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 [Advanced] Sole Survivor

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Lyssarie
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PostSubject: [Advanced] Sole Survivor   1st August 2018, 5:22 am


Storyline Name: Sole Survivor

Creator(s): Lyssarie and Sailor Mercury

Forum: Free Form

Advanced or Relaxed: Advanced

Plot Summary: In a post-apocalyptic world, following a devastating war that destroyed millions of lives, the people of Japanese society are living off of media, entertainment, and distraction from the depressing world outside of home. The country is governed by a small group of Japan's wealthiest elites, whose main goal is to keep the citizens distracted through captivating entertainment as a means of relaxation and escape. With all of Japan glued to their screens, there is little room for revolution or protest to the way things are being run.

One of the most-anticipated entertainment shows is Sole Survivor, a game show where contestants of Japan are randomly chosen and sent to a remote island to survive on their own in the wild. Full of alliances, double-crosses, challenges, and hidden secrets, this game show provides unbeatable entertainment for all audiences. The winner of each show is given a grand prize of one million dollars, which they can use for any and all purposes they desire. On the surface, Sole Survivor sounds like a harmless game show, but there is more behind the scenes than meets the eye.

Makoto Kino has been living on her own since her parents died in the midst of the war's devastation. She hates the screens, she hates the government, and she hates the wealthy. She knows the truth behind television, and she is alone in this reality. Makoto dropped out of school and focused instead on making a living of her own, hunting for food and trading anything she could find. She has no friends, no family - only herself to rely on. When she is drafted into Sole Survivor, she is forced to accept that even she is under the government's jurisdiction, despite her immunity to entertainment.

Ami Mizuno lives comfortably, to say the least, but she is by no means wealthy. Her father, a traveling artist, was killed during the war, and her mother is constantly occupied with her medical profession. To escape the stressors of her daily life, Ami's mother uses media entertainment, just like everyone else in Japan. Choosing to focus more on her studies, Ami spends less time paying attention to screens and more time paying attention to her education. But even Ami has naiveté, and when she is drafted into Sole Survivor, she soon realizes that the government isn't all in her favor, after all.

Both girls meet on Henshin Island, where they form a very unlikely alliance in hopes of being the last two standing. But during their time together, Makoto and Ami learn that there is so much more to life than what the Japanese government has shown them, and that maybe being a survivor isn't such a bad thing after all.

Details on any necessary information: This alternate universe incorporates elements from Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games and CBS' Survivor. It takes place in an alternate Sailor Moon universe, so crossover profiles will not be required.

Restrictions: Only Makoto and Ami are playable characters. All other competitors and characters will be NPC.

OOC Thread: Discord

Member to Character List:
Makoto Kino - Lyssarie
Ami Mizuno - Sailor Mercury

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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Sole Survivor   1st August 2018, 5:38 am



The salty ocean mist sprayed her face, burning her eyes and lips, but Makoto never lifted her gaze from the government soldier who stood guard at the other end of their small speedboat. Naturally, there were television screens embedded all over the vessel's walls and on the back of chairs, but Makoto paid no attention to them. She knew they all spoke of the same thing - her fate.

Her long ponytail was tossed in the wind, coated with water and whipping her in the face whenever their direction changed. She should have cut her hair or something before coming here, she thought.

Looking around at her contestants, Makoto wasn't very impressed by what she saw. When they said it was a random drawing, they weren't kidding. It may have been the only honest thing the government had claimed since the white flags of surrender soared in the sky after the war. Next to her was a ridiculously cheerful blonde, who had the audacity to sneak some snacks onto the boat and was shoveling bites into her mouth every time the guard wasn't looking. On her other side was a tall, brooding man with dark hair and deep, bottomless blue eyes. Under different circumstances, in a different lifetime, maybe Makoto would have found him attractive. But today, she wanted nothing to do with these people, with these slaves to the Japanese government. None of them understood what this all was really about.

A flash of blue caught Makoto's eye; she couldn't help but look away from the soldier for a brief moment to find the source. A small, frail-looking girl with short blue hair and matching blue eyes sat on the other side of the vessel, looking innocent and...strikingly beautiful. For a moment, Makoto stared, but she soon averted her gaze and reapplied her mask of stoicism.

A girl like that would never survive a game like this.

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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Sole Survivor   1st August 2018, 6:28 am



She kept her face mask-like, impassive, as the boat sped towards the distant island that was their destination. Ami tasted the salt spray as waves crashed over the edges, sprinkling like dust upon the riders. It stung her eyes, but she didn't look away. She didn't want to look at the others or at the innumerable displays situated throughout the boat. The girl could understand people getting a last look at their personal devices, knowing they'd be collected before the contest began, but the screens mounted elsewhere in the small craft seemed to be a waste of electricity, especially when subject to harsh elements.

Ami had never understood the appeal, anyway. Staring at a monitor for too long made her head ache and her vision start to blur. She spent on the necessary minimum time in front of them, even though her teachers often chided her for not taking better advantage of the studying resources available to her. It wasn't a position she could argue logically, not against the facts others presented to her time and time again. It was just a feeling—she simply didn't like it.

