A Ritsu Route (Updated 12/26)

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Re: A Ritsu Route (Updated 5/5)

Post by Joonwoo » Sun May 05, 2013 5:26 pm

I like it so far :)
Narcolepsy without the cataplexy. Tired but no random fainting. I made it, so can you.

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Re: A Ritsu Route (Updated 5/5)

Post by SemisoftCheese » Sun May 05, 2013 7:29 pm

first off, thanks to everyone who read/replied. i definitely didn't expect so many replies
forgetmenot wrote:errors
got 'em, thanks dude. the use of bemused is intentional, the repetition isn't. as for the name thing, it's meant to sound patronizing--ritsu's teasing hisao and focusing attention on him.
forgetmenot wrote:T Far be it from me for us to switch positions and me edit your stuff. :lol:
you know, it's kind of funny. i was thinking about trying to get some proofreaders for this route, but when i thought about my saki thing, i realized that i was using my proofreaders as a crutch instead of doing my own work. it might change down the road, but for now, i think i'm going to try running solo and seeing how it turns out.

then again, by the number of errors you caught... well... maybe i should get a proofreader soon.
Comrade wrote:This has an unusuall style of writing, not sure how I feel about it.
uh oh. well, hopefully, as the story progress, you'll feel good?
Sperance wrote:This is looking pretty solid so far, and I have nothing to add to what the others said. Keep up the good work!
Calling it now, Hisao and Ritsu end up having sex during lunch break further in the story, mark my words :lol:
thanks dude! haha anything's open right now, so who knows what might happen.
Hoitash wrote:Well, this is shaping up nicely.

I can understand your desire to avoid a crossover, though as a big K-On!fan myself, I can see the traces of Ritsu's character in your rendition, which is nice, be it intentional or not.
thanks! yeah, Ritsu's such a lovable character. i think what i'm trying to do right now is pull some of the characteristics i really like from the series, but at the same time keep it original.
Mirage_GSM wrote: Other than that a very good - though a bit short - chapter. Looking forward to the next one.
fixed, thanks for pointing the error out.
Joonwoo wrote:I like it so far :)
thanks mate!

as far as everything does, i'm going to try and crank out the next half of this chapter sometime midweek, so hopefully i can post it by then.

thanks for reading, everyone.

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Re: A Ritsu Route (Updated 5/5)

Post by BlackWaltzTheThird » Mon May 06, 2013 2:00 am

First point of call;
SemisoftCheese wrote:It's been a few days since I sat down with Ritsu on the hill. Not much has passed since then. I had lunch with Misha and Shizune again, then with Lilly and Hanako, and I went up to the hill yesterday, but Ritsu wasn't there.
I am not a huge fan of lines like these. In fact, I detest them. There are better ways of conveying that same information that don't sound like the jarring recap portion and scene change at the beginning of a serial anime. I've discussed this with you before, so you might want to review your PMs.
SemisoftCheese wrote:Everything you don't need to know, in one convenient lecture.
Quite a harsh thing to say from a man of science.
SemisoftCheese wrote:a bemused smirk on her face.
Used correctly for once. Good job.
SemisoftCheese wrote:a bemused smile on her face as she faces the front
But now ya dun goofed. You just mentioned that. Your readers will not forget that detail so quickly. Just say she winked and faced the front.
SemisoftCheese wrote:Speaking of which
Speaking of what? Her bemusement somehow connects to the non-date? Bit of a non-sequitur here.
SemisoftCheese wrote:Pent=five.
You're not taking shorthand notes. Write what he thinks. "The 'pent' prefix equals 'five'."
SemisoftCheese wrote:A metallic tapping sound fills my ears
Usually that goes for loud sounds. Ritsu must really be going at those keys.
SemisoftCheese wrote:something's weird happening with her laptop
>Brings up laptop issue
>Talks about hands
SemisoftCheese wrote:small, amused smile
same bemused grin
First one I can buy. Amusement from Hisao's curiosity. Sure. But for it to suddenly change into a bemused grin? And you're doubling the description again, by the way.
SemisoftCheese wrote:a amused, small, smirk making it's way to her mouth.
An. Also, Jesus H. Christ you're tripling on that phrase now. Say something about her that isn't her smile, for the love of God.
SemisoftCheese wrote:Dami-fu--
SemisoftCheese wrote:that hill"
Need a comma after 'hill'.
SemisoftCheese wrote:"Don't we have class? It's a Thursday."
"You just said that, you know. You know, you just said that." Drop the speech, make Hisao question whether he said it out loud in the prose after Ritsu's reply.
SemisoftCheese wrote:i realized that i was using my proofreaders as a crutch instead of doing my own work. it might change down the road, but for now, i think i'm going to try running solo and seeing how it turns out.
That's certainly admirable. Learning how to proofread one's own work is an important skill to have. The best way to go about it is to write something, then go and do something else for a period of time proportional to the length of the piece, before coming back to it. Oh, and reading it aloud helps too.

