Monomyth: Taro Arai's Story [Complete]

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Sharp-O
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Monomyth: Taro Arai's Story [Complete]

Post by Sharp-O » Sat Jun 20, 2015 7:43 pm

Hello, everyone! I'm Sharp-O: long-time lurker, first-time poster.

I played and finished KS earlier this year and once I'd read Summer's Clover, I found that I hadn't quite had my fill of this universe just yet! I came here and started reading through a few fics and some were absolutely astounding. I come from more of a review-based writing background but I recently got the urge to write prose and after a few original short stories decided I wanted to play in the KS sandbox. There's plenty of fics out there for most of the characters but some seemed to be neglected a little so I figured I might try my hand at fleshing out some characters with little to no canon.

Image

The Trio
Taro Arai - The heavy-weight protagonist and point of view character. He's got nothing really associated with him apart from some bad assumptions so I thought I'd flesh him out. His monoplegia affects his right arm, leaving it useless. As such, Taro is left-handed. He has a love of art, superheroes and he often sprinkles English into his speech which is denoted by {...} surrounding a word.

Ritsu Tainaka - Taro's deskmate and friend. She's fiercely loyal and overall a warm person but is quick to anger sometimes. Her carpal tunnel requires her to wear wrist braces while doing school work and she often wears spandex sleeves with her casual wear.

Akio Hayashi - The group's auburn-haired joker, known for his gallows humour and teasing nature. He's a member of the literature club and suffers with osteoporosis. He requires a cane to walk and has a high risk of easily breaking bones. He's also hiding something behind that goofy exterior.

What is 'Monomyth'?

Monomyth, or The Hero's Journey, is the baseline story-telling device of most stories. We've all seen the tropes hundreds of times. Taro, in my mind, is fascinated with heroes. Maybe because of his condition or because of his physique but ultimately, everyone is the hero of their own story and the title is a metafictional wink to that concept.

I'm not planning this to be a full "route" more just a parallel story that will play fast and loose with some events. I'm hoping not to run long with the story, this is more for my own curiosity than anything but I thought I might as well share it with the fanbase and get some critique. Enjoy!

CONTENTS

Part I - Call to Arm
Chapter One: Identity (below)
Chapter Two: Nemesis
Chapter Three: Helping Hand
Chapter Four: Drawn Together
Chapter Five: What's Inside Counts
Chapter Six: Ignition

Part II - Get the Girl
Chapter Seven: Partners in Crime
Chapter Eight: Sleight of Hand (18+)
Chapter Nine: Just Rewards
Chapter Ten: Midnight Snack (18+)

Part III - House of Cards
Chapter Eleven: Perchance to Dream
Chapter Twelve: It's all Fun and Games...
Chapter Thirteen: Jokers Wild
Chapter Fourteen: Three of a Kind

See You in The Funny Pages (Tie-in: Hanakio Part 1)
Half-Boiled (Tie-in: Hanakio Part 2)
Laughter in The Dark (Tie-in: Hanakio Part 3)
Ambiguous (Tie-in: Hanakio Part 4)
Goodbye, Helloooo~ (Tie-in: Hanakio Part 5)
Mischief in Shadow (Slightly Risqué) (Tie-in: Hanakio Part 6)
Twilight Turnabout (Slightly Risqué) (Tie-in: Hanakio Part 7)

Part IV - Homeward Bound
Chapter Fifteen: En Garde
Chapter Sixteen: Escudo de la Madre
Chapter Seventeen: Bushido
Chapter Eighteen: Best Laid Plans…(18+)
Chapter Nineteen: …Often go Arai(18+)
Chapter Twenty: You can Never go Home

Life's a Beach (Tie-in: Hanakio Part 8 & parallel story)

Part V - What The Heart Wants
Chapter Twenty-One: Culture Shock
Chapter Twenty-Two: The Path Not Taken

Winter’s Lover (Tie-in: Flashback)
Winter’s Lover II (Tie-in: Flashback)

Chapter Twenty-Three: The Gang’s All Here
Chapter Twenty-Four: Reform in a Tea Cup
Chapter Twenty-Five: Heart's Desire (18+)

Part VI - Limit Break
Chapter Twenty-Six: Craquelure Couleur
Chapter Twenty-Seven: Bauhaus Bonds
Chapter Twenty-Eight: Altered Ego
Chapter Twenty-Nine: Reverse/Re:Birth

The Harmonic Heroine (Tie-in: Parallel story)

Part VII - Crescendo
Chapter Thirty: Day, Today
Chapter Thirty-One: Redux in C-Minor
Chapter Thirty-Two: Intertextuality

Ascalon (Tie-in: Parallel story)
Elementary (Tie-in: Parallel story)

Chapter Thirty-Three: Dissonance
Chapter Thirty-Four: A Rude Awakening
Chapter Thirty-Five: Cacophony

Part VIII - Square One Plus
Chapter Thirty-Six: Comrades in Arms
Chapter Thirty-Seven: Evanescent Touch
Chapter Thirty-Eight: Not-So-Idle Hands (18+)
Chapter Thirty-Nine: Inductive Insight
Chapter Forty: Victoria

