Cripple Your Enthusiasm (Inexcusably Late 8S Submission)


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Cripple Your Enthusiasm (Inexcusably Late 8S Submission)

Post by QuietlySomething »

Two friends from the track team discuss apple-eating, gossip about their classmates' sex lives, and get to the bottom of a mystery, sort of.


Over a month late and many, many dollars short, but it is here. I can forgive myself for my delinquency only for the fact that nobody wrote a fic for the prompt I submitted, but nonetheless I must offer my sincerest apologies to ProfAllister- the whole Secret Santa event went great and we definitely owe that to the host of the whole thing. But, more pertinently... I am the one who had his prompt. So without further ado.

Victim: ProfAllister

Prompt: The gossip of Yamaku (You're free to interpret whatever, but my initial intent was gossip as in chatter, but you're free to make it gossip as in the individual who does the chattering)

This fic... I don't know how I allowed this to happen. I tried to roll with the prompt and yet ended up with something that evolved way beyond it, into something I don't know that I can adequately describe. I definitely ended up focusing on the individuals doing the gossiping in this instance, but I hope I was at least able to capture some of the spirit of the prompt.

That said, what you are about to read is very, very stupid. Proceed at your own risk.
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Cripple Your Enthusiasm

Post by QuietlySomething »




A brown-haired boy kicked up dust as he passed the bleachers, earning a moment of consideration from the one-handed girl in a seat three rows up.

Dissatisfied with Miki's response, Emi swiveled in her seat to face the girl next to her, taking a loud bite from an apple before speaking again. "-He's cute, though!"

Miki shrugged halfheartedly. "Sure, but not him."

"What's wrong with him?"

"Nothing's wrong with him! Doesn't mean I would sleep with him."

"But you just said he was cute."

"Cute doesn't mean I would sleep with him."

"Then why bother with 'cute'? What does 'cute' mean?"

"Are you telling me that every time you hear someone say, 'Oh, he's cute', that is code to you for 'I would have sexual intercourse with that person'?"

Emi thought about that for a suspiciously long time before shrugging.

"I don't know. Just seems like there has to be something about someone that would make you want to describe them as cute."

"Puppies are cute."

"Okay, not fair. Cute does not mean the same thing when it's referring to puppies."

"It does. That's my point."

"No, it doesn't. You would never have sex with a puppy. But you might have sex with a cute boy. Those two things aren't the same."

"That's not fair. I wouldn't refuse to have sex with a puppy because it's cute, I would refuse to have sex with it because it's a puppy. Thus the cuteness is not the specific attribute of the puppy that disqualifies it from being a sexual candidate."





The two of them sat in silence for a while, the silence between them broken up intermittently by the loud crunches of Emi's apple.

Miki looked down her nose. "You have to eat that so loud?"

Cheeks puffed out like a chipmunk's, Emi scrunched her face, taking a look at the fruit in her hand. "You can't eat an apple quietly. That's not how apples work."

"But you have to eat an apple?"

"I like apples!"

"I don't get that."

"You don't get liking apples…?"

"I don't get the choice of apple in this instance. The mid-afternoon apple. The mid-afternoon apple is a weird choice."

"Mm." The shorter girl narrowed her eyes, drumming her fingers over the apple core. "I don't see how there is a right or a wrong time to eat an apple. What's weird about an apple?"

"Too much. Like, there's a lot to an apple. You have an apple with lunch. But mid-afternoon is too late." Miki waved her left arm in front of her face, failing to gesticulate. "Apple is meaty."

"It's healthy. Lot of fiber. Too many people just load on carbs when they snack. Crackers and stuff. But there's all that sodium."

They exchanged a glance.

"…Cracker's not meaty."

Another boy slipped past the bleachers, his footsteps just loud enough to drown out Emi's eating.

With wide eyes, Emi gulped once, pointing to the passing boy with her free hand. "Jin?"

Miki smirked. "No. Definitely not."

"No? Why not? He's definitely not just 'cute'. I mean, gun to my head…"

"He doesn't bathe."

Emi nearly choked at that.

"What do you mean, he doesn't bathe?" She slowed her speech, choosing her words carefully. "You don't just… not bathe."

