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[CHQ] A Story Just For You


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#61
Mitch-Arei-Gensou-Engi-tan

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Dream World/Auburn

At the bottom of the hole Auburn landed safely, likely due to being in a dream. In front of the potion brewer was a path royally decorated that lead to two separate hallways. Both were equally ominous, one hall emitted screams and the other, sounds of a broken lock. "How the hell do I choose?" Auburn muttered to himself. He wasn't expecting to have to make a choice this late in the game.

 

"Ierne." Soon enough his thoughts went back to the little ruler again. Truthfully he wanted to get to know her much more and he had no qualms being honest about that. Perhaps one of these doors might lead him back to her? Although it'd make their farewell a little anti-climatic, but he certainly wouldn't mind that. If it's to see her again, he'd do anything. The hallways of course, only intensified in their respective sounds. "Hmph. Anything goes I guess."

 

He picked the path of locks. They were a little less chill-inducing than the screams after all.

 

 

He came into a castle town in blazes. The very same he marched through to return to the bedroom in the mansion. As if the dream itself was mocking him by throwing him back into the fire-filled wreckage. "Is this some sort of sick jo-", Auburn paused when he caught sight of the hermit boy Ro standing in front of him. The last time he saw the boy and the accompanying Mina felt like so long ago. "Where's Mina Wh-"

 

Again Auburn was interrupted, this time by the sight of a scorching dragon in the skies above. A wonderful yet terrible sight, Auburn's head followed as it flew past, and he ran towards a set of stairs to gain elevation for better viewing, ignoring all the fire surrounding him that strangely did not burn him. Above the rooftop he saw the dragon and atop it, an armor-clad figure so much smaller but equally radiant. The dragon and its rider seemed to be heading towards the palace area.

 

Naturally, Auburn leapt down from the rooftop and ran after it. Just in case, he quickly drew out a healing potion and downed it instantly mid-run. Was it Ierne riding the dragon ravaging the town? Or is that beast heading towards Ierne in her palace? Auburn wasn't quite sure.

 

As Auburn closed in towards the palace, he saw the dragon settle on a nearby tower. That made Auburn stop his sprint to look up and observe the armor-clad rider above.


BOYS, BE AMBITIOUS!

 

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#62
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Slamming the door open, Ro was greeted not by the sight of a room or hallway, but suddenly, a whole different world. Blasted with sweltering heat, he covered his face as he spun around. As expected, the door he just went through had vanished. Turning back around slowly, Ro’s eyes took in the night-time cityscape before him. Flames were consuming every scrap they could find, burning with a hellish, terrible fury. Coughing as the smoke led to a sharp, piercing pain in his lungs, Ro scanned the land. Looking for any hint of what next action to take, his eyes set upon a ladder. Sprinting over as he covered his nose and mouth, he climbed up with a nimbleness that seemed to nearly ignore physics.

As he looked over the carnage from the rooftops, a spark flashed in his memory, lain deep somewhere inside his abyss. It… The sight of the city seemed familiar, yet… somewhat off. It didn’t match any memory of cities in recent times… yet... if he dug back a few more centuries...

“Taxus...”

Ro mouthed unconsciously. But before him was not the beautiful city he had grown to like at one time in his life. From end to end, buildings were alit with a ghastly, all-consuming fire. Sensing two powerful presences, his head snapped upwards. Soaring through the sky was a majestic dragon that oozed an aura of cruelty. There was another form however, causing Ro to crane his head. With only the moonlight and flames as light, it was hard to see, and so he narrowed his eyes as he focused in. Looking closer, Ro could see its armored rider commandeering the beast. As he watched, the dragon and its rider flew towards the top of a palace - the sole haven yet left untouched by hellfire.

“Oh hell no you don’t!”

His earlier fatigue and smoke exhaustion forgotten, Ro leapt with a running charge off the building rooftop, flying through the sky until he landed on the next one over.

“I’ll be damned if you’re going to just go and burn up some city however you please!”

Leaping from rooftop to rooftop, Ro chased the duo without care for his own safety. There was no time to waste or shimmy back down. He’d have to do that eventually, because there was almost certainly no way or ledge from which he’d be able to jump all the way to the top of the castle. Or if ill fate would have it, a larger gap before then he couldn’t jump. But for now? Every second was worth more than any riches a king could dream of, and every second of it needed to be spent running.

As Ro sprinted, a strange feeling arose in his chest. It was akin to… desperation.

“How… peculiar.”

How unsettling it was, to care for something other than himself. Yet… Ro didn’t feel any sort of qualm or regret. Rather, a burning fury and a steeled will. This would be the ultimate race against time and luck itself.

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#63
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Making her way to the source of the scream, Mina stopped in her tracks as she saw Dmitri and a rather injured looking Myrdain. She hadn't seen Dmitri for a while now, but now really wasn't the time to appreciate the reunion as more shadow creatures were closing in.

"I...can't die here, The witch is going to collapse everything if I die here, and...you all will be trapped without being able to escape..." well that... Isn't good...