Okay, I think that's it. For some reason I keep picturing some girl with blue hair and an eyepatch. If I recall a user here had a gif of her as their avatar. I'm not entirely sure why, and it keeps confusing me when you describe otherwise. Oh well, I'll remember eventually. Probably. I'm looking forward to where you're going to take this, especially given that you're working with an established character from another franchise.
BlackWaltz's One-stop Oneshot Shop - my fanfiction portal topic. Contains links to all my previous works, plus starting now any new ones I may produce (or reproduce)! Please, check it out!

BlackWaltz's Pastebin - for those who prefer to read things with no formatting and stuff. It's mostly the same as in my thread. Also contains assorted other writing!

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Re: A Ritsu Route (Updated 5/5)

Post by Draganada » Mon May 06, 2013 6:41 pm

I really like your Hisao more than anything else. That's not to say I'm not enjoying reading Ritsu as well. Will definitely read this to the end!
Rika > Lilly > Hanako > Akira > Shizune/Misha > Emi/Rin

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Re: A Ritsu Route (Updated 5/5)

Post by DanjaDoom » Mon May 06, 2013 7:49 pm

+1 for skipping over the whole "heart attack, hospital, school, yada yada," it's refreshing.

Looking forward to some K-On style moe moe action.
My fine literary endeavors: Real, M&M, Rat Race, and Hideaki: A Tale of Manliness. Feel free to stroke my ego and read them.

We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey-Sanic

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Post by SemisoftCheese » Sun May 26, 2013 8:33 pm

sorry for the wait

The walk into town passes rather quickly. Ritsu sets a fast pace down the hill, her steps quick and sure as she descends. It seems like she's made this trip more than a couple of times before.

From the back, she's got a weird style of walking. Most people bob up and down when they walk, but Ritsu's legs remain tense, level, as if she's waiting for some change-of-events in the near future. Her hair, ever held up by the yellow hairband, bobs and sways in the wind, but her stride is smooth--without check or doubt.

That, or wearing a 20-kilo backpack full of powerbars affects your stride. Either way, I don't think we're at the point where my commenting on her stride wouldn't be creepy.

I haven't been into town yet, but I passed through on my drive up. It seems pretty standard--a convenience store, a few cafes here and there, what looks like a small lounge on the edge of town, and a sports facility with a soccer field and the like.

As I step into the outskirts, Ritsu's yellow headband bouncing above her black bag in front of me, the population is noticably older than the norm.

I guess the town around Yamaku is mainly for retirees--people who are tired of living their life in the hustle and bustle of the modern world. People who want a little piece and quiet.

Like I said, it sort of fits in with the theme of Yamaku. Out of the way. Quiet. Almost forgotten, like a memory.

She stops all of a sudden, turning around to face me. I wonder if she's forgotten something?

She looks me straight in the eye, a face of determination as she sets her braces on her hips.

"You know what, Hisao?"

Uh oh…


"Let's go into the city!"

Her face lights up with enthusiasm as she proclaims her last statement, having clearly put some thought into the idea.

I'm not entirely enthused about the idea. I mean, I'd like to be shown around the city just as much as the town, but today's a thursday… a school day… I still have homework and everything to do.

