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File 164715091036.png - (40.03KB , 600x800 , unbalancedtitle.png )
1026080 No. 1026080 ID: d98cb8

A woman sitting at a table, drinking tea.

There’s a conversation of some importance.

Knowledge of things never thought to exist.

Impending danger and what must be done to face it.

One statement that sticks in the mind as the dream ends:

“You must keep the balance.”

87 posts omitted. Last 100 shown. Expand all images
No. 1027861 ID: d98cb8
File 164879597909.png - (41.21KB , 368x276 , p22.png )

Okay that’s way too close, so I immediately apply my hands to Momo’s shoulders and push her back away from me.

Wandering down into the preserve was supposed to help me get relaxed and grounded, and now I’m having a conversation with a japanese fox-woman who seems to be irredeemably horny. Or maybe she’s just screwing with me.

:premiatalk: “I have NO idea what you’re talking about. Seriously. I’ve never heard of Mediators, or Kagami, and I have no idea who you are or where you’re from. I wasn’t here to greet you, I walked here on my own. This is entirely by accident.”

Or was it? Those weird feelings had stopped when I’d begun walking. Had I just been wandering where I needed to be? What the hell is going on with my head.

Momo looks baffled, like I’d been speaking an entirely alien language.

:momotalk: “Truly? What an strange thing, because you certainly are one of her delightful little servants. No average human could act as my anchor and you most certainly did. Does your dream goddess no longer teach her disciples?”

Anchor? Dream goddess? This both made a lot more sense at the same time as it brought up even more questions, ones that I’m now absolutely sure I can get from her.

:premiatalk: “I don’t know about a goddess but I had a weird dream this morning that I can’t remember. Then I spent all day feeling stressed out about needing to be somewhere. Is that what’s going on here? Nobody told me anything, and I definitely am not serving anyone.”

Momo leans in once more, as if by peering into my eyes she can see something she’s missed.

:momotalk: “Ah but you can’t be what you are unless you agree to it, silly girl. There can be no mediation without knowledge. No power without remembrance.”

She takes a step forward and almost pushes herself up against me. The strange rope on her outfit pokes me in the stomach.

:momotalk: “Shall I answer your questions, Mia?”

I step back again.

:premiatalk: “Uh first can you give me some personal space?”
No. 1027862 ID: d98cb8
File 164879611777.png - (62.61KB , 288x400 , p23.png )

Momo seems to just flow around me in a way that makes no sense to my eyes. As if she’d decided to quit being solid and move like water. Bending in a way that makes no sense for any being with bones.

For a whole second she’s vanished from my view as I spin to try and follow her movement, only seeing a tail flick around past at the edge of my vision.

And then she grabs my goddamn thigh.

I squeak in shock, her fluffy hands touching my bare skin in a place I was ABSOLUTELY not expecting anyone to touch. Hell it’s a place I haven’t had anyone put their hands since my highschool boyfriend, and he didn’t get to do it more than a few times.

Looking down I see Momo with a gleeful smile on her face, her body almost wrapped around my thighs and her tails splayed out around my ankles.

:momotalk: “What is the point of personal space between such good friends, Mia~? After all, it’s not like I haven’t seen almost eeeeeeeeverything~”

Blood rushes to my head, and apparently elsewhere based on a rush of heat all over. This is not at all the reaction I expected out of my own body here and I’ve got NO idea how to handle this.

:momotalk: “You know, Momo means peach~”

Her hand caresses up my thigh and begins sliding the hem of my skirt up.

:momotalk: “A pretty pink peach, like a certain pair of cute little-”


That jolted me right out of the surprise and I shove one hand down to push my skirt down, and apply my other against Momo’s head to attempt to shove her off me. I have officially quit caring about being diplomatic about this and I’m panicking. My body has decided that it’s on the fox’s side here and I need to absolutely stop this right now.

:premiatalk: “Get the hell off me! And don’t- don’t talk about my panties you- you horny fox! Show off your own or something!”

Despite my hand against the side of her head she somehow manages to turn and look up at me with a gigantic smile. I swear it’s way bigger than it should be, and necks shouldn’t curve like that.

:momotalk: “Don’t you know it’s traditional not to wear any under this~? Do you want to see?”


:momotalk: “Oh you are interesting~ Do you have no resistance at all to my energy? Is it dormant? I haven’t even tried to do anything and look at how quickly you respond! It’s quite fun.”

As she opens her mouth again to speak, she pauses.
No. 1027863 ID: d98cb8
File 164879618886.png - (55.29KB , 276x368 , p24.png )

Without transition at all, her smile is replaced with a frown. It’s exactly the same as her smile as if she flipped it.

:momotalk: “Unfortunately there may not be time to play, nor answer all your questions.”

My hand is suddenly pushing against nothing and I stagger. Momo seems to simply transition from being bonelessly wrapped around my lower half to standing a few feet away. Her body looks as it did when she first appeared, no weirdness to her form.

But her expression is thunderous. There’s an anger in her eyes.

This is so sudden I’m caught off guard and my anger and annoyance at the fox just fizzles out. As does the heated warmth in my core caused by her touch.

:premiatalk: “Wait what?”

She turns to look up toward the entrance to the outdoor theatre.

:momotalk: “It seems we have undesired company.”

The air near the top of the steps where I entered this place suddenly cracks and breaks. Light shines through, but entirely unlike when Momo was doing it before.

When she arrived it was like the place she was leaving was full of bright sunlight.

This felt empty and cold, like a moonlit night in winter.

A silhouette begins to push through it, a bulky figure with a square head of some kind. A cracking buzzing sound begins to come from the hole in space.

:momotalk: “This would be a good time for you to remember, little Mia. I fear they may be here for your life.”
No. 1027864 ID: 8483cf

Run! Run away! Flee for your life!
No. 1027865 ID: 96c896

Whatever energy you used when you touched Momo's tails, I bet you could channel the opposite of that to close this new portal.
You're here to KEEP THE BALANCE.
No. 1027866 ID: e51896

Okay, so earlier we started stressing out over forgetting something important, and hearing voices after hearing the word "BALANCE" from our friend Circe.

Maybe in order to remember, we just need to focus on that word. repeat the word "BALANCE" in your head over and over until something clicks and you remember something.
No. 1027874 ID: 96c896

Actually wait if you're supposed to keep balance, shouldn't you let the guy in?
No. 1027876 ID: b5cf15

This is potentially a very dangerous situation, so it’s absolutely important you listen to my advice and don’t get distracted by-


No. 1027881 ID: 815672

Fight >Bag
Pokemon Run

Get your phone and record this. You'll want to take notes on how Momo fixes this.
No. 1027980 ID: cf92e7

Punch that vile creature square in the head!

Oh, and do the same for the monster that just appeared.
No. 1028058 ID: 3a4e94

Kitsune are not known for there direct combat abilties nor are you. That ever is coming though seems like it will be a combat monster, even teamed up there is very little chance of winning if the thing wants to rumble. So we need to LEAVE NOW if possible. Take the fox with you if possible. As there is no certainty the next thing coming though is going to talk.
No. 1028161 ID: d98cb8
File 164898133878.png - (151.10KB , 1600x1200 , p25.png )

:premiatalk: “What? Why me?”

I look to Momo in a panic, feeling the cold darkness flowing from that crack in the world. Surely they can’t be here for me, I’m not important at all. She looks a lot less playful than before, but I can’t quite place the expression on her face.

Is it annoyance? Anger?

She answers me in an almost unconcerned manner.

:momotalk: “Clockworkers don’t usually come to the mortal world for someone such as I. As well as they could not have known I would arrive here. But you shine bright as a beacon for them, and they gladly hunt your kind.”

A large hand, still shrouded in shadow, grips the edge of the tear and pulls it open further. It seems to be having a lot less trouble than Momo had when arriving.

:premiatalk: “Well can’t we run, then? We should leave before he-”

I’m cut off by the realization that all three of the openings into the theater space have cracks widening in the air. I look between the doorways and around, hoping to suddenly see something I know isn’t there. There’s no place to run, and no place to hide. A cold fear runs through my veins as I consider that I might die, unless-

:premiatalk: “Is there anything you can do? Please?”

Momo looks almost sympathetic underneath the calm aloof face she’s put on suddenly. It’s an expression that absolutely terrifies me.

:momotalk: “As I am, I may handle one at most. And the other two would certainly rend me asunder while I tried. The only one who may save you is yourself, Mediator.”

