A Shinjuku Izakaya
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A small, independent bar lies tucked away in the busy streets of Shinjuku, with only the old-fashioned lanterns decorating the doorway acting as advertisement for the location. The building is small enough for nearly the entire place to be visible from the entryway. There's one main room with a long bar serving drinks, as well as a smaller side room with a low table using tatami for seating in case any larger parties showed up.
But for now, there was only one woman with silvery-blue hair acting as customer. The woman seems somewhat out of it, muttering to herself before taking another sip of sake.
[A young man wearing grey pants, a simple white shirt and a black and green leather jacket is walking around the streets of Shinjuku, looking down at his phone, reading the message his mother left him, over and over again.]
"How did they deliver that stuff to the wrong place? There can't be that many bars looking all the same..."
[Somewhere in this street, a bar mistakenly received a package meant for his mother's bar, but they could not go give it to her, and she was too lazy to come pick it up herself. As a result, Kazuo was the only one tasked with finding the place. The problem was that he only knew how the place looked, not the name. In short, he would have to check each place until he hit the jackpot.]
"Alright, my money's on this one."
[Kazuo would calmly walk into the bar and look around. It was empty, except for the-]
[He thinks out loud, like he suddenly felt like he shouldn't be there in the first place. He stands near the doorway nervously, unable to look away from her, but also wishing he could just leave. Now.]
The somewhat groggy woman raises her hand from the bar, looking towards the entrance. She seems a little... Out of it. While Kokoro's trying to figure out what's happening, the bartender asks
Barkeep: "You seem a little young for this establishment. Did you have business of some sort?"
Kokoro waves off his concern, having finally realized she definitely knows the kid, for whatever reason.
Kokoro: "It'll be fine. I've definitely seen this kid before. And besides, you don't have much else to do right? Ya can make sure he doesn't slip anything."
The barkeeper breathes out a sigh before deciding to start cleaning some of their glasses. The glass he picks up is already spotless, but at least he gets to pretend to do something relevant.
[Kazuo felt fear before but... the woman seemed off. This would be the third facet of her he had seen up until now. Maybe fourth? People were complex like that. He would slowly and quietly approach and sit next to Kokoro, not looking away for a second. His heart was racing.]
"...What are you doing here...?"
[He shakes his head nervously.]
"I-I mean, you are drinking but... I meant to say, why are you here...?"
Apollo casually strolls in, smirking as he waves to the bartender whom he approaches, seating himself on a stool.
"I'd like some Sake, please."
He then turns his head towards Kokoro, recognizing her.
"Oh hey, it's... that woman from that weird tournament!"
He then approaches her, stretching for a second.
"Hey, miss, the name's Apollo. Hope you don't mind, but i'd like to get some advice."
"'sa dumb question."
Kokoro mutters before taking another sip of sake.
"Sometimes ya've just gotta forget some stuff, ok?"
The bartender looks at Apollo warily, before nodding and starting to get the boy his sake. As usual, he provides a small cup to pour the larger vessel of sake into before drinking, as part courtesy, and part to ensure he doesn't overdo it.
Not that its been enough to stop Kokoro.
Still somewhat groggy, Kokoro looks up at the new boy.. She can't really remember seeing them before, and it was pretty weird to just ask strangers for advice. But she felt pretty good right now.
"eh, sure. I can listen at least. I mean big sis is a real good listener."
*Aria walked into the bar, a smile on her face, and takes a seat at the far side of it, letting out a reliefed sigh. She smiles at the bartender and raises two fingers.*
Yo. Cola please.
* She leans back on her stool, careful not to fall. Noticing the others talking, she casts a lazy glance their direction, not one to miss out on a little eavesdropping. Shame Jess couldn't be hear. Oh well. More gossip for me.*
[Apollo!? Some other girl too!? Did he just come in at the wrong time or something!? Weird attracts weird and all but this was a bit much. Kazuo thought that this may get ugly, but who knows.]
"...Right, forget stuff."
[He still remembered what happened to her and her goal, which he... got in the way of. Something so strong she almost killed him for it. He was still alive of course, but by pure luck. Kazuo keeps his gaze forward, staring at the bottles and decorations. He didn't even know what to say to her. He felt bad for her, not that he didn't feel for her back then.]
“That… seems like it works for some.”
"I forget stuff quite often too, but I always write down the important details. If I recall correctly, you were fighting with Kazuo over here for one reason or another while I had my duel with Elian. Eh, not that it's important."
