Twilight is the dimension that Kalin hails from, ok? Got it memorized? The realm acts as a parallel to the world that exists, specifically one in which fantasy and reality coexist peacefully with one another. Here, both magic and advanced technology are implemented in everything from transportation, to medicine, to military. Although this dimension shares many of the Earth's qualities, it (as it's name suggests) is constantly bathed in an unnatural mix of light and darkness.
Here, beings of opposite dimensions are unable to see one another's true forms under normal circumstances.The people only see their dimensional parallels as shadows.Only a small number of people can reach Twilight on their own, and even fewer can actually stay here, as the energy it is made from is often fatal to someone who is not from the place (and there are very few beings who are...). If one is exposed to twilight energy for an extended period of time, however, they can eventually grow resistant to the conditions of this dimension.
Stepping through the portal, Kalin appeared standing atop a giant clock tower, as the light of the realm faded his color. Staring out at the sun as it began to rise.
Rose:Is this really necessary?
Hmm,well lets think about that. Were you really about to kill Kado? because it seemed like you were about to kill him.
I...I don't know. It's happening again, isn't it?
" I'm not sure if it's happening again. But I don't intend to take that chance.
If it is happening, You might be better of-
"No. We can fix this. No need to resort to that.
We both know that the seal on your arm was only a temporary fix. Sooner or later, the real me is gonna get out and people are going to get hurt. I don't want that to be you.
"If the time comes, and there are no other options, I will do what I have to. But as long as there is another way, we will find another way. Do you understand?
Yeah. So what now? It won't be easy to find him, even in the same dimension...
As Rose speaks, there is a flash on the horizon. A giant castle appears, floating above the
With a reluctant grin upon his face, Kalin says," I believe he's expecting us..."
Do you think the others are there?
"More than likely." He said as he jumped off the clocktower, sprouting wings as he flew towards the structure." But what's a family reunion without the entire family?"
Castle in Twilight
As Kalin approached the castle gates, Color began to return to the world, as a red blur rushed past him. reaching out at the figure, Kalin managed to grab hold of some clothing, accidentally exposing a portion of the individual's rear.
"Hey let go of me! Letgoletgoletgo! You perv!
Rose: Why weren't you ever this forward with me, KalLetting go of the girl with a small feeling of embarassment, Kalin says "Hey, Antoinette. I see you still like buzzing around the front gate."
Adjusting her clothing, Antoinette turned towards Kalin, flipping him off and sticking out her tongue as she did so.
"And always the definition of maturity."
"(blows raspberry) What do you want? The last time, you said you couldnt stand it here."
"WITH YOU. Couldnt stand it here with you. Its no good if you dont get the quote right (laughs)."
"Yeah yeah, laugh it up. He's waiting for you upstairs." Antoinette says as she flies off once again.
Landing in front of the gate, Kalin awaited the doors opening. Suddenly there came a rumbling sound from the gate's other side as a giant deformed creature burst through it, forcing Kalin to jump back. Just as it appeared that the creature was going to attack, it dissolved in a dark mist, revealing a figure standing behind it.
Nigrum: *points his sword at Kalin* Who are you and why has Antoinette left her post?
"Ah, Nigrum...how are you?...Nope, can't do it. Rose!" Kalin said as he changed forms, Rose now standing before the massive figure.
Rose:(to Kalin)wimp. (To Nigrum)"Hi Master Nigrum! You remember me, right?"
Nigrum *coldy* Yes...
Rose: You always were a little...distant with others. But it's nice to know you remember me. I thought I might have to knock on your head a bit to jog your memory. But as to why we're here, we just wanted to say hello to everyone.
Nigrum: I'm afraid they don't wish to see you. In a matter off fact they don't want you to live.
"Really? Not even slut 1 and whore 2? They always had a thing for Kalin."
Kalin: and I lost the jackpot and ended up with you.
"We were made for each other, remember? * To Nigrum* So what do you say? Want this reunion to be peaceful?"
Nigrum: There is no reunion, or at least not one with you two in it.
Rose: That's...too bad, master. I guess we do this the hard way. (Tackles Nigrum through the castle gate, flips and tosses him further down the hall)
Nigrum: *stands up and summons his Black Knights to attack Rose*
Rose: grabs the lances of two of the knights, then crushes the lance of the third under her foot. She yanks the lances away from the knights, punching the third in the face and kicking the other two, sending them spiraling to the ground. Rose then fires a stream of fire at Nigrum.
Nigrum: *blocks the fire with his sword* Begone with you. *a dark aura comes from the ground under Rose dissolving her power*
"Oh boy. This is an unfortunate situation.Oh well. The old fashioned way, then. *Summons a large Greatsword and charges at Nigrum.*
Nigrum: *has his sword pointing at Rose's neck* I will not warn you again...Be off.
Rose: Yeah, no. *Knocks away Nigrum's sword, and hits him in the chest with the flat part of her blade knocking him away as Kalin turned back to normal and ran further into the castle*
Nigrum: *summons his sword and throws it at Kalin and it spears Kalin from behind pinning him to the ground*
Kalin: Aghh! That... was cruel and... unusual. Why are you stopping me? The king is expecting me, isn't he?