The first of the things that Momo called a clockworker seems about to step through the portal it’s formed. It seems to be dragging darkness through in the way that Momo provided light, but I can tell that it’s a lot bigger than I initially thought. It might be ducking down to get through.

Momo says I’m a Mediator, and while I don’t know what that is I have at least a clue or two. I clench my fists, my heart racing, and begin repeating in my mind:

Balance, balance, balance, balance.

I get nothing at all. The word is just a word in my mind.

A raspy voice formed of static and hiss comes from the clockworker.


The bottom drops out of my stomach in sheer, undiluted terror. I don’t know what to do. I don’t have any idea why I’m in this situation. It’s not fair that I’d have to deal with this.

I didn’t agree to this, no matter how much Momo says I must have. I wouldn’t have agreed to anything like this. This can’t be happening.

I turn to look toward her, my eyes tearing up.

I don’t want to die.

:momotalk: “You must remember. You cannot be what I know you are unless you do.”

Momo puts her hand on my shoulder, almost comfortingly.

Everything clicks into place in my head.

No. 1028162 ID: d98cb8
File 164898138362.png - (190.15KB , 600x800 , p1_beta2.png )

The steam from her teacup swirls in the air above me, clouding my view and joining the vague fog around the table I sit at. The chair is a nice one, and I feel relaxed. It’s the feeling of sitting to rest after a long day working in the yard, letting my tired muscles unknot.

It’s strange to think that I know what this feels like, since I’ve never had a yard to work in. I usually just avoided that sort of stuff too. But it’s not worrying. It’s a memory I could have had if I’d done other things instead, so in a way it’s still mine.

There’s a woman sitting at the table across from me, and I can see her easily through the fog.

I have no idea what she looks like. My mind slides sideways as I try and think about her, but that’s okay. She seems pleasant, and is smiling at me even though I can’t see her face. This is fine.

The woman tilts the teapot and pours a steaming drink into a teacup, before using a tong to drop a few sugar cubes in it. She slides it across the table to me.

”Would you like something to drink?”

I blink at her, and something in my mind clicks sideways. Things begin resolving.

:premiatalk: “I don’t like tea.”
No. 1028163 ID: d98cb8
File 164898148369.png - (405.07KB , 1500x2000 , p26.png )

The world snaps into focus.

I’m sitting in a chair, in front of a table. None of the things I noticed before were wrong... just incomplete.

The entire tableau is on top of what seems like a mountain peak, rising above an ocean of clouds. It’s a perfectly flat surface, like someone had sliced it off cleanly and set a table for two at the top of the world.

I say two because the woman is there in front of me. Suddenly my brain is willing to process her appearance.

A resplendent outfit, of that japanese style I’m only vaguely aware of existing. She’s beautiful in a strangely pristine way, with flawless skin and flowing brown hair. A jeweled headband thing of some kind on her forehead.

Despite now being able to process what she looks like, I’m still completely confused. She continues to look at me expectantly.

:premiatalk: “I’m sorry, what?”

Her smile is kind and warm as she laughs lightly.

”Something to drink, Mia?”

I blink at her, and remember that she’d already asked me this.

:premiatalk: “Oh yeah uh, sorry I’m not big on tea.”

With a nod she pushes the cup fully across the table in front of me.

”I know. You prefer coke.”

Looking down at the teacup, the carbonation and ice cubes are visible in the brown drink. I lift it to my lips and drink.

It’s definitely coke. I put it down again.

:premiatalk: “I watched you pour this out of your teapot.”

I look over toward it, her gaze following mine as I pointedly notice the steam still rising from the spout.

:premiatalk: “This isn’t real, is it?”

She sips from her teacup, which I notice is actually steaming. It’s a long pause as she obviously savors it.

”I’ve found that I can make the most fantastical views and have them be accepted. But a simple flaw like that wakes you up. Does that not say something interesting about you?”

The skyscape around me is definitely something straight out of fantasy. Even the sky doesn’t quite make sense, as it seems to darken the further to the left I look until it’s midnight black, while the right side does the opposite until it’s so bright I can barely look at it.

:premiatalk: “I guess it says I’m having really weird dreams. Who are you supposed to be? I don’t think I’ve ever had a dream talk to me like this.”

Her eyes close and she takes a slow breath. She seems to be enjoying herself based on the smile.

“I suppose you’ll eventually come to hear some refer to me as Kagami. Or another shall call me Danu. I take many names. But for you I think I would introduce myself as Eve. That would fit your context.”

:premiatalk: “Looking like that?”

She laughs, a musical noise.

”I have to live up to your eventually expected impression of me, based on what you’ll be hearing. It’ll help you understand later.

:premiatalk: “I have no idea what you mean.”

You will, do not worry. Much will become clear in time, as things usually do. For the time being I would like to tell you of the world.

I sip my coke. It’s still coke in the teacup.

:premiatalk: “I guess I have nothing else to do until I wake up.”

Eve laughs. It feels like the entire world just shook from it.

”You play stoic and try very hard to come off as uncaring, Mia. But you long for the proper sort of excitement in your life, and see everyone else taking risks that you fear. You may drop the façade in front of me. I know you deeper than you know yourself, past and future.

It was weird hearing her say this, like she’d underlined it for emphasis. Strangely I have trouble even doubting it after it’s been said. Eve simply said this is how it is and that’s the truth.

I nod.

”The world is much larger than you could know. The physical place you see every day is merely the middle where two conflicting world find their balance. These worlds go further and far deeper than the deepest oceans. They are in perpetual conflict, with your world as their battleground.”

Eve holds her hands out to each side, and the sky around us bends. Each side becomes deeper, further, and more vivid.

Pure darkness on one side.

Pure light on the other.

”I don’t want you to misunderstand. This isn’t about good and evil. Darkness is not evil, and light is not good. Both are needed for balance. That is what I am here for. To keep the balance.”

She puts her hands back on her teacup and the sky quits being confusing to look at.

”I hope that’s what I may ask you to do as well. Uphold the balance. To be my Mediator in the world, and keep it from tilting to either extreme.

Eve takes a long sip of her tea while I consider what to say, but she speaks again before I have a chance.

”I suppose you have questions you wish to ask before you agree to my request. I’d like to hear them.
No. 1028164 ID: 96c896

How would you uphold the balance? Diplomacy? Manipulation? Fantastical powers of some sort?
Why should you take this job? What's the pay?
No. 1028165 ID: e51896

Ask why you were chosen as mediator, what abilities do we have as mediator and how can we use them, especially with your new friend momo since youre in a tight spot right now and she needs help, are there any other mediators like us? How can we contact her again? Anyone we should look out for? Who leads light and who leads shadow?
No. 1028175 ID: 815672

How do we complete this task you've so graciously given us? How does one mediate? Will we be alone in this task? Are we in danger?
No. 1028182 ID: 8483cf

Why couldn't I remember this until now? What do I have to do to avoid dying? Who cut off the exits, was it me, Momo or the creepy crawlies chasing after me? It was totally Momo wasn't it
No. 1028201 ID: e5709d

"I've seen too much to believe it's that simple. Why one planet? Why not a thousand? Why aren't you fighting in [Recent Conflict Zone] or accepting the majority of your chosen among [Massive Impoverished Nation]?"
No. 1028248 ID: c89a19

May I know your True Name?
(If she says she doesn't have one, she's lying.)
No. 1028343 ID: d98cb8
File 164921353273.png - (1.53MB , 3636x2679 , p28.png )

:premiatalk: “What does that even MEAN? Mediator?”

I don’t know what questions I should ask, since there’s so much I don’t know. It’s all a little overwhelming. Simply telling me to ask what I need to know before I somehow agree is strange.

:premiatalk: “You said that like you already know I’m going to agree. Do I even have a choice in this?”

Eve regards me intently, sliding her thumb across the rim of her teacup.

”I can see how this conversation will go, yes. This doesn’t mean you lack free will. It only means I know what to say to convince you of the need. However...”

She pauses like she’s considering something. Seems weird to me since she said she already knows how this will go. Does she really need to think about it if she already knows?

Right before I open my mouth to ask exactly this, she speaks.

”It might be a kindness to simply show you, or perhaps the opposite. However I believe I owe you this.”

Eve simply raises her hand toward me. Casually, as if pushing something aside.

I begin remembering in reverse.

