Chunky exposition chapter. A cruel necessity.
Construction of the city had been going (relatively) smoothly. There were some hiccups—the blueprints weren't perfect and required some revision when Miwa put them into practice—but nothing that couldn't be fixed. Miwa was adamant to keep her city "healthy" so the firm advised her to be "eco-friendly" and "green."
Miwa knew the basics of electricity—ground to ground, power to power—but she wasn't an expert by any means whatsoever. Kikyo accepted everything Miwa had stolen from the underground auctions in exchange for hiring electricians and engineers to help Miwa build power for her city. They were going to use something called "solar power" which sounded neato. Unfortunately, the equipment for it was expensive, which encouraged Miwa to obtain them through less legal means. She was perfectly happy to steal everything she needed from two countries over.
Once the power and plumbing were set up, Miwa could get started on constructing the actual buildings in the treetops. Miwa was very adept at the carpentry side of things—even if she did not have the specific memories, she knew she had rebuilt a lot of homes in her previous village.
Everything would be linked through roads on branches, or bridges, although the firm advised Miwa to include some ground roads for people passing by.
Miwa didn't really want to mess with concrete so for the moment the "roads" were just extra flattened dirt with crushed up rocks over top.
Miwa had dug out a giant hole in the center of the city. She poured in and smoothed out several meters of thick clay and rocks all throughout it to keep the polluted soil from seeping in. Then she dumped scrolls and scrolls of filtered water into the hole to create a lake.
The architects advised Miwa to prepare several canals from the lake to other areas in case of overflow. Miwa did exactly that, pleased with their foresight to think ahead.
It was a slow process, but she was happy with the results so far. Once she had enough buildings she'd direct the residents into the city then work on the farming areas.
She had no idea what to do for the economy—Meteor City was as broke as broke could get—but she could at least make them self-sufficient. The little details could be worked out later.
Some residents were already thinking ahead. A couple of them suggested she put trout in the lake. Miwa worried it would contaminate it, but they told her they could boil the water and it was better to have more food sources.
She didn't see a reason to argue, Miwa sent a few dozen clones out each day to hunt for trout and other lake fish. Pretty much any fish that looked healthy and lived in a lake somewhere was taken back and dumped in. Not all of them survived the change in environment but that was fine.
While her clones worked, Miwa spent her time tutoring Feitan and Chrollo in chakra-control and they taught her more and more about nen.
She thought Gon and Killua were pretty smart—and they are!—but Chrollo and Feitan picked up chakra twice as fast. Was it easier because they were already nen masters and could distinctly feel their nen, or were they simply prodigies?
Miwa didn't know. Either way, she was impressed.
They had the leaf exercise down within a week.
And at the end of that week Miwa had a starting idea for her nen ability.
"U-Um—I think I know what I want my ability to look like," said Miwa, her cheeks turning red from embarrassment. She wasn't sure if her ability would seem silly. She had never made up an ability before, after all.
Kurama was encouraging, but she had to privately admit he could be a little biased when it came to her.
Chrollo shut his book. "Oh?"
Miwa beckoned him closer. Humoring her, Chrollo leaned down so she could whisper in his ear.
He said, "That's doable. Have you been keeping corpses?"
"Yeah-huh. I thought maybe the cannibals would want a BBQ later with us but then Ku—ah—I realized maybe I shouldn't have cannibals in my city," admitted Miwa. "Cause, um, cannibals might, um, not make good citizens."
"Most would agree with that," dryly agreed Feitan. Miwa flushed.
"Yeah. I'm just killing the cannibals I find now," said Miwa, shifting her weight anxiously. "I've got a lot of corpses now."
"If you've enough blood to spare, let's practice," said Chrollo.
Miwa agreed, then winced when a hundred clones popped at once and their memories flooded into her. Her clones were grouped together and split to do different tasks. Whenever a division of her clones had finished their accomplished task, they dispelled themselves so Miwa could create a fresh batch to work on a new project. It was disorienting every time.
"Oh. Looks like another drop ship is coming in," observed Feitan.
Miwa's head whipped around to where the assassin was looking and found that a dozen airships were flying in.
"No," she whispered. "I will not allow it."
"If you continue to destroy all the trash ships that come in, you might anger the surrounding countries," said Chrollo.
"I don't care."
"Excellent policy," sardonically replied Feitan.
"As it may be," said Chrollo carefully, "I would suggest you confirm they're here to dump trash first."
