Magical Girl Pretty Ruri
Episode Six: The Ties that Bind, Gag and Handcuff
By Tailkinker and Kitsy
*DISCLAIMER* Warning: Java compilation error. Insufficient coffee. Due to this, none of the characters, situations and sites belong to the authors of this story. They are currently just used to explore the effects of sleep deprivation. "My mother, here in this dream world, is like no-one I've ever known. My biological mother was a completely useless creature, and the 'mother' that raised me was nothing more than a computerized shadow. Hoshino Usagi, though, really cares...about me, about my grades, about my safety, even about my cat. "I hope that Yurika has had the same luck. But considering that in the real world, her mother is dead, and her father is a pervert... Tail Kinker and Kitsy present Magical Girl Pretty Ruri Episode Six: The Ties that Bind, Gag and Handcuff Monday. "Ruri! Time to get up! Get moving, sleepyhead!" Ruri blinked. "Great. My alarm clock failed again. Story of my life." She stumbled to her feet, grabbed her clothes and staggered towards the bathroom. Omoikane stretched, yawned and padded over to the computer. "What the heck...? It's only six thirty." He pawed the keyboard and disabled the alarm. Ruri emerged from the bathroom, feeling halfway human again. She made her way downstairs, pausing to eyeball the clock. "Six thirty?" "Good morning, sleepyhead. I thought I'd wake you up earlier today. Just to make sure you got to school on time for a switch." "Um." She sat down at the table. "So I have time to waste this morning." "Not really. Eat your soup." Usagi set the bowl in front of her. "Oh, and here's what's left of your allowance. Sorry I forgot to give it to you yesterday." "That's okay. You had other things on your mind." "Got that right." Usagi chuckled. "It's not every day you meet a genuine Magical Girl. Oh, and here's your lunch money for the week." Her expression turned stern. "Remember: This is not for manga." "Hai." She finished the soup and set the bowl down in front of her. "Now then. I've got about a half hour to kill." She stood up. "I'm going to go to my room and study. I've got a Physics quiz second period." "Study?" Her mother laughed. "Who said that? Are you feeling okay, Ruri? Fever hasn't come back, has it?" * * * * * Ruri closed the door to her room and grabbed her physics text. She glanced over at the computer. "Well, the alarm hasn't gone off yet...I'll just wait until it does, and then go to school." She opened the physics text. She expected to ace the quiz - after all, she'd done well in physics at the Center - but she needed to make sure that the physics of this world were the same as in her home world. After all, so many things seemed radically different...it was just possible that the laws of reality here were different... ~That would account for so many things...Like the roof- hopping I've been doing...~ It took her very little time to read the entire textbook. She glanced at the clock; still ten minutes to kill. Her eyes roamed over to the bookshelf. The bookshelf was an eye-biting pink in colour, and held almost nothing but manga. ~Hmm...Ranma 1/2, volume three only...pity, I like that series...Magical Girl Pretty Sammy special colour edition...brrr...Magic Knight Rayearth...a Hello Kitty picture book - it'll go the way of Cheer Bear...and pretty much all of Sailor Moon...I guess 'I' really like manga.~ Idly, she took down one of the Sailor Moon manga and flipped through it. ~I've never seen the manga, just the anime...~ And so it was that, fifteen minutes later, her mother walked into Ruri's room to find her reading manga. "Ruri! You should have left five minutes ago!" "Why didn't my alarm clock...silly question." "I thought you were coming up here to study." "I *did* study!" "You were studying Sailor Moon." "That was after!" She jumped up, grabbed her bookbag and ran. Usagi shook her head. "She's obviously completely back to normal." * * * * * ~Baka.~ Ruri jogged towards the school, furious with herself. ~I had no excuse this time, and now I'm going to be late, and for once it's actually my fault...and I'm hungry, to boot. Yep, I'm definitely turning into a full-time Magical Girl...~ She ground to a halt and slapped her forehead. ~And I forgot my lunch.~ "Well, good morning!" "Huh?" She turned, to see Akito walking towards her. "Ah! Ohayo gozaimasu, Tenkawa-san." "Off to school?" "Hai. But I'm running just a little bit late..." Akito glanced at his watch. "Hm...I guess you are." "Oh, no...what time is it?" "Just after eight. You missed second bell by about two minutes." "Baka..." She sighed, disgusted with herself. "Don't worry about it too much. I've been late more than a few times myself..." Ruri couldn't think of any such; Akito was famous on board the Nadesico for arriving too early. She smiled, then looked up at him. "If you have a few minutes...would you walk with me?" "Huh? I suppose." The two of them began walking towards the school. Ruri smiled; at least she would miss anything Uribitake-sensei would have to say. "Akito...do you remember your family?" Akito looked thoughtful. "That's an odd thing to