I see myself waking from this dream, only vaguely aware it happened. Feeling out of sorts as I pull myself together and decide to go to class instead of work. I watch as I have an embarassing conversation with Circe, unable to speak up as she rudely insults her classmates. I see myself stagger as Eve’s words she’ll be speaking in this dream spring to my mind, struggling to recover and focus on class. I bristle at the memories of the strange pull on my attention trying to get me to get up and go somewhere.

The knowledge continues to unspool faster in my mind, playing my day in advance.

Running off after class and ignoring my other class of the day. Dropping off my bag at my apartment and going for a long walk in the cold autumn weather. Ending up at the park at twilight. The portal opening and Momo getting stuck coming through until I touched her tail. The rush of heat from the fox fooling around with me, playfully messing with my head.

The terror of the clockworker arriving, and Momo grabbing my shoulder.

I remember remembering this dream I’m having, right now.

My head rocks back in shock, my mouth open as I try to find the words. Eve looks at me in sympathy.

”My apologies. I know that isn’t a pleasant feeling.”

I absolutely finish finding my words now and blurt out without even considering I’m apparently talking to a goddess.

:premiatalk: “THAT is how my day is going to be? You asshole! Why?”

Eve sips her tea and I really think about shouting at her and how that might not have been the best idea. The silence stretches for a moment.

Is she able to tell that I’m thinking this, and giving me just enough time to cool down and consider my words before-

”Yes I’m giving you time to think before I speak. No, I’m not reading your mind, but I can see what would have happened if I didn’t let you cool down.”

:premiatalk: “Uh, thanks I guess?”

”As for why your day shall be as it is, that comes down to necessity. Because of this I shall ask you to walk a difficult path, Mia.”

She steeples her hands, and sits back a moment. I find myself weirdly considering her boobs for a moment and tell myself that’s probably because Momo was just being weird about her boobs at me.

Or wait... Momo hasn’t done that yet, has she? I’m remembering it like it just happened but it doesn’t until this evening. That is a really weird feeling.

”I’m choosing to be uncommonly open with you because of your circumstances. When I ask someone to become a Mediator it’s usually in service of minor goals. They’re offered power and direction in their life, in return for keeping the balance in their local area.”

:premiatalk: “How do they do that? You keep mentioning the balance but I don’t really get it. And why me? How does Momo come into this?”

Eve nods.

”You are now capable of asking the right questions.”

”I gift power to those sworn to me, power to affect the world. My Mediators call them the Arts.”

She holds out both hands for a moment, the left one glowing a deep blue and the right glowing a bright orange.

”There are the two spirit worlds, yin and yang, and my Mediators and I stand in the world you see as your own as protectors. This is to keep it safe from the spirits who would intrude upon you in their various motivations. Often even their mere presence would be enough to cause problems, though they may not intend it.”

An eyebrow is raised at me.

“You’ll be experiencing such a thing today, as you remember. The power of yang is one of passion, lust, and impulsiveness. Enough of it in the air may cause certain difficulties, yes?”

I flush at the preemptive memory of Momo groping my thighs and the surprising heat I would be later feeling at that.

:premiatalk: “Oh that explains... a lot there.”

A nod and a smile.

”Indeed. But it goes further. Such aura may cause anger, violence, and other problems. This is before you even consider the spirit’s own reasons for coming to your world.”

The light fades from her hands and the wraps them around her teacup.

”Ideally you would ask the spirit to return home and they would, but so rarely does one get the ideal outcome. Thus you are empowered to forcibly eject them. As spirits there can be no true death, only returning to their origin to reform.”

:premiatalk: “And there’s a lot of Mediators? So why am I important?”

”There are a multitude, spread through all countries in your world. But however many there are, there are never enough. The spirit worlds eclipse your world in size, and it is only because they are incapable of working together that you are not overrun.”

:premiatalk: “And me?”

”On occasion a situation is far more delicate. I cannot merely count on having Mediators in the local area who will respond to the challenge. These situations, ones that could truly alter the fate of the world, usually require me to place someone in the right position. A necessity of placing them upon a path that will lead directly into a coming storm, to be armed along the way by their experiences so they may be the perfect solution.”

Her eyes fix upon me.

I don’t remember her ever truly looking at me before. It always seemed as if she had just closed her eyes to think, or was relaxing them as she talked.

For just a moment I’m pierced by vivid purple radiance. Her stare looks right into my soul.

The feeling passes as quickly as it happens, and I breathe once more.

”That is why I call upon you, Mia. You are my solution. This is the answer to your first question.”

”I need you to be standing in that theatre, at that point in time, this upcoming day. It is the first step on your path. I can tell you no more about how it ends, for risk of deviation from it.”

This weirdly makes sense to me. I’ve only remembered the rest of a single day before it’s happened. Hell not even a whole day, only about 8 hours or so, but even then.

It feels like now that I know how it’s supposed to go I’m not allowed to say no to this offer, because I remember Momo calling me a Mediator and all those events. It wouldn’t happen that way if I don’t say yes.

:premiatalk: “My head hurts even trying to think about this. There’s going to be so much happening, isn’t there? And what about Momo? Can I trust her?”

Eve looks pensive for a moment, then smiles.

”I shall grant you this final answer, a grain of pure truth to set your mind at ease.”

The next words ring out like a subtle bell.

Tamamo will always be your ally.

”Does that help?”

I look at the goddess in golden robes in front of me.

:premiatalk: “Who ARE you really?”

Her gentle expression doesn’t change as she sips from that damn teacup. By now I know it should be empty but it continues to steam.

”As I told you, I like to take up many names. People call me by whatever is most comfortable. I suppose if Eve does not work, you could call me Balance.”

I don’t know that she’s going to give me any clearer answer. Maybe it’s not one of those things I can really understand right now. Or maybe not ever.

”Now that you have asked of me, I would ask of you in return.”

”Mia, will you be my Mediator?”
No. 1028345 ID: e51896

Do it, for Momo!
No. 1028346 ID: 96c896

Fine, sure, if the world is at risk.

She answered the why but not the how. How are you supposed to eject spirits by force?
Also are there any benefits?
No. 1028347 ID: 8483cf

Only if Eve can promise us honesty and forthrightness in being her Mediator. No hiding shit.
No. 1028348 ID: ce39da

"At the risk of becoming part of just another 'foreseen bad outcome' that doesn't actually happen otherwise, or cause a paradox... Yeah. Not that I'm happy about it. But uh... how many tries did it take before you settled on me as the 'true' answer?"
No. 1028350 ID: 96c896

Another question: where's the representative from Yin? If Momo is the only spirit who's helping you that doesn't seem very balanced.
No. 1028359 ID: 36784c

>"Tamamo will always be your ally."
Translation: "Fox spirits will always be your ally."

Yeah, that's a good question.
No. 1028387 ID: d98cb8
File 164923109529.png - (46.56KB , 800x600 , p29.png )

:premiatalk: “Yeah. I accept.”

It’s a weird choice to be making. Do I really want it, or do I feel pressured into it? I guess a little of both in the end.

It’s not like my life has been especially exciting up to this point, and I always tell myself that is okay with me. But Eve was right when she said she knew me. I do wish I could step out of my shell and take those risks other people do, and maybe being a Mediator is one way to get there.

Sure is a weird way to get therapy but at least I don’t have to work extra shifts to pay for it.

"Thank you."

She just smiles at me.

:premiatalk: “Is... that it? No hand waving or flashy lights or anything?”

Lifting one hand, sparkles drift down from the sky around me.

"Does that help?"

:premiatalk: “Okay I- I don’t know how to respond to that. ANYWAY um, can I ask what would have happened if I said no? I remember Momo being able to tell I’m a Mediator so it had to happen, right?”

Sliding her teacup aside with one hand, Eve turns over something square in her hands as she responds.

"As a mortal, your greatest aspect is free will."

Her face is pensive, looking down toward the object she’s holding.

"Unlike spirits and gods, who are bound by their essential natures, mortals have the ability to change themselves. You can choose to be anything you wish to be, and pursue it. If you decide to work entirely against your own prior decisions right after making them, you may. It causes you no pain."

"So no, you could have refused. It would have disrupted the world for a moment, and you would have followed a new path. This dream would never have happened. I would have been disappointed."

She looks up toward me.

:premiatalk: “That is strangely comforting I guess. I feel like you could have just lied to me and said it wasn’t an option. Not like I can do anything about it.”

