Koji groaned and pulled himself off the ground again, annoyed by the constant buzzing of his phone and the pain in his hand. He started by looking down, seeing as he couldn't yet make out anything further away than his hand. 2.29:31 2.29:30 2.29:29 The mission's already been applied? he thought. How long was I out for? And why am I suddenly at...
He looked around the area. Large department store, lots of people around. There's plenty of department stores, though... Then he looked further back. "Phone booth. Molco," he said, louder than he intended.
Unable to take the buzzing any more, he finally looked at his phone. Mute Udagawa, the text said. You have 150 minutes. Fail and face erasure. ~Reapers Pulling himself off the ground, he decided to start thinking about what it meant after he got there.
Mute Udagawa. You have 150 minutes. Fail and face erasure.
After instantly falling asleep, Junko found her self in front of Molco building with the mission right on the phone. "Another one already? Jez they don't even give us a breather do they? I can't even make heads or tails of this message, how do you mute a painting?" Looking around it seems Mitsuko wasn't even around and that she been talking to her self the whole time. "She's just going to make this whole ordeal harder then it already is isn't she? Oh, well I guess I can handle it, it gives me an excuse to relax. She can't leave the area without me anyway." She finds a near by bench sits down. Waiting for her partner to show.
"We're supposed to Mute Udagawa, whatever that means" Rikio informed Nagi. "But we're in Spain Hill now, so its not too far away. Hopefully we'll have enough time left over to figure out what we're supposed to do." He looked up to the sky in frustration. "I don't even know how we got to another day. The last thing I remember from yesterday is just making it to Cadoi City."
Although, Kimiko had vowed to reach Udagawa by herself, she still wasn't any closer to even figuring out where she was exactly. The people around her were only talking about where they were going, not where they were. Which made sense, but was still annoying. She was about to give up and try to find Koji, but then she heard a voice that told her exactly what she wanted. "Phone booth. Molco." It said, which was a bit odd but with no other context, she had no better leads to follow.
YES! Now I just have to figure out which way Spain Hill is and I'll be well on my way! I'll bet I can even beat Koji there and finish the mission without him. Oooh, I wish I could see the look on his face! Wait a minute... Now that she had thought about, that voice she had just heard sounded a lot like Koji's. "Is that you Koji-kun?" She called out without thinking about it. Her plan wouldn't be nearly as effective if she met up with Koji here. She quickly clapped a hand over mouth to stop herself from saying any more and hoped she was hidden in the crowd.
" Another. Day... So we lost? "
An unsettling concoction of confusion, fear and sorrow crept across the contours of the Nagi's face as his companion relayed the situation. A sudden shiver resonated all throughout Nagi entire being, His partner, Rikio, reached cautiously out with his left hand but recoiled instantly when Nagi released a loud and aggressive sigh followed with the withdrawal of himself.
Time floated aimlessly with Nagi curled into his strange ball-like position, grumbling quite audibly and angrily over the realisation that he had lost the first day. rougly a minute passed before the crimson and midnight man broke form his reclusive trance and launched himself to his feet. Nagi thrust his hand into his left pocket, retrieved his 'commandeered' phone and flicked it open in one fluid movement. The smirk resurfaced again the moment he clasped the phone in his hand and slipped the device into yet another pocket.
"We're going Noise hunting! Come on, We're not losing today." Nagi spun on the spot and began sprinting towards Tipsy Toe Hill.
Mitsuko was having the time of her life in the clothing department, already she had replaced pretty much all aspects of her outfit, much more vibrant than the neutral-colored clothes she wore before. Immediately upon offering her credit card to the clerk on duty, she headed back into the rooms to change. She transferred the pins over onto her new jacket and admired her choices in the standing mirror. Yes, this looks so much better...except for maybe my hair...it looks so bland. Nothing like Junko's...
As she headed for the door, she made a detour through the hair products aisle, looking for something that would help her hair stand out underneath the new red woollen hat she had purchased. She only had to spend a couple of second in there before she noticed a package for a pink highlight set. That would work..... She scooped it up and as she headed to the front clerk to pay for it, she saw her partner outside, on a bench. "Shit!" she cursed. She quickly slapped her merchandise on the counter. "And this please! Thank you!"
