent me all that gear! Guess I'd better stop by the hotel to snag it. Thanks for reminding me, bro!"

Pyramid Head waves it off.
"No way, bro! You always have my back! if it weren't for you, this investigation wouldn't be going anywhere right now!"


yramid Head shakes his head modestly, and then gestures somewhere behind him. To Wakako, you guess.

"Oh. Right. Bullet train. Okay, I'll see you in a tick, bro! Keep the tower standin' till I get there!"

Pyramid Head nods encouragingly. You quickly hang up before he can hand the phone back to Wakako. You turn back around to hand Tanaka the phone, when you notice... something a little off.

(http://www.cs4fn.org/mathemagic/images/gunbarrel.jpg)

"Er... nice gun, Tanaka."

(http://www.sigsauer.com/upFiles/catalog/product/P220R-SAO-detail-L.jpg)

"Yeah, really nice gun. Could you get it out of my face, mate?"

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoCAMPPZvnY&feature=related)

Tanaka doesn't move. In fact, he looks deathly still and even more serious than usual. Which, in the five minutes you've known him, is way beyond serious business. "Sorry, knight. But in the past three days the murders have increased, no progress has been made, and you have failed to report in the last two days. You disappear on the first night without a trace, and expect us to simply turn a blind eye to your violations of the law and police proceedings. You have brought a civilian into this investigation without clearance. You have done everything possible to obstruct this investigation. You are not only a liability to the safety of the public, but you are also a suspect."

...

(http://mphilipphotography.deviantart.com/art/A-Simple-Smirk-98757911)
Not bad, Tanaka, not bad. You feel your inner Oni begin to leak out a bit, and you can't help but smirk like the sly knight you are. Not only does he have bollocks, he backs up his ****.


You calmly stare down the barrel of the Sigarms 220. Hm.. that's the standard issue sidearm of all the cops in Japan. This guy goes by the books, huh? Maybe you can reason with him. But first things first, you should get this pistol out of your face to prove just how badass you are.

Hand-to-Hand: 45Reflexes: 27

Your hand snaps out like a striking viper, and you quickly swipe the gun Tanaka's hand with a twisting motion. The momentum from the swipe making you spin in a circle to face him again, grinning at his laughable skills. But... he didn't resist at all when you tried to take him gun.

In the split second you disarmed him, he pulled another Sigarms 220 and opened fire!

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=keoQOlNXXvM&feature=relatedGet set! Bullets wait for no man, but death waits for all!)

What? No way! Bastard! One of his shots hits your left shoulder, but your bulletproof cloak keeps the bullet from going in. You still feel the force of the shot, however, and an unknown fury rises up within you... !

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=keoQOlNXXvM&feature=related)

"From the endless ocean of bloodsoaked sand that is Canaan, I arise like a dying breath exhaled from the earth! Merciful God, Father in Heaven, bless my screaming soul, for NOW I'VE LOST IT! AMEN!

BATTLE COMMENCE!

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CeHrq_Fs1vk&feature=related)

Your raging monologue lasts just long enough for you to bring up your swiped Sigarms 220 and fire at Tanaka's face. He strikes out with his gun-toting arm and pushes your aim just to the side. You make another shot, but again he parries it. Tanaka comes on the offensive and starts making a few shots at you, but you swat at his hand with your gun and keep shooting as well. It feels like each bullet fired grazes your skin...

For a second, you seem to have the advantage as Tanaka has paused in his assault. You pull the trigger only to hear a disappointing 'click'. Bollocks!

Tanaka fires, but you Shadowstep to his flank and attempt to take him out with a Lance Kick, but his reflexes are insane- you have to dodge two pistol whips before you can even raise your leg to kick him. He makes another pistol-punch at you, but you roll away under the desk and kick it towards him, sending papers and pens and the phone flying at him. He simply stands there, unimpressed...

And disappears!

You blink, and suddenly feel a weird presence behind you. You drive forward as Tanaka brings his gun down in a hard haymaker.

What? How can this be?! Tanaka can... Voidstep?! That's impossible! How can a lowly police peasant be capable of such powerful techniques?

Tanaka casually begins to reload, but you throw your bloodrusted autopsy scissors at him as he does. The scissors bounce off the magazine, knocking it out of Tanaka's hand into the wall, where it slides across the floor towards you. Capital!

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NT9SFfnqMGQ&feature=related)

You stomp the toe of your boot onto the end of the sliding magazine, sending it straight up into the chamber of your pistol! You spin it around and dive to the left, shooting at Tanaka as he calmly pulls out another magazine and reloads.
He vanishes again, only to appear in front of you. From the ground you point you gun up and unload the entire magazine into him- but for every time you pull the trigger, it seems like Tanaka just disappear for a tick, only to reappear again. You chuck the gun at him and roll back to your feet, drawing the Kusanagi as you get up.


Except... damn. You quickly switch the Kusanagi from your right hand to your left- your right shoulder is all messed up from being shot. You Shadowstep again to your left to get better footing against Tanaka, but as you bring down your sword with a mighty yell, he simply crossed his (now) two guns and blocks the blow.

You both stand there, sweating and breathing hard. Tanaka chuckles flatly. "For an honorless foreign profiteering dog, you're not as unskilled as you look." You know... in the past ten minutes, he hasn't blinked once. Weird...

"Who... you... callin'... honorless... ****?" you pant between breaths. ****. If this guy can Voidstep that many times and not pass out from gravitational shock or run out of mana, this guy is either not ****ing human or been Shadowstepping before he could crawl...

"You, dog. You, unworthy to walk upon this sacred soil. You, too weak to fight for your own honor, only those of your gods and masters!"

You glare at Tanaka. What is it with this guy? Why does he smell like... moths?

... Moths.

Oh, ****!

You break the sword-gun lock and make a low sweeping slash at Tanaka's legs, but he simply Voidsteps behind you. He seems kind of bored. Now that you think of it... he hasn't really hit you once. He's just playing with you!

"Killing you now would bring no honor," he says quietly. "Enjoy your life while it lasts."

"Wait... what-?!"

But he's gone. Just like that. Nothing but you and an empty, totally trashed room.

BATTLE END!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krdsLXJP6zQ&feature=related

HP: 89/105
KP: 5/215

Damage Taken:
16 - .45 ACP to right shoulder

XP Gained:
+42 XP
XP to next level: 87 XP


Huh. Well... wasn't a total loss.

"FREEZE! GET ON THE GROUND!"

Aw, bugger.
You glance over your shoulder, and the doorway is full of pissed off cops pointing their pistols at you. Took them long enough...


(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPA-R58BJwk&feature=related)

Your eyes slowly go from the Atami police officers crowding the door back to Tanaka's office- or, well, what you believed to be Tanaka's office. Broken glass, pieces of wall and plaster, pens and paper litter the floor. The air is filled with a fine mist of dust. Bulletholes cover pretty much every wall and even the ceiling. One of the bullets must of hit a water pipe in the ceiling, for one of the fire sprinklers is going off.

... Huh. And you're alone, armed, dirtied and slightly crazy-eyed. This... doesn't look so good.

"I repeat- get on the ground! Slowly!" one of them barks at you. You don't see any friends among them... crap.

You're about to say "This isn't what it looks like, gentlemen!" But the muzzles of those Sigarms P220's sure don't look like they want to talk. You sigh, shrug, and casually run your fingers through your hair, combing out broken glass and plaster. You turn back to the police officers, and offer them a shrug and a smirk.

"A man chooses..."

"BUT A DOG OBEYS!"

You throw the Kusanagi at the window with all your might, and with a wild roar, take off in a full sprint towards the sky. As the sword shatters the glass and the police open fire, you dive through the window with your elbows out, just like how master taught you. Even so, the razor-sharp pieces of glass cut your bare hands and face.

Glass lacerations!-13 HP

You barely notice the pain, however, as between the bullets whizzing past you and the parking lot rushing up to meet you, you have a split-second of panic. You thought that being on the fifth floor, you'd have a bit of time to fall... but the ground's a lot closer than you thought! ****!

Mental Stability: 71
Acrobatics: 35
Balance: 24Reaction Time: 30


Blesss the Queen, your panic doesn't last long. You quickly pull your body into a less aerodynamic posture and fall facedown towards the ground with open arms. However, once you're about five feet from crashing into a police car and dying horribly, you Shadowstep ten feet higher, cancelling out your momentum and slowing you down.

You fall the last ten feet and tuck into a weight-distributing acrobatic roll (like Mirror's Edge!) and touch your feet to the pavement of the parking lot with a feeling of relief, ignoring the soreness in your legs from the fall. There's a frenzied barking behind you, and canine Kira comes bounding up, trying to tell you to get out of here. You nod to him, and glance back towards the police building.

HP: 76/105KP: 5/215

Crap, almost out of kaos! The cops are taking the stairs to get you, so you have a little time.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPA-R58BJwk&feature=related)

It looks like your daring escape isn't enough to throw off the Atami police- a few have opened windows on the upper floor and opened fire with their Sigarms P220s while the main force is moving down the stairwell to confront you. ****.

You duck behind a police car as the .45 ACP bullets slam into the windshield. Canine Kira whines at you, pulling on the edge of your cloak to convince you to run. He might be right... you can't hotwire one of these Mazda RX-8's with the cover fire from the police station, and you've already started to run from the police- resisting arrest is as good as admitting guilt.

You see the Kusanagi stabbed into the pavement about twenty feet away from you. Focusing yourself, you sprint out of cover, grab the Kusanagi as you run by, and continue weaving between cop cars as bullets whistle past. Bugger, bugger, bugger!

You make it to the street and dash across without waiting for the walk signal, almost getting flattened in the process. But you make it to the other side and duck into a back alley, continuing your escape. Canine Kira follows at your heels, constantly barking at you to speed up. Stupid quadruped, you're going as fast as your bipedal form allows!

(http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1166/1256616268_e2cb1440b3_o.jpg)

Bollocks! You keep looking left and right for more alleys or just a place to hide, but Atami isn't a mazelike city like Tokyo. Not to mention your red and gold royal knight uniform will give you away like nothing else. If you just keep running, you'll be overtaken for sure... you can already hear the police whistles behind you. ****!

You make it to another street, and surprisingly there's a lull in the traffic.

(http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2593/3886309344_11b2e8a5a8_b.jpg)

Something in the street? A manhole! Perfect! And it's a lot bigger than most of the ones you've seen in Atami... you can fit down this one!

Glancing left and right for oncoming traffic, you whip out the Kusanagi and stab it into the edge of the cover's seal, and using it as a lever, start pushing it off. Oh bugger the cops are getting closer! But bollocks these things are heavy...

Compressive Strength: 42

Grunting with effort, you pry off the cover and send it flipping onto the street. Strapping the Kusanagi back to your waist, you swing down onto the first rung of the sewer-ladder and begin pulling the cover back over you. Canine Kira comes up to you and licks your face sadly.

"So sorry, mate. Our paths will cross again. I swear to you, your boy will be found."


With a look of determination, canine Kira bounds off into traffic and causes a stop-up as motorists try to not flatten the dog. Seeing he's gotten away safely, you pull the manhole cover over yourself and climb down the ladder hand-over-hand.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rzwsaOIBNc&feature=related)

Your polished black boots hit the wet floor of the sewer. Not only does it smell like **** down here, it's pitch black. You stretch your hand out and find the damp wall, though, so you have something to feel your way with. There are a few pinpoints of light here and there coming from manhole covers... hm.

Not much you can do here, and you don't have a light. But from the way your boot scuffles echo through the sewer, you can tell you're in a relatively narrow two-way tube.


(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rzwsaOIBNc&feature=related)

As your night vision begins to set in, you can make out a few details of the sewer line around you- the rushing water, a few more lights from manholes farther down the stream. You shiver- it's a lot colder down here- and begin your trek west, your boots sticking to the wet cement as you walk. At least the cold air makes the smell a little more tolerable... in open air, the smell would kill carrion-eaters.

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/midlander/2351912038/)

Christ, the mold down here is pretty bad. You're probably getting sick just breathing... bugger.

You keep a hand against the slimy wall to your right, always keeping an eye out for side passages or storage rooms or maintenance tunnels or anything that might work as a hiding spot if the Atami police follow you down here. You have a bad feeling they won't just let you walk away... this Kira case has everyone's feathers ruffled, and if they think they have a lead by chasing you they'll be on your heels like toffee.

You speed up into a fast walk, still watching your step but trying to keep good time. If the cops have got you in their sights, then they'll go for Pyramid Head too. Of course, he'll probably explain that it was a misunderstanding and be having a spot of tea with them by the time you get there... or effortlessly kill them all. Either one is good with you.

But not only him. Wakako will be in the kettle for backing you up so much, even if she is the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department chief's daughter. And Mai...

Crap. If this whole thing really is a conspiracy like Yoei said, then Mai is as good as dead. Crap! You can't let that happen! She might be a lowly peasant thief, but she's noble at heart! You glare at the darkness and pick up the pace. This is somewhat your fault...

But Tanaka. That tosser! Are the cops and ninjas working together? It would make sense... both of them want to get Kira. But Yoei didn't say anything about that... and more logically, the ninjas would be working directly with the Japanese government, not just the squaddies in the police force.

You sigh, your breath misting in front of you. You didn't think this case would get so out of hand... and it's only day three.

You hear some unusual sounds behind you- bollocks! Either the rats around here don't know their ninjutsu or that was the sound of a manhole being moved. Crap, crap!

You speed into a jog, not worrying about slipping at this point. You try not to make too much noise, but your heavy riding boots sound like tap shoes against the cement. Gratings in the ceiling of the sewer give you a flash of light now and again, and each time you're illuminated you fear they might spot you...

This continues for about thirty minutes when you finally stop, trying to control your breathing and straining your ears. You don't hear anything anymore... hm. Maybe it was your imagination. Better safe than sorry.
That is, until you hear a gunshot and a bullet ricochets all around the tunnel. You hear angry voices, and then looking back you see a bright searchlight being switched on. ****! You're too far away for them to see you clearly, but they're way too close. How'd they sneak up on you so fast?!


There's a bit more light up ahead. You move along the sewer line, curiousity flaring, and end up falling three feet with a splash.

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/ghb624/136665206/sizes/l/)
Uh... huh. A sewer junction, complete with sewage waterfall. Ugh. You push yourself to your feet and find yourself in ankle-deep murky water. There's a grating set up about twenty feet in the ceiling, giving you some light. Looks like you can either go straight east, northeast, or southeast.


(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxqkdzpe1Fs&feature=related)

Okay. This junction is pretty cramped, meaning you could probably take on four or five if they stumbled down into your ambush... but they have guns and you don't. And who knows what else they have... bloody bollocks, they might've put electric eels in the water for all you know.

Wasting no time, you pull yourself up into the tunnel leading northeast. There are a load of cities this way, near the heart of Japan. Should give you some breathing room and, even better, a few more opportunities to get back to the surface.

Hearing voices in the mouth of the junction, you keep moving, careful to keep your plodding boots quiet. At least the sewer stench will throw off the dogs if they have any.

Looks like this is less of a tunnel and more of just a pipe... there's no walkway for you off to the side, so you have to slosh through ankle-deep sewage to move forward. The soggy coattails of your cloak slap against the backs of your legs wetly as you walk.

(http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2651/3779636342_076e9a4397_o.jpg)

The pipe all around you is illuminated, and you glance back in panic. Did they notice you? Or just stick that searchlight in each pipe at random? You're not sticking around to find out, either way...

You press on a bit faster now. Ten or twenty minutes of sloshing later, you nearly fall into another junction, but you catch yourself this time. As you hop down into the shallow, thick water, you notice that there hasn't been any grating or light for a while... guess you must be getting near higher elevations. But you're in what seems to be a sewer station room right now. From feeling around your fingers find a few pipes and levers- nothing of use to you. You peek back over the edge of the pipe you came out of, expecting the blinding flash of a searchlight, but hear nothing except for the rush of water... hm.
Well, nothing to do now but head on. You feel around- okay, you've got two more pipes. One going further northeast, and one going east. Irritated, you feel around for a ladder or lift or something... damn. It's like a maze down here.


Well, at this rate the cops are going to search the entire bloody sewer network. You might be fast and sly, but they have... you know... flashlights and guns, and actually have an idea of where they're going.

You slosh over to where the pump levers were near the wall and grip one of the handles tightly. You're surprised by how numb your fingers are... it's pretty damn cold down here, but how warm the sewage water is kind of made you forget.

This might kill you, but the diseased water you've trekked through will probably kill you anyways. Focusing your determination, you throw one of the levers.

You wait. And... nothing happens.

You frown, and with a shrug, start moving along the wall and throwing every level your come across. With each level pulled, your hear a faint sound of water grow steadily louder... hm. And then at the end of the line of levers you find a circular valve, which you turn all the way to the left.

There's a rumbling all around you...

Sudden, you hear the roar of rushing water from two directions- the east and northeast pipes! You barely have any time to notice, as two walls of raw sewage flood the sewer station and crush you against one of the walls. As murky, dirty water fills your lungs, your last thought is of victory...

The cops didn't get you. And neither did Kira. It all goes black...

MOURN, YE FAITHFUL; A HERO HATH FALLEN.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yQhqpV0zlM&feature=related

First death of day three. And it's dishonorable. Good work, ladies and gentlemen. That makes for three dishonorable deaths in total in three days.

Reload last campaign mark?

**** Yeah, I'm Just Getting Warmed Up!/Hell no, I'm done with this ****.

LOADING...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8KveQdaNmA&feature=related



-

Well, nothing to do now but head on. You feel around- okay, you've got two more pipes. One going further northeast, and one going east. Irritated, you feel around for a ladder or lift or something... damn. It's like a maze down here.


(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxqkdzpe1Fs&feature=related)

You crouch low to the ground, pressing your ear to the wet sewer wall in hopes of hearing the vibrations from the cops' footsteps, but... nothing. Just rushing water. Damn... you don't like this kind of set up- too easily cornered at this rate.

You slosh over to the eastern pipe and look down it intently, but you can only see blackness. It'd be a lot easier to just head straight for Tokyo... but they're expecting you. Not only because of Pyramid Head, but because Wakako specifically told you to head back to the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Station. Crap... what if that was a trap? What if Wakako had been in on Tanaka's trick from the start?

Despite the cold air in the sewer, you feel a warm flicker of anger rise in your stomach. That means... Mai's in danger- Wakako knows about her, knows she's your honorary apprentice. And Tanaka pointed out that one of the reasons you were a liability to the case was because of involving a civilian. Bugger! You've endangered her life for nothing!

As much as it tears at your chivalrous heart to do so, you wade over to the pipe headed northeast and pull yourself into it. Thankfully there's only a trickle of sewage coming from this one, maybe at about half an inch. You immediately start jogging a quietly as you can through the tunnel, keeping your ears open for any gunshots or footsteps.

Maybe Yoei was right. Maybe you can't trust anyone here.

You shake your head of the thought and pick up the pace.


LOADING...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8KveQdaNmA&feature=related


You put your hands on your knees as you catch your breath. It's been an hour or two, and this cold air isn't too peachy for your lungs. You look back- or, well, turn your face back and ear intently- but you don't pick anything up. Hmmm...

There have been a number of side passages in this tunnel, most funneling in more sewage. But all of them were grated, so you're stuck on this course. Damn.
You sigh and keep going. Next time you're at a Ninja Mart, you need to get an electric torch. And a first aid kid. And an English-to-Japanese dictionary. Christ.


(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsh8sVOiyws&feature=relatedhttp://farm3.static.flickr.com/2596/4105514504_10a1e38e13_o.jpg)

Wait... wait! Your retinas almost pop out of your skull from the pain. Is that... light?