Nigrum: The only thing he's expecting is your death.
Inside the throne room. A hooded figure walks up to King Jerosa.
Figure: You understand what I am telling you?
Let's suppose, for just a moment, that anything that comes out of your mouth now is the truth. Why should I care?
Figure: If you don't heed my words Jerosa, your throne will be passed to another. You must get rid of The 2nd Son.
I'm sorry. I must be mistaken, because, as far as I knew, disposing of that...thing was your job! I knew nothing good would come of this experiment of yours. I should have killed the boy the moment he opened his first gate. Now look where we are.
Jerosa begins to cough, small flecks of blood splatter against the floor as he does so.
"That child is lined up to rule this entire kingdom and he doesn't even know it. I've only so long to live, even as an immortal, and the people will never accept my sister's as their leaders. If he wanted, that pathetic imitation could take everything...
Figure: That is if you don't value your throne enough to try to keep it. Kalin isn't meant for kingship.
Jerosa: (Marches towards the figure at a speed that makes it appear as if he teleported) Never speak to me of my commitment to my kingdom! (backs away, and calms down) How exactly do you expect me to deal with the boy?
Figure: I already have your generals on the pursuit of Kalin. You can carry out from here. Do this and I will grant you many blessings.
The room shakes violently, as smoke rises from outside. Looking out of the throne room window, Jerosa watches as Rose carries a smoking, unconscious Nigrum out of the castle, as flames pour out of the entrance. "Ah, yes, my loyal generals..."
After tossing the massive soldier to the ground, Rose turned back towards the castle, her eyes locked on the throne room.
"...And there is the final player in this little game of ours."
Figure: If all else fails, I will handle this myself.
Jerosa: For now, I'll try to deal with the issue. No offense, but your work tends to take too much time to bear results. If you'll excuse me, my next appointment is on their way in.
Figure: Of course. I'll let you continue on from here. *is consumed by a whirlwind and disappears*
Rose *turns towards Nigrum, who is standing again, using his blade for support* Look "master", it's pretty obvious that you've lost. Just get out of here with your life, and whatever dignity you have left.
Nigrum: I...cannot. My king has given me orders, and I must follow them...to the end.
Rose: Your choice. *drops her sword and approaches Nigrum, stopping short of him*
Kalin: Rose, Stop! Its over, you don't have to kill him.
Rose: * remains silent for a moment, staring at her hand* I know. * Impales Nigrum on her arm, as a line of black markings cross her right arm. Tearing away her arm, Rose holds a black ball of energy in her hands, the remains of Nigrum's essence. The energy dissolves into the markings, and Nigrum falls to the ground, apparently dead*
- Kalin regains control of his body, and stares at Nigrum's body* Damn... I may have been afraid of him, but I didn't think...*Walks back into the castle, where a small contingent of guards are waiting, their weapons raised*
Albus: Stand down, everyone. * steps in front of his soldiers* This gentleman has already proven himself beyond even my abilities...
Kalin: Still a slacker, I see. Aren't you under orders to kill me?
Albus: *Smiles* since when have I ever followed a good order, let alone a bad one?
Kalin: So, you'll let me pass?
Albus: I will, but not without some resistance. What brought you back here?
Kalin: it's Rose. She's been acting like her old self recently. I came, hoping to find a way to calm her again, but.. *looks at Nigrum*
Albus: I saw. Honestly, I didn't expect her to do it, either. He always was a little too loyal to our glorious leader. Jerosa may protect this kingdom, but his concerns have always been with gaining power...
Nigrum: We are never above the kings order, Albus...Take them out...
Albus: *surprised * You're still alive! That's great. But now I must actually try to stop you, Kalin, what with there being a witness who would actually tell on me.* steps back and draws his blade* Do try to make this pai-
Kalin: *Punches Albus in the face, sending him down the hall*
Kalin: *is enveloped by a white aura, enhancing his speed as he runs up the higher levels of the castle*
Albus: *yelling as Kalin runs by* Tell him I tried my best!
Nigrum: You did nothing...You fool...*passes out*
Albus: Yeah, I know. But at least I didnt lose my magic power while "following orders"...hopefully, we won't have to take orders from this imposter any more.
The man we once swore to follow died long ago, even you can see that. But in Kalin, I saw that same sense of honor and genuine compassion Jerosa had...
Ghost in the Machine?
Within a market square - across the entirety of the square, in fact, the temperature suddenly, and without warning, dropped sharply - almost to freezing point - before returning to normal. In the wake of the temperature drop, some shadows were being cast by objects, seemingly with no source of light to cause them.
As Kalin and Scarlet arrived in the marketplace, they could immediately see the reason why the king had ordered them here. Using a highly advanced sensor, Scarlet begins to analyse various areas, hoping to find the source of the strange occurrences.
"Oh boy. I just love an exorcism at the end of my day," Kalin said, creating a small fireball in his left hand to keep warm. "Why couldn't this thing haunt the hot springs, or a cozy bed?"