Never mind the fact that I have no clue what we would possibly do in the city anyway.

"Wait, what?"

An impatient look fills her face as she waits for my brain to catch up.

"The city, Hisao. You know. Buildings. Streets. Civilization."

"But why not just go into town?"

A confused look fills her face. I don't think she put too much thought into this plan.

"Well… the city is more exciting… and you can always go into town anyway!"

She sidles up close to me, laying her head on my shoulder as her voice takes on a sly tone.

"And this might be your only chance to go see the city with the lovely Ritsu Tainaka."

She looks up at me with golden puppy dog eyes, her bangs barely contained by her yellow hairband.

"You wouldn't want to miss that, would you?"

Of course not. Wouldn't want a miss a day with maniac braces girl for the world.

"Okay, okay, let's go."

Her head pops off her shoulder and she shrugs her bag up on her shoulders, a look a determination on her face.

"Well then! The bus is just on the corner two blocks away!"

Two more blocks. After the entire walk down the hill?



The ride to the city passes rather uneventfully. We climb onto the bus, and as soon as she settles down, Ritsu collapses asleep.

It's not too long of a ride into the city, around 35 minutes, and I pass the time filling out a crossword I found in my bag.

They say the hardest part about crosswords is not doing them, but making sure everyone around knows you're doing one.

Well, I'm doing this one just for me.

Ritsu's sound asleep by the window, her head lolling back in a gentle slumber. I guess the walk down the hill really exhausted her.

The gentle mountain scenery gives way to the outskirts of the city, and I gently shake Ritsu awake.

She rubs her eyes in exhaustion, stretching her braces to the sky, and then clutches her dark blue cardigan close to her, apparently cold in the chill of the bus.

"Would you like my jacket?"

She waves me off, and settles her chin on her braces, gazing out the window at the passing landscape as if she's never seen it before.

Her backpack sits on the floor in front of her, a dutiful companion.

I bet it holds a lot of secrets. Like power bar wrappers.

I settle back into my crossword. I'll let Ritsu do her thing.


The bus lets us down into the center of the city, and I find myself surrounded by the familiar swarms of people hustling and bustling their way to the next destination.

In the city, the next stop is all that matters. Focus on anything else and you'll get lost.

Well, I'm lost right now. Hopefully Ritsu knows where to go.

I look over at my companion. She takes a hold of her face with the forearms of her braces, and with a quick movement, cracks her neck with a loud POP!


She looks over at me, sweeping her bangs from her forehead, and gives me a quick smile. I think she's at operating capacity once again.

"Okay, Hisao, where do you want to go?"

What? Me?

"Uhh… I don't know this city very well… maybe a cafe would be nice? We haven't eaten lunch yet."

A quick glance at my watch confirms that it's 2:00, and my stomach rumbles in agreement.

She rolls her golden eyes skyward as she considers my request, her arms dangling loosely as her sides, and settles a calm gaze on me as she comes to a decision.

"I think there's a nice cafe down that way a couple of blocks. It's on a side street, so there's less noise and people."

She indicates the direction with a tilt of her head, and I give her a nod of an assent. Even though I'm a city kid, some peace and quiet would be nice for lunch.

Placing the palm of her braces on the straps of her bag, bracing it higher, she takes a quick glance at me, indicating I should follow, before setting off.

I still don't know much about Ritsu, but she moves as if she's a city native as well. She weaves through crowds, ducking her shoulder and sidestepping her way, and it takes the best of me just to keep up. She jaywalks and rubs shoulders with the best of them.

I'm out of breath and my heart is thumping as she ducks off a main thoroughfare and into a neat, well, lit side street.

In front of me I see a neat, calm, sidewalk cafe, watched over by a handy pair of tall trees providing shade. Waiters dressed in neat white shirts and clean black ties duck among tables of casually dressed patrons.

It seems like the new kind of cafe--combining a casual atmosphere with high-grade service and food. I have no doubt that this cafe is expensive as hell.

Leave it up to Ritsu to have expensive tastes.

Then again, I didn't expect her to take me all the way to the city and then to McDonald's. I've got some of my birthday money left in my wallet, so I guess I can afford this time.