You hurry forward, and to your amazement the light grows. A draft of fresh air is coming towards you, chilly over your face but great all the same. You dash the last hundred meters, nearly tripping in the shallow sewage, but finally come to a big sewer grate set into the storm drain entrance.

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/inventor_77/1676385495/)

Don't have a spanner handy... and besides, you're on the wrong side of the grate.

With a sigh, you draw the Kusanagi and stick the point into where the bolts must be screwed in, and using it as a lever, pry the bolts out of their sockets. One side of the grating goes, and then you do the other side. The whole thing falls forward with a deafening metallic clatter, and you hop out of the sewer pipe into the open-air storm drain.

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/inventor_77/1677238294/in/set-72157594165057819/)

Huh. What time is it? You glance at the sky, but can't see the sun. But from the shade of blue the sky is... must be around twelve o'clock. Jesus, you were down there a while. And from how crappy your uniform looks, you believe it.

You take a few splashing steps into the runoff, and wonder where you are. You hear the sounds of a city around you, and only an urban place would have three storm drains next to each other... hm.


(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsh8sVOiyws&feature=related)

You wade through the murky water, flexing you numb fingers as the day's warmth comes back into them. And your nose de-numbs as well... ah, Christ. You smell like ****. Oh well. Nothing you can do about it now.

(http://farm1.static.flickr.com/30/63656900_ad3219ff21_b.jpg)

Capital! A ladder! Rusty and worn after years of use, but still operational. You look down both ways of the canal- and the coast is clear, obviously. You climb up the ladder, peeking over the edge of the canal wall before pulling yourself up onto dry ground. You look back down at the canal...

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/44371715@N00/53771570/)

Hm... maybe following the sewers would be the safer route... but bloody hell, you can't stand that sludge and muck. You shake some garbage off of your coattails and try to figure out where you are.

Okay... storm canal. Duh. Put between the main streets. You walk along into a back alley, keeping your eyes open.

(http://farm1.static.flickr.com/74/210161344_8101a2b417_b.jpg
http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1062/747949346_778bcd4e56_b.jpg
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/46/128935742_b9eb0a6cb4_b.jpghttp://farm3.static.flickr.com/2051/2537695080_fd34a57d25_b.jpg)


Heh. Feels like you're back in Moscow doing spy work, sneakin' and skulkin' around alleys.

Sneak: 18

You continue weaving your way through the backalleys, not exactly sure of where you're going. You always peek around corners to make sure no one's around first- if there is, you find a different path. You'll have to keep a low profile somehow... and your red and gold knight uniform really doesn't help.

You keep making your way through the back alleys, hoping to run into a train station or touristy place or something that'll give you an idea of where you are, but it looks like you're in a lower-key part of town. Or, were, anyway- from the amount of people you keep having to dodge in the alleys, you must be getting closer to the city center.

You smile to yourself. Good! In a crowd, you'll at least blend in a bit easier. Then find a laundromat, and kick some a-

"Excuse me, sir?"

You freeze. Slowly, you turn around.

(http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2104/1938843226_0aaba73876.jpg?v=0)

Oh... crap. A cop. And there are some civilians nearby... ****!

"Are you lost? You've been wandering these backstreets for a while. Can I help?" he offers politely.
Crap! How long has this bloke been following you?! ****! He might like helpful and nice, but underneath that cool, firiendly exterior, you can just feel the waves of malice coming off him!


You gulp, wringing your hands and wondering how to handle this. Oh bugger, bugger, bugger... the cop is narrowing his eyes, starting to get suspicious! Your red cloak is way too conspicuous! Dammit!

With no other option, you break out into a broad, uncharacteristically friendly smile. There's only one accent you can pull off convincingly...

"Ey, mon!"

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cywJgwKCwOw&feature=relatedhttp://fc05.deviantart.net/fs16/f/2007/181/a/2/Bleach___Ichimaru_Gin_Grin_by_GenyaXAdrian.jpg)

"Es noice'a ya ta beh helpin' a lil' lost chile like me, mon! Been snakin' round these wild ways in mah search for the bus, ya know? Tourin' it up!"

The policeman blinks, clearly expecting you to have some sort of European or American accent. Good thing your complexion is so uncommon you can come across as nearly any nationality.

"Uh... of course, sir. Just... follow me, please," he says slowly. All the suspicion in his face has been replaced by confusion. The chances of encountering a red-cloaked Jamaican-accented death-complexioned foreigner is kind of... nonexistent, after all.

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/jimgris/225018737/sizes/l/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jimgris/225018234/sizes/l/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jimgris/225018586/sizes/l/
http://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/01/21/e5/81/street-of-kyu-karuzawa.jpg
http://www.flickr.com/photos/89567708@N00/3684810http://www.flickr.com/photos/zasami/93561907/)


"This'a spreads'a a noice place, mon! Weather's so crispeh and delicious, reminds me of a strawberry sundae! You know, mon?"
"Er... of course, sir."

The helpful police officer leads you out onto the main street after a bit of twisting through alleyways, and once out in the sunlight you feel a bit more confident in your stealthy sneak through Japan. Though the glances pedestrians keep giving you make you feel a bit nervous... maybe you should've turned your cloak inside-out or something. Anything to not fit the description of a royal British knight.

But this is a pretty nice city, actually. Looks like the cop led you away from the more industrial part and is taking you along the more scenic route. That's... oddly polite of him.

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/jimgris/225019154/sizes/l/in/set-72157594251784690/)

Finally, he leads you to a sidewalk that runs along a highway.

"Follow this into the city, and you'll find a bus station eventually. I'd guide you there myself, but I have to get back to my patrol. Good day to you!" the policeman bows respectfully and pushes his glasses up his nose as he walks away. You notice him taking a few deep breaths of fresh air once he's out of your immediate vicinity.

You smell yourself. Oh... Christ.
Whatever, got to deal with that later. So the cop gave you the general way to a bus station, but what you really need is the train station.


(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mn_PIAh72AA peaceful day in a madman's city!)

You sigh. The cars on the freeway whistle past, making your cloak flutter in the wind. Hijacking a civilian car or car-surfing into the heart of the city would be faster, no doubt about it... but it'd be way too conspicuous, you reason to yourself as an ice cream truck goes by. Oh man... hijacking an ice cream truck... that'd be awesome...

No! You shake your head. Stay focused, dammit!

Okay. You squint up at the sky... yeah, just after noon. If you walk, you should make it soon enough.

You stick your hands in the pockets of your cloak and moodily begin your march deeper into the city. Or, into the city, whatever. When you climbed out of the storm drains, you were more in the outskirts. The big signs over the highway are in Japanese, so you can't really tell where you're going. Oh well. Maybe the train station will have more English. You shake your head and keep walking, the drone of cars becoming a background noise.

(http://blogs.reuters.com/japan/files/2009/04/traffic.jpg)

Finally, another country where people drive on the left side of the road like civilized human beings! Hm... maybe it's just you, but it seems like a lot of drivers are looking at you as they zoom past. Well, of course, you're so damn cool it's a given, your cloak all blowing in the wind and all that. But maybe... maybe those cops back at Atami put out a search warrant? Or even... a death warrant? A writ of execution?! Crap! They are dead serious about this case, after all. The main word here being dead.

It doesn't help much, but you pull off your cloak, turn it inside out, and put it back on. Capital! Now, instead of a snappishly uniformed man in a red cloak, you're a snappishly uniformed man in a black coat! That should make it about... 0.01% harder for them to find you. Great.

Speaking of which... why is traffic slowing down so much? Seems to be a big gap on the freeway...

(http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y261/Heeroh/Japanese%20Police%20Vehicles/001.jpg)
OH ****!


As the procession of motorcycle-driving police officers comes closer, you just keep your head down and keep your pace steady. Maybe if you just keep your face away from the highway... they won't see you?

A few lines of the procession zoom by, making your cloak flutter. You panic slightly at the thought of the red on the inside of your cloak showing, but as more motorcycles roar by, no one seems to pay any attention. Blimey, they're going pretty fast...

Well, at least they don't notice you.

Except... wait...

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPCzdP_t_j8)

One of the motor-cops looks back at you as he drives by, and quickly spins around with an endo 180 to zoom back over to you. Crap, crap...

He slows down in the bike lane of the highway next to you and puts up his visor.

(http://img1.ak.crunchyroll.com/i/spire3/95c9a4a72e998900de6024c6b1513e9e1223805947_full.jpg)

Wiping the sweat out of his eyes, he says something to you in Japanese you don't understand as you stare at him blankly in confusion. But there was a 'watashi' in there though... you feel like Pyramid Head had explained that one to you before, but you can't exactly remember...

The motorcycling cop frowns, then nods to himself. "Okay... how about English? Understand now?"

"Ey! 'Course I do, mon!"

He raises an eyebrow, dubious of your accent, but it doesn't seem to faze him for long. A real hardboiled cop, apparently. "Listen up, mon. There are a ****load of ****ing riots going on in Kawasaki city right now, so I suggest you turn the **** around. This ain't no place for ****ing tourists!"

... What? Did he just call you a... tourist? Son of a *****... No, no, can't get pissed now. Riots?

"Riots, mon? You fo' reals? It's so nice here, why would da young folk be riotin'?"

The motorcop sighs. He seems kinda annoyed... maybe he is buying your accent... "Because, dumbass, we got a ****boat of trendy ****faced ****s who think it's hip to riot in the name of Kira!"

You can't help but blink. "Kira?"

He sighs again, impatient. "Look, just turn around. The city right now is no place for a-" His radio crackles, and he reaches for it quickly. You glance to your right to see the the squaddies moving ahead of on their bikes... "****!" growls the cop. "Okay, great, there might be rioting behind us now. ****ing diplomacy..." He sighs. "Okay, mon, come with me. I'll drop you off at your embassy once we get there, alright?"

But before he can finish his sentence, you've already hopped onto the back of his police motorcycle. "Pedal to da metal, mon."

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bi6ZswoFZg8&feature=relatedUrban chaos on the mean streets of Kawasaki!)

He grins. "Alright. Let's **** up some rioters!" He quickly turns his bike around with a leaning swoop...

(http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/photogallerys/Aprilia-RS125-1.jpg)

And revs back onto the highway, flying by cars in excess of a hundred KPH!

(http://www.beginnermotorcyclereviews.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/motorcycle-blur-focus.jpg)
Cars and other police motorcycles flick by, and you can't believe your luck. Who knew an impatient and bloodthirsty cop would be on the job today? Here you come, Kira.


You pull into inner Kawasaki pretty damn fast, and you almost immediately have to stop at a police blockade. Thousands are in the streets, and it's ****in' chaos!

(http://img.timeinc.net/time/potw/20010608/riot.jpg
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3141/2826499293_919ae67f00.jpg
http://www.cbc.ca/gfx/images/news/photos/2008/12/10/greece-riots-cp-w5963489.jpg
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_paQ9I13fSjk/SUH-gIplPkI/AAAAAAAAAc4/k1kIFNJRqtI/s400/capt.c6346524ad27413a853b65fd629111cd.greece_riots_xdm101.jpghttp://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb187/sonias_2007/junho1/20080629101958ENLUS0139902012147347.jpg)


The motorcycle cop you're riding with grinds to a halt, nearly flinging you both from the bike. "****!" he growls, ripping off his motorcycle helmet just in time as napalm from a molotov cocktail douses it. "It's not safe here! Get into the middle of the blockade-"

Reaction Time: 30

A brick comes flying at his head, but you manage to snatch it out of the air before it owns his face.

"Careful, cop-mon," you chide. But he can't hear you over the fighting. ****! You thought the Japanese were supposed to be nice and hospitable! Anime lied to you!

But you lose interest in your misconceptions as you see some fleeing civlians tryign to reach the police blockade only to get swarmed by rioters. Bugger! Countless innocents will die in this chaos if you don't help...

The cop you rode with pulls off his biking gloves and cracks his knuckles as he pulls out his taser. "Your move, knight-mon."
You stare at him blankly. Well... bollocks. Looks like it was an elaborate setup. If you resist, this whole riot army comes down of you. But you can't run and leave this innocents here...


(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOnNts7bYzASome like it red hot!)

You take a deep breath, inhaling the smoke from the fires all around you. Burning cars, stores being looted, civilians pulled from broken windows the fray... this is madness, all started by the fear brought by Kira! The bastard, having no respect for human life! You're not much better, but at least you have a code of bloody honor!

You clench your fists, feeling rage boil inside of you. The smoke from the fires adds a dim, gloomy shadow to the already overcast day in the city, and the chaos has formed a thin, dusty, industrial fog around everything, making it dark as dusk. A dark dusk. God damn it, it's like guerrilla warfare all over again...

(http://i.usatoday.net/news/_photos/2008/01/08/italy-topper.jpg
http://santiago.indymedia.org/uploads/2008/11/athens_greece_anarchist_riot.jpg
http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2009/06_04/ProtestFireAP_650x433.jpg
http://img.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2007/04_03/riotAFP_468x315.jpghttp://cache.boston.com/universal/site_graphics/blogs/bigpicture/athens_12_15/a02_17339397.jpg)


God damn it... so many! Hundreds... Thousands choking the streets...

"Make your choice, knight!" the motorcycle cop yells at you over the noise of cop and rioter fighting, dodging another thrown brick. That taser in his hand sure looks dangerous...

(http://www.geeky-gadgets.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/taser-x3.jpg)

You take another deep breath and reach into your cloak. The motorcycle cop tenses for a second, then relaxes once you pull out Mai's pack of LARK cigarettes.

(http://www.japantrends.com/en/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/lark-cigarettes-push-pack.jpg)

You pull a cigarette out, and calmly walking over to the motorcycle-taser-cop's burning helmet on the ground, use the molotov-started fire to light your cigarette.

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/10175699@N08/2810404335/sizes/l/
http://fc09.deviantart.net/fs14/f/2007/066/1/0/cigarette_by_eit.jpg)

Status Effect: KP Regeneration x3.0
HP: 89/105KP: 75/210


You turn back to the motorcycle-taser-cop, the nicotine already calming you, and with a single nod, you whip off your cloak and put it back on the right way- red side out.

"HEATHENS! SO EAGER ARE YOU TO WALTZ ENDLESSLY AMONGST THE FLAMES, YET DARE NOT EVER KISS THEM! ABANDON ALL HOPE, FOR I STAND BETWEEN THEE AND OUR HOLY FATHER IN HEAVEN! AMEN!"

BATTLE COMMENCE!

Your furious roar does not reach all ears, but the cops and rioters closest are immediately captivated by your pious screaming prayer. One of the rioters points at you, and a group of them breaks away from the mass and come running toward you! The riot cops immediately form a protective barrier in front of you. However, you are fearless, and leaping over the wall of shields, you take out three of the rioters mid-stride with a flying dropkick!

You pop to your feet, immediately snap kicking the punk to your left and driving your elbow into an approaching rioter's face. Two more come at you with, trying to knock you down with a charge, but a quick roundhouse kick sends them both back onto their asses.
Encouraged by your display of fierce anger, the riot cops begin moving forward, backed up by more cops with taser-shell shotguns. But you hardly notice them behind you, as for now, it seems like the whole world is on fire... and these charred, lawless monsters are your enemy!


A molotov cocktail comes flying towards the wall of shields, but shatters against the barrier and burns harmlessly. A volley of glass bottles come flying out of nowhere, crashing and setting the street right around you on fire. The riot police back up slightly, but you stand firm (fireproof uniform, after all). Another two molotovs come at you, but you catch them easily, one in each hand, and chuck them back. You can't help but smile cruelly as you watch a group of rioters run around screaming, rolling around on the ground to try and put out the flames.

This display of badassery pisses off the rioters even more, and a few more groups break away from the chaos to come at you. Crowbars, wrenches, switchblades, boxcutters, chains, pipes, sharp pieces of glass, bricks... they're armed with pretty much anything they could find. This isn't good...

You dodge the first few stabs of a switchblade and duck to dodge the swing of a steel pipe, kicking pipe-rioter in the face with a back kick as you do so. However, you have to hop back a bit to avoid getting chopped by a hacksaw, and then roll to the right to get out of the way of a sledgehammer- ****! They seem to be everywhere, where's your backup!

Sledgehammer rioter suddenly runs towards you, hammer over his head and screaming like a maniac. You try to dodge, but end up throwing yourself into another crowd of enemies. Crap.

Someone from the back tries to grab you by the neck, but you easily snap your head back and break their nose. Just in time, as some crazy bastard lunges at you with some gardening shears and you scissor kick him, taking you both to the ground.

You're about to pop up, but sledgehammer rioter is above you. ****! You roll out of the way as the hammer slams against the pavement, sending chunks of asphalt everywhere. A few rioters trample over you as you roll, but they don't crush any bones or anything.

Trample damage: -4

You manage to roll into a semi-clear space and get to your feet. A quick 360 glance lets you know that you're still surrounding, and a chain comes flying at your face!

Hand-to-Hand: 45

Ha! You've done this move just yesterday! You hold your hand up and let the chain wrap around your forearm. The rioter tries to pull it back, but you end up pulling him towards your fist for a clean KO!

Weapon added: industrial-grade steel chain!

CHAINFIST!: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBFWdgjGTog

You continue into the fray, but it looks like it's really gotten more hectic now- the riot police have gotten more aggressive, blasting away with their taser-loaded shotguns and ramming sprawling rioters to the ground with their shields. The rioters have picked up the pace too, though. Some art throwing molotovs and bricks from second, third, fourth stories of office buildings. All of them appear to be armed, now... with kitchen knives, hand axes, lots of sharp stuff.
You chuckle dryly. You're just getting started.


You throw yourself into the semi-organized ranks of rioters, swinging your chainfist about widly and feeling it break noses and fingers. Now it's seems impossible to dodge every swipe, and you feel switchblade after boxcutter nick and cut into your hands and arms.

Knife cuts: -8

Your bulletproof cloak protects you, though, and even if the weapons puncture you, the wounds aren't too deep. But sledgehammer rioter seems to want to change that, as he makes a huge horizontal swing that you duck under- but apparently knocks out the four rioters behind you. Pfft, amateur.

He makes another lunge toward you- this guy is pretty big, damn- and you hop back, but you feel something hard slam into the back of your head, making you stumble. You flail your chainfist out, striking a the rioter behind you- bastard had a ****ing shovel, what the hell- as you make a quick evasive dive. Or try to: you end up doing a flying headbutt into some rioter, knocking him out but making you dizzier. ****... all the smoke is hurting your eyes... and so much yelling!

Suddenly, you feel a crushing pain in your chest. You blink back into reality, and seeing the sledgehammer rioter again- bastard nicked you with this hammer! But a nick from a hammer that big is enough to kill someone, and it hit the place where you were stabbed by those Red Moth ninjas before!

Scar reopened: -23

You stagger back, roaring in anger and pain as you spit up blood. ****! You fall back onto your ass, and sledgehammer rioter comes in for the kill...

... Only to start convulsing like a sack full of pissed off eels, and flops over. Motorcycle-taser-cop shows up, taser in one hand and motorcycle helmet in the other (which he had been beating rioters with) and pulls you to your feet.

"Fall back! We're gonna tear gas 'em!" he screams into your ear, pushing a gas mask into your hand.

(http://www.militarycraft.com/_images/image.php?p=720&w=320&h=240)
You blink, dazed, but shake your head and get your vision all straightened up. Looks like the fighting has just gotten worse... the police have gotten even more aggressive, but more rioters are coming out to fight. It's raining molotovs from the broken windows of most buildings. A lot are beat down already- you seem to be walking on rioters writhing in pain. And the civilians... you haven't found any...


