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[CHQ] A Story Just For You


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#41
Astolfo

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Ro

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As Ro had walked past the other cells, he noticed prisoners of all sorts within. Rich, poor, young, old, male, female, and more. None of them seemed to particularly care about or even recognize he was there though. Heading towards the exit, the fluffy beast from before had scurried up from behind, tapping against him lightly. Ro’s vision changed, showing an image of the painting from the middle of the hallway from earlier. However, just as quickly as it came, it disappeared once more. For some reason, it was clear this time, free of the earlier magical fog. Unfortunately, the images shown still meant absolutely nothing whatsoever to Ro. Glancing critically at the fluffy animal at his feet, he sighed.

As he went towards what seemed to be the exit, he somehow ended up back in an apparently deeper part of the dungeon. Looking around wildly in surprise, he groaned. The air here was colder and damper both, leading to an extremely unpleasant feeling to even just stand in. To make matters even worse, listening for a few seconds revealed three distinct set of clanking, heavy footsteps. Heavy armor.

The footsteps from the left were approaching closer while the other two sets were a bit farther off. Running towards the right, Ro just barely managed to duck behind the wall. A fully armor-clad knight wielding a shield and a long spear and had a short sword strapped to his belt walked into the area he had just been, but then started walking towards his new hiding spot. For some reason, the spear felt utterly disgusting. Just plain wrong. Even the sight made Ro wanted to puke, which confused him, because it seemed like an ordinary spear.

Running around the next corner to avoid the knight from before, Ro plowed straight into a second knight, falling over backwards.

“Uh… don’t mind me, just got lost on my way to the bathro-”

Before he could finish his excuse, the knight charged at him ridiculously fast. If it weren’t for the fact he’d get impaled if he didn’t turn tail that split second, the sight of a full-clad armored tank running like a sprinter would have almost been amusing. Running towards the far right, Ro slid around the corner, but even so, the knight’s thrust and the spear’s long reach had managed to graze his arm, leaving a small gash. However, despite the relatively small wound, the pain was almost enough to white out his vision momentarily. Gritting his teeth, he just barely held back a scream, then tasting a thick, tar-like blood fill his mouth.

“Ah… bit my tongue… again.”

Staring at the wound, it bubbled and festered, leaving a horrible, burning, eroding feeling. Clutching his arm, Ro ran down. It was the first time he had felt true pain like this in centuries. The wound was eating away at his very existe-

“Gah, those fucking mongrels got a hold of anti-magic toothpicks!”

The guard from before was coming around the corner. With his current strength, not even considering his disabled arm, he couldn’t find them in pure strength regardless. He’d have to play dirty, and he’d only get one shot at this.

As the guard spun around the corner, Ro thrust up his palms towards the general direction of the knight’s head. From them, a large cloud of incredibly corrosive acid gas blasted out. Crying out, the knight dropped to his knees, clutching at his helmet and coughing violently. Snatching the spear and shield away, Ro went for the knight that was just around the back corner. Baiting out the spear thrust, Ro punched the shield forward to completely break the spear through it. As the blade grazed against the underside of his arm, Ro couldn’t help but shout out violently in distress. Twisting the shield away, he snapped the remaining handle within the knight’s hand and sent it flying.

The knight immediately reached for their short sword, but Ro wasn’t about to let him have a break. With his other arm, he swung the spear towards the knight’s head. The moment the knight moved out of the way to avoid the trajectory, he dropped to the floor, swinging around backwards and hook-kicked the knight in the back of their knees. As they fell, Ro bashed the remnants of the shield into their face to slam their helmet against the floor.

The nerves screamed out as the jolt struck the injured arm, causing more blood to drip and the intense burning of the anti-magic properties to feel even worse. Almost collapsing from the pain, Ro leaned against the wall for support as his vision hazed slightly. The last and third knight was running towards his general direction, but out of the corner of his eye, Ro noticed an unusual room.

It sat in the very corner of the room all by itself, barred by a steel cage door. The form of someone’s body was visible inside, and from what he could tell, it seemed to be alive, but he wasn’t sure yet. Looking behind him, Ro counted his chances. The only exit was the one he had entered in from, and the knights sure as hell wouldn’t let him out. The remaining bet was to go for the prison.

Charging for it, Ro prepared his badly injured hands with a corrosive substance, similar to the one he used to disable the first knight. Pressing his hands against the cage and starting to slowly melt the steel columns, he called out.

“Name yourself dumbass! I’m in a helluva lotta trouble right now because I ended up taking a look around, so you better help me out!”

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Astolfo [CV: Ohkubo Rumi] - "BA-LLL-MUUU-NNN-GGG!"

#42
Fujimaru Ritsuka

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The rifle fire damaged the shadowed creature enough for it to slow down temporarily. The wound on its head was visible to Mina, and it oozed quite a strange black liquid from the gunshot hole. Jacques were nowhere to be seen at first, but he would soon be visible near the carriage for a moment, before he suddenly appeared on Mina's side again.

 

"I see, I see. Even though her hold on this dream had weakened, but she still could sic her pet here, huh?"

 

The beast would soon shoot out several black projectiles towards Jacques and Mina, but the butler blocked them off by using his knife to break the projectiles.

 

"It seems that you wouldn't be able to leave this place without defeating this creature first. Why am I fighting on your side? I am just a mental construct of a certain someone, you see, and I'd like to remove this abberation out of this place too.

 

This is a more vague part of Myrdain's mind since he only could perceive this part using his familiar. It might be best if we remove the abberation first before I tell you more about this."

 

The wounded beast roared in the meantime, before rushing towards Mina and Jacques again while firing its projectiles to all side. As it hit the ground and the building, the part where it hit visibly eroded, turning into holes in this reality.

 

 

"Coffee? It's definitely a rarity over here. You really came from afar, aren't you?"

 

" Myrdain happens to be...an acquaintance of mine, and he was supposed to receive me here, but evidently he's nowhere to be found."

