Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 7/6]

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Kyler Thatch
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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 11/11]

Post by Kyler Thatch » Wed Nov 20, 2013 6:25 pm

Let's do the time warp again!

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Mader Levap
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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 11/11]

Post by Mader Levap » Wed Nov 20, 2013 6:25 pm

Troy wrote:Erm i think you reposted act 2 scene 7 instead of what you intented to post. I dont completly understand
Obvious mistake is obvious.
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forgetmenot
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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route (OCxHisao) [Updated 3/10]

Post by forgetmenot » Wed Nov 20, 2013 7:42 pm

Kyler Thatch wrote:Let's do the time warp again!
Actually...
Oddball wrote:
Mirage_GSM wrote:Kagami's phone seems way more advanced than anything that was available in 2007, even if this is Japan...
She's secretly a traveler from the future.

That detail wasn't mentioned because it really wasn't important to the plot. :P
So there you have it. Time travel. Toooooootally not me fucking up edits.

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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 11/11]

Post by monkeywitha6pack » Mon Nov 25, 2013 12:00 pm

Really loving this. I liked the way you had the relationship between them start. Also I'm not normally a huge fan of of but this is in my top 5 fics
Wahahaha~.
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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 11/11]

Post by forgetmenot » Thu Dec 12, 2013 10:27 pm

Heyo. Progress update: I've got maybe 30% of the next chapter written. Work and real life getting in the way of anything productive. However I have some free time over the holidays when I'll be doing absolutely nothing so I'm hoping to crank out at least the next 2/3 of act 3 over the next few months. Fingers crossed.

There is however, some good news for anyone who came here and was disappointed by lack of new chapters. I did some art-related things for this story, so if you want to see them, there's a link on the OP of this thread. Alternatively, you could click here, but I'm not your supervisor.

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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 11/11]

Post by monkeywitha6pack » Fri Dec 13, 2013 3:19 pm

Great art! :D
Wahahaha~.
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Crimson
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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 11/11]

Post by Crimson » Thu Jan 16, 2014 11:15 pm

Just finished rereading this earlier today. Well worth catching up on even though there was only a handful of updates that I had missed. Looking forward to seeing how their big day will turn out. :D

I spent a while on this short piece to accompany what I envisioned Kagami's CG animation to be like. Hope you like it!
Soundcloud: http://www.soundcloud.com/crimson-harmo ... ho-you-are
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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 11/11]

Post by forgetmenot » Fri Jan 17, 2014 1:40 am

Crimson wrote:Just finished rereading this earlier today. Well worth catching up on even though there was only a handful of updates that I had missed. Looking forward to seeing how their big day will turn out. :D

I spent a while on this short piece to accompany what I envisioned Kagami's CG animation to be like. Hope you like it!
Soundcloud: http://www.soundcloud.com/crimson-harmo ... ho-you-are
This is super awesome. I can't fathom that my humble piece of writing inspired any sort of additional creativity from others. It honestly puts a big smile on my face. Thanks for posting! I'll be sure and add it to the index post.

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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 11/11]

Post by Crimson » Fri Jan 17, 2014 1:39 pm

My pleasure man. Glad you liked it. :)
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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 11/11]

Post by NekoDude » Mon Feb 10, 2014 2:43 am

forgetmenot wrote:
Crimson wrote:Just finished rereading this earlier today. Well worth catching up on even though there was only a handful of updates that I had missed. Looking forward to seeing how their big day will turn out. :D

I spent a while on this short piece to accompany what I envisioned Kagami's CG animation to be like. Hope you like it!
Soundcloud: http://www.soundcloud.com/crimson-harmo ... ho-you-are
This is super awesome. I can't fathom that my humble piece of writing inspired any sort of additional creativity from others. It honestly puts a big smile on my face. Thanks for posting! I'll be sure and add it to the index post.
Kagami tears up electric violin on my track here too. It seems we have enough characters written as violinists (Saki, Molly) that if one of them is willing to play viola or 5-string violin, Yamaku has a string quartet (Lilly on cello of course).
Art is never finished, only abandoned.
Nekonomicon thread and downloads
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forgetmenot
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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 11/11]

Post by forgetmenot » Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:36 pm

Well, it's that time again. Time for the KS fanfic community to exclaim, en masse, "What? That project is still going?"

Yes, yes it is. Here's a new chapter for you all.

Also, it's getting close to the one-year anniversary of this story! I have something fun planned in order to celebrate! Stay tuned!


Scene 21: Perspective

“Hisao?”

I feel a small nudge at my shoulder, but I don’t respond right away- mostly because my neck has gotten stiff from leaning it against the window of the train, and it seems a great inconvenience to move it right at this second.

