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'Sup. Felt like writing a story for whoever's interested and willing to read. Any questions, comments, or suggestions are welcomed.

The story will include characters from various anime/manga series and videogames, depending on the routes chosen. And some original characters, too.

Anyways, this is on the fly. Starting.




You stand calmly at the bus stop, looking up at the clouds as they passed by.

"How lovely...it's a nice day today."

It's nice and warm out...summer was nearly ready to begin, and school was winding down. A few more classes and exams, and it would all be good.

The bus arrives and you step onto it, showing the driver your pass and taking a seat near a window. You look absentmindedly at the streets outside. Damn.

It seemed almost too quiet out there. Nah, that was crazy thinking. This was how it always was.

"Excuse me, young miss...may I have that seat?" You look up to see an old man with a cane standing near you.

"Oh, pardon me," you say as you begin to get up. But suddenly, you see something reflected in the glass on the other side of the bus. Something...something...

"Get down!" You knock the old man down as something rips through the side of the bus where your head used to be.

"You okay, old-timer?"

"...It seems as if it's time already."

"..."

So he knew more than he was letting on. Did he sense your power already? Damn, that's odd.

"Will you go?"

"Might as well," you say calmly. You didn't think something like this would happen in town, though.

Whatever. It's time to get to work.

The large blade that tore open the bus comes at you again. You grab the back of it and twist it right off, arm and all.

"So..." What looks like a mechanical scorpion stands before you, bladed claws...well, remaining bladed claw ready to cut you apart. Its tail is primed and ready to strike.

"...What a joke," you say, brushing back your hair.

You have plenty of time for a refresher course.

---

"Right...let's begin."

Your eyes start to scan the machine in front of you, looking for any weaknesses or openings that you can find. At the same time, you notice it start to move a little in one direction.

A claw comes at you, but you've already sidestepped it. You've also calculated the maximum reach of the tail, so you skip back and watch as it stops in front of you, right where you predicted it would.

Without another moment's hesitation, you smash the tail into the ground and rush at the scorpion, again taking note of the claw coming back towards you. You calculate the balance point quickly and...

"Easy."

With just one finger, you shove the claw cleanly away and resume your dash. You launch a mighty kick at a certain point on one of the scorpion's legs, then another, and then another, until all eight legs have been hit. You then vault yourself onto the scorpion's back.

"That should do it."

The legs all collapse at once, sending the scorpion crashing to the ground on its belly. You find the panel for the head and easily tear out the wires within, shutting down the machine for good.

"Well, it seems that young people today still know how to work hard, I see."

The old man from earlier, with his white hair peeking out from his hat and cane holding him up, came near to speak to you. You jump down from the scorpion and look at him strangely.

"Who are you, old man?" He was just wearing normal pants, a summer jacket, and a button-up shirt. He certainly didn't look out of the ordinary, but...

"You'll come to know in time, Child of the Red Forest."

"...You know too much about me. I'm slightly annoyed."

"As you would be..."

He tips his hat, walks off, and seemingly disappears into the crowd that had gathered. Another voice grabs your attention.

"I thought I'd find you here, Tomoko."

"You'd find me anywhere, wouldn't you?"

"Of course...after all, you're my one true love, aren't you?"

"You need to stop that...I don't feel up to being teased today."

"But I mean that, I really do! You're so stubborn!"

This person was known as a top, or rather the top idol in many countries. She insisted on being treated like a normal schoolgirl...but when you filled out your uniform oh-so-perfectly, aced every test, had every boy wanting you and every girl who didn't want you as well wanting to be you...well, that was just a little difficult.

To make everything even weirder, she's your childhood friend. Your childhood friend who has a crush on you, apparently, though you didn't really buy it for a moment. Your friend, Nadeshiko Yamato, could have anyone she wanted in the entire world, but she said she wanted you.

None of it added up. Yet...something was faintly saying that you might be wrong.

"Come on, we have to get over to class, Nadeshiko."

"Right, right. But what about this mess? You can't just act like it didn't happen."

"Oh, don't worry. I'll dispose of the trash myself!"

"..."

