Each Chapter is its own short story. There is an underlying, continuous story, but it dies away....
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The Spell Of Skewed Legend Is Momotaro
An old wooden cottage lay in an open field surrounded by forests and scattered, snow capped mountains. A river flowed nearby and the wind was clear the skies blue and fresh. A washed pink metal pod had landed there, an old woman called her husband over and they lugged it up to their porch.
“This is one big peach. Can we eat it?” The old man said astounded and amazed.
“But, how would we cut into it?” she asked.
“Maybe get a rock?”
“Yeah maybe, but couldn’t that bruise it?”
“What if we just try to pierce it?”
“Okay, like along the edge and then peel the skin.”
“Sure! Should we try just yanking on the cut there?” she pointed to the lining on the capsule, looked like the door.
“Well, I don’t know.”
“Come on, should we?”
“I guess we can.”
She walked over and tugged on it a few times.
“Be careful.” He yelled, quickly heading to her to help her.
The two kept trying, and then synchronized their pull, and just managed to unclip the lock. They stumbled back and the door slowly opened. The young woman stepped out and stared at them, they stared back in wonderment and nervousness, and after a moment she slowly approached them, and crouched to meet their grounded positions: “I am Aiko, Military Ops Mechanical Operative, series MOMO9000, how can I help you?”
“You don’t have to help us. Um, aren’t you Momotaro?” asked the man.
“I could help you up.” She held out her metal hand.
“Well, okay,” he grabbed a hold of it, “thank you.”
Then she reached for the old woman and pulled both of them up with inhuman easiness. Her hands, neck and feet were openly metallic, screws and plates, everything else looked human.
“But no, I don’t think so. I don’t really know who I am.” She said, standing blankly and innocently.
“You came from the heavens?”
“I don’t know.”
“Do you have a journey to go on?”
“You can tell me what to do.”
“Aren’t you Momotaro? Then you should know.”
“Oh, of course. I’m sorry.”
“Well, I have a copy here if you’d like to borrow it, as like a guide or something, to jog your memory, if you want.”
“Sure, that’d be great! Thank you.” She said, thrilled.
He excitedly ran to the cottage and returned with an old, thick book in his hands, he gave it to her and she clutched it caringly with hope and purpose. She sat down on the wooden porch and read. Eric and Terra eventually went inside to watch TV and eat, but they kept the door open for her and kept an eye on her to make sure she was okay.
Dusk came and she finally closed the book. She stood and the two came out.
“I know what I have to do now.” She said.
“Well that’s wonderful. So you’re going to defeat the oni across the land?”
“Yes, I will. I just need to find these henchmen. Do you have a treat that maybe I could give them?”
“Yeah, we already made some kibidango!”
“Oh, that’s great, thank you.” And without a struggle, on the first easy attempt, she saw radars in her eyes, like a screen in her head came up. “First, a dog… I found one!”
“Well, go for it!” he said with a sweet smile.
“Thank you both for all your help, take care!” she said bowing to them, and then running off at an incredible speed, which looked odd in her long blue dress.
The next day she’d traveled to fields where no mountains were in sight, and it was much warmer and the sun shone brighter. A tanned girl with blonde hair and long fluffy tail, blue eyes, funny markings like whiskers and a bite scar on her right hip, stood and smiled sweetly as Aiko spoke: “Would you like to defeat some oni with me? If we’re lucky, we can get their treasure. I’ll give you some kibidango too.” She held out a ball of sweetbread, which the girl happily snatched and swallowed down.
“Really? Well I guess I could, I was just thinking that I wanted to go wild. My name’s Liru.”
“Very nice to meet you Liru!” she curtsied and turned her sensors on to find the next destination, “now a Monkey.”
“More!” Liru said eagerly, holding her hand out.
These were thicker forests with twining trees. A young girl with brown hair like rabbit’s ears and green eyes, in a skirt that looked like it was made for the Circus, hung in a tree, and stared at the two as they approached. A one white and one black bunny accompanied her, they saw as they neared. They looked unusual though; magical. Aiko spoke: “Would you like to defeat some oni with me? If we’re lucky, we can get their treasure. I’ll give you some kibidango too.” She held out another ball of bread, the young girl just stared with big eyes and her jaw dropped, you could tell she was smiling, took the bread and ate it without notice.
“An adventure! Well, I am interested about the treasure. My name’s Yuuma.” she said.
“Mhm! Aiko, very happy to meet you!”
Yuuma swallowed the bread, “eh, so-so.” She said, smiling and blushing. The black bunny jumped onto Yuuma’s head, and as he soared, his body transformed into a witch’s hat, the ears still sticking out the top, and Yuuma scooped up the white bunny and was ready to go.
“The next henchman’s a pheasant…”
Now at an old mansion, they arrived at night and headed inside. A girl with skin like the moon, grey eyes and platinum blond hair in curls dangled from a chandelier upside down, the three approached her and bats previously hidden with the dark scattered out an open window. Aiko spoke once more: “Would you like to defeat some oni with us? If we’re lucky, we can get their treasure.”
“Blood of the oni? Doesn’t sound very good.”
“Aw, come on.” She held out a ball of bread, and the girl grabbed for it but slipped, and it fell to the mouth of a now very happy little baby red wolf that somehow got in.
“Ew, what’s that doing in here?” the pale girl asked.
“That’s Liru, she’s with us.”
“Oh really? Well,” she said jumping down, “alright. Pachira, you?”
“Aiko. Very happy to have you along!”