❯ Mystic Visions – Artificial Intelligence ( Chapter 6 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

AN: (headdesk) I am SO SORRY! (sweatdrop) I meant to post this last Friday, seriously… I had it all written by then, too… but then, I… forgot. -.-xx Well, I had a bad weekend, and I work on Mondays and Tuesdays, so those days just kind of blurred by – I swear I didn’t even think about it once until late Tuesday night. I’m so bad o.o; Plus Harry Potter has taken over my life lately, I haven’t written anything in nearly a week… heh…
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Chapter Five: Artificial Intelligence
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When Oujiro woke up, he found that a great deal more time had passed in the real world than it had any right to have; school had let out for the day, and the nurse had called in a doctor from the local hospital. As he showed no signs of fatigue or fever, and because they hadn’t been able to find a single thing wrong with him in the first place (other than the fact that he wouldn’t wake up, of course), they grumbled about it a bit but eventually allowed him to go home.

By this point he was beginning to suspect that Wizard had been a little overly optimistic in his last prediction. Every once in a while he would suddenly hear a word or two, as if picking up on a conversation in another room, which was really quite disconcerting seeing as he lived alone. That was about it, however, unless you counted a vague sense of frustration that he wasn’t sure was entirely his. He slept fitfully, because the voice in his mind kept waking him up, and wasn’t able to have any dreams at all.

When he finally did get up the next morning, tripping over the sheets that had gotten tangled around his legs to get to his alarm clock, it was to a splitting headache. He stared muzzily at the clock in his hands for a few moments after he had switched the alarm off, swaying somewhat, and to his relief the pain began to fade away…

Oujiro-sama?

He jumped, and dropped the clock into the pile of sheets around his feet. `W-Wizard?’ he mentally whimpered.

Ah – I think I’ve finally figured it out! the voice crowed. Sorry about the problems earlier – and the headache – I just stumbled on it by chance yesterday, but now I actually understand how it works…

`Oh,’ Oujiro managed. Oh, crap, he added to himself, as he sunk into the blankets. There was, he’d just discovered, a subtle difference – evident only to the true connoisseur – between mere sleepiness, which was all he’d been feeling just a moment ago, and pure exhaustion… `Oh, well, that’s really…’ He gave up, and pinched the bridge of his nose.

Wow, you seem really tired. Are you like this every morning? Maybe you should drink some coffee…

Oujiro shot Wizard’s body, propped up against a math textbook and staring innocently into middle distance, a murderous glare. `Listen… if it’s really going to be this easy for us to communicate, I think we’re going to have to lay down some ground rules. I think it’d probably be best if you didn’t talk to me at school. I can’t very well pay attention to the sensei with you talking in my other ear. And definitely don’t talk to me when I’m talking to someone else, I don’t even want to think about… Also, I’m not really a big morning person, so I’d really like if you just… didn’t talk to me in the mornings.’

So pretty much… don’t talk to you, ever, Wizard summed up dryly.

`That’s about right, yeah,’ Oujiro replied, wondering with sleeplessness-induced nastiness whether it was possible to actually get the Angel genuinely upset.

He got the distinct impression that Wizard was pouting again, but all he said was, You really do need some coffee, don’t you…? Oujiro groaned softly, and hid his head in his hands.

`Oh, and, yesterday… didn’t happen.’

To his acute irritation, Wizard simply giggled, as his presence faded far into the back of Oujiro’s mind.

X………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………..X

Is that all you eat for lunch? You need to eat more.

Oujiro had gone through many emotions over the course of the day. First had come anger – `How many times do I have to tell you, not when I’m at school!’ – and then there had denial – `This isn’t really happening, you know. I’ll talk to the counselor after class, she’ll hook me up with a good psychiatrist who can get me a prescription-‘ – and then childishness – `I can’t heeeeaaaar you…’ He had currently settled on dejected defeat.

`It’s all I need,’ he mumbled. `Besides, I can’t get fat – don’t laugh – it’s Angelic Layer’s popularity I’m worried about, not mine.’

This time, he got the feeling that Wizard was smirking at him. You know, in a way, that almost makes you sound more vain. But in any case, I don’t think you’ll have to worry anymore about the game falling out of fashion… not after the next couple of days…

Oujiro considered wondering about that for a moment or two – but then he just sighed, and gracefully shoveled a small bite of rice into his mouth. The façade was ruined a moment later, sadly, as he dropped his chopsticks with a clatter when his phone went off.

He muttered darkly to himself as he fished it out of his pocket, but his expression brightened when he saw who was calling. His fingers fumbled hastily to hit the correct button. “M-Misaki-chan?”

She giggled. “Surprised?” she teased. “How are you?”

“Fine,” he lied smoothly. “But you – you’re awake? You’re okay?”

Wizard made a very mature gagging noise.

“Yup, I’m all better,” she said cheerfully. “Auntie Shouko has made me stay in bed all day anyway, but I managed to sneak out and get the phone when she went to make lunch… I don’t feel sick at all, honestly.”

“I believe you,” Oujiro said, a bit quietly. “Do you – remember what you dreamed?”

“Oh, well,” Misaki said vaguely. “Auntie told me that I talked about Hikaru in my sleep, so I guess…”

“So you really don’t remember anything?” Oujiro cajoled, arching an eyebrow quizzically.