You look above you to see a very round man with a very large mustache in a very strange flying machine...or hovering machine. Whatever.

"And then, I'll take care of the machine over there."

"...Did you come up with that one yourself?" you say coldly.

"Why you-! I'll teach you to be mouthy, brat..."

Something descends from the sky...a huge robot of sorts, which the fat man loads himself into. It has some sort of energy drill, a gun arm modeled after a revolver, and stands on two legs. He laughs at you...and it's a pretty annoying laugh.

"Ohohohoho! Witness the genius of the mighty Doctor Eggman! Behold, my ultra-hyper Prototype One! Get ready to be schooled."

"Ara, ara...I see we have a situation here." She brushes back her long, silky dark hair as she surveys the situation, her figure emphasized as the breeze blows past and the sun hits her body. For a moment, you can't help but be mesmerized by this girl...but your mind brings you back to the task at hand.

"Yeah, quite the situation. Are you ready, Nadeshiko?"

"But of course...after all, I have you to protect me, Tomoko."

You wish she would come off it for once...but you've got bigger fish to fry right now.

---

The Egg Dragoon makes a beeline for your position as people start running and screaming again.

"We'll aim straight for Eggman, but I'll be thinking of a good trap in the meantime. Nadeshiko, follow my lead until I tell you otherwise. After that, take the other side while I take this one," you said.

She nods and watches you intently.

"Get a load of this!"

Eggman has the mech slash at you with its energy drill, but you've already made the calculations and dodged easily. Nadeshiko slides to a stop behind him and takes off one of her hair clips. She bursts forward and takes a mighty leap into the air, and then seemingly kicks off of the air itself to shoot straight down at Eggman, while having the hair clip scratch against the cockpit.

An energy field prevents any damage from occurring, and Nadeshiko starts towards the ground. The mech's gun is already firing at her...

She looks directly at you in that moment. You give her a single command.

"Right."

She smiles as a wave of energy bullets punch through her afterimage, and she bounds right off of a nearby light pole, ramming right into the mech and knocking it off balance with her momentum. She hits the ground and sprints out of range again.

Hmm. It looked like this machine didn't have the greatest balance after all. Your trap is pretty much complete with that little tidbit.

"You've got something, haven't you?" Nadeshiko says as she puts her hair clip back.

"Naturally. I think he's going to start sniping at us, though, so pour on the speed."

"Okay."

Just as you predicted, a hail of bullets races towards you both. "I'll be the bait. You take the other side as soon as we split!"

She nods and you both take off with great speed, dodging as fast as you can; Nadeshiko with her pure speed, and you with calculated movements. Again, you can't help but watch her amazing form as she passes...every movement she makes is fluid and graceful.

...You didn't want to watch too long, though. The bullet storm ends and you deliberately rush left towards the energy drill. Eggman is already winding up and putting the drill to full charge as he swings it hard at you. The ground beneath it is torn up as it misses you once, twice, three times. You squeeze by, but then he decides to try and stab the drill into the ground...the resulting shockwave could do some damage if that landed.

Nadeshiko drops a step, watching you intensely...and there's a hint of fear written on her face.

No need for her to worry, you think. This one should be in the bag...

---

"I'll try to run under it, Nadeshiko! Just make sure that you keep going!"

She looks at you with concern, but nods her head and springs forward. You time your steps carefully and measure the distance to safety....damn, it was going to be too close. However, if he did miss, your theory should be proven true.

You channel as much energy as you can into your legs and put on even more speed, the ground ahead of you becoming more and more compromised by the second. The drill is suddenly on top of you, and you decide to take a risk and slide right under the impact zone. Extending your leg, you skid right through the recently created debris and feel the ground shake violently beneath you. However, you were perfectly fine...you wished that you hadn't worn a skirt today because of the sliding, but that wasn't much to fuss about.

The mech pulls its drill out of the earth fairly quickly, but by that time you've already popped out of your slide, chugged forward, lowered your shoulder, and you're now charging right at one of its legs.

The impact is less than subtle, but it's effective. The thrusters on the mech's back kick in again to try and restore balance...

Too bad the next attack came so soon.

