Sub for CCC 11. Played around with scanline manipulation and a "fuck with the player" theme in the higher difficulties.
\[Hard] しんたろ (Shintaro)
\[Ex] 宮下遊 (Yuu Miyashita)
"What do you want?" Firi quivered, backing into the door. She clutched the doll to her chest and waited for her eyes to adjust. "You aren't supposed to be here today. Why are you here?"
A pair of giggles came from the dark room. She saw him on the right, black eyes radiating in the dark. He followed her movements lazily and seemed to enjoy her fear. The other seemed to be on her left, though she couldn't see her in the dark corner. "Why," Quro said, "We just wanted to spend some time with our dear loving sister, that's all."
"Burn in hell," she growled. She reached for the doorknob.
"Leaving so soon?" There, from the fireplace. "We were waiting so long for you to arrive. Please." A gust forced the door closed as she tried to open it. A chair scratched its way across the floor. "Have a seat, love." Firi crossed her arms and sat down at the door. Quro sighed. "Stubborn brat," he muttered. He glanced towards his sister, who called a flame in the furnace. A slender shadow sat in its flickering light. "Is this more comfortable?" No response. "Savrel, fine." The twins got off their perches and climbed onto the worn couch.
Firi reluctantly moved towards the fire. "You two couldn't have a bit more respect towards your elders, huh?"
"Five years is nothing in the sands of time," Qira said as she reclined on her half of the chair. "What's that?" she asked, pointing at the doll.
"Nothing important," she muttered. "So wha-"
"Can I see it?"
"No." She hugged it closer, but something wrenched it out of hands. Qira smiled as it fell onto her lap. "Now let's begin, darling," she cooed, stroking its head.
"Fuck you. Give it back."
"So," she said, gently tugging at its hair. "Where is the mirror?"
"If you don't know already, I'm not telling." She lunged at the girl but she flapped away just in time.
"Omnipotence can only go so far," she sighed as she settled above the fireplace once more. "Mother really didn't want us into her head, or," she looked down at her with disain, "her favorite child either." The grate squeaked open. "How long have you been working on this, love?"
"Oh, I see. An entire week already?" She brought it closer to her face as if studying it. "It looks kinda cute. Bit messy, but one can expect that for your age." Says someone who's practically a toddler, Firi thought. "What's his name, I wonder?"
"I haven't given him one."
"Oh, a him? Let's see, how about..." her eyes unfocused, just for a second. Firi reached in her pocket for her needle, but was surprised to find nothing there. She whirled around to see Quro sticking them into the wall. "You looking for these?" he teased. She snatched them back from him without protest.
"Tas!" came Qira's voice from the fireplace. "Bet he likes fire, huh?"
"Give him back!" She flung a needle in her direction, ramming into the wall by her ear with a quiver. Qira rambled on as if nothing happened.
"Looks a bit too clean for someone as wild as him. He could use a pass through the smoke, don't you think?"
"You put him in the fire and your wing goes in too," she snarled.
"Now, that would be pretty unpleasant, wouldn't it? Tell you what, I'll give Tas back unharmed if you tell us where the mirror is. That sound fair?"
"I'm not telling."
Qiram's voice turned cold. "Are you sure about that, Anafira?" She plucked the needle out of the wall. "You have powers unlike anyone else in this side of the world - lamros - this entire world, perhaps." She put the needle under a button like a lever. "This doll is more than a plaything. This is a life somewhere outside, living a wonderful and peaceful life." She lifted the needle slowly. Ana cringed as she put more strain on the thread. "We don't want them to have a horrible accident, would we? I will ask again. Where is the mirror?"
She took a deep breath. "I don't-"
Clink. The button fell to the ground. The air in her chest left her, making her gasp for breath. There was a sound behind her - Quro, leaning against the wall. He felt it too.
"Oh dear. The poor thing is blind. Where was I? Oh, right. Where is the mirror?"
Clink. She fell on the floor gasping. The fire in the furnace roared with new life, as if it was hungry.
"Let's try something else. Tell me where the mirror is. Or Tas burns."
"Then let him," she sputtered.
"Is the secret of such an irrelevant object worth the life of a boy?"
"If it keeps a sadist like you from getting to it, I would gladly let him die."
"Then I will ask you one last time." Qiram lifted her tiny hand, pulling Firi towards her. She stared into her with eyes roiling with shadows behind them. Whatever happens, she cannot get to the mirror. "Where is it?"
Qira dropped her in surprise. The fire died out, leaving a lone beam of light from the afternoon sun leaking through a hole in the ceiling. Quro stood shakily, his black eyes squinting in pain.
"She's not going to give us any answers, sister. Let him live." Qira stared at him emotionlessly, something wild thrashing in her eyes. She looked at the doll in disgust and tossed it to Firi. She scrambled for it and hugged it fiercely. "We'll find it eventually. No need to rush."
"Patience doesn't suit you, brother," she seethed. She looked down at Firi, balled up on the floor. "We'll let you go this time. Perhaps you'll have a different opinion when we meet again." She spread her wings and shot into the sky.
The two watched her exit. A moment of silence passed.
She glanced at Qurox. "Well? You going after her?"
He hesitated for a moment. Then he hung his head. "I'm sorry about that. Qira shut me out. I didn't know what she wanted to do."
"Get a better sense of control over her, eh?" she said unenthusiastically.
"I'll do my best." He motioned for the doll. Firi thought about it, then gave it to him. While he looked at it, Firi looked at her little brother's eyes. His too had some entity behind it, though his flowed in a sorrowful wave. "I'm sorry about Tas. One day I'll have to visit him. To make up for not doing anything to help." He closed his eyes and whispered something, a hand on its face. He gave it back to her. "Take care of him, will you?" And he took off into the blazing sky.
Anafira looked at the remains of her doll. Two holes bled where the buttons once were, a faint sound of sobbing coming from far away. She closed her eyes and hugged him tight, imagining a little red haired boy curled up, sobbing while his mother tried desperately to help him. He was covering his eyes, blood soaking his hands.
The little girl picked up the needle and reached for some thread in her bag. Tas needed patching up.