It was easier not to argue, but to nod and then... conveniently return to her pen and paper.

That was already banned, here. The guards who had come for her hadn't allowed her any books. They barely gave her an opportunity to pack. It made some sense, as based on the rules they flashed at her she wouldn't be allowed outside supplies.

But she still didn't understand why they come for her, anyway. When the pop-up interrupted the essay she typed, she had dismissed it. Ami didn't care about money or fame. She didn't even watch television. Plus, she didn't want to leave her mother for that long... or take an absence from her coursework at university. She knew she declined the "amazing offer" to volunteer for Sole Survivor.

If that was the case... why was she here?

Ami frowned out at the greenish-gray slate of the ocean, unable to solve that puzzle, burrowing more deeply into her self-made cocoon of isolation.
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Sole Survivor   1st August 2018, 6:48 am



The island peaked in the distance, and in no time, they were being loaded onto row boats that would carry them to shore. Each competitor was given a small knapsack filled with eight cups of rice, a small pot, some twine, and a fishing line. That was all the government was providing them for this 39-day competiton - the rest was on their own. 

Makoto's feet pressed into the wet, cold sand, sinking slightly as the ocean's waters brushed over her skin. She looked around, arms crossed over her chest, taking in this place called Henshin Island. It was thickly coated in tall, ominous trees. Most of the island seemed to be either pure jungle or coast. There would be plenty of natural shelter, and hopefully lots of game to hunt. Unfortunately, Makoto wasn't able to bring any of her weapons from home, so she had no means of hunting for food. 

Her brain churned all of this new information and strategy, and she almost didn't notice when a wealthy-looking woman with long, red hair was dropped off on a separate rowboat than the one Makoto and the others had ridden. The recognition was instant - this was Beryl, the host of the show.

"Greetings, islanders!" she chirped, her fake cheeriness almost sickening. "I'm so glad you made it all in one piece. As you know, over the course of the next thirty-nine days, you all will be competing against one another in the nation's most high-stakes television game show for a grand prize of one million dollars. Throughout the weeks, there will be several challenges for you all to prove your strength, smarts, and self-reliance. As you know, every three days, there will be a council meeting in which one competitor will be voted off. However, if you manage to find a hidden immunity idol or win an immunity challenge, you will be safe from leaving the island at the next council meeting. In your bags, you will find enough rations to get you through the first week - after that, you are on your own. You are free to make alliances, break trusts, and even fall in love, but nothing guarantees your victory. I will see you all in two days for our first challenge. Good luck, and may the odds be in your favor!"

There was no time for questions, no time for challenging this ridiculous competition and everything that it stands for - in an instant, Beryl was back on her boat and being rowed away. 

They were officially alone. 

Looking around, Makoto could see some people already starting alliances, shaking hands and exchanging smiles. With a roll of her eyes, Makoto threw her knapsack over her shoulder and began to make her way into the jungle. First thing's first - she needed shelter.

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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Sole Survivor   1st August 2018, 8:15 am



Ami squinted up at the sunlight that filtered through the trees, shading her eyes with one hand. The backpack on her shoulders felt both heavy and light—she was used to carrying weight, but typically in the form of textbooks. The pot, rice tucked inside, seemed to be trying to pull her backwards. When her mind calculated nutritional requirements and the level of activity she was likely to expend, it didn't seem to be enough supplies. Would they allow people to starve out here? Sole Survivor was one of the most popular game shows, but Ami didn't know anything about it. She had never watched a single episode.

She didn't even recognize the hostess as anyone of note, even though the red-haired woman's smiling face stared out from the screens multiple times a day, lending Beryl's influence to a variety of commercials and sponsored content.

The bustle of activity on the beach reminded her too much of being in school and the role as outsider that she'd always occupied. Several high voices spoke in excited tones, seemingly thrilled to participate. That was an attitude Ami could not share. She'd have to find a different way to think of her time here. As she trudged away from the water, the blue-haired girl wondered if perhaps it would be easiest just to do as little as possible and be voted off.

It would not be easy. Ami did not know just how badly the government wanted—no, needed—an engaging show. If they had to manufacture challenges to make it more interesting for the viewers, they had no qualms about doing so. Already there were concerned whispers in covert meeting rooms, analyzing the young adult participants and finding some of them lacking. It was simply not acceptable for any of the contestants to fail to provide entertainment.

Blue eyes scanned the island, adjusting the weight that pressed on her shoulders. Perhaps this would be a good opportunity to try and get a sense of the layout and terrain. She walked towards the forest, careful not to stray too far from the coast, wondering what she might find.

