Sister Princess Saturday Report! No. 25 – The Middle

When we last left off in our dire tale, Akio had turned the tables on the Sisters by talking Wataru into leaving Promised Island, and thus turning his back on his beloved Sisters. I suppose that’s within the margin of error of whatever monstrous ritual Akio is performing. The Sisters also had another shock to the system when Akio revealed he had resurrected Kaho — that most detestable of the Sisters — and turned her against the brood. How Akio developed these nefarious powers is beyond me, but he had them and used them.

“Kaho, you’re back!” Hinako said. “Help us get Bro Bro back!”

“I am not the Kaho you once knew,” Kaho said. Her voice sounded faintly metallic; her eyes were tinged with emptiness.

“That’s not true!” Hinako said, running toward Kaho. “You’re still my sister!”

“Eliminate her,” Akio said.

“Yes, Master,” Kaho replied.

Kaho flicked a knife from her sleeve and sprinted toward Hinako. She seemed to disappear for a moment and then reappeared behind Hinako. The knife was pressed tightly against Hinako’s neck.

“But, Kah–” Hinako started to say, but Kaho did not let her finish. She slashed the knife across Hinako’s neck without a hint of hesitation. Blood poured out from the open wound as Hinako choked and collapsed. The Sisters stared in horror as blood pooled around Hinako’s body. Kaho flicked droplets of blood from her knife and held it at the ready, challenging any of the other Sisters to come after her.

“What’s going on?!” Wataru shouted. “I can’t see anything except the sun, and looking at it hurts my eyes, so I am keeping my eyes closed!”

“This isn’t the time, Dear Brother!” Sakuya shouted back. “We’re in the middle of something right now! I promise we’ll get you out of this!”

“You shouldn’t make promises you cannot keep, Dear Sakuya,” Akio said. He snapped his fingers and floated slowly into the air; he hovered gently next to Wataru and ran his hand over Wataru’s face. “You’re going to make me a very powerful man, Wataru. You should be pleased to contribute to greatness.” Akio raised his right arm skyward. His hand glowed a deep, dark red; a beam of light shot from it into the sky, and suddenly everything was crimson. Dark clouds rolled in and flashed lightning and growled thunder.

“Keep them busy while I prepare the ritual!” Akio said, staring deeeply into Wataru’s frightened eyes. “Our sacrificial lamb needs some time to marinate!”

“Yes, Master,” Kaho said, standing at the ready.

“What should we do?” Mamoru asked. “We can’t fight Kaho, can we? She’s one of us!”

“We don’t have a choice,” Karen said. “We can’t let Akio take the power of the Sister Princess for himself. It’s obvious this person is not our Kaho, if she ever was. Don’t let your emotions cloud your judgment. Akio is using our sentiments against us. We just have to focus on our goal; that is our reason for existence.”

“You’re right,” Haruka said, pulling a spear out from her kimono. “It might be painful, but we have to do this. We are nothing without the Sister Princess!”

Haruka charged forward, spear at the fore. At the very last second she jabbed at Kaho, but Kaho caught onto Haruka’s rhythm and deflected the spear jab with her knife. Haruka attempted to jam Kaho’s skull with the thick wooden core of her spear; however, Kaho ducked expertly, regained her balance and then sprang up to knee Haruka in the ribs. The blow hit hard enough to stun Haruka. She dropped to her knees to catch her breath. This was all the opportunity Kaho needed. She raised her knife skyward and plunged it through the base of Haruka’s skull. Haruka’s eyes bulged and she twitched madly for a second before suddenly becoming still and dropping to the ground. Kaho gracefully removed the knife from Haruka’s body and turned back toward the Sisters.

“That didn’t work so well,” Sakuya said. “We’ve underestimated Kaho.”

“We’re on guard now,” Marie said. “She might be different, but at heart, she’s still the same Kaho. She can be exploited.”

Marie leaped atop her massive dog, which sprinted toward Kaho. Rage burned in Marie’s eyes — they were so red that they seemed to glow in the light of the red sky. Halfway there she leaped off her dog and ran to one side of Kaho, while the dog ran to the other side. They both converged and jumped at Kaho, their teeth bared in anticipation of ripping into Kaho’s flesh. Kaho anticipated their easily predictable action, however. She ducked low and dodged under the leaping dog, ripping her knife through its soft belly as it flew overhead.

“No, Michael!” Marie said, running over to her dog and hugging it. Red rage burned through her once more, but before she could assault Kaho, she felt Kaho’s knife plunge into her back multiple times. Kaho didn’t stop until Marie rolled over, unable to move, the life slowly draining from her eyes.

“Seriously, this is not working,” Sakuya said. “We need to try a new strategy.”

“It’s not working because our fighters aren’t dynamic enough,” Mamoru said. “There’s not enough movement! We’re so predictable! We need to keep moving until we get just the right opening! Like this!”

“No, don’t!” Karen said, but it was too late. Mamoru sprang forward and met Kaho in combat. In the beginning, she did fine. Kaho slashed and stabbed at Mamoru, but Mamoru evaded these attacks with athletic movements. However, Kaho did not give Mamoru any openings for attack. Even as she aggressively stabbed at Mamoru, she moved her body in such a way that she was easily able to retreat if Mamoru betrayed even a hint of striking out at Kaho. They kept at this for minutes on end, a whirlwind of movement that seemed almost choreographed as each warrior improvised movements, chipping away at the others’ defenses, all in the hopes of scoring that one hit that would ensure victory.

