Trauma Button A Paradox Live Fansite
Stage Battle "FATE" - Part 4
Yohei: Putting an end to...? You...
Kei: The person who wins takes control of CLUB Paradox, both nominally and in practice taking control of the whole of the phantom live scene. Once I take that title, I intend to appeal for phantometal use to be abolished.
Saimon and Yohei: ...
Itsuki: Kei believes that reaching the top is necessary for what we intend to do. That level of appeal... or rather, that level of enchantment is necessary to affect any kind of change or persuade people.
Kei: Your precious comrade, Natsume Ryu, was victim of phantometal experiments. His soul[1] was destroyed. Do you not agree that he is abnormal?
Yohei: Yeah, but what about it?
Kei: He is, and even setting him aside all of you are, victims of phantometal. You are the same as us.
Itsuki: As long as the Paradox Live persists in existing, we will not be able to abolish phantom lives from the world. Those people who are tempted by it will eventually be destroyed by it.
Kei: And that's why we would like you to cooperate with us.
Yohei: Hah? Don't tell me you showed up here to try an' tell us to throw the next battle on purpose?
Kei: By no means. Matches that are not done fair and square are meaningless; I believe I have already told you that we have no intention of losing.
Yohei: ... tch.
Kei: But we have a request on top of that. In the event that 1Nm8 are the victors, we would like you to forfeit your phantometals and to resign from phantom lives.
Saimon: We decline.
Kei: ...!
Saimon: It's not that I have not considered the danger inherent to phantometal use. And it's not simply Ryu. What the metal has given us, and what it has taken away from us... are both far greater than you can imagine. We know well the toll it takes.
Yohei: Saimon...
Saimon: However, we chose this path knowing that. Connecting people to one another with music... that was a dream that was entrusted to us. That's the reason I continue to live. That's the reason we exist.
Kei: ...
Yohei: Heh. Well, there's your answer. Saimon and I aren't lettin' go of our metals, and no matter what happens, we sure ain't quittin' phantom lives either. Give it up, kid.
Saimon: And so, we reject your proposal. [laughs] And we have no intention of losing, either.
[sfx: Kei standing up]
Kei: ... what a pity. I thought that you would be sympathetic to our beliefs.
Itsuki: It seems that this negotiation has ended in failure.
Yohei: Sure fuckin' has! So hurry up and git before I start throwin' salt[2].
[sfx: door opening, bell ringing]
Ryu: TADAAA~! It's Ryu-kun~!! Hey, Master~!!! Where do we keep the frying pans~?
Rokuta: Hi, sorry for intruding~!
Yohei: Hah? The fuck you come from all of a sudden? And who's this guy?!
Rokuta: Huh? Kei-chan! Itsuki-nii! Why're you guys here?
Itsuki: I could ask the same of you, Rokuta. Why are you here? Didn't we tell you to wait at the park?
Rokuta: I got hungry and passed out and these guys helped me! I wanted to show them how I can crumple up frying pans, but... ... eh? What's with the chilly atmosphere?
Kei: Rokuta, let's go home.
Rokuta: Huh?
Kei: We're done having our important conversation.
Rokuta: Ah... but, frying pans... and, they promised I could see the kitty...
Itsuki: Rokuta.
Rokuta: ...
Ryu: Don't bully Rokuta, meaniehead glasses robot!
Itsuki: Zero?
Ryu: Stop calling Ryu-kun "Zero"! He's Ryu-kun!
Itsuki: ...! You don't... remember me...?
Ryu: What's to remember? Ryu-kun doesn't know anything about glasses robots!
Itsuki: But the other day, we... ... [sigh] No. But I suppose it's possible that the enormity of the metal experimentation buried Zero's memories...
[sfx: Kei approaching Ryu]
Kei: You're Zero-- Natsume Ryu-kun, yes?
Ryu: Hah?! A new enemy has appeared!?
Kei: I see... you're...
[sfx: Kei embracing Ryu]
Ryu: Hey! Don't hug Ryu-kun without warning!! Are you trying to capture him!? You must be the Emperor of the Dark Space forces!?
Kei: You poor, pitiful thing...
Ryu: Eh?
Kei: How pitiful... you're not even aware that you're a victim in all of this, are you?
Ryu: What are... you talking... about...?
[sfx: footsteps approaching]
Kei: You are--
Yohei: OI! HANDS! OFF! RYU! The FUCK kinda bullshit you tryin' to put in his head!?
Kei: The truth. There's no other way to save him. He doesn't even know to ask for salvation-- can you really live with that? Don't you pity him!?
Ryu: Hm? Hey, Boss... is Ryu-kun pitiful?
Yohei: ...
Saimon: Ryu...
Shiki: R-Ryu-kun isn't pitiful at all!! Ryu-kun is Ryu-kun! ... there's a lot that's weird about him, but... he's not pitiful!!
Kei: ...
Saimon: Shiki...
Shiki: I... I'm sorry! I... spoke out... of line...
Yohei: Not at all! Well put!!
Shiki: --!
Yohei: Real manly of you, wasn't it, Shiki!
Shiki: I... I guess...
Saimon: Miyama-kun. We accept Ryu-kun as he is now.
Yohei: What's this shit about "salvation"? You can crow all you want in the tournament, but hurry up and get the fuck out 'fore I really start throwin' salt.
Shiki: I'm sorry, Rokuta-kun... today is maybe not...
Rokuta: Nah, we can crumple frying pans next time. Um, can I come hang out again sometime?
Shiki: Yeah. We'll be waiting.
Rokuta: Yay!
Kei: As I feared, it seems we do not see eye to eye. Well, then. The next we see of you will be on stage.
Saimon: Indeed. We've chosen our paths and how we choose to live; we can let our music speak for us.
Kei: But it is us that will be the victors. 1Nm8 will abolish the Paradox Live.
[sfx: footsteps, door opening and closing]
[sfx: meow]

