So... a couple of minutes late... but here we go... Chapter 10 of my Athena story. As noted before, things are gonna get heavy from this point on... I'd rather not drag this out longer than it needs to, so just read up and enjoy, everyone.
*Note: One part of a scene here was specifically inspired due to an old TOH ryona picture I came across on pixiv... I thought about sharing it's inspiration here, but for now I'll hold on to all the big 'behind-the-scenes' talk once the story's over... (hint: the artist's name is 'darthplegias') Only 3 chapters left to go before this baby is FINALLY finished... I can't wait, lol.
Chapter 10: “Dark Side of Me”
“In these discouraging days, I always missed the mark...”
“When we were comfort and close, I would neglect to keep...”
“You safe and unexposed, a portrait of my life repeats...”
“This moment now replaced, with an empty wish”
“To give, I give, I gave...”
“I gave my everything... for all the right things...”
“But in this cold reality I've made this selfish mimicry...”
“Oh, I went from heaven to hell...”
“How can I share my life with someone else...?”
“I promise you; there's no weight that can bury me, beneath the ghost of all my guilt”
“Here with this dark side of me...”
“Here in the dark side of me...”
Morning Number 3...
As with the days prior, the sun shone clean through the Athenas' bedroom window, falling right upon the twins' faces as they slept...
However, unlike the days prior, the sun rays at first didn't seem to do their job at awaking the twin idols from their slumber. At least, not at first... It took longer than usual, but eventually the air was filled with the sound of the combined sounds of the Athenas waking simultaneously, abet quite groggily. Last night was not kind to either one of them in the sleeping department, and their first moments of this day showed it clearly. Both girls weakly opened their eyes half-way, not quite 'awake'... and not quite realizing their posture yet... The first thing each of them felt was their heads pounding massively, which didn't help matters at all right from the start.
[“...oh... j...just... great...”]
[“...ah... d...darn... it...”]
In fact, the two of them let their heads plop down onto the pillows just an inch below them and let their eyes close again, nearly drifting back to sleep. She could feel it... It was going to be one of THOSE days again... and she really didn't want to wake up and face it. However, just before the two could fully pass back out again, they somehow managed to remember what happened just the day before...
[“...the alarm clock...!”]
Any second now, that thing would go off... and if she didn't take care of it now...
The instant the alarm clock on the nearby night stand activated, signaling 8 A.M., a strong purple energy aura surrounded it, lifted it up, and seemed to cause it to physically bend and twist in opposite ways, making it's sound distort and die out before it could even began. A few moment's later, it returned to it's perch in a dropping motion, abet no longer functioning the way it should be anymore with a broken, flickering display. Due to it's shape, however, it slowly began to teeter over... and fell on the carpet floor with a soft, but noticeable bang...
[“…oh, forget it...”]
...it was enough to force the girls awake, despite their efforts. With another collective groan, both Athenas tried to lift themselves up and try to gather their senses... but, like the last few mornings, something was wrong right off the bat.
[“...ugh...? W...what... now...?”]
[“...ow...! R-really...!? What... in the...?]
On top of the headache, there was a pressure... a heavy one at that... rooted right in the center of her forehead... as if something was literally 'attached' or glued to it. At this point, Athena forced herself to open her eyes….
...and found herself literally face-to-face with her alternate self, their faces as close as humanly possible, forehead to forehead. That was not all, however, as she realized that their foreheads were not the only things that were 'stuck' together...
Apparently, despite last night ending with the two of them sleeping on the edges of the bed away from each other, both Athenas found themselves close together and tangled in a rather... questionable embrace, arms wrapped around the other's body in a tight hug. While underneath the sheets they found it nearly impossible to move at all below her hips... In their sluggish shock, the girls attempted to break away from the other, however, despite their (not-so-best) efforts, they couldn't budge off the other, merely struggling and squirming together in unison; eventually kicking off their bedroom sheets off their bodies with their legs...
Said legs, though, covered in pajamas... were very much tangled tightly together in such a intricate manner that neither Athena could ignore the other's every brush along the full length... nor the bumping of their hips and even crotches beneath the night clothes...
[“NO...!! Not... again...!”]
However, the more they tried to fight the situation, the harder it became to concentrate at all... Their legs bumped upwards and down, inadvertently forcing them to rub against the other's clothed pussy, and their arms, trying desperately to push out at the other, accidentally placing themselves on the other's chest, their struggle forcing their buttoned tops to open up... and only realize that even their bras shifted off slightly... meaning hands were fully pushing against bare breasts... Every motion seemed to make Athena's head spin more and more as 'pervy' sensations began to overtake her...
[“NOOOOO...!! I... I can't...!”]
[“No... Don't leave... I want... to... stay like this...”]
It only got worse, for suddenly extra words found their way into her head... with no way to sort out what belonged to what... and... somehow... Athena could very roughly feel a scene fog in and out of her mind... One... that made her incredibly light-headed to try to focus on and her body build tingly goosebumps all over... and... feel a certain spot underneath her pajamas and between her legs react to...
[More... Please... I want... to be with you... like this... forever...]
[“WHAT IN THE WORLD IS THIS...!?”]
The feelings... There were too many of them... Her mind seemed to dangerously spin in and out of coherency and dizziness... Feelings of alarm and even panic... mixed with a distant-calling longing and bliss...
She... both of them... finally had enough. With a simultaneous shout and an act of desperation, both Athenas brought their palms down from their perch on the other's breasts down to their stomachs and, without any warning, blasted some of her Psycho Power into her twin, instantly propelling the two in opposite directions out of the bed....
...and violently into the opposite walls of their shared bedroom, Athena slamming hard into a standing dresser while Athena colliding heavily against the windowsill, before collapsing onto the carpet floor in-unison in injured heaps. For a while, the area was filled with the dazed moans and heavy panting from the Psycho twins as they very slowly tried to get to a standing point. As they fully got to their feet though, still catching their breath, they made eye contact with one another... paused...
...and instantly pointed accusing fingers at one another at full alert.
“HEY! W... what's the big idea...!? Planting all of that in my head...!?”
“What was THAT about...!? Putting those crazy thoughts in my mind...!?”
Each took hold of the other's words, and both recoiled out of insult, not believing her twin to blame her for their rude awakening, but Athena seemed to be more repulsed at the action that just happened.
“W... what are you talking about!? I'd never think about something so... so.... so...”
Her face twisted upon the thought. Granted, there was no other way she could describe... THAT, so she just came out with the word on her mind.
...though as it came out, her mind began wondering...
[...but... we... wound up like that... and that voice was...]
However, every other part of her body seemed to reject the thought, forcing her to shake her head clear.
[“N... NO! No WAY could that had been me...! It was her! No doubt about it! She... she's... somehow using her powers to mess with my mind...!”]
Athena then continued on, speaking aloud, “Y-you're the one that's was coming up with the crazy ideas before! Why wouldn't I think this was your doing!?”