say..." "I know that your parents are dead." "Yes, they are...but how did you know?" "Ano...you told me, once long ago." "I did? Must have forgotten..." He sighed. "My parents were murdered, though most people thought it was just a lab accident..." He shook his head. "There was an explosion. The police found evidence of a large bomb, but the inspector wrote it off as dangerous lab equipment. He didn't want to do the extra legwork." "That's horrible." "Yes." He nodded. "I guess I didn't tell you that part." "I think you did." It was what had happened to the real Akito's parents; the reason he was on board the Nadesico. "I hate my memory." Akito looked very tired. "So often, I can't remember what I've said, or what I've told people, or even what I've done...And other times, I remember things that just couldn't be." Ruri glanced up at him, hoping. "Like what?" "I remember being a knight, in shining blue armour, protecting a princess..." He laughed. "Silly, isn't it?" ~Shining blue armour...like an Aestivalis. Maybe he's a very strong reflection...or maybe he's the real thing!~ She looked up and saw that they were at the gates of the school. "Tenkawa-san...could I ask a favour?" "Sure, Ruri-chan. How can I help you?" "Come to the park this afternoon. Around five o'clock. I'd like to talk with you some more." "...I guess." Akito looked puzzled. "Thank you." She turned and ran up the walkway to the school. * * * * * "Hey, Ruri! You realize that when Uribitake-sensei sees you next, you're toast!" "Good morning to you too, Megumi." Ruri dropped into her seat. "Slept in again, huh?" "Why didn't you stop by this morning?" "Duh! You know I have classroom duties Monday mornings!" ~I do now.~ "I didn't think you'd appreciate me stopping by half an hour early." "Actually, I was awake and ready to go then." "Right. So if you were awake and ready to go, why were you late?" "I lost track of time while reading manga, and then I stopped to talk to Akito..." Ruri stopped talking as she realized what she was saying. "Oh. Now it all makes sense." Megumi nodded, a look of comprehension on her face. Yurika leaned over. "You saw Akito?" "Hai." "What did he say? Did he ask about me?" "No. Actually, I'm meeting him in the park after school..." A look of total despair ran rampant across Yurika's face. She jumped up and ran from the room, bawling. "Ruri...you're mean." "Am I?" "Yes." "Really?" "Yes." "Really?" "Yes." She paused. "Am I mean?" * * * * * "Now, class, when I finish handing out the examination sheets, and not before, you will have thirty minutes to complete all portions of the examination." Her science teacher's voice was as monotonous as always. Ruri smirked. ~This guy's so dull, I bet he teaches his own kids how to file tax reports...for fun.~ "Now before we begin, if anyone has any questions, feel free to ask them, and I will ex--" The bell rang, cutting him off, and he frowned. When the bell stopped, he merely said, "Begin." Ruri whisked through the exam, completing it in ten minutes. To kill a bit of time, she checked over her answers three times. No *way* was she failing another exam. She really didn't want to disappoint her mother again. Just to make sure she didn't violate some unknown rule of the Japanese school system, she spent the rest of the hour and a half period looking busy -- re-reading her answers, doodling on a bit of scrap paper (she blushed slightly when she looked at what she had written -- Akito's name was there, more than a few times, as well as some C++ coding and some mathematical formulae...) and generally wasting an hour and a half. When the bell rang, her overly anally retentive teacher collected the papers, and dismissed the class. ~If it's personality the golems are after, I'll just feed this guy to them. Then they'll all starve to death...~ She headed down to the cafeteria, where she promply blew what remained of her allowance on a cheese-steak hoagie that looked like it predated Pearl Harbour. ~Cafeteria food sucks.~ She went out to the yard and sat down under her usual tree and dug in. Yurika stormed up to Ruri. "How could you?" "Mmf?" Ruri looked up. Her hoagie was preventing speech just at the moment. "Akito's mine! You can't have him!" "Ummm..." She swallowed the mouthful of sandwich. "I don't really want him." "Why? What's wrong with him?" "Baka. We're just going to talk. I want to see if he knows why we're here." "Of course!" Yurika's eyes widened. Probably to accomodate the stars and hearts. "Akito knows everything! He's my prince! He always helps me out! Of course he can explai--" "Yurika! Ruri!" Megumi and Yukina ran up. "What's going on?" Yurika sniffed. "You can call off the emergency. She's not dating him." "That's good. He's too old for her anyway." Megumi grinned wickedly. "He's too old for you too!" "He is not!" "Face it. He's probably not interested in a little girl like you. He wants a more mature woman." "WAAAAAHHHH!" "Megumi..." "Yeah. I know. I'm mean." * * * * * "Sneak...sneak...sneak..." "Go home, Yukina." "How did you know I was here?" "It was just a guess." Yukina popped up from behind the bushes, stuck her tongue out at