Eventually, Mamoru saw her open. Kaho swiped at Mamoru’s neck with almost impossible speed, but somehow Mamoru was able to sense the direction of Kaho’s attack and ducked under it. For a split second, Kaho left her ribs unprotected. That split second was all Mamoru needed. She launched her knee as forcefully as she could into Kaho’s ribs, confident that the impact would be enough to stun Kaho, leaving her wide open for murder. Unfortunately for Mamoru, this is not what happened. When her knee impacted Kaho’s ribs, it struck against a hard surface. The force shattered Mamoru’s kneecap. Her leg exploded in pain, and she fell to the ground, clutching at her injured knee. Kaho glanced down at Mamoru coldly, reared back and sliced through Mamoru’s neck with such force that her head was decapitated. The loosened head flew through the air and plopped into the water with a light splash.

“Damn it!” Karen said, clenching her fists. “We need to stop attacking her one-by-one and work as a team! This is getting us nowhere!”

“I hate to say it, but you’re right,” Sakuya said. “She’s too strong for us to defeat on our own.”

Chikage nodded in solidarity. Shirayuki’s mind, however, was on something else. She was frightened. Of the Sisters, she was by far the least capable in direct combat. She was more the sneaking type, prone to poisoning her enemies. More than fear, though, Shirayuki felt anger. She knew the Kaho that stood before them was not the Kaho who was once their Sister. Akio had taken Kaho and defiled her, warped her into something that was unrecognizable. Shirayuki knew there was no way for her to help but one.

“I’m sorry, everyone,” Shirayuki said.

“. . . Sorry for what?” Karen asked. Shirayuki did not answer; instead, she took a cake out from a coat pocket and lit the candle that sat on top. She rushed toward Kaho, screaming all the while.

“No, don’t!” Sakuya said. Her words did not reach Shirayuki; she was determined to see her destiny through. When she got close to Kaho, Kaho reared back and plunged her knife into Shirayuki’s stomach. Blood poured from Shirayuki’s mouth as she leaned against Kaho for support. With what little strength remained in her body, Shirayuki wrapped her arms around Kaho, pressing the cake against Kaho’s back. The candle burned away bit by bit. It was then that Kaho realized Shirayuki’s plan. By that time, though, it was too late.

“Good bye, everyone,” Shirayuki said, just before the cake exploded. The Sisters flew backward from the force, and even Akio was shaken out of his routine for a brief moment as he struggled to keep Wataru still on the crucifix.

“No, Shirayuki, why?!” Karen said. “We could have beat her! You didn’t have to sacrifice yourself!” Shirayuki, of course, did not answer, being dead at that moment. The smoke slowly cleared away around the dock. Akio and Wataru were on their own chunk of dock that had miraculously survived the blast. Most of the rest of the dock was destroyed. The Sisters breathed a sigh of relief when they saw no sign of Kaho, but they should have known that such an action was a guarantee that Kaho would be returning soon. In fact, she will return in the next sentence.

Yes, just as predicted, Kaho leaped out of the water and pulled herself onto what little bits of the dock remained connected to the shore. There was something different about Kaho now, however. What is it? Oh yes: Her skin had melted off, leaving naught but the skeleton of a machine with half of Kaho’s face still grafted to its skull.

“You turned our sister into a machine?!” Sakuya shouted.

“Indeed I did!” Akio answered. “How do you like her? It took quite a bit of money to piece her back into a form that would serve me well, but I think the expense was worth it, don’t you?”

The Sisters tried to get up, but they found that they could not move. The latest inane plot twist had sapped them of their energy; their legs were weak and would not obey commands. Robo-Kaho lurched forward slowly, limping noticeably and sparking here and there, but still very dangerous.

“Will this be the end for us?” Chikage asked, knowing full well that making such an utterance would guarantee good things in the near future. Indeed, a shot rang out from nowhere — or, more specifically, from the rooftop of a building southwest of the beach on which the Sisters found themselves — and crashed dramatically into Robo-Kaho’s head, tearing through the circuits in her robot mind. She jerked forward a few more steps, swayed, and then crashed into the ocean.

“Take that, Boss,” Mami said, still surveying the docks through the scope of her sniper rifle. She looked at Akio and recoiled for a moment when she saw him displaying an evil smirk.

“Very cute,” Akio said. “It’s a shame that my investment has been destroyed, but it paid off in the end. While you girls were having fun dying, I completed the ritual. As soon as I get some lightning, this show is ready to take off.”

The sky obliged and flashed lightning.

“Most excellent,” Akio said. He raised his arm into the air and plunged it into Wataru’s chest. Akio rummaged around for a few moments and then pulled out Wataru’s heart. He cackled evilly for a moment and then shoved the heart into his mouth, chewing loudly and with his mouth wide open like a rude whelp. When the heart was ground into a pulp, Akio swallowed it, and it plunged into his stomach, emitting a dull red glow.

“I am your god now,” Akio said. More lightning flashed behind him, as if the sky agreed with this statement. The sky is a very prickly being.

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