Unforeseeable [LH]

Lord Raa

Exporter of Juice Tins
#1
I was clearing up the old thread and I accidentally deleted the first post, not realising that it would delete the whole thread.

I think that's a lesson for us all there.

However, it does allow me to repost everything in completed chapters and for you guys to comment on more than just a teasing snippet (that happens to have mangled formatting).


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Unforeseeable


By Lord Raa


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Disclaim-me-do: Of all the 15 IBRC Certification joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.


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Chapter 1


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It was the morning after and Keitaro Urashima, former ronin, was beginning to regret drinking as much as he had to celebrate finally getting into Toudai.

His drinking had started early at the behest of his tenant, Mitsune Konno, and he’d passed out before 9:30. The last thing he’d heard was Kitsune’s teasing about his inability to handle his drink.

He slowly lifted his head, regretting every millimetre of movement. “Ow. Ow. Ow,” he winced as he opened his eyes.

Daylight flooded his field of view, causing him to shut his eyes and look away. After a few minutes of deep breathing to steel himself, Keitaro tried again. He fumbled around for his glasses.

When he could see properly, he took stock of his situation. “At least I didn’t vomit all over myself,” he thought wryly.

Rising to his feet, he made his way to the kitchen, intent of rehydrating himself.

It was then that he heard the sobbing.


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Shinobu Maehara turned her head towards the sounds approaching her. “S-sempai, i-is that you?”

“Y-yeah,” Keitaro answered, causing the girl to slowly rise to her feet. “Is something wrong?”

“I-I can’t see, Sempai!” the girl cried as she took a step towards the sound of her landlord’s voice. She tripped and it took all of Keitaro’s reactions to catch the chef before she hit the wooden floor.

“W-why can’t you see, Shinobu-chan?”

“I don’t know!” she sobbed into Keitaro’s chest, causing the now former ronin to wince.

“Shush, Shinobu-chan. It’ll be alright,” Keitaro said in what he hoped was a reassuring voice. He closed his own eyes as he struggled to deal with the intense throbbing in his skull. “I’m sorry to do this to you, Shinobu-chan, but I need a drink of water, so let’s go into the kitchen, ok?”

“O-ok, Sempai,” Shinobu said, her face buried into her crush’s t-shirt. “P-please help me there. I-I’m scared, S-sempai...”

Keitaro nodded and gently guided the blind girl to the kitchen, where he sat her down on a chair.

“D-don’t go, Sempai...”

“I’m just getting us something to drink, Shinobu-chan.”

Shinobu picked up on the pain in Keitaro’s voice. “I-is something the matter, Sempai?”

“I’ve got a hangover, Shinobu-chan. I just drank too much last night,” Keitaro said with a forced smile. “I’ll be alright soon enough. Now, can I get you anything?”

“S-some tea, please, Sempai,” the blind girl said.

It was a struggle for Keitaro to make the tea, but he managed to brew something surprisingly palatable.

After a gentle caffeine hit, he took Shinobu’s hands in his and spoke in his best reassuring voice.

“Shinobu-chan, I’m going wake up the others and get them to keep you company while I phone the doctor. I promise I won’t be long.”

“O-ok, Sempai.”


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Motoko had also been drinking last night, but she had decided to exercise moderation. Having quickly changed to soft drinks and tea after the initial toast, the kendoist was nowhere near the sorry state that her landlord had been in. But still, she had lain in bed far later than normal.

There was a knock on her door.

“Motoko-chan, I need you to come to the kitchen.”

“What? Keitaro, is that you?” the raven-haired girl asked, lifting her head. “What’s going on? Why is it still dark?”

“It’s not, Motoko-chan,” Keitaro answered. A sinking sensation filled his stomach. “Can you see?”

Motoko moved a hand to her face to check her eyes were open. When she realised that she couldn’t see her fingers, she let out a scream.

“What’s going on?!” she demanded.

Concerned for his friend’s wellbeing, the former ronin barged into the room and rushed to the blind girl.

“I can’t see,” Motoko sobbed. “I can’t see. What’s wrong with me?”

“I don’t know,” Keitaro answered. “Shinobu can’t see, either. Please, come with me to the kitchen. I’ll call the doctor out.”

“B-but if I can’t see, what’s the point of me living?” the kendoist sniffed. She reached out for a blade.

“No!” Keitaro shouted, causing Motoko to flinch. “I won’t let you kill yourself. We’ll find out what happened and we’ll get your sight back, I promise.”

“But what about the Shinmeiryu? What good am I to my clan if I’m blind?”

“What good are you to your friends if you’re dead?” the bespectacled man countered. “Please, we need to find out what happened.”

“F-fine, I’ll come with you to the kitchen. For Shinobu.”

Keitaro smiled happily. “Let me help you up.”

Motoko braced herself for the inevitable ‘accident,’ where her landlord would place a hand on her breast or thigh or buttock. She was surprised when he took her by the hand and slowly led her to the kitchen.

‘Perhaps I misjudged Keitaro...’

“Shinobu-chan,” Keitaro said, rousing the kendoist from her thoughts. “I promised I’d be back, and here I am. I’ve brought Motoko-chan with me.”

“Motoko-sempai!” the chef greeted, reaching out a hand to confirm her friend’s presence. Shinobu’s heart sank when she heard her friend’s words.

“Shinobu, where are you? I can’t see.”

“Y-you’re blind too?”

“Y-yes,” the swordswoman admitted as she took her seat. Keitaro handed her a cup of tea. “Thank you, Keitaro.”

“I’m going to get the others. I’ll get them one at a time, so keep calm.”


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Naru Narusegawa fumbled for her glasses before opening her eyes. When she noticed that everything was still dark, she let out a scream.

Keitaro burst into the room.

“Naru-chan, are you blind too?”

“Keitaro? W-what’s going on?” Naru asked, her head moving around, hoping to find something that would prove that she wasn’t blind.

Or worse, losing her mind.

“Keitaro, are you there?”

“I’m here, Naru-chan,” Keitaro said, taking hold of Naru’s hand. “Do you think you can walk? Motoko-chan and Shinobu-chan are blind, but they can walk. They’re in the kitchen.”

“What’s happened to us, Keitaro? Why can you see?” the brunette asked, pointedly not moving until she got an answer.

“I honestly don’t know, Naru-chan. I remember drinking to celebrate passing the entrance exam, but I drank too much and I passed out early. I don’t know about anything that happened after that.”

“Oh,” Naru replied. She was placated enough to go with Keitaro to the kitchen. “So, what do you think happened to me?”

“I don’t know, but I think that it’s the same thing that happened to Motoko-chan and Shinobu-chan.”


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“M-Motoko-sempai...” Shinobu sniffed. “I...”

Motoko reached out, trying to find her friend’s hand. “Ow,” she winced as she brushed her wrist against the hot teapot. “This is intolerable.”

“W-what do you mean?”

“I mean that...” the swordswoman trailed off as she realised that her friend was in the same position. “I’m sorry, Shinobu, I’m just not used to being so helpless. I couldn’t even find my way here without Keitaro’s help.”

“What do you think happened to us?” Shinobu asked, sipping her tea.

“I know that we weren’t attacked – I didn’t feel any scars on my face,” Motoko answered. “I don’t know of any disease that we wouldn’t notice that could spread from person to person. We need to establish what happened last night to find out why Keitaro isn’t affected.”

“Yes,” Shinobu nodded. It was out of habit and she realised that it was a pointless gesture. “Well, we were celebrating Sempai passing the entrance exam.”

“Yes,” the kendoist agreed. “Apart from you and Su, we all drank from the same bottle of sake, so it couldn’t be that if Keitaro can see.”

“Sempai and Kitsune drank more than you and Naru-sempai did,” the chef added. “And we all ate the same food.”

The raven-haired girl stroked her chin. “So if it’s not the food or drink, then what else was there?”

“The meteors,” the two girls answered in unison.

“They were so bright,” Shinobu recalled. “Oh no,” she gasped in horror.

“What’s up, Shinobu?”

“I-if the lights were what blinded us, h-how m-many p-people do you t-think s-saw them?” the chef asked, shaking at the terrible thought of a largely blind populace.

“...Oh shit...” Motoko said with an uncharacteristic vulgarity as the potential situation sank in.

Keitaro arrived with Naru and noticed the horrified expressions on the seated girls’ faces. “What’s wrong?”

“I... Sempai...”

“Keitaro,” Naru growled, snatching her hand away from Keitaro. “What did you do?”

“It’s not Keitaro, Naru-sempai,” Motoko said. “Can you see?”

“No,” the brunette said a timid tone. She reached out and felt her way to the table. “I can’t see a damned thing.”

“We may know why,” the kendoist said. “Last night’s meteor shower.”

“Aw man, I can’t believe I missed that! I was looking forward to seeing that,” Keitaro griped. “The TV said that was going to be spectacular.”

He reached for the teapot and poured two cups, completely missing the implications of what he’d said. “Here you go, Naru-chan.”

“Thank you,” Naru said as her fingers curled round the ceramic cup. “So, if we’re blind, what are we going to do?”

“I don’t know,” the former ronin said before taking a few sips of his tea. “I need to check up on Su and Kitsune. I’ll be back soon, ok?”

“Ok, Sempai. But when you come back, we’ll need more tea,” Shinobu said.

“Do you need anything now?”

“No, but hurry back,” Motoko said, hoping she didn’t sound too desperate.

“Will do,” Keitaro said. He filled the kettle before leaving to find his other two tenants.


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Kaolla Su was up and tinkering with one of her new gadgets, trying to solve the problem that had caused her to miss the live viewing of the previous night’s fireworks.

“Too hungry to think about this,” she sighed, placing it to one side.

There was a knock on the door.

“Su-chan, are you alright in there?” the male voice asked.

“Yeah,” the blonde said as she opened the door to her room. “What’s up, Keitaro?”

“It’s... I need you to come to the kitchen, Su-chan,” Keitaro sighed.

“Are you alright, Keitaro?”

“I’m a little delicate, but it’s not me,” the hungover man answered. “The others, they can’t see.”

“Can’t see?” the princess repeated. “Are you all playing a game?”

“No,” Keitaro insisted. “It’s... please, go to the kitchen while I get Kitsune.”

“Ok,” Kaolla said in her usual happy tone.

Keitaro let out a sigh as he fought off a wave of nausea. ‘This is hard work. At least I’m not the only one here who can see.’


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Kitsune was out cold, and had long been that way thanks to her overindulgence. She’d started drinking before Keitaro and had mixed the remnants of several bottles into one glass to make it worth the effort of drinking.

That had caused her to give herself alcohol poisoning.

Keitaro’s knocking on the door had gone unanswered and he feared the worst for Kitsune’s condition. He barged in and rushed to where she’d collapsed.

“Kitsune, are you alright?” he asked. He tentatively reached out and gently nudged the sleeping woman and repeated his question.

“Sleeping. Piss off,” the ash-blonde mumbled. “Come back in three days.”

“Kitsune, I need you to get up now,” Keitaro said, rolling the voluptuous woman onto her back. He swallowed involuntarily when he noticed the way that Kitsune’s ample bosom was straining at her skimpy t-shirt. “K-Kitsune, please, get up.”

“Still sleeping.”

The young man sighed as he tried to think of a way to get Kitsune to wake up without making a scene. “Kitsune, if you get up now and go to the kitchen, I’ll let you off this month’s rent.”

The short-haired woman smiled and sat up. “Good morning, Keitaro. What can I do for you?”

“Something’s happened to the others – they can’t see. I need you to go to the kitchen to help them while I call a doctor,” Keitaro explained.

“Weird, but ok,” Kitsune nodded. “Do you mind if I get dressed first?”

“What? Oh yes, sorry. I’ll make some more tea.”


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“Let me look at your eyes, Shinobu,” Kaolla said as she leaned in to inspect the chef’s eyes.

