I almost forgot I meant to start this today! But it's still today for me so it's okay. plsThis thread is a continuation of chapter four, but as there are only a few updates remaining in it I didn't want to qualify it as its own part. Instead, I will finish chapter four and afterward post the interlude chapter (which hopefully won't be too ridiculous a length, but which I think is better served here, despite being a more traditional story [no player input] for archive and consolidation purposes, than a nameless pastebin) to end the thread. Chapter five will begin according to the normal schedule, in line with the monthly manga release. Thanks for your patience this past week.Previous threads: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=houseki
While you contemplate running off to Jet's aid, Cuprite gets close to the violent appendage, eyeing the yellow-orange fragments embedded in it."Wait, Cuprite let me help."You wait for it to stop thrashing. Cuprite, much harder than yourself, keeps ready to try and stop it clamping down, and you reach in to grab a piece, all at once tugging it away. It sways in tantrum, almost catching you in its aimless fit, but it calms down after a moment. Those fits last shorter each time, trading between snatching out the pieces. Eventually a reactive flinch is all that's left, and you safely pull around the skin in search of stone splinters.Soon there are none left to be found, and the creature's manner is calmed, until another roar sparks its action. From just outside the school, the second creature's trumpet ignites the first again, and free of the shards sunk into its skin, it pulls harder to remove it from the wooden cuff. The beams bend inward and break open, letting it free. Kyanite dives out of the way when he realizes that it's turning around. It runs toward the front, hardly taking the time to feel past obstacles, and hitting many."No, w-wait come back, I wasn't done looking!"Despite running ahead, the beast isn't making so much headway that it's impossible to keep up, and you're quickly close behind it just as it bursts from the front and falls into the pool, splashing water onto everyone gathered around. It clambers, clinging to the side and kicking its round legs underwater.Uvarovite waves from atop the other creature, not charging nor stepping on any otherwise occupied brainiacs. Kongo and Malaya stand either side of it. This one, although in physicality it seems more or less same as the other, if not a bit smaller, has more frivolous decorations. A sheet made from loops of sparkling cut stones of every color hangs from its tusks, and over its back a similar coat of pearls and intricate weaving.Kyanite comes stomping from the foyer and points to the half submerged one. "Get that out of there, that fabric is getting water damaged!""Kyanite is right, that we should free him. I will do so." Kongo walks to the edge of the pool. "It is best to stand some distance away." He pulls the gloves from his hands, and everyone scatters. He kneels and places his hands just above the surface, and all at once plunges them in with such force that the whole of the opposite side crashes up and floods over, carrying the heavy animal with it, and a microburst downpour follows, drenching everything nearby. When all is said and done, the pool is half drained, and the second beast is running to the first. The second's eyes are not scarred like its companion, but its ears are torn many a place over.Having been doused, the area is left with a shining wet surface, bathed in the pleasant sunlight. The blind creature slowly pushes its way back to its feet as the deaf one touches its face with its trunk.
"I believe the danger has passed, we should now recoup. Antozonite, I see Jacinth was broken, has anybody else been hurt?"He's tall.It's an odd thing to think, since you've been near him your whole life, but it's the way he's standing. Growing so accustomed to his image and how he moves, his slight change in posture is only more apparent: tensed, shoulders lowered but no more than a half inch, neck bent but not more than a degree. To anyone else, still perfect posture. To you, dejection. There's something else, too. Not a definite memory of it, at the least you can tell you haven't really seen this before, but it's a faint feeling as if you have. Lignite's? It feels different."Y-yes. Jet's leg was broken inside. He's still awake. I can show Opal.""Please do, the rest of us will stay and collect Jacinth's pieces."You call Opal over and vanish into the school, leaving the feeling of the allusion to a memory of a memory behind. Cuprite comes trotting past with an armful of sunflower golden shards, and Kyanite the opposite way toward the stairs, with his own armful of dancing decorations and fabrics. Jet lay just where he was before, leaning exactly as he had against the stones beneath the ocean, opening his eyes and gifting you charity to his resting. His soft smile bridges across the hairline canyon splitting his face."Figured it out?""Yeah, Sensei got it done.""Both of you be quiet, I gotta look at this." Obeying Opal's command, Jet closes his eyes and passes another secret smile your way. Opal reads into the fracture through his forehead, disassembling every structural irregularity with his eyes. The thoughts visible through those eyes don't seem good. "This is a nasty split. It's only surface level at the head and back, but there's internal bifrication running all the way to--"While Opal inspects the area of separation, rambling on about the technicalities, Jet sneaks you a look and mimes a puppet blabbing, stopping when he is suddenly lifted from the ground."You, take this." Opal all but tosses Jet's full body to you, and takes the leg, walking to his workspace. "Don't drop it.""I am awake!"The two beasts remained outside for the remainder of the day, Uvarovite utterly captivated by them. Most everyone else stayed far away, not wanting to share the fate of the yellow nerd. By late in the evening, after both Jet and Jacinth had been reassembled and left to rest for the night, even Uvaro had retired to bed, but sleep refused to come to you. Instead, you took to the window. Outside, though dark, there was enough light to notice the absence of the creatures, and by the water's edge to the southwest was Citrine's recognizable shape, to your knowledge an unusual place for him to be. Quietly walking past the others' rooms and down the stairs, you see Kongo has taken the animals inside, and sits beside them.>Join Kongo>Go to Citrine
Test, hopeful! I haven't been able to reach the site all day, this is the first time it's actually loaded. Now we see if I can post.Closed to join.