 

"It's not too surprising. I'll apologize in his behalf for this messup."

 

"And of course, before I forget. I am..." Ierne watched with amusement as Auburn struggled to think about something. "Chestnut. A pleasure to make your acquaintance. "

 

Ierne took a sip from the coffee, and visibly recoiled from its taste for a moment. While it was seemingly because she disliked it, with how she tried it a few times afterwards made it clear that she was just unfamiliar with the taste.

 

"Well anyway, no matter. The Cataclysm it is. I'm only familiar with the barest of details. Takes longer than a few centuries for news of this to reach where I lived. Tell me all about it and I'll tell you what I know too. I'm very interested."

 

Ierne raised her eyebrow for a moment in confusion, before dismissed whatever issue she had with his words and started her lecture excitedly.

 

"As a starting point, you are aware of the fact that the Cataclysm is a cyclic event in this Arbolia that were supposed to happen after a few millenias passing, right? I need to make sure you're aware of the common knowledge first before continuing.

 

It was quite a terrifying event. The mana concentration in one of the vital point in the continent reached a critical mass, which triggered a sweeping catastrophe everywhere. Large continents splitting apart into pieces, kingdoms being erased off the map, many races and species went extinct. Even humanity itself barely survived.

 

That much is what people commonly knew. However, there's a mistake there. The event was far from natural. Cataclysm simply is the end result of said critical mass concentration of mana, and if it's repeated, the same thing could happen once more. A conflict between two powerful mage guilds was the primary cause. One side attempted to perform a Lost Magic to overturn the conflict once and for all, but it backfired horribly perhaps due to the chaos. It's actually quite silly, to think about it. One of the side was almost completely wiped out, while a big chunk of the other side survived and formed the Yggdrasil of today. The wave of magic itself sweeped throughout the land, creating foul creatures and mutants everywhere to rise and terrorize the survivors.

 

So, what was that Lost Magic anyway? The name was Apotheosis - the act of miracle that would turn mere man into a god. Who knows how did it actually work and whatnot - it's not like the user were alive now, and Myrdain's explanations had a lot of holes in it. Though to think such an incredibly absurd magic existed, isn't it intriguing? Lost Magics were lost for a reason, but don't you think rediscovering them would be quite a big leap forward for us humans?"

 

Realizing that perhaps she was getting a bit too excited, Ierne stopped herself and walked away from her seat. She stood by the window, watching over the city outside with a wistful look for a few moments.

 

"As a traveler, you'd know this already, but even this island hasn't actually recovered from the Cataclysm yet. If it's not for the effort of our best mages to make some parts of the land habitable and fertile enough, none of this would've been possible. This city, this kingdom, and even me right now standing before you.

 

If one of the Lost Magic can cause this much damage, don't you think it could fix as much damage as it caused too? Not like Myrdain ever cared. All that knowledge and capability he had, and he couldn't even mention Lost Magic without cowering in fear. Meanwhile I'm just a little girl that couldn't even perform magic like everyone else, but that didn't stop me from continuing my research on it.

 

Anyway, are you bored listening to me droning on and on like this? Perhaps you'd fancy a walk around the city, Chestnut? Don't worry, if I'm not in my official outfit, nobody would guess who I am. I've been doing this for quite a while after all."

 

 

"Didn't your parent's ever teach you not to steal?  It turns into quite the slippery slope.  You should learn to work for your meals instead of trying to get something from others so devilishly!"

 

The girl seemed to be almost going to say something as a mix of anger and sadness became apparent on her expression, but in the end she kept it to herself as she weakly nodded to Dmitri's words. However, the next sentence he said ended up giving him a sharp glare from the girl.

 

"Uhm...you wouldn't mind sharing would you?"

 

"Can't you work for it yourself, mister? You're wearing a better clothing than me already."

 

Still, in the end after glaring at him for a while, the girl relented and gave half the meat to Dmitri. It'd taste terrible as it's quite unclean and was barely cooked, but that's what he asked from the girl. After eating a share of her food, the girl let out a sigh as she turned to face Dmitri.

 

"Actually, I'm in this small room because someone told me to stay here for a while since he'll get some food from me. But since he hadn't come after a few hour, I decided to have Cath get me some food since I hadn't eaten anything since this morning. Do you think you can sneak me out, mister? I don't want to get caught by those people in the kitchen, and I also wanted to see myself where that person I'm waiting for had been doing."

 

While the door towards the hallway of the mansion that Dmitri entered from earlier would be locked, as he was already in a dream perhaps that door would lead somewhere else instead now. Getting the girl out without being noticed would be the biggest issue however.

 

 

“Name yourself dumbass! I’m in a helluva lotta trouble right now because I ended up taking a look around, so you better help me out!”

 

"Who...who is it?"

 

A little girl's voice came out of the room as Ro managed to break through the steel bars. As Ro entered the room, the form of the person inside would become very clear to him. It was that of the girl that the group originally came to help save her from her nightmares. She was in a terrible state right now. She was only wearing a dirty and disheveled prisoner garb that looked more like a sack than clothing, and from the expression of dread on her face that she had in her face when she saw Ro, her mind perhaps weren't really in a good condition either.

 

The knights that he attacked earlier would soon seemingly completely recovered before rushing to reach Ro as he's in that dead end. If Ro made contact and attempt to move the girl however, both would be transported back into the hallway, with the bodies they left behind conspicuously absent, and the doors on either side all being locked. The paintings on the hallway had changed however, now depicting many different figures, but quite a few of them portrayed Myrdain, and there was also a beautiful-looking blonde-haired woman that appeared even more often in these pictures. Said woman was also the one depicted in the largest painting at the end of the hallway. Fully in armor, something about her gave off a charismatic aura that even Ro in his long lifetime hadn't ever experienced before. Myrdain's familiar soon would run towards the painting and waited for him there, but not long after, Ro would hear a ruckus going on outside of the mansion. Perhaps he could check it out first, or would going to the painting be more important right now since Myrdain had been pushing him to do so for a while?

