13. Warp and Weft

“Lys…”

Shoichi woke up reluctantly, fragments of the dream vivid in his mind for just a second before he blinked them away. There had been moonlight on a calm sea, the slightest waves making ripples in the silken silver… the air warm and still, someone’s beloved laughter and their hand in his…

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12. The Storm (Part 2)

The pieces of the world were flung together and apart like a kaleidoscope, coming back together in strange patterns. Luna felt Kestrel pulled away from him as if by a current of water. He tried to catch hold of the hand that had been on his shoulder, but Kestrel was already gone, as were Sol and Astra. For a moment he was nowhere at all, caught between light and darkness, and then he was falling to a hard floor. The smell of antiseptic and the rhythmic hum of life-support equipment crept in on his awareness.

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10: Distant Thunder

A week ago Hikari would never have imagined she’d be sneaking into someone else’s school in the middle of a day when she was supposed to be in her own classes. If she thought about it too hard it made her feel slightly lightheaded, and if she thought about what would happen if anyone found out… well, it was better not to think about that, really.

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09: Gathering Clouds

Hikari stood on the steps that led up to the shrine, one hand holding the medallion, the other gripping the strap of her bag tightly. She almost couldn’t make herself walk forward. Yesterday was one big chaotic jumble in her head, shadows and shards and a talking tree, and even though at the time she had believed it all without question, now… now she was afraid of what she would find if she went back to the clearing. What if none of it was real? What if it was just two high school students playing a prank on her for some reason? Or worse, what if she’d dreamed it or hallucinated it or…

“Hi, Hikari!”

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08: Wish Upon a Star

Even after two years without incident, gym class still made Hikari nervous. No-one had ever seemed to notice how careful she was about changing, or at least they hadn’t said anything, but she always rehearsed her responses in her head anyway. It was a relief to get into the sports hall and forget about it until the class was over.

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06: Collision Course

It started to rain on the way back to the shrine, as if the sky had decided they weren’t quite defeated enough and wanted to contribute. Neither of them had a school bag with them (it turned out those didn’t go anywhere when they transformed either, which was awkward) but Shoichi had taken the precaution of pocketing enough cash to buy, say, a meal, or a ride home, or, as it turned out, two plastic umbrellas from the nearest convenience store.

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05: Fire and Shadow

Akemi peered around the corner towards the small gym tucked in at the bottom of an office block.

“I think this is the right place.”

Shoichi was looking at the fold-out map of the city they’d been drawing tentative lines on to try and figure out where Sakaki was sending them.

“Looks like it. That or the funeral parlour…”

They exchanged a look that contained an entire popular culture’s worth of thoughts about zombies.

“Let’s try the gym first,” Akemi said hurriedly.

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04: The Rising Moon

The shadows were too dark. That was the only way Shoichi could describe it. Every day this week he’d found himself hurrying, almost running, to the station. The shadows were too dark, and they seethed with silent menace. Even in daylight he felt as though they were blacker and deeper than they should be… as if stepping into them would be like walking into a cave. He avoided the worst of them, and rushed through the others, and all the time he wondered what the hell he was doing, what kind of madness had taken hold of him.

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