Corpse Master

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Fanfic Info
Title Corpse Master
Genres Drama
Author TwiceBorn
Timeline Shorty before Thread 93
Canonicity Status Non-Canon
Completion Status One-Shot

Corpse Master[edit]

“Hold her down, please, she's going under hypervolemic shock.”

The patient thrashed and twitched on the ground, vomiting gore from a mouth already stained red, clawing at her savior as pain wracked her ruined form. The grass beneath her was already stained dark red with blood.

“Attaching two large-bore IVs. Kanae, five migs of morphine, stat.”

The surgeon's voice was the eye of this storm of death and blood. Though soft, it cut through the sound of the girl's death throes, a calm center to the dying patient and the frantic assistants.

“BP's dropping fast!”

“Blood Knight's panties, was that her pancreas? I think that was her pancreas—”

“Focus, please. She's trashing too much, we'll have to put her under. Yomi, I need ten ccs of—”

It was a pointless battle, the surgeon knew. The girl was just too far gone. Superhuman fortitude meant her wounds, which would have instantly killed a grown man twice over, merely granted her a slow, painful death. The Narthecium, a technolgical marvel as it was, was of little help here, though even with the best operating suite in existence there wasn't any hope. But she fought on nonetheless.

Poor girl, thought the surgeon, as she wrestled to insert the IV. Such bright, beautiful blue eyes, marred as they were by desperation and pain. She might have been quite pretty if her jaw hadn't been torn off and half her face reduced to mush.

Twenty seconds later, the girl let out a wet, gurgling death-rattle and at last fell still.

“...she's dead.”

A pregnant silence hung in the air.

It died with the tell-tale *click* of a smartphone camera.

“Haha!” cackled Kanae. “Oh man, that expression's fucking hilarious!”

“You wanna do the 'Welcome...TO THE WORLD OF TOMORROW~!' prank when she wakes up, or should I?”

“Nah, I think Yasuko did that one already.”


Such disrespect, thought the surgeon. Such disregard for the dead. She might have admonished them, back when she first started her grim work. And she did, once.

They had replied, “So...what? The Incubator's just going to regenerate them in, like, an hour, anyway.” At the time, there wasn't much she could say to that. Now, she wasn't sure if she cared enough to try a rebuttal.

The surgeon stood up and began wiping her blood-soaked hands on a clean towel. “Kanae, Kinoko, please seal the body in a bag and get it to Officio headquarters immediately. Here is the Soul Gem.” She handed Kanae a small metal object in the shape of a vial—a phylactery, for the safe transport of a Soul Gem. The two assistants nodded and began lugging the corpse to a nearby van.

Such a binary thing, this job, mused the surgeon. Between inhuman fortitude, magical regeneration, and resurrection, there were few wounds suffered by Magical Girls that required skilled surgery. Either it was effectively a papercut, or nothing a bit of magic couldn't fix, or the victim in question simply got a new body. Or, of course, the girl lost her Soul Gem, and no amount of medical knowledge could save her. That meant pretty much all of her patients fell into two categories: right as rain in a few days at most, or a corpse. Almost none in between.

She'd joined the 9th Officio's Apothecarion to save lives, but the struggle to beat back death simply didn't exist in her line of work. Nonetheless, she'd made a promise, a promise unheard by any but herself, and she decided to stick with it.

The surgeon gave the blue-eyed girl one more lingering glance as Kanae and Kinoko took her body away. They carried it unceremoniously, Kanae grasping the arms and Kinoko pulling at the legs, past the rest of the girl's squad mates, who shot the body and its bearers looks of disgust. 'No wonder they call us “Corpse Takers”,' thought the surgeon.

She went about doing last minute inspections, last minute check-ups to see that all injuries were as well taken care of as they could be. When her duties were done, she walked back to her van—more akin to an ambulance than a car, what with the medical suite occupying where the passenger seats used to be. She slipped out of her gore-streaked surgeon's smock and pulled on a set of fresh ones, ones that wouldn't stain the interior of her car with the worst kind of body fluids, and disengaged her Narthecium, purifying it with a few bursts of antiseptic.