Miwa pursed her lips. "Fine."
All but one of the airships was there to dump trash, but luckily for them they refrained from doing so. Instead, they landed near the outskirts of the forest. Miwa headed over to them in a flash of golden light, fully prepared to blow them all to smithereens if they thought to undo all the hard work she had put forth.
She stood before them, her arms crossed over her chest as she waited to see if anyone would come out. It was several minutes until one of the airships opened up and a tiny man with doe-like eyes and curly brown hair stepped out. He reminded Miwa of a baby deer. Behind him were a few men and women in black suits that surveyed the forested area.
The small man hurried over to Miwa, fiddling with his fingers. "Ehhh… are you… ehhh… the new leader of Meteor City?"
Miwa blinked at that title. It was odd someone had actually called her that. It made sense—she did take over it—but no one had verbally acknowledged it.
"I am," said Miwa, straightening her shoulders.
She wondered what kind of impression she had made as a leader. She was as clean as she reasonably could be, but she knew her clothes had some tears and stains on them that weren't easily fixed. Miwa didn't feel a rush to replace her tattered clothes until she was finished with construction work.
And nen training since she was working with blood and blood stains were hard to get out.
'I guess when I go shopping with Kalluto I'll have to find something that's cute and good for leaders, thought Miwa. What would that be?'
Asking the wrong person. I don't wear clothes.
"Ehhh… I'm with Mokani Removal," nervously said the man. "Ehhh… we're hired by surrounding countries to transport their trash ehhhh here. But ehhh our last drop ships were destroyed."
"Yes," said Miwa blandly. "And?"
"Ehhhh…" The man shifted uncomfortably, reeking of sour fear and anxiety. "I'm here to confirm the ehhhh state of the city. The ehhhh garbage is gone?"
"Ehhh… where was it moved to?"
"Nowhere. I destroyed it," said Miwa.
The man stared at her in disbelief. "What? You—you?"
"Yes," said Miwa, her eyes narrowed. "Is that an issue?"
"No," he said quickly, eyes widening. "I ehh then ehhh would you please give me one moment?"
The man hurried away from her, pulling out a phone and calling someone. He started to speak in a different language, so even if Miwa could hear the conversation she didn't understand anything that was said. After several minutes of talking rapidly over the phone the man returned to Miwa.
"Ehhh… would you ehhh mind destroying the trash we have?" the man asked. "To confirm?"
Miwa didn't see a reason to refute. She had plenty of faulty storage scrolls left to use. The man directed her to one of the airships, opening a drop door for the trash to pour out and onto the storage scroll that sucked it up.
"All the trash fits in there?" the man asked in wonder. "Ehhh does it ehhh get full?"
"Yep. Just burn it once it is," said Miwa.
"Can—er—is that ehhh patented?" he asked.
"I dunno," said Miwa. "What's a patent?"
The man smiled. "Exclusive rights."
"Then yeah. I'm the only one trained to do it, but I'm training a few others," said Miwa.
The man's smile widened even more so. "What's your ehhh name again?"
"Miwa," Miwa introduced herself. "And you?"
"Naoko," he said. "Miwa, would you like a job?"
"We ehhh still need to get rid of the trash," Naoko began, "but instead of ehhh dumping it, would you be willing to accept it in your ehhhh scrolls? We would pay you, of course."
Miwa didn't really like the idea of being a trash dump, but—
'If I could teach others how to make the scrolls, then they could do it and be paid for it, right?'
Others, like other citizens in Meteor City.
Sounds like a good way to start an economy.
But Miwa wasn't very familiar with money and whatnot, especially in that world. So she said, "I'm okay to accept that, but would you mind sending the details to my—er—mother?"
The man nodded happily. "Yes, yes! Do you have ehhh contact information for her?"
"Yeah. I've got a phone number when you're ready—"
And that was how Miwa got a job getting rid of trash for Mokani Removal. They even paid her a whole bunch to go to their other dump sites and get rid of trash. It was gross as hecking hell, but Kikyo assured her the money was well worth it and could be put to good use for the city.
Miwa promised herself to find some decent citizens and teach them how to use storage scrolls so they could fulfill that nasty ass job in her place.
She already had a dozen in mind—when she brought food and other essentials to the tent grounds some of the citizens would talk to her. The younger ones were the most willing to approach her and she thought their enthusiasm to befriend her was rather cute. She started to steal some toys and games in other countries to bring back to them because she loved seeing how bright their faces got. She figured she could pick a dozen or so from that group.
