Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 7/6]

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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 5/8]

Post by Eurobeatjester » Sat Jan 31, 2015 2:50 pm

Take all the time you need :)
Stuff I'm currently writing: Learning To Fly: A Saki Enomoto Pseudo Route
Two Turtledoves - A Lilly/Hisao Christmas Oneshot
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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 4/1]

Post by forgetmenot » Wed Apr 01, 2015 3:30 am

Not-an-April-fools-update that just so happens to fall on April Fools? Anyhoo, I'm still not quite done with Act 3 but I figured long enough was long enough. Here's some more words.

Scene 24: I've Been Asleep For a Long, Long Time

How long have I been asleep?

It seems very likely that I drifted off into slumber at some point. However, the moonlight streaming through the window blinds indicates that it’s still very much nighttime. Must not have been too long of a nap.

Kagami is still asleep next to me, her naked frame only half-covered by a thin sheet. She takes soft, shallow breaths, causing the sheet to rise and fall on her chest, clinging in ever-so-slightly different ways each time it comes back down. Even though I stir a bit, she remains completely placid – caught in a deep, dreamless sleep.

I briefly ponder reaching out and touching her, but quickly decide that I should probably check the time before possibly disturbing her sleep. I roll over, checking for an alarm clock, but after surveying the nightstand, and then the room as a whole, there appears to be no sign of one anywhere.

I sit up slightly in order to get a better look at the room, and as I do, it becomes very apparent that, as the blood rushes from my head, I am crossing the border between drunk and hung over. It takes a moment for both my eyes to re-focus and the room to stop spinning after I prop myself onto my elbows.

All at once my existence is consumed by nothing other than an extreme need for water.

As quietly as I can, I uncover myself and slip out of Kagami’s bed. It takes only a few moments for me to find my clothes scattered on the floor, dress, and find my way to the door. As much time as it would have saved me, there’s something that feels deeply wrong about being naked or even half-clothed in your girlfriend’s father’s apartment. Especially when he doesn’t even know you exist.

The door closes behind me without too much sound, leaving Kagami to her slumber – something that’s much needed, I’m sure. I can’t help but smile to myself as I think about what happened earlier. The taste of her lips, the feeling of her skin on mine, the look on her face as she…

My train of thought is interrupted by another throb from my head. Water. Right.

I grab one of the scotch glasses from the table as I pass into the kitchen, rinsing it out quickly before imbibing. Apparently I didn’t do a good enough job, as the water still has a faint alcoholic taste to it – I nearly gag. However, the effectiveness with which the water cures my throbbing head is good enough reason for me to simply refill the glass and drink without rinsing further.

As I alleviate my seemingly unquenchable thirst, I glance over to the microwave, which I briefly hope will display the time, but instead greets me with a solid “0”. Looks like the power’s gone out recently. Another flutter of hope emerges as I spy the clock on the wall, but I quickly remember there’s no way it could be correct, as it currently reads 7:03. It’d be light outside no matter if it were A.M. or P.M.

Man, it’d be infuriating to live here without fixing both of those clocks.

I furrow my brow as I think about where I might have left my phone. As if to answer my thoughts, a small red light sitting on the table next to the chess set catches my eye as it blinks. Dashing over to the table, I flip open my phone, which thankfully still has about fifteen percent of a charge left. It’s only 4:22 AM.

I take a moment to bemoan my now-ruined sleep schedule. As I slowly sip my third glass of water, I contemplate my chances of going back to sleep. Well, I feel pretty wide awake. Falling back asleep seems pretty unlikely with this headache. And one of the side effects of my medication is, indeed, insomnia. Seems chances are slim to none.

Plopping down onto the couch, I close my phone and slip it inside of my pocket. Maybe if I sit still long enough, my headache will subside enough to let me go back to sleep. I suppose I shouldn't go lie down beside Kagami again, as much as I'd like to. I really have no idea what she'll remember when she wakes up, and waking up to another person in your bed that you don't remember being there has to be jarring at the very least. In fact, it seems unlikely that she'll remember any of what happened tonight.