Nadeshiko runs right under the gun arm and slices through the other leg using her hair clip. Again, the thrusters kick in to compensate, this time even more so than before. You jump onto the arm housing the energy drill and run right up it, your sights set on the cockpit where Eggman is. He snarls at you and then says a bunch of things that are muted by the cockpit's glass.

You read his lips easily...oh, he's pretty angry. It wouldn't be right to repeat some of the things he just said, either.

Oh, well. This was about over anyways.

You leap into the air and onto the arm with the gun, stomping it right into the ground below. Nadeshiko runs up and kicks the gun, sending the mech spinning around and around in a circle.

Eggman cuts the thrusters for a moment, and the mech lands on its remaining leg.

Jackpot.

You take another run at it and drop your shoulder as you push the leg out of its socket. The machine falls to the ground, face first. Before it can recover, you find a steel pipe and shove it right though the middle of the mech's back, listening as all of its systems come to a complete halt.

Eggman, naturally, ejects himself from the cockpit and rises into the air on his hovering machine.

"You lucky brats...next time, I won't even give you a chance to breathe. You'll regret this..."

He flies away, his machine sputtering and leaving thick smoke in its wake.

"So, that's over and done with," Nadeshiko says casually. "Perhaps we should leave this to the authorities and just head to school?"

"Maybe...maybe not. Thanks for your help, Nadeshiko."

"Anything for you, Tomoko..." she says in a sweet tone. You roll your eyes. She needed to quit with the jokes.

"Whatever. I just need to figure out what to do with this thing. And I have a feeling that these kind of events will continue to happen." Your mind goes back to the old man from earlier.

"In that case, we'll have to stay away from school for a while, right?"

"Not necessarily. I want to do some investigating there, as well."

"I suppose. What are you going to do right now, Tomoko?"

Good question...might as well figure it out.

---

"I'm going to analyze this machine here. It might give me something to go on, and I also might be able to figure out why the fat man attacked us."

"Okay. I'll just wait here, then," Nadeshiko says.

"It's okay, I'll be fine by myself."

"And deny myself the pleasure of watching you work? Not likely~"

Shut up already!

You turn your attention back to the mech and start to pick it apart. After analyzing the parts, you're able to create a few weapons for yourself and Nadeshiko, as well as some other useful tools. The scorpion...you had forgotten about it, but it was trash anyways. Not worth the time or effort.

"A few new shiny toys, huh? You're really getting good at this, Tomoko."

"Practice makes perfect," you reply. "I've been doing this for a long time."

"You've also been alone for a long time. But...you have me now, right?"

You nod in agreement. Nadeshiko was one of the few people you knew who would look right into your eyes. She didn't care about fame or status, even though she was a well-known idol. This girl, more than anything, had a huge heart. That was something you really did love about her.

"I'm happy that I've gotten to know you, Nadeshiko."

"Me too...in fact, I'm so happy that I...my feelings..."

She wants to continue on, but stops. "I won't bother. That's enough teasing for today," she says with a smile.

Something about that seemed hollow. Maybe it was just you...?

---

After loading up your backpack with your new tools (you carry very few of your books for school anyways), you head off to school. Your high school, Southern High, is a massive building with seven floors and a basement, and a population of over three thousand students. There are enough teachers so that classes can be tended to properly, and class sizes are reasonable. Nadeshiko is treated like royalty by staff and students alike from the moment she steps onto the campus. You have always been just another observer, an unimportant piece to the puzzle...

Nadeshiko tries, but she can't get you any friends or any popularity by association...as far as everyone else is concerned, you're just a loner. You don't mind one bit, it just gives you more time to work on things you liked.

Speaking of the things you enjoyed...by the time you got to school it was halfway through first period. You and Nadeshiko have the same homeroom. Somehow, you always have. Was this fate screaming at you? You consider it for a moment.

Nadeshiko got no trouble because of her status; you got no trouble because your marks were through the roof like hers. People said you were a certified genius. How interesting...it wasn't like you were born this way, either. Any day, any hour, this gift could disappear and you'd have nothing left. That's why you worked like there was no tomorrow, so that if that time came, you'd have you own strength in the end, at least...