"The things I hide are things I simply cannot tell you without damaging the proper flow of events. But I would never lie to you, Mia. I would never lie to anyone who swore to me. You may take that to heart."

Her hands pull apart holding the square thing and I realize it looks like a deck of cards. Eve slides the top one off and turns it in one hand.

"There is one more thing we need to address before you wake."

She begins sliding cards across the table, face-up. The pictures blur and shift colors, and I see all sorts of images upon them as they slide.

"As my Mediator, you will receive your Arts. Your ways of directly imposing your will upon the world, manifested through the power I give to you as my part in our pact."

The final card slides to a halt in front of me. There are two columns of five cards, side by side. Ten total, with the left hand side a cool blue and the right hand a fiery red.

"I find that visually this metaphor works well. You may pick one from each, one Yin Art and one Yang Art. Touch them and see what they are, and make your decisions. That will set you upon your path."

I reach forward to poke them, asking before I do.

:premiatalk: “Only two? Why not more?”

Eve gives me an exasperated smirk.

"I get asked that far too often. Perhaps it is mortality that makes one more prone to reaching for more."

"To put it simply, power unearned is power easily abused. You may learn more Arts in time but only as you become capable of them. It’s difficult enough to rise to mastery with what I’m giving you without burdening you with more all at once."

She points at the cards my hand is hovering over, then leans back in her seat.

"Look upon your potentials, and choose."

I touch the cards, and visions fill my mind.



(1) Yang Soul

I see myself lifting a section of collapsed wall off an ally. Gracefully I sidestep a punch. My convictions ring out as I speak, and people are convinced. My yang traits are enhanced.

(2) Flames

The fiery heat of a burning building doesn’t affect me. I hold an inferno in my palm. Flames obey my will and leap at my enemies, or warm my allies in the cold.

(3) Threads

I can see the connections that string between all living beings. The energies of the world are visible to me. No longer am I caught unaware by any spirit. I pull upon the threads of the world.

(4) Mending

I restore a friend to health, weaving their body whole once more. A broken door is repaired as I lay my hands upon it. Purging poison from someone only requires a touch. The world returns to a more complete state.

(5) Motion

I command a sword to fly to my hand, and it does. Stones rise and fly toward my enemy. I slip the bounds of gravity and take to the sky.



(A) Yin Soul

I am perfect in my focus. My perception picks up the finest detail. Everything I have ever learned is at my fingertips, and I make connections I never thought possible. I stand strong through pain and punishment, my willpower never wavering.

(B) Frost

The world crystallizes at my touch. Ice forms across any surface I choose, encasing my enemies or protecting my allies. I am cold incarnate.

(C) Masks

My presence fades from the awareness of those around me. I’m a shadow, barely noticed. The world ignores me until I wish it. I am unseen.

(D) Ending

Death comes for all, and I bring it with me. I cut off the will to act from my enemies. I can cause things to crumble to pieces at my touch. I am capable of killing with my will alone.

(E) Stillness

All halts when I demand it. Enemies find their attacks deflected from me. None may move me without my allowing it.


Please pick ONE Art from 1-5 and ONE Art from A-E You do not need to avoid opposing Arts. A Mediator can hold opposing forces within them.
No. 1028391 ID: e51896


C could lead to some fun lewd scenerios
No. 1028392 ID: f373c9



Stealth is pretty handy...

(Alternatively 5C)
No. 1028394 ID: e5709d

No. 1028395 ID: 1236a5

Yang masks.
No. 1028397 ID: ff0429

A bit risky but the ability to see and precisely manipulate these threads of connection could be quite potent!
No. 1028399 ID: 30b9f6


No. 1028406 ID: 815672

No. 1028408 ID: a32e7a

No. 1028409 ID: 90c451

No. 1028427 ID: 860984

No. 1028442 ID: 8483cf

No. 1028447 ID: 0840c2

No. 1028452 ID: d07bce

4, C
No. 1028473 ID: 1717a4

No. 1028678 ID: e45660

Kinda depends! Will we be doing more fighting, or diplomacy?

If fighting: 5A
If diplomacy: 1E

...I guess. I kinda wanna get Mending, because that's the kind of thing if we don't have it and we need it we'll really regret not having it. It feels like, less directly supportive of our job, though....
No. 1028687 ID: d98cb8
File 164954127628.png - (614.40KB , 1600x1200 , p27.png )

I find myself drawn to two of them, my fingers sliding back to touch those ideas again and again. I lift them up.

:premiatalk: “These ones feel right, I guess?”

Eve nods and waves her hand. The rest of the cards turn over, vanishing as they do as if they were only visible from the front.

"The names were given by my Mediators, to describe the effects. I don’t usually use them, as to me they’re all merely the same power seen from different angles."

"But they call those the Art of Masks, and the Art of Yang Soul. The drive to hide oneself from the world entirely, alongside the power to enhance yourself. A curious pair of choices."

I look down to the cards I’m still holding.

:premiatalk: “Yeah I’m guessing they say something about me.”

"Indeed. It says you picked what feels right to you. There were no wrong choices here, and whatever you picked would have been of use in your life."

These symbols of my choices fade from my hands, and I can’t quite spot the moment when they quit being physical objects. They’re just gone, but immediately after I feel a weight inside myself.

It’s like something settled into my soul, wrapped around who I am. There’s a strange feeling about it and I close my eyes to concentrate on it. Like a pool of light deep inside me, small and weak but with potential.

"Fear not, your abilities will grow in time."

Opening my eyes I see that somehow Eve has managed to stand up and move over to stand in front of me without making a sound. Or maybe she didn’t move and just appeared there.

She looks down at me.

"You remember your day as it shall be, which means you remember the messages you shall eventually hear. Thus it is necessary I leave those messages for you."

Eve shakes her head ruefully with a chuckle.

"Now you can see why I would normally not deal with giving such prescient knowledge, and you know know that hiding things like this in your memories isn’t going to be as precise as I’d like. Ideally you’d simply remember everything at once when needed, but even with what I’m able to plan for that isn’t possible. Free will interferes in perfection, but I would have it no other way."

Wait, I remember remembering that now. That means she’s also going to say-

“To your future self who shall remember this much, there’s still a little while before you’ll need to remember the rest though, and this memory right here is just me telling you that you need to relax. Don’t worry too much, and follow what feels right. You already have, and I have faith you shall continue to.”

Oh this is weird. My memories are layering.

”When the time is right this will all come back to you, and you’ll be in the right place to make use of your newfound knowledge, and your powers as my Mediator.”

Eve reaches out with one hand, speaking as she does.

“You must keep the balance. Now awaken, Mia.”

Eve puts her hand on my shoulder, almost comfortingly.

Everything clicks into place in my head once more. The circle is completed.

No. 1028688 ID: d98cb8
File 164954138140.png - (159.37KB , 1600x1200 , p29-1.png )

I snap back to the present, remembering agreeing to becoming a Mediator. Remembering what I’m apparently capable of.

Remembering that I agreed to this, knowing how this day would go. I want to shout at myself for what I’ve done to myself, but... that was the me as I am now as well.

Okay that’s a mental problem to deal with later on. There’s a much more important problem staring at me over Momo’s shoulder. Her hand is still on mine, and I understand that this entire memory played out for me in an instant.

I guess the understanding must have become apparent in my eyes, because she smiles a tight grin. Teeth spread up through her mouth which seems to extent right up to where her eyes should be now.

:momotalk: “Oh gooooood~ You do remember now!”

Reaching up I pull on her hand, but rather than simply move she does that blurring swirl. I almost lose track of Momo again, but she’s suddenly standing at my left shoulder.

:momotalk: “What now, oh great Mediator?”

Hey wait what!

:premiatalk: “I thought you’d know! I only just remembered this, and I don’t even know how to do anything yet! I just got told that-”

That I need to get them to go home to the Yin World, right? That doesn’t HAVE to be fighting.

I take a step forward as the Clockworker lumbers entirely out of the portal. It appears to be wearing a trenchcoat, and is a robot of some kind, as well as being absolutely massive. Definitely not what I expected of that name. The fuzzy TV screen head really confuses me too.

Momo said they like to hunt Mediators but maybe I can reason with them. It doesn’t seem like just attacking is a good style when there are other options on the table.

:momotalk: “Oooh a plan! I never have those!”

I ignore her comment and raise my voice toward the hulking spirit.

