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Blade Under Mask: Keep Playing by WhiteMantis

Blade Under Mask: Keep Playing


Remake of this old illustration. I saw it again some time ago and realized I still liked it despite being old and crappy. xD And aside from being meaningful to me for personal reasons, I think it shows Nae’s instability pretty well! So I decided to redraw it!

And with Amethystine Amethystine's help, I also modified the little text that accompanies it!

"I'm not sure if I can feel my fingertips any longer. Were they ever truly mine to begin with?

No. Not anymore. Never. They belong to my clients. My audience... to Asami. To my life. That must be why I can feel them slipping away. Disappearing, along with the strings I pluck. I can't feel the vibrations... what notes am I playing? Damn you, Nae! Strum harder, pluck with more force. Don't be lazy! You can't be lazy, not now.

But you are so tired... You can't be tired. I can't. I must keep playing. For Asami. I must keep playing or Asami will be mad at me.

No, she's already mad at me. She's always mad at me. Or maybe.. I'm the one who's mad?

What am I doing? What is that noise? Is it music? Is that the sound I'm making?

Are these sounds even coming from my shamisen? I can't hear. I can't see! Whose laughter is that? A customer's? Are they laughing at me? At the failure I am?

No! Shut up! You're fine. Fine. Smile. Don't forget to smile.

Smile. Engage. Be amicable. Be personable. Smile. Be the friend they don't know they have. The friend they've had for years. Get up, talk to them. Be their everything.

My feet are numb. I must walk with poise. Smile. Walk to the ones who were laughing - laugh with them.

Be jovial. Be mirthful. Smile.

Never ever be imperfect.

Why can't I see their faces?

Why do they look like me? I can only see myself. A room full of me. Watching me. Frowning at me. But I smile...

Don't I?

What am I doing? What is that noise? Is it music? Is that the sound I'm making?

Who's playing that music? Did someone take up my shamisen?

I... is it me? Am I playing my shamisen? It looks like me. Look at my fingers, moving so quickly over the strings...

That is my hand, and I am... I am playing. I didn't get up. I didn't stop. I will not stop!

Foolish Nae! Daydreaming? You're so stupid! Keep playing! Keep playing, stupid Nae! You can't make mistakes so close to your important day!

Just keep playing, Nae.

Keep playing...

...keep playing...

keep playing."

Submission Information

Visual / Digital


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    Play Free Bird!

  • Link

    Wow. Thumbs up.