Saga of Soul

CHAPTER 8: HERE BE KAIJU





My name is Watanabe Eriko, and I'm in the middle of a very special experiment. I'm at the top of the Tokyo Tower; everything is eerily still. Holding my hands in front of me, I wordlessly focus my power to make the particles appear between them. I focus, and make a marble of antimatter appear. It floats in the air, between my hands. I look at it, knowing that's it's going to explode. It's already starting to react with the air around it; it becomes red-hot, then white, then it erupts into light, then the explosion overtakes all of Tokyo as the mushroom cloud rises to the sky...
Junko was abruptly woken from her sleep by her adoptive sister's scream. Once she got over the shock, disorientation gave way to concern:
"<Eriko? Are you OK?>"
"<I'm, I'm fine. Sorry for waking you up like that. I had a nightmare, that's all.>"
"<What happened?>" Murder? Downfall? My father?
"<I dreamed I blew up the city.>"
"<Oh.>"
"<I hope I didn't also wake up mom and dad.>"
"<You weren't that loud.>"
"<Hope so. Sorry again. Good night.>"
"<Good night, Eriko.>"
My name is Watanabe Eriko, and I suppose an antimatter phobia at least makes more sense than being afraid of clowns.


My name is Junko, and I need to find a better way to help Eriko.
One of my first ideas was getting her to watch magical girl anime to give her ideas. We've gone through a big part of Sailor Moon already, and I know she enjoyed some of it, but I don't think it was all that relevant to her mission as Soul. It seemed like she was going to have no time for anime anyway... until Monsoon came around and taught her that sleep trick.
Junko put on her clothes and walked into the kitchen, where the rest of the household was already busy with breakfast or coffee.
According to Monsoon, humans don't really need more than 4-5 hours of sleep per night, and she said she could teach Eriko how to improve her own sleep with magic. It looks like it's working, because now she can keep reading an extra hour in bed, get up an hour before everyone else, get stuff done and not be tired. That means she has some extra time... and that means I need to get her a different series to watch. Hopefully the next one will be useful to her.
As Junko began having her breakfast, the news played on the radio. "<...the police still declines to comment on the subject. The prime minister has addressed the press...>"
The prime minister's voice sounded less self-assured than usual: "<...we are currently doing everything in our power to uncover the truth behind these attacks. In the meanwhile, in order to ensure the safety of the civilian population, the Self-Defense Force has been authorized to deploy in the event of a new paranormal attack...>"
"<The army?>" Mr. Watanabe mused out loud. "<Against those things? I wonder how that'll work out.>"
Junko leaned toward Eriko. "<Is that a good or a bad thing?>"
"<Good, I hope... We'll see.>"


"Ah, yes. I remember that. That was the day of the first construct attack, correct?"
"Yeah, it was. Good God, what a mess..."
"Right. You did arrive rather late that time."
"Oh give me a break. I can't be everywhere."


Hiromasa found himself swallowing nervously as Hyosuke presented the state of their investigation to their superior. "<The DNA is human. Could easily be Japanese. We've even received over a dozen calls from people who claimed to know Soul, but every person investigated was just a vague lookalike.>"
"<Inspector Hyosuke, this is not satisfactory. It's been several weeks since the Downfall incident, and so far, all you've got to show is the leads you've eliminated. Not the first clue as to what we're dealing with; just more and more ideas of what it's not.>"
"<With all due respect, sir, there's no precedent for this kind of investigation. We're doing the best we can.>"
"<If that is your best, then perhaps this investigation would be better served by someone more capable!>"
Yeah, right. Hyosuke was not too impressed with the threat. Not like I'm going to be lucky enough to be rid of this. No-one else wants this case, and you're just happy enough to keep me busy with it. "<We will step up our efforts, sir.>"
"<You do that.>"