The clerk quickly rang the purchase through. "Thank you, Ms. Ono. Have a nice day."
"You too!" She half-shouted as she grabbed her belongings and ran out. Jogging over to the bench Junko was sitting on, Mitsuko immediately started apologizing.
"Junko, I'm so sorry! I just, I saw the store, and I wanted to buy stuff, and I didn't mean to make you wait out here and I'm sorry! So sorry!"
"Haha! Brainfreeze!" Suki skipped out of the store with her ice cream shake, putting some on her finger for Tuxedo to taste. The cat seemed to like it well enough, licking its lips when it was done. I want to take a small vacation in the real world sometime... maybe visit mommy and daddy~
"I love you~"
"No... this isn't real... you're not our daughter!"
"I am! I came back after you left me at the hospital! I'm all well now!"
"Leave us alone! Onryo! Ghost! We haven't done anything wrong to you, stop tormenting us! Go back to the afterlife!"
I'm sure they'll be so happy to see me again!
Lost in her thoughts, Suki didn't notice Nagi sprinting until he bowled her over. "Ah! Hey! Watch out!" She got up and dusted her black and white skirt off. The player's partner should be along shortly if he didn't want to be left alone at the mercy of the Noise. She hoped he wouldn't be in as much of a hurry.
Koji heard Kimiko calling out and replied, "Yeah, I'm here. Need something done?" Realising she'd probably been awake longer than he had, he also asked what she thought the mission meant.
"It's fine, there's no need to panic. It's not like I'm in a rush or anything. If I was I would have come looking for you. Besides, I promised to let you go shopping after all." She takes a moment to look at all the new items that she bought, bright colors and a lot more loud, seemed to fit her personality, "I like the new look by the way. Much more fun then the old outfit." Junko looks down at her palm to check the time, "Looks like we haven't lost so much time that we can't handle it. Was there anything else you wanted to do?" she asks hoping to put off this game at least a little longer.
In the middle of the Ramen Don in Dogenzaka, a small stack of bowls was quickly piling up. Next to said pile, a blonde man in black business jacket and a loose tie was slurping up the remains of yet another serving. The man behind the counter stood there watching "Think you've had enough yet? It's been 4 bowls already..."
The customer slammed another bill on the counter "I got me a huge gig coming up soon. I mean huge. This could be my big break here. So I need to make sure I'm at the top of my game here." The next bowl arrived and he started eating slowly "Plus, it's not like I got anything else to do."
He looked behind him and saw a couple other Reapers walking by. He shrugged Eh, let'm have their fun. It's my day off today. I got the big time in my sites, no need to waste energy on Amateur Hour.
It looked like Koji could see Kimiko after all. There went that plan. Or maybe not. If she had a chance to go for it later, she could still beat Koji somehow. In the end, she decided it was probably best to focus on the mission for now. "What does it mean? How should I kno- Oh..." Kimiko started an irritated reply but trailed off when she had an interesting idea about what their mission meant. "Mute... Like silence. And the things we fight are called Noise. So I guess to mute Udagawa, we just have to kill all the Noise there? It's like a play on words or something."
"Yeah, that sounds reasonable." Koji replied. "Can you get up by yourself?"
"O-of course I can!" Kimiko said, quickly getting to her feet. "I already told you, don't underestimate me just because I'm blind. I can get around just as well as you. Maybe even better." She crossed her arms and looked away from Koji even though it was pointless. She couldn't resist throwing that last jab out there.
"Yeah, right," Koji replied. "Okay, so which way is the phone booth of love from here?"
Mitsuko smiled as Junko complimented her new clothes. "Thanks, I was kinda going through quick but it all just seemed to come together!" When asked if there was anything else she wanted to do, she put her hands in her pocket, fingering the dye kit she had purchased inside. I could...nah, I've already taken up enough of Junko's time. It can wait.
"Not unless there was anything you wanted to do Junko! I'm good for whatever now!" she told her partner. "So yeah, I'm following you!"
Kimiko froze momentarily and blinked upon hearing Koji's challenge. Th-that little! He's got a lot of nerve, that's for sure. She thought, but all that came out of her mouth was. "Um... Um...." She had to think of something or this situation would get even more embarrassing. But how could she find something she couldn't see?