Ruri, and ran down the street. Ruri almost smiled. "Some things never change..." She turned and continued walking towards the park. "Hey, Ruri! Wait up!" Yurika came running up. "I'm going with you!" "Yurika...I don't know what he knows yet." "It doesn't matter! The love I have for him will shine through and brink his memories back! It's worked that way before, remember?" "I don't want you scaring him." "Ruri! How can you say something so mean?" "Yurika, this is not some anime--" "Are you sure?" "Yes. If he's not--" "Really sure? We have the henshins and magical attacks with stupid names--" "Yurika, this is serious! If he remembers anything at all, then we can't scare him away, and you're just a little too forceful. If he remembers nothing...then you can chase him all you want." "Yippee!" Yurika jumped up in the air. "Okay, Ruri. I'll trust you. But if you try to steal him from me, I'll Flame Arrow you into next week!" She turned and ran off. "Baka." Ruri sighed and started towards the park again. * * * * * Megumi locked her bicycle up to the rack and sat down next to it. She smirked. ~I managed to beat Ruri to the park!~ From her schoolbag she pulled a 35mm camera, parabolic microphone and tape recorder. She attached the telephoto lens to the camera and loaded a 48-exposure cartridge. Six more film cartridges went into the jumper pockets. ~I'm only just barely prepared for this...wish I had the HandyCam, the remote mikes and signal boosters.~ "Hello, Megumi." "ACK!" Megumi whirled to see Ruri facing her, hands behind the back, leaning over her. "Why do you have a camera and microphone?" "Ummm...no reason." "Did Yurika put you up to this?" "No, it was a second year high school student. You see, I kinda owe her some money..." "I doubt she'd be interested in me." "You don't need to be worried. I promise, he'll never see me." "Go home, Megumi-chan." "Besides, with the luck we've had, there's probably going to be a golem attacking here or something! I could actually get a picture of it! And you'd like some pictures of Magical Girl Pretty Ruri, wouldn't you?" "Go home, Megumi-chan." Megumi drooped. "Hai." Ruri sighed. ~What did I do to deserve all this?~ * * * * * "Ruri-chan!" "Konbanwa, Tenkawa-san." She walked up to him. "Now, what did you want to talk about?" Ruri walked over to the swing set and sat down on one of the swings. Akito leaned up against the swing's support leg. "You told me you remember things that never happened. Can you tell me about these?" "So you dragged me out here just to talk about my hallucinations, eh?" He chuckled. "Well, the one I remember most was being a Knight from the planet Mars, fighting to defend a princess." "From Mars?" "Yes. Or sometimes it was called Marduk, or Nergal." Ruri twitched. "I remember fighting with a large sword while wearing a really heavy suit of armour. But even though the armour was heavy, it was very fast. Sometimes, the armour could also throw lightning bolts or fireballs. It depended on the dream." He chuckled. "Pretty silly, isn't it?" "In your dreams, were you ever a cook?" "Of course. I'm a cook when I'm awake too, you know." "That's not quite what I meant." "Actually...I'm just studying to be a cook now. But sometimes in my dreams, I was already a cook, and a cook was the best thing in the world to be." "Tenkawa-san...does the word 'Nadesico' mean anything to you?" "No. What language is it?" "How about 'Aestivalis?'" "No. That sounds almost like Italian." "Maybe." She pushed herself a little, setting the swing in motion. "'Gekiganger'...?" "That's an anime on TV Tokyo 10, right?" "Right. Sorry." ~Ruri no baka.~ "I watch it sometimes. I had a friend who really liked it. Unfortunately, he's dead now...he was shot." "I'm sorry." "It's okay." He shrugged. The two fell silent for a while, Ruri occasionally kicking with her feet. "So...you have a boyfriend?" Ruri almost fell off the swing. "Ah...no...why?" "Just curious. Trying to stir conversation back up." He shrugged. "Why don't you?" "Why don't I what?" "Have a boyfriend? After all, you're cute enough." Ruri's face felt hot. She studied her sneakers intently. Akito walked around till he was facing her, and leaned over, smiling. "And besides, a girl with a voice as nice as yours should be able to win any guy instantly--" Ruri looked up, and realized that Akito's face was mere inches in front of her own. She decided that she desperately needed to change the subject. She racked her mind for something to say. Luckily, she didn't need to. Megumi screamed. Ruri's head snapped around. Her first thought was, ~Oh, great, she's still trying to spy on me, and figures Akito's trying to molest me.~ Then she saw the golem. It was a massive crab-like thing, with huge pincers and long antenna. In one claw, it held a struggling, screaming Megumi. "Flare Arrow!" Yurika raised the bow, and pulled back the string. A flaming arrow appeared at her fingertips. She aimed at the golem, and let it fly. Ruri gasped in relief. ~At least Yurika's here. Where the heck has Akito gone?