(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOnNts7bYzASome fires don't burn- they rage!)

You quickly pull the gas mask onto your head and take a few breaths of clean air. All that smoke from the molotovs and pipe bombs is making it hard to breath. Speaking of fire, the whole street seems to be on fire. Cars are combusting left and right as the flames reach the fuel tanks, spraying waves of flame across the sidewalks. ****! Your uniform might be fireproof, but you sure aren't!

"Come on! Let's go!" you yell at motorcycle-taser-cop, but he's already cutting a path through the fire-crazed rioters with his taser and motorcycle helmet, bashing faces in left and right. You quickly follow him, covering his back and punching whoever gets too close with your chainfist. If only you could use your Kusanagi... but you're a 'suspect', you can't prove your innocents by killing foolish peasants, no matter how insignificant they are!

Despite the efforts of the riot police to move up the street, it looks like the horde of rioters has just gotten larger. Even though fire and smoke is everywhere, they continue to rampage through buildings, break windows. It's almost impossible to tell civilian from rioter at this point. Damn... this is one hell of a mob.

You and motorcycle-taser-cop push your way back to the main line of riot cops, but after your fierce and vicious assault against the rioters, their anger comes back anew and they surge forward! You and motorcycle-taser-cop are surrounded!

(http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3374/3526653590_d18a45b402_o.jpghttp://farm4.static.flickr.com/3308/3525845531_4a5ab339d4_o.jpg)

You go back-to-back, ready to fight.

"KNIGHT!"
"COP!"

"LET'S *** THEM UP!" you both scream in unison.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIxapExXpC8The sky runs red with the fires of heaven!)

Almost the second you two let loose that battle cry the first ring of them swarms in towards you. Tasercop fires off three rapid shots from his X3 taser, taking down three rioters just like that. You swing your chainfist in a half-circle, hitting two rioters and scaring back the rest- for a second, anyways. As tasercop swings back and forth with his burning motorcycle helmet, you begin blinddly pushing into the crowd with a series of anger-fueled punches and kicks, staying just out of range of wrenches, bricks, switchblades, and a toaster. The toaster is on somehow (battery-powered), and it singes your eyes as it comes within an inch of your face!

... Toaster burns?: -8

A claw hammer comes out of nowhere, but you manage to dodge it just in time. The rioter with the hammer overreached, so you grab his arm, break it, and twist the hammer out of his hands, breaking a few of his fingers.

Weapon added: industrial-grade carpenter hammer!

With a hammer in your left hand and chain in your right fist, you begin beating back the rioters and opening up the circle, breaking bones as you go. You try not to get too far out, though, or you'll get sucked into the main body of the mob- hands are already pulling at your gasmask and cloak, you can't beat 'em off forever! As you parry a hand saw with your chainfist, you feel it bite into your wrist painfully.

Minor cut on upper wrist: -4
"Knight!" screams tasercop, in the middle of pistol-whipping some rioter and kicking another. "Here they come!"


A whistling sound echoes through the air, and suddenly canisters of tear gas start falling everywhere!

(http://synapsemirror.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/420191791_4d9a5a962a.jpg
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3123/3178486977_6b84503ec8_b.jpg
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/232/488984719_3322862048_o.jpghttp://farm4.static.flickr.com/3061/3419010481_c395700139_o.jpg)


But the gas just seems to piss of the crowd even more, and they start charging and tackling into you and tasercop like crazy! You hammer at the heads and spines of all the rioters grappling at your stomach and chest, but there's too many! Bugger! The repeated headbutts to your chest hurt like hell and are making you even more dizzy... you have to fight hard to stay on your feet!

Chest trauma: -17

You're about to scream "So when does it work??" at tasercop when suddenly, out of the smoke, come the line of riot shields! Alright, backup! About time!

(Bastille_2007-05-06_anti_Sarkozy_487645695_abe4befd12_o.jpg)

And behind the wall of riot shields are taser-shotguns, firing away! You watch as rioters fall twitching to the ground, and stomp on the ones that try to get up. The tear gas seems to be working as well, and most of the rioters around here are running, covering their faces.

The main horde of mobbing rioters is still there, and the police are going to need to move up to get them in range. A few cops on the side are spraying the fires with fire extinguishers, but there are so many it seems to be pointless.

It's hot inside the use-worn gas mask, and it sort of chafes against your stubble, but at least you have some decent air and the lenses aren't too dirty. Tasercop waves you forward, and you run back into the line of riot cops, slip past the shields, and get to the temporary anti-riot blockade set up only a few hundred feet away from the conflict.

Blimey. It must be one o'clock now or something and the smoke and tear gas are making it dark as dusk. You move around the Mazda RX-8 police cars mostly making up the blockade and get to the group of Type 96 Armored Personnel Carriers and ambulances acting as medic stations and housing the rescued civilians.

(http://dipolognon.com/OISCA_DonationD021709.jpghttp://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/be/JGSDF_APC_Type_96_at_JGSDF_Camp_Matsudo_02.jpg)

On your way to a clear APC, you stumble a bit, your vision swimming. Tasercop catches you, though, and drags you into the carrier where he sits you down on the seat.

"Don't die yet- we have some fighting to finish up!" he says with fierce enthusiasm, grinning crazily while reloading his X3 taser.

(http://www.electricsistahood.com/images/myst/HELLSINGULTIMATEMAXWELL.jpg)

... Jesus. Maybe this guy enjoys his job too much.

"T-thanks," you sputter weakly, and cough up blood. ****! The medic in the APC pushes you back against the seat, forcing you to keep still.

(http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3578/3417953826_6b84c2e94c_o.jpg)

"B-bugger. How many pints... of it... I got again?" you say, your voice slightly slurred.

Tasercop sighs. "Just sit here for a while. Until you can say la-le-lu-li-lo without stuttering."

"Oh *-**** y-you."
He grins that crazy cop grin at you again, and disappear back into the tear gas. Crazy motorcycle-riding tasering bastard.


As you're thinking this, the medic yanks off your cloak. At first you're like "hey bugger off ya tosser that's me cloak" and then you realize he's trying to help you. You unbutton, unclasp, and unbelt the rest of your upper uniform and bare your manly chest to check the damage.

(http://photos-d.ak.facebook.com/photos-ak-sf2p/v106/119/22/60800933/n60800933_30518859_9435.jpg)

... What the ****? When did it get this bad? It's spurting blood like an inch every time your heart beats...

The medic is hardly phazed, however, and after dabbing your wound with stingy alcohol (making you growl in pain), stapling your chest closed (you growl even more), quickly presses a bandage to your chest and wraps some medical tape to keep it secure against you chest. Surprisingly enough, the bandage is enough to keep the bleeding down for now, and you lay your head back on the seat. The medic hands you a plastic cup of cold water, which you dump over your head. Refreshing!

The medic hands you another cup, and this time says something in Japanese, forcing it towards your mouth. You nod, and gulp it down.

HP: 25/105KP: 135/210

Huh. It's weird. All that combat... you feel like you could fight forever! Like how those Vikings would do that berserk thing! You just wanna smash heads and break limbs like crazy!

You pull out that thermos of Brazilian coffee Pyramid Head gave you, and chug down as much as you stomach can hold.

http://cn1.kaboodle.com/hi/img/2/0/0/52/e/AAAAAtorK0EAAAAAAFLosQ.jpg
HP: 105/105
+30 mg caffeineCoffee remaining in thermos: +15 HP


Oh, bugger... as you stumble out of the APC, pulling you tunic and jacket and cloak back on, you still feel sick and dizzy from the blood loss. With every step you can feel it blood seeping out of it... bollocks. When that ninja stabbed you, that katana must've gone between your heart and lung... how could you have survived?

You look around, and more riot police are running to the fight, those too hurt or unconcious being dragged back. Some civilians are being helped into ambulances... but not that many. More must be stuck in the chaos!
You pass a few more police vehicles on your way back to the riot, most stocked with weapons. Hmm... from here, you can see the flames licking the top of the tear gas, and the riot police fighting best they can, outnumbered ten or twenty to one. Crap. Helicopter are flying overhead, and cops are shooting taser rounds at the rioters in the windows chucking molotovs or pipe bombs. Well, at least now you only have to worry about the ground level...


So... this is what real urban battle is about. You watch, entranced, as the smoke from the countless fires wafts up into a huge dark gray blanket over the city of Kawasaki, plunging the one o'clock day into a dark, hellish, fiery dusk. Even this far from the fighting, you can feel the heat of the flames on your face...

You spasm with a hacking cough. You pull your hand away, and it comes back slick with spit-thickened blood.

Internal bleeding!: -1 HP
HP: 104/105


Bugger. You bite down on the cigarette in your mouth, feeling your lungs deflate unnaturally. You're not fit to fight, but from the crashing and banging you hear from the riot zone, you know they need your help. Damn it.

Another puff on the cigarette, and you decide to hang back for just a little while. Long enough to have depth perception again, anyway.

You stumble back to the cluster of APCs and ambulances, collapsing into the seat of a relatively empty APC (except for a few unconscious riot cops). There's a portable TV on the other seat, turned to some news channel. You can't understand what the news anchor is saying or the captions at the bottom, but from the worried look on her face and the burning Tokyo in the background-

Wait, wot? You pull yourself onto the other seat and pull the TV right up to your face. ****! That's... Tokyo. Right around where the Metropolitan Police Department is. Oh, bollocks, you can see it in the background! Rioters are attacking it!

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0xt1hMHda4Rest in peace, sinners! Judgement approaches!)

It looks like the ****in' army has been deployed, because tanks are rolled out along with the usual riot police. And... hey! Riding on one of the tanks, arms spread out over the fires and masses imperiously, his expression that of judgement...

(http://northernbanshee.deviantart.com/art/P-Head-sketch-color-92006481)

"Bruv?" you mutter in disbelief.

The news anchor continues with her report as the riot police and mob clash, Pyramid Head tearing through the ranks of rioters with his bare hands, using his helmet as a wedge as he bull charges the ones with dangerous weapons. He notices one of the news choppers hoving overhead, and waves at it enthusastically.

(http://wytwolf.deviantart.com/art/Pyramid-Head-from-Silent-Hill-33627022)

You chuckle. "Pyra, you batty git," you mutter, wiping some leaking blood from your mouth. You're glad he's okay, though. But Wakako and Mai...

Crap. Looks like the news chopper got hit by a molotov or pipe bomb or something, because the live feed just got cut and the news anchor looks even more worried. ****!

Internal bleeding!: -1 HP
HP: 103/105


God dammit! You can't just sit here! You get to your feet and stumble out of the APC, heading towards the police vans loaded up with guns and stuff. Your head might still hurt, but at least your eyesight is back to normal. You throw open the back doors of one of the vans and look over the gun racks.
(http://www.weaponsstoragesystems.com/images/u-rack3b.jpghttp://i142.photobucket.com/albums/r89/PlayboyPenguin/PistolRack.jpg)

Uh... huh. These Kawasaki cops mean serious business. Well, you don't need to kill anyone just yet, so you grab yourself a non-lethal Remington 870 and an X3 taser pistol.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fx39uLNu48g)

You obtained the Remington 870 (Riot)!
http://anonymousradioshow.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/taser-xrep.jpg

You obtained the X3 TASER pistol!
http://c0388982.cdn.cloudfiles.rackspacecloud.com/taser-x3-update.jpghttp://behance.vo.llnwd.net/profiles5/120558/projects/296525/1205581253198658.jpg


Alright. Opening a case of taser shells, you load eight rounds into your new shotgun and put five rounds into the shotshell holder on the stock. Damn, this thing is nice... holographic sight, one-shot taser for a foregrip... these guys are using top of the line gear here. It's almost like they expected this...


You sling the Remington 870 over your back and stuff the X3 taser into your pocket, hopping out of the van and closing the doors behind you. Pretty cool gear, no wonder Tasercop likes tasers so much. You wouldn't be surprised if they have those new area-denial shockwave things...

But as you walk closer to the front line and see the smoke and fire and noise blasting through the air... maybe you should give yourself a little boost, you think to yourself, coughing up some more blood.

Internal bleeding!: -1 HP

You look at the blood on your hands. This'll do just fine.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHaIeeIEDME&feature=relatedIn the shadows, your craft is but sport...)

You kneel on the ground- seems like your knee doesn't hurt much anymore, so much for a stabbed kneecap- and using the blood on your pointer finger, begin to draw the Key of Solomon. In the center circle, you draw a specific demon's seal...

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e3/Aemethms.gifhttp://main2.amu.edu.pl/~rafalp/WWW/HERM/PLANCY/g49.gif)

It's not perfect and your Hebrew is rusty, but it should do. It's just big enough for you to step inside, and once in the center, you close your eyes...

"I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, yet I fear no evil; alas, I am home. Come, darkness, God's ever ready shadow! ENTINGUISH FOREVER THE FLAMES OF SIN! AMEN!"

Summoning: 11
You feel a strange weight all around you, like you're in a vacuum. Weirdly enough, it doesn't feel like you're being pressed... more like something from inside of you is trying to expand. You fall to your knees, gritting you teeth, eyes squeezed shut, growling in pain as it feels like your organs and bones are being pulled apart by crazed dogs. You open your eyes wide, the pain becoming unbearable, and for a split second you see just a world for mist and faraway shadows...


But the mist lifts and you flop over onto your side, panting and sweating. Your glyph of blood evaporates in a puff of black smoke.

You push yourself up onto your feet, wobbling a little. You flex your fingers thoughtfully.

"There's a warzone up ahead and you're standing here all dilly-dally. Have a bit of sense, why don't ya?

You blink. You don't hear anyone speaking... it's like you thought the words.

"... That you, demon?"

"Damn well it is, son. Sally out, why don'tcha? You humans only live for what, a hundred thirty years or so?"

Huh. It's like... you have no idea what this voice is saying, but understand what he- or it- is trying to say. Kind of like a sign language, almost... in your head.

"You have a name?"

"Human pronunciations are so ****ed these days. Uh, lemme see... call me... Sabnock."

You have summoned Sabnock, Great Marquis of Hell, commander of 50 legions of demons!

KP: 115/210

Not bad, not bad. You feel the weirdest feeling... like the nerve endings in your fingers are numb and oversensitive at the same time. You touch the handle of the X3 taser, and you understand.

"Shoot 'em up, knight-human-guy."

Your guns are now extensions of you.

Sabnock Summon:
x3.0 All Guns
x3.0 All Explosives

Pistol: 16 x 3.0 = 48
Shotgun: 15 x 3.0 = 45Grenade: 19 x 3.0 = 57


... **** yeah.

You move up to the front line, the heat growing more unbearable as you come closer, but the excitement builds up in you. Sabnock is silent inside, waiting for you to react. You're maybe thirty feet from the wall of riot shields, and police are milling about all around you, getting ready to move out and repositioning.


Alright. You're ready. Your right hand is still wrapped in chain, that claw hammer is stuffed behind your belt, gasmask is one... and you're armed to the nails in tasers. This is gonna be badarse.

You jog forward towards the wall of police shields just outside of the blockade. You can see a bit of skirmishing going on just a hundred feet away, but the real combat is deep inside, where the tear gas and fire smoke has blocked off all light. Even with all the crap in the air, though, you can see rioters moving around in the mist... they reorganizing or something? Whatever, who cares! Time to rock!

(http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/42254000/jpg/_42254068_ap416wall.jpg
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/232/495960732_505eff1bbb_o.jpghttp://img.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2008/02_03/RiotR2202_468x322.jpg)


You slip through the densely packed wall of riot cops, squeezing through the shields without much trouble. On the other side, it seems like the heat has gotten a hell of a lot worse... like hell on earth. ****, what is this, Doom?

You take a few more steps out into the riot zone, the riot cops behind you backing you up if you need to retreat.

"Uh... this a great idea, knight-guy?"

"Wot?"

Sabnock sounds a wee bit uneasy. "Look now, I get you're a knight and all-"

"Imperial Knight to you, demon."

"Sure, fine. But you're bleeding out and you've got some barbarians all roused up... this isn't- you know- tactical. You humans still use that word? Tactical?"

You sigh. "Just shut up and help me shoot."

"Great. Out of the oven and into the fire," grumbles Sabnock. For a demon, he's unusually caring. Huh.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07UeSgGfVOo&feature=relatedTime to rock and shock!)

But you have no time to ponder such things, for you have plunged into the riot, wading through fighting cops and ruffians!

(http://farm1.static.flickr.com/220/494587824_768c2967af_o.jpg
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/192/495990085_d492a7aeae_o.jpghttp://farm4.static.flickr.com/3351/3345968996_3929d694e3_b.jpg)


Crap. Looks like the rioters have wrapped shirts or whatever clothing they could find around their faces and started putting on goggles to deal with the tear gas. It's slowing them down, but there are so many... and you only have like, what, sixteen taser shots? Crap. You'll need more like a taser minigun...

And even with their mouths muffled, you can still hear that deranged chant of "Kira! Kira! Kira!" Christ! Do they even know-

"Heads up, knight!"

You duck as a brick goes flying over your head. You look back up, drawing you X3 taser, but seeing that your attacker was only five feet away you just take a long step and uppercut him. He flops onto his back, carried away by the mob like a crowd surfer.

Except... crap. The bright yellow pistol has attracted unwanted attention, and nearby rioters are attacking! You swing your chainfist around in wide swipe, beating back your foes to the right, and press forward. No time for this. You gotta get to the heart of the madness.

You pocket your taser pistol and begin swimming through the riot, slamming your chainfist or elbows into anyone who takes too much notice in you. As you move deeper into the horde, you see less and less cops as the tear gas gets thicker and thicker. Crap. You have to struggle with all of your strength to squeeze through the crowd now, or you'll get trampled lethally. But the pressure of the crowd around you is hard on your chest...
Internal bleeding!: -1 HP
HP: 101/105


You cough and spasm, but you can't slow down. You keep going deeper and deeper into the riot, your gas mask not drawing as much attention as you thought it would. Burned out cars, destroyed ramen stands... what a mess. Finally, after maybe ten or fifteen (hell, you can't tell how much time passes in here) minutes, you break through the other side of the street, now only seeing a few stragglers in the dense tear gas.

Wait...

(http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3450/3255662315_4b610fb109_b.jpg)

In the mist of smoke and gas and ash, you see someone maybe twenty feet away. Another rioter? But... he's got a gasmask. And on the front of his jacket...


(http://willowtreehome.com/Merchant2/graphics/00000001/Village/LET-K.jpg)

Son of a *****.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2uoAj-kYrFQ&feature=relatedBring it, heathen.)

The rioter launches forward, pulling back his arm to hit you with something- a chain? But this ain't no everyday chain- it's got barbed wire threaded between the links, and razor blades tied to the ends of those wires. Holy **** this is some Soul Calibur crap right here.

You roll to the side to dodge the swipe, but he whips it back and snaps it at you as you pop to your feet, catching you across the back of your hand.

Cut: -4

What a joke. You pull out the claw hammer from earlier and chuck it at his head!

Thrown Weapon, Small: 5

Piss. The rioter ducks and makes a snap at your legs with his razorchain. You parry the snap with a kick from your hardy boot, and try to stomp down on the rest of the chain to keep him from using it. The bastard quickly yanks the chain, though, forcing you to jump off the end or be thrown onto your ass.

The rioting is still going as hard as ever, but you can hardly hear it. All you can hear right now is this tosser's breathing, all grotty from the gasmask.

"You must think you're pretty manly, not shooting him from the start."

You're about to say "shut the **** up Sabnock" when suddenly another shape comes out of the gas-smoke-ash. You're so preoccupied with this gasmask rioter you barely give this newcomer a glance, but suddenly your right hand automatically grabs your X3 taser and shoots.