He awkwardly chuckles, rubbing the back of his head as he goes to take a sip of his sake after pouring it into the small cup.
"So, as you know, I have a little sister which I have to care for. Trouble is, i'm not sure how to raise a girl at her age properly. She's soon to be 9."
He takes another sip, sighing.
As with Apollo's sake, it doesn't take the bartender long to get a glass of coke to pour for Aria, before sliding the dirnk over to the girl.
Kokoro lets out a sigh, muttering as she lays her head back down to gaze at her sake cup.
"Never for long enough."
Kokoro remains silent for a moment as she listens to Apollo... Right, she hates these people doesn't she? The woman's grip tightens on her cup... Before she simply lets out a sigh. Can't really afford to break the place.
"I wouldn't know the answer to that. I never got the chance."
a few tears form in the corner of her eye as Kokoro is forced to remember the very thing she'd been hoping to forget. Not that it would have mattered in the end, as reality was always bound to remind her.
*Aria takes a long sip from her drink as she listens in to the others conversaton. She mutters to herself, perhaps slightly too loudly.*
I see. So she's like an agony aunt or a psychiatrist or something. Very interesting. We need one of those.
A blonde young man who would be familiar to some would walk in. His appearance of course was obviously foreign, yet for some reason he seemed to be wearing simple clothes with black pants and a white T-shirt...yet there was a noticeable golden mark on his shirt that could be mistaken for modern art.
"Wait...a bar. Not the type of alcohol I was looking for. Should've expected that. They probably don't have rubbing alcohol here I could use to remove this stupid stain..."
Of course, he'd notice soon that this place seemed to be full of familiar faces.
"Oh, so that's why..."
He assumed this was just his luck that he saw a lot of people he knew from school. Probably fate messing with him again.
[Kazuo takes a deep breath, covering his face, baffled by what Apollo just said. Apollo was his friend, yes. But that only meant a punch to the face wouldn't face much consequence. He would do that indeed, if it wasn't for the fact Apollo was also probably willing to blow up an entire block for no reason.]
"Read the room."
[Kazuo stares at Kokoro momentarily only to look away the moment he saw the tears. By chance, he saw Gad too.]
"Reunion. Of course..."
[Kazuo would awkwardly wave at his friend and let his forehead hit the counter. He was wondering what he could do for her in this situation, if anything at all. He would not admit it but he felt a great deal of guilt. He knew he did the right thing, but still.]
"Read the... room?"
Apollo would look away from Kokoro for a moment, scratching the top of his head.
"One of my therapists said that to me once. Kazuo, what does that mean?"
He takes a few paces in confusion, taking another sip from his cup.
"Oh, hey, Gad. What are you doing here?"
*Aria cups her hands in her mouth and shouts at Apollo.*
It means determine the general mood of a place and check if it's the right time for a certain conversation or not. Sorry for interupting, but you're loud so it's pretty easy to hear you, random guy.
*Aria takes another drink from her glass.*
Kokoro simply lets out a sigh, taking another sip of her sake. At this point she's not really in the mood for talking, or at the very least wasn't likely to initiate with anyone, preferring to be lost in her own little world.
"Geeze, kind of...tense seeming in here."
Apollo was also asking him something like that...Wait, that might be his fault. He only really revealed himself to Kazuo really and even then the most he did was try to imply command. Of course, he probably only got lucky before for it to have been so effective on Apollo.
"I end up in places without meaning to all the time. Usually there's a reason for that. Uh, at least that's a gut instinct I have."
[Kazuo figures something out. He shouldn't bring up anything about the past right now, instead, he should try to focus on the present, maybe the future. He shyly looks over to Kokoro and keeps his voice down, enough so she could hear him but not enough so the rest could.]
"Do... you have a job? I don't know if you live alone or... with your parents."
[That should be as safe bet. Kazuo tries to not look too much at the older girl.]
Kokoro says with a sigh. She seems to be willing to talk about small things at least. She was on pretty good terms with her parents, so it was easy and didn't require much thinking
"I moved away from my parents in order ta get here. Ya might've noticed the accent. We're not really city folks. Still talk to them every now and then."
"N-Now that you mention it, yeah...!"
[Kazuo tries to smile, but it's still hard to do. At the very least, he was glad that worked. He need to take of what he says in the meantime.]
"...That's great, I've never really been outside of Tokyo. It must be really nice where your parents live. Do you plan on visiting them?"