Ritsu waits impatiently for me by the maitre'd, shuffling her bag on her shoulders as I stumble over.

She gives me a light bop on the head as I arrive, and then noting my condition, adopts a look of concern.

"Hey, wheezy, you okay?"

I wave her off. I just need a second to catch my breath.

"I'm fine… just give me a second."

She nods, concern still in her eyes, and then turns to the maitre'd.

"Table for two, please."

He nods professionally, and leads us to a pleasant table by the street side, shaded over by a tall japanese maple.

By now, I've recovered, and I hold Ritsu's chair out for her to sit. She nods appreciatively at the gesture, and after seating her, I take a seat myself.

To our immediate left is the street itself--the cafe takes up the entire sidewalk. There's a light plastic fence separating the two, and if you gaze up the street, you can see and hear the bustle of the main thoroughfare.

For a side street, it's incredibly well lit, the sun shining clear and bright on a blue day. Opposite is some sort of business building, tall and built of dark glass.

It seems like a hip, clean, neat neighborhood. The perfect kind of place to spend an afternoon.

A waiter comes over to take our order, a silver pen flashing in his palm.

"What can I get you two?"

I give Ritsu a nod. Ladies first.

"I'll have some sandwiches and coffee."

"The same, thanks."

The waiter nods quickly and dashes off to the next table, a flash of white.

I wonder what it's like being a waiter. It's a job where you basically have to make people happy, but none of it's in your control. Your customers control what they order, and the cook controls how it's actually made. The only thing you can do is bring it over, and when you do, you're held responsible for the result, despite you having played no role at all in the decision making process.

Sort of like life, I guess. Out of your control, but you've just got to play the hand you've been dealt.

I let this train of thought die. It's not exactly relevant to the situation at hand.

I look over at my companion. The sun shines through the trees, casting her in a soft, golden, light. She's got a distant, bored, look on her face, picking at the sleeves of her cardigan again. Her head tilts at a lazy angle, as if she's running on the lowest of power settings. Her backpack sits next to her on the floor, as if it's an extra companion joining us for lunch.

I guess I should make some conversation. It's only polite, right?

"So, do you ditch class and come here often?"

Ritsu perks up, a surprised look on her face. I guess she zones out a lot.

She gives me a quick, brief smile before thinking about my question, sweeping her hair back with her braces. Her eyes look up briefly as she replays my question in her mind.

She refocuses on me as she comes to an answer. It wasn't that serious a question, but she seems to be the kind of person who takes things completely seriously, or not at all.

"Not really. I mean--"

She thinks again, rubbing her chin with her brace. Her voice has a slightly nervous tone, which is completely different from the cool, relaxed, character I met on the hill. She seems more engaged, and more self-conscious.

"I skip a fair bit. I understand most of the material in class anyway, and I'm used to teaching myself stuff, so sometimes it's better if I just learn the material on my own."

She relaxes, back in character, and the same amused smirk comes onto her face as she eyes me casually.

"Why, Hisao? Looking to tag along in the future?"

I blush.

"W-well, n-o, I was just trying to make conversation" I finish sheepishly.

Ritsu gives me a considerate, happy, smile. She understands, I think.

"It's a bit of a hike to come out this far. When I need a change of setting, or I'm really bored, I come to the city. Oddly enough, I do the most work when I come here and just sit in a cafe or something."

She rubs her brace against the top of her head, what I suppose passes for scratching.

"I come here on nice days, but there's also a big orange one--"

I know that one. It's a pretty big national chain."

"--I go to sometimes."

She rests her braces on the table, lazily resting her chin on top of her crossed braces.

"Other than that, I don't spend too much time in the city. There are some things I can't get in or around Yamaku, like power bars, but I just get around it by shipping stuff to my dorm. I get monthly deliveries of groceries and stuff. Saves me trips to town."

That sounds kind of expensive, but it's none of my business. I wonder what else Ritsu buys that would justify such an expense.

Ritsu looks at me, a semi-interested look on her face. She's got a question.

"Did you spend a lot of time in cafes back home, Hisao?"