"<It's a classic...>" Junko tried to reason.
"<No. Absolutely not.>" Eriko wouldn't budge.
Mr. and Mrs. Watanabe raised an eyebrow as Junko followed Eriko across the living room, still insisting. "<Come on! You like Sailor Moon, right?>"
"<I am. Not. Interested. In Wedding Peach.>"
"<Look, it's a much better show than you think. Its reputation is seriously exaggerated and...>"
"<Maybe it is. But seriously. There are dozens of series in the genre. Why go specifically for what I expect to dislike?>"
Junko finally gave up as Eriko retreated to her room.
"<So, what's the big disagreement?>" asked Mrs. Watanabe.
"<Eh, I was just trying to recommend her an anime, but she seems unwilling to try it,>" said Junko. "<Said she wasn't interested in a show that obsessed over marriage. I had no idea any girl could get that snarky about weddings.>"
Her adoptive parents smirked. "<I suppose she got that from some of our comments during movies,>" admitted Mr. Watanabe.
"<But still. I know Eriko's special... But I thought every girl dreamed of having a beautiful wedding.>"
"<You'd be surprised.>" Mrs. Watanabe smiled. "<I guess we've always been pretty upfront with her on the subject.>"
"<What do you mean?>" Junko was suddenly intrigued. "<You guys have the best marriage I know!>" OK, maybe that's not saying much coming from me, but...
"<Junko... Sit down and let me tell you a little story.>"
Mrs. Watanabe then began to tell her short tale: "<Some 17 years ago, a smart, dashing journalism major proposed me. I said yes, we met each other's families, we agreed on a date. As you can expect, a lot of work went into the ceremony.
Then came the big day. Everybody came. Including the rain clouds - which wasn't all that great, since we had planned an open-air ceremony. We had to make last-minute changes, and go inside the church. Then, the dashing, supposedly-smart journalism major discovered that, somehow, he had lost the ring.>" Her husband blushed in embarrassment. "<We never did find it. He had to buy me a new one afterwards. Still, we refused to let that stop us, and got married without a ring. Mind you, that screw-up left a pretty bad impression on my side of the family, and for the entire ceremony, we felt like every pair of eyes in the room was judging us. It wasn't very fun, believe me.
Then, we left on our honeymoon trip. We had tickets for Hawaii, and we intended to enjoy ourselves. But, probably because of the rain, we managed to catch a cold, and by the time we got to our hotel rooms, we were too sick to leave them. We ended up spending half the honeymoon with a fever.>"
Junko gaped at her, her mouth half-open. She went on: "<That is the story of how we got married. We had one of the worst weddings in History. 17 years later, despite a horrible wedding, our marriage is still a happy one.>"
"<OK, I think I get it.>" Junko put down the Wedding Peach DVD she was holding. "<With Eriko, I'm going to need at least Precure.>"


For Mr. Tanaka, the owner of a small shop on a busy Tokyo street, the day had started as a normal Sunday. Seeing the wife and kids in the morning, going to his shop, trying to make a few week-end sales. It had all been going reasonably well at first. Then, at 14:08, the portal opened.
Mr. Tanaka hadn't been present at the earlier attacks, but he had seen the videos, same as anyone else. He could see the resemblance between what was happening in front of his store, and the portals opened in the earlier footage. The big difference, though, was that this portal was much, much bigger. About twelve meters tall. Which was also about the height of the monster that stepped through the portal right before it closed.
Mr. Tanaka would rank among that day's casualties, as the creature devastated his store with a single furious kick.


"<Dear Katsutoshi, I can't put into words how happy I am that you invited me here!>"
"<The pleasure is all mine, fair lady.>" That wasn't strictly the truth. He was getting a bit bored - generic dateable classmate #14, as he secretly referred to her in his thoughts, was not proving to be a very interesting conversationalist. When he had invited her to this fancy restaurant, she had all but squeed. Still, a break from schoolwork and the documents his mother was making him read was more than welcome.
Needless to say, he was annoyed at the sudden phone call from his mother. "<Forgive me, my sweet - I'll make it quick.>" Turning on the phone, he tried to rein in his annoyance. "<Yes?>"
"Katsutoshi. Are you anywhere near a TV set?"
"<Nnnnno... Not really.>"
"Then correct that and watch the news."
"<Mom, I'm in the middle of a date!>"
"And Tokyo is under attack. By a giant monster no less."
She hung up before he could answer.
"<Katsutoshi?>" His date got a bit worried. "<Is there a problem?>"
"<We... We need to watch the news. As in, right now.>"
"<What? But...>"
"<There's a new magical attack on the city going on.>"
That was enough to quiet #14's protests.


