Fun Times With Ruu
"It's all right," said Yuuri. "They're friends."
Kurumi looked at Miki. Miki looked at Kurumi. They both looked at Yuuri.
"See?" she continued, giving her left hand a little shake. "She's right here. She's alive, isn't she? I made it in time..."
Dumbfounded, Kurumi could only say, "Uh... yeah."
Miki managed to squeeze out a whole sentence: "We were... worried for you when you went in on your own..."
Behind them, Yuki emerged from the RV. "Welcome back, Rii-san! ...Oh? And who's that?"
"She was hiding all this time," Yuuri explained. "That place was dangerous."
Kurumi saw the same look on Yuki's face that had been on Miki's, but only for a moment. Yuki hurried over and patted the small head at Yuuri's side. "I see," she said. "It must have been hard. Don't worry, it's all right now. We're all together now."
At a loss, Kurumi changed the subject to something she understood. "We'll be leaving soon," she said. Remembering that they had been planning to search the school for more supplies,
Don't Say Stop Believin', Ch.7Chapter 7: Blame It On the AlcoholHe'd only spoken one word, but it had been enough to bring Sawako's whole world crashing down.
Her heart felt like lead in her chest. She wanted to run and hide somewhere and never come back out. She wanted to crumble away into dust. But most of all, she wanted to know why.
Tetsuo straightened his tie awkwardly. "I thought we understood each other, Sawako."
Tears burned in her eyes. "I thought we loved each other."
"See, that's what I mean about understanding." He sighed. "I do love you, Sawako. But there are different kinds of love. There's ours, and then there's the, uh..."
"The what? The romantic kind? The marriage kind? Because that's what love is, Tetsuo!"
"Let me start over. Marriage... marriage is just a ring and a piece of paper. Some people need those things to make them feel safe. But true love is strong enough on its –"
"Oh, bunk! I want that ring and piece of paper! Everyone does!"
Don't Say Stop Believin', Ch.6Chapter 6: Turning TablesYui was in tears. Her sister was struggling to find words of consolation. Tsumugi was silent, her thoughts a mystery. Jun was in a panic. Ritsu was cracking jokes to try and break the tension - and distract herself from her own dismay.
And behind Mio's unblinking eyes, a war was being waged.
Everything she knew had just dropped out from under her. Ms. Sawako had given up on the club. They wouldn't be going to Regionals anymore. After-School Tea Time, the band and the concept, were finished. Mio's every instinct said to curl up and hide - find a nice dark corner to cry in until things got better.
But she was a founding member and the lead songwriter of this band. Yui and the first-years looked up to her. Tsumugi respected her. Ritsu might be club president, but she couldn't hold things together on her own.
And above all... this wasn't some tragic accident. This was an outrage.
"We're not giving up," Mio announced.
The others turned. "Wh-what?" sa
Don't Say Stop Believin', Ch.5Chapter 5: Mash-Up
The final chord of "My Love is a Stapler" echoed through the music room, and as one, the six members of After-School Tea Time held their breath and waited for the verdict.
"That was better," said Sawako. "No push-ups this time."
The band sighed with relief, Yui in particular. Ever since Sawako had gone drill sergeant, the guitarist had been learning the hard way that a diet of 90 percent sugar wasn't ideal for staying in shape.
"This song is my favourite so far!" said Jun, who said that about all of Mio's songs. "Did you really write this all by yourself, senior?"
Mio blushed. "Yes. It's nothing special..."
"Unless you mean like Special-Olympics special," muttered Ritsu.
Neither of the bassists heard that, but Azusa did. "Whoa!" she said, aghast.
"Oh, relax. It's not offensive if I say it." Ritsu patted one of her casts.
"Yes it is!"
"No it's not." She patted the other one.
"Yes it is! It would only be okay for you to say that if you really <
The Obsidian Prince had been very patient. For three hundred years, he had awaited the next HiME Festival — his next chance to change the world. Meticulous planning and manipulation on a scale that few mortals could even comprehend, all working toward one goal: the selection of one woman of perfect power, strength, and determination, the only one worthy to usher in the new world at his side.
