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female Yellowhill

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The city of Greenhill, part of the autonomous Greenhill Principality, was a famous town. Not just for its unique independence status, having seceded from the City-State Muse some time ago, but for the educational opportunities present within. The city housed New Leaf Academy, one of the most prestigious colleges in the Dunan Republic. Even as the conflicts heated up between Jowston and Highland, Greenhill was keeping free of the bloodshed.

Unfortunately, the war was coming to them, as the Allied Army's leader and his Orange Company were sneaking in on an important mission to rescue Greenhill's mayor-in-hiding, Teresa, to recruit for the war effort. The plan was clear and simple; use forged papers to enroll in the academy, find any useful information, and don't act suspicious while doing it. Time was of the essence, lives were constantly at stake after all, but it was a pretty leisurely errand.

The company members posing as students included: the Allied Army's leader, Riou, destined wielder of the Bright Shield Rune. Nanami, Riou's adoptive sister, dangerous with both her nunchaku and her loud mouth. Eilie, a travelling performer that liked to hang around Riou for reasons unspoken. Gengen the Kobold warrior, Chaco the Winger thief, and Flik the veteran hero, who was away from the party at the moment conducting his own investigation, while simultaneously avoiding a relentless new admirer.

For now, things were calm. The party was wandering around the campus, checking out the classrooms and study halls, talking to the students, occasionally going into town and witnessing Highland soldiers throwing their power around. Okay, tensions were high all around, with Greenhill's citizens almost enacting vigilante justice on the Allied Army's informant, Fitcher, but that was resolved without any violence thanks to Flik's gambit, and it was back to the five being ordinary students.

Unfortunately, that last event had been the final straw that wore out the final, honorary member of the team, a very young girl named Pilika. Despite her age, she had been through a lot of hardship, most notably watching her village, Toto, be burned down, whereupon her parents died and she was almost killed by Prince Luca Blight of Highland. The event had understandably traumatized her into becoming mute, and the only people she could connect with anymore were Riou, Nanami, and their childhood friend Jowy, who...wasn't here at the moment.

As dusk set in and the sun dropped below the horizon, the Orange Company returned from the town onto campus, Pilika resting as Nanami carried her on her back. "What do you think they're going to serve for dinner, Riou," Nanami asked excitedly. In the couple days they had spent at the school, the food served had become her favorite thing, wolfing down her plate, and seconds, and thirds at each and every meal.

"I don't think it matters, you'll eat it regardless," Riou offered.

"Yeah, you eat worse than a pig," Chaco teased, flying in front of the pack so all could see his evil grin.

"Well, of course! I'm a fighter, I need to keep my strength up," she shrugged off. "It's all about proper nutri..." Her statement trailed off as they re-entered the campus gates, as there was someone standing in their path: one of the school's established students, Nina. They had run into her multiple times recently, but it was odd to see her standing still. "Nina? You're not bothering Flik anymore?"

It took time for Nina to respond, she was hunched over, hands on her knees, and panting. "I-I am not 'bothering' Sir Flik! Destiny has brought us together, and I will not let fate pass me by! He just...hasn't realized our inevitable future yet. As soon as I find him again, I'll make sure he understands! Every elegant knight needs his princess!"

Nanami's face soured, and she closed the distance with a march, leaning inches from Nina's face. "Listen, don't think Flik's going to be into you just because you're enthusiastic about him. He's clearly into strong women who know more about fighting than they would reading or cooking," she declared, a heavy air of "holier-than-thou, I know I'm right". "But actually knowing how to cook doesn't hurt," she snickered.

The fires of conflict were being stoked, quite frankly worrying all those watching, and yet somehow, Nina laughed it off, with an exact mirrored haughtiness. "I appreciate you looking out for me, Nanami, you're being such a great friend. But you don't have to worry, I'm a well-rounded woman," she boasted, bringing up a forearm to prop out her upper chest. "Well, I suppose you do have something to worry about. Did you hear those sounds in the dorm last night?"

