Everywhere at the End of Hololive [HoloEnd]
August 21, 2023, A week after the Shootout
9:22 am, Fukuoka Prefecture
"Good morning, Botan," Moona greeted Botan who was sitting on the counter, sipping her energy drink.
"Morning," she continued chugging her drink until it became empty.
Looking at the closed door of the ramen shop, Moona asked, "You permanently closed this restaurant?"
"Yeah. Prices increased due to waging war." She responded. Suddenly, she noticed an odd looking book Moona was carrying.
"What's that?" Botan pointed at the book with a curious face.
"This?" She raised the book, "Something I bought from a shady mage."
"Why did you buy it? Do you have a disability?" Botan tilted her head.
Moona let out a deep sigh, "Yes. My IQ is too high."
Seeing Botan's stoic face, Moona closed her eyes and leaned on the counter, "Guess I'm telling you this story."
July 1, 2023
Walking through the narrow alleyway after buying some food for Pekora, who was hiding inside her apartment, Moona felt an odd feeling as she passed by a stall.
"People who use Emotion Energy attract people who can do the same. Am I right, Moona?" the woman sitting in her stall smirked. She had a white hair, a big violet hat on her head, and was wearing a violet outfit similar to a witch. The only thing hiding her identity was a white cloth hanging in front of her face.
Moona stepped back, only the walls of the building stopping her from moving any further, "How did you know my name?"
"I am preprogrammed with knowledge of everyone. Oh wait, preprogram sounds techy. I'm a mage, you see."
"State your name," Moona raised her hand, about to cast an ability.
"Calm down. I just want to sell this book," the shady mage showed a purple book, similar to a journal.
As Moona opened it, it was empty. There were no writings on it.
"An empty book?" Moona started toying with the book.
"You're mistaken. It is the Book of the All-Knowing Entity. If you want to learn a specific ability, the book will write itself to teach you on how to unlock it. Here. Let me give you an example," She held Moona's palm and poked the center of it.
"Wanting to teach a friend on how to use an Eternal Domain, eh?" Moona widened her eyes from what she said.
"Now look at the book," As Moona opened the book, some abilities were already written, including what it does and how to unlock it.
"You're an interesting person. No. You're an interesting vessel," The mage murmured.
"Vessel?" She was still staring at the book when she realized that the mage was already gone, including her stall.
Remembering what happened that time when she foretold Coco's fate, she's slowly having an idea on what's happening. It felt like everything was related to one another. But she shook her head to stop herself from overthinking and cleared her thoughts.
"So?" Botan looked unimpressed.
"So what?" Moona raised her eyebrow
"Do you think you could teach those to Pekora?"
"Teach what?" Pekora appeared beside them.
"Teach Essence Magic- Holy shit!" Botan almost fell from her seat, surprised from Pekora's sudden appearance.
"It's time to teach you on how to use skills," Moona stood as she opened the journal.
Aura-based and Stigma-based abilities are also called Essence Magic, while Aura and Stigma can be also called as Emotion energy. Essence is energy needed for a body to stay conscious or alive. More emotion energy used means stronger abilities. But at the same time, you consume Essence to cast skills. Basically, emotion energy is similar to physical attack and magic power that are used to empower skills, and Essence is similar to Mana that is consumed to cast those abilities, except this time, your life depends on the amount of Essence you have. Which means loss of Essence leads to unconsciousness, and in some rare occasions, can lead to death. That's why mastering it can help your body manipulate those energy flows at the same time.
The streets were still silent when they went outside. Moona sighed in relief as she turned her head to Pekora.
"Remember what Towa and I showed you?" Pekora nodded.
"Towa and her Demonic Realm manipulates Stigma to enhance its power, so as mine but I manipulate Aura instead. But both of them needed Essence to cast those abilities. It would be hard to teach you two things at the same time. But bear with me, okay?"
"Carry on," Pekora's showed eagerness to learn magic.
"Okay then. We are born with Essence inside our body. Which means it's easy for everyone to use Essence skills, right? Wrong. First, you need to free your mind. Let the emotion energy consume you, like letting the waves of the sea move your body. After that, materialize the Essence by making an image through your mind. Imagine a balloon. Go on."