Between dozens of panicked phone calls and a few agents requesting backup, the police station was quick to know of the situation.
"<Holy crap,>" Hiromasa exclaimed as he watched the creature on a cell phone picture sent by a helpful bystander, "<they've gone all-out this time. Look at the size of that th...>"
He was interrupted as Hyosuke pulled him away by his sleeve.
"<Hey, wait, where are we going?>"
"<To the hot spot.>"
"<What? But...>"
"<No buts. They may need our help evacuating people, and this might be our chance to get more clues. You can stay here until the chief says otherwise if you want to, but I'm going.>"
"<...Dammit, Hyosuke.>"

"<Secano. Samsod. You might want to watch this.>" Chancell's expression was unreadable.
The human, still holding the automatic gun he had been cleaning, quietly stepped in front of the TV set, while the junior Elysian rushed from another room.
"<...complete panic as the monster ravages the area. Casualties are believed to already be in the double-digits...>"
Samsod remained impassive. Secano looked carefully at the monster - a gigantic, bulky, bipedal lizard that seemed to be in the grip of raw, animal rage. He turned his head to Chancell. "<Did... Did you do that?>"
Chancell didn't say a word, but the contemptuous look he gave Secano was roughly equivalent to screaming "Are you freaking retarded?" at the top of one's lungs.
"<...I'll take that as a no.>"
"<Which leaves the question>", said Chancell, "<who did. What do you think?>"
Secano looked at the monster again. "<Well, this construct is obviously a terror unit. Probably pumped with adrenaline and junk to make it rampage like that. That skin looks heavily armored, and a creature that big shouldn't be so fast and agile, so I'm guessing it has a strength-boosting spell on it. Whoever created it was obviously an expert at construct creation.>"
Chancell nodded. Secano went on. "<It's causing damage at an impressive rate - it won't have a substantial impact on the city directly before either Soul or their military put it down, but the fear it creates will lead to social unrest and instability. If we're lucky, that's the work of Endless Ravage - they want their Righteous Vengeance, and this would be right up their alley.>" He looked at Chancell, and saw an expecting expression. "<...But if we're unlucky, this could be the work of the Council of Wisdom... If we found this world, then it's only a matter of time before they do, too.>"
"<Cogent observations, Secano. Samsod?>"
"<I have nothing to say beside that,>" said the latter.


"<I can't believe this>", said Eriko. "<Junko, come and see.>"
"<What is it?>" asked the latter as she watched the screen.
"<Watch.>" Eriko activated the video.
Junko's eyes widened. "<Did... Did that cat chase off a bear?>"
"<Yeah. The stuff you find on YouTube, huh?>"


Meanwhile, the prime minister was not having a relaxing day.
"<I know you have no precedents! I don't care - just stop this crazy thing! Send the tanks, send the air force, send whatever it takes!>"
"<Sir, it's not that simple. Tanks won't be able to get there in a reasonable amount of time, considering the traffic. Aircrafts will be unable to target it without generating massive collateral damage. We already have several helicopters taking off, though, and some are transporting infantry...>"


As Hyosuke drove toward the disaster zone, siren blazing, a policeman already on the scene was reporting the situation to him:
"<I've shot all my bullets at it, but, no reaction. It's not even bleeding.>"
"<Then just focus on evacuating people>", advised the inspector. He then spoke to Hiromasa: "<Sounds like it's shielded too. Not good... I'm not even sure normal weapons can hurt it.>"
"<So we'll have to hope Soul will stop it.>"
"<That'd be nice, but let's not count on it. We're the goddamn Tokyo Police; protecting this city is our job.>"
"<Maybe, but police training said nothing about giant monsters.>"
"<It said nothing about corrupt superiors and politicians, but we still deal with that on a regular basis.>"
Hiromasa shut up.


Within Castle Nexus, Monsoon was exerting her vocal cords and lungs.
"I love rock n' roll 
So put another dime in the jukebox, baby 
I love rock n' roll 
So come an' take your time an' dance with me!"
She then wiped the sweat off her brow. "Heh! This music is fun!"


In their makeshift headquarters, Downfall and the Black Skull Gang were watching live footage of the event.
"<Holy crap>", said Masaki, "<the world's gone fucking nuts. Think Soul will stop this?>"
"<Oh, she most probably will,>" said Downfall, his gaze narrowing. "<It's in her nature, and if she can give me a fight, she can handle this.
Not that it will make any real difference in the end. Next time I get my hands on her, she will cease to be.>" he said, fidgeting Murder's golden knife.


