Developments (Post-Lilly NE) [Complete, 2015-08-11]

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dewelar
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Developments, Chapter 8 (Notes at end)

Post by dewelar » Wed Aug 21, 2013 2:12 pm

My alarm wakes me up with a start. Up until a few days ago, I'd been looking forward to not having to get up early. Now that I'm inflicting it on myself intentionally, I start to wonder again whether this whole running thing was a good idea. At least I got a few hours sleep, which had been in short supply this past week.

I throw on some clothes and gulp down my medications before heading down to the track. Sure, I expect some ribbing from Emi about not coming for so long, but otherwise I'm looking forward to the opportunity to clear my head. After the whirlwind that was yesterday, being able to do that would be a miracle.

What really surprised me was Hanako. I had been dreading talking to her all week, because I was afraid that she'd be angry with me for confronting Lilly or, even worse, that she might retreat from me altogether. Instead, she listened to everything I had to say, and...told me everything would be okay. I never would have imagined her being able to do that a few weeks ago.

She even gave me a hug. Given how conscious she is of her scarring, that couldn't have been easy.

When I arrive at the track, I see Emi already there. It's almost as though time hasn't moved since the last time I was here. I'd almost forgotten one of the more pleasant side benefits of this particular activity: seeing Emi in her running outfit, a pink t-shirt and red running shorts. That's one thing that will make coming out here every morning worthwhile.

I pick up my pace as Emi waves up to me, grinning widely. "Hey, Hisao!"

As I join her at the bottom of the bleachers and set my bag down, I return her grin. "Still like to get down here early, I see."

"Who's early? You're late!"

"Me? Never!"

Emi shakes her head, with a mock look of annoyance. "You're just lucky I don't wear a watch, so I can't prove you wrong." She winks at me before continuing. "I'm just glad to see you back out here for another try."

"Yeah, so am I. I really do need the exercise, after all."

"That you do. You just need to be more dedicated this time, and we'll have you in shape soon enough!"

"That'll be a first, then. I don't think I was ever really in shape before." I wince slightly, thinking about how little I used to do before coming to Yamaku, and how I'd fallen into pretty much the same pattern since arriving. "I just hope I can get to the point where I'm not scared I'll give out every time I exert myself a little."

"You'll let me know if you feel like that today, right? I won't have you dying out there on me, Hisao."

Emi's tone is playful, but there's a more serious look in her eyes as she says this. "I promise." Emi nods, satisfied with my response, and I ask, "So, what's the plan?"

Emi's grin broadens, and I swear it's so bright you could see it from space. "Glad you asked!" She reaches into her bag, and pulls out a crumpled sheet of paper, which she hands to me.

"What's this?"

"That's the plan."

I open up the paper, and I see a very detailed running schedule, going all the way up to graduation. I don't respond right away, as it takes me a little while to absorb. The schedule starts out with four laps today and...well, I don't even want to think about how many kilometers she expects me to be able to run by March.

Emi's grin falters slightly, and she looks somewhat nervous. "You're going to need a routine to do this properly. The nurse helped me with the details. I wanted to show it to you before started, so you knew what you were signing up for. If you want to back out, now's your chance."

That explains why she's nervous. "How long did it take to put this together?"

Emi looks a bit sheepish. "It's something I started working on with the nurse before the Yamaku festival. When you told me you were going to try again, we had to redo some of it."

She held onto it all this time? "Given what's happened since then, I wish I'd stuck with it."

"Well, here's your second chance, Hisao. Don't mess it up again, okay?"

I chuckle at the mock-serious tone in Emi's voice. "You've got a deal. Anything else I should know before I walk this particular plank?"

Emi looks slightly embarrassed. "Um...actually...the nurse also helped me put together a dietary plan."

"What now?"

"If you're really serious about getting healthier, you need to eat properly, too." At my exaggerated groan, Emi half-heartedly musters a glare. "I never promised this would be easy, Hisao. If you're going to do this, you need to do it right. Just remember that you're not alone, okay?"

I blink a couple of times, registering the concern in Emi's voice. "Yeah. Okay. Sorry."

"That's more like it!" She winks at me, like the last thirty seconds didn't happen, and hands me a second crumpled piece of paper that she's dug out from her bag. "So, think you're ready to cut way back on all that fried crap I've seen you eating?"