Pekora closed her eyes and cleared her thoughts. Then, she focused herself on making an image of a balloon in front of her.
"Amazing. Very impressive," Moona smiled from what she was seeing right now.
When Pekora opened one of her eyes, she saw a transparent bubble floating in front of her. Pekora was amazed by what she had done, making the bubble pop.
"Now, Essence magic is similar to balloons. The empty balloon is the essence, and the emotion energy is the air needed to inflate a balloon. I told you earlier that you need to let the emotion energy consume you, right? Use that energy to inflate a balloon, just like what you did earlier."
Pekora nodded and focused on making an image through her mind. This time, she felt heat rushing inside her body. Her legs felt weak and she started breathing heavily. Suddenly, she noticed that she made a flaming balloon.
"Good, good. You can feel the heat, right? Keep your focus and the balloon won't pop, even if you poked it. Don't worry, it won't burn you," Moona was right. As she touched the flaming balloon, it felt hot, yet it didn't burn her hand. She kept her focus which made her balloon last a little longer before it popped.
"You're consuming too much essence. Essence is easier to control and regenerate. Try breathing in a controlled manner. Inhale, exhale," Pekora did it, and her body felt livelier than earlier.
"With proper breathing, you can regenerate Essence so you can keep casting multiple abilities without tiring yourself," Moona then shifted her attention to Botan, which was leaning on the walls of her restaurant.
"Wanna teach you a few things?" Moona asked.
"No thanks. I already learned it before when I was in Russia."
Not wanting Botan to remember her tragic past, Moona only gave a nod. "Oh well. Is there any spare table inside?"
"I'm on it," Botan went inside to grab a table.
Moona then glanced at Pekora, who was still controlling her breathing.
"What I told you are the basics. Essence doesn't do anything on its own without Aura or Stigma. In this lesson, I will teach you different types of Essence magic. Those are Enhance Type, Offensive Type, and Defensive Type. The names were self explanatory. Enhance improves your stats, offensive lets you cast damaging skills, and defensive makes you block incoming attacks. I will teach you an Enhance Type Ability. Try focusing your essence towards your right fist," Pekora nodded as she focused on her fist, it started to feel heavy and light at the same time, it was indescribable.
"Here's a table," Botan placed a wooden table in front of Pekora.
"Mix your essence inside your fist with the Aura you have collected," She did what Moona ordered. Out of nowhere, her right fist started flaming with a blue and orange color.
"Try punching that table," Pekora nodded and did what she told her.
All of a sudden, the table broke in half, which made Pekora's jaw drop in shock. Botan's eyes widened then returned to her emotionless expression.
"Good job. You're doing well," Moona applauded, "This time, try to apply it in a battle."
"One second," Pekora ran inside the basement and came back with her sword.
"I'm ready," Pekora said and unsheathed her sword.
"Apply what I taught you on your sword," Pekora focused on putting her Essence on her sword. Surprisingly, after applying Essence, the mixture of Aura and Stigma flowed throughout the sword, which made Moona blinked in shock.
"Emotion energy rarely mixes with one another, especially when using a weapon. A weapon immediately breaks when both Aura and Stigma cohabitate. Your sword is special, indeed," Moona stated while scratching her chin.
"Nonetheless, can your body handle the power you stored in your sword?" She opened her palm, facing Pekora and a katana materialized in front of Moona and grabbed it, unsheathing it and positioned herself in a fighting stance.
Pekora also unsheathed her longsword and positioned herself in a fighting stance, "Let's dance."
Out of nowhere, the song "The only thing I know for real" played nearby. When they looked where it came from, they saw Botan holding her phone.
"Should I turn it off?"
"No," Pekora and Moona both spoke at the same time.
"Okay then," she grabbed a chair inside the restaurant and sat on it.
Pekora and Moona faced each other. After a moment, Pekora charged at her, but Moona parried it and pushed Pekora back, making her tumble on the ground.
"What happened to your training last m-"
Moona was interrupted due to Pekora swinging her sword in a quick motion, barely hitting Moona but she successfully blocked it.
"She has no momentum for her to attack me," Moona thought as she stepped back.
