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Rat Race [Quest | Hatsuharu]

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#1Akira Shimada 

on Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:08 pm

Perched on the edge of her bed at the inn, she sighed softly. No one had consulted her before the formation of this team. She couldn't really complain, though, that would be rude even for her. They'd shown considerable concern, in joining Tsuru to attempt finding her. Their intent to rescue her from basically herself and the perceived and assumed danger of her new magic, while she had given up and was on her way to succumb to her alleged end, was commendable. But Akira was still to jarred from all the rare encounters Crocus had offered her. This wasn't really a time for her to celebrate and make merry with some new set of friends. So upon the registration of their team, she'd found a reason to excuse herself... She did want some time to herself, a few precious eventless moments to reassess everything that had transpired...

She considered sneaking out of the Inn, Akira had a nagging feeling Tsuru wouldn't trust her by herself, given her recent predilection, he also wouldn't listen no matter how much she assured him that she was going to be fine. When she tiptoed down the stairs, her eyes fell on the poofy orange hair. Yep... Not going to be getting much respite from his company anymore... she thought. She'd expected this to feel more annoying than it actually did. Perhaps, somewhere in the realms of her mind, she was grateful for his concern. But the task she'd taken upon herself, was going to be an uphill struggle with him dissuading her every moment of the way, she wondered if he'd prove her wrong, perhaps with everything they'd endured, he'd agree with her decision? Surrendering to her fate, she decided to just approach and greet him. 'Hi...' she said softly, a little resigned.



on Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:09 pm


After what his partner pulled the previous day, Haru had kept a very close on eye on her. They had got a two-bedroom suite, but he stayed in the living room all the time while Akira slept in her room. He barely slept and hung bells on the window and the main door so that every time someone opens the door or the window, he hears the bell and wakes up in case he had fallen asleep. Pretty extreme measures, maybe. But he didn’t think so after what he had to go through when she went missing. The young man was making some herbal tea when Akira woke and entered the living room. He pretended to act like he was still upset with her. Without responding to her ‘hi’, he simply handed her the cup of tea and turned away dramatically, expressing his apparent anger.

The two had not had the time to talk about why she did what she did. Immediately after they found her, they had to rush to the hospital and then they were assigned to a team to defend the incoming attack. This was probably the worst time to not work as a team. But humans are seldom logical when they are overwhelmed with emotions.


#3Akira Shimada 

on Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:11 pm

She took the cup and retired towards the window, idly flicking the bell he'd hung. 'Still not talking to me?' she asked softly as she took a long whiff of the steam coming out of the cup. 'What is this? Smells nice...' she asked, the girl had never been much of a conversationalist, but today she had to find a way to get him to ease up. Akira had to convince him to excuse her from this... Inn arrest. She turned her head and looked out of the window, watching the street, reminiscing. That Batra guy's face had been a quite a sight when Tsuru had asked for the double room to share... She smirked to herself as she thought of it and sipped the tea. From all the measures he'd taken, it would be too much of a stretch to expect him to let her just go... Maybe she could ask him to accompany her.

This was going to be a tough bargain. The girl could just make a run for it, it wasn't like he was going to fight her, but with everything they'd shared, Akira couldn't bring herself to disrespect their relationship that much. 'Erm... I was thinking, it's a nice day to go for a walk, maybe get back into the swing of things, help some people maybe... we still need more information about the attack, can never know too much...' she mixed up a lot of reasons in one sentence, from just wanting a stroll, to doing some quests and then back to the impending attack, he'd probably see right through it.



on Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:11 pm


Haru wasn’t sure how long he can keep up this angry façade. After all, he wasn’t truly angry. He was waiting to pounce on an opportunity to go on a full lecture mode. But he swore to himself that he won’t talk to her for an entire week. So, he grit his teeth and held his tongue when she asked him if he still wasn’t willing to talk. To top it off, the lack of sleep was getting to him.