She did not expect to stumble through some underbrush, tumble down a small and awkward mound that barely qualified as a hill, and potentially collide with a ponytailed brunette she hadn't even noticed from their ride over!
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Sole Survivor   1st August 2018, 10:02 am



As if it were second nature, Makoto made her way through the thickly-forested jungle quickly and quietly. She wove through tree trunks and stepped over protruding roots without even having to look where she was going - it was that natural for her after all these years. So far, she had only seen some squirrels, birds, and rabbits. Thankfully, she hadn't found any signs of dangerous predators - yet. Would the government really throw them all on an island with the risk of being eaten by a giant bobcat or something?

A part of Makoto really wasn't sure.

As Makoto carefully picked her way down a small hill, she heard a frantic rustle of leaves from behind her. She whipped around, but before she could even reach her arms out to catch the bundle of blue, it tumbled into her and sent them both to the forest floor at the bottom of the mound. Agitated, Makoto sprang up and brushed the dirt off of her shorts. "Hey, what's the big idea, pal?!" she snapped, turning on her assailant.

It was then that Makoto realized it was the blue-haired girl she had noticed on the boat that had so gracefully tumbled into her. A spark of guilt twisted in Makoto's stomach, but she pushed it aside and heaved a heavy sigh. "Here," she said, holding out a hand to help the girl up should she need it, "Are you alright?"

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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Sole Survivor   1st August 2018, 12:16 pm



She gratefully accepted the hand held out to her, blue eyes widening in surprise as she felt how easily the taller girl pulled her upright. Ami certainly wasn't a large person, but this simple gesture betrayed a strength she didn't expect from the other young woman. She stood on her feet, blushing slightly at the poor introduction she had just made. Ami knew she must be slightly scraped up from her fall, smeared with a bit of dust and dirt, and possibly speckled with leaves. She opened her mouth to apologize and reply that she was just fine, when she shifted her weight and felt a twinge of pain jolt through her left ankle, wincing slightly.

"I'm sorry," she began, looking up at the other girl's emerald eyes. She was glad the tone of voice of the question seemed less aggressive than the first words she had heard from the woman, but Ami couldn't shake a sense of concern that she had accidentally incited hostility with her poor actions. "I mis-stepped up there," she continued, turning her head to gesture over her shoulder. "Please pardon me for the inexcusable inconvenience." The blue-haired girl paused to bow deeply, her words of apology spoken in the most formal Japanese.

This certainly wasn't the way she had expected to meet anyone else taking part in this game.
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Sole Survivor   1st August 2018, 12:26 pm



Makoto blinked in surprise, her brain trying to sort out whatever it was this girl just said. Maybe dropping out of high school wasn't such a smart choice, after all...

She cleared her throat, trying to come up with something to say. "Um...don't mention it," she said, scratching the back of her head. Makoto examined the girl from top to bottom, noticing the single leaf trapped in her hair and the small streaks of dirt on her cheeks. Despite the circumstances, Makoto couldn't help but crack a tiny smile. It had been a long time since she had seen someone like this...so innocent and purely kind.

The girl's small wince was just obvious enough for Makoto to notice, and her eyes instantly found the slightly swollen ankle. "Can you walk on that?" she asked, motioning towards the girl's left foot. The last thing Makoto needed was something to slow her down and hinder her progress, but that wasn't really on her mind. She felt the strange need to help this girl, who seemed to not really know much about her situation. For some odd reason, Makoto wanted to protect her from further harm, or at the very least, get her somewhere safe and near a water supply.

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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Sole Survivor   1st August 2018, 12:39 pm



Ami chuckled, a somewhat nervous and embarrassed sound, at the attention directed to her ankle.

"I believe it's a very minor sprain," she replied, the tone still apologetic. "I should be able to walk on it, if I'm careful."

It would have been better if she could stabilize it, but she didn't have bandages. The backpack's contents lacked a first aid kit or additional material. She wasn't about to start ripping up her clothing just yet—they were supposed to be on this island for weeks, possibly. If she made it more than a few days.

The point of this game show was "survival", wasn't it? So far, Ami didn't seem to be first in the rankings towards that goal. A very different experience from her years in school, considering she was always at the top of her class. In her final year of high school she had received a small token of recognition for being the highest-scoring student in the city, in fact. Of course, facts and figures seemed to come much easier to her than... whatever this was. Game-showing? It felt strange to use that phrase as a verb.

"I apologize—I should have introduced myself. My name is Ami. May I ask yours?"

She tucked a curl of blue hair behind her ear as she spoke, smiling up at the girl, and the leaf in her hair too that moment to flutter down, almost landing on her nose.
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Sole Survivor   1st August 2018, 12:50 pm



Makoto chewed on her lip, trying to think of something she could do to help. They didn't have access to first aid, and there wasn't anything in their sacks that would really help. Makoto had tended to her own injuries and wounds in the past, but she was no doctor. But she did have her strength...

"Here, let me carry your bag. We'll find you someplace to settle and rest up before the challenge, sound good?" Makoto said, hand outstretched to take the girl's bag. She still wasn't entirely sure why she was putting her neck on the line to help this girl, who would probably get voted off within the first two weeks with her lack of athleticism. But maybe she had some skills that could be useful in an alliance - Makoto would just have to wait and see.