Part IX - Checkmate
Chapter Forty-One: Queen's Gambit
Chapter Forty-Two: Alekhine’s Gun
Chapter Forty-Three: Nocturne/Joker (18+)
Chapter Forty-Four: Reserve Tempo

Part X - Bump In The Night
Chapter Forty-Five: Voices
Chapter Forty-Six: Phantoms
Chapter Forty-Seven: Soul Survivor
Chapter Forty-Eight: Winter's Closure

The Parent Trap (Tie-in)
Stranger Than Fanfiction (Tie-in)

Chapter Forty-Nine: The Climax Goes On, No Matter What

Cordially Invited - The Hanakio Wedding.
Cordially Invited: Act 1
Cordially Invited: Act 2
Cordially Invited: Act 3
Cordially Invited: Act 4
Cordially Invited: Act 5
Cordially Invited: Act 6
Cordially Invited: Act 7
Cordially Invited: Act 8
Cordially Invited: Act 9
Cordially Invited: Finale

Epilogue:
Chapter Fifty: Mirai Part I
Chapter Fifty: Mirai Part II

Miraimyth - The continuing adventures of Mirai's Akira, Natsuki and Hikari.
Last edited by Sharp-O on Mon Mar 28, 2016 9:10 am, edited 73 times in total.

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Re: Monomyth: Taro Arai's Story

Post by Sharp-O » Sat Jun 20, 2015 8:00 pm

Chapter One: Identity

The night air is good for me, and the darkness is even better. Within the cloak of night, I can operate with complete impunity. I protect this school and the town below. Yamaku cries out to me. She whispers my name like a siren song. I heed her call.

I am Taro Arai but the world knows me as Kam--SKREEEEEEEE~


My eyes dart open at the horrific sound of metal on tile, before settling on a blurry silhouette in front of me. As my eyes focus, I can see the tall, unfamiliar boy slightly bowing an apology to me while Mr. Mutou shoots a disapproving look in my direction. Followed by our cerulean-haired class rep.

I fell asleep again, didn’t I?

I sheepishly rub the back of my head with my good hand; offering a hushed ‘sorry’ to the class just as the new guy takes his seat in front of me. Thankfully, Mutou calls attention back to himself to reveal that we’ll be working in groups of three. I straighten up in my chair, turn my desk to my right and plant it squarely in tandem with my neighbour and friend; Ritsu Tainaka.

“Okay, how bad was it?” My eyes glancing to my left as the new guy is partnered with Shizune and Misha. Tough break, man. We hardly knew ye.

Ritsu catches my attention when she takes a quick look around before mimicking my sleeping position from earlier. Ritsu’s (probably) accurate mime makes me look like a stroke victim. With a mental disability. Who is lazy.

“Sorry,” she giggles, “it didn’t look too good, Taro!”

I half-smile at her good-natured ribbing, letting out a huff through my nose. “{Fantastic} first impression, eh?”

Ritsu doubles over and covers her mouth to contain her giggling as Akio Hayashi cautiously positions his desk on the other side of Ritsu’s, mirroring mine.

“Wasn’t your finest hour, no,” Akio offers, resting his cane against his desk. He always seems so casual; leaning back in his chair, one leg folded over the other and his eyes never seem to be open even when he’s giving his full attention.

“Guess I’ll have to make a better second impression,”

“You could always doodle him. I’m sure it’d make a lovely welcome gift for the newbie!” Ritsu claps her hands together softly after donning her wrist braces.

“If your CT flares up, just pass the assignment to me or Akio and we’ll help you finish up writing,” I offer to Ritsu, who accepts with a smile.

“The fickle hand of fate really threw up a middle finger to us when it comes to group assignments. We barely have a functioning pair of arms between us!” Akio’s trademark gallows humour is refreshing, especially in this school.

“Could be worse, we could have gotten {Sweet & Sour} like the poor newbie,” I retort.

“C’mon, Taro. They’re not that bad! Shizune can be a little over the top, and Misha’s…” Ritsu ponders the best word to describe our class rep’s pink-haired interpreter.

“Boisterous.” I offer with a smirk, scribbling notes with my left hand.

“Yes! But they’re good at their jobs and for a new transfer, it’d be good for the Student Council to show him the ropes.”

“Until they use those ropes to tie him to a chair and coerce him into becoming their new minion,” Akio leans forward, his voice taking on a more dramatic flare.

“{Kinky}.”

“How do you even know the English for that word?” Ritsu stares in mock-horror until Akio decides to throw me under the bus.

“He’s being ‘privately tutored’ by the class rep of 3-2. You know, Satou? She’s top of her class in English and ribbon does make a good alternative for--” The amused lilt in his voice is soon cut short by me.

“Finish that sentence, glass jaw. I dare you,” I glare, beet red at the insinuation of… That.

He smirks, leaning in to meet my gaze with equal intensity. “Glass jaw, eh? Nice burn, wide-load!”

