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 Katawa Shoujo. (Playthrough 1) 

Which Ending GET?
MANLY PICNIC! 16%  16%  [ 5 ]
Lilly 10%  10%  [ 3 ]
Shizune 3%  3%  [ 1 ]
Rin 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Emi 16%  16%  [ 5 ]
Hanako 19%  19%  [ 6 ]
Misha 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Hanzo for president of Yamaku High. 35%  35%  [ 11 ]
Total votes : 31

 Katawa Shoujo. (Playthrough 1) 
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Lord Cumdrops
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Post Re: Katawa Shoujo. (Playthrough 1)
This is one of those playthroughs that shall challenge the very flow of time itself. :REESE There isnt much left to reply on. You're using the same jokes and flow more or less for the entire thing, so waiting for them to come out more often. I want to see wich ending you get. :3

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Post Re: Katawa Shoujo. (Playthrough 1)
WRITE MORE.

Also, love the music selection. ;)

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Post Re: Katawa Shoujo. (Playthrough 1)
Natsuki wrote:
WRITE MORE.

Also, love the music selection. ;)


This. I slow down my reading to listen to the entirety of my favorites, like Air Guitar. :dement

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Post Re: Katawa Shoujo. (Playthrough 1)
ITS 2017.


Link


One step after another. Focus. Control. Concentrate. Outracing the monsters with stone-like faces, I ran. They didn't expect me to run - that much was visible from their faces. Their sneers had melted away into a look of surprise as I blasted away from them.

*THUMP!*

*CRASH!*

Of course, they wouldn't accept this defeat standing down. Now, they were throwing their giant body parts after me - in a desperate attempt to stop me.

Image: Remember your training, Hisao. Focus on slow, long breaths through your nose. Avoid breathing from your mouth. The volume will irritate your trachea and force you to breathe lower volumes of air. Let your Hanage do the filtering.

Relaxing my stance, I focused on deep breaths - and felt a renewed vigor in my body rush through. The sound of soft klack-klacks against the turf shook me from my reverie.

Image: I'm surprised to see you again!

Oh right...

Image: Why's that?

Image: Well, not many people actually manage to come back for a second try.

She frowns, seemingly annoyed by a passing thought.

Image: Like the rest of the track team, for instance. Still, it was only supposed to be on a volunteer basis, so it's not that big of a shock. And I guess it's pretty early in the morning...

A shrug, and suddenly it appears that she's forgotten what she was talking about. The frown disappears entirely, and she seems to snap back to her previous train of thought.

Image: So! Come on, then!

Image: What?

Image: You're here to run again, right?

Image: Well, yes.

Image: So come on!

I find myself suddenly grabbed and yanked onto the track.

Things seem to be set on mirroring yesterday's run. That is, I seem to be struggling, while Emi moves with an effortlessness that I find enviable. It's incredibly bothersome, to be so easily worn out. I know I should be patient, work toward things gradually, but... It's difficult to stay positive about this. We round the track and start on our second lap.

Emi seems to have grown impatient keeping pace with me, and begins to pull away.

This is where I gave out yesterday.

Will I be able to do more?

Image

GO GO!

What am I doing here? Am I really just going to fold and let Emi pull ahead? I speed up. The second lap's done quickly, and without even considering it I keep going. Emi looks back over her shoulder at me and grins.

Image: Still going?

Image: Wouldn't *pant* want you *pant* to think I'm outta shape *pant*

Emi laughs - without breaking her stride, no less - and speeds up even more. Well, if this is the way we're going to play things... I increase my own pace as well. I can feel my lungs burning, and my legs are starting to question just what the hell I think I'm doing.


Link


As the eurobeat begins to blast in my head, lactic acid screams in my muscles, but I close my ears. I can't let myself fall behind, because that would be a loss. The rational voice in my head inquires mildly just when we started playing a game. I'd answer it, but I'm having a lot of trouble thinking at present. She's so fast. How the hell does she keep it—

It's like a string pulling at my chest, a choking feeling of narrowness and pain. Before I can think of anything else than “Oh shit,” the track disappears from under my feet. I stumble, one hand shooting down to clutch at my chest, the other hitting the track to keep me from falling on my face. Emi whirls around and her eyes widen.

Image: Hisao!

She yells at me, sprinting from the other side of the track.

Image: What's wrong?

Image: Nngh—Nothing, just...

Keep your breathing steady. Calm down. Don't panic. Don't panic.


Link


Image: Do you need me to get the nurse?

I close my eyes, shutting out the outside world. My heart struggles to regain its rhythm. Slowly, the pain in my chest begins to subside. Soon it's gone like nothing happened. It was... nothing? No, something happened there. I open my eyes again and glance at a very worried Emi.

Image: I think I'm fine.

My voice sounds weird even to myself, oddly even and matter-of-fact. It makes Emi frown.

Image: I don't think you are.

She seems to come to a decision, and nods to herself.

Image: Right. You're coming with me. You've got to see the nurse.

Emi grabs my arm and drags me up. I feel a bit wobbly, but I refuse the shoulder Emi offers for support. Honestly, I'm a little ashamed by my own weakness. I'd really rather not have Emi concerned about me, but it seems to be too late. Heck, I'd really rather not have anyone concerned about my condition, though at this point, it seems to be too late for that as well. I'd like to be able to deal with the whole thing on my own, without being a bother to anyone else. While I'm wishing for things, I'd rather not have this condition in the first place.

Image: Nurse!

Emi crashes into his office without knocking, but it doesn't alarm the nurse in the least.


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Image: Good morning, sunshine. What's up?

Sunshine? Anyway, he calmly sips from his coffee mug but lays it down after following Emi's gaze to me looming in the doorway.

Image: Hisao? What brings you here?

Image: We were running and he stumbled over and started grabbing at his chest and I thought I'd come get you and make him wait there but he said he was okay but then I thought you should see him anyway and—

Image: Uwa... y-you're Mitsuishi Kotono...

Image: Easy there, Emi. Calm down. Hisao, what happened?

Image: I don't know. We were running, and then my chest started hurting like that time before, but it went away after a few seconds. It was just a flutter or something.

The nurse frowns, as if to say that “just a flutter” is some kind of oxymoron.

Image: I didn't mean quite this when I suggested to get some exercise. You've got to be more careful, Hisao.

Image: I was being careful, I just...

Come to think of it, “I just got into a race with a member of the track team” doesn't seem as well reasoned as I thought it would.

Image: You just what?

Image: Er... that is... I was racing Emi.

Image: Emi, is this true?

Emi fidgets, looking adorably contrite.

Image: Um, well...

Finally she can't seem to bring herself to say it aloud, and merely nods. The nurse sighs and rubs at his forehead with one hand tiredly.

Image: Emi, you've got to be more sensitive to the limits of others! I don't know if he told you, but Hisao has a bad heart, and getting him to race you was incredibly irresponsible.

Image: Er, actually I started it.

The nurse is stunned by my statement.

Image: You WHAT?

Image: We were just running, and Emi started to pull away, and so I uh, sped up to catch her.

The nurse stares at the ceiling, mutters a prayer for patience to some god or another, and looks back down at the both of us.

Image: So you're both stupid. That's a comfort, I guess. Now come on, Hisao. I've got to make sure your heart's not going to explode or something.

I dutifully obey and follow him to the adjacent room where we ascertain that I am, in fact, not going to keel over and die.

Image: So how does it feel?

Image: I don't know. Nothing much. Tired, but it might be just from the exercise.

Image: You should stay here for a few hours and rest, and we'll see how you feel after that.

I am not going to object, so I lie down on the infirmary bed.

Image
That's when I noticed that the Nurse was playing Super Fatboy on a retro machine...

Image: Complete with an actual floppy drive. Now that's retro.

... some time later...

A thoroughly miserable Emi comes in after getting an earful from the nurse in the other room. I couldn't hear what he said through the closed door, but I'm sure it wasn't pleasantries.


Link


Image: Look, I'm really, really sorry. I should've been more careful.

Image: Hey, you didn't know. It's not your fault.

She looks awfully down and sorry, and my reassurances don't do anything much to cheer her up.

Image: I want to make it up to you.

Again with that decisive nod.

Image: So you have to come to lunch with me. I'll bring it for you, okay? Something really really good!

I start with a “You don't have to...” but then shut up and just nod at her when I see her face.

Image: Good! We meet on the roof.

Image: We?

Image: Yep! The weather's nice now, so the roof's a great spot for lunch, you know.

Image: I see.

Image: You'll come, right? You wouldn't deny me the chance to make it up to you?

Image: Of course not.

Image: Great! See you there!

I stay afloat somewhere between asleep and awake, feeling completely drained. Not only my body, but all of me is limp and paralyzed, apart from my senses. I swallow with difficulty and then try to lie as still as I can, which in this state is not a very hard thing to do. The nurse is shuffling around on the other side of the curtains he drew to give me privacy. I can see his shadow shifting about in the sunlight. He has opened the window of his office.

It's windy outside. The clean white curtains flutter in the breeze in a heavy, lazy motion, like waves. Light sifts through them slowly, half absorbing into the fabric. I close my eyes. The breeze on my face feels like the soft fabric of the curtains. I listen to the sound of my heartbeat for a moment, trying to shut out the sound of the nurse tapping away on his computer, and my own heavy breathing. It's steady.