As the thought crosses my mind, my eyes come to rest on Kagami's purse, which has spilled its contents haphazardly across the other side of the couch. A small compact, her billfold, a few mints, and… her journal.

She couldn't possibly have…

I wrack my brain to try and think of any time earlier when I saw her write in it, but I can't recall a single instance today when she had it out. What happened after the MRI?

I retrace our steps for a few moments in my mind, but nothing comes up. I suppose I could be missing something, especially with this headache. However, Kagami was pretty distraught when we left the hospital. It seems doubtful that she'd have taken the time to write down…

…to write down the fact that she's going to stop improving. And that she's at risk for seizures. For the rest of her life.

It starts to feel like a pile of bricks on my shoulders as the realization slowly sinks in. Things moved too fast earlier for me to truly comprehend the gravity of what she was telling me. I didn't even think…

Well, currently I have lots of time to think, I suppose. If I wasn't before, I'm certainly wide awake now.

I exhale deeply, my mind glossing over the stressfulness of Kagami’s condition. I honestly don't know how she does it. Every day she gets out of bed, a stranger in her own world. In her own body, even. She counts on a small collection of loose-leaf, bound together by a bit of wire and pink cardboard, to explain her entire life. Were it me, I don't think I'd be able to cope. Hell, I've barely been able to adjust to a stupid heart problem, and I don't have to restart the coping process every morning. I’d hate to have to live through those few hours after I woke up from my first surgery even a second time – and Kagami has to do that every day.

Although, it's possible she's not as bad as I think. After all, she does still function normally in most situations. She's incredibly quick-witted, and does well with faces — at least after she's seen them in the morning. And her situational awareness is through the roof, as is her ability to adapt quickly if she's presented with new information. Like when I met her for the second time outside on the grounds of the school — there was barely even a second after I said my name before she connected the dots.

And then there's her music.

I shudder involuntarily as I find my finger idly tracing the metal spirals of Kagami's journal. The fasteners give slightly as I push them back and forth, making a tapping noise on the front hardcover of the book. I guess there’s no way to really know.

And suddenly, something in my mind clicks into place – there might be a way to know.

It would be utterly reprehensible, of course. Her journal contains her private thoughts, her innermost feelings. To intrude into them would be… well, it would sort of be like reading someone’s mind against their will. Or at the very least without their consent.

Of course I can’t read Kagami’s journal. And I won't. I shake my head, trying to loosen whatever thoughts might be tempting me.

I slowly sip from my water glass for the next few moments, both attempting to calm my stomach and to not steal glances at the journal next to me. Eventually, both efforts prove fruitless, and I end up staring directly at its cover, wincing as the bursts of queasiness roll through my gut.

I sit in limbo for a while – mostly due to my curiosity waging a battle with what little remains of my decency. Finally, I force myself to stand up and walk across the room. Maybe a little bit of movement will help cure the multifaceted nausea monster that’s currently weighing on me like a lead blanket.

However, after I’ve spent a few minutes pacing idly across the room, it becomes clear that this isn’t the solution to my problem. Trying to come up with something else to do isn’t really working, either, as all I’ve been able to think of so far is to increase the speed of my pacing.

“Ow!” I exclaim as my hand bumps the corner of the end table. Apparently, with increased speed comes less spatial awareness. The pain serves as a temporary distraction, but it also draws my gaze to the offending furniture, and then to a set of house keys sitting atop it.

Hmm… maybe some fresh air would do me good.

I grab the keys from the table and make my way over to the door, slipping my shoes on as I exit the apartment. As I shut the door and lock the apartment, a sizable effort is made to ensure that the deadbolt makes as little noise as possible. There. Now to remember where the stairs are.