The head of a fireaxe whistles past your face as the riot stumbles, clutching at the taser dart stuck in his chest. Gasmask rioter uses this to his advantage and whips your arm, wrapping the razorchain around it tight.

Razor blades and barbed wire and... ouch. -9 HP

Your cloak keeps the blades from going into your skin directly, but they still break the surface. You pull back you arm, hoping to yank gasmask rioter towards you, but he lets go as you do and follows up his attack with a haymaker to your face. Bugger!

Balance: 24
Reaction Time: 30Reflexes: 27


Even with your right arm immobilized, you use your left hand to parry the punch, and now that he's right in front of you, you follow up that parry into a single-arm lock, headbutting him in the gasmask and kicking him away.

Gasmask rioter stumbles back a little, but is still on his feet. Damn. You can't break his nose through a gasmask.
You sense movement, and fireaxe rioter is back on his feet, his fireaxe in his hands. Only that it's wrapped in barbed wire and razor wire. Like that one axe in Team Fortress 2. Holy **** these guys are for real. Bugger.


Fireaxe rioter makes another swipe at you, but you hop back easily and smack him in the face with your razor-tied right arm. He flinches, but follows up his swing with a low one that you jump over, axe-kicking him as you come down. This guy barely twitches, though- ****! He's not even wearing a gasmask, he's just wrapped his head in a bunch of shirts!

Gasmask rioter looks to have brought some friends along, as a few more shapes start forming out of the mist. You sigh, pull your Remington 870 off your back, and with your left hand, firing off four shots, pumping one-handed each time.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zNPuORHf_IShotgun: 45)

Each is a direct hit, taking down four rioters- guess their clothes weren't too thick. Two get too close for you to shoot, but you easily hit one upside the head with the stock of the shotgun and sweep kick the other, stomping on his stomach as he tries to get up. Fireaxe rioter comes up behind you, but you just spin and jab your fingers into his eyes, blinding him. You pull off his head-wrap as you pull your hand away, exposing him to the tear gas. He flops to the ground, gasping.

Gasmask rioter looks a bit angry. You sling your shotgun back onto your back and shake the razorchain off your arm. "Come on, now," you say mockingly. "Let's fight. Mask to mask!"

He rushes at you, a balisong in each hand, tricking them crazily as he runs.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYTpb-QXV0k&feature=related)

You pick up the fireaxe and holding it by the end of the handle, ram the blunt top of the head into gasmask rioter's chest. He's pushed back and the fireaxe is knocked out of your hands, but gasmask rioter is on the ground, gasping for air. You calmly walk over to him, lean over, and as he uselessly tries stabbing you- you swat his silly toy knives aside- you rip off his gasmask, exposing him to the tear gas.

He covers his face, trying to protect himself, but you punch him the stomach- hard. He grabs at his belly, gasping for air, and a look or anger comes over his face as the tear gas incapicitates him. He spasms for a bit, then lays still, his breathing normal.

"Ha. Bleedin' amatuers." You crack your knuckles, wiping the blood off your right hand. "Just getting started."

"Looks like they are too."
You turn around, and it looks like... the entire side of this riot is looking at you. And... they all have gasmasks. ****!


... Bugger. You're not liking these odds too much.

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/sirber/2426285155/in/set-72157604628523432/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sirber/2407804712/in/set-72157604628523432/http://www.flickr.com/photos/sirber/2426272661/in/set-72157604628523432/)


... They entire city is rioting, but it looks like this one part of it is concentrating on you. Twenty... or thirty... of these gasmask rioters are slowly creeping towards you, armed with huge knives, crowbars, wrenches straight out of Bioshock, shovels, sledgehammers... and it seems like each one has the letter 'K' on him, one the chest or sleeve or whatever.

Yeah. Not... liking these odds.

"Then go!"

Maybe, you think. But Sabnock is a shooty kind of guy... demon... thing, while you know the battle ain't so simple.

Keeping your eyes on the approaching gasmask rioters (and always tripping over a riot shield, good one), you back up towards a blown-up car, or more specifically, the mess of bodies next to it, all ****ed up from shrapnel and glass and stuff.

Yep. From the smell of burning clothes and skin and stuff, they're pretty dead. Capital! Still keeping your eyes on the advancing gasmask rioter guys, you crouch down and place your hands in the middle of the corpses' chests. Huh. They're still warm.

You close your eyes... and can see a weird red glow on the inside of your eyelids. Your inner Oni... is waking up.

(http://fc04.deviantart.net/fs43/f/2009/116/4/2/4260e0b193c2c0f2118eca0af104b47d.jpg)

You feel an unexpected rush of power through every vein, every bone, like that time you were hit by lightning on top of Mt. Fuji... but you have to keep those crazy emotions down. Didn't Yoei say that at this rate, you'd keep control mentally, but still have to stay sharp physically?

( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1BNddf0NcE&feature=relatedThe dead don't sleep. They doze.)

Whatever. You let your mind roam, searching out into the depths of the universe, the depths of purgatory. You see the mist again... and the shadows far off moving around, just little gray shapes in the fog. But suddenly it feels different... you open your eyes, and there's no fog, but...

(http://fc03.deviantart.net/fs30/f/2008/076/5/8/Aurora_Borealis_II_by_RoieG.jpg)

There... it... mana? Just... pure mana, moving around, in colors and brightnesses you didn't even know existed. If they even are colors... blimey, you don't udnerstand half of this.

But you need two specific bodies of mana. Looking up at the sky (or into an alternate dimension, whatever), two feel familiar... yep. The souls of the dead one's you're touching, floating off to purgatory. Not yet. You take a deep breath.

"In the beginning, I was born from darkness... and to the darkness you shall be spirited! Return to your bodies of the dust and earth! OUR MERCIFUL LORD GRANTS THEE ONE LAST DANCE! AMEN!"

You feel something really, really weird. Like water being poured on your head and dripping down your shirt, but... it's dripping into you. You feel the souls of the explosion-killed rioters being squeezed through yours like some sort of weird juicer, condensed into a more controllable form. But something is helping you force the souls out, like a meat grinder's crank going a million miles per hour. It feels like your every muscle is straining to push out in the invading spirits, and finally, the last of the rioters' souls leaves your palms and returns into their chests. You flop to your knees, breathing hard, sweat dripping from your forehead.

KP: 15/210
That... was really hard.


"I hope you appreciated the help. I wasn't looking forward to any more guests." Stupid smartass Sabnock. You have to fight back the need to vomit everything you've eaten for the past week, and stumble to your feet.

"I hope you appreciated the help. I wasn't looking forward to any more guests." Stupid smartass Sabnock. You have to fight back the need to vomit everything you've eaten for the past week, and stumble to your feet.

You sense two shapes moving behind you, and you glance back, surprised, but as soon as you do two charred and bloody rioters rush past you, one grabbing the razorchain and the other grabbing the wirefireaxe. You lean back against the destroyed car, not minding the hot metal. They make no noise, but move with the speed and strength of people doing their very hardest. Like they can just go to the max without any effort. ****. They charge right into the line of masmask rioters, not even bothering to block or dodge. Knives, blunt weapons- they all just bounce off or slide past like they're nothing.

Now's your chance, the gasmask rioters are busy. You turn around and haul us, hoping to find some better ground to fight on.

(http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2670/4205770656_4d8f23a88a_o.jpg)

Er... you don't have many options. There's more rioting going on farther down the street, but it looks like the cops have fired some tear gas canisters down there too so you can't be sure. With a sigh, you sprint towards an office building that looks like it hasn't been too burned up. Your zombie minions are holding off the gasmask rioters pretty well, but they won't last forever. More like... sixty seconds.

The doors are locked, obviously, but you elbow the glass a few times until it breaks and use the Kusanagi to break open a hole big enough for you to hop through without glass damage.

(http://farm1.static.flickr.com/56/151893795_be252f0837.jpg)

Okay, looks like some of the lights are still working. You sprint over to the elevators.

(http://michelleli.ca/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/jp_elevator.jpg)

... Why are there two panels? You shake your head and try not to worry about it as you mash the 'open doors' button. Except... nothing happens. The little lights on the buttons and above the doors didn't even turn on! ****!
No time for this. You run around the office lobby a bit until you find the stairs and begin hauling ass up.


(http://fotosa.ru/stock_photo/image100/p_2434138.jpg)

Okay. Okay. How many floors did the elevator say there were? Like... thirty four or something? Maybe if you get to the roof you can do some sniping from there... but with a shotgun and pistol? Not bloody likely. Maybe the fifth or tenth floor... yeah. Okay.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzsUls5ZD5g&feature=relatedUp the stairs!)

You sprint up the stairs taking four steps at a time, already hearing the gasmask rioters crash through the front glass of the office building. Your zombies are still fighting... but by now, they've probably been overrun by those gasmask Kira supports. Damn them.

Suddenly, by the time you hit the third floor, you hear a horrible ,bloodcurdling, earsplitting scream. Two, actually.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTB9lSRGieY&feature=related)

The sound of two souls being put to death for good. ****. There go your minions. They fought well. They fought... well. But now those gasmask rioters are right on your arse.

"Tactics, remember?"
"Bugger off, Sabnock."


(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EoyCaq0nXE&feature=relatedDetective mode on!)

Okay. Looks like the gasmask rioters are in the building. Bugger. So much for your plan. You look to your left and see the stairwell door to the third floor. They're too close... have to take this path.

You run up to the door, pulling the handle, but it won't budge. ****! There's a little panel off to the side...

(http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2114/2097373181_06e31cb470_o.jpg)

You can't read Japanese, but from the little pictures on the door you can tell that you need a passcard to get in. Bugger! What kind of office is this?

You pull out your Kusanagi and start beating at the panel until the plastic cracks. Using your sword as a lever, you pry off the panel and get to the circuitry inside.

(http://reefphoto.com/images/ittl1.jpg)

Electronics: 11
Hacking: 3Programming: 4


... Bollocks to that. You take a step back and shoot the panel with your taser pistol, overloading the circuits and causing the panel to spark and smoke. You pull at the wires inside the panel, shrugging off the overheated plastic and silicon.

Tensile Strength: 47

Burning plastic!: -1 HP

You rip out the wires, your fingers numb from the heat, and the door unlocks. You get into the the floor, and...

(http://farm1.static.flickr.com/117/316344870_efc13c68af.jpg)

Bollocks. You run down the corridor, trying each door, but every one you run into is locked, The fifth door on the right, though, is open, and you barge into the office.

(http://www.teradyne.com/pressRoom/images/officeTours/0013.jpg)

Aaaand no one's here. Ran off for safety because of the riots, probably.

"Or ran to join them," points out Sabnock.

"Yeah, whatever," you mutter, flicking the lights on to see better. You look out the windows at the street below, and through the smoke and tear gas, you can see the fighting and fires raging on harder than before. ****. Kira really riled up those peasants... bastard.

You ransack the desks and tables, looking for anything useful.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fx39uLNu48g)

You found a box of thumbtacks!
http://www.istockphoto.com/file_thumbview_approve/1998256/2/istockphoto_1998256-thumbtacks.jpg
You found a box of rubber bands!
http://voiceinafrica.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/big-11.jpg
You found a ball-point pen!
http://www.cross.com/images/products/detail/882-3_detail.jpg
You found a box of paper clips!
http://i.treehugger.com/th_images/paperclips.jpg
You found a stapler!
http://cdn.overstock.com/images/products/P11529494.jpg


You look at the pile of random office crap sitting on the desk in front of you. You scratch your chest thoughtfully.
"You do have a plan, right?"


You mumble something under your breath.

"... Right?"
"Stow it, Sabnock."


That's enough faffing about! You don't have time for this!

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7piD9ebpxM)

Looks like the door to this part of the office swings inward. Good! It's the only door to the hall as well. You begin dragging over desks, chairs, water coolers, shelves full of papers, boxes, and potted plants until you have a decent enough barricade in front of the door.

(http://images.quickblogcast.com/109259-102053/Messy_office.jpg)

Wouldn't hold up long against those blokes from Killing Floor or anything, but thankfully you aren't dealing with superhumans. Hey, wait a tick... you think about locking the door manually, using your paper clips as lockpicks!

Lockpicking: 21

Nah, you don't have the skill to lock a door that quickly. Besides, you've got enough crap in front of the door already.

You look around, and walk back to the office kitchen.

(http://www.kelemens.ca/images/work/big/office_and_kitchen6.jpg)

Holy ****... icebox, microwave, dishwasher... these blokes have it made. You don't know what this office is for, but obvious it's a kickass job. You look around... hey, a vent! Just what you were looking for! You hop up onto the counter to take a better look...

(http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3098/2907800906_c68cdd1a3c_o.gif)

...

(http://www.rage-board.com/files/facepalm.png)

Bollocks in your socks! You can't fit through that, even if you could figure out how to get it open. Bugger!

"Clearly you did not think your fine plan all the way through.

"Sabnock, I swear by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I will mentally kick your-"

You stop. You hear footsteps coming down the hall, the sound of door handles being jiggled to see if they're open. They're getting closer...


(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7piD9ebpxM The hunt is on...)

Bugger. Looks like your escape route isn't going to work. You hope Pyramid Head and Wakako can keep things under control in Tokyo. Even with the military helping them, everything's gone barmier than boiled bollocks.

Okay. You hear those gasmask rioters moving around outside in the corridor, jiggling each of the handles, looking around for you. You don't hear any chit chat, though... they must be going for the sneak attack. Bastards.

No time to lose. Thinking quickly, you grab the microwave and pull out the plug.

(http://campussqueeze.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/beyond-smart-microwave-oven.jpg)

Okay, okay, you can do this.

(Explosives: 23 [+10 because of Sabnock] Electronics: 11)

You quickly pull off the back of the microwave to get to the wiring. You find the main board and yank it out.

(http://www.abstractmachine.net/index/images/blog_hires/wiring_board.jpg)

Okay. Okay. Now you just need something to override the voltage safeguard...

You look back over at the desks in the main office, and notice a mobile phone sitting on one of the desks. Perfect! You run over and pull it apart, lining the pieces up on the desk in front of you.

(http://www.likecool.com/Gear/Cellphone/Palm%20Pre%20Disassembled/big/Palm-Pre-Disassembled.jpg)

Palm... Pre? Must be one of those newer ones. Whatever. You take the small gray silicon chip out and run back to the kitchen, using the chip to override the wiring board in the microwave. Hell yeah.

Moving quickly, you carry the microwave over near the door of the office and begin stuffing paper clips, thumb tacks, and pretty much anything else metal-based you can find. The microwave now full of metal, you close it and place it on the barricade. You move over to the far side of the room, and aim your taser pistol at it carefully...

Okay. If this works, the electricity in the taser bolt should overload the microwave now that the voltage safeguard is gone, and that blast of microwave radiation should cause most of the metal inside to explode, making a decent box-shaped grenade. Awesome.

Now, you wait...

...

They're still moving around out there. Maybe they heard you. Maybe they're starting a fire in the building, or turning on all the gas, or... ****! This wasn't a good idea...

Suddenly, the door handle jiggles. Someone on the other side tries to push the door open, but the barricade blocks it. They slam against it a few times, not getting in much more, and you hear a few more people moving over to help. Got them...

There's a smashing sound, and you hear the hinge of the door break. Another smash, and the other goes. The door is thrown out into the corridor! A gasmask rioter looks over the barricade, fire axe in hand!

Well, **** him.

You fire the taser, hitting the microwave, and it explodes in a massive blast of red-hot shrapnel and microwave radiation!

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRWVR7Fa8us Boom.)

You duck beneath the desks to avoid the flying shrapnel, coughing in the smoke. Looks like the explosion blew out the lights, putting the office in the dark. You look up over the top of the desk to see the barricade smoking and burning... and the gasmask rioters climbing over it, pieces of burning shrapnel stuck in them.

... What the ****?

"You sure know how to make enemies."

"Shut up."


Crouching behind the desks in the office, you take a deep breath. You're sick of being chased around like you're in some sort of ****ed up fox hunt. Time to set these honorless bastards straight.

Equipping your taser shotgun, chain still wrapped around your right fist (chainfist!), you calmly stand up in plain view of your enemies. Even with the lights out and the office filled with smoke, the gasmask rioters immediately turn to face you once you're in their line of sight. Like they're coordinated...

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NL9FYhKfjOA&feature=related)

You pump the shotgun. "I'll make this short."

Shotgun: 45

"Rest in peace-"

One of the rioters lunges at you, swinging his fire axe at you!

Reaction Time: 30 Reflexes: 27

You duck just in time, whipping the stock of the shotgun up into the gasmask rioter's jaw, knocking him to the floor. You kick the desk over, crushing him underneath.

"-Sinners. AMEN!"

SUB-BATTLE COMMENCE

Four more gasmask rioters rush towards you, melee weapons raised, but you quickly jump over the overturned desk, turning around and blasting all four with taser shells. They twitch around a bit as the shrapnel stuck in their jackets sparks and crackles, but they almost immediately recover and jump over the desk too. One flips the desk over as he jumps, freeing the fire-axe rioter. Bugger!

Crowbar rioter swings at you, but you casually parry with your shotgun and elbow him in the face, spinning away from being sliced by a gasmask rioter with hedge clippers. A gasmask rioter with a butcher tackles you as you dodge, however, throwing you to the ground! He lifts up the knife to chop your face in half, but you move slightly to the left, letting the knife fall past you harmlessly.

You pull your legs up and kick knife rioter off your chest, but he gets another swing in and slashes in the knee. ****! That was your bad knee!

Knee wound reopened: -17 HP

With your good leg, you snap-kick a gasmask rioter in the chest that gets too close as you quickly load some taser shells into the shotgun, but it seems like these guys just shrug off whatever you throw at them. Dammit!

Wait a minute... of course! They're wearing bulletproof vests under their jackets! Should've thought of that in the first place!

You dodge the swipe of a crowbar and the overhand slice of a wrench, rolling to the side. Fire-axe rioter tries to swing at you again, but you kick a chair at him, tripping him up. Kicking another chair at the other approaching gasmaskers, you grab the fire axe rioter's mask and rip it off, hoping to get a jab at his eyes. He looks at you.

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/photosbyjenni/388001017/)

Oh... my... God.

The zombie gasmasker exhales, sending a waft of rotting lung smell in your face. You jump back, sickened and freaked out a bit as he pops back up, not missing a beat. The other gasmask rioters are surrounding you... and now that you think about it, they might be fast, but all their movements are stiff and robotic... oh ****...

"You always fight with this kind of crowd?

If Sabnock tries to be cheeky one more time, you swear...


(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NL9FYhKfjOA&feature=related This isn't right...)

You back up slowly, hopping a bit to keep from damaging your knee any more. ****, you had hoped that wound would stay closed, it has been three days after all...

The zombie-gasmaskers begin to form a semi-circle around you, shambling forward in a creepily coordinated way, melee weapons raised. There must be eight in the room, maybe more out in the hall...

"Sabnock..."

"Finally need my help?"

You load your taser pistol, clicking the three cartridges into place. "Show me what you can do, demon."

It's hard to tell, but if Sabnock had a face, he'd probably be smiling. "About time."

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cccZgTEqnvU&feature=related Even Hell doesn't know all the world's secrets...)

As the zombie-gasmaskers creep closer, you feel a weird sensation running along your right arm. You look away from the bad guys closing in on you at your hand, gripping the taser...