“Hisao. Hey. You ok?”

A second nudge comes; this one is a little firmer than the previous. Well, I suppose I have to move from this position at some point. Can’t stay on this train forever.

“Yeah? What’s up?” I respond to the girl standing next to me, who is at present examining me with a quizzical expression on her face.

“Kind of lost you for a second. You’re not still sleepy, are you?” Kagami lets out a small, girlish giggle as she leans against one of the support poles in the center of the train car.

“No, no, I’m not- I just spaced out for a minute. That’s all.” I crack my neck loudly.

Kagami narrows her gaze and smirks. “You don’t fool me, Nakai. Now come on, back to the land of the living. Our stop’s coming up.”

She begins poking at my stomach in swift, acute jabs.

“Hey! Stop it! I really am awake!” I exclaim. “And we’re in public, by the way,” I add, lowering my voice to a hushed whisper.

“One, all the more reason for you to comply. And two, in case you haven’t noticed, nobody's paying attention.”

I take a short glance around, and thankfully, she’s right. The only other occupant of the car who isn't engaged with some sort of electronic device is an older man with his face buried in today’s newspaper, seated near the back. I return my gaze to Kagami’s grin, which is laced with more than a hint of ‘I-told-you-so’.

Before I can protest further, the loudspeaker of the train crackles to life. “Kinshicho station, next stop,” calls a disembodied half-robotic voice.

Kagami straightens at the announcement. “That’s us,” she says, bending over and picking up a small bag from the floor. On our way off the train, she casually snags an area map from the small wall of documents by the door and opens it as we clear the doors.

Although we arrived last night, for some reason I feel like I’m stepping off the train and into Tokyo for the first time. A small bubble of excitement wells up inside me- why, I’m not entirely sure. Normally I’d be bored to death in an art museum, and even moreso in a hospital, for obvious reasons. So naturally I find it incredibly strange that today, I’m actually looking forward to our agenda. And I’m pretty confident the reason for that is standing right in front of me, intently studying the map in her hands.

“Hm. It’s about a kilometer from here, maybe more. South and a little to the west.”

“That’s fine,” I reply. “A little walk never killed…“

I stop short. Kagami glances up at me, as if totally unaware of the horrible irony of what I just said, waiting for me to finish my sentence.

I open my mouth to say something else, but the words seem to stick in my throat. Instead, I settle to simply purse my lips after a few moments and sigh through my nose. Kagami simply shrugs.

“You ok? You’re not spacing out on me again, are you?”

“N-no. I’m ok. Let’s just go.”

As we begin our descent from the platform onto the street, I’m arrested by how quickly my thoughts jumped from a day out in Tokyo with Kagami to any potential heart problems a small walk could induce. It’s sobering to consider just how paranoid my condition has made me. Realistically, a short walk shouldn’t aggravate my condition; it’s about that far to town coming from Yamaku, and I haven’t keeled over during a trip to the Shanghai yet.

Especially with all the running I’ve been doing lately, I’ve actually started to feel better. At least physically. So why can’t I just relax? It’s just a turn of phrase. And a turn of phrase never killed anyone.

There, that wasn’t so- “Woah-aa-ooof! Ouch!” I exclaim as I step from the staircase… and miss. My foot catches the last step at the wrong angle, sending me flailing onto my hands and knees. The concrete scrapes away a good chunk of flesh from my right hand and elicits another “ouch!”

“Hisao! Are you ok?” Kagami asks, whirling around and quickly examining my sorry, prostrated state.

“I’m fine, really,” I say frustratedly as I stand up and dust myself off. The pain in my hand causes me to grit my teeth and wince. “Just wasn’t paying attention and thought there was one less stair than there was.”

Kagami’s expression turns from one of concern to one of desperately trying to conceal a laugh. “Pffff- I-I mean, a-are you hurt? Hhhaaha- you sure you’re fine?”

I scowl in mock indignation. “Falls are one of the leading causes of accidental deaths worldwide, Kagami. Stairs kill.” I point to my injured hand for emphasis.

Unable to hold her composure any more, she breaks into a full laugh. I maintain my stone-cold glare, but that only drives her to laugh harder. Try as I might, the sight of her doubled over laughing tugs at the corners of my mouth too hard, and eventually I crack a smile and join in the mirth.

“You make it sound like we should put up posters to warn the general populace,” Kagami remarks, removing her glasses and wiping a tear from her cheek.

I pat her on the back as we enter into a small queue to exit the station. “This is why I need you. You’re obviously the brains of this campaign against the dangers of stairs.”

