Archive for May, 2010

玉将の四重奏 第二章

Posted in 玉将の四重奏 on 27.5.10 by jellayrei

Pre-note: Recommended background music for this part of the story here. Take it for what its worth…

玉将の四重奏 第二章: Their Story, is Told by the Raindrops in Her Love

Bike probably isn’t exactly the right word used to describe the machine that Chizuko was riding on her way home. A more accurate description would be something along the lines of “rocket powered broom stick.” It used magnetism to hover a few feet off the ground the way the bullet trains did back in the 21st century.

On her way home rain started to come down heavily. She was starting to really regret not checking the weather forcast, if she wasn’t careful the acid rain would seriously damage her skin. She quickly parked her bike and, holding her bag above her head, she sprinted through the main gate of her apartment complex, past the security robot.

“YOU SHOULD HAVE BROUGHT AN UMBRELLA TODAY YOUNG MASTER,” the robot commented.

Chizuko waved to the robot as she ran into the elevator, mashing the b32 button. Her apartment complex was located in a building that was 40 stories high and had another 60 floors below ground. Ideally she would have liked to live above ground but unfortunately it was something her income wouldn’t support. Over the last couple of hundred years large parts of Japan were taken in by the sea. The lack of available land for housing made housing prices ridiculously high, and living above ground cost an arm and a leg, sometimes literally. In any case the LCD “windows” she had in her living quarters meant that, apart from not having a balcony, there really wasn’t much difference between living above ground and below it.

After an agonizingly long wait the elevator doors opened. Then she bolted down the hall towards her apartment.

“Hal, it’s me open the door” she called from down the hall. As she got to her appartment door it sprung open. Bareling through the doorway she threw her bag into a rickety wooden chair which tipped dangerously.

“MASTER, I PREPARED THE BATH FOR YOU,” came HAL’s electric voice through speakers placed around the room.

“Thanks Hal,” Chizuko said, pulling of her clothes as she ran towards the bathroom, she could already feel the acid stinging at her skin.

“MASTER IF YOU LEAVE YOUR CLOTHES ALL OVER THE PLACE AGAIN, THE CLEANING ROBOTS INFORMED ME THAT THEY ARE GOING TO REBEL” HAL commented as it’s master tripped and stumbled from trying to simultaneously remove her skirt, shorts and stockings all in one go, running all the while.

“You tell them that they’re NOT allowed!” Chizuko shouted back trying her best to sound offended.

“YOU KNOW THAT YOU ARE ALSO BLEEDING PROFUSELY, MASTER?” HAL inquired.

“I should never agreed to let the chief reprogram your biometrics Hal,” she yelled as she ran towards the bathroom. Anyone looking at the previously spotless hall could easily have pictured that a hurricane had just passed through, but no one would have expected a mere 16 year old girl single handedly caused such carnage.

***

Keiji got home, sliding open the front door and slipping off his shoes, he stepped inside.

“Mom I’m home” he called into his house

“Welcome back,” came voice from the living room.

“WELCOME BACK MASTER” a robotic voice followed shortly after.

“Hey Gemini, whats for dinner?” He inquired.

“OUR CURRENT STOCK ALLOWS FOR US TO MAKE THE FOLLOWING: …” Gemini proceeded with a long list of dishes that could be made with the ingredients currently in the house.

Keiji frowned to himself, not really listening he made a dismissive motion and headed to his room.

***

Chizuko sank into the bathtub, hoping that the stress of the day would melt away. However she was sorely disappointed, just a few minutes ago she was so angry with her partner but now she felt guilty that she had treated him so poorly and that wasn’t even the half of it.

“MASTER, MY BIOMETRIC SCANNER IS DETECTING UNUSUALLY HIGH LEVELS OF STRESS,” HAL commented offhandedly.

“It’s nothing Hal, I’m just…” she stopped because she didn’t know how she should finish the sentence. She was just what? Angry with herself because she promised Keiji that she would never get mad like this? Or upset that she was emotionally so much weaker than she used to be? Distressed that she actually had people she occasionally had, or wanted to rely on?

This was one of those times where Chizuko felt grateful that HAL was bought on the black market, had the electronic personality been bought legitimately it would probably have fully operational sensors and then the robot could tell her exactly what she was feeling. With the thought that there might be a robot out there who knew more about her than she herself did, Chizuko sunk low in the bathtub blowing bubbles into the bathwater, her jet black hair floating a top the water, tangled like broken branches in a river after a storm. Feeling supremely depressed Chizuko wondered if she would actually had the guts to just drown herself in the bathtub. A friend of hers had once taught her how to do just that, this person was found dead less than a week later in less than 6 inches of water.