(http://anatomy.med.umich.edu/images/cut_veins_hand.jpg http://www.elecplay.com/screenshots/b/bioshock-08.jpg http://www.davidlnelson.md/images/Xray_normal_hand_PA.jpg)

Pyromancy: 10 Aeromancy: 2 Ceraunoscopy: 5

No... no way. Heat waves are coursing around your hand, and you can feel the immediate air around your arm heat up as the energy building in your hand starts going off the scale. Your veins glow a bright blue with electricity, and your hand bones stand out as black shadows against the red pyro power...

"Hold on, knight."

You pull the trigger, and you feel a massive force blasting out of your hand. You lose all feeling in your right hand as a blinding light and scalding heat fills the room, causing nearby papers to burst into flame. You don't stop- you pull the trigger two more times, resulting in two more massive blasts of energy.

KP: 5/210

You feel the melted plastic of the taser fall from your stiff fingers as you stumble over and lean onto a desk for support, breathing hard.

The wall of the office has three huge smoldering holes in it, giving you a clear view of the main corridor. The gasmask-zombies are just piles of smoking ash with melted gasmasks on top. Smoke makes it damn hard to see, and you cough a bit.

SUB-BATTLE COMPLETE! THOU ART VICTORIOUS!

Enemies defeated: x7 Kira Cultist Zombies = + 140 XP Damage taken: -17 HP = x0.0 XP Soultech gain = +30 XP

Total XP Gained: 170 KP! XP Needed for Level Up: -83 (Level up when ready)

Not bad...


"... Knight. You... you have no mana..."

You chuckle weakly, sneezing in the ash. "Yeah," you mumble, rubbing your nose. "Thought you'd notice. You know, sharing my head and all that rot."

"So that's how... you used Stareomancy... so easily..."

You blink. "Wot?"

You have unlocked Stareomancy!

Stareomancy: level 1

You're about to ask Sabnock more about this new soultech, when you realize you can't feel your right hand... you glance down at it...

(http://www.killchrissy.com/images/hand_burn.jpg)

"GAH! OH MY GOOOOOOD!"

"Yes, it is surprising. Stareomancy is when you can combine two or more Occult Artes, basic stuff, actually-"

"NOT THAT! ****! You tosser, my HAND! I- can't- move it!"

Sabnock pauses. "Oh. Let me help."

You feel Sabnock take control of your right hand, flexing it for you. The charred, boiled skin snaps off like dead bark and blood spurts out.

"AAAAAAAAAAAUGH!"

Bleeding and burns: -17

"Oh God oh God oh God-"

"Relax, it still works."

You've had to deal with some bad wounds before, but it looks like your entire right hand has been cooked well-done all the way through. Ew, even your bones feel roasted...

"Hurts... so... much..."


(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TMnqakMe3o&feature=related What is this... not... normal...)

You take a few gasping, choking breaths, but it feels like there's no air around you, just smoke and suffocation. You stumble out of the office into the third floor corridor, stepping over the melted ashes of the gasmask-rioters without a glance. In clean air, you collapse against the corridor wall and slide to the ground, breathing raspily as the lights flicker...

KP: ?

"Knight... your mana..."

Didn't Sabnock know? He spent like two hours sharing your mind and body...

"It's... gone. You're empty... how are you still alive?"

The searing pain in your hand has gotten worse, if it's possible. But now it's starting to move up your arm, and you feel your shoulder cramping painfully. Your neck muscles are starting to hurt too...

Oh, God. The fire's still going. That charged shot you fired off is still burning inside your hand, and now it's spreading through your body, cooking your organs...

You fall back, staring up at the strip lights on the ceiling. So hard... to move. Breathing... is too much.

"Nemod, pu ekaw."

If you had the strength, you'd shake your head weakly. You can't ****ing move a muscle.

"Evah ydaerla uoy. Eid t'nac uoy."

A sudden shock hits your arm, like it being ripped off and put back on in a split second.You try to scream- in anger, hopelessness, more anger- but you don't have the air. So you just lie there, quietly suffocating, almost blacking out from the mental stress. It's like... your arm is moving... but you aren't the one moving it... and it isn't Sabnock...

KP: 5

Fresh air rushes into your lungs as you feel Sabnock flexing the muscles in your chest. It hurts... but you push yourself into a sitting position up against the wall.

"Knight... I thought I had known you from somewhere..."

You cough.

"And you have no mana, but can still cast spells, even summon... what are you, exactly?"

You cough again, trying to get up to your feet. The whole office building seems to be spinning...

"Knight, there... was something else here, in your body. I don't know how it's possible, but... I know kaos when I've lived in it the past thousand years. You probably figured this out, but you can't just combine mana and kaos."

You lift your hand, staring at the charred skin. "You... don't... say."

"It's a cycle. Mana is structured, kaos is... chaotic. They neutralize each other, but with effects that defy logic. Human logic, anyway. What we did right now... even with that little amount of mana I gave you, you could've killed yourself, killed me, erased your memory, rewritten your memories, leveled this entire floor..."

You aren't listening. Instead, you're pulling at the chain that's been melted into your right fist. It's leaving behind grotty imprint... and it hurts...

HP: 61/105 KP: 15/205

You grunt in pain as the Hematomancy burns the oxygen in your blood for KP. Not enough...

41/105 KP: 35/2105

You double over, gasping as oxygen is ripped out of you. But that should be enough KP...

Hydromancy: 1

You ball your left hand into a fist, concentrating hard. "Sabnock... help..."


"Have you been listening at all? If we combine power-"

"Sabnock... I'm gonna die..." you groan. All the blood in your right hand and wrist has been turned into ash, after all, and your chest and knee wounds are bad as it is...

"Very well, I'm no Hydromancer, but I know a thing or two..." you feel Sabnock's skill flow into your mind, and can finally focus.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3p3c0auE1YQ&feature=related#movie_player Cold.)

You feel a stinging chill shoot through your body, and looking at your right hand, you see that it's covered in frost, little sharp icicle poking out here and there. It's cold and uncomfortable, but the pain is going away. Looks like that was a successful cast of Ymir's Grasp.

"Knight, about that presence I felt, it's gone, but... it felt familiar..."

"Not now, Sabnock," you groan, pulling off your knight's cloak and wrapping your hand in it. So tired...

You lay your head back against the wall and close your eyes. The smell of smoke is kind of... relaxing.

"... I'll be waiting, then."

"Thanks."


(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyRMEVE2Tc4&feature=related You don't know this place...)

You blink a few times. You find yourself standing in a room you've never seen before...

(http://www.fineweavetextile.com/subcategoryimages/luxury-bed-linen.jpg)

And that... is one huge bed.

"Not bad, huh?"

You spin around, fists up and ready, but you remember that voice from somewhere...

(http://fc01.deviantart.net/fs49/f/2009/238/c/0/Tee_for_girls_by_lokmanlam.jpg)

Hey, you'd recognize those cute red glasses anywhere. It's Mai!

"Bugger me arse! Mai, you're alive!"

She puts her head to the side in a cute little way. "'Course I am, knight. What, thought some street punks would take me out? You don't give me enough credit."

You chuckle. "Maybe you're right."

You notice there's a fire blazing in the fireplace... kinda hot in here. You pull off your knight's cloak and officer's jacket, throwing them over the back of a big leather armchair.

Mai giggles. "Is that any way to act in the presence of a lady?"

You snort. "Lady? Good one. You're my apprentice now, lass." You pull off your tunic as well, leaving you in your clingy white dress undershirt. "Get used to this."

She puts a hand on her hip, the other pushing up her glasses. "Not a lady? I'm sure I can convince you otherwise..."

You turn around to give her a "wait, wot?" kind of look, but she's up against you faster than you expect. You back up a step, only to fall back onto the bed. Huh, it's pretty comfy...

Mai climbs on top of you, straddling your waist as she unlaces the front of your dress shirt. "There's more to your apprentice than just scenery," she purrs, running her soft fingertips all across your bared muscley chest. Huh... feels kind of nice.

"This isn't what we call professional, apprentice," you say calmly, trying to keep a straight face as she traces circle around your abs and pecs. "Blimey, even a wee bit o' port would be a bit too intimate."

"Intimate..." she breathes. "Funny word. I like it." She tightens her legs around you, and gasps lightly in mock surprise as she feels something hard against her thigh. "Is that professional, sir knight?"

"Oh, stow it." You lean up slightly and pull off her glasses. As you do so she pulls her T-shirt over her head, revealing...

"An apprentice if I've ever seen one," you say with a smirk, pressing your sword-calloused hands against her bra. She down at you defiantly, but winces a little when you give her a gentle squeeze.

"What's this? Showing weakness to your enemy?" you squeeze again, and she gulps. She grabs your hands and presses them against her thin waist. Skinny little thing...


"Pink?" you snort, running a finger from the clasp of her black bra to her underwear.

She shivers as you go lower. "You're one to talk...Union Jack..."

You glance down at your British flag boxers. "Oh, fine. I guess I'll have to take them off." She giggles and scoots farther up the bed, but you catch her easily, pressing your weight against her into the soft pillows. You run your mouth over her chest, down her flat stomach, and she throws her head back and moans.

"A lot better... than those VNs I always play..." she whispers as you flip her onto her back and rip off her bra, breaking the clasp without much effort.

"Damn right," you murmur in her ear as you press your fingers between her legs and she arches her back. Her hand grabs at your crotch, and she moans in expectation.

"Knight..."

You pin her to the bed with your weight, grinding your hips into her ass and kissing her neck roughly. She writhes beneath you, her moans muffled by pillows, her smooth back slick with sweat.

You pull back for a tick, admiring her back and neck, and pull back the top of her underwear to bite at her hips. Round and tight, better than Turkish delight.

She bucks against you, and you pull away a tick more. She turns to face you, sweat plastering her bangs to her forehead. She wiggles out the rest of way out her knickers and pulls down your boxers, running her trembling fingers over your spear of unlimited victory.

You lean down and run a hand down her chest lovingly. "Dareth thou challenge thy master's blade?"

She giggles, exasperated. "You're so stupid sometimes," she says, her mouth so close to your spear of unlimited victory you can feel her breath. She suddenly leans back onto the bed again though, spreading her legs. "Defeat me, and win a kiss from the lovely maiden."

You chuckle. "So be it." You kneel over her, ready to charge...

When suddenly, you feel a hand on your shoulder.

You freeze, and slowly look around. Pyramid Head is sitting on the bed patiently, and hands you a condom.

You blink. "I... er... uh, thanks bruv," you mumble, a bit too busy to wonder why he's sitting so close. You turn back to Mai, but she's covering herself in pillows!

"GAH! What the ****? How did he get in here?!" she screams, running out of the bedroom covered in sheets.

"WHAT THE ****, MATE!" you scream at Pyramid Head, almost taking his helmet off with your spear as you spin around angrily. He shrugs.

You're about to punch him in the face-helmet when suddenly you hear a voice...


"Wow, she's some lady. Who is she?"

What a minute... that's... Sabnock?!

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLB2o3VYcO0 Reality... blimey!)

You wake up in the office corridor, rubbing your head in anger. "Ugh... Christ... dammit, Pyra..."

"As long as you keep having dreams like that, I'm willing to serve, knight!"

Oh, ****.... did Sabnock see all of that? "I swear to God, Sabnock, I'm gonna-"

Hey, wait. Light's coming in the office window, and it's not light from the fires- it's sunlight! It's morning, and it looks like the riots are dying down.


(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1zFf4RYbZQ Easy, boyo.)

You sigh. You don't know what it is, but after all the insanity last night, the quiet normal morning outside is... really, really peaceful.

You stand up, stretch, and flex your right hand. The ice crystals chip off, revealing your pale hand underneath. You wiggle your fingers... and surprisingly, there isn't much pain. Just a stiff soreness, like you've played Devil May Cry on Hell or Hell for hours straight.

"Sabnock..."

"Look knight, we share the same senses, so if you don't want me watching your dreams-"

"Bugger that. What did you say about... that ability? From last night?"

Sabnock stops, a bit surprised at the change of subject. "Oh. Right." He seems to think for a second as you walk back into the blown-apart office, kicking up the melted ashes of the zombie-gasmaskers on your way to the office kitchen.

"It's a soul-founded skill called Stareomancy. Most of the Occult Artes, as you know, can't be used simultaneously due to their effects on each other- fire and ice, for example. But with Stareomancy, you can use many Occult Artes at once, with... explosive results at little cost. Last night, you combined fire and electricity, and low amounts of both. Maybe it was just because I was there to help, but if you could learn to add air as well, and train a bit more..."

You aren't really listening, as you're pulling out cup after cup of ramen out of the office refrigerator. "Uh huh."

"... Fine. I'll wait. Confounded buffoon..."

(http://f00.inventorspot.com/images/mixi-cup-ramen-2.jpg)

Delicious ramen! But... this microwave is busted, thanks to you. A bit annoyed and many cups of ramen stacked in your arms, you walk out back to the corridor and wander all the way down to an office not effected by the charged shot blast. The door's locked...

Compressive Strength: 42 Tensile Strength: 47 Shear Strength: 32

Bugger lockpicking. You drop the ramen on the ground and pry the door open with the Kusanagi.

Another office, and you walk around until you find the kitchen and stuff all the ramen into it. Setting the microwave to high for four minutes and thirty seven seconds, you walk back into the office and spotting a small TV, turn it on.

(http://www.chinatronic.com/images/products/large/12inch.jpg)

Ramen's cooking.


(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1zFf4RYbZQ Take it easy.)

You finally pull off your gasmask. Sleeping in it made your face kinda hurt, but you don't smell any teargas. You hook it onto your belt for use later.

You turn on the portable TV, expecting to see some wacky Japanese commercials or some anime.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLB2o3VYcO0)

Your eyes widen. It's the news... but you don't see any reporter or anything. It's just a camera feed of... where is that?

(http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2209/2482137844_3403a50f3d_b.jpg)

Wait... that kind of looks like... the highway near the airport... near the police station.

You watch, dumbfounded, as the camera man continues to stumble along. There's no sound feed, just a little static now and then. There's no one around on the streets... or maybe there are. A few shadows fade in and out of sight, but aside from that...

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FvGkbyBjJ0&feature=related Where is everyone?)

The camera man takes a sudden right, and goes into what appears to be an auto garage. Wait, you remember that place... the garage behind the car rental place by the airport.

As the camera man stumbles past the cars and tools and stuff, something pops up from beneath a car chasis.

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/nasey/4144062924/in/pool-gasmask)

You jump back from the TV, startled. The camera man does the same, falling back onto his arse in fear, camera still watching this... thing... but shaking the entire time.

The thing, at first crawling on all fours, straightens. It stares up at a light on the ceiling, as if listening to something...

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/nasey/4253279033/in/pool-gasmask)

Then suddenly, its head snaps towards the camera man with inhuman speed, and flies at the camera. The feed cuts to static.

...

You stare at the TV. You reach toward the channel button, and begin switching the channels.

Looks like an emergency broadcast thing... on all channels. Japanese text is scrolling past, and a calm female voice is saying something you don't understand.

The microwave beeps. Ramen's ready!


(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Is7TqjpEkj4&feature=related No time to lose.)

        • . That emergency broadcast screen ain't gonna change.

(http://aaronjenkin.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/NTSCTestPatternLg1.gif)

Bugger, bugger, bugger. This isn't right. Those gasmasker zombies, first here, then in Tokyo...

Looking around the office, you notice a desk phone, still working despite the problems with power outages.

(http://newtechfun.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/nimble.jpg)

Perfect. You pick up the phone and dial (er, press... one of those swish touchscreen phones... one hell of a company office) the Queen's private number. If communications are out inside Japan, chances are no one knows what the **** is going on from the outside.

You tap your fingers impatiently against the desk, pulling your bowls of ramen out of the microwave as you wait. As you're slurping away on the lamb-flavored noodles, you hear something... bad.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nvKN_H4e-I&feature=related)

... Busy signal. The Japanese busy signal. Piss! All these phones must be wired up to some main hub in Japan... if you want to contact anywhere outside this country, you'll need a satellite phone or something. Bollocks!

"Not calling for help, are you?" asks Sabnock, slightly mockingly.

"Shlup up, Shlabnoch," you slurple around a mouthful of burning noodles.

Well, looks like you're stranded in Japan. Oh well. After finishing all your noodles (HP: 105/105, but your chest and leg still hurt like the dickens), you leave the office and head back down the stairs, all the way back to the lobby. As you leave the office lobby and walk out onto the streets of Kawasaki, you don't like what you see...

(http://www.homepagedaily.com/uploads/20080315/40eb9465-4d7e-4dc3-baed-073f45f28937/files/tibet%20street%20riot.jpg http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=maws6bCJXXs&feature=related)

... Crap. Smoke is still floating in the air, and from the way it makes your eyes sting, so is the tear gas. You put your gasmask back on (and notice you've had a cigarette in your mouth for the past ten hours... and it's burnt out) and walk towards the police blockade- that's now being helped by supply trucks from the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Forces. Civilians with scarves or shirts wrapped around their faces are running to and fro, looking for friends or family. Ambulances are scattered here and there, loading the injured and dead into overcrowded vans. Body bags seem to cover the street like a blanket... Christ...

"This is nothing, knight. Compared to war, real war-" "Stow it, Sabnock. I've seen worse," you growl at him in irritation.

You walk towards the police blockade of APCs, careful not to trip over the bodybags. Christ...

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/kohara/225916285/ JGSDF_APC_Type_96_at_JGSDF_Camp_Matsudo_02.jpg)

You walk past a few Type 96 APCs and find a few riot vans grouped together, the riot cops talking and debriefing and stuff. You walk forward, and one turns around.

"Hello. I'm looking for..." you pause. You... don't know Tasercop's actual name. "... Um. The, uh, guy... who likes... tasers... and motorcycles..."

The riot cops stare at you. Suddenly, someone in the back pushes through, removing his gasmask, not bothered by the tear gas like the badass he is.

(http://img1.ak.crunchyroll.com/i/spire3/95c9a4a72e998900de6024c6b1513e9e1223805947_full.jpg It's Tasercop.)

"Yo."


"Yo." Tasercop's usual let's-kick-arse attitude is replaced with... seriousness. Looks like the riot didn't go so smoothly...

"Got a satellite phone I can borrow?"

Tasercop grimaces. "We don't have ****. All our gear is trashed. Besides, I don't care how much you wanna go home. We gotta stay and help everyone here."

You shake your head. "Bugger that. Tokyo is ****ed. The riots are still going on. I have to go and help them."

"Ha ha, British humor, funny funny. You didn't do much last night, sir badass. Aside from disappear when **** got real."

Son of a... "You doubting me, lad? Thinkin' I'm all fur coat and no knickers? Don't even. You had zombies in that riot and I had to put them down. You toss crumpet."

Tasercop blinks. "Wha... zombies? What are you-"

"Bollocks to this. Where's your commissioner?"

"I am the commissioner. Commissioner Ryokuu Rangakakan. You... toss crumpet? Seriously? How'd you become a knight?"

...

This tit-up tosser is the Kawasaki police commissioner? ****.

"Whatever. Look..."


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kh2zxOY_Dc&feature=related Tasercop's authority!

You look around the had-been blockade, noticing that there are a hell of a lot of riot cops around... ****.

"Look here," you say, pulling off your gas mask and hanging it on your belt. Tear gas isn't so bad back here... "You must've noticed. Some of those rioting peasants just didn't give up. Tasers, gas, bullets... you know what I mean?"

A few of the riot cops glance at each other (the ones that understand English, anyway) while Ryo crosses his arms. "PCP."

"Not a tick. They were zombies. I've seen 'em before, had to fight 'em before. That's what being a knight is all about. Dealing with the batty ****."

Ryo chuckles. "Okay, sure. Zombies. Too much Resident Evil, huh?"