Shinobu struggled to sit still as she felt Kaolla’s breath tickle her face. “C-can you see anything?”

“Hold still,” the princess scowled. “I can’t tell if anything’s wrong with your eyes,” she said as she climbed off Shinobu’s lap. She pouted as she tried to unravel the mystery. “It doesn’t make sense.”

“Maybe not, but it happened,” Naru snapped. “I’m sorry, I’m just... it’s I don’t know what’s going on. I mean, we’re all blind and there’s a man here. Yeah, it’s Keitaro, but what if he... you know?”

“S-Sempai would never take advantage of us like that!” Shinobu insisted. “He’s trying to help us and you-you’re accusing him!”

“Accusing who of what?” Kitsune asked, leaning up against the door frame. “And why the long faces?”

“We are unable to see,” Motoko said. “Aside from Keitaro and Su, we are completely blind.”

“You’re blind?” the ash-blonde asked. “When did this happen?”

“Last night,” Shinobu said. “When we were watching the meteors.”

“Meteors? Oh yeah, the TV news was filled with how they were going to be a spectacular show. So you really think it was that that blinded you all?”

“It’s the only common factor. We all drank from the same bottle of sake, but Keitaro can see. Shinobu and Su didn’t drink any sake, but Shinobu’s blind. We all ate the same food. The only thing that you, Keitaro and Su didn’t do was look at the meteor shower,” the kendoist surmised.

“Oh shit...” Kitsune said as realisation dawned on her face.

“Bad news,” Keitaro said as he arrived in the kitchen with the cordless phone handset. “I can’t get through to the doctor or the emergency services.”


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To be continued....
[hr]
Unforeseeable


By Lord Raa


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Disclaim-me-do: In the strip search of life, it’s better to be the finger, or even the anus, than the rubber glove.


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Chapter 2


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The two sighted girls turned to Keitaro.

“What was that?”

“I can’t get through to the emergency services,” the former ronin repeated. “I don’t know what’s happening, it’s like the whole system is jammed.”

“We need to contact someone,” Motoko said. She looked thoughtful for a moment. “I have a cellular telephone for emergencies. Kitsune, could you go to my room and send a text message to my sister?”

“Sure, think about what you want me to put in it,” the ash-blonde said before leaving the kitchen.

“Ugh,” Keitaro sighed. He fell into an empty chair and slumped over, resting his head on his arms. “Need sleep...”

“You can’t sleep now!” Naru protested. “You need to sort this out!”

“Sort what out,” Keitaro mumbled. He slowly lifted his head. “I’m in no condition to do anything complicated like following medical instructions. Hell, finding you all and bringing you to the kitchen nearly killed me.”

“It’s your own fault for drinking so much last night,” the brunette chided. “If you hadn’t drank yourself unconscious, you’d be in a better state to help us.”

“Sorry,” the hungover man apologised. He winced when he felt the room spin again. “I’ll be right back.”

After Keitaro had left the room, Kitsune returned with Motoko’s phone. “Have you thought about what you want me to put in your message, Motoko?”

“I’m not sure how to word it. We don’t know what happened, we only know that three of us are blind and three of us can see and that we can’t get through to the police or any of the other emergency services.”

Kitsune’s fingers flew over the keypad and managed to type out a message. “There, it’s sent.”

“What did you put?” the kendoist asked, concerned that her family would panic. “And how did you write the message so quickly?

“I told her what we know,” the short-haired tenant answered. “As for texting so quickly, I had to learn how to for an article I wrote.”

“What was it about?” Naru asked.

“It’s not important right now,” Kitsune said, hoping that her friends would drop the matter. “So, where’s Keitaro gone?”

“I think he’s gone off to the toilet,” Shinobu answered. “He didn’t sound very well.”

“He just drank too much. A bit like you, Kitsune,” Naru added. “I still think that if you and Keitaro hadn’t drank so much last night, you’d be in a better condition to look after us.”

“Actually,” Motoko said, massaging her temples, “If they had been more moderate in their drinking, they would have seen the meteor shower with us.”

“So?” the brunette asked, not having been part of the earlier conversation between Motoko and Shinobu.

“W-we think that watching the meteor shower was what blinded us all,” Shinobu added. “It’s the only common factor we could think of.”

“Oh shit,” Kitsune gasped. “They said that meteor shower was going to be visible across half the world!


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Keitaro retched several times, but didn’t actually vomit. When he spat into the bowl, he was forced to brace himself against the wall to stop him for falling over.

“No more booze for me,” he sighed. After a moment, he realised that he needed to use the toilet for the other end and fumbled with his trousers and boxer shorts.

He was just in time to sit down before he evacuated his bowels.

“Damn it,” he sighed again. “I don’t think I can deal with this.”

Keitaro closed his eyes as he rested his head on the wall. “I’ll just close my eyes for a few moments.”

It was enough for him to fall asleep.


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“What are we going to do?” Naru asked. She was becoming increasingly anxious about the situation. “We need to sort something out.”

“Yes, we do,” Kitsune agreed. She reached for the teapot and frowned. “I guess the first thing is to make some more tea.”

“TEA?” the brunette demanded shrilly. “Just what do you think is going on here?”

The ash-blonde sighed. “Naru, the situation is this: you, Shinobu, Motoko and God knows how many others have been struck blind and we can’t find a doctor to find out how permanent it is.”

“Yes, but you and Keitaro have to do something!”

“What can we do? You’re not the only one who wishes we were sober, Naru, but we’re in no state to find a doctor right now,” the voluptuous girl added as she flicked the switch for the kettle. “And before you think of volunteering to go, how many steps are there? What’s their size? What’s the gradient of the hill?”

“I don’t know, I never gave it any thought,” Naru admitted defensively.

“Kitsune does have a point, Naru-sempai,” Motoko said calmly. “We can’t take the risk of falling down and breaking a bone.”

The kettle finished boiling and Kitsune made some fresh tea. “Silly question, have any of you lot watched or read ‘Fist of the North Star?’”

“No, but I think it’s about a skilled martial artist who wanders a post apocalyptic landscape,” the kendoist answered. “There’s a great deal of violence and exploding people, if I remember correctly.”

“Yes. I’m not saying that people’s heads will start to explode, but my point is that there were some survivors who banded together. The survivors tended to fall into one of two camps,” the ash-blonde said as she refilled the cups of everyone there, “The people who tried to continue with some sort of normality and the lawless gangs who went around raping and killing people.”

There was a silence which caused Kitsune to hastily add, “I’m not saying that there are rape gangs out there, but anyone who goes out there has to be careful. What if one of us was captured and forced to be someone’s eyes?”

“Oh,” Naru replied. “I hadn’t thought about it that way. So what are we going to do?”

“That’s a good question. First off, I think we need to decide on some ground rules. Su, could you get Keitaro, please?”


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“Hey, Keitaro!” the blonde called out. She banged her fist on the toilet door. “We need to talk to you Keitaro!”

“Wha?” the bespectacled man said, rousing from his little nap. “Oh, I fell asleep on the toilet. Let me finish up here.”

The toilet flushed and Keitaro washed his hands. When they were clean, he splashed some water on his face and looked in the mirror. “I look as bad as I feel. Still, let’s see what they want to talk to me about.”

Opening the door, Keitaro stepped out and gave Kaolla a weak smile. “Ready when you are.”

“Good,” Kaolla said. She grabbed Keitaro’s hand and led him back to the kitchen. “Is this how it’s going to be? You look after all of us and I look after you?”

“Sorry about that,” the former ronin said, rubbing the back of his head. He entered the kitchen and took his place in an empty chair. “So, what’s it that you wanted to discuss?”

“We’re trying to decide what we’re going to do,” Kitsune said. “First off, I think that it’s obvious that we’ll be keeping the gates bolted shut until we know more about what’s happened.”

“Agreed,” Keitaro nodded. “Tomorrow, I’ll go into town and look around. See if I can find someone who knows what’s going on.”

“Tomorrow?” Naru protested. “What about today? We need to know more about what’s going on now!”

“Ok,” Keitaro sighed and stood up from his chair, “I’ll go now.”

“Sit down, Keitaro,” the ash-blonde said, pointing downwards. “Nobody is going anywhere until tomorrow, when we’re all sober. For all we know, everyone will be able to see tomorrow morning and we’ll be back on our feet before we know it.”

“But what if we’re not?” Motoko asked.

“Then we’ll adapt and survive,” Kitsune said pointedly. “Humans have a long history of changing their environment to make life easier for them, and changing to their environment to survive.

“And before any of you complain about ‘just surviving’ not being enough, you need to be alive to have a meaningful life.”

The others were taken aback by Kitsune’s hidden steel-hard core.

“O-ok,” Keitaro nodded. “I suppose we could start planning a route I could use as a base for my search?”

“Yes,” Kitsune smiled. “Now, how about we get something to eat? We need to keep our strength up.”


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Six hours later, Keitaro was feeling better; mainly because he had spent much of that time asleep.

He groggily sat up on his futon and noticed that he was not alone. “What the, Kitsune? What are you doing here?”

“Taking this opportunity to get away from the others,” the ash-blonde answered in a conspiratorial tone. “Naru’s really not taking this whole thing well.”

“Can you blame her? I mean, it’s one thing to need glasses, but to lose your sight completely is another matter,” Keitaro replied.

“But she doesn’t have to act like such a huge brat,” Kitsune countered. “I mean, Motoko and Shinobu are positively stoic in comparison.”

“How bad do you think it really is?”

“Best case is that everyone is fine by the end of the week. Worst case is that everything’s turned to shit and there are six people left alive on a planet that’s slowly dying,” the voluptuous resident sighed sadly. “Anything beyond that, I honestly couldn’t say, Keitaro.”

She moved to the window and looked out towards the town. There weren’t many signs of life. Keitaro looked down for a moment before joining Kitsune by the window.

“I... I think that we’ll make it out of this, Kitsune.”

“Really? And why is that, Keitaro? Do you know something that the rest of us don’t?” Kitsune asked, turning to face her landlord.

“I finally got into Toudai, Kitsune,” Keitaro smiled. “Do you really think I’m going to let all that effort I put in go to waste?”

“No, I suppose not,” the ash-blonde smiled back. ‘Damn, Keitaro really knows how to put a girl at ease. Maybe...’

There was a knock at the door. It was Kaolla.

“Shinobu said that she needs some help with dinner,” the princess said as she opened the door.

“Ok, we’ll help,” Kitsune said. “Come on, Keitaro, you need to do something useful today.”

“What? Yeah,” the bespectacled man nodded. He noticed that the Princess seemed more subdued than normal. And it took a lot to bring Kaolla Su down. “Is something wrong, Su?”

“Not really...” Kaolla said. She looked up and noticed that Keitaro and Kitsune were unconvinced by her words. “I’ve got this weird feeling about tomorrow.”

“What, me going into town to see what happened? I’m sure I’ll be fine,” Keitaro smiled.

“I can’t shake this feeling that it’s like you’re in one of those Biohazard games.”

“You think that Keitaro’s going to have the undead jump out at him?” Kitsune asked, wondering what sort of thought process the foreign girl had going on in her pretty little head. “The dead aren’t going to walk the streets, Su-chan.”

“I know that,” Kaolla sighed. “It’s just that it seems like there’s always something to take advantage of a major disaster to threaten people. You know, like aliens or a virus or something.”

“I don’t think we’ve got to worry about a virus or alien invaders, Su-chan,” Keitaro said as he rubbed the top of the blonde’s head. “If you’re that worried about me, you can always make something to protect me.”

“You mean it? I’ll make you something special!” the blonde beamed happily. “It’ll be the best thing you could ever take on such a mission!”

Kitsune smiled as Kaolla ran off to her room to knock something together. “Well, you’ve certainly managed to cheer her up.”


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Keitaro and Kitsune entered the kitchen together. They were greeted by the sight of Shinobu struggling to open a sack of rice.