Mina pulled her rifle back out and aimed some shots at the approaching shadows. "Dying in my sleep is a rather peaceful way to go, but not like this!" she stated as she also pulled out her whip and lashed at a closer shadow. "So you things can just back off!"

#64
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"Thanks to the efforts of your friends, my familiar had managed to connect the chaotic fragments of my mind and now a path to where the witch hides herself should be open.

 

But...ack!"

 

A shadow had managed to get a decisive strike onto the old man.  It made him cough up his own blood, as he sunk back into his chair.  

 

"I...can't die here, The witch is going to collapse everything if I die here, and...you all will be trapped without being able to escape..."

 

"An old wizard, a witch...all we're missing is a wardrobe."  Dmitri's teeth clenched.  Looking behind him, he saw one of his guildmates practically appear from the ether.  Mira was here now, and her gun was locked and loaded, pointed in the shadows' direction.  What the hell was even going on anymore?  Dmitri took a mental note; 'Don't dive deeper into the topic of dream magics.  This stuff is just bonkers.  P.S., get some milk on the way home.'  With that noted, he ran up to the old man, and hiked the bony arm over his neck.  It was a good thing the geezer was light, or was it rather that this dream was giving Dmitri more strength?  He couldn't think about that now.  "Mina, cover us.  You're coming too little young missy!"  He said, grabbing Ierne, and tucking her under his arm.  There was only one route for escape, the door he and Mina both came through.  With Dmitri's focus now cut off from his magic, the prisms from before would start to fade.  

 

Dmitri made an effort, with what little motor skills he had currently, to open the door.  He opted to kick it open, seeing as how both of his hands were currently preoccupied.  Looking down both sides of the endless hallway from before, he couldn't figure out which way to head.  He figured that the dream would work it's magic, so choosing which way he went would prove meaningless in the grand scheme of things.  He closed his eyes, and made a mad dash to the right, hauling as fast as his teacher's body would let him.  

 

"What kind of beginner's quest is this?!"  He said, complaining to some cruel god.  


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#65
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The shadows were slow in their approach, and with Mina covering the rest of the three, they would reach the hallway safely. Right not the place was completely empty however, and little Ierne disappeared the moment she passed through the door, leaving only Dmitri, Mina, and the dream mage in it. Myrdain was still injured pretty badly, but with the shadows that attacked them seemingly had been driven away, he looked more at peace than before.

 

"What kind of beginner's quest is this?!"

 

"Pardon me, I had my familiar list this quest as a Rank D because I overestimated how much control I had of my mind even after that witch attacked. I will figure out a way to recompense you all for this oversight. Perhaps a free use of my service?"

 

Myrdain laughed a bit at his small joke before moving his finger towards the large door at the end of the hallway.

"The witch had chosen to hide herself there, in my nightmare. Don't trust anything she says, and don't be fooled by anything she does. She holds not as much power than before, so don't be blinded by any of her display of power, although that doesn't mean you could ignore her danger either. She'll try her best to mess with you, so be careful about that.

 

She won't be escaping anywhere now, so this should be the end. Go there, your comrades are waiting and would be needing your help. I think I will be fine no...w, at least I won't be attacked by shadows here, hopefully."

 

 

"It is nice to see you two here. Auburn, Ro. It had truly felt like it had been years, hasn't it?"

 

The voice of the armorclad figure was clearly a female's voice, although it was obscured to some degrees by her helmet. The dragon knight then spoke with an incomprehensible language to her dragon and it went on to rip the tower it latched on and threw it towards the burning city. Was it a display of power? As soon as she did it, she and her mount landed on the clearing on top of the castle. The knight went on to face the two members of the Cherry Heart.

 

"Then let you be damned, Ro. This is my city, and I am free to do whatever pleases me with it." The dragon rider then had her dragon went for a tail sweep at Ro's direction. aiming to get him off the building. And then, she turned towards Auburn. For a reason, Auburn felt like the rider was smiling at him as she did so. Discarding her helmet, Auburn would see that it was indeed the face of Ierne, as the king that said goodbye to him. She looked more disheveled and tired than what he remembered, but it was unmistakably her. Even small light of her kindness was still somewhere within her expression.

"Our talk was truly nice, Auburn. But regretably, I had given up on my goal years ago. It's quite pointless to pursue. No matter what I do, these people won't change. No matter what I do, they kept digging themselves deeper and deeper in their own mistake. So I decided to forsake them, and build a new era with their ashes as its foundation.

 

Going forward with your dream will only lead you to failure, Auburn. You will be shamed by the public, your relatives will disown you, you would end up as nothing but a laughingstock to the rest of your guild friends as they kept on advancing and leaving you behind. They're all so talented at something, but you already hit your limit early on. No matter how hard you work, in the end, you're only human. A flawed individual. Perhaps this wasn't just the path you're meant to take.

 

But if you can help me free myself from this old man's mind, just as you wanted, I would be on your side and I would forcefully open up a path for you to go forward with your dream of being an accomplished mage. And on that note, I would like to see how much people had advanced now too. What you see here is simply my past sin. A necessary sin to conduct, but a sin nevertheless. I am neither proud or ashamed by it, but I'd like to see what this action would lead to in the future.