Now it was Athena's turn to put on a unpleasant face in reaction. “What are you, nuts!? That may have been before, but that was before I knew how you truly felt about me! After what we went through the day before, being close to you is admittedly quite far away in my mind right now!”
Athena couldn't help the fact that she was still feeling quite a bit unfavorable towards her twin, but the words she said just now...
[“...I mean, it's not like you would've liked it anyways... but...”]
At this moment, though, Athena just couldn't take it, anymore. Placing her hands on her hips in a sigh to calm down, she spoke out loud something she normally wouldn't suggest...
“If that's how you wanna be, then... I... don't think we should be sleeping in the same room anymore...!”
Hearing the words from her seemed to seal the deal for Athena, too, whom also mirrored the same action out of instinct.
“I hate to say it but fine! I agree...!”
Then after a pause...
“It's my room in the first place!”
...the last words were said simultaneously among the two Athenas, and for a moment, it didn't completely register to the other as they said it so... convincingly...
Very slowly, the twin girls' faces went from simply calmly making a statement to cautiously eyeing the other in strained expression...
“What... did you just say...?”
“What did I just say? I said that 'this is MY room...'!”
...and from strained expression to downright anger.
“NO, it ISN'T. This is MY ROOM...!”
Without thinking, both found themselves moving from the sides of the room they were standing to the front of the bed, center of the bedroom, with tension quickly building up with each passing exchange they shot at each other...
“I SAID, THAT THIS IS MY BEDROOM, YOU FAKE!!!”
Instantly both Athenas' eyes widened. At this point, both were blatantly shouting at the other, having come so face-to-face that their barely covered fronts were mashed up against the other, foreheads digging right into the other as they gave each other death glares, but that last sentence... That one cut deep. A new line had just been crossed... One that made the other ones pressed over the last few days seem insanely trivial in comparison. Those words... were that signal.
Like the first gunshot fired over the valley before an all-out war broke out.
Feeling their bodies almost literally on fire now, Athena grabbed her twin by her tattered night clothing aggressively, and nearly lost herself in her anger, just a moment away from slugging the other right in her own face...
“I AM NOT THE FAKE! YOU ARE!!!!”
[BUZZ...! B...UZZ...! BUZZ.....! BU...ZZ....!]
However, just before all hell could break loose in heaven, an unexpected noise caught them off guard, making both of them stop and take a moment to realize what was going on. The alarm clock both of them wound up mangling as they woke up managed to still let out a strained, broken sound, apparently it's snooze function going off by accident... but seeing the clock again made Athena blink... and realize just what was beginning to happen.
[“What... what am I DOING...!?”]
Without another word, both Athenas, while still grappled together no less, suddenly found themselves enveloped in a glow of Psycho Power... and within the next moment they vanished from the bedroom, leaving it in quite the unkempt mess...
[I can't believe she'd go there...! She's really lost her mind...!]
Breakfast and meeting with the others was just out of the question already and the morning had just started; Athena was just simply too steamed to bother. Even after about 45 minutes after the recent altercation, she was still pacing back and forth at the outside of the cabin, too deep in her thoughts to care much about anything else right now. Granted, she did have at least the mind to switch out of her bed clothing, settling for an outfit she hadn't worn in a long time; a blue and white long-sleeved jacket top that showed off just a bit of her stomach along with matching shorts. On her feet, white boots with a black bottom, and, of course, she couldn't forget her star headband and gloves. She had worn this dressing for The King of Fighters '99... though, of course, fans never seen it much considering it was an completely underground tournament with no cameras or media exposure...
[...I'm not the one with the problem... SHE is...!]
Then again, perhaps it was fitting; Athena didn't want to be seen by anyone right now. Stopping just momentarily as she glared over the mountainside, arms crossed, she just couldn't get the displeasure from showing on her face. Being called the 'fake' really was going too far... and she wasn't going to stand for it.
[Ugh...! That tears it! Today... TODAY, I'm going to deal with her! No more Miss Patient Asamiya...! I'm gonna... Gonna....]
A tap at her shoulder came suddenly, snapping her out of her thoughts... though not her mood. At first she was ready to spin around and just lay into her twin; thinking it was her coming up behind her, but instead she came face to face with her friend and partner, whom jumped back in surprise, not expecting such a reaction out of nowhere...
“WHOA, j-just wait a sec!”
“Athena...! I... I would say 'good morning' but it seems like you're had a bad night's sleep or something...” the boy said nervously, trying to make sure he wasn't Athena's target. Thankfully, she simply sighed, leaning against the tree nearby both themselves and a bench Chin had placed there for obvious sitting.
“I'm sorry... I didn't mean to do that... You're right, though. I had a bad night's sleep... Strange for me to get it, isn't it...?”
“Well... considering the things that's been happening, I guess it can happen to anyone...” Kensou then paused, giving his friend a decent look. “Hey... You're... back wearing that outfit again... From when we were first dealing with N.E.S.T.S...”
“Y.. yeah... I suppose I really wanted to switch things up today,” she responded back, looking towards the clothes she wore, even lightly tugging at her jacket top's front. “I mean, there's nothing wrong with it, but you know... my other outfits seem to be quite the ways more popular with others, so I always wear those for nostalgia sake...”
“Um... you alright there? You seem to be troubled, or something... I can tell; it's all in your voice...”
“I... well...” the Psycho Soldier girl tried to make it seem like it wasn't a big deal... then quickly realized that card was already on the table, so to speak. “I'll admit... I've felt better...”
“You wanna talk about it...?” Kensou offered, instantly concerned. Athena didn't respond at first, but eventually after some thought, she sighed a little, then turned towards the bench nearby and sat facing the mountains.
“I know I might sound completely silly about this... but... lately I've been truly questioning... what I'm supposed to do... and what I want from myself... I've done a lot up until now... but never nothing like... 'this'... It's weird... It's like I found out that I've been 'here' but not truly 'here'...”
“I... don't quite get what you mean...” Kensou said back nervously, also deciding to sit near her in order to comfort her... which truly was a first to him, at least for THIS side of Athena...
“I know, I sound like I'm rambling... I guess what I'm trying to say is that I feel like I'm trying to get a hold of a problem that doesn't want to be fixed...”
Kensou thought about it for a bit, then it seemed to click... “O... OH...! I... I think I get it now...”
“I know that I've seemed like this hopeful all this time but I'll admit... I feel like I've been holding a whole 'nother... 'me' underneath it all... I just want to be able to let this all go and not have to worry about anything else...”
“Well... you don't have to worry about much at all...” came his reply. “I mean... you got me, Chin, Momoko, Bao... and all your supporters and fans... You usually just think of them and bounce right back from anything...”
“Yes... that used to work... but this time... I need something... more... um... 'personal'...”
For a while, Kensou and Athena didn't speak. Athena kept her gaze ahead, the Psycho Soldier boy hung up on that last word she said... trying to figure out what she meant so that she could help. At first, he seemed to overthink it, making a face... but then, one thought did come to mind...