After they learned how to write. Apparently none of them knew how; they even struggled to hold a pen properly.
She'd have to find a way to get some teachers in her city.
'Just one problem after another,' Miwa bemoaned to herself. 'Gosh I hope Gon and Killua are having an easier time playing that video game.'
(Gon & Killua & Bisky)
"Call me bargain-Miwa again and I'll knock you out for a week," threatened Bisky.
Killua resisted the urge to do exactly that, choosing to instead redirect his attention on training.
Bisky was a slave-driver. Neither of the boys could argue with the results she was already producing, but it wasn't always fun. Even with Gon's cheerful attitude, some training could be exhausting. Killua was able to survive off of little rest, but even he had his limits. He was starting to get grouchy.
It didn't help that Gon sighed every time it was bedtime and mumble, "I miss my heater."
"Who the heck is this Miwa anyway?" Bisky grumbled.
"The best pillow ever," explained Gon. "She's warm and soft."
"A pillow? You're comparing me to a pillow?"
"She's an actual person," said Killua, rolling his eyes.
"And Killua's fiancé," added Gon with a cheeky grin.
"Stop telling every—"
"Fiancé?" Bisky laughed loudly. Her pink eyes sparkled with mischief. She couldn't resist poking fun at the boy. In a light tone, she teased, "A brat like him? She must be insane."
"She is a little insane," agreed Gon, grinning at Bisky's joking behavior. "But that's what we like about her."
"She is not—" Killua suddenly remembered the things Miwa had already done. "Okay she's a little unhinged."
"As soon as they get married she'll show us a whole bunch of neat techniques," chirped Gon.
"We aren't actually getting married," Killua sighed.
"Oh yes you are," said Gon, a glint in his eyes. "I'm getting that hiraishin."
"Then you marry her."
"She's my pillow, I can't do that!" protested Gon.
"Why don't you both marry her?" snarked Bisky, then she held up index finger and shaped her nen to the number six.
"Six!" Gon and Killua exclaimed as soon as they saw her finger.
"Bingo! Gon was a little faster though, so Killua you can do a thousand push-ups."
Killua groaned as he dropped to the floor to do his push-ups while Gon smirked at him.
In a secluded area of the created forest, Miwa stood before a large, bloated corpse. It smelled horrible, but the scent of rotting flesh was something Miwa had become accustomed to. The blonde girl was not alone, Chrollo and Feitan stood a good distance behind her to watch the process.
Separating nen from chakra was not an easy process for her. It took her a solid minute of uninterrupted concentration before Miwa could create enough nen to actually use. A noticeable improvement from the several minutes it took at the start of training, but still a fair distance away from being usable in combat.
After Miwa procured enough nen, she slowly mixed her nen in the congealed blood of a man's corpse. The body twitched once, twice, then spasmed.
At once there was an eruption of conjured hemotropic butterflies. They swarmed out of the corpse, each of them made up of the congealed blood of Miwa's victim. Miwa gasped as they circled in the air around her, swarming her and rhythmically flapping their delicate wings.
"Beautiful," she whispered as she stood at the center.
Chrollo, who stood a fair bit behind her to watch, inclined his head to her. "It is an excellent start." He approached her and the butterflies peeled away to allow him into the swarm. The two of them stood back to back as the butterflies continued to circle them. "Did you know that a swarm of butterflies is called a kaleidoscope?"
"Really? That's a pretty name."
One of the butterflies landed on Miwa's nose, tickling her. She giggled cutely.
Chrollo casually asked, "Have you figured out what they're supposed to do?"
"Mmm… kind of! I gave it a lot of thought since talking with Feitan," confirmed Miwa brightly. "I want them to help my friends. I thought—at first—they should heal them but then I realized I have no idea how to make that happen."
Chrollo nodded. "It could cause more harm than good if you blindly will them to heal. If you don't understand exactly how human biology works, you could accidentally cause mutations in the cells when infusing your nen into someone."
Miwa gave a brief nod. Kurama had warned her of that as well. Nen was not chakra, and the two did not have enough of an understanding of nen and human biology to risk it. "I'm not sure which direction to take them in outside them wanting to be helpful."
Feitan, who had been watching everything at a distance, quietly said, "Exorcism would be helpful."