In an instant, Nanami's skin turned pale. "Y-y-yes...but that couldn't have been that ghost you talked about, right? G-ghosts aren't r-real...right? I-I mean, o-of course they aren't!" She laughed nervously, continuously looking back at Riou, allowing him to see the sweat beads drip from her forehead. It wasn't a surprise, she had reacted this same way every time the topic of the ghost in the dorms had been brought up since they arrived.

"No, you're right, I made that old story up," Nina admitted. "But there was something last night. Who knows? Could be a real ghost. Well, I should get going, I've got my own things to do. Have a good night, Nanami." Nina waved farewell, running off into the distance. "Sir Flik! Where have you run off to?!"

Once Nina had dashed away, Eilie made her thoughts crystal clear, ones it sounded like she had been holding in for quite some time. "That girl's crazy, getting so obsessive over a guy. A real woman knows how to control herself."

"Gengen thinks neither of you are ones to talk," the Kobold accused.

She should have been offended, Eilie certainly was, but Nanami was still too shaken up to properly respond. "R-Riou...s-she was just kidding, right? T-there's no ghost, right?"

It wouldn't be out of character for Riou to comfort his older stepsister, but as the younger brother, a different response was also appropriate. He held his hands in front of his face and wiggled his fingers. "At the stroke of midnight..."

"Aaaaahhhhhh!" Nanami covered her ears, closed her eyes, and shook her head violently enough to sway her hair side to side. "Nononononono! There's no such thing as ghosts!" Trembling so fiercely, Pilika had to tighten her grip around Nanami's neck to prevent falling off, reminding her carrier that she was present at all. "Oh! There's nothing to be scared of, Pilika! I'll even sleep with you tonight!"

Pilika looked at Nanami, perplexed. She couldn't verbally express her confusion at what the older girl was trying to claim, but everyone else caught on to the face-saving scheme. All except Chaco, lost in thoughts of his own. "She called you 'Nanami'. Didn't we give everyone fake names?" The team looked between each other, acknowledging the Winger had a point, but none could come up with an answer. Did they say their real names at some point and forget, or did Nina know more than she let on? Try as they might, none could come up with a plausible answer, so they shrugged, gave up, and proceeded to the dorms, before it got dark.

---------------

"Hnnnnngghhhh," Nanami grunted, clawing at her blankets. It was the dead of night, everyone else was long since asleep, yet she remained awake. Fear had prevented her from entering slumber, she couldn't relax while worrying about a roaming ghost, but it wasn't the only thing keeping her from getting comfortable. It wasn't just endless plates of food at dinner, but also chugging down a half-dozen drinks to wash them down. Her stomach may have seemed bottomless, but in the hours that had passed, her bladder had proven it did not share that distinction, as all those glasses of liquid filled it up to near-limit.

In any other situation, this shouldn't have even been a concern. She was up, she was desperate, perfect time to run to the bathroom and relieve herself. Even if they were camping out in the wilderness, it was easy enough to wander off and water the plants. The key difference was, at any other time, there wasn't the threat of a ghost. If she were to leave the security of her bed, she had no idea what horrifying thing she would find out in the halls. She wasn't brave enough to take that risk, because she knew: if she saw something scary on the way out, she suddenly wouldn't have to go anymore.

And she had very few options to pee. Attempting to make it to the proper location was a risky proposition, and there were no alternatives in her room. No containers, no window, and she couldn't very well wet her bed with another girl sleeping in it. "Unless I...no!" A brief thought flashed through her mind of soaking the sheets and blaming Pilika if questioned, but that seemed unnecessarily cruel.

That left only one possibility, to find someone willing to accompany her. Of course, the first thought was Pilika, she was right there after all, but asking a little kid to be her comfort was demeaning, and wouldn't ease her fear at all. She'd have to brave the darkness a little to run into one of the other bedrooms, but whose? Of course Chaco and Gengen were out of the question, so would it be Eilie or Riou, a fellow girl or her brother?