“You know... with your hair cut shorter again... it does look nice seeing you 'exactly like' from that year again...”
The sentence made the girl stop paying attention to the horizon and pause a little. Running a hand through her short hair, she let out a question...
“You... really think so...?”
“Well... yeah... It is exactly how I remember it, after all, so...”
A faint smile crept onto Athena's face, Kensou barely noticing it, but enough to see that it worked somewhat. Ever since that encounter the other morning that forced her to have to cut it due to her double, she admit it was the first time even thinking about it made her smile. Someone liked something she had that her twin didn't have... It was a basic complement, but to her, right now, it did a world of difference.
[“He's... always around just when I'm about to lose it... Honestly... I... I've been taking him for granted...”]
Athena then looked up toward the morning sky, close to the sun, kicking her legs underneath the bench as she spoke, “You know... Now that I think about it... that year really was something else... I was in trouble back there, too, when I got caught in that rubble underneath that collapsing base... and yet there you were, risking everything to save me...”
“Yeah, I remember... That ceiling piece was WAY to heavy to lift and then... well... I just let it all 'go'... to get you out of there.”
“I guess I have to say that this time... you're trying to rescue me from myself. I... appreciate that...”
Kensou then gave a laugh, rubbing the back of his head, “Ah, it's... it's nothing, Athena! I mean... it's not like it's anything you couldn't have done for me or anyone else.
[“...I feel like I should do something for him for once... but... what should it be...?”]
Cooking was always her go-to way of showing her appreciation towards Kensou and her other companions... but the moment she thought of that, her mind flashed back to the other night and the quick argument she had with herself over the TV shows to watch... and immediately shook that out of her mind.
[“No... that's what SHE would want to do... I'm... not 'her'... I need to do something to show that it's ME giving this gift to him... not 'me'...”]
After a moment of silence, Kensou called out to her softly to break it.
“Athena...? You're feeling any better...?”
Then, to the boy's shock, Athena placed a hand on his, making sure he didn't leave from the bench.
“...thanks to you...”
[“...Should I do... 'that'...?”]
...There WAS one thing she knew Kensou always wanted from her... for as long back as she could remember, but she never thought about actually giving it to him... Before, she couldn't explain why... It was embarrassing, so much so she even hid it from herself... but... the difference here was that 'SHE” was that 'herself'... and she was tired of trying to hide things. Of course, this being her first time even considering it for real... it quickly raced in her head how she should go about it. This was a fragile matter now... and she wanted to make sure she did it right.
It was then that Kensou looked into Athena's eyes, and noticed that, despite this Athena arguably being the more 'aggressive' one out of the two, this softness she was showing... Like... Like...
[“This is wrong... This is all wrong...”]
Some time had passed. Athena could only stand with her back to the outside of the cabin, on the far end so that she'd be out of sight from others as she faced the mountain range basking in the half-cloudy sky, head down as she thought. Despite them warping out of the room together an hour ago, Athena appeared here alone, then quickly used her powers to switch into something more appropriate for being outside. Not thinking too much about it, she opted to re-wear her 1997 outfit of cute red shoes, white socks, dark red leggings, red vest and skirt combo topped over her white inner shirt and, of course, star-themed red gloves... however, her wardrobe was the last thing on her mind now...
[“I feel like I'm losing my mind every time I'm around her now... It's making me do things I never wanted to do before... It's... too dangerous to stay like this... I have to figure out a way to get my power back from her... and it has to be today...”]
Just thinking like that seemed to rub her the wrong way... but cooperating with her twin wasn't working... and the time was growing short. The team would have to leave towards the opening ceremonies in Germany, including the concert she admit she hadn't been thinking about much lately, within the next day... But now, it was just the principle of the matter now... This situation... This couldn't continue...
As Athena thought to herself, she didn't notice the fact that the window above her leading from the kitchen area of the cabin had opened up, and someone had peered her head out from inside in order to greet her older companion for the day.
“Ah...! That's some nice fresh air...! Hmm...? Oh, Athena-chan! Good morning! You're looking great again today!”
“...Good morning, Momo-chan... and thanks... How're you doing this morning?”
“Great! I just came from cleaning up after doing breakfast... But... what are you doing over here? You alright? You and 'you' didn't come down to eat at all, and yet you're standing out here already.”
“Yes, I'm fine...”
“...You sure...?” the younger girl didn't seem convinced, making a pouting face. “You sure don't look it...”
Usually Athena would put on the role of the big sister when dealing with Bao and Momoko, but this time she couldn't bring up the mind to do so. Leaning harder against the wooden wall behind her, Athena could only mutter out a little, so little that Momoko couldn't hear it despite being in hearing distance above her. The sight put a frown on her face...
[“This isn't like her at all...! I need to help her!”]
“I know... It's because you haven't eaten anything yet so you must be feeling bad! Just a second, Athena-chan...!”
“Oh, Momoko, you don't have t-”
By the time Athena could even think about stopping the young Soldier, she was already out of the open window and back inside. Thinking she'd be a while, Athena turned her attention back to herself... and closed her eyes, not fond of getting other people worried about her problem.
[“Now I've gotten her worried about me... This isn't good...”]
“Wha...?” Athena suddenly gasped, just as her younger companion literally jumped from out the open window in a full flip and down to her level outside, holding up a plate... that somehow still had it's contents on it despite the acrobatics she displayed. “What's this...?”
“A nice, emergency cake break!” Momoko replied with a big smile, presenting it to her older Soldier. “Come on! Eat it!”
“...Cake in the morning...? Why would I--”
“Don't worry about it! Just eat it! I'm glad we still have some left over from last night... Whenever I feel down about something in the morning I do something out of the normal in order to get my mind off everything... Trust me, it works!”
Obviously being skeptical about Momoko's 'remedy', Athena still did her best to smile and take the treat from her friend, wasting no time taking a bite out of it, chewing slowly first. Of course, the obvious questions about this whole thing lingered at first.., but taking Momoko's advice Athena decided to just eat it... and not think about anything else...
“Can I say something?”
Athena forced herself to swallow a bit in order to answer, “Of course you can, Momo-chan. Go ahead.”
“I honestly think that you work very hard... for all of us. You do so much; but don't forget to just relax sometimes, too! We all like you way more when you're smiling... so that's why I gave you that; so that you could smile!”
The reasoning was quite simple... but it was just like Momoko that by the time Athena ate the last of the small cake piece she was indeed sporting a warm smile back to her. “Well... I gotta admit that it worked... Thank you so much.”
“Of course! The emergency cake ALWAYS works! I get Master Chin with this all the time so I know it's proven!”
“Master...? Why would he need that... He's... never depressed.”
“Trust me, it's not for depression...” Momoko replied back, giving a side glance. “It helps with the hangovers he has with all that 'drinking' he does...”
“Oh... I see, now... You're right, though. I should let my mind relax a bit and... huh...?”
