Within a Looking Glass – A Rika pseudo-route

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Downix
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Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2018 7:39 pm

Within a Looking Glass – A Rika pseudo-route

Post by Downix » Sat Feb 24, 2018 4:15 pm

It has been less than a month since I first became aware of Katawa Shoujo, and a few weeks since I found myself here, absorbed with the various fan fictions. A few days ago I found myself on Eurobeatjester's Saki pseudo-route, and looked up the original April Fools joke which inspired it. Then I went to see what had been written about the other character from that, Rika, and was disappointed in what I'd found. Not that they were bad, but I found them, honestly, very nihlistic, and not in tune with the original writeup nor really allowing for Hisao's development. So, yesterday I got to thinking, if I'm not happy with what I've found, why don't I do it myself?

Why did I gravitate to Rika? Well, one, because she's effectively an open book. But two, she represented something not found in any other route - a mirror for Hisao. His interactions with her would ultimately be a reflection upon himself. Every route explores part of Hisao, and develops it, but none ever truly allow for reflection and full acceptance of his condition.

So, this is what I wrote yesterday, and used today for editing. I'll work on more in a bit.

Act 1:
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2
Act 2:
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2

Act 1:

Changes to Gateway Effect and Enter Stage Left:

Mutou looks at me levelly before asking, “Do you want to introduce yourself to the class?”

“Ok, then yeah, sure. I mean, isn’t that normal?” I finally decide.

“Of course. But not everyone likes to be at the center of attention,” he replies.

I am not one of those people either, but I want to make sure I give a good impression.

“Right, but it’s no problem.”

Mutou nods. “Let’s go then.”

As we walk, I think to myself, before asking him a question. “Is it normal for students here to share why they are here? Their issues? I don’t know what is expected of me.”

He pauses a moment at the door. “It is not required, but if your classmates know of your condition, it will certainly make things easier. If something were to happen, they would more likely to know how to respond.”

It makes sense, I suppose. While I’d not had an attack since that afternoon, I knew the risk was always going to be there.

He continues after a moment. “Think of it this way. Imagine you had a problem breathing. Would you want those with whom you share a sizable portion of your day to be aware of it, so in case you had an episode they would be able to respond?”

I muse this point, then nod.

Satisfied, Mutou enters the classroom, saying “Good morning everyone, sorry I am late again.

I follow in the teachers wake into the classroom and look around, partially so I won't have to meet the curious gazes of my new classmates.

I am immediately struck by how spacious the room is. With a high ceiling and lots of room between desks, the room feels very comfortable to me. Behind me, the entire wall is taken up by blackboards. Along the far wall are old fashioned windows set at head level, giving the illusion of yet more space. The desks are just standard wooden desks with a shelf underneath for books and wooden chairs with metal frames, just like my old school.

When I reach the front of the classroom I turn to face the other students. I tune out the teacher's speech halfway through while he introduces me to the class. They all look like students in any other school. My eyes slowly focus across the room at them. One of the girls seems to be missing the thumb of her right hand, reminding me that this is not a normal school, and that everyone who is here needs to be here for one reason or another.

A flash of dark hair catches my eye, and I spot a girl with really long, straight hair that is pretty eye-catching looking at me. As she sees me looking back at her, she covers her face with her hands as if it will make her invisible. My eyes linger a moment more before I continue looking around the room.

A cane leans against the lockers at the rear of the class, next to a boy. Another girl seems to be making some hand motions, maybe sign language, to the smiling, pink haired girl next to her. She peers at me over the rims of her glasses, then goes back to whatever she's doing.

My attention returns as Mutou says "…please welcome our newest classmate."

The room falls into silence, it is my turn to speak.

I bow respectfully to my new classmates. “Hello, I am Hisao Nakai.” I inhale and steel myself. “I came to Yamaku Academy due to an arrhythmia, a weak heart. I am not made of glass, but I would ask kindly for people not to jostle me. I hope to get along well with everyone even though I am a new student.”

The silence in the room stretched for eternity I felt, but in truth was only a few moments before Mutou began speaking again. After a moment, the class applauds just as Mutou directs me to where I am to sit, next to the two girls I saw using sign language moments before.

--------

Changes to Lunch Evolution Theory and Meet Cute. Can do something similar with Short Sharp Shock:

“Mind if I accompany you?” I ask the pair as they turn to leave.

Lilly pauses a moment before replying, “I’m sure that we could accommodate you, can’t we Hanako?”

Hanako freezes like a deer in headlights. Then stammers out “S-sure.”

Smiling, Lilly turns again to leave. “Well then, shall we go?”

I pick up my things and trail behind them, ignoring the glares from Shizune and Misha behind me.

As we turn the corner, I find myself suddenly running into something which was moving too fast for me to anticipate. Hanako’s scream fills my ear as I land on the ground aside from her.

“Ouch,” is all I manage to say before landing on my back.

I look over at what hit me, and find myself staring into the green eyes of a girl in a track uniform, also knocked down by the impact. She appears as stunned as I feel, but no obvious damage. Surprising me, I notice she lacks flesh and blood legs, instead sporting legs of metal and plastic. As soon as she recovers, she jumps back onto her feet.