"I don't know how much more clearly I can put it. He does not bathe. Not regularly at least. I have it on good authority."

"Whose authority?"

"Good authority."

"Whose good authority?"

"I just know people."


Emi pouted as another runner passed in front of the bleachers, this time a staggeringly handsome brown-haired boy.

"Chiyo. Definitely him." she declared proudly, clicking her tongue.

"You can't just ask me about every guy on the track team," replied Miki, rolling her eyes.

Emi took another glance at her apple. "Well, I don't know your tastes. There is no way for me to know who you would or would not have sex with."

"…Fair enough."

"Oh, and while we're on the subject."

They exchanged a glance, and Miki clicked her tongue, earning an alarmed glare from Emi.

"I don't like that lead-in," she said hesitantly, tugging on one of her twin tails with one hand.

Miki nodded. "Yeah, well, it is weird."

"Well, don't keep me in suspense!"

"I was in the shed."

"Uh huh."

"Minding my own business."

"Uh huh."

"There was a whole thing of lube in there."

Miki crossed her arms, studying Emi's curious non-reaction.

"A thing?"

"A whole thing."

"…What… is a thing?"

"I mean, a thing. I don't know. A whole thing."

"A whole thing can be a lot of things."

"Like, a tube."

"A lube tube?"

"A tube! A container! Like, a little plastic container. Geez. Does it matter what I call it?" Miki shook her head with a sigh. "You're missing the point! I mean, am I crazy? That's so weird, right? Like, people are doing it in the track shed. Or at least someone is doing something with lube in there."



Emi scratched her face, eyes narrowed. "So weird."

"So weird, right? I mean, that is a public space!" scoffed Miki. "I use that shed!"

"It's weird. For sure."

"Yeah. Like, you were looking at me like I was crazy for a second there. But it's gross, right?"

"Totally gross."

"Totally gross!"

Emi pursed her lips, pausing to chew on the apple she'd already taken a bite out of. "So… what are you gonna do?"

"I don't know. I just thought it was gross. Maybe I'll talk to the track captain about it. He might know who was using it in the shed…"

"I." A moment passed in silence as Emi considered that. "Nah. I don't think so."

"Wh- what does that mean? You don't think so?"

"I just mean I don't think he needs to know. Don't you think it would be inappropriate to ask?"

"Too inappropriate to ask him? Have you met him?"

"Yeah, well, you know. Maybe you shouldn't bother him with it."

"I don't know how else I would go about figuring this out."

"I thought you knew people."

"I do know people."

"Well, there you go."

Miki furrowed her brow, jumping with surprise as Emi bit into her apple again.

As they sat, another boy sprinted past the bleachers, and Emi raised one finger, hurriedly swallowing.

"But Haruhiko, though."

"You have got to be kidding me."


"Hisao Nakai."

The loud springing of prosthetic legs against the track turf quieted as they slowed to a casual pace, meeting a flesh-and-bone pair of legs beside them.

Wiping sweat off her forehead as Miki caught up to her, Emi looked over her shoulder, raising an eyebrow. "Huh?"

"Hisao Nakai." Miki smiled as she caught her breath, jogging in the lane beside Emi's. "You run with him in the mornings, right?"

"Most mornings…"

"Well, I'm in his class. And I was asking around about the lube thing."

"I." Emi opened her mouth and closed it again, hesitant. "…Um, and?"

"I thought he might be able to help me out, since I know he spends a lot of time on the track."

"And what did he say?"

"Oh, good stuff."

"I." Emi looked down briefly at the track. "…Uh, good stuff?"

"Great stuff. Even though he didn't know about the lube."

"Oh… oh! Then what did he say?"

"Some interesting stuff."

"Oh, interesting? What's 'interesting' mean?"

"You know, interesting. Very interesting."

"Oh, very interesting. Well, gee, that answers my question."

"I'm getting to it! Geez, you have no sense of dramatic tension."

Emi scoffed loudly and put her left hand to her chest with a dramatic scoff. With a snicker, Miki imitated the half of the gesture she could effectively mock.

"Excuse you," said Emi, smirking halfheartedly.