The world is more than just what you can see.
A memory of their previous mission flashed into Kimiko's mind. That was it! The pin she used to find the Noise did more than that. It let her hear things she normally couldn't hear, and they sounded like people's thoughts rather than their voices. Kimiko casually brushed the pin on her sleeve to activate it and listened to the change in the world around her. Sure enough, the sounds of the Noise and the people's thoughts could be heard again. Now to hope someone was headed for the phone booth. But it was Molco after all, somebody had to be thinking about heading to that booth.
Oh, that's the famous phone booth of love. I wonder if it really works? Maybe I should give Ryoji-sempai a call and- No! That's so embarrassing! But... I really want to know now.
At last, Kimiko heard just what she was hoping to. The thoughts of a lovestruck young girl, heading towards the phone booth. "It's that way!" Kimiko said triumphantly, pointing in the direction it sounded like the thought was headed.
Koji had seen how Kimiko had used the pin, and merely replied, "So you are learning to deal with your lack of sight." He looked up towards the store, seeing the two girls from the day before. "Haven't I seen those two...?" he asked nobody in particular. Then he called out, "Hey, you two up there! Are you in this game too?"
"Wait up Nagi!" Dammit, I can't run! He carefully jogged after his partner, when he noticed Nagi had knocked over a young looking girl. Since normal people couldn't acknowledge them, that must mean this girl was a Player, too. "Hey, there's another Player here!" he turned to face her. "I'm Rikio. You ARE a Player, right?"
"Of course. What else would I be?" She took out a player pin and flipped it up in the air, catching it as it came back down. "You're a player too right? Are you going to Udagawa too?" Tuxedo came around, licking the spilled shake. "This is my partner, Tuxedo. Was that your partner? Ah, where are my manners... I'm Suki Yaninata~" she smiled, offering her hand.
Kimiko had been hoping for more of an impressed reaction and maybe some begging her forgiveness for doubting her. So she was fairly disappointed at the dull reaction but before she could say anything, Koji had already turned his attention towards some other people. "Hm? Are they the two who fought the other Noise yesterday?" She asked, even though they pretty much had to be. After all, they hadn't run into any other players besides Suki and Tuxedo.
Great, looks like I've had a leadership position trust upon me. I guess it is to be expected, she really doesn't know her way around Shibuya. Thats just makes this whole ordeal that much harder. Knowing how things are going I'll expend all this effort and fail anyway. Gah, I just don't want to be fighting more of those monsters right now. Junko starts to look stressed out, running her head throw her hair and closing her eyes tight.
Just then the boy from before interrupts her thinking. Hey, you two up there! Are you in this game too?
Oh good, someone to buy time with "Hey, honestly I didn't expect to see you again. You sort of just ran off with out warning last time, right after answering my question."
"You just sort of ran off without warning last time," the girl told Koji, "right after answering my question." He cocked his head sideways, not really remembering.
"I thought you were the ones who ran off towards Towa Records?" he asked. "Well, doesn't matter. Somehow, you finishing that mission removed our timers..."
The small stores and apartments adjacent to Spain hill flew past Nagi like a blur as he ran full pelt through the crowd of Realground ghosts. Much like in the crossing, the people seemed to part as Nagi sprinted through the narrow pathway leaving his movement undeterred, well, except for one; a small girl, dressed in some frilly and expensive looking black and white garment.
Why isn't she-
Nagi's train of thought came crashing in an instant as he collided with the small framed figure. His body flailed and contorted uncomfortably upon impact as he tried his best to remain on his own two feet, unfortunately; the same could not be said for the poor girl he had ran into. the force of Nagi's tackle hurled her onto the pavement, the spilling of her beverage hardly making the endeavour any more enjoyable.
With the quick flourish and a dab of luck, Nagi slicked along the spilt milkshake and continued moving forward, his speed relatively undeterred. Minutes passed and so to did the flocks of people, before Nagi reached the edge of Spain Hill. Rising high above the now murky waters of his mind sprung one daunting question...
Who was she?...
With his curiosity yet to be satisfied Nagi opted to return to the scene of the crime and confront the intriguing woman who, in his haste, he had unintentionally assaulted.