 


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#43
Mitchyrano de Belgerac

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"Yes, yes, of course." Auburn made sure to nod whenever the girl in front of him brought up something she thought was common knowledge, but inside his head he was very much astonished at what he's learning seemingly at the drop of a hat. The words Ierne spoke overturned the very common sense he thought he knew. Two old guilds, the lost magic Apotheosis, Yggdrasil, he made a mental note of everything here, especially about the lost magic the girl was alluding to. Auburn's never even heard of any magic of such caliber.

 

He stood up and accompanied the royal heir to where she stood, overlooking the scene beyond the window. "How does Myrdain know all this? I can't imagine what you just told me would be something easily researched. When you say he sounded afraid, it's almost like he experienced the Cataclysm first hand."

 

Should this be Myrdain's memory he was experiencing (although the level of interactability made him doubt that conclusion), he must be terribly old and close to being immortal. And even if it wasn't Myrdain, clearly it was someone's memories at least.

 

"Anyway, are you bored listening to me droning on and on like this?" The girl eventually turned to address him. And offered him a walk.

 

"Doesn't seem proper for someone so important to be walking around, but I'll take you up on that offer." He began to follow the girl as they headed towards the exit, but then stepped forward to reach the door handle before she would. If nothing else he still remembered his manners as a Peachfield male, even if they don't often surface.For the royal successor in front of him however, Auburn felt he could trust her.

 

In that short exchange, he almost forgot entirely that she was just part of a dream he was interacting with. And especially her declaration, that she could do no magic, that immediately made him trust her.  "Shall we then, Miss Ierne?" He pushed the door open.


BOYS, BE AMBITIOUS!

 

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#44
Astolfo

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Ro

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In response to Ro shouting out towards the interior of the cell, a surprisingly young and feminine voice drifted back out. Finally breaking through the steel bars and tumbling inside, he immediately recognized the owner. It was the girl that they had been contracted to save. However, unlike the appearance back in the real world, the girl here was disheveled and dirty. Ro tried to reach out to touch her, but she recoiled immediately.

Behind him, the sound of the knights he had sent dreaming started to emerge once more. They were returning to reality, and they did not sound pleased. Charging straight for the cell Ro and the girl was in, he leapt towards her desperately, grabbing onto her before she could protest.

“You’re coming with me, brat!”

Tumbling through the air, he landed…. Back in the hallway they started? But… the bodies of themselves were now missing, and all the previously opened doors were now sealed tightly shut. Additionally, the paintings had changed, depicting people of all sorts. However, the most immediately striking artwork was the one at the end of the hallway. From his distance, what he could see was that within its frame, a beautiful, blonde-haired female knight looked out. She had appeared in other paints as well, but none were as large or as magnificent as this one. Ro glanced at the girl. She had apparently come along with him. Her earlier fright had reduced slightly in this new environment, but it was clear she was still apprehensive of Ro. He sighed.

“Oi, brat. What’s your name?”

The girl glanced away, refusing to answer. Shaking her harder, Ro repeated his question with more force.

“Mira… It’s Mira.”

“Mirry, is it? Or Mary? Something like that? I’m Ro. I’m going to be taking you along with me because you’re the one I was hired to help.”

An unusual feeling like none other he had ever experienced before slowly crept over Ro as he shifted his gaze back to the elegant woman in the painting.. What was this feeling? Belief? Trust? Whatever it was, it felt sickly for someone with a heart as twisted as Ro’s. The woman seemed completely infamiliar, but something about her looks drew him towards her - and not just in the physical sense. Out of the corner of his eye, Ro could see the small furry white animal from before scamper across the hall to the painting.

Just as he was about to head over, he could hear an unusually loud and annoying ruckus from somewhere outside the mansion. It was probably his teammates. Ignoring it, he made his way over to the painting. Tugging on the girl’s arm, she resisted at first, but then eventually followed him down the hall. Once they got there, Ro glared critically towards the familiar, gesturing widely.

“So, Bunny, what’s the deal with this girl here beside me? And what about that lady there in the painting? What’s she got to do with anything? What’s this strange feeling that’s emanating from her appearance? Who is this? What the hell has been going on? I want to know what’s going on, and don’t cut any corners or I’ll turn you into stew.”

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Astolfo [CV: Ohkubo Rumi] - "BA-LLL-MUUU-NNN-GGG!"

#45
Mr. Hyde

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The girl reluctantly gave Dmitri a piece of the meat that she had stolen.  Now they were bandits together.  The meat tasted of rebellion...and was slightly under-cooked.  However, it was enough to satiate him.  E. Coli probably couldn't affect you in dream world anyways.  

 

"Actually, I'm in this small room because someone told me to stay here for a while since he'll get some food from me. But since he hadn't come after a few hour, I decided to have Cath get me some food since I hadn't eaten anything since this morning. Do you think you can sneak me out, mister? I don't want to get caught by those people in the kitchen, and I also wanted to see myself where that person I'm waiting for had been doing."

 

Dmitri nodded.

 

"I can do my best, little lady."  He scratched his chin, thinking of how he was going to do such a thing.  Seeing how busy that room was, it would clearly be of note that the staff could only focus on their own individual task at hand.  As long as nothing fishy caught their eye, they would most likely continue about their work without noticing Dmitri and the girl.  Sadly, dressed as poorly as she was, she would stick out like the sorest of thumbs.  That's when Dmitri remembered what she had said before.  He was dressed nicer than her, as his attire was always quite formal.  He started to unbutton his top most layers, and dropped them into the girl's hands.  All he wore now was his collared shirt.  "Put those on.  When we go out into the kitchen, grab a tray with some food on it.  That should get us out of here."

 

As soon as she was done, Dmitri would open the door and usher the girl to stay close behind him.  Noticing a couple of trays full of horderves, Dmitri would go to pick up one of them, and hand the other to the girl.  Hopefully, they could sneak out without a problem.  


