Asoko Desu's one-shots and short pieces

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Asoko_Desu
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Asoko Desu's one-shots and short pieces

Post by Asoko_Desu » Tue Jun 14, 2022 2:33 pm

Asoko Desu's one-shots, short pieces, and general meanderings

Infinitely More Than We Can Ask or Imagine — A short one-shot (complete) - below
Dust Bath - a short side-story (complete)
Mountain Pose - a short one-shot (complete)

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Infinitely More Than We Can Ask or Imagine — A short one-shot (complete)


My apologies if I’ve trampled on anyone’s personal beliefs, or over much-beloved characters. This is the place for fan fiction, however, and fiction this is.

It’s entirely possible I’ll piss someone / everyone off — that wasn’t the intention. Constructive feedback welcomed.

My deepest respect for, admiration and appreciation to all those who created something that’s given so much to so many for so many years. Thank you.

Spoilers? Maybe. Not what you’d expect.



“Another,” he said, placing a folder on his supervisor’s desk.

“The grief of the world stops at our door.”

“As it should. Who do we have today?”

“Last name Nakai, first name Hisao. Age 18, Japan.”

“How did he come our way?”

Reading from the folder .. “Met a girl he was in love with - it’s so often love, isn’t it? Met a girl he was in love with - their first date, if you could even call it that. An undiagnosed heart condition .. heart attack. Middle of winter in a place I believe he described as ‘.. far out of sight of teachers and fellow students’”

“And first responders.”

“Indeed.”

“And his, ah, girlfriend?”

“Ran to get help - came too late, of course.”

“Of course - or else we wouldn’t be discussing him right now.”

“Such a shame - but then they all are. Japan, early 21st century, health issues - Yamaku?”

“Yes, that would be best - its familiarity will keep him preoccupied enough not to question the sheer audacity of it all. There he’ll have a chance of completing his dharma after leaving purgatory - sorry, the ‘hospital’.”

“And find the love denied him?”

“Maybe. Maybe not. He will have his choices to make.”

“And his cohort?”

His supervisor opened a cabinet drawer and pulled out a series of folders, tapping them on the desk to settle their contents before opening them in turn.

“This one - killed in a car crash; this one, burnt to death; another killed playing with her father’s power tools - lost her hand, bled to death. This one suffered congenital deformities due to the mother’s medication during pregnancy - aborted, and more in that vein. Good souls all.”

“Of course they are,” He paused to briefly cover his eyes - tears came frequently in this line of work.

“His parents? And the others’?”

“The Angels will play their roles to perfection - ”

“ - As they always have.”

“As they always will,” The exchange had the worn familiarity of an eternity of repetition, yet had not grown stale.

“And the Other?”

“This time he’ll have only one of his there.”

“I’ve never understood why he gets to have any at the table with such innocents.”

“Who knows? So that the wheel of karma can turn? Because choices are meaningless if they have no consequences? Your guess is as good as mine.”

“Well .. God loves those he tests - or is it the other way around? I always get it wrong.”

“No worries - the saying is only true for mortals, after all.”

“Fine, it’s decided then - lights go down, actors take their places, and the story begins. Let the Divine guide them and protect them.”

“May they find rest at very least - and maybe love.”

fin

Last edited by Asoko_Desu on Sun Jun 26, 2022 12:50 am, edited 4 times in total.
"So much to do, so little time."

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Re: Infinitely More Than We Can Ask or Imagine — A short one-shot (complete)

Post by brythain » Wed Jun 15, 2022 7:35 am

That's an amusing theological perspective. Of course, figuring out which one is the Other's is also going to be fun.
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Re: Infinitely More Than We Can Ask or Imagine — A short one-shot (complete)

Post by Asoko_Desu » Wed Jun 15, 2022 11:27 am

Thank you - I've left that as an exercise for the reader 😉

Not sure there's anything more to add to this - but you never know 🙂
"So much to do, so little time."