"There are certain nen users that can cast curses on others," Feitan explained. "Removing nen from another person is tricky. Postmortem nen curses are annoyingly potent. Finding a capable exorcist is rarer than finding gold."
"Oh." Miwa smiled at Feitan. "Then that seems like a good direction to start with."
"I know a few abilities you could practice removing," said Chrollo. "We'll need to find some subjects."
"I can hunt down some meanies," said Miwa.
Feitan had a tired look. "Meanies?"
"Mm-hmm. There's a lot of mean people in the other cities."
Chrollo shrugged. "Whenever you're ready."
"Thank you both very much!"
"Don't mention it," Feitan warned.
Meteor City smelled lovely now. The nasty air had been replaced by the smell of healthy trees and a sparkling clean lake. It was a delight for Miwa to be in the city now, and so she no longer wanted to return to the hotel to sleep.
Instead, she camped out near the lake, enjoying the sound of the waves lapping against the shore and admiring the pretty stars that twinkled above. Miwa loved sleeping outside—especially with such fair weather.
Feitan and Chrollo did not mind it, both camping out with her. Miwa noticed that Feitan was not the sort of man to complain about much except when Miwa got too close to him. For some reason, he didn't like it when she hugged him unexpectedly. Chrollo was nicer about it, accepting her random hugs with a pat on the back or head even if his face remained stoic.
One crisp night the three sat around a fire. It was late into the night and Miwa was struggling to stay awake. She had curled up next to Chrollo who remained seated on the blanket. Feitan sat across the fire from them, methodically sharpening and polishing some of his weapons.
Chrollo shut his book. "Miwa?"
"Hm?" Miwa yawned, rubbing at her eyes.
"What made you want to create this city?" Chrollo asked. "What use do you have for it?"
Miwa didn't respond for a minute, her tired mind considering how to explain her desire.
"I just… I just wanna make sure there's a place that anyone can live at, no matter their status or race," Miwa mumbled. "I have a friend. He's immortal. I wanna make sure he has a place to call home when I'm gone. I wanna make a home for him and people like him."
Miwa was too tired to stay awake. Her head fell to the side and landed in Chrollo's lap. The last thing she remembered was feeling Chrollo pat her head until sleep lulled her into warm dreams.
(Third Person POV)
"Ah," said Shalnark. The blond young man from the Phantom Troupe looked over at his companion and gave him a grin. "I got a message from the boss."
Nobunaga adjusted his grip on his samurai sword, a frown on his face.
The two had completed a mission in the Kakin Empire and had boarded an airship to leave. Whenever Shalnark had a dangerous mission—no matter the level of danger—he had to be accompanied by another member of the troupe. It wasn't that Shalnark was incapable of completing the mission on his own, rather he was that essential for the troupe. His mind-controlling nen ability coupled with his savant level of espionage and information gathering made him an invaluable member.
Nobunaga volunteered to go with him. The two actually got along quite well and worked efficiently together. Shalnark was brilliant, a terrifying tactician and genius at espionage whereas Nobunaga was one of the Phantom Troupe's best fighters. The samurai wasn't the best at coming up with ideas, but he was damn good at following them.
"A target?" asked Nobunaga, surprised the boss was reaching out to them. Pakunoda usually assigned missions whenever the boss was off… doing whatever.
Sometimes Chrollo would vanish for a couple of months after a big heist. It wasn't anything unexpected.
Although this time the troupe members had the fortune to know where the boss was that time around—supposedly in Meteor City with the fox girl.
Shalnark shook his head, smiling brightly. "Nope! He wants us to go to Meteor City."
Nobunaga raised an eyebrow at that. "Hooo? Does he say what for?"
"He wants my help to train Miwa," said Shalnark. "Apparently she's learning how to exorcise nen and he wants her to dispel my mind control."
Nobunaga beamed. "If you're training her, that means she's a member now, right? Ahh I knew she'd be a good fit!"
"We'll know for sure once we get there. At the very least, I'm curious about Meteor City. Word on the grapevine says there's a forest there now."
"HA! No way. A forest?" Nobunaga laughed loudly.
Shalnark smiled. "Wanna bet?"
"Pffft. You're on."
Answer: Magical city in the sky that would specialize in magical research.
Question: As a leader of a city/country - what kind of title would you like? Queen/King/Monarch or Lord/Lady/Liege or President/Elder/etc?
Reviews are love!