“MASTER,” HAL said interrupting her fleeting suicidal thought, “PHONE CALL FOR YOU.”

“Who is it?” Chizuko asked, though she already knew.

“THAT DASHING YOUNG MASTER KEIJI IS CALLING FOR YOU MASTER,” HAL replied without the slightest ounce of robot shame. This, for sure was one of the disadvantages to having a black market electronic personality managing the house, the personality chip was a little faulty to say the least.

Chizuko sank even lower into the bathtub, now only her eyes were above the water, as if by doing this she could somehow escape the reality that was her life, however HAL persisted.

“MASTER, PHONE CALL FOR YOU,” HAL repeated.

“Hey HAL,” Chizuko said, putting on her best puppy dog face, not that it was ever particularly effective with robots, “I’m touched that he cared enough to call,” and she meant it,” but just tell him I’m not home ‘kay?”

“SORRY MASTER, BUT I ALREADY TOLD HIM THAT YOU WERE HERE,” HAL replied matter-of-fact-ly.

Chizuko sighed, wishing for a moment that maybe she could maybe just suddenly fall of the face of the earth. At that moment she would have given almost anything to not have to face her partner, luckily for her, her life wasn’t one of the things that appeared on this very long list.

“Hey Hal you remember that video calls are strictly prohibited when I’m in the bathroom right?” Chizuko asked, pulling her knees up to her chest. The first time Keiji had called her while she was taking a bath HAL had unwittingly relayed the call in the default setting which was video format. This was a terribly awkward situation for everyone involved, except for HAL who apparently felt no shame at anything.

“YES MASTER I DO RECALL YOU TELLING ME THIS INFORMATION,” HAL stated plainly.

“‘Kay patch him through then I guess,” Chizuko said signing inwardly.

“Hey Chi!” Keiji’s voice filled the tiny bathroom echoing slightly off the gray linoleum walls. His tone was upbeat but Chizuko wasn’t fooled. “Er…” it seemed that Keiji was looking for something to say, “How are you feeling?”

“How am I feeling…” Chizuko considered the question. How was she feeling? Angry, sad, ashamed, and maybe just a little happy, all at once, it felt as though her insides were turning to dust and crumbling away. Finally she replied with, “I don’t really know anymore…”

***

Silence. On the other end of the line Keiji said nothing, Chizuko was — for a short time– a happy, cheerful, and optimistic girl, even when she was feeling upset, but the response that he had received from her sounded so lifeless and meek. Keiji cursed himself for asking a bad question. Even there was no video, but that voice was enough for Keiji to picture Chizuko sitting in the bathroom by herself looking crushed, defeated, and lonely. A look that he’d seen for the first time less than a month ago, something that he was not keen on seeing ever again if he could help it. The image of her in that state still haunted him, he never knew that something living and breathing could look so dead.

“Um…” Keiji lay down on his bed, wondering what to say next his eyes drifting around his room, he was never much good in these types of situations “you’re mad then…”

Obviously she was mad at him, she was just yelling at him less than an hour ago wasn’t she? But maybe the thought of being angry would at least put a little strength back in Chizuko’s voice. There was another long silence.

“No,” she responded finaly, her voice sounded so tiny, so weak. Keiji reached towards his ceiling as if he could catch this last word in his outstretched hand, grab onto it, hold onto it. But the word came out so small it seemed to dance right through his fingertips. It seemed that his words had the opposite effect of what he had hoped, voice wavering slightly she continued talking “What right do I have to be mad at you, you taught me so much, showed me so much, gave me so much and I… I…”

Keiji wanted to tell her that she could be mad if she wanted, that she should be mad, owed it to herself to be mad. He wanted to say he was sorry, not just for today but for everything before today. But he couldn’t his pride stood in his way like the impossible last boss that prevents the player from seeing the happy ending. Things were not proceeding like how he thought they would. Originally he called expecting to be yelled at, and then he could just apologizes and things would be better between the two of them for a while. It would have been easy to say sorry if she were mad. But instead of being yelled at this was happening, and it felt much worse. Chizuko’s voice, though weak and thin was so suffocating that Keiji felt as though all the air in the world was being siphoned out to speak these few words.

Keiji decided to venture for one more question.