Lunch time rolled around. You find your usual spot on the school rooftop, noting the figure standing there. She had long, black hair that ran down to her waist, and cold blue eyes. She's short, and a little thin. There's a lunchbox in her hands.

"Tomoko."

She says your name with the slightest hint of affection. This is the closest you'll get to any true emotion from her. She's usually quiet and alone, shunned by everyone except a few, yourself included.

"Afternoon, Rin. I'm looking forward to today's meal."

And with that, you trade lunchboxes, as you always do. Rin's cooking is out of this world, and she seems to enjoy your modest work at making lunches.

Just then, a blur goes by you and stops right in front of Rin. A brown-haired boy hands a bottle of juice to her.

"Arigatou," she says quietly.

"It's no problem, Rin-senpai. Is there anything else?" He looks pretty weak and scrawny...but he was impossibly fast with that type of body. You're curious about this boy...

"Oh! Sorry, Akabayashi-senpai. I didn't mean to interrupt. I'll be on my way, unless Rin-senpai needs something else..."

She shakes her head delicately.

"You don't have to be so formal with me. Tomoko is fine," you say to him. "We're all people here...besides, rankings and status and formalities don't hold much value to me in the first place. May I ask your name?"

"Yeah. It's Sena Kobayakawa. I'm honored to meet you, Tomoko-senpai."

"Look, just Tomoko. I won't beat you up for it."

"Sorry, force of habit..."

Well, whatever. Sena, huh?

---

"So, tell me about yourself Sena," you say.

"Well...don't laugh at me for this..."

"I've got no reason to make fun of you. Go on."

"...I've been working out, and I want to see if I could make the football team for next year. I guess you couldn't tell, huh?"

"No, not really," you say bluntly.

"Yeah, I thought as much," he replies sheepishly. "I never thought that I'd want to play football with all of those huge guys smashing into each other all the time. It looked scary. But, I got to try it myself one day...I was sore for a month, but the experience was worth it. I've gotten into the whole training regimen, too."

"Well, keep it up. I'll be rooting for you."

"Thank you, Tomoko."

"I guess that could help you with those bullies as well, huh?"

He looks at you strangely. "How'd you know?"

"You movements, the way you run in general. It's very hurried, very tense and twitchy. No doubt you've developed this speed from running errands and buying bread for those punks all of these years, as well as running away from danger."

"Yeah..." He makes no attempt to hide that.

"There's also someone you want to reassure, and something you want to prove."

"Both of those things are true, too...you're amazing."

"Not really. I just..." Your eyes drift over to Rin, who has her back turned and is staring at the sky in front of her. "I just have some experience with these things," you say a little sadly. "I also have something else to ask you, Sena."

"Yes, what is it?"

"Has there been anything strange or out of the ordinary happening lately? Anything that can't be easily explained?"

"Well, come to think of it...there have been a few things. There's this green guy with antennae...I think those are antennae, at least. He's wearing a strange outfit and is sitting in the park a few blocks from the campus. I think he's meditating from what I've heard. Hiruma-senpai told me about it when he was passing through a while ago."

"Hm. Anything else?" you ask.

"Madam President is looking for you, if you're not busy."

The student council president, huh? You wonder what she wants out of you so suddenly.

"There's also something up with the trains lately. There might be a problem with the track systems, from what I've heard, on the A Line. They say it's a pretty severe virus..."

"Someone must have put it there, then." Your mind goes to work quickly. These incidents didn't seem connected at all, but...

"Life is full of surprises," you say to yourself.

"Sorry, it looks like I've got to go now. It was nice meeting you, senpai."

"You as well, Sena. Take care."

He starts off, but stops for a moment to look back at you. "You know...I don't understand why they'd say you were scary. It makes even less sense now..."

As he leaves, you take note of what he said. He didn't think you were scary...

Well, that's a welcome response. Nice kid, too. You tap Rin on the shoulder and bow as she turns around.

"Thanks for the food. I've got some work to do, so I'll see you later."

She nods gently and bows in response, then turns back to face the sky. Sadness stirs withing you as you remember why she was like this...why she was so cold to everyone. Because long ago...she...