“Sensei?”Stepping silently from the stairs to the ground, there’s not an instant he strays from your sight. No response, he’s simply sitting there, completely still. That same dejected look, his form is slouched unnaturally. He was trying to hide it before but now there’s nobody awake to hide it from. His body language is totally contrary to every teaching of inner focus. This isn’t meditation, and he’s chosen to remain silent to you.Maybe I shouldn’t…“Antozonite, you've come down most inopportune.”“Sorry, I don't have to be here, I was actually about to--”“It is fine if you want to stay. What I am doing requires something else, as you might understand it an inner peace, and I can no longer find it.”“You’re anxious?”“I am, though I fear anxiety is not the only culprit.” He stands and walks to the sleeping beasts, placing his hand gently against the head of the larger. “Again it has come to this, what could I have done? I could not bear to leave them be, so for the sake of these animals I have tried.”The creature begins to stir against the noise, and Kongo backs away. It sits up, feeling for the body of its companion, and moving to be closer side to side.“And yet, it seems...”The smaller one has woken as well, and pushes itself against the other.“Have I forgotten?”“Sensei, what do you mean?”As if he had too forgotten that you were present, he looks at you, and on his face is fear, unmistakably, but it fades to his stone expression.“It is you who knew Lignite best, did he not believe that some lies are justified to protect the happiness of those you love?”“I-- I’m sure there's…” More to it...Is there? No, that's true, “He did.”“And you share that?”“I guess I do.”“Then exactly what I mean is a lie of omission which I must keep from you, to protect your newfound happiness.”Pale smoke begins rising from the peacefully sleeping animals. It catches your attention, and Kongo sensei turns to watch.“Ah, I’m glad.”As they slowly become nothing but a mist, swirling within each other, the tension in his shoulders falls away, and his posture corrects itself.“Sensei, did you do that?”“I hope so-- Rather if I did not, the most dangerous times are yet to come."夏-冬
"Ant!"Yellow is bouncing at your door, eager as ever to face off against the ice floes. Despite only being seventy, he's close to the skill that Natrolite showed in dealing with them before his disappearance. Couple this and that he is still nowhere close to his post burnout potential, and it paints a staggering picture of how strong he could be."I slept through them again. Where's Jet?""He's staying, to clean up the library.""He wouldn't have to if you didn't keep leaving it such a mess.""He offered this time!"A syrup of sun flows over the smooth white knolls of the western island, mostly yet unbroken by footprints, save the trail in it you leave behind yourselves. Sunny days in winter are in a modestly ironic sense some of the brightest in a given year, so much more light is rejected by the pure earth that it can't help but be drawn to your starved bodies. Yellow cheerfully takes lead, completely undeterred from the opportunity to test his growth from the year's hard work."Again!"To the top, down, dark blue punctures behind, break, split."Not fast enough, again!"More yearly progress, small steps. The next winter he joins, the same."Again!"Ten years."Again!"Fifteen. Steady improvement, but slow."Ant...""Again!""But--"Eighteen. Some improvement, but he's held back by frustration.