“I can see it now: ‘Stairs. The silent killer in your home. Find out what the civil departments aren’t telling you. Story at 11.’ I think it would make compelling television, Hisao,” she jests, craning her neck to catch a glimpse of the turnstile at the end of our line.

“See? You’re obviously more than qualified to handle the media blitz. So you’ll take the P.R. side of it, and meanwhile, I’ll do the groundwork on getting permits to replace all stairs in Japan with elevators.” I accompany this with a loud finger snap – which causes a shock of pain to shoot through my hand as my middle finger contacts the still-raw flesh. I rub my palm gingerly.

Kagami giggles at my predicament for a split second, but quickly resumes character and folds her arms over each other in mock disapproval. “Elevators? How would you get the capitol to do that, Mr. Business-side-of-the-operation?”

“Taxes, obviously,” I posture, gesturing grandly. “It’s a public issue, Kagami. Think of the children. You can’t put a price tag on that.”

Kagami moves closer to me, hushing her voice in reaction to the sidelong glances being leveled in our direction, courtesy of the elderly couple in front of us. “Spoken like a true politician,” she whispers. “You better make sure there’s not security camera footage of you taking that spill just now, otherwise it’ll get dredged up during the campaign and you’ll be labeled a ‘tax-waster’ with an ‘agenda against inanimate objects that any normal human being can, under most circumstances, successfully navigate.’”

“Rats. You’re right.” I scratch my chin and pause for the desired effect. I take a deep breath and sigh heavily. “Well, there’s only one possible solution, then.”

The girl next to me raises her eyebrows slightly and places a finger over her mouth. She leans in closely and whispers, “Yakuza?”

I nod solemnly. “Yakuza. I hate to be the one to turn to a life of crime, but these stairs have wronged me and insulted my honor. I will not rest until they and their families have paid the price for their brazen attack on me, and the nearly half-million men, women, and children they murder every year.”

Kagami, apparently deciding the joke has been wrung free of its last appreciable humor, shakes her head slowly for a few seconds. “Y’know, I think we just wrote a blockbuster film of some kind,” she adds as we swipe our fare cards at a small kiosk before the turnstile.

I wrinkle my brow for a few seconds. “I’d watch it.”

Kagami chuckles, and begins to push the turnstile with her backside, eventually turning to face forward. “C’mon, Boss Nakai. We’re gonna be late if we keep this pace up.” She states this part loudly enough for the elderly couple who had been shooting us dirty looks to hear. As expected, a few more mean-spirited scowls are directed our way. This causes Kagami to snort loudly as she exits, and turn to face me with her hand covering her mouth. She’s not very good at concealing her laughter.

Thankfully, she composes herself as I pass through the rotating metal barrier. We continue our journey toward the exit.

“Half a million people from stairs? Really?”

“I dunno. That sounds high, now that I think about it.”

We turn a corner and find ourselves emerging from underneath the large overpass where the train station is located. Immediately, we're surrounded by the hustle and bustle of the city: footsteps and chatter from passersby and from people standing in line near a cinema to our left. A rather tall shopping center stands to our right, whose doors both welcome and bid farewell to a steady stream of customers. A light breeze brushes past the brightly lit pastel advertisements layered across its stories.

A car honks loudly directly behind us, followed by another loud honk from a passing taxi. Down the street, the line of cars, apartment high-rises and business buildings stretches all the way down the road as far as I can strain my eyes. As we walk, the odd shock of green from a tree or a bush brightens the otherwise white-gray landscape.

“Pretty busy for this time of day, isn’t it?” I ask casually.

“It’s always this busy in the city. If you get closer to Chuo around this time, traffic can be a nightmare. I remember mom yelling at dad not to curse at the taxis while we waited to cross the street.”

Kagami’s statement gives me pause for a moment. Didn’t she say she had no specific memories of her father? I briefly consider opening my mouth, but she continues before I have a chance to say anything.

“…and then he’d yell back, ‘Why do we have to be up so early anyhow? It’s just goddamn fish, and a tourist trap at that!’ And then my mom would point at me and say, ‘Kagami’s never going to get to see anything this city has to offer with that kind of attitude.’”

I manage a half-smile, even if Kagami hasn’t realized her own epiphany. “I’ve never actually heard you talk about your parents like that before, you know,” I say casually, attempting to turn the light bulb on for her. “It’s usually just facts or figures. Not memories or anything like that.”

Kagami turns her neck rather quickly, her mouth just a little agape. “Well, I… uh, gosh.” She scratches her cheek slowly, leaving her index finger drag across her cheek just a little longer than the rest. “It’s not really something I’d… like to bring up in its entirety. Just small memories. Sorry if I got carried away.”

“No, that’s not what I meant. You seem happy, remembering things like that. I don’t mind if you get carried away.” I smile weakly and bump into her with my shoulder.