“I’ll give both you jokers a glass jaw!” Ritsu interjects with a gauntleted ‘bop’ on our respective cheeks. Fierce glares amongst our trio are exchanged before we all lean back, chuckling, but not nearly loud enough to earn the attention of Mutou. Misha gives us a sly look, shortly followed by Shizune however but by the time she looks, we’re all looking rather studious. Their communication delay, however brief, is enough to spare us a lecture from Sweet & Sour. For now.

The lunch bell rings like a melody of relief to the class and before you know it, Sweet & Sour have dragged the newbie off to parts unknown. While Ritsu kindly fetches us drinks from the vending machines down the hall, Akio sits in her seat while I fish out my sketchbook.

“Got anything new in there, Taro?” He mumbles, mouth full of rice ball.

I flick to the latest page, where my latest work in progress is. I grip the spine and hold it out for his inspection. “I should be able to finish it up by the end of lunch. Just some lining and colour to add,” puffing my chest out proudly.

“And you’re sure she’s not going to kick your ass for this?” He asks, again with the piss-poor manners.

“She asked me to! She saw this American movie and wanted to be drawn like the hero.”

“And who are you to deny a pretty girl, right?” He’s a dick for that but I can’t deny my weakness for some of the gorgeous women at this school. I guess my art has always helped me... ingratiate myself with others since my confidence is about as apparent as Akio’s table manners. Plus, it’s a way to distract from my other… flaw. Not my arm, oh no, that’s part and parcel of being here. No, I think I’m literally the only fat guy in the school, not counting that asshole teacher Nomiya.

When our little trio was first forged, Ritsu always said she liked that I was ‘big boned’. ‘Better to cuddle with’ or something. That girl is by no means a hugger but for some reason she does it to me. Akio would always make a crass comment on her desire for another ‘big bone’ and she’d playfully bop him on the jaw. And then do the same to me for laughing. It’s always been that way for us. Good times.

I let out a contended sigh, soon realising that I’ve been finishing this piece while in my own thoughts, an arrangement of marker pens unconsciously brought out to aid me. Ritsu sidles up beside me, handing a drink off to Akio and placing mine on the corner of the desk. She folds her arms and gently rests them on my shoulders, gazing over them to watch me work.

“Oooooh! I think this is one of your best ones yet!” She announces, gently rocking back and forth. It’s kind of relaxing, even if it throws off my drawing hand a little.

“Ya think? I think I could have made it a little more dynamic but I figured the iconic shot you see on the posters and stuff would be just as cool.”

“Who’s the girl wrapped around Miura’s leg?” Ah. Thought this might be an issue, it just felt like a funny joke to add Miki’s best friend into the mix.

I hear Akio gasp as he finishes gulping his drink. “She is definitely going to kick your ass!”

Deadline hits as the bell to signal lunch is almost over and a familiar dark-skinned girl wanders in, pushing her sleepy companion by the shoulders to her desk in the front row. There’s only about half of the class in the room right now so it’s easy to call Miki over.

“’Sup, Taro? Still breaking hearts?”

I blush a little before standing up and giving a stretch. “Nah, but definitely breaking a sweat,” Self-deprecation. Smoothest play in the book.

“What did you call me over for? OH! Is it done? Can I see?!” She beams, excitedly bouncing in place. This is what I love about doing this, seeing the excitement and joy my art brings. No matter what some might think.
I carefully pull the page from my sketchbook, making sure not to tear the edges, let alone ruin a few hours work. I turn the page so it’s the right angle for her to grab in her waiting hand.

“I present,” I announce with a certain degree of pride, “Miki Miura in {Army of Darkness}!”

“YOOOOOOOOOO!” Miki yells, spinning a little and holding the picture up to the light and then brings it in close for inspection. “You made me look so BADASS! Look at the chainsaw arm! And whoooooo’s thiiiiis~?” She sings melodically as she backsteps to her friend in the front row. Suzu shows no sign of moving as Miki excitedly waves the picture in front of her face. I look to Ritsu and Akio who just laugh as Suzu barely raises her arm for a thumbs-up.

“Winner, winner, chicken dinner! Suzu Approved!” Miki bounces back up to me, placing the picture down on Ritsu’s desk for a second and offering her hand in a macho hand hold like in the movies. “You’ve got the tools and you got the talent, Taro! I’m putting this pride of place on my dorm wall!” She winks and offers a big goofy grin.

“{Thank you},” I reply in English before reverting back to Japanese for Miki’s sake. “I didn’t do much but I’m happy you like it.”

The arrival of some more students squeaking in before the teacher brings an end to the revelry for now as Miki gives an appreciative nod and goes back, fussing around Suzu some more with the picture before taking her seat. I swear I could hear her say ‘Gimme some sugar, baby.’ but that might just be me. Without warning, Ritsu hugs my torso tight and smiles up at me, offering a “Good job!” before taking her seat.

I take my seat and, after seeing what the subject is, think I can get away with a bit more drawing, since I’ve got my stuff out anyway.

Between my position at the back of the class and the new guy providing some much needed cover, I slip into the rhythm of sketching.
Last edited by Sharp-O on Mon Jun 22, 2015 11:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Monomyth: Taro Arai's Story

Post by HoneyBakedHam » Sat Jun 20, 2015 9:50 pm

I like this. I really do. For once, we have a protagonist that is on the heavier side.