 

So, what do you think? I am sorry for your friend earlier, but I know he's quite resilient and I believe he'd understand you if you're the one that talked about this to him."

Ierne and her dragon didn't continue with their attack, and simply waited for Auburn's answer for the time being.

 


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#66
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Dream World/Auburn

"What are you saying, Ierne...?" The rider in front of him was discernibly and without doubt, Ierne. Behind that aged visage and cold demeanor, Auburn could recognize the same smile the little girl had given him in their departure earlier. But beyond her smile, he saw the spite and pessimism. The words coming out of her mouth were laden with those feelings, and of such intensity that he just could not associate with the little ruler, he couldn't believe what she had become. "Your dream meant so much to you, didn't it!?"

 

But the rider continued on, and her next words drove her point home as she spoke with a level of certainty Auburn could only accept as the truth, how his efforts will never achieve fruition. He could not deny her words, because he had acknowledged her as someone similar to himself, someone with an irrational desire.

 

He listened to her offer to the very end without uttering another word. The dragon and the rider waited for him to speak.

 

"I..." His voice creaked with uncertainty. It hurt, and his throat burned even though the fire couldn't touch him. "I really wanted to bring you with me, out of this dream. Our status differ greatly and you're but a character in someone's dream, but I've never met someone so similar to me. Someone I could empathize with to this extent. You don't exist in the real world anymore but that didn't stop me from wanting that."

 

"And now you're here talking to me again. You don't possibly understand how tempting your offer sounds to me! I wouldn't mind helping you out, not one bit. This request means almost nothing to me after all."

 

A gunshot sound rang out. Auburn drew his gun out and shot at the rider. On his left hand was a small fireball, so minuscule it may as well not exist. But to the boy, this was the best he could do. "But I can't accept you as you are right now, Ierne. To see your people smile, it's not that bad of a wish. Even if it's you, I won't let you deny it yourself."


Edited by Mitchyrano de Belgerac, 06 November 2017 - 10:40 AM.

BOYS, BE AMBITIOUS!

 

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#67
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Upon reaching the dragon and its rider, Ro paused as it spoke. The voice behind the hidden visor was clearly female.

That’s… mildly surprisi-

“Wait, how do you know my name?”

Ignoring him, the rider continued. Apparently she had managed to hear his little self pep-rally during his chase earlier. If it was any other sort of situation, he would’ve looked away mildly embarrassed, but not now. This situation was nothing short of deadly serious. Without another signal, the dragon swung its massive tail at Ro before he could even realize. For a beast so huge, it moved deceptively fast. The tail slamming into his chest with a sudden force, Ro flew back clear off the roof, before falling towards the grounds below.

As he fell, something was off. He, Ro, had just been smacked by a gigantic dragon multiple times larger than most of the buildings in the dreamscape city. Yet, he didn’t even suffer the slightest scratch, nor did his clothes. However, the pain was definitely just as realistic. If it weren’t for the fact he couldn’t feel anything wrong with his body, he’d have sworn that several of his ribs were just smashed. Unclenching his teeth, he could taste his vile, black blood. Spitting on the nearby pavement, he sat on the ground gingerly. This was definitely unusual. As he mulled over it, he guessed it was probably at least in part due to the fact this was a dreamland, if not the only reason altogether.

“Hell if I’ll complain though.”

He peered back up towards the sky. Up there, the dragon rider and Auburn were alone.

“I wonder what the hag’s blabbering about to Audrey now.”

Standing up slowly, he dusted himself off. Looking around, he debated what the best way to reach the top was again. Finding an intact stairway inside the ruins was unlikely, but… A lightbulb popped up in his head. He already threw caution out the window a long time ago, so this wasn’t a long stretch. Perhaps he’d be able to climb up the edge of other buildings to make his way back to the rooftop run approach.

Looking for the closest building, Ro began to climb up the outside of the rocky surface like a deranged spider.

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#68
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Mina managed to fend off the shadow creatures and met back up with Dmitri and Myrdain. The old dream mage wasn't looking too good.

"Pardon me, I had my familiar list this quest as a Rank D because I overestimated how much control I had of my mind even after that witch attacked. I will figure out a way to recompense you all for this oversight. Perhaps a free use of my service?" The mage laughed at his little joke but Mina wasn't laughing along.

"Thanks but no thanks... I've enough of this dream magic stuff to last a lifetime..." she responded before Myrdain continued speaking.

"The witch had chosen to hide herself there, in my nightmare. Don't trust anything she says, and don't be fooled by anything she does. She holds not as much power than before, so don't be blinded by any of her display of power, although that doesn't mean you could ignore her danger either. She'll try her best to mess with you, so be careful about that.

She won't be escaping anywhere now, so this should be the end. Go there, your comrades are waiting and would be needing your help. I think I will be fine no...w, at least I won't be attacked by shadows here, hopefully."

Mina looked at the old mage and back to Dmitri. "We've come this far... Might as well end it." she said with a smile. "Now then... Let's go kill us a dream witch, shall we? Or would she be a nightmare witch... Eh, I'll think of something to call her..." she said with a shrug.

