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7 mos ago
Current its been a week and i still dont feel 24...
7 mos ago
born today, dead tomorrow
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8 mos ago
Barbie: a provocative piece that shows the disparity in gender roles in today's society using the representation and marketing schemes of children's toys as a medium. Oppenheimer: bomb bad ☢️ 👎
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8 mos ago
Watched the Barbie movie in all black and guyliner. Watching Oppenheimer in a pink polo tomorrow.
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9 mos ago
I hate clocking out early because the power went out. I want muh hours ffs
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An Encampment, ???

Mentions:

While everyone gathered by the campfire or otherwise milled about, Kogen had been at work. At the moment, he seemed to be fiddling with some sort of strange... viney appendage, was it? To be honest, Kogen could still not make heads or tails of what sort of animal it was that attacked him, let alone what he was holding. It did remind him of an octopus in many ways, however... maybe seeing it as that would be easier.

The boy recalled his encounter with the beast not too long ago, under a different guise. While originally Kogen had planned to bring one of his classmates to "help" him with those fruits he had found earlier, he had come back pretty pissed off about what he had ran into. That bastard Masato was receiving praise yet again for being so cool and reliable! Too flustered with envy to even go with his initial plan, Kogen had elected to just leave once more and get those fruits, himself! Maybe then everyone would begin to appreciate him for who he is...

It was good that he had left before the jankenpon match from hell had began. Otherwise, a certain klutz would be sued for infringement by now.

Of course, not long after returning to the peaches did Kogen realize that what he was searching for was no plant at all. The peach had suddenly opened a vicious maw, launching something in his face! Luckily, Kogen's reflexes were sharp enough for him to [Armor] up before he had actually lost an eye, though that was more than enough time for the peachbeast to wrap its tentacles around the boy's limbs.

Desperately, Kogen had focused on breaking himself out of the beast's grasp. If he had more in the tank, Kogen would have likely been able to fight this monster head on. However, he was running on fumes at the moment, and it was a sure struggle to break out of the octo-plant's grapple. As soon as he got one of his arms out, however, Kogen would try to use his makeshift spear against the monster plant. Predictably, the flint did little, but Kogen did notice the fishbones were capable of at least grasping onto the monster's tentacles. Alas, however, such a weapon proved to be futile, and Kogen had to rely on his strength to escape.

When all that was said and done, Kogen had returned with about four of the beast's tentacles in tow. He would have had more if not for the monster making its quick escape underground as soon as it found out the boy was no easy prey. Thinking back on it, Kogen had realized that he would have lost his good looks and perhaps even his maidenhood if he didn't have his ability. If he had taken any of the normies, they could have even died! Such a thing was quite a scary thought for the boy. After all, while he hated him, did he truly want to kill them?

Well... maybe one of them can go.

As far as "now" was concerned, Kogen continued to lurk in the shadowy borders of the camp. He had given up three of the four tentacles to the camp's resident chef and foodie, fine to share some of his spoils with the others in exchange for more fishbones. If there's anyone that can turn those things into something appetizing, it'd be Kumi. In the meanwhile, Kogen would focus himself on his own project.

With the one tentacle he had left, Kogen would begin to ponder its uses as a weapon. It was a bit heftier for a whip, but it also seemed to work as a usable bludgeon. Binding it to his arm felt more natural than trying to use it as a whip, and perhaps with practice, he could maybe grapple things from afar to fly into his grasp. If he had something to attach to the end of it, it could be a much scarier armament, but for now it is simply a tool that enables a victory rather than a tool that actualizes one.

For now the only "edge" he could add to it were the fishbones. At the very least, his encounter had proven that these too can serve as tools to help him reach victory. They are only a temporary solution, however, but they could lead to perhaps slaying a greater creature with more parts to work with. Kogen began to work on attaching the bones onto the tentacle as "barbs" of sort. A nasty surprise for his next kill.

The boy's stomach still growled as he worked. A bit curious, Kogen would cut a piece of his weapon and place it in his mouth, wondering what to expect from Kumi's next dish.

"Hmm... chewy, but mushroomy? Shiitako?"
The Wilds, ???

Mentions:

Kogen made his way to the edge of the encampment, taking one look back at the rest. He considered for only a moment whether or not he should let someone know what he was about to do before he did it. Of course, Kogen had already reached the conclusion to that train of thought long ago, before he resolved himself to this quest to begin with. If he were to die, he’d be forgotten just as quickly as he was the night before, just as he was those countless times he was bullied and beaten by his tormentors long past.