It takes a few moments, but eventually I’m able to find the stairwell at the end of the hall. I take the descent slowly, even though it doesn’t seem like my heart is keen to act up right this second. Better to be safe, I guess. At last, I make it to the bottom. The door opens into the building’s rather extravagant lobby, where I make a quick wave to the doorman to indicate that I’m just going outside for a moment. He gives an understanding nod as I open the door to the outside.

Immediately after the humid summer air hits my face, I feel a substantial wave of relief. This is exactly what I needed. I’ll just take a lap or two around the block, and…

“Oof! Oh, sorry!” I exclaim as I nearly trip over a person sitting at the bottom of the steps leading up to the building. “I didn’t see you th-“

“Hisao?” the seated figure replies. “What are you doing up so late?”

“Oh, Mr. Takahashi… I-I mean Ichiro… er, that is to say…” I stammer, recognizing Kagami’s uncle as the man whom I nearly planted my foot into on my way down to the sidewalk.

He shakes his head and smiles, chuckling softly. “See? This is what happens when my wife tries to upset the system of addressing your elders,” he says, pausing to take a drag on a cigarette held in his right hand. “Ichiro is fine, since we’ve already broken that taboo. Have a seat if you’re staying.” He pats the concrete next to him, after which I oblige.

“Can’t sleep?” he asks, exhaling a cloud of smoke.

“You could say that,” I reply, not really thinking of the connotations of that particular statement until a split-second after it leaves my mouth. I wince involuntarily.

“Ha,” he responds, taking another drag on his cigarette. “I suppose I should scold you, seeing as how Kagami is my niece and all.”

I wave my hands anxiously in protest. “No, no, that’s not what I meant!”

Ichiro just laughs. “Save it, Hisao. I won’t tell Mei, of whom you should actually be afraid.” He leans back, placing an elbow on the step behind him and exhaling a cloud of smoke upwards. “I’d just recommend being a little more rehearsed by tomorrow.”

“I… I…”

“The proper response is, ‘Yes, sir.’”

I sigh loudly. I’m surrounded by people infinitely more perceptive than me. “Yes, sir.”

“Good,” Ichiro says, seemingly satisfied with my response. “Cigarette?” he asks, pulling a slender white cylinder from inside a small silver case and offering it to me.

“No, thanks. I’ve got a heart… thing,” I say, pointing at my chest.

Ichiro’s eyes widen slightly. “Oh, jeez, sorry. I should put this out.”

“No, it’s fine if you want to. I’ve been around people smoking before, and it hasn’t made my heart act up.” At least, it didn’t when Rika was blowing smoke into my face. So I guess that’s a fair assumption.

Ichiro nods in understanding and continues with his cigarette. “So, your heart. That’s why you’re at…”

“Yamaku, yeah,” I finish.

“It’s a good school?” he asks casually.

I shrug. “Seems like it. I’ve only been there for a few months, though, so take that for what it’s worth.”

“I suppose that bodes well. Kagami always raves about the place over the phone, although that could just be her way of easing her aunt’s mind. Good to have a second opinion.”

I briefly consider countering with the fact that she has a lighter schedule than most other students, but hold my tongue. Truth be told, Yamaku really isn’t that bad.

The man beside me clears his throat into a clenched fist for a few moments. After the last cough finishes echoing down the street, he speaks again. “So, what do you two have planned for the rest of the weekend?”

“Hmm,” I say, scratching the top of my head trying to remember what little information Kagami gave me about our itinerary for this weekend. “I know she has an interview tomorrow at… a music school. I think it’s Tokyo University of the Arts, but I could be wrong. And I think her father…”

Ichiro cuts me off. “Her father? She told you about that?”

I pause for a moment. Kagami has dropped hints that he’s been very much an absentee ever since her accident. I decide to not embarrass myself any further and play it cool. “She’s painted a decent enough picture.”

Ichiro shakes his head, seemingly in disbelief. “She must really like you if she told you about that. She never talks about her accident, or what happened after.”