Kagami exhales from her nose in a small, short burst and glances away from me. “I know, Hisao. Thank you,” she says, slumping her shoulders just a bit before pulling out the map once more and distracting herself with street names and landmarks.

We wind our way through the cross streets, crossing a bridge over a small canal and passing a walk-in medical clinic. The landmarks seem numerous, and I’m sure they’d be helpful for navigation to anyone who actually lived around here, but to me, they blur together in a low-observation haze. Primary school. Post office. Another bridge. Traffic lights. Cars. It reminds me of those early video games with cheaply done moving backgrounds. They were always made the same: consisting of one image that lined up at the edges so it could just scroll by seamlessly, never ending. I make a mental note to make sure the first building on the next block isn’t painted white, just in case I’ve somehow slipped into a computer simulation.

Eventually, we come to a large building with an entranceway marked by large inverted triangles on either side of the walkway.

“This is it!” says Kagami, pointing first to our location on the map, and second to a sign that’s just now coming into view. The words Tokyo Museum of Contemporary Art stare monolithically back at us.

I hadn't realized Kagami's aunt was a curator here. Even I know that's gotta be a really, really prestigious position, and I haven't the first clue about the art world. And as sexist as it is, a woman with that kind of title must have fought tooth and nail to get it. Especially in Japan. If her mere candor wasn’t enough to intimidate me at breakfast, this certainly is.

As we enter into the large atrium, Kagami strides confidently up to the receptionist, who begins her traditional welcome speech. "Welcome to the Tokyo Museum of Contemporary Art! We do public tours every twenty minutes, so if you'll kindly wait over there, someone will be around in..." She pauses to take a look at a schedule on the desk. "...nineteen minutes." She offers a small, apologetic smile.

"Thanks," Kagami says, smiling and leaning up against the desk with a single elbow. "We're actually here to see Takahashi Mei. Could you please direct us to her office?"

The receptionist wrinkles her brow and cocks her head to the side, trying to discern the secret behind two high schoolers asking for one of the most important people at the museum.

"D-do you have an appointment?" she asks hesitantly.

"I doubt she penciled us in, but she knows we're coming. I'm her niece."

"Oh! Of course." The receptionist jumps from her seat and bows shallowly before hastily explaining to Kagami where her aunt's office is. I’m distracted by the large amount of bravado my companion is showing. She’s told me herself that she goes out of her way to avoid unnecessary social interactions, even ones as trivial as this. It seems more likely we would have just gone looking for her aunt’s office in the first place. I ponder this for several seconds before realizing that I, rather rudely, haven’t been paying attention to the receptionist’s directions at all.

"...two lefts and through the double doors. Your aunt's office is on the right-hand side."

"Thanks!" Kagami says politely, turns on her heel, and begins striding towards a bank of elevators. I hastily follow.

"Wow. That was really... confident of you," I say as we wait for one of the carriages to descend.

"That? That's called normal social interaction, you idiot."

"That's not what I meant. You just... seem to avoid so-called normal social interaction whenever you can."

Kagami rolls her eyes. "And what about in places where it's unavoidable?"

"Well we could have just- well, I guess I've never really seen you in one of those places."

"Yep," she states curtly before turning to me. "Hisao, I like you. I like you a lot. But I get the impression that you have a knack for talking faster than your brain can keep up with."

I open my mouth to protest, but quickly realize she's right. What’s worse is that she’s probably more correct than she knows, too. A sigh of defeat passes by my lips. "You're probably right."

"I'm more than a 2-D cardboard cutout of a person, Hisao. I'm not a bit character in some anime, I'm not even the main character of some dime-store romance novel. I'm real life. Flesh and blood. I'm complicated. There's stuff you don't know about me."

"I know that."

"Do you?"

"Of course."

She pauses and pushes her glasses up the bridge of her nose, shaking her head. "Remember when we first met? And we said we wouldn't let our disabilities define us?"

"Y-yeah, I do," I respond weakly. I begin to wonder how she remembers, and simultaneously marvel at her recollection skills from a journal she just read this morning. Apparently, my face betrays my thoughts, and Kagami places her hands on her hips and frowns.

There's a small ding from the elevator bell, and the doors in front of us slide open. Kagami strides into the open car; I follow quickly behind. She stands adjacent to me as the doors slowly close.

However, once the doors are fully shut, she grabs my forearms, turns me, and firmly pushes me against the side of the elevator car. Before I have a chance to protest, she stands up on tiptoes and kisses me firmly. After a second of surprise, my hands slowly find their way to her hips as we continue to kiss, tongues gently slipping over one another.