“Ah… um… It’s silly…”

“I won’t laugh,” he promised.

“Well…” Oujiro heard her take a deep breath, and then she said all in a rush: “I dreamed that Hikaru talked to me, yes. We talked for a very long time, about all kinds of things… we became such good friends, it was very nice… ah…”

“Go on,” he urged. “I’m not laughing yet, am I?”

“Well… S-she said that she was `waking up’. Then she said that it was time for me to wake up too, and not to worry, because she’d still be able to talk to me…” She laughed lightly. “Silly, huh?”

“Not at all,” Oujiro said, trying to sound merely soothing and not like his heart was about jump out of his throat from beating so hard. “Okay – I have to go now, but I promise I’ll see you tomorrow. I’m glad you’re feeling better.”

“Thank you,” Misaki said politely. “Okay… I love you.”

“Love you too,” Oujiro murmured, smiling slightly.

Wizard, who had dimmed after giving his initial opinion, now spoke disdainfully: You’re not actually surprised, are you? Oujiro chose not to respond, concentrating instead on willing his head not to split at the seams. What are you going to do?

The Prince eyed his cell phone thoughtfully for a moment, but then he glanced up at the crowded cafeteria. `No… the break is almost over anyway, it’d be better to wait until after school… but I think it’s about time I had a talk with my brother.’

X………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………..X

Between Wizard’s incessant prattle and his growing anxiety, Oujiro swore he didn’t learn a single thing that afternoon. He was, he noted with some concern, developing a nervous twitch. He started dialing his brother’s number when he was still in the elevator of his apartment building. “Moshi moshi?” came Ogata’s familiar voice, just as Oujiro was unlocking his door.

He sighed in relief, but he still sounded more than a little tense when he said: “My brother. Now.”

“Er… just a moment…”

Oujiro closed the door again behind him, and slid to the floor with his back against it. Oujiro-kun, Wizard muttered, and to his surprise, the Angel actually sounded concerned. Before he had a chance to reply, however, there was what sounded suspiciously like an explosion on the other end of the line, and then Ichiro’s voice rang out in his ear.

“My dearest little brother!” he said cheerfully, and then abruptly switched to a suspicious tone: “You want something, don’t you? I know you… you’d never call me unless you wanted something…”

Oujiro couldn’t help but smile a little at that. “Well… even if I just wanted to say `hello’, I’d still technically want something, wouldn’t I…?”

“Insolence!” Ichiro cried. “If you don’t tell me what you want already, I’ll send you a virus; I’m very busy.”

Oujiro, who was tempted to ask how he’d find time to send him said virus if he was so occupied, rolled his eyes. “Actually, I confess, I do need a favor.” Ichiro groaned. “I… need you to call a meeting of all the Deuses working on MYSTIC. No later than tomorrow.”

“Madness!” Ichiro shouted; somewhere in the background, Oujiro thought he heard Ogata yelp in terror. “What makes you think I have time for that? What makes you think they have time for that?”

“Tell them it’s an emergency,” Oujiro said grimly. “Nii-sama, your project… I have reason to believe – that is -” He broke off, sighed hopelessly, and shrugged. “It’s out of control,” he finally said, rather inadequately.

On his end of the line, Ichiro raised both eyebrows. “Is that so?” Oujiro wrinkled his nose; his brother sounded more intrigued than disturbed…

“Yes,” he said wearily. “It started out as just dreams, but now it’s happening even when I’m awake… all day today… Wizard had been talking to me. Stop laughing, it’s been happening to Hatoko as well! I know that Misaki has at least had the dreams, maybe more, too.”

“Mass hallucination…?” Ichiro wondered. Oujiro twitched; the scientist, seeming to sense the aura of doom even through the phone line, laughed in a placating manner. “You’re certain, then? Fascinating. Huh… This – this is wonderful! I’ll call them all right away-”

“This is not wonderful!” Oujiro yelled, and then moaned as he realized that his brother had already hung up on him. “Crazy… absolutely bleeding insane,” he grumbled, shaking the phone in frustration.

Oujiro-kun? Wizard whispered, so softly that he almost didn’t catch it.

`Yes…?’

I’m… I’m sorry this is so upsetting for you, he confessed, and he sounded so ashamed that Oujiro’s mouth fell slightly open, Prince of the Layer or not. I tried to help you get used to it today… but I guess I just talk too much. I know you already have a lot of friends, but you… you – won’t let him turn MYSTIC off, will you?

Oujiro’s eyes widened – This is not wonderful! – and he finally looked properly shamefaced himself. `Oh, I’m… I would never let him do that,’ he finished lamely. `Of course not. No… we’ll work something out. I – promise.’

The sudden wave of happiness nailed him to the floor. Thank you, Oujiro-kun!

Oujiro leaned his head back against the door and stared at the ceiling for a long time after that, and wondered. He wondered what on earth they were going to do tomorrow. He wondered when Wizard had started calling Oujiro-kun. He wondered what all these unsettling new feelings were, and what horrible act he’d committed in a past life to deserve them…

TBC

Mystic Visions – Growing
Mystic Visions – Deuses