~ She ducked behind a stone partition, and pulled out the Kasei no Henshin. "Mars Guardian, Make-UP!" The light seared her eyes, all blue and gold. The air around her rippled, and she felt waves of incredible heat pounding her. Her clothes shredded and re-formed into the blue skirt, tight-fitting golden bodysuit and long blue boots and gloves. The tiara formed on her brow, and the Henshin lengthened to quarterstaff proportions. She stepped back into view, and readied her plasma pistol. She noticed that the creature had discarded Megumi - the girl lay on her side against a fence, blood clearly visible on her blouse. ~That's new...normally they don't injure people...just steal their energy.~ Yurika was jumping around like a demented grasshopper, evading claw attacks and generally keeping the golem busy. Ruri took careful aim with the plasma pistol and squeezed off a blast. And watched it ricochet off the thing's armour. "Damn, it's one of the advanced ones. Yurika, get clear!" She held the quarterstaff in front of her, eyes closed. A wind began to swirl around her, and her hair fluttered, drawn out to its full length. She opened her eyes, swept the staff around her and brought it to rest, pointing directly at the golem. "Gravity Blast!" A black field of energy formed around the tip of the staff, then flowed down to encompass Ruri completely. It swelled outward, and exploded into a cone of black energy. The cone dissipated, the dust cleared...and the beast was still there. Aside from the frost on its carapace, it was undamaged. It turned and aimed a massive claw at her, and she had to dive quickly to avoid being impaled. "Ruri! Remember, we have to hit the underside of these ones!" "I did hit the underside. It's just as well armoured there as it is topside." Ruri scowled. "Any ideas?" "I have some hot garlic butter..." "I know your cooking. Any *good* ideas?" "Maybe if we ask it really really nicely, it'll go away..." "Baka. Try a combinational attack. The Gravity Blast is very cold. Heat it up first." "Okay..." Yurika bounded towards the creature again, fist extended. "Flare Punch!" Her fist glowed a bright orange, and there was a blast of light when she hit the golem. It staggered back, seemingly dazed. "Flare Kick!" She spun on her heel, one boot glowing with thermal energy, and smashed it into the golem's carapace. Several weblike cracks formed in the shell. She jumped back several feet. "Flare Arrow!" Yurika raised the bow, and pulled back the string. A flaming arrow appeared at her fingertips. She aimed at the golem, and let it fly. The creature's shell was now glowing red-hot, and the network of cracks covered almost the whole creature. But even as she watched, the cracks were closing and healing. "Ruri, whatever you're gonna do, do it quick!" Ruri held the quarterstaff in front of her, eyes closed. A wind began to swirl around her, and her hair fluttered, drawn out to its full length. She opened her eyes, swept the staff around her and brought it to rest, pointing directly at him. "Gravity Blast!" A black field of energy formed around the tip of the staff, then flowed down to encompass Ruri completely. It swelled outward, and exploded into a cone of black energy. The cone dissipated, the dust cleared...and the beast was still there. "Masaka..." Ruri stared in disbelief. "We're done for." *CRAAAAAACK!* "Huh?" The Golem shattered explosively. Fragments of chitin rained down all over the park, dissolving into dust as they fell. Ruri sighed in relief. "It just took it a moment to realize it was freeze-dried..." * * * * * "It was really lucky you showed up that quickly. Otherwise, Megumi would have been badly injured. How did you get there so fast?" Ruri was flopped down in her beanbag chair, Omoikane in her lap. Yurika was lying on the bed, flipping through a Sailor Moon manga. "Aheh...well, I saw Megumi sneaking back to the park after you chased her off, and figured I should stop her. But I didn't get to her in time..." "How did you know I had sent her away?" "Ummm...I heard her muttering about it. Yeah, she'll believe that." Ruri looked at her. "Besides, I was worried that some monster would try to seduce my...Hey that was a cool new attack you did. Where did you learn it?" "At the supermarket." "They sell special attacks at the supermarket? I should check that out." "Baka." * * * * * Author's notes: Wow, this episode relied heavily on stock footage, at least in the battle scene. But then, isn't this how all Magical Girl Combat Scenes are handled? :) Please don't consider this advertising, but we just about died of laughter when we saw the commercial. Apparently, Bell Canada has introduced a new subsidiary company for wireless communication, called Baka Wireless. And they've stated that they're dedicated to all their Baka customers. Sounds like Ruri needs to get a pager, ne? :) Comments and Criticism can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or to email@example.com. This story tends to be archived at both www.geocities.com/groves_ca and members.home.net/kitsy. Finally, there is a mailing list associated with this story. To subscribe, send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with 'subscribe MGPR' as the subject. Until next episode, gambatte!