Her discomfort in the cold overridden by her scientific curiosity, Scarlet continues to analyse the square."For all we know, this "ghost" is nothing more than a legend cooked up by the townsfolk. These occurrences can easily be attributed to disturbances in the flow of Ethernano in the area."
"Well, you are right about that, doc. Ethernano could do this if it's flow was disturbed. But that begs the question: Who, or what, caused the disturbance? If you ask me, something is here. I may not be able to see it, or feel it, but I know that it's here."
"If only your sense for things beyond sight could give us a definitive conclusion to our question. Nevertheless, it is my ongoing responsibility to ever remain the skeptic in matters such as these..."
Curiously enough, the "thing" causing the disturbance seemed to blanket the entire marketplace. Strange energy patterns could be detect across the entire market square, with higher energy spikes coinciding with more anomalies. There was, however, a pattern - it seemed to gravitate near certain individuals, often many simultanaeously, and eventually one such anomaly appeared around Kalin and Scarlet, in the form of a seemingly brighter area - with the highest energy spike so far.
"Amazing! The levels of ethernano being generated are nearly off the charts!" Scarlet said, her scanner picking up readings coming from all directions.
"Generating? You mean there is something giving off magical energy? Like a lodestone?"
"That appears to be accurate. Perhaps your ghost theory may not be far off... however, the creature we would be dealing with in that case would have a very low energy reading on their own, too low for my scanner to detect."
"I think I can handle that issue. Just let me know the moment another spike occurs." Deciding to take a chance, Kalin whispered, "Hello there. If there is anything out here that can understand me, I promise, we mean no harm to you. You have my word that we only wish to help."
A rather uncomfortable pause followed, with the fluctuations continuing, then suddenly stopping almost entirely without warning, now appearing as simply higher-than-usual levels of energy. There was a large energy spike - invisible to the naked eye, but not to the scanner - directly in front of Kalin. If any could see it, it would be as if a brilliant flame had appeared mid-air - though without heat.
"Umm, Kalin?" Scarlet said, a worried look on her face as she stares at this new anomaly, her scanner nearing the point of malfunction.
"Yeah, I see it." Kalin said, a smile on his face as he started at the flames. Turning to Scarlet, he says," Would you like to see it too?"
Suddenly, the market disappeared altogether, leaving Kalin, Scarlet, and the flame in what appeared to be a white room of some sort. Turning back to the creature, Kalin said, "If you want, you can take a solid form here. You can walk, talk, snarl, roar, or whatever you usually do."
The flames coalesced, a brilliant white "skeleton" forming within them, and in the span of a mere three seconds, a facsmile of a humanoid "skeleton" wreathed in blue flames appeared before the two - with the largest energy spike yet, and it seemed to remain that way, primarily concentrated in the glowing white "bones" - though it wasn't bright enough to cause injury or blindness, nor did the flames seem to burn - in fact, they seemed to be quite cool.
"Would you look at that. Nice to meet you...?
A voice seemed to echo throughout the area, not originating from a single point, but rather from all around at once, sounding almost like metal scraping against metal. The 'head' of the apparition flared up, as a single word rung out: "Exaron."
"Exaron. That's a nice name.(to Scarlet) Can you confirm it's species?"
"Umm...no, I can't. It seems that it's an energy being of some form, but any record of a creature such as this must have been lost long ago."
"Ok, then. (To Exaron) Can you tell us what you are, Exaron? We've never seen a being quite like you before."
The air seemed to thicken somewhat as Exaron 'spoke,' and indeed the scanner could detect the same fluctuations as ealier - though less pronounced - producing the sound. Once again, a single word was uttered. "Wraith."
Kalin: A wraith? That ring any bells, Scarlet?"
Scarlet: Hmm, I still can't remember any record of a creature such as this. At the very least, we have managed to discover the source of these strange occurrences."
Kalin: The only problem is that we still don't know how to get it to stop.
The 'creature,' if it could be called that, didn't seem to move an inch. "Stop?" Its' voice echoed throughout the area, once more as a single word - and without a trace of emotion.
Kalin: Uh, yeah. You see, it seems like you're existence is causing interference with the ethernano in our world. Ethernano is magic, and most likely an energy source to you.
Scarlet: Put simply, your essence causes major disruptions in the general flow of ethernano, what amounts to a compression of magical energy, followed by a powerful release that results in various anomalies wherever you go. However, I may have a solution.
Sifting through a bag of various tools and gadgets, Scarlet comes across what she was looking for; a bracer like circlet of metal covered in arcane writing. Walking up to the strange being for the first time, Scarlet says,"I developed this device in the event that our issue was caused by the presence of too much ethernano in the area. I've come to believe that this may yet have its uses."
Holding it up to the creature, Scarlet continued, "If you put this on, I believe that when ethernano is drawn towards you, any excess amounts that will be absorbed into it. It was developed to only work on ethernano, so your general physiology should not have a reaction to the device. That is, should you decide to wear it."
Kalin: I'm almost positive the king would not allow that.
Scarlet: You are right.(To Exaron) If you choose not to use this device, I fear the next group to visit will be slightly more aggressive than me and my assistant."
Kalin:(to scarlet) Partner...