Of course, the promise didn’t last long. He burst out when she suggested they head for a walk. “Why? So that you can run away again?” he asked, turning towards her in a swift one-eighty. “No Missy! You stay right here. The people of Crocus can go about their daily lives for one day without our help. Besides, there is nothing better to do now than prepare for the attack. And to you, preparing means getting the required rest,” he said with his hands on his hips. In his head, it was all a complete disaster already. He doesn’t fight; Akira’s magic was messed up; he had no clue what Asura’s magic was or if at all she had one; and he hadn’t worked with Sage long enough to be an effective team. With an attack on the way that was riling up the entire kingdom, it felt like their team would be definitely screwed over if sent on a mission.

Even if he did say she needed to stay home and rest, he couldn’t help but believe a nice morning walk would be a good idea. He couldn’t deny that the fresh morning air and the physical activity usually helped recovery. But at the same time, he couldn’t risk having her run away again. Maybe she can convince him that she wasn’t going to try that again. Just maybe!


#5Akira Shimada 

on Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:14 pm

Akira's eyebrows twitched. Was he serious? He didn't have a clue what lead up to her decision. So far she'd just played along with his tactics, simply because she didn't feel the need to argue against them, but this new implication was getting to her. Maybe if you'd fought too, I'd not have gone through this. she thought bitterly, but just for a fleeting moment. From what she'd gathered of everything that transpired after she'd been trapped in the dome, there was nothing Tsuru or she could have done to change what happened. With that reminder, she swallowed her need to retaliate. When he called her missy and basically forced the idea of rest, it helped her anger dissipate. His demeanor was much like family, she just let her lips turn downwards as she forlornly continued looking outside.

Finally, she was done with the games and just decided to come out and announce her intention. 'I know you hate the idea of violence... But.' She paused, she kept her face away, the girl assumed he'd probably be wincing already, and preparing to disagree, she just marched on. 'But I can't reliably control my magic yet, its better than it was, but I still feel it could fail me, personally, to feel prepared about this attack, especially given the kind of forces and players we could be up against, like the guy we...' her voice broke as a gentle shudder ran down her spine, she cleared her throat. 'I am going to need to invest in a weapon...' she just spat it out and turned to him to face him, with a gentle wince of her own, in the assumption of his reaction.



on Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:14 pm


Haru was surprised the young teen hadn’t rebelled already. He expected her to respond with a witty or bored come-back like she always did and was surprised when she didn’t. He slouched, putting his arms down and gave a soft sigh. The healer wondered how much the recent near-death experience had changed his partner. Her voice was sweeter than before, for one. And while Haru thought the dried blood in the shape of a crescent moon on her forehead would go away after a shower; but it seemed to have left a faint mark on her.

It was quite obvious the moment she began that statement that it would be something that Haru absolutely doesn’t agree with. However, given the circumstances, the poor healer could do nothing but sigh heavily and slump onto the couch. “Well… Guess you got a point there,” was all he said, as he rested his head on the couch’s back pillow and stared at the ceiling. Of course, he strongly believed violence should not be reciprocated with violence. But, he cannot preach it if he cannot protect her. After all, when the fight happened, he could do absolutely nothing to help. In fact, he was more a burden on his partner than help.

“Alright… Let’s go find you a weapon then,” he said, getting off the couch and heading to his room. He put on his black cloak, wore the geta and was out near the door in less than a minute. All the while, he avoided meeting her eyes, mostly out of guilt and partly because he still couldn’t approve of a weapon. He hurried towards the most famous arms store in the capitol, afraid he would have a change of heart if he stopped even for a second.


#7Akira Shimada 

on Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:17 pm

The lack of friction between the two usually at-odds Rune Knight was probably a welcome experience. But the feeling of compromise lay heavy in the air as she nervously trotted on after Tsuru, wondering if he'd change his mind, bark at her, letting her realize the extent to which he thought this weapon idea was absolute garbage. The defeated attitude in him was cringe-worthy, it was like she'd deflated her partner. Usually, she'd not have cared, but she was trying to be a teensy bit more considerate, just because she'd dealt with the brunt of that crazy large man's magic but he'd not left Tsuru unscathed either.