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#46
Wind Rider

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Mina was astonished to see the creature still up after taking a direct shot, especially since it left a complete hole in the creature. She was about to duck out of the way from the projectiles that the creature was spitting out before dream Jacques, or whoever he was, blocked all the shots skillfully with his knife.

"It seems that you wouldn't be able to leave this place without defeating this creature first. Why am I fighting on your side? I am just a mental construct of a certain someone, you see, and I'd like to remove this abberation out of this place too.

This is a more vague part of Myrdain's mind since he only could perceive this part using his familiar. It might be best if we remove the abberation first before I tell you more about this."

Ok it's confirmed... Dream Jacques. And thankfully he was on her side. Mina took the time to charge up some more energy into her rifle. "Ok... After this I need answers... Until then, I'm gonna fill this thing with a few more holes." She took aim at the creature and fired at it, while making sure not to get hit by the thing's projectiles. From how the environment was reacting to the shots, she really didn't want to see what they would do to her.

#47
Fujimaru Ritsuka

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"Doesn't seem proper for someone so important to be walking around, but I'll take you up on that offer."

 

"Pardon my manners. I am still not used to this position I'm in."

"Shall we then, Miss Ierne?"

 

"My pleasure, Mr. Chesnut."

 

Walking outside through the streets, the scenery was quite a lot different than when Auburn last seen it. It was already in the afternoon, with the sun near setting already, and no traces of the earlier parade of knights, nor the crowd, were able to be seen. Along the way Ierne made sure to point out the names of the buildings and their recent condition to Auburn. The baker house that were so close to the palace had been rebuilt more than five times already, and people believed that it was cursed. The guard tower had crumbled recently due to a freak lightning bolt people suspected to be a magic attack. The paved roads costed quite a lot, but it was due to the insistence of the previous king to live out the aesthetics of the pre-Cataclysm world that the city was completely paved. Passing through a gangway where a few homeless kids slept on the distance, Ierne looked at them wistfully before turning to Auburn.

 

"Glorious as this kingdom is, it is quite pitiable that many people still live in this sort of condition. It is my wish, as the future king, that I could at least bring some blessing for these people. I wanted to be a king that still could understand her people.

 

Of course, Myrdain laughed at me saying that. Never saw him laughing as fakely as that though, so I bet he does acknowledge that I'm right."

 

Ierne took a breath before continuing to walk until she noticed something on the distance. Once that happened, she took Auburn's hand and dragged her to that place. It was a restaurant, the aesthetics on the place were out of place compared to the rest of buildings, but a look into the interior would make it obvious that it was foreign. Perhaps from another continent? She got herself and Auburn a seat, and waited until she could order something.

 

"You know, we've talked quite a lot with each other lately. I'm still quite unsure about everything about my position now, but for once, can we stop about me? I'd like to hear more about you, Myrdain.

 

...Ah, pardon me, Mr. Chestnut. I mean, can we talk more about you now instead?"

 

 

"Put those on.  When we go out into the kitchen, grab a tray with some food on it.  That should get us out of here."

 

The girl nodded and silently put Dmitri's clothing into herself before following Dmitri's order to grab a tray and leaving the room, pretending to be one of the servants. She happily ate the food Dmitri passed on her, full of a joyful expression as if she hadn't ever tasted something like that before. With this guise, the two would manage to get out of the kitchen in the middle of the chaos, and they soon would find themselves on a large hallway.

 

"Follow me, mister. I know where that person is usually in so we shoud check the place first."

 

Walking around for a bit would make it clear for Dmitri that he was currently inside of a large palace complex. A lot of servants passed the two, some ignoring them, but some other gave a passing, accusory glance on the girl as if they're suspecting her for something, but the girl seemed to ignore them. The hallway the girl led him was dangerously close towards the probable direction of the royal bedchamber, but the girl took him to a corridor people seemed to rarely pass before then, which led to a dead end.

 

The girl approached the wall and pressed the wall on several positions until a loud click could be heard, and the wall turned around to reveal a secret passageway behind it. It led to another hallway not dissimilar to the previous one, but something felt off as Dmitri passed through it.

 

"Don't worry much about this place. That person often invites me here to play with him and he told me quite a lot of nice stories too. He's really nice but..."

 

Her words were cut but the sound of struggling and roars from the other end of the corridor. She would rush towards the end, and the sight there would reveal a man in white lying on the floor, surrounded by a few shadows not dissimilar to the ones Dmitri had seen on the countryside vista. The man was still alive, apparently, and weakly attempted to nudge his head towards Dmitri's direction.

 

"A...ah...my plan goes well, I'm glad. Thank you for coming here, Dmitri. I'm sorry for involving Cherry Heart into my mess-up, but...I can't let her have her way with that family, nor with my mind."

 

 

"Ok... After this I need answers... Until then, I'm gonna fill this thing with a few more holes."

 

The shadow creature roared, and fired more of its tendrils towards Mina. Being the agile beastkin that she was, she dodged those tendrils that were fired, and the angered creature rushed closely afterwards in an attempt to maul the girl. However, it only gave Mina a chance to unload her ammunition on it, repeatedly blasting holes into its head and body, and in the end, it finally was able to be put down. Its large body fell to the ground with a thud, the black ichor oozing all around. It might be a bad idea to touch it. Undisturbed by this sight, Dream!Jacques extended his hand to Mina and guided her towards the caravan on the distance.

 

"Alright, let me tell you what happened. I was unsure for a while, but an event somewhere else that happened recently in this dream allowed me to gain awareness of the situation. I was quite mortified when you four brought those bodies to the hallway, but after examining them and getting some hints, I understand it now.