#69
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As Dmitri rushed out of the room, he could feel the weight of Ierne disappear.  He turned his head to notice that she had up and evaporated out of this existence.  Dmitri turned back to the room to look for her but could find no trace.  A slight melancholy weighed down his mind, almost as heavy as the girl herself.  He had known her for such a short while, but he had obviously grown attached to her, the guide in this wacky place.  

 

"Pardon me, I had my familiar list this quest as a Rank D because I overestimated how much control I had of my mind even after that witch attacked. I will figure out a way to recompense you all for this oversight. Perhaps a free use of my service?"

 

"Thanks but no thanks... I've enough of this dream magic stuff to last a lifetime..." 

 

Dmitri shook his head in agreement.  Myridian then held up a solemn finger towards a door at the end of the hallway.  So he had chosen correctly afterall!  Or was it merely fate?  


"The witch had chosen to hide herself there, in my nightmare. Don't trust anything she says, and don't be fooled by anything she does. She holds not as much power than before, so don't be blinded by any of her display of power, although that doesn't mean you could ignore her danger either. She'll try her best to mess with you, so be careful about that.  She won't be escaping anywhere now, so this should be the end. Go there, your comrades are waiting and would be needing your help. I think I will be fine no...w, at least I won't be attacked by shadows here, hopefully."

 

"Mind tricks...great."  Dmitri sighed.  

 

"We've come this far... Might as well end it." Mina said, smiling at him. "Now then... Let's go kill us a dream witch, shall we? Or would she be a nightmare witch... Eh, I'll think of something to call her..."

 

"You went straight for kill?!  I mean...defeat is a simpler term.  I mean...we're mages, not murderers!  Geez Mina..."  Dmitri said, still frazzled.  His hand reached out to the door that they had finally made it to, in hopes of opening the final obstacle in this whole mess.  


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#70
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"I acknowledge your choice."

 

From the side of the rider's body where Auburn shot her, blood visibly trickled down. The armor of the age seemed to not be able to handle today's firearm, but the rider was seemingly nonplussed by it. She continued to stare at Auburn, as if she was judging every inch of his being.

 

"It was such a childish wish. Something so fleeting is not worth pursuing. No matter what path we take, we would tread on someone, we will always have an opposition to overcome. I simply chose the path of most resistance, something that would ensure the future of the people that would inherit the ashes of this city even if it's at the cost of my own people.

 

Won't you say, what I did here ensure the smile of you and the people of your era?"

 

As she said it, the dragon turned towards Auburn's direction. As each moment pass, Auburn would  start feeling more and more that the rider before her was exactly the same Ierne that he met before. As the dragon opened its jaws, he would feel like Ierne was smiling at him. What kind of smile it was, perhaps he wouldn't know ever.

 

"I of now, will no longer acknowledge the weak, helpless, useless ierne of old. She had died with this city she wished to protect. If you're so stubborn about only accepting the old me, then it would be for the best for you to join her.

 

You will be the foundation to a bright future, Auburn."

 

With that word, the world around Auburn was set ablaze in an instant. It was an impressive show of force, as befitting of a creature of the old days. Would Auburn even be able to survive it?

 

 

As Ro traveled through the edges of the burning buildings to reach the castle rooftops again, he would be treated with the full view of the conversation between Auburn and the dragon rider. As the rider spoke, any doubts that she was any familiar to him would be gone - she was not. Ro would come to the conclusion that he wouldn't be able to recognize her throughout his long life, even if he tried his best to remember. At the time though, he would also notice a strange distortion going around the rider as if she wasn't really able to properly maintain her form here for some reasons.

 

She didn't seem to notice Ro right now, so the opportunity for a sneak attack was there. The tail was still active however, and a hit from it would be a major setback. He would need to smoothly figure out his way out of the mess.

 

 

"You two have my utmost best wishes. May your journey be full of blessings."

 

As Dmitri and Mina went through the final door in the hallway, they would be treated with the same burning landscape as the previous two guild members had experienced before. They started on the streets as the building around them were ablaze. and

after moving around they would also notice the current event happening at the top of the castle complex.

 

Should they found a good looking spot or continue their way through the streets for a while though, they would find the streets were littered with the shadow creatures that had been attacking them before. Distorted figments of memories made manifest as wraiths. Some looked like they were more defined than the others, whiich might mean that they would be more dangerous than the others. So far the wraiths didn't notice the two however, and they all seemed to be attracted towards the center of the city. Whatever was going on with the castle, it seemed that it were drawing the shadows in.

 

Further inquiries might be necessary.

 


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#71
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“Bleech, what a pain. This is way too much effort for some random D-level quest.”

Finally reaching the top of the building after an annoyingly tiring climb, he was greeted by the sight of the conversation between the dragon rider and Auburn. It only served to confirm the woman was no one he could identify from the scraps of memories he had, no matter how far he thought back.

Ierne, is it… Who are you? Are you the master or just another puppet? Or perhaps, a completely unrelated third party?

