Chapter 1:

Mind Games and an Explosion

Amaryllis of Crimson Gables

In estimation, the flight from Japan boarding the Narita Airport to Ninoy Aquino International Airport down the Philippines would be more or less four hours.Bookmark here

Yotsuba Yazawa and her handmaid Nagisa Wannai consumed the flight time invested in playing ten games of Blindfold Chess─scores divided into five versus five. They were about to dive for the eleventh game when they were scolded and all the passengers left except them, ending up with no victors in their little tournament. My first impression made me think they must be smart, but we must cast aside brain power appraisals.Bookmark here

There existed the question:Bookmark here

"Why were they set into telling me crappy details when I ought to know a report?"Bookmark here

I couldn't help but scratch the tip of a pen unto my scalp, setting confusion about the attempt to understand.Bookmark here

Ironically though, it became helpful.Bookmark here

It rather sunk into my mind I'd rather chronicle this autobiography partly outfitted for bullshitters while essentially fleshing out the story.Bookmark here

I'm fairly confident about my storytelling, although I ask for forgiveness it would get nettlesome not only in part, but as a book altogether. It's also without reservations whether the forgiveness is accepted or ignored. Because the story isn't to be reckoned for its plot alone, but for the gimmicks playing along the events.Bookmark here

Where butterflies reigned supreme─and humans shackled in their world established partly from the thoughts of Lovecraft.Bookmark here

Never mind their game, I had them continue their share of the story.Bookmark here

There was this pizzazz about yawning while dragging their trolleys and there was nothing exciting about it.Bookmark here

"So how was the day with my beloved senior?" Miss Wannai curiously begged.Bookmark here

In respect to the current events, I wouldn't have known about it.Bookmark here

But I later learned about the "beloved senior" being a male-bent Benzaiten bound within Inokashira Shrine, one sitting atop an offertory box. Surprisingly like it screamed Kinoko Nasu, the Japanese fortune deity is then announced executive of an unnamed and secret evil-fighting organization(?)─and subordinate to him were the chapter contenders.Bookmark here

It was the 24th of July, a fine Monday evening.Bookmark here

The day before makes for an eventful battle between Yotsuba and the executive─which sounded more of a gossip than action sequences.Bookmark here

I asked and by perturbed reaction, Yotsuba clammed down. Uncharacteristic of it was for the tween in pink parka, thus my eyes turning to Miss Kannagi became the legal option.Bookmark here

"It was only Yocchan throwing a tantrum and Senpai calming her down."Bookmark here

"Uh-huh!"Bookmark here

I gave Yotsuba a leer, but she didn't budge from the intrigue and broke down how it was a briefing about their mission thrown at the last minute...Bookmark here

And a little guilt trip for their supreme officer, as I hear, dotes towards the cute entity called "Yotsuba Yazawa" and gives her a little "fortune boost" of sorts. Quite the strong person to mug a god for their blessings, but the act didn't pay off in the end─pooling each of them in a dispute leading Inokashira Park rumored to be a haunted location and a sudden buzz the Japanese internet.Bookmark here

"Right..."Bookmark here

The interview continues from the airport.Bookmark here

It was hard for me to even relinquish what was derailed, the two surprisingly detailed in a pattern you'd think they had photographic memories...Bookmark here

Out from the airport, Yotsuba looked at Miss Wannai's eyes. "He usually relays to you about mission protocols. I was excited to meet him, but I never thought he'd provoke me into a fight..."Bookmark here

Apparently, it was a rare occasion.Bookmark here

As far as Yotsuba can remember, there wasn't a time she had been called by the fortune deity. Me thinking it had any special tone into it─of course, took the right course of thought.Bookmark here

"You were the one who provoked him." Miss Wannai verbalized, in utter complacence followed it with a soft-spoken scolding, "He just wanted to scold you if you were still trying to drag him along with us, as the covert operator. Planning to use him for you to lead a laid-back life on the assignment, it wouldn't get through. And it defeats the purpose of an assignment, yes?"Bookmark here

Yotsuba chuckled in playful bliss. "It's what they say about plans not being always followed."Bookmark here

I wouldn't say I followed through though.Bookmark here

Their countenances peered into the busy night, Yotsuba to stop on her feet after stepping out the terminal.Bookmark here