“Let me help you, Shinobu,” Keitaro said, rushing to the chef’s aid. “What are you... we making for dinner?”

“Just some rice and vegetables, Sempai,” Shinobu answered. “I... I don’t think that I can cook anything more than that.”

“It’s ok, Shinobu, we’re here to help,” Keitaro said, hoping his voice was enough to reassure the blind girl.

“T-thank you, Sempai,” the chef blushed.

Kitsune watched on, noticing that Keitaro’s presence and words had a calming effect on Shinobu, just as they had on herself and Kaolla earlier. She couldn’t help noticing how his assistance and inherently slightly goofy nature had cheered up Shinobu. It made her think about just how important he was to the Hinata Sou and its residents.

‘I’m not sure how long we’d last without Keitaro...’

“Well, the rice is cooking and the vegetables are steaming right now,” Keitaro announced, turning to see the concerned look on Kitsune’s face. “Is something wrong, Kitsune?”

“I... I was just thinking,” the ash-blonde replied. “Nothing serious, so how long before you need me to call the others in?”

“About twenty minutes,” Shinobu answered. “S-sempai, I was wondering if, if...”

Keitaro was surprised to see how red the chef’s face was. “Is something wrong, Shinobu-chan? Are you feeling sick or anything?”

“Auu....” the blind girl said, nearly fainting when Keitaro placed the back of his hand on her forehead to check her temperature.

“I don’t think she’s got a fever, Keitaro,” Kitsune smiled. “What is it you wanted, Shinobu-chan?”

“I’m... I’m a little scared. C-can I s-sleep in your room?” Shinobu stammered.

“Sure thing, Shinobu-chan,” the ash-blonde said, struggling not to laugh at the look of panic on the ronin’s face. “You and the others can all sleep in my room for tonight.”

Shinobu’s face fell. “Oh, but I meant...”

“Shinobu-chan, I know what you mean. I know that you like Keitaro, but you can’t sleep in his room,” Kitsune said, her tone turning serious. “It’s not proper for a young girl like yourself to sleep in a boy’s room.”

She stood up and walked to Shinobu, throwing her arms around her and holding her tight. “Besides, you’ll make everyone jealous if you sneak into Keitaro’s bed...”

“Auu...”

The voluptuous girl felt the heat from the blind girl’s cheeks as she nuzzled against her face. “It’s a wonder your face hasn’t caught fire, it’s so hot, Shinobu-chan. Now, if you promise to stop trying to seduce Keitaro, I’ll stop teasing everyone so much, ok?”

“O-ok,” Shinobu nodded.

“Good, now how about we get everything ready for dinner?”


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The evening meal was an uncomfortable affair for the unsighted diners. Naru was still unhappy about the lack of progress in finding out the extent of the situation. She felt that Keitaro wasn’t doing enough to find out just what was going on.

Kitsune wasn’t helping matters with her less than caring response to her questions.

Motoko was becoming increasingly frustrated with her situation, with the latest problem being her meal. Not that it was inedible, but because she was unable to season it correctly.

Shinobu was carefully trying to eat her food with the bowl right under chin, lest she spill it all down herself.

Keitaro wasn’t sure what to say, every time he thought that he knew what he could ask without sounding like some insensitive moron, he was brought back to reality by one of the blind girls fumbling for something. He turned Kitsune for help.

The ash-blonde shrugged apologetically.

“About tomorrow,” Keitaro said. “When I’m in town, is there anything in particular that any of you want me to pick up?”

“N-no, luckily, we did the big shop two days ago,” Shinobu answered. “We’ve got enough food to last us for a few days.”

“So, you finally decide that you should be taking your duties seriously,” Naru sneered. “We need a doctor to look at our eyes. That’s your priority, getting us help.”

Kitsune rolled her eyes. It wasn’t that she didn’t understand why Naru was so insistent on Keitaro getting help, but she didn’t have to keep harping on about it.

‘It’d almost serve her right if Keitaro couldn’t find a doctor,’ she thought with a smirk. “Personally, I don’t think we need anything in particular, but if you come across any candles or anything else that might be useful in an emergency, then it might be worth bringing them back.”

“You should take a pad and pen with you,” Motoko said, placing her bowl on the table. “You may need to keep a record of where medical help can be found.”

“Agreed,” Kitsune nodded. “Naru, do you have anything to add?”

“No,” the brunette replied. She finished her food and let out a sigh. “I’m sorry, but it’s hard for me to accept that we’re all relying on Keitaro like this.”

“Thanks,” Keitaro muttered. “Well, if we’ve all finished eating, I’ll wash the dishes.”


@@@@@


Keitaro was surprised to see that Kitsune was helping him with the washing up.

“Kitsune?”

“I just felt like helping,” the ash-blonde said as she dried the bowl nearest to her. “Is that a problem?”

“Not at all, it’s just...” Keitaro insisted, hoping that he hadn’t offended his friend. He thought back to when Kitsune had snuck into his room during his nap. “Did you need some space from the others?”

“Yeah,” the short-haired girl nodded. “Naru’s my friend, and I love her to bits, but she’s really trying my patience with her attitude. Sure, you haven’t exactly wowed us with superhuman acts of competence in the past, but you’ve always given it your all.”

“Thanks,” the bespectacled man muttered.

Kitsune put the bowl and towel down and gave her landlord a quick hug from behind. “Sorry about that, Keitaro, I didn’t mean to damn you with faint praise.”

“I know you meant well, Kitsune,” Keitaro sighed. “Today’s been hard on us all. But there is something that I need to ask you. It’s a serious question.”

“Ok, go ahead,” Kitsune said as she continued to dry the bowls.

“What should we tell the others? I mean, what if it’s really bad – you know, like most people are ‘blind and desperate’ bad? Do you think we should tell Motoko and Naru everything? Don’t they have the right to know about what’s going on?”

“I don’t know,” the ash-blonde answered after chewing her bottom lip for a moment. “I mean, they’re our friends, and if they could see, I’d want them to know about what’s going on so they could help us. But, because they can’t see, it might panic them. That’s certainly why we can’t tell Shinobu.”

“But what about Su?” Keitaro followed up. “You’ve seen what she can make with a box of scraps, so her skills will be useful. The problem is that she’s still a child – she might panic or accidentally tell Shinobu.”

“I don’t panic easily,” a young voice stated defiantly from the kitchen doorway.

“Su,” Kitsune said, turning to the blonde girl. “How long have you been standing there?”

“Long enough to see that you like Keitaro!” Kaolla teased. “But if you don’t tell me what’s going on out there, I’ll have to find out for myself!”


@@@@@


To be continued...
[hr]
Unforeseeable


By Lord Raa


@@@@@


Disclaim-me-do: Bees. My God.


@@@@@


Chapter 3


@@@@@


“Well, what’s it going to be, Keitaro? Are you going to tell me what’s out there or am I going to have to go on a mission myself?”

Keitaro looked at Kitsune, who could only shrug. “Fine, I’ll tell you what I see.”

“That’s good, because I made you something nice,” the blonde girl beamed as she held up a jet black rod. “It’s to keep you safe when you’re in town!”

“What is it?” Kitsune asked.

“I call it the Persuadatron!” Kaolla said as she handed over the 45cm long device. She went to the fridge and pulled out a cold drink

Before Kitsune could warn Keitaro not to touch the red end, the ronin shocked himself and crumpled to the floor.

“Keitaro!” voluptuous girl cried out.

“I-I’m alright,” Keitaro muttered, shaking his head.

“See, I knew you’d like it,” Kaolla smiled happily. “It’s got three settings: Normal, Tough Guy and Keitaro.”

“What was that setting?” Kitsune asked as she helped Keitaro to his feet.

“Normal,” the princess said before finishing her drink. “Maybe I should make you a suit so you don’t shock yourself?”

“Yeah, that’s a good idea,” Keitaro said, breathing heavily.


@@@@@


The following morning, Keitaro knocked on the door to Kitsune’s room.

“Kitsune, are you ok?” he called out.

He was surprised with Motoko answered. “Keitaro, what time is it?”

“Err... it’s 7:20. Is Kitsune ok?”

“I’m fine, Keitaro,” the ash-blonde answered with a yawn. “Not used to having five people in my room though.”

“Everyone’s in there?” Keitaro asked. He was, again, surprised by the response he got. The door opened and Kitsune, again dressed in her simple, but incredibly alluring sleepwear stepped out.

“Yeah, I thought it would help everyone keep calm if we were all together,” Kitsune explained. “So, are you ready to go?”

“Nearly, I want to take some water and some food with me. I don’t know how long I’ll be,” the bespectacled man replied. He yawned. “Sorry, I should be more awake right now, but I kept having this weird thought every time I closed my eyes: what if I can’t see when I woke up in the morning.

“Don’t worry, I’m sure that I’ll sleep better tonight,” Keitaro smiled. “After all, I’ve got a lot to do.”

It took a moment, but the short-haired girl realised what Keitaro was saying. She reached out, but he’d already left for the kitchen.


@@@@@


Keitaro slowly walked into the town. The first thing he noticed was just how quiet it was.

Sure, the area immediately adjacent to the Hinata Sou wasn’t the busiest part of the world, but even so, the people were normally moving with a purpose by this time of the morning.

Keitaro glanced at his watch. It was now a quarter to eight and there were no signs of the bus that ran by every few minutes.

No signs of cars or vans making deliveries, either.

It was eerie.

He scanned the area, his eyes darting from building to building, hoping to pick up some indication of life.

A crow cawed loudly before flying off, causing Keitaro to jump. He closed his eyes and took several deep breaths to calm his nerves.

“It’s just a crow. At least I know that there’s something else alive out here.”

After taking a moment to compose himself, Keitaro made his way to the shops, hoping he’d find someone or something to tell him what was going on.

“Keep it together, Keitaro.”


@@@@@


Kitsune handed out a cup of tea to Motoko.

“Thank you,” Motoko sighed. “Do you...”

“No, I don’t know how long it’ll be before Keitaro returns,” the ash-blonde snapped.

“Sorry, Kitsune, you know I don’t like relying on people to do things like this,” said the kendoist. There was a pause as she took a sip of her tea. “Kitsune... How should I put this? What are we going to do if...?”

“If what?”

Motoko took a deep breath and pressed on with her question. “What if it’s not safe for us to leave the Inn?”

The short-haired girl thought about this for a moment. “If things don’t return to normal, then I guess we’ll have to form our own community here. Of course, five women and one man is more of a family than a community, but it’s better than the alternative.”

“What do you consider to be the alternative?”

“We don’t want to think about that, Motoko,” Kitsune said in a tone that warned that it was a topic that was not going to be discussed. “Is that clear?”

“Yes,” Motoko nodded. ‘Just when did Kitsune become so... strong-willed?’

There was a five minute silence as the two friends drank their tea.

“Kitsune, you said something about a ‘community’... what exactly did you mean by that?”

“Well, we owe it to ourselves to survive. Or at least, give it our best shot, right? Well, we don’t know what we’re up against, but with Keitaro and Su’s help, we can turn the Inn into a castle,” the voluptuous girl answered. “We’ve got a good vantage point here on the hill, a source of water and some land we can use to grow food. It’ll be hard work, but we’ve got a chance.”


@@@@@


Keitaro continued his trek into Hinata town, still unsettled by the lack of human contact.

Turning a corner, he saw something human-shaped and reflexively hid around the corner, like a child playing a game or a spy in a movie.

“Wait, I want them to see me,” the bespectacled man slapped his head. “Keitaro, you idiot.”

Keitaro shook his head and walked up to the person. “Hello?”

“Who’s there?” the figure demanded.

Keitaro realised that it was an old man. “Are you alright?”

“Where are you?”

“I’m here, a metre in front of you? Can you see me?”

“No, I can’t see a damned thing,” the elderly man muttered angrily. “What happened?”

“I don’t know,” Keitaro admitted sheepishly. “I was passed out drunk.”