For some unusual reason though, the air around the woman seemed almost… liquid? Rippling, her very form seemed as unstable as a wisp. In the next instant though, before he could even shout out, Ierne had commanded the dragon to incinerate the area where Auburn was standing. With a mighty, deafening roar, it let out a torrent of blindingly bright flames. Even from where he was standing, Ro could feel the sweltering heat singing his arms. In the span of one second, the sight and sound of his teammate was completely obscured.

“Ah damn it all. I don’t even have time to check for that runt, not that I even expect him to survive.”

Luckily, Ierne hadn’t noticed his presence yet. However, with how fast the dragon had reacted earlier, he couldn’t make a reckless dive. Getting hit by that tail was no joke either. For some reason, he sustained no actual injuries, but the pain had been nearly enough to make him go unconscious from the initial brutal collision.

“What am I even supposed to do in a situation like this… And I don’t even have time to mull over. She’s not going to just stay there blankly doing nothing forever. Gah. Thinking too long is going to get me nowhere anyways. Might as well just go for it.”

From his hands, the color of the surrounding aura changed to an inky black. A slippery, translucent liquid began to coat his body in a thin layer. If it were to go well, it would aid in at least avoiding the first tailstrike. What he was going to do after would have to be on the spur of lady luck. It’s not like he, a non-combatant, could readily beat both an armored dragon knight and her steed. Taking a deep breath, he pulled out several jars filled with bubbling green fluid from an inner pocket. Contained within was a purified and concentrated mixture of various strong acids he had found through his travels.

Leaning down into a crouch, Ro burst off the ground. The slimy coating from earlier would assist when he’d duck into a skid to avoid the inevitable tailstrike. By reducing the frictional force of drag against the rocky surface, he’d be able to lower his body further without reducing his momentum too much. And after that, before the dragon could immediately retaliate once more, Ro would smash the jars straight against the visor slot. It probably wouldn’t kill her, but it could definitely blind and suffocate her for a duration at least. He’d just have to pray that her reactions would be slower than his, in the case of an attack from her.

“This has dragged on too long! Go to hell, Ierne!”

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

#72
Mitch-Arei-Gensou-Engi-tan

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The world turned red instantly. Fire surrounded every corner of Auburn's vision and scorching pain filled him. By all means, a single instant was enough to incinerate him until there was nothing left, and if not the heat, the wind would push him away. He couldn't move, his eyes burned and his vision completely disappeared.

 

But he was still able to think, even for just a moment. That was the difference between dreams and reality. His body was not being burned to crisps, only his soul was. And this was not physical reality, fire did not have to follow physical laws. That was what allowed him to be able to think amidst the flames. Within this one moment he had to think with all his might, of a way to survive. "Think, think, think." He certainly did not say those words out loud, for his throat had already burned out. 

 

He suddenly thought of something. Certainly his throat, his eyes, his entire body wasn't real. How was he getting hurt? He knew from earlier realization that this wasn't his real body, but then how exactly does he get hurt and die here? Auburn remembered the earlier incident with the corpses of themselves, and how looking at the doppelgangers' injuries inflicted them to the actual person as well. There were infinitely many answers considering dreams are not restricted to any real semblance of logic but if he had to think of a reason why right there and then, it would be because of belief. Instinctively, seeing one's own bodies covered with injuries evoke a subconscious fear of oneself being injured. Maybe that was how it worked and maybe it wasn't, but it gave Auburn a baseline to work with. You become injured when you believe you do.

 

It was belief that changed reality within the dream.

 

Could Auburn choose to believe he wasn't being burned? Likely not. The pain he felt in his entire body was too much to bear.

 

Could he believe that he had enough control over magic to convince himself this flame was a byproduct of his own magic? Also not likely. Even with Ierne's encouraging he couldn't believe in what he didn't have yet.

 

He had only one venue he could believe in. Auburn drew a potion bottle and smashed it on himself. Its contents dripped and soaked his entire body and cooled him down slightly. It was the same recovery potion he had been using the entire dream so far. No, he had to believe it was more. It was a dream, so it wouldn't be weird if he had a potion so strong it could revive him even from a state of death, would it? An all-curing panacea. Either he made it himself, or he happened to have it, or one of his healing potions turned into it. He was a potion maker, he knew and understood exactly how impossible it was to create such an elixir. But he could also believe in the possibility of it.

 

That was the last thought he had as his body burned away.


BOYS, BE AMBITIOUS!

 

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#73
Wind Rider

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Passing through the door with Dmitri, Mina was surprised to see a sea of fire consuming a town. There also seemed to be some commotion going on at the top of the castle in the center of the town. "I'm guessing that's where we'll find the witch..." Mina said as she noticed the shadow creatures wandering around the streets, they're attention was turned towards the castle interestingly.

Mina pulled her gun out and popped her neck. "Well... I say we get this taken care of." she said hopping along the roofs, shooting any of the shadows that got in her path to the castle.