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Re: Monomyth: Taro Arai's Story

Post by Alpacalypse » Sun Jun 21, 2015 4:03 am

Okay, I was prepared for having to point out a load of spelling errors 'n stuff, but I got nothing. THIS IS AWESOME! :D

You've set this up so well. Taro's quirk of speaking English is actually kinda amusing to me, since I do the same thing with German (hazard of doing it for 5 years of secondary school). Akio's dark sense of humour is indeed refreshing and Ritsu just seems kinda cool.

I am locked in for the ride, dude.
I love it! :mrgreen:
Last edited by Alpacalypse on Sun Jun 21, 2015 8:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
I am the harbinger of your destruction... By herbivorous, mountain dwelling quadrupeds... fear me
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I also write now, apparently. Since everyone else does it, I'm putting it here
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I have also discovered that I'm a decent proofreader. Anybody with SPaG problems is free to PM me their work for a thorough analysis and/or evisceration. Depends on how I'm feeling.

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Re: Monomyth: Taro Arai's Story

Post by Sharp-O » Sun Jun 21, 2015 7:38 am

HoneyBakedHam wrote:I like this. I really do. For once, we have a protagonist that is on the heavier side.
Cheers, HBH! :D
Alpacalypse wrote:Okay, I was prepared for having to point out a load of spelling errors 'n stuff, but I got nothing. THIS IS AWESOME! :D
Oh, I'll slip up from time to time but since I write a lot, I don't think spelling and grammar will be a huge issue. :wink:
Alpacalypse wrote:You've set this up so well. Taro's quirk of speaking English is actually kinda amusing to me, since I do the same thing with German (hazard of doing it for 5 years of secondary school). Akio's dark sense of humour is indeed refreshing and Ritsu just seems kinda cool.

I am locked in for the ride, dude. Please, for the love of God, continue and finish this thing.
I love it! :mrgreen:


Thanks! I really wanted some fresh character concepts because I feel a lot of the students at Yamaku, unfortunately, tend to come off very similar. They're all struggling with their own demons but press on regardless and in this school, that's probably very true for most but Akio's humour is one of the main things I wanted to push. Taro's English speaking is a result of watching a lot of toku shows plus hearing gratuitous 'Engrish' in Japanese media is just fun. As for Ritsu, I have a few ideas I want to do with her but didn't want her to fall into the "default love interest" trap.

Anyway, I'm glad you liked what I have so far and I'll do my best not to screw it up. :lol:

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Re: Monomyth: Taro Arai's Story

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sun Jun 21, 2015 9:10 am

Good writing.
Nice chemistry between your characters, too and interesting dialogue.

You might be surprised how common thrown-in English phrases are in Japan, but it doesn't detract from the story to pretend otherwise.
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Re: Monomyth: Taro Arai's Story

Post by Sharp-O » Sun Jun 21, 2015 10:01 am

Mirage_GSM wrote:Good writing.
Nice chemistry between your characters, too and interesting dialogue.

You might be surprised how common thrown-in English phrases are in Japan, but it doesn't detract from the story to pretend otherwise.
Thanks, Mirage! I don't think I'm pretending otherwise, I'm just drawing more attention to it than usual :)

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Monomyth: Taro Arai's Story [Update: 21/6/15]

Post by Sharp-O » Sun Jun 21, 2015 4:20 pm

Chapter Two: Nemesis

The final bell rings, bringing me out of my own thoughts. I blink and shake my head as I readjust to the now, realising I have no idea what this lesson was. Hope Ritsu will let me borrow her no--

“Aaaah! You drew the newbie!” Ritsu announces excitedly, having crept up behind me.

Most of the students are packing away their things and Sweet & Sour are having a discussion amongst themselves so I think the only person who heard her was the newbie himself, who turns around and smiles nervously at us. Showtime.

“Hi, newbie! Welcome to 3-3!” I offer with a hearty grin as I hand over the sketch to him. Ritsu is beaming beside me as the new guy looks more than a little bewildered.

“Umm, th-thank you? I’m N-Nakai but you c-can call me Hisao,” He smiles meekly. Oh boy, I may have overstepped my mark on the poor guy’s first day. I’m sure he’s had plenty of meddling from Shizune and Misha.

“Heya, Hisao! I’m Ritsu, our resident artist here is Taro and the red-headed dweeb over there is Akio!” She thumbs behind her to Akio, who only gives a disgruntled “Oi!” to her name-calling. Hisao nods to each of us and looks at the picture again. It’s nothing special, I just did a basic sketch of him doing work; most of the detail going into his face and hair. I wonder if he knows about that one tuft of hair that stands up.

“Think of it as a welcome gift from me and the gang,” I smile, rubbing my neck with my left hand as Ritsu leans on my right shoulder. “I tend to doodle a lot so I end up passing these out to everyone in class…” My voice lowers as he visibly scrutinizes the picture for a little bit before look to me and smiling.

“Well, it certainly looks like me! Thank you again, Taro. I was just a little thrown for a second,” He chuckles to himself.