 

The four of you had an accident on your way here. I'm not sure whether it caused any severe wound in real life, but even then all of you managed to be knocked unconscious within the range of the invader that caused all this distortions and shadow creatures. For the sake of safety, it would be best to not integrate yourself with any copies of yourself in this dream, still. But I trust that your physical body would be in a decent enough care right now for you to not worry about it.

 

The invader is somewhere in this mentalscape. As much as she attempted to control it, Master's strong feelings managed to keep her from taking full control.

 

I wish you luck, Mina."

 

With that said, Mina would find herself sucked into a vortex as the courtyard scene dissolved around her, and returning herself to the hallway. She would be able to see Ro at this time.

 

 

“So, Bunny, what’s the deal with this girl here beside me? And what about that lady there in the painting? What’s she got to do with anything? What’s this strange feeling that’s emanating from her appearance? Who is this? What the hell has been going on? I want to know what’s going on, and don’t cut any corners or I’ll turn you into stew.”

 

The bunny pointed towards the painting, asking Ro to touch it, forcing him to if he thought it was a good idea not to touch it. Touching it would lead Ro to an empty room behind the painting along with the girl, and the familiar before him would then suddenly turn to Myrdain, a ghastly projection of the mage.

 

"I am sorry for leading you blindly around this place so far, Ro. I am glad you managed to rescue Mira's mind from that dungeon. She shouldn't have been involved in this in the first place...

 

So I think I owe you an explanation, didn't I? Right now, an invader had been attempting to steal my mind and body, and as much as I can resist, I am left depowered while she reigned over the innocents dragged into this mess, like the little girl there. The one placing the request was my familiar, and for it to be picked by a talented new guild such as Cherry Heart is quite a blessing.

 

My plan was to fight her influence in my mind and give you four an easier time going around and chasing her, but it was somewhat derailed when she caught wind of this plan due to my carelessness and orchestrated for you four to be involved in a small accident enough to trap you all within her thrall. The only place she couldn't touch is this place, because of how special it was to me, but even then, she managed to get ahold of parts of me so I couldn't oppose her fully.

 

So, that is my wish. Please, seek her out and with your friends, please expel her. Leave the girl's protection to me. That witch wouldn't be able to harm her daughter here."

 

As the Myrdain projection turned to the fluffy creature again, it guided Ro outside of the painting, where the doors from earlier had all been opened again (except the ones that they had entered. Mina would be able to notice this too.) However, the distortions soon happened again, and the servants going around the doors were replaced by the shadow creatures from earlier, slowly increasing in number as the witch seemingly gained more control of the mental scape.

 

Before Ro left, the fluffy creature looked at him once more and sent a message into his mind directly this time.

 

"As for the lady in this painting...there would be too much that I could say about her, but she was my king, and she was the only one that mattered to me. My curse, even until now.

 

I'm not sure whether you'd recognize her or not, considering your age, Ro. However, perhaps the possibility there was someone else I could talk about her more made me tell you this. Call me sentimental or whatever. From then to now, I'm quite the hopeless wizard anyway."

 


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#48
Astolfo

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Ro

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The bunny familiar pointed a paw towards the large painting, requesting he touch it. Ro peered at the familiar curiously, but as it pushed him, he relented.

“Alright, alright, I’ll touch i-”

The moment Ro’s fingers brushed across the surface, the world around him changed once more. This time, he was in what seemed to be an empty room behind the painting. The girl was there as well, but interestingly enough, the familiar had changed into a ghostly form of Myrdain’s human appearance. The dream mage started with an apology which Ro brushed off.

“Mira, is it?”

Ro listened attentively, absorbing and rearranging the pieces in his own mental world.

“So if I’m right… then the Myrdain earlier today was not you, but the invader?

So how do you propose we even get rid of this witch? And wait, hold up, HELL! Did you just say… daughter? So you’re telling me, you got possessed by this girl’s mom, but for some reason she doesn’t care about hurting her own daughter?

For that matter, where even is the mom’s original body?”


After the questions had been answered, the familiar led Ro back outside the painting, returning to his animal form. The girl had stayed behind. They were back in the hall, and all the doors had been opened - with one difference. The doors they had entered were now closed. Servants began to twist and distort, becoming replaced with the shadowy forms Ro and his guildmates had seen earlier.

So this is what the witch’s world is like…

Right before he left though, the animal familiar once more interrupted his thoughts.

"As for the lady in this painting...there would be too much that I could say about her, but she was my king, and she was the only one that mattered to me. My curse, even until now.

I'm not sure whether you'd recognize her or not, considering your age, Ro. However, perhaps the possibility there was someone else I could talk about her more made me tell you this. Call me sentimental or whatever. From then to now, I'm quite the hopeless wizard anyway."


Wait a second! King? Curse? My age? Wait how do you even…? What?! Wizard?!! And stop being so sappy, gramps! This whole expedition is cutting into my lotus time anyways, and I don’t like this place one bit.

I’m just here because I agreed to help out and one of the only things I remember about my past is that I’m not someone who goes back on their word. And that’s not something you’re going to make me break.

Hold on a second though! Something… it seems… familiar… It’s too vague, I can’t grasp it firmly enough to recall… But… I know this from somewhere! Gaah!


Ro froze. Within the space of just a few seconds, the familiar once more managed to create more questions than he had answered. But there was no time to ask them all.

“I have SO many questions right now but… who the hell are you, really?

"Me? I am simply a cursed soul, wandering the earth so I could tell people the story of my king. Not that it's a wise thing to do."

With this answer, it only served to create even more questions while answering nothing. But there was no time left, and the two separated ways once more. With the answer left ringing in his head while other questions overflowed his mind, out of the corner of his eye, he saw a familiar figure, Minnie-or-something-other. It was one of his guildmates. From the looks of it, she seemed to be mostly fine, if only a bit roughed up. Not much worse or better than he himself was, with a gash to the shoulder and just a bit of dirt and soot on him. He raised an eyebrow slightly. Walking over, he made a small wave with his right hand.