I think about it for a moment.

"Not really. I would duck into a cafe to get a snack or something, but never to sit down."

"Now when I think about it, stuff like this never happened back home. I was always on the go. There was always something I was late for--either an appointment, school, friends, or family, or chores. It was always onto the next thing, whatever it was."

Ritsu nods understandingly. She looks out the window, but I can tell she's listening. I guess I should continue.

"I like it here. It's relaxing."

Ritsu gives a nod of assent, gazing out the at the street. I wonder what she's gazing at. Her head rests lazily on the table, her eyes-half open as if life is a movie she'd bored to watching.

There's nothing too special outside the this acfe. It's surprisingly quiet for such a central location, but for the most part it's just quiet hum of cars passing by.

I don't want to continue the conversation for conversation's sake, so I just keep looking out the street.
With other people it would feel awkward, this silence, but oddly enough, it feels right. As if all the blocks have been pushed into their holes already.

I close my eyes, letting the cool breeze play softly over my face. I haven't felt this calm in a while.

Time with Ritsu is weird. With other people, I feel like I have to put on an impression. With Misha and Shizune, I have to be alert and precise. With Rin, I have to be abstract. Emi, energetic. Hanako, careful. Lilly, a gentleman.

It's not like I hate doing that or anything, but it's not me. Even if it's just for a tiny bit, it's not me.

And for the most part, I guess that's what life is about. You find yourself something, and you pretend it's the real you until you believe it yourself.

A tiny feeling twitches in my brain. The kind of sixth sense you get when someone's looking at you and you can't see them.

I open my eyes, a little reluctant to lose my chain of thought.

Ritu's giving me a lazy, golden eyed-gaze, the same amused, small smile playing on her lips, her chin resting on her braces. Her brown bangs shimmer in the afternoon light.

"Having a nice nap, Hisao?"

"Errr--I was just thinking"

"About what?" She's perked up now, her smile taking on a life of it's own.

The gentle clatter of porcelain around the corner halts our conversation as the waiter rounds the corner, laden with a platter of sandwiches and two mugs of coffee.

He nods at us both, giving Ritsu a wink as she sets the plates down, and bows as he leaves, the next customer already waiting.

I look at Ritsu to see if she wants to continue the conversation, but she's already picked up a sandwich, examining it carefully as if it was still alive.

Wordlessly, we start in on our food. It's actually pretty good--the coffee full bodied and fragrant, the sandwiches crisp and tasty.

I just haven't seen the prices yet… whatever. Money is only an object.

I finish and sandwich and look over at Ritsu. She's two sandwiches deep and starting on a third one.

At least she's not one of the those girls who picks at food and claims that they're not hungry.

"Hungry, huh?"

She looks up and give me a lopsided, sideways grin.

"Well, Hisao, I'm a growing, active young girl. I need my calories to stay healthy."

She tilts her head to the side for a moment and reach across the table, grabbing my cheek with her thumb and the side of her forefinger.

"You, on the other hand, could stand to lose a few pounds, Hisao." She tugs on my cheek for emphasis.

I bat her brace away.

"Hey! That hurts!"

She puts on an injured look.

"You know, Hisao, I'm only trying to help."

She turns her head to the the street, pouting in mock disappointment.

Sigh. Ritsu. What a character.

I turn to my sandwich.

At least you won't let me down, sandwich.

Huh. What an afternoon.


I feel Ritsu's brace on my shoulder, turning me towards the street, and I blink as my eyes struggle to comply with the situation.

There's something black in the middle of the street. It's moving, at a slow pace, and it bobs gently up and down. I blink again and I understand. It's a dog.

But there's something else in the street. It's white, and it's large, and it's moving more quickly than the eye can follow. It's a truck.

My muscles tense, but my eyes cannot walk across the street, cannot do what needs to be done. It's only a span of a second, but it seems like an eternity. I feel Ritsu's brace on my shoulder, still in mid-push, turning me towards the street, but I can only watch.

I watch as white collides with black, and one of them keeps moving.

My muscles tense and uncoil, propelling me over the fence dividing street from cafe, across the parked cars, my breath one smooth exhale.