“{No problem}.”

He turns back around to ask Sweet & Sour something before leaving with them, giving a short wave as he went.

“I think he liked it!” Ritsu playfully bops my arm before undoing her braces and gives both wrists a small massage. “I think Taro came on too strong. He’s never going to bag a man that way.” Akio laughs. Okay, if that’s how you want to play…

“You know I only have eyes for you, Akio~” Putting on my best effeminate voice.

“You would literally break me in two.” Akio counters with a wry smile.

Yeah, I would,” Reversal with a seductive gaze and guttural emphasise.

“And you’d love every second of it!” Ritsu with the intercept and…

“I hate you both,” He slumps as he rises from his chair, putting his things away and conceding victory. Ritsu spins on her heels and gives me a high five, the loud clap startling poor Hanako who was just slinking out. I offer a ‘sorry’ before she bolts out the door. I should really do something for her, might bring her out of her shell a lit--

“There you go again, frightening the women-folk!” Akio’s ready for Round Two it seems.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Our squabbling spills out into the main courtyard as we finish for the day. A smooth afternoon breeze blows around our motley trio as we make our way towards the dorms. Whilst Ritsu and Akio are still in full swing, I’ve backed off a little. I look around at the bustle of students going to and from the various buildings around us. As I wait at the bottom of the stairs for Ritsu and Akio, the latter of whom takes them one at a time, and I spot an old friend off to the side.

“I’ll catch up to you guys in a bit, just gonna have a word with Tezuka!” I call to my companions as I wander off. They call back but I didn’t quite catch it. My focus is on the small redhead sitting amidst chaos.

Image

My shadow dwarfs hers on the mural we’re facing. I’d carefully side-stepped the various paint cans and trays spread around before standing slightly back and to the left of her. She’s sitting on a wooden crate, staring into the middle distance more than the cacophony of colour that is her mural.

“How’s it coming?” I ask. And I wait. And wait.

Aaaaaand waaaaaait.

Eventually, though it feels like an eternity, Rin Tezuka slowly looks back at me. Not at my face but focusing squarely on my crotch. “Oh. Taro.” She utters, staring a little longer than should really be comfortable.

I don’t know how she identifies me by crotch alone but after the fifth or sixth time, you get used to it. Not that it doesn’t make one pause for thought about the tackle-obsessed Tezuka and ask WHY?

“It’s coming. Or going. Or maybe it’s just here.” She ponders. Rin is… special. Not in the head (not that I know of, anyway) but in her unique thought process. The best way to describe her would probably be scatter-brained. Like she has ADHD but five times slower.

“Well, you’ve made great progress. How‘s your back doing?” I ask, fearing for her physical health. Her preferred method of painting is with her feet, so I imagine she can get quite the sore ba--

“I don’t know. I haven’t asked it. Do you ask how your back is doing?” I expected that.

“Sometimes.” I like to play along.

“You’re weird.”

“Aren’t we all?”

She falls silent again. Not sure if she’s thinking on what I just said but I doubt it. When I feel confident that she’s not going to respond, I ask what I wanted to since I first spotted her.

“Still in the art club, Rin?”

“No, I’m outside.” She gives me a small incredulous look, like I asked why the sky is blue. Wait, I’m pretty sure she has actually asked me that before.

“Well, don’t let Nomiya rope you into anything more until you feel you’re finished,” I grimly state, unaware if Tezuka understands my veiled contempt for the man. “Or anything else for that matter.”

She’s silent for a while before I ruffle her hair a little and take my leave. “Give me a shout if you need any help.” I say, confident that she won’t respond immediately and hopeful she’ll understand what I meant.

As I pass the stairs, I spot Maeda at the top, looking particularly pissy with me today. I best catch up to the others, I don’t have time for that pretentious little brown-no--

“Arai.” God damn it.

“What is it, Maeda?” I’m trying my best to be civil, I really am.

“Why are you bothering Tezuka? Her mural is the cornerstone of the art club’s festival plans and your interruptions are not appreciated,” His blatant patronizing tone is not helping.

“Which is why I offered to help. Which appears to be more than one of her fellow art club members can do.” I said I was trying, right?

“Mr. Nomiya is confident that Tezuka can handle the mural on her own and the rest of us have our own individual projects to showcase, which he is also confident in. Not that you‘d know since you quit.”

“For good reason, not that you’d know. He’s arrogant and wants to ride others’ coat tails to success. A guy like that has nothing to teach me about art.” That’s true, but Maeda doesn’t see it. Or worse, he doesn’t want to. He’s getting visibly flustered, not that I’m faring any better. My heart’s racing and my good hand is tense.

“Mr. Nomiy--” Nope, no doing this. I’m done.

“Nomiya’s confidence has betrayed him before. Let’s not forget what happened to his last protégé when he applied too much pressure.” Giving him a knowing stare.

I turn to leave and, to my surprise, Akio and Ritsu are waiting on a bench a little ways away. Both of them are curiously watching this exchange and talking. I give a smile and a wave and my mood instantly lifts. Until Maeda speaks up.