He releases a last puff of cigarette smoke into the air before casually tossing the remainder halfway across the street. A long sigh escapes from between his lips. “Look, Hisao. I don’t know how well you know Kagami, or how much she trusts you. And I certainly don’t want a repeat of what happened last year, so I’m going to stay out of it.” He turns to me, looking me dead in the eyes as he continues. “But if you’re going to see either of her parents, either Yui or… my brother… just… take care of her, please.”

“Yui is…”

“Her mother, yeah.”

“Do…” I begin, but quickly think better of what I’m about to ask.

Ichiro, however, looks over at me and tilts his head slightly. “It’s fine, if you want to ask.”

A prodigious gulp emanates from my throat. “Do you see either of them much?”

The silence that follows is punctuated with the snap of Ichiro’s cigarette case, followed by the sound of a lighter sparking into flame. “Mei and I try and see Yui when we can. It’s a bit of a trip from here, though, and we’re both busy with work, especially the last few months,” he answers, dragging on his cigarette pensively.

“My brother… well, let’s just say he never could find the time to come around. So I guess I can’t, either.”

Confusion spreads across my face. “But his apartment…?”

Ichiro almost laughs. “I suppose it’s nice for Kagami to have her own rooms when she comes home. Lord knows that place isn’t getting any use otherwise. Maybe selling it will become an option after she’s done with university.”

“I see,” I respond, nodding slightly. The man sitting next to me spreads his palm across his face, massaging his temples deeply. For a moment, I think I spot a tear in the corner of his eye. It’s obvious that Kagami’s family after her accident is still a sore subject; it doesn’t really come as that much of a surprise.

“Uh, is everything ok?” I ask feebly.

“Yeah,” Ichiro responds, shaking his head. “Just bad memories. Ones that should have been buried a long time ago, but always seem to dig through however many meters of dirt we put between them and us.”

I nod in understanding, thinking back to Iwanako and the snow. The memory brings acute awareness to the lump in my stomach that doesn’t seem to have left since that afternoon. I suppose I’ve just gotten used to it – not unlike the memory itself.

I pause for a moment, trying to think of something else to talk about instead of ruminating on the past. “You mentioned something that happened last year. Was that when Kagami disappeared?”

Come to think of it, that probably wasn’t the best way to go about it.

Ichiro looks at me incredulously. “Jesus, kid. She really has told you everything.”

“No, I heard it from someone else at school. I… didn’t have the heart to ask Kagami about it,” I lie, after briefly considering telling Ichiro about our conversation on the train that led to his niece drinking from a flask in the back car. Probably not something he wants to hear.

He bites his lip. “Probably for the best. It’s a long story, and I’m certain it’s just more pain for her to work through having to read about that whole ordeal in her journal. Bad enough she has to relive that damn accident every day.”

Hang on.

Kagami genuinely seemed like she had no idea what I was talking about on the train. If she did know, then she was lying, probably to save face. However, I doubt she’d put on that complicated of an act just for show – especially considering she didn’t break character when inebriated.

But that doesn’t make any…

“Hisao? You all right there?” Ichiro says quizzically, snapping his fingers in my face. I jolt out of my downward spiral of thought.

“Yeah, yeah. I was… was just wondering if Kagami ever talked about her disappearance with anyone else?” I ask, trying to ferret out more information without giving myself away.

Ichiro shakes his head. “Not that I can recall, other than the hospital therapist, and of course Mei and me. Why?”

“Just curious,” I say dismissively. So it is in her journal, after all. It still doesn’t make any sense why she would lie about it, though, unless it’s something truly embarrassing or gut-wrenchingly awful.

My train of thought is interrupted by Ichiro standing up and stretching, before flicking his second cigarette into the street. “Welp, I think that about does it for me as far as melancholy goes tonight,” he says, offering me his hand and pulling me to my feet. “Sorry if I got carried away at any point. I had a few glasses of champagne at the benefit.”