Damn it, not even a week and I end up like this again. I really screwed up this time. Should've known better than to play the half-baked sports star in front of a real one. And why did I try to act brave, like that heart flutter was no big deal, even when it was obvious that it was? It was just a reflex, to push it away, to keep it inside. I didn't want it to happen. I didn't want Emi to see it. Aaah... Stupidstupidstupid.

I have to be more careful, or I will end up in the hospital again, or worse. ...

That's my final thought before I give in to the tiredness.

I dreamed.


Link


She had the right idea.

Image
AND THEN A SKELETON POPPED OUT.


Link


I fell asleep. For how long? What time is it? I'm feeling a little lightheaded and I keep blinking compulsively. Pushing the curtain aside, I squint my eyes against the unfiltered light pouring in from the window. The texture of the canvas feels nothing like the wind did before. The nurse looks up from his work, sitting exactly where he was before.

Image: How are you feeling?

I can't really tell, so I don't answer anything. I'm feeling kinda groggy from falling asleep at such a weird time, hopefully I don't look too weird.

Image: What time is it?

Me croaking the question to gain some orientation. The nurse looking at his wristwatch before answering. Things seem to happen in slow motion.

Image: Quarter past ten.

I try to think for a moment what that means but I'm not really sure.

Image: You didn't answer my question, Hisao.

Image: Oh. Fine.

Image: Climb down from that bed then, and let’s see how you are doing. Don’t...

I try to do exactly that, only to sway dizzily when I move too fast. The nurse moves to support me by an arm and sighs.

Image: ...stand up too quickly, is what I was going to say. Just sit there, I’ll check your pressure to make sure.

My good intentions sure lasted for a long time. I shut up, embarrassed with myself, while the nurse gets busy with an old-fashioned contraption and my arm. After a couple of minutes, he puts it away, looking neither pleased nor unhappy.

Image: You’re all right. Head stopped spinning?

Image: Yeah.

Image: Good. And how are the contents doing? You didn’t show very good judgment out there, Hisao.

I swallow the retort I was going to make. It’s what I was thinking myself, but hearing it stated by somebody else makes me want to protest. What he’s saying is not pleasant to hear. Doesn’t make him any less right.

Image: No, sir.

He nods, still looking as neutral as he was before. It would be easy to be angry at him if he said “Told you so” or something, but he doesn’t.

NURSE: I can try and help you to keep your health, but ultimately the last call lies with you. Hopefully this little episode will be something that’ll remind you of that.

Image: Here, a note for your teacher. To avoid an interrogation.

I take the slip of paper he's offering and then make my leave as I can't think of anything else to say, nor even really want to.

Image: Stay out of trouble, you hear me? I don't think it was anything but a scare, but next time could be different.

I hear you.

There is some way to get to the school building straight from the auxiliary building, but I'm not keen to find out and possibly get lost, so I go out from the exit that I know works. I stop at the stairs of the auxiliary building, deliberating for a moment between going to the dorms to get my books and stuff and going straight away to the class. The sun stings my eyes, so I head towards the dorms.

The halls are quiet as the courtyard was, naturally so since everyone is in class. I knock lightly at the door of 3-3 and push open the door when Mutou calls from the other side.

Image: Sorry I'm late.

Fifteen pairs of eyes turn to me.

Image

Image Good morning, Nakai.

This time, I was prepared. Kicking away a menacing tendril, I sat down at the lone table in the classroom left undisturbed and stared at them right in the eyes.

Mutou seems to be somewhat confounded by my coming in late, as if I interrupted his flow or something. Judging from the rambling lectures his classes tend to be, that might be the case. I pass him the note the nurse gave me.

Mutou takes it with a nod and reads it quickly. He lifts his eyebrows and gives me a kind of a stern look but doesn't say anything, just nods solemnly again. I shrug and he gestures at me to run along so I naturally do.

I'm not surprised in the least when I feel someone's fingers on my shoulders about fifteen seconds after seating myself.

Image: Hicchan~!

Oh great. I turn around slightly to tell her to cool it, when my eyes go wide.

Misha has unbuttoned her top and is busy stripping off her clothes - Shizune shifts to my side and starts unbuttoning my shirt.

She had my eye before - but looking at her as she discarded the last shred of clothing on her body and stood up in her underwear in class, she was a real curvaceous beauty. Her large breasts were topped by a yummy pink nipple that now throbbed into erection as her exhibitionism in a full class made her hyperventilate and sweat. Her waist pinched away low, giving her a superb figure, and her thighs were dainty and perfect. Her panties were a couple sizes too small, allowing the whole class to see a perfect outline of her rapidly soaking cunt.

She leaned forward as Shizune pulled down my pants.

Image: ...

Shizune now sat to the side as Misha sat down in front of me and wiggled her ass.

Image: Lets do it, right here, right now! Wahahahaha~

Image

I reached forward and unhooked her bra, sliding my free hand to fondle her large tits and grab her pussy. This elicited a giggle from her.

Image: Ooh, Hicchan has done this sort of thing before...

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Post Re: Katawa Shoujo. (Playthrough 1)
LEWD.

Also, did you forget again?

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Post Re: Katawa Shoujo. (Playthrough 1)
Natsuki wrote:
LEWD.


OKAY. I'LL MAKE IT LEWDER.

Nah, just working on game dev stuff while juggling a part time job.

-

By now, we were the focus of the entire classroom. Even the teacher had stopped, his face now in a silent gasp of horror as he watched Shizune strip naked and cuddle to my side. My attention, however, was on Misha as I explored her body with my hands, pulling her close to me and taking in her scent. For a few seconds, I was disappointed that her hair didn't smell like bubblegum - but I let that drop along with my boxers. Rubbing my groin into her leg, I achieved an instant boner as it slid into her folds and rubbed alongside her rapidly soaking cunt as I played with her ample breasts. Submitting to my gentle ministrations, she groaned weakly.

Image: Do me, Hicchan... Fuck me on this desk... please...

Well, she did ask nicely...

Without another word, I turned her around and pushed her onto my desk and thumbed her ample hips open, revealing a tight slit tipped by a brushel of pink hair. With a confident grin, I arched her back to myself as I planted a kiss on her neck, exploring her chest as I slowly slipped my dick inside her. She was tight, to be sure - and she moaned and groaned in delight. Shizune now lay on my back, massaging my balls and further improving my boner. She then started poking my cheek as several students had now gotten over the initial shock and started taking pictures.

Image: ...

Image: Wait your turn, Shizune... oh, right, you can't hear me. Misha, tell her.

Showing an incredible level of focus, Misha hand-signed some stuff after prodding for her attention. I rewarded her by roughly pinching on her nipples and increasing my speed. This time, I kept a steady balance to make sure I wasn't overdoing it - it'd be pretty embarrassing to get these cute girls to fuck... only to HNNNNNNNGH out. Soon, I was about to bust a nut when Shizune poked me in the cheek again.

Image: I'm almost done, Shizune. Just wait.

Picking up on that verbal cue, Misha pushes her legs together, making sure nothing will leak out as I push myself into her and hug her close as I drop my load into her.

Image: Good girl.

Hearing these two simple words of praise drove Misha into a blissful high and she fell slack on the desk as I pulled out, one hand covering her pussy - making sure all the cum remained inside. Again, Shizune poked me in the cheek.

Image: Allright, allright. You're next. Gimme a bit to catch my breath.

Image: Wake up, Hicchan~

Image: Wha-?!

-

I snapped back to attention, and realized I was hugging and groping Misha. Apparently, I had fallen dead asleep without even noticing and somehow ended up with my head on her lap, with my hands on her hips and nuzzling her stomach. She poked me in the cheek again.

Image: Waake uupp~

Image: UWA... Uh... eeerrr.... sorry...

Fortunately, she lets it slide and I wake back up. Thankfully, Shizune hadn't come to class yet and I wasn't about to get blackmailed.

Image: Man, I really wrung myself out...

-

Link


The class goes on lazily. I think I'm starting to get into the rhythm of the school. I have even stopped worrying about taking notes and being overtly attentive. The first days, I was pretty high-strung in class. Mutou finishes his lecture about electricity early, but continues without a pause about the festival.

Image: So, as you know, the festival is on the day after tomorrow. I hope everyone's projects are going to be successful this year. Have a good time, but also come Sunday, please keep the meaning of this festival in your minds...

Image: Games and fried food!

Everyone bursts out in laughter, and so do I.

Image: Yes, thank you Mikado. But what I meant was more the-

The remainder of his sentence is buried beneath the ring of the lunch bells, and everyone starts packing their things. Mutou deliberates for a moment, but since almost nobody seems to pay attention any more, he gives up and sits down. It's crowded in the hallway... or as crowded as hallways in this school probably get. Most of the students seem to be heading down for the cafeteria.

It's crowded in the hallway... or as crowded as hallways in this school probably get. Most of the students seem to be heading down for the cafeteria.

Image: Wonder if Misha will snitch... well, I did grope her good though.

Normally, I'd join the flow and grab a lunch myself, but today is different. Today, I've been invited to lunch on the roof.

An odd location, but that's where I was told to go. Fortunately, I manage to find shelter from the storm in the lee of the classroom door. Eventually the torrent subsides and I step tentatively out into the hallway. Only to be met by Emi who comes flouncing down the hallway like a cannonball.