You shake your head and stop the train of thought. No time to get depressed now, there was work to be done.

After school would be the perfect time to investigate the park and the train situation. You could see the President any time if you so chose, although you could do that after school as well. There really wasn't any need to rush. Yet.

---

You decide that the President can wait a while longer. The first thing you want to do is take a look at the situation in the park.

After class, you call up Nadeshiko.

"Hey~! It's so good to hear your voice!"

"Nadeshiko, I talked to a boy named Sena Kobayakawa today. He told me some interesting things."

"Oh? Like what?"

"He said that there was a strange guy in the park. Hear anything about that?"

"Ah...as a matter of fact, I was planning to drop by and have a look myself. Are you going?"

"Right now, yes. I want to check out the train situation as well. Something on the A Line."

"I see. Well, you're better with that sort of thing that I am, or else I'd go and investigate in your place. I'll meet you at the park entrance, if that's okay with you."

"...You're asking?"

"It doesn't hurt to be considerate with your crush~"

Oi. This girl...

"Look, just meet me there in a bit, okay?" You hang up. Nadeshiko seemed to be in a cheerful mood today. That was good. Maybe what you had thought earlier was just your imagination after all.

---

"Sena...Kobayakawa. Yes, I remember that boy. He's quite fast, isn't he?"

You stand near the park entrance with Nadeshiko. Apparently, she and Sena had met before..

"He ran a few errands for myself and Mamori a while back. She's practically his sister, that one. I think she's a bit too protective sometimes, if I had to say..."

So...that was one of the reasons Sena wanted to change. Made sense. He didn't want this girl to worry about him for the rest of his life.

"Anyways, let's go. Maybe he's left by now," she says. However, as you reach there...

"Whoa."

There's a large crowd gathered around one spot. That must be where he is.

"Do you feel that?" Nadeshiko asks suddenly. You know what she's talking about. There's some sort of invisible physical force shoving at you, and as you get closer and closer. Eventually, you make it to where you're right in front of the...foreigner, or whatever he is.

He opens his eyes and stands up.

Oh...oh, damn. He was huge. He stood about two feet taller than you were, and was extremely muscular. He wore a purple dougi (outfit) with a sky blue obi (sash), and over that was a white cape, with a turban on his head.

He looked down on you, and you feel yourself shake for a brief moment as his energies are focused on you. He seemed really strong...like someone not to mess with.

...Well, it just wasn't his day, was it?

"I'm here to ask a few questions, mister..."

"If you want a name...you'll have to give me a conversation starter, kid."

"Oh. Okay...now that, I can do quite easily. What do you think of this one?"

You swiftly step to the left as Nadeshiko leaps forward and launches a kick towards him. He simply puts up an arm and blocks, but you use that time to jump and vault yourself off of Nadeshiko's back with a free hand. You flip over with one leg extended and bring it down on his head. He pushes Nadeshiko's leg off with his arm and quickly moves it up top to block your kick. You flip backwards off of the recoil and land on the grass.

Whoops. He's already in your face with a punch. Concentrate, now! Your brain finally gets a workout as you calculate distances and velocities in mere moments, and you manage to parry his punch successfully.

You spin off to one side, watching as Nadeshiko bounces on her feet in front of him.

"Not bad," he says. "Should've known you weren't just ordinary kids when you didn't faint just from being near me."

"Sorry, ordinary isn't in our vocabulary. So, was that enough of a conversation starter?"

"Yeah, I guess so. The name's Piccolo."

He then decides to take off his turban and cape, throwing them to one side unceremoniously.

"And the warm-up's over."

There's a huge thud as the clothing hits the ground, leaving...craters? Wow. So he was wearing weighted clothing the whole time...that's kind of scary.

"Nadeshiko..."

She's completely focused on the fight ahead, and her whole demeanor had changed. Her tone was cool and composed as she spoke.

"I'm ready, Tomoko."

Right. It was time for you to turn it on as well. You drop your backpack and breathe deeply.

"Let's do this."

---

"Nadeshiko! Together with me!"

"Okay!"