"Ant, I don't feel like I'm getting better.""You are, why do you say that?""It feels like no matter what I do, it's the same result. You let me help with Winters because N... Na... Because when he was... It was after someone--"Sparks of panic light a fire in you."Natrolite?""That sounds right, there was someone called that, wasn't there?"Danger, poison, flooding your mind in a millionth of a second are all the feelings and memories that you had begun to comfortably leave to the days of the past. The trap, your body, your happiness is a hungry monster with a bright and shiny lure. Lonely, you don't want to go back. Isn't it fine? It should be okay to stay longer. It's pleading, but there's got to be another way. Citrine said that they could cure you, and take away that monster. Could they give back the memories it ate from Yellow's palm, worst of all while he never even noticed? Jet is happy, Yellow is frustrated, but unaware and happy. You were happy. The same instant as your mind is subject to this fodder, it returned to its best. One utterance from who you looked to for everything, as he stared into your eyes, dying only to be reborn as who you look to for everything: keep them safe. Your meaning, found here, not there. The moon is no solution. Even if you knew a way to get there, and Citrine had told you the truth, there would have been a catch. The vibrant colors are nothing but pale, the expansive landscape nothing but bleak, the happy only there to mask the sad, and the friendship to mask the hate.The only place left is the cave, and you go.A day, week, month, year, ten of only leaving at night and staying near the edges of the island. Heat, fever, uncontrollable. Is this another burnout?Of course they would come to visit, there were still interactions, and of those most frequently with Jet. The two of you were still partners, and had a duty to fight together when the times came, and you still watched the winters, but the short era of a different happy way had passed by.In five years, Yellow Diamond would be one hundred years old. That count was quickly four, then three, then too quick it passed by, and three more beyond it. That year was a peculiar one, because Gyrolite came back.Chapter four: Yellow Diamond, the Gem who Never Knew Peace,End.
Thank you for sticking with chapter four despite it's unclear mid-chapter hiatus and scheduling difficulties near the end. As stated a half-second's scroll above, the next thing to be posted in this thread will be an interlude chapter which I've been mostly writing for fun since ch3. I really want it to be good so I'm going to take a couple more days to go over it a few times and revise.Come to think of it, with the first two chapters it had become a bit of a fun time to have a Q&A about what choices may have lead to different outcomes within the chapter, but I don't want archive readers to have to skip past a mid-thread session of that to get to the interlude, so if you're really curious to know that stuff you can join the discord server (which I had previously setup for conlang quest but I just reorganized) here https://discord.gg/EPtMT5j
ネーチ お話を教えて"When was I born? Hn, sometimes I ask the same thing. The thing is, I can't remember that time all too well, it was so long ago that I hardly recall anything. But, since you asked, I guess I'll try.I know I'm about twelve thousand years old, so let's go back to then. Just like anyone else, I was born at the chord shore. I guess I had to have been. You know what it's like, that sound when we first fall. It's not a good one, not at first. Maybe I've just trained myself to hear it differently, but to me it's like a horn blows to signal new life. Even still, it once sounded terrible to me too, and that was my first memory. I almost remember seeing his face, and reaching out."..."What, 'who?' That's a bit of a pointless question, there's only one it could have been. You of anyone should know that."..."There's no need to be so blunt, do you want me to tell you or not? That's what I thought."..."Yes, well pardon me for being a little nervous in a situation like this. Now, where was I... Right, just after falling. Do you remember your own? Only some of us can, those who are lucky enough to have never lost those pieces. Maybe it's irony, or some kind of poetry that myself being the oldest and having forgotten the largest swaths of time, I also remember so vividly the first while. I remember how shocked he looked to see me. I saw another emotion too, one that I've never seen again. I'm not even sure I could describe it. Relief, satisfaction, contentedness. Hope?He's never told me, maybe I ought to ask over tea next time... If there is one. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, you did amazing work, nobody noticed a thing."..."Please, you don't have to flatter me like that. Reading the sky's no special skill, so writing it shouldn't be any harder. I don't deserve that kind of praise."..."Hn, 'Why tea?' Well it's true, you and I don't drink like them. I can't remember why we started, but I think it's just a ritual that he shared a long time before I was born. So no, I don't think there's really a reason to do it outside of sentimentality. Anyway, the story.The school was already there, I've always assumed-- No no, actually not always, I used to know something else about it but that's gone. As far as I know, he built the school for himself. Now, I'm not so sure. I can't be certain, but since Citrine came back and told me about Jet, I've started questioning more things."..."Don't call me a hermit! It's just... My everything's been upended. I don't know what else I should do."