“You kids and your binge drinking!” The old man paused and let out a sigh. “I can’t say that I blame you, I want to drink myself unconscious too. Could you help me find some booze?”

“It’s a bit early for that, isn’t it?” the former ronin asked, looking around nervously.

“Pft, you can drink when it’s dark, and guess what, kiddo, it’s dark for me right now. Now, where’s that booze?”

“This way,” Keitaro said, guiding the man to a nearby convenience store. “There’s a store over here.

The pair walked slowly up to the automatic doors and nearly into the glass when they didn’t open.

“Whoa!” Keitaro reached out and tried to push the door open. He noticed that there were no signs that the store was open. “What’s the big idea?”

“Looks like they decided that blind people weren’t viable customers and closed up,” the blind man reasoned. “Help me get in and point me to the drink, will you kiddo. Some cigarettes would be nice, too.”

“Isn’t this looting?” the ronin asked.

“I can feel the sun on my face, therefore they should be open. Besides, I haven’t found a policeman to help me and I’ve been out all morning.”

“Just because you haven’t seen a policeman, it doesn’t mean that you can take what you want without paying for it!”

“Fine, don’t help me then. I guess I’ll just break in myself!” The old man reached out for something he could use to break the glass and get to the store’s contents.

Keitaro felt uncomfortable with looting and quietly slipped away, hoping to find someone else who could explain what was going on.


@@@@@


Back at the Inn, Motoko was deep in thought as she considered her friend’s idea about how to survive their current situation.

‘If we do make a community for ourselves here, how long can we last? Assuming that we don’t get sick or run out of food, then we could expect to live for a good sixty years. And then what?’

The kendoist’s face turn a shade of red as she realised that there would need to be a subsequent generation in order continue the human race.

‘Do I really want to be a mother? And even if I did, who would I want to be the father? It’s not like I know any men well enough to ask to father my child,’ she thought. But then a thought popped into her head. ‘You do know one, Motoko Aoyama. And he’s gone out to find help.’

“Keitaro?” Motoko blurted out. Her hands flew to her lips in embarrassment as she realised that, yes, she did know someone well enough that she might want to ask him to father her child should they be living in some sort of actual apocalyptic situation.

“I need to talk to someone...”


@@@@@


Naru was still feeling frustrated by her situation.

The media had loudly proclaimed that the meteor shower was going be a spectacular event, one that would make those that missed it feel inadequate for some time.

But it wasn’t like she could beat someone up for what had happened to her. Physical violence against the newspapers and TV news weren’t going to bring back her sight.

She let out her umpteenth sigh of the day. After a moment, the brunette started to cry.

“I just don’t know what to do.”


@@@@@


Kitsune knocked on the door to Kaolla’s room. She was reluctant to open the door because of the sounds of machine tools working.

“Su, is everything alright in there?”

“Yeah, just give me a minute,” the genius called out.

There were the sounds of machinery spinning down and some objects being moved around before the door opened.

“What’s up, Kitsune?”

“There’s something I want to talk to everyone about. Is now a good time?” the ash-blonde asked.

“Can you give me five minutes? I want to finish up this job before I lose track of where I am,” Kaolla said, pointing over her shoulder into her room.

“Yeah, I’ll be in the kitchen,” Kitsune smiled.


@@@@@


Shinobu jumped when Kitsune spoke to her.

“Ah, you surprised me!” the chef exclaimed, her heart racing. “I-is there something I can do for you?”

“I just wanted to tell you that we’re having a discussion in the kitchen. It’s important that everyone’s there, because it’s going to affect all of us,” Kitsune said in what she hoped was a reassuring tone.

“Is Sempai back?” Shinobu asked. “I didn’t hear him come in.”

“No, Keitaro’s still out,” the short-haired girl replied. “I know this sounds mean, but it’s best if he’s not here for this discussion.”

“W-why is that? Y-you’re not trying to g-g-get rid of S-Sempai, are you?”

“No, of course not, we need Keitaro! But what are we going to do if we can’t get help?” Kitsune asked rhetorically. “That’s what we’ve got to decide. And we need to make these decisions together – there can’t be any room for dissent.”

“But doesn’t Sempai get to have a say in it?” Shinobu asked, feeling slightly hurt that her friend could be so callous towards someone so important.

“Of course he does, Shinobu-chan,” the ash-blonde sighed, pulling her young friend into a hug. “But we don’t know what’s going on out there: there could be a plan to get everyone to safety on Hokkaido for all we know. Or we could be on our own. We just don’t know and we need to have some contingency plans.”

“O-ok,” the chef sniffed.


@@@@@


Keitaro continued on his expedition into the town, hoping to find someone who knew more about what was going on. The silence and general lack of human contact was still making him nervous.

As he scanned the immediate area, he noticed a figure lying in a doorway. Curious, he approached, wondering if they needed medical help or if it was just a mannequin some drunken pranksters had left there.

A few steps closer to the doorway, and he realised that it wasn’t a mannequin, but a person. Not only that, but it was a woman.

“Excuse me, Miss, are you alright there?” Keitaro asked. He crouched down and saw that she had long brown hair.

The only clue that the figure gave that she was alive was the gentle moving of her ample chest.

Hesitantly, the ronin gently shook the insensate woman. “Excuse me, do you need medical help, Miss?”

She stirred and opened her eyes. “W-what? K-Kei-kun? What are you doing here?”

“Mutsumi-chan? What are you doing in this doorway?” Keitaro asked, helping the Okinawan to her feet. “Are you alright?”

“I’m fine now, Kei-kun,” Mutsumi smiled. “I must have fainted.”

“How long have you been there?”

“I’m not sure, what day is it?”

Keitaro was struck speechless for a moment. He decided that it was best if he didn’t ask. “To answer your question, I’m looking for someone who knows what’s going on.”

“What’s happened, Kei-kun?” Mutsumi asked.

“You really don’t know? Didn’t you see the meteor shower the night before last?”

The curvy woman pouted. “I missed that? Oh, but I wanted to watch it with you, Kei-kun.”

“It may be a good thing that we missed it, Mutsumi-chan – it seems that Motoko, Shinobu and Naru all saw it and are now blind,” the ronin explained. “I’m trying to find someone who can help us.”

“I’ll help you find someone, Kei-kun.”

“Are you sure about that, Mutsumi-chan? I mean, if you’ve been lying here for a day and a half, it might be worth getting you to a hospital. Do you need anything?”

“Could I have something to drink?”

“Yeah, sure,” Keitaro answered as he took his bag of his shoulder and rooted around for a bottle of water. “Here you go.”

Mutsumi gratefully drank the water. “Thank you, Kei-kun.” She looked at the bottle and noticed that she’d nearly drained the whole bottle. “Sorry, Kei-kun, I didn’t mean to drink that much.”

“It’s alright, Mutsumi-chan. Let’s get going, we need to find a policeman.”


@@@@@


In the kitchen of the Hinata Sou, Kitsune was testing the pen she’d picked up on one of her pads of paper.

“Right, now that we’re all ready, we can begin,” she said. “I’ve called you all here because we need to work out our contingency plans. As in, what we’re going to do in the event it’s all gone wrong out there.”

The fox-eyed girl looked around at her friend’s faces, quickly seeing that they weren’t prepared for this discussion.

“Look, I know that it’s hard for us to think that we could be a small number of survivors of a major disaster, but it will not get any easier for us. Now, the first thing is food. How much do we have, how can we get more and will we be able to sustain ourselves?”

“I... I think we’ve got a 5kg sack of rice, and some instant noodles,” Shinobu answered.

“Ok, well, I’ll put that we need to inventory our stock as soon as we can,” Kitsune said, noting that down on her pad. “Next, water. Now, we’ve got water for cleaning, laundry and some irrigation, should we find ourselves able to grow some food. But is it drinkable?”

Naru failed to hold back a snort of laughter.

“Yes, Naru, I can see the humour in me asking if something’s drinkable. But I’m being serious here – contaminated water kills countless people across the world. We’re not just talking bacteria, but what about things like heavy metals leeching into the water table?”

“I think we’d know by now if the water was poisoning us, Kitsune,” Naru replied. “That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t boil it before we drink it, but considering how much time people have spent in the hot springs over the years, people would have noticed something by now.”

“I think you’re right there,” the ash-blonde nodded. “But it’s not something we should take for granted.”

“What are we going to do if the power goes out?” Shinobu asked. “The gas, too?”

“I think that’s going to be more when than if, Shinobu-chan. I know that it sounds pretty depressing, but we need to plan for the worst. It’s no good if we rely on the assumption that we’re still going to have electricity, gas and drinking water and we find out that they go off tomorrow morning.”

“I think I’ve got a generator,” Kaolla said. “I’ll need to look it over, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it.”

“I like the sound of that,” Kitsune said, scribbling down a note to check what kind of fuel it ran on. “So, that gives us the chance for light, some heat and enough power to run a hotplate for a while. Does anyone else have anything they want to bring up?”

“What about Haruka-san?” Motoko asked. “I know that she’s out of the country with Seta-san, but do we know when they might return?”

“They weren’t planning to come back for at least another two weeks, Motoko-chan. Of course, we can’t know how widespread the blinding was. Was it just Tokyo or Japan or even most of the world? Which brings me to my next point: security.”

“Kitsune, what kind of danger are you talking about?” Naru asked. “I mean, are we talking suicide bombers or wild animals?”

“Worse,” Kitsune said with a sharp intake of breath. “The gates and bars in prisons are controlled by computers. No power means no control over the gates and bars.”

The brunette paused. “A-are you saying that all the criminals are going to be let out?”

“As much as I’d like to lie to you to make you feel better: yes, I’m saying that there’s a good chance that criminals will be freed. Now, we might be alright, but we need to keep the gates locked at all times.”

“I’ll set up a mechatama to keep us safe,” Kaolla declared.

“That might draw attention to us,” Kitsune countered. “Which brings up another point.”

“You mean, what are we going to do about people who knock on our door?” Motoko asked rhetorically.

“Yes,” the ash-blonde nodded. “Do we have the moral obligation to help any blind people we come across? And what about people who can still see?

“We’ve got limited supplies, so we can’t help every traveller who comes up the hill. But what if they want to stay? We’ve got some room, but just how many people can we support here?”

“That’s assuming we _do_ decide to stay here,” the kendoist said, stroking her chin. “Perhaps it might be best if we left to look for some organisation?”

“Where do we start looking, Motoko?” Naru asked. “Point us in the right direction.”

“Naru’s got a point, Motoko-chan. But the purpose of this meeting is for us to discuss everything and all be happy with the decisions we’re making. Who honestly thinks that we should start looking for this so-called government?”

“W-what do you think we should do, Kitsune-sempai?” Shinobu asked.

“Personally, I think it’s too dangerous for all of us to go out looking for something that might not even exist,” Kitsune replied. “Maybe if it was just two people who could see, then, yeah, I’d go along. But that would mean leaving you guys. And I’m not going to do that. So, no, we’re not going to go out searching for help right now.

“Maybe in the future, we could arrange some sort of expedition, but for a while. Not till we’ve got a better idea of what’s going on.”

“I agree,” Shinobu nodded.

“Keitaro’s too much fun to leave,” the princess beamed. “Leaving Keitaro would be like... like having my arm cut off!”

Motoko realised she was outnumbered. “Yes, I suppose it would be wise for us to stay here for the time being.”

“Agreed, we’re all staying here for now,” Naru added, feeling reassured by her best friend’s stance.


@@@@@


Keitaro noticed that Mutsumi was walking somewhat gingerly.

“Is something wrong, Mutsumi-chan?”

“I don’t know, Kei-kun, I feel a bit sore,” the Okinawan replied, frowning slightly.

“Where?”

“Down stairs,” Mutsumi answered, gesturing to her crotch. “I don’t know why, but something feels wrong.”

Keitaro nodded, unsure of what to say to his friend. He scanned the street for some indication of life.