She was ready. Ready for a long shower, a hot meal, and a good night's sleep. She called over another of her assistants, asking with a tired smile to be driven back to Headquarters. A well-deserved break for a job well done.

...a 'job'. A cost-cutting measure. That's what it amounted to now, she supposed. She stared at the hands that had been wrist-deep inside a girl's torso just minutes before. She'd been sewing flesh and fighting death, she realized, not to save a life but so that an alien cat-creature could manage his resources more efficiently. It sounded like a boardroom business decision, which it was.

Where was the fire she'd had when she first started this work? She thought second chances at life were supposed to be a bit more exciting than this.

Ah, well.

She silently disengaged her power and shivered as the pain and soreness, blocked out by her magic, came flooding back in. With the pain came the fatigue, and with the fatigue came the waves of sleep.

As the car rolled its way back home, the surgeon dreamed. She dreamed of a Witch made of blurred and faded blocks of color, and she dreamed of black-pinioned wings. Her white lab coat was draped across her like a blanket.

On the shoulders of the coat was a badge. It bore the Helix sigil of the Apothecarion, alongside a title and a name:

Apothecary Secunda, Officio IX: Touno Asai


An hour later, Touno found herself in the Officio's medical wing. The Apothecarion served as the Officio's bio-medical R&D facility, but it also housed plenty of hospital beds for injured Magical Girls.

Today's patient was a certain red-haired Eversor.

“What's up, doc?” said Kyoko, her face split by a happy grin. “Heard you got back from a Witch Hunt! How'd that one go?”

Touno couldn't help but make a little smile at her patient. “The Witch Hunt itself? It was a success, from what I heard. I also heard there were minimal casualties, which is always good.”

“Eh? Oh, I was askin' about how all that shit went for -you-, doc.” Kyoko's beaming face sank into one of sympathy. “I don't envy your job, doc. It can't be easy, trying to stitch back up people you know on a daily basis...”

Giving her patient another small smile, Touno shook her head as she pulled out an orange medicine bottle. “We had one fatality, and she'll be fine with a few day's bed rest. But thank you for asking, Miss Sakura.”

Touno was in her usual outfit, now, out of her work clothes, and certainly not her Magical Girl uniform—the last time she put that one on was about a year ago. A thin violet chain bearing her Soul Gem wrapped around her waist, the precious jewel itself resting to the lower right of her belly button, just below the appendix. It adorned a simple, long-sleeved deep indigo dress that ended at the knees, hiding a tall, shapely figure that was the envy of much of the Officio—if the grabby hands in the showers were any indication—with a white shawl sitting about her shoulders like a mantle. On top of all of this was her white labcoat, indistinguishable from others of its kind save for the Apothecarion badge on the right shoulder.

They said her outfit made her look like a nun trying to cosplay as a scientist. She was never quite sure whether they said that to make fun of her or not.

Brushing aside her long purple hair, she pulled off the bottle's top and shook out a couple of pills.

“Here is your daily dose of antibiotics. You did finish your dinner, correct?”

Kyoko let out her trademark guffaw. “Of course I did! You know me, hungry as a horse!”

Touno's head tilted slightly, her warm red eyes boring into Kyoko's. “Including the salad?”

The red-haired Eversor wilted under the gaze. “I, well, uh...”

Staring intensified, mixed with a hint of disappointment. “Miss Kyoko...”

“Okay, okay!” said Kyoko. She threw her hands up in exasperation. “You know I hate beets! But the fucking hospital chef keeps making salad with beets! It's like she hates me or something!”

“Miss Kyoko, I'm not entirely sure if Chef Hashimoto is aware of your...dislike of beets. I don't think he's doing this personally.”

“Then he must be a frigging psychic or something! Either way, get that shit away from me, beets suck.”

Touno's look of disappointment deepened into a frown. “But Miss Kyoko, if you don't finish your food I can't let you take your antibiotics, and if you don't finish your antibiotics regimen I can't let you go. What would Equerry Miki think of this?”

Kyoko's face turned into one of despair. “Fuck me, really? You'd go that low? You're killing me here, doc!”

“I believe I'm doing the very opposite, Miss Kyoko.”

“Fine,” sighed Kyoko as she threw herself back into her pillows. “Give me the damn beets.”