Ryu: Ah! Black-Spotted Demon King DX!!
[sfx: Ryu running]
Ryu: I'm back! Have you been a good kitty?
[sfx: meow]
Ryu: [laugh] And Ryu-kun snuck you back some snacks! Your favorite chewies~
[sfx: meow]
Shiki: [sigh] Owner...
Saimon: Rokuta-kun told you about Ryu as well, I assume.
Shiki: Yes... about him being from the Alter Trigger facility, but it seems like Ryu-kun himself doesn't remember anything about it...
Yohei: We just heard about it, too. Ryu got experimented on with phantometal while he was there.
Ryu: [vocalizing] A kitty-cat's favorite snacks~! Fishy-flavor and meat-flavor too! Kitty-kitty-chan, which one do you want? [laughs] Today: special edition tuna flavor!
Shiki: ... Ryu-kun...


[sfx: crickets]

Ryu: [groaning, shifting around]
Shiki: ... Ryu-kun... Ryu-kun!?
Ryu: [screams, panting]
Shiki: Are you okay, Ryu-kun? Did you have a nightmare?
Ryu: Ah... uh... dream...?
Shiki: You were tossing and turning really badly... this has never happened before, has it...?
Ryu: A dream... ... I see... That was just... a dream...
Shiki: ...! Ryu-kun...
Ryu: Huh...?
Shiki: Why... are you crying...?
Ryu: Huh? ... oh... I am... my cheeks are wet...
Shiki: Was it a really scary dream?
Ryu: Hmm... ... dunno exactly... but it felt like Ryu-kun was in... a big, white house.
Shiki: ...! That's...!
Ryu: There were lots of other kids, but Ryu-kun couldn't play with them much, 'cause he had important things to do. Every single day, Ryu-kun had to do lots of things with the adults dressed in white... 'cause Ryu-kun was special.
Shiki: What... kinds of things?
Ryu: Dunno... but if Ryu-kun did his best, they'd praise him. They'd tell Ryu-kun he was special, and a really good boy. So Ryu-kun did his very best all the time.
Shiki: ...
Ryu: ... it made me happy, so I did my best... but if Ryu-kun did his best, and was special... it doesn't make me happy anymore...
[sfx: meow]
Ryu: Black-Spot!
[sfx: meow, mewling]
Ryu: Hehe, Black-Spot is so fluffy and warm~. ... huh? Shikki?
Shiki: Huh?
Ryu: Why is Shikki crying?
Shiki: Ah... [sniffle] No, it's nothing... just... had something in my eye.
Ryu: Ah... Shikki...?
[sfx: meow]
Shiki: No, it's fine, I've got it out now.
Ryu: Mm...
Shiki: ... Ryu-kun...
Ryu: Huh?
Shiki: No matter what anyone says... Ryu-kun is Ryu-kun.
Ryu: Mm.
Shiki: We're connected with our music, by the Paradox Live.
Ryu: Yeah.
Shiki: And so... you're not alone, Ryu-kun.
Ryu: Yeah. Ryu-kun is with everyone.
Shiki: Right...? We're all just stray cats, but we're together.
[sfx: meow]


