A Reverie for Another Eternity
"Unexpected and undeserved, such is the way of living."
Life in the slums wasn't exactly a bad one. It was a place where you could spend your days doing absolutely nothing, and getting absolutely nowhere in this world. To absolutely waste away without trying was another path in life for all who seek it. And yet, she was not one to squander her lifes various opportunities.
For one particular individual who was hired to complete odd jobs, this was the only way she knew how to progress in this world of hers. To provide food on the table in a city where no one would accept such persons like her, she'd gladly accept any form of help or service regardless of morality.
It was no use to lament about her race or her personality. There was only one way out, and that was to go up.
Knowing this, her black attire cloaked her under the unsympathetic gaze of the digital moon, stealthily yet quickly making their way on the top of rooftops to the open window just beyond the yard of clothing racks and the hill it sat beside.
Jumping over the last hurdle, she leaped silently onto the window sill, gradually hastening her movement as she searched the room.
“Where is it? Where the hell is it!??”
The intruder quietly mumbled to themselves, rummaging through the various vases on the shelves, looking into each one before placing them back hastily. The vases wobbled as they quickly pulled off the cover on the chair, and to no surprise, nothing was there either.
Hissing a “damn it” under their breath, she swiveled their head around, facing the mirror. Besides the caped figure in front and the moted moonlight glimmering in from the window, there was nothing else to search through the otherwise desolate room.
Unless there was a hidden floorboard or something akin to that, there was nothing to be yielded. If only they knew where the silver-haired brat had stowed away that weapon of hers.
A soft voice as lulling as the calmed seas spoke from the windowsill. Yet, the words that followed were the exact opposite of her tone, coated in insincerity and blame.
“So, I’m guessing that you’re the one who’s costing me my night.”
A heavy plume of smoke filled the room and under the innocent moonlight there crouched an even less innocent woman on the sill. She scratched the top of her head with her free hand, reaching underneath her white coif, angrily biting down on the cigarette at the lack of a response.
Through her round glasses, she scowled, her bloodshot eyes only emphasized her thirst for blood for this unintended incident that caused her to waste away her night.
“God forbid me from tearing you limb from limb, cause I really really want to get back to drinking soon. I really don’t know what I might do myself if this doesn’t wrap up quickly.”
“I suppose there isn’t a way to negotiate my way out of this, is there?”
“No can do.”
A silent moment had passed between the two, the passing breeze bearing witness to what was about to unfold.
With only one option left, she rushed toward the sister who blocked her only viable exit. Jumping onto the bed, she quickly unsheathed its claws before Erika fired two shots, both of which missed and hit the two vases in the back.
They both crashed back into the room. Erika, who had shielded herself from the strike with her free arm, tumbled over the bed and over the edge. Blood splattered from her tattered sleeves, but there was no time to think as the intruder readied another strike, pouncing on top of Erika.
In a hurry, she rolled over just as the slashing drove deep into the floorboard. Her glasses fell off as she was propelled across the room and hit the mirror, shattering it. Looking up, she could see the figure quickly escaping, jumping out of the window sill.
“YOU’RE NOT GETTING AWAY FROM ME!”
Erika quickly hurled herself through the window, and while gaining momentum from the fall, spun and pushed off of the ledge of the drying-rack field, further propelling herself into the air.
From above, her eyes darted around the city lights and its people. With her extremely heightened senses and adrenaline, she quickly found the cloaked figure jumping from rooftop to rooftop not too far away from her.
“GET BACK HERE DAMN IT!”
Crashed down onto the shingles below, she began to kick them up behind her, running towards the intruder at blinding speed.
One clearly panicked and the other furious, the two sped away towards the outskirts of the city, eventually making their way on the ground as the last building passed under their feet. Erika quickly pulled out her pistol and fired a few shots, all of them which missed as her aim was unsteady. But just as they turned the corner, Erika quickly took a stance and fired a well-timed shot while in the air, sending it straight through her shoulder.