“Fuck you, you fat piece of shit.” Oh, Maeda. You silly boy.

I can only imagine that Akio and Ritsu can see the air around me change. God knows what my face looks like but they’re worried enough to start moving towards me but before they can reach me, I’ve already turned around and strode up to Maeda. I’m less than a foot from him.

I vaguely hear the others call out before I lean and smile.

“How does it feel to be replaced by a girl with no arms?”

The words hang heavy in the air as Maeda shakes. Fear or anger, I don’t give a damn. It was a shitty thing to say but the fact that he’s still defending Nomiya after what he did, I’ve got no pity for him. I turn and start to walk towards my friends, trying my hardest to offer them a reassuring smile. Guess I’m not doing too well because they’re still moving toward me. Hell, Ritsu is sprinti--

“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!”

Thwap.

Before I even have time to register, Ritsu is behind me and Maeda is clutching his cheek. Did… Did Ritsu just…? I look between them and Akio in disbelief.

“Go. Away.” Was that Ritsu? She sounded… angry. Maeda’s eyes are darting all around before he runs the opposite way. Ritsu rests a hand on her hip with a cocky pose and then turns to face me and Akio, her face perfectly normal. She’s smiling.

“Shall we?” She bounces back to us and takes hold of my good arm pulling me forward.

“Um, y-yeah. S-sure thing.” I stutter, blushing slightly. I’ve never blushed at Ritsu. What the hell is going on?

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Akio’s face is somewhere between shock, laughter and disbelief. “Damn, girl! You’re scary!” He cries as we near the dorms.

“I wasn’t going to let him hit Taro in the back! It’s a dirty punk move.” Ritsu, slightly growling but still still keeping her composure.

“W-w-wait, did you hit him before he could hit me?” I ask, still slightly unsure what happened.
She doesn’t answer as we separate. Akio’s already through the door of the boys' dorm before Ritsu can say that she’ll meet us out here in 15 minutes. I give her a thumbs-up before heading inside.

“Hey, Taro!” She cries, making me stop and look back.

She takes up a boxing stance and gives a couple quick jabs into the air before winking and bouncing through the door.

“Heh, {my hero}.”
Last edited by Sharp-O on Sun Jul 05, 2015 3:16 am, edited 5 times in total.

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Re: Monomyth: Taro Arai's Story [Update: 21/6/15]

Post by Silentcook » Sun Jun 21, 2015 4:38 pm

Your typesetting is starting to get a little overboard. And by that, I mean WAY overboard.

You should take into account the fact that written works usually only make do with italics, and sometimes capitals. You can swap fonts around if you remember to do it consistently, but having four different kinds of emphasis is just way too many - assuming you really had that many, which you don't. If you have trouble showing which is which, and it doesn't seem that way to me, you should do that through writing, not typesetting.
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Re: Monomyth: Taro Arai's Story [Update: 21/6/15]

Post by Sharp-O » Sun Jun 21, 2015 4:56 pm

Silentcook wrote:Your typesetting is starting to get a little overboard. And by that, I mean WAY overboard.

You should take into account the fact that written works usually only make do with italics, and sometimes capitals. You can swap fonts around if you remember to do it consistently, but having four different kinds of emphasis is just way too many - assuming you really had that many, which you don't. If you have trouble showing which is which, and it doesn't seem that way to me, you should do that through writing, not typesetting.

You're totally right, Silent and it's something was bothering me as I posted. Because I've decided to express Taro's English in italics during his speech, I over compensated in other areas. I've cleaned it up a little and from now on, anything Taro emphasises in speech with be underlined. Bolds will be used for sound effects only. :oops:

Hope this makes things clearer and easier to read for everyone

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Re: Monomyth: Taro Arai's Story [Update: 21/6/15]

Post by Silentcook » Sun Jun 21, 2015 5:16 pm

Sharp-O wrote:Fuck you, you fat little prick.” Oh, Maeda. You silly boy.
Do you see the trouble here contrasting with your previous statement? Be consistent.

I don't know how much talking in foreign languages you plan on using, but you might be better off using weirder typesetting for less-used speech to reduce the chances of such things happening.
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Re: Monomyth: Taro Arai's Story [Update: 21/6/15]

Post by Sharp-O » Sun Jun 21, 2015 5:35 pm

You've got a point, Silent but I left that piece of dialogue the way it is because I felt it was obvious that it isn't Taro speaking and since I didn't explicitly say that Maeda spoke English, that he wasn't doing so. He was simply spitting venom.

I do have some extended English sections planned but they'll be easily signposted to avoid confusion.

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Monomyth: Taro Arai's Story [Update: 22/6/15]

Post by Sharp-O » Mon Jun 22, 2015 8:15 am

Chapter Three: Helping Hand

The rooms here aren’t too bad. They’ve got everything you need, more-or-less, in one room. I’ve even got enough room for my laptop, drawing tablet and one or two collectible figures. I dump my bag on my bed and quickly get changed. I find the uniform here kind of stuffy, especially the pants. Slipping on a comfy pair of jeans is sooooo much better. Couple that with a comfy t-shirt and hoodie and I’m feeling golden again. Mostly.