It was then that Athena's senses seemed to 'pick up' on something happening nearby, cutting herself off. As Momoko watched on, Athena slowly turned her attention from around the cabin wall to around the corner, catching the sight of Kensou and her “Other” self sitting a distance away together... At first it seemed as if the two were talking and nothing more... but then, after some movements, she noticed her twin put a hand on Kensou's hand on the bench...
[“...What... is she doing...?”]
[“...I'm... I'm going to do it... He... deserves it...”]
She had made up her mind. In those quiet moments, Athena had just let her heart guide her next steps, now changing her posture so that she sat completely facing Kensou, whom couldn't help but stammer a little and blush out of nervousness. She had always seen this side of Kensou whenever 'that' side of him would pop up... This time, was only a little different... for she wanted to show a 'similar' side back for the first time...
“You know... We've been together a long time, Kensou... A very long time... and through all the dealings we face, while we may have gotten stronger, you change... yet you never really 'change', either... I like that the most about you...”
“A... Athena...?” Kensou let out, noticing that very slowly Athena was inching herself closer to him, now coming across his lap gently. Perhaps it was out of complete confusion that he leaned backwards a bit... Was this... REALLY happening right now...?
Kensou could barely contain himself at this point, swallowing perhaps a days worth of saliva down his throat at once. He always dreamed of this moment... but never in his wildest dreams did he think it would actually happen...
“For once... Let me give you something... only 'I' can give you...”
Athena's words seemed to echo in his head now... Their surroundings kicked up slightly with the wind, but all of that was tuned out by the two friends... However, Kensou managed to pulled himself together and calmed down...
[“This... This HAS to be it...!”]
“...Athena... If this is what you want... then...”
He didn't finish his sentence; he didn't need to, as he saw Athena, his friend, nod just once lightly... then closed her eyes and slowly and gently leaned forwards towards him more...
...after a moment, he got his answer...
[“Thank you... for everything...”]
[“WAIT... IS SHE...!?"]
Alarm bells rang... no... exploded in her head. From 0 to 100, Athena went from calm yet curious to outright panicked and furious, so fast that the watching younger girl near her couldn't even process it.
Momoko couldn't even finish calling her name, for by the time she did, Athena was gone in a flash of pink energy, faster than she ever did before in her life... leaving her with a blank look on her face.
“Yeah, she's totally feeling better, I guess...! I should get upstairs and pack...”
It was the first time Athena had kissed someone... No, not the friendly or family variant of kissing... It was THAT type of kiss that she was experiencing now... The one she wanted to share with 'her'... but... obviously that plan had wound up failing hard...
Despite that... actually doing it with Kensou was nothing like she had figured it would be. Considering his past antics, she figured he'd die if she as so much as winked at him a lot of the time... but this... with her passionately leaning onto his chest, hands placed there and him eventually comfortably placing a hand behind her back... it was... dare she say... heavenly... It felt so nice... she silently wished she could stay like that, and savor the moment.
Though eventually, both managed to break apart, both lightly panting from the rise of emotion. Athena was the first to speak, lightly dropping her head, but on her face was quite the smile.
“Y... you know... finally coming up like this... It's... different... but... I actually... like it...”
“I... I still can't believe you actually are-”
Before he could finish the words, Athena simply placed a finger on his lips, once again shocking him.
“You don't have to say anything... Perhaps I'm being a bit selfish right now... but do you mind if I do it again...?”
"I... well... if-if you want..."
Athena once again moved in for another kiss for his friend, even scooting up and sitting directly in front of him, arms coming around his neck... which could only make him insanely hot underneath his hood collar. The only thing that ran through his head at this time was the feeling he always wanted to feel ever since he started getting to know his Psycho Soldier companion...
[“...This... has GOT to be the HAPPIEST day of my life...!”]
...that was, until... something beside them seemed to flare up in hostility, knocking both friends out of their blissful moment harshly. Athena, in question, could barely snap herself out of it before she suddenly felt threatened and just barely caught a glimpse of a heated ball of energy streaking right in her direction... and forced herself to break her next kiss attempt early... or risk being shot off the mountainside.
Within that moment, Kensou could just barely throw himself backwards on the wooden bench as a bright pink projectile attack the size of a human body blew right where Athena was, blasting off part of the nearby tree nearby and zoomed off into the distance. Right after, his blue clad friend poofed back into existence just beside him, now purely focused on where the attack had came from...
“HEY! What in the HECK was THAT for!?”
...Athena, whom was still in her firing pose, arms crossed across her body... and eyes filled with disdain for what she just witnessed.
“How... dare you...! How DARE you...! This... is UNFORGIVABLE!!”
Needless to say, Kensou couldn't be anymore confused about the matter... though, as the scene played itself out, it quickly began to make itself clearer to him...
“How... how dare you say those things!” Athena continued, now storming towards the two towards the bench, but mainly towards her mirror image. “And how dare you jump all over Kensou like that! Don't you have any shame!?”
“Hmph!” came a sharp reply, Athena not budging from her spot, “What does it even matter to you? It's not like you cared that much before, right? I'm taking the time to finally express how I feel about a dear friend! Isn't this what you always wanted; you know, if you were actually ME? How could you lead him on for so long without telling him how you felt! You're absolutely terrible!”
“No, it's YOU that's the terrible one! I would never act in such a dirty way towards Kensou! That's just not right!”
“What's so 'dirty' about showing affection!? For someone whose always going on about spreading love and togetherness, you have a ROTTEN way of showing that to someone's who'se been your partner for the longest time! So, you're admitting that you never felt anything towards him, aren't you? I knew it! You MUST be the fake then! You've been playing with his feelings on purpose all these years just because!”
“That's not true! But it IS you that's giving me a bad image to him now! Kensou is my friend...! My DEAREST friend! What you were doing was FAR from what I call 'just friendship'!”
As the two argued back and forth, Kensou could only stare on in disbelief. Sure... in a crazy world, seeing Athena fight over himself twice over would be considered a dream... but right now he couldn't feel any more nervous, as if he were standing in the middle of two cats fighting for the same litterbox... and then, a flash from his past came to his mind...
[“That dream... it's... coming true...!”]
Suddenly, without warning, Athena raised up her hands, stopping the back and forth nature of their latest argument.
“You know what...? ...I got it, then...”
“Got what?” Athena quickly answered back, but then stopped herself as she noticed her blue self turn away from her for a quick second, then, with a smirk, lowered her tone...
The call of his name at at a time like this forced the boy to shoot up from the bench as if it was suddenly a bed of spikes. Staring back at him were the two Athenas, Athena looking at him with a look of happiness... and Athena looking back at him with a level of sternness...
“How about YOU tell us who you think the real one of us is, then? You'll be honest, right...?”
“Ah.... ah.... You... you can't be serious... I... I can't CHOOSE... between you two...!”
“HEY! No fair! You're pressuring him! Besides, Kensou TRULY knows which one of us is the 'real' one...” Athena then glared harder at him, making sure he got the message she was trying to make... “Right...?”
