|The Smallest Thing of All|
You see around you a basic bedroom. The walls are decorated with banners from many diffrent cities and countries and the photographs of a happy looking family with spotted yellow bandanas and teeth that almost look like fangs. The room holds a simple plain bed with a large plush piglet sitting on it. At the foot of the bed is a small pet bed with a framed picture of several puppies laying beside it. Against the far wall from the door is a small window overlooking a vancant lot. To the left of the window is a small book shelf filled with useless suiveners and more framed photographs. On the wall to the right of the window is a small entertainment center with a small color tv, a vcr, a few home movies and some anime tapes (Akira, Serial Experiments Lain, etc...). Where you to check the closet, you'd find several sets of blue dresses and many earth-toned blouses and shirts. Also, in various places around the room, are several various plush animals.
Laying on her stomach, kicking her feet in the air, Yoiko Hibiki scribbles into her journal - reading aloud as she ponders what to write. "Date - unknown. Location - my room again. It's been a week since I've seen the downstairs. Food supplies running low. On the bright side the cats who deliever pizzas no longer mind coming to find me in the house to deliver. Tomorow I'm going to ask if they'll take me to the groccery store." She pauses, lost in thought. "...I probably shouldn't have taken off Cale's ring in hindsight..." Yep, nothing new to see here.
Sometimes lonely is the safest way to be. The Hibiki household is a perfect little slice of suburbia, deceptively ageless, tucked away from the troubles of Twisted. But now is the night when everything changes, when the world gets turned upside down. Date - unknown. Location - everywhere. Because trouble will travel. It begins with the softest of scuffling noises from downstairs, before somebody... or some /thing/... makes it's way up to the second floor with dull shuffles and thumps. Perhaps too quiet to hear, for the distracted. It doesn't sound like a cat, or even several cats, and the delicious smell of baked cheese does not reach the nostrils. Eventually, a sound will reach the ears. An insistent, unwieldy rap upon the door of Yoiko's room. As though a person barely in control of their senses were desperately seeking solace.
One thing months of solitude don't prepare you for, and that's someone suddenly knocking on your door abruptly. Damn all those carpeted stairs... Yoiko-chan flails at the noise, throwing herself off her bed with a loud THUMP. She shoves herself off the floor in good time though, blinkblinking at the thin hinged barrier between her and the sudden stranger. "Uhh... he-hello?" oO(Did I order a pizza already??)
The knocking suddenly stops as Yoiko speaks, and a shuddering intake of breath can be heard from whoever waits on the other side of the door. Followed by silence. It reigns for several seconds, before that taken breath is released, a short and convulsive exhalation followed immediately by that same, arrythmic knocking. Except this time it grows fiercer and more insistent, the door practically rattling upon protesting hinges.
Fear. The logic behind someone knocking and not barging in escapes her. Yoiko lunges across the room for a baseball bat (Why does she have a baseball bat anyways?) and readies it as she addresses the door. "Alright, punk! I don't know who you think you are, but you can't just roam into people's houses and break down doors - not on my watch!!" Reaching for the door like it's going to bite her she grabs the knob and twists it, leaping away as the door swings open. As she readies herself for something bad she tenses up, nearly closing both eyes in the process. Wuss.
To the girl's credit, the door does seem to move in a predatory fashion - bulging outward around the knob as she reaches for it, wood creaking as the metal slams painfully into her hand. But there the knocking ceases, replaced by a slow scratching equally without rhythm. The portal swings open, still without comment from the interloper... but at what seems a great distance comes a noise, a sort of high-pitched warbling that starts at a whisper but grows slowly, steadily in volume. Whatever it is, there is soon a fresh distraction. The door does indeed swing open, and Yoiko's preparation is met with a vision of twisted, pus-streaked flesh. The thing that half-lunges, half-stumbles forward may once have been human - albeit a human in the range of seven feet tall. Where a face should be there is a mess of scar tissue, leaking blood and other, more viscous fluids onto the floor of this once happy home. This foul guest moves crablike upon it's side, twisting a neck that is too long to 'stare' at the girl as it moves forward and rises... keeps rising... Behind it, that warbling accelerates to a fever pitch, a searing, metallic caterwaul that serves as the creature's feral howl. A bloated, distorted limb trails out with little speed but unstoppable intent, reaching out for the girl with stained and broken fingers.
Yoiko-chan screams, "GYAAAAH!!!!" Well, that was unexpected. Yoiko flails, beating the thing with her baseball bat as it makes it's way into the room. Infact, she'll keep flailing that bat at it blindly unless something stops her. "Wakeupwakeupwakeupwakeupwakeup!!"