"Riou...Riou will help me, definitely." Despite the lack of blood relation, the two were close as could be, he was sure to help out however he could. And his room was right next door, so she wouldn't have to survive the black halls for long. Finally, she had a plan, and not a moment too soon. "I gotta get over there, now!" She quickly swung her legs out from under the quilt, bending her knees so her feet could touch the floor, ready to run, when one final concern occurred to her. "I can't just leave Pilika alone..." Crossing her legs and squishing her thighs together, she gently prodded the little girl. "Pilika...Pilika..." Pilika remained firmly in slumber, and it didn't seem like more pushing would change that.

Though, that peaceful rest was not to last. At that moment, a piercing, echoing creak overtook Nanami's ears, sending a shiver up her spine. And in that instant, her eyes shot open, all sleepiness fizzled away in a sea of adrenaline, even the impossible-to-rouse Pilika shot up immediately, instinctively clutching for Nanami. "I-it's okay, Pilika," she comforted, "although that shock almost got me." A heart-stopping surprise like that, it was a miracle she didn't have an accident then and there.

Without any time to think before panic took hold, Nanami could only think of one explanation for the ruckus. "I-i-i-it's the ghost!" She squeezed Pilika's wrist hard enough to cut off circulation, and took off running with enough speed to pull the little girl's arm off, yanking her from the bed. Nanami dragged her all the way to Riou's door, knocking with the force to knock it off its hinges. "Riou! Riou, get up! Get up now!"

The pounding continued for another half-minute, until Riou finally answered, wiping his eyes. "What is it, Nanami?"

"That creak! It's the ghost! I know it!"

"It's probably just someone stepping on a creaky stair. You're being paranoid."

"No, I'm serious! It's the ghost, it has to be!" She grabbed her brother's collar and began shaking him, waking him up fully with his own shouts.

Gengen slumped around the corner, yawning. "Gengen can't sleep with all this screaming. What's going on?"

Following behind, Chaco peeked from behind Gengen's back. "Are you still freaking out about that ghost story?"

And finally, Eilie rose from above both their heads. "For what it's worth, I heard the creaking too."

"See?! It's real! The ghost is real!" Nanami shook Riou harder, who was beginning to go limp.

Finally, Riou knocked his sister away. "Alright, we can go take a look." He left his room to join his team, pushing them aside to lead them, very slowly, out into the corridors. He leaned in around the nearest corner, everyone else following his lead shortly afterwards, to take a peek. Nanami was the last to look, even Pilika got in before her.

Aside from Nanami, none of them were expecting to see anything, and prepared to chew the girl out for wasting all their time with her nonsensical phobia. In fact, they were geared up for it, when a shadow flashed by, disappearing out of view down the stairs. That was absolutely the sight no one was expecting to see, even Nanami found herself hoping she was wrong. As such, when no one else could muster up a response to the sight, she expressed herself, clearly and loudly. "Aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh!" Letting go of Pilika's wrist, she tightly hugged Riou from behind, desperate for comfort.

As that startle and jump reminded her, that wasn't the only thing she was desperate for. Her full bladder jolted, but without much room to slosh around, the urine needed to move somewhere else. That relocation turned out to be into her underwear, a little patch of warm dampness spreading across her crotch, out of sight beneath her pants, but absolutely noticeable to Nanami. "Eep!" Her arms released Riou, as their focus rediverted to pressing against her pants, begging to keep that little drop the only bit that escaped.

The resolve was enough to hold off the flood for now, but leaving an intense pain near her stomach as punishment. Now would be the perfect time to hit the bathroom, if not for one major problem that had just presented itself: Nanami was right. There was something prowling the dorms. Now wasn't the time to take a break, with all the sabotage and cutthroat tactics going on in this war, it was imperative they catch the specter or whatever it really was, and Riou was leading the charge. "Hurry! Don't let it escape!"

As the team ran after the shadow, Nanami was left behind with Pilika, eyeing the opposite direction, the one housing the toilets. "Wait! I need to...Agh!" It was clear her teammates weren't going to listen to her, and it wouldn't be appropriate to hang behind while they did something important, just to pee. The only action she could take now was buckle down, be tough, and hold it in. Groaning loudly, since her friends clearly weren't listening to her, she grabbed Pilika's hand and ran after the four.