I take the paper and peruse it. Emi eyes me as I do, slightly less nervously than last time. Upon finishing, I put up my last line of defense before the surrender I know is coming. "I guess so...but do I have to start all of this at the same time?"

"The longer you put it off, the harder it'll be to start. Besides, you don't want to disappoint me, do you?"

Emi gets a pouty expression on her face, and I wonder for a moment if I'm doing this just so I can see it. It's adorably heart-wrenching. "Kidding! I was kidding! I'll do it. You know, you're too good at pouting sometimes."

Emi just shrugs in response, her face reverting to its usual smile. "So, it's official, then? You and me are running buddies? You'll stick to the schedule, and the dietary plan?"

I salute Emi, declaring "Aye aye, Captain! Ye have me word as a member of yer running crew!"

Emi's eyes widen, and then she throws her head back and laughs. "In that case, matey, I'll be needin' to make sure ye know how to stretch out properly!"

This takes me aback. "Wait, what was wrong with how I did it before?"

Emi rolls her eyes. "Well, for one thing, you weren't holding it for long enough. Remember, if you improve your flexibility, you'll be able to run faster!"

The fact that she remembers my stretching technique from two months ago doesn't escape me, but I decide not to mention it for now. I much prefer watching the demonstration of proper technique currently on display.

God bless you, Emi.

I do my best to emulate my running partner, and after a few minutes, she deems my efforts adequate, and we walk the short distance to our starting point on the track.

"Remember, you're doing four laps around the track. Try to push yourself a little, but not too much. I'll stay a little ahead and keep pace with you. When you're done, walk around the track a couple times to cool down, and I'll run some sprints like I did last time."

"Got it."

"All right, then, here we go!"

Emi starts off around the track, and I follow, consciously setting a slower pace than my previous attempts. Emi looks back over her shoulder and slows her own pace so she's a couple meters in front of me. About halfway through the first lap, she turns around and starts running backwards. "Are you sure you're pushing yourself, Hisao?"

Well, okay, I think I could probably pick it up a little...

I increase my speed to about where it was my first week here. I do my best to keep my pace steady, and my breathing regular. My heart rate has already picked up a bit, and unlike Emi I'm breaking a sweat by the end of the first lap.

"Not bad, Hisao! Keep it up!"

You know, sometimes it's nice to have your own personal cheerleader.

By the time I finish my second lap, I'm starting to feel the familiar burning sensation in my legs. This was about where I gave out before, but this time I'm not going to let that happen.

As we reach the end of the third lap, I'm drenched with sweat. Just as I'm considering slowing down, Emi turns around to grin at me again. "Still going? Not pushing too hard, are you?"

"Nah *pant* I think I'm *pant* just learning my *pant* limits."

"Good! Once you do that, it'll feel that much better when you push past them later! One more lap, Hisao! You can do it!"

My breathing has become ragged as I struggle to get air into my lungs, but the end is in sight. More importantly, so is Emi, glancing over her shoulder with a smile at every turn. As I reach the finish line, I feel like I've actually accomplished something.

"Not bad for a first effort! Like I said, I've got some sprints to do, so you start cooling down." Emi takes off in a blur, just as she did on our previous runs. As she passes me the first time, she calls out, "Try putting your hands behind your head! It'll be easier to catch your breath that way!"

I do as she suggests, and it does seem to help. While most of my body feels like it's been put through a wringer, my heart surprisingly doesn't feel that bad, other than beating somewhat faster. I take a moment to look around me as I walk, and for the first time I have the chance to get a good look at Emi as she's running.

Even though she's moving faster than any human being I've ever seen this close, with or without prosthetics, the thing that strikes me the most is her face. She's smiling, but it's not the easy grin that she usually wears. No, this is a tight smile, like the surface of a drum. Her eyes are focused, but not so much on anything as just...focused...like the spyglass her pirate self might use to sight the enemy. For her, it seems, there's nothing but the track ahead, and the fact that she's going to conquer it. Like so much about her, it's fascinating to watch.

After about a lap walking like this, with Emi whizzing by me a couple more times, she slows down to meet my pace, her own hands behind her head. She's definitely worked up a sweat now, and her breathing is heavier.