Expect the unexpected. Know the unknown. Achieve the unachievable. Yoiko's flailing weapon stops dead on the second swing, just as the room flickers from view. Along with everything else; if only for an instant, as though the entire world of Twisted blinked. As though the universe stopped existing for a single instant. A squealing harmonic fills the air, flooding the room with the sound of lingering feedback as it fades. And a pale hand sits upon the coarse wood of Yoiko's bat. Following the bare arm leads to a slender body clothed in an understated black lace dress, topped by a face strikingly familiar for all that it has changed. Ruby eyes possessed of an infinite depth settle upon the girl with the glow of reunited friendship, and thin lips lift in a warm smile. On the woman's opposite flank, her other hand rises with languid grace to settle upon the sinewy chest of Alessa's abomination. That terrible arm, still extended toward Yoiko over the intercepting shoulder of the newcomer, convulses just once... before the entire being disappears from view. In the same moment that it disappears, it becomes difficult to remember exactly what it was; to recall that it had even come here, to this place. All that remains is a figure from the past, calm and smiling. And yes, even the carpet is pristine. "Konnichi-wa, Yoiko-chan," says the Diaduin Emepherea.
Yoiko-chan stares blankly as the odd events unfold around her. Her eyes seem to hollow slightly as the beast seems undone, and the grip on her bat relaxes. It takes a moment even after the introduction before Yoiko blinks that hollow gaze away and confusion washes over her. "Eeeeumm... wait. What?!?" The girl looks the person standing before her up and down and sweatdrops heavily at the bat. If she's not met with resistance, she'll toss the bat away and pretend she never seemed to take a swing at the woman now standing before her, which is how her mind is strying to piece it together. Dumbfounded, Yoiko flops down on the edge of her bed as the connection is finally made. "E-Emi?"
There is no resistance. It is as though Emepherea's hand never gripped the bat at all. She withdraws her digits with a soft sigh, lowering both arms to her front, hands clasping together as she turns to face Yoiko with a quiet downward glance. The dress she wears is at least somewhat close to the uniform she once wore, and the feather in her hair remains untested by time. All in all, the little goddess is almost the picture of the cute youngster she was, so many thousands of years ago. Once her name is spoken, she even kicks her left foot idly at the carpet, drawing attention to the clasps holding taut the straps of her black sandals; each delicate silver piece fashioned into the shape of a cartoon duckling. "I'm glad you still remember me," she replies, softly but clearly, before looking up toward the girl, "I would have come sooner, but I didn't want to interfere. Is this where you live?" A frown glances across the unblemished skin of her brow. "Alone?"
Yoiko-chan's head falls to the side as she glances around the room. Yoiko's room is exactly the same as it was back on Neo Tokyo... which is barely a year or two back from the girl's perspective. Infact, she hasn't aged much either leaving her overwhelmed at Emi's appearence. "Ummm... Emi? What happened to you?" Wasn't Emi younger than she was?!? "You... your..." She guestures at Emi's former height with one hand. "Uh... taller..."
An eyebrow arches as Yoiko waves her hand in the air, and then the Diaduin Emepherea does something she doesn't do all that often; she laughs. It's a warm sound, light and merry despite all that she is and all that she has been through. It takes her a few seconds to stop, first fading to a transitionary giggle, then taking a couple of breaths whilst rubbing at her right eye. She levels a bright grin on the girl before her, shrugging loosely as she replies. "Taller, stronger, faster... new and improved Emi!" Spreading her arms, she steps in a slow circle, showing off the form that - honestly - she's stopped even thinking of in rational, human terms. She has grown because the status quo demands it, but has stopped thinking of growth - an act which, in itself, may make her all the more 'normal'. She simply is. Smiling, she lowers her arms as she comes to a stop, making a brief gesture toward Yoiko. "I'd say the same, but you're just like I remember you. I-" She hesitates, leaving her mouth open a moment before snapping it shut with a sheepish quirk of her lips. Deciding to make herself more comfortable, the goddess sinks to her knees, rearranging her dress as she takes a seat upon the floor. Once she is settled, she resumes speaking with a sigh, a little more serious now. "Yoiko, I don't know how much you realise about who I am, or whether it entirely matters, but I'm sorry that I had to leave you behind. I had.. responsibilities. Duties that I'll explain if you want me to. What's important - to me - is that you're still alive, and well." She clears her throat, flicking a brief glance to one side - toward the open door - before her gaze returns to Yoiko, "What's even more important is that I keep you that way." "Yoiko," her smile returns, with a twinkle of humour in those ruby eyes, "I'm here to rescue you."
Once the comment about leaving her behind comes up, Yoiko starts counting on her fingers with a quizzical look on her face. She's about to speak when Emi inserts her last sentance, an act which completly returns that completly confused/floored look of hers. "Wait, wait. Rescue?" She glances around her house wondering just what that comment is suppsoed to mean. "I may get lost going down the staircase, but I'm hardly in danger. Just what happened to you in the past two years?" Her head flops to the side again as she thinks aloud. "...at least, I think it's only been two years..." We probably shouldn't think too hard on this, Yoiko. It might break reality. She nods along with the unspoken voice of her typist and shrugs it off. "Okay, you might need to explain then, because I'm very, very confused."