"Okay, okay." Miki rolled her eyes. "So I'm talking to Hisao in class today. I tell him about the lube."

"The lube tube."

"Yes. And he's clearly surprised to hear about it."

"Yeah. Why wouldn't he be…?"

"And so he thinks about it, and after a minute, he tells me- and I know you run in the mornings with him, so I don't know if you've noticed this too or not- but he tells me that he has actually seen people from our class hanging around the shed at those same times."

"Really? People from our class?"

"People from Hisao's and my class. 3-3. I think it's like, a whole thing. He actually pointed out a number of people."

"Did he mention Haruhiko? He's in 3-3, right? Makes sense that he would be-"

"Not Haruhiko. I don't think he goes into the shed much."

"Then who?"

"More people than you'd think."

"You know, your conversations would go a lot faster if you just answered questions the first time someone asked you them."

"Fine, then. Hanako Ikezawa."


"She's one of the people Hisao has seen down there."


"Hanako Ikezawa."


"…Hanako Ikezawa."

"Doesn't ring a bell."

"Purple hair."

"People don't have purple hair."

"She does."

"I think I would remember someone with purple hair, Miki."

"The nurse has purple hair."

"…Oh. He does, doesn't he? Weird that nobody ever brings that up."

"And so does Ikezawa."

"…Well, it still doesn't ring a bell."

"She's got burns on her face."

"…Nope, nothing."

"She's the girl who always darts off when you try to talk to her?"

"Oh! You mean Mystery Toilet Girl!"


"Mystery Toilet Girl. I know who you're talking about."

"Weird name."

"It's 'cause she always goes to the toilet for mysterious reasons."


"I didn't come up with that name, I promise."


"Really, I didn't."

"I believe you."

"I feel like you don't, and it bothers me."

"You really don't need to worry about it."

"I mean, I'm a little worried about it."

"Can we please move on?"

"Fine." Emi slowed her pace slightly, putting a finger to her chin as she contemplated. "The question you should be asking is, what would Hanako be doing down here in the first place?"

"I don't know. Nobody knows." Miki raised an eyebrow. "She disappears. Sometimes for days. People don't know where she goes. It's an unsolved mystery."

"You can't think she's the one who's using the lube, though…"

"You never know. She used to spend a lot of time hanging out with Lilly Satou. Pretty suspicious."

"Lilly Satou? How is that suspicious? I always thought Satou was on the straight and narrow."

"Then you didn't hear the things I heard. You heard the rumors about Taro from 3-3? With the d-"

"-Ew, yes."



"Yep. Him and Lilly. That's what they were saying."

"…Taro and Lilly?"


"That's what they were saying?"



Miki shrugged. "Just saying, you never know. Ikezawa was in with that crowd. Who knows what she might be doing in the track shed?"

"You think you know a person."

"Yeah. Don't judge a book by the cover and all that." Miki snapped her fingers. "Speaking of which, Molly Kapur."

"Molly? The Indian girl? But isn't she an amputee?"

"Hence the books. And not judging them by their respective covers." Miki shot Emi a sideways glance, pleased with herself. "Of course, as we all know, a double amputee could never have any reason to come down to the track and/or shed."

"Yeah, yeah."

"Such a thing would be unheard of."


"A violation of nature, even."

"Yeah. I got it. You're clever. Who else?"

Miki paused for half a second. "Oh, Naomi Inoue. And Natsume Ooe."

"From the newspaper club?"

"Those are the ones."

"What, at the same time?"

"I'm, like, 96% sure they're lesbians. Maybe they're doing their shenanigans in the track shed."

"Their lesbian shenanigans."


"But would lesbians need the lube?"

"I dunno. Maybe. I guess it would depend on the paraphernalia you bring."

"Are you expected to bring paraphernalia? I guess in my head I was imagining that the expectation was that you would start freehand."

"Start freehand, then progress to the-?"

"Maybe it varies from person to person. You might need lube even if you are going for the freehand approach, right?"

"Natsume is arthritic; she may not be well equipped for the freehand approach."

"So maybe she just skips ahead to the hard stuff?"