Though she stumbled, she managed to be apace, making her around the corner while kicking up vast amounts of dust so as to block out Erika’s vision.
With a heavy thud, Erika had landed. But by the time she navigated around the same corner, she was met with a dead end. No trails, no blood tracks, the intruder had hidden well away in the few moments that Erika was in the air.
Sighing, her anger subsided, she dug around her tunic and pulled out a canister of whiskey.
“Guess it’s just you an’ me tonight, old bud.”
An old cathedral bell gonged with the slight breeze that passed by, seemingly agreeing with her statement.
Her chest still wheezing from the run, she brought it to her lips and took a huge swig, not knowing that in an abandoned cathedral not too far from where she was, the cloaked figure was desperately clutching their wound, which luckily their mantle had soaked up to prevent any trails. In pained, bated breaths, their eyelids fell and rose rapidly, desperately fighting against their slowly losing consciousness.
The colorful moonlight streamed through the stained glass illuminating the ragged figure, its dulled eyes closed as it slumped against the wall.
Though the air was a bit chilly, it was the favorite part of her routine. The covers have been a bit too warm with Mikuta sleeping underneath.
Helena slithered out of her bed and with a soft clap, a weak flame flickered into existence in the lamp on her desk, just barely visible enough to see around its immediate surroundings.
She got into her chair and began flipping through that giant book of hers. Though she had no way to tell the time outside, her internal clock knew that it was around six in the morning. Her intuition when it came to these things was right… Most of the time.
Turning around on her chair, careful not to let out a creak, she glanced at a Mikuta burrowing further under the covers. A comfortable-looking lump was all it could be described as, aside from the few strands of silver that poked out from the pillows that seemingly shivered. It was almost as if a sea cucumber had puked, funnily enough.
Sighing at both her worries and the very unfunny thoughts, she began to wonder if having Mikuta around was the right call after all.
What exactly did lady florentine see in her anyway? Someone who clearly was an outsider to this kingdom of theirs, a foreign entity that had no hand or knowledge about this world, was apparently of great importance, and most of all the role of a caretaker was forced onto her? Unbelievable.
Her best efforts clearly amounted to nothing, her friendliness was unpaid, and she definitely wasn’t happy with how uncomfortable her sleep was. Helena couldn’t even begin to articulate how rude Mikuta’s thought processes and speeches are.
And her boobs. Especially her boobs. How the hell is someone like her bestowed with such… shapeliness?
Looking down, her eye twitched in annoyance at the chest as flat as the horizon.
The world truly is cruel, giving Mikuta the looks of nobles and the air of one. Though that illusion is ruined once you get to know her cynical and insufferable self.
There are some good points to her and not just her physical attributes of course. Things like her open curiosity and her willingness to just go along with whatever are pretty nice in the grand scheme of things. Speaking as a caretaker of course.
And besides, it was not as if she actually hated her anyway. Changing a person takes time, but time she had as long as Mikuta stayed with her. After all, it is the role of the caretaker to provide regardless of what the cared-for individual might be.
Speaking of time, it was probably a good place to wrap up her thinking and wake Mikuta. After all, they both do have a long day ahead of themselves.
She scooted her chair closer to the bed and reached over, shaking Mikuta which led to her turning over, face up. A smile spread across Helena’s face as Mikuta softly grumbled in her sleep, her brows furrowing and unfurrowing at the exposure to the cold morning air.
Helena could get used to this expression, she thought as she grabbed the ends of the blanket.
Ah… Was the sky always this blue?
Enveloped in warmth, the boy stayed afloat on the water. He couldn’t see anything around him, certain darkness preventing him from seeing anything below the waters or his immediate surroundings. Only his face rested on the surface, but to him, that was good enough.
There were no ripples in this quiet lull. And yet, long as he could admire the beautiful skies ahead he could care less about his whereabouts.
Though, the ringing in his ears was very annoying to not do anything about.