"Impressive, Shachou," Moona then took a view from the sun. "Ionic Flash."
Her katana suddenly glimmed, blinding Pekora's sight. When she charged at her, Pekora immediately blocked her attack with her sword.
"Fist of Righteousness," Pekora chanted, making her free fist burn with blue and orange flame. Using that fist, she punched Moona but she dodged it. Even when she dodged it, she felt a shockwave nearby her head.
Both of them stepped back. Then, they had an exchange of attacks. Sounds of metal clashing against each other almost deafened them. Stepping back at the same time, they both closed the distance between them before they continued exchanging hits. This tight sword fight lasted for a while until Moona sheathed her katana in her hilt placed on her waist.
"Lunar Eclipse: Second Stage: Crescent Moon," Moona chanted as she unsheathed her katana in a rapid motion. It hit Pekora's sword, throwing it mid-air.
"I win, shachou," Moona said, but she realized Pekora was smirking.
"Sudden Takedown," Pekora chanted, setting her arms and legs on fire. She then charged at Moona, who didn't have time to avoid her attack, grabbed her from her waist and slammed her on the ground.
"Are you okay, Moona?" Pekora asked with a worried face. She only noticed that Moona pointed the blade of her katana near her neck.
"I still won, shachou," Moona chuckled.
"That's unfair. I already took you down," Pekora stood while shaking off the dust from her clothes.
"When did I tell you the rules? Don't trust your opponents, they said. Plus, what is fairness if your life is in danger? Am I right, Botan?" Her katana disappeared as she glanced at Botan.
"Yeah, yeah. Don't plug me into this shit," Botan went inside, leaving Pekora and Moona standing on the silent street.
Pekora noticed Moona having no scratches despite being slammed on the concrete road, "You have no wounds?"
"Essence coating, shachou. They harden in response to any Essence skills. The more the amount of Essence in your body, the more resistance you are against Essence magic, " Moona fixed her clothes and patted Pekora's shoulder. "Let me say, I'm impressed. How did you know that chanting a spell speeds up the casting time?"
"Well, I saw both of you shouting each time you cast a spell, so I had an idea on how to do it."
"Good. If you understand how to chant a spell, then you don't need to overthink about making an image or resolve inside your mind, you just need to prepare and preset a chant for each spell," Moona felt relieved. Teaching Pekora about magic and sorcery was a good idea. The only thing that's bothering her was about Stigma used by Pekora. You can't just wield Stigma without signing a contract with a devil. Maybe the sword has the answer to that.
Pekora took a view from the skies. "It's almost noon. Should we prepare for lunch, peko?" She said while grabbing her sword on the ground.
12:04 pm, Iwate Prefecture
Choco grinned as she took a view from the giant sword in front of them, seeing all the oil drills surrounding it.
"Business is boomin," she murmured.
After they occupied Iwate 3 days ago, they started their operation to dig the oil deposits under the monumental sword. Despite the hot conditions, she stayed under a tent, supervising the entire operations. Her phone rang and noticing Aqua's name on it, she answered the call.
It's been a week since Aqua's identity got compromised. Since then, Aqua apologized to her non stop even when she said that it was okay and it won't be too damaging for the army.
"Forgive me, Choc-"
"I told you, Aqua. I already forgiven you. Is that why you called me?"
"I thought you're mad at me that you left me here in Aomori," Aqua sounded like she's crying from the other line.
"No, you dork. I'm leading an operation here. Might be back tomorrow or next week."
"Can you make an ice cream for me?" Marine's voice can be heard from the background.
"Noooo! Leave me alone!" Lamy's voice was also heard.
"Calm down, everyone. Lunch is ready!" Mio stated
"YAAAAAAY!!!" Both of them cheered.
"Good thing Mio accepted my request to be your guardian," Choco sighed.
"Come back, okay? Love you!" Aqua said.
"Don't say that shit to me. I'll bring you some souvenirs, bye," She ended the call.
Suddenly, she heard a continuous ring. She stood from her chair when she noticed that the giant sword was glowing with a blue color. Instead of panicking, she only grinned. Everything was going according to her plans.
"The Awakening was actually real."