Touno's slight smile came back again. “Thank you, Miss Kyoko. Please make sure to chew thoroughly.”

“Yes, mom.”

As Kyoko set about crunching through her salad, wincing every time her teeth sank into a beet, the doctor and the patient gave the television a look. On the screen was the daily news.


'A sixth body was discovered earlier today, found brutally murdered under the Akiha Bridge. Like the previous five, the victim was a local petty criminal, previously suspected with multiple cases of sexual assault and violence against local high school girls. The gruesome way in which the victim was killed—apparently twisted and bent by possibly industrial machinery—matches the pattern of the previous victims, and has left police baffled...'

“Geez,” said Kyoko through a mouthful of lettuce. “The hell makes someone do shit like that? Actually, the hell DID shit like that?”

A grimace. Touno hoped the suspect was a Witch or a Familiar, and not another Magical Girl. She, too, wasn't sure what could drive a someone to kill a human being in such a way, and she wasn't sure if she wanted to know either.

As Kyoko finished her meal, they talked to kill the time. Most of it was Kyoko telling her doctor whatever was on her mind while Touno nodded and said “mhm” every so often.

Eventually, the topic wandered to Touno herself.

“Say, doc,” said Kyoko. “You never talk much about you. Why don't ya tell me something about yourself? Favorite movie, favorite food...” Here she made a coy smile, revealing a small garden's worth of spinach stuck between her teeth. “...any cute boys and/or girls you've been checking out...?”

Touno blinked. It took her a moment to come up with a response. “W-well, I suppose I like udon noodles. I can't say I watch movies very often, so I don't really have a favorite movie.”

Kyoko's smile grew wider. “I asked three questions, doc.”

Touno merely smiled back. “No one in particular.”

“Really?” said Kyoko, leaning forward.

“Yes, really.”


“Ah,” said Touno, ignoring Kyoko.”I see you've finished your salad.” She held up the antibiotics. “It's time for your daily dose, Miss Kyoko.”


Kyoko was gulping down the pills when Touno's phone vibrated. 'Garra', read the Caller ID. She answered, and a voice like rumbling gravel greeted her.

“Asai, it's Garra. Incubator's office, stat.” Before Touno could even say hello, the line went dead.

The Incubator? Thought Touno as she gazed at her phone. Kyuubey? What could he (it?) possibly want with her? A performance review, or did she mess something up?

She glanced at Kyoko, who was muttering something about beets and medicine.

Oh well. Time to find out.


When Touno arrived at the Incubator's office, she found herself sitting in a waiting room chair. The Incubator was busy, she was told. Curious, she thought, to have someone brought to your office just to make them wait, but then she'd never quite understood Kyuubey.

So to pass the time, she fished a paper clip out of her pocket. She turned it over and around in her fingers, and twisted it. Again and again, making it bend and bend and bend and bend and bend...

Soon enough, what used to be a paper clip was now a tiny ball of bent metal.

One of her colleagues had caught her doing this, once. Touno told her that she found the act relaxing. Some people liked to punch bags to blow off steam, others liked to fuck. She, on the other hand, simply enjoyed the tactile sensation of twisting and bending things with her fingers.

Given her colleague's reaction, Touno decided to keep her hobby to herself.

She was still staring at the former paper clip when the blonde secretary chimed in. “Miss Asai, the Incubator will see you now.” Her warm-honey smile became an apologetic frown. “I'm sorry I had to keep you waiting for so long...”

Touno's answer was a small smile of her own. “Thank you Miss Mami, I didn't mind.” Waving the golden-haired celebrity goodbye, she stepped into Kyuubey's office.

For someone who commanded wealth, influence, and violent force to equal a small country, the Incubator of the Ninth liked to keep his (its?) room surprisingly modest. It was well-sized, just large enough to not feel cramped, but not so large it felt unnecessarily big. A well-made oak desk bore a computer monitor and stacks of papers, sitting atop a nice red carpet adorned with generic images of flora and fauna. A set of modern-looking chairs, designed for both comfort and aesthetics, sat in front of the desk. Perhaps all of this was just to the taste of the odd little cat-alien. Or perhaps he (it?) was merely interested in paying lip service to the human concept of aesthetics.