I feel my breath coming in ragged gasps as I sprint across the lane and scoop up that dog like it's my fucking day job.

I stumble and kneel on the other side of the lane, the black form in my arms. He's limp, but his chest is moving up and down.

He's alive. We're alive. He gives a small whimper in my arms, something evidently broken.

I rest my head against his black fur, listening to his heartbeat. It's steady, but weak. The fact that he hasn't moved at all except to breathe means that he's probably suffered some serious internal trauma as well.

I listen for two moments longer before looking up, finally taking stock of my surroundings.

I look to see if the driver has stopped to at least take a minute of responsibility, but he was gone five minutes ago. The demands of his life infinitely more significant than the life of a dog.

Man, fuck people.

I keep looking around. I'm on the other side of the street. All too disturbingly, life continues as normal around me--a few cafe patrons glancing my way, but most continue their meals. Traffic continues to rush down the street where this just happened a few moments ago.

The soft patter of footsteps makes me turn my head. Ritsu's running across the road, her backpack bouncing on her shoulders and my shoulder bag in one hand.

She jolts to a front of me, her eyes open with care and concern.

"I called 911. They sent an animal ambulance. They'll be here soon."

She puts her ear close to the dog in my hands, listening carefully for a heartbeat.

She then looks up at me.

"Are you okay, Hisao?"

I give her a nod.

She looks down at the form in my arms.

"Is… is he alive?"

I give her another nod. My body has started to realize what I asked of it and the blood is rushing to my ears, my cheeks warm as I struggle to stay conscious.

The world in front of me blurs as I sway slightly to the side.

Breathe, Hisao.




I look up and there's a look of concern on her face, as she repeats her question.

"Are you okay, Hisao?"

"I'm… I'm fine."




The world swims back into focus, and a blaring red and white truck pulls to a stop in front of me.

An orderly jumps out, and I proffer the limp form in my hands.

He takes it in his arms, looking carefully, then jumps back into the truck.

He gives us a strange, expectant look.

"Whose dog is this?"

I look over at Ritsu. She shrugs.

"We don't know. We just saw it get hit."

The orderly nods, understanding. I think he thought it was our dog and that we wanted to come along.

"Well, someone's got to take responsibility for it. The city doesn't just go around fixing dogs; tax cuts prevent us from doing anything like that. If no-one claims this dog, we're just going to put him to sleep."

I look over at Ritsu. She gives me a nod.

"I guess it's our dog, then."

The orderly nods once more, and holds the ambulance door open. I guess he's relieved that we didn't just walk away like most people would.

"Want to come along? Most owners do."

I look over at Ritsu again, and she gives me a quick, serious nod.

I wonder what I've gotten myself into. I step inside, offering Ritsu a hand up.

She accepts, and the orderly closes the doors as we speed off to the hospital.


I knew I'd be in the hospital again, but I didn't think it would be like this.

I'm sitting on a hard plastic seat outside the OR. Ritsu's gone inside to check on the status of the surgery.

It's a dim, green hallway. The light above is cut low and flickers, casting the hallway in a dull, impersonal glow.

Animal hospitals are different.

Instead of the cold smell of antiseptic, the warm, live smell of fur fills the air. The large, white spaces are replaced with tan, warm, enclosures, with plenty of half-doors and leashes on hand.

But some things never change. The tiles are still a cold, white, linoleum. The same feeling is still in the air.

The feeling of despair.

Ritsu steps out of the room, collapsing on a plastic seat next to me.

"They're done with the first part of the surgery. They have to repair his ribcage next, which is the most dangerous part. They'll be done in about 40 minutes."

She places her head in her braces and heaves a sigh.

"Jesus Christ, this is such a fucking disaster."

She turns to face me.

"I'm sorry for dragging you into this, Hisao. It's my fault."

"It's okay."

She turns to face the wall across from us.

"It's just… why do people do things like this? Why didn't he stop? What's that important?"

Her voice lacks the anger I was expecting. The kind of anger usually expressed with such a sentiment. It's replaced by a tone of regret. A kind of submission.