"If you're gonna bring the paraphernalia, and you've got a shaky hand, then it would make sense to me that you would skip ahead. The skipping ahead would be the natural endpoint of those two things."

"But that's assuming you are going to bring the paraphernalia."

"Yeah, I don't know what the expectation is."

"What is lesbian regulation? Regarding the bringing of the paraphernalia? Are we talking about a potluck kind of situation, or…?"

"I don't know. I've never actually had sex with a woman before."

"Oh, really?"

"I- wh-" Miki cut herself off, doing a double take before exchanging a glance with Emi. "…Are you surprised to hear that?"

Emi shrugged, putting a finger to her chin. "…Yeah, you know, I am kind of surprised, actually."

"Hm." Miki pursed her lips, wiping sweat off of her brow with her wrist. "You know, I can understand that."

"You give off a little bit of a vibe."

"Lesbian vibe."

"A bit of a lesbian vibe, yeah."

"I have been known to give off the lesbian vibe on occasion."

They nodded briefly to each other at that, slowing to a near stop in the middle of each of their lanes. After a moment, a boy breezed past them, and Miki shrugged, taking off down the track again.

Emi scurried after her to catch up. "Who else did Hisao see by the shed?"

"That's all," Miki replied casually, glancing back over her shoulder.

"That's all?"


"You made it sound like there were a lot of people."

"That is a lot of people."

"It's not that many people."

"Four people just from our class being spotted by the track shed? That don't do track? That's a lot of people."

"And you still have no idea which of them is responsible."

"Maybe I'll ask them."

"Would they admit it if you confronted them, though?"

"Doesn't seem like something someone would be eager to admit to. Especially if you confronted them about it. The kind of thing that would really get people to go silent."




"Oh, by the way." Miki dropped her eyes suddenly, examining her running partner's stance. "Hisao saw all these guys and you didn't see any of them… no offense, but you really need to pay more attention to people. It's incredible the stuff that can get by you."

Emi looked forward, stone-faced. "Yeeup."


The heavy door to the rooftop shut behind Miki as she stepped out onto the gravel, earning a surprised yelp from Emi at her lunch table. Rin, walking around in circles behind her, gave no reaction whatsoever. Miki shot them both a glance.

"Someone told me you're always eating lunch up here," she declared loudly.

"That's not true," replied Rin from the other end of the rooftop, still pacing with her eyes fixed on the clouds. "Sometimes we're eating other meals in other places. At other times."

"Sometimes we aren't even eating meals. Crazy, I know." Emi raised a hand in greeting as she bit loudly into an apple, gesturing for Miki to take a seat alongside her. "What's up, Miki?"

"Apples again, huh?" asked Miki, slumping down at the table opposite Emi.

"Oh, come on! I like apples!"

"I noticed. But you eat so loud."

"I do not!" Emi stared at her lunch self-consciously. "I thought your problem was that I was eating an apple in the afternoon. You said they were too meaty."

"Oh. Yeah." Miki blinked. "I lied. You just eat so loud."

"I do not eat loud."

"You do."

"I don't."

"She does. When she eats crunchy food she sounds like a woodchipper on steroids," interjected Rin, still refusing to look down. "…Robot steroids."

"It's not my fault you have bad ears!"

"Not bad ears," said Miki. "Bad mouth. Bad teeth."

"Can you just tell me what this is about?"

"Fine. Fine." Miki gave a final disapproving look to Emi as she bit into her apple again before continuing. "I've been giving some thought to this track shed mystery."

"And have you thought of anything?" asked Emi.

"Yeah, something occurred to me-"

"-If every cloud were a dead body, wouldn't that make the sky a giant cemetery?" asked Rin.

Miki hesitated for a moment, turning her head to look past the table at Rin. "I- what the f- alright, is she gonna be okay?"

"Oh, she's just caffeinated. I let her have a root beer," replied Emi with a wave of her hand. "Give her a few minutes; she'll tire herself out."

"If the earth is really spinning, then why aren't we dizzy all the time?" asked Rin.

"So what occurred to you?" Emi asked, followed by a loud crunch.

"I was thinking about what Hisao told me yesterday," Miki said slowly.