[sfx: door closing]
Kei: [sigh]
Itsuki: Is Rokuta asleep?
Kei: Yeah. I wonder whether meeting Zero got him worked up... it was really hard putting him to sleep, it was troubling.
Itsuki: You dote on Rokuta too much, Kei.
Kei: ... [sigh] Sorry. Because of all the experimentation, Rokuta has no memory of anything from before he went to the Alter Trigger facility. He has no memory of me being his big brother, or even that his real name is Minori... he's forgotten all of it.
Itsuki: In order to protect themselves from the trauma of the experiments, many of the children had different reactions. Rokuta forgot his happy memories, and I lost my ability to feel emotion like a regular human being.
Kei: We're orphans, after all. Perhaps it's hard to say that forgetting the suffering we went through back then is forgetting happiness. But... [sigh] For right now... whatever I can do as his big brother, I want to do that for him. Even if I can't recapture the childhood we used to have.
Itsuki: ... [sigh] I'm sorry. I spoke out of line.
Kei: It's alright, Itsuki. I owe you a lot. If not for you acting as his older brother and protecting him in my stead, it could have been much worse.
Itsuki: Kei...
Kei: And you've saved me many times, as well. If you hadn't been beside me today... I might have lost my composure.
Itsuki: ... and what of them? What do you think of The Cat's Whiskers? I can't understand their arguments. They're completely illogical.
Kei: I agree. I couldn't understand them either. But that may be what's so insidious about phantometal.
Itsuki: What do you mean?
Kei: Even after being told that phantometal experiments destroyed their comrade's soul, they weren't even surprised. They accepted the current Natsume Ryu out of hand, without a second thought.
Itsuki: And they refused to surrender their phantometals.
Kei: They're drunk on the luxury of the metals. They have no compunctions about offering their very body and souls up to the devil. I find that upsetting. But I... I've always been able to parse a special feeling from sound. I had always thought that my misophonia was a curse. Music has always been a double-edged sword; while it's a tool I can use to express myself, there are times it hurts me as well. But today, I realized... it was a gift given to me by God. To purify the world tainted by the metal, the power of salvation, to triumph in the Paradox Live, to abolish the phantometal from the world... this is a mission that was bestowed upon me.
Itsuki: Kei...
Kei: Will you join me?
Itsuki: Yes. I will go anywhere, as long as that is what you wish, Kei.
Kei: Thank you, Itsuki.
Itsuki: You do not have to thank me. I am simply as a storage device bestowed upon you and Rokuta. My decisions are rational and decided by logic.
Kei: [laughs]
Itsuki: Hm? Have I said something humorous?
Kei: No. Not at all. It's simply that I'm very happy. The beginning of the end of the Paradox Live has begun. We will purify this world through music.

[1] His actual verbiage in this and other cases is "true personality", but I'm parsing it as 'soul' to kind of convey some of Kei's... like... that-ness.
[2] As in to drive out evil spirits, lol.

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