"So, you think you can go once more around with me? I need to cool down, too."

"Yeah, I guess so." I'm pretty sore, but I think I can handle that much. It's better than sitting down and maybe not being able to get up again.

Emi smiles, saying "So how do you feel? Good, right?"

"Actually...yeah. Tired, sure, but...good."

"That's what they call the runner's high."

"Runner's high?"

She thinks about this for a moment. "Yeah, it has something to do with...adrenaline, I think. Anyway, what about the other stuff? Did it help you clear your head?"

This gives me pause, and I almost stumble to a stop, dropping my hands to my sides. I guess it must have, because it's only now that I'm reminded of why I wanted to clear my head.

Emi seems to notice the change in my expression. "Guess it didn't help that much, huh?"

"No, actually, I think it did. While I was running, I was just focusing on what I was doing. All that mattered was getting through that routine."

Emi nods. "That sounds familiar. You almost don't want to go back, because you start thinking..." She stops, fidgeting a bit, almost like was about to say something she didn't intend, but she recovers quickly. "Well, in your case, thinking about what happened with you and Lilly."

I nod, a bit sadly. "I feel like I've been in limbo this whole week. It was like she was already gone, but she wasn't, and I would want to say something, but I couldn't, because I had nothing left to say."

I look over at Emi. "Anyway, yesterday after lunch I decided to go with Shizune and Misha to help them work on Student Council stuff." Emi raises an eyebrow at that. "Well, you weren't around, so I needed to do something for lunch."

"So now you're going to blame me for getting stuck doing Student Council work? That's low, Hisao."

I laugh, which earns me a playful punch to the arm. "No, I just needed something to occupy my mind, you know? So, there I am, entering some data into the computer, when Lilly shows up."

Emi winces. "That must have been awkward."

"I thought it would be, but it seemed like we were both pretty comfortable just working there and not saying anything. I guess there really wasn't anything either of us wanted to say. So, we walked back to the dorm together, and said goodbye, and that was pretty much that."

"Just like that, huh?"

I laugh ruefully. "Well, apparently not, because I'm still coming back to it today. I must seem pretty pitiful, huh?"

Having finished cooling down, we both start heading toward the bleachers. "Pitiful? Nah. At least I don't think so." She gets a mischievous look on her face, and says, "Now, if you're still thinking like that in a week or two, then it might be pitiful."

I laugh. "Thanks a lot."

"So you probably didn't talk to Hanako again, did you?"

"Actually, I did, but not until after Lilly had already left." I feel a bit embarrassed about this now, and my cheeks redden. "Admittedly, she kind of had to corner me."

"Wow, she must have really needed to talk to someone. So how's she doing?"

"Better than I expected. Better than I am, probably."

"Okay, now you might be drifting into pitiful, Hisao," Emi says, winking. "Do you know what she plans to do during the break?"

"Well, I know she was planning on doing some traveling with a couple of others from the newspaper club. They were supposed to be leaving later this week, I think."

"Huh. I never expected her to do something like that. Has she ever traveled before?"

I'm surprised that Emi's so interested in this. Just making conversation, I suppose, but there's something different in her voice that I can't quite place. "Well, there was that trip to Hokkaido we took with Lilly over the Marine Day break. I think that's where they were supposed to be headed first."

"Oh, so that's where you went." Emi tries to stifle a laugh, but fails. "I won't even tell you what the rumor mill had to say about that one."

"Yeah," I say, laughing. "I don't think I want to know. Hey, we should probably head up to the nurse now, right?"

"Tired of my company already, Hisao?"

"Um...not at all...I just..."

Emi winks again. "Just teasing. But you're right, we should get going."

She shoulders her bag, and I do the same, and we start up toward the auxiliary building. I expect Emi to run off ahead of me, but she doesn't. Instead, she walks next to me, looking over at me every now and then.

"Making sure I don't keel over on you?"

She smiles. "Hey, I said I was going to keep a close eye on you, didn't I?"