“Aw man… Hey, are you all right? I'm sorry about that, really!” she says, in a very apologetic manner. “I wasn't looking where I was going, and you just came out of nowhere. Sorry… Sorry.”

I wave her off, “It's okay. Don't worry about it… ouch…”

The thumping, not again. It’s only my first week here. I focus on my breathing as I try and calm my heart down. Almost on the edge of perception I can hear Hanako’s voice explaining to someone “He has a heart condition.”

“Oh no!” says the girl’s voice.

Lilly’s voice starts to get a bit clearer. “Emi, you’ve been warned not to run in the halls.”

“Sorry, sorry, let me get the nurse,” comes the voice, Emi’s I assume, now nearly full clarity, and quite loud.

I manage to stammer out. “I can walk, give me a moment.” A few deep breaths later, and my heart seems back to it’s normal, if irregular, beat. “There.”

Lilly is facing me with a rather stern look on her face. “You need to see the nurse.”

Emi nods, “If I let you go and something happened, I would feel horrible!”

A quick glance to Hanako, and it was clear that I was outvoted by the ladies before me.

Behind me, I can hear the sounds of rushing feet, along with Misha’s voice. “Who screamed? Hicchan! What happened?”

Emi injected, “It’s my fault, I was running. Here, let me help.”

“Ibarazaki, you know the rules about...”

Lilly interrupted them, saying, “Lecture her later. Hisao needs to see the nurse first. Emi, do you have him?”

Emi grabs one arm and forces herself under it. I note that for such a small girl, she is remarkably strong. I catch a whiff of sweat off of her, and strawberries.

“I’ll be fine,” I start to object.

“We’ll let the nurse determine that,” comes Misha’s voice. Someone behind me has placed their hand on my back, while Emi supports me under one arm. I can feel the crowd around me as we move. What a way to make a first impression this week. I fight away the tears I feel welling up within me.

I am broken.

--------

New Scene, alternate to Sip and Detour Ahead after above changes – The White Rabbit:
Emi burst in, half carrying me. “Nurse!”

The nurse looks out from his office, then spots Emi carrying me, with Shizune, Lilly, Hanako and Misha trailing behind.

“What happened?”

Emi jumps in before anyone else can respond. “I was late and was running in the hall and I didn’t see him, then he fell, turned red and grabbed his chest and Hanako said he had a bad heart and….”

“Emi, calm down. Hisao, into my office. Emi, you sit there, I’ve got to talk to you,” the nurse looks sternly at her.

The look of a hurt puppy flashes in Emi’s eyes. She finds herself standing in a circle of people, all of which look quite upset with her.

I pull myself into the other room. I know how I will be checked, so I start to unbutton my shirt, only to hear someone clearing their throat behind me. I look over my shoulder, and find myself facing a pale, thin girl with an odd red tint to her eyes and white hair sitting on the exam table kicking her legs. I immediately notice that her school uniform’s shirt is unbuttoned, revealing a sports bra underneath. But that is not what my eyes are drawn to. Sticking out on either side of her sports bra clear as day was a dark scar down her pale chest, running clear from her navel to her collarbone.

It takes a moment before the girl notices me standing there. “Hi, I’m Rika.” My brain has not yet engaged, still staring at her chest. After a moment, Rika tilts her head as she realizes what I was staring at. “What? It’s not like it’s a secret…. Why are you staring? Have you never seen a surgery scar before?” She points her thumb at the scar tissue and smiles.” When I die, the autopsy technician will know... exactly where to cut.” She buttons up her shirt, clearly uncomfortable with the attention.

It takes a few moments before my mouth finally engages. “… like mine.”

“What?” she replies, her hands frozen mid-button.

I finally shake off the shock. “Your scar, it’s like mine.”

“Yours?”

It now registers what I just said, to a stranger. It is foolish not to discuss it now. I finish unbuttoning my shirt, and turn around to face Rika, revealing my own chest scar. “Mine.”

Her eyebrows rose to the point it makes her eyes look almost double in size. “Oh! So... we are the same... is that what you're saying? Well…. You tell me yours and I’ll tell you mine.”

“Arrhythmia,” I say without thinking.

“Hypoplastic left heart syndrome,” she replies.

Now it is time for my own eyebrows to go up. “I’m… not familiar with that.”

She looks flatly at me. “It means when I was born, half of my heart did not work right.”

“Oh,” is what I manage to reply.

We both just stare at each other, neither one certain what to say next.

“Am I interrupting?” the Nurse asks as he steps back in the room.

We both suddenly look down, and blush.

“I know sharing surgery scars is the hip thing and all, but I need to make sure Hisao here was not too injured from his run in with Emi.” The nurse seems more serious than the last time I spoke with him. He continues talking while examining my chest. “Very good for you to have been so open about your condition Hisao. It meant that your classmates knew what to do. Not everybody is so forthcoming.” Man that stethoscope is cold.