"Oh? What about?"

"His testimony makes me suspicious."

"He's a good guy. There's no reason to be suspicious."

"I think there is." Miki rapped her fingers against her opposite wrist, thinking intently. "He told me he saw people by the shed. But it occurred to me: he's not in track, so the only times he would have seen anyone down there would be when he was running with you."

"So what? Maybe I just didn't see them; sometimes I forget-"

"No, no. You're missing my point. The only times he would have seen people down there would be in the early morning. Too early for people to sneak down there to get up to their shenanigans."

"Lesbian shenanigans."

"Exactly," replied Miki, clicking her tongue. "He was lying. He must be tied up in this."



"N- no, no… Hisao wouldn't…"

"He must be protecting someone!"

"Oh… oh! Of course! But who?"

They exchanged a brief glance, and Emi widened her eyes, taking another bite of the apple in her hand.

"Maybe it's government spies," said Rin, sliding her toes around in the gravel.

Miki glared for a moment, then took a breath, resting a hand on the table. "Shizune Hakamichi."

"What? Why would she be tied up in this? She's the most uptight, rules-following-enforcery-lady around."

"I know. She's uptight. And uptight people need to blow off even more steam than most."

"Hm… good point."

"Think about it. Who is Hisao always working with in class?"

"I don't know. I'm not in your class."

"Oh, yeah." Miki pursed her lips. "Well, it's Shizune. They're close-knit."

"…How close?"

"Oh, close."


"But there's someone who's even closer to her than he is."

"Please don't say Lilly Satou."

"Misha! The pink-haired one."


"And… and… those two may not be in track, but they are in the Student Council, which means they know all the ins and outs of the school."

"Including all the best places to get up to shenanigans…"

"Lesbian shenanigans."

"But… Misha and Shizune? Secret lovers. Doesn't that seem a little… obvious?"

"No way. Misha's her interpreter. Anyone else would think it's just an ordinary platonic relationship. You need to have a keen eye to pick up on this sort of thing."

"Right. You appreciate the subtleties. If something were obvious you surely would have figured it out sooner." Emi gave a toothy smile, a little red in the face.

"Exactly." Enthusiastic, Miki flashed her a smile, waving one hand in front of her. "You know, I think you and I are really on the same page about this."

"If people have dreams about flying, maybe birds have dreams about walking around on the sidewalk," said Rin.


"Hisao, be honest with me for a second."


"I mean it. Don't try to protect my feelings."

"I wouldn't dream of it."

"Do I eat loud?"

Hisao met Emi's earnest gaze with a frown, releasing her hand to put it against his chin as the two of them made their way down the track in the morning.

"I…" Tilting his head to the side, he glanced in the direction the two of them were heading,. "Wait a minute… is there something you need from the track shed…?"

Emi pursed her lips. "Yeah… something."

Hisao rolled his eyes at her coyness. "There's no way this is a good idea."

"You need to be more adventurous sometimes."

"You're the one who said we were never trying this again."

"I was talking about it with someone. I think we were too over-eager last time. The trick has to be to start with the freehand approach. You know what I mean."

"I have literally no idea what you mean."

"Just follow along. You'll figure it out."

Giggling, Emi pushed open the door to the track shed, and a box clattered to the floor as the two people already inside scrambled to their feet with surprise.

Pulling his shirt over his shoulders with one hand, Haruhiko slipped along the wall of the shed, flashing an awkward smile to Emi and Hisao before stumbling out the entrance behind them. Still shirtless and smiling uncertainly, Miki rested her hand against the wall as she looked over the two intruders.

"…Hey, Emi."

"Hey, Miki."



"…Please don't tell the track captain about this."

"Oh, I wouldn't dream of it."

Hisao watched with slightly aroused confusion as Miki stuffed herself back into her clothes, Emi pushing past her to grab the lube tube off of the ground at their feet.

With a toothy smile, Emi patted her friend on the shoulder, looking past Hisao to the still-open doors of the track shed. "If nothing else… Haruhiko's cute."