It seems like hours before Kagami pushes away from me, when in reality it's probably only a few seconds. She glances at me, both self-effacingly and with a bit of wile.

"As far as I can remember, that agreement is still binding. No putting the other in a box."

I smile sheepishly. "Okay. Sorry I said anything."

She grins, and bumps her shoulder into mine softly. "You're forgiven. Although we did take the elevator for you, y'know. The stairs were closer."

"Hey. That seems a little hypocritical, don't you think?"

"Oh, no, this has nothing to do with your heart. I'm referring to your difficulties with staying upright on steps."

I start to retort, but quickly realize that's twice today I've played right into her hands. I give a sideways glance to a smugly beaming Kagami.

"I suppose I deserved that."

"You did," she says as the doors in front of us slide open and give way to a large hallway, adorned with various pieces of art in between office doors. I follow Kagami as she executes the instructions given to us by the receptionist, but it soon becomes clear that we really didn't need any directions- Kagami's aunt can be heard on a phone call from far down the hall.

"...so that's in how many weeks? Oh, excellent. I'll actually be in town for something else anyhow."

Shortly, we arrive at our destination. The sign on the open door reflects the simple, clean decor of the office: it reads, simply, "Takahashi, M." in plain block letters. The lone occupant waves at us, beckoning us into the office.

"Great. If she's as good as you say, I'm most definitely interested. All right. I'll see you then. Thanks for your call, Sae. Bye, now."

She places the handset firmly in its receiver before standing and brushing back a wisp of hair from her face. She smiles warmly.

"Glad to see you made it, kids. I take it the train wasn't too crowded?"

"Pretty normal for this time of day. Can't complain, y'know?” Kagami says with a shrug.

Mei shakes her head slowly. "I wish I could afford to ride the train later. Packed like sardines in a crushed tin box is not my idea of a stress-free commute." She bends over to her computer and types for a few seconds before her face lights up with realization. "Oh! That reminds me. I was just on the phone with the owner of an art gallery in Sendai, and from what she tells me, there'll be an exhibit opening in a few weeks featuring an artist from Yamaku. One who paints with her feet? I think that's what it was."

Rin? That's gotta be her; even in a school for the disabled, there aren't too many armless painters. I guess that means she decided to do the exhibition. It’s funny… she seemed like she wasn't going to do it the last time I talked to her. I wonder what made her change her mind.

My musing doesn’t go unnoticed; Mei picks up on my recognition of Rin's description. "Ah, I take it Hisao knows who it is."

"Yeah, I do actually. She's a third-year. In Kagami's class, I believe."

"Have you seen any of her work? I already promised Sae I would stop by, but that's only because for the exhibit’s opening night, we'll be in town for Kagami's orchestra concert."

"She painted a mural for our school festival. It was... impressive, I guess,” I offer, not really wishing to pass judgment regarding a subject I know nothing about.

Mei turns to Kagami. "Is he always this ambivalent? If I were Ophelia, I could get more conviction from Hamlet."

"Not... always," Kagami responds weakly, shrugging in my direction as if to say, "Sorry, but she has a point."

"That's a yes if I've ever heard one," Mei says casually, before closing the top of her computer.

I can feel a small scowl come over my face. I might not be one for art, but I've been outfoxed too many times today. Time to dredge up as many artsy phrases as I can muster. "It was intricate and colorful, but... there seemed to be a lack of cohesion throughout the piece."

Mei stops collecting some papers on her desk and stares, not quite shocked but certainly caught off guard. I decide to continue.

"Then again, that could have been the point. Some of the imagery was a little disturbing," I blurt out quickly.

Mei allows herself a few more microseconds of surprise, then adjusts her glasses slightly before gathering a few more papers from her desk. "That's better. Even if it was poorly improvised. There may be hope for you yet, Hisao."

To my surprise, a small smile is beginning to form on my face. I suppose I don't respond as adversely to backhanded compliments as others. I glance over to Kagami, who seems more than a little nonplussed. Before either of us can really recover, however, Mei whirls around her desk and starts toward the door. "This way, kids."

As we follow Mei down the hall back towards the elevators, she turns around and walks backwards while she talks to us. "Kagami, what time is your appointment today?"

"One-thirty," Kagami responds.

"Hm," Mei sighs as she glances at her watch. "I suppose we don't have much time for anything other than one exhibit, which is a shame."

We arrive at the elevators shortly. As Mei calls one of them to our floor, she turns to me and asks, "Hisao, what are you interested in art-wise?"

Kagami huffs sarcastically. "Thanks for asking my opinion, Aunt Mei."

"You're welcome, Princess Snark."

I decide to interject and attempt to rout their jousting match somewhat. "Er, I-I'm more of a science guy myself, actually, so I wouldn't really know where to start.”