I wonder why she feels so strongly. I mean, yes, I get it, but at the same time, she's taking this awfully strongly.

"I guess some people value some things over others."

She turns to face me again. Her eyes are open, indicating I should continue.

"I guess the driver didn't want to stop. Maybe he had something really important to get to. Maybe his wife was pregnant or something."

I'm ignoring the obvious answer--that the driver didn't give a shit about the life of a dog. But I don't want to go there. I think we're both aware of it.

She leans back, placing her head in her braces.

"You're too nice, Hisao."

She turns to look at me.

"Why'd you jump over the fence, Hisao?"


"I… I just did. I didn't think about it. It just happened."

She looks at me carefully, expectantly.

"Did you think you could have gotten hit by a car?"

Fuck. I should have thought about that.

"No, not really. Never crossed my mind."

A thought strikes me.

"Ritsu, what do you think if he doesn't make it? The dog, I mean."

She looks at me as if she's seeing me for the first time. A mix of disbelief and confusion.

I wonder what I said. Maybe she doesn't want to consider the possibility. But I get a feeling it's something else.

A thin, empty silence fills the air between us.

She scratches her head before looking at the across at the wall.

"He could have stopped. He had a choice."

The look settles on her face to a thin-lipped smile as she stares at the wall across her.

"That's what life's about Hisao. Choices. You make choices and you don't look back."

She stares at the braces on her arms. As if she could tear them off with her teeth and walk off into the night, a free girl.

"At the end of the day, that's all you got. Your choices, and what you've made of them."

She looks at her braces one more before gazing at me calmly. Her eyes lack a golden glow.

They're worn out. Some choice is haunting her.

"I'm tired. Do you mind if I lean on your shoulder?"

I half-expect a flirtatious grin or remark, but this is a different Ritsu. This is one who's seen the world.

Without a word, she leans her head against my shoulder, her braces dropping slowly to her sides.

Her breath slows quietly as she relaxes, her weight surprisingly heavy and sure.

Her bangs droop over her face as she enters a quiet slumber, free once again.

I wonder what choice she made. I wonder what choice I made.

I look to the same wall across from me. It doesn't have any answers, but the girl on my shoulder might.

She's a little heavy, but I think I can bear it.

It's probably worth the wait.


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Re: A Ritsu Route (Updated 5/22)

Post by Hoitash » Sun May 26, 2013 9:22 pm

Well, that was an intriguing read. Very nice :)
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Re: A Ritsu Route (Updated 5/26)

Post by 13loop » Mon May 27, 2013 10:59 pm

Well that was an eventful afternoon. I'm liking Ritsu so far. Looking forward to the next chapter!

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Re: A Ritsu Route (Updated 5/26)

Post by DanjaDoom » Mon May 27, 2013 11:10 pm

Aww yiss, new chapter. I'm really liking this! Will you be introducing more characters into this, out of curiosity? Perhaps some of Ritsu's "club friends?"
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Re: A Ritsu Route (Updated 5/26)

Post by nemz » Mon May 27, 2013 11:38 pm

This chapter... I don't get it, man. I mean I like dogs but come on, this is ridiculous.

Hisao tries to get himself killed to help some random dog that's been hit? Dude, heart condition on top of the whole running into traffic thing. And ditching class for this adventure? Nurse should chew his ass ragged.

Would a 911 dispatcher actually do anything for an animal injury, seriously? Maybe give you a number for a vet (or more likely transfer you to some other non-emergency office who might do so), but sending an ambulance for an injured dog is highly doubtful. You might even get a fine in some places for doing that.