“A little over a month ago,” he said, thinking back, “you told me you were the happiest you’ve ever been in your life,” despite himself the thought of her face at that time managed to make him smile. “And I was happy too…. So how’d we get like this…”

***

Chizuko stared blankly at the ceiling sitting there in the bathtub she wondered, how did things get like this. Just a little while ago she had everything she had ever wanted in  life, and now it felt like it all just came crashing down around her, burying her, smothering her. How did things get like this, she wondered. Even from this far underground she could hear the sound of the rain above, reminding her of how the time when she was happy seemed so long ago.

Authors Notes:

First thing of note is that I will be updating some concept drawings I’ve done of Chi sometime in the (hopefully) near future. I’m still trying to get my hands on a camera. I re-worked almost everything and I’m really pleased with how things turned out (maybe not too thrilled about the quality of the drawing but whatever.) though now that I think about it this drawing may come out in the next two or three chapters…

I don’t know if this chapter was a little hard to follow, I tried to be purposefully vague to keep things interesting (Azureseele your the only one who knows the back story so keep it a secret until I write about it please XD so that way the other readers will be surprised. i.e. be careful when commenting, but do comment please!) I don’t know how successful I was in this endeavor though because a lot of times I think I”m being subtle and I’m really not at all. But I think I have some totally or at least semi-unexpected things planned up ahead so we’ll see >.>

I don’t know if the tone turned a little too fast in this chapter, the mutation from angry to depressed happened kind of fast, though just this summer I discovered that people (most notably myself, though not quite this bad) could occasionally suffer from crazy mood swings like this.

That being said, I’m kind of afraid that this chapter will be kind of hard to follow since the back story hasn’t been revealed yet (that actually starts in the next section and will be a majority of the rest of the story.) Originally I was going to make Chapter 3 be Chapter 1, but I decided that this might be a more clever way to introduce the characters and it also lets me hold back some of the stuff for more mid story-ish. (I’ve had this story planned out forever, I just haven’t had much time to type it all out, it is rather time consuming…)

I made a couple minor adjustments to the first chapter, nothing too major but for those of you who are enjoying the story I might recommend that you go back and browse through the first chapter again. In anycase its been a year since I wrote the first chapter so it might be worth looking over to refresh your memory anyways. The link to Chapter 1 is here.

When I created Chizuko (for those of you who are interested) I made her physical appearance based off of one of my classmates (which one she is, the world may never know XD no but seriously this is a trade secret) but personality wise I think that Chizuko might be more like me, albeit a significantly more depressing, darker, sulkier, but also marginally cooler (and more talented) version of me. I’m actually really pleased with how she turned out. As for Keiji he is, at the moment more or less just a generic guy character, though I hope that I can give him some more personality soon otherwise he might end up fading away. I think I have an at least somewhat interesting back story planned for him though when you compare it to Chi’s and Norio’s (oh yes even though his background is limited I like what I have for him in terms of background!) story it really seems neither as dark or gripping. To be honest I have little love for this character at the moment… I hope I can find a way to make him more interesting and enjoyable to read about. Norio (like I said I like what I have planned for his background as well as one particular interaction between him and another character that I really look forward to writing) when I was designing him has turned out to be, more or less, a tamer version of Captain Bravo. His personality isn’t quiet that unique but I think when you guys read the story behind him you’ll agree it suits him well =D

The title of this chapter I totally stole (almost word for word, though very roughly translated and altered slightly) from Rainie Yang’s song 雨爱 (this song will someday soon get its own post on my blog too…) I originally (I started to write this chapter a while ago I just never had time to finish until one of my classmates unexpectedly motivated me to keep writing) had an okay title too. But after I heard this song I decided to change the title because I thought it fit soooo perfectly. The original line from the song goes “你的呼吸像雨滴声如我的爱裡” (Your breathing soaks my love like the falling rain)I don’t know how many of you can read Chinese but that right there is poetry for sure (plus it rhymes with the line before it, but then again I think that almost everything with the word 如 in it outside of 如果 is poetry…. and I’m not even sure if thats the right character…. but anyways) the brilliance is ridiculous, and since I like stealing ridiculously brilliant things, I took this for my title. I changed 呼吸 (breathing) to 故事 (story) because it fits better for my purposes, and 你 (you) to us. So it became our story is like rain in my love… or something like that, a little more altering and my new title was born. I posted this song as recomended background music at the start of the piece, but like I said I love this song and it will get its own post soon.

Okay thats all I have for now, I hope I’ll have the next chapter out towards the end of summer…. but last year when I wrote the first chapter I was like “I’ll have another chapter out by next month!” so we’ll see how that goes………

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