First thing to catch her attention, the night sky...Bookmark here

Yotsuba featured the gray city for her funny expectations, "We're here, huh? Notice anything funny, like a movie monster rampaging somewhere?"Bookmark here

Miss Wannai broke into frowning. "Nothing beats wanting to see an extraterrestrial starfish rampaging around but let's not hook normal people into your dreams, Yocchan. It's unbecoming."Bookmark here

Like the child listening to her mother, Yotsuba nodded and firmly stated, "Yes!"Bookmark here

I know no one would answer my question, but could those even be actual threats!?Bookmark here

"Although now there's a problem. Someone is supposed to fetch us. We're right on time, but he's still not here..."Bookmark here

"Ah, hey! That guy's using psychokinesis!" Ignoring Miss Wannai's calm take on the situation, Yotsuba pointed towards a person using telekinesis to move his luggage.Bookmark here

You might not notice the cynical way I did, but it was the introduction of a key concept. Surely, it would need a leeway for the narrative to set expositions─and they made the opening right the minute.Bookmark here

This was one spectacle not common in almost every point of the world─coinciding with other aspects of the supernatural, or fantastical to be even scientific.Bookmark here

Psychics stood out among the listed existences.Bookmark here

Aside from them exist vampires, demons, and other imaginable "fictional" entities. Perhaps even world originals void from bookstores and independent internet media─that following through causes convolution it's subjectively better left untouched.Bookmark here

For the clarification, during the time of events, I've yet to know they actually exist even if there were points in my life that I have already met a few.Bookmark here

Yotsuba dares to wonder in tone monotonous for a man using psychokinesis in public, and nothing more sounded peevish. If I had been given the luxury, what could I have done in the moment other than think my mind was playing tricks out of fatigue?Bookmark here

I let it pass and it came true how Yotsuba's attention was piqued not with the power itself, but in particular the minimalist usage.Bookmark here

"These people are weak," she'd commented under her breath.Bookmark here

Thanks to Miss Wannai for showing little interest, only having to say, "Don't even think of leaving the problem to me alone, Yocchan."Bookmark here

"I don't think I remember the part where I was the handmaid..." Yotsuba begged to differ, which I would like to agree but half of the sentiment could have been undeserved.Bookmark here

Miss Wannai brushed her off in a hard comment, "You're the one who speaks their language. Come on, don't be harsh on me or I'm going to cry."Bookmark here

"You don't sound like you will! Ugh, but I haven't actually spoke Filipino, I've only read the guidebooks but not as much as practice how to make them understand its brokenness..." Yotsuba oomphed in disbelief─unconnected to stretching her arms up in the process. "Though fine, I'll take it from here."Bookmark here

The surprising part, she phoned the call just fine. Idly watching from the sidelines, Miss Wannai almost drowned in disbelief─but for now, intercultural endeavors are not in the priority list.Bookmark here

"Huuungh...! That wasn't a long flight, but it can feel really exhausting."Bookmark here

"Since we've been thinking this whole time." Miss Wannai led the way and walked through. "It's not really a surprise you'll feel that way. Don't you have any other hobbies than to think and think until there's no other option left unharmed?"Bookmark here

My sense could only be left commenting, "Says the one who won five Blindfold Chess matches..."Bookmark here

Not to sound like an alchemist mistaken as a demon but, well, never mind.Bookmark here

"I don't see any ghosts in here, or like, a specter," Miss Wannai sprang for the chatter─wondrous the reason was for me.Bookmark here

"What got you interested in ghosts?" Yotsuba asked─toned the same I could imagine for myself.Bookmark here

"You know, I was hoping to see a local spirit, like the diwata, or otherwise something sinister."Bookmark here

I could understand Miss Wannai in her curiosity, but the local blood in me hasn't the sliver of idea if they exist, or merely myths.Bookmark here

About how she wanted to see them, it sounded to me how spirits are territorial─like how you can only see a dullahan in the Celtic regions─but the concern was rammed down by Yotsuba's conscious continuation of the tale.Bookmark here

Talk about not wanting me to butt in.Bookmark here

"You know, that might be hard of a conquest in itself. I once watched a documentary in which they only appear in nature. Most like in the base of a waterfall," she mused, given there was unintended arrogance into it.Bookmark here