Also by claiming the dog (doesn't it have tags?) they just signed up for a very large vet bill regardless of if the pooch makes it. And an ambulance ride... that shit ain't cheap, yo.
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Re: A Ritsu Route (Updated 5/26)

Post by Joonwoo » Tue May 28, 2013 3:38 am

I think that this is coming along really well. Its unique with the introduction or Ritsu but I'm still enjoying it immensely. Please keep it up! :)
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Re: A Ritsu Route (Updated 5/26)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Tue May 28, 2013 5:41 am

I don't know whom Ritsu would get on the phone by calling 911, but it wouldn't be emergency services. The number for that in Japan is 119.
Also, while the concept of an animal amublance is interesting and a nice plot device for your story, I don't think there's any country tha actually has such a thing. Most things that came up when googling the term were either animal clinics or glorified mobile vets.
Doesn't hurt your story, though. I can suspend my disbelief that much.
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Re: A Ritsu Route (Updated 5/26)

Post by BlackWaltzTheThird » Tue May 28, 2013 8:36 am

nemz wrote:This chapter... I don't get it, man. I mean I like dogs but come on, this is ridiculous.

Since you probably didn't see it in the /ksg/ thread, I'll repost my response from there. Some things have already been addressed by other members.
>neat, well, lit side street.

>"W-well, n-o, I was just trying to make conversation" I finish sheepishly.
"W-well, n-no, I was..." <short prose about regaining his composure> "I was just trying to make conversation..." I finish sheepishly.

>I come here on nice days, but there's also a big orange one--
Call-sideways to Saki Route? Heh.

>but never to sit down."
>"Now when I think about it

Either drop the closing quote on the first paragraph or put in some prose, or else it looks like a change in speaker.

>There's nothing too special outside the this acfe.
Cafe. And you should use é instead of e.

>like it's my fucking day job.
Probably don't need the expletive. Elsewhere, too.

>I called 911. They sent an animal ambulance. They'll be here soon.
Do your research, son. This wouldn't even make sense in the US.

>Well, someone's got to...put him to sleep.
Definitely do your research. I don't think they'd just let them take the dog just like that.
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Re: A Ritsu Route (Updated 5/26)

Post by Sperance » Tue May 28, 2013 10:00 am

What the others said. Still, I can ignore some of the problems given that you seem to have had a reason for the dog thing. And I agree with Ritsu, choices are important

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Re: A Ritsu Route (Updated 5/26)

Post by ProfAllister » Tue May 28, 2013 1:45 pm

Hate to pile on, but there are a lot of believability issues with the whole dog scene. To wit - the time between Ritsu seeing what was happening, informing Hisao of such, Hisao turning around, and the impact stretches credulity; and while I may be willing to suspend disbelief on Hisao's spur-of-the-moment heroics, his bitterness and anger at the rest of the world seems a bit much, especially when comparing his use of language here to his angry scenes from the VN. I also feel the whole decision to go on a trip to the city was a bit out of nowhere.

Those issues aside, I'm concerned about the scene much more from the standpoint of narrative logistics. A kinetic scene like this is very dangerous in a slice-of-life VN. It's going to be very hard to return to mundane concerns about what to have for lunch and whether you studied enough for a test. It can get addictive, too. Since the kinetic scenes are so much more exciting, you may decide to have ninjas spontaneously attack in the middle of one of Mutou's lectures. Before you know it, you'll have the girls performing a fusion dance to combine into the Seven-Spoke MegaKatawa so they can smash the moon before Nomiya's psychic space-mercenaries activate the mind-control device. That's not really a BAD story per se, but it kind of loses the point somewhere along the way.

More seriously, it's a foundation of sand - both for the narrative and, in-story, for Hisao and Ritsu's relationship. They're thrown together by a relatively bizarre circumstance in a very emotional situation, so things seem to develop quickly. Without a solid basis, though, it can all come crashing down. After this whole episode's over, Hisao doesn't really have a compelling reason to spend more time with Ritsu. At the very least, I doubt there will be much more than the (perfectly workable) "I kind alike her and there's nothing better to do" that characterized their association prior to this city trip.

It can work, but it's a really dangerous narrative tool. And, personally, I don't think it's the best approach. If you disagree, more power to you, and I sincerely hope you manage to pull it off. Either way, this story certainly has the potential to go interesting places, so we'll see what will come of it.

Also, somewhat unrelated, you might want to try using a little more word variation. It became distracting how often the word "braces" came up. Especially considering that a lot of people have a much stronger mental association between that word and orthodontics (or suspenders) than they do for the wrist braces you're talking about. She still has hands, after all - even if they are constrained.
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