"<Holy shit stop the car!>" Hiromasa practically screamed as they came in view of the monster, amid fleeing civilians.
"<There, we've stopped, you big baby>" replied his partner as he got out. He then cast his gaze at the creature, which had just caught a car with its teeth and thrown it a block away after giving it a furious munching. Big and strong, alright, and it seems fast too. But its behavior... "<It's definitely different from the last two rampages.>"
"<You mean, because it's not talking? Murder and Downfall both started out with a speech. You think this thing is too dumb to talk?>"
"<I'd bet money on it. It's behaving like a furious animal. There's no method, no targeting - it's not going specifically after the people, just trashing around.>"
"<I... don't suppose it's going to calm down.>"
"<I'm not going to count on it>" Hyosuke drew out his gun.
"<What the Hell are you doing?! You can't seriously plan to shoot that thing!>"
"<Well, if it's shielded the way Downfall was, my bullets won't even reach it. But we don't know that for sure. Maybe it's just got a thick skin.>"
"<How the fuck is that gonna help?!>"
"<I'll shoot it in the eye and see.>"
"..."
Having stunned his partner into silence, Hyosuke, gun in hand, began running toward the monster. He was already too far to hear when Hiromasa's silence ended: "<You're freaking insane!>"


"<I'm bored>", Junko threw her arms in the air. "<What are you doing?>"
"<Re-reading some of my old forum posts," answered Eriko. "<Heh, I remember this thread... It was the debate over who's smarter, Light Yagami or Washu. Some people said that with the stuff Washu invents, she was the clear winner, but I disagreed. I figure, it's no big deal having a fictional character come up with some super-powered invention if you're not actually describing how it works. I'm more interested in characters who actually display intelligence...>"


My name is Aoyama Hyosuke, and if I die today, it's really going to be my own damn fault.
This is ridiculously risky. I'm crouching behind a car at a much less than safe distance away from an angry rampaging four-story-tall monster, and the next step in my plan - a plan that I don't expect to work - is to empty my ammo clip in its eye.
There are so many reasons this isn't a good plan. First, I'm a decent shot, but hitting such a small moving target from this distance is going to be pretty dicey, even if I use every bullet I have. Second, if this thing is shielded - and I think it is - then bullets won't even be able to touch it. Third, even if I didn't miss, and there was no shield, I don't actually know if it will kill it, or just make it bleed a little. And let's not forget, there are good odds that this will make it pay way more attention to me than is healthy. It's a -horrible- plan.
But I'm still going to do it. Because my only other option is to stand by and let it kill and destroy more people, and dammit, I'm a cop. I take my job seriously, I always have, and I'm not going to let some stupid lizard change that, no matter how big it is!
A shot. Another one. Every bullet at Hyosuke's disposal was fired.
If any of them made a single scratch, he couldn't see it. The monster appeared completely unharmed. Curious, it looked in the general direction the sound of gunfire had come; failing to notice Hyosuke behind the car, it went back to smashing a nearby bank building.
Well, it looks like I'm out of ideas for stopping it. Hyosuke looked around, and saw a few remaining civilians. Guess that means I'm on crowd control duty.


In his home, Professor Maru was watching the live news.
"<Too big... Way too big>" he mumbled to himself as he observed the monster. "<It should have trouble just standing up. All that strength... Extra power?>"


Trying to stay as far as possible from the giant reptile without actually leaving the scene, Hiromasa was attempting to smooth the evacuation.
"<Everybody stay calm, keep going in this direction. Children stick to their parents. If anyone...>"
He was distracted from his (mostly ignored) attempts by an increasingly loud sound coming from behind him. Turning around, he saw an approaching helicopter arriving. He turned on his walky-talky: "<Hyosuke! Looks like the Army is here!>"
"<About damn time!>"


"<...and seven pages of arguing later, he finally admits he never actually read it>", explained Eriko as Junko tried to keep listening. "<I mean, the Hell?! Why did he need to spend so much time and effort explaining why he hated something he wasn't actually familiar with?! What do you think?>"
"<I... dunno.>" I think I can't believe I'm bored enough to actually listen while you tell me about your old forum posts. This is the most boring week-end -ever-. Can't anything -exciting- happen?


"<...emptied his entire bullet clip, but no dice>", Hiromasa explained to the military officer, straining his voice a bit to be heard above the cacophony. "<We've discovered some of the monsters have a 'shield' that deflects projectiles, and we think that's what's happening with this one too.>"

"<Are you telling me it can't be hit?>" The officer seemed somewhat incredulous.