That’s when the cry for help was heard.


@@@@@


To be continued...
[hr]
It seems that there are limits to what I can repost without someone else replying. I will raise a note in the issues thread.
 

FinalMax

Well-Known Member
#2
RE: Unforeseeable

Ok, but for now, I'll just reply so there's a stopgap. Didn't realize you had an accidental deletion there. Been kinda busy after we started our transition here.
 

Lord Raa

Exporter of Juice Tins
#3
RE: Unforeseeable

Thanks, I'll try not to overload the system with so many posts in only a few minutes.


@@@@@


Unforeseeable


By Lord Raa


@@@@@


Disclaim-me-do: Bullets are like cake decorations. It’s all in the placement.


@@@@@


Chapter 4


@@@@@


Keitaro rushed off in the direction of the cries for help, dragging Mutsumi along with him.

“Wait a moment, Kei-kun!”

“But someone might need our help, Mutsumi-chan!” the ronin countered. He stopped dead in his tracks when he couldn’t see the person he thought had been pleading for help. “Does anyone need help?”

“C-can you see?” a hidden voice asked.

“Y-yeah, what’s up?”

“I need your help.”

“Where are you?” Keitaro asked, frantically looking around for someone who needed assistance.

“She’s a real looker, lads,” a young man in a leather jacket and outrageous pompadour hair said as he stepped out from behind a dumpster. “She’s got really big tits, too. We’re going to have some fun tonight. Too bad she’s got some loser with her. Don’t worry though, I’ll deal with him soon enough.”

“What?” Keitaro demanded, protectively stepping between Mutsumi and the delinquent. “What are you talking about?”

“My bros here need a little fun. You know, the kind of fun you have with a woman.”

“Oh, and you think that I’m going to let you just have your way with my friend, do you?” the bespectacled young man asked.

“And what can someone like you do?” the gang leader asked as he pulled out a knife. “You look like you you’d cut nicely.”

Keitaro swallowed as he thought of a way out of this situation. ‘Suu!’

He slipped his rucksack off his shoulders and reached inside for the Persuadatron. Keeping his intentions obscured, he lifted his chin up as a gesture for his attacker to make the first move.

Mutsumi didn’t blink as everything seemed to happen at once. Keitaro moved with a poise and grace that she hadn’t seen before as he reached into his backpack, pulled out a black rod and electrocuted the leather-clad man.

“That’s the lowest setting,” Keitaro smirked. He turned to lead Mutsumi away. “Mutsumi-chan, I think we’d better go now.”


@@@@@


Back at the kitchen table, Motoko and the others were continuing their discussion on their situation.

“While I agree that staying for now here is the best option,” the kendoist said, “I think we should keep our options open. My family has a large property near Kyoto, with arable land. The house itself has walls that can be easily defended by the students at our dojo.”

Kitsune tapped the pen on the tabletop. “I understand that you want to check in with your family, Motoko. You’re not the only one who wants to know if their folks are alright. There’s one problem with your plan – we need to get to Kyoto. Unless we find someone who can drive, we’d have to make the journey on foot.”

Motoko swallowed nervously, having completely missed that detail. “I-it would take us weeks to make that journey on foot in our condition.”

“Not to mention that we don’t know if anyone is still there,” Naru added in a quiet voice.

“Yeah, anyway we’re staying here, like we agreed. But what about people who come here for help? Are we going to turn them away?” the ash-blonde asked.

“We’ve only got limited supplies ourselves,” Naru stated. “We can’t help people coming looking for a handout.”

“What if people who can see are looking for shelter?” Shinobu asked.

“No-one gets a free ride,” Kitsune answered. “If they want shelter, they’ve got to work for it. There are limited places, so we need to be selective. By my count, people fall into one of four categories: skilled sighted, you know doctors, nurses, engineers, policemen, that sort of people; unskilled sighted, people like me and Keitaro; skilled blind and unskilled blind.”

The group fell silent at their normally easy-going friend’s harsh assessment of the situation.

“Wow, thanks for making this easy for me and making me feel better, guys,” the short-haired tenant muttered.

“You just need Keitaro to come back, he’ll make you feel better,” Kaolla smiled. “He’s good at making us feel better.”

Shinobu blushed as she considered just how her Sempai could make her feel better. “S-Sempai...” she whispered.

Naru heard the chef’s comments and frowned. “It’s bad enough that Keitaro is so perverted, but what about complete strangers? How will we make sure we’re safe?”

“Naru-sempai has a point,” Motoko nodded. “We need to be able to trust everyone on this side of the gate.”

“How about we interview everyone who wants to stay here?” Kitsune suggested. “We can all ask them questions and if we don’t like the answers, we don’t let them stay.”

“I like that idea,” the brunette said.

“As do I, but there’s one thing that springs to mind on this interview panel,” Motoko interjected. “How will we decide if the person gets to stay: A majority vote or should it have to be unanimous?”

“A majority for women, but it has to be unanimous for men,” Naru said. “That way if any of us has any nagging doubts, there won’t be any recriminations if any men turn out to be...”

“Agreed,” Kitsune said, cutting off her friend. There was no sense in allowing unpleasant thoughts to upset everybody.

“Does that mean we have to vote to keep Keitaro here?” Kaolla asked. “Because if that rule had been in place for Keitaro, he wouldn’t be living here. And he’s proven that we need him.”

The kendoist nodded. “Suu-chan has a point. It would seem unfair to just reject someone who could be as useful as Keitaro... Perhaps if we allowed more than one round of voting?”

“Ok, how about this: any women who come up asking for shelter will require a majority vote to be allowed to stay. Men will need everyone’s approval. If it’s an even split for a woman or the man doesn’t quite get everyone’s vote, then we’ll let them have another chance to convince us. After that, then they’ve got to fend for themselves,” Kitsune said as she wrote down the rules. “We’ll vote in private after our discussions.”

“I don’t think we’ll find a fairer way to do this,” Naru said.

“Neither do I,” Motoko nodded.

“Well, I think that’s everything. Kaolla, you go and check out your generator. Make sure it’s working and see how much fuel we’ve got for it. Shinobu, we’re going to inventory the food. I’ll read out what we’ve got and how much, you tell me what it’s good for.”

“What about us?” the brunette asked.

“Entertain yourselves,” Kitsune shrugged. “Sorry, but I can’t think of anything you can do to help at the moment.”


@@@@@


Keitaro dragged Mutsumi away from the rape-gang as fast as he could. Part of him knew that what had happened was a freak occurrence, but another part of his brain realised that if this normally sleepy part of Japan could degenerate into something out of a post-apocalyptic nightmare so quickly, then things were worse than he had imagined.

He glanced back to Mutsumi and saw that she was out of breath. Glancing around, the former ronin saw a convenience store and headed towards it.

“We’ll catch our breath here, Mutsumi-chan.”

“T-thank you, K-Kei-kun,” the Okinawan panted. Her mind hadn’t had the chance to focus properly and wandered. ‘Funny, I always thought I’d have been doing something else with Kei-kun to make me thank him when I’m out of breath...’

When the duo reached the entrance to the convenience store, Keitaro took a long drink from the opened bottle of water. He handed the bottle to Mutsumi.

“I’ll get us some more,” he said before peering inside the darkened store. ‘Hmm... It seems like we’re going to have to do what the old man was going to....’

“Kei-kun, what is going on?” Mutsumi asked. “Why is everything so quiet?”

“I think it’s to do with the meteors from the other night.”

“You said something about that earlier, didn’t you? Why would the meteors make people blind?”

“I don’t know, Mutsumi-chan. Don’t take this the wrong way,” Keitaro said apologetically, “but I don’t think I can go on with my original plan with you in tow.”

“What was your original plan, Kei-kun?”

“To get a better idea of the situation and see if I could find some help for the girls who can’t see.”

“And why can’t you go with that plan?” Mutsumi asked with a puzzled look on her face.

“Because I’m worried about you, Mutsumi-chan,” the bespectacled man answered. “Those guys back there wanted to... you know, and I can’t risk something like that happening to someone I care about. No, the new plan is for us to get as much food and supplies as we can carry and head back to the Inn. Then I’ll head out on my own again.”

The voluptuous girl nodded.


@@@@@


The raid on the convenience store was going well. Keitaro had put a 5kg sack of rice into his backpack and was starting to gather up other long-lived produce in a basket.

He looked over the jars of pickled vegetables, packets of flavoured noodles and tins of crabmeat he’d collected. “This should keep us going for a few days at least.”

“Kei-kun, I thought we should have some steak,” Mutsumi said. “Which one should we get?”

The former ronin turned to where his friend had been puzzling over packaged meat for several minutes and let out a sigh. ‘Definitely not a good idea to bring Mutsumi-chan out on another raid.’

“Get the one with the most amount of time left on the use-by date, Mutsumi-chan. Grab three or four packets, then get some more ramen and some bottled drinks,” Keitaro instructed as he put in some canned gobi into his backpack. “I know that if we don’t use it, it’ll be wasted, but we can only carry so much ourselves. And I don’t know how long this place will be safe for. I want to get back before we’re spotted.”

“Ok, Kei-kun,” Mutsumi nodded as she put some premium Kobe beef into her basket and moved to drinks section. “Is there anything you want in particular?”

“Just get fruit juice, three or four bottles of as many different flavours as they have. It’ll all be pasteurised, so it’ll keep for a while.”

Keitaro turned and saw some tinned fruit in syrup. ‘This’ll keep scurvy at bay for a day or two,’ he thought as he put the tinned grapefruit and mandarin segments in a carrier bag. He gathered the rest of his looted items into bags and stood up with them. “I don’t think I can carry much more. Mutsumi, are you done yet?”

“I am, Kei-kun,” the brunette smiled as she finished putting various candies into her basket. “We’ll need sweet things.”

The bespectacled man smiled, for he knew that Mutsumi meant well; it was just that she didn’t always see things as others did. When they’d packed everything up, the pair left to return to the Inn.


@@@@@


Kitsune peered through the letterbox to see who was approaching the gate. Some time ago, Kaolla had insisting on putting up a security sensor to alert them of visitors. The princess had reasoned that if one of the tenants was in on their own, they’d know if someone was approaching and could get out of the bath.

Kitsune was glad for this addition, though she had successfully argued for it to be switched off most of the time. There was no sense in waking up the others when she strolled back drunk with Haruka.

Thinking back, the ash-blonde realised that she’d discovered the reason why Keitaro’s arrival had taken them all by surprise.

‘It’s Keitaro, who’s that with him? It’s Mutsumi!’ she noted and slid back the bolt to the door.

“What are you doing, Kitsune?” Motoko asked as she heard the heavy piece of steel being moved.

“It’s Keitaro, and he’s found Mutsumi,” Kitsune answered. “You might want to take a step back.”

The kendoist looked confused for a moment before realising that she was close to the door.

“H-how do they look?”

“Tired, looks like they’re bringing some stuff back with them.”

Keitaro looked up and saw that the door had been opened slightly, indicating that he’d been spotted. “Come on, Mutsumi-chan, we’re nearly there.”

“Y-yes, Kei-kun,” the Okinawan panted. “I didn’t realise how many steps there were.”

“Yeah, you really feel them when you’re bringing stuff to the top of the hill. At least it’s not as bad as that time I had to bring some steel plates up for Suu.”

Mutsumi winced in sympathy. For a long time, she’d had a delicate constitution and despite her comparatively moderate burden, she was struggling.

‘Nearly there,’ she told herself.

They finally reached the opening door and Kitsune ushered them inside.

“How are you, Mutsumi?”

“I’m glad to be here, Kitsune-chan. I need to sit down. I’m so tired,” Mutsumi replied, offering a small smile. “How are you, Motoko-chan?”

“I... I can’t see,” the kendoist answered, still feeling slightly ashamed that her condition required her to rely on Keitaro so much.

“Oh...”

“Let’s get inside,” Keitaro said, putting his booty down and bolting the door shut behind him.