"Don't get me ****ing started, you muppet. Look, in Tokyo, they're pretty much wiped out. I got a TV signal for a little while when I was out in the riot, and things look like **** over there. I have to get there!"

"Zombies? Come on."

"Kira kills people without even seeing them, and you can't handle the idea of zombies?"

"You're still on the wanted list for trashing the station in Atami, you know. They won't just let you walk in."

You shake your head. "There's no 'they' to stop me. The streets are deserted. And if you stop me..." You strike the Cascade Portcullis stance. "I'll have to kick your ass."

Ryo laughs. "Whatever. I'll let you go. Don't expect any other cops you run into to be so nice."

"In that case... wanna help me out? Tokyo will need as many badasses as possible to beat down these peasant chavs," you say smoothly.

Ryo laughs, again. He's a... laughy kind of bloke. "Got a city to secure, dumb****. It's up to you to save the day."

You toss your melted X3 taser and riot shotgun to Ryo. "Cheers, mate. I'll catch up with you later."

"Whatever. Get out of my face."

You flip him off with your left hand (your right hand is still too stiff) and run off...

EVENT BATTLE END! YOU ARE VICTORIOUS! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWV0RD4mFcM

Riot Survived: +200 XP Soultech Gained: +30 XP No Death: +10 XP No Civilians Rescued: -20 XP Summon Assist: -10 XP

Total XP Won: +210 XP

XP Required for Next Level: -293 XP (Level up at any time!)

That's that. Another day, another battle...

...

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfc6roilkS8&feature=related THE RACE IS ON!)

"Crap. How're we gonna get to Tokyo?"

"Ever the tactician."

"Stow it up your arse, Sabnock."


(http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3091/2798547998_9003342eec_o.jpg)

You jog your way through the city of Kawasaki, your breath misting in the morning fog. Huh, looks like some buildings have lights in them now... guess the threat of a riot is over for now, anyway.

What a disappointment. You don't know what it is... but you feel stronger, somehow. Like knowing that there are zombies out in the open... you're just itching for a fight. If remote killing and zombies are the best Kira's got, you'll kick his arse in time for tea.

Then again... you look down at your right hand.

(http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/images/ency/fullsize/9339.jpg)

... Might want to get that checked later. You still can't really feel anything in your hand or fingers. At least you can move it, though.

You keep heading through Kawasaki, not running into anyone. Even if you do see someone, they seem to run out of sight. Most of them have backpacks or bags, probably full of emergency supplies. Poor bastards. Don't know what they're dealing with.

(http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3064/3097375347_d699060d54_o.jpg)

Trolley's just sitting there on the tracks. You could take it... then again, probably only goes through Kawasaki. Damn.

What you need is speed... from the faint shadows around you, must be five in the morning.

You keep moving, keeping your eyes open for anything useful. A bike, maybe. Lots of people in Japan have bikes...

"This is a populous city. A stable should be nearby," reasoned Sabnock. You ignore him.

You look around for another ten or fifteen minutes and almost settle on waking, when all of a sudden...

(http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3020/2709917551_3c6c764312_o.jpg)

... Yeah. That'll do.

You run up to the driver's side of the Mitsubishi Lancer EX and look inside the windows. No one in there... perfect.


(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6OFSivLF8A&feature=related You won't let them down. Not this time!)

You look around the foggy street, but it's empty. Odd for someone to just leave a nice car on the side of the road... huh.

(http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2627/4118027875_345c98b01e_b.jpg)

Whatever. Not like it matters. This is probably the safest place in Japan right now anyway, with Tasercop- or Ryo, whatever- leading his squaddies around like the badass he is.

At the driver's side window, you stretch your arm, flex your muscles, and slam your elbow into the middle of the window.

Tensile Strength: 50 Preflexes: 15 Pain Resistance: 42 Hand-to-Hand: 45

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFQ8q-Uc1iY)

The window shatters. Christ, you're stronger than you thought. The car alarm goes off.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WFsIskJ05I)

"What racket is this? Chariots have... defenses against thieves?" Sabnock says, astonished.

"Something like that." You draw the Kusanagi and use the hilt to knock away the rest of the glass, scraping away the remainder with the blade. You reach in, unlock the door, brush the glass off the seat and sit down.

Logical Reasoning: 28 Knowledge: 15 Car: 38 Lockpicking: 21 Hacking: 3 Electronics: 11

O... kay. You dig your fingers behind the steering wheel, and with a little effort, pull the plastic away.

(http://farm1.static.flickr.com/21/27271546_f59f106fd1_b.jpg http://www.flickr.com/photos/pepino1976/27271546/sizes/l/)

Maybe having the alarm going off in your ear makes things difficult, but this... is a lot harder than it looks than in Grand Theft Auto.

With a groan, you try to figure out which wires are the ignition and which are the starter. You make sure not to damage the key lock, otherwise the entire car would lock down. Fancy new cars are usually like that...

"At this rate, you should just walk..."

"Stow it, Sabnock. This isn't as easy as it-"

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NID58HZ_C_k)

Ace.

You turn off the alarm, climb in, and fasten your ****ing seatbelt. You turn on the GPS system and set your course to Tokyo.

"Time to rock."

"If we must..."

You rev the engine and blaze down the street, turning onto a highway heading northeast. Pyramid Head, Mai, Wakako, Yoei, Chief...

You grip the steering while until it creaks.

Kira...

You're coming.

(http://www.wallpaperez.net/wallpaper/car/Alfa-Romeo-wallpaper-946.jpg)

LOADING http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8KveQdaNmA&feature=related



Open road. Just you and the wind.

(http://i1.trekearth.com/photos/28148/on__the_road_again_filtered.jpg)

You've been zooming along for a while now, maybe at 100mph or so, dodging abandoned cars. There have been more and more of them the closer you get to Tokyo; at first there were just some on the side of the road here and there, but now, there are some stopped in the middle of the
highway, like the drivers had just stopped and ran for their lives. From what?

"Don't like this," you mumble under your breath. There are cities all around here for people to escape to, but still, it makes no sense... a highway would be the safest place to be in a nation-wide sprawling riot.

"I don't like this either. Can we listen to something else?"

"Huh?" you blink a few times, and then realize that Sabnock's talking about the song on the car's music player

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOXEVd-Z7NE)

"Wot? What's wrong with it?"

"Were you born without ears?"

Sabnock must have it tough, being a hundreds-of-years-old demon soul sharing a body with a human. He shares your senses, but can't do much about them. "It's the best song on the music player. The rest are worse."

"Then why," grinds out Sabnock, "are you listening to it at ALL?! Why have a portable orchestra if you can't tell them to SHUT UP?!"

"Makes time pass faster, like." You swerve to the left quickly, almost smashing into a minivan at 104mph. Gotta love the Mitsubishi Lancer EX. Handles smoother than a greased trolley.

"Maybe you should beat your head against the reins until you pass out! That'll make time pass-"

You glance out the right window, feeling a weird twitch to the air.

"... What is it?"

You don't answer Sabnock, but slow down to 74mph. Ever since you left Kawasaki city by car, you've been feeling odd shivers in the air, like... the air growing tense. But now, it's getting really strong...

"Knight! Ahead! Slow the carriage!"

You look back through the windshield, and see something a lot different.

(http://patdollard.com/wp-content/uploads/la-192-car-pileup2003.jpg)

Jesus Christ! You slow down to 37mph and lean over the steering wheel to take a better look, squinting through the fog.

A crapload of cars, trucks, vans, all stacked in a crashed-up mound. Maybe this is why everyone got out... but why... ?

"What's going on, knight? This isn't right..."

No ****. You sense that twitch in the air again, so strong you look in your rearview mirror. What is that... ?


You squint through the fog at the car wreck pileup, turning down the J-pop blasting over the speakers a wee bit.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOXEVd-Z7NE)

You scratch your head with your right hand, even though it's still numb from the Charged Shot. Even if there are survivors, you can't exactly help them now. Besides, this crash must've happened a while ago. Cars aren't smoking or anything, and not a soul in sight.

You shrug. Peasants and their poor driving! Can't be helped. You speed back up and swerve around the wreck, giving it a short look before returning to the road-

BLAM!

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKiOFacKmfw)

You blink a few times, dazed. What... happened? What's with all the smoke? And why is everything upside down?

"Knight... something tells me that wasn't supposed to happen..."

Christ, the car's been flipped over! You struggle with your seat belt for a second before stabbing the air bag with the Kusanagi and crawling out through the broken window. ****... what a waste of a Mitsubishi Lancer EX...

Blimey, now you've got one hell of a headache. You brush the broken glass out of your hair and look at the car.

... The entire front end of the car, hood and everything, has been smashed in, sparking and smoking like crazy. Like the hammer of an angry god came down and just hammered it.

You shake your head, groaning at the onset of a splitting headache.

Extreme head damage: -31

76/107 HP

And the aftereffect of a strong mana presence. How...? But suddenly...

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRlzl_05Asw&feature=related
What is this?!)

It all makes sense. Those weird twitches in the air before...

You turn around, looking north. Standing on a wrecked car, arms crossed...

(http://news.thomasnet.com/IMT/archives/black%20ninja.jpg)

Your hands ball into fists. Another ninja... another honorless, cowardly assassin. Bollocks, you should've known. Of course Yoei's ninja clan had something to do with this. Especially now that there are zombies roaming around...

You look closely at this neo-ninja. Huh... he has the same high-tech darker then black sneaking suit Yoei has. Light seems to just bounce off it.

(http://features.cgsociety.org/newgallerycrits/g74/315274/315274_1266294344_large.jpg)

        • .

"Knight..."

The ninja's looking at you, body still as a rock. You keep feeling those weird twitches in the air... like mana being ripped apart, right out of nature, and the mana around it filling up the gap. You've never noticted these things... not before converting to kaos...

"Knight!"

        • , Sabnock's right.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84px5OlMTFU&feature=related)

Better play this one safe. Not sure what's going on, or what this bloke can do. Even with a trashed car... a nice one, too... you'd better put on the nice face.

(http://thecia.com.au/reviews/a/images/alfie-0.jpg)

Charm: 15

"My, quite the entrance! Without even a parachute. Impressive. I should expect such from the best ninjas Japan has to offer."

"Knight..." whispers Sabnock, "... Who're you talking to?"

The ninja just looks at you, but his eyes narrow just a wee bit. "So, you can see me, gaijin."

You ramp up an eyebrow, wondering what Sabnock meant. "But of course. Clear as day, dear chap."

The ninja continues staring at you, and not in a nice way. "You don't learn. You survived once in Shinjuku, were asked once. Leave Japan. Turn back here. Airport is nearby. Leave from there. Leave Japan."

Christ, talk about a broken record. You fight the urge to say that out loud. "Oh, all in good time, dear chap! But now, what have we here? Riots, zombies, mana imbalances? Do tell the meaning. No need to make it long, you can keep it short... in a... gaiden, you chaps call it?"

The ninja's eyes narrow even more. ****. Looks like his native language is a sore spot. "One. Last. Chance. Leave."

You snort scornfully. "Speak. With. Proper. Grammar. But I suppose you honorless cowards like your kind are too busy faffing about in the shadows to do anything worthwhile, so I suppose I shouldn't be so disrespectful."

That did it. He wasn't going to let you through before, but now, you're dead. So much for trying to be nice. Pyramid Head's better at that kind of thing.

"You've made your choice." The neo-ninja of the Akaga Gozoku zaibatsu stretches out his arm, and out of thin air, a darker than black ninjato pops into existence.

(http://img514.imageshack.us/img514/3815/wipwz1.jpg)

"Knight! There's- there's someone there, but I don't see them. They just summoned, though- be careful! I can't sense in these mana conditions!"

You smirk to yourself, putting a hand comfortably on the grip of the Kusanagi. You handled many ninjas before, and held your own against Tanaka. You're stronger now... not an ordinary knight. And the warping mana around you...


The fog swirls around you, thick and cold, but it's not like your surroundings matter. All that matters now is the honorless murdering bastard in front of you, crouched on a totaled car.

"I think I've figured it out," you say slyly, tapping a finger against your cravat thoughtfully. "Even if it's taken me a while."

The ninja watches you closely, ninjato tight in his hand.

"Sabnock, I need you to leave me. You can't help me in this fight," you think to Sabnock. "After all I've done for you? Knavish cur! Very well. If you need me..."

You feel a sharp stab of loss, like you've thrown up a bucket of ice- and some of your organs to go with it. You feel a little dizzy and fall to one knee, but you use this to your advantage.

"You see, my honorless ninja scum chum, all of the Kira case murders have taken place within prisons only in Tokyo. If you were to draw a map, it'd be a perfect circle."

You lick your finger and use your spit to draw a circle.

"Interestingly, these murders are all in patterns. From the investigative reports, each series of victims died within minutes of one another. Kira would kill his victims in series by day."

You add some details to the circle, making it look more professional.

"Basically, when autopsied, the victims had strange mana patterns. Now that I've run into you and your friend Tanaka- if that's even his name- it's obvious that these victims were all at one point ninjas, who likely turned themselves in out of guilt. You sent your assassins to kill them, didn't you?"

A stupid, made up, totally fake accusation that was no where near the truth, but it gave you time to finish off your circle.

(Aemethms.gif)

The ninja hasn't moved, but you can tell he feels... tense. Hopefully, offended. Just need to keep him preoccupied as you cast Hematomancy...

"It's understandable, really. Ninjtusu and the entire idea of ninjas, honestly, is outdated, ineffective, and dare I say- barbaric!"

Your voice cracks slightly at 'barbaric', as you cast Hematomancy. You feel your blood being burned into khaos...

HP: 66/107
KP: 20/226

"Hypocrite. You serve a useless leader."

"DO NOT SPEAK ILL OF HER MAJESTY!" you roar at him, remembering at the last second to use your loudness as an opportunity for Hematomancy.

HP: 56/107
KP: 35/226

Christ, it hurts even more the second time. Like your blood is boiling into steam...

You slam your open palm onto the pentagram now that it's ready, the signs adjusted for summoning an air demon.

"O, the darkness! Thou hast braved its sinful winds without regret, yet hark! I summon thee! Step into the light, at the foot of the throne of our Father, our Lord and almighty Savior! See yourself for what you are, and will be! Be free through me! AMEN!"

The pentagram of spit burns up in black smoke. You feel a sudden lightness in your head, like you've been holding your breath for too long. Your ears pop, and you blink a few times. Feels like how thin the air was on top of Mt. Fuji... but now, it's like you're being drowned in air. Your lungs are expanding to their limit, and any more, they'll explode. Your entire body begins to cramp with the overflow of oxygen into your bloodstream...


Then suddenly, it all disappears. In its place, a calming breeze drifting inside your brain.

"It's been a long time. A shame... the air here, so still. This mist, hiding the world's beauty."

You take a few deep, gasping breaths. "Who... are you?" you ask breathlessly.

"You may call me Decarabia, knight. A pleasure."

KP: 5

You have summoned Decarabia, Great Marquis of Hell, commander of thirty legions of demons!

Balance: 24 x 3.0
Reaction Time: 30 x 2.0
Reflexes: 27 x 2.0

Decarabia lends you his agility.

The ninja still crouches there, but now his ninjato is in a wee bit more of an attacking stance. "Honor? You beg the damned for help. Pathetic."

So, he can feel Decarabia's mana. Hopefully he can't feel your khaos... but since Yoei could, maybe khaos is a ninja specialty...

You give the ninja a cool look. Enough of this tosser. "The sinners, o holy Saint Peter judges. I, simply deliver. Amen."

BATTLE COMMENCE! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suwi9QjfBOY&feature=related)

You draw the Kusanagi smoothly, and the second its off your hip the ninja has Shadowstepped from the car-

You spin, bringing up your sword as the ninjato crashes down. As soon as the two blades touched, the darker than black ninjato disappeared- he Shadowstepped again.

Spinning on your heel, you meet the the ninjato again- or try to, as the blade has already disappeared. Christ, he's fast.

"Don't react. Predict."

You jump forward in a roll, sliding under a car to put some distance between you and the ninja. Bad move; the ninja has Shadowstepped in front of you. A kick to his belly doesn't land- he's Shadowstepped away already. Bastard! Shadowstep is one thing, but Soulless Shadowstep...

"Predict, knight. He is but a man. You are a man as well."

You grit your teeth. "Don't know me too well, Decarabia. I'm no ordinary man."

You make a dash for the huge pileup, and climbing up a few cars, dive into an open car window near the top. The glass shards don't like your company.

Glass cuts from broken car window: -4

You sit back in the car, Kusanagi across your knees. You sense the ninja's presence above you, and the black blade of his ninjato stabs down through the car roof repeatedly, almost grazing you each time.


"Knight..."

"Watch."

Reflexes: 27 x 2.0

The blade comes down again, right over your head. You lean forward as it comes within an inch of your back, and spin around and grab it. The ninja tries to pull it back up, but instead you stab the Kusanagi up.

You hear a grunt of anger from above and the dark ninjato disappears out of your hand. You chuckle for a second, but suddenly hear a crash as the crar is pushed from the top of the pile and starts rolling down the pileup.

"Bugger, bugger, bugger!" you groan.

Reaction Time: 30 x 2.0

You dive through the windshield, some of your uniform snagging on broken glass. As you're sailing through the air, the ninja Shadowsteps below you- less than four feet away- and makes a stab at you in midair. Bollocks.

You let the ninjato pass by your shoulder, cutting into it pretty deep.

Shoulder cut: -8

You ignore the pain for now and grab onto the ninja, which takes him by surprise. He hits the ground on his back, grunting with your added weight. You slam the hilt of the Kusanagi against his face, hearing a satisfactory crunch, and pull back your arm for a stab- but he Shadowsteps from under you, appearing directly behind you!

You roll back with a kick, but he easily dodges it and brings down a hard chop that nearly takes off your legs. You make a swipe at his feet with your free fist, but he parries it with his shinguard. Ninja boy brings down the ninjato again, but you roll away and pop to your feet.

His face is bleeding a little. Weirdly enough, you don't feel as tired as you think you should- it's just easier to move your body now, injured or not.

You blink a few times. Wait... is his blood... black?

During one of those blinks, ninja boy comes at you with a slash, but you parry and counter with a roundhouse kick that he Shadowsteps away from- behind you, again. Not even turning around, you jam your elbow back, catching him in the chest. You try to spin to face him and maybe get a headbutt in, but you feel a sudden pain in your side.

Looking down, a black shuriken is stuck in your ribcage. Bugger.

HP: 22/107

Seeing an advantage, the ninja slams the hilt of his ninjato into the skuriken, pushing it deeper in. You scream in pain- and clamp your teeth down on the ninja's arm.

Surprised, he tries to shake you off, but you hold on tight.

Pain Resistance: 42

The Kusanagi locked with the ninjato, you rip the shuriken out of your ribs with your left hand and stab the ninja in the eye with it. Or, try to- he jerks away from you, so you only manage to slash him across the eyebrow. Either way, he pushes you away and clutches his eye- looks like he's one eye down for this fight.

You stumble back, your limbs still feeling too light thanks to Decarabia.

"Breath. Don't pant, like a horse with lather flecking its flank. Breath."

You breath, and watch as the bloodied ninja walks closer, his eye wide open despite the blood. The way it runs down his eye, down his face... like red tears.


(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84px5OlMTFU&feature=related)

You grunt in pain, taking a few steps. The blood is seeping through your fingers pressed against your ribs. You feel another flicker of mana in the air... seeing an opportunity, you flop over onto the ground, dead.

Looking dead, anyways.

"Good heavens! Knight, are you unwell? Knight?"

If Decarabia bought it, hopefully the ninja will. He takes a few steps forward to look at your 'corpse', and his ninjato and shurikens disappear into thin air.