You rush to her side and stick your arm out, touching the back of your hand against hers. Like this, you can feel her movements and energies, and she can feel yours. It was something you had done ever since you were kids.

As long as you were in contact, you could even read each other's movements and build off of them. This skill had the weakness of a short range, but it was still very useful. Probably the best choice against an opponent like this.

You can feel her start to shake a little. Was she nervous?

"Nadeshiko, it's alright. We'll be fine together. We always have been."

"It's...it's not that," she says. "It's something else."

"What is it?"

"I..." She stops and shakes her head.

"Don't hold out on me, Nadeshiko. Tell me, right now."

She looks deeply into your eyes and speaks. "I love you. I love you more than anyone else in the world, and I want to be with you for the rest of my life. That's what I wanted to say. I wasn't teasing all those times I said I liked you, but I never was like this before. I just wanted you to know how I truly felt."

She looks away. "Sorry...let's just-"

"Nadeshiko. I can't return your feelings."

"...I see..."

"I can't return them yet. But I will try my best to search my heart for my response, my real response, when this 'life' is over."

"Tomoko..."

"Just know one thing. Now that you've given me your heart, I won't let it go. Ever. Starting from now, you are my life, Nadeshiko. Thank you for confessing your feelings to me. Most of all, thank you for loving me, for truly loving me. Now, we'll talk later. Our guest is waiting."

"Yes...I understand!" Her eyes are blazing with passion after your exchange. Heck, you're both really pumped up.

"Let's go for it!" You clasp each others' hands and charge forward towards Piccolo. He disappears in a blur, but you can hear him coming towards you through the air. You block with one arm, still holding onto Nadeshiko as she swings forward and counters with a kick of her own. He parries and throws a punch, but you pull Nadeshiko back and out of the way before throwing a punch of your own. He blocks again and pushes you back.

You brake against the grass along with Nadeshiko, and then you both charge back towards Piccolo. As soon as you both reach him, you push off of each others' hands and end up on opposite sides of him. You time yourself so that you fall out of sync with Nadeshiko at the last moment, letting her throw a kick first before launching an attack of your own. Piccolo blocks Nadeshiko's attack and dodges yours, then grabs your outstretched leg to throw you.

Nadeshiko spins off of the block in the air and throws another kick, which is blocked. You stretch your hand out as she falls towards the ground, and she grabs it. You then swing her around to Piccolo's back, and he raises a shin to counter her incoming kick. You twist around while in his grip and launch a kick at his head, which he again dodges. He grabs your other leg and immobilizes you.

Or so he thinks. Nadeshiko is still holding your hand, and she takes the opportunity to switch her grip to your wrists as she comes back around and hits the ground. You pour strength into your legs, and as she starts to swing your over her head, you lift Piccolo up through the air as he holds onto your legs.

He smartly lets go and falls, but you flip the situation to your advantage as Nadeshiko jumps and launches herself through the air by kicking off of your hands as you flip over. She tries another kick that is blocked, but you're already right behind her and throw a punch through a small opening which hits him in the chest.

He hesitates for a moment after the hit lands, and Nadeshiko continues the combination with a lightning-fast kick to the head, which also lands. She spins in the air and hits him with another in the shoulder, then flips back and pulls you forward, allowing you to land another two strikes to his midsection. He skips backwards and looks at you both with a bit of surprise.

"Huh. There really is a lot more to you girls than meets the eye..."

"Naturally," you say in a bold tone.

"You've learned a new trick, haven't you?" Nadeshiko asks. "He normally shouldn't be reeling from those kinds of attacks, but you're seeming to hit very specific spots."

"That's all it is, yes."

"You manage to amaze me more and more each day, Tomoko."

"Well, I don't plan on changing any time soon."

"Wonderful to hear~"

You have the feeling this battle could get tougher, but right now, everything's looking good. Both sides aren't honestly going all out, so there won't be any serious injuries if everyone's paying attention. You've mostly tuned out the crowd, but they seem to be really excited so far.

Ah, but they didn't matter that much.

"So, are we making any changes?"

"Let me think on that for a second, Nadeshiko..."

---

(cont.)

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