I get what she's pointing out. I used to watch a lot of local television programs, either out of boredom or I like the show. The "base of the waterfall" couldn't be singular, but I suppose it has been the normal perception.Bookmark here

"What kind of Filipino spirit would you see in the city, then?" Miss Wannai inquired curiously.Bookmark here

"Maybe there could be sightings of a Nessie!" Yotsuba suggested out of tacit thoughts.Bookmark here

"Please don't go pulling my leg," Miss Wannai spat the politeness out.Bookmark here

"Then, let's look more on the popular side!" Thus, Yotsuba set aside what was to be set aside, and posed imposingly─her pointer finger pressed at Miss Wannai's forehead. "Allow me to redeem myself as an all-rounder information center!"Bookmark here

"How in hell did you become one? Well, never mind. What would be this popular spirit you're talking about?"Bookmark here

"Like perhaps─a vampire."Bookmark here

Ostensibly, there came a great pause between them.Bookmark here

"Eek! Don't go any further about that, jerk!" Miss Wannai hammered her fist down Yotsuba's back─made forceful in both retelling and action, anyone would feel their shoulders twitch.Bookmark here

Anyway, why has the gravity of their accounts reached me!?Bookmark here

"Sheesh!" and "Give me a break," I told them.Bookmark here

"From just hearing the name?!" Yotsuba had given Miss Wannai a distasteful look alongside the straight man act─but bowed herself towards malicious action.Bookmark here

Yotsuba also didn't particularly think of imitating the aforementioned alchemist, but recovering from the smack led her into sighing and enunciating, "Well, never mind."Bookmark here

Alright, can this story be stretched with meaninglessness any longer?Bookmark here

For one, I've inevitably given up on their retelling to have more relevance. It could maybe take into a later hour where the spice kicks in, but how it was surprising to me─the chronicle suddenly veers into a direction angry, the antecedent became like a foreplay to ease things up for an easygoing subscriber.Bookmark here

It was an out of place excursion, sure. But speaking of out of place, it happened.Bookmark here

From the point she recovered from the smack-dab of an attempt at comedy, something had suddenly tingled Yotsuba's senses. It had her looking back without prior readiness and her neck would have dislocated its joints, as she exaggerated...But who cares about that?Bookmark here

If this was a movie, or a footage from the past, the field flashes white.Bookmark here

It was how it seemed to the tween in pink parka, namely Yotsuba Yazawa and her handmaid, namely Nagisa Wannai.Bookmark here

The crisp sound of explosion was heard.Bookmark here

It vibrated into their eardrums nearing ripple and loss of the sense in a split matter of a second.Bookmark here

Of which followed thereafter was a giant mushroom cloud.Bookmark here

The tingling sensation─might have been on par with the anxiety that activated the Third World War. I accounted for Yotsuba's impression of the grievous explosion. Withal, her exaggerated remark seemed about right but I'll be clarifying the event as it happened and passed.Bookmark here

The explosion was a lie, and later in the day forgotten by the public from psychical means. Or from a surreal standpoint, it didn't happen in the first place.Bookmark here

But before it became a lie you'd just recollect the same scenes of how a guy who wears an aquarium for a helmet fooled a teenager who was bitten by a radioactive spider, everyone in the area ran flabbergasted. Like it had been real in the first place, and never has been an illusion.Bookmark here

There were different shows of panic.Bookmark here

Yotsuba and Miss Wannai arduously plugged their ears─the latter to drop on her knees to utter surprise. Others stood still, eyes were focused on their respective spots unblinking, even frozen.Bookmark here

Different expressions─all centered to one pratfall written with the Kanji characters for "Doom."Bookmark here

Needless of doubt─it was an explosion.Bookmark here

It came from the airport, the runway where their passenger plane landed only a few moments ago. It set about a giant smoke like someone dropped a nuke into the place and so, the ecstatic sight of horror to a beautiful cityscape denounced for a devilish war.Bookmark here

Fortunately now, it wasn't a nuclear bomb.Bookmark here

Although it still was bad news considering the place and time.Bookmark here

Herein, I had a conjecture about the nasty show of firepower. That it had something to do with Yotsuba and Miss Wannai arriving at the place, them being members of a secret evil-fighting organization and suspicious was it for their chauffeur missing in the action, but the two looked at me weirdly and laughed.Bookmark here