I finish removing my shirt, and put Rika out of my mind while the nurse begins examining me. “Well, it sounds fine. I’ve lectured Emi about running in the halls, again. And she’s still being lectured, by two class representatives this time. Let’s hope it sinks in.”

Rika laughs, “Your turn, huh?”

I blink, realizing she’s still there. “What was that?”

“Emi ran into me last year…. I think it’s a right of passage at this school,” Rika says. Looking back, I see she is still kicking her legs, like a younger child.

“Aren’t you supposed to be going to lunch?” the nurse looked sternly at Rika.

“He took his shirt off for me, and told me what condition he has, yet still hasn’t introduced himself to me!” She sounds almost annoyed at being asked. “That’s just rude.”

I blink, processing it. “Oh, I’m Hisao Nakai. I only started at Yamaku on Monday.”

“Oh! You’re the new year 3? I’m only second year… class 2-3,” she replies. “You’re in... Hakamichi’s class, yes?”

I nod. “I take it she’s well known?”

Rika rolls her eyes. “Everybody knows the Student Council president.”

At this point I notice that the nurse hasn’t actually done anything for awhile. I look back at him.

He smiles. “I’ve been done for the last two minutes. Was wondering when you’d notice. You’re fine, but good that you came in just in case. Now, both of you should finish your lunch period and get back to class. Now, do you remember what I said about getting some exercise? I’ll talk to Emi about helping you get into shape, so I expect to see you on the track tomorrow morning at 7. No excuses, or else I’ll know. Consider it punishment for giving you a scare.”

“Punishment for me or her?”

The nurse smiles, and turned to walk back to his desk.

I look back, and Rika is standing right behind me, looking at me intensely. “Do you have an umbrella?”

I am taken back by the question. “Not on me, why? There’s not a cloud in the sky.”

“Oh...”

The nurse grabs something from next to his desk and hands it back to her.

“Thank you,” the pale girl says and skips out of the office.

Curious I follow her. She takes out on a pair of sunglasses which she puts on before opening up the umbrella and putting it between her and the sun.

“Need help?” I pipe up.

She looks back at me behind those sunglasses. “I would not mind if it was a little bit higher, to make a larger shadow, thank you.”

Looking down, I can see the shadow was not fully covering her legs. I take it from her hand, and hold it to better cover her in shadow.

We walk along in silence for a few minutes.

“You’re not going to ask?” She finally says.

I shrug. “I already know more about you than I do most people here. I figure it is entirely your business.”

She smiles. “Most people ask about my skin and eyes before they do my scar. It’s... nice to have someone do it the other way around. Thank you... for helping me... with the umbrella.”

“Glad to be of service.”

We walk to the main building, and once inside, Rika removes the sunglasses and closes the umbrella. I then follow her up a flight of stairs before stopping in front of a classroom door.

“This is my classroom. Yours is still a floor up. Although... I heard Emi mention Hanako... while out in the hall. That little room she and Satou use is right over there.” She gestures down the hall with the umbrella. “See you later Hisao.”

“Yeah, see you.”

As I walk away, I hear a voice behind me.

“Hisao?”

I turn around to look at Rika.

“Yes?”

“You have a nice…. scar,” she says while dragging a foot on the ground behind her shyly. It is rather cute.

I can’t help but smile. “You too. I hope to see it again sometime… um… I mean you again….”

Rika smiles as she heads into her classroom.

Smooth move Hisao.
--------

New Option added to Slow Recovery:

I wake up not certain how long I had been out. It takes a few minutes for me to realize that I am in the infirmary, and to remember exactly why I was here. Why ever did I get the idea to try and keep up with a track star?

A moment later, the nurse sticks his head in and smiles. “How are you feeling?”

I shrug. “What time is it?”

He looks more stern as he replies. “Quarter past ten. You did not answer my question Hisao.”

I nod. “Oh, fine.”

He looks unconvinced. “Climb down from that bed then, and let’s see how you’re doing. Don’t...”

I get up too quickly, and the world spins. When it stops, I realize the nurse is holding me up.

“You’re all right. Head stopped spinning?”

I nod. “Yeah.”

The nurse nods in return. “Good. And how are the contents doing? You didn’t show very good judgment out there, Hisao.”

I realize he is right, take a deep breath, and say “No, sir.”

He gives me a look over. “I can try and help you keeping your health, but ultimately the last call lies with you. Hopefully this little episode will be something that will remind you of that. Here, a note for your teacher. To avoid an interrogation. Stay out of trouble, you hear me? I don’t think it was anything but a scare, but next time could be different."

I nod, and start to leave, but then think of something.

“I should clean up before I go to class,” I say.

The nurse raises an eyebrow. “Well, the pool showers are just over there Two dozen individual stalls to clean up in. Go down the hall, take a left when you smell the chlorine. It is not a bad idea to take a shower, you did come here rather sweaty. Last thing we want is for people to get the wrong idea.” He winks at me with that characteristic smirk once again.

As I head in the direction of the pool showers, I notice a familiar hair color sitting on a bench.

“Not in class?” I ask Rika.

“You aren’t either,” she says dryly, looking up at me.