"Oh, yeah. Nope, I totally can't read the room at all. Call it my achiles hill."
He then shrugs, pouring some more sake into his cup and hanging out near Gad
"So, you're like a magic Lewis and Clark? Or would that just be Lewis or Clark? Haha, the idea of that is pretty funny if you ask me. Well, since you're here, why don't you let me buy you a drink? To my knowledge, that would be considered courteous."
Apollo looks over at the bartender, his mind beginning to wander for a moment.
He'd laugh a bit akwardly in response to that suggestion. He wasn't sure quite how to respond but he knew taking his time would be suspicious.
"My tolerance is really high so that might just end up being a waste of money. Actually, does alcohol really effect you...
You're like a God or something, right?"
Apollo smiles, musing on Gad's response.
"That's true, it doesn't make me intoxicated like it would a mortal. However, sharing a drink is one way in which humans bond with each other. Can't hurt to at least try to imitate that, right?"
He appears solemn and lost in thought after saying that, beginning to nod off.
"Either way, it's not like i'm wanting financially."
The bartender lets out a sigh. He's an honest hardworking man, and its not hard to tell that Gad was borderline drinking age at best.
Barkeep: "I'll need to see a form of ID. Not to cause a hassle, but I'm not getting in trouble for this."
Kokoro thinks for a moment, before finally raising her head again. She looks a little unsteady, but is at least able to talk clearly as she meets Kazuo's eyes, her own cheeks a slight shade of red, though whether its from the drinks of the crying its hard to determine.
Kokoro: "Look, do ya actually want something from me or are you just here to annoy me? What I do's my business, none of yours."
"I'm not here for you, if that's what you think. I just happened to enter the same place as you."
[Kazuo would look away for a moment and focus for a moment on the Bartender.]
"Did you receive a package that wasn't yours recently? It's a box full of wine under the name Yuriko Takahara, my mom. Delivery boy just dropped it in the totally wrong place and I'm here to pick it up."
[He would then awkwardly look back at Kokoro.]
"...But since we're here... What's the deal with Pheles and this Purgatory? How did Sen get her powers?"
The bartender looks back up at Kazuo and, seeing where this conversation was headed, replies.
Barkeep: "We wrongfully receive packages every now and then, but its store policy to return them to the post office whenever it happens. Still, allow me to check the back."
The bartender heads through a small door to a backroom where their own extra boxes of alcohol are stored, giving the group some space to chat without overhearing them.
Kokoro leans her head on one of her arms with a sigh.
Kokoro: "Its... A lot. I'm not really in a good mood so I'll try to keep it short.
Purgatory is the realm of the dead, where souls go to be purified and reincarnated. Pheles is one of the two managers, alongside her sister Mephis. Their job is to ensure the flow of souls through purgatory is maintained."
Kokoro takes another short drink before shaking her head at nothing.
Kokoro: "Nyways. Purgatory is plagued by these soul-eating monsters called Revenants. Every now and then a Revenant gets strong enough to influence the real world, dragging living souls to Purgatory.
Anamnesis, the first creature to ruin my life, is one such Revenant.
But ya were askin' about Sen right? Rei and I found her in the third layer of Purgatory. Eventually Sen made a contract of her own and that's how we know each other."
Kokoro lets out a tired sigh as she lays her head on the counter again. After a few seconds, it starts to look like she might have fallen asleep.
Hell has managers? Well, at least their modernising.
*Aria plays with her glass. Realizing she just said that out loud, she gasps.*
Oops. Sorry. Didn't mean to interrupt.
"So… there's you, Sen and some other person named Rei."
[Kazuo sighs and tries to memorize the information for once. It wasn't like he would use it for anything, but if he kept chasing after Sen and kept running into Kokoro, then there is the chance for him encountering those other two, or even ending up at Purgatory. It would be the worst kind of outcome, all things considered.]
"...Do you know anything about Sen killing anyone that she knew back when she was with you two?"
"Ya really like stupid questions dontcha?"
Kokoro lets out a sigh, gazing at her now empty sake cup.
"If ya've met Sen before you'd know she'd never hurt anyone who hadn't done anything to deserve it. Isn't that enough for ya?"
"...Yeah, I guess you're right."
[Kazuo wanted to scream. At the very least, he wasn’t scared anymore, but that didn't mean the stress wasn't gone.]