So instead, he simply tightened the ripped piece of fabric that held his makeshift weapon together, a piece of his sleeve torn off to fasten the rudimentary spearhead onto its shaft. Rather than simply using the fish bones as some sort of easily-destroyed weapon, Kogen instead decided to attempt to test something else out instead. He had did his very best to imbed some of the sharpened bits of the fishbone into the piece of flint he was using to carve his weapon moments prior, believing that perhaps possessing some remnants of the beings of this world would properly pierce the flesh of these creatures.

It wasn’t a hypothesis Kogen was confident in, but it was still something that was worth testing. After all, as he knew from moments prior, if the weapon did not end up working, the boy could just as easily rely on the tried and true method of stabbing whatever he runs into hard enough to pierce their shield anyway. That aside, Kogen’s stomach growled. While he knew that his hunger would make him weaker in some respects, he would only think back to his ancestors: the hunters and gatherers who lived off of kill after kill, their hunger driving them to press forward. Nodding at this, he would step deeper into the wilds to begin his hunt.

The forest greeted him with caustic silence as Kogen slipped into the wilds. His hunger gnawed at his organs, a reminder that though he may have picked up a few hours of sleep last night, he had practically eaten nothing since. The consumption of energy must be higher for Awakened than Unawakened, judging by how quickly they had consumed the monsters’ flesh last night, but there was nothing he could do about it now. He had made his choice, and as a man, he would stick to it.

Around him was the unfamiliar greenery of a deep forest. Thick grass and weeds were tread underfoot, while the canopy provided a deep shade. He could spy a few animal trails crisscrossing through the undergrowth, but there was nothing he could chase immediately. Birds from high above flew from one treetop to the other, their squeals catching his attention from time to time. Could he throw his spear well enough to strike them though? It would be a difficult proposition, and if it broke on the way down…

There were yet other options, less hunter and more gatherer options for Kogen though. Shockingly enough, yellow flowers spotted the base of one tree. Dandelions, strangely enough. He could make tea with them. He could perhaps even eat them, if he truly trusted that they were dandelions. Mushrooms could be found growing on the sides of moss-subsumed logs as well, large white caps promising umami or death. And where fallen logs were, there were insects too, high in protein if he could swallow up his own sick.

Yet all those, from birds to plants to ants, were small game at best. They would not sustain him and they certainly weren’t worth bringing back to the encampment to rub into the faces of those who had abandoned him. The sun was still high up in the sky. He could afford to travel even deeper, even further away.

He would risk getting lost too.

No matter what he chose to do, Kogen knew that he needed some fuel for the road regardless. Because of this, weighing his options, the most “reliable” way of getting those nutrients would regretfully be the bugs under the logs. The idea made his stomach turn, but its low growling was also an indicator that it shouldn’t be a choosing beggar. Still, something to wash those creepy crawlies down would be good to have.

Inspecting the dandelions, Kogen kneeled down and sniffed at them for any funny smells. If he got a good enough vibe out of them from smell alone, he’d go so far as to pick one of them, rubbing the petals on his bottom lip, as well as crushing a bit of it in his hand. He saw this trick on the D*scovery Channel once. Something about any sort of burning, redness, or tingling is an indication that this plant was not to be trusted. Good to get this out of the way now, while he’s relatively close to the lake so he could wash off the residue.

His inspections didn’t seem to yield anything particularly harmful, but on the other hand, his body had changed to be capable of withstanding the claws of a beast. Would toxic plants even be considered toxic to him? There was only one way to find out, really. Kogen placed the petals in his mouth and swished them around, getting a sense of their taste and general mouthfeel. He didn’t swallow yet, however, juuuuust in case.

The taste was like salad without dressing, except if the salad was limp. Despite the dampness of residual dew that clung on the underside of the petals, the flavor was very much non-existent. The pollen tickled the roof of his mouth, a faint floral aroma could be smelled. No immediate reaction laid him low, however. He was still alive.

Well, no need to tempt fate for now. Kogen would spit the petals out and collect some of what he could. Now, for those bugs…

Steeling himself for the ordeal he was going to go through, Kogen lifted up the nearest damp log to see what he could find.

Things were squirming away immediately as he lifted up the first log. Some were brightly colored and exeskeletoned, clambering deeper into the holes of the rotted log, while others were more well-hidden, their camouflaged flesh undulating as they sought refuge away from the titan that tore up their home. Yet there were those wholly unbothered by the intrusion as well, eggs or larvae that were simply embedded in the underside of the log, shaped like kernels of popcorn before they popped.

It was nothing so appetizing as the massive, juicy worms that the Lion King showcased, and they were all very much still alive, liable to move around in his mouth, but, well…they were small enough. He could swallow them whole and not taste it at all.