---------------

Well, the good news was, there was no ghost. The dark spirit they witnessed was, in fact, just Flik. He was tailing Shin, Teresa's aide, through secret passages and into the forest behind the campus. It was nice to know there was no ghost, but this meant a lead to their actual mission, and they couldn't very well ignore that and go back to sleep, which meant the whole team was trekking further into the forest.

It also meant that Nanami still had not relieved herself, and it wasn't looking like she would get the chance any time soon. There hadn't been another leak, she could thank her strength training from Grandpa Genkaku for that, but she was still on the verge of an accident with little time left. And having this predicament in the woods was the ultimate torture, every tree tempting her with memories of what she could do to them if she wasn't in the middle of a mission, and accompanied by others. No way would she let Flik see her acting so pitiful.

Well, she didn't want to demean herself, but it wasn't really looking like she was going to have a choice. She had to go bad, and their tailing task was slow-going. And with every passing second, Nanami's bladder was becoming more of a pained nuisance, threatening louder and louder to spill its contents straight into her pants, and she was beginning to feel powerless to resist. Maybe it really would be worth it to be honest, and just ask to stop.

Well, they were stopping, but it wouldn't be for anything to ease the struggle, at least not for her. Looking out over the limited distance, and lost in her own worries, Nanami wasn't paying attention to her immediate surroundings, and was caught off-guard by Pilika tugging on the scarf around her waist. "W-what is it, Pilika?" She looked down at her little companion, and with her eyes adjusting to the darkness, she could see exactly what was bothering Pilika. She was lightly clutching the front hem of her pink dress, rubbing her thighs together and looking really nervous. She couldn't say what the problem was, but she had performed this exact mime before, it could be perfectly translated into words: "Big sis Nanami, I gotta go potty."

This wasn't the first time she had needed to make that request, a small girl needed more frequent breaks of all kinds on the long road from one town to another, and Nanami always took the responsibility of taking her off the path to answer nature's call away from prying eyes. Not only was it wrong to make Pilika hold it longer than necessary, but it also provided a good opportunity to handle her own needs without ever having to admit as much. It had become a response to associate that potty dance with her own impending emptiness, something she absolutely didn't want to picture when she really needed that exact feeling, with no idea when she'd get it. Just the sight was enough to make Nanami whine, repeatedly pressing her legs into each other.

However, as she soon realized, this could be a perfect opportunity. No one would have the heart to refuse Pilika with such a critical request, not unless the present situation was too dangerous to allow any stragglers. Right now, they could probably get away with an escape. "Hey guys, Pilika needs a quick minute. You go on without us, we'll catch up."

"You sure? We can wait for you," Riou offered.

"I agree," seconded Flik. "It would be dangerous to leave you two alone in unfamiliar territory, especially in the dark."

Two against two, and it didn't look like anyone else would be stepping in, leaving the two sides at a stalemate. That is, until Eilie put her foot down and started pushing the two men further on their path. "Don't you two know anything? When a girl says she needs alone time, she means it! Let's go!" She helped the boys along their way, Flik in particular being rendered speechless, as Gengen and Chaco followed, having played no part.

Finally, the ladies had their privacy. Nanami sighed in relief at the thought of the relief she'd soon be getting, practically drooling at the image. It took Pilika tugging on her scarf again, pointing to the denser forest off the beaten path, to bring her back to the real world. "R-right, we should hurry." She led Pilika into the deeper shadows of the many tree trunks, waiting just long enough to ensure they were out of sight before reaching for the waistband on her pants. "Phew, I've been waiting too long for this."

But just as she was about to undress, she was interrupted by yet another tug from Pilika. A part of her wanted to just ignore whatever the request was in order to pee, but the big sister instinct overpowered the urge. "What is it now," she asked, a tone of frustration clearly evident. She looked over Pilika, desperate to find what was bothering her now. But she was just doing the same potty dance, turning this into a frantic guessing game. "You're starting to have an accident? You need help undressing? Something else hurts?" Every one was met with a dismissive head shake as Pilika's prance grew faster, until Nanami finally hit the jackpot. "You want me to stand watch?" The little girl nodded in agreement.