#74
Mr. Hyde

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The sight before them as they left the hallway was rather bleak...and hot.  The streets were engulfed in flames, and shadowy horrors patrolled them along the dancing pyre.  Dmitri shifted the old man up his shoulder, trying to get a better hold of him.  He was sweating, strange seeing as how this was a dream.  In the background, he could see a tower.  It was of no doubt that that was where they were supposed to be headed now.  In front of him, he saw the girl pop her neck, making a sound that clearly grossed him out.

 

"Well... I say we get this taken care of."

 

The girl went off, shooting any of the shadows that drew near.  It left a very clear path for Dmitri to follow suit in.  

 

"Wait for me Mina~!"  Dmitri said, whining.  If any of them were able to get past her, he would use his spare hand to conjure a cuboid that would detonate with a flash.  "I'm not the strongest mage you know!" 


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The Past is a Cyber Dino

#75
Nanachi Ninanai

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The castle rooftops became a scenery out of hell in an instant. Everything before the dragon were consumed in its flames, gradually melting no matter what they're made of. Ierne saw it with her own eyes that  the boy's form dissipated in just seconds, unable to withstand the heat. Thus, she gave the order to her mount to stop this display of power. What was left before the corrupt king and her mount was nothing more than ashes - a devastated landscape that was distinct even from the rest of the burning city in its annihilation.

 

And right before her, Auburn's form still persisted. The young man stood his ground, with nary any part of him being charred by the lizard's flames. Or perhaps, he really was charred yet somehow recovered his form? Ierne, confused at this development, prepared to order her dragon to start burning everything again, but before that could happen, she felt something hard smashing against her, before she felt something corrosive seeping through the cracks of her armor.

“This has dragged on too long! Go to hell, Ierne!”

 

Whatever hellish substance had Ro forced Ierne to take, it seemed to be working. A corrosive substance that would burn the skin even with the most minimum contact, it touched Ierne directly on her face, damaging her eyes. Some of the substance ended up being inhaled too by her, so even her respiratory system were inflamed. She started to lose control of herself and her dragon as the pain became visibly unbearable for her, and the dragon interpreted it as an order to thrash around wildly. Smashing anything that was near, the dragon ended up losing its balance after it pushed Auburn and Ro to the ground, and it too fell to the city roads along with its rider. Of where it would start convulsing before melting into the shadow creatures that the guild members had been familiar with.

 

"I can't...lose...I cannot let this end here."

 

Before Ro and Auburn now, Ierne was alone, but on her hand was a sword whose blade was seemingly made from hardened light. Her helmet had been discarded, revealing just how much damage did she take from Ro's acid. She was still blinded, and now her movement was like that of a berserker's. She wasted no time to leap to anywhere she felt Auburn or Ro was, and swung her sword at whatever in front of her with enough force to cleave the paved roads. At moments where she felt Auburn or Ro had moved too far, she would start using her sword like a cannon: firing blasts of light in succession which were capable of punching holes into buildings.

 

In the meantime, Mina and Dmitri ran through the rooftops in their attempt to reach the whereabouts of the witch. They would see how the dragon rampaged on top of the castle before falling to the ground not long after, and at the same time, they would see that some shadows had already gathered together, seemingly trying to reform the same dragon creature as the one on the distance. It ended up triggering Dmitri's cube however, as it had not been used yet due to Mina's crackshooting skill where she didn't even seem to spend a time reloading her weapon. A large explosion of light consumed the scenery around them and so the not-fully-formed creature dissipated into nothingness.

 

Before they could actually properly react to it however, they would feel the building they're currently standing in were shaking after something seemingly passed through it. It was the first signs that the building would topple, and the two somehow made it out fine in the end, which would soon lead them to the battlefield where Ro and Auburn were, still facing against the crazed armored king.

 

"Come here and face me! This is my world, nothing you do will mean a thing here! If you refuse to die, then I'll kill you until you die for real!"

 

At the back of each of the guildmembers' mind, they would feel that Ierne was capable of backing her word here - she had somehow regained control of this realm and any of her strikes would do real damage now. At the same time, each of their experiences so far made it seem that they did have their own control regarding this dream too. This would be the final point of their quest. If they were capable of surviving and believing in their own way to defeat Ierne, then this nightmare would be over. Perhaps it would be something that they should talk about first among themselves, but either way, they had to make a decision, quick.

 

OOC

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#76
Astolfo

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Ro held his breath. As he had hoped, the corrosive mixture he slammed into Ierne’s face had done nasty work. Both her and her dragon mount crashed violently to the ground. Within seconds, the dragon melted into shadowy mist that reformed into the shadow creatures that Ro had gotten sick of seeing at this point.

 

Ierne’s hoarse, but determined voice cut through the air. She was still alive, not that Ro expected her to die just yet. The mask that had covered the woman’s face was no longer present, but even he winced at seeing the human’s face, scarred and burned horribly from his attack. She was clearly blinded, but it was not slowing her advance in the slightest.

 

Underneath the burns is such… beauty, yet twisted and sad. Ah, the folly of humans and their desires.

 

He was given no further time to feel wistfully regretful for what Ierne had turned into. Swinging around a sword that appeared to be pure, solidified light, she sliced through her proximity with appalling force. Even the solid rock-paved roads were smashed apart into two with each swing that seemed to show no resistance or drag.