"Expected, gaijin." He arrogantly turns around and Soulless Shadowsteps away.

The coast is clear...

You wait another minute, just to be safe.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCR35gUFzNE
Enough faffing about.)

Okay. You push yourself up into a sitting position, gasping for breath- you must've held it for five minutes. And it looks like your neo-ninja friend has left the scene...

"So you are alive! Most impressive show, knight. There's more to you than meets the eye."

You feel at your ribs, finding them sore as hell. ****ing ninjas and their ****ing shurikens.

"So you knew I wasn't dead?"

"Well, I couldn't leave your body, even though there was no mana to be found. Something's different about you, knight. Reanimated, perhaps? A ghoul?"

You know... technically, you might be something like that. "Nope. Just a man filled with khaos. Excuse the pun."

Decarabia pauses for a tick, thinking. "Yes... I felt as much..."

"Sorry, wot?"

"Had you been summoning before, by any chance? Before your... reanimation?"

When he puts it like that, he makes you sound like a zombie. Christ. At least he catches on faster than Sabnock. "Yeah."

"Yes, it makes sense. Demons and angels don't use mana like you do, knight. In our world, we live in a sea of khaos- genesis, if you would be Biblical. To a human it may look organized, but that's just a small mind's rationale." He paused. "We only use mana when we're in the world of the living. Khaos... is dangerous to use here.

"I figured as much." You walk along the highway a tick, trying to find a car still in working condition. Most of them are totally trashed, though... how did this all happen?

"I suppose I should've guessed. Simply acting dead, and having no mana to detect- to any human, a mere cadaver!"

You nod to yourself, not really listening as you elbow open a car window and unlock the door, sliding into the seat to look at the wires.

(http://www.powerlabs.org/images/swapin3.jpg)

...

Yeah, no.

As you step back onto the foggy highway, you scratch at your itchy chest wound. That ninja couldn't sense khaos... but Yoei was the one to Oni-ify you. How the hell did that work? And those flicker in the mana surrounding you... one ninja couldn't do something like that.


(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tWoW9AsNBY&feature=related
Out of leads...)


You lean back in the seat of the destroyed car, rubbing your face with your hands tiredly. Christ, when Her Majesty sent you out here, you had expected some run-of-the-mill detective work, not a ****ing killzone.

Decarabia senses your tiredness. "Feeling under the weather, knight?"

"Been worse." You chuckle to yourself ruefully. "Bollocks, I've been a lot worse."

You stare out the broken windshield into the fog. Somewhere in the distance, Tokyo is out there. Somewhere in that fog... more of those zombies are out there. And so is Kira...

You beat your left fist (the one with the deadened nerve endings) against the horn- and no sound comes out. Bugger it all, this makes no sense. There are three players in this murder mystery- the Japanese government, these ninjas, and the Yakuza. The ninjas want to find Kira because he's taking their work. The Yakuza don't like Kira since he's killing off their members. But the government?

These killings make the police force, the government, blimey, even the emperor look bad. But at the same time, Kira is keeping criminals off the streets and setting an example...

"The Japanese will support their emperor no matter what. A few murders won't sway their opinion so easily."

You blink. "You've been to Japan, Decarabia?"

"Now and then. I rode in on a tsunami, once. The waves smashed apart everything- I spent a few months summoned by a physician, alongside some other demons."

"Huh." But the lab beneath Sugamo prison... that was something out of Silent Hill. Those magi-biological experiments would require insane amounts of power not only to create, but to keep alive and trapped underground. Being able to kill from miles away might sound impossible, but there must be something you're missing.

The bodies... now that you think of it, you didn't check the police morgue. All bodies were transported there from the prisons for safekeeping. Maybe the bodies all have something in common... delayed poison, a computer chip, anything.

"Knight, did you consider that this murderer of yours might be a magi?"

"Here and there. But see here, even if he were the most powerful spellcaster in the east, no one can just snap their fingers and-"

"Perhaps that isn't the case. Maybe this murderer erased the memories of those who saw him? A silent assassin, if you would. Leaving blanks in the memories of those who saw his work."

"Erasing memories is one thing. But other prisoners said they saw the victims die. Same story each time- grabbing the left arm, vomiting, usual heart attack symptoms."

"You can never be sure when it comes to the arcane, knight. You could be dealing with someone far beyond your understanding."

Well that's... helpful. "Just a tick. How can you tell I'm a knight? Sabnock knew as well, somehow."

You feel another strong flicker of mana in the air, so strong it felt like it'd almsot pull you out of the car. The ****?

Decarabia snorts, not seeming to notice. "Sabnock, that... brute, shooting first and talking later. Your honor lights up your thoughts like a bonfire, knight. It would be hard to ignore. Chivalry is your subconscious." You scratch at your chest, pulling at the bandage the police medic had put there. Pulling it off, you see that the staples holding your chest together are holding, but the skin is sickly brown, swollen, and a sticky pus is leaking out. In the open air, it itches like a *****.

"Christ!" You scratch at the wound carefully, dead skin flaking off. So... itchy...

"At ease, knight. That won't make it heal any faster. Just let your body do the work. Humans, always so impatient..."

You don't listen. Instead, using the Kusanagi, you hack at the seatbelts in the car until you cut them free. You then wrap the long strips around your chest and knee and tie them off tightly, slowing the bleeding a little. You sigh in relief. At least breathing isn't so painful anymore. Even the shuriken to the ribs didn't make things much worse. "Okay. Enough faffing about. Let's move."

You pull yourself out of the car, brushing yourself off. You stare into the thick fog, unable to see twenty feet in front of you... but you've passed enough roadsigns on the way here to have a general idea.

Hey, wait a tick...

You reach into the car's glove compartment and pull out a map!

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fx39uLNu48g) (You've obtained a road map of Japan!) (http://realdupont.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/Folded-Map-Large-1.jpg)

Okay, that should make life easier. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tWoW9AsNBY&feature=related
Out of leads, but you're in detective mode!)

Even with the new makeshift bandages, your knee still aches. With a sigh, you flop back into the driver's seat of the car, stretching your tired legs. Blimey. That short nap you took back during the riots in Kawasaki city doesn't seem to have helped much. You could go for a proper bed right now, maybe a bit of Dickens. You only have a few pages left in A Tale of Two Cities, after all...

"I do hate to bother you, knight, but this isn't exactly what I'd call a... desireable place to rest."

(http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2622/3951593642_ed4898f0a8_o.jpg)

Not only is Decarabia polite, he's right. All these crashed cars scattered across the freeway and not a body in sight, this bloody fog...

And those odd flickers of mana, here and there. They seem to have grown in power, now that the neo-ninja is gone. Every time the air around you twitches like a Lovecraftian heartbeat, you feel a weird tug in your stomach. Like something is pulling at your soul...

"Amen to that." But you sit in the car a little longer, tapping your fingers against the bent steering wheel, deep in thought. That neo-ninja from the Akaga Gozoku zaibatsu... he just walked off once you played dead. He didn't even check for a pulse. It made sense that Decarabia didn't know that you're animated by khaos instead of mana, but that ninja? Yoei is part of the Akaga Gozoku too, and can somehow interact with khaos.

You grip the steering wheel, your knuckles turning white. Did he know you were faking it, and just had some other matter to see to? Or is Yoei more than she seems?

You shake your head (giving yourself a tick of a headache) and pull yourself out of the car, ignoring the pain in your knee and trying not to scratch at the itchy wound in your chest.

"So tell me, good sir knight. Who is this assassin, really?"

You roll your eyes as you begin walking towards Tokyo, unfolding the wrinkled road map. There are some dark stains on it. You smell them suspiciously, expecting blood- but it's only coffee. "If I knew who the murderer was, Decarabia, I probably wouldn't be dealing with all this ****ing rot."

Decarabia makes an odd noise- kind of like someone clucking their tongue. "I'm sure you know what I'm getting at. The motive, sir knight."

"The motive? ****, how should I know? It's completely dependant on who the murderer is, and unless I narrow the list of suspects down-"

"Don't speak of lists, knight. You know his modus operandi. What do you think? Listen to your soul."

You almost laugh at such a lame line, but then again, Decarabia's probably been stuck in Hell for a long time. "What I think, huh?"

The fog seems to thicken as you continue walking. For a while, you don't say anything. You pass less and less cars as you come closer to Tokyo... like the civilians had no time to escape the riots...

Thirty minutes pass, and your knee is damn sore. You stop, breathing a little hard, and stare up a sky of fog.

"What I think?"

"Yes."

"Someone who's sick of the world's ****. Every victim was a murderer, Decarabia. Some had rape and theft and stuff like that there too, but what stood out the most? Murder. Japan has no death penalty. To me..." You start walking again. Seems colder, somehow. "To me, this isn't just some normal hitman. Every kill was the same, at specific times, in specific zones. Like... a ritual." "A sacrifice, almost."

(http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1432/541262290_b5d1c7340b_o.jpg)

"Yeah..." You squint at a sign overhead. Okay, outskirts of Tokyo. Squinting harder, you see tall buildings in the fog. "But to what? To himself, to justice? The victims all died in pain. Their faces are all frozen in screams of horror."

"Some executioners enjoy their calling."

"And some executioners need to retire." The buildings are clearing now, and so are your thoughts. You pick your speed up into a jog, and go deeper into the city.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bV8OcQvkWPQ
Into the dead zone...)

It must be an hour or two after tea time, but... with the way the fog chokes the city, it's like time doesn't exist...

(http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3091/2798547998_9003342eec_o.jpg
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3156/2798548100_b80cda7587_o.jpg
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3152/2797703299_717227d16f_o.jpg)

Jesus. This... this is nothing like Kawasaki. No one's around. Dead silence. Even your boots on the cement are muffled, somehow. This fog... controls everything...

And yet... you know this feeling, from somewhere. Somewhere... a dread, a hopelessness. Decarabia says nothing. You can feel how overwhelmed he is.

You don't want to faff about in one place for too long. You feel exposed out in the open- you hurry along, head down but eyes open, to where the Imperial Hotel should be.

(http://farm1.static.flickr.com/134/349226398_b4393390ca_o.jpg)

You blink. Seems like you're moving faster than you should... you remember driving through here. But eve driving, the buildings didn't seem to blur past you...

You turn a corner, and know for sure the hotel is close by. But something catches your eye.

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattpringle/4171663007/)

What the ****? You blink a few times. A shadow just stands there, unmoving. Did it see you?

Decarabia... you say mentally. He doesn't respond. Decarabia!

"What, knight?" He sounds... shaken.

Do you... see that?

"Knight, I... can't see anything. There's just fog, everywhere."

You blink again. What the hell?

The shadow has faded slightly, moving away from you. You feel a sickness in your belly, like being afraid of waking up from a pleasant dream, knowing reality will be harsh and merciless.

(Imperial_Hotel,_Tokyo.jpg)

The hotel... you're right next to it. You must've been moving without noticing, or the fog has lightened up... you can't tell. It's hard to think. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bV8OcQvkWPQ
Colder than the grave...)

You're already here. Might as well do what you meant to do. But the entrance...

(http://www.lhw.com/cache/b/5/a/eeaa5084227ac264af64ef27119a3.jpg)

Too easy. You move around to the side of the big building and head into through the parking garage.


(http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2559/3696589277_9e2cc27bbf_o.jpg)

Not a soul in sight.

(http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3134/3127757553_533e49d0e4.jpg)

You move keeping close to the walls. Something weird... about staying out in the open. You spot the elevators from across the garage and walk over to them.


(http://farm1.static.flickr.com/54/150496143_6e7a75f944_b.jpg)

        • . Out of order? You push the signs out of the way and push the buttons anyway.

(http://www.faqs.org/photo-dict/photofiles/list/2703/3598elevator_button.jpg)

Huh. Looks like the buttons still light up, but you don't hear the elevators moving. They must be switched off from the security wing. Now is that good... or bad?

Looks like you'll be taking the stairs. Great.


(http://farm1.static.flickr.com/115/285302290_e32af30a7e_o.jpg)

Pain Resistance: 42

Gripping the handrail, you pull yourself up the stairs, your knee aching like ****. Talk about a crappy place to get ambushed.

Thankfully, that doesn't happen. You push open the door to the lobby and poke your head through carefully.

(http://www.concierge.com/images/destinations/hotels/asia/japan/tokyo/imperialhoteltokyo/tokyo_hotel_006p.jpg)

Just how you remember it. All the lights are still on... it's odd. Looking outside the glass doors, the world is just a field of mist. Christ. You feel more exposed in here than out there, now. Who knows who- or what- could be looking in...

You shake your head. You head over to the receptionist's desk and reach over to the phone.


(http://premiere.bz/images/Panasonic-KX-T7633B-Desk-Phone.jpg)

You pull the phone off its hook and dial Sebastion's number. He should know what to do. He always does.

...

...

        • ! Busy signal. Not only are the television stations offline, so are the phone lines. Damn it.

You move behind the desk and try to access to Internet, but it's no good. Signal strength is dead.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Lc9hxtQ6Hs&feature=related
To live in this darkness...)

(http://images.travelnow.com/hotels/TYO_PALA-recpt-1.jpg)

You stare at the desktop background on the receptionist desk computer screen, thinking.

(http://yizhimei5.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/japanese_cherry_blossom_wallpapers_vol_121_ez175.jpg)

Huh. Now that you think of it, you haven't had much time to just walk around Japan and enjoy yourself. Then again, murder mysteries never give you much time for faffing about...

You shake your head. Well, you're here. Might as well get your arse up to your room and get the gear Bartholomew sent you. He'd probably ***** and moan for days on end if you didn't.

The elevators aren't working, so you decide to head up the emergency stairs instead.

(http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3439/3386456285_01204ab3be_o.jpg)

Christ. You had always taken elevators for granted... you could really use one, with your knee so ****ed up.

Whatever. Grit those teeth! You drag yourself up to the sixteenth floor, almost collapsing once you reached your landing. You carefully push the door open and peek out into the hall.

(http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3531/3787986908_c760942513_b.jpg)

Huh. Looks like you're all alone up here... but you can hear Decarabia mumbling something in the back of your brain. What the hell has gotten into him?

"Be..."

What? you ask him mentally.

"Be... ware..."

Mind telling me what it is I should beware? Or should I go about sneaking past lamps and ice machines?

But Decarabia it quiet now. Weird bastard.

The thick carpet muffles your footsteps, making sneaking easier, even with your bad knee.

Sneak: 19


Now, let's see... room 664, room 665... aha! Here you are.

Room 666. Your room.

You reach into your pocket and pull out the Imperial Hotel Tokyo keycard, wiping a little blood off of it. Hopefully it still works...


(http://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/01/1c/87/b5/key-card.jpg)

The little light on the door lock flashes green. You open the door and look inside...

(http://www.japanguidebook.com/files/u2/Impterial-Hotel-tokyo-room-photo.jpg)

Looks like last time. The sheets on the bed are clean, though. Room service must've stopped by or something. Feeling extra paranoid, you check the bathroom.

(http://image.pegs.com/content/h/h0c/h0c6/h0c6t/bath%20room%20on%20the%20imperial%20floor_j.jpg)

... Yeah. Looks like everything is fine. You go back into the main room, and notice something on the desk in the corner, behind the huge TV...

(http://www.ruthshempfoods.com/shop/images/cardboard%20box%201.jpg)

Ace. You speed over to the desk and rip the tape off the box, pulling it open. Inside... is what you need.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fx39uLNu48g)

You have obtained the Walther P99AS (x5 Magazines)! (http://www.smith-wesson.com/wcsstore/Walther/upload/images/firearms/WAP77010.jpg
http://www.btdeutschland.com/SD-988006_web.jpg
http://www.1above.com/images/Trijicon/REDDOT/RM05.jpg
http://www.surefire.com/surefire/content/images_inv/e/h/24585/X400_large.png)

You have obtained the L109A1 Fragmentation Grenade (x3)! (http://www.lexpev.nl/grenades/europe/unitedkingdom/l109.html)

You have obtained the M84 Stun Grenade (x2)! (http://reason.com/assets/mc/rbalko/2010_02/M84new1.jpg)

You have obtained the AN-M14 TH3 Incendiary Grenade (x1)! (http://www.imfdb.org/images/7/78/AN-M14_Incendiary_Grenade.jpg)

You have obtained the AN M18 Smoke Grenade (x1)! (http://www.big-ordnance.com/grenades/M18od.JPG)

You have obtained the SOV-4000 (Type V) Body Armor! (http://zedomax.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/dragonskin.jpg)



More than ace. Pulling off your Knight's Cloak and jacket, you strap on the black body armor, moving the plates around until you're comfy. You clip the grenades to your tunic and holster your P99AS, stashing the spare magazines in your belt.

Alright. Fifteen 9mm soft-point bullets per magazine, five magazines plus the one in the gun already, plus the bullet already in the chamber... that's ninety-one bullets. Sounds like a lot, but you'll burn through those faster than you know...

"Be... ware..."

Even with all this gear, you feel kinda uneasy, and Decarabia isn't helping.

You walk over to the door and reach towards the knob, but suddenly you notice a flicker in the eyehole... you look through it, but only see the hallway.

"Be... ware..."

Christ. You slowly open the door, looking down both ways of the hallway... and see something flicker around the corner, just in the corner of your eye. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Lc9hxtQ6Hs&feature=related)

Enough of this crap. Closing your room's door behind you, you fearlessly head back down the stairs. If there is someone... or something... in this hotel with you, at least you'll have an opportunity to test your new gear.

You step off on the ground floor and walk into the lobby. Your stomach rumbles...

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WIS1AzcWzc)

Christ, when's the last time you've eaten? Way back at Atami... a day ago. You are in pretty ****ty shape, after all. And no badass can bring down the bad guys on an empty stomach!

You go behind the receptionist's desk and push open the STAFF ONLY marked door. **** the establishment! Yeah!

You wander around the employee facilities for a bit, looking for the kitchen. After finding a bathroom and a breakroom, you finally openr open a swing door and come across the hotel's kitchen.

(http://www.mscd.edu/hmt/assets/images/KITCHEN2005.jpg)

Alright. This is a five-star hotel. What to eat, what to eat...


(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s75AUsadLLI&feature=related
In the darkness... everything is truth...)

You scratch your head, picking out a few pieces of broken glass from the drive here. Speed might be important here, but if you run out into that fog (that makes Silent Hill look cheery), you might as well boil your head for all the good that'll do. You need to heal up properly, and supply up...

You look around the kitchen. Pots and pans and long gas stoves and spotless counters... where the hell is...

(http://www.insidelux.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/espresso-machine2.jpg)

... Ace. Might not be an old-fashioned hand-ground one like at Buckingham or Windsor, but hey, desperate times. Besides, with the way machinery is these days, it'll probably be okay. You look around for coffee beans, but the machine seems to be full as it is.

(http://cn1.kaboodle.com/hi/img/2/0/0/52/e/AAAAAtorK0EAAAAAAFLosQ.jpg)

Hot Beverage: 46
Since turning on a machine is so hard, right?

You take the thermos Pyramid Head gave you and put it under the tap, turning on the machine. As the thermos fills with delicious-smelling coffee, you look around the kitchen for something proper to eat.

(http://www.restaurant-services.com/images/Cooler%20J6-RR-61B.jpg)

You aren't exactly a pro at Japanese cuisine, but you'll make do. You dig through the huge cooler, sorting through fish and vegetables and... eggs. Of course! An omelet!