Mei rolls her eyes. "While, normally, that would be a terrible answer to give in an art gallery, you happen to be in luck. We have a fantastic traveling exhibition on the work of American artist M.C. Escher that I think might be right up your alley."

As we board the elevator, Mei presses the button for the second floor. "I don't suppose you've heard of Escher before, then."

"No, I can't say that I have."

"Excellent. This exhibit is designed specifically for someone who is mostly unfamiliar with his work," our guide explains as the door to the second floor opens. "Escher was, at his core, an architect. Some of his art is very reminiscent of architectural drawings - clean lines, very precise."

We step through several rooms, Mei offering detailed explanations of some of the pieces we see before us. I find the most impressive works to be detailed patterns with lots of symmetry throughout the drawing. Apparently, all his work was done freehand, which is nigh impossible to comprehend.

"Now here is one of the first true flashes of brilliance we see in Escher's career, and the true beginning of his experiments with perspective." She gestures in front of her, revealing a large print of thirty or so staircases. The staircases appear to lead to impossible spaces; some are on the wall, some are upside-down, and some appear to be in the opposite perspective. However, all the staircases interconnect flawlessly- that is to say, there isn't one particular place that I could point out where the geometry is wrong.

Mei giggles. "I can see the scientist in you attempting to figure out where the inconsistencies are."

"Let me guess," I postulate, "It doesn't break. It's fully self-consistent."

"Of course it is. I wouldn’t have hosted the exhibit if it wasn’t."

"But the geometry is impossible,” I remark, half to myself.

Mei smiles condescendingly. "Kagami? What do you think?"

Kagami gives a wide-eyed stare. "If we lived in this world, not even the Yakuza could save you from the stairs, Hisao. You could fall for hours and never hit bottom."

I snort in involuntary laughter as Mei looks at us both like we're idiots. "About the painting, Kagami. Not whatever weird inside jokes you two seem to have."

"I blame LSD, personally." She flashes a toothy smile at her aunt, who rolls her eyes and beckons us to follow her.

"Now, here's another example,” Mei states as we move to a different corner of the room. “Notice anything strange about this particular piece?"

In front of us, there's a drawing of a seemingly simple waterwheel with a small channel around it. However, the water appears to move through a channel that snakes away from the mill, gaining no height, but somehow winds in such a way that it dumps out in a waterfall high above the wheel, repeating the cycle.

"That's..." I start.

"Impossible?" Mei finishes for me. "Yes, it would certainly seem so."

I scratch my chin perplexedly. "It can't possibly gain height, but it clearly does. I just can't tell where,” I mutter.

"It's magic, Hisao,” Kagami interjects. “The water teleports up to the top. Duh."

Mei sighs loudly. "All right, since my niece is hell-bent on maintaining her disaffected teenager act, it looks like it's just us, Hisao. Now, this next room will illustrate my point, but in order for the full effect, I'd like you to close your eyes and allow me to guide you to where you need to be for this to work.”

I briefly consider protesting, but based on my limited experience with Mei, this is happening with or without my consent. Oh, what the hell. "Why not?" I ask rhetorically, and place my hands over my eyes.

I can't see Mei's reaction, but I'm sure she's delighted with my decision to comply. I feel a strong pair of hands grip my shoulders and slowly guide me about 10 meters into the next room. They then turn me about seventy degrees to my left and position my head in such a way that I can feel a small plastic circle press against my right eye.

"What exactly is this supposed to be?" I can hear Kagami ask.

"Don't spoil it. You have to look through there for it to work," Mei says, a tinge of exasperation creeping into her voice. "All right, Hisao. I want you to open your right eye only, and tell me what you see."

I slowly open my eye, and am confronted with a real, live, three-dimensional model of the picture I saw in the previous room, complete with flowing, falling water and a turning waterwheel.

"H-how in the hell...?" I say, probably in the most confused tone of voice there is.

"Don't move just yet, Hisao. Look for a few more seconds," Mei encourages.

Surprisingly, finding a fault in the geometry of this real-life model proves just as difficult as its two-dimensional representation. It appears as if the water really does magically gain height, somewhere along the way.

"Okay, now that your mind is officially broken, go ahead and take a step to the side. You can open both of your eyes."

I do as she instructs, and immediately, the sculpture breaks apart before my eyes. Each part of the channel is completely separate from the others and complete with its own water pump. I step back to the small plastic circle and close one eye again, and am amazed to see everything shift back into place.

"Hey, let me look!" Kagami says as she playfully pushes me away from the small riser on which the eyepiece is located.

"So it only works from one perspective," I muse out loud.

