What a big city.

The biggest I’ve ever seen, in fact. I’m genuinely surprised. I didn’t know cities could get this big. What a strange world I live in.

(No, no. I think your sense of what is strange or not is somewhat skewed. The Planar Tower was much stranger than this, you know? And this city isn’t that big, either.)

[…You’ve seen a bigger one?]Continue reading

(A handshake serves as a greeting or a parting that denotes cordiality and friendship. That’s not to say it’s only used among friends, though. You might also shake the hand of a business partner before and after a successful negotiation or something like that. Do you understand?)

[…Yes.]

(Now, you’ve probably seen it happen between humans in the past, right? There are a few little subtleties to it you might have missed, though. For example, it’s customary to squeeze the other party’s hand a little. Not too hard, otherwise it’s aggressive and confrontational, but not too limp either, or it’s like you don’t actually care about the handshake. You just need to squeeze enough that people know you mean it. You can also cover the handshake with your other hand, for emphasis, if you’re especially happy or grateful or passionate about whatever you’re shaking hands for. Be careful with this, however. Using two hands makes the handshake much more intimate, so some might be uncomfortable with it, in which case you should refrain.)

[…How do I know if they’re uncomfortable with it?]Continue reading

“Haah, haah, haah…”

In a room deep below Alsomn’s royal palace, I gulp down labored breaths of air as if they’re the single most delicious thing I’ve ever tasted in my life.

Right now, they might as well be.

Large drops of sweat are flowing down my face, and my whole body is covered in it. The simple training uniform I’m wearing is sticking to my skin. I must look like I’ve just escaped a particularly rainy day and haven’t yet dried off. What wouldn’t be so easily explained by simple rain, however, are the tremors running through all my muscles. They are the reason I’m sitting; they’re so strong I would topple to the ground in a few seconds if I ever tried to stand.Continue reading

So. If I follow what Phineas is saying, once I’ve attuned to this black suit, I should be able to use it as a replacement for the maid outfit I lost during the battle in Dorn, yes?

It is something of a problem that this is going to take me years of slowly grinding at it though. Which will only start once I’ve found that energy core, even. Which I haven’t.

I wish it could be faster.

<Need. Help?>Continue reading

230 years.

Approximately.

It’s difficult to retain a precise sense of time, while in dormancy.

It’s quite a long time, admittedly, but not all that long. At least, for unaging gods, it isn’t. And yet, many things seem to have changed, in that time.Continue reading

[…Phineas.]

(That’s right. It’s me. I apologize for the delay, but…) Phineas looks down at himself. (I’m all better, now. Every bit of damage has been fixed.)

Right…

His soul was injured.

I’m not quite sure what he’s so proud of, though.Continue reading

plick, plick, plick…

Water, dripping down onto stone, one drop at a time, coming from somewhere.

I don’t know how long I spend listening to this regular sound, as if it’s ticking down the elapsing seconds. Probably very long. Long enough for those drops of water to erode the stone on which they fall, it even seems.

I feel Sanae nearby. She was probably standing guard over me while I slept.Continue reading

A shapeless, tumorous mass of flesh, perhaps 2 meters in height and half that in girth, floats in a cylindrical, transparent glass tank in front of me. Tubes, filled with flowing, murky fluids, plunge deep into that mass of flesh at seemingly random spots, their other ends plugged into the whirring, blocky machines surrounding the tank, on each of which is encased a red jewel, glittering brightly. Scattered bubbles sometimes escape from the points where the tubes meet the flesh, as if this repulsive thing is actually breathing and living. Following the bubbles, tendrils of black blood slowly uncoil from its skin, growing and rising up through the water like algae taking root on an underwater rock and blooming to life. The tendrils don’t last long, though. Quickly, they dissipate and fade away, drawn with the water as it cycles out through the drain and in through the pump the tank is equipped with so as to keep it clean. Every now and then, a small shudder runs through the mass of flesh, making its folds and bumps quiver and shiver disgustingly.

Right.

Disgusting.

That’s what it is.Continue reading

“Boss! Hey, Boss! A little help, here! Boss, boss, boss!”

I frantically dodge the clawed swipe of the snarling, slavering demon trying its very best to tear my head off my shoulders. I duck under its arm at the last second and hear it buzz past my head, the wind of it ruffling my hair in a chilling reminder that it was just that close to cutting my face into ribbons.

“Boss!”

“Sif,” I hear the Major say in an infuriatingly calm voice, “if you don’t stop screaming right this second, I really will leave you to die. As it is, I might leave you to die even if you continue talking, so do try to put every chance on your side and stay silent, will you?”Continue reading

Ugh, damn…

I stay on the ground for a while. A corner of my brain realizes that doing so constitutes a death sentence, but the rest of it doesn’t seem to care. Maybe it’s too busy listening to the complaints coming in from my body. Everything is still attached, and I suppose that, technically, I’m not injured, but I feel like I was just squeezed through a meat grinder. At this point, I’m wondering if it wouldn’t be better to just die.

That bitch kept kneeing me in the stomach with earth-shattering force – literally, earth-shattering. Fortunately, all my clothes are defensive artifacts that increase the power of my shielding magic, or I would definitely have died right then and there. Even then, I could still feel my defenses breaking apart with each blow, and the residual vibrations from the shockwaves punched me in the gut like a battering ram.

I feel nauseous…Continue reading