@@@@@


As Mutsumi and the others sat around the table, Keitaro unpacked the looted supplies, occasionally handing out items to the rest of the group.

“So, where were you, Mutsumi-chan?” Kitsune asked as she opened a bottle of orange juice. “We were hoping you’d be joining us to celebrate Keitaro’s good news.”

“I... well, I think I got excited for Kei-kun and I fell over,” the Okinawan answered, feeling slightly embarrassed about the whole situation. “I must have fainted, too.”

“Fainted?” Naru repeated. “Well, I think two days is a new record.”

Kitsune shook her head. “But we’re all glad that you’re alright, Mutsumi-chan.”

“Yes,” Motoko nodded. “Did you see,” the kendoist winced at the turn of phrase before continuing, “anyone else out there? Do you have any idea if the authorities have made plans?”

“We, err... we did encounter someone,” Keitaro admitted. He cast a glance at Mutsumi and then Kitsune. “I don’t think it’s safe for you, any of you to go out right now.”

“We didn’t see any policemen,” Mutsumi added. She shifted, struggling to get comfortable on her chair.

It was a subtle movement that only Kitsune noticed. Before the ash-blonde could enquire further, Keitaro announced that he’d finished unpacking the supplies.

“Right,” the former ronin said, clasping his hands together. “Mutsumi-chan, feel free to clean up, I’m going to nip to the toilet before heading out into town again. I want to see if I can find someone who knows what’s going on. Is there anything else we need while I’m out and about?”

“It might be worth picking up some medical supplies – basic over the counter medications, bandages, disinfectants for cuts, that sort of thing,” Kitsune said, having finished her drink. “Possibly a few... feminine hygiene products, too.”

“What?” Motoko and Naru asked, aghast that Keitaro would find out about such a private matter.

The self-styled alcohol connoisseur took a deep breath before elaborating. “Look, I know it’s traditionally something of a taboo subject, but I can’t remember how many tampons I have and I’m expecting my period to start the day after tomorrow. Normally, I’d go into town and get them myself, but since...”

“But since it’s not safe to leave at the moment,” Motoko added, finally realising what her friend meant, “you need someone to get them for you.”

Keitaro stood open mouthed at the candour being displayed before him. He’d grown to expect Kitsune to make comments of a certain intimate nature, often calculated to embarrass him or the others, but this was the first time she’d ever explicitly mentioned her menstrual cycle in front of him.

“Got it in one, Motoko. Keitaro, I’ll write down what I want you to get for me,” the short-haired girl said, sparing everyone the details.


@@@@@


Keitaro looked at the list Kitsune had handed to him in surprise. “Do you really need this many...”

The ash-blonde glanced around before explaining further. “They’re not all for me. The others aren’t far off starting their cycles.”

“What, all of you?”

“Well, when a group of women live in close proximity for a while, they tend to synchronise,” Kitsune explained. “The others would never talk to you about this.”

“Oh.”

Keitaro was clearly unsettled by the frank nature of the conversation. Kitsune found it endearing.

“Now go, I’ve got to make sure Mutsumi doesn’t drown in the bath,” she winked playfully.

“Ok, I’ll be back before dark, but keep the door locked, ok?”

“Will do, Captain!” the ash-blonde saluted teasingly. After she bolted the door behind Keitaro, she let out a sigh. “Come back to us, Keitaro, we need you.”

Kitsune took a minute to compose herself and strode off to see if Mutsumi needed anything.


@@@@@


The past day and half had been incredibly stressful for Tsuruko Aoyama. She had always considered herself a fighter rather than a healer or care-giver.

Most of the Shinmeiryu students were now blind, thanks to the meteor shower and Tsuruko had been run off her feet trying to keep them from starving and hurting themselves.

The only reason why she’d been able to avoid witnessing the celestial fireworks was her husband had been receptive to her flirting and they’d gone off to their bedroom for some alone time.

She glanced at her mobile phone and saw that it still had power. A thought filled her with dread.

‘Motoko-han...’

Rushing over to the black and silver device, Tsuruko flipped it open and checked to see if she’d received any messages. There was one.

“¬Help me, Aneue, I’ve been blinded.¬”

‘How did Motoko-han send the message if she’s been blinded?’ Tsuruko asked. She glanced down and saw that there was more to the message.

“¬I’m still at the Hinata Sou with my friends, but I’m scared. Please help.¬”

‘At least she’s not alone.’


@@@@@


Kitsune sighed as she picked up Mutsumi’s discarded clothing in the changing room. As she folded clothes into a neat pile, she noticed that there was a white stain on the skirt.

‘What is this? Was Mutsumi eating mayonnaise? Wait, this is on the inside...’

The ash-blonde’s face fell as she put two and two together. “That explains why she was uncomfortable in the chair earlier...”

“What does, Kitsune-chan?” Naru asked, slowly feeling her way into the changing area.

“Err, nothing. I was just babbling,” Kitsune insisted. “Do you want some help getting out of your clothes and into the bath, Naru-chan?”

“Please,” the brunette nodded. “The hot water always helps me to relax.”

Kitsune helped Naru to undress and escorted her to the bathing area. “I’ve got a couple of jobs to finish up, so I’ll be back in a short while, ok?”

“Don’t worry, Naru-chan,” Mutsumi beamed. “We can help each other.”


@@@@@


Keitaro made his way to the nearest convenience store and began searching for the items on the list. Looking at the selection of tampons and sanitary towel, the former ronin was taken aback by the range of products available.

He stood in the isle pondering what the difference was between the two products, knowing full well what they were for, but still in the dark about the details. “Can you tell if there’s food left?” a voice asked. “This place has already been hit.”

“Yeah, we can get something here,” another replied.

Keitaro froze, unsure of what to do. On the one hand, he wanted to know more about what was going on, but on the other, his experience with Mutsumi weighed heavily on his mind. The colour drained from his face when he heard a third voice.

“The better have some booze, I’m still feeling that shock from the dweeb earlier.”

“Shit...” the former ronin cursed under his breath. He reached into his bag and pulled out the Persuadatron, hoping that he’d be able to escape without using it.

Swallowing once, Keitaro switched it on, not noticing which power setting and slowly made his way around the store to the exit.

The other looters stopped in their foraging. The leader, and the one Keitaro had stunned with the Persuadatron, looked at his friends. He signalled them to split up and search the store.

Grimacing, the former ronin saw the exit and put on a burst of speed.

Only for an outstretched leg to trip him up.

“Going somewhere?” a sadistic voice asked.

Keitaro rolled over to see he was outnumbered three to one. He glanced down and saw that three inches from his right hand lay the modified cattle prod Suu had given him.

“We’ve found him, Aniki,” the young man called out. “He doesn’t look like much if you ask me.”

The bespectacled man used the distraction to grab the Persuadatron and clumsily struck out at his target.

The impact energy of Keitaro’s blow was marginal, but the energy discharge of the “Keitaro setting” was colossal. It sent the would-be attacker flying back into a magazine rack, where he lay convulsing uncontrollably.

“YOU!”

“Crap...”


@@@@@


To be continued...
 

FinalMax

Well-Known Member
#4
RE: Unforeseeable

Ah, the Persuadatron. Accept no substitutes.
 

Lord Raa

Exporter of Juice Tins
#5
RE: Unforeseeable

Unforeseeable


By Lord Raa


@@@@@


Disclaim-me-do: Never eyeball a buzzard. It’s just asking for trouble.


@@@@@


Chapter 5


@@@@@


Keitaro instantly knew that he’d been recognised. It had only been a few hours since their last encounter, after all. Taking a deep breath, the former ronin prepared himself for a struggle.

“Careful now, I’ve got this on the highest setting,” he warned.

“And you really think that I’m scared of you?” the leader sneered. “I deal with weaklings like you before breakfast!”

“Yeah, well, unless you want some more of this, you’d better back off!” Keitaro said, waving the black cattle prod at the man. “I don’t want any trouble and I got what I came here for. We can go our separate ways.”

“We could, but I have this need for vengeance. You humiliated me earlier. I can’t let that stand.”

Gripping the handle as if the Persuadatron was a wakizashi, Keitaro prepared to charge at his opponent.

It was at that point the third member of the raiding party appeared and launched himself at the former ronin.

“Whoa,” the bespectacled youth said, somehow managing to dodge the clumsy leap. He wheeled around and touched the red end against the neck of his attacker.

The body convulsed violently, and an arm broke against the tiled floor. The sight of the injury was enough to make the remaining gang member reconsider his position.

“Now, do we still have a problem?” Keitaro asked, trying his hardest to keep his voice even. His heart raced from the adrenaline coursing through his veins. “I’m walking away now, but if you want some of this too, you can.”

The youth in the leather jacket growled, but didn’t take a step towards Keitaro. Taking this as a sign that the situation was now at a suitable conclusion, Keitaro left the convenience store to get the next few things on his list.


@@@@@


Mutsumi was enjoying the hot water, trying to keep her eyes open as she allowed the heat to relax her body.

“Mutsumi-chan,” Naru said, “What is it like out there?”

“It’s quiet,” the Okinawan answered. “There’s hardly anyone out there. I think it’s nice to be able to walk around without being rushed by people.”

‘Nice?’ the blind girl thought in disbelief. “You said you didn’t find any policemen, but did you meet anyone at all?”

“We saw some people who didn’t seem very nice,” Mutsumi answered. “I think they wanted me to go with them.”

“Go with...” Naru trailed off as the realisation of what Mutsumi was telling her sank in. “No... Y-you mean that you they wanted to....?”

“I don’t really know, but one of them did say I had big boobs and they all seemed happy about that,” the absent-minded girl said as she looked down at her impressive chest.

Before Mutsumi could ask whether or not Keitaro liked her body, she heard Naru start sobbing.

“Naru-chan?”

“I... We’re not going to make it, are we?” the younger brunette asked. Her sobs turned into full blown weeping. “We’re going to have to rely on Keitaro!”

The Okinawan embraced her friend. “I’m sure that Kei-kun will be able to look after us. He’s a good person, Naru-chan.”


@@@@@


Keitaro bolted the main door behind him after returning from his latest excursion. Kaolla was there to greet him and she smiled her usual cheerful smile.

“Heya Keitaro!”

“Hi, Su-chan,” Keitaro sighed.

“What's up, Keitaro? You look sad,” the blonde observed.

“I... it's alright, Su, I just,” the bespectacled man paused as he set down his backpack. “I haven't found anyone in town who can see yet. I found more people who are blind, but I don't know what I can do to help them. Can you imagine what Naru would say if I brought them here?”

Kaolla pulled a sour face. “Say? I'd be more worried about her punching you.”

“Yeah,” Keitaro sighed. He opened his bag and pulled out a large box of D-cell batteries and a pair of heavy-duty flashlights. “But there is some good news: I got these.”

“Yay! Portable light!” the blonde cheered as she grabbed the batteries and flashlights to show Kitsune about their latest acquisition.

“Whoa, easy there, Su,” Kitsune said as the energetic girl nearly ran into her.

“Look what Keitaro brought,” Kaolla beamed, holding up the latest find.

“Hold them still, Su-chan,” the ash-blonde said, trying to focus on the items that were being waved in her face. “These will be useful, thanks, Keitaro.”

“No problem,” the former ronin smiled. “Suu-chan, why don’t you put those in the kitchen, ok?”

“Will do, Keitaro!” the princess said cheerfully.

When they were alone, Keitaro nervously handed over his backpack to Kitsune. “I got those other things you wanted...”

“Thanks, Keitaro.”

After a moment, it became clear that he'd reached the extent of his good news.

Kitsune quickly picked up on that. “You want to talk about it?”

Keitaro rubbed the back of his head as he pondered whether or not to tell the truth about his latest excursion. Not wanting to panic everyone, he decided to lie to Kitsune. “There's not a lot to talk about. I mean, I haven’t seen any doctors. Hell, I didn’t find anyone who can see.”