Tsuru knew the way to the arms shop. That was some small gift, had he been considering something like this too? she didn't really have a chance as he grudgingly made his way into the shop. A young nervous looking boy sat behind the counter. 'Welcome sir, ma'am... Would you wish to make a purchase today?' he asked, in a rhythmic tone, almost like he had programmed himself to do so. Akira cleared her throat and looked around the shop, it had various implements of destruction, from exotic looking multi-bladed daggers and knuckles to greatswords and bows. Tsuru's unease was palpable, softly she encouraged... 'Maybe you should get a shield or something?' after which she drew a shaky breath in and picked her own weapons. 'Show me the guns.'



on Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:17 pm


Despite walking as fast as he could towards the shop, the walk seemed much longer than it should have. Haru locked away all the arguments he had in his head against the idea and actively attempted not thinking about any of them. And like every single person who had ever tried that trick before, he realized the more he didn’t want to think about it, the more pronounced the thoughts became. In the end, the poor Rune Knight had to look at cloud patterns and make up random stories based off them to keep his mind occupied.

When the duo finally reached the shop, Haru was shocked to see a small boy behind the counter. Why would anyone let a boy deal with weapons?! The question didn’t stay in his head this time around. “Isn’t there an adult around here?” he asked, with a tinge of annoyance in his tone. The boy simply looked up at Haru with an are-you-serious look and turned towards Akira without uttering a word. Haru frowned and walked away from the two, not willing to witness the transaction that was about to occur. No matter where he turned, he could find one thing or another that could potentially kill someone. The frown finally vanished when he turned into the shield section. Ah… Finally something to protect with. The young man did consider getting a shield for a second, but decided against it when Akira suggested that. “It’ll just slow me down,” he said bluntly, mostly rejecting the idea because it came from her. Nevertheless, he decided to give it a try and picked up a metal-lined wooden shield. It was rather heavier than he expected.

Just when he was about to put the shield back, he heard the word ‘guns’ and dropped the shield on his leg from being startled. “OW! OW! OW!” he held on to his left leg’s toes, as he hopped towards his partner. “GUNS?! Really?” he asked, losing it finally.


#9Akira Shimada 

on Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:19 pm

'Oh sir that's is hea-' but it was too late. The plonk that followed, accentuated his yelling, as he poured his revulsion and his pain into the words he uttered. There it was. She clenched her eyes shut, attempting to gather her patience, to deal with the crap that her partner was going to fling at her... after everything. She turned sharply to face him, her eyes flared open, her defiance apparent in them. 'Yes. Really.' she said through grit teeth, her fists clenched. Her voice remained tempered though, she was in the right and didn't need to defend her choices or actions by making this into some screaming match. While he had not been of much aid, she knew him the not be the bumbling, hopping man he was at the moment, his state definitely did not aid in supporting his argument.

She turned to the boy again, who looked rather meek and unsure. 'So...' she prodded. From his  He had bad news to offer, it was clear from the look of anxiety that he wore. 'Go on spit it out.' she said dully, leaning against the counter. For the moment ignoring her partner's little charade behind her. 'Ma'am... I'm so sorry... Most of the guns here are only for display...' he said, feeling rather broken up about it, then she noticed the naughty glimmer in his eye, one that indicated some information between the lines. 'But...' she encouraged.

The boy let a tentative grin play on his lips. 'But there is one... It is special though an-' before the teen had a chance to explain, she interrupted him, uttering her words over the din of her partner behind her. 'Give it to me.' she demanded. 'Oh, er ok...' the boy said eagerly sliding off his stool and into the back of the shop. 'Unless it is for bargaining tactics, you really shouldn't do that again...' she said resting her elbows on the counter as she waited for the shopkeeper to return.



on Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:21 pm


The day wasn’t progressing well at all. His toes were swollen and his partner was planning on getting a gun. He was more hurt by the latter than the former, frankly. He watched with his mouth ajar as Akira simply turned back to the boy—who he believed shouldn’t be allowed to touch anything in that shop, let alone sell them—after a curt response. For a moment, there was hope. The boy told them most of the guns were just for display and Haru immediately followed it up with his opinion. “That’s where they belong. For display,” he said. The hope didn’t last long however, because there was a ‘but’ after that declaration.