"Exactly. It's an illusion, although an impressive one. Something seems impossibly perfect from one angle, but if you move to the side and look at from a different angle, you get a better appreciation of its true nature."

I walk around the model, impressed with the level of detail and perspective tricks that are used to create the illusion. Each part of the model is cut apart at a strange angle, but all the pieces fit together so logically it becomes impossible for me to look through the eyepiece and see the illusion, instead of the disconnected model behind it. Mei smiles widely- she looks pleased with herself.

"That's how those stairs work too, isn't it?" I ask. "It's all an optical illusion based in perspective. If you rotate it around in three dimensions, I bet some of those stairs stretch and skew until they don't look like stairs anymore."

Mei glances over at Kagami. "So he's not really that boring. You just have to get him curious," she says matter-of-factly.

Kagami nods in agreement. "Yep. He's very attentive if you can grab his interest." She accompanies this statement with a devilish wink.

I'm positive that I'm blushing right now. Apparently it's no longer considered rude to talk about people while they're in the same room. I must have missed that memo.

"Yes," says Mei, steering the conversation back onto topic, "that's exactly the case. Take something that appears impossible from one perspective, and twist it around. All of a sudden, you're left with these disparate pieces of information that you can no longer see in the same context. The illusion is ruined.

"In a way, the sculpture is just as much a commentary on the original piece as it is a representation of it. It becomes something other than a derivation."

"How do you mean?" I inquire.

"Well, think about it,” Mei says as she gestures toward the previous room. “If you were to look at the original painting again, would you see it as you did with the correct perspective, or would you see the individual pieces lined up in the correct order?"

"So…” I pause for a moment to think. “It affects how you see the original painting?"

"Exactly.” Mei snaps her fingers at this, and moves towards the sculpture. “In a way, I suppose all art is, at its core, broken,” she continues, gesturing at the awkward-looking pieces and parts in front of her. “Even the most photorealistic representations of a subject are still subject to the same constraints. Perspective. Lighting. Medium. Et cetera."

Kagami pipes up at this. "Wow, Aunt Mei. Don't you think you're reaching a little bit?"

"Hush, you. Let an old woman be romantic about something. Besides, let's not forget who the expert is."

"So what exactly is the takeaway, o wise one?" quips Kagami.

Mei smiles craftily. "That's just it. You make your own call on what it means. The sculpture merely exists to call attention to the broken nature of the drawing. It's up to you to determine what significance that has. If any."

"I think I get it," I respond. "Just because you know the drawing is broken doesn't mean it's worthless.”

Mei nods in agreement.

“I think it's even more impressive that someone was able to envision such a broken structure and not go insane,” says Kagami, bending over to get a closer look at the waterwheel.

Her aunt smiles knowingly and moves slowly around the sculpture toward her. "Well, actually, Escher never saw this sculpture. It was completed after he died. Took a whole team of university students just to figure out the perspective tricks."

"So even the original artist wasn't aware of what exactly made his drawing work?" I ask, slightly dumbfounded.

"Not at all. Like you, he knew it was impossible. But the illusion is just too well-crafted to see through it without some help. Even for the artist himself."

"Hm. That's amazing," I say, scratching my chin.

"Why do you think I fought so hard to get this exhibit here?” Mei half-exclaims, breaking character. “It opens next week. What do you think?"

"It's cool,” Kagami interrupts, “if you get to see it from the correct angle first instead of having it spoiled for you."

"Not you, Surly Sue." Mei turns to face me.

"I honestly didn't think an art museum could be this interesting. This is a really cool exhibit," I offer. Hopefully my opinion will be a little better-received this time. In answer, Mei smiles widely as she leads us into the next room. Good enough for me.

Another half hour or so passes as Mei leads us through a large collection of work, not only by Escher, but his contemporaries, influences, and followers. She chatters excitedly about form and function while Kagami mock-yawns the entire time. However, I find myself more and more interested in the art, as well as the story behind it. In fact, I’m so caught up in the displays that I don’t even realize when we arrive back in the second floor's lobby. It feels strange that such a mazelike exhibit would end so abruptly.

"Whew. That took a little longer than expected. Thanks for being my guinea pigs, you two. I have to teach this tour to the guides before we open the exhibit, so it's good to get a trial run in."

"Thank you for the tour," I respond. "I wouldn't worry about the exhibit too much. It's quite good."

"It better be. I paid a fortune for it to be here for two months." She wipes her brow slowly and adjusts her glasses. "Well, I'm afraid I must go back to work. Calls to make, people to swindle, et cetera. You two ok to go to the hospital by yourselves?"

Kagami steps forward. "We'll be fine, Aunt Mei. I've got your cell phone and office number. We'll call if there's anything we need."

