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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.”

137 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
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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