As Yoiko glances around the house, she may notice a tangible sense of movement, a faint shifting before the vision - though nothing actually changes position. Turning back to Emi reveals a darkening of her hair, the beyond-black fronds of the little goddess shifting in a slow pulse. Her expression does not change beyond what seems natural, and she even fidgets slightly as the girl ponders to herself, delicate fingers twisting about one another and sandalled feet gliding across the carpet. "Explain?" She echoes clearly, once Yoiko admits her confusion. Emi's nose wrinkles in a fashion that would be merely cute if not for the hum of power that accompanies the gesture. Her hair darkens further, becoming a void in the air offset by that ever-present feather. "I can do better than that, Yoiko. I can show you. Take my hand." Proferred fingertips extend, and when taken... the room disappears, replaced by the stricken skies of Twisted. Below them, the house sits. More accurately, they sit upon it - Yoiko on the chimney and Emepherea upon the surface of the roof. She stands to account for the extra height of her friend, releasing her hand and turning - grim faced - to the scene that lies without. The battle rages in the streets of the city; amongst the figures in the air, Concordance explodes with horrified indignation as the creatures of Alessa praise her name. Flame lurks atop a distant rooftop, and the screams of the fearful dying echo out even this far. The detail may be lacking, but it's as complete an explanation as could be offered. Emi shakes her head, keeping her attention upon Yoiko rather than the vision of impending desolation. She doesn't need to see it; she can feel it. And she doesn't need to speak, merely allowing the view to sink in. For all the girl's suffering in the past, there are some things people deserve to know for themselves, and Yoiko Hibiki might be the only person who has a chance to view this event without participating... it's a small thing, but small things are often the most important of all.
Yoiko-chan's eyes go hollow once again. It's as if the very appearence of such horrors is enough to shatter her soul. She's seen scenes like this, but never first hand. All the tv and manga in the world can never prepare you for actually seeing something devistating on a global scale, or as global as you can get when it comes to Twisted. The darkness reflected in her eyes begins to resonate off her, forcing strands of her hair to breifly lift. Unlike most citizens of Twisted, this isn't something locked away, or some burried power. This is the begining of the Shi-shi-hou-kodan, a depression blast that Yoiko has only successfully accomplished once and a trademark of her older brother. "...where can one escape to with a world like this...?" The monotone sadness in her voice seems hollow and infinite...
As hollow and infinite as the void. The place beyond everything and nothing; beyond all conceivable possibilities, where the power of creation meets its opposite. Misery is a powerful emotion, indeed, and the Diaduin Emepherea draws in a sharp breath, closing her eyes to avoid looking at Yoiko. The battle continues to unfold, and as it does the girl's words hang in the air, seeming to take on life of their own as the improbably hovering rooftop is enveloped in a field of power. Transparent. Unbreakable and unbroken but for a subtle kink in the pattern. A mystical filtration point... Emi's eyes flicker open, the irises swimming as deep, opulent ruby fades to a luscious amber. She gives no smile now, swallowing tightly as she looks at her friend. A girl she loves, and treasures. A hand lifts from her side, drifting up past Yoiko's side to gently brush at her shoulder. "One can always escape, Yoiko," she whispers, "But sacrifices have to be made. To find a balance within ourselves, we have to do what we never believed we would..." Her fingertips tense and tighten, not enough to hurt, but enough to convey all the passion surging through the body of the goddess. For a being that was never supposed to sense and feel on a personal level, that was supposed to act at distance, this is more than a betrayal of principle; this is a betrayal of self. With a stiff shake of her head, she pulls her hand away, holding it uncertainly to one side before it closes - most uncharacteristically - to a fist. "I'm sorry." It comes out hard and flat. In truth, Emi almost chokes on the words. Astonished at the flicker of moisture in her vision, taken aback by the decision she has made, she can only force herself to step away into that place beyond places. To Yoiko, the effect is simple... one moment she is reunited with the little goddess, one of the few who might help her deal with this situation. In the next she has been abandoned to her fate. Emi disappears from the cold rooftop. Twisted will begin it's steady fall in scant minutes, and this is only the tip of the iceberg. As a world cries out, as it's people die in droves, every last nuance of that pain and horror will come crashing against the shroud keeping Yoiko one impossible step from this reality. She will not be seen; but she will see. She will not be felt; but she will feel the pressure of a million souls screaming, pounding to get in and assail her psyche... On the plane below, it would be a punishment fit for the damned. Here, it is a gift from a friend.
Her eyes wider still, Yoiko watches, unable to force her gaze away. Tears freely begin to fall after mere moments, but she never seems to move. The darkness around her pulsating more and more around her creating a well of sorts. Even the shadows seem to bleed for her. The raw, unchained emotions of Twisted as well as her own feelings of abandonment which have welled up inside her since she first took off Cale's ring over a year ago and became lost again within her own small home boil to the surface. "...there's... no hope... nothing to live for..." As another moment passes the dispair begins to spiral around her like a tornado with the poor girl as the eye of the storm. To sit and watch, and wait... Time seems to slow to a crawl for her as her mind fails to push the rest of the world away. She's no longer alone, she's nothing... but why? For how long? Perhaps forever in this friend created nightmare...