The only thing that felt off about the office was the back wall—an entire wall devoted to a dozen, a hundred monitors, each a brick in the Incubator's substantial knowledge base. Normally, the monitors would be turned on, displaying a storm of data only the Incubator could comprehend, but at the moment they were all off. A black monolith, silently staring down at whoever Kyuubey deigned to speak to.

Sitting on an ornate chair behind the oak desk was Kyuubey.

“Ah, Asai Touno, I apologize for the delay. Last minute business, you see.”

Many Magical Girls found the Incubators to be unsettling, and Touno was no exception. With a figure that looked like the bizarre offspring of a cat and a rabbit, a mouth that always seemed to be a very slight smile, and eyes—particularly the eyes—that were blood-red, always staring, unblinking, at you, maybe studying you or maybe scheming against you...well, feeling unsettled before an Incubator was almost inevitable.

Perhaps that was their intent.

“You appear to be somewhat nervous; if that is the case, I would advise you to relax, as you are most assuredly not in trouble.” At this, Touno blinked. “Rather, you've been doing quite satisfactorily. Since you'd been made Apothecary Secundus, overall patient satisfaction with treatment and bedside manner have increased noticeably, and mission-related non-permanent fatalities have lowered 2%.” Kyuubey tapped a key, no doubt reading data off his monitor.

“The latter figure, of course, does have to take into account that few non-permanent fatalities are viably treatable. Regardless, your efforts mean the heat death of this universe has been delayed by a marginal measure of time. Well done.”

Touno couldn't read Kyuubey at the best of times, and at the moment, as tired and in need of a shower and a hot meal as she was, she was uncertain whether the Incubator was being sarcastic.

“It's because she cares,” came a grunt from the side. Touno turned at the sound—she'd been unaware of the third member of the conversation until now.

Garra Valthex, Apothecary Primus of Officio IX. A rather short, dusky-skinned, brown-haired nineteen-year old from outside Japan. Called 'The Corpse Master' by the others, which Touno felt was logical—a fitting title for the mistress of the Corpse Takers.

Garra, as a saying in the Second goes, wore her wounds with a smile. Very literally, in her case. A scar at the left corner of her lips, one that she didn't or couldn't heal, left her constantly sneering at the world. Given the rest of her personality, Touno supposed that the scar saved Garra a lot of trouble.

“Pardon me, Garra Valthex?” asked Kyuubey. His (its?) head tilted -just so-, in what seemed like mimicry of human body language.

“It's because she cares about the corpses,” said Garra. Touno wasn't sure if Garra was actually sneering or not. “Don't ask me why, she just does. I dunno what she sees in those things, a stiff is far more interesting to study if you ask me.”

“Now, now,” chided Kyuubey, “Asai's work has reduced the burden on my end of regenerating non-permanent fatalities. The fewer regenerations I have to perform, the more contracts I can make, and the more contracts I can make—”

“Yes, yes,” said Garra, waving off the Incubator. “In any case, she actually fucking cares.” She turned to Touno. “That's why you get to be the new Apothecary Primus.”

Wait, what.

“Dear me, Valthex, you ruined my surprise.” If there was disappointment in Kyuubey's voice, Touno was too stunned to hear it. “But what Valthex is saying true, Asai. As of this moment, you are now the Apothecary Primus of Officio IX.” Another tilt of the head. “I suppose congratulations are in order? Perhaps you'd like a party, with some cake? You should consult Mami Tomoe for the latter, she is quite adept at baking.”

It took Touno a moment to find her voice again.

“B-but Incubator Kyuubey, I...why...”

“Because,” said Garra, “I asked our all-powerful kitty here if I could retire. Pursue my real passion: autopsies.” Her scar-smile widened. “He said 'yes', and so now YOU get to be the new Corpse Master.”

Kyuubey spoke up. “To be accurate, that's not the only reason for this promotion, Asai. I would have been far more hesitant to approve of Valthex's...request if I felt that our Apothecary Secundus was not ready to step in and take over.”

Touno still wasn't entirely sure what to say. “I...thank you, Incubator,” she said as she bowed low, “For both this promotion and your trust in me. Though I am unworthy of this honor, I will do my utmost to not fail you.”