On the surface, it sounded like a reasonable request. It was the dead of night in the middle of some woods, probably with monsters and vicious animals. Having someone guarding her while she was incapacitated was the sensible thing to ask, and under ordinary circumstances, Nanami would be happy to oblige. If only it wasn't imperative that Nanami start peeing soon. "I-I promise nothing is going to attack you, Pilika! Just let me go..."

Before she could properly plead her case, Pilika's eyes suddenly pressed tightly shut, and she squeezed her dress even harder. Nanami couldn't see the finer details, but there was little to get in the way of hearing what happened next. A light pattering sound, with the tiniest hint of liquid hitting fabric, but primarily pee falling into the dirt between her feet. Pilika was already having her accident, and Nanami was about to do the same. She quickly twisted her legs, grabbing her crotch with no hint of shame, halfway doubling over with a pained grimace. She wanted to rip her pants down and go right there, but she had yet to receive approval to not stand guard, and she wasn't going to get it now. "Please, just don't take too long, Pilika!"

The instant she got the okay, Pilika lifted her pink dress above her waist, shoving her white panties to her ankles, where only she could see how much they were actually yellow now. She squatted down, wrapping her arms around her knees, making good use of what Nanami had taught her back when she didn't know how to pee outside. Without any obstructions, the golden stream sprinkled cleanly into the soil.

That soft little tinkle was enough to drive Nanami crazy, as her bladder made one more shove, practically forcing all her pee out. She had to double, and triple, and quadruple her grip to force her muscles into obedience, being pelted with endless agony in the process. She had to turn away to ensure she wouldn't see the relief, if she would have even found the strength to open her eyes, but with her hands way too occupied, there was nothing she could do to drown out the noise. Pilika wasn't letting out a constant pee, she was nervous, spraying in loud and forceful, but brief spurts. She'd rest for a second, and then resume going for another two. Not only did this mean it was taking nearly double the time to finish, but every pause, Nanami found herself praying it was the end, only to have her hopes dashed as more flowed out.

It was unavoidable, that flowing sound to a desperate girl had to have an effect. Nanami had to pee so incredibly bad, she needed to follow Pilika's lead. Warmth quickly filled her underwear, renewing the tepid dampness and sticking the fabric to her skin. And this time, her panties weren't enough to contain the leaks, as the stream seeped through, snaking down her legs and being absorbed by her pants. Even her gloves were taking damage, and she could feel the heat on the fingertips and palm of her right hand clutching her crotch.

She tried her hardest, but there as nothing more Nanami could do. She was already grabbing herself as hard as she could, with her thighs twisted together, and she was putting all her effort towards holding. She was not about to give up and accept a wetting, but it was starting to look futile with the increasing soaking her green pants were displaying. If it wasn't near-pitch black out, she was sure she'd be found out as soon as she returned to the group. That is, if she didn't totally lose it, because that couldn't be hidden.

Perhaps fate had decided she had suffered enough recently, or she had a lot more endurance than she previously believed possible, because the flow of urine heating her lower half was stemmed, a little more dripping down before nothing more sprang forth. It was a close victory, she felt soaked enough to believe she didn't make it, but Pilika was still shooting out a stop-and-start stream, so Nanami couldn't have emptied out yet. Plus, her insides were still being tortured, so she definitely still needed to pee, worse than almost any other time, even with that partial release.

It was a combo of good fortune tonight, because the splashing of urine into a growing puddle halted, and five seconds later, had yet to restart. She heard Pilika's clothes rustle, as she surely pulled her underwear back up and let her dress cover it again. She no longer needed someone taking special care to watch for her, not that Nanami had done a good job of that task, so it was time for the older girl to do what her body demanded. Once again, she gripped her waistband, determined to let nothing interrupt her this time as the pants slid past her butt.