:premiatalk: “I’m supposed to ask you to please go home. You’re not supposed to be in my world. Will you peacefully leave?”

The static on the screen suddenly flickers and switches to an image. One of those yin-yang symbols, crossed out. It speaks a curt word in the sound of static and nightmares.


Then it dashes forward toward me, deceptively fast, with one arm outstretched. The theatre space seems much too small for this situation, and the other two Clockworkers are waiting at the sides and covering the exits that weren’t behind the big guy.

:momotalk: “Oh, a bad plan.”


Oh no, Mia is in trouble! She has Yang Soul, which can be used to enhance physical attributes about herself! And she has Masks, which can be used at low levels to be harder to pay attention to! Unfortunately she doesn’t have any experience at all with these powers, and it feels like her energy pool inside might not be a huge one! Good luck Mia!
No. 1028689 ID: 8eb91d

Good, now smack one of the cracks in reality with the enhancement of your Yang soul, and fade out of view from any obvious counter.

Heck. You're a ninja now.
No. 1028690 ID: c92a02

Enhance your strength to catch his swing.
No. 1028699 ID: e5709d

Blur your abilities so enemies can't tell what you're doing until it's too late...

>Yang Soul
... Such as crushing the floorboards so the big lug falls through the stage.
No. 1028700 ID: e51896

hmm, we're probably going to need to see how effective our masks ability is and if it truly is invisibility, and if it is if can make our clothing invisible as well, or just limited to our body, that way we can know how much we'll need to prepare before going invisible (like time to strip and stuff like that)

for now, I think the best way to take them out is to find the power button on their television sets, and then send them back. That could be a good effective nonviolent approach.

use yang to power yourself up to counter their upcoming attacks (catch his swing as >>1028690
then as the fight goes on, try to get Momo to act as a distraction.
when their attention is eventually on Momo, assess the mask ability with how effective it is. If it is good enough, we'll use mask to attempt to turn off their monitors without them noticing us as they are distracted by Momo
No. 1028704 ID: 9512c4

Use masks, be harder to pay attention to so he's more likely to miss.

Use Yang Soul to dodge, get around behind him.

Use masks again, make it harder for him to pay attention to the portal.

Let him charge you again, dodge like a matador, and watch him fall back through his own portal. Punch the crack shut behind him?

...yeah, no idea if that last one's going to work. But otherwise I don't really know how you're going to win this one. Unless Momo can close the portal after you get them back through?
No. 1028726 ID: 96c896

Ok so you should probably use Mask, and evade until you see an opening to turn on Yang to optimize speed and run away. Or have both Yang and Mask on at the same time, even, to help with dodging until you can escape. Momo will follow your lead I expect.

Directly fighting these guys seems a bit hopeless when you're a rank amateur with no weapons.
No. 1028728 ID: 36784c

Use their momentum against them!

Use Yang Soul to enhance your muscles, sidestep their outstretched arm, grab their arm, turn and throw them over your shoulder!
No. 1028730 ID: 815672

Hey you remember the basics of fights in movies, right? When the opponent is bigger than you, use their weight against them. You're stronger now, but make it easier; move in, grab it's arm and throw over your shoulder. Momo can get it as it's on the floor.
No. 1028731 ID: 7a9719

This seems like a pretty decent plan - trick them into running back through the portals.
> Directly fighting these guys seems a bit hopeless when you're a rank amateur with no weapons.
If it takes long enough, or only works once, you can intersperse the fighting with conversation - like, why are they here? Maybe you can still convince them to leave. Speaking of - apparently Yang Soul can Convince people, might be of use in forceful negotiation, here.
No. 1028930 ID: d98cb8
File 164971843579.png - (837.17KB , 1800x2400 , p30.png )

Okay, don’t panic Mia. You can do this.

Eve wouldn’t have put me in this situation if I wasn’t equipped to handle it, right? It would be really silly to put all that effort into making sure I’d be here to handle this situation and not make sure I could do it.

I repeat this to myself in my head as the clockworker looms massively over me, and try to quell the doubtful voice inside that points out that Eve specifically said free will is always an option.

I’ve got these powers she gave me, and I can feel the energy flowing inside me. Surely it can’t be that hard to use them, right?

Masks makes me hard to see, that should make me harder to hit or something. So I focus on that, on the feeling I felt sink inside my body when I accepted the Arts. I hope against hope that it’ll work.

His hand comes flying toward me in a massive swing, and at the last second I throw myself out of the way! I tumble sideways, my legs scraping on the concrete benches of the theatre.

If I’m invisible it sure doesn’t seem like it, since he almost got me anyway. I thought I felt something at the edge of my perception, and pull on that feeling.

NOW I feel something, a weird fuzziness to everything. Like when your leg is just beginning to fall asleep but it’s in my head. The massive clockworker goes to swing at me again and I scramble back out of the way. His TV head twitches back and forth slightly and takes another swing, missing me by inches.

So I’m not invisible because that was too close for a guess, but I know it’s messing with him SOMEHOW.

While I’ve got a second I hurriedly try to get a little space us and look around him toward the portal he came though. Maybe I can-

Oh, it’s gone.

Okay that makes sense. Momo’s portal didn’t sit open behind her either. There goes that idea.

Well it’s a TV robot thing, right? Maybe I can change channels or turn it off or-

A robotic arm comes over my shoulder in a reach for my throat.

Stumbling back I avoid the grab by sheer luck and panic. I’d forgotten there were THREE of them.

This one is barely taller than me, about the size of most guys I’ve known. From this close I can tell that despite being TV-headed there’s no knobs or buttons on it. The only thing visible is the same symbol as the other one, the crossed out balance symbol. I guess it’s pretty effective shorthand for his purpose.

This one doesn’t seem fooled by the Masks effect, and I realize I’m not feeling that fuzziness anymore. Was that as long as it lasts?

Well I’ve got one more ability up my sleeve, right?

I can do this. Screw this asshole.

The other power, yang soul, flows in easily. Feels like mindset had something to do with it, because I’m feeling like the most satisfying thing to do would be to punch this jerk right in the head. It’s like that inner energy I felt is rushing out to my limbs.

Unfortunately I don’t get a chance to punch him before he goes for a grab at me again with that claw-hand.

Fortunately for me, my mom made me take a whole course of self-defense for women before I left for college. She was worried about me getting in a bad situation.

This probably isn’t the situation she thought of.

Ducking the incoming arm, my body flows a lot faster and easier than I expected. I sucked at this when they were teaching me, but I wasn’t being magically powered back then.

I pivot, grab the arm and shoulder, and THROW.

The clockworker flies over my head as I hold onto it’s wrist, following through on a swing that I absolutely couldn’t do normally.

It SLAMS down into the concrete bench with a sickening crunch, the TV screen landing directly on one of the corners. I don’t know if that’s what did it, but as soon as I let go it begins fuzzing and fading away.

I look down at what I’d just pulled off.

Holy crap.
No. 1028931 ID: d98cb8
File 164971849343.png - (418.37KB , 1800x2400 , p31.png )

Did I seriously just throw a robot into the ground hard enough to kill it?

Holy crap I’m AWESOME!

I look up, triumph on my face.

Just in time to see a mechanical fist the size of my torso coming at me.

There’s just enough time to bring my arms up before it collides with me.

The world spins, my glasses flying off as I leave the ground entirely. I feel wind whip my clothes. My mind is a white flare of pain. Nothing makes sense for a long moment before I hit something.

I rebound off a hard surface, slumping down to rest on a cold surface.

Everything hurts.

My back is killing me, my shoulders feel like someone’s tried to pull them out of their sockets. and my forearms burn.

But it’s far less than I expected from that. I reach down to push myself up one-handed from where I’m sprawled against a wall. I can’t see worth a damn without my glasses but it’s pretty easy to see the huge clockworker is almost twenty feet away now.

He just punched me across half the theatre in one swing, and I’m not dead?

At this moment I feel the burst of energy I got from yang soul run out.

Oh. Well that explains that.

Guess I forgot that when Masks quit working the big guy could see me again. It seems to just be standing there, but I can make out that it’s turned to look back at the other one.

I follow the gaze, and even without my glasses I can make out a flurry of red and white tails whipping around the third clockworker. It seems to be swinging at random but not hitting anything.
Shaking it’s head, the big one turns back toward me.

I hurt all over, I can’t see worth a damn, and the pool of energy I had inside me feels a lot emptier than before.