Kitsune's heart sank. “Damn it...”

“I know,” Keitaro said. He took a deep breath before continuing, though he couldn’t meet her gaze. “All I found was blind people struggling to find food. I helped them as best I could: opened some packets of food and got them some blankets, but...”

Kitsune could tell that by the way Keitaro trailed off that there wasn’t much hope for the people he’d encountered. Unsure of what to say to him, she led him to the kitchen for a drink.


@@@@@


Naru and Motoko were sitting at the table when Kitsune and Keitaro entered the room.

“K-Keitaro, did you find a doctor?” the brunette asked.

“No, sorry, Naru-chan,” the sighed man apologised. `

“Then look harder!” Naru snapped, causing Kitsune to shake her head dismissively.

Even Motoko, with her less than frequently favourable opinion of Keitaro, wanted Naru to calm down. “Naru-sempai...”

“What? I can’t see! No-one knows what's going on! We can’t get help from anyone! We... We’re on our own...” Naru sniffed before breaking down.

Kitsune rushed to the sobbing girl and did her best to comfort her. “We’re trying, Naru-chan, we really are. Think about how many blind people there are out there now, we'll get help. We just need to hold on for a bit longer.”

Feeling like he’d disappointed everyone at the Inn, Keitaro left the kitchen and silently vowed to double his efforts in finding a doctor.


@@@@@


Mutsumi approached Keitaro as he prepared for another expedition to find medical help.

“Kei-kun, is everything alright?” she asked.

“I’ve let everyone down,” Keitaro replied, clearly angry with himself. “I haven’t been able to find anyone who can help with the blindness. And I’ve been out three times already!”

“But you know how many people were blinded by the lights,” Mutsumi countered. “Almost everyone out there was affected. It’s going to take a long time to find someone who can help.”

“I know, but Naru-chan and the others...”

There was a silence as Mutsumi hugged Keitaro. “I know you’re doing your best, Kei-kun. You'll find help, I know it,” she said reassuringly.


@@@@@


Back at the kitchen table, Kitsune was doing her best to comfort her best friend. Not that Naru was making it easy for her.

Naru, like Motoko, had a great deal of pride that she was being asked to put to one side to deal with their current, albeit far from expected situation.

What made things even more difficult for Naru was the fact that it was Keitaro who she was being asked to rely upon.

“Keitaro,” the brunette sighed. “The man who failed to get into Toudai several times.

“The man who was so clumsy and uncoordinated that accidents happened wherever he went. Accidents that go from spilling his dinner down his shirt in public to somehow managing to pull down a girl’s pants in front of her friends and land face first onto another girl’s cleavage.”

“The same man who refused to give up on his dreams of reaching Toudai,” Kitsune countered. “The man who can shrug off life-threatening injuries. The man who would donate vital organs to keep any one of use here alive. Have a little bit of faith in Keitaro, Naru-chan.”

Naru sniffed as she considered her friend’s words. “I... I suppose we owe him that, at least.”

Kaolla Su cart wheeled into the kitchen and announced her presence before opening the fridge and pulling out a drink. “Is everything alright?”

“Yeah, we were just talking about Keitaro,” Kitsune answered.

“I like Keitaro” the princess declared. “He’s fun.”

“How’s the generator, Su-chan?” the ash-blonde asked. “Do you need Keitaro to get some fuel to run it?”

“Not at the moment,” Kaolla said before draining her bottle of orange and mango juice. “It can run for years on the fuel rods I have here.”

“Fuel rods?” Naru repeated, her eyes widening on reflex. “Are you running nuclear reactor here?”

“It’s only a small thorium breeder-reactor, Naru-Naru,” the blonde genius replied. “Barely rated at 25kW. As long as nobody messes with it or calls in an airstrike on the building, we’ll be fine.”

“I’m not so sure about that, Su-chan,” the brunette added, clearly unsettled by the whole notion of having a nuclear reactor within spitting distance.

“You didn’t have a problem with it when I installed it a year ago,” Kaolla frowned. “Besides, how often do you go in my room?”

“New rule,” Kitsune said, “Kaolla’s room is off limits unless you’re with her. We don’t need anyone breaking anything or getting hurt.”

“Agreed,” Naru nodded, wondering just what other dangers lurked nearby. “Wait, where did Motoko-chan go?”


@@@@@


Motoko Aoyama had decided that she needed some fresh air. She had been cooped up inside for three days now and the nervous energy that she would have burnt off with the normal training was beginning to make her feel anxious.

The kendoist stepped out onto the porch, enjoying the first sensation of fresh air on her face in days.

‘It’s raining slightly,’ she noted as she felt her way to the steps.

Normally the less than pleasant weather would cause her to head back inside, but Motoko was beginning to get cabin fever and she continued to make her way to the steps.

There was another reason for being outside: it got her away from Naru.

Naru was a dear friend, one that she would risk life and limb for, but Motoko didn’t know how to deal with her friend’s mental state. She didn’t have a great deal of experience comforting people who had lost something a major as their sight and she certainly didn't know how to deal with the situation herself.

But the way she was complaining about Keitaro made her uncomfortable and she didn't want to add to their problems by saying something unkind to her friends.

It was then that Motoko missed a step and fell down, twisting her ankle as she landed in a shallow puddle.

“AAHH!” she called out, more in surprise than in pain.

That brought Mutsumi, Kaolla and Kitsune rushing to the scene to investigate.

“Ara, are you hurt, Motoko-chan?” Mutsumi asked.

“Yes. No, I... I fell down the stairs,” the kendoist answered. “I was getting some fresh air, when I missed one of the steps.”

Kitsune frowned. This accident had just proved that they were pretty much all confined to the Inn – had Motoko been walking down the hill, she could have broken her leg or worse, her neck!

The ash-blonde helped her friend up off the ground. “Let's get you inside and into some dry clothes, Motoko-chan.”

The pair slowly made their way up the stairs, with the raven-haired girl wincing slightly as she gingerly tried to put weight onto her injured ankle.

“I... I don't think it’s broken,” Motoko said.

“Yeah, well, we'll have a proper look when we get inside,” Kitsune said, her tone warning that it was not up for discussion. “Where’s Keitaro?”

“He's out looking for a doctor,” Mutsumi answered.

“Damn, well, at least he brought back some bandages yesterday,” the ash-blonde sighed.


@@@@@


Keitaro was visibly deflated as he walked through town. He hadn’t meant to let everyone down, it was just that he hadn’t found a doctor yet.

A thought popped into his head.

‘What if I can’t find a doctor who can see?’

The former ronin swallowed before shaking his head. There was no sense in being so pessimistic; he’d only been out a couple of times. Besides, while the Hinata Sou might not have been located in the beating heart of the Tokyo metropolitan area, it wasn’t like it was a remote hamlet where people who had opposable thumbs lorded them over the rest of the population.

The absurdity of that thought made Keitaro chuckle. Despite the seemingly endless stream of obstacles that littered his path, there was always something that came along that would lift his spirits.

“Look at me, I can use basic tools!”

After a few more chuckles, he felt his pessimism drain away as he started to search for some help from either a doctor or someone with medical training.


@@@@@


Kitsune had been forced to take over the treatment of Motoko’s ankle. While Mutsumi was a wonderful person; kind, honest and generous, she was terribly ineffectual.

It hadn’t been the most elegant bandaging, nor the most efficient use of material, but the short-haired girl had managed to keep Motoko’s ankle from moving and worsening the injury.

“Thank you, Kitsune-sempai. It’s much better now.”

“No problem, Motoko, I’ll send you the bill,” Kitsune said playfully. She had originally started to give a playful wink, but stopped when she realised it would have been wasted on the kendoist.

“Is… is something wrong, Kitsune-chan?” Mutsumi asked.

“Yes, I’m just a little tired, that’s all. I think we’re suffering from the stress of the situation,” the ash-blonde answered. As she scratched the back of her head, she caught a glimpse of the clock. “I hope that Keitaro can get back before dark.”

“Oh, is that the time already?” the Okinawan asked.

“W-what time is it?” Motoko asked, unable to feel a little left out of the loop.

“Five o’clock,” Kitsune said, turning out of the window at the sun. “It’ll be dark in a couple of hours, so Keitaro’s got plenty of time to get back here with help.”

“But what if he’s not back by then?”

“He will be back by then, Motoko.”


@@@@@


Keitaro finally reached the local doctor’s surgery. Bracing himself, he opened the door.

“Hello?” he called out. “Is there anyone here?”

There was no reply, but Keitaro thought back to his first expedition. ‘What if they’re scared?’

“If there’s anyone here, I’m coming in.”

Scanning the room, Keitaro could see that the reception area had been disturbed.

Ransacked was more like it; the drawers and cupboards were torn open in the search for something. A computer had been switched on, but the left at the log-in screen with the keyboard knocked to one side, clearly in frustration.

The former ronin frowned at disruption, but couldn’t do anything about it. His task was far more important than tidying up.

Moving further into the building, he started to see more signs of frustration. The only thing he could think of was that someone had been looking for access to the medical supplies. What supplies they wanted and what they wanted them for was beyond Keitaro.

It was then that he saw a something large and white approach his face at speed.

“Ow…” he mumbled into the floor.

“I won’t let you hurt me!” a young woman insisted. She was clearly scared about the situation, but was trying to put on a brave front. “Wait, ‘ow’?”

“Yeah, ow,” Keitaro said as he slowly pushed himself onto his knees. “That hurt you know.”

“It was supposed to! And you’re supposed to be unconscious,” the woman protested.

“If it makes you feel any better, everything’s fuzzy and slightly blurred right now. My name is Keitaro Urashima. I’m looking for someone who knows about medicine; ideally a doctor.”

“Why?”

“I don’t know if you know about this, but two nights ago, there was a meteor shower.”

“Yes, I remember the news kept saying that it was going to be spectacular, but I missed it. What about it?”

“I think everyone who saw it is now blind. I need someone who’s a doctor to look at my friends. I’m worried about them,” Keitaro said blinking to get everything into focus before turning to look at his attacker.

“Oh, I bet I know just what your friends want me to look at!”

“Their eyes…”

“A likely story!” the young woman scoffed.

“It’s true! I manage the Hinata Sou and three of my tenants are blind. They’re scared that it’s going to be permanent,” Keitaro said, finally getting a good look at the woman standing before him.

She was wearing glasses and had collar length black hair. Her clothes were rather crumpled, making it obvious that she’d been sleeping in them. The fact that she wasn’t in a uniform suggested that that she wasn’t nurse.

“What’s your name?”

“Keitaro Urashima. What’s yours?”

“Megumi Sohryu.”

“Sohryu-san, are you a doctor?”

“I’m not going with you so you and your friends can have their fun with me,” Megumi insisted. “And yes, I am a doctor.”

“Look, I know that there are some people out there who are trying to get women off the streets, but I’m not one of them. If you were a man, I’d still be asking you to come with me,” Keitaro said calmly. “Please, come with me to look at my friends’ eyes. I don’t know what I can say or do to convince you that I’m genuine.”

The young woman’s stomach rumbled, causing her to look embarrassed.

“…”

“How about I offer you a hot meal and a dip in the hot springs?” the former ronin asked.

“I suppose so, but this doesn’t mean I’m staying with you forever, ok?” Megumi stated defiantly.

“I’m not going to force anyone to do anything. But I would like to get going before it gets dark.”

“Let me get my bag.”


@@@@@


Forty-five minutes later, Keitaro and Megumi approached the gates of the Hinata Sou, having triggered the alarms.

A face appeared in an upper window. It scowled for a moment before softening at the sight of Keitaro’s return.

“Who was that?” Megumi asked.

“That was Suu-chan,” the young man answered as they reached the door. “She’s very energetic, but she’s able to build magnificent things.”

The door opened and Kitsune stood in the way.

“Who’s this, Keitaro?”