"My name's Makoto. It's nice to meet you...Ami," she said, testing out the name. It was pretty and small, just like the girl it belonged to, Makoto thought. 

"We don't have a whole lot of time. Soon enough it'll start getting dark, and if we don't get shelter before then, this first night is going to be rough. Ready to go?"

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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Sole Survivor   1st August 2018, 1:00 pm



She stared up at the girl, surprised and impressed by how take-charge she seemed about this whole thing. Makoto certainly knew what she was doing, didn't she? Perhaps she had volunteered—well, according to the letters, she supposed they had all "volunteered", but perhaps the brunette accepted willingly. Her attitude towards what was happening showed that she understood the rules and the way the game was run. Perhaps she was a fan? That wouldn't have been too surprising, considering how popular Sole Survivor was reported to be. At least half of the contestants must have been those who watched it. Was this something Makoto had been training for, perhaps?

Ami handed over her backpack hesitantly. She didn't think Makoto would rob her or anything of that sort; Ami didn't want to impose on the other girl. She felt no real discomfort from carrying the bag... but when she looked at the green-eyed girl, she didn't feel like Makoto would take well to a demurral. She'd have to find some other way to pull her own weight.

"Yes, I'm ready," she replied, testing the weight on her ankle. If she was careful with her steps, she should be fine. It was sore, but not permanently damaged.

"You seem to know a lot about this place," she commented as she followed—it was clear that when Makoto talked about challenges and finding shelter, she already had an objective in mind. It definitely left an impression!
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Sole Survivor   1st August 2018, 5:17 pm



Makoto walked slightly in front of Ami so that she could clear the path a bit. She brushed aside protruding sticker bushes and oversized leaves, keeping an eye on Ami to make sure she didn't fall and get hurt again. Sure, Makoto had never really been one to play with others, but that didn't mean she didn't know how. After her parents died, she just never really had the time to.

The brunette shrugged, stepping over a mossy boulder. "Not really," she said, "I just know how to get by on my own. I've been living off of the land ever since the war ended. You, on the other hand, don't seem like the type to be swinging from the treetops - no offense. I could see you as more of a Snow White, making friends with the animals and stuff, but Sole Survivor doesn't seem like something you've dreamed of becoming. So...why were you chosen?"

Makoto paused briefly, brushing some stray hair behind her ears so that she could hear better. Sure enough: trickling water. They were close to a water source, which was a good sign. Soon, they would be able to make a shelter and maybe cook some of that rice.

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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Sole Survivor   2nd August 2018, 8:38 am



A part of her wanted to be offended by the "Snow White" comment, but there was no real mockery in the voice that labeled her. Ami could not have missed even a hint of derision or sarcasm; she knew that all too well from her time in the educational system. The other students always had all sorts of unkind nicknames for her, even in her final year of high school. No one seemed to grow out of their desires to pin their own insecurities and fears on the blue-haired studious girl. Even without the added "no offense" from Makoto, she didn't take any.

Ami looked at the brunette through a new filter of respect as she considered how difficult it must have been after the war. Her own home with her mother was small and sparsely furnished, but at least they had more-than-adequate food and shelter. Things must have been very different from this young woman. Ami had seen evidence of what that could be like when she was out in the ruins, rescuing books. There were things out there in the damaged parts of the city that she was careful to avoid. She had seen some things that, even though she averted her eyes and tried to forget, recalled themselves in her nightmares. To live immersed in that world would have been very hard.

"I... I don't have an answer for that," she replied, simple and honest. "I'll probably be the first removed. I don't care much for television. What about you?"

She meant the contest and Makoto's participation, not even realizing that it sounded like she was merely asking about the brunette's overall media consumption.

Her ears recognized the sound of running water even though she remained mostly oblivious to her, her attention more focused on successful navigation. She realized that Makoto was doing her part to make the path clear and easy, but she didn't want to take that for granted.
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Sole Survivor   2nd August 2018, 8:52 am



Makoto raised an eyebrow, now even more curious about this girl. She had to have some sort of skill, right? The government liked to advertise that it was all random, but Makoto knew better. There was a reason for everything, she had come to learn. 

"I guess we'll just have to find out, then," she said with a shrug. The more she talked to Ami, the more curious and interested she became. She clearly didn't have much physical prowess, but maybe there was something within that Makoto didn't know about yet. She seemed to be educated - maybe that was it? But then she made the comment about television, and it made Makoto wonder. That was something the two of them had in common - they both didn't entertain entertainment. 

"Well...at first I thought it was because I hate the government and I'll burn every damned screen I can find. I figured it was their way of teaching me a lesson or something. But now I'm not so sure," she said. Makoto stopped, straining her ears to listen to the sound of running water. She had thought she was going the right way, but now the sound seemed quieter. She sighed impatiently and turned to Ami. "I'm sorry to make you walk further, but I think we're going to wrong way. I thought I was leading us to a water source, but turns out I was leading us away from one."