The bracelet seemed to lift up before seemingly disintegrating into the air, a 'bubble' of invisible energy forming where it vanished. However, it seemed to work somewhat, as the ethernano levels were returning at least partially to normal. Exaron's voice rang out again, "The Wraithwake is the cause." speaking a full sentence for once, in the almost grating, metallic 'voice' it seemed to possess.
Scarlet: The wraithwake? what is that?
The area seemed to shift and distort somewhat, before returning to normal. "My existence." is what was offered as an explanation, "The Wraith cause change."
Scarlet: "A temporal disturbance caused by the essence of a being? Quite interesting. I would like to study the effects of this wraithwake further, but for now, we have succeeded in preventing further anomalies such as those we've experienced so far."
"Temporal disturbance?" Exaron asked, emotionless as ever.
Kalin: speak simple.
Scarlet: Alright then... you alter spacetime around you just by existing, yes?
"I change the Aspects. The foundations of Oblivion." It responded, seemingly guessing at their intent.
Scarlet:"Then, perhaps, knowing the cause would also mean you know a permanent solution?"
"It is my existence. To stop it would to bring about my end." was the response.
Scarlet:I see... You are indeed a fascinating creature, Exaron.(to Kalin) You may return us to our dimension now.(to Exaron) If you require aid, I have a dwelling in Twilight that you could make use of freely. I am often traveling the dimensions myself, and therefore, it would be better put to use if someone else stayed there in my absence.
"A dwelling?" Exaron intoned. The area shifted somewhat briefly, presumably the creature was looking around, "It would stop things here from being changed by my presence?"
"I believe that with some adjustments, yes, it could be safe for both you and the denizens of this town." After being returned to twilight, Scarlet began to make her way out of the market." If you would follow me..."
The temperature around Scarlet seemed to be much lower than normal, indicating that Exaron was indeed following her.
Kalin: Oh, I'll just stay right here...by myself. He mumbles as he follows behind the scientist and her new pet project...
Arriving at Scarlet's home, The trio stopped outside as the woman said she had to adjust things inside.
Scarlet: I will just be a moment.
Exaron waited in place, a few odd shadows appearing in the area, none of them moving.
Kalin paid no mind to the shadows.
Kalin; umm, hey, Exaron right?
"That is correct." Exaron's metallic voice responded.
"Are there a lot of wraiths where you come from?"
"Limitless." was the response. "Oblivion is vast. Unending. Timeless. The Wraith are its' denizens."
Kalin: A yes would have been acceptable. But at least you're not alone. That's a good thing. And hey, even if you were...*points at self, smiles* you've got us now. Me and Scar(mostly Scarlet) will hep you out however we can.
"Indeed" Scarlet said, returning from the side of the building. "Are you prepared to see your new home?" said Scarlet to the wraith.
Rather than respond verbally, the temperature dropped around Scarlet again. Presumably that was a 'yes.'
In-between is the Line
All the figures come out from the portal and are in front of The Castle in Twilight
Alex exits the portal feeling a slight discomfort, but is otherwise amazed with the scenery.
Alex: That's...impressive. *Turns to the person closest to him* So, where are we exactly?
Figure: This is Twilight, the in-between of Life and Death. Existence and Non-existence. We believe we can reach Line Space from here, due to it's uniqueness.
Alex: What's Line Space?
Figure: The In-between of everything. Of every opposite and of every opposition. There we can merge all that oppose on another and they will be one. There we will put ourselves above God himself and we will make a better universe, a universe God couldn't make himself.
Alex: And what do you all get out of it, at the end?
Figure: Revenge and meaning. God wanted us dead ever since we brought into life. He feared our power and killed us off.If God is so loving and all-powerful, why would he fear us? Cause he knows what we're capable of doing and that is why we formed this group.
Alex: And this group's name is...? *He asks as they enter the castle*
Figure: Transcending Order. The Neo Gods of all in existence both living and dead.
Alex: "Transcending Order"... hmm.
Figure: I know. We derived that name from Dungeons and Dragons.
Alex: D&D? I've never played it. Heard it was fun...sorry, off topic.
Another figure appears infront of them coming from the castle
Figure: Is it set?
Figure 2: Yes. If Jerosa fails, we can begin our base of operations here.
Alex: Um, who'ss Jerosa?
Figure 2: He is the King of Twilight and he is my son aswell. He watches over this plane of non-eistence and helps them thrive.
Alex: But you don't think he'll be around much longer?
Figure 2: *passes Alex* If he follows my instructions. Yes.
Alex: *looks towards the figure for a moment, then turns back* Alright then.
Figure: Anymore questions you have for us?
Alex: No. I've got the important things noted. I can pick up on the rest as I go.
Figure: Good. For the time being, let us test your strength.
The figure and Alex disappears and are taken to a remote part of Twilight.
Alex: Finally, something I'm familiar with. So, whose my opponent, uh...sorry, I don't know your name.