A soft voice, so quiet that it couldn’t possibly have been heard yet in the deafening silence, that timid blow of the wind was heard.
The whispers gradually got closer, and suddenly, a sharp pain rang out on his forehead as he awoke.
He couldn’t breathe, held up by the collar of his shirt tightly. He could feel a warm trickle down the side of his face, the pain making his consciousness drift.
Hazy as his mind was, Takumi opened his eyes and rolled his head around to the best of his ability. Mostly because he couldn’t feel his neck.
One, two, and three… Wow.
He could see that he was surrounded by three adults, all of whom were focused on him. From the corner of his eye, he could see a petite blonde girl all behind him, not too hurt but also not too well.
That’s right! He had to save her somehow from this mess… A mess that he had caused. But, ugh. He terribly underestimated how dangerous the people of the outskirts were. They never should have come here to begin with, even if it was for a play date.
Turning his head back to the man who held him, he could see that his eyes held no sympathy, only excitement for what’s to come. Clearly, that was not a good sign for both him and her.
Takumi, desperate, let out a croak soon to be a scream. He at least needed her to live, to escape and be free. From the bottom of his heart, he knew she couldn’t get hurt on his account, to cry because of him.
After all, the only thing that truly mattered at the moment was her and her alone.
“MIYORI, GET OUT OF HERE.”
But she didn’t move. She couldn’t, not with him staying behind. Takumi gritted his teeth at this knowledge, not flattered in the slightest.
In spite of his helplessness, selfishness, and overwhelming urge to leave her be, all he could do was scream for her to escape while he had their attention.
But she didn’t even move so much a finger, her glazed eyes uselessly looking forward, beyond the scope of what he could comprehend.
God damn it.
Mentally and physically, he could feel his world turn as suddenly, he was thrown onto the concrete, a hard crack echoing under the desolate highway.
He couldn’t breathe, a disgusting warmth clogged his throat, rendering him unable to even move. Perhaps he should lay dead and see how everything goes since Miyori obviously wouldn’t follow his directions. Takumi bit his lip, seeing the three slowly lose interest, setting their nasty gaze upon a crying Miyori.
Why the hell are you the one crying… It hurts a bajillion times more over here…
Coughing with all his might, Takumi took a huge gulp of fresh air as soon as the blockage was gone, hastily breathing in and out to recuperate the lost oxygen.
Yeah.. this is the first and last time I’m gonna do something so considerate for another person.
It took every fiber of muscle and willpower he had to stand back up, his body wavering from his wounds as he looked back at her wordlessly. He was very sore, his legs ached painfully, but his head hurt the most. Once again, he became an obstacle between them and her.
Anyway, why wouldn’t she be running? Out of fear, hurt, or perhaps a lack of strength within her legs much like his?
That question was the only thing that filled his mind. He was giving her the generosity, the sacrifice, to let her escape. His first-ever act of selflessness, and she wouldn’t accept it? Maybe it was his unchecked hubris speaking, but for the good of them both, she really should've left him.
His anger at both her and the men had fueled the fiery rage in his heart. Slowly steadying himself, the three gruff-looking men approached closer, imposing as ever.
Ahhh crap. Maybe I should’ve made a run for it instead.
Takumi bit his lip, putting his arms up in a guard. Yeah, this was a fight he wasn’t going to win. Though he had wished his lips weren’t so dry as to cause extra blood to leak out of him, the taste was invigorating, proof that he was still alive.
Welp, life is what life is, and I can only go with its wayward currents.
That conviction had helped resolve the issue in his mind. This, at least, gave the confidence to speak out once more now that Miyori was a bit more aware of the situation. Hopefully, then, she’d run, though he could only "hope".
“GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE MIYORI!”
He charged forward and threw a straight with everything he had. A completely banal punch, yet it was the epitome of his held hopes and bravery. Anything and everything, so long as they could get out of this mess. Who knows? Maybe this punch could even end the world itself.