Image: Damnit Emi.

This time, before she can barrel into me, I pick her up and wait for her to stop running in the air.


Link


Image: Hey! Hi Hisao! Great timing!

Image: I have super extra lunch today, as promised! Let's go upstairs!

The stairway to the roof is a little dilapidated, but it's clearly been used recently. At the top of the stairs is a door, complete with missing padlock. I wonder who the intrepid individual was that removed the lock? Emi shoves the door open and steps beaming into the sunlight. Suddenly, a tall dark stranger appears out of nowhere, standing imposingly in front of us.

Emi flinches back, almost falling back down the stairs.

Image: Eeek!
(at the same time)
Image: Hello.

Image: Yipes! You scared me, Rin!

Wait, isn't she...

Image: Hello.

Noticing that Rin is speaking to me, Emi looks curiously at me.

Image: You two know each other?

I look confusedly at Emi.

Image: She's that friend of yours?

Rin has turned her gaze towards the clouds drifting above the school.

Image: I didn't know you knew this person, Emi.

... The awkward silence lasts only for a few seconds until Emi lets out a tiny giggle, shrugging the coincidence off.

Image: I invited Hisao for lunch. If you know him, that's just better.

Image: Oh. Does this mean I don't get food? Or did you invite him for lunch without the lunch?

Image: Erm, neither, I have food for three.

Image: Nice thinking.


Link


They walk to the other end of the roof while I stay at the clock tower for a while, taking in the atmosphere. I see a figure in black robes and a menacing, oversized scythe floating around, but maybe that was my schizophrenia going off again. Eventually, the figure leaves and there is nobody else but us here. I guess the roof is not as popular as it is in other schools. A few rundown benches and tables are scattered around the edges, perhaps in an attempt to make the rooftop look less desolate. The small pebbles covering the roof rattle beneath our feet. I peek through the chain link fence to take a look at the school grounds and beyond. Students are strolling in pairs and groups around the quadrangle and at the cafeteria. A few delivery trucks are driving past the school towards the convenience store nearby. Somewhere a watchdog barks at a passer-by.

Somehow, when I look towards the town center the small town feel strikes me very strongly, almost palpably. The hectic lifestyle of big metropolises seems so far away and foreign here; nobody has to run to catch a bus like their life depended on it or get their senses overloaded by the neon lights and traffic jams.

I feel surprisingly optimistic about this new life of mine, looking at my new hometown, even if it's going to be mine for only one short year. Finding out about my illness and having to move away from home all came so suddenly I haven't had time to think how I feel about it. When I step out of the shadow of the clock tower to the open I feel warmth touching my back. The sun shines from a perfectly clear cerulean sky. A cool breeze sweeping over the rooftop makes me shiver, but only briefly. The wind carries the scent of trees and flowers, not smog and car exhaust like it used to, just a few weeks ago.

Emi settles on a bench with Rin in tow and produces one big and two small lunch boxes from her bag.

Image: Come on, Hisao! What are you waiting for?

She is beckoning me to join them, making room on the already small bench. I seat myself on the corner of the bench to take as little space as possible. It's pretty cramped, but somehow all three of us fit on it.

Image: Impressive view.

Emi suppresses a giggle and places a lunchbox in front of Rin, and hands another lunchbox to me.

Image: Here you go! Lunch, as promised!

Homemade, no less. I'm impressed.

Image: Wow. This looks really good.

Image: Thanks! I make 'em myself when I can.

Conversation dies off as I set about the business of feeding myself. Taking a few bites, I glance up and notice Rin deftly opening the lunch box and popping a forkful of food into her mouth using only her feet. Even though I've seen it before, I can't help but be impressed at her dexterity. It's also a reminder of the sort of place I am in right now. Will I ever get used to sights such as this? I can't decide if getting used to such a thing would be a good thing or a bad thing either. Does getting used to this place mean that I'm giving up on being a normal person? Or does it just mean that I'm becoming more understanding about those around me? I'm distracted from my thoughts by the sight of Emi tearing into her lunch as if it had insulted her ancestors.

Image

Image: You seem pretty hungry.

Emi looks up, mouth half full, and swallows before nodding.

Image: My morning run always works up an appetite. Which is great, because then I burn through lunch pretty quickly. Helps me keep my girlish figure.

Image: What would happen if you'd lose it? Would you become a man?

I very nearly choke on my lunch trying not to laugh.

Image: It's a figure of speech.

Image: Does your figure have to run in the mornings too?

Image: Do you always talk like this?

Image: Talk like what?
(at the same time)
Image: Like what?
Image: Like what?

I think that answers my question.

Image: Er, never mind. So, uh...

I struggle to think of small talk and settle on the obvious question.

Image: How'd you two meet?

Rin seems content to let Emi answer this question.

Image: Someone in the housing department thought that we'd complement each other well, so we were assigned rooms next to one another.

Image: Complement each other?

Image: Like shoes and a suit.

Image: Huh?

Emi giggles at my confusion.

Image: Put us together and we've got all our limbs, get it?

Image: Ah.

Image: So I started helping Rin get ready in the mornings, and that was that! I mean, you can't help someone get dressed every morning and not get along.

Image: I see.

Rin chooses this moment to interject.

Image: I have trouble with shirts.

Image: Right, that seems... fairly obvious.

Image: Really?

Image: Kind of...?

This isn't helping, but at least Emi seems to find the whole thing funny. That, combined with the fact that Rin is genuinely curious, makes me feel slightly better and yet, confused.

Image: I mean, you've got no arms. So uh, putting on a shirt seems like one of those things that would be... difficult.

You know what? I'm going to just stop talking now. It'll save me a lot of trouble in the long run. Rin nods in what I suspect is meant to be a sage manner.

Image: I see.

The conversation dies as I turn my attention back to my lunch. It's really quite good. Emi finishes her lunch first and makes a contented noise.

Image: Ah, that was good.

As she busies herself with cleaning up her lunch, Rin speaks up.

Image: I'm thirsty.

Image: Oh! I almost forgot about that! Sorry!

With a flourish, she reaches into her bag and removes a trio of juiceboxes. She tosses me one that appears to be cranberry juice, one to Rin that appears to be some kind of strawberry milk (complete with pink color scheme), and keeps a (equally pink) box of some kind of fruit punch for herself. Rin dexterously stabs her straw through the top of her box and begins to drink. I'm once again impressed by how flexible she is, but this time I keep my comment to myself. Somehow I don't think either Emi or Rin are the sorts of people to think twice about the way they work around their particular disabilities. Rin especially so. Indeed, she gives off the impression of being entirely unaware that she's missing any limbs at all. Whether or not that's a conscious decision is another matter. I'm honestly not sure.

Image: So Hisao, how do you like it up here?

Image: Hmm? It's quite nice, actually. I like high places, for the view. Thanks for inviting me up here. And for the lunch, too.

Emi grins a thousand-watt grin, pleased by my response I suppose.

Image: No problem! Feel free to eat with us next time too, okay? I won't make you a lunch, but you can bring your own up here.

Image: No lunch service? I don't know...

Emi looks mock offended.

Image: Trying to take advantage of my good nature? The nerve!

She giggles.

Image: Well, if that's your answer, I guess Rin and I will just keep eating lunch all alone...

Image

Image: Kidding! I was kidding! I'd love to eat lunch up here again. Good location, and the company's okay too.

Emi frowns a bit at my declaration of “okay” but seems happy enough that I've accepted her invitation. I guess this makes us friends now. Or at least acquaintances. The lunch bell rings, signaling a return downstairs.

Image: Rin, you didn't finish your lunch again!

Image: I wasn't that hungry.

Image: If you don't eat more, you're going to fade away!

Rin shrugs, as if this is an acceptable risk.

Image: Come on, we'd better get going.

The three of us head down the stairs together. The afternoon class passes. Once again, I find myself without a plan for something to do after school, so I head to the library to return a couple of the books I finished reading. Walking inside, I see that there are about as many students here as there were on Tuesday, all the more evident from the almost total silence enveloping the room. As I drop the books I'd borrowed into the returns slot in the counter, Yuuko suddenly pops up from behind it, quite startled from the banging they make as they hit the trolley next to her.


Link


Image: Ah, sorry Yuuko. Didn't mean to startle you.

Image: No, no. That's fine. It happens... a lot. I'm used to it by now. Um, can I help you?

Image: It's okay, I think I know where everything is. Thanks anyway.

I suppose I'll grab another book or two while I'm here. There's not much else to do, and after reading so much during my stay in the hospital, it's become a hard habit to break. I wander down to the fiction section towards the back of the library, scanning the bookshelves for anything that catches my eye. As I do, I look over to the corner where Hanako had been the last time I was here, not really expecting anything to come of it. ...surprisingly, though, she's there, absorbed completely in a fairly thick book. I decide against intruding on her like last time and get back to finding reading material.

Image: She might demolish the library this time.


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After an indiscernible amount of time spent perusing the aisles, I finally decide on a couple of books to get and slide them off the shelf. With a minimum of fuss, I quickly walk over to the counter, check out my books and pop them into my bag as I walk out. By the time I leave the main building, sunset isn't too far away. A small trickle of students remain, but the majority have left; presumably to their homes and dorms.

Image: I wonder if I'm considered a rapist now...