I didn't get any answer from it, thus pending how they laughed might mean I also got it right...Bookmark here

For Yotsuba's case, she'd been sent by a fortune god as an undercover spy. It sums up her involvement in their group. But what about the other?Bookmark here

That was a ridiculous question.Bookmark here

As you'd expect, Miss Wannai was among the top echelon in the organization.Bookmark here

The assumption can as well be reality.Bookmark here

What came to mind was that they could have been targeted and to take them out, lure them to an extravagant explosion party. Take note that there was no crimson demon in red involved.Bookmark here

While under the expense of thinking, Yotsuba could have just surmised it was a plane that crashed or malfunctioned, or had been rigged with explosives.Bookmark here

It's the excruciating part.Bookmark here

She didn't panic from the event one bit, took it for a pass, and analyzed the situation in the typical nerd procedure. Yotsuba didn't vocalize herself as one, mind you, because she was the type to cringe over the topic.Bookmark here

What she did vocalize during the events were utterance exchanging chaos into another type of chaos:Bookmark here

"Ugh, how come they do visual effects of this caliber? I don't want to be taunted, but they just stepped on a landmine!"Bookmark here

It was a line everyone present would be confused to hear.Bookmark here

However, they were too occupied to even hear the pompous and fuming Yotsuba Yazawa─and run for their lives pressed between a rock and a hard place.Bookmark here

It was a farce.Bookmark here

Miss Wannai helped herself up her toes, a sticky expression on her face.Bookmark here

She knew it too, by the way.Bookmark here

Likely, it was the effect of a surprise.Bookmark here

Sounding weak as it may─she is the type to get scared at ghosts.Bookmark here

Cuteness─hence, the panic.Bookmark here

No, Amaryllis Mendoza, that's the "post hoc fallacy!"Bookmark here

At any rate, the verdict from Yotsuba─it had only been the work of trolls.Bookmark here

On a certainty close to sixty percent, it came from a significantly loud speaker─and the smoke was of slightly irregular composition. The strange topic to come by was that it may have been induced by placing a campfire in the runway, or by lining up roughly ten million teakettles (approximately ten megakettles, laughably) brought to boil. The second being likelier after consulting "Chapter 6: How to Cross a River" of the book "How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems". Oh gosh, teakettles were too much to consider.Bookmark here

But how the hell does Yotsuba Yazawa even think it was an idea applicable for something like a deduction?Bookmark here

She was nuts I tell you, shan't dealing with her in the way I want to retaliate most of the time.Bookmark here

At any rate, an explosion that large of a scale, based on the sound alone, would have wiped out the entire airport. She clarified the issue. I also take that as the idea so don't mistake me for a fool who can't formulate her own theories.Bookmark here

Nothing disappeared, and there wasn't anything damaged.Bookmark here

Anticlimactic and void of catharsis, I know.Bookmark here

"Looks like a strange case is about to unfold," Yotsuba sprang into words, thereafter showing a nasty smile. "Who in the moons would troll big time?!"Bookmark here

"Everyone thinks it's you," ...Of which, a one-liner no one sprang at the ready.Bookmark here

The two stood still, facing the direction of the pseudo-explosion's occurrence. For a while now, emergency measures outside the airport were being administered. But there was something wrong with it.Bookmark here

People did come running riots, but these were from outside the buildings.Bookmark here

No one from inside.Bookmark here

From the information, more details of common sense was thrown out the window.Bookmark here

"Or maybe it has already unfolded, for due that you might be mistaking your tenses, Yocchan?" Miss Wannai corrected, although it was beyond the point.Bookmark here

Yotsuba readied on her toes. "Let's go then, Nagi! This looks a lot interesting to me. Maybe it was an unexpected welcoming party for the two of us, and we just can't let that pass."Bookmark here

A panic had erupted, for sure, but the hyperactiveness and Yotsuba hadn't shown care. The idiot in pink parka made her upbeat constitution the center of suspicion as she pranced gleefully in the middle of panic, to much dismay Miss Wannai shrunk her head.Bookmark here

At the end of the pretentiously gleeful rush, they stopped outside the first terminal.Bookmark here

It was just moments ago that they were in the building, but the difference from both scenarios spelled decidedly different─spent into detail was the abnormalities in the setting, everything deemed interesting gets translated as only common existences.Bookmark here