That’s how glad Takumi was as he extended his arm. Such a strange feeling it was to be able to offer oneself, their everything, no matter how lowly of a being he might’ve been this life of his. And in that moment, he truly would’ve been fine if he were to die, either from the mobsters or the world exploding.
So long as Miyori had chosen to accept his words and run, all was fine in that little world of his.
Sweat poured from his face and neck as he realized that his punch was ineffective in the most abject sense. In the face of absolute evil, their rock-hard muscles would have no problem deflecting a little kiddie punch.
In a split second, he was reunited with the ground, the puddles staining red from his defenselessness. A terrible pain erupted from his back, coughing up drops of blood. Still, he could see Miyori sitting, watching him struggle pathetically.
After everything he’s done for her, after all the trouble he went to get mangled by these sons of pigs, she still hasn’t moved. Miyori, the girl who he had wished to protect, had rejected his protection, his selflessness that was enslaved to her life.
Beyond the times that they had met, the countless joys they had shared, and the various interests that had accumulated inside of Takumi, in an instant it all had shattered, promptly swept up into a dustpan and thrown away into the murky depths of delightful, childish misunderstandings.
The simple question of “why” had now turned into a despicable vow of “never again.” Never again will he do something for someone, and never again will he accept such a gesture from someone else. He alone was the arbiter of his cruel world that she, an outsider that he accepted, had ruined.
“H-hey dude I think we should stop messing with this kid… I mean, that was a pretty loud sound, right?”
“Stop being so scared bro, it's not like the centurions or the task force is gonna save a couple of slimy rats in the slums.”
“I actually heard that they enforce the same policies they do in the city center if the kids from the slums attend the academy.”
The three fiends turned their heads toward the two, finally noticing that from the shirt pockets, each one of the two had an academy badge sewn onto it. It was hardly recognizable with its unusually small size, and especially under the rain. Nevertheless, the colors had drained from their faces at this realization.
The high-pitched squeal disappeared as the trio ran away, splashing through the puddles as the torrential downpour came down even fiercer.
A few raindrops found their way through the cracks of his mouth, the wind whipping through his hair. But he didn’t care. He wanted to die, regardless of if he had a purpose or not. Perhaps if he closed his eyes…
For a moment, nothing happened. It was almost as if nothing had changed at all. The rain danced on his face, slowly coursing its way around his body and back to the ground, stinging the newly formed wounds. Looks like his death wouldn’t be a painless one after all. It was not like it mattered in the end anyway.
Just then, a soft sensation sat under his head. He was too wrapped up in his thoughts before realizing what had happened.
“Why… Just why did you save me?”
Something that he had selfishly cast away, something that he couldn’t bear looking in fear of his own heartbreaking.
Yet, with bleary eyes, he took a glance. Not out of curiosity and not out of pity. It was a tangible, last effort to see the face of one he’d tried to save with his life, the one who bothered to look down at the pitiful figure below.
“You… You idiot.”
He was met with a close-up of Miyori’s tear-stricken cheek, her hair gently caressing his ears as a soft warmth spread across his face.
Tears welled up within his own eyes once more, truly hating himself for his selfishness. It was an act of saving her just so he himself could be saved in turn. He was a boy who couldn’t do anything in the end, saved by his only attachment to this world. No matter how much he wanted to say the words "I love you" at that moment, he clung to his feelings of self-pity and tasteless pride, his longing for a superficial and unappreciated death despite this simple act of kindness and love. He couldn't so easily abandon those negative emotions of his, no matter how unwarranted they were.
It hurts. It hurt to even think that I could’ve saved you.
Though his tears had long stopped, hers kept flowing; almost as if to disagree with his assessment. But, he purposely took the liberty to ignore this distinction; the small, smoldering coals of unjustified hatred bubbling deep beneath the watery caverns of his twisted darkened soul.
So why, pray tell, do you continue to cry?