“Oi, girlie, Minnie-something, how were things on your end? I had some… pretty interesting things on my side that answered some questions but… now I’m just left with even more than I started with, gah.”

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Astolfo [CV: Ohkubo Rumi] - "BA-LLL-MUUU-NNN-GGG!"

#49
Wind Rider

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"Alright, let me tell you what happened. I was unsure for a while, but an event somewhere else that happened recently in this dream allowed me to gain awareness of the situation. I was quite mortified when you four brought those bodies to the hallway, but after examining them and getting some hints, I understand it now.

The four of you had an accident on your way here. I'm not sure whether it caused any severe wound in real life, but even then all of you managed to be knocked unconscious within the range of the invader that caused all this distortions and shadow creatures. For the sake of safety, it would be best to not integrate yourself with any copies of yourself in this dream, still. But I trust that your physical body would be in a decent enough care right now for you to not worry about it."

So the initial meet up with Myrdain was just as much of a dream as everything else, and the group was knocked out before even arriving at the mansion. Mina couldn't help but feel confused, this dream magic stuff was starting to irritate her.

The invader is somewhere in this mentalscape. As much as she attempted to control it, Master's strong feelings managed to keep her from taking full control.

I wish you luck, Mina."

Well the girl was holding up from the sounds of things, but this was all too weird still. "Hang on, I still have..." Before she could even finish her sentence, the area dissolved again and she found herself in the hallway again. "... Questions..." She sighed and turned to see that Ro was there too, great...

“Oi, girlie, Minnie-something, how were things on your end? I had some… pretty interesting things on my side that answered some questions but… now I’m just left with even more than I started with, gah.” Mina could feel a frown forming on her face but she turned around so she wasn't facing him.

"Ok... One, it's Mina... Get that through your thick head... And two, I didn't have a very enlightening search for answers either..." She turned back to him with a more calm expression. "Hopefully the others had better luck than either of us..." Her eyes lit up. "I did learn something... Though it may not be as important... Everything past the carriage ride seems to have been part of the dream... I can't remember a point where something could have happened... But now we have to be very cautious... And no looking at images of yourself... We both know what that can do..."

#50
Mr. Hyde

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The two of them had both made it out of the kitchen, thanks to Dmitri's brilliance of course.  He could hear the nibbling of food behind him, which would've blown their cover had anyone paid the slightest attention to them.  Gladly they didn't.

 

"Follow me, mister. I know where that person is usually in so we shoud check the place first."  The girl spoke.  It was then that they were lead into a much bigger complex than the kitchen before.  They traversed it for a while longer, until the girl stopped next to a wall.  The girl approached the wall and pressed the wall on several positions until a loud click could be heard, and the wall turned around to reveal a secret passageway behind it. It led to another hallway not dissimilar to the previous one, but something felt off as Dmitri passed through it.

 

"Don't worry much about this place. That person often invites me here to play with him and he told me quite a lot of nice stories too. He's really nice but..."

 

"Can we not play the pronoun game?  I'm investigating a serious matter...I need details girl."  He sighed, pushing up his glasses.

 

Their words were cut but the sound of struggling and roars from the other end of the corridor. The girl ran towards the back, and the sight there would reveal a man in white lying on the floor, surrounded by a few shadows not dissimilar to the ones Dmitri had seen on the countryside vista. The man was still alive, apparently, and weakly attempted to nudge his head towards Dmitri's direction.  Dmitri was automatically put himself on guard, and entered a very defensive stance.  This man...was he in control of the apparitions in this dream.  

 

"A...ah...my plan goes well, I'm glad. Thank you for coming here, Dmitri. I'm sorry for involving Cherry Heart into my mess-up, but...I can't let her have her way with that family, nor with my mind."  The pronoun game again, huh?

 

"What plan?  How do you know my name?  Who are you?  What are those shadowy creatures that seem to like you..."  It was all so much for Dmitri to take in in one moment that his head started to swirl.  He frazzled his hair in frustration, waiting for an answer to all of his reasonable questions.  


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The Past is a Cyber Dino

#51
Mitchyrano de Belgerac

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Dream World/Auburn

The baker house, the guard tower, the city with roads entirely paved, it was a world that seemed so alive. More than even that however, were the people around the two as they strolled. Some were the poor and homeless laying on the sides of the street path, while others walked past without a second thought. The variety of people in this era astonished the boy.

 

He was eventually led to what seemed to be a restaurant establishment. Ierne had dragged him by the hand, somewhat excitedly, to here. Perhaps a slight gluttonous streak, or a preference for foreign food? Both? Seated in, they began conversing once more. For a moment, Ierne had a slip of the tongue and called him Myrdain, which made him think. "Do I resemble him? Myrdain."

 

"And well..." There was no harm in being more open to someone who was just part of a dream in the first place, but that thought never crossed his mind. Auburn had lost sight of the dream so long ago, his heart was instead concerned with how much to tell. He was certain it wouldn't hurt to open to Ierne, except that divulging information from another era carelessly might cause unnecessary confusion. "As I have said, I'm from a faraway country. I was born there, and I've not traveled out until recently in fact. Most of the world still feels new to me, I can barely separate the world as I see it in my mind. So I'm unsure what I should say about myself..."

 

"Hm... I can't get into the details of where I came from for various reasons, but I can at least tell you a bit about my family. I have an older sister. She's a very talented person, both magically and otherwise. She's also very nice, she was very patient with me for as long as I could remember. And of course, her appearance holds up to those other categories as well. In every way she is a splendid person, worthy of awe and admiration. And our family has plenty in both wealth and members, so prestige was a hugely important matter. The main family's eldest daughter is possibly a genius on the level of those that appear only once a century or so, so my parents loved her. " He grimaced unwillingly as he mentioned the next part however. "They didn't love me as much though. Both my parents and the more distant relatives, but especially the latter. I cannot do magic, so I became the weird second child. That really annoyed me, so I left on a journey, and that's where I am now."