At that moment, a rustling emanated from a nearby shrub. Even that wasn't enough to stop Nanami, her pants halfway down her thighs as she was halfway bent down into a squat. The only thing giving her pause was Pilika jumping at the noise, shaking as she looked between the source of the noise and Nanami. She clearly wanted some protection, but now wasn't the time. "J-just get behind me," Nanami commanded, getting her pants to her knees as she moved her attention to removing her panties.

Too bad her luck had run out. The rustle happened again, and it had friends this time, multiple echoes from behind other hiding places in the same general direction. Whatever was causing the noise, it was something numerous, and experience had only shown her one thing that would act that way: monsters. Monsters were coming for them, obviously Pilika couldn't fight them off, and Nanami would be useless if she were to go through with undressing. She could either take the punishment while peeing, or...

"Pilika, let's run!" She grabbed Pilika's hand and dashed off, away from the noises, towards the direction the party had left in. It was a simple plan, lead the monsters to the people capable of fighting, let them deal with the threat, and run off on her own while they had their battle. It no longer mattered if they could easily guess what she was doing, who cared? Nanami had to pee! It was hard enough holding it as they ran, each step allowing a little more urine to slip out and join its brethren, the added wetness no longer registering.

Just as it was beginning to seem she was going to fail, silhouettes appeared at the end of her vision, totaling a perfect five, exactly what she was expecting. "Riou! Riou! Something's chasing us!"

Hearing his name called out, Riou turned to face his sister, and see her frantic stride and terrified facial expression, with nothing behind her. "Are you okay, Nanami?"

"No, I think she's right. I hear something coming," Flik warned, drawing his sword from the scabbard on his belt, prompting everyone else to grab their weapons. There was a painful silence, as everyone waited for the inevitable ambush, scanning their surroundings for any other clues to where the attack would begin from. Even Nanami was sticking around, she had no idea how many creatures were lurking in those woods, she didn't want to duck behind a tree close to any of them and waste the opportunity she was banking on by coming out here in the first place. Her rapid dancing and stepping were becoming faster and faster as the flood in her bladder was rising over the dam wall, reminding her how much every second counted right now.

Finally, their patience paid off, as enemies jumped from beyond the treeline, coming to a halt before the party, ready to attack. Five Holly Boys, and one Holly Elf. The Holly Boys were no problem, incredibly weak in both attack and health, but the Holly Elf was heartier, fast, and commanded the small tufts of leaves. Defeating the dryad first would be the real priority, or its abilities would cause trouble. And of course, it was hanging in the back row, where only Eilie's attacks could reach it. Now was Nanami's only chance to bow out, drawing as little attention to herself as possible. Still holding Pilika's hand, she took careful, deliberate steps away from the battle formation, quietly sneaking away into the deeper forest.

Too bad Riou had different plans. "Nanami! Let's get the elf together!"

True, the step-siblings had an attack where they'd strike the same enemy with a unified series of swings and kicks. But now was hardly the time for such a strenuous activity, not if she wanted to stay...only mildly wet. "I-I don't think that's a good idea! I need to..." She couldn't even admit the truth before Riou jumped forward, snaking between the Holly Boys to stand immediately before the Holly Elf.

Now he was in a precarious predicament, in the middle of an enemy formation, waiting for Nanami to leap in and team up. They had practiced this move many times, both in training with Grandpa Genkaku and in the field, it was strong, but it absolutely required the two working together in perfect harmony. Riou had just thrown himself into danger, because he wholeheartedly believed Nanami would join him. Trust was his defining characteristic.

Nanami didn't have a choice. "Alright! But only one attack!" She leapt forward to join her brother, landing right next to him, staring the Holly Elf down. The two looked at each other and nodded confirmations to start fighting, with Nanami's of course looking much less optimistic. Still, it was enough, and their wild attack began. It started with swinging their weapons in various directions, all in perfect time and coordination. Having to lean her body forward to get maximum power from her nunchaku was not easy on the poor girl. Then came the unarmed attacks, something many times worse. Each punch sent a recoil shockwave back through her person, rippling her bladder like a stone thrown in a pond, to say nothing of needing to lift one leg in the air for a high kick, fully exposing the wet patch on her pants and growing it further. How she didn't lose it there was anyone's guess.