“Yeah, I, um, had another incident and needed some time to recover,” I say in return.

“I saw you in there sleeping. The nurse would not tell me why... but I guessed that was it.”

I chuckle dryly. “I think Emi is trying to kill me. So, what are you doing?”

“Waiting. It’s my class’s physical education period... but I can’t participate. So... I wait... and watch. See?” She points to a set of windows. Below them, a dozen kids are participating in some kind of game involving nets and balls. I’ll admit, I’ve never seen that before.

I smile a little. “You like to watch?”

“When I can. I’ll go up to the roof of the main building... sometimes and watch people below. It’s peaceful up there.”

“Maybe I’ll join you sometime,” I tell her.

“Maybe I’ll like that,” she responds. A few heartbeats later she speaks again. “Still not going to ask?”

I shake my head.

As she looks up at me, it strikes me that the red of her irises looks almost surreal. I never imagined eyes could be that color. They tremble slightly, like it is hard to focus on me.

“I, uh, need to shower before I return to class. Talk to you later, Rika?”

She nods, then smiles slightly. “I’d like that.” Then she realizes what she just said, then turns away, her cheeks turning pink.

The pool shower is colder than the one in my dorm, a fact I am quite grateful for this morning. I am alone in there as well, making the sounds echo.

As I leave, I realize someone is leaning on the wall across from the exit. Rika looks up at me. “Going to class?”

“Yup,” I respond absentmindedly.

“In your running clothes?”

I look down, and realize she was right. Clearly, my head is not in the game today.

“I, er, guess I need to go to my dorm to change.”

“And I... need to go in that direction anyways. May I join you?”

I consider a moment. “Won’t you miss your people watching?”

She shakes her head.

I shrug, and head out, with her following in step. As we exit the door, I hear the umbrella she carries unfolding, and feel a shadow slightly cover one shoulder. As I look down, I see that the shadow once again does not cover her legs. Without saying anything, I gently take hold of it, lifting it slightly to make a larger shadow.

“So, why are you going to the dorms at this time of day?”

Rika looks at me plainly. “Because I wanted an excuse to walk with you again.”

I could feel my eyebrows trying to become a toupee. “W-what?”

Rika just smiles before looking away.

When we get to the dorms, I hand her umbrella back to her, noting that it’s a much fancier one than the one the nurse lent her earlier. Then without word, still not knowing how to respond to what she said, I head in.

I strip out of my sweaty shirt before starting my medicine routine. I am halfway through my pill regimen before I notice the sound of my door opening.

Without even looking I grumble out between pills “Kenji, what have I told you about entering my room without knocking?” I finish taking the pills in my hand before I turn to look, and realize it is Rika standing there. It takes a moment to regain my composition before I finish taking my medicine, a bit more cautiously.

“Your door, it wasn’t fully closed,” she says while clearly looking at the pill bottles on my desk from my doorway. “You have more pill bottles than I do. Not many... but a few.” She pauses before continuing. “You don’t need... to be embarrassed. The Warfarin likes to get stuck in my throat.”

As I stop to process what she just said, she walks over, sets her umbrella down against the side of my desk and picks up one of my pill bottles, looking it over in her hand. Those eyes of hers flick over it quickly, almost mesmerizing in their intensity.

“It looks like we take many of the same pills... although yours seem to be a higher dose. Likely because... you’re a lot heavier... than I am.” She sets it down.

I blink. “You think I’m fat?”

Rika smiles. “No, I’m just light.” So as to emphasize this, she turns to face me and stands on her tip toes while raising her arms. “Go ahead, try and pick me up. I’ll bet you can.”

“Do you try and get picked up by every guy you meet?”

“Only those with heart conditions. You don’t need to be shy about it. I’m not.” She pauses. “Does your … heart sound funny too?”

“Eh, I suppose so,” I stammer out a reply.

“Too personal?”

I manage to nod. A few moments pass before I finally say, “Um, I do need to change.”

She blinks, like she did not fully realize what I was saying. Then her face flushes pink again. It is terribly cute. “Oh… um… I’ll…. Go now.”

She quickly backs out of the room before closing the door. I manage to change into my pants when there came a soft knock at the door. I open it, and Rika is still standing there.

“I, uh, forgot my...”

I look back and see her umbrella leaning against my desk. I quickly grab it and hand it over to her.

“Sorry, sorry, uh, thanks.” She quickly hustles down the hall and out of sight.

I then realize I did all of this without a shirt on. Best get to class before I do anything else embarrassing.
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Last edited by Downix on Mon May 14, 2018 11:32 pm, edited 8 times in total.

Downix
Posts: 149
Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2018 7:39 pm

Re: Within a Looking Glass – A Rika pseudo-route

Post by Downix » Sat Feb 24, 2018 5:57 pm

New Scene – The Caterpillar:

Dealing with Kenji really turns off any desire to visit the festival. But I do not want to hang out in the dorms either. With the crowds all in Yamaku’s open spaces, I remember what Rika said about watching people from the roof.

But first, let’s get some food. Walking through the stalls, I notice booths from most of the classes and several clubs. Some booths have games, but the largest crowds can be found around the food stalls. Of course.