“It’s not a problem. I needed some fresh air anyhow,” I say, not entirely sure how glad I am of whatever else I might have received while outside.

Ichiro and I make our way back into the building and up the stairs. We say our goodnights, and enter into our respective doorways.

Once I lock the door behind me it becomes clear that I’m not any closer to solving my internal debate regarding Kagami’s journal. If anything, my conversation with Ichiro has only exacerbated my curiosity.

I plop back down on the couch, absentmindedly pulling my phone from my pocket and checking the time again. 4:50 AM. A long, audible sigh escapes my lips.

Why would Kagami lie? I still can’t wrap my head around it. I mean, she’s told little white lies to me before, but never regarding anything serious, and almost always to save face when she didn’t know me that well.

Although, to be honest, the possibility remains that she doesn’t know me that well. On one hand, she’s told me that there’s more to remembering me than just my picture and a few pages in her journal. But even that’s just feelings – inklings of memories that she’s long since forgotten; nothing concrete. And if the results of her MRI are any indication, that’s all they’ll ever be.

And at the very worst, I’m just a few pieces of paper in a flimsy journal.

No, I think to myself, shaking my head in defiance. I can’t be. We wouldn’t have slept together if she didn’t feel something more than that. She wouldn’t have just taken that step because she was… I don’t know. Scared? Upset? In need of someone to comfort her?

Would she have?

I’m starting to think maybe I don’t know Kagami as well as I think I do. If that were the case, it would almost seem trivial to lie to me about something that really, truly upset her. And it’s not like I can ask her about it – at the very least, we’d repeat what happened on the train, but worse.

I sigh again. Maybe I’m laying the paranoia on a little too thick. There’s no reason for any of this speculation having gone as far as it has. I’m sure there’s a perfectly logical explanation that doesn’t involve debasing our relationship.

But then there has to be a reason why she wouldn’t tell me the truth about her disappearance. It’s almost like she genuinely forgot. Like she got sick of reliving something awful that happened to her, day after day, and just decided to rip the pages out of her journal altogether. Be rid of the bad memories for good, as preposterous as that sounds.

Actually, now that I think about it, it doesn’t sound that preposterous. What if the pages used to be in her journal, but now they’re not? What if she… chose… to forget?

As disturbing as the thought initially sounds, it makes me wonder: if I could choose to forget some things from my past, would I? If I could, would I just erase my old life from existence? Or even just painful parts of it? Especially if it were easy as tearing out a few pages in a book, or wiping a slate clean, or wetting a piece of paper and letting the ink run down until it’s an illegible pool at the bottom.

Could I just erase Iwanako completely? Would I?

After wrestling with the thought for several minutes, I come to the reluctant conclusion that there’s only one way to make really sure. I squeeze my eyes tightly shut. Okay, Hisao. Just look at the dates from last summer. Don’t read any of the words. If there’s a date skip, then you’ll know.

I pick Kagami’s journal up from the couch cushion. It weights heavy in my hand – heavier than a book this size should, for some reason. I hesitantly lift the top corner of the cover, and sure enough, each page is dated. Not wanting to dwell too much on anything other than the task at hand, I thumb quickly towards summer of last year. If she disappeared around this time, I should probably start looking at the end of June.

It only takes a few moments to find a suitable starting place. I count the dates in my head as I flip through. 1, 2, 3… man, her handwriting is impeccable. Wait, did I miss an 11 back there? No, there it is. Okay, keep going. …29, 30. Okay, nothing for June.

My throat tightens as I move to July. Beginning of the month looks good… 11, 12, 28, 29… Wait, did I read that right? I flip back a few extra pages, just to be sure. July 12th on one page, and July 28th on the next. I open the journal slightly to get a better look.

As the journal opens wider in my hands, I notice the telltale strips of paper left behind the spiral binding of a notebook whenever pages are torn out – there don’t appear to be as many as missed days, but there’s definitely three or four. I quickly close the journal and toss it onto the couch hurriedly. My fingers almost feel like they’re painted red.