Feeling utterly drained, I head to my room to read the books I borrowed. There's been enough action and excitement for one day already. The first is “Alice's Adventures in Wonderland”. I know the story, of course, but I've never actually read the original book. It's just as trippy as I remember the story to be, with the wacky characters and nonsense plot. I start thinking of myself as some kind of an Alice too, haplessly tumbling down the rabbit hole into this Cripple Wonderland.

Image: We're all quite mad here. :P

Okay, that's a rather strong expression. Still, the isolated location and the overt way the school accommodates to absolutely everything is unsettling. It is like another world. I wonder why I can't shake the feeling of being an outsider like Alice, despite most everyone being so hospitable and friendly with me.

Turning another page, my mind starts drifting further away from the book. It's quiet, I can hear my heartbeat thumping against the fabric of my shirt. For some reason, it makes me feel really bad like it has since that time in the forest with Iwanako. Like I was locked in a cage with something nasty and scary. I put the book down for a while and stare at the ceiling, taking my time to shake off the feeling. 200 pages later, I fall asleep.

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Post Re: Katawa Shoujo. (Playthrough 1)
Poooooooossssssst. *cracks whip*

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Post Re: Katawa Shoujo. (Playthrough 1)
Natsuki wrote:
Poooooooossssssst. *cracks whip*


Fine fine...

-

Thankfully, I didn't dream tonight. Or maybe I did. I kept looking at the corner and noticing weird stuff in the dark while the sound of my heartbeat became an insect's chirping. Maybe I shouldn't have pushed myself; I was overcome by exhaustion that sleep came quickly.

Image

I'm not gonna get eaten alive, right?

-


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The students roll into class for the Saturday morning session, each and every one of them sporting the tired eyes of people that have worked through the night. Or maybe they were enjoying the pot? With only a day left to prepare, I suppose it's not so surprising. Thankfully, we only have to suffer through classes until the lunch break, and then our time is our own.

Image: Awww yeaaah.

Mutou lurches into class in a tired stagger. I suppose students aren't the only people here that enjoy their /late/ Friday nights. Without saying a word, he scrawls some page and question numbers on the board and slumps down at his desk. It's completely atypical behavior for him, but it appears that no one in the class is going to call him out on it.

Wordlessly, the students shuffle their textbooks into position and get to work. Not wanting to break the trend, I do the same. Fatigue has made the class antisocial; not a peep is heard among the ruffling papers. That can partly be attributed to the two empty seats beside me. For some reason Misha and Shizune aren't present; probably doing council work for the festival. It's very quiet without Misha present. I wonder if she was born as rowdy as she is, or if she is “making up” for Shizune's lack of voice.

Image: She's still cute. :redface

I recall the weird dream I had yesterday and slowly start going red in the face when...
Image: Nakai, can I speak to you for a moment?

I'm so engrossed in thinking about Misha that I don't even notice Mutou approaching my desk.

Image: Sure... what's this about?

Image: It's probably better if we speak outside the classroom...

Something about this doesn't sound too good, but I stand up and follow him out into the hallway.

Mutou stands in the hallway, scratching his head as he works out what he is trying to say. Not knowing what's going on, I wait silently.

Image: I heard from the school's head nurse that you had an incident the other day.

Ah. So it's about that.

Image: Well, kind of, but it's not anything to be worried about.

Image: Yes, yes it is. Anything that can endanger your health is something to be worried about. We try our best here to prepare you for life here. Part of that involves knowing your limits, and how to work around them. It would be remiss of me if I didn't speak up about this.

Image: All right, I get it. I'm sorry.

Mutou closes his eyes in frustration, and I realize that this probably wasn't the best thing to say.

Image: Something tells me that you're not sorry. Pretend as much as you want, but this isn't a normal school. A lot of people have put in a lot of time, effort, and money to make sure that you, and every other student here, can have the same level of education as your peers. For you to abuse that by throwing out advice, especially medical advice, is plain selfish.

I'm not quite sure if this is actually how he feels, or if it is some act that he's practiced many times to guilt-trip students into doing the “right” thing. Either way, it's working.

Image: I understand. This is all new to me, and I apologize. I know my limits now, and I'll be sticking to them.
Mutou appears to lighten up a little, satisfied that his message has been received.

Mutou stands in the hallway, scratching his head as he works out what he is trying to say. Not knowing what is going on, I wait silently.

Image: So, tell me, how are things?

Image: Things?

I expected Mutou to be a little vague, but this is pushing the limits.

Image: You know. Things. You've had a week to settle in now, so how are things?

Image: Er, fine I guess.

Image: I see. And how is your... condition?

The pause before “condition” seemed a little unnecessary.

Image: Haven't had any problems so far.

A brief shimmer of relief passes across Mutou's face.

Image: Good, that's good. The school nurse was a little concerned that you might have been pushing yourself a bit too hard. He asked me to keep an eye on you when he couldn't.

Image: That makes sense...

Image: I'd ask that you don't blow us off so freely. As much as we try to give you the level of education that you would get at a normal school, you have to realize that you have limits. Our goal is to make sure that you know where those limits are, and how to maximize your potential within them. Do you follow me?

Image: I guess. I mean, I don't plan on doing anything stupid.
Image: Well, that's a start, I guess.

Image: So then, onto my next question; how are you finding your studies? I understand you were laid up for a while. We're not too far ahead, are we?

Image: I don't really think so. I tried to keep up when I was in the hospital, so it hasn't been too hard.

Mutou taps his chin and raises an eyebrow as he absorbs this information.

Image: Is that so... I suppose there are still students out there that realize the importance of learning...

I wouldn't go that far, I was only trying to keep myself occupied in my little life-support prison.

Image: Well, yeah. You've got to keep up with these things, right?

Image: That's exactly it. One wrong move in this world and you're left behind, right?

Image: Er, right. Wouldn't want that to happen.

Image: No, no you wouldn't. Every week there's a new scientific discovery. Most of them mean nothing to the layperson, but any one of them could be the key to the Next Big Thing.

Image: I'll keep that in mind...

It's obvious that Mutou's Serious Talk is over, and he's gone back to his standard, slightly scatterbrained approach to life. I think, in hindsight, that I prefer him this way. He's slightly more predictable in his unpredictability.

Image: Well then, I think that's all I really had to say. Let's get back inside, shall we?

My relief at that suggestion is insurmountable.

Image: Sure. You're the boss, right?

Mutou pauses for a moment.

Image: I don't think any of my students have ever said that to me before.

For an instant I consider replying to this, but something deep within me tells me to shut my mouth and get back into the classroom. A few of the students jump at the sound of the door, rapidly trying to pretend that they are working on the questions on the board. Some don't even bother, their heads slumped on the desk as they nap. Thankfully, it would appear that Mutou does not even notice them. He returns to his desk and retrieves a scientific journal from one of the drawers. I guess I got to him there.

The class returns to the near-silence that Mutou and I left it in before our chat. Mixed feelings of tiredness and anticipation buzz around the room. Everyone here is either waiting for a chance to rest or the chance to get their last-minute preparations underway. The clock on the wall slowly ticks the remaining class time away, until finally the bells cry out, ending the torment.


Link


Image: Before you all leave, I expect the answers for those problems by Monday.

The class sighs as one, instantly regretting slacking off, but still acutely aware of the more pressing issues at hand. The classroom empties in a blink as everyone rushes to their last-minute festival preparations. I stay behind and try to quickly finish the questions so I don't have to bother with it over the rest of the weekend, with the festival and all tomorrow. Apart from me, Hanako is the only one left, obviously waiting for Lilly. It's weird that Lilly comes all the way to our classroom to pick her up. I expect that moving around is at least nominally harder for her than it is for Hanako. But it's none of my business, and I naturally don't ask about it from Hanako.

Despite the relative proximity of our seats, neither tries to strike up a conversation about that or anything else either, so an oppressive silence falls upon the classroom. Time passes in silence. It's probably just fifteen minutes or so but it feels longer. I turn pages of my notebook. Hanako turns pages of the novel she's reading. My pencil lead splinters against the paper just when I was about to finish a paragraph. The sounds of my irritated sigh and subsequent fumbling around for a sharpener feel like they're breaking the mood in the classroom. Hanako keeps her eyes firmly away from my direction. Before long, Lilly's tall figure appears in the doorway.

Image: Hanako?

Her name is all it takes to make Hanako jump up from her desk and run to Lilly. They talk quietly for a moment, but it isn't long before Lilly leaves down the hall and Hanako idles back into the classroom, taking her seat once again. I watch Hanako out of the corner of my eye out of sheer curiosity at the idea that the two would be separated.

For a couple of minutes, she does nothing but sit with her chin in her hand, staring at the desk dejectedly. The boredom evidently becomes too much for her though, her slender frame reaching into her bag and pulling out a small book. Come to think of it, that isn't the one I saw her reading at the library. She must be quite a fast reader to get through them at this rate.

Image: You're not gonna level the school, are ya?

Thankfully, after about ten minutes of restlessly shuffling in her seat and trying to read, Hanako closes her book and leaves too. As should I, since the assignment is all but finished and there is nothing else to do in the classroom. Not that I have anything to do anywhere else either.


Link


The school is a beehive of activity but nobody pays me any heed. I saunter past classrooms filled with students frantically doing this and that, buzzing around like little worker bees. You wouldn't guess the school day is over.

It's a bit quieter outside, but not by much. People zip by, left and right, hurrying as quick as they can; busy and energetic. I feel the opposite. The midday sun seems to be draining all the spirit out of my body, making it feel limp all over. Warm, soft air flows inside my shirt, feeling like a cushion. I yawn lazily, thinking about what I'd do. I'll drop off my books at the dorms first, and then... something I haven't decided yet. Maybe Kenji is in his room. On the way to dorms, I spot Emi coming my way, running despite not having those weird running prosthetics on. I wave at her and she skids to a stop.

Image: Yo, Hisao!

Spatters of white and green paint adorn her nose and chin respectively, but her smile is wide, as it seems it always is.

Image

Image: ...

Image

Image: JESUS CHRIST IT'S A LION GET IN THE CAR!

Image: Whatchadoin'?

Image: ...Nothing, really. I don't have anything to do for the festival and everyone else seems to be doing something important.

Image: That's perfect! Then you can help me and Rin!

Image: With the festival preparations? Eeeh, I'm not sure if I would be of much help.

Image: That's fine! I'm not much help either!

I facepalm.

Emi grabs my wrist and starts dragging me back inside the school quite forcefully. Even her walking speed is more like jogging, making me stumble over myself simply trying to keep up. The stairs slow Emi down a little bit. Maybe it's hard to climb with her legs, or maybe she's finally run out of breath. We go all the way back to the third floor and to the seniors' hallway, ending up where I left five minutes ago. I could just as well have stayed here waiting for Emi, had I known.

Image: So are you... is Rin working on that mural, still?

Image: That's right! She needs all kinds of paints and brushes and stuff, so I went to get them from the art classroom.

Image: And you need me to help with that.

Image: Well... Rin told me you had already helped her so I thought you wouldn't mind.

Image: I see.


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So thanks to Emi's flaky logic, here I am again, collecting stuff from the art classroom for other people. The room is empty apart from ourselves and the lonely specks of dust floating in the air. Emi skips straight away to the back wall, digging out a tiny, crumpled piece of paper from her pocket. While she tries to make sense of the scrawled handwriting, I take a closer look at the materials lying around here.

Dozens of paint cans and bottles are arranged on the shelves in a most unorganized fashion. Some look like they have been left there for several decades; relics of previous art club generations. Next to the heavy stacks of neatly piled drawing paper are boxes full of different-sized brushes and unsorted crayons. The smells of paint, turpentine and fresh paper float in the stale air, mixing in my nostrils to form that unmistakable scent of art. Emi studies her notes, comparing them to markings on the various paint cans, and passes them to me as she finds the correct matches. She stretches her neck to look on the topmost shelf, but it's not quite enough. Her eye level stays below the shelf no matter what she does.

*boing.. boing...*

Image: かわいい...

Emi gives up and just looks up to the shelf longingly, like a child at a toy store, huffing in annoyance. After a moment of building anger, she starts jumping up and down, apparently trying to speed-read the labels during the fraction of a second she can see them, and catch what she can. It's no surprise that she fails miserably, and almost manages to bring the entire shelf crashing down. Now I see why me lending a hand here would be useful.

Image: Come on, let me do that. You can't jump high enough, and I don't want you to hurt yourself trying. Also, I'm like twice your height.

Image: You are not!

She turns around, flaring scorn, flushed cheeks and all.

Image: Just kidding, just kidding. Anyway, I'll look up there, okay?

She glares at me one more time, but can't come up with a retort. With a grudging “hmph,” turns her back to me. So I begin scrounging around the top shelf for paint while below, Emi crouches to scavenge what she can from the cupboards. I shake my head a little, after double-checking to ensure she can't see me do so. Emi having a complex about her height was a surprise; I wouldn't have joked about it otherwise. She seems easygoing, but I guess everyone has their weak spots.

Only after we have almost all the items collected and spread out on a desk like a treasure hunter's spoils do I realize that it wasn't necessarily the height jab that got her riled up. She might not like to be told that she can't do something. Like jump. But Emi herself seems to have forgotten all about it already. Quick to anger, quick to forgive... she is that type of a person? At least she doesn't seem to have taken anything to heart, as she chatters away happily while we pick up the rest of the items and then make our way back to Rin. I chivalrously carry the bulk of the materials as we make our way towards the dormitories.

Image: Oweth, prithee taketh mine burden and slammest thee yonder pingas...

Image: Rin is really stressed about getting her painting done. It's her own fault though; she should've started earlier.

Image: Is she going to make it?

Image: No idea. It looks good to me, but with Rin, you never know what's going on. I found her this morning lying in front of the dorm in the fetal position. She hadn't slept all night. I can't believe that the night nurses hadn't found her. And now she's painting again like crazy.

Image: Yeah, I've... noticed that she comes off as kinda... unhinged. So to speak.

Emi giggles at that, as well as at my likely too-obvious awkwardness.

Image: I don't mind it. She's just a little weird sometimes.

On that I can agree with her. Unlike me, Emi seems to be cool with Rin's... whatever it is that feels so off about her. Still, they don't feel close like Misha and Shizune do. With them working as a single entity sometimes, it's hard to say where one ends and the other begins. Even though they're so different, just like Emi and Rin are. And Rin is the most different of them all, different from anyone else I've met.

Image: Yeah, I guess she's a very... unique person.

I return to that word again, as if it encompasses Rin's personality by itself, but really it's just a substitute for a lengthy description of her oddities. Emi giggles as I grasp about for a properly descriptive word.

Image: She's just weird. You know, earlier, she just spent half an hour sitting on her box. And stared at her toes.

She giggles again in a way that makes me think she doesn't know what's funny about it, it just is.

Image: All that time.


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The working area is a mess, but the mural itself has taken over even more of the wall since I last saw it. The disfigured human figures have been mostly colored in tones of red, pink, and orange; weird, imaginary... things populating the spaces between. It looks... nice. I can't think of any word that would describe the work concisely and comprehensively so I settle myself on a nondescript “nice.” But honestly, it seems that the area around the wall becomes untidier at the same rate as the mural progresses. The ground is littered with dozens of paint cans, various art supplies and empty soda bottles.

Rin herself is in the center of this chaos, standing there looking very cozy as if she was a natural part of the scene. Her pant legs have been rolled up to her knees, exposing her thin legs which sport a drying spectrum of war paintings, similar to those on Emi's face. Emi sprints to Rin ahead of me and gleefully jumps in front of her.

Image: I'm back!

Image: That was fast. Did you run in the corridors again?

Image: Hisao helped me.

Emi points victoriously at me. Rin turns around following Emi's finger with her eyes, looking at my general direction. She nods absentmindedly at me. She looks like she hasn't slept since last night: a vacant, glazed stare that's focused slightly off me, and movements like in a slow-motion movie.

Image: Hello, Hisao. Thank you for the help.

Image: Don't mention it.

Image: I just did.

Image: Never mind. Looks like you've made progress. Looking good, as far as I can tell.

Image: But now you get more bad luck.

Image: I know, but I'm willing to take the risk.

Image: ...I'm gonna die, aren't I? :awesome

Image: That's a very nice thing to say. For me, of course. Not for you. This is why artists are always unlucky. They have to constantly look at their unfinished paintings. So artists can't find romance, their favorite TV shows are canceled, or they die young because of an unspecified disease. It's a deep and mysterious law of the universe. Unless they are blind.

She considers this for a while, looking like she's going to fall asleep.

Image: There is a boy. At the art club, you see. Blind boy. So he doesn't. See.

Image: You already told me.

I glance sideways at Emi and she glances back in a way that tells she has heard this one before too. Neither of us says anything to Rin, though, so she continues her monotone soliloquy like an unfunny stand-up comedian.

Image: He should become an artist. No bad luck, guaranteed. Don't you think that would be a good idea?

Image: That only blind people should become artists? No, not as such.

...

Image: You might have a point.

Abandoning this train of thought, she turns again to consider her work and starts humming a tune that I think I recognize, but can't remember the name of. Emi arranges the supplies we brought and moves a few paint cans around, trying to bring some organization to the scene.

Image: Emi, I need the Prussian blue paint.

Image: Which one's Prussian blue...

She is staring helplessly at seven or eight cans, each with a different tone of blue.

Image: It's the one with Prussian blue paint in it.

I laugh.

Image: Geez, Rin! You're not helping at all!

I look around as well, even though I don't know what Prussian blue looks like, either. I wonder what blue has to do with Prussia. ...Or what Prussia even is. The name sounds vaguely familiar, but I can't place it. While none of the blues looks more Prussian than the others, the small print on the labels is legible enough to determine that none say anything about the contents being Prussian.

Image: There is no Prussian blue here.

That was when I noticed an elongated creature emerge from one of the cans, its head covered with a black helmet with a spike... a pickelhaube? My pulse rushes as it elegantly picks out a rifle from the can with only its legs and I am reminded of Rin's dexterity with only her legs.


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Image: What the fuck?!

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Post Re: Katawa Shoujo. (Playthrough 1)
THIS IS AMAZING
Also now every time someone says something about Prussian blue, i will remember this and probably start laughing because of paint.

KEEP 'EM COMING

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Post Re: Katawa Shoujo. (Playthrough 1)
The strange brown creature marched off with such a dignified air that I could not help but follow it with my eyes as it stalwartly walked into the horizon, a look of gentle resignation on its face.

Image: I know I've seen that face somewhere before...

That's when a playful poke to my ribs brings me back to reality.

Image: We need to go get more, then.

I open my mouth to say that actually, we're not both needed for such a simple task like finding another pot of Prussian Blue, but Emi's already grabbed my arm and started dragging me off.

I wave to Rin, who doesn't seem to have noticed that the two of us are even leaving. Well, she'll notice when she goes for her Prussian Blue and finds out it's still not there. Maybe.

Image: ...

Probably not, actually. While I'm busy thinking of how weird Rin is, Emi's been dragging me back to the art classroom. I feel myself starting to run out of breath.

Image: What's the rush?

Image: Huh?

Emi's giving me an appraising look, as if she's trying to figure something out.

Image: It's just that you seem to be in a hurry. I'm not sure I can keep up.


Link


Comprehension dawns on her face.

Image: You're not out of breath, are you?

There's almost an accusing playfulness to her tone. I'm tempted to deny it, but then I realize that I've been breathing heavy since we stopped.

Image

Image: S-shut your face! You've got rocketpowered spacelegs! Of course I was gonna run out of breath!

Image: :errg:

Image: A little. Not everybody can be in shape, you know. Takes all kinds, right?

I slap my beer belly lightly to make my point.

Emi frowns. It's not a particularly good frown.

Image: Er, that is... I should... get in shape?

Not that I hadn't already decided to try for that. After that flutter on the track I figure there's a real need to get in some sort of running habit. I was, after all, feeling pretty good until I had my false alarm. Well, actually I wasn't. But it was... fun? Meanwhile, my comment seems to have helped Emi come to some sort of a decision.

Image: Well, that's it, then.

She gives me a serious look.

Image: You're joining me.

...

Image: I beg your pardon?

Image: In the mornings. You and I are now running partners. I've got a routine all planned out. In fact...

She produces a crumpled sheet of paper.

Image: I've got it right here with me.

Image
Image


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I take the sheets of paper and give it a once-over. Times, dates, and laps, all laid out. A slow increase from just a few laps a day to... My God, does she expect to have me running marathons? And where did she find the time to get this all together? And how long has she been planning this, anyway?

Image: You've been planning this?

Image: A little. But it's really the nurse's idea! He told me to keep an eye on you to make sure you exercised like he told you to!

A vast conspiracy? Maybe Kenji's on to something here...

Image: This seems a bit much for just “keeping an eye on me.”

Image: Well, to be honest I've been trying to find a running partner in the mornings for a while now.

My God, Kenji! If you could only see the scheme unfolding!

Image: Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. What do you need a partner for, anyway?

Image: It's easier to keep up a workout if you're not the only one doing it. Isn't that obvious? You're less likely to quit if someone else is counting on you to be there, right?

Image: I see. And this won't only keep you running, but it'll make sure that I keep running as well. Meaning that I'll be obeying the nurse...

Image: ...and I'll be keeping an eye on you just like he asked! You caught on quick, Hisao.

Image: And if I refuse?

I have no intention of refusing, of course. But I've got to at least put up a token resistance to such a masterfully executed plan.

Image: Well, if you refused I'd have to pout. And you'd have to live with being the guy who made Emi Ibarazaki pout. You don't want that on your conscience, do you?

As if to demonstrate, Emi begins pouting. It is the most adorable, heart-wrenching thing I've ever seen.

Image: Okay! I'll do it! Just... don't do that! I feel like I just hit a puppy with a twuck and turned it into a krabby patty!

Image: So it's settled, right? You're going to be my running partner? Follow the workout? And the dietary plan?

Image: Dietary plan?

Image: Yeah, the dietary plan! You've got to eat healthy if you're going to get in shape, you know!

I examine the workout routine closely.

Image: I don't see a dietary plan on here.

Image: Oh right! I forgot to give that to you!

Another crumpled sheet of paper is produced and handed over. It's somewhat less detailed.

Image

Image: I had the nurse help me come up with it.

The amount of dedication that the nurse has to keeping me in good health is pretty overwhelming. I don't know many school nurses who would get one of their students to spy on me, much less help come up with a dietary plan. Then again, I guess I'm not in a normal school. And maybe that's not such a bad thing. Then again, this dietary plan seems to cut out just about everything that'll be offered at the festival tomorrow. Hmm.

Image: So when does our running start?

Image: After the festival.

Image: Right after? What if I've had something to eat there? I could get a stomach ache, you know.

Image: I meant the day after the festival.

Image: I knew that.

Wasn't there something we were supposed to be doing?

Image: Oh! I guess we should get that paint for Rin, huh?

Image: Oh no! It slipped my mind!

Image

In perfect sync with the two strange girls that made this announcement, I follow through.

Image: わすれちゃったよお!!

Image: ... eh?

Image: Uh, I mean... I guess we should get that paint for Rin, huh?

By the time we get the paint and get back to the mural, Rin's already wandered off.

Oh well. Emi and I both decide to part ways there, leaving the paint on the ground. Rin'll find it. Whenever she comes back, anyway. Festival's tomorrow. I'm actually a little excited for it. At the same time, the week's left me feeling pretty tired, so I read a little and then go to bed.

Image

Image

Image: I have bread and I know how to shoot it! Stay far far far far far far far far far far far far far far far far far far far far far far far far far far far far far far far far far far far far far far far far far far far away from me!


Link


The next day, I wake up feeling a little lightheaded. It's almost noon already. Sleeping late is fine, since it's a Sunday and there are no classes. Not just a Sunday, though, but the festival as well. From my window I can already see some people at the soba booth slinging noodles onto plates for people with a craving for low-quality food. I throw back a handful of my morning meds and ponder how to spend the day. There will be a few exams in the coming week, but I don't consider those as ominous as others, so I'm not as worried about them as I probably should be. With no urgent obligations regarding education, I should be free to spend the day at the festival as I like.

Finishing my morning routine, I exit into the hallway, intending to go out and find something to eat. Passing by his door, I decide to see what Kenji's up to today out of impulse. I'm curious if he has any plans, since everyone is doing something.

Then again, I can picture him having built a soundproof shelter in his room. Or possibly something like a fort, complete with “No Girls Allowed” sign. ... and with the “Girls” crossed out and “body” crudely scrawled underneath it. Knocking on his door which is luckily devoid of any kind of sign, I hear again the unsettling clicking of at least ten locks being pulled back. The door opens up a crack.


Link


Image: Who is it?

Image: You're supposed to ask that before you open the door.

Image: Oh, it's you. Damn, it's early.

Image: It's not really that early.

Image: What is it, man?

Image: Nothing, was just gonna ask what you're gonna do today. Half the school is out there already.

Image: Out where? Why?

Image: What?

Image: What what? Is today special? Why are they there? Who are? I can hear them. It's loud... don't tell me... Has the invasion begun?

He suddenly looks more alarmed.

Image: What day is it, man?

Image: Yeah I guess you can't see the big wooden booths outside, and people selling stuff...

Image: What the hell are you talking about? I have my curtains closed at all times to thwart the snipers.

Image: Uhh, it's the festival. You know that... right?

Image: Oh shit, that's today? Ah, damn. Ah... damn. Dammit. I can't believe I forgot, I don't have my fort finished yet. This is bad. This is going to be a very bad day... It's good you told me this, man. This is going to be a bad day.

Image: Why?

Image: Oh man, they're going to be everywhere. The people. Outside my window. Socializing!

Kenji rubs his temples nervously, suddenly looking very ill.

Image: It's going to be loud as hell. Damn, and I was going to go out today, but now it's ruined, everything is ruined. This is awful. This sucks. This sucks! What the hell, this really sucks. I can't go anywhere now. There's nowhere to run.

Kenji seems nervous. You could even say he's majorly freaking out.

Image: I can't believe this. So that's what today was. Damn, and I couldn't even prepare for it. I couldn't even brace myself and now it's here and I can't do anything. You should have told me this earlier, dude. I mean, at least, I know, but... I could have known earlier! Imagine what I could have accomplished...

Image: Sorry. I thought you knew. So I guess you're not going to do anything today? The weather is even good. Yesterday was really windy, so I thought today would be cold. It's not, though, so there's no reason to just stay inside. Yeah, you should check the festival out.

Kenji groans and covers his face with his hands.

Image: Agh, no, no! I can't do it. They'll eat me alive out there, I know it.

That has to be a joke, but he said it with such a straight face.

Relatively straight.

Image: What are you going to do? We should hang out in here, you can help me build my fort. We might still make it if we work together.

Image: I wonder... I'm kinda hungry, but I made this deal that I try to take better care of myself. Be healthier, you know. Dunno if I should steer clear of the takoyaki, or head straight in.

Image: Deal? Sounds ominous. So what are you getting in return?

Image: Nothing, I guess? It's not that kind of a deal. You know Emi, from our year? We kinda agreed to watch each other's backs and...

Image: Aieeeeeeee!

The shrill scream and the expression of abject terror in Kenji's face chill my blood. It's as if I told a Catholic priest I sold my soul to the devil.

Image: Her! You sold your soul to the devil, and didn't get anything in return? What the hell is wrong with you, man? Do you know who you are dealing with? She's a public health danger. Do you know how many people she sends to the hospital monthly with her carefully placed flying tackles? She's one of them! A key player in the vast conspiracy that aims for the complete submission of everything that is manly. I can't believe what I'm hearing. I trusted in your judgment, man. I thought we were brothers. You have to call it off before it's too late. This festival too; it's just one of their ploys.

He fingers his scarf nervously, faster and faster like he is trying to start a fire, then slowly begins to calm down once the panic attack finishes running its course.

Image: Dude. Are you like... raping your scarf with your fingers?

Image: I'm going to have to find some place to hide in, a safe haven. And then knock the lights out of myself so that I don't have to experience this horrible day. I have the perfect thing for that. I must prepare now. Don't go to the festival.

Image: Okay.

Image: Later, dude.

The door slowly closes with a low creak and I don't know how to feel about what Kenji just said.

It's kinda unsettling, and now I start to feel doubtful, myself. Should I bother going? I've got a book I've been meaning to read. Something about an underground postal system that may or may not exist. It's short, too. I could have it finished in a day. But would that be a good way to spend my time? Well, yeah. It definitely would be.

But I suppose that it would probably be a better idea to head outside. See the festival. Try to integrate with all the other sideshow acts. Honestly, I should at least make an attempt to keep up the somewhat friendly personality I've had the past week. Maybe get something to eat, my stomach suggests. It's almost lunchtime... I could at least grab something from one of the stalls outside.


Link


I'm soon outside, surrounded by various students and people who may or may not be their parents. Every so often I catch a glimpse of someone who clearly just came up from town for the promise of a festival. They're easy to spot.

The ones who can't stop staring, and behind their eyes you can tell they're thinking “Now, what's wrong with this one?” I almost want to yell at them. But at the same time, can I deny that I've been doing the same thing all week? A wave of something like disgust sweeps over me; guilt for my own narrow-mindedness. ...

I push the thoughts aside, concentrating on the pangs of hunger that burn my guts like a wildfire. The scent of something fried leads me to the promised land, where I can get some lunch. I'm just getting my order when a loud voice interrupts me.

Image: Hey, what the hell are you doing?


Link


Image: Having break— er, lunch.

Image: Breakfast? You mean you just got up?

Image: Er... um.... ahh....

Suddenly sleeping all morning feels like a crime.

Image: No, I meant lunch... honest.

She's not buying it.

Image: Brunch?

Image: That's not a healthy breakfast at all!

She snatches my food out of my hand and glares at me. What the hell is this girl doing?

Image: Hey, that's my breakfast!

Image: What happened to it being your lunch?

Image: That's my... whatever, it's my food!

Emi places her hands on her hips and begins lecturing me.

Image: Did you really forget your dietary plan already? You need to be more conscious of your health, Hisao! What about your heart?

Image: Waaahhh~! A bully! My heart's fine the way it is! Mostly.

All I get in response is a roll of the eyes.

Image: I doubt that. You wouldn't be here if that was the case, would you?

The girl's got a point, of course. But I'm not about to concede it.

Image: It's not that bad of a heart! Certainly it can handle a little grease now and again!

Yeah, sure. And it handled a little running just fine, too. Emi seems unconvinced. Not surprising, as I haven't even managed to convince myself.

Image: Maybe, but not if you're sleeping the day away all the time!

A devious look suddenly crosses her face.

Image: Of course, if you'd been following a routine from the beginning you wouldn't be in this situation...

Image: Hey, I've had a pretty eventful week, you know! For example, I almost died! And there was a lot of meeting people, and then I was on a roof for a while...

Image: Which is no excuse for slacking off, you know. A little near death experience is no excuse for skipping basic exercise. Like running in the mornings.

Image: You sure are hardcore, Emi-chan.

She nods, as if something important has just been decided.


Link


Image: So it's settled, then! You've seen the error of your ways and are willing to adhere to my routine, right? I'll see you bright and early in the morning? We'll be running buddies?

Image: You know, you'd already convinced me yesterday that this was a good idea. You don't need to convince me again.

Not that I did a good job of being convinced. She's right about eating healthy, after all. And here I am ordering up something grossly unhealthy. But delicious! There are more important things than deliciousness, aren't there? Like staying alive? If Emi weren't here browbeating me for my poor decisions, I'd probably... Hey, wait a second. A sudden question springs to mind.

Image: Hey, why the hell have you taken such an interest in my well-being?

Emi shrugs and grins at me.

Image: You're the new guy. I figure you don't have any friends yet, right? Besides, I've caused you trouble all week, right? I owe you for not getting angry. And I told the nurse I would, anyway.

Image: I'm not delivering any rounds...

Uh... huh. Crazy little running girl wants to make me healthy. Well, I suppose there are worse fates.

Image: Okay, that sounds... fine. Thanks for your concern. Tomorrow morning, then?

I figure that ends the conversation, so I turn to leave.

Image: Not so fast!


Link


I feel a hand on my collar and in a second I've been yanked backwards.

Image: Hey, no need to be so rough! What do you want now?

Emi looks almost wounded by my annoyed question.

Image: Thought you could use the company.

Her eyes narrow.

Image: Besides, you were just going to try sneaking some more of that fried crap, weren't you?

Fuck.

Well, I wasn't going to, but now that she mentions it that would have been a really good idea.

Image: I was not!

Another glare.

Image: Okay, maybe I was going to get a little...

The glare continues.

Image: Okay, a lot.

Jesus, I'm a danger to myself and others, aren't I? I get done agreeing that I need to be healthier, and then immediately start considering the next unhealthy habit that comes my way.

Image: I knew it! You can't be trusted. Now I definitely have to stick with you.

This whole situation feels silly. I can only imagine what passersby think of the sight of me being lectured by a tiny girl half my size. Maybe I should just give up for now.

Image: Fine, do what you like.

I sigh. Might as well make the best of this.

Image: What do you want to do?

Emi thinks for a minute.

Image: Well, I promised Rin I'd stop by her mural... So let's do that!

I confess I'm slightly curious as to how her mural turned out myself, so again I consider there are worse fates. I give a nod of assent and find myself almost dragged bodily through the crowd as Emi races to our destination. By the time we reach the dorms, I can feel my heart pounding.

My heart shouldn't be pounding after just that. I take a few deep breaths, willing myself to calm down. I'm one of the most normal looking people in the school, but I still have to be here. Sometimes I almost wish I'd lost a hand or something. At least then it'd be obvious that I belong. But instead I don't even look sick. Even now, trying to catch my breath, I just look out of shape. Emi looks back and notices my state of distress.

Image: You're not going to die on me, are you? Please don't! It'll be all my fault, and I don't want to deal with that kind of guilt. Besides, after the last time I really don't think I need to see that again, especially because the nurse will totally say it's all my fault.

Image: Stop making that face. I might die IRL and on the internet at once...


Link


Image: N... nah, I'm fine. Guess I need to start running after all.

Image: And you wanted to keep eating your greasy... whatever it was. See? It's a good thing I found you, right?

Yes it was.

Image: Maybe.

Of course I don't add that I wouldn't be in this state if she hadn't dragged me across the festival grounds. Further conversation is interrupted by the sudden appearance of Rin.

Image: Oh, it's you.

Image: HOW ARE YOU, GENTLEMEN. ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US.

She nods.

Image: Hello Emi.

Image: Hey Rin! I brought Hisao along because he was going to give himself a heart attack!

Image: I was not!

My objection goes unnoticed.

Image: We stopped by to see how the mural turned out!

Rin nods slowly.

Image: Well, it's right there. You can see it pretty clearly.

I find myself wondering how long Rin's been standing here in front of the mural. Has anyone even stopped by to look at it? Are we the first ones? Obviously we're not the first to see it, of course. I mean, it's pretty big. You'd be hard-pressed not to see it. At the same time, I don't think anyone's actually talked to Rin about it. Anyone but us, that is. I feel compelled to say something.

Image: It looks pretty good.

Image: I'm still not happy with how it turned out. But I guess it'll do.

She seems almost resigned to it. I'm not sure what she expected as a result, but I guess she didn't quite get there.

We stand in front of the mural, taking it all in. I try my best to concentrate on the composition of the thing. It's actually fairly interesting. The colors swoop and blend together, dragging me along with them. There's a dreamlike quality to the whole thing that makes me almost feel sleepy. I try hunting out some of the colors Emi and I grabbed for her. Try as I might, I can't see any Prussian Blue. Oh well. I'm sure it's in there somewhere. My feet start to hurt, but Rin doesn't seem inclined to move on.

This time, I'm ready. I've memorized all their attack patterns and I settle into a defensive stance as the mural slowly shifts, the many myriad eyes looking me dead in the face.

Their mouths open... and break into song.


Link


Image: ..............WHAT THE FUUUUUUUUCK?!

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Post Re: Katawa Shoujo. (Playthrough 1)
Entertaining and educational AT THE SAME TIME
I should start running again, I used to do that few years back and it was actually worth it.

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Post Re: Katawa Shoujo. (Playthrough 1)
It is now 2018. Four years have passed since this stupid adventure began.

The little creatures, swinging their legs like Zombie Elvis, finishes their musical performance and skitters off into a tiny door that melted into the wall. Two bystanders backed the fuck up.

Image: Check please.
Image: Check please.
I was hit by a sudden sense of relief. Finally, proof that I wasn't crazy!

Then, a morbid sense of fear. This world was really out of whack...

Image: J-just like in my japanese anime!

Thankfully, I was put out of this trance by Emi's voice punching a hole through my thought processes.


Link


Image: Hey Rin, have you eaten?

Image: Of course. You can't survive otherwise.

Image: What about in the past five hours?

Image: Maybe. But I'm hungry again, so maybe that means I'm wrong.

Emi grins and claps her hands together.

Image: Good! Come get some food with us!

Rin nods in assent.

Image: Okay, but we should hurry before they notice I'm gone.

Somehow I don't think they'd care. Whoever they are. As we head back to the food stalls, I cast a longing eye over the fried food. No, I'd better not. I'm pretty sure Emi wouldn't let me, anyway. UGUUU.


Link


We find a nice spot on the grass and sit down to eat our purchases. Well, my purchases, anyway. Somehow I've wound up paying for all the food.

Typical.

Surprisingly, my (unfried) food is pretty good. Silence falls as Emi and I eat and Rin stares at... something or other, occasionally eating a bite or two of her food. I finish my meal first, and lay back on the grass. Emi glances up from her food.

Image: Tired, Hisao?

Image: A little, I guess.

Image: Well, don't oversleep or anything tomorrow morning. We start our morning runs, remember?

Actually, they'd slipped my mind. I was actually just enjoying myself. Wandering around the festival with these two has actually been fun.

Image: Yeah, I'll set an alarm.

Image: You'd better be there! I'll get angry if you aren't!

Image: God forbid. (meanie! ._.)

Image: I don't think God comes into it. Unless there's some kind of freak accident and your alarm clock shorts out.

Image: That might be a random act of God.

Image: Well don't cause any random acts of God, then.

Image: H-hey dude, chill... I'm over that phase.

Image: Riiiiiight.

A plan forms itself in my mind. It's a plan that makes me feel kind of guilty, but I throw it into execution anyway. Dammit, I've earned a little fried food. And anyway, I'm going to start running tomorrow, right? So the actual routine all starts then, not now. Ergo, the dietary portion starts tomorrow too, ergo I can have something unhealthy today. A sort of final farewell to all the stuff I used to eat with wild abandon before the hospital.

Why am I not fat?

Image: Actually, I suppose I should head back to my room. I had some homework to do, and if I'm going to run in the morning I should make it an early night...

Those narrowed eyes again.

Image: You sure you're not just going to sneak off and buy some of that fried stuff over there?

Image: Nah, I'm too full to bother now.

I pat my stomach for emphasis.

Image: Besides, you two have cleaned me out anyway.

Emi giggles. It's a surprisingly pleasant sound. Another pang of guilt. She's got to know that I'm lying to her, doesn't she? Or is she just that trusting? I feel kind of like a monster.

Image: All part of my master plan, Hisao. Well, I guess I'll see you tomorrow morning then. Thanks for the food! And for keeping us company!

And here I thought she was doing me a favor. Rin nods in agreement.

Image: A-are you the EGG MAN?!

Image: MY MASTER PLAN!^^

Image: I won't say “See you tomorrow” because that would be like predicting the future, and I'm pretty sure I can't do that.

Image: ... Okay. Bye, you two.

I feel oddly glad that I decided to leave my room today. Not a bad way to start my second week here, I suppose. Once I'm sure I'm out of Emi's line of sight, I make a beeline for the food stands and buy some cake. At least it's not fried, right? That's slightly better than what I was planning to do. I still feel a little bad about lying to Emi, though. She really does seem concerned about my health. I'll make it up to her somehow. Better head back to my room. Hey, I do have work to do. My book waits for me, and I flop on to my bed and read through the fireworks display.

Eventually all the walking around (or more accurately, running around) catches up with me. I really am out of shape. Emi dragging me out in the morning to run might just be a good thing after all. It's something to look forward to.

That night... I have a weird dream.


Link


My alarm's beeping shatters the early morning quiet, and I find myself wondering where to find the motivation to rise. A damn shame I can't just WISE FWOM MY GWAVE.

Class is still quite far off, but I agreed to run with Emi in the mornings. Really, I'm not that interested in running as a hobby, or even as a possible life-lengthening exercise. However, I feel obligated to follow through on my promise to Emi yesterday, which is why I find myself throwing on some running shorts and a light tee-shirt.

The cool morning air caresses my face as the morning sunshine causes the dew on the grass to sparkle, nearly blinding me at first. As I make my way down to the track, an ugly thought strikes me. What if this is some sort of joke that Emi's playing on me?

Would that surprise me, really? Hell, I'd probably do it to the new guy, too. At the very least, I'm sure Emi and Rin made a bet on whether or not I'd actually show up. I feel a sense of trepidation as the track comes into view.


Link


Image: You're late!

It would seem that Emi is already there. What a relief.

Image: Not according to my watch. We both are early, in fact.

Image: Damn. You've got me there.

Image

Image: I'm glad you're actually here. I was afraid that this was a joke or something.

Image: Nah, I'd never make someone get up early for nothing. Plus, Rin owes me 500 yen now. She didn't think you'd actually show up.

I knew it! Nice to know Emi was on my side, at least.

Image: When she damn well feels like it!

Emi hops off of the bleachers and begins stretching out. She's remarkably lithe, almost like a dancer. I set out to stretch as well, but then realize that I don't exactly remember how to stretch properly. It's been ages since I stretched for anything, if you don't count my one stint at running last week. And even then, I don't think I actually stretched beforehand.

The specter of my long hospital stay rises up again. I can't say I was all that active before the hospital stay, though, so maybe I'm just being morose. Emi giggles as she watches me stretch out.

Image: No no no Hisao, you've got to hold it for longer than that!

Image: I'm trying! It kinda hurts a little.

Image: Ha! That's because you're out of shape. You've got to get some flexibility in you, like this.

I pull a perfect Obelix impression.

Image: I AM NOT FAT!

To demonstrate, Emi reaches down and puts her head through her legs. God bless you, Emi. You could eat your own pussy.

Image: I see. Is that the sort of thing I should strive for?

Image: Of course! Flexibility is important for any runner. You'll be able to go faster the more you stretch out.

That makes no sense to me, but Emi seems to believe it's true. With Emi's help, I manage to stretch myself out properly. I can't help but notice that when she thinks about how to explain things to me, her mouth scrunches up in concentration. It's adorable.

Image: Not bad, Hisao. Come on, we'd better start running. We'll start off with just a mile, okay? That's four laps around the track, got it?

Image: That sounds fine to me.


Link


This shouldn't be too hard, right? A hazy memory of running a mile for gym class surfaces in my mind. Yeah, it wasn't that bad. Emi sets a pretty good pace, and I fall in behind her.

Image: Try to keep up, okay Hisao?

Image: Roger.

We round the first curve without incident, though I can already feel my heart rate increasing slightly. By the second curve, I've started to breathe through my mouth. Emi doesn't even seem to be breaking a sweat. As if to punctuate her superiority, she turns around and starts running backwards.

Image: Are you doing okay, Hisao?

Image: Never... better.

Image: Oh really? Maybe I should speed up then, hmm?

Image: Oh... no, ...wouldn't want you... ...to... overex...ert yourself.

My heavy panting and wheezing makes the statement less convincing than I had hoped. Emi simply smiles and turns around again.

Image: You're the boss, Hisao. We'll stay at this pace.

I get the feeling that I'm being mocked. If I weren't in such terrible shape, I'd probably feel offended. By the third lap, my breath is coming in ragged gasps. I'm also awash in my own sweat. Gross. We round the curve to start our fourth lap, and Emi looks back at me with a grin.

Image: Here we go!

She takes off at blinding speed while I stubbornly stick to my slower pace. By the time I get to the first turn, she's already rounding the second. As I struggle across the back stretch, Emi continues running and catches up to me.

Image: Come on, Hisao! You can do it!

I'd answer her, but I'm too focused on getting air into my lungs and ignoring the burning in my leg muscles. Part of me wants to say something like “Maybe you can, but I'm about to die here.”

But again, I doubt I can actually form words right now. Emi keeps pace with me as I round the second turn and cross the finish line. Her sprint seems to have gotten her sweating. It's actually caused her shirt to turn slightly translucent. It seems she wears a black sports bra. I feel a vague stab of guilt for being the sort of guy who stares at a girl's chest, but my legs and chest are burning so badly I can't bring myself to care that much.

Image: I'm a lolicon after all. ::)

Image: Not bad for a first effort, Hisao.


Link


Image: Ki— ...kind of you... to say... so.

Emi seems to be, if not out of breath, at least breathing a little more heavily than she was before we started running. It must have been the sprint that did it.

Image: Hey, I've got to get a few sprints in. You should walk around the track to cool down. Then we can stretch out, and we'll be all done, okay?

Image: Sounds great.

My legs are on fire, and my breathing is still heavy, but surprisingly my heart seems to be taking the strain well. Another triumph of medical science, I suppose.

Image: You should put your hands behind your head. It makes it easier to catch your breath.

Surprisingly, she's right. I begin to stroll around the track, happy to feel my breath coming back to me.

Big mistake. I shouldn't have lowered my guard...

Image

There's a blur as Emi sprints by me, lightly slapping my face.

Image: Whuh?!

Image: Got your nose~~!

Image: What the.... HEY, GIVE THAT BACK!

Image: Gotta catch me first!

Grunting, I inhale and take off after her.


Link


Image: WHHHHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

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