"...After our fight, I found... myself thinking a lot about the things you said. You're scary."
[Kazuo would keep his eyes down.]
"You held on to your wish with such power, bordering madness, so much you almost killed me... and you would have hadn't my friend given me this one lucky charm and Asami hadn't healed me. It was terrifying; you are the strongest person I've ever had to face. I don't know if I could ever beat you."
[He stays silent for a moment, wondering what even came to him all of a sudden.]
"You said we wouldn't understand what it means to lose something so dear to you, but... the more I thought about it, the more my heart felt like looking into a mirror, if that makes any sense... because it doesn't make sense to me. Because of your words I feel like I'm missing something."
"No, it's more like I realized something is missing. Being so close to my death, I realized that I don't... really remember anything prior to this year. At all. But when I try to recall... it feels like..."
[He clears his throat, not completely self-aware of the situation.]
Apollo would now be right next to Kazuo, having moved and possibly gone unnoticed due to how concentrated Kazuo was on his own conversation.
"Amnesia, huh? If you'd like, I could try and peer into your subconscious mind to unlock some memories. Or would that be unconscious?"
He thinks about this for awhile before dismissing it as unimportant.
"Either way, i've got nothing better to do."
" Glad I could help ya I guess. That's just what every day is like in Purgatory. One quick, brutal fight after another just to maintain your existence."
Kokoro looks over to Kazuo with tired, almost deadened eyes. It was simply a fact of life at this point. The woman lets out a sigh before looking away.
"Lets both hope you never find out. I wouldn't wish this sort of pain on my worst enemy."
After a few seconds of thinking, Kokoro only has one thought. Its stupid, but its happened before, so it was worth asking.
"Do you think there's any chance you've been to Purgatory before?"
[Kazuo consider his idea, but at the same time, he considers Kokoro's own thought. He knew already his own memories may actually be painful but...]
"I uh... I couldn't tell you. All this talk about Purgatory and Executioners is news to me. But..."
[He crosses both arms and then turns to Apollo, and then to Kokoro before looking at his own legs.]
"Do you have to die to get there?"
[He could try to safely reach into his own memories through Apollo. He felt like... going by all of them at once may be too much for him.]
Kokoro gives Kazuo a blank stare, as if she had no idea how to react to that question in her disoriented state.
"Do I look dead to ya? 'M pretty sure I'd know if someone killed me."
Kokoro attempts to take another drink of sake, only to be reminded that she doesn't have anymore. She'd probably drank enough anyways.
"Dyin's the normal way but... yer not really you when that happens. You can also be dragged in by a Revenant."
after looking at her empty cup for a few moments, Kokoro adds
"I guess the managers could probably do it too. But I can't really imagine Mephis giving that the ok."
"W-Well, you don't... look all that alive right now, haha...~!"
[Kazuo tries to awkwardly take what she said and use it to joke around. He blushes for a moment, looking down at his own twiddling his thumbs.]
"Well... if it's possible to get inside Purgatory through death, and something happened to me... then it would be why I don't remember. I-I'm not sure though."
[He would turn towards Apollo at last.]
"If... you can somehow show me my memories, then... you should probably try just for a moment. Just a small bit of them, just to see if they exist to begin with."
"Unfortunately, I don't have an ID. Oh well, guess we can't follow those customs."
At this point Gad would overhear Kazuo's comment.
"You really want someone gazing into your memories? Wouldn't it be preferable to just remember on your own.
Even if you trust someone...well if you don't remember then no telling what you might encounter."
Kokoro blows off the concern with a sigh. Though, for the sake of argument...
"If ya died and went to Purgatory the only way back would be to attain Revival, which is the biggest favor ya could ask for. Mephis absolutely hates the idea of it, so she makes it pretty much impossible to get. I've never even heard of anyone coming close to Revival."
"What if you used Chaos Control with all seven chaos emeralds? The energy provided should be enough to breach the dimension barrier between our world and purgatory."
He says this with a completely straight face before turning to Kazuo.
"Well, I can only really look directly into your memories myself and repeat them to you as I see them, but it's a start. For now, we should start some time before the last thing you can remember. Er, the earliest chronologically. Just look into my eyes."
Apollo would lean his head on his fist, emitting a soul penetrating stare at Kazuo which would play back any memories that were still physically ingrained in the unconscious portion of Kazuo's brain.
"Not gonna stop you if you want to use that method. Not like my orders work that well on your anyway."