 

"But do not misunderstand! I love magic, possibly more than anything." Sensing he may have ruined the mood with his own bitterness, Auburn tried in his own way to bring the conversation back up. "The one who can't use it properly was me, my own self is what's wrong, not magic as a whole. Rather, magic is what gives me something to strive for. One day I'll become an amazing mage and make the family members who looked down on me regret it. One day I'll become good enough to stand proud alongside my sister."

 

"It is so. Magic is my raison d'etre, I have come to realize that. Surely, surely should I reach my desired endgoal I'll achieve happiness. That's why, being here now in the capital of so much vast knowledge, I am unimaginably excited." His eyes began to shine with excitement, ones that showed his honest thoughts out in the open. "I want to know, Ierne. Why do you desire to become a fair and just monarch? What drives your raison d'etre?"


BOYS, BE AMBITIOUS!

 

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#52
Fujimaru Ritsuka

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"What plan?  How do you know my name?  Who are you?  What are those shadowy creatures that seem to like you..."

 

"Ah...so...I actually had my familiar spy your guild for a while, and right now...well, suffice to say, a witch was trying to take over my mind, using little miss Mira as a way to get to me."

 

One of the shadows attempted to lunge at the dream mage, but he summoned what looked like vines from the ground to bind and crush it. Using that made him look visibly weaker however, and he wouldn't last longer if this kept on going. The little girl that led Dmitri there stared at the sight with an empty look.

 

"Ah, little Ierne... she shouldn't see me like this...

 

Dmitri, right now I think I don't have much time left with me, but if we can sort this out, I should be able to reestablish full contact with the rest of my mind and I'll be able to get you and the others to seek out the root of the issues. I think my backup plan had told your friend about the situation.

 

Sorry for dragging you all into this mess, but I figure that an outside help from a source I can trust would be able to cleanly solve my issues. A bit selfish, isn't it?"

 

 

"It's not that you're similar with him, but I'm a bit too used to only talk this privately to him. Sorry, I was just getting a bit carried away."

 

Ierne listened attentively to what Auburn said about himself after sorting out her earlier slip. The mention of having a more talented sibling and how she was pretty much night and day compared to Auburn visibly drew a reaction from Ierne, who looked a bit at unease for a short while. Though, as Auburn told her about his own view on magic and how he didn't despise it even if he wasn't able to perform any of it, Ierne was considerably lightened up. She appeared to look uplifted with his words, and she seemed to share the excitement that Auburn radiated. When Auburn asked him about her own reasoning though, Ierne's light dimmed and she looked a bit more down than before. Her words became more whisper like when she continued her sentence.

 

"...I don't think I really should say things like this wily-nily, but since you're from... I mean, since you're a foreigner from far away, and a nice one at that, I guess I can say it to you.

 

I never really dreamed of becoming a monarch. I used to be an orphan living on the same alleyways that we passed by earlier, trudging around to look for anything edible I can grab to last me for the day. I made friend with someone from the palace though, and he often let me hang around secretly there for a while.

 

Not long later, the king became sick and passed away suddenly without any heirs. The country's best mages communed with the gods to see who's deserving of replacing him, and the gods apparently said that the one worthy of becoming the next king would be someone that could lift the king's sword from his deathbed. Of course, many tried and many failed, and one day when I was playing around the castle, my friend jokingly got me into the testing room but left me behind there when he got called off somewhere.

 

When he returned, he saw me waving around the sword like it's just a piece of stick.

 

Everything was strange. Uproars happened, but in the end because it was the gods' will, everyone ended up accepting me in this position... though none of them really respected me yet, for understandable reasons. All of this felt way too grand for someone like me, and even with Myrdain trying to tutor me the best he could, I don't think I'd really be suitable as a king.

 

I never dreamed of something like this. I just wanted to be able to not worry about having something to eat. But now that I'm stuck in this position, my only aspiration is I guess to not disappoint everyone that had trusted me with this. I'm really just a good for nothing pretend ruler, but... to wish to see my people smile, it's not that bad of a wish, isn't it?"

 

Ierne let out a sigh. Telling a stranger that much was of course not the best course of action she thought of, but from the look of it, she definitely looked like she needed the release. Was this part of Myrdain's memories, or was it an actual dream, something Myrdain constructed as a scenario to go inside of his mind? At that time, Auburn would feel like some sort of distortion happened to everything on his sight for a few moments, but nothing seemed to change as far as he could see. The girl before him still looked the same, and there were no shadows walking around the streets even now. Although, the distortion was somewhat different from the earlier distortions had Auburn paid attention to it. Whatever it was about, Ierne decided to continue talking.

 

"I'll just have to try my best in the end. Even some people had seen that I have the capability when I put the effort to, so maybe I'm just worrying about my origin a bit too much. Perhaps I'll be able to use magic well with a bit more training. That should apply to you too, Auburn. Enough attempts, and you should be able to reach what you thought was impossible.

 

Say, do you have any other questions?"

 

OOC

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#53
Astolfo

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Ro & Mina

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“So, you have any idea which door we should take? There’s only three to choose from.

Ro looked out down the hall. From what he could see, one led to a dining hall, another led to a fancy trophy room, and the last led to a bedroom that seemed like the one the guild members had started out in prior to entering the dream.

Mina looked at each of the doorways, she thought on each of them and turned to Ro. “You think we’ll be able to meet up with everyone if we head through to the bedroom?” she asked him. Ro glanced at her as he rolled the thought around in his head. “Perhaps? But it seems like a better bet than the dining hall or trophy room.” He motioned for her to lead. “Ladies first…? Or something of that sort you humans admire. Chiva-whatever.” The word lost on the tip of his tongue, he shrugged, obviously not having cared too much about it.

As he moved to follow her, he paused, suddenly calling out towards Mina. “Aren’t you a little too… young to be inviting a man to a bedroom alone though~?” Ro smirked, gesturing towards his chest region as he pointed out her age.