"Frankly," he told the red-haired delinquent that Nagi had brought to meet him, "I expected better."
Nao snorted rudely. "You and me both. What's the deal with —"
"Silence. Is this a trick? Are you here as part of some plan?"
"Yeah, your plan. What are you complaining about? Nagi laid it out for us: we kill each other's Childs, winner gets badass power. I'm the winner. Gimme."
"This is ridiculous," the Prince growled to Nagi. "Her? This low-class whelp defeated Kiyohime? Kagutsuchi? Miroku?"
Nagi shrugged. "I know, right? I had her pegged for sixth place or so. Funn
Tea For TwoWashington, D.C.
The Oval Office was even bigger than Mio had expected. She stared in amazement, trying to take it all in. This was one of the last places in the world she'd ever expected to be.
Movement drew her attention, and Mio realized a man was stepping towards her. She froze with panic. It's really him. It's the president!
Indeed it was. Mio had seen him on the news, but in person was another story. For a girl who still found bus drivers a little intimidating, being in the presence of the leader of the free world was right off the charts. He only had a few inches on her, but to Mio, he might as well have been fifty feet tall.
The president, for his part, was perfectly at ease. He smiled warmly at Mio and extended his hand. "Miss Akiyama. Thank you for coming."
Mio jumped back and bowed so low she nearly snapped in half. "I am honoured, Mr. Sir President Obama-dono! Sir!"
"It's okay," said the president, holding back a chuckle. "We're friends he
Don't Say Stop Believin', Ch.4Chapter 4: Can't Fight This Feeling
Five minutes ago, Jun had burst in and announced her intention to join the light music club. Three minutes ago, most of the club members had decided she was serious. One minute ago, she had convinced Azusa that it wasn't a prank and she really was serious, honest. Probably.
Now, Jun was hanging out by the instruments with Ui while everyone else huddled around the tea table in conference.
"I vote no," said Ritsu.
Mio glared at her. "How long have we been trying to get new members for this club? And now one comes right through our door and you object!"
"At any other time, this would be awesome. But now?" Ritsu shook her head. "This is how it goes wrong in the movies. The caper always falls apart when you take on somebody who's not in on it."
"A band is not a caper!"
"But our concert plan essentially is," said Tsumugi. "Ricchan has a point."
"Then this is one more good reason to drop the whole thing!" Mio threw up her hands.
Don't Say Stop Believin', Ch.3Chapter 3: Defying Gravity
Dawn hadn't quite broken, but Sawako was already at school — with Tsumugi, whom she'd asked to come in early for a special meeting.
"So that's my idea for your gimmick," finished Sawako. "Now be honest — would doing this upset you? If so, I'll understand."
Tsumugi was silent. Sawako could see her eyes starting to well up with tears.
Uh oh, the teacher thought. "I'm sorry! I won't make you do it. Forget I even —"
The blonde shook her head firmly. "I'm... I'm just so happy..."
"This is something I never even dreamed could happen. I've never been so touched..." She rubbed the tears from her eyes. "Of course I'll do it, Teacher! It will be an honour!"
In every life, there are key points of decision — moments when our future hinges on the choice we make. Sawako didn't realize it, but she had just hit one of those moments.
She could tell that something about Tsumugi's reaction was... off. The girl was far too
Don't Say Stop Believin', Ch.2Chapter 2: Don't Make Me Over
"The world," announced Sawako the next day, "loves an underdog."
She paused for dramatic effect. The club members waited, trying to hide their nervousness. As far as they could tell, Sawako hadn't even brought the glasses this time.
"Now, you're underdogs already because you never practice. But the audience and judges won't know that. Or at least they'd damn well better not."
All five girls shrank back from her glare. Azusa had to fight the urge to dig a hole and hide in it.
"But Regionals are only a month away, and even if you practice nonstop, you won't legitimately be the best band there. You're good, but not that good. So we need to score you some sympathy points give you a little boost."
"How do we do that?" asked Mio.
"We're going to create the impression of certain... weaknesses. The kind that aren't your own stupid fault. The kind people will sympathize with. We're going to make you a scrappy team of misfit