"Caltrops?" Mirabelle said with interest. "I don't even know what those are, but God knows I've no use for this." She pulled a can of spraypaint out of her bag, and rolled it towards Mizore. "Take it, I've no need." She eyed her. "Mizore, right?" she repeated.
"Mizore, yes." Hasty, perhaps short, perhaps impolite, maybe Mirabelle Nesa would karate-chop her head off, but she could see the can of spray paint gleaming in front of her, a Montana 600ml Mega Can, two hundred more milliliters than in your average spray can, in crimson. None of that Krylon or Rust-Oleum crap; this was paint made for art. In--wouldn't Danya love this, wait, he'd probably picked it out--Blood Red, the most appropriate of Montana's shades. And Mizore was digging into her bag as fast as she could, scrabbling at the canvas bottom for the plastic sac of caltrops, origami stars, bringing them out, the package bitten open from her hasty foray into reverse graffiti, and she held up the bitten package of caltrops in one hand and the two bloody caltrops in the other.
"I'm keeping two of these, in case I need to carve something. There are twenty-four in the bag, I think."
But Mirabelle wasn't listening, because at that moment Maddy Stone and Charles Dawson ran by, and Mirabelle's eyes flared. She turned away from Mizore, and her fists curled and she was balanced on the balls of her feet, and her excitement was palpable.
There was a fight going down. If not now, then soon.
Round the corner man, hiding in the trash can
And of course this situation was so morbid that Marilyn Manson lyrics were sliding through her head.
Cracklings in the forest. Was Mizore being over-paranoid, over-imaginative, now with her treasured can of spray paint? Artist brain
She clutched the can of spray paint close.
Aren't you scared? Well, that's just fine!
Mizore closed her eyes and tried very hard to think of Skellington Jack and all the non-scary monsters in Monsters Inc. Shut up, brain.
But no. She was scared. And she could smell death on the trees.
She stepped forward, ignoring Mirabelle, trying to see where Maddy and Charles were going. Looked back, tried to see who was chasing them. Nothing obvious either way. Goddamnit.
So all intelligent options were out. Only the utterly stupid question remained:
Are you going to be the kind of asshole who just sits around while somebody gets killed?
Mizore desperately wanted to be that kind of asshole. She was clutching her paint to her like a woman possessed, and fuck you all, I really want to use this paint before I croak.
I am the shadow of the moon at night, filling your dreams to the brim with fright.
That was Marilyn Manson's cackling, crackling voice again, and Kurt's voice now, dry and humorless pacifists are the ones who take bullets when the so-called brave ones won't do it.
So if there was murder tonight on Hellmurder island, maybe it would be hers. And hopefully she'd be able to prevent Maddy Stone or Charles Dawson or Mirabelle Nesa from choking if she was there.
Stupid stupid stupid girl. When was the last time you decided to play hero because you felt you were morally obligated to?
Fuck off, brain. I'm not going to be one of those people who makes a Kitty Genovese happen because holy wow I have spray paint everything is better.
And Mirabelle Nesa had disappeared while she was lost in thought. The other two were still there, looking as lost as Mizore felt.
And Mizore belatedly pulled her patchwork longcoat on over Raidon's blue jacket (it's cold, it's cold
) and planted herself on the path between Charles and Maddy and whatever killer was locomoting after them.
And there, suddenly, was Mirabelle Nesa.
Christ, that girl moves quietly.
And she had wide eyes and quick hands and competence in her smile, and was so much more perilous than Mizore would ever be.
"Don't be scared. You'll be fine." She said. And, with gentle carelessness, she pushed Mizore aside.
The first thing Mizore felt was relief. The next thing she felt was her stomach plummeting. Because the mountain was steep and the earth was soft, and Mizore, with her rangy figure and her new can of spray paint, and her bag of a million necessary things, was sliding down the mountain.
It was a surprisingly gentle fall. Really more of a comic slide.
And then Mizore was at the bottom of the mountain, completely unharmed.
"I'm okay." She shouted up to her unseen assailant/savior.
And she was okay. She had dirt on her rump and her patchwork coat, but she didn't have to die tonight.
And now that she thought about it
I have paint! Holy shit, paint! Like, more paint than a normal spray can would have! And in a spray can, not crappy half-dry groundskeeper paint in some awful color like taupe. Blood red!
Mizore jumped up once, on her aching legs. "Yeah!!"
Shouting at near-dawn was probably not the smartest move anyone could make, but Mizore Soryu, nearly fallen from a mountain, with paint in her hands, was invincible.
(Mizore Soryu continued in The Moon Is Laughing At You
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