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Re: Infinitely More Than We Can Ask or Imagine — A short one-shot (complete)

Post by Decaying_Orbital » Thu Jun 16, 2022 3:17 am

Asoko_Desu wrote:
Wed Jun 15, 2022 11:27 am
Thank you - I've left that as an exercise for the reader 😉
"killed in a car crash" = Emi.

"burnt to death" = Hanako

"killed playing with her father’s power tools" = Miki

"suffered congenital deformities due to the mother’s medication during pregnancy" = Rin

Which leaves Lilly, Shizune, and Misha. As "suspects" for "the Other." My gut feeling is Shizune, because of any of the main paths even at her "good" outcome it's kinda implied they don't last. While I'd also mention her family name has a certain connotation to it.

Overall though I very much enjoyed this short. Thank you for sharing it.

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Re: Infinitely More Than We Can Ask or Imagine — A short one-shot (complete)

Post by Asoko_Desu » Thu Jun 16, 2022 5:22 am

Very good - full marks!

As to the Other - not to point fingers (who knows - maybe I've got it wrong) but you're forgetting someone ..

And thank you for the kind words 😀
"So much to do, so little time."

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Re: Infinitely More Than We Can Ask or Imagine — A short one-shot (complete)

Post by brythain » Thu Jun 16, 2022 2:22 pm

Asoko_Desu wrote:
Thu Jun 16, 2022 5:22 am
As to the Other - not to point fingers (who knows - maybe I've got it wrong) but you're forgetting someone ..
Kenji would be obvious, one of the teachers (either Mutou or Nomiya) would be interesting, Jigoro or Meiko or Nurse would be hilarious. I would be sad if it were Yuuko or Akira. The rest of the characters seem too minor for such a major role.
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Re: Infinitely More Than We Can Ask or Imagine — A short one-shot (complete)

Post by Asoko_Desu » Thu Jun 16, 2022 2:53 pm

I'll ask next time I'm in the office .. ah, I mean - it'll be clear when I write a sequel.

Maybe.

That said, brythain, I can't disagree with you.
"So much to do, so little time."

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Re: Infinitely More Than We Can Ask or Imagine — A short one-shot (complete)

Post by Asoko_Desu » Thu Jun 16, 2022 6:43 pm

Of course, the Other is also known as a deceiver (trickster?) and it would be just like them to .. mislead the Celestial Bureaucrats on certain matters 😈
"So much to do, so little time."

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Dust Bath - a short side-story (complete)

Post by Asoko_Desu » Sat Jun 18, 2022 11:30 am

Story Title: Dust Bath
Author: Asoko_Desu
Type: Side-Story
Status: One in a series
PoV-character: Rin, Emi
Pairings: Emi x Hisao, sorta
Begins: Before ‘Saving Throw’
Warnings: Possible spoilers for Emi’s Good Ending, Navel Gazing, Character progression, Character extrapolation
Remarks: Leads in to something TBD.

Author’s notes: This is written from my perspective that Rin doesn’t get enough recognition for her innate cognitive / perceptive abilities. Ostensibly visually perceptive, Rin is also behaviourally perceptive; as a survival skill, she’s needed to learn to recognize people’s needs - perhaps better than they themselves know them. Witness Rin’s speech at the start of ‘Saving Throw’ - Rin is no ditz; Rin is not OuT tHeRe - Rin is sharp, aware, and cunning - almost calculating. If I had to bet money on it, I’d say that Rin is more calculating than Shizune, except Rin’s strategy is not to win a competition - it’s to avoid becoming part of one. The answer to why is a matter for a future post.



Emi looked out the window of her dorm room and wondered why she’d done this to herself; had she fucked up - again?

“Rin, is this going to become a theme in my life - driving people away, people who care for me?”

“Pretty sure I can’t tell the future, but that’s not the question you’re asking,” said Rin, who was practiced at saying things that made her seem owlish and not a little out there.

“Isn’t it? What question am I asking - did I do the right thing?”

“Maybe. You’re not happy about it so there’s some question.”

“Yeah.. I.. “ Emi was caught on the edge of whether to share what actually happened between her and Hisao at her mother’s house.