Unconsciously, I rub at my chest. Don’t get hit, that’s what nurse told me. Crowds are a good place to get hit in the chest. So, which booths have the fewest people? Wait, wouldn’t that reflect the booths with the worst food?

Damn. Can’t win.

There’s Lilly at a booth. It’s huge! Far too big for the number of students working there. She looks very flustered. Don’t want to add to that stress.

Next to it is a smaller noodle booth. I suppose I can go there, the line isn’t too long. The order is quickly filled, and they give far too much food for me to eat on my own. Oh well, I’ll take it with me, and nurse it over the rest of the afternoon. Let me get out of this crowd.

Working my way to the main building, and to the roof access stairs is surprisingly easy. But what I find once up there is the surprising part. A parasol has been set up, and sitting under it a familiar pale form. “Hi Rika” I say as I walk up.

She looks at me casually over her shoulder before returning her gaze upon the masses below. “Hello Hisao. I’m surprised you’re not down there enjoying the festival.”

I rub the back of my neck. “I’m still new here. It just feels wrong to be enjoying something everyone else worked so hard at. Why aren’t you down there?”

She nods. “Crowds. Easy to get lost in them. Easy to get hurt. Better to watch and enjoy from afar.”

“Mind if I join you? I was planning on people watching as well.”

She gestures to the bench next to her. I take a seat and set my food down.

“They gave me too much food. Want some?”

Rika smiles, then nods.

We take our time eating the noodles. Sadly I have only one pair of chopsticks, so we have to trade off. It feels a bit weird sharing utensils, but it’s that or using our fingers. Despite this, we maintain a comfortable silence silence - the silence of enjoying each others company without the need to fill it with anything extra.

As we finish the noodles, Rika breaks that silence finally. “You still haven’t asked.”

“As I told you, go ahead tell me if and when you want to. It sounds like you want to.”

She nods, ponders a moment, and then speaks. “Albinism. My body does not produce enough pigment. That’s why I have to use special contacts to filter out ultraviolet light, which turn my eyes red, and it makes my hair white. Also means I cannot withstand much sunlight, hence....” She gestures to her umbrella. “The parasol.”

I take a deep breath. “I had a heart attack 4 months ago. That’s how they discovered my heart flutters.”

Rika nods. “Then we seem to know more about each other… yet you still seem… uncomfortable.”

“Well, I’m still not used to it. Frankly, I’m scared,” I say, being honest. “When did you discover your heart?”

Rika does not even look at me. “Before I can even remember. I had my first surgery when I was only a few months old. By the time I was 3, I’d had a dozen surgeries to repair my heart. It’s nothing scary to me, because it’s normal.”

My eyebrows go up. “Well, that certainly puts my situation into perspective. I now feel really kind of silly.”

“Always good to be challenged,” Rika says, not really looking at me.

Looking to my side, I realize that she is sitting there swinging her feet like she was in the nurse’s office, while smiling to herself.

“You seem cheerful,” I note.

“I’m enjoying the festival,” she replies.

“Up here?”

Rika smiles. “Yes. Over there, you can see the food booths. Lots of people gathered. Over there, the mural in front of the dorms. You don’t see as many people around there. There are the game booths. Over there is where they are setting up the fireworks.”

And I see she is right.

“Enjoying the festival, I’ve got it,” I finally say. “Fireworks?”

Rika’s smile gets a bit bigger. “Yes. I saw them last year, up here gives one of the best views. That’s another reason why I came up here early.”

“My old school never held anything this grand. It’s amazing.”

“You should go enjoy it, before it gets dark,” Rika says.

“I could say the same to you,” I reply. “Sick of my company already?”

She smiles slightly. “No, but I don’t want to deny you either.”

“Deny me the festival, or your company?”

She just smiles at me before returning her gaze to the hordes below and fidgets where she sits. I then realize she is quietly humming to herself. It’s actually quite cute.

I close my eyes, and listen to the girl next to me. It is a comforting feeling, like there was nothing wrong in the world. When she stops, I peel open an eye and turn to look at her.

I find Rika looking at me.

I speak first. “Something on your mind?”

She purses her lips, like she is trying to find the right words, before finally saying “Why?”

“Why what?”

“Why are you hanging out with me?”

“Well, you did show me your scar…. Or do you show it to all the boys?”

“I don’t hide it… if that’s what you’re asking. What about you? Is that how you pick up girls?”

“Well, chicks dig scars you know.” I say. After musing over it for a few minutes I continue. “Honestly, I think you’re the only person who is not a doctor or nurse to have seen it.”

She blinks, as if trying to process what I just told her. “Really?”

I nod. Silence descends once more. I glance over, and catch her looking at me. I decide to try and learn a bit more from her.

“You seem comfortable with your heart.”

“It is what it is.”

“Don’t you feel any resentment,” I ask.

Rika shrugs. “I’ve never been any other way, so nothing has been taken away from me.”

I ponder what she says for a bit. “Would you wish for it to be different?”

“No. I’m happy with who I am,” she replies.