He watched as the boy slid off his stool and went to fetch the supposedly ‘special’ gun. “Bartering tactics?! I understand you want a weapon. But a gun? We want to defend ourselves and capture the culprits alive. Not kill!” he hissed, trying to keep the voice down. Meanwhile, the weapon boy came back with a dark grey pistol in his hand. He placed it on the counter, but out of Akira’s reach. It seemed he had something important to say before he can allow her to have it. “So… This one wasn’t supposed to work. My master… broke it deliberately. But, I think I managed to fix it,” he said, pushing it towards Akira. “But… Owing to its power, I never really had the chance to test it. So… I would be careful with it, if I were you,” he said, trying to avoid eye contact. Haru rolled his eyes. “Right… That’s exactly what we need. A broken powerful gun that might backfire any time. Do you seriously think we can trust this ‘boy’ to be capable of fixing a complex magical weapon?” he asked, trying to dissuade Akira away from buying the weapon.

The boy, however, took offense. “Hey… Just because you accomplished nothing yet doesn’t mean I can’t,” he snapped back. “Tell you what? You take that gun for a test ride. If it malfunctions, I’ll return all your money back,” he said, turning towards Akira. “And shut this store down,” Haru added, but was ignored.


#11Akira Shimada 

on Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:21 pm

'No Tsuru.' she countered, the two had been tolerating each other for long enough, now. Akira felt the need to at least attempt explaining her side of the deal. Not with passive snide remarks to tear down Tsuru's sense of self-worth and inflated idealistic beliefs, but to merely support her decision based on logic. 'Do I look like someone who can handle close combat? What were you expecting, when I said weapon? Some sword or dagger?' she said, slipping towards him to stare into his eyes, she was much tinier than him, but he'd have to bow to talk to her, she held her head high... A very small spark of passion, from her lost younger self, revealed itself in her tone. 'If someone gets that close to me, it is very likely that I've exhausted all my options and they have an advantage... Even with your healing, that'd pretty much be the end of me!' she exclaimed.

The boy returned, interrupting her argumentative streak. Akira's eyes gleamed with a certain greed as she stared at the weapon on the counter. Her urge to dismiss all warnings and just grab take the deal was thrown into question by Tsuru, it was the healer's turn to be logical. 'Test ride it is.' she said decidedly, as both the shopkeeper and she ignored Tsuru's protests. She pulled out the money and left it on the counter, quickly picking the gun with its holster and attaching it to her black leather belt. 'Time to go see what this can do...' she muttered. With one sideward glance, at her partner, enough to beckon him to follow, she silently left the shop. As soon as she did though, an eyepatched girl approached her. 'Got a minute, there is a small accident that needs rectification.' she spoke, her voice and face devoid of expression. 'What is it?' Akira asked, tentatively looking over her shoulder awaiting Tsuru.



on Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:24 pm


With a heavy sigh, the healer gave up. Mostly because his partner had a point that he couldn’t argue with. So far, most battles he had been in were terribly one-sided. Haru’s healing never really had the opportunity to come into the spotlight because they had not met an opponent who could go toe to toe with them. It was always either them overwhelming their opponent or the opponent doing the same to them. After the boy’s warning, there was nothing much to say. The deal seemed to be set and the gun was in the hands of his partner. Haru simply shook his head and walked out of the shop with Akira without uttering a word. “Come back anytime~” the boy said with a snicker, as they exited, mostly to spite Haru.