"Ooomph!" Yotsuba peeked through the door.Bookmark here

She made an attempt. She spread her vision, but only to be visited by darkness everywhere─without any light reservations.Bookmark here

This was a reverse tale of creation.Bookmark here

The great one once said, "Let there be darkness!" And so, there was darkness.Bookmark here

"It's completely dark in here, huh? What could have started, I wonder?" Miss Wannai obviously didn't need to imitate Yotsuba's rushed check.Bookmark here

"Yeah, you just gotta wonder about it, Nagi!" Yotsuba showed a nastier smile. "Don't you think your flag is getting raised?"Bookmark here

"Umph! Don't you dare tell me that a vampire appeared!" There was a smile gone cockeyed, most definitely because of the fantastical creature inside the passage.Bookmark here

Yotsuba had to formulate yet another theory─and poor me listening in expecting another frivolous example. "Let's see, there's a blackout at the airport, and I think it was after the explosion. But the explosion came from the runway, it's impossible to cut the power from the outside. It's an electric-type vampire, Nagi!"Bookmark here

"Don't make it sound like it's only a Pokemon!"Bookmark here

From that moment on, Yotsuba dodged the furious hand from behind.Bookmark here

"Hey, they're dangerous. Especially the cute ones!" Yotsuba retorted─and my head shook in agreement, imagining how cute a Zubat is. What, you think I'm a Pikachu person?Bookmark here

Okay, but what does that have got to do with the electricity problem?Bookmark here

Well, whatever.Bookmark here

Regarding the electricity problem here, it wasn't.Bookmark here

Take it or leave it, the personalities both Yotsuba and Miss Wannai had was of a mutual understanding─I am lost at whatever they would spring as the story runs.Bookmark here

It was because the blackout was unnatural, the idea was thrown out the window.Bookmark here

Outside lights from outside the airport were enough to illuminate what was inside.Bookmark here

And yet, it was darkness at its perfect peak.Bookmark here

"A closed space, I take it," Yotsuba suggested, considering a different kind of common sense.Bookmark here

"Like the pocket dimensions Haruhi creates?"Bookmark here

Practically, a place which runs with a different set of rules─simple most of the time─and is created through accepted supernatural means─as far as human understanding is involved. There was also the possibility it was created using hologram illusion.Bookmark here

"Don't just stand there, Nagi! We're going in!" Yotsuba ordered her maid, whence she followed without a drop of doubt.Bookmark here

Regardless of things not being perfectly in sync, they walked inside more steps. Upfront, treading carefully in spite of their loose cannon schtick. However, there being no lights was problematic─given they weren't vampires who could see in the dark nor robots who have a pair of flashlights for a pair of eyes.Bookmark here

Yotsuba frowned. "Lights first, yup!"Bookmark here

It was the time where the arrogant psychic showed her unique ability, effortless to snap her fingers but not attempting to wipe out half of life. The flick only reacted to the oxygen afloat the air now creating a kindle and hastily grew into a bigger flame about palm-size, on its raw design, like a miniature sun.Bookmark here

At her gestural order, the orb floated by her side and little as it was formed and provided illumination to overthrow the makeshift darkness.Bookmark here

Thus, it was the tale of creation.Bookmark here

Yotsuba spoke, "Let there be light!" And so, there was light.Bookmark here

Miss Kannagi blocked the light which was searing her face. "...It's too bright."Bookmark here

"I guess so!" Upon seconding to her complaint, Yotsuba configured the orb for a lighting expected of a simple torch.Bookmark here

Miss Kannagi huffed a sigh, relieving herself of extra fright. "Now, why does it suddenly feel like we're in a test of courage?"Bookmark here

"Test of courage in a maniacal terrorists playing field? I guess not!" Yotsuba sneered, which does give minute wordless explanations to the trifle.Bookmark here

By their conjectures, this was a plight made initially by trolls but from the degree, there would be a criminal organization involved. By a large probability, people who had fantastical involvements─about right they were targeting the two by a long shot.Bookmark here

Even so, the two walked through the place coolly, navigating the first floor and called out to the obvious detail to have initially bugged them:Bookmark here

"Hell to weirdness, mate! There ain't any single person in here!"Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.