Figure: Pass this and I will tell you. *summons lesser demons from beneath the ground*
Alex: You're kidding? Too easy. *Rushes at the Demon furthest from him, breaking its neck with a lariat.*
Figure: Good. You still got a few more. *a pillar of rock launches him into the air and more demons launch themselves at Alex*
- Alex windmill kicks one demon into the rocks below, as the other demon claws at him. Alex dodges, the only damage being a single cut on his cheek. Both him and the creature land on the rock, as the demon he kicked begins to stand. Wiping the blood off his face, Alex kicks the demon once again, sending him flying into his ally. Both demons are knocked off of the pillar, as Alex uses his first seal to create a wave of dark red energy. He proceeds to fire it at the pair, completely obliterating them.*
- The ground itself tears up an spikes of rock stick up from the ground trying to black Alex's way. The Figure summons a strong wind to occur.
- Alex is knocked off balance by the force of the wind, nearly falling before he rights himself.*
Alex: So, how exactly do I pass this test?
Figure: Who said anything about passing it? *angels appear with lances and strike Alex as the fly by him. Alex is stabbed multiple times.*
Alex: Gah! An exercise in futility then? Okay. Lesson one; *Takes the lance from an angel, punching it in it's face. He then activates his second seal, running at the wall of jagged rocks and jumping off of it at high speed. He proceeds to slash the wings of two of the angels, knocking them out of the air as he lands. An aura of black and red begins to envelop him as he turns around.* I don't lose.
Figure: Good to hear. *a pillar of rock come up under Alex and lifts him up to the same level as the Figure.* Your next opponent is me.
Alex: Alright. Finally, a challenge. You'd better get ready. Here I come! *Holds back his power as he lunges at the figure, aiming his fist at his face*
Figure: *blocks the punch with a long halberd-headed blade coming out of his bottom wrist*
Alex: Umm...to say I didn't see that coming would be an understatement. *Sweep kicks the figure*
Figure: *balances on his blade and hops back on his feet and swings at Alex giving him a small cut on his cheek*
Alex:*wipes the blood from his face* What is it with you and ruining my good looks? *Releases his full power and charges towards the figure. Just before he is within striking distance, he afterimages behind the figure and , after activating his third seal, punches him in the face.
Figure: *blocks the punch with another long halberd-headed blade coming out of his other bottom wrist. Staggers him back*
Alex: That's starting to get annoying...*begins to run in circles around the figure, creating afterimages as he goes*Let's see you block this! * rushes towards the figure, afterimaging three times in front of the him before kicking him upwards into the air 4 times, and wind mill kicking him towards the ground. As the figure began to fall, he grabs his cloak and punches him in the stomach*
Figure: *punches Alex in the face, then punches him in the gut so hard, that once he pulls his fist back, Alex is sent straight up into the air, blowing the clouds away in the process. Lands on one of the pillars and waits for Alex*
Alex: (thinking) Dammit! This guy isn't a pushover. I can't even hold back like this. But I've never even used the fourth seal to strength myself...successfully.*begins to plummet towards the ground* Well, there's a first time for everything. Here goes...*The fourth seal on his arm activates, causing a wave of black and red energy to engulf him, as a line of black markings stretch up towards his neck from his left arm. As he hits the ground, a large explosion occurs.*
Figure: *sees the explosion* You're back.
Alex appears from the dust picked up from the explosion. His pupils are a dark tint of red, and waves of black and red energy coat both of his arms. Concentrating energy beneath each of his feet, Alex creates jets of energy to propel himself off of the ground. Once floating at equal height with the figure's platform, Alex sweeps his right arm upwards, releasing dozens of bullet like energy projectiles at the figure. As each projectile makes contact with something, a small explosion occurs.
Figure: *summons a whirlwind to counter act the energy-like bullets*
Alex: * disappears, and reappears at multiple locations, firing more waves of bullets, but this time sends a solid, blade like waves of energy behind them, straight at the figure from his left hand*
Figure: *is blocking as much as he can but is still getting bown up* You know...most people would call this 'spam'.
Alex: *reappears in front of the figure* Fine. Let's be original. *Sends an energy blade at the figure. When the figure blocks with his blade, it is chipped as the energy flies straight through it, impaling him in the shoulder*And if that's not enough... *creates a large stream of energy in his left hand that he slams down on the figure from above*
Both them are ccrashing down the pillar until they finally hit the ground. Figure is punched out of the dust and as the dust clears, the figure is standing there all injured.
Figure: You fought well.*disappears and reappears behind Alex. Stabs him in the back and hoist him up and slams him in the ground. He holds his blade against Alex's neck*...It is over...*retracts his blades*
The other figures appear behind the figure.
Figure: *helps Alex up* You've earned your reward. So what is it?
Alex: *laughs and groans simultaneously* Maybe a nice long bath to recover from the short term paralysis...and your name, while you're at it.
Figure: *takes his hood. It reveals somewhat young man with short and stubby blueish-gray hair. I am Engel, 5th member of the Order. The Cutting Whirlwind
Alex: Nice to meet you. *the energy has dissipated, and his miracle gear has returned to normal, along with his eye color* Anyone else going to introduce themselves?
One of the figures takes of his hood and reveals a yong male with short white hair
Engel: *goes up to that figure figures* This is Vogel, The Mach Knight.
