Rise from the Ashes

Little Red Riding Hood sprinted around the field hospital in a panic, dodging the feet of nurses and orderlies several times her size. They couldn't see her, of course, and if she put her mind to it, she probably could've just walked right through them, but she was much too panicked for that.

She stands over a man with half of his face missing and curses to herself, pressing her hands to his chest and gently stroking his will to exist - and in the next blink, the man's face is back. He looks right at her for a second, mouths a word, and then suddenly starts screaming as his brain remembers he's supposed to be dead.

Iyo flinches and runs off to the next man, repeating the process.

Normally she wouldn't abuse her power in such an obvious and draining manner, but this important - these were her people. This is what her Father-God had winked her into existence for. This was her job, god dammit. She was the protector, the healing, the ward. She was supposed to stand in opposition to everyone who wanted to harm Japan -

"HEY SIS. YOU LOOK AWFUL BUSY."

She doesn't even mentally acknowledge the other presence in her body - she knows it'd be stupid to even start an argument with her brother while she was working this hard.

"ARE YOU EVEN GOING TO RESPOND TO ME? I KNOW I'M A PRETTY AWFUL PERSON, BUT I'M STILL YOUR BROTHER, YOU KNOW?"

No response. She forces a disemboweled man's lower intestine back into his stomach and then magically sutures the wound before breathing him back to life.

"HAVE YOU CONSIDERED GIVING UP ON THIS WAR? I MEAN…YOU PRETTY MUCH LOST THE MOMENT YOU COULDN'T STOP THAT WHOLE PEARL HARBOR DEAL. THAT WAS A FUN ONE, BY THE WAY. FOR ME."

"Shut up!" She can't help the outburst; he always knows exactly what to say to get a rise out of her. Brotherly love.

"OH, THERE YOU ARE. …HM? ARE YOU SERIOUSLY…AHA. AHAHA, NO, THIS IS TOO GOOD. IYO, MY DEAR SISTER, WANNA HEAR A JOKE?"

No response, not this time. She attends to a man with flamethrower burns.

"SERIOUSLY, IYO. ANSWER ME."

She grits her teeth. "What."

"WHAT WHAT?"

"Tell me the joke."

"HIROSHIMA."

"What?"

"THE CITY YOU'RE IN."

"I don't get it!"

"I KNOW. THAT'S THE BEST PART."

"Fuck you!"

She grips the burnt man's flesh too tightly, and he cries out in pain. Iyo murmurs an apology and slips him the magical equivalent of morphine before moving on.

"HEY SIS."

She runs through the hospital's crowded floors, voices in delirium and pain crying out all around her. Sweat darkens the red cowl she was so proud of.

"SIS."

She trips, her tiny body flying somewhat before landing on its face.

"…What? What do you want, Shikoku?"

"BOOM."

Iyo's world erupted.


A tiny pale hand rises from the ruins of a destroyed city, weakly reaching up towards the setting sun.

"ARE YOU STILL ALIVE? HA. AHAH. AHAHA."

"Iyo…Iyo still has people to help…"

She forces the body out of the black pile, tries to stand, and quickly realizes her legs are gone. She reaches for her magic, her nature, to undo the damage, only to realize it is gone, depleted. A mile of her golden blood runs behind her.

"JUST GIVE UP."

"Fuck…you…Shikoku."

She puts one elbow out in front of the other, and drags herself through the ash.

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