I stand still for a moment, trying to comprehend everything that’s happened in the past twenty minutes. The hangover doesn’t help, so I decide to get some more water from the kitchen. Now, though, I’m too lost in thought to pay attention to the water level inside the glass, and end up spilling all over my hand. I curse silently to myself as I reach for a towel.

Now what?

__________

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Last edited by forgetmenot on Tue Jul 07, 2015 1:40 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 4/1]

Post by Mirage_GSM » Wed Apr 01, 2015 6:04 am

Wow, has it really been almost a year since the last update?
Glad to see this continued, and especially with so many mysteries still unsolved…
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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 4/1]

Post by Alpacalypse » Wed Apr 01, 2015 6:56 am

Glad to see the return of the Kagami pseudo route. My thoughts...
Hisao wrote:I pick Kagami’s journal up
Dammit Hisao, this is just going to end badly and you know it.

In other news, great job :D
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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 4/1]

Post by HoneyBakedHam » Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:43 am

I see someone did the Leaty's method of updating. :P

Any who, I loved this chapter! Been waiting for Hisao to take the bait.

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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 4/1]

Post by misiek100020 » Wed Apr 01, 2015 11:48 am

This and MTBD. Today is a good day

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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 4/1]

Post by HoneyBakedHam » Wed Apr 01, 2015 11:49 am

Agreed. Now, all we need is a surprise update of Tomorrow's Doom and I'll be completely pulled out of my gloomy mood.

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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 4/1]

Post by brythain » Wed Apr 01, 2015 1:13 pm

I am so happy. It's like turning a corner in a long-forgotten neighbourhood and bumping into a girl you once had a crush on. It's awkward at first, and then you notice the cafe conveniently just there, and you sit down and catch up. And everything is beautiful. Thanks for the update!
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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 4/1]

Post by FelOnyx » Wed Apr 01, 2015 1:46 pm

Is this a new April Fool's trend, making actual updates to surprise us when we expect joke updates? Well I'm not complaining about it.
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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 4/1]

Post by dewelar » Wed Apr 01, 2015 3:07 pm

As always, it's good to see an update here. As an aside to forgetmenot, now you know why I say I'd be no good as an editor :oops:.

Anyway, this is a very well-written chapter. The exposition is done naturally, together with a nice consolidation of what's come before. This is the perfect kind of chapter to have as a stand-alone bridge like this for that reason. I really don't have any complaints about it, although I will note in passing that, from a meta-medial perspective, it would be interesting once in a while to actually see an authority figure get upset when their charge has sex. The whole "kid gets worried, parents/guardians are 'surprisingly' OK with it, kid is relieved" sequence is no longer a subversion of anything :).

Looking forward to the more-and-more-apparent bittersweet ending to come...
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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 4/1]

Post by AntonSlavik020 » Wed Apr 01, 2015 3:46 pm

dewelar wrote: Looking forward to the more-and-more-apparent bittersweet ending to come...
God I hope not. I'm almost incapable of liking any ending that isn't mostly happy. Even bitter-sweet tends to be too sad for me. It does seem to be going in that direction, though.
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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 4/1]

Post by NekoDude » Wed Apr 01, 2015 6:48 pm

I gave forgetmenot advance notice that Kagami will be appearing in the Nekonomicon series, so maybe I prompted him to post something. :D

Don't worry, I just brought her in as a convenient plot device — someone who can inadvertently cause all sorts of chaos and suspicion, while having absolutely no clue what the problem is.
dewelar wrote:it would be interesting once in a while to actually see an authority figure get upset when their charge has sex. The whole "kid gets worried, parents/guardians are 'surprisingly' OK with it, kid is relieved" sequence is no longer a subversion of anything :).
I dialed that up to eleven when it turns out that not only does Neko's Mum know, she watches the security footage (and in one case, shows it to someone else). I have to imagine that there was no secret in Kagami's case either. Leaving the place exclusively to her use like that is going to lead to this sort of incident, and everyone had to know it. (Let's just hope there were no cameras, or if there were, they were Kagami's.)
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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 4/1]