Emi silently weighed her options - “Can it hurt to let her know what this is all about? If so, who am I hurting more by not sharing? Am I actually punishing him - or me? It was my choice to end it - so why does it hurt so much?”

“No worries - I was just, fuck. I don’t know what I was thinking,” stumbled Emi. “Good job,” thought Emi - “Really put it all on the table that time.”

Rin looked directly at Emi and raised an eyebrow. She didn’t like being lied to so obviously, but realized Emi had her reasons for keeping her thoughts to herself. “So like a tree, perhaps,” thought Rin. “So strong, and apparently unchanging, except slowly growing more damaged year after year, until it all comes crashing down in a storm it’s unable to weather. Ah, to observe it through all those days and paint each one! Each day, changing weather, new leaves, different clouds, birds - each day a new expression of something deep and meaningful,”

“.. that’s why I couldn’t tell him about my accident, or .. anything.” Emi finished.

“Shit” thought Rin. “Of all the times to be wool-gathering .. ” She closed her eyes - always a useful stalling tactic - and replayed her surface auditory memory. A useful trick she learned to avoid scoldings at primary school was, whenever she’d space out - which was often - to keep a memory of the last few minutes of conversation directed at her even if she wasn’t really paying attention, so she’d always be ready to respond to a teacher’s demand of “What did I just say Tezuka??”

“I didn’t trust him I guess, not that I didn’t love him, but I couldn’t trust him .. “ Was what Emi had said, as Rin ‘played back the tape’ in her head.

Rin opened her eyes - “You can’t trust anyone more than you trust yourself” she suggested, unhelpfully. Rin closed her eyes - “Where did I read that? Fucked if I can remember,” Rin thought. “Emi's smart, but not the most introspective bird on the tree. Hm, I wonder if there’s a structure behind birds nesting in trees - a pecking order, so to speak.” Rin said to herself, and smiled internally at her own joke.

“Hisao and Emi make a good pair,” Rin thought. “Smart but dumb” was how Rin characterized Hisao - strictly to herself. A decent fellow, friendly and academically inclined, but like a blind boy trying to paint when it came to relationships; Emi, despite her popularity, was much the same Rin thought.

Emi, for her part, stared back at Rin in shock - she wanted to call bullshit, but something about Rin’s koan-like pronouncement rang true.

“How do I trust myself more, then?”

“Shit,” thought Rin - “That was supposed to keep her busy figuring that nonsense out; I really did want to think more about birds nesting in trees .. it’s like there’s a pattern in there somewhere if only I can figure it out.”

“How do you get better at running?” Was what Rin said aloud, looking at the ceiling. What she thought was - “Death of a thousand cuts today. Still, I do love her like a sister and she does help me with my personal care, so being gracious is the absolute least I can do. No - the absolute least I could do is give her the answer she wants, which I will not do; that never ends well.”

“Practice?” Said Emi.

“Practice,” Agreed Rin, looking sage.

“But how do I practice trusting myself?”

“Make that 1001 cuts,” thought Rin.

“Keep the agreements you make with yourself,” Said Rin aloud. “Fuck,” was what she thought - “I must be distracted by something; I’m getting sloppy and expressing opinions - Bad Rin!” And she imagined kicking a wall with her big toe - her go-to mental exercise for training herself off of doing something she felt put her in a vulnerable position.

“But keeping the agreement I made to myself - never telling anyone about what happened when I lost my legs - is what got me into this mess in the first place!” wailed Emi.

Rin thought to herself - “That’s what I get for expressing a clear opinion - it only ever leads to unanswerable questions. Oh Emi, such a shame about your accident; so sorry you lost your father. Such a shame you don’t think anyone can put two and two together; it’s so obvious - well, maybe except to Hisao. Were you the one driving when you lost your legs? I think not. Shit, more wool-gathering; get with it Tezuka - pay attention.”

“Then is the problem really with trusting Hisao?” said Rin.

“Better - much better,” thought Rin. “I wonder if I could get a job post-University doing this shit.”