The encounter with Maeda bugs me, sure, but Ritsu rushing to my defence feels… Weird. We’ve always had each other’s backs but this was different. She was angry. Legitimately angry. Angry enough to deck a guy. Crap, I hope she doesn’t get in trouble for that…

Wallet. Phone. Keys. Reusable shopping bags. The mental checklist of pats as I walk to Akio’s open door confirms I’ve got everything I need for our weekly adventure into town for groceries.

“Are you decent?” I ask, knocking on the doorframe and looking inside.

“Never!” laughs Akio, quickly scribbling on a scrap of paper before thrusting it into my hand with a handful of notes. “I forgot about today’s lit. club meeting so can you do me a huge favour and pick up some stuff for me?”

“No problem, man,” I say, glancing over the list. Milk. Instant Coffee. Instant Ramen. Couple different kinds of vegetables. Sugar. Kinda Spartan but I bet he’ll pick up some more in the week. I shrug and stuff the list and money into my front pocket. “I’ll catch ya later, Akio!”

Akio pokes his head out the door after me. “Keep an eye on Ritsu too, today was weird.”

“{Roger}!” I raise my left fist in the air as I keep walking.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

The school nurse harping on about my weight plays in the back of my mind as Ritsu and I descend the long mountain road down to town. This is exercise. The regular trips to and from town have improved my fitness no end. Hell, I couldn’t even walk down to town without getting winded when I first got here; now I can go back and forth, with groceries, and not be out of breath. I give a small chuckle to myself when Ritsu brings me out of my thoughts.

“Hey, sorry about earlier,” She mumbles. Her hands are fidgeting in front of her. I place my hand on her shoulder.

“You’ve got nothing to be sorry about, Ritsu.”

“You’re not mad? I thought guys were supposed to get all butt-hurt if a girl defended them?”

The laugh that echoes around the mountain road is enough to frighten a few birds in a nearby tree.

“What, in the three years we’ve known each other, makes you think I would be bothered by that?” I ask, wiping away a small tear.

“I dunno… You’re just so into superheroes and stuff. Figured you’d take offence.”

“Every hero needs a {helping hand} every now and then,” I smile warmly. “You had my back and you can be damn sure that I’ll have yours if you ever need it.” I give a reassuring squeeze to her shoulder to seal the deal.

“Hell-pingu han-do?” She stumbles with the pronunciation, but her earnest attempt earns a chuckle.

“Close enough.”

“Jerk!” Her playful insult is punctuate by a laugh and bop to my arm.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

“Waaaaaaaaah~”

“Just give me your bag if you can’t hack it,” I offer my hand, already laden with my own and Akio’s groceries. We’re only half way up the hill, how can she be this bad already?

“I can’t do that~! You’ve only got one arm and you’re already carrying two loads.” She pouts stubbornly, rubbing her the wrist of her bag-holding right hand. Usually the spandex arm sleeves are enough to help alleviate her carpal tunnel. Not as good as her braces but good for out-and-about. She did smack a guy with that hand earlier though…

“I’d carry you if it meant you’d quit whining,” I smirk.

“I‘d like to see you try!” Her words are dripping with snark and I remember the nurse’s words about strength training and cardio. Screw it, it’ll be funny at the very least. She’s still laughing as I square away my right arm, making sure it’s snug in my hoodie’s pocket.

“Okay!” Before she even has time to react, I’ve leaned and shifted her entire weight across my broad shoulders, lifting her into a fireman’s lift with my good arm around her legs, grocery bags wrapped around my forearm. Thank god she’s wearing white jeans. This would have been way more embarrassing if she wasn’t.

“AAAAAH! Tarolemmedownyoubigjerk!” She’s squirming and giggling.

“You dared me! And if you don’t stop moving, I will drop you.” The last part comes off as more threat than fact but she thankfully calms down.

“Alright, you proved me wrong! Now, mush!” She commands, pointing toward the top of the hill.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

A heavy wheeze escapes my throat as I deposit Ritsu on her feet in front of the school gates. I lean back and stretch, an audible pop in my shoulder blades give me an all too fleeting moment of bliss. This was a dumb idea.

“I can’t believe you did that!” Ritsu’s face lights up with a wonderful smile. That’s almost worth it. Almost. “When did you get so strong?”

I continue stretching my back and arm, an assortment of groans that answer her as I do.

“I hope I wasn’t heavy…” She blushes a little, her hand placed gently on my arm.

“Nah… You’re actually lighter than you look.”

“Are you saying I look heavy?” She leans with an accusatory glare.

I’m going to regret joking about it, because that’ll earn me a bop and that’ll make me collapse. I’m not going to push my luck.

“Let’s just go inside…” I wheeze for emphasis. Ritsu returns to her cheerful demeanour and hooks her arm around mine. We managed to amble our way to the boys’ dorms and Ritsu is more than accommodating with doors. You’re on the home stretch, Taro. You can do it.

I flop down on my bed with no regard to my companion, letting out a very contented sigh. My hoodie and the groceries had been discarded near the door and Ritsu had followed me in.