Post by Blank Mage » Wed Apr 01, 2015 8:01 pm

Oh hey, a thing! I'll pass on reading it for now, I need to reread everything up to this point. I've basically forgotten all the events that occur-

NO WAIT THIS IS PERFECT
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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 4/1]

Post by Peorth » Wed Apr 01, 2015 9:06 pm

Blank Mage wrote:Oh hey, a thing! I'll pass on reading it for now, I need to reread everything up to this point. I've basically forgotten all the events that occur-

NO WAIT THIS IS PERFECT
Pfft.
Even if the author is silenced, the performance is stopped, the story will not end.

Whether it's a comedy or a tragedy, if there is cheering, the story will continue on.
Just like the many lives.
For the us who are still in it and still in the journey, send warm blessings.

---We will continue to walk down this path until eternity.

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Leaty
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Location: Exile

Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 4/1]

Post by Leaty » Thu Apr 02, 2015 1:34 am

So for how long has this particular chapter existed? I get the impression from the text (and all the meta) that you've been writing pretty far ahead, but that you looped around and wrote this as a way of holding the fort down.

I'm trying to remember—have we, on-camera, seen Kagami wake up from REM sleep yet? Because I'm getting the impression that when she finally does wake up next to Hisao, she's going to be confused in either a funny way or a scary way. (Clearly, I have to reread this fic from the top.)

Honestly, as much as I've missed Kagami, I've also forgotten how much I've missed this Hisao. It's kind of funny; like, he narrates in so many other stories and yet I read him in this fic and I feel like it's a genuinely distinct version of the character, and I've been wondering how he's doing. I'm definitely sad Kagami slept through this whole chapter, though, because I also miss her unique flavor of japery.

Also, I wonder if, in VN terms, we just witnessed Hisao making a plot decision: [Read the diary.] [Put away the diary.] I wonder if we just narrowly missed a Bad End. Or a Good End.

I wish there was something negative I could say about this chapter, but... honestly, it'd be like criticizing crack. The plot is still so captivating and obviously I can't tell you that anybody's out of character, because these are all OCs, other than Hisao. I'm so invested in what's gonna happen with Kagami's parents, like, you don't even know.
A prodigious gulp emanates from my throat.
This is like, a meme-worthy sentence. BEHOLD MY NEWEST CREATION, F̷͚̥͉̬̤͍̹̮̕͡Ŗ̷҉̙̘̺͕̮̦͈̖O̰̕͝G͇ͅ ̘͓H̗̰̼͘I̕҉̘̜Ş͏̣̩̲̼̯̼̟̯̲A͏̫͕̹͕͉͚ͅO̢̼͓̯̦̳̦͜
As disturbing as the thought initially sounds, it makes me wonder: if I could choose to forget some things from my past, would I? If I could, would I just erase my old life from existence? Or even just painful parts of it? Especially if it were easy as tearing out a few pages in a book, or wiping a slate clean, or wetting a piece of paper and letting the ink run down until it’s an illegible pool at the bottom.

Could I just erase Iwanako completely? Would I?
I love this little bit of monologue. This is such an interesting question. (On the subject of Iwanako, we still don't know what happened to her letter. I wonder if Kagami has it, somehow? If so, it might mitigate the fact that Hisao's violating her privacy like this.)

Anyway, there's just something so existentially horrifying about the fact that there are parts of Kagami's memory she pretty much just... deleted. I wonder if those pages still exist, or if they were literally destroyed?

I'm so stoked for the rest of this. You made me cry buckets with that Saki/Rika miniseries (which, btw, is still like my favorite fic on these whole boards) so I'm pretty well-prepared to utterly lose my shit on the remainder of the story.

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