She rolled her eyes as she turned to the door, she was about to put an electrified bullet in him if he kept this up. She stepped forward and went into the bedroom with Ro. The bedroom was the same as when they arrived at the mansion, of course, there was no sleeping girl or strange dream mage in sight this time around. “Looks the same as before, though we are in a dream so… I guess look around?” Mina said with a rather unsure look on her face.

Ro took a few steps, making it immediately apparent that the floor was unusual. Even with someone as unnaturally light of a weight as him, the floorboards creaked, not attached down at all. His suspicion grew, causing him to tap his heel on the ground. A hollow echo returned. He glanced at Mina, scrutinizing her face to see if she understood the implications. As Ro moved to peel the floorboards back, he noticed another oddity out of the corner of his eye. The bedroom window. Looking out, it was no longer the landscape it once was, but now a strange cityscape. Waving his hand to grab her attention, he pointed out the shift in scenery to her.

“Floor or outside?” Ro questioned Mina.

Mina thought on Ro’s question for a second before she turned her attention back to the floor. “I say we head down…” She knelt down and started to pry open the floorboards. Upon doing so, a hidden passage was revealed. It was too dark to see anything, but it was clear that it went down quite a long distance. Unfortunately for the duo, there were no handholds or anything of that nature either, but rather just a crudely formed free-fall of a tunnel. Ro looked at Mina critically.

“You really want to jump down there?”

A small smile formed on her face. “Nothing ventured, nothing gained. You want to escape this dreamscape and free this girl or not?” she asked him.

Ro looked at her bewildered. “But I don’t care the slightest about this girl honestly. But a job’s a job so I figured we might as well get it done right.” A grin formed on his face as a thought popped up in his head. “Lead the way, o’ tiny miss!” With a sudden, unexpectedly strong push from behind, he sent her stumbling towards the hole. Running, he grabbed the scruff of her shirt as he jumped down, cheering loudly.

“Last one there’s a rotten egg!”

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Astolfo [CV: Ohkubo Rumi] - "BA-LLL-MUUU-NNN-GGG!"

#54
Mitchyrano de Belgerac

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Dream World/Auburn

Although he knew not for sure what the royalty thought of his story, she seemed to agree with it but it could certainly be just good manners. Even so, Auburn found himself honestly heartfelt and sympathetic to her plight. "A bad wish? Not at all. At the very least it's more selfless than my ow-"

 

It was then that Auburn felt his field of vision distort, even if only for the slightest moment. A light headache assaulted him, although the surroundings, including Ierne, seemed unchanged. For a second, he worried the dream was breaking up and that he would have to separate from this world, from this girl in front of him already. He didn't want that.

 

"M-mm... Other questions... " Auburn tried to think. The small distortion just now reminded him fully that this moment was only a recollection of someone else. Yet he couldn't give up on the girl here who was just a part of the dream. "Sorry to take this back to Myrdain, but what are you to him? What is he to you? Would he consider you someone precious enough to remember years from now?"


BOYS, BE AMBITIOUS!

 

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#55
Fujimaru Ritsuka

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Auburn

 

"I hope that was really as selfless as what you perceived my words to be."

 

The girl did not seem to react to Auburn's sudden headache or the momentary distortion happening around them. It mostly was somewhat expected as she was merely a part of a recollection, replayed over another man's dream.

 

"What am I to Myrdain? I don't really know much how he sees me, but for me, he's my precious treasure, the best friend I would ever have. He meant too much for me, I won't ever be able to forget him. As hopeless and messy he is all the time, he's the only person in this world tht I can fully trust."

 

Ierne paused for a moment, seemingly reminiscing about her time with Myrdain. At that time though, a rumble could be heard on the distance, and it made Ierne stopped her trip down the memory lane to turn back towards Auburn with a satisfied expression on her face.

"It really has been nice to spend some time with you, Auburn. Seems like someone managed to get Myrdain to sort his mess up now, and the time for the end would be soon." As she said it, the girl before him had her form distorted, and her form would turn into the king that he saw on the horseback when Auburn first entered the library. "It might be a bit unsightly of me to pretend that I am not self aware about my own nature here, so I beg your pardon on that.

 

I wish you good luck in your ventures. May the gods bless you with the light of knowledge, and may it lead you to a path of mastery over magic."

 

With a gesture, the king ordered Auburn to go where the rumbling was. As he left, Auburn could see her giving him a last proud but sad smile before the restaurant and the king's form dissipated on the distance. Traveling through the city, Auburn would see its form distorted and bent rapidly, showing the development and expansions and the damages done to the city throughout the years. The people passing him aged within seconds before crumbling right before him, and for a split second, he would see the city being razed to the ground before it was quickly being rebuilt. Soon he would find a plain door being the unchanging constant in the city, and entering it would lead him towards the bedroom where he and the others started in.

Just, with a seemingly bottomless big hole on the floor now.

 

 

Ro & Mina

 

The two would find themselves tumbling down the hole for quite a while. It was completely pitch black at first as they lost the light from above, but soon they would find themselves being illuminated by images and scenes passing through them, all from Myrdain's memories. Most of those were inconsequential or perhaps mundane - just the memories of his past daily life that he had forgotten for the most part.

 

After a while however, they would suddenly find themselves stop falling, suspended mid air for a moment before what was underneath them seemingly solidified like the ground. A dim light would then light the area on a line right in front of them, making it clear that a tunnel had been spontaneously formed before the two. Following it right towards its exit would lead them towards the hallway of a palace.

 

They could see soldiers talking with each other on the side, guards standingg motionlessly while still watching over everything, decorated knights passing by alongside their servants, and miscellaneous other people going around doing their own thing.

 

Soon however, they would hear a scream of pain from one of the side paths on the large hallway, but at the same exact time, they would also hear the sound of a lock breaking right at the large door at the end of the hallway.

 

Wherever they chose to go, they would have the feeling that this quest was nearing its end.

 


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