“God, that feels sooooo good. I mumble into my pillow, Ritsu in a fit of laughter on my desk chair as a knock on the door signals the arrival of Akio.

“You back, Taromygod what happened?”

“She did this to me!” My muffled accusation resulting in more laughter from Ritsu.

“He… He… He…” Her inability to explain is not helping.

“I hope you choke.” I roll my head and glare at my female friend.

“Seriously, what did you do to him?” Akio shoots her an equally stern look.

“He… Haaaaaah… He carried me up the mountain from town!” Ritsu has doubled over in the chair, holding her sides and finally starting to regain her breathing.

Akio starts snickering and my ire turns to him. “Don’t you start.” Thankfully, his response is much more subdued. Ritsu, bless her, comes over to the bed and gentle rubs my shoulder blades. Akio takes her seat at my desk.

“That’s probably the best/dumbest thing that’s happened today.” He smiles, two tiny claps sounding from his hands. “I’m proud of you, man.”

“He was a real trooper. He saved me from the pain of carrying my heavy bag all the way back to school.” Her soothing voice and gentle massage has eased the pain no end. I’m so relaxed right now.

That’s why you did it?” Akio asks, another chuckle building inside him.

“She was whining an awful lot, man,” I smile, easing myself up and leaning against the wall, Ritsu patting my leg even despite the barb I just threw.

“Thank you, Taro.” Okay, her smile and the massage made this all worth while.

“{Helping hand}, right?”

She nods and grins. “Hell-ping han-do.”

Akio gives a confused look before taking that as his cue to leave. “Thanks for getting my stuff, man. If not Ritsu’s, you’re definitely my hero. You can keep the change too.” He laughs.

“Oh, I intended to.” I laugh back.

Akio waves, closes my door and slinks back off to his room, groceries in tow. I rub my eyes and let out a long sigh. “Hell of a day.”

“Got that right,” Ritsu answers, rubbing her wrists and adjusting her spandex sleeves. “Looked a little dicey in the middle there…”

“But the end was pretty good,” I smile, closing my eyes and resting my head against the wall.

“Only pretty good?” I hear her ask.

“I think so.” I offer to the room that lies beyond my darkened vision. Some subtle shifting, a slight weight on my chest and warmth on my cheek give me reason to look at the world again. Ritsu blushes as she leans back.

“How about now?”

“D-definitely ending on a h-high note.”

Her smile lights up the room as she bounces off the bed and heads to the door. She daintily picks up her groceries and opens the door. I absent-mindedly touch my cheek, no doubt as flushed as she is right now. “Good night, Taro.” She grins as she leaves.

I can only sit in shock and gently rub my cheek.

“Hell of a day.”

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Cloud nine doesn’t even describe how high I’m flying right now. The morning after a good night’s sleep is blissful. Even Akio’s crass insinuations can’t distract me. We’d arrived in the classroom ahead of Mutou to find Ritsu’s running late again. Akio and myself take our seats, making small talk until a figure appears in the doorway.

Maeda’s sporting a nice bruise on his cheek this morning.

“Wonder what Mutou will say to tha--” Akio jests before our homeroom teacher is seemingly summoned from the ether behind Maeda. He has a grim look on his face as he ushers Maeda to his seat and stands at the front of the class.

“I’m afraid I have the unfortunate duty of delivering bad news this morning, class…” Mutou begins, still wearing the same sullen face.

Akio looks desperately over to me and all I can do is shrug.

“Due to an incident that occurred yesterday after classes, Miss Tainaka…”

My eyes go wide with realisation as I look to Ritsu’s empty desk.

“… has been suspended.”
Last edited by Sharp-O on Sun Jul 05, 2015 3:16 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Monomyth: Taro Arai's Story [Update: 22/6/15]

Post by HoneyBakedHam » Mon Jun 22, 2015 10:02 am

Would a teacher explain to the whole class about someone being suspended? I know in the US they don't.

Also, you did it again with the italics. :P

Also, I'm surprised she'd be suspended if she told them WHY she hit him. If that's still the case, Japan has worse than a zero-tolerance policy. At least when I defended myself, or others, back when I was in grade school from bullies, both parties were punished.

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Re: Monomyth: Taro Arai's Story [Update: 22/6/15]

Post by Mirage_GSM » Mon Jun 22, 2015 11:23 am

Well, usually both Ritsu and Takeshi would be suspended - after all she hit him because he was trying to hit a classmate from behind.
That's what makes it so unlikely that Takeshi would go to the teachers: As soon as Ritsu tells her side of the story, he'll be punished as well - especially since she's got two witnesses to back up her story.

I also have to agree that you're not being consistent at all with your use of cursive script for English language.
Even if that rule applied only to Taro - and you're not consistent there either - it would be hard to read since cursive script is universally used for emphasis, and your reader won't relearn this subconscious connection just for your story.
So I suggest using literally anything else to signify other languages:
<…> seems to be a popular choice, but you could also go for {…} or […] or think of something yourself - just don't use something your readers already associate with something else.

Edit:
...and use it for all characters in the same way.
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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