It’s not fair. I’m supposed to be able to handle this. Eve would have made sure I could do this. Right?

I want to tear up. This has been one of the worst days I’ve ever had, and I agreed to it.

I’m an idiot.

Momo’s voice whispers over my shoulder.

:momotalk: “A far better showing than I expected, Mia. Better than I can do by far.”

I realize that somehow she’s crouched next to me even as her tails spin around and distract the clockworker. Her hand is on my shoulder again.

:momotalk: “Do you have any more of a plan? Or do you need help? I can offer it, for a price.”
No. 1028932 ID: 96c896

Help would be good. Heal pls?
No. 1028934 ID: c92a02

We'll negotiate on price later, let's knock this guy's lights out!
No. 1028936 ID: e5709d

"Revive Me!"
... Of course, you never actually agreed to any deal, you just quoted from your favorite video game.
No. 1028968 ID: 8483cf

Absolutely not, Momo. We're gonna win this fight with our smarts, not whatever bargain basement battalion you've buried in your bosom.

If Mia has enough energy (she should, Masks seems like a low user), reactivate Masks. If that doesn't work, hide, then activate it. Then grab the nearest thing to a weapon and have at the robot.

And if there isn't any weak point, let it wail on Momo, 'cause she is in no position to be offering help "with a price" when it's her butt on the line.

Also grab your glasses.
No. 1028971 ID: 90c451

Actually, we're a mediator right? We're supposed to send the spirits back and what-not so that means it's technically our job to send Momo back.
Of course, we don't intend to do that but the price Momo has might be to promise we won't send her back or interfere with her or something along those lines.
If it's anything other than that, I say we don't do it, as I'd rather not owe a spirit, that type of stuff always goes wrong.

Instead, why not use masks while they're distracted to slip outside, there's only 2 of them now so they can't block the entrances.
If we have trouble running away we can test if they see through their monitor by throwing our coat in it's face while we run.

After we get outside hopefully we can find something to use, maybe a good rock we can throw with monitor-breaking strength by using yang soul.
No. 1028994 ID: 060b37

We might have a handy-cap but were not out of it yet! These critters are not swarmer style boxes so we can still vaguely see what sort of hit they are throwing.

Get up, don't take the offer we still go this. Move away from the wall so you have some room to move and meet it half way. Don't bother with Mask, it will just drain too much energy and we need it to see us so it makes a predictable swing. It will swing on high again since that worked last time, duck the blow with yang soul then hit it with an uppercut that starts from the floor and pop it like a Rock-em sock-em robot. This is not our worst day, lets make it there worst day and SHOW THEM WHY NO ONE PAYS FOR SHITTY CABLE ANYMORE!
No. 1028995 ID: d98cb8
File 164974680135.png - (1.16MB , 1800x2400 , p32.png )

:premiatalk: “I can do this, I’m okay.”

I shove myself to my feet, body aching. I’d look for my glasses but I’m fairly sure I heard them shatter earlier, and even if they didn’t I can’t see them. Too small, and my eyes are terrible. I don’t care, I’m going to win here. Or at least survive without relying on spirits and deals.

The doorway is nearby, I’m pretty sure. I’ve got this. I’ll get away from the clockworker and... figure out something. Regroup. Ambush him.

I hurry toward the left, where a dark opening is visible in the wall even to my mediocre sight.

:momotalk: “I don’t think you can, Mia.”

Her voice sounds sad, and irrationally that actually pulls me up further out of my self-pity.

As I pull myself around the edge of the theatre wall and into the park beyond I can feel the thumping of footsteps behind me. I try to break into a run to get away, focusing on Masks in an attempt to maybe hide. The feeling isn’t quite there and I can’t tell why. My gait is wobbly and unsteady.

:premiatalk: “If you want to help you can fight! Aren’t you in danger too?”

Momo’s voice is so close it’s as if she’s whispering directly into my ear.

:momotalk: “If I turned and ran they would follow only you. If I fought and died I would return to where I came from. The only person in danger is you, Mia.”

I stumble, my breathing coming harder now. It’s not as if I was in especially good shape to begin with and this has taken what stamina I had left.

The footsteps behind me don’t sound especially rushed, but I guess I’m not moving very fast either. Looking back toward the theatre space I see I’ve barely gone more than thirty feet down the path. I don’t have the energy left to outrun anything.

Lit by the moon and whatever inner glow she gives off, Momo is visible in front of me, and both clockworkers are coming out of the doorway

:premiatalk: “If you can’t fight them, what good is a price? What help can you even give me? Can you heal me?”

Momo’s tone seems strangely elated that I’d finally ask such a thing as she responds.

:momotalk: “There are a great many things you can do that I cannot, but what I can give you is the power you need. In return you have to let me stay. That is the price. I swear it upon the Old Laws.”
No. 1028996 ID: c92a02

Shucks, you weren't going to do that already? Granted, on account of not currently punching our face in. A little corruption goes a long way in bureaucracy.
No. 1028997 ID: 96c896

We were told she is our ally. Agree to the price.
No. 1028998 ID: e51896

agree to it. I'm sure there are a lot of other mediators like us that has made a deal like this with other creatures like her.
No. 1029012 ID: e5709d

"I shall let you stay on the condition that you seek or maintain a counterweight at all times. We kill the big guy and see if his mooks are willing to negotiate for a temporary passport."
No. 1029013 ID: 7a9719

Interesting. Maintain the balance. Something like this MIGHT be wise, though I don't know exactly what form it should take, if it should even be codified at all.

I might also add some caveat that she not disrupt things in this world more than an amount we agree is reasonable - something to that effect.

But yes, boss lady did say Momo was our ally, I think, though sorta cryptically, so I think the basic answer is yes.
No. 1029127 ID: e7848c

Momo, did you honestly think we would send you away? You can stay as long as there's work to be done. Not a day short or after. At the end, we all have to maintain balance.
No. 1029386 ID: d98cb8
File 165007013876.png - (5.46KB , 800x600 , p33.png )

This is the first I’ve heard about laws, old or otherwise. But I can’t do this alone. Plus in the end, Eve told me that she’s an ally.

:premiatalk: “I’m supposed to send you back, so you can’t stay forever, right? Eventually-”

Momo cuts me off mid-sentence.

:momotalk: “This is not something I can negotiate.”

That’s probably as good as I’m getting. She seems firm on this, and weirdly serious. I’ve known her for barely a few minutes but the moment she brought up Old Laws it was all business. Seems important enough that I’ll have to ask later.

But right now... This feels like the right choice.

It’s do this or die, and I’m not planning to die. If this is what I need to do in order to survive I’ll take it and pay the price.

:premiatalk: “I accept.”

Momo’s serious demeanor shifts, breaking into a smile wide enough that I even I can see it right now.

No. 1029387 ID: d98cb8
File 165007029356.png - (519.63KB , 1800x2400 , p34.png )

Well hopefully that wasn’t a bad idea.

:premiatalk: “So how do we do this, is there like a-”

I don’t get through asking about if there’s a blood thing or a written contract or the like, as Momo steps forward at that moment.

Her tails, all nine of them, fan out behind her. There’s not enough time to process what she’s doing as she wraps her arms around me-

And kisses me.

Okay kiss is a REALLY light word for what she’s doing. I feel Momo’s entire body pulled against me, her hand reaching down to haul me by pulling on my thigh, her other hand pulling my head in.

My breasts as squished up against hers, and I’m aware of the softness at the same time as I realize exactly how intimately my lower body is being drawn up against her.

This would be more urgent but my brain is currently shorting out due to her mouth on mine.

Momo’s lips are unspeakably soft, which is strangely nice. Her tongue entwines with mine as I heat up and react almost without thinking. I can feel the sharpness of her teeth. Her face is covered in fur as soft as velvet. Immediately I want nothing more than to let this keep going, while a part of my brain also panics that I’m being kissed by a WOMAN. Also being kissed by a FOX SPIRIT.

I’ve only been kissed by one guy ever and he wasn’t great at it, but this?

Holy crap. This is a KISS.

But before I can fully process what’s going on and second-guess my acceptance of being absolutely frenched by Momo, I feel something else entirely.

She breathes something into me, and my breath intertwines as I breathe something back.

The heat I’d already been feeling is overtaken with a rolling wave of fire.

Power. Light. Energy. Motion.