 

Dancing back out of her range, that turned out quickly to not be a solution either. Without the slightest break in her rhythm, she spun her sword around as if it were a wand instead. From the blade blasted forth barrages of solid light that ripped through houses like paper. As Ro continued to evade the salvos, his heart pounding, an unsettling feeling crept over him.

 

This world felt… real once more. If he got truly hit, he had a dreadful feeling the result might be quite bad. A close shave with one of the missiles streaked past his face just at that moment, slicing through his hair and making Ro recoil. The heat as it passed by was enough to cause a painful stinging sensation to his face.

 

“Y-Yeah, definitely do not want to get hit by those…”

 

He muttered to himself. They had done everything right to this part so far - or at least, he thought the group did. This was the final challenge to overcome to end this insane world and quest. Yet, despite being so close, it seemed so far away. Even without her eyes, Ierne remained a ferocious force, bringing ruination to her surroundings. What were they supposed to do against a monstrous fighter like this?

 

“Seems like being in a dream enhances whatever it is you can do.” Auburn said upon regrouping with the other three. His earlier feat left him in awe, which turned into determination to stop ‘Ierne’. “I have an explosion potion, that should do a lot of damage should I be able to hit her somehow.”

 

Miraculously the contents of it hadn’t combusted after withstanding the dragon’s fire earlier. Auburn wondered if that too was because of a dream. He briefly wished, as impossible as it may sound, for a strong fighter to appear and save the day, but it seemed his belief wasn’t strong enough. He realized he would have to do something by himself. No, he was absolutely determined to.

 

“Mina White, if I give you this flask, can you hit her with it?” He turned to her and held out the flask. Ultimately as a potion brewer, there was only so much he could do after all.

 

Dmitri had finally made his way to the group, with the old man still propped up on his shoulders.

 

“Wait...is that really Ierne? She was so cute befor-I mean she was so nice before! You don’t honestly want to destroy her do you?” Dmitri questioned the group, mostly Mina who had seen the girl herself.

 

“She’s not real, she’s a corruption of who Ierne truly was.” Auburn replied. “I know her, this isn’t the kind of person she would have become, no matter how tragic her life may have been. This fake Ierne has to be taken down.” He then turned again to Mina and shook the flask he held out to her lightly.

 

Mina hesitated a bit before reaching for the flask, she couldn't deny that this seemed wrong after she had seen how innocent Lerne was. But looking at her now, it was hard not to throw the flask at her. Mina thought for a minute before looking at Auburn and the others. "Well... I'll have to make sure she's not gonna just knock it out of the air... I'm gonna need her to be distracted..."

 

“A distraction…” Auburn wondered to himself. He had a shotgun, that could produce some sound but it wouldn’t do much else. “Can you do anything about that, Dmitri? Who’s the old geezer there anyway?”

 

“This old gentleman? His name is Myrdain. I think he lives in this place...claims to want to help.”

 

“Myrdain? He looks...older than I remember.”

 

From underneath Dmitri, a large magical circle began to form. “Hold him for a moment, won’t you please?” He said, passing the old man to Auburn. He cracked his fingers, as his palms raised upright. In that moment, hundreds of small prisms began to form. “This is gonna drain me of the rest of my magic for now. This is as best a distraction as you get!” Dmitri smiled, as he shot the prisms out towards the corrupted Ierne. “Prism Magic: Shining Storm!”





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

#77
Nanachi Ninanai

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"Come and face me like true warriors! Do you think you have won when you blinded me?"

 

Ierne's thrashing of her surrounding lacked any rhythms to it, yet all were properly aimed towards where her enemies were. Despite being consumed by anger and hate and losing the function of her eyes, she still had her trained ears and some of her base instinct, allowing her to pinpoint the movement of the Cherry Heart guildmembers and guide her attacks. In particular, she was focused on the movements of the one she remembered as the inhuman-looking boy. Not that there were much dissimilarity between herself and him at this rate.

 

"Cowards! If you shall try granting death into this body, then face me head on!"

 

By taking control of this dreamscape for her last rampage, allowing her to hurt the trespassers, Ierne realized that she was simply a fake. A construct not even born from a buried memory, but from the malice of a scorned witch. A nightmare with the sole purpose to haunt someone. To tell a story that they didn't want to hear, even if such a story didn't exist in reality. In the end, she was fine with it. She was true to her design, becoming the tyrant that her creator wanted her to be. Her end would be near. She could feel that she was gradually losing her stamina as the exertion she forced herself into became more and more real. She decided to not go down without taking the rest with her.

 

She could feel one of her projectiles almost hitting Ro, and with it as her guide, she rushed with a sudden burst of speed towards that direction and slammed her sword right to the ground. However, there were no sounds of flesh being sliced, nor gasps of reacting to someone's death. Once again, after many of such tries, she missed her mark.

 

"Why don't you attack? All of you wanted to kill me, so just try it!"