"Good. Lord knows your uncle is still fast asleep, so call here first."

"Can do."

Mei reaches out and embraces Kagami tightly before whispering something I can't hear into her ear. They part, and Kagami calls our elevator.

"Take care, kids."

"We will," Kagami responds as we step into our elevator and begin our descent to the ground floor.

The elevator is silent for a few seconds before Kagami speaks up. "Well. That was interesting."

"I actually found it quite stimulating."

"That's because it's an exhibit for nerds," she responds, sticking out her tongue.

I point my finger accusingly in her direction as a retort. "You're just sour because you didn't get special treatment from your aunt."

"It's not fair!" Kagami stomps her feet in sarcastic indignation.

"There, there," I say as I give her a condescending pat on the shoulder. "Some of us are just better than others. There's nothing I can do about it."

I receive a facetious death glare as punishment for my insolence. "You suck, you know that?" Again, she sticks out her tongue.

"I can't actually tell if you're serious or not."

"Maybe you should kiss my ass from multiple angles and see if that gives you any perspective," she quips, that same devilish smile creeping across her face.

"Well, if you're offering..." I say playfully, leaning toward her slightly.

A playful slap registers against my shoulder in response. "Hisao! Is that how you talk to a lady?"

"Ah, a lady from this angle, yes. But if I move over here-" I step across the elevator for dramatic effect- "the snide teenager reveals herself in full. Sorry, but the illusion is broken; I can't go back," I lament with a wrist casually tossed over my forehead.

Kagami puckers and shakes her head. "You are truly an ass, Hisao Nakai. You know that, right?"

"Yes, I have been made aware of the situation before. I learned it from the best, y'know."

"I'll take that as a compliment, I suppose," Kagami says, breaking her sour expression as she places a quick peck on my cheek.

"You're welcome, then." I attempt to return the peck to Kagami's cheek, but she anticipates my move and turns her lips to meet mine. Once again, we find ourselves entwined in the elevator.

This time, it's me who breaks the kiss apart first. "Damn. Outfoxed again."

Kagami laughs quietly as the elevator doors slide open. "I hope you don't mind too much."

I grin. "From this angle, it seems like something I could definitely get used to."

__________

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Last edited by forgetmenot on Thu May 01, 2014 3:29 am, edited 3 times in total.

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dewelar
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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 2/18]

Post by dewelar » Tue Feb 18, 2014 7:12 pm

New Kagami scene! Excellent!

I really enjoyed the interplay between Kagami and Hisao, especially post-museum tour. As for the tour itself...sadly, given my sight, I could never really appreciate Escher's work (gives me headaches), but I can respect it, and I can definitely understand its appeal to Hisao. A far cry from Kamisaka, to be sure :wink: .

Anyway, great work, and I'll be looking forward to the next update!
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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 2/18]

Post by AntonSlavik020 » Tue Feb 18, 2014 7:25 pm

Nice to see this is still active. As for the chapter itself, I loved the banter between Hisao and Kagami, and the names Mei and Kagami would call each other. I also liked the reference to Rin's exhibit. I wonder who or what pushed her to do it without Hisao's influence?
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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 2/18]

Post by Mader Levap » Tue Feb 18, 2014 7:34 pm

Yay, it lives! I liked whole stair business and dialogues.
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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 2/18]

Post by forgetmenot » Tue Feb 18, 2014 7:50 pm

dewelar wrote:New Kagami scene! Excellent!

I really enjoyed the interplay between Kagami and Hisao, especially post-museum tour. As for the tour itself...sadly, given my sight, I could never really appreciate Escher's work (gives me headaches), but I can respect it, and I can definitely understand its appeal to Hisao. A far cry from Kamisaka, to be sure :wink: .

Anyway, great work, and I'll be looking forward to the next update!
Understandable, although it's really quite a shame you never got into it. This exhibit is based off a real-life traveling exhibit of Escher's life works, and I was fortunate enough to see it back when I still lived in the eastern US. The sculpture in question was particularly impressive. Thanks for the kind words!
AntonSlavik020 wrote:Nice to see this is still active. As for the chapter itself, I loved the banter between Hisao and Kagami, and the names Mei and Kagami would call each other. I also liked the reference to Rin's exhibit. I wonder who or what pushed her to do it without Hisao's influence?
Ahh, but that's just the key. I believe it's the first chapter in act 3, scene 18 - Hisao DOES influence Rin to do the exhibition, granted, in a much subtler way than the canon VN.

As for Mei and Kagami... well, they are related.
Mader Levap wrote:Yay, it lives! I liked whole stair business and dialogues.
It lives indeed! Thanks for reading.

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