"<I'm not saying that. Remember how that car hit Soul? It just didn't hit as hard as it should have. Maybe the car was too heavy, I don't know.>"

"<Well, bullets aren't our first choice for stopping that thing anyway,>" said the officer.

"<They're not? Then, what...?>"

"<See those helicopters there? Their job is to take that thing down with anti-tank missiles. Think those shields can stop that?>"

Inside the helicopters, however, the pilots were not sounding quite so confident. "<Sir, it's as we feared. That thing has no thermal signature. Our missiles can't lock onto it. At all.>"

"<Fucking reptile. Can you use your guns?>"

"<Positive, sir. We could try to fire the missiles anyway... It's not like this thing is moving all that fast, I mean.>"

"<Belay that, people. With no targeting lock, you'll have too much collateral damage, and we have to check if the area's been properly evacuated first. We'll try to handle that, but in the meantime, get those guns fired!>"

"<Yes sir!>"

For what felt like a much longer time than it really was, the helicopters' guns made a deafening noise as hundreds of high-caliber bullets were launched at the creature. The noise attracted its attention, causing it to charge in the direction of the nearest helicopter, then try to jump at it, and finally roar at it in furious impotence as it could not reach the elevated target. Finally, it turned its attention away from the flying machines, and stomped on a nearby building instead.

The officer near Hiromasa watched the monster through his binoculars. "<Crap. I don't see a scratch on it. Guess you were right about the shield.>"

"<Then what are you going to do now?>"

"<Depends. How many civilians do you reckon are still around?>"



In a far-away part of Tokyo, a crowd had gathered around an electronics shop. What had attracted them there were the multiple TV sets on display, which were currently showing the news on live.

And among the crowd was one teenager named Kazu, snickering to himself as he saw the chaos on the multiple screens. <Oh yeah. Subtle like a nuke. I dunno if you'll show up, Soul, but this is fun to watch either way.>



While Kazu was enjoying the view, the army officer on the scene had taken Hiromasa's communicator to talk to Hyosuke.

"<I'm telling you, there are still plenty of people around here!>" shouted the aging policeman. "<Stragglers, folks caught in debris, people hiding in the buildings, lost children, wounded! You can't start shooting up the place with explosives!>"

"<Not yet, at least. You focus on getting these people out, we'll see what we can do.>" The officer then turned to his squad: "<All right, men looks like our air support is worthless for now, as are bullets. Guess that means we'll need a different approach...>"



"<...and then it turned out they were talking about H2O all along. You know, water.>" Eriko realized her 'listener' wasn't laughing at the gut-bustingly hilarious punchline. "<Junko? Am I boring you?>"

"Huh?" the other girl snapped to attention. "<Uh, no, no no no. Not at all. I just got a bit distracted and... Eh, sorry.>"

I... guess it might not be all that funny and interesting to everyone, Eriko admitted to herself. "<So... Is there anything you feel like doing?>"



"<On my command... Alpha, fire!>"

From beyond the corner of a building, a crouching soldier fired his bazooka, launching an anti-tank missile that hit the construct on its right side. The creature snarled in pain as it felt the explosion.

"<A hit! Bravo, fire!>"

Another bazooka-wielding soldier, from another corner. Another hit, this time at the creature's back. Another enraged roar.

"<Charlie, fire!>"

"<Hyosuke, I think we're really hurting that stupid thing!>" Hiromasa didn't even try to hide his enthusiasm on the communicator. "<Those rockets are... I think they're making it bleed a bit!>"

"<Fantastic. Shouldn't you be helping me evacuate civilians?>"

"<But... The soldiers need my advice here. I had to tell them about the shield and all that...>"

"<Whatever. Just make sure the people I send your way get out safely.>"