Gad would keep it as vague as that so only Kazuo would know what he was referring to. Of course, he wanted nothing to do with this memory gazing. His own memories were troubling enough to him.
[Kazuo would look into Apollo's eyes right before the image is played for him.]
[From his eyes, right in front of him, was the lights and massive city of Tokyo at night. From the looks of it, Kazuo was at the top of some building, looking out with frustration. To his right is a tall woman wearing formal clothes, all black, looking over the city like him, and on his left, was a man in a fancy and dark suit, messy hair and a hat covering his face, so much so not even his mouth was apparent.]
"That's suicide! I don't have anything in this world! And this thing doesn't do anything but copy others. Until I do so I'm helpless!"
[The woman with bright yellow eyes would turn to him and gently place her own hand on her chest.]
"I'll be your catalyst. By doing this, you can easily make use of that ability without ever using a single drop of your own mana. Furthermore, it is in my interests nothing bad happens to you. In extreme cases, I'll help you out."
[The man would remain static.]
"Indeed. That mana of yours is keeping you alive, and if you were to use it completely, then you would return where you belong without achieving any of our goals. This temporary limitation is necessary."
[Kazuo felt annoyed by the entire prospect, but could understand.]
"...I get that."
[The creepy man chuckles before nodding.]
"To survive in this world, you will need to borrow other people's power and use them as your own. As a piece of advice, be a courteous man. Now, about that place..."
[All color disappears and nothing remains for a while, only for the young man finding himself right in front of GYM. All said and done, Kazuo would remaining waiting for Apollo to say anything.]
"So... anything interesting?"
Apollo thinks for a moment, taking time to soak in the information.
"Supposedly, you've got some sort of mana and when it runs out you return to where you belong which... i'm guessing isn't anywhere in this reality. Lucky for you, someone else volunteered to be your 'catalyst' so you're not using your own mana when you use your powers. Maybe this process made you lose your memories? Who knows..."
He scratches the back of his head, taking a look around the bars.
"Maybe you're not even the real Kazuo to begin with, eh?"
"...That doesn't ring any bell. It doesn't make any sense."
[Kazuo remains quiet, unsure of what to say or think after being told that was a part of his memories.]
Jessica screams as she, a seemingly highschool age white, orange, and purple haired fox girl, with the same color pallet for her clothes, falls out of a big blue portal, covered with deep cuts and blood, even with a stab wound right through her heart.
"Ow, that hurt."
*Aria looks down at her phone*
I mean, if you wanted to visit the underworld as a living person, mythology always says there's a way. Usually through caves. Odysseus, Aeneas, Orpheus, that one cave that goes to the Japanese underworld. Maybe find a deep enough well?
"And...that's my signal to leave before things get too weird. Though knowing me it'll just follow me anyway. See you guys later I guess."
With that Gad would leave, seeing no reason to stick around for...whatever was going on now.
"well, that's just insulting."
[Kazuo had his forehead pressed against the counter.]
"...A-Actually, yeah. I'm coming with you Gad. Uh...!"
[Kazuo would take a random pencil and then grab on to a napkin. He would quickly write on it as he quickly prepares to leave.]
"Here, this is my number if you want to... y'know, punch me or something to let off steam instead of getting drunk. I wouldn't say no. I'm way too free after school anyways."
[He gave the thing to Kokoro; it was his phone number.]
"You can also burn it, whatever makes you feel better! I'll just go ask about the wine elsewhere. Gotta think about stuff, so see ya!"
[He quickly hurries outside in the direction of Gad, if he was even that lucky.]
"Gaaaaaaad, where are you?"
[Woops, gone. Probably going to get lost again too.]
...I feel like I'm being ignored. Well, crazy people ruin any atmosphere anyway. Later.
*Aria places some pocket change down on the counter and rushes out of the door, a strong wind blowing behind her.*
"uuuuummmm, what? Nevermind, I'm just surprised nobody noticed my wounds."
Kokoro is still a bit out of it as she accepts Kazuo's number... Before crumbling it up. As if she'd ever want to actually talk to him.. Still, this was as good an opportunity as any to leave herself. Since the barkeep wasn't back yet, Kokoro brings about the right amount of money to set on the counter near the register before stumbling back outside.
OOC: And I see an inability to read the room is infectious. Ah well, I didn't really have much planned at this point anyways.
leaves without paying lmao
"huh, that was weird, huh Logic?" she says to herself.