After the thought of having any sort of meal quickly passed Kogen’s mind, an idea came to his head. Larvae are much smaller and less developed than a human, and Kogen was pretty sure at least some of them ate leaves and flowers. Pests and all that. With this in mind, Kogen grabs a grub as well as the crushed “dandelion” on the ground with the idea of feeding it the flower and seeing its reaction to it all. Surely whatever toxins are held in the flowers would be more quickly determined when going through such a small body!

The reaction was immediate…if one ignored the seven grubs that Kogen had to pluck out of the rotted log before he reached one that actually looked like it was in the mood to eat. The seventh wriggled slightly as it appeared to bite on a minuscule portion of the crushed weed, before it curled up into a ball.

With this new discovery, Kogen would grab his bottle of water, swishing a bit of it in his mouth before spitting it out. After washing his mouth of the petaly residue, Kogen will then seek out a less-inebriated bug to pop in his mouth. He wondered if crushing their little heads will make them going down the pipe a lot easier, but decided to just try and yeet it in their anyway and see what’ll happen. Bottom’s up!

Bitter. That’s what it tasted like. Like a shrimp gone wrong, except so much smaller than it. Rather than any texture of meat, it tasted like paste instead, whatever muscles the larva may have had been too flimsy and ill-formed to offer a proper bite or bounce. The micro-organs that Kogen’s molars had crushed were what caused the flavor, and considering the size of the larva itself? It would be a drop of rain in a bucket. Who knew how many of these he’d have to chomp down before he felt even a slight satisfaction? Well, one way to find out. Kogen drank some more water before holding his breath and scarfing down more of these little things, hoping that bitter taste will just fade with time.

With his stomach full of bugs, Kogen would let out a small burp as he drank a bit more water to wash it down. While it wasn’t a particularly filling meal, it probably was enough for Kogen to press on with his hunt. With that in mind, though, Kogen made the conscious decision of pocketing a couple more grubs. Maybe with their miniscule nutritional value, they could serve as potent enough ways for Kogen to trigger his newfound abilities, namely a bit of minor healing.

Seeing that there was no other direction to go but forward, Kogen would press on into the wilds, to find mightier prey.

The further away he went from the lake, the quieter and more insular his surroundings became. The canopy thickened, thick roots growing out from the dark earth, the soil fed by countless cycles of wither and rebirth. A dampness was collecting upon his skin, the dappled shafts of sunlight that had once given the forest a natural beauty becoming more and more sparse.

The lake had been an oasis, perhaps. A spot of tranquility, compared to the depths of true wilderness just a short hike away. And the first signs of that broken tranquility soon faced him head-on, as Kogen almost stepped into an indent on the ground, one of many that crossed his current path at a diagonal.

Footprints, pawprints.

Just the right size for the pads of those hulk-phants from last night.

Looking at the trail on the ground, Kogen swallowed almost nervously. Even with his armor, he wasn’t quite sure if he could take on even one of those things on his own. Dealing with a whole pack of them was a different story altogether. Stepping back a bit, Kogen shifted course, tracing his steps back to where he was.

The boy still intended to hunt, but taking a detour without knowing where he was would prove more troublesome than it was really worth it to be.

Diverging in the opposite direction that those hulk-phants had gone, Kogen sketched in his notebook as he walked, gradually creating a rudimentary sketch of his understanding of the path he took. Though he had no particular experience in cartography to begin with, that mountain in the distance, the one that he had seen when he first reached the lake with the others, served as enough of a landmark to navigate with.

And worst comes to worst? He could climb a tree and take a look from there.

As he got further away, however, an aroma began to drift in the air. It was a sweet smell, like fruit, drawing him to a patch of the woods where the sunlight broke through to reveal a large, bulbous fruit that sat upon a mound of green leaves. Shaped like peach but with a vividly-red skin that gradated into green the way that dragonfruit may have, it was perhaps the size of a watermelon. A lucky find, certainly, in a forest like this. Or perhaps it was a common fruit, and the students simply haven’t foraged through the woods enough to encounter it until now?

A windfall! Kogen’s keen sense of smell has led him to a place filled with food! Still, though, the boy could not help but feel as if even this was suspicious. They are, after all, in another world where panthers shoot lasers out of their eyes… or something like that. He wasn’t quite paying attention to that. What he did pay attention to, however, was that certain plants use their sweet smell to draw in prey. Perhaps this could also be the case here?

Either way, it was a useful find to begin with, but for a different reason. Being sure to make a few notable landmarks to this place, namely marking some trees or making some rock mounds on the path leading to it, Kogen would make his return to the camp. Perhaps if he could get someone else to step into this glade, to partake in the fruit before he did, he could then see if this truly was something he could call his own find…

… or perhaps a weapon he could use against his traitorous kin.
Outskirts of a Camp, ???

Mentions:

Chip, chip, chip, chip.