Looking, I see her eyes are doing that trembling thing I noticed earlier.

Before I can ask, the door behind us opens, and a pair of students clearly involved in some romantic activity walk through.

“Oh, did I mention that up here is where couples go during the fireworks in order to make out?” Rika says dryly.

I can’t help but laugh. I feel a genuine smile on my face.

I don’t know when I dozed off. I awoke when the fireworks began. Looking around me, I realize that the rooftop has filled with couples. It takes a moment to notice the weight on my lap. Looking down, Rika was fast asleep, using my lap as a pillow. When did that happen? Absentmindedly, I find myself brushing her hair gently. Who is this girl? And why do I find spending the whole afternoon with her so enjoyable, despite exchanging a few dozen words at most?

She makes some soft sounds as I brush the side of her face. I felt some kind of kinship with her. Someone who could understand, who has been there. And that was probably the best feeling I’ve held for what feels like a very long time. I wasn’t alone.

I almost fail to notice when the fireworks end. As the light dies out, I look around the rest of the rooftop. The other couples are all doing what couples do. And here is someone sleeping on my lap, without a care in the world. Someone like me, of all things, if not worse off than I was.

She stirs with the dying off of the noise.

“Hey there sleepyhead. You ok?”

She blinks for a few moments, then realizes where she is and sits up straight. “OH! Sorry, I’m so sorry, I mean...”

“Relax, it’s ok. I enjoyed myself tonight. But it seems you are exhausted. How about I escort you to your dorm?”

It takes her a few moments to process what I just said, then she nods groggily.

It is only a few minutes walk to reach our dorms, with me carrying her umbrella, or parasol as she referred to it earlier, for her. I don’t get it. It looks like a fancy umbrella to me. Most of the way, she was leaning on me for some support, clearly very tired. I even saw a very loud and open yawn.

“Goodnight Rika.”

“Goodnight Hisao.”

As I walk towards my door, I hear her once more behind me.

“Oh, Hisao?”

I turn around to see Rika standing at the doorway to her dorm.

“I had fun.”

The smile just could not leave my face. “Me too.”

As I turn I hear her say “316”

“What?”

“My room number, if you, well, ever want to visit… like I did… or not.” She then bolts inside her dorm before I can even muster another thought.

It takes me a few moments to realize that I was staring after her. Then a few moments more to realize that I was looking forward to see her again.
Last edited by Downix on Tue Mar 20, 2018 6:33 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Within a Looking Glass – A Rika pseudo-route

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sun Feb 25, 2018 9:06 am

“You too. I hope to see it again sometime… um… I mean you again….”
Ah, the master of romance strikes again :-)
I did not realize that she’s walked with me all the way up to my dorm room.
Okay, THAT'S an accomplishment in itself...
Jokes aside this section feels as if something is missing. They step out of the auxillary building, open the umbrella, and two lines of dialogue later they are already IN Hisao's room. I suggest expanding on that a bit.
although yours are a higher dose.
I'm not sure how she knows how many pills Hisao has to take just from seeing the bottles.
It just feels wrong to be enjoying something everyone else worked so hard at.
Isn't that what all the visitors at a festival are doing?

Okay, with that out of the way, welcome to the illustrous circle of KS Fanfiction writers!
I agree that most stories portray Rika as very nihilistic, and I'm not a fan of that either. There is another story out there with a nicer portrayal, but as of yet it is unfinished and probably abandoned.
So - another attempt of doing her character justice is certainly appreciated. Your writing is very good, though there are some past tenses that snuck in in the first few scenes.

And I completely forgot about the line about the girl missing her thumb in Hisao's class. It probably was written before all the other characters got their backgrounds and nobody ever noticed it. Back when we were beta reading for the release everyone was just concentrating on Acts 2-4...
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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Sore wa himitsu desu.

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Re: Within a Looking Glass – A Rika pseudo-route

Post by Downix » Sun Feb 25, 2018 1:04 pm

Mirage_GSM wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2018 9:06 am
“You too. I hope to see it again sometime… um… I mean you again….”
Ah, the master of romance strikes again :-)
I did not realize that she’s walked with me all the way up to my dorm room.
Okay, THAT'S an accomplishment in itself...
Jokes aside this section feels as if something is missing. They step out of the auxillary building, open the umbrella, and two lines of dialogue later they are already IN Hisao's room. I suggest expanding on that a bit.
I see what you mean. I'll work on that.

*edit*

How is that now?
although yours are a higher dose.
I'm not sure how she knows how many pills Hisao has to take just from seeing the bottles.
It will be part of the plot later on. But it's color. She was watching him take them, so could see the color of the pills. I have a bit of an edge here, in that in my household we take nearly half of the medications Hisao does. I don't mention Warfarin getting stuck in the throat hap hazardly. My brother in law (whom I live with) has had that pill get stuck a few times.

*edit*
Modified this slightly as well to make it clearer.
It just feels wrong to be enjoying something everyone else worked so hard at.
Isn't that what all the visitors at a festival are doing?
I know that, but this is Hisao in his still depressed state we're talking about.