In a secret lab in Phoenix, Arizona, Dimitry had just pulled a cart with a TV set on it into the room where his 'subject' was being held, and was connecting everything.
"I... think we want you to see this, Mr. Murder."
"I assure you, it is perfectly all right to just call me 'Murder'. Should I assume interesting events are taking place?"
"You could say that", the scientist turned the set on.
OK... The details about the monster will be interesting to analyze in due time, but right now, it's Murder's reactions I want to see.
Murder observed the scene with great amusement. "Oh my. A terror construct in Tokyo. How quaint."
"Terror construct?"
"Ah, yes. Well-applied magic can twist the flesh of living creatures, among many other things. If you take a harmless lizard, and make the appropriate modifications, you get... something slightly less harmless", he gestured at the monster on screen.
"You mean... That thing used to be a normal animal?"
"I suppose, yes. There are no creatures such as this one in nature, after all."
"But... The changes involved! I mean, for this thing to live you'd need... God, the DNA alone."
"Now, I'm not saying this kind of construct can live very long without magic. In this particular case, I very much doubt it is intended to."
Dimitry paused. OK, I've got to keep it together... I need to learn more from him. "Do... Do you know where it comes from?"
Murder grinned. Always with that predatory grin. Is he -trying- to make me nervous? "I suppose I could offer a few guesses. This could be Downfall's handiwork. It could just as well be the Elysium's, or the Council of Wisdom... Either of them might hope to profit from this."
"Who?"
"Ah, pay it no mind. I am trying to enjoy the show."
Wait, he's going to throw names, and dodge explaining them? It -does- sound like it's all a game for him...


Back in the combat zone, while the police kept trying to get all the civilians away from danger, the soldiers were still playing a variant of hide-and-seek that involved giant monsters and bazookas.
"<Reinforcement ETA is 7 minutes, and they'll have rocket launchers and flamethrowers, but I'd like to kill that thing before then. Alpha, any chance you can aim for the head? Or the legs?>"
"<Negative, sir!>" came the radio answer. "<That thing moves too fast, I could easily miss. Do you want me to try?>"
"<No, soldier. Just shoot the torso again.>"
"<Yes sir!>" Once again, a rocket sped toward the construct. It was the seventh by now, and the creature's wounds, while not too deep, were bleeding in impressive amounts. But this time, it was able to tell where the attack had come from, and roared as it charged in Alpha's direction. The unfortunate soldier's scream only lasted for a second before both he and the building he was using for cover were torn apart.
Far too close for comfort, Hyosuke let out a short profanity when he noticed a little boy - 8 years old? 10? - cowering in fear in the remains of the now-destroyed building.


"<Hey, mom, do you...>" Eriko began saying as she and Junko entered the living room, but she hushed when she noticed her mother's expression as she watched the news. Without saying another word, she walked up behind her mother and took a look at the TV set.
"<...helicopters are hanging back, after an initial attack on the creature failed. The infantry is currently trying to fight with rocket launchers, and seems to have injured the creature, but...>"
Eriko's jaw dropped. Crap on an authority figure's lunch! How long has this been going on?! So much destruction... The Self-Defense Force... Oh God...
Giving Junko a quick look, she ran back to her room. Her mother looked away from the screen for a moment: "<Eriko, where are you going?>"
To the middle of a disaster zone where I'll try to stop a giant monster from leveling Tokyo. "<To look this up online!>" The tone was a bit panicky, but...


"<All right, now let's hear you all play it together,>" said Moonson to the numerous musical instruments she was animating with her magic.
The planned concerto was interrupted by the sudden arrival of Eriko. "<Oh, hi there... Something wrong?>" Monsoon tone quickly changed from happy and friendly to curious when she saw the teenage girl rushing toward the transformation pillar.
"<Yes! Big giant monster in Tokyo! Destroying everything! Must stop it now!>" shouted Eriko as she focused on creating her shields while the pillar - an addition from Mother Aurora - quickly replicated the spell that changed her appearance to that of Soul. At least that saves me some precious time.
"<Oh? What kind of monster are we talking about?>"
"<Like a tryranosaurus rex on steroids. No, like... Argh. Ten-plus meter tall reptile.>"
"<All right, but is it just a dumb beast, or... I mean, could be Downfall in a new shape or something.>"
"<Crap. I hadn't thought about that.>"
"<Hey, that's why you have me.>" Monsoon grinned. "<I'll take a look. Where in Tokyo is it?>"
"..."
"<...You don't know, do you?>"


Hyosuke waited until the monster had its back turned before running inside the building. The kid looked up to him, fearfully.
"<Son, you need to get away from here, fast!>" As the boy failed to react quickly enough, the policeman proceeded to pull him up to his feet and drag him outside while calling on his communicator. "<Hiromasa, found a kid here. I'm going to bring him back to you guys.>"
"<Yes sir. Just watch out for that thing.>"
Like you need to tell me.
However, Hyosuke and the child had barely made a few steps outside the building when another rocket hit the construct, making it turn around, and notice the two humans running away. With bestial fury, it began charging in their direction.
Hyosuke cursed, lifted the boy with his left arm and started running like hell, the ground beneath him shaking stronger and stronger as the creature got closer with each step. I can't outrun it. Wait... It's too big, it can't change directions quickly... The detective suddenly stopped, turned left and ran anew. The creature, carried forward by its own inertia, was unable to stop as quickly as the human, and kept going for a good forty meters before finally stopping, then resuming the chase.
Fuck... It'll tear the kid and me apart. Can I do that trick again? Can the Self-Defense Force guys...
The inspector's train of thought was interrupted as another rocket hit the creature. As pained as it was, though, it did not let the attack distract it from the two humans it could see, and it kept running...
...when suddenly, an anvil hit it at high speed on the side of its head.