Kogen sat himself at the outer edge of the camp, leaning on a rather sizable tree and distancing himself from the concerns of the others. Ever since the others have returned, he had silently avoided the rest. If anyone had tried to approach him, Kogen would have just ignored them at best, or snapped at them to leave him alone at worst. The boy carried a deep-seated resentment for his classmates, one that had fully been realized when they had returned and played their running off as if it was okay when it really wasn't...

No matter what had happened, no matter who was dying, and no matter who had been lost, Kogen could not help but resent every single one of them. He didn't care to voice his concerns out because he knew that if he did, the mob would turn on him like they always do; treating him like a fool with nothing valuable to say. They can preach all they want about "safety and numbers" and "running from a dangerous situation," but won't care about the shit they drag you through so they could live in the first place. Kogen's stomach growled because apparently, his sacrifice was not enough for everyone's survival... Not that it would matter, anyway.

Chip, chip, chip.

Kogen still had one of those spears that Inaba had fashioned, though he was making his own modifications to it, namely chopping off the spearhead with a sharpened piece of flint he found in the lake and kept for himself. At the moment, he was currently chipping away at a piece of fish bones he had taken from the group's trash, doing his best to fashion some sort of sharpened edge with it. Kogen had already made a wedge on the shaft for something to fit in, he just needed to make the spearhead itself. If he could nab that bearwolf fang, he'd be in business, but he had to work with what he could.

Of course, Kogen was no craftsman, artist, sculptor, survivalist, or even a secret Home-Ec freak, so this wasn't something he had an easy time doing... not that he needed anything particularly profound in the first place. All he needed to do was make a "good enough" weapon, something he could actually hurt one of those monsters with. As far as his strength goes, Kogen could keep up with one of those bearwolves... probably. He didn't even have to worry about the dangers of fighting a thing on his own, for he was unbreakable already. If anything, if he tried to get swallowed again, it would create a good enough opening for Kogen to tear through its mouth and go straight for its throat.

If he could kill a monster on his own, Kogen would be able to prove to himself that his way of life is correct. He wouldn't need the approval of anyone else. He wouldn't need to meet their exceedingly unreasonable expections. Perhaps he could even earn their respect... not that the boy cared about their respect anymore. It does seem nice, though.

Chip, chip, chip, snap!

"Damn it, another gaffe!"

Of course, this all relied on if Kogen could make a spearhead at all. Man, are these fish bones hard to work with.
Big Lake, ???

Mentions: @baraquiel

Kogen had his arms crossed, sitting down with his back turned from the traitor. He did his very best not to just snap at Akechi, to break him like he had done so to him in their home world. It was a mix of his rumbling stomach and Tsubaki's request that kept the demon at bay, though it was at the expense of any meaningful action on his part.

When Asahi returned, fish in tow, Kogen merely grunted at his pleas to 'help out.' Standing up, his arms rested to the back of his head as he released a very exasperated sigh.

"Why should I work with that traitor? Did you all forget what he did to me? Or were my years of torment still something that we'll continue to ignore?" Kogen asked the rest, through gritted teeth. There were a lot of things Kogen wanted to say about his classmates, and about Akechi especially. How they've only looked out for themselves, how they all didn't care who got hurt as long as they could come out without a scratch. It was just like them all to abandon their weakest and throw them out to the wolves. Poor Yuudai was the first victim of this selfish sense of self-preservation. There were a few others wounded as well, and Kogen began to think about just who else their classmates could have abandoned...

"Say, why was the rat with Tsubaki-san anyway?" Kogen had asked Asahi, his arms crossed once again. "And why were they far from the rest?" Kogen looked down to the grass in deep thought, gears churning in that otherwise hollow head of his. Why was Akechi alone with Tsubaki, who was wounded and had lost an arm? Was he supposed to carry her but had lagged behind from the rest? No, that doesn't make sense... Was Akechi somehow first-aid certified? Not a chance. There was only one rational reason as to why he'd be there, an obvious answer that could only come from one too familiar with the sting of betrayal.

"... What were you doing out in the woods with her, Akito?" Kogen had asked his bully, his voice carrying a grim and uncharacteristic sense of seriousness. His fist clenched tightly for a second, looking straight through Akito for a moment. However, he remembered what Tsubaki had asked of him, and more importantly, he knew that whatever they were doing with the woods, Akito didn't abandon Tsubaki after all.

"... Whatever. I don't care, anyway. We're all still alive, and we're all together, for better or for worse." Kogen sighed as he walked towards the lake. "I'm going to look for a nice, sharp rock, something we can make sparks from and chop wood with. If my mysterious sources are true, I should be able to sift througu some in the gravelly parts of the lake." Of course, Kogen only had the faintest idea of where to look and what to find. After all, his 'mysterious sources' was M*necraft. All he knew was that he needed to find something sharp and shiny in the shallow parts of the water.