I smile back at Emi. "That you did. Thanks." As I open the door to the building, I realize that I don't mind the idea in the least.

~~~~

Previous | Next

====

NOTES:

I rewrote this chapter at least three times over the past week, but I think I'm finally as satisfied with it as I'm going to get. A good part of it covers ground that already had been covered in several scenes at the beginning of Emi's route in the game, so it was a challenge to rework it so it meshed with my own stuff.

I also hereby vow not to make any further predictions about when chapters are going to come out. I've gotten a start on each of Chapters 9-11, though, so work is proceeding :) .

Anyway, enjoy, and feedback is always welcome!
Last edited by dewelar on Fri Sep 13, 2013 8:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Stuff I've written: Developments, a continuation of Lilly's (bad? neutral?) ending - COMPLETE!

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Re: Developments (Lilly Bad End Continuation) [Ch 8 up 8/21]

Post by Mirage_GSM » Wed Aug 21, 2013 3:12 pm

I have the chance to get a good look Emi as she's running.
missing an "at" here.
A good part of it covers ground that already had been covered in several scenes at the beginning of Emi's route in the game...
I was going to comment that the beginning seemed pretty familiar with some lines taken verbatim from the novel.
I guess it was intentional, though.
The last part of the chapter highlights the differences fine. Hisao's past experiences with "losing a loved one" might help him empathize with Emi a bit better in this continuity than in the original one.
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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Re: Developments (Lilly Bad End Continuation) [Ch 8 up 8/21]

Post by dewelar » Wed Aug 21, 2013 3:23 pm

Mirage_GSM wrote:
I have the chance to get a good look Emi as she's running.
missing an "at" here.
Thanks, and fixed!
dewelar wrote:A good part of it covers ground that already had been covered in several scenes at the beginning of Emi's route in the game...
Mirage_GSM wrote:I was going to comment that the beginning seemed pretty familiar with some lines taken verbatim from the novel.
I guess it was intentional, though.
The last part of the chapter highlights the differences fine. Hisao's past experiences with "losing a loved one" might help him empathize with Emi a bit better in this continuity than in the original one.
*nods* You're correct, it was intentional. This is, for all intents and purposes, a time-shifted version of the "Morning Run" chapter, so I wanted to play that up while also highlighting what would be different given the new circumstances within which it's happening.
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Stuff I've written: Developments, a continuation of Lilly's (bad? neutral?) ending - COMPLETE!

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Re: Developments (Lilly Bad End Continuation) [Ch 8 up 8/21]

Post by Blasphemy » Thu Aug 22, 2013 4:33 am

I really like this FanFic. I think you're doing a good job at being faithful to the characters but yet letting them make progress, in a believable way. Like the Hanako hug scene. You slowly established her will to actively help Hisao with some of the previous chapters and thus it felt genuine when she's trying to help out Hisao. And doing so by actually listening to his side of the story while carefully considering all that instead of blurting out her thoughts immediately. Hisao then in turn also appreciating that effort just felt good. As a reader I strongly prefer it when characters don't act stupid. Of course that's okay every now and then but in general it can be frustrating when a plot gets dragged out or changed because characters act stupidly.

The whole Emi aspect is also simply interesting to read. Overall I just enjoy reading through everything because the characters feel genuine and everything is of interest / feels meaningful.

What I also love is that there currently isn't a certain overarching, distant goal which this FanFic is all about. E.g. when you take a route in the game it usual is all about the question "will you be together with the girl whose route you chose?" So there you always know what you're heading forwards and it's a bit predictable.
In this FanFic however it, at least currently, feels like we have interesting characters and stuff is developing naturally. It could go many ways right now which makes it more exciting. Switching the perspective between characters helps quite a bit too. As long as the portrayal of everyones thought processes feels fitting it can really enhance the reading experience to have multiple perspectives.

I think the title "Developments" fits this FanFic really good, because it just feels like interesting stuff keeps developing naturally instead of following one clear path.