Vogel: *bows* Pleased...
Another figure reveals himself to be an man with a few strong features of age with grey dreads flowing back and a goatee.
Engel: *walks over to him* This is Regal, Father of Twilight.
Another figure reveals them self, only this time its a lady with light lipstick on and with beautiful red hair
Engel: *walks over to her* This is Angora. Maiden of Spitfire.
One of the tall ones reveals himself. He is a young man with short brown hair and a goatee.
Engel: *walks over to him* This is Donegal, Reaper of the Earth.
Donegal: *bows* Nice to have.
Another one reveals themslves. It is a young beautiful female with short stubby blue hair with a pin in it.
Engel: *walks over to her* This is Corona, Maiden of Light.
Corona: *bows and smiles slightly*
The last one reveals himself to be a mid-age young man with fiery-looking hair that stikles upward and has hair extensions stikling backwards
Engel: And this is our esteemed leader, Medaris; Fire of Heaven and Hell.
Medaris: *just stares Alex down*
Engel: *walks back up to Alex* And from this point on you will be known as--
Engel: *is abit caught off guard* ...Okay, Aleris, One who brings Miracles.
Alex: Aleris...it kinda rolls off the tongue.(thinking) and falls into a vat of acid...(To everyone) Nice to meet all of you officialy. I hope we get along well.
Engel: We should. We're all Nephalem, are we not?
Engel: You can learn alot from us. If you need to know anything, ask me.
Alex: I'll take you up on that...later. *passes out*
Regal: Might have over did it, Engel.
Engel: He'll be fine, just like I was. *picks him up*
All of them disappear
Kalin, Aoi, and Caess appear from his gate upon the top of the town's clocktower. As he steps out, Kalin lets out a deep sigh. "Well, this is not exactly how I saw my day going..." he said, turning to the Endlos with a smile on his face.
Aoi seems both distraught and relieved at the same time, while Caess gently places a hand on her shoulder. Caess looks about. "So where is this?" She asks.
"This is Twilight. And, technically, it's everywhere and nowhere all at the same time." Kalin said, before facing Aoi. "Are you okay, Ice Queen?"
"....My name is Aoi.... ...and... I don't know... At the same time that I am.... ...happy... ...I'm scared. ...What if she finds me....? ....Her wrath is going to be tremendous... ...so terrible...." She starts shuddering.
" Hey, hey calm down. You knew she wouldn't like it if you let Caess get away. At least in this case, you don't have to worry about the punishment. For a while, at least. And trust me, unless she's my secret evil genderbent clone, she won't find you here. Like I said, we're everywhere, and nowhere." Kalin looked around for a few moments before speaking again. "Alright then. Bed or breakfast?"
Aoi just hugs herself. "I... I... ...need to lie down.... ...this is... ...too much to take..."
"Here, things will go faster if we do this." Kalin said before lifting Aoi into his arms and leaping from the top of the clock tower. As they hit the ground, Kalin uses the nearby shadows to cushion the impact. Upon looking down at the Ice Slayer, he sees that Aoi appears to be unconscious. "Well, I'm glad that worked."
Kalin notices that she feels rather cold than most people would, like touching ice. Not as cold, but still noticeably colder. Most of the worry on her face has evaporated, and looks more at peace. He sees her breath as small white puffs as she silently sleeps.
Bright red runes appear along Kalin's arms, increasing his temperature slightly. "Well, when you look at her this way, she's a bit more of a snow princess...Hey, Caess. Mind if you ask me something?"
Caess jumps down, landing softly. "Of course. What is it?"
"..Wow, the situation is even affecting my grammar." Kalin laughed. "What I wanted to know was, why didn't you tell me anything about her? When I came looking for you, I was ready to kill her without a second thought. Come to find out, she was already dying on the inside..." Kalin said, his words tinged with regret.
"...Because... ...what I would have said to you would not have made a difference. Aoi will obey orders from White without question. She will not deviate from an order, no matter how she feels. Nothing I could have said would have stopped her, nor changed things. ...Plus... I was rather... distracted. Having your mind suppressed tends to mess with your thought process."
"Ah, indeed." Kalin said, remembering the circumstances of their first meeting. "While I have the chance, I'd like to apologize for...breaking you, if that's what happened. At the time, my mind wasn't quite right, either. Even if you had told me about...Aoi, I may not have cared."
"Don't worry yourself over it. What happened is what happened. We must simply move on. Can you tell me what you intend to do from here?"
"Actually, I hadn't thought it through, past the 'rescue' phase... I guess, If we're trying to remain under the radar, what better way to do that than to hide in plain sight? Soo, that would mean staying here, until things blow over...great plan, huh?"
"I suppose. Do you have a place where she can sleep?"
"Yep." kalin says, before he starts walking down the street.
Caess follows him, looking at the various sights of the city. "This Twilight is an interesting place."
"Yeah...It has it's good and it's bad, like most of the worlds do. But it's home. And there's nowhere else I'd rather be at a time like this."
After he takes her to a home and places Aoi on a bed, Caess covers her up with the sheets, a softer expression on her face.
"Thank you Kalin... ...for all of your help."