And so, Kogen pulled his pants legs up before going to town on the sediment that dotted the shallow portions of the lake's floor.
Big Lake, ???

Mentions: @baraquiel


Kogen stayed silent as he trudged along with the rest, seemingly focused on keeping balance as he carried Tsubaki to the lake. Even with his enhanced physique, Kogen needed to divert a good deal of his energy carrying his classmate. After all, he was operating on an empty stomach, and their strange new powers seem to be powered by their caloric intake… or something like that. Kogen didn’t really know the specifics. It also didn’t help that the boy was also carrying a heavy feeling of resentment on his shoulders as well.

Yes, he was still angry. Angry at his classmates abandoning them. Angry at their callousness for being okay with letting their own die. It was too much for an adolescent to bear, even to Kogen, who was used to being thrown to the wolves. Well, in his defense, the wolves he was used to didn’t have six eyes and four sets of teeth.

Still, the sting of betrayal was still fresh once again, a familiar sting that Kogen thought he’d never meet again. Like a deep and forgotten wound, reopening once more and bringing the same pain it did when it was first afflicted. Kogen’s heart roared in pain (though not nearly as loud as his stomach,) and he had spent much of the night and the day thereafter sulking about the circumstances that be.

Seeing Akechi the day after and having an idea of his involvement almost caused Kogen to pounce on the rat and deliver onto him overdue retribution. Indeed, out of everyone who could’ve shown their face from the woods, he was the one Kogen would relish in caving in the most. Despite that, the one-eyed demon chose not to bare his fangs for the time being. After all, despite his cowardly ways, Akechi still chose to remain with Tsubaki before she died.

And after all, both of them would know that Akechi would only serve as a scapegoat for the target of Kogen’s true ire.

You’re right Asahi. A normie like him shouldn’t be carrying such a valuable thing anyway...” Kogen mentioned as he butted a shoulder into Akechi, picking up pace towards the lake. “We all saw those dreaded things looming in the forest. Things that could almost definitely shred through a normal human being like a piece of paper. Things he won’t see coming.” Kogen hissed in the same tone that he had delivered his immature tirades, his eye making contact with Akechi’s. It’s almost as if he wanted him to talk back to have a reason to do what he wanted to do.

Rather than focus on starting another fight, however, Kogen would march towards the waters, taking a knee and supporting Tsubaki onto her back. With everyone on the lookout (or falling in the water,) this would be a good place for a moment of respite. He’d scoop some water into his hands, offering Tsubaki some before he’d even bother to drink for himself.

It was a weird feeling. A day earlier, Tsubaki was caring for him and treating his eye. Now he's the one caring for her, serving as an arm for her to rest on, to make up for the one she had lost.

Before she could drink, however, Kogen would realize that his own hands were stained with dirt, grime, and blood, and he’d just wash them in the water instead.

Right… Does anyone have a bottle? Or a big leaf?
Proving Ground, ???

Mentions: @Nakushita


The Demon bounced back from his kick to behold the damage he had done to his target, landing on his feet as he prepared his second attack. It didn't seem wounded at first glance... perhaps Kogen needed to strike it somewhere else in order to deal some damage. The muscles in his legs tensed as he prepared another leaping strike, this time for its head...

... or at least, he would have if the bearlephant didn't flee like a coward.

Kogen was confused for a second. Why were they just running away? He didn't quite hear the howl, so he was pretty much clueless as to what actually happened. Instead, Kogen chalked it up to his ferocity! Triumphantly, he raised a fist in the air, turning back to the camp to relish in his victory.

"Hold your applause, your hero has arri-..."

Silence. There was nary a soul in sight, aside from the other, more "gifted" students.

"... Where is everyone?"

Walking away from his compressed compatriot, Kogen would begin to survey the wreck. Discarding his demonic skin, Kogen's eyes would dart around the darkness, taking into account everyone that was still here. A concerned look washed over the boy's face as he realized who among them was still here, and who had left. He looked near, and far, from the wreckage to the trees in which he was thrown. And alas, from what Kogen could see, there was no sign of him.

"Thank me not, my flattened friend, for we have been forsaken." Kogen had spoken back to Ayana, still faced away from her as he kneeled to the ground. Scooping some dirt into his hand, vicious thoughts began to fill his head. This was it, then? This was how thankful the others were of his strength? Kogen and the rest were simply tools of convenience. He understood why everyone would leave, but that still did not stop a grudge from forming deep within him.

That same grudge Kogen had for his bullies. For those who took part in his torment. For those who betrayed him. For those who watched from the sidelines, not doing a thing. And especially, for those who were spared the same fate he would have had if not for his own inaction.