Emi mused on this for a bit, as Rin had hoped she would, and Rin went back to thinking about arboreal taxonomies.

“No. I guess it’s not. What is it about then?”

“Only you can answer that. I’m hungry - come buy me lunch,” Rin offered.

“Ok - I guess I owe you something for you time,” Emi said, smirking.

“Definitely something to keep in my back pocket if the art thing doesn’t pay the bills,” Rin thought to herself, filing the thought away in a drawer of the vast apartment building-sized writing desk she kept at the back of her mind. She put an alarm clock in with the thought, set to go off and remind her to return to it in a couple of years when she needed to think more seriously about her future.

Closing the drawer of the building-sized desk she could hear the muted ticking of many such alarm clocks in similar drawers, all waiting for their time to remind her to turn her thoughts away from birds and trees and such, and towards something pressing .. like that boy, Tetsu was it? One of the ones who’d helped her paint the mural - the one who’d looked at her with such unfathomable grey eyes.

Tetsu had not stared, but had looked - the way Rin had caught herself in a mirror or window, looking at something she badly needed to remember. Yes, Tetsu - foreigner; obviously an adopted name, trying to fit in. Big guy, strong, knew his paint. Rin let her thoughts wander, smirking enigmatically .. “How did he get out of his drawer like that?” Rin wondered. “Jumping from nothing to .. interesting all of a sudden? That’s not supposed to happen ..”

“Coming Rin? I thought you were hungry!” Prodded Emi, waiting by the door, tapping her foot blade on the floor impatiently. “Is anything happening in that woman’s head?” Emi wondered to herself, not for the last time.

fin
"So much to do, so little time."

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Re: Infinitely More Than We Can Ask or Imagine — A short one-shot (complete)

Post by Razoredge » Wed Jun 22, 2022 11:31 am

Decaying_Orbital wrote:
Thu Jun 16, 2022 3:17 am

Which leaves Lilly, Shizune, and Misha. As "suspects" for "the Other." My gut feeling is Shizune, because of any of the main paths even at her "good" outcome it's kinda implied they don't last. While I'd also mention her family name has a certain connotation to it.

Overall though I very much enjoyed this short. Thank you for sharing it.
It's he, mate :P That means it's not Shizune. Kenji would be a more suitable choice.


To be fair, I have to say that this is a really good piece. I'm more a "the longer, the better" type of man, but, the concept of the piece is incredibly good. Hisao's heart attack could have killed him in reality, and the fact that he's sent into a "afterlife" place is on point. You had a really great idea mate, and it was a really pleasant reading. I will definitely look forward your future pieces.
Lilly = Akira > Miki = Hanako > Emi > Rin > Shizune

Stuff I'm currently writing : Beyond the haze : A Lilly Satou pseudo-route, Lullaby of an open heart : A Saki pseudo-route & Sakura Blossom : A way with Hisao

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Re: Infinitely More Than We Can Ask or Imagine — A short one-shot (complete)

Post by Decaying_Orbital » Wed Jun 22, 2022 2:59 pm

Razoredge wrote:
Wed Jun 22, 2022 11:31 am

It's he, mate :P That means it's not Shizune. Kenji would be a more suitable choice.
Well what I took away from the piece during this exchange:
“And the Other?”
“This time he’ll have only one of his there.”
“I’ve never understood why he gets to have any at the table with such innocents.”
Is that the nature of "he" was being directed at the "Other's master" The Devil/Lucifer/whatever you want to call them. Not the identity of the "Other" itself, but rather the agent that was being sent.

However I agree I did miss Kenji as a possible agent. ;)

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Re: Infinitely More Than We Can Ask or Imagine — A short one-shot (complete)

Post by Asoko_Desu » Wed Jun 22, 2022 3:52 pm

Razoredge wrote:
Wed Jun 22, 2022 11:31 am
To be fair, I have to say that this is a really good piece. I'm more a "the longer, the better" type of man, but, the concept of the piece is incredibly good. Hisao's heart attack could have killed him in reality, and the fact that he's sent into a "afterlife" place is on point. You had a really great idea mate, and it was a really pleasant reading. I will definitely look forward your future pieces.