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Re: Within a Looking Glass – A Rika pseudo-route

Post by brythain » Sun Feb 25, 2018 2:19 pm

It's nice to see another Rika pseudo-route attempted. It flows well so far.

I have a few complaints, though, because the fluency of your writing masks some problems... :)

1. Rika has reddish irises in her eyes, not blue. You can see this from the art provided in the AFD original post.

2. You keep omitting apostrophes ("class's physical education period", "nurse's office", "each other's company" — that kind of thing). Also, commas, which thus makes your characters speak without pauses.

3. It's descriptively sparse. We aren't told much about how things look—hair length, the colour of Rika's parasol or her sports bra, things like that. We do get eye colour (Emi, Rika), but everything else feels colourless or flat.

I suppose the overriding problem is that it's piggybacking on the main script, so you are giving an accelerated Rika romance route, which seems faster than it really is.
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: Within a Looking Glass – A Rika pseudo-route

Post by Downix » Sun Feb 25, 2018 2:29 pm

brythain wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2018 2:19 pm
It's nice to see another Rika pseudo-route attempted. It flows well so far.

I have a few complaints, though, because the fluency of your writing masks some problems... :)

1. Rika has reddish irises in her eyes, not blue. You can see this from the art provided in the AFD original post.
That we can blame on my color-blindness. I will correct this.
2. You keep omitting apostrophes ("class's physical education period", "nurse's office", "each other's company" — that kind of thing). Also, commas, which thus makes your characters speak without pauses.

3. It's descriptively sparse. We aren't told much about how things look—hair length, the colour of Rika's parasol or her sports bra, things like that. We do get eye colour (Emi, Rika), but everything else feels colourless or flat.

I suppose the overriding problem is that it's piggybacking on the main script, so you are giving an accelerated Rika romance route, which seems faster than it really is.
Thank you for the feedback. I have a reason for making it feel more accelerated at this point, which I hope should be ready to show in the next week.
Last edited by Downix on Sun Feb 25, 2018 4:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Within a Looking Glass – A Rika pseudo-route

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sun Feb 25, 2018 4:24 pm

How is that now?
It's a bit better, though it is still a bit strange.
From the VN we know that the path between the boys' and the girls' dorm splits a short way before the entrance. As it is now it seems as if she followed him up to the entrance of the boys' dorm, and then she sneaked in after him, followed him to his room and entered without knocking while he was changing.
I'm not sure this stalkery vibe is what you were going for...
It will be part of the plot later on. But it's color. She was watching him take them, so could see the color of the pills.
Okay, my misunderstanding then. When I read "higher dosage" I thought Hisao is supposed to take three of pill X a day while Rika only takes two. It makes sense if there are two different versions of the same pill. (I kind of don't have an edge here, because I don't take any pills at all unless I have a cold or something like that.)
The last point was more or less me making fun of Hisao's bad excuse, but Hisao making bad excuses is not necessarily bad writing :-)

I did not feel the beginning was rushed. You wanted to keep act 1 as is with a few minor changes, and that came across pretty well I think.
The goal is to...
Please do not feel compelled to spoil future plot developments. If you say the fast pacing is intentional and that it will be adressed later on, that will be enough for me - and I think for brythain as well - to give you the benefit of the doubt for now and await future developments.
Last edited by Mirage_GSM on Sun Feb 25, 2018 6:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
Sore wa himitsu desu.

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Re: Within a Looking Glass – A Rika pseudo-route

Post by Downix » Sun Feb 25, 2018 4:51 pm

Mirage_GSM wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2018 4:24 pm
How is that now?
It's a bit better, though it is still a bit strange.
My history as in journalism, not narrative, so I'm still trying to get the hang of it.
From the VN we know that the path between the boys' and the girls' dorm splits a short way before the entrance. As it is now it seems as if she followed him up to the entrance of the boys' dorm, and then she sneaked in after him, followed him to his room and entered without knocking while he was changing.
I'm not sure this stalkery vibe is what you were going for...
It is. Perhaps I should make it a bit more overt.
It will be part of the plot later on. But it's color. She was watching him take them, so could see the color of the pills.
Okay, my misunderstanding then. When I read "higher dosage" I thought Hisao is supposed to take three of pill X a day while Rike only takes two. It makes sense if there are two different versions of the same pill. (I kind of don't have an edge here, because I don't take any pills at all unless I have a cold or something like that.)
The last point was more or less me making fun of Hisao's bad excuse, but Hisao making bad excuses is not necessarily bad writing :-)

I did not feel the beginning was rushed. You wanted to keep act 1 as is with a few minor changes, and that came across pretty well I think.
The goal is to...
Please do not feel compelled to spoil future plot developments. If you say the fast pacing is intentional and that it will be adressed later on, that will be enough for me - and I think for brythain as well - to give you the benefit of the doubt for now and await future developments.
Ok, then will clean that up.

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Re: Within a Looking Glass – A Rika pseudo-route

Post by AJT135 » Sun Feb 25, 2018 5:10 pm

I've been browsing this forum for a little while now but never really commented on anything. Figured I might as well start here.
I really enjoyed what I've read so far. This fic definitely shows promise and I look forward to reading more in future. I'm always a fan of more light-hearted Rika stuff.