The attack paid off, the final hits connected, and the Holly Elf faded from existence, allowing the two to jump back to their positions. Notably, Nanami in the back row, allowing her to ruthlessly squeeze between her legs, free from witnesses. The wetness was starting to feel chilly, a good sign if it meant there wasn't much hot pee to warm it up, but she was still extraordinarily damp. Once again, she had to concentrate all her focus on holding, totally isolating her senses from her surroundings. She started wavering with lost balance, she didn't see or hear everyone else jumping forward in succession to attack their foes.

And she certainly didn't see, after the other four had taken their turns, there was still one Holly Boy alive. It hopped twice to approach, leaving everyone on guard but unsure where it would strike. And, because fate was evil, its attack was aimed directly at Nanami, as it revealed when it rocketed towards her torso. Whether it could sense her distraction, or it was just going for the one target not actively defending herself, maybe it was just bad luck. Whatever the reason, it wouldn't end well for Nanami, especially when she only realized something was closing in seconds before impact, too late to dodge, not that her stiff body would be able to react fast enough anyway. Still, she attempted a last-second evasion, ducking off to the side with all the speed she could muster.

It wasn't quick enough, of course not, but something else interfered. Flik, the honorable mercenary, in the front row before her, came to her aid. He swung his blade with expert precision, cutting through the Holly Boy in its tracks, in a wide swing that almost hit Gengen to his side. It would have been a legendary save, if it wasn't all for a tiny foe that would have barely scratched through their thick, battle-ready clothing.

It also would have been better had Nanami known she'd have been safe standing her ground. She had made the grave mistake of making a sudden dive, one that upset the delicate equilibrium, the only thing keeping her from a further accident. And she knew this, even before the exact moment of failure, she didn't even try physically holding this time. It wouldn't do any good. The color faded from her face, she froze, and couldn't say anything, only making small choking sounds, nearly putting her on the same level as Pilika. While most were simply confused by her sudden change in attitude, Riou had the experience to know something was wrong. "Nanami...is something wrong?"

While their eyes had adjusted to the darkness reasonably well by now, sound was still the primary sense to rely on. That meant, with their ears open, everyone clearly heard the crashing slam of fluid falling onto the hard dirt. It was loud to all, but to Nanami, it might as well have been deafening. Not just from proximity, though that certainly didn't help matters, but shame. Not only was it embarrassing to pee herself at her age, not only was it embarrassing to have an accident in front of her brother, a girl that looked up to her as a big sister, a dreamy older man, and three people she barely knew, but it had to be her, heir to Genkaku's trainings. Her and Riou had only recently been told of their grandpa's exploits, that he used to be a hero of the state, so with that in mind, it felt like she was failing something much greater than herself.

But more than anything, it just felt bad. The torrid torrent rushing out, soaking her pants while simultaneously powering through the two layers of clothing, hitting the ground so hard it splashed back onto her ankles. Her loose pant legs now stuck to her skin, squishing with every minute movement, constantly fluctuating between the searing heat of the pee and biting chill of the wind. And it just wasn't stopping. She could still pull her pants down, squat, and spray to save herself from about half her bladder, but there was no point, she was drenched already. And she wasn't about to expose herself in plain view of everyone.

She didn't need to, they were already getting quite the view of her disgrace. Up to now, Nanami had been forceful, loud, took charge, and did things her way with guts. Granted, it was an immature brand of bravado, but it was still far removed from the kind of juvenile behavior that would excuse peeing herself. If Pilika had an accident, that would be cause for concern and comfort. With Nanami, someone who should know better, it only meant she was a loser, not worthy of respect. She'd be forever in the shadow of her younger brother, the Allied Army's commander. Riou would go down in history one day as the boy who defeated Luca Blight, and she'd be his sister, the one who peed herself.

That was her fear, one founded by the first person with the courage to remark on the sight. Would it be Riou to tell her it'd be all right? Would it be Flik or Eilie putting in an honest effort to make her feel better? Maybe even Pilika could chime in with a smile or something? Nope, it was Chaco. "Hahahahahaha! Wow, that's rich! And you were lecturing me on responsibility in Two River! Some 'big girl' you are!"