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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Sole Survivor   2nd August 2018, 9:24 am



"No, wait," Ami cautioned, when the brunette moved to double-back. She had been walking this way not just because Makoto lead her here, but because it felt right. That seemed like a silly thought, as soon as it echoed in her mind, but it hadn't given her any impression of that sort while they headed towards the goal she knew was water and shelter. There was a certainty in her core—this had to be the correct direction.

Ami paused, cupping a hand to hear ear, pushing the short blue hair away to do so. She closed her eyes, listening.

The noise that greeted her should have been faint, but it pulsed through her body, like the blood in her own veins, only icier. In her mind she could almost picture it: a small stream, water rushing quickly, verdant plants dipping their leaves towards the surface on either bank. It couldn't be more than twenty yards from their current location, but she didn't understand how she knew that. Perhaps it was the volume?

"Look," the young woman gestured. "I think those small tracks in the dirt head the right way. Look how soft it seems."

A gnat buzzed annoyingly close to her ear. When she swatted at it, she realized it was not alone. The girls weren't being swarmed, but the insect activity had definitely increased since they started heading this way. Didn't that often indicate a water source nearby? Ami tried to dig within her stored knowledge, wondering where she had absorbed that tidbit from. It must have been covered in one of the books she read.
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Sole Survivor   2nd August 2018, 10:16 am



Makoto followed Ami's gesture and tilted her head to the side. How did she do that? Maybe there really was a lot more to this girl than meets the eye. "Yeah...you're right. I'll let you take the lead, then," she said with a nod. She would stay close behind, in case Ami tripped or lost her footing. "Once we get there, I'll start gathering supplies for some shelter. You can collect some water in our pots, and I'll cook us up some dinner. Then you can rest up and hopefully be fully healed by morning."

The ground became softer under her feet, and the rushing of the water grew louder. In the distance, Makoto could see where the trees broke into a small clearing, where sure enough, a freshwater stream ran through. So far, it didn't seem like any other competitors had been her, which was a good sign. It wasn't like they were all dangerous to each other, but there would definitely be competition for resources. 

The reached the stream, and Makoto removed both knapsacks from around her shoulders. "If you run into any trouble, just holler," she said before leaving to find some supplies. She foraged around, grabbing plants she recognized and avoiding ones she didn't. Some trees had extremely large leaves that would be good to use for shelter, and she made sure to grab any fallen branches she could find and drag them back to where she had left Ami. Some of the trees even had edible fruit, but she wouldn't be able to collect it herself. 

She surveyed her work with a hand on her hip, chewing on a piece of oniongrass she had snatched from the forest. "Hey Ami," she called, "Could you maybe help me gather some fruit? I'll climb up the tree and toss it down to you."

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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Sole Survivor   2nd August 2018, 11:24 am



"Okay," Ami replied, standing up with a sigh of relief.

She hadn't been lying when she said she wasn't badly injured, but that didn't mean the walk on her tender ankle was an enjoyable one. The brief rest at their prospective campsite felt restorative despite the short time that had elapsed. She had occupied herself with watching Makoto at work—the brunette could not possibly have been lying about her history with the way she so deftly worked around the forested area. The keen green eyes flickered across the available plants with the speed of someone well-versed in foraging.

The blue-haired young woman took a moment to consolidate the contents of the two knapsacks, placing the filled one on her shoulders and carrying the empty one in her arms as she approached the tree.

"I have to warn you, I may not be the best at catching," she cautioned. She was willing to try; that would have to count.
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Sole Survivor   2nd August 2018, 11:36 am



Makoto chuckled - a strange sound, after being alone for so long - and started to climb up a nearby tree. "I guess I'll have to go easy on you, then," she joked, disappearing behind a large leaf. A few branches up, she saw a bushel of, to her disappointment, kabosu fruit. She let out a groan and began to pick some, even though the thought of eating them made her stomach churn. But food was food, and any sort of nutrition would be good for them. But the fruit could be useful, if she were able to actually catch some fish. "Alright, I'm about to drop some!" she called, peering from around the large leaf. She could see Ami standing directly below her. 

Makoto held her arm out and dropped a kabosu, trying her best to aim near Ami's arms. She continued, the process, dropping five total. She hoped Ami had caught them, and began to clamber her way down the tree.

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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Sole Survivor   2nd August 2018, 12:09 pm



She thought she could chase after the one fallen fruit quickly enough that Makoto might not have noticed that Ami missed it, but she heard footfalls before she successfully recaptured the fifth citrus. Ami chuckled, turning around, the backpack in her arms containing all five green orbs—one of which seemed more bruised than the others.

"I think it was a fair attempt," she joked. "What now?"

Blue eyes looked towards the stream, searching the banks. There was enough sunlight filtering in through the trees that stretched high above their heads that this area contained a fair amount of plants, not merely mosses and other things that thrived in the shade. That wasn't what Ami was looking for, however, although she hoped they'd be able to make use of some of the leaves and vegetables that could be foraged. She sought a patch of sand, and soon she spotted one, thankfully not too far away. From this distance, she wasn't sure if she could see the telltale small bubbles on the wet surface.