“Don't be so modest now,” said Kyuubey. Was that mild admonishment she heard in his (its?) voice? “You are quite capable, you know.”

A pause.

“Oh, before I forget, there is one more reason why you have been promoted to Apothecary Primus.”

Garra's smile grew even wider.

“You get to Murderface's personal medi-bitch, Asai. How does that make you feel?”

Murderface? As in...the Warmaster? As in, Chiaki Matsuda, formerly known as Girl A?

Kyuubey admonished Garra again for spoiling the surprise, but Touno paid this no heed. Personal physician to the Warmaster? And to Chiaki Matsuda, no less?

-salvation came soaring in on black-pinioned wings-

She felt dizzy. Giddy, even. The fulfillment of a promise that should have been kept one year ago.

“That was the other reason I chose you for promotion,” said Kyuubey, returning to the matter at hand. “Given how long this Officio has gone without a Warmaster, and given how...unscrupulous our current one can be, I'd rather have the best medical expert we have ensure she does not become a permanent casualty.” After a pause, the Incubator continued.

“Meanwhile, approximately one year ago, Warmaster Matsuda—known better as 'Murderface' at the time—rescued you and your squad from Witch Selene, resulting in no permanent fatalities in what should have been a total squad annihilation. Records also show you began Apothecary training immediately after the incident, despite no indication of post-traumatic stress disorder, any other mental issues, or noticeably decrease in combat performance.” A third head tilt. “I'd imagine those two things were connected. Is this, perhaps, another dimension of human gratitude?”

After another pause, the Incubator coughed into one of its ear-hands.

“I digress. In any case, yes—this is the other reason why I decided promoting you Apothecary Primus was appropriate. It is quite fitting, after all, to have the Officio's highest ranking Apothecary be its highest ranking member's personal physician. Not to mention, given your history with Matsuda I'd imagine there would be a high degree of compatibility—”

“Whereas I,” said Garra, “think Murderface choking on her own goddamn golden gun while being flayed alive would be far too quick a death for her—”

“—one that might not exist with the current, well, now former, Apothecary Primus,” said Kyuubey, heedless of Garra's interruption. “That said...I do understand if this last duty makes you uncomfortable, Asai. If so, I would be happy to leave you as Apothecary Primus, and have another Apothecary attempt to be Warmaster Matsuda's personal physician—”

“I'll do it!”

Garra and Kyuubey jumped, at both the voice and the sudden slamming of hands on the desk.

“I'll do it! I'll absolutely do it! I'll start right now if you need me to!”

Kyuubey and Garra looked at Touno, then at each other, then at Touno again. There was a fire in those soft red eyes, one that neither of them ever recalled seeing.

“Well,” said Kyuubey, “this is a pleasant surprise. I honestly expected at least a little bit of hesitation.” A fourth tilt of the cat-rabbit head. “Very well, Asai, as you seem to be...eager to begin your new duties, I will make a formal announcement shortly. The Warmaster is currently indisposed, but when she returns I will endeavor to have her meet with you. Please do your best to keep our Warmaster healthy and whole, Asai, it would be most...inefficient if I were to have to find a new one so soon.”

Kyuubey's eyes bore into Touno's for a second, but she didn't relent. The Incubator broke off and began tapping something into his (its?) keyboard.

“Now, if are no questions, I must respond to a most inflammatory e-mail communique sent from my brother Jyuubey. Goodbye, Asai, I expect the best from you.”

Nodding dumbly, Touno Asai walked out. She ignored the scathing goodbye from her former superior. She barely acknowledged Mami's more cheerful one as she left the office and made her way to her own room.

'At last, I can finally...'

A promise she'd once made, an oath she'd once sworn.

'...I can finally tell her...'

Something warm fell on her hand. Through blurry eyes, she realized they were tears.

The last time she remembered crying was one year ago, inside a Witch's barrier, in the light of orange fire-blossoms, in the shadow of black-pinioned wings.

She realized this, and smiled.

A smile that grew into warm laughter.


“If the path to salvation leads through the halls of Purgatory, then so be it.” -Ahriman, former Warmaster of Officio III, attributed