“Well, why not?” Athena justified herself, as if she knew she had this in the bag. “You know, there was only one of us before these last few days even happened... so you'd be able to tell more than anyone; even Master Chin. Go on, don't be afraid to say how you really feel...”
“...What... I really feel...”
Kensou swallowed hard. No man deserved to be in this type of predicament... though once again, just as he did before, he managed to steel himself... and clench his fists as his sides in order to make sure he said how he felt...
“What I really feel... is that you BOTH are the real Athena...!”
Hearing that sentence caused a few seconds of silence, the wind taking another calm breeze through the area... before both Athenas shot off the handle at the same time.
“Wait, WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT!?”
“Hey, WHAT TYPE OF ANSWER WAS THAT!?”
“No, listen to me!” Kensou shouted, shooting his hands up in front of him to stop the two before they possibly could've jumped on him to kill him where he stood. “It's just... you're so 'divided' now with yourself... Athena... as your friend... and perhaps even closer than that... I just have to say this; or else I won't be able to sleep well at night. PLEASE, don't fight with yourself like this!”
That... was something neither Athena was expecting to hear. Feeling as if he successfully got both their attention as they both went silent, the boy in the middle of this mess went on, more confident in his words.
“I... I don't want either of you two getting hurt... You're... too dear to me... I'm... not sure how to help you go about fixing this 'problem' but... please, just promise me that...”
The twins couldn't help but be left speechless at it all. After waiting for a little while in order to make sure they wouldn't flare off at each other... or him... again, Kensou slid himself between the two carefully...
“I'll... go see if I can get Master up from inside... He's sleeping in late... You two just... relax, OK...? I'll be right back.”
...and once he was a little distance away, he broke into a run inside and out of sight. Athena held her attention there for a little bit of time... before she turned to her side... to see Athena staring back at her, a light field of Psycho energy already surrounding her... and if looks could kill, it would appear as if Athena's gaze alone could shoot razor-bladed arrows right through her twin if they could...
“...The ONE chance I get to make Kensou feel special... and you ruin it... All those years... ALL THOSE YEARS... and you choose that ONE second to 'act' like you care about him when I finally give him what he's been wanting all that time... You're right... This is unforgivable... I... will NEVER forgive YOU for this...!”
“HEY!" Athena called back, just as her twin used her Teleport once again to leave the area... but not without following suit with on of her own. “I'm not done with you! Get back here!”
It didn't take long for Kensou to get to the inside of the cabin and into the lower level side room the team's Master was known for sleeping in... Flicking the light on in the dark room, he was quick to call out for the old man for help...
A moment of silence met the boy, whom could slightly smell the scent of alcohol in the air... which was nothing new... but other than that, nothing...
“Kensou... You sure don't take time to knock anymore, now do you?”
“GAH!” Jumping away from his back, Kensou turned around to see his master standing back from where he came with a look of wonderment on his face.
“What? Did you think I was sleeping? We spent all this time sharpening your senses, Kensou. Don't start losing that now.”
“Well... yeah, to be honest...” the young man said back, shaking his head a little to get back on track “Anyways, I need to talk to you. I think there's something terribly wrong with Athena...”
“Wrong, eh...?” the old master repeated back, standing up and stroking his beard. “Go on ahead, Kensou... Tell me what's happening to her.”
Without wasting time, Kensou let in all that he experienced over the last moment he shared with the twins. By the time he was done, Chin had ceased his hand movements and stood at full attention.
“So... I'm seeing a side of her, that I haven't seen before... Its... WAY scarier than usual...”
“Hmm... so the side that houses the evil workings of her soul is starting to show itself then...”
“No... I wouldn't say it's more one than the other...” the young man corrected himself. “They both seem so... true to themselves... Yet it's getting to the point that they're starting to hate each other... REALLY hate each other. The argument they had just now... It was hard to watch Athena and Athena fight with each other like that...”
“Hmm... I see... A heart with two halves...”
With that, the old man turned his attention away from his pupil, beginning to walk past him towards the front of the cabin.
“They'll have no choice, then...”
“You have something in mind, Master?”
Kensou's question made Chin stop just short of the doorway and look back over his shoulder, and he could feel the seriousnes on Chin's face. “Yes... She will have to confront the side of her heart she's been dealing with.... and make it whole again...”
A few moments passed, and once the old man's words clicked, Kensou made a face. “Hold on, wait, Master... Are... are you SURE... about this? You're thinking what I'm thinking you are, aren't you?”
Chin simply looked back towards his front, letting past a tired sigh. “I'd hate to rush her to it, but her upcoming schedule sure makes it hard for us to treat this manner the slow 'old fashioned' way... Tell me... Where were they last?”
Meanwhile, Athena had brought herself back inside, appearing back just in front of the younger member's bedroom doors upstairs near her own, just wanting to get away from her twin as she tried to think through her anger...
[“I swear... I SWEAR she won't get away with this...”]
“I didn't know how to say this at first... but now I'm certain of it...”
However, that didn't last long at all, as within that instant, a second voice rang out... from Athena, whom had followed her energy flow, looking at her twin's backside with piercing eyes...
“You're not satisfied with just trying to ruin my image... You want to get rid of me completely... To replace me... That's it, isn't it?”
Athena said nothing back, but for Athena, the silence spoke a thousand words. By this time, clearly, a line that had not been crossed over the past few days, even after others were, had finally been crossed... and... rather rapidly one might say, the friendly air around the two identical Psycho Soldiers had long since evaporated.
“You let your guard down just before you teleported and I took the time to read your mind..." Athena kept on sternly, clenching her hands by her sides. "You were plotting this ever since we left the bedroom...”
“...And you didn't think the same?” Athena finally spoke, turning around and not dropping her mood. “You weren't the only one reading thoughts and emotions; I could sense your hate from all the way from where you were hiding back there... Well guess what? DEAL with it...! I'm OBVIOUSLY Athena Asamiya, you faker... and... and I'm going to prove it...!”
At this point the words just seemed to fly out, and even Athena felt as if she was just speaking without thinking... In fact, she completely was, but darn it, her interrupting her moment with Kensou... HER moment with Kensou, was the last straw. With a fierce pointer finger into her double's face, Athena let it all out loud and clear what she had in mind...
“I'm going to prove it... by getting MY half of my power back from you, wither you like it or not!”
“FAKE!? It's YOU whose the fake one! And it's gonna be YOU that gives me back MY power and goes away!”
“Oh, IS THAT SO!?”
“YES, I SURE THINK SO!”
Without either of them realizing it, both had roughly grabbed onto the others' collar of their shirts to pull them to their own attention, teeth even visibly gritting and growls emitting from their throats. Yes... Now, this 'mirror-self' of hers was showing her true colors...
[She really WAS the enemy all along...!!]