"Do you think it looks like there might be freshwater mollusks over there?" she asked, unsure if they'd potentially find mussels, clams, or nothing. Fish might taste better, but something they could dig up that wouldn't run away seemed even easier. With the pots it would be easy enough to boil any bivalves they could find.
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Sole Survivor   2nd August 2018, 12:25 pm



"Um..." Makoto scratched the back of her head, "What on earth is a mollusk?"

She had cooked her fair share of crazy ingredients over the years, and a lot of it ended in very bad indigestion. But a mollusk wasn't something she had ever heard of or cooked before. She usually just cooked fish or whatever critter she could capture with one of her snares. But if this mollusk was edible and easy to cook, she was willing to give it a try. Perhaps it would even taste good with the kabosu juice. That combined with some of the wild herbs she had found might make for a pretty decent meal. 

Makoto eyed Ami's ankle, seeing that the swelling had not gone down at all. Surely all of this walking around and movement wasn't helping. "If you tell me how to get them, I'll go look while you relax for a bit. You're not going to stand a chance if you don't get off of that ankle."

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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Sole Survivor   2nd August 2018, 12:45 pm



It took a moment for Ami to really understand Makoto's question, which she initially took as a joke. In her constant quest for knowledge and within her insular life it was easy to forget that her appetite for information didn't match that of most people. If Makoto had been on her own for so long, in the war-torn areas of Japan, it was not unthinkable that she wouldn't recognize a food source she hadn't easily encountered. The blue-haired woman paused for a moment before lifting a finger to trace the oval shapes in the air in front of her, hoping her companion would understand.

"Two shells, each vaguely semi-spherical, protecting a soft edible muscle inside. If it's shaped like this," she said, drawing an elongated oval, "it's probably a mussel. More like this," now she traced something closer in shape to a fan or ginkgo leaf, "more likely a clam. You only want the ones that are tightly shut and resist your attempts to open them. If they're open, they're already dead, and not good to eat. They burrow into the soft sand at the banks around areas where the water can't flow as fast."

She hoped that was enough information, but she didn't want to prattle on or sound like a know-it-all.

Ami didn't argue against the order for more rest. She nodded, offering a small, thankful smile, and took her citrus prizes back to the area where the branches lay piled.
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Sole Survivor   2nd August 2018, 12:57 pm



Makoto's eyes were open wide, her brain simply incapable of processing 90% of what Ami had said. She blinked a few times, then smiled. "Sealed clams, got it. Be right back!"

Makoto removed her sandals and trekked through the running water, the cold current feeling good on her skin. Her eyes scanned the waters, looking for some sort of clam. With a triumphant, "Aha!" Makoto snatched an oval-shaped clam from the sands. She was about to turn to Ami and wave it with triumph when she remember the detail about oval shapes. With a curse, Makoto tossed the mussel back into the water and continued her search. 

After about fifteen minutes, Makoto was finally able to track down three "mollusks" and bring them back to their little camp. "Alright, do these look good enough?" she said, tossing the mollusks onto the sand next to Ami. 

"My turn to teach you something new - ever started a fire before?"

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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Sole Survivor   2nd August 2018, 1:36 pm



Three clams certainly amounted to no feast, but it was a good start! Ami didn't have to give them a separate inspection. She could see they were living. Ami did her best to cushion them in the moist sand so they'd stay fresh until cooked. If there were more, perhaps they could get a few days out of eating the mollusks. It certainly wasn't Ami's favourite food, but survival required keeping an open mind and tolerating things as needed.

At Makoto's question, the blue eyes looked up.

"In theory. I've never done it."

She'd read about it, looking up the mechanics after pouring over scenes in old novels where characters lit fires at campsites or in fireplaces in their homes. There was no need to do so in her life, however. The apartment she shared with her mother didn't even contain matches. After the war, many supplies were harder to find or simply no longer allowed. Matches tended to be in that category, as though the government feared rebels would try to burn down what remained of the ruined landscapes.
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Sole Survivor   2nd August 2018, 7:17 pm



"Well, should I ever get voted off, you're gonna need to know how to start a fire, so watch closely," Makoto said, grabbing a misshapen piece of wood and a long stick she had foraged earlier. "They didn't give us anything to start a fire with, so we have to do it the old-fashioned way. My dad taught me this when I was a kid. He claimed that, "The kids don't appreciate how good they have it," and so I needed to learn how hard life was before technology came about," Makoto said. Her voice carried a hint of sorrow, and she stayed silent for a bit as she assembled some kindling for the fire to devour.

"Anyway," she said, her voice returned to its original tone, "You take the stick and try to find a dent in a larger, flatter piece of wood, like this one. Put the stick in the dent, hold the stick between your palms, and rub your palms together as fast as you can, like this." Makoto demonstrated, spinning the stick rapidly while keeping it within the dent in the wood. "But you have to also keep your hands moving up and down, or you won't get enough friction. It'll burn a bit, but the more you practice, the less it hurts. Here, you try it out while I get the shelter set up," she said, pushing the wood and the stick over to Ami. She gave the other girl an encouraging smile before standing and going over to the pile of oversized leaves and long, thick sticks.