The moment they were outside the shop, a young girl stopped them and said she needed help rectifying an accident. The girl didn’t seem to show any sign of distress or urgency. So, Haru presumed it was something very small. “Of course! What is it?” he asked eagerly, as always. “There is a rat… mutated one. Gotto kill it before it kills people,” she said, again with no expression at all. Haru was startled. He couldn’t understand how the girl could be so calm given the predicament. However, his reaction was animated enough for all three combined. “Where is it?!” he exclaimed, with his eyes wide in shock. “Not sure… Last I heard, it was seen in an abandoned house at the edge of the suburbs,” she replied with a shrug. After confirming the direction of the supposed destination, Haru began running towards it. “Perfect opportunity to test that out,” he said to his partner, eyeing the gun she had, as the two made their way to kill the mutated rat.


#13Akira Shimada 

on Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:25 pm

As the blonde eye-patched girl explained that the rat was capable of killing, Akira let her fingers trace the shape of the gun, the little nooks and crannies in the barrel, the carved impression, idly she gave herself the challenge to figure out what three letters were, while maintaining her concentration on the girl as Tsuru urged her to tell the duo where the rat was. After the healer already started skipping towards the direction Akira mimicked the girl's lack of expression and asked 'So this house isn't usable right? Never going to be either?' after the girl confirmed Aki's suspicions, the dark-haired mage had a rather simple plan.

She didn't respond to Tsuru's question, but she let a small half-smirk tug the corner of one side of her lips. This request did give her ample opportunity to test the power of the gun she'd just bought. The walk to the deserted suburban home didn't take too long, neither of them spoke much though, she could tell, despite trying to be more neutral towards her purchase, he still couldn't bring himself to condone the decision. Nonetheless, once it was within sight, about twenty meters away, she placed an arm across her partner's chest to prevent him from continuing forward.

Quickly she scanned the area to confirm it wasn't riddled with any other townsfolk, then she cocked her gun and shot. There was no need to aim or anything, a 1x1m darkness sphere escaped the barrel and made its way to the abandoned house... The moment it came into contact with the rotting wood though, it exploded into a large darkness sphere. Aki just nodded and turned to find the girl with the eyepatch had followed them.

'That should take care of the rat and anything else it may have infected in the house.' Aki said, simply. The girl nodded and handed her a sack of jewels. 'My partner will take care of the burial of the creature.' Akira added loud enough for Tsuru to have heard her.' Akira added loud enough for Tsuru to have heard her.



on Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:26 pm


The duo followed the expressionless eye-patched girl to the abandoned house, where the mutated rat was suspected to be. When Akira stopped Haru from going anywhere near the house, the healer couldn’t understand what the plan was. Before he realized what was going to happen, the one-meter-wide spherical bullet was already shot towards the target location and his eyes widened in shock. He watched with his mouth ajar as the sphere came into contact with the building and exploded in a huge area around it. The entire building came crashing down; where there was a two-storey building, now there was nothing but levelled rubble.

“What the hell?!” he yelled, confounded by the power of the gun. “That thing shouldn’t exist! The one who invented it knows it too,” he exclaimed. “Besides… Are we even sure the rat was inside?” he asked, but was already on his way towards the destroyed building to check for the rat. It took him a while, but he finally found the rat dead under the rubble. More than a meter tall and with veins popping out of it, it was apparent this one was an abnormal mutation. Haru had to wonder who were doing such dangerous experiments within the capital. However, he was glad the threat was subdued before it went out of control. Placing his palms together first and then pointing it towards the ground beneath the dead rat, he cast his Phase spell to create a two-meter deep hole. Once the rat fell in, he clenched his fist to close the pit, essentially burying the rat underneath the destroyed building. He still couldn’t believe Akira would go so far as to destroy the entire building before even being sure the rat was inside or thinking of any other less destructive means to complete the task. With great power came great responsibilities; he was worried his partner might not be ready yet.

Nevertheless, the task was done, and it would seem no one else got hurt. He decided to have the conversation later, when they were alone.


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