"... You will pay. You will all pay." Kogen made a whispered promise to himself, letting the dirt fall out of his hands. It was the last vestiges of a star that shone bright, but whose light had been continuously snuffed out by those jealous of its brilliance. They had taken its light for granted, they had always done so, even as its light faded, as its brilliance shrunk.

Soon, they will see the wrathful catastrophe that is a dying star.

Uuuuuuuurrrrrrrrgh~!

Kogen's thoughts were interrupted by the growl of his stomach. Right, time to see what was left of their camp. He could use some bearwolf steak right about now...
"C'mon, Ko-shit! Stop struggling! Just get flushed down already!" Ryusuke chided as he shoved the bleach-haired boy into the toilet while Akira stood by and poured more water onto the back of his head. The lesser Akito, ever the coward, only stood back at the door and kept a lookout for anyone who would pass by the abandoned bathroom.

"Shouldn't have gotten that home run, Ko-shit! Ryusuke's girl was watchin' the whole thing! He was 'sposed to be look god this practice, not you!" Akira snided as he filled the bucket in his hands with more water.

Kogen, held onto the held the edges of the toilet tightly, doing his very best not to let his head get pushed in. Whatever was in that bowl, even after being mostly flushed away by now, was rancid. The smell, alone, was enough for him to keep his head cocked back almost instinctively. All he could think of not getting whatever was in the toilet on his face... or worse, in his mouth.

At the same time, Kogen told himself it would be over soon. He just needed to keep holding on, to keep his grip on the toilet's edges. It would all be over soon, anyway. The stale water in his hair could easily rinse out and dry, the shoeprint on the back of his uniform can be washed out, and even if his face did unfortunately hit the toilet bowl, a hot bath would be nice. He just needed to endure.

Enduring was all he really did, anyway. He knew standing up to them would get his ass kicked again, and Kogen knew the other students wouldn't dare try to cross them in order to help himself. Ratting to the teachers would also do harm than good. After all, Ryusuke was the star player! And Akira's dad seemed to be paying the school a fortune keeping it running. All Kogen could do was wait for the torment to be over, for them to get bored and tired.

He just really did not want to eat shit.

The present wasn't any different. Kogen's head was once again shoved in a pretty smelly place, and he did not want it to end up slipping in. Incidentally, his arm was what was holding him back from being grinded into minced meat by the bearlephant's teeth. He was strong, but he wasn't quite strong enough to pull himself out, nor was he smart enough to figure his way out of this mess. No, all Kogen could do was the same he did that same day. All Kogen could do was endure.

Surely, this time, his classmates would come to help him... right? At least one of them, gifted with the same powers he had, would swoop in and get him out of this situation. He had spent a good deal of time helping them out of pickles, so it'd only make sense if they returned the favor. Yes, this will be over soon. It could only be over soon.

Kogen needed to be strong. More importantly, Kogen needed to be tough. Even if no one was going to come, even if he was abandoned by his peers, even if he was the only one still alive in this whole mess, Kogen needed to be tougher than he had ever been before. He knew it, deep in his mind, as the memories of his bullying filled his head. The memories... they burned through Kogen's mind like the flame of a lighter. No, it was much hotter, like hot coals in his face. Searing, white-hot memories more painful than anything he has experienced. More painful than the sting of betrayal. More painful than the night he had lost his eye.

And yet, Kogen gritted his teeth and continued to endure. Yes, this pain was not something he was a stranger to. It had always lingered within him, even long after those beatings. And yet, rather than allowing the pain to creep up on him, to take over, Kogen instead chose to wear the pain like armor.

To stop himself from being hurt ever again, he wore his pain like armor in the shape of a demonic persona. It was a metaphorical sort of armor, not like the protective padding catchers would wear in baseball... almost like the invisible armor worn by the beasts they had fought. Yes, that's what Kogen needed! He needed that armor that protected him from the shame the bullies had left on him. He needed the skin of a demon.

And so, Kogen "accepted" the pain that would sear his head, almost as if he was allowing it to swallow him whole. Instead of the beast's teeth, the boy would instead find his body swallowed by a white glow.
Proving Ground, ???

Mentions: @Nakushita


The Demon spewed forth from the Bearlephant's gaping maw, body covered in bright steel. Kogen caught himself as he was spat out, quickly leaping to his feet as he did his best to get his bearing. His body still ached and his head was still frazzled, but Kogen knew that he was protected. How could he not? The lightborn armor that encased his body was quite obvious, after all. And it definitely was tough, too! Tough enough for that Bearlephant to spit him right out!