Momo’s power rolls into my body and fills my core with a white-hot luminescence. It’s a rolling river of power, of yang energy. I grasp at it, and feel like I’m being washed away by it.

In the midst of that river is concepts I recognize, and I grip one. It’s one of the other Arts, the ones I didn’t pick.

It feels like speed, energy, and a restlessness.

It’s Motion, and it sinks into my soul alongside my other powers.

Just as I feel like I can’t contain any more, Momo pulls her lips from mine and steps back. She seems dimmer, not lighting the moonlit night as she was before.

But the night is still lit as brightly.

I take in that the light being cast is radiating from me. From the yang aspected energy pushing at the seams of my being. I feel like I’ve sprinted a mile and am ready for another ten, exhilarated and flushed.

I thought I’d be able to borrow power to survive, or escape. But this...

This isn’t the power of surviving. This isn’t running away, this isn’t defending. This is the power of yang. This is the drive to action.

I’m not just going to survive. I’m going to kick these assholes through the nearest wall.

Momo sees the expression on my face as I look at her and past to the clockworkers, who seem to have paused in shock. Their screens still retain the symbol as before, but as they look toward me the screens light up with red alarm.

The fox spirit grins at me.

:momotalk: “Go get them.”


Mia now has access to the Art of Motion!
No. 1029389 ID: 8483cf

No. 1029391 ID: 96c896

Motion was described as a kind of telekinesis. The entry level is like, throwing rocks, but I'm guessing it's easier to affect things closer to you. How about you do the most entry level combination of Yang and Motion?

Grab a rock, throw it really hard with Yang, and telekinetically push it with Motion at the same time to throw it even harder.

Another thing you could try doing is punching them, but pushing your own fist during the punch to punch HARDER. Yang should shield you from the impact and prevent you from breaking your hand(s).
No. 1029396 ID: e5709d

This next part is all about deception; pretend you haven't learned anything, use mask to distract your foes from your new powers until you can get a shiv in position to backstab.
No. 1029406 ID: 060b37

Hit a mother F'er with another mother F'er
No. 1029409 ID: 815672

What you need to do right now is keep this momentum going with a running charge land a flying double dragon kick the nearest guy as hard as you can. Preferably into the other dude.
No. 1029509 ID: ee03a8

Full force forward. Use all your arts at once to become an unstoppable force of plot. Mask your presence so nobody sees you coming, use Yang to boost your strength in your legs to run the fasterest, and use Motion to push everything that enters your personal bubble downwards with the most force you can manage and give them a friendly kick as you pass. Isekai all these fuckers like a proper truck-kun.
No. 1029514 ID: 8483cf

No. 1029902 ID: d98cb8
File 165051033654.png - (2.07MB , 2400x3200 , p35.png )

For a moment, I consider subtlety. Maybe trying to be more tactical, to think this over before I launch myself in. I leapt in the first time and got slapped into a wall for it, right?

That idea is quickly discarded.

I can’t even feel the power of Masks inside me, or the pains I’ve got or the exhaustion, underneath the torrential river of power flowing through. It’s pure yang energy, like Momo, and it spurs me to action and movement.

I’ve never really been into energy drinks but I’ve seen other people drink them and I think this is probably what it feels like if I were to drink like twenty of them.

Beyond anything else though, I feel like I kinda owe this guy a beatdown. This has been a thoroughly unpleasant experience, and it’s his turn to get kicked around. Why else did I borrow Momo’s power here? I paid a price- ahem I will be paying a price for this and the price was not being kissed and I will not be thinking about that thank you very much.

I shake my head and clear my thoughts. A momentary fantasy of a flying kick through the TV screen flashes past me, but I still don’t trust my ability to pull off something like that.

I’ll just punch him. I can FEEL the power raging through my muscles, the yang soul feeling but multiplied to the point where I feel like I’ll come apart if I don’t let it out. I KNOW how strong I am.

I tense, and run at the clockworker.

Or I try to run.

I push off like one would when going from standstill into a sprint, and a thundering crack booms out at my feet as the world BLURS forward. I’m not running. I just pushed off with all the force I had, without even thinking about it.

My feet slam into the ground, skidding on the sidewalk to a halt in front of the towering robotic form. He reels back in what I suppose is probably surprise, and I wonder why I didn’t just shred my shoes doing that. I look back, and the sidewalk next to Momo (who’s now waving delightfully at me) is cracked where I’d been standing.

Oh yes. I assumed strong, but wasn’t sure how much.

I can definitely work with this.

Turning back to look up, I see the clockworker swinging his massive arm at me for the second time in only a few minutes.

I’ve decided it’s going differently this time. So I step forward and punch, with all the force I can muster.

As I swing, I can see the reddish glow around me, the energy flowing forth. It’s the color of energy and momentum and speed, and I push it forward through me. As it travels up my arm into the swing, the color shifts.

It goes from a red into an orange, and I pour more energy in. It’s all the anger and fury and pain I’ve got, and it fuels that power.

The swing begins to connect, and I push HARDER, putting even more in. I’m done with this asshole.

The color shifts from orange into a pure gold, bright and shining.

My fist impacts the clockworker in the abdomen, right around my head height, and I push with everything I have.

The color that flares out from my fist in a wave, enforcing the punch with everything I can muster to put behind it, shifts into a bright blinding white.

There’s a thunderous boom as the behemoth is launched backward by my swing. There’s something intensely satisfying about doing unto this guy what he did to me, but a lot harder.

The clockworker misses the opening to the theatre space by a couple feet to the left. The wall doesn’t really slow him down though, so there’s just a larger opening left as he plows through that.

And then backward through the support pillars for the stage awning.

Followed by into the wall at the other end.

I assume this wall is a lot thicker, since there he stops. Or rather, that’s where a mangled pile of scrap comes to a halt, tangled electronics and metal and apparently even some random gears strewn around. I guess there’s some clockwork in there after all.

Despite all this, the TV head is somehow intact. As it begins to dissolve from the edges in the same way as the first one I beat, it’s screen switches to a red X and blinks furiously at me. I wonder if this is a threat of some kind, but I’m already turning to face the last one, who was about my size.

I’m not going to get blindsided again here.

This one looks... well I can’t really make out the body language of a TV-headed robot but I’d have to go with panicked. There’s definitely a feeling of suddenly being aware this is not working out like was planned. It feels weirdly good to think that maybe he’s scared of me.

He should be scared.

Obviously in agreement with my internal thoughts here, the clockworker’s hands extend out into razor sharp claws extending from the sleeves of his coat.

I take a deep breath. I’m feeling a lot less filled with power, but it’s still a magnitude more than I began with, and I still can’t feel Masks, though Yang Soul and Motion are powerful presences in my soul.

That’s okay, I’m not really feeling subtle.
No. 1029905 ID: 96c896

Grab some rubble and either use it as a melee weapon so you don't have to get close to those claws, or as ranged ammunition.
No. 1029906 ID: 060b37

Claws are a problem, if you go to punch and they ether block with them or catch you with them then that means bleeding. Our vision is about arm reach which makes this next part hard. We need to spot something we can clock this guy with. We just need a little reach so the claws can't cut us as we hit him. That or flicking the coat at his face to blind him before going in for a leg sweep would also prevent the claws getting us. Were doing good, no need to get a bad set of cuts or a bad would on the home stretch!
No. 1029922 ID: 8483cf

No. 1029929 ID: e5709d

Why are things going so well for you? How are you killing something three levels above your challenge rating? Why is your core Mask stat fading? Is Momo a Tamamo? Are you sure she's not a Kumiho?
Are you sure they're not in cahoots?

Deep breath. Focus. Retreat. Remember the power you chose. Integrate everything with everything. Show 'mercy'.

The survivor stays - bound, gagged, and in your custody - as long as Momo stays.
I mean, they're Yin. They're not freedom fighters.
No. 1029936 ID: 815672

So you're not going to be punching this guy through several walls, but you can still sweep the leg and windmill slam that head a foot into the ground before those claws can get to you.
No. 1029948 ID: 210f04

>I can’t even feel the power of Masks inside me
That's because you currently have 2 Yang abilities in you and Masks is your only Yin ability. You’ve become unbalanced.

>now what?
Look for something to throw at them. Or look for something you can swing at them.