However, before the moment could escalate even further, the twin idols turned to their side to realize in shock that they weren't alone in the upper hallway now. Near them in the middle of the way stood Bao, his eyes rather wide and poking the tips of his pointer fingers together in front of him sheepishly.
“Oh... I... I'm sorry... I... didn't mean to interrupt you...”
It was at this point they realized their still felt their faced scrunched up in anger... and both subconsciously gasped in unison.
“Ahaha....! N-no, Bao... It's alright...!” Athena said while letting go of herself, turning around to face him with the biggest (fake) smile she could give at the moment. "You... you didn't interrupt anything...!”
“R-right...!” Athena agreed, releasing her grip on herself and flashing a similar (fake) smile. “Um... w-what's the matter...? Did you... need me for anything?”
“No...” the young boy in orange clothing said slowly. By the way his eyes looked, he also wasn't too convinced on the act the twin Athenas were putting on... “I... I just heard a lot of shouting and I... you know... wanted to make sure you were OK...”
“OK...? Bao, it's alright...! I-er... W-We've... never felt better...!”
“R-Right! Now... go on ahead and have some fun time with Momoko, OK? You don't have to worry about me... I mean, 'us...' We promise.”
Bao may be young, but even he could feel when it was time to leave someplace he probably wouldn't want to be in for too long. With a slight tilt of the head, he inched towards Momoko's door to his right and grabbed the knob. “OK, Athena-chan... If you say so.”
In the next moment, the door opened and closed with Bao letting himself in... and instantly the smiles the twins put on dropped, now just realzing that they were standing side-by-side against the end of the hallway, backs against a small table with various small items on it...
“...This is all your fault, you know that, right...?”
“My fault? It's not me who isn't being honest right now...”
“Why are you still trying to act like you don't have any blame in this, huh?” Athena shot back, now giving her twin a heated stare once again. “You're still just going to ride that lie until the end, aren't you...!?”
“I'm NOT lying!” Athena quickly matched her blue twin's hot gaze. “Don't pin this all on me because you wanted to be selfish with your desires...!”
“There you go using that word again! At least I'M willing to do that when I feel I need to for myself! No one truly likes that much of a goody-goody, and you know it! You think you're whole act is any better!? Why do you think you've always been talked down to by some of the other fighters at KOF, huh? I just don't mind 'taking care of myself' with how I feel, unlike you, who has to butt into others people's business because you 'care' about purity, 'love' and justice...! Sometimes you just need to butt out and let those things come to be naturally!”
“You're really pushing it, right now! Stop it before you REALLY tick me off!”
“Oh, yeah? Did I really make you THAT mad!? Well, maybe I WANT to see you get ticked off! It'll probably be a nice change of pace to see that face of mine show some anger for a change!”
“Oh, yeah!? Then how about THIS for anger, then!?”
The next thing Athena knew, a stinging slap struck across her cheek, strong enough to knock her whole body off balance and nearly crashh into Kensou's closed door behind her. Athena, hand still out in the air where it hit its mark, simply watched on as her twin managed to catch herself on the corner wall, her eyes clearly beaming with annoyance.
For a moment; a very small moment, there was silence...
But very quickly, the tension in the air became as thick as smog. Athena spun herself around to face Athena, her purple hair levitating upwards, her body starting to glow with Psycho Power, and her eyes literally shining brightly...
Unfortunately, Athena's reaction only triggered Athena's own temper, whom wound up matching the same exact appearance of anger...
“Momo-chan, I'm worried about Athena-chan...” Bao said in a low tone, almost mouse like in volume with sheepish look and all on his face.
“What makes you say that?” the young friend of his answered back, a bit busy finishing up the last of her packing in her room.
“Well... I can just... 'feel it'... Rather strongly, too. I don't really think the two Athenas really like each other...”
“Bao, I think you're worrying too much. I mean... I understand you're concerned for her, but they are Athena, y'know? I've never seen her even get upset... well, as long as Kensou or Master aren't involved in the equation with their hijinks! I can't see her getting bad feelings over herself... That's just silly talk!”
The young boy tried to take Momoko's words to heart. After all, save a few pouts of annoyance, plenty of determined faces and some awkward moments, this was still Athena. Athena was always the pillar of happiness for everyone around her, from her friends to her fans down especially to her fellow Soldiers, him included. The thought made Bao smile, rubbing the back of his head & large hat with a nervous laugh.
“Hehe... Yeah, you're right, Momo-chan. Guess I was just being silly, after-all.”
“It's not like you to worry Bao,” Momoko added on while looking at the kid with a smart look. “You're way too young for that. You don't want to end up like Master Chin with wrinkles and gray hair now, do you?”
The mere thought of his looking like an old man made Bao make an utterly shocked expression. “N-no way...!”
“I thought so! Now... if you don't mind, you want to give me a hand finishing up? If we don't leave on time tomorrow morning, Athena will be in trouble getting ready for both the concert and the tournament.”
“Thanks for helping me calm down, Momo-chan.”
“Hey, don't worry. I'm sure Athena will be just fi--”
Suddenly, everything around the two Soldiers, even the floor they were standing on, quaked violently as the sound of a massive impact rocked their eardrums, so strong it was able to knock off some room items off the walls and dressers. It was so sudden it literally caused both of them to yelp and jump out of their skin, especially Bao, who had his hat fall over his face and Momoko's clothes jump out of the suitcase in front of her on the bed. The girl that owned it could only stand in shell-shock, eyes wide as could be...
“I HATE YOU!!!”
Outside the bedroom doors, upper hallway of the cabin had suddenly become a war zone. Bodies were slammed around against the walls at the Athenas wrestled and locked with each other. Punches rocketed into the other's faces whenever they weren't latched onto their respective other's hair... Knees kicked out into their opposite's stomach... With little room for movement and not much thought for 'elaborate', thoughtful techniques, the anger resting inside the twins finally boiled over, and it was quickly taking a toll on anything that wasn't nailed down...
...and even then, things that WERE nailed down were quaking off their mounts quickly. Back and forth the twins literally threw each other all over the hallway, still locked together in what one sure could see as some psycho-powered wrestling match with now ring... until, eventually, both their feet finally got caught up on the kicked up rug that was below them, forcing them to trip and lose their balance, dragging each other down with them...
...and wound up falling to the floor hard. A moment passed with neither idol moving from their downed position. Athena was the first to move, wincing a little as she pushed herself off her identical twin... and noticed for once she didn't do anything to stop her; not even a quip. Looking beside her, Athena noticed Athena, whom was lying on her back, arms limp both beside and on her stomach... and realized that she wasn't moving, eyes closed.
Looking above her, Athena realized the hard table against the wall, now completely out of place... and then made the dots connect.
[I... must've made her hit her head against that as we fell...]
Taking a moment to gather herself, Athena sat up, brushing a bit of her hair from her face and gazed over her unconscious red-clothed twin with a smirk on her face.
“Phew...! Take that...! That'll teach you to mess with me! Now... what to do with you...”