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Re: Within a Looking Glass – A Rika pseudo-route

Post by Downix » Sun Feb 25, 2018 6:28 pm

Mirage_GSM wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2018 4:24 pm
It will be part of the plot later on. But it's color. She was watching him take them, so could see the color of the pills.
Okay, my misunderstanding then. When I read "higher dosage" I thought Hisao is supposed to take three of pill X a day while Rika only takes two. It makes sense if there are two different versions of the same pill. (I kind of don't have an edge here, because I don't take any pills at all unless I have a cold or something like that.)
Be glad you don't. It sucks. Here's an example for 1 of the pills he takes, Warfarin:

Image

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Re: Within a Looking Glass – A Rika pseudo-route

Post by AJT135 » Sun Feb 25, 2018 6:48 pm

Downix wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2018 6:28 pm
Mirage_GSM wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2018 4:24 pm
It will be part of the plot later on. But it's color. She was watching him take them, so could see the color of the pills.
Okay, my misunderstanding then. When I read "higher dosage" I thought Hisao is supposed to take three of pill X a day while Rika only takes two. It makes sense if there are two different versions of the same pill. (I kind of don't have an edge here, because I don't take any pills at all unless I have a cold or something like that.)
Be glad you don't. It sucks. Here's an example for 1 of the pills he takes, Warfarin:

Image
Yeah, warfarin can suck. I know someone who takes it (they have a mechanical heart valve) and they need to go for weekly blood tests to monitor the effects, make sure the dosages are right, and so on. It also interacts with a tonne of foods, which adds even more complication.

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Re: Within a Looking Glass – A Rika pseudo-route

Post by Downix » Sun Feb 25, 2018 6:53 pm

AJT135 wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2018 6:48 pm
Downix wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2018 6:28 pm
Mirage_GSM wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2018 4:24 pm


Okay, my misunderstanding then. When I read "higher dosage" I thought Hisao is supposed to take three of pill X a day while Rika only takes two. It makes sense if there are two different versions of the same pill. (I kind of don't have an edge here, because I don't take any pills at all unless I have a cold or something like that.)
Be glad you don't. It sucks. Here's an example for 1 of the pills he takes, Warfarin:

Image
Yeah, warfarin can suck. I know someone who takes it (they have a mechanical heart valve) and they need to go for weekly blood tests to monitor the effects, make sure the dosages are right, and so on. It also interacts with a tonne of foods, which adds even more complication.
My step-father had to take it for years, and my brother in law is on it. Nasty stuff.

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Re: Within a Looking Glass – A Rika pseudo-route

Post by ProfAllister » Sun Feb 25, 2018 8:04 pm

Downix wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2018 2:29 pm
brythain wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2018 2:19 pm
It's nice to see another Rika pseudo-route attempted. It flows well so far.

I have a few complaints, though, because the fluency of your writing masks some problems... :)

1. Rika has reddish irises in her eyes, not blue. You can see this from the art provided in the AFD original post.
That we can blame on my color-blindness. I will correct this.
Interestingly enough, it's generally implied/assumed that Rika has albinism. Red eyes are stereotypically associated with albinism, but blue are more common.
Current Project: Misha Pseudo-Route

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Re: Within a Looking Glass – A Rika pseudo-route

Post by Oscar Wildecat » Sun Feb 25, 2018 9:50 pm

AJT135 wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2018 6:48 pm
Yeah, warfarin can suck. I know someone who takes it (they have a mechanical heart valve) and they need to go for weekly blood tests to monitor the effects, make sure the dosages are right, and so on. It also interacts with a tonne of foods, which adds even more complication.
There are alternates to warfarin (such as Eliquis, which I take) that don't have the blood test requirements or the food interactions that warfarin does. The downside is that there is no current "antidote" to these medicines (unlike warfarin), so severe bleeding -- say from an injury -- can be more worrisome.

Also, I'm happy to see the appearance of a new Rika Route!
I like all the girls in KS, but empathize with Hanako the most.
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Re: Within a Looking Glass – A Rika pseudo-route

Post by brythain » Sun Feb 25, 2018 9:57 pm

Oscar Wildecat wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2018 9:50 pm
AJT135 wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2018 6:48 pm
Yeah, warfarin can suck. I know someone who takes it (they have a mechanical heart valve) and they need to go for weekly blood tests to monitor the effects, make sure the dosages are right, and so on. It also interacts with a tonne of foods, which adds even more complication.
There are alternates to warfarin (such as Eliquis, which I take) that don't have the blood test requirements or the food interactions that warfarin does. The downside is that there is no current "antidote" to these medicines (unlike warfarin), so severe bleeding -- say from an injury -- can be more worrisome.
I'm at the other end of the spectrum; warfarin is on my 'do not administer' list because I have a congenital lack of some clotting factors. I can scar very badly from minor wounds, for example. Perhaps that produces instinctive empathy on my part towards certain characters. :)
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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