Maybe you can use one of the theatre benches as a weapon?
No. 1030000 ID: 758001

Hmm, again an intriguing reminder for balance. It's hard to maintain balance when only one side keeps trying to kill you, but, it might be worth considering some alternate ending to this. If nothing else ends up workable, try at least to say e.g. "Next time, I suggest you start with talking!" before he disappears.
No. 1030235 ID: d98cb8
File 165086079312.gif - (234.32KB , 2400x1800 , p3612f.gif )

I didn’t start this, but I’m willing to finish it.

Despite that, I take one last shot at being diplomatic about it.

:premiatalk: “Don’t make me fuck you up too.”

Okay it’s not the most peaceful attempt but somehow it actually elicits a response. The clockworker’s screen flashes red again, and he RESPONDS. It’s that same scratchy static voice again.

“You are a threat to the Plan. Your continued existence is not permitted.”

He flexes the hand claws and steps forward. It takes me a moment to blink and process a whole two sentences from these guys. For some reason I’d felt like they were barely able to speak. Guess they were just quiet.

However, that was a pretty clear answer.

Fine then.

Reaching out to a nearby block of broken concrete that fell off the busted wall, I invoke Motion. I’m not entirely sure how I do it, except in the moment knowing that my will to make this happen is all I need.

A desire to make this chunk of rock move, to lift it with my mind and slam it down on the jerk in front of me. I guess that’s it.

I need to want and feel these things to make them happen. Not just tell it to happen but to desire it fully in the moment.

Again I push power out into my Art, shoving the remainder of this torrential power into this working.

With one last thought, I order it to happen.
No. 1030236 ID: d98cb8
File 165086085083.gif - (899.18KB , 1600x1200 , p37fixed.gif )



The slab of concrete whips through the air with blistering speed, halts above the robotic figure, and drops with unimaginable force.

The clockworker doesn’t even manage to shatter properly. It happens so fast that the dust kicked up by the impact is probably entirely the remains as he fades very quickly back into the yin world.

I blink in confusion.

:premiatalk: “That was a lot easier than I thought it would be.”

Turning to comment to Momo, I’m caught off guard by a wave of sheer exhaustion and dizziness.

My energy reserves are simply empty. I’ve got nothing left internally, and the shift from feeling empowered to on the verge of collapse clues me in on something I hadn’t even noticed.

This entire time I’d been reinforcing myself with yang soul. Not just for the big punch but just to stand up properly and feel functional. I’m bone tired underneath it. Nothing was healed here, only hidden underneath the power. Like steroids or something.

Momo begins walking toward me, smiling broadly.

Rather than risk falling over, I prod mentally at the powers inside me. I can still feel them like before.

Masks, Yang Soul... and Motion. Even without fuel I’m still a Mediator, and I guess that new one is sticking around.

:momotalk: “Amazing Mia~ I’ve seen so few Mediators take to their powers so... enthusiastically!”

It’s hard to think of a response. I’m more exhausted than I’ve ever been, and my vision is wobbling. But I need to figure out what to do with Momo here now. I made a deal to not send her back, right? Maybe if I ask nicely she’ll go home without me needing to do anything?

Her hand lands on my head, and fluffs my hair. What, does she think I’m a cat?

I reach up to grab her, having trouble seeing in the moonlight. Momo isn’t shedding light like she had been when she arrived, and I’ve spent all the power that had me glowing too. This is when I’m stopped by a noise and a sight.

There’s a car coming across the manicured grass in the park. Down further past the theatre space, where there’s a parking lot and an inlet road onto the nearby highway. It’s still a couple hundred yards off but bumping across the grass with high beams on, headed straight for where we stand.

:premiatalk: “Ah crap.”

I’m standing here looking like I’ve run a marathon, with half the theatre space looking like it’s been blown up, and a fox lady standing next to me. This isn’t a good look.
No. 1030238 ID: e7848c

Take a deep breath, and put your legs underneath you. Get your mask on, you got to hobble down the dusty trail out of here. I'm sure Momo can hide herself.
No. 1030239 ID: 8483cf

Time to skedaddle. Mask up and get out!

Cool girls don't look at property damage.
No. 1030240 ID: 758001

Hmm. Options, in descending order of preference:
1. Run away, possibly using Masks if you can.
2. Ask Momo to maybe please help you escape.
3. Pass out, and come up with an explanation, like, you were out getting some fresh air, and - you remember some bright lights and loud noises? And you hurt all over.
4. Same thing but tell the whole truth and see if this is enough to certify you as hallucinating. Maybe not the best idea.
No. 1030241 ID: 758001

Also, maybe next time try not to use your entire reserve of power at once; if you'd missed or something, you'd be toast.
No. 1030242 ID: 96c896

If Mask has refreshed you can use it to escape. Momo... tell Momo she needs to hide somewhere, maybe in your bag?
No. 1030263 ID: e5709d

"Momo, your cover name is Nikki binti Hozumi and you're from Palembang, Malaysia. You're here to get an education from your overbearing corporate mother and screw every man you can get your grubby paws on. Wear something stupid and keep the boobs."

Have Momo carry you deeper into the woods, then find a random restaurant and eat after midnight.
No. 1030394 ID: e51896

Can we hide under the theater chairs, or behind the buildings? Make sure you grab your broken lens before leaving
No. 1031031 ID: d98cb8
File 165153413223.png - (269.16KB , 2400x1800 , p38.png )

:premiatalk: “We’ve gotta get out of here, uh, hide or something.”

Momo is shading her eyes against the approaching headlights with a broad smile, lights which by now must be illuminating us both very clearly. I look around, hoping to come up with an idea.

Running into the theatre space would only hide us for a short moment, since there’s nowhere to hide in there. All the benches are just concrete blocks laid into the ground. Not an option. And if I ran down the path they could just drive after me, since there’s no real cover to hide behind for at least a few hundred feet.

That’s a lot further than I have the energy to sprint for.

:premiatalk: “Can you- can you hide us? Can you hide yourself?”

:momotalk: “Hiding? Why would I want to hide? Let’s say hi~”

She grins over at me, fangs clearly visible in the headlights as the car comes to a halt only twenty feet away. I can vaguely see it’s a smaller one, maybe older.

One final option. I have Masks, I can make myself harder to pay attention to, right?

I feel absolutely no energy left in my soul, but I reach for that feeling of indistinct anonymity and pull on it.

My eyesight flares with white and black spots, like I’d just slammed my head into something. A spike of pain as if a giant nail had just been driven right into my brain wipes away any thoughts.

That wasn’t the best idea.
No. 1031032 ID: d98cb8
File 165153417158.png - (495.41KB , 2400x1800 , p39.png )

The world whirls around me, and I wonder why until my back hits the ground. My brain feels like the worst migraine I’ve ever had, and my vision dims as I stare up at the moon.

It goes from crystal clear in my sight, to a vague blur. I observe how weird it was that the moon had been so visible without my glasses. Everything had been for a while actually. Ever since Momo kissed me.

Her voice chimes up, unworried from off to my right somewhere.

:momotalk: “Oh that’s interesting! Is that what happens when you’re out? I’ve never seen a mediator do that!”

I try to raise my hand. I don’t know what I’m doing it for. Maybe to wave toward Momo? Or perhaps to try to push myself back up?

Either way I can’t seem to do it. My hand lays limply on the grass, the cold dew between my fingers. It’s the same feeling I’d had once before, coming out from under anesthesia.
No. 1031033 ID: d98cb8
File 165153422240.png - (372.70KB , 2400x1800 , p40.png )

Unlike anesthesia though, I could feel this headed in reverse.

My eyes were closing despite my best efforts. I didn’t really feel like I was in pain, not really aside from my horrible headache from that last attempt at Masks. Just the rest of the aches and pains of exerting myself and getting kicked around in return.

But I was truly and completely empty. What little adrenaline I has was gone, my body was letting me know that it’s time to rest, and rest hard.

As my eyes closed, I saw what looked like a bird above me. A black one? A crow or raven? That didn’t make sense, they didn’t fly at night. Only owls do that. Yeah that’s right. Only owls. Must be an owl.

Right before I pass out, I hear a voice call out in confusion, a voice that seems familiar yet entirely out of place here. A voice I can’t pin down.

“Miss Rhodes? Is that you?”

Everything goes dark.

End of Part 1 of Unbalanced

Unbalanced is going on a short hiatus, but Mia and Momo will return soon!
No. 1031045 ID: e7848c

Sleep with the stars.
No. 1031139 ID: 67cdb5

Nice beginning! Looking forwards to see more.
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