This FanFic also does something which weirdly enough only few others seem to do. That being 2 (or more) girls who are interested in Hisao being in the focus, without knowing who Hisao is "aiming" for. Especially considering that Emi and Hanako aren't close characters, they have rather little interaction in KS. Sure, Lilly/Hanako and Misha/Shizune love interest conflicts are common. But to actually have such a conflict of more separate characters is nice for a change.
It after all has always been something I wondered about, Hisao being the "master of romance" has obviously always attracted multiple girls in each path of the KS game. However the game makes it easy by splitting the routes into the character choices after act 1 and then you have only little interaction left with the rest of the cast. So you just never get the situation where Hisao is genuinely in love with 2 or more characters (or at least the characters in love with him) and he has to make some tough decisions in that regard. Because choosing whom you love more etc., well that ain't really possible. So it's a hard situation for a character to tackle.

Considering that in your FanFic at least Emi and Hanako have already a lot interest in Hisao (and kinda vice versa) and it still being open in regards to Shizune and perhaps others makes me excited about what's to come.

I hope you'll be able to continue writing this and, for my own sake, I hope it's not going to end anytime soon. With how it's going right now it feels like there could be a lot more interesting content, so I hope you won't suddenly skip multiple weeks/months/years ahead and summarize the in between ;P

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Re: Developments (Lilly Bad End Continuation) [Ch 8 up 8/21]

Post by Endofone » Fri Aug 23, 2013 7:35 pm

My heart wrenched when Lilly left in the last chapter before this one. Ohhh I was filled up with so many feelings of Lilly leaving D=. Ahhhh! I can just barely take it. Lilly is like my whole life over here. XD I wants me some happy Lilly now. Be right back. Okay done.

Your Hanako is really great, with her actually growing more as a person. I myself am hopeful for a Hanako x Hisao if there's going to be no Lilly. Although an Emi wouldn't be bad. It's going to be interesting seeing how they develop. I can see why this is titled like it is. Keep up the super awesome fantabulous work! I can't wait.

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Re: Developments (Lilly Bad End Continuation) [Ch 8 up 8/21]

Post by Shail » Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:34 pm

Endofone wrote:My heart wrenched when Lilly left in the last chapter before this one. Ohhh I was filled up with so many feelings of Lilly leaving D=. Ahhhh! I can just barely take it. Lilly is like my whole life over here. XD I wants me some happy Lilly now. Be right back. Okay done.

Your Hanako is really great, with her actually growing more as a person. I myself am hopeful for a Hanako x Hisao if there's going to be no Lilly. Although an Emi wouldn't be bad. It's going to be interesting seeing how they develop. I can see why this is titled like it is. Keep up the super awesome fantabulous work! I can't wait.
Did I just find a 10m long fanfic? I think I did o3o, *gives cookie to Endofone* a tribute to you for your services
~I hate endings~ Fan fiction is the only way to keep KS alive!
~The only good ending is a sequel~
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~Mirai Nikki: A perfect example of endings I hate~
Hanako -> Rin -> Shizune -> ? -> ?

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Re: Developments (Lilly Bad End Continuation) [Ch 8 up 8/21]

Post by YZQ » Fri Aug 23, 2013 11:07 pm

When one door closes, another one opens. (Or, in this case, maybe two?)

The premise is interesting. Truth be told, I never expected Hisao to have the sole love interest he had in the canonical routes.
"Nothing is beneath man. Everything is permitted."

"...since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved. However, it is important above all to avoid being hated."

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Re: Developments (Lilly Bad End Continuation) [Ch 8 up 8/21]

Post by Shail » Fri Aug 23, 2013 11:28 pm

Just because a story stops being told, does not mean it has stopped being written~ Sequels4Lyf. I really need to get my fanfic posted on KSF but it's not nearly long enough yet v_v
~I hate endings~ Fan fiction is the only way to keep KS alive!
~The only good ending is a sequel~
~Want to know why I REALLY fucking hate endings? Mirai Nikki Want to know why I love epilogues? Watch the Mirai Nikki OVA
~Mirai Nikki: A perfect example of endings I hate~
Hanako -> Rin -> Shizune -> ? -> ?

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Re: Developments (Lilly Bad End Continuation) [Ch 8 up 8/21]

Post by YZQ » Sat Aug 24, 2013 1:00 am