"<Is that... Soul?>" asked Hiromasa.
"<Looks like it>" said the military officer as he looked through his binoculars. He then picked up his communicator: "<All units, hold your fire! Soul is here!>"
"<You're going to let her fight this thing?>" Hiromasa was not sure how to react.
"<I'm going to wait for a moment and see what happens.>"

Hyosuke wasn't aware at first of the new development - only that the monster behind him seemed to have stopped in its tracks. Hiromasa's shouts on the communicator soon changed that:
"<Sir, Soul's finally here! She's fighting the monster!>"
That was enough to make the old policeman stop and turn around. Sure enough, there was Soul, clumsily flying away from the monster's snapping jaws. About damn time. I need to learn more about her... But first things first, he thought to himself as he looked at the terrified kid he was holding. He resumed running.

My name is Watanabe Eriko, and I'm not sure what to do.
An anvil to the face got this thing's attention, and a plasma blast seems to have given it small burns, but it's still going. Those wounds... I'm guessing the Self-Defense Force did that.
On the plus side, this thing hasn't used magic against me, and doesn't seem intelligent. I can safely stay out of reach by flying high enough, which is a welcome change. But I need to stop it before more people get killed.
That guy with the kid. I should probably get them away from here.

Hyosuke had just darted into an alley when Soul suddenly portalled in front of him. He managed to stop abruptly. If I had a heart condition, I'd be history.
"<You need to get away from here>" she said, closing the previous portal and opening another. "<Go through this. It goes several kilometers North.>"
Hyosuke looked at her. He looked through the portal, where he could see people in another part of Tokyo, looking at him bug-eyed. He looked at the kid. Then he looked back at Soul. "<I need to keep helping evacuate. Can't you take him to my partner? He's with the main Self-Defense Force group, not too far.>"
Evacuate? He's a cop? "<I guess so,>" she said as she closed the portal and opened yet another, "<but you should really get away... Wait, didn't get that right>" she tried yet another portal, "<Ah, there we are.>"
On the other end of the portal, Hiromasa and the military officer nearly jumped out of their skins as the gate opened less than twenty meters away from them.
Hyosuke put down the kid, and pointed through the portal. "<See those people? They'll help you. Now run!>" As the kid complied, he turned back to Soul. "<Listen, protecting this city is my job. I'm not leaving until I'm sure there's no-one left.>"
"<All right. Any advice on fighting that thing?>"
"<I...>" he was taken off-guard by the question. "<Well, it's pretty dumb, I can tell. Really angry. The anti-tank rockets seem to hurt it a bit.>"
"<I see. Good luck, officer.>"
And with that, she portalled away, back toward the construct.

All right, Eriko, -think-. I can protect myself from it by flying. So I should try to make myself a target, and keep it from attacking anything else. But how do I defeat it?
The monster was taken off-guard as she appeared in front of it and sent a plasma blast to its face. It lunged forward, but she flung herself upward. Never thought I'd become a pinata. She formed another anvil - this time, one bigger than her - and added kinetic energy to throw it downward, hitting the monster on the head. It bled a little, but remained as enraged as before.