You turn off the coffee machine just before your thermos overflows, cap it, and set to work on making your omelet.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JysJGTUASrQ)

Meats: 37
Vegetables: 17

Fetching a large pan, you turn on the gas stove and slice in some butter. As it melts nicely, you crack four eggs into a bowl, pouring in a wee bit of milk. Pulling a chef's knife (http://www.chefscatalog.com/img/products/500x500/23140_1000_500.jpg) out of a nearby knife block, you dice up some tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, and... sprinkle in some minced rosemary.

Turning up the heat, you pour the bowl's content's into the pan, closely watching it sizzle as you beat it with the knife (you couldn't find a whisk...). After maybe... forty seconds you kill the heat, pull out a plate and slide your omelet onto it.

(http://ryanericsongcanlas.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/omelet.jpg)

Well, it ain't perfect, and Pyramid Head would probably have a fit over it not having any cheese, but... gotta make do. Too hungry to bother with a fork, you use the chef's knife to eat the omelet.

Delicious omelet! Your cooking skills are improving!
+70 HP
+20 KP

HP: 88/112
KP: 20/226

Yeah, that's the ****. You feel better already. That's what happens when you don't eat for a day.

Patting your belly under the body armor, you turn to take your thermos and leave. However, as you turn, you see someone standing near the door, next to the light switch...

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hpv69Z7CFRI&feature=related)

"Who goes there?" you call out. But before you can get a good look, they kill the lights. Squinting in the dark, you see a glimmer of light...

(http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4002/4506646624_c949b81d8a_b.jpg)

... ****. In the silence, you hear ragged, pained breathing. Like... drowning.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hpv69Z7CFRI&feature=related)

"Prefer the dark, do you? That's understandable. Sometimes it's nice, to block out the outside world..."

Your guest doesn't respond. Instead, you hear footsteps, growing nearer...

"... But you've overlooked that the outside world is still waiting. You'll have to uncover your eyes eventually."

You hear the ringing shwing of knives being pulled out of a knife block. So that's how he wants to play, huh?

"Don't... be overconfident, knight..."

Decarabia's voice almost surprises you. He's been quiet for a while now. But you can chat with him later...

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLoZiSCF28s&feature=related
Spirits in combat!)

'"Hear me, heathen! From the darkest darkness, I was born- lo, in the brightest light I was MADE! Your shadow abandons ye; a thousand suns would not illuminate thy wretched form! AMEN!"

BATTLE COMMENCE!

Reaction Time: 32

You draw your Kusanagi just in time as you hear a blade whistling through the air- you deflect the thrown knife, sending it skittering across the kitchen tiles.

Remembering the kitchen layout, you roll to the right behind the counter, the pots and pans hanging above you sounding like gongs as knives bounce off of them. This one's pretty aggressive...

A kitchen knife falls near you, and you pick it up.

Edged Long: 61
+
Edged Short: 38
=
Dual Wielding: 99

Good. Another lands next to you- you toss it a ways away, hitting the refrigerator. You expect the sound to distract your fiendish foe, but it's no good. You hear wet, bare feet slapping the tiles, walking towards your position. ****.

Actually... not a bad idea...

The zombie gasmask makes a turn around the counter, and you hear the air wiff as he pulls his arm back. However, now at close range, you easily drive the Kusanagi through his chest.

... The zombie's arm snaps, and the knife cuts you along the forehead.

-7 HP

Bastard! You feel blood running into your right eye, but it's not like you were using them right now anyways. You rip your sword out of the fiend, but that doesn't have much effect- he just stumbles forward from the momentum, swinging at you with a fist full of knives.

You duck, and using the kitchen blade you picked up, you make a slash at his leg- you feel the edge cut into the lower thigh, and make another quick slash, cutting open his knee.

He tries to make a step forward, but the weight on his wounded leg sends him to the ground, flailing his arms. Once of the knives catches you in the arm.

Just a scrape.
-1 HP

Bastard. You hop back, and hearing the gas mask scuffling against the floor, you bring down the Kusanagi on where you think it'd be- and hear plastic give way to head. You bring the Kusanagi down again hard again and again, until the bastard stops moving.

You step back, catching your breath.

BATTLE END! YOU ARE VICTORIOUS!

Gasmask Zombie: +15 XP

Christ. You backpedal until you hit the wall, then feel around for the light switch. You hit the lights...

(This image is banned in Japan. Please use a European, American, or African console to view.)

Christ. It's human, alright, you can tell that much- not only from the size and shape, but from the lack of any mana or khaos coming from the body. And it's pale, too, naked aside from the gasmask- the chopped-up gasmask, along with the chopped-up head. Ugh. There's always so much blood in the human head, and having the brain splattered out over the floor doesn't make it much better...

You crouch by the body and press your hands against its cold, wet back, feeling for anything- some sort of echo of magic, a memory of a soul, anything. But it just feels cold and empty, deader than the appliances in this kitchen.

        • . What Yoei had told you about those government experiments starts to weigh heavily on your mind...

"It would take considerable power, to reanimate like that..."

You blink. "Decarabia? What's taken so long? You've been spotty as a leopard's bollocks lately."

"What a... genteel comparison." He sighs. "Interference, knight. The flows of khaos and mana through this mist are... most unusual. Some seem to flow right into the spiritual world, some nowhere at all. Time and reason seem... suspended, here."

"So that's where you've been? Faffing about back home?"

"Something like that. Knight, these... things... are spread out all over the city. I'm not sure how many, or exactly why, but they haunt the streets in numbers. The common people are all inside, afraid for their lives after the riots, but now-"

"Yeah, I follow. Got to kill these louts before the peasants start going outside."

Great. Urban warfare, your least favorite. Not to mention, you gotta keep the witnesses low...


You stare at the pale corpse on the ground, its head chopped open like an uncommonly juicy watermelon.

(http://worldfamousdesignjunkies.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/96.jpg)

Ugh. You're always surprised by how much blood the human head can hold. Doesn't help that the bleedin' gasmask zombie is still twitching, blood still being pumped through its reanimated body- blood bubbles through the broken fragments of skull, making a weird squelching sound.

You sigh. Well, whatever.

Looking around the kitchen, you spot a bottle of sake. You douse the still-twitching corpse in it, and lighting a napkin on fire with the gas stove, set the zombie on fire. Even with the smoke, the fire alarm doesn't go off... something's odd about this...

The Imperial Hotel Tokyo staff can deal with this. For now, you need to get to the bottom of this.

"They can sense you, knight."

"Huh?" Decarabia starts talking to you again as you exit the kitchen to the lobby and head towards the entrance.

"Your spiritual activity... your soul is different, using khaos instead of mana to change the world around you. They can feel that."

You snort. "Good. Maybe they'll come to us and we can finish this rot before dinner."

Wait. They sense khaos instead of mana? Since when are zombies... ?

Oh. ****! "Decarabia! Where are these buggers headed?"

"I... can't tell. They're moving even when they are still. They're all... connected."

        • . ****.... even the best Necromancer in Britain couldn't pull something like this. These zombies aren't just reanimated dead- they're being remotely controlled. Zombies are animated by the force of their previous soul- and normal humans can only detect mana. If these zombies are hunting for khaos, they've got a specific target.

You.

Balling your hands into fists, you resist the powerful urge to throw your Kusanagi at the chandelier hanging in the lobby. "****ing damn it! Son of a bastard's bloody *****!"

You just walked into a trap the size of Tokyo.

Now... you need to think. You need to keep everyone safe, first things first. Wakako and Pyramid Head might be secondary targets, but... ****. Mai's been working alongside you as well. If Kira has eyes on the street, he probably knows. Blimey, Kira might be psychic for all you know.

What's today? Tuesday? Mai's a college student, she must be at the University of Tokyo.

"Don't let your emotions get in the-"

"Stow it, Decarabia." You dragged Mai into this mess of a mystery. You gotta help her. Chivalry won't allow her to die.

You dash out of the doors of the hotel, and stop.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4YOVAHZ53U&feature=related

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3317/3563658853_72bb7d8fe7_b.jpg)

Bugger your bloody bollocks. They've been waiting.

Two hundred feet away, eight gasmasked... zombies are standing, wearing gray, dirty rainjackets. They're different from the others you've seen, somehow...

(http://orglant.com/img/gun-barrel-coating1.jpg)

Oh. They have handguns. Pointed at you. That's why.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRlzl_05Asw&feature=related
This is war.)

Eight against one. Nothing you haven't seen before.

Reaction Time: 32

Your body feels uncommonly light- maybe from Decarabia- and you throw all your strength forward into a dash, sliding behind the huge statue-fountain in front of the Imperial Hotel Tokyo as bullets whistle past you, some hitting the statue, making the bronze ring in the dead air.

'"Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, I pray of thee- let me bring death to thine enemies; let me burn them with thine light. AMEN!

BATTLE COMMENCE!

As you sidle up against the fountain for cover and draw the Kusanagi and the kitchen knife, you quickly cast Hematomancy for an extra tick of khaos.

HP: 70/112
KP: 35/226

You grit your teeth in pain as you feel the blood in your bone marrow simmer and burn, but then you feel a cold, reassuring presence in your chest- a burst of KP.

You hold up the kitchen knife to use as a mirror to see how close the neo-zombies are, but as you do so (and see a gasmask in the blade- terrifyingly close), a gunshot rings out and the knife is blasted out of your hand! ****!

Barking out in pain, you pull back your left hand- and thinking quickly, swing the Kusanagi, right into the chest of the neo-zombie coming around the corner- the same one who shot the knife out of your hand.

It barely flinches from the strike, but with the blade still stuck in its chest, you push it in deeper to get closer to him. He raises his pistol again, but this time, you're ready.

Reflexes: 28
Preflexes: 15
Pistol: 17

You push the gun away as he pulls the trigger, the bullet flying past your head harmlessly. You rip the gun out of his hand, stabbing the Kusanagi into him even deeper, and fire two shots into his head.

Another neo-zombie has come around the fountain from the other side! However, you easily pull the disarmed zombie around using the sword in his chest as a lever, and now with the dead zombie between you and the new one, you use the dead zombie as a bullet shield and fire four shots at the new one, three hitting his chest and another going through his neck.

That doesn't kill him- you kick the impaled zombie forward, causing the point of the Kusanagi to stab the new zombie as well. The two zombies flop to the ground on top of one another, both impaled on the Kusanagi.

Unfortunately, the other six zombies weren't just sitting around. Two more have circled around the fountain- you turn to deal with them, only to receive five combined shots to the chest.

Chest trauma! -15 HP

Pain Resistance: 42

You gasp in pain, breath flying out of your lungs. The body armor protects your internal organs, but it feels like a car just rammed into you (your chest wound doesn't make things much better). Decarabia fills your lungs with fresh air- and you leap forward at the two neo-zombies, grabbing a pistol with each hand. You force them to point at each other's heads, and fire repeatedly. The gasmasks are shredded by the bullets, and they fall into the fountain.

As you're doing this, another neo-zombie has simply walked around the fountain, but is a good twenty feet away- as he lines up the shot, you grab one of the pistols from the dead neo-zombies and roll into cover around the fountain as bullets rip up the tiled cement. But as you come out of your roll, you see another three neo-zombies on the other side of the fountain, aiming at you!

Aeromancy: 2 + 20

"**** off!" you roar, feeling your arms begin to shake with the force of powerful wind currents. You thrust out both of your arms at them and feel two massive blasts of air generated from your body!

The three zombies stumble back from the combined force of two Air Thrusts, shooting wildly and hitting each other a few times. Not sure how long they'll be stunned, you raise the pistol you took from the other neo-zombie and unload four bullets into each, getting at least one headshot per target. They hit the ground, convulsing and spasming in their own blood.

One left. You circle around the fountain, picking up another handgun- a revolver this time- and look around for the last neo-zombie. But...

        • . Where is he? You scan the flagpoles lining the courtyard of the hotel, the trees and flowers and...


"Beware, knight!"

Reaction Time: 32

You sense movement behind you, and spinning on your heel, you bring up your gun. It smacks against the gun of the neo-zombie, and he fires it. The bullet grazes your neck- you unload the entire revolver into the zombie's face, cracking the lenses of his gasmask and sending him spasming over the edge into the fountain.

Still breathing shallowly, you draw your Walther P99AS and circle the fountain, eyes wide open. You sense no more movement... no more sound. Just... silence, and the fog.

YOU ARE VICTORIOUS!

Gasmask Neo-Zombie (x8): 160 XP
Double kill: x1.1
Disarm kill: x1.1

Total XP Gained: 194 XP

XP To Next Level: 202 XP

You blow out a deep breath, and with a groan, you sit down on the edge of the fountain. The blue is now a dark, murky red. The zombies have sunk to the bottom, now just blurry shadows in the water.

"Blimey."

"You always keep company such as this, knight?"

"You're talkative all of a sudden, windbag." You begin to pick the bullets out of your body armor. Hmm... looks like they're mainly .45 ACP with a .38 Special, no wonder they hurt. You hop off the fountain and begin looting the bodies.

"Rapier wit, I see," Decarabia shoots back mockingly. "Well, these... things... are still on the move. I'm not sure where, but... it'd be best if we didn't stay here."

You turn the guns over in your hands, thinking...

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fx39uLNu48g)

You have obtained the SIG Sauer P220 DAK! (+ 1 extra magazine)
(http://www.sigsauer.com/upFiles/catalog/product/P220R-DAK-detail-L.jpg)

You have obtained the Nambu Model 60! (+ 10 bullets)
(http://www.imfdb.org/images/a/ae/Nambu60.jpg)

This... is odd. Eight enemies. Four using police issue weapons. Four using police issue backup weapons. This isn't good... either these zombies have connections, or Wakako is down four squaddies.

Well, whatever. You got two extra guns out of this, and now the enemy is down eight men. But these zombies are getting smarter... you were lucky that time, but you don't know how much more of this you can handle.

You walk over and pick up the kitchen knife. Huh, just a bit scratched. Damn fine workmanship.

"Knight, are you done here?"

Decarabia's right.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s75AUsadLLI&feature=related)

You can't faff about here any longer. The neo-zombies are on the move- you can feel it, even without Decarabia's help. It's this fog, this ****ing fog... it's doing something to you. Making it hard to think. Easy to fight.

You wish you had that cigarette you lit from the riot- you feel uneasy as hell.

"The air is... wrong. Don't you feel it?"

You nod to yourself- and to Decarabia too- as you sniff at the air. No wind. No smell. The splashing of the fountain seems muted, somehow. Now that you're outside the building, in the fog... you can feel it on your skin, sticking to the insides of your lungs and seeping into your pores.

But why does it feel so... familiar?

You shake your head violently. You can't stop and think. You have to get back to Pyramid Head and Wakako.

You dash out into the street, remembering that the police station isn't too far away. You'll have to cut some alleys and hop some rooftops to save time, but it's nothing you haven't done before.

(http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4043/4524315473_940c0baf77_o.jpg)

You work your way northeast, avoiding what used to be busy streets. Zombies mostly worked on memory- logically they'd be where there'd be lots of people. But then again, these zombies were anything but normal...

Why do you feel so nervous all of a sudden? You took those neo-zombies out no problem...


(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tbl1Id9185w&feature=related

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/142/324657293_2f33390a90_o.jpg)


You blink. As you come out of a narrow alley, you find yourself standing in a blank, blurry landscape... surrounding by shadows... all of them screaming, howling, shrieking, wailing...

You blink again, and you're back in Tokyo.

Dniw eht no deirrac eb. Sselniap. Elbativeni.

You have to fight the sudden urge to throw up.

"Knight? What's wrong? You... disappeared... for a brief moment..."

It's not the fog. It's what's in the fog. It's where the fog came from. It's pulling you back. Back to beneath Sugamo Prison. Back to what hell spat out.

You break out into a full-on sprint, feeling as you twitch through realities with every step. You know you're headed toward the police station. But with one step you get closer with Pyramid Head, and another you drift farther and farther out into a world that you could never make sense of.

Decarabia is talking to you. Trying to talk to you. Each word fades in and out, until you can't tell the words, only the meaning and emotion behind them- confusion, anger, fear, fear, fear.

You can't stop to listen. You can't stop. If you stop you'll never get out. If you stop you will cease to exist.

If you stop-

"SHUUSHI!"

You skid to a halt, light blinding you. You feel yourself thrown back into the real world- panting and sweating and sick.

You lift up a hand, shading your eyes from the light. You can see a line of men ahead of you, a big building in the background. All have guns on you...

A large shadow parts the line of gunmen easily. As it walks forward, it blocks some of the light... and you recognize him.

(http://fc03.deviantart.net/fs27/f/2008/132/e/5/Pyrmaid_Head_by_Tamasaburo89.jpg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FBYk44qMKHI&feature=related)

He throws his arms open wide and grabs you in a hug, nearly banging your face against his helmet. He squeezes you against his chest happily, and you return the manly hug.

"Good to see you too, bruv," you say, patting him on the shoulder. Now, with people around you, and a solid building standing ahead of you... you feel solidly in this world. Pyramid Head releases you from his crushing hug, and when your boots hit the concrete... they stay there. In reality.

The line of police officers parts again. This time, Wakako comes out to meet you.

(http://features.cgsociety.org/newgallerycrits/g30/240030/240030_1255300056_large.jpg
http://www.interzone.com/~cheung/World/Jap/General/Policeman.JPG
For the uniform, no hat though.)

"You've taken long enough. We have a mission to take care of."

Christ. So much for a hello. Pyramid Head looks at you and shrugs apologetically. Huh... you notice now, without the light in your eyes, a pile of bodybags up against the side of the police station. Huh...

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTqo0mQr39U
Police jingle.

Keishicho.jpg)

The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Headquarters stands grim and tall in the background as Police Inspector Wakako Tanegasima walks back towards it, her police squaddies flanking her. You look back at Pyramid Head, who nods and encourages you to go with them. With a sigh, you begin to follow.

"Wakako..."

"Listen closely, knight. We have received reports that armed militants have captured the Tokyo Tower."

You blink. "Wot?"

She looks back at you in irritation. "Notice how all communication devices are jammed? Phones, television, radio, Internet? We've pinpointed why." She pointed north. Though the mist choked out the city, you could remember from your other times around Tokyo what the tower looked like.

(Tokyo_Tower_M4854.jpg)

"Great," you say with a sigh. "So these pillocks know what they're doing."

"It seems that way." Wakako turned back around to face you, and you stopped in surprise. There were huge dark spots under her eyes, her eyes bloodshot and her face covered in cuts, burns and bruises. She hadn't slept in days, and had been out there beating back the riots, probably dealing with those neo-zombies too. You feel kind of guilty... you haven't given her much credit.

"Look, by the way," you pull out the Sig SAUER P220 DAK and the Nambu Model 60. The cops around Wakako reach for their own guns, but Wakako calls them off with a tired wave. "Found these on some bad guys. Eight guns in all- four pistols, four revolvers. Looks like you've lost some men."

A pained look flashes across Wakako's face so fast you think you imagined it. "I see. We have already taken heavy casualties," she says gravely, pointing to the mass of body bags stacked against the side of the building. However, most of them seem to be dead rioters... or zombies. That's good, at least.

"Anyways," Wakako continues, "we need to take back the Tower if we want to get help to the citizens and organize ourselves better. Besides..." She looks out into the mist, her eyes hardening. "We won't last much longer against those... people."

You give Wakako a sidelong glance. Does she know that not all of her enemies aren't human? She's no dumbarse... "Right," you say. Looking around, you see that Wakako ha sixteen police officers to spare.

"So listen closely. I want you and Pyramid-sama to stay here and hold down the station with eight of my men. I and the rest will go to retake the Tower no matter the cost. There are civilians inside the station I want you to keep protected. Do you understand?"

Finally, a real battle is coming. But her plan...

Ad blocker interference detected!


Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.