 

Her words became more laced with frustration the more she missed her mark, yet she ended up smiling. Partaking in such a destructive act made her feel like this fake life of hers was more than what it was. The more she tore down the streets, the more buildings she demolished in her missed shots, she felt more and more alive. She didn't know a thing about the real Ierne, but she wondered whether she would feel the same too with her.

 

After all, one's worst nightmare would be something that was based from something in reality.

 

However, at that point, she lost track on where the rest of the group were until she ended up hearing some faint whispers. Ro ended up merely being a distraction rather than someone that genuinely attempted to combat her, and the rest were figuring out a plan by now. Preparing for another volley of projectiles, Ierne took aim, trying to empty her mind for a moment to pinpoint the exact location of the whisper-like sounds. However, before that could happen, she felt as if there were a rain of something clanging on her armor, ruining her focus with the sound they make.

 

“Prism Magic: Shining Storm!”

 

What little was unprotected on Ierne drew blood from the persistent rain of prisms, but her armor withstood the barrage without much issues. Such minimal flesh wound would not deter her. Her focus returning, she located where the attack name was declared, and brought her sword down.

 

At least, that was what she would have done.

 

Those seconds of distraction ended up being fatal. Just as Dmitri's storm started to cease, Mina had thrown Auburn's flask towards Ierne, whose instincts and remaining senses barely able to notice it until it was too late. The flask broke by the time she realized what happened, and the next second, Ierne was consumed in flames as the deafening sound of explosion consumed the area.

 

"Curse you all...the fate of these lands wouldn't change without..."

 

Those that were able to see as the fake king burned saw that her broken down body still produced a smile even as she uttered her last words. As more and more of Ierne burned to ash, the flames grew larger and larger from her loss of control of the dreamscape, and when the last of her armor dropped to the ground, the flames simply exploded, consuming the entire city within it.

 

However, rather than finding themselves on a similar fate to Ierne, they would find themselves on the same city of Taxus as the one Auburn and Dmitri visited before. Before them, a woman lay on the ground. Her hair was white and her attire was both regal and profane with several decorations harkening to foul magics. After their long search, they managed to find the witch that caused all these headaches. In the meantime, as the witch's control of his mind ceased to be, Myrdain slowly gained his vigor back, growing younger and younger from the state he was found by Dmitri, until he looked as young as when the guildmembers first met him. He rose up on his own and reached for the witch. Shaking his head at her sorry state now, without a word he made several gestures on the air, and wrapped the witch in a coffin-like construct made out of rose thorns. Who was that witch? Without that even getting any answers, everything ceased to be.

 

And then everything turned dark.

 

 

"Breakfast time would be up soon, but first, I would need to clarify on some things."

 

When the group regained their consciousness, it was already morning. They would find some bandages on their body, seemingly covering injuries that had since been healed, and that each of them were on a bed wearing plain white clothing. Their proper clothing and belongings were neatly folded on the side of their bed. The one greeting them was Myrdain himself rather than Jacques the head butler. On the distance, they could see Mira was busy playing with Myrdain's familiar, chasing it around as if it's a cat.

 

"First of all..." The next moment they would notice the existence of a neatly bundled something, wrapped completely with roses' thorns, a familiar sight for the guildmembers. Once he was sure that they noticed the bundle, Myrdain continued. "Her name is uh...Gerda. She's just a witch that manipulated her way into this household, pretending to be poor Mira's long dead mother. She targeted me because I ended up figuring her trick after giving her husband his dream order, and she proved to be quite more than what I expected. Once again, I couldn't thank you all enough for saving Mira and me." There were things that Myrdain seemed to be hesitant on saying, but he didn't waste time to continue talking.

 

"Second, she caused a wagon accident on your way here, allowing you to be in a vulnerable enough position for her to try taking control. She didn't want to kill you as that would raise suspicion about her activities here. Instead, she wanted the four of you to clear this quest in the way she wanted, so that no further attention would be paid by unwarranted parties here."

 

Jacques approached him at that time, whispering something to Myrdain. He smiled at it, and returned his attention to the four not long after. "Third and most important, breakfast is ready. Come, Jacques will escort you to the dining hall. The four of you deserved the best for what you've done."

 

 

And so, the quest officially ended by daytime, with the four guildmembers being escorted out after being given their rewards. Myrdain had doubled the promised monetary reward for letting things go way out of his control with the wagon incident and what it led to, and they were given one Dream Souls each, leaving the group with 4. He explained it as his own invention - a magical artifact allowing the dreamer to be fully aware in their own dream and affect and manipulate it to their own liking, activated just by hugging the soft ball-like strange object while going to sleep.

In the end, despite the setbacks, the quest was over without further incidents, and the group returned safely to the headquarters. They would feel that Myrdain was hiding an awful lot of things still regarding the incident, and about himself and the alleged witch. However, due to their fatigue, it might not be an immediate concern yet. And should the four of them try finding anything in the history of the different generations of Fraxinus, they would fail in finding any mentions of a king named Ierne. She was not the only female king through the kingdom's history, but none of them were her.

 

As the day on the guild continued on like normal, a strange fluffy creature locked its stare on the guild building before disappearing into the nearby bushes.

 

FIN

 


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