"<Hyosuke, what are you doing?>"
"<Looking for more civilians who may still need help.>"
"<You were with Soul a moment ago.>"
"<Talked with her quickly. She's fighting the kaiju, right?>"
"<Yes...>"
"<Is the Defense Force doing anything?>"
"<They say they want to see how it goes, but they have reinforcement arriving soon if they need them.>"
"<Good enough.>"

Several soldiers, dispersed through the combat zone, watched as the magical girl threw attack after attack at the giant monster, constantly maneuvering so as to keep it away from buildings. Her attacks' effects, however, seemed as limited as those of the rocket launchers.
Dammit all... I'm hurting it, but not enough. Can't I send it into space? No, too big to fit through my portals. I probably couldn't even fit the head. Heeeeeey...
There was a movement as Soul concentrated. In the next moment, a portal appeared right behind the construct - and proceeded to suck in the air, generating enough wind and pressure difference that the creature found itself pulled back. It screamed in pain as its back was pressed against the portal, suffering from the immense pressure difference, and tried to step forward, but remained stuck in place.
A simple portal to low Earth orbit, and the vacuum of space does the job, Eriko smirked. She landed on the ground, some fifty feet away from the struggling monster. All right... I need to keep that portal open. Keep it big enough to keep the monster from going forward, but not big enough to pull it backward - not sure what would happen. But now that I don't need to focus on flying away, I can...

"<Sir, she's really close to where I am. Instructions?>"
The officer hesitated for a moment. "<Engage contact, soldier. See if you can talk to her.>"
Hesitantly, the soldier came from behind a corner, carrying his bazooka behind him as he approached Soul. "<Er, hi...>"
"<Hi. Sorry, a bit busy...>" she said, as she made a ramp appear.
"<What are you doing?>"
"<Trying to finish this thing off. It has great shields, and I think its skin is practically armor, so it'll take a lot to break through its defenses... Hopefully this will do.>"
Not all that far away, the monster was still trashing around as it tried to break free from Soul's trap. She, in the meanwhile, made a long, cylindrical metal bar appear on the ramp, about two meters long and ten centimeters wide, with a pointed end.
"<What... What's this?>"
"<Depleted uranium.>" The heaviest metal I can think of right now. Let's see... A noble magic spell to aim it where I want... And another one to accumulate the kinetic energy I want to give it...
Louder and louder, the monster kept roaring and trashing. The pavement was breaking under its feet.
Almost done... Almost done...
It kept trying to press forward, even as it bled from its numerous minor injuries.
That should do it.
Eriko focused again, letting go of the portal and putting instead as much kinetic energy as she could muster into her makeshift projectile. The monster was suddenly free of the portal, and rushing forward to its own surprise... Only to be met by the uranium lance, going at a speed comparable to those of bullets, piercing its skull and going through its head.
For a moment, nothing happened. Then it collapsed to the ground, causing it to shake one last time.


Hyosuke had been busy directing another survivor away from the danger zone when he saw the creature fall. Incredible. She did it. He wasted no time running toward her.
Eriko looked at the creature's remains, with the metal pole still lodged in its head. The soldier tried to speak to her. "<Are... Is everything OK?>"
"<I... think so. I'm just... This time I'm actually still standing at the end of the fight. That's new to me.>"
"<Then maybe you don't need to leave so quickly this time>" said Hyosuke as he reached her. He pulled out his badge. "<Inspector Aoyama, of the Tokyo Police. I'd like to ask you a few questions.>"
Ah crud. What do I do? "<I'm... not sure how much I can answer, officer.>"
"<This is the third paranormal attack on the city, and each time, you showed up to stop it. If anything, we need to understand what's going on.>"
"<Actually...>" she said with visible embarrassment, "<You'd be surprised at how little I actually know. Not much more than you.>"
"<Even so. Who, or what are you?>"
"<I'm... I'm trying to protect this world. I...>" she noticed a news helicopter getting closer and closer, obviously intent on landing. "<I'm really sorry, but I can't say more. At least, not for now. I'm really sorry, officer>" she gave an apologetic bow before portalling away.
Hyosuke looked at the gigantic reptilian corpse. I don't think I'll get through today without more aspirin...


"Not exactly a brilliant move in terms of police relationship, but I suppose you could have done worse."
"Zip it. With Aurora's insistence on secrecy, obviously I had no idea how to handle it!"
"I suppose. Incidentally... If the construct had been pulled through the portal..."
"Ah. Well... Portals can be complicated. Non-Euclidean geometry and all that. Since it was too big to fully pass through... I'm not sure, but I think it'd have been pulled back, then finally gone far enough that the portal would have been in front of it. Some of its parts would have gone through outer space, but they'd back in Tokyo, since the twist generated by the portal would be... Engh. This is hard to explain without a computerized model."
"..."
"Again with the creepy silence."
"..."
"I really hate you , you know?"
"..."



Author's note: I have not watched "Wedding Peach", and cannot make meaningful comments on its quality. Neither has Eriko.

Previous Chapter                 Next Chapter