Miki blinked twice, looking over suddenly. "You know what? Not the word I would use."
Last edited by QuietlySomething on Tue May 01, 2018 12:57 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Cripple Your Enthusiasm (Inexcusably Late 8S Submission)

Post by brythain »

Bravo! That is truly excellent, the kind of 'I-wish-I-had-written-it-myself' excellently funny thing.

I have never seen this kind of Miki/Emi interaction before. I have never wanted it so bad.

Argh: on Saturday, Miki steps out onto the GRAVEL, not the grave. I was very confused for a short while.

Otherwise: come on, shouldn't you write more of this stuff for us?
(Edit: that is NOT a request, just a rhetorical question implying that your stuff is very entertaining.)
Last edited by brythain on Wed Jan 31, 2018 12:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
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Re: Cripple Your Enthusiasm (Inexcusably Late 8S Submission)

Post by Mirage_GSM »

Well, what do they say? "Better late than never"
And if I may add "Better late and good than on time and rushed."

This may not always have been completely in character for both, but it was a fun read from beginning to end and as Brythain said we hardly ever get this kind of interaction between Miki and Emi.
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Re: Cripple Your Enthusiasm (Inexcusably Late 8S Submission)

Post by ProfAllister »

Since it was written for me, I can't let this go without comment.

Very late, but still before the end of Christmas by the hardest of hardcore Christmas celebrants.

I'd say you kept to the spirit of the prompt - very much the sort of direction I was hoping someone would take it. The characters feel like themselves (if perhaps a tiny bit too verbose for the individuals in question), the dialogue is snappy, and it's got just the right blend of believable and ridiculous.

If I had one complaint, it would be that the rumors you chose were, well, kind of stale. I was hoping to see some new crazy rumors pop up. That being said, probably the freshest take on stale rumors like the newspaper lesbians, so you've got that going for you.

Overall, great job! The teacher in me wants to deduct 10 points for every day past the due date, but that would probably be a little petty. :P
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Re: Cripple Your Enthusiasm (Inexcusably Late 8S Submission)

Post by Craftyatom »

Well, it's finally here, and it's nothing like anything I expected. This was a strange one. Strangely, it wasn't "bad" strange, which I was sure it would be after reading the first 10 or so lines. In fact, it was good - which was even stranger.

The banter between Emi and Miki was very fluid and well-done. I'm still not entirely sure whether their characterizations were on point or not - it sort of felt like they weren't, but I think your writing was good enough to convince me otherwise. Even the subterfuge between the two characters, each not knowing what the other was up to, came out really well.

I actually think you nailed this one... even if I don't really know how. Excellent work!
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Re: Cripple Your Enthusiasm (Inexcusably Late 8S Submission)

Post by Oddball »

The banter between Emi and Miki was very fluid and well-done. I'm still not entirely sure whether their characterizations were on point or not - it sort of felt like they weren't, but I think your writing was good enough to convince me otherwise.
I think what might be throwing you is that you hardly ever seem them written as being just friends with each other. No real rivalry, no competition, they just hang out. It's unique, and yet it really works well for the story.

And the story itself is pretty amusing too. I echo the thought that a few more wild rumors would have been nice, but I can't complain at all.
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Re: Cripple Your Enthusiasm (Inexcusably Late 8S Submission)

Post by azumeow »

"I don’t want to be here anymore, I know there’s nothing left worth staying for.
Your paradise is something I’ve endured
See I don’t think I can fight this anymore, I’m listening with one foot out the door
And something has to die to be reborn-I don’t want to be here anymore"
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Re: Cripple Your Enthusiasm (Inexcusably Late 8S Submission)

Post by Asoko_Desu »

Nice one - Emi and Miki as competitors should have a certain camaraderie - we can assume they're friendly, but are never shown as having a friendship per se; this captures that `close but apart` relationship nicely. Christmas truly is the most wonderful time of the year!

(Getting caught up on old stories - and procrastinating on other things.)

"So much to do, so little time."

Asoko Desu's one-shots and short pieces - and assorted tie-ins.
Two Body Problem - "Adventures in the 'Emiverse'"; Emi’s path from Rin’s perspective ..
The Years That the Locusts Have Eaten - Post-Rin’s good ending - a journey through the 'Rinverse'

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