It was harsh, but Nanami couldn't argue. She had failed, made herself look incompetent, pitiful. She still was, even as she was being mocked, she was still peeing. It had eased up, though it was still quite violent, and unceasing. It wasn't the only water she'd be producing either, as she couldn't help it again and began crying, wails and all.

She didn't even realize how loud she was sobbing until there was no splashing from the puddle beneath her to drown it out. Somehow, her bladder had finally emptied. She had to admit, there was some satisfaction to being finished, her episode was over, and she didn't feel like she might explode with the force of Viktor igniting fire spears. But those tiny comforts were erased, as soon as she opened her eyes, reddened and swollen, and saw everyone staring at her. Why wouldn't they be, she had just humiliated herself, wasn't that a funny sight? She had the right to be upset, and she exercised that right. "D-don't look at me," she shouted, running off into the woods like it wasn't too late for that.

Five minutes earlier, this kind of privacy would have been the best possible outcome, a place she could let loose and leave this whole mess simply a close call. But now, after she had already ashamed her entire being, the dark void only served as a reflection of her inner self: black, cold, and alone. Not that it would embarrass her any further at this point, but without anyone to see, she fell to her eyes and started a second round of tears.

"Nanami?" Was actually having a little time to herself to cry too much to ask? Why did Riou have to come over?

"J-just leave me alone. I'm not worth worrying about." She waved her brother away, refusing to look anywhere near him.

"We're still looking for Teresa, remember? Come on, I can't have someone chickening out on us. The only way we're going to win this war is to be strong, no matter what troubles are thrown at us."

"But I'm pathetic! I can't help you, I'm just a burden who should fade away and be paid no mind."

"...okay, let me tell you something. Back when me and Jowy's brigade was attacked by Luca Blight, when we escaped and were on the run. We could have disappeared into the shadows where we'd never be found, or we could have stayed with Viktor and Flik where we'd be safe. But you know what Jowy was adamant about? That we infiltrate Highland territory, when we were already branded traitors, and get into Kyaro. Not to retrieve some item, or say goodbye to his family. It was to make sure you were with us."

That was a part of the story she hadn't heard before. With great difficulty, she choked back her tears, and faced Riou, bending down and extending a hand to pull her to her feet. "J-Jowy said that?"

"Yep. You know him just as well as I do, would he have gone so far if he didn't believe in you?"

All at once, it was like a heavy weight was lifted off her shoulders. There was still a lot of lingering misery, but she felt...relieved, like the feeling of blissful release had only just hit her. Without any assistance, she jumped back to stand, towering above her brother for a second before he righted himself. "W-well, of course! I knew he had faith in me all this time! We're friends! In fact, I was the one protecting you two when we were little!"

Riou chuckled. "Yeah, you were. Guess I'm only paying back the favor now, huh?"

"Oh, come on! You don't owe me anything! Just end this war, and the three of us can live in peace somewhere! Then we'll be even!"

"You're feeling alright now?"

"Sure! Momentary setback, it's all good. Just need to take a bath when we get back to the dorms." She started marching back towards their team, a very noticeable spring in her step, despite the added discomfort so much leg movement caused.

Riou smiled, this was more like the Nanami he knew. It took her a minute this time, the constant stress taking a toll on her, but she still bounced back. He had to sprint to catch up with her lead. Things would be okay.

Well, Nanami still had one concern. "Hey, I know he trusts me, and wouldn't think less of me or anything like that, but...please don't tell Jowy about this when we see him again."

"I...I don't think this will be what we talk about when we meet," Riou replied, suddenly somber.

"Good! Let's just get this over with, so I can wash myself off!" Everyone was safe, Nanami was back in good spirits, and they still had a lead towards finding Teresa and securing an alliance with Greenhill. Everything was on track. Except, if they did find someone at the end of this maze, Nanami was determined to hang back, out of sight. Couldn't have the rest of the team looking bad.

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