"Well, normally before someone walks off they tell someone they'll be right back, but I suppose you were just getting your partner there. In any case, does that mean you never got to the end of the mission? You just moved on regardless?" Looking away to the side, slightly embarrassed "I can't exactly say I know what happened after, I sorta blacked out."
Mitsuko watched two other people approach, they turned out to be the same people who called for them yesterday before whatever happened that put her to sleep, and from Junko's testimony, she wasn't the only one knocked out. But there was something else...
"Wait a minute," she interjected. "Yesterday, wasn't there another person with you two? A little girl? What happened to her? I hope she's not lost or anything..."
Koji thought about what Mitsuko had said. "That does seem weird...Still, I don't think it'd be that easy for her to get lost in this backwards Shibuya." He suddenly started upright, remembering something. "We haven't been introduced yet, have we?"
It's a bit weird that they'd just let her go like that. She looked like she was only 11 or so.
Mitusko was broken out of her thought process by the question posed by the boy in front of her. "No, I guess we haven't," she confirmed. "We can fix that now though! My name is Ono Mitsuko."
Kimiko followed after Koji to talk to the other two players. Since she had to move much more carefully now, she only caught up to them mid-conversation and they seemed to be talking about Suki. Kimiko had noticed right away that Suki was gone when they woke up, but didn't have the means to look for her. Koji simply didn't care though it seemed. As much as that bothered her, arguing with Koji never seemed to get her anywhere. Instead, she turned her attention to the girls in front of her. They sounded like they were about her age, but she couldn't really tell for sure. "I'd love to find Suki if I could. She must be so scared on her own... But I'm... Not really able to look for her.. And he doesn't seem to care." Kimiko answered Mitsuko's earlier question, her tone turning somewhat cold as she mentioned Koji and pointed in his general direction. No use in having them think both her and Koji were heartlessly abandoning a helpless young girl after all.
"I guess she should be fine as long as Tuxedo is with her though. The Noise won't be able to attack her at least." She continued before realizing that she should probably introduce herself as well. "Oh, I'm Kimiko Nakano."
"But she's really stuck-up," Koji threw in. "She won't do anything unless you call her 'Ms. Nakano'. Oh, Koji Naname. And," he said directly to Kimiko, "she didn't seem that scared by anything while we were together."
Surprised by Koji's mean spirited comment, seems they haven't been getting along. Still she decided it would be best not to get involved. She didn't even remember the other girl they are talking about. "Right, I'm Junko Takeda"
Me? S-stuck up?! Oooh... It's on now. Kimiko could feel her eye twitching as Junko introduced herself. She was fuming and didn't really care about arguing in front of Junko and Mitsuko any more. "I already told you, I'm a lady and should be addressed properly. I'd rather be considered stuck up than rude and heartless." Kimiko spat venomously. "At least Suki knew how to show respect. Oh, and she probably didn't seem scared BECAUSE she was with us, idiot. Out there by herself... Well, she's too young to be playing this game. She shouldn't be here. None of us should..." She finished quietly, her worry for Suki overshadowing her anger with Koji slightly.
"Remember when she walked up to us?" Koji asked. "All bright and bubbly. If she was scared at all, she'd be cowering, asking only just loud enough to hear if she could tag along."
"Well... She was probably like that because she had finally found someone who could see her and talk to her." Kimiko shot back. "Look, whether or not she's scared isn't even important right now. We just have to find her and get to Udagawa and finish the stupid mission, alright?"
"Judging by how much she contributed to clearing that wall at Cadoi," Koji replied, "I think the mission - y'know, the important part? - would probably actually go faster without her." Noticing the hypocrisy, he added, "Same reason I wanted to team up with these two."
Mitsuko was a bit perked up by what Koji said. Wow. He actually WANTS to team up with us? No one has ever wanted to team up with me on anything. Well not before Junko. Two days and I have two people teaming up! This is so cool!
"You want to team up with us?" she asked him, almost in disbelief. "Yeah, totally, we can do that for sure!" She looked over at her teammate. "If that's OK with you Junko!" Probably should have asked first. Mom and Dad said always let the boss be in control. Don't step on their toes. I should try to remember that.....should I?