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They Always Meet Like This

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All at once, every alarm went off across the Kurama Temple. The whole facility was placed on the highest alert. Sirens blared and all the staff inside were enveloped in a deep red light.

Professor Shouko sprinted into the central control room, with Assistant Fushimi sauntering behind.

“What now?! Report!” she shouted.

“Outer perimeter has been breached! All forces wiped out!” said an intern.

At those words, the largest monitor displayed an Instant Slo-mo Replay of several dozen goons getting blasted away by some assailant moving too fast to identify.

Shouko groaned in agitation.

“Send out the Four Divines!” she proclaimed with a dramatic point at no one in particular.

“Already on it, Professor!” came four voices from a comm line on the nearest console.

The large monitor switched to one of the dynamic mobile camera drones to capture the action in the most cinematic way possible.

The Four Divines landed in front of the approaching intruder with their backs to the camera before it swerved around to bring all of their faces in focus from an upward angle. They began to pose and shout their roll call.

“The roaring waves, Azure Dragon Azu!”

“The chilling wind, White Tiger Snow!”

“The blazing fire, Vermillion Bird Veve!”

“The immovable earth, Black Tortoise Jetty.”

The camera zoomed out as the scenery disappeared and they made a final dynamic group shot, complete with a text overlay

“The Four Divines have appeared!” they said in unison.

They were immediately struck away by the intruder and the camera feed turned to static. A large thud shook the whole lab.

“Inner barrier has been breached!” shouted the lab’s AI systems.

Shouko let out a frustrated screech and scrambled to activate any other backup defences.

“Where’s the laser grid and hard light barriers?!” she shouted while frantically typing.

“Ah,” said Fushimi. “I believe their power supply was rerouted to your geothermal hot spring last month.”


Shouko froze, mouth agape. She then gritted her teeth and aimlessly punched Fushimi to vent her anger.

FINE THEN! I really didn’t want to resort to this, but!” she pulled her goggles down over her eyes.

Fushimi wordlessly handed her a large ‘ViiU’ game controller.

“It’s time for another test! Deploy Shin Bishamaru Prototype-V0.214!”

The controller screen lit up with a first person view of the giant robot, complete with heads up display of ammo and special moves available. The intruder was already right in the target reticle, rearing for a good fight.

Shouko began with a rapid flurry of punches and leg sweeps, but couldn’t land any blow on her small target. She switched to launching barrages of heat seeking missiles and spraying the several mounted miniguns.

Her button mashing quickly diminished all her ammo, and there was still not a single hit on her target.

“Can’t be helped. Time for the real kicker!”

Shoko inputted a complex combination of buttons and control stick motions.

Divinity Instaaaaaall!

Shin Bishamaru began to glow and transform, separating its two arms into six. The intruder stopped jumping around to watch the spectacle.

“Chaaaaarge!” Shouko slammed as many buttons as she could.

The mecha’s arms all dove in to grab the intruder from all sides, but their target managed to leap out of its grasp at the last moment. They began plummeting straight towards Shin Bishamaru’s head.

“Hah! Moron! You fell for it again!” Shouko shouted.

The robot head opened its mouth, readying to launch a giant missile from beneath. Its target was perfectly lined up. Shouko mashed the fire button, desperate to taste victory.

The missile rocketed out to the small girl descending right toward it. She smirked and swung at it with her hammer. The missile was repelled as if it were a mere toy. Shouko’s jaw dropped. The missile rapidly twirled through the air, bonking Shin Bishamaru on the head and exploding in a blinding white light.

The controller’s video died, followed by all the monitors in the lab as the ground rumbled for several seconds. Then, all was dark and quiet… save for the steam rising from Shouko’s red face.

Before she could scream in despair once more, a wall burst open. Light poured in, nearly blinding much of the shut-in lab staff.

Fushimi stealthily shuffled directly behind Shouko to brace her for what inevitably followed.

Shouko-chaaaaaaaaaaaaaan! ” rang out a voice from the broken wall.

The perpetrator finally flew into view; Koto had arrived to play once more.

She went careening across the lab, skidding to a halt mere inches in front of Shouko and Fushimi. She narrowly avoided slamming her hammer directly on them to halt herself.

“There you are! Wanna grab a bite?” Koto asked with her usual carefree energy.

Shouko exploded. She flailed as Fushimi already had her restrained.

“That’s it?! You’re here for food today?! You still have no idea how much effort goes into any one of my projects you love to trash! How many times do I have to tell you to stop swinging that hammer around and just ask to enter like a sane person! I don’t care if you or that priest have the power to fix things up good as new! You’ve never once even offered to anyway! Some magical girl you are! Now just get out of- Mmph!

Without warning, Koto shoved a chocolate bar in Shouko’s mouth.

“Happy Valentine Day!” Koto grinned. “At least, I think that’s what it was called.”

Fushimi silently nodded to her.

Shouko was in stunned silence for a moment, then quickly broke out of Fushimi’s grip and walked away. She kept her back to Koto as she bit down on the chocolate bar and slowly chewed, contemplating this odd gesture she’d received.

She let out an exasperated sigh and lifted her goggles off her eyes. She turned to Koto with an uncharacteristically bashful expression.

“Alright. But I’m choosing where.”

She snapped her figures, and several goons (many bandaged) suddenly appeared.

“Get this place up and running again, on the double!” Shouko barked.

The goons and lab technicians all scurried to work.

Fushimi watched with a knowing smile as Shouko began heading towards the sunlight of the makeshift exit. Koto ran to catch up and locked arms with her.