“Doctor Megumi Sohryu,” the young doctor answered. “I hear that someone here needs medical assistance.”

“Come right in,” the ash-blonde smiled. “We were just getting ready to make dinner.”


@@@@@



To be continued…
 

FinalMax

Well-Known Member
#6
RE: Unforeseeable

Ah, we're almost at the point we left off before our transition woes began.
 

Lord Raa

Exporter of Juice Tins
#7
RE: Unforeseeable

Unforeseeable


By Lord Raa


@@@@@


Disclaim-me-do: She’s no more responsible for her actions than the drunkard who desires a kebab.


@@@@@


Chapter 6


@@@@@


Naru’s mood had improved greatly by news of the new arrival.

“Finally, a doctor,” she said under her breath as she made her way to the dining room. “And it’s a woman, too. I’m sorry for doubting you, Keitaro.”

Kitsune had overheard this and scowled at her friend. ‘He’s trying his best, Naru. What more do you want from him?’

“Careful, Naru-chan, you don’t want to fall over and hurt yourself like Motoko-did earlier,” the ash-blonde said, causing the blind girl to jump in surprise.

“You scared me, Kitsune. So, what’s the doctor like?”

“I don’t know. She’s just arrived here and I thought it bad form to just go up and take her measurements before she took a bath,” Kitsune replied.

“… Sorry, but I’m little nervous about this,” Naru admitted. “This worse than the time I broke my glasses. At least then I could tell when it was night.”

“I know, Naru-chan, I know. But things are looking up now.”


@@@@@


Megumi Sohryu let out a deep sigh of relief as she allowed the hot water to wash over her shoulders.

It had been days since she’d last had a chance to wash properly, and the young doctor struggled to remember the last time she’d been able to have a soak in a hot spring.

Megumi had worked hard to her medical qualifications, and had been worked just as hard by her employers at the clinic who hired her. Pretty much all of her time was spent working, either at the clinic or with her being seconded to the local hospital.

And now, there was this; whatever ‘this’ was.

The young man had brought her back to his place and offered her something to eat and the chance to get cleaned up in exchange for looking at his friend’s eyes.

“But why would so many of them be blind?” Megumi asked the empty bathing area. She felt her stomach complain about a lack of food and decided that she needed to get something to eat before her hands started shaking from low blood sugar.


@@@@@


Kitsune smile at Megumi as she emerged from the changing area.

“So, how did you like the bath?”

“It was heavenly. I haven’t had a chance to have a bath like that in ages. So, you live here?”

“Yeah, it’s a dormitory for girls,” the ash-blonde answered.

“Then why is there a man here?” the doctor asked as she followed Kitsune to the kitchen.

“It’s a long story, but basically his grandmother owns the place and he runs it for her.”

“Doesn’t it get a little awkward with a man around here?”

Kitsune laughed. “Oh, the stories I could tell you…But they can wait for later. Let’s get something to eat.”


@@@@@


At the dinner table, Megumi Sohryu was beginning to feel rather self-conscious thanks to the attention that she was getting from the Hinata Sou’s residents.

There had been the usual questions about who she was, where she was from, but the doctor could tell that something was being held back.

Eventually, Kitsune took over the questioning and asked about how she met Keitaro.

“I… I kind of hit him in the head with a bedpan.”

“Why?” the ash-blonde asked. Keitaro hadn’t mentioned that part.

“I was scared – the clinic had been raided,” Megumi answered.

“Raided? Raided for what?” asked Motoko.

“Well, I’m assuming that it was for medical supplies, but I was too scared to look at what had been taken. I haven’t seen any of my co-workers since the night before last.”

Kitsune frowned. ‘This is not what we need to keep everyone calm.’

“Y-you haven’t seen anyone for two days?” Shinobu asked.

“Well, aside from Keitaro and you guys, no. I was staying late to catch up on paperwork when I fell asleep at my desk.” Megumi finished her food and placed the bowl on the table. “I needed that, thank you. So when I woke up, I noticed that no-one was around. I tried to call my co-workers to see where they were, but I couldn’t get through on the landline. I tried my mobile, but there was no response.”

“Anyway, how about you take a look at everyone’s eyes? Naru, you go first,” Kitsune said, hoping to cut off any potential panic from the oblivious doctor’s words.

“Ok,” the auburn-haired girl as waited for the doctor to move into position.

Megumi peered into Naru’s eyes, looking for some trace that could indicate what could cause such widespread blindness.

When the pupils failed to react to the light shined into them, the doctor frowned. “Can I see someone else’s eyes? I need to know if they’re the same.”

“I’ll go next,” Motoko offered.

The results were the same, as they were with Shinobu.

“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” Megumi admitted. “Eyes aren’t my speciality, but even so, it’s like the optic nerve has been overloaded with something. There’s no evidence that you’ve been staring at the sun through binoculars.”

“They’ve never used my arc-welding kit,” Kaolla added. “The only thing that we can pinpoint as the common factor is the meteor shower.”

“Wait, you do welding?” the doctor asked, incredulous that the young blonde would do such a thing.

“Welding is fun,” the princess beamed. “I like to make things.”

“Sorry, I’m missing something here. Suu here uses an arc-welder?”

“And a gas-axe,” Kaolla smiled. “Flames are pretty.”

“Ok… Erm, I’m not sure what I can do to help you. I mean, this is little more than a cursory glance. I’m not seeing debris or obvious signs of infection,” Megumi admitted. “I’m sorry I can’t be of more help to you.”

“Oh…” Naru replied, visibly deflating at the diagnosis.

“That said, if I had the right equipment, I might be able to make a proper diagnosis. Obviously, it’s too late to do it tonight, but would anyone like to come with me to the clinic tomorrow morning?”

“Yes, I’ll go with you,” Naru quickly replied.

Kitsune looked at Megumi. She seemed genuine enough, but she couldn’t help but feel that something was amiss with the young doctor.

“Keitaro, could you help me with something?”

“Sure thing, Kitsune,” the ronin answered. “Excuse us for a moment.”


@@@@@


In the hallway, Kitsune turned to Keitaro. “Look, Keitaro, I don’t mean to be rude or anything, but there’s something off about that doctor you brought with you.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean,” the ash-blonde said before looking around for eavesdroppers, “I mean that she doesn’t seem too clued up on how to keep people calm in stressful situations.”

“You think she’s not a real doctor?” Keitaro asked, concerned that he’d been duped.

“No, I’m sure she is, even if she’s new at being a doctor. I’ll have a word with her about keeping things as positive as possible, but I want you to go with her and Naru to the clinic tomorrow.”

“Ok, Kitsune, I’ll go with them.”

Kitsune returned to her friends. “Right then, shall we get you into a room, Dr. Sohryu?”

“Yes please.”


@@@@@


Kitsune led Megumi to a spare room.

“Is something wrong?” the doctor asked.

“Yes,” the short-haired young woman said. “First off, people are scared. Three days ago, they could all see fine and now they can’t even tell the difference between day and night. Well, Naru needed glasses, but you know what I mean.”

“I’m sorry, but I’ve never encountered anything like this.”

“I realise that and it’s no-one’s fault. It’s just that I think we should try to keep everyone positive.”

“That’s why I suggested going to the clinic tomorrow!” Megumi insisted. “I’ll be able to get a better idea there.”

“That’s good. What’s not so good is that you mentioned your clinic had been raided. When you’ve got no idea what’s going on, everything is scary. Keitaro hasn’t encountered many people out there on the streets, so where is everybody? Are they dead, have they been rounded up to be looked after? Where are the police?” Kitsune asked.

“I don’t know; I was hiding in my clinic for two days.”

“I know,” the ash-blonde said through gritted teeth. “And I’m not trying to keep things from people, but if they lose hope…”

Megumi paled as she realised the consequences of people losing hope. “I… I’m sorry, I didn’t think… I…”

Kitsune embraced the distraught medic. “I understand, I mean, how can you plan for something like this? This isn’t something that’s happened before, like an earthquake or a tsunami.”

“Thank you… I… this is embarrassing, I didn’t catch your name.”

“Mitsune Konno, my friends call me Kitsune.”

“Please, call me Megumi.”


@@@@@


And yes, that brings everyone up to date.
 

EagleCeres

Well-Known Member
#8
RE: Unforeseeable

I'm still loving the Alpha Female/Onee-san role Kitsune is taking, although I worry for both her and Kei... being the strong people on the team is surely disheartening in a difficult situation like they are in. With Megumi there there is some hope, but until there is more information on what happened, the Hinata Crew will have to make due with what they have.

Keep up the good Raa, hope to see how far this rabbit hole goes.
 

Lord Raa

Exporter of Juice Tins
#9
@@@@@


Keitaro had finished clearing the table and had started the washing up when Kitsune returned.

“Is everything alright, Kitsune?” he asked as the ash-blonde picked up a tea-towel and started to dry the dishes. “What did you think of Megumi-san?”

“Yeah,” Kitsune sighed. “Megumi-san is... well, she kinda reminded me of you.”

“Me? In what way?”

“Well, I mean that she means well, but she doesn’t always pay attention to her surroundings before speaking.”

As Keitaro stood wondering how to best react to what he’d just been told, Kitsune realised that she’d been just as guilty as Megumi for not thinking before speaking and embraced the hapless young man from behind.

Keitaro blushed heavily when he realised what was pressing up against his back.

“K-K-Kitsune...”

“Shush, Keitaro, just let me apologise for upsetting you.”

“You’re not upsetting me, it’s just that...”

“Can I hug Keitaro, too?” a young, female voice called out.

“...Suu-chan’s here.”

“Only if you help with the dishes,” Kitsune said playfully.


@@@@@
 

Lord Raa

Exporter of Juice Tins
#11
Necro.

It's not dead yet.


@@@@@


After the washing up was done, Kaolla Suu started mulling over some sketches she’d made.

“What’s this, Suu-chan?” Kitsune asked as she stood over the blonde’s shoulder.

“It’s a car,” the princess beamed.

“Car?” Kitsune repeated as she took in some more details.

The vehicle in question looked more akin to a post-apocalyptic wasteland than the streets of Japan.

“Is there a reason why you’re gone all Mad Max in your designs?”

“Yeah!” Kaolla nodded. “If we can’t contact the government, then we’ve either been abandoned or it’s collapsed. Either way, it’s going to be dangerous out there.”

“But this car has a machine gun on it, Suu.”

“OK, so I might have gotten a little carried away with the weapons. But it does look cool, right?”

The ash-blonde had to concede that Kaolla’s design aesthetic was indeed cool, if somewhat impractical for their current situation. The roads around the Hinata Sou were very well maintained so the wheels depicted on the drawings that were more suited to driving over large boulders and other rough terrain seemed rather excessive.

“And just where do you plan to make these vehicles? We don’t have a garage here, Suu.”

“That’s another reason for making them off-road capable!” the princess beamed. “So we can drive up the steps!”

“But they can’t drive through the front door. You’d have to build a...” Kitsune trailed off as she saw the large mechanical arm that Kaolla Suu had sketched up. “Why am I not surprised that you want to build one of these?”

“Robots are cool, Kitsune! Of course, this does mean that Keitaro will need to get some hydraulic fluid for me.”

“Some? These cars of yours are going to weigh several tonnes.”

“I thought wanted Keitaro to have more muscles. Something about ‘beefcake’...”

“Never mind that, Suu-chan,” the short-haired girl laughed nervously. “So, what do you want Keitaro to pick up when he goes out tomorrow?”

“Oh, I’m not sure what I need yet. But if he comes across anything interesting, then he should bring it back with him.”


@@@@@




Better luck next time.
 
#12
Why do they need more then one car?

And their priority right now should probably be getting some crops into the ground, Millet which grows quickly or Rye because the cold doesn't kill it, would be my first choices
 

T.L

Well-Known Member
#13
OMG it lives.

Sorry LR I'm not on hotmail anymore my account got hosed.
 
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