Thank you for the encouragement - I hope to live up to your praise; no pressure, right? :D

I also prefer the longer works - they’re impressive and intimidating and, on this forum, reliably enjoyable. That said, this story just felt right at the length it is, although there’s certainly opportunity to explore the space and I hope I’m inspired to do so!

Which reminds me, I really need to get on my game and post how much I’ve appreciated the many stories I’ve already read here.
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Mountain Pose - a short one-shot (complete)

Post by Asoko_Desu » Wed Jun 22, 2022 7:12 pm

Thank you again to everyone who’s made contributing to this shared narrative possible!

Story Title: Mountain Pose
Author: Asoko_Desu
Type: Slice of life
Status: Complete
PoV-character: Rin
Pairings: NA
Begins: Before dawn
Warnings: Navel Gazing - literally
Remarks: We're all early risers around here


Rin woke up, feeling like it was going to be a good day. She loved that her room faced the east so that she could start each day with a fresh palette of light.

Rising before the dawn allowed her to perform her ablutions in private, while the shared bathroom was still empty. Finished, she’d return to her room to stand to face the breaking sunlight coming through her window.

As the sun rose to enter her room, she stood and raised what arms she had above her shoulders, stretching backwards, forwards, then to both sides in turn as gently and deeply as she could.

This oscillating posture she repeated slowly, several times, deepening the bends gradually - forward and back, side-to-side - each time holding the pose at the very end for a minute. Each repetition encouraged her connective tissue to progressively acquiesce and allow her a few more degrees of movement, until finally she could hold her neck parallel with the floor to the back and sides, and bend forward to put her head fully between her knees.

After this, Rin’s standing routine was a fairly typical series of yoga postures - restricted by her obvious limitations, but taken to contortionist-level extremes for those she was capable of - followed by several sets of pistol squats on each leg.

Finishing her standing postures, she kicked a pillow to the floor, crossed her legs, and gently lowered herself onto it. As she proceeded to stretch out one leg on the floor and bend the other behind her head, she might have reminded an external observer of a cat, luxuriating on a favoured cushion in a patch of sunlight. She bent her head toward the knee of her outstretched leg, then repeated the posture with legs reversed.

After about an hour of effort, now fully limber, she completed her routine by bending from a seated position and almost touching her nose to her belly button, but never quite making it.

“Maybe tomorrow” she’d tell herself, after thanking her body for allowing her to explore its limits. Then it was time to turn her attention to the by-now nagging banging at her door.

“Rin! Riiiin! Wake uppp!” called Emi, thumping the door again with the heel of her fist, having returned from her daily check-in with Nurse.

“I swear, that woman would sleep through the day if I didn’t wake her up.” thought Emi. Rin scratched her ear with her big toe then got up to open the door and let Emi help her dress. Rin could dress herself, but Emi had asked if Rin had wanted help dressing when they first met as neighbours and Rin had said "yes"; Emi hadn't thought to ask if Rin needed help. It made Emi happy to help, and Rin couldn’t quite bring herself to deny Emi the pleasure.

“There - are the girls comfortable?”

“The girls are fine” said Rin with a small smile, and - to be fair - while she didn’t need the help, she didn't mind it either.

fin
"So much to do, so little time."

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Re: Dust Bath - a short side-story (complete)

Post by Oddball » Fri Jun 24, 2022 6:17 pm

Rin's a bit more vulgar than I'm used to but I do like the mental tricks she uses.
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Re: Dust Bath - a short side-story (complete)

Post by Asoko_Desu » Fri Jun 24, 2022 11:00 pm

Oddball wrote:
Fri Jun 24, 2022 6:17 pm
Rin's a bit more vulgar than I'm used to but I do like the mental tricks she uses.

Thank you - I do appreciate the feedback!

Re: Vulgarity, I agree - my representation of Rin’s internal dialog is mostly based on my experience of being a teenager - how we thought and what we said were often very different (witness Hisao using the word ‘Fuck’ in his thoughts, but I don’t believe he ever says it aloud) and doesn't reflect her usual speaking style - but that's the point.