There wasn't much time to get a feel for his new look, however. Kogen knew that there were more pressing issues, namely these Bearlephants. Kogen also knew that he couldn't handle this single Bearlephant on his own. So instead, he elected to disengage from the fight, kicking up some dirt in the direction of the Bearlephant before running out of sight.

From here, Kogen could run away from this. He had armor, and enhanced physical and mental faculties. His safety wasn't assured, but it was definitely safer than where he was now. While he wasn't sure on his ability to survive, he would be in arguably better company. After all, everyone on that bus simply turned a blind eye from the suffering he had gone through. If anything, leaving everyone to die would just be returning the favor.

Kogen, however, was not the type to abandon his peers. On the day of his betrayal, on the day he lost his eye, Kogen had vowed to not leave another behind. He would not be like Ryusuke, Akira, or the rest of those fiends. He would not be like that rat, Akechi. And he definitely would not be like-

Well, that other guy isn't around now, is he?

Circling around the chaos, Kogen would once again rush into the frag, his eye centered on the Bearlephant trampling over Ayana. With a leap into the air, Kogen kicked his body back, allowing his legs to propel forward as if he was sliding in mid-air.

If the spears did not serve as suitable weapons, if his armor was hard enough to give a Bearlephant a hard time, then the only option Kogen had was to be the spear. With a heroic shout, a release of his kiai, Kogen exclaimed his intent as he flew directly towards the Bearlephant's center of mass.
Prelude to the Devil's Journey
"Demonic Entry!"

Clearing, ???

Mentions:

Kogen clicked his tongue in annoyance at seeing the shield appear again. Were their weapons useless against these beasts? It was surely an annoying thing to think about now that he's on top of the bearlepant. Maybe he should have driven that bear claw idea forward, after all, fighting fire with fire and all that. Well, it didn't matter now, since Kogen was now clinging to dear life on top of the Bearlephant! What to do, what to do...

For now, Kogen began to climb, doing his best to maintain a grip on the bearlephant's tough hide as he would try to get himself onto a more advantageous position. Finding himself atop the beast, Kogen's enhanced senses allowed him a moment to take in what was happening in his immediate vicinity. Thankfully, Masato had been flung away to who knows where, which means he's probably fine given the track record of everyone who has been flung by these monsters so far. The two other bearlephants were definitely giving his classmates some trouble, but between the two, the one that was crushing a certain idiot was the one that was of the most immediate concern.

Kogen thought to himself as he climbed the beast, those rusted gears turning ever so slowly as he forced his brain to do the one thing he was bad at. Humankind dominated the beasts in their world not through sheer strength or physical ability, but by their ingenuity and dominance. All beasts simply became tools with different uses, especially ones as big as this bearlephant. Horses, cows, even elephants all served as mounts to humans, broken to serve their will. Clearly, this beast was no different... at least, that's how it worked in his video games.

If Kogen could not easily break its flesh, then Kogen will break its resolve.

Climbing to the back of the bearlephant's head, Kogen would dig a knee into the back of its neck as his hands moved to cling onto its furs. With his other leg, Kogen would do his best to wrap it around whatever bit of the beast's body he could just so he wouldn't be so easily flung off. And with a yank, Kogen would pull with all his strength, pulling to the direction of the other bearlephant crushing Ayana.

"Bend to my will, foul creature! Bend to the will of the One-Eyed Devil!"
Clearing, ???

Mentions:

While the class had been assaulted by its second set of monsters, Kogen was... sleeping. He was dead asleep, in fact, given that he spent a good chunk of his time in this strange new world being active in some way. That fight with the bearwolves took a number on him, the skinning was rather smelly, and his hand was still sore punching that tree for much of the night. It only made sense for an idiot like him to be knocked out of commission in a night like this.

It made a bit less sense for even an idiot like Kogen to sleep through such an attack.

"Hey... keep it down... Your hero is sleepi- AH, CRAP!"

At the very least, he had awoken at the nick of time, almost falling off his half of the bus as the hulking monstrosities came crashing along beside it. Talk about a rude awakening! Thankfully, the adrenaline quickly kicked in as Kogen launched himself out from the bus seat he was sleeping on and took a good look at his current situation. It was dark, but it was a good thing Kogen had just been sleeping! His eyes were quickly adjusting, almost too quickly... If Kogen were any smart, he'd put two and two together and figure out he had night vision. Still, this was definitely enough to work with. Right, there are more monsters outside... more monsters? Shit, they really need to find a safer place to sleep soon, huh?

Kogen's eye scanned the bus for anything usable, quickly landing on those sharpened sticks Inaba had made. Right, those would definitely help with what's going on. Kogen grabbed two of them before leaping out of the bus, hopefully not in the view of whatever's out there. If it was those bearwolves again, he was definitely prepared... Kogen knew he was strong enough to shred through their hide at the very least, and maybe they wouldn't even have that forcefield if he got the jump on one of them! All he needed to do was sneak around, maybe from behind the bus, and-

"W-when did they get that big..."