Looking behind her, she gazed upon the stairway leading downstairs and out of the cabin and had an idea.
“I know Master wasn't convinced that that place we met each other at first didn't have anything to do with this... but... I wonder if repeating the process anyways would help...”
Next, she stood up, brushing her legs off with a hand, then began thinking of a plan, turning her attention towards the forest.
“All I have to do is just get you over there and focus... If I can read you back there and concentrate... then maybe I could..... EH!?!?”
Just then, a hand grabbed onto her ankle, causing Athena to gasp in shock as she realized Athena wasn't as out as she seemed to let on... Hurt? Yes, but definitely not out...
“I wouldn't go... celebrating just yet...” she let out, fire burning in her eyes. “You won't... get away with this...!”
Athena instantly tried to kick Athena off her boot, but surprisingly her grip was rather tight despite being down on the ground. “N... no...! Let... go of me...!”
“If that's what you want...!”
Athena's hand then began to glow with her Psycho Power, which quickly shot up her blue twin's body and circle around her head, freezing her in place and groan in pain. In the next moment, she found herself being thrown down the very stairs she was looking at, smacking the back of her head against the descending ceiling on the way, and falling out of sight with a mighty crash.
Grunting with some effort, Athena managed to pick herself up off the ground using the table near her for leverage, then wasted no time getting to the top of the stairs to see her twin knocked out, face-down and with her arms out in front of her, just before the closed front door.
“That serves you right! At least we now know which of us is the 'dark side' now!”
One quick Teleport later, it was now Athena's turn to look at her unconscious twin, brushing her clothes off as she appeared. However, unlike her twin, she gained no pleasure in getting the upper-hand. Certainly, this whole ordeal was slowly getting to this point, and now that it was here, there was no time to waste.
“I had better bring you to Master Chin directly and see if he figured out a way to deal with you yet... If I allowed you to run around with my image like this, you'd surely tarnish it!”
She then looked around and tried to get a feel of where her Master may had went to. According to Kensou, he couldn't have been far...
“Now, I just have to find him and let him tell me what to do next...”
Athena closed her eyes, trying to get a lock on her master's whereabouts...
“...Who do you think... is the one tarnishing anything, here, huh...?”
Caught off guard, Athena tried to jump back as she saw Athena whisk her head up off the ground, shooting her a hot glare, but before she could, a field of psycho power eveloped her body in an instant and lifted her off the ground before flinging her over the downed twin and into the door... but as she went careening outside, Athena instinctively caught onto the back of Athena's jacket slightly...
...and took her with her as they both wound up shattering through the wood door that lead out into the open outside. Athena grunted out as she tumbled out onto the dirty pathway, but shortly managed to come to a stop, some time before Athena did. A bit slow to get up, the twins were quick to lock eyes with fire in their eyes.
“Why... Why you...! You-!”
“I... I swear I'll...! I'll-!”
Both girls were determined to make the other pay, starting to rush at each other and hit her with everything she had... but suddenly a trail of hot fire shots between the two just before the could throw their first punches, breaking up their fight... To their side, stood Master Chin, whom was the one that literally shot fire from his mouth courtesy of his trusty bottle of sake.
“Ah... That was something else... Nothing beats the sweet taste of alcohol in the morning...”
Instantly, the twins pointed at each other accusingly, like two kids trying to blame the other for breaking a parent's vase.
“Master! It's her, no doubt about! That's the doppelganger! I would never--”
“Sensei! It has to be her! She's the dark side of me! I just know--”
However, a simple rise of Chin's hand was enough to silence the two girls.
“Athena... I believe now's the time to finally deal with this... 'properly'... I've been thinking about this for quite some time, but considering how you are as a Psycho Soldier, and simply as a person, I didn't think you'd have such trouble with yourself...”
“Listen to me... I've gotten word from your people over the messaging box I have on that computer thing inside the cabin... Took me forever to remember how to work the thing... Anyways, while I have been buying time for you to do what was necessary over the phone, those folk have been telling me that we're truly cutting it close for your preparations for your concert in Germany... If we don't head back by tomorrow, then things could be a bit rough on you...”
Without waiting for either girl to respond back, Chin cut right to the chase, crossing his arms in front of him as he spoke up.
“They say that you must truly face yourself in order to grow stronger... Athena, I gave you and your 'other you' some time to try to figure it out yourself, but for the sake of time and... well-being, I think it's time go for one of the oldest trials in the book... the good ol' fashioned Mirror Match!”
Both Athena and Athena gasped a little at Chin's reaction. Ironically, both were already familiar with this from the various training exercises from when they, as just one Athena, was first learning about her powers... The main difference, however, was that it was only psychic illusions in those times past...
…This time, however...
This 'Mirror” of herself... was stronger... and more REAL, than any past illusion she had created before... They had sparred a bit before, so they knew that for sure... and with the way they just attacked each other moments before... It... was so typical... and yet... it made the most sense by a mile...
“...I knew eventually it would come to this...” Athena was the first to speak. “I tried to fight it, but I just knew...”
“...I knew it...” Athena followed. “I didn't want to believe it... but I knew I'd have to prove it like this...”
Just as her thoughts began to come filled with the prospect of having to battle herself... to the finish... both looked up and actually grew surprised at the fact that the old man... was smiling back at them. Smiling at a time like this...?
“Say... you two...”
“Huh...? What is it, Master Chin...?”
“Eh...? What's the matter, Master Chin...?”
“It's not like either of you to be so worked up about such a thing... Aren't you always telling others to always smile, no matter what?”
Both Athenas took a moment to realize what Chin said... He was right. It was practically her catchphrase after all this time, and it was indeed ironic that she was simply not herself... because of herself. Once more, they looked in the other's direction as Chin continued on.
“You may have your differences... You may see yourselves as enemies right now... and yes... This confrontation will most likely finally bring this trail in your life to a close... but the fact of the matter doesn't change... You... are you, Athena... Both of you... are all of you... The only thing holding you back right now... IS you... Don't forget who YOU are... and things will become clear to you... about just which of you is which. Understand?”
“Now... there's still some time before night falls... So listen carefully....”
The tress could hear the sound of two sets of shoes, stepping in unison, shuffling as they walked down a single path down the mountain. The shoes indeed belonged to the twin Athenas, whom had been on this way for about 15 minutes, traveling together in complete silence. Before they left, the two decided she wanted to wear something... traditional, to prove a point apparently... and so, despite how much they were not hating having to wear the same exact thing, they both came though the path wearing their '95 martial arts tunics... the same ones from the first day they 'caused' this split... However, they were together now, not due to choice, but to Master Chin's request. Before the two twins left the cabin site, he had laid to them some specific instructions about how to go about this. Out of the need to make sure she would be able to deal with this issue without any of the others interfering (and to make sure the impending battle didn't damage the cabin... or destroy it), he told them of a place a bit out of the way of their usual training areas along the mountain, a place that she hadn't been to in a long time...