Slowly and carefully, Makoto used the twine from her knapsack to tie the sticks together, forming a teepee-like structure until it was big enough for both her and Ami to stay under. She then covered it with the large leaves, using more twine to tie the stems to the sticks. By the time she was done, she had a humble little shelter built. It would protect them from wind and rain, but not so much animals and insects. But any shelter was good when it came to living in the wild. She stepped back and admired her handiwork, placing both hands on her hips. She was starting to feel exhaustion from the day's work, and began to feel the hunger that had been slowly building since her arrival.

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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Sole Survivor   3rd August 2018, 7:55 am



The first few attempts went poorly. The piece of branch flew from her hands when she tried to rotate it, or it bounced off the indentation that should have been the guide. Once or twice she thought she smelled something a bit like burning, but no actual flame had been produced. Ami took a deep breath, concentrating, trying to remember exactly what Makoto had said. A few more attempts, this time with more force, directed differently, continuing the movements and trying to keep them on the same path. Finally, she smelled more smoke, saw a spark and a bit of a flame... but with nothing to catch the fire died out quickly.

Ami paused, thinking back to what she might have read in books. She pulled over some larger, dry pieces of branch. She added parched-looking leaves, grasses, and needles. She repeated the motions. This time, the fire caught, and with a bit of coaxing, consumed the provided wood.

Makoto was hard at work assembling some kind of structure, so Ami took one of the pots to the stream and collected some water. She suspected the brunette would chide her for this, but it was only a few steps. She carefully rinsed the skin of the citrus fruits, then set to work washing the clams. A mouthful of sand hardly sounded appetizing. Her self-assigned task finished up roughly at the same moment she saw Makoto step back, surveying what was now a leafy enclosure.

"I've got the fire set," Ami said, feeding it another stick. "And the things you found washed."

She considered soaking the rice, but wasn't sure if they would be eating their rationed supplies just yet. For that, the blue-haired young woman deferred to Makoto's expertise.
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Sole Survivor   3rd August 2018, 8:21 am



The smell of burning wood wafted towards Makoto, and she was slightly surprised to find a burning fire where she had left Ami. She stared for a moment at the blue-haired girl, rather impressed with her work. She was also surprised, and slightly agitated, to find that Ami had also taken it upon herself to wash their food. Sure, it needed to be done, but what part of relax and rest up did the girl not get?

She was stubborn, and much more independent than Makoto had assumed.

She walked back over to their little campfire and crossed her arms over her chest, raising one disapproving eyebrow. "If I have to tell you to stay put and let that ankle heal one more time, I'm going to tie you to a tree," she threatened. Despite the very serious threat, there was a twinkle of playfulness in Makoto's eye and a smirk playing at the corners of her mouth. "But I have to say, you've exceeded my expectations," she admired, sitting down on next to Ami. Her stomach rumbled embarrassingly loud, causing Makoto's cheeks to turn a light shade of red. "Um...excuse me," she said, tightening her ponytail.

Silently, Makoto snatched a couple sticks from her dwindling pile and started to tie them together with her remaining twine. She made a sturdy "table" of sorts, but not for the purpose of eating off of. She made it wide enough so that the wood wasn't directly in the fire, and tall enough so that the flames didn't burn the table's surface. Finally, after her work was finished, she placed the pot of water Ami had retrieved onto the table and sat back, waiting for the water to come to a boil. She didn't really know how to cook mollusks, but if they were anything like clams, she assumed she could just boil the meat, right? She picked up a mollusk and examined the tightly-sealed shell, wondering how she would open it. With a shrug, she placed her thumb on one edge, the rest of her fingers on the other edge, and squeezed. Within a few seconds, the mollusk surrendered under the pressure of Makoto's fingers and burst open, revealing its precious meat. Triumphant, Makoto repeated the process with the other two mollusks and tossed the meat into the now-boiling water. She then grabbed some of the fruit, peeled off the skin, and squeezed a bit of juice into the water for seasoning. As a final touch, she retrieved some of the wild shiso plant she had found during her little expedition and tossed that in the water, too.


She sat back and inhaled, breathing in the scent of their dinner-to-be. She was slightly disappointed at the amount of food available, but she had eaten much less before. It was a lot harder having to share, though.

The sun had started to fall beneath the trees, and the sound of crickets filled the air. "So...I guess we're allies now, huh?" Makoto said, looking up at the sunset. "You won't hurt my feelings if you don't want to be, but I wouldn't mind keeping you around. You're not so bad, minus the whole "crashing into unsuspecting passersby" thing."