Right. Bearlephants now. Three of them, too. Change of plans.

Kogen stayed behind the bus as he began to think a new plan through. A few of his classmates are already fighting those big things already. It means Kogen could still definitely get the jump on one of them, too... The only issue was where he could strike. He could try and get a jump on them, but their towering height compared to his would just mean he'd stab a leg or an asscheek at best. He needed an avenue of attack they wouldn't expect, one that he could easily take advantage of.

"... The high ground! That's right! Thank you, O**-**n!"

Kogen slung one of the sharpened sticks to his back (which really meant he just stuck it inside the back of his shirt) as he began to climb the bus. It was a bit awkward with one of the sticks still in his hand, but his enhanced strength allowed him to pick up the slack with his arm and legs, yanking and leaping himself up to the top of the bus. As soon as he was there, he knew he needed to be quick. While there were suitable distractions all around (especially with Asahi's morbid cheerleading), the best target would be one that was already occupied.

And seeing that Ma-kun had, once again, gotten himself into a situation where he needed saving, Kogen knew just where to strike.

The boy ran quickly from one end of the bus to the other, giving himself a running start as he leapt into the air. He wound the arm he was holding his makeshift spear with back as he jumped, using his other arm to uncover his second eye. It was a cool trick Kogen liked to do when pitching, pushing his eyepatch to the side just when he was getting serious. Everyone else had turned their caps backwards, so he needed his own unique thing to stand out. The flame in his heart roared with anticipation.

As he soared through the air, time ticked ever so slowly. It wasn't by a lot, but it was noticeable. It gave Kogen a bit of time to do some quick thinking, something he wasn't quite used to doing, but thankfully what he intended to do was based more on instinct than tactics. Based on his position, he didn't need to account for things like distance, his grip on the stick, or even how much strength he needed to put into his throw. All he needed was the timing and a direct target, both of which were easily obtainable.

"Die, monster! An eye for an eye!" Kogen exclaimed, his mind too preoccupied to come up with something more intricate as he would launch the spear with all his might at the bearlephant pinning down Masato, aimed directly for one of its many eyes. As soon as the spear left his hand, Kogen would then quickly shift the weight of his body in order to propel himself just a bit forward, his hands reaching out to grasp for whatever he could.

Once again, he aimed for the same bearlephant he had just struck, aiming to land on top of it.
Clearing, ???

Mentions: @OwO

Kogen stood up and let out a sigh of relief at the sight of the bearwolf's corpse. The boy looked at the hammer he was holding, the one he had used to kill the beast. It had definitely seen better days, especially before this debacle. His mauled shoulder ached with pain as he lifted it up and rotated it a few times. Really, he was almost surprised it was still there, let alone he could still move it.

Still, the damage on the hammer, the struggle he had to kill the bearwolf... it was all beyond normal. Not that the situation they were in was anything normal to begim with, but why did it take so much effort to kill the beast in the first place? And, more importantly, how did a couple of kids manage to pull it off? Kogen was almost certain they all would have died there.

As the dust settled and that peculiar warmth began to cool off, Kogen once again realized their current situation. Whatever happened before did not matter, as right now they were stranded in an unknown world full of things like that monster that would try and eat them. They needed to prepare for what was to come, even though whatever else would come after them would not be something they would be prepared to deal with.

Taking cues from Masato's angered response at the bear, Kogen would walk up to its corpse as well, kneeling down and jamming what was left of the hammer's claw into its own shoulder. As expected, its hide was quite tough, but not as tough as it was just moments ago... Now that Kogen had thought about it more, did the bearwolf perhaps attempt to will itself to resist his attack? And with that same logic, would that mean that whatever it was that allowed hum and his classmates to kill that monster, it was a similar sensation?

Eh, too much to think about, really.

Kogen would hand Inaba what was left of her hammer back rather awkwardly, flashing her a thumbs up before walking off as well. This time, however, Kogen would make his way a bit farther from everyone else, but he did try to stay within view of his classmates. Looking off into the deeper wild, Kogen would wonder just what else was out there for them to run into. Still, wonder as he might, there was one thing that Kogen knew for sure.

He killed a bearwolf.

"What? Is that all you've got, Otherside?! Send us more bearwolves if you want! Bearlions, too! Or better yet, throw us a Bearspider! Whatever you've got in store for us, it doesn't matter! This is a declaration of war! From the One-Eyed Demon King, himself!"

Kogen would shout almost triumphantly, attempting to raise his left fist into the air, realizing that it was still in pain and instead raising his right one instead.
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