Out of respect, Athena and Athena promised to not to try to lash at each other, until they reached 'that place'...
They had been showing an incredible amount of restraint, not attacking the other on their way up. Any time she felt that rush to possibly go back on her word, flashes of their Master... and their friends, reflected in their minds, not to mention her many fans she had back home and around the world...
It felt odd... that it was taking the weight of her own world... to keep from tearing herself apart.
Many times the two Athenas took a moment to glimpse at each other as they walked, most of the time it would be only one at a time as the other kept her eyes on the path or in their surroundings... or simply eyes closed and to herself. The rare times that they did meet eye to eye were kept brief, as it seemed to remind her that she was indeed dealing with one with her own face, causing them to quickly whip their heads in opposite directions.
However still, in the back of both their minds... A thought kept nagging on that wouldn't go away... It was very small, like a whisper, but it was hard not to notice it...
[Why... do I feel... as if I'm.... making a mistake...?]
Still, they had gotten to this point already. There was no turning back. If she didn't address it now, it would only cause even more unwanted complications later...
[No.... I... I have to do this... We... both know it... We can't exist like this... One of us... has to leave...]
It hurt to think about it, more than either cared to admit... but their Master was right. A doppelganger... was a bad omen... There was only one Athena before-hand... There must only be one Athena afterward...
Eventually the two stopped walking, realizing that the pathway here had died out, and they were instead walking into an untouched area of forest...
“Hmm... according to master... It's gotta be this way,” Athena began, pointing towards the west slightly. “He said heading towards the path near the highest mountain top.”
“No, he said the furthest mountain peak,” Athena disagreed, pointing towards the east instead. “Don't you recall what your own master told us?”
“Yes, I heard him loud and clear, and he's said THIS way. Why are you being so difficult now?”
“No, it's YOU being difficult! I think you need to have your hearing checked or something!”
“What did you say!?”
“See! That's exactly what I'm talking about!”
“Don't you start with me! You're not helping much either!”
Needless to say, the rest of the way would be quite... turbulent...
The sun had just now set towards the center of the sky above their heads, signaling high noon as it shone through the high trees above them. With them being this high here, it was near impossible to see the mountains in the distance as a guide... and a little bit of time traveling like that wound up becoming hours... trekking through riverbanks, around natural stone bins, and other foliage that didn't show itself any different from the other. All either of the Athenas knew was that they had been going... 'forwards', barely communicating but still trying to figure out their way to this 'place' Master mentioned...
“We're totally lost now...” Athena said, stopping just a few steps behind her twin with her arms crossed in annoyance. “I told you it was going in the direction I was saying... I don't know why I bothered following you like this...”
“Say what?” Athena instantly shot back, “I'm the one following YOU! You're the one that lead us on this narrow dirt path, remember!? This is what happens when I let someone like you take the lead, trying to guide while in the back like you know it all!”
“Why you...! That tears it!”
“Darn you...! That does it!”
Once again, the twin Psycho Soldiers wound up fighting, this time barely getting a few sentences into it before getting physical with each other. Athena wound up grabbing her twin's wrist as Athena did the same to her opposite arm, and began pulling in the direction she thought she was meant to go...
“It's.... THIS way...!”
“No... it's THIS way...!”
...which, of course, was opposite directions to the sides. They both struggled together in unison, trying to force the other off their feet to force her to follow her, causing their red/blue shoes to dig into the mud they had been walking through... It looked completely silly, neither able to make the other budge as they were evenly matched... but after a few moments, it wound up not being so silly...
“W... what... was that...?” Athena stopped, trying to figure out the source of the quaking she was hearing...
“I... I don't know...” Athena also stopped, realizing the low noise around them suddenly growing louder...
Suddenly, the grass below their feet seemed to give way, apparently due to this pathway being so narrow and unstable... and took the twin idols with them; a landslide.
Just moments before fighting against each other, the twins found themselves clinging together out of instinct as they wound up sliding down with the rest of the earth, narrowly missing trees on the way down.
A short fall through the air later... and the two wound up making a rough landing on their rear ends and front, finally at a stop.
Shaking their heads clear, Athena and Athena instantly gave each other yet another hateful stare... but just before they could snap and begin to charge at each other head on again...
… the two Athenas paused, and realized where they had stumbled across. It was quite remote, well hidden within the surrounding trees, and unfamiliar to the two of them... The atmosphere here however was quite different from any other place they've been at before; almost heavenly. Here, the sun seemed to coats the field in pure golden light, flowers in the grass blooming brilliantly... and just beyond the trees there seemed to be a lake with a tall mountain looming just over its range... noticeably bigger than the others around...
“This... must be....”
“...where Master Chin was talking about...”
The 'Garden of the Sun'...
It was the place... where they would settle their differences...
For a while, neither Athena moved from the entrance to this cleared out area. Once they got a good look over the place, their glances now purely focused on the other over her shoulder. This time, they didn't look away from each other, instead, just simply staring at the other's eyes, and felt their pulse begin to quicken. Both could admit that at first, this whole event wasn't so bad... It was even enjoyable... but now... there had been toes stepped on and boundaries that were crossed... Words that probably shouldn't have been said... but they were out now, and while she had tried to bring some calming thoughts to mind, much more of her body was much more anxious to finally settle her issues with her alternate self...
All good things... must come to an end at some point...
For a moment, the two wordlessly walked into the clearing, into the bright sunlight, still eyeing each other intently, and getting a little bit of distance from each other.
“This... is it...”
“Now, we're going to settle this...”
“Once and for all...”
“Just which one of us is...”
“The true Psycho Soldier...”
Then, they stopped, coming full center in this gorgeous arena of nature... She may be her... but... she was herself as well. There was just no way... she could allow herself to lose here...
[This stage... isn't big enough for the two of us...]
They steeled their resolve... and after another moment of silence, opened their eyes and faced each other, taking their identical fighting stances, faces full of determination. It was time to end this problem of hers... herself...
“HERE I GO, 'OTHER-ME...!!'”
“HERE I COME!, 'ALTER-ME'...!!”
And so... this is it... the big showdown between me and myself...
To say that this was something that was over in just a little while would be such a big lie... Looking back at it, I REALLY regret this but...
Well... We have to tell... We've gotten this far, after all... We've been in many fights before... but never anything like this...
So... if you don't mind, we're gonna take a moment before we tell you... EVERYTHING that happened in that Garden... Hope you have something nice to snack on because it'll take a while... If you don't that's OK, we'll get you something... How does that sound?
Oh...? Aren't you the nicest...! You don't have to, but okay... We'll wait here while you get what you want for all of us. Thanks for that, you're the best audience one could as for!
See you when you get back...!
A lover of fighting game girls, a lover of mirror matches [...and a magnet for double K.O.s, apparently].
Catchable on Steam & most video game consoles. Just PM me!
My YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_68Jr ... WTfysnNb9A
Last edited by DeNice on Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:01 am, edited 6 times in total.