"Huh? Oh it, it was nothing...besides, I did promise you that I'd get you back home." Kalin said, smirking slightly. "I'm just sorry we had to make a detour."
Caess looks at Aoi sleeping. "It is no problem. ...I'm glad to see her at peace... even if it's only in her dreams."
"Despite my previous feelings...I'm also glad." Kalin stares at Aoi for a moment before snapping out of his thoughts. "Alright, if you don't mind, I think I'll take a shower." Kalin walked into the bathroom, the door locking behind him. Soon, the sound of running water could be heard from the bedroom.
Caess takes a seat opposite of Aoi's bed and starts reading a book from a bookshelf, while she waits for Kalin.
After nearly 30 minutes pass, the running water stops, and the door is unlocked, but Kalin doesn't leave the bathroom. A few minutes later, various noises can be heard emanating from downstairs.
Aoi eventually stirs and wakes up, but stays in bed. She and Caess hold each other's gazes for a moment, before silently Caess goes to see what the noise is.
As Caess descends the stairs, she hears various bubbling, whirring noises, as well as the sound of laughter. upon leaving the stairs, Caess could see Kalin standing behind a counter, cooking various breakfast foods, and blending coffee, as a television showed one of Earth's popular television comedies. Kalin turns to Caess when she comes into sight. "Oh, hey. I forgot to mention I'd be cooking breakfast, didn't I? Sorry about that..."
"How thoughtful of you. Aoi has woken up, she seems to be fine."
"That's good. So, do you think she can come down here to eat with us? Or would breakfast in bed be safer?" He said, tossing a small towel over his shoulder as he takes a sip of tea. "Wait, I am so dense...can you eat Caess? Do I need to find something specific for you or...."
She shrinks, taking on a more realistic appearance. "Yes, I can eat. My main sustenance is water, but I can eat other things." She looks upstairs. "I believe Aoi might wish to eat in bed."
"Alright then. Well, I've got plenty of different things; fruit,eggs, meat, juices, I've even got some flavored water if that tickles your fancy." Kalin said, carrying a plate of various dishes up to the bedroom.
Aoi turns her head towards the stairs when she hears him coming, her eyes widening slightly at the food she sees. She blinks. "...Thank you..."
"You're welcome. Your mother said you'd be better off eating in bed, so..." Kalin cut his sentence short as he laid the food platter over her lap, waiting for Aoi to adjust her self before setting it down. He then resumed drinking his tea as he took a seat beside the bed.
Aoi silently sits up and slowly picks out food to eat, eating slowly. Caess chooses her own choice foods, and eats.
Kalin eventually notices that Aoi is looking at him, but almost as if looking at someone in front of him or to his side, or just in general in his direction. She does this off and on as she eats.
"Is...everything alright? You seem distracted by something." he said, taking a look over his shoulders.
She looks at him again, while chewing on food. When her throat clears, she says, "You lost a loved one, didn't you?"
"Haven't we all?" Kalin responded, a smirk crossing his face for a moment. "Yes. her name was Rose...She was the closest thing I ever had to family. I loved her... And she gave up her life to save mine. And that was just the first time."
"I know. The two of you were created as an experiment, but you fell in love. Then forced to fight. And again. She told me."
Kalin opened his mouth, prepared to ask how Caess would know about Rose, until the realization of what the Slayer was telling him dawned on him.
"You're saying...you talked to Rose? When, exactly was this?" He said, interested in hearing her response.
"And...what gave you the idea to talk to my dead girlfriend? Not to say I'm not intrigued, but ..."
"It just happens. She talked to me. I'm sorry."
"Don't be...So, I can't imagine she just told you about our long, tragic history and left. She must have had something inappropriate to say to you, or me even." Kalin said with a smile, hoping to lighten the mood.
"........." Aoi says nothing for a while. "For my own sanity I will not repeat whatever it is she may have said."
"...And now she is telling me to suck it up and say it...You two must really have been an interesting pair."
"Yeah, she was always like that. Forward, blunt, Inconsiderate, egotistical..."
"She says fuck you."
"...And did I mention charming? heheh...If you don't mind, tell her that she's doing dead the wrong way. Normally, the dead don't speak ill of the living...or at all, for that matter."
Aoi keeps eating for a little while, but then finishes and hands Kalin the platter.
"Kalin...? Do you know if there are any good books or art supplies around here? ...I like to paint but.... all my stuff is gone now."
"I have a few books. We can go out and grab a few supplies, if you'd like?" Kalin said, downing the last of his now cold tea.
"In a little bit, I guess." She pauses for a moment, before slowly creating a chunk of ice in her hand, and slowly molds it into the form of a cat with incredible detail, and then places her other hand on it, and it glows, before the cat to Kalin's great surprise animates and begins walking around, walking up to Kalin and playfully biting his leg.
"Aww, that's adorable. Here ya go, kitty...", Kalin said, tearing a piece of his shirt off, which proceeds to form a small white ball. Kalin drops it to the floor, where it catches the ice cats attention. The artificial animal proceeds to bounce the sphere around the room, Seemingly enjoying it. "That's some gift you've got there Ice queen." Kalin says, as his shirt stitches itself back together.
