I wake up slightly disoriented, but thankfully, in a place of my own volition this time. The rest is doing me good after running around for a whole day. I take a few more minutes to check the time and take stock of my surroundings.
Before I curled up for the night, I remember seeing some black bags, and a fridge. I carefully decide to investigate the fridge. Wary of what I could find (I have a few ideas, what with all the black plastic bags littering the landfill) I open up the sealed fridge and find another black plastic bag. It might just be my imagination… (or the fact that this is a landfill) but is there a putrid smell?
I open up the bag and bite down hard, focusing on the pain so as not to fall back or scream. In front of me lies the mangled body of Mion Sonozaki. The implications are frightening enough. It’s the same girl, the blown kneecaps are a dead give away. That means they found her, possibly killing Fags in the meantime, or recovered her and still had time to dispose her. Which means, whoever she and the blonde were affiliated with is still keeping tabs. There is a huge possibility that they’ve followed me, or are actively tracking me now. Hopefully the rain helped cover my tracks. The only problem with that hypothesis is that they would likely have found me by now, invisibility or not.
Or… an uncontrollable shiver.. they let me off because it doesn’t matter.
Either way our target, the player is one step ahead of us. I have to assume that for now, which means a sneak attack might be impossible.
I stand there desperately trying to think of a plan. If I do end up fighting him… it’s likely I’ll be outgunned and outmaneuvered. I need-
An errant thought breaks through my ruminations. My partner butts in and I’m forced to listen via our telepathic (or whatever it is) connection.
It’s amazing, but I can feel the awkward silence even more than if he were here in person. (Some kind of emotional feedback from the link? Just what kind of machine did they load us up to?)
I won’t go into what he said but he apologized and I accepted on the condition that he never touch me again.
That settled, we share information and establish a plan. Somehow he’s stumbled on a cave entrance on the far side of the river, I assume the cave entrance in the Sonozaki household is linked up to that. On the off chance that the player, or responsible parties is making a break for it we might as well head off their escape routes. With luck we’ll join up in the cave and take down the player together.
Fags seems less than thrilled about this plan, I gather his infestation is getting worse. We have no choice though, the chance that the player could slip away while we meet up would be disastrous. I’m about to say more, but a scream nearby cuts off my reply and I drop the link heading in the direction of the scream.
It’s Rika. The blue haired girl with the incredible powers. I find a flock of crows pecking at her naked corpse, and I fire with the pistol to scare them off. At this point I’m past being scared of alerting anyone. Chances are if they could kill her, they’ll be able to take me on anyway.
She’s dead, last night while we were in the police station, they must have sacrificed her, like she had told me they would. Only the information that this has happened endless times before makes it better and worse. Worse, that this atrocity could be repeated so many times, no matter what the justification… the good, that she might be able to come back from this eventually…
I leave the body behind after a quick inspection of the temple for the killer, picking up a kitchen knife in the process. Then I contact Fags with the bad news.
He fills me in on bad info on his side as well. He started making headway into the tunnel and apparently ran into Rena who passed right by him. I sense he’s spooked and wary of continuing on by himself. I do what I can to reassure him that I’m on my way, and we establish a check in every 5 minutes so we can keep track of each other. Code word in place, I sign off and head to the cave entrance nearby. As I cross over the Sonozaki household border I am suprised to see Mion, or a twin of her at any rate. Same clothes, hair, everything. It could also be some sort of biological clone/experiment. I’m not putting anything past whoever’s behind all this.
I slip in unnoticed and make my way in the cave, cursing the need for a lighted match. Then again if Fags encounter with Rena is any indication… it won’t matter much if I’m discovered.
A talk with the Agency operator was illuminating. We get medical aid as soon as we finish. Also we could have a scan of the area within the next 2 hours. The catch is we’ll get a lower assessment on our review when we get back (the unspoken promise that we get back at all). It’s a weird reminder that this isn’t our world. I can see in some ways the temptation of making a giant fucking mess in the world and just going back “home” with no care to the consequences.
I can also see how people could start getting pretty pissed off about it. Enough to start a war or at least raids.
I’m getting an inkling of why the agency needs to police people. I ask them if the scan can be called in at a later time and with the assurance that the offer stands for the next 2 hours I head into the cave.
It’s actually a surprisingly short tunnel leading up to a wooden padlock door. There doesn’t seem to be any traps so I open it and find a small enclosed space with a well. Scenarios of people drowned or left to die at a dry well spring up, and I push them back with effort.
A quick inspection reveals merely darkness and a short moaning whisper that’s frankly undecipherable. I drop the match I’m holding while lightning another one to see whether I can get down.
The match falls down a good forty feet or so and the floor is apparent, but so is the fact that the cavern below me is filled to the brim with worms. It’s a carpet of dark slimy death. Listening closely I hear the detective, he’s repeating his name, or something being delicious. I can’t tell. I wrestle over whether to try saving him, but I conclude chances are high he’s been infected or driven insane. I decide to put him out of his misery.
I take out the oil tank and pour it straight down into the well. Fire seems to be very effective and I quickly send another match down. There is the hissing of bodily fluids evaporating, screams, and the wretched smell of cooked meat. I offer a silent apology to the detective, and take another look down.
The worms are burning nicely, the whole floor awash in red flames. Now how to get down? I contemplate running along the well walls and the ceiling with my ninja skills. Then I mentally smack myself. All that effort when I have a hoverboard.
It’s tight, but soon I’m gently descending, sweating a little and doing my best not to inhale the smoke.
I really need a way of throwing my rasengan. I could probably burn out this whole cavern with a well placed blast of compressed air.
It takes a bit before the flames die down enough for me to inspect the room. The mass of worms have congealed in the tunnel exit. I take a moment to look at the detective I failed to save.
He’s an indistinguishable mass of ash and burnt meat and bones. My stomach rolls at the sight and smell, and I decide to exit as quickly as possible. Another transmission to my partner assures me that this tunnel leads to the open cavern he’s described. I charge up another blast of air hoping to clear the tunnel of all the burning worms.
The worms appear to be down for the count and I hover over to my teammate who seems to be holding up well enough. I look around for hints to the player or whoever the blonde was meeting.
Slow clapping reaches my ears.