I debated putting the internal monologue in spoiler tags, but found it cumbersome. I wanted to explore the thoughts - and personalities (especially Rin’s) - behind the words vs the dialog itself, so I decided to leave them in the open.

Here’s a (mostly) expurgated version with a bare minimum of internal dialog that, I believe, reads much more like their ‘normal’ interactions:



“Rin, is this going to become a theme in my life - driving people away, people who care for me?”

“Pretty sure I can’t tell the future, but that’s not the question you’re asking,” said Rin.

“Isn’t it? What question am I asking - did I do the right thing?”

“Maybe. You’re not happy about it so there’s some question.”

“Yeah.. I.. “ Emi was caught on the edge of whether to share what actually happened between her and Hisao at her mother’s house.

Emi silently weighed her options - “Can it hurt to let her know what this is all about? If so, who am I hurting more by not sharing? Am I actually punishing him - or me? It was my choice to end it - so why does it hurt so much?”

“I was just, fuck. I don’t know what I was thinking,” stumbled Emi.

“I didn’t trust him I guess, not that I didn’t love him, but I couldn’t trust him .. that’s why I couldn’t tell him about my accident, or .. anything.” Emi finished.

Rin opened her eyes - “You can’t trust anyone more than you trust yourself.”

Emi stared back at Rin in shock - something about Rin’s koan-like pronouncement rang true.

“How do I trust myself more, then?”

“How do you get better at running?” said Rin.

“Practice?” Said Emi.

“Practice,” Agreed Rin.

“But how do I practice trusting myself?”

“Keep the agreements you make with yourself,” Said Rin.

“But keeping the agreement I made to myself - never telling anyone about what happened when I lost my legs - is what got me into this mess in the first place!” wailed Emi.

“Then is the problem really with trusting Hisao?” said Rin.

Emi mused on this for a bit.

“No. I guess it’s not. What is it about then?”

“Only you can answer that. I’m hungry - come buy me lunch,” Rin offered.

“Ok - I guess I owe you something for you time,” Emi said, smirking.

[Rin lost in thought]

“Coming Rin? I thought you were hungry!” Prodded Emi, waiting by the door, tapping her foot blade on the floor impatiently.



Here Emi hasn’t come to the understanding that Hisao helps her achieve in their good ending - she’s still working it through. Whether Rin is helpful or not is another question, but again it’s an exercise in exploring Rin’s internal dialog by using Emi’s distress as a foil.

I enjoyed exploring the differences between what goes on in Rin’s head, vs what’s going on in Emi’s, which I do a bit more in ‘Mountain Pose' (viewtopic.php?f=52&t=13287&p=248006#p248006). Emi doesn’t fully understand Rin - no one does, really, which is sort of the point (and possibly part of the appeal) of the character.

There’s a lot going on in Rin’s head, but she can’t express it well - “Lots of MIPS, little I/O”, as an old saying goes - as opposed to people like Hisao and Rin who are better able to express themselves verbally, but lack the richer internal landscape Rin possesses. I've tried to show what I believe to be a smart, aware, strategic intellect - bordering on calculating - that no character suspects resides behind her owlish, bored exterior (Why does she always appear so bored? Can it be because her daily interactions offer her little by way of intellectual challenge? Why does she sometimes drop insight-bombs? Sure, it's because she functions as KS' 'Greek Chorus', but if she was a real person would it be because she sometimes gets tired with other characters being dense? Witness the response to her comments at the start of 'Saving Throw':

NARRATOR: "I'm so surprised by Rin's being so suddenly forward about, well, anything at all that I merely watch her head through the door. Emi is similarly surprised, and colors slightly crimson as she stares open-mouthed at me.


I find it interesting that, of the people I’ve met in person who are Rin-like in their verbal capacity, those people are often highly eloquent writers online - an option that’s denied to Rin since she can’t type - at all, assistive technologies being somewhat lacking in the KS universe.
"So much to do, so little time."

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