ATK Round One, p07 Picture

Page 7 of 7 + text. The + text is here:

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Uhh, right. And this was the precise point when I came to realize that were I to continue drawing my comic as planned, I was going to run out of paper, ink, AND time. So here we present to you the rest of the confrontation between Subaru and DiCe in story form (I've seen other entrants do stuff like this with their entries, and Subaru already has the two things she needs to beat DiCe, so I figure this should be okay).

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"You're here looking for the tea kettle, too, aren't you?" Subaru asked, closing the empty diary with a snap and placing her right hand on the hilt of her sword.

The young man who'd called himself DiCe froze, still smiling with his hand in the air. He looked utterly ridiculous. "The, uh, the what?"

Subaru narrowed her eyes. "Don't play stupid; you just said yourself you were looking for information on it, the same way I was."

DiCe sighed, slumping. "Yeah, yeah, okay." He shifted, and mumbled, "I still don't see why this library doesn't have any books left on it..."

"My sentiments exactly, but don't change the subject." Subaru considered him warily. He didn't seem armed except for the unadorned quarterstaff he carried; still, he might still be able to put up a fight. "I'm afraid I'll have to ask you to give up your search for it. Do so now, and do so peacefully, or my sword will have to convince you."

DiCe backed up a step. "Well, jeez, that's kind of putting it on a guy, isn't it?" He smiled, and raised his staff. "I'll have to think about that one."

Still holding the diary in her left hand, Subaru closed her right around her sword's hilt and tensed. The next moment, DiCe vanished completely.

There was the sound of running steps, and then a heavy shove, and the bookshelf on Subaru's left side teetered and began to drop towards her, spilling every book it held. Reacting only by the speed of instinct, Subaru dropped into a roll, somersaulting forward just in time to avoid getting buried. She emerged into the aisle just as the bookshelf crashed down into the shelf beside it, sending it teetering in turn.

In all this confusion, there would be no way that she could listen for DiCe or try to track his shadow. Even though he didn't look like much to begin with, it was clear that he was used to the advantages and weaknesses of his invisibility spells. This could prove troublesome in the future if she didn't take care of him now.

Maybe it was time to see if the diary she'd picked up was for real, or just someone's idea of a joke.

Letting go of her sword, Subaru opened the diary, leaning down over its pages. "DiCe..." she murmured.

The blank pages shimmered a little, and black writing trailed across its lines, the empty space for a picture acquiring a badly scribbled picture of DiCe next to another bookshelf.

"Alright, I've got her on the run! Now I think I'll try shoving down these other shelves so that she'll be stuck and I can get away; they'll probably make her clean up this mess and she'll be stuck here 'til long after the kettle's mine!"

Holding the diary open, Subaru stood up and pointed in the direction of the shelf in the picture. "Shade. Bind him."

Magic streamed from her outstretched finger in ribbons of purple-black, and there was a yelp immediately following it. Shaking her head, Subaru made her way around towards DiCe, who had become visible again, and stood over him with her hand on her hip.

Now the only question was what to do with him.

"Why are you looking for the kettle?" she asked at last, staring at the diary instead of at him. If it was for some stupid, selfish reason--or if the person Anna had called "Susan" had hired him--she might as well just kill him here; if not, she'd think of something more productive to do with him.

"Huh?" was DiCe's only reply. Subaru ignored him, raising one eyebrow as she read the explanation that the mind-reading diary showed her.

"...your girlfriend honestly thought this was a simple contest and made you join up so that you could lose weight...?"

"Uh..."

"Get a gym membership." Subaru shook her head. "Where are your monorail tickets?"

DiCe didn't reply, but that didn't matter; the diary reported that they were in his back pocket. Subaru gripped the magical bands around his body and turned him around, pulling the tickets out and looking them over. He still had a large sheet; like her own, all were printed with "anyworld" except one, which read "home".

Subaru folded the punched lines and ripped the "home" ticket out, placing it back in his pocket, and carefully ripped every other ticket into tiny shreds. "This is no place for someone like you. Go back where you belong at your earliest convenience; convince your girlfriend to not be so careless with your life when you do."

And she turned and walked away, heading for the reference desk. The same cheerful clerk who'd told her there were no available books on the Amaranthine Tea Kettle was still sitting at her chair, smiling.

"The person who's been pushing over shelves is sitting at the end of aisle B in the World Mythology section; he would be more than happy to assist you in the cleanup," Subaru reported. It wasn't that bad an idea; it would keep this DiCe person busy for long enough that he would no longer be in danger (or be A danger), at least. She hesitated for a moment, and then held out the diary. "...Also, I found this sitting on one of the tables. It's not marked as belonging to this library, so I'm certain it must belong to someone. Perhaps one of the patrons."

The clerk smiled and accepted it. "I'll be sure to put it in the Lost and Found right away, ma'am."
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