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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Sole Survivor   3rd August 2018, 11:24 am



She stayed put this time, watching carefully as the other girl prepared the meal. Ami knew how to cook, but it wasn't something she took pleasure in. She could see that Makoto felt otherwise—every action had keen attention with a measure of thought and consideration behind it. Ami followed instructions, but Makoto clearly wrote those instructions. She gratefully accepted her small portion of their overall small dinner, her attention more on the novelty than actual considerations of hunger. She certainly didn't have to worry about taste—it was delicious!

Maybe this would count as training, and soon they'd be able to do collect and do more in the days to come.

Makoto's question made Ami realize, somewhat embarrassingly, that she had already counted them as teammates without actually discussing it. With so much they had done together, the brunette helping her, she was glad not to find herself cast out in the forest alone again. Although she certainly didn't want to be on Henshin Island, she couldn't quite admit to herself that she was having some of the most fun she'd had in years... even with the injured ankle. She felt at ease with her unexpected companion. As someone lacking in friends, that wasn't something Ami could say she was used to.

"Of course," she blurted out in response, wishing she had asked or brought it up earlier. "I should be thanking you, Makoto. You've done so much for me. I hope I can prove to be a worthy enough ally."

"I hope I don't waste your time and effort," nagged an internal voice. Makoto clearly had skills that Ami lacked. Her main fear at this point was disappointing the other girl or making the brunette regret the alliance they had settled into by chance. She could tell that the girl with green eyes could be a winner of Sole Survivor, not just a competitor. Blue eyes looked at the noble profile, shining brown hair touched by the fiery glow of the sunset. Didn't Makoto deserve that? It seemed like she had been through so much.

"It's pretty here, at least," Ami commented, wrapping her forearms over her knees and looking at the scenery as the sun dipped lower into the horizon. She wasn't sure she'd ever seen a forest in real life before, not after everything that had happened in the war.
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Sole Survivor   3rd August 2018, 11:34 am



Makoto waved Ami's concern away with a flick of her wrist. "Don't worry about that. I think we make a good team. So far, at least," she said. Her plan was to start searching for a hidden immunity idol first thing in the morning. If they could find one, Ami could use it for the first council meeting, and the two of them would be safe as long as Makoto won the first challenge. If Ami could find idols like she could find water, that would be quite the amazing turn of events. 

The brunette shifted, sliding onto the ground and leaning against the log. Both of her arms were behind her head, supporting her as she looked up at the sky. The moon was starting to make its appearance, and with it came a couple stars flecking the sky. "Yeah...it is," Makoto said, a hint of solemnity in her voice. She wished all of the world was this beautiful. As much as she hated the government, she was kind of glad to have been sent to such a beautiful place, untouched by the demons of war. "Do you remember anything? Before the war, I mean."

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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Sole Survivor   3rd August 2018, 12:36 pm



Thankfully it was slightly too dark for the other young woman to see the shift in Ami's eyes, the blue suddenly a shade darker and the look downcast. She leaned into her arms, resting her chin on them, repressing a sigh. She tried to focus on the breeze in the forest and the sound of the rustling leaves. She listened to the soft noises of animals and insects in the underbrush, going about their lives, oblivious to the show hosted on the stage they called their home.

"I remember my father," she said, the voice soft and melancholy. "I remember the way his hand used to feel, guiding mine with the brush. He was a painter. He wanted me to learn to paint, too."

Would he have painted this scene? That's why he was always traveling, wasn't it? He was looking for somewhere beautiful—somewhere inspiring. Ami hadn't ever felt a calling to visual art, but in this moment she could more thoroughly understand the drives her father followed. He must have looked out across a twilight like this one and readied his canvas, preparing his palette and selecting brushes. He could have captured it more securely than her memory could. Maybe that was part of the allure for him. She envied it, now.

"Do you remember?"
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Sole Survivor   4th August 2018, 2:36 pm



Makoto was silent, listening to Ami's words intently as more and more stars began to dot the sky. The brunette could feel the twinge or sorrow in Ami's voice, and part of her wanted to reach out to offer some sort of comfort. But she refrained, clasping her hands firmly in her lap. It had been so long since she had actually experienced human contact - now was not the time to start. Besides, she barely knew this girl.

So why was she so drawn to taking away her pain?

Makoto felt her mouth grow dry at Ami's question. She should have expected the more-intelligent girl to reciprocate the inquiry, but it still came as a small surprise. Makoto was silent for a few moments, pulling back the memories she had forced to the back of her memory for so long.

"I remember having homemade cookies at 5 'o' clock every Monday. I remember learning how to cook from my mom, and learning how to fight and survive from my dad. We were always independent people - they said the only people you could truly rely on in this world is your family. They didn't know how right they were. But not even family could save us from the war. I remember when they said goodbye. They were supposed to be going on an anniversary vacation to Italy, I was staying home alone for a week. Only a few hours after they boarded the plane, I heard the sirens."

Makoto paused, looking down at her hands. The words felt like rocks in her throat. "They never came back."

She inhaled deeply before releasing all of her sorrow and tension in a long exhale. "But that was years ago. I would rather them be up there than down here."


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