..."Mm, you're right, for now let's just keep going. I don't remember when, but there was a moment in time when I felt alone. It felt like my only friend had gone away. Before I knew about him, I thought it was just an echo of a dream from some winter thousands of years ago, but that was when he left. I felt lost, and my body was weak. That must've been when he gave me our traditions, to help me through it."..."That's true, too. When I was helping Ant and Jet with winter, I could tell that I'd done it before, but exactly when was lost on me. It's right to think that I took on his duty around that time.Stranger still, now I know he came back a thousand years later, but I don't remember ever feeling the same as I had before. I think, in the moment, I must have not trusted him, felt abandoned, and that his return was something more than it appeared. Although, for him it didn't matter, all he cared about was that he‘d come back. Thinking about it, I'm not sure there wasn't something else, or someone else. Now that I know about what happened, maybe I'm not even the oldest among us. I definitely get the impression that they're still here, and I'm not talking about them. I mean one of us."..."Oh, is that so? That does explain a lot. Thank you for telling me. Let's skip ahead to something I remember a bit better. At one point, Citrine ran away. Antozonite was very young, having suffered his tragic burnout at the worst time. Citrine tried to rescue him, but got himself in some bad trouble, and we almost lost both to the sea. Citrine took this hard, and ran away. Citrine, even though he was hardly a fraction of my own age, was more like a rowdy sibling to me. In truth, I know he was there too, but in memory I only loved Citrine and Ant. When Citrine left, it felt like an abandonment, just as it had felt before. It was selfish of me to feel that way, but I did, and I hoped we wouldn't be able to find him. I changed my mind, of course, it was a horrible way to think, and when he was back I knew that it was a mistake to wish him to be lonely. The worst of it all was when I refused to look for him. I regret that, even though he was back the same evening, so much so I've never been able to bring myself to admit it happened to his face.Before the attacks--"
..."No, I understand that, you know what I mean. Before... I knew how much I'd forgotten, that was my biggest regret. Now though, now that I know I did it anyway, my biggest regret is killing him. Do you know what that means? No, of course you do, I just still can't get used to the idea of not being the most informed one around. It wasn't directly me, but I knew what I was doing. I knew how dangerous Ant's feverish burnout was for him, but I couldn't stand him being allowed to stay if he was doing what he was doing. Lies were a weapon he used, but I knew when he told them. I knew his biggest lie, one that he would never reveal to any of the others. At the time, it was a lie so big, I thought 'he doesn't deserve to be here with us.'I told him that I would expose it unless he told told them first, starting with Ant. I'm sure he knew how dangerous it was, but he took my ultimatum on reflection.'You want me to leave, and never come back, right? If I do, if I'm gone, will you keep it a secret?' He'd asked me. I said yes. That night he went to the cave where Antozonite had been resting, and died, all of his inclusions burnt up in the combustion. I can remember the sound now, deeper than any thunder, and I can remember the light when I saw the blaze make a morning's sun rise on the opposite side it should've been, and I can remember feeling nothing when I saw Ant's unconscious embers clutching to the body that would be Jet's.'The traitor deserved it,' I'd thought, but now I understand."..."Yes, more than anything I want to apologize, but just like with Citrine, I'm afraid to. I'm a fragile coward about my own mistakes."..."I suppose it's true, I am telling you."..."Gyrolite? You don't know? I thought he was--"..."Oh, that's what you mean. Yes, I was quite fond of him. According to Siderite we're both Zeolites, or at least he might as well be one, so I suppose there's a reason for me to feel that way despite him being the youngest up until the day I met you. He's got a strong and kind heart, and I've always felt that somehow, if I can't, he'll find a way to make up for my cruelty. Now that I understand everything, I'm more afraid that he will than hopeful for it, that his pure strength of heart will lead him down the path that ultimately means nothing."
"You know, I'm starting to remember something else now too. Every one of us is born at the chord shore, at least our bodies are, but like Jet, sometimes circumstance means we inherit someone else's. Lignite wasn't the first to have that body. I don't know who it was before him, that was before my time, but I remember now that when he was born, he didn't come from the shore like I did. I don't think that lineage is the only that's like that, though. Whoever it was, to Lignite, to Jet, to maybe someone else in the future, that body isn't the only to bear that curse. Antozonite wasn't born at the chord shore either, but burning doesn't harm his inclusions, something else must have been the catalyst."..."I wouldn't know. I've always looked up to the clouds, not beneath the ground. Siderite is the only one with that kind of mineralogy know-how."..."Just ask him yourself. Jacinth might know, too."..."No, I won't go with you, and in truth I think you should leave Yellow Diamond out of this. I'll stay here for awhile longer until my memories completely recover, this 'hermit lifestyle' as you lovingly called it does actually seem to be working, along with the treatments your friends put together. I really ought to thank them personally, don't you think?"..."I'm glad they're the kind to be so gracious, I was scared coming here again, when I couldn't truly remember having come and only relying on your word. Still, please thank them for giving me such a kind welcome to the moon.Oh, and one more thing before you go, this is just to sate my curiosity really, how come the Lunarians don't call you prince? That's always what Sen-- Kongo had called you."Nachi, Tell me a Story, End.