"I have many gifts. Which is why White so desired my service."
"And now that you don't have to work for her, you can open a pet shop, or make sculptures for a living!" Kalin responded.
"Here, or there, isn't this still a prison?" She says after a moment.
"Prison? I may not know if we're on the same side, but you're no longer my enemy, Ice Queen. You can leave whenever you like. I mean, I just offered to take you out to buy stuff a second ago. I'm kind of hurt that you believe I'm... kidnapping you, or something..."
"If I leave here, White will likely find me. I have no guaranteed future except here. Sanctuary, but a cage. I'm thankful but... ...I just feel... ...hollow."
"Well, we can fix that." Kalin said, reaching out to Aoi with his hand for her to grab. "You said you wanted art supplies, correct? We can grab those, and even find something worth drawing." He said, smiling.
Aoi slowly reaches out and grabs his hand softly. She nods quietly.
Stepping back slightly, Kalin helped her out of bed. As they began to make their way to the door, he stopped and turned to her. "I just have to do one thing before we go." he said before leaning in close to the Ice Slayer, his hand tilting her chin up slightly.
Aoi blinks, not registering what's going on for a moment.
Kalin brings his lips just short of Aoi's forehead, before whispering a short incantation in a language that she could not seem to recognize, before pressing his lips to her head softly. As he did, Aoi's sight seemed to shift, the world becoming gray for a few moments before returning to color. Kalin stepped back from Aoi, the same grin from before on his face. "Okay, now we can go."
Aoi blinks rapidly, trying to wrap her head around what just happened, a slight rose red color lightly burning her cheeks. A faint wind blows, and snowflakes form in a small shower about her.
Kalin takes a single step out of the room, before realizing that Aoi is still in the room. "You coming, Ice Queen?"
She numbly follows him, ignoring the buzzing sensation in her head. "...Yes."
Kalin is oblivious to Aoi's behavior, as he leads her down the stairs and to the front door. As they prepare to leave, Kalin turns to Caess, who is now at the tv, shuffling through the channels aimlessly. "Caess, we're on our way out. If you need something just call. Like, out loud. I'll hear you. Ok, bye!" He said, dragging Aoi out behind him and shutting the door in an almost simultaneous movement.
She follows him, even as her thoughts grow bitter at him. Mocking me... ...that's all it is. Just like that other one. He was testing for a reaction. ...Why is it always me who gets picked on?
The pair walked through the streets, Kalin interacting with passersby, while Aoi continued her angry meditation in silence. Kalin had finally noticed the girl's strange behavior, but had decided not to say anything. As they approached the market, Kalin said, "So Ice Queen, what's your weapon?"
"A cold blade 62 cm long and perfect for cutting people into ribbons. Or perhaps you mean my concealed daggers, or perhaps by chance you mean paintbrush, canvas, pencils, and watercolors." She says with a hint of bitterness, though it is carefully disguised by her sarcastic tone.
"Indeed, I did smartass. So then...right there!" He said, pointing at a kiosk containing all forms of artistry tools."Go ahead, get what you need. Cost isn't an issue."
She silently walks past him, as she does, a firm fringed wave of cold air follows her, the cold enough to feel as though he stepped into Antarctica. She silently picks up various art supplies, the usual brilliant blue glow of her eyes now seem incredibly dimmed, and her lips are tightly pursed together. When she finishes, she puts them into a bag and coldly looks at him to indicate she's finished.
Kalin walks up to her, now fully aware that something is wrong. He pays the vendor, and the two go on their way again.
"I'm sorry." he says after a few moments of silence.
"No you're not." She walks ahead of him, her footsteps creating small patches of ice as she walks.
"Uh, wrong, Ice Queen. The issue isn't the question of my sincerity; if I apologize, I mean it. However, this is one of the few times that I don't know what I've done to warrant an apology." Kalin said, stepping in front of Aoi, causing her to stop walking. "I'll admit, I didn't notice until we got to the market, but your emotions have been bouncing around for a while."
".......Perhaps you haven't noticed, or it didn't occur to you, but no one has ever complemented me or said anything nice to me. Everyone calls me Frost Queen or Ice Queen and don't respect my peace and quiet. Then you just kiss me... and then act like it never happened and was just some joke......." She turns into a gust of snow and ice and blows away towards the house, appearing just long enough to open the door and slam it shut behind her, the door freezing shut with thick ice.
She walks up the stairs, ignoring Caess's look of confusion and buries herself in the sheets.
Kalin steps out of a gate inside the bedroom, and takes a seat at her bedside again. He simply stares at Aoi as time passes slowly.
She silently buries her head deeper into her pillow. "............What do you even want.....?"
"It was a spell, not a kiss."
".....I knew you did something to me but.... ....why did you have to do it like that? I'm done with people messing with my emotions.... .....just..... ....leave me alone."
"I'm not trying to mess with your emotions...I'm not trying to hurt you." Kalin says, moving onto the bed."But, if you don't want me here, I'll go. Just say so."
She says nothing, just curls up in a fetal position.
"You know, when we first got here," