Prologue: Severed Ties
Closing the front door with a sigh, Jazz looked around the quiet house. Everything was where she had left it when she left for work that morning as usual, and she gave a small smile at welcome familiarity of it all. Dropping her keys on the side table, she moved towards the kitchen to get ready to fix something to eat for dinner. She had to stop herself from giving in to the urge to pull into the drivethru of a fast food place several times on her way home, telling herself for the hundredth time that she had plenty of food at home and that she shouldn't waste money eating out all the time.
As she rummaged through the cabinets to look over cans of various green vegetables and boxes of pasta, something caught her attention out of the corner of her eye. Glancing over, Jazz frowned slightly when she saw that it was the flashing light of her home phone and quickly turned her attention back to the various canned goods. After a few more minutes of searching through them for something edible, she gave up and slammed the door shut, suddenly irritated.
She'd just have another TV dinner tonight. She didn't feel much like cooking anyway.
Tossing the steak dinner she snatched from the freezer into the microwave, she sat down at the table to wait. Again the flashing light from her home phone caught her attention from the corner of her eye, but she ignored it, strumming her fingers on the wooden table until she finally heard a ding from the microwave. Grabbing her food she left the kitchen area behind, choosing instead to eat in the living room.
Jazz turned on the news to watch as she ate, nothing really catching her attention as the time went by. Tomorrow would be cloudy with a chance of rain, there was a bit of evening traffic, a robbery report from a week ago, the Cards beat the Cats 65-58; nothing but the usual stuff. Nothing new and nothing old. As the reporter begun a story about some silly new viral cat video Jazz got up, taking her empty plate to the sink.
After cleaning the few dishes and throwing away the trash Jazz once again noticed the blinking light of the phone, urging her to pick it up. Reluctantly she did so, seeing at a glance that she had 3 new messages waiting for her. Flipping through the call log she stared dead eyed at the three names displayed. One was her aunt, another her uncle, and the last was her cousin. She felt a mild tinge of irritation when she saw her aunt had called her 4 times before leaving a message. She put the phone back on its stand, not even bothering to listen to the voicemails. She already knew what they had to say and she didn't want to hear any of it.
Turning the living room TV off Jazz retreated to her room and kicked her shoes off, turning to room TV on as she did so. It wasn't on any channel in particular and she didn't really want to watch anything at the moment- she just liked the noise. Pulling out her 3DS from the side table she decided to let off some steam playing Super Smash Bros.
As the Smash Menu popped up she paused for a second, wondering who she wanted to play as. Jazz was pretty good with characters like Charizard, Bowser, Bowser Jr, Robin, and the Mii Brawler. She vaguely remembered that she'd unlocked a new fighter last time she played, but since she wasn't using her best fighter at the time she failed to get her. With that thought in mind she selected her Mii Fighter- a character designed after herself wearing a light green Vampire Garb with Cat ears- to take the challenger down. Jazz gave a slight smile as she thought of her Mii as the hero of Smash, since she preferred to use her first on every mode and to take out tough opponents.
Setting the opponents to random she started the default timed Smash and gave a small chuckle when she saw she was up against Robin, a white Ike, and Black Bowser. She didn't bother to raise the difficulty at all, so she had an easy time beating the snot out of each of them, spamming her Foot Flurries and Piston Punching them off the top of the screen. By the time the two minutes was up she'd gotten 7 knockouts without a single fall. As she exited the winner's screen she heard the familiar sirens as the screen flashed an all too familiar silhouette. Jazz gave a small groan at the realization that the person she was fighting next was nothing more than a simple clone. She was expecting someone more unique like Duck Hunt, not Lucina…
As the battle started and Jazz deployed her usual strategy of spamming B moves, it seemed as though Lucina took offense to her attitude about her and started spamming her Counter attack. It wasn't even thirty seconds into the fight that Jazz found herself flung offscreen, the announcer voicing her failure as Lucina stood taunting her. Eyebrows scrunching in annoyance, Jazz decided to let it slide as she navigated the menu to start another match. She'd been sloppy, nothing else.
Setting the Smash matches to Single Stock and choosing Robin as her only opponent, Jazz quickly kicked his ass, chuckling as he face planted the screen. Some sirens and a screen splash later, and she was once again facing Lucina off in the Ferox Arena. Taking the fight more seriously this time she didn't spam her attacks as much and even tried dodging and shielding more. Jazz was only an average player at best and could hold her own on most difficulties, but Lucina just kept spamming her counter move at just the right moment nearly every time she tried to attack until Jazz was blown off the screen again in a blast of light. Getting slightly pissed now at the clone girl's cheap tactics, Jazz almost considered switching to another fighter. Her Mii didn't have any ranged moves which made fighting the characters with a Counter move a bit of a challenge. But now her pride was hurt and she wanted to punch the Princess's face in all the more.
Quickly running through another match Jazz faced off against the Princess again, readying her A game. She played much more defensively, using the grabs, rolls, shields and combos she'd been practicing a bit for online play and eventually managed to keep the princess at a higher percentage than her and well into knockout levels. Just one more combo and she'd be done. Seeing an opening she prepared to use her favorite side-B up-B combo, but just as the attack was about to land Lucina recovered and pulled off a Counter at the last second, sending the Mii flying offstage.
That. Little. Bitch.
Jazz could barely contain her anger as she almost wanted to throw her game at the wall, a string of curses leaving her mouth. She glared at her game as it pulled up the fighter selection screen again and fumed at how much she hated this Lucina. If she were fighting a streetpass Lucy in Awakening, she's have killed her in two seconds flat. As the thought about how much she sucked at fighting games crossed her mind, Jazz suddenly found herself very bored at the idea of going another round with the princess and she popped the game out and tossed it across the room. She had plenty of other games where enemies weren't cheap bastards.
Shuffling through her other games her hand passed over Fire Emblem Awakening, and as she picked it up considered playing it again. She'd only gone through the story once on Casual mode and always intended on doing two or three more playthroughs at some point, as it was easily the best game she had played in a while. Popping it in she smiled inwardly as the familiar opening played only to have her mood sour as she navigated the file screen.
Her finished file was nowhere to be seen and she felt a pang of annoyance as she remembered having let a friend borrow the game some time ago. The three current files were the one her friend had started and two alternate save files from early in her first run, when she was testing out husbands and such. While they were technically both her own files, neither one was past Chapter 12 and she didn't feel like jumping into the game from a middle chapter. Switching to the Quicksave screen she got excited as she spotted the Endgame title marker and quickly started it up.
As the battle pulled up she opened the battle menu and looked around for an option to abandon the fight, since she was more interested in doing one of the DLC chapters she'd recently bought for the game. She didn't find anything however so she gave up and turned back to the battle. Since there weren't any enemies on the field besides Grima, she figured she made this quicksave simply to watch both endings to the game. Jazz remembered the game would restart to before Final Chapter after the credits rolled so she figured she could salvage her beaten file that way and then play the DLC.
Since her Avatar was the only unit that could move, Jazz selected her and had her attack Grima head on. It took until the enemy turn for him to fall, her husband landing the final blow with a bunny kick after shielding her from harm. After making the choice to have the Avatar finish Grima off, she set the game down as the credits rolled and glanced at the TV instead. The credits were almost ten minutes long and the thought of watching them as she waited bored her. When she finally heard Chrom speaking again at the end she picked it back up, pressing the buttons impatiently as she wanted to access her old file ASAP.
Her heart sank when the screen faded back to the title screen of the game and the same three files from before popped up on the menu. She rubbed her temples and sighed realizing the game didn't take her back to the World Map like she thought it would. She'd just wasted over ten minutes on a wild goose chase with nothing to show for it. She went back to the main menu in a huff and deleted the offending friend's file, muttering something about not letting anyone else borrow her games. She wondered for a minute if she should just go ahead and start a new file now, since there was nothing she could do about her old file besides watch the ending again, and that thought bored her to tears. Glancing at the clock next to her bed she noticed that it was getting late and decided it would take too long to start over again for the night.
Still, she wanted to accomplish something today, so she popped the game out and began looking for another. Pokemon Y, Rune Factory 4, Okamiden, Shin Megami Tensei; she didn't want to play any of those at the moment. The only two she had left were Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate and 4 Ultimate. She remembered she had to farm the Gore Magala for one last plate for his armor and then some tails for his weapons, but that idea quickly soured her mood. Gore really wasn't that fun of a fight and would still occasionally cart her in his frenzy mode if she got careless. Plus he refused to drop anything useful the last fifteen times she fought it, even with her thief Palicos deployed. She couldn't fight him online yet since she wanted to finish the story mode before going into the online mode, and even if she had his quest online, she didn't want to deal with the noobs, elitists, and trolls that plagued the place.
Jazz finally settled on playing 3 Ultimate, since she liked the monsters there better and she had no 'to do list' in it since she had already beat the game. Starting the game up she scanned through the quests and picked her favorite monster to hunt: the Green Nargacuga. Packing her supplies and her strongest thunder Switch Axe she set off, a confident smirk on her face as she knew she could take care of the beast in under ten minutes.
For once that night Jazz was actually doing well, easily getting back into the swing of fighting the Nargacuga after having not fought it in a while. Within minutes of dancing around the beast she managed to scar its face up, chop off the tail, and break one of its wings. It was starting to rage more so she figured it would be limping soon so she could capture it.
As the great green panther-like wyvern took a prowler stance, she prepared to dodge its upcoming combo when a sudden loud ringing broke her concentration causing her to look up from the screen at the worst possible second. The sound of her hunter getting hit hard drew her attention back to the screen and she swore as she frantically tried to dodge roll away from the attacks, all to no avail as she got trapped and locked into all three wing slashes anyway, taking a large amount of her health away. Panicking and distracted by yet another loud burst of ringing Jazz tried to get away from the monster long enough to heal quickly only to have her hunter stumble uselessly as she ran out of stamina. Just before she could get enough back to roll away the Nargacuga whipped its tail around in a spin attack, quickly wiping out her remaining health.
As the cute little cats wheeled her back to the base camp, Jazz glared out of her room door towards the kitchen, where the offending phone continued ringing. She considered ignoring it in order to finish the quest since she did have two more chances to capture it without dying again before the quest was failed, but if it was who she thought was calling she knew they'd just keep calling nonstop, ruining any concentration. She shut the lid of her 3DS and set it down with a growl as she got up to answer the phone. She was almost ready to cuss whoever it was out especially if it was a family member since she didn't feel like speaking to any of them at all right now.
Grabbing the phone Jazz glared at the number before her expression softened into a slightly sadder, somewhat tired look. It was a call from a family member, but she hesitated as she looked at number, wanting nothing more than to put the phone back down and call it a night. She knew that was pointless however; he'd just keep calling or worse, he'd show up at her door the next day. With a heavy sigh she pushed the Talk button and let herself be dragged back to reality.