What I meant was that I didn't thought Hisao will just stick to one girl on her route. He almost never make any other friends (Lily-Hanako aside).
"Nothing is beneath man. Everything is permitted."

"...since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved. However, it is important above all to avoid being hated."

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Re: Developments (Lilly Bad End Continuation) [Ch 8 up 8/21]

Post by Shail » Sat Aug 24, 2013 1:08 am

I wouldn't complain is his position, the relationship and circle of friends he has on the Hanako/Lilly routes is something to be envious of. He has a small group of really good friends(who also happen to be cute girls) and a large circle of acquaintances. Sounds like a great setup to me, it's difficult for him to make friends with the other route chicks though, Misha/Shizune aren't good options because of the Lilly vs Shizune setup, Emi tends to scare Hanako and seems to annoy Lilly, Rin ... is Rin. Overall the best setup imo is either making friends with Shizune, or Lilly/Hanako. You get the best circle of friends and family(Not to mention great business connections if that line of work is to your appeal)
~I hate endings~ Fan fiction is the only way to keep KS alive!
~The only good ending is a sequel~
~Want to know why I REALLY fucking hate endings? Mirai Nikki Want to know why I love epilogues? Watch the Mirai Nikki OVA
~Mirai Nikki: A perfect example of endings I hate~
Hanako -> Rin -> Shizune -> ? -> ?

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Re: Developments (Lilly Bad End Continuation) [Ch 8 up 8/21]

Post by dewelar » Sat Aug 24, 2013 11:52 am

Blasphemy wrote:Many kind words
Thanks very much. You touched on a lot of things for which I was aiming when I started writing this. I will say now that I have no intention of doing any time skips of more than perhaps a few days (summer break in Japan is fairly long, on the order of six weeks, so there's bound to be some down time), at least not at this point.

If all goes well, I should have Chapter 9 finished either tonight or tomorrow.
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Stuff I've written: Developments, a continuation of Lilly's (bad? neutral?) ending - COMPLETE!

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Re: Developments (Lilly Bad End Continuation) [Ch 8 up 8/21]

Post by Shail » Sat Aug 24, 2013 12:38 pm

o3o it's still going and approaching double digits in chapters. I need to hurry up and do the Lilly route..
~I hate endings~ Fan fiction is the only way to keep KS alive!
~The only good ending is a sequel~
~Want to know why I REALLY fucking hate endings? Mirai Nikki Want to know why I love epilogues? Watch the Mirai Nikki OVA
~Mirai Nikki: A perfect example of endings I hate~
Hanako -> Rin -> Shizune -> ? -> ?

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Re: Developments (Lilly Bad End Continuation) [Ch 8 up 8/21]

Post by Etokie » Sat Aug 24, 2013 3:05 pm

Dude, don't tell me you've read a bad en continuation without actually playing the route? You're just setting yourself up for a world of pain man. And also, what is o3o supposed so look like? And just to say it, you use waaay too many "smilies". It just gets hard to read with all those XDDDDDD/o3o sticking in my face.
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Re: Developments (Lilly Bad End Continuation) [Ch 8 up 8/21]

Post by Shail » Sat Aug 24, 2013 3:16 pm

Etokie wrote:Dude, don't tell me you've read a bad en continuation without actually playing the route? You're just setting yourself up for a world of pain man. And also, what is o3o supposed so look like? And just to say it, you use waaay too many "smilies". It just gets hard to read with all those XDDDDDD/o3o sticking in my face.
<-< <_< ^-^ ^_^ ^-^ >_> >->
~(','~) ~(',')~ (~',')~
o3o xD XD :3 ;3; ;_; ;-; :D D: C: :C :) :( :'( :')

ATTACK MY MINIONS!!

I haven't read this fanfic at all(other than the title), commenting on the back pages while I play the route
~I hate endings~ Fan fiction is the only way to keep KS alive!
~The only good ending is a sequel~
~Want to know why I REALLY fucking hate endings? Mirai Nikki Want to know why I love epilogues? Watch the Mirai Nikki OVA
~Mirai Nikki: A perfect example of endings I hate~
Hanako -> Rin -> Shizune -> ? -> ?

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Re: Developments (Lilly Bad End Continuation) [Ch 8 up 8/21]

Post by Gauldoth Half-Dead » Sat Aug 24, 2013 6:17 pm

"Well, here's your second chance, Hisao. Don't mess it up again, okay?"
Heh, I liked this one. More than one meaning, and all that. Oh, Emi you sly pirate.
Keep going though, I'm enjoying this so far. Monitoring this thread.

And if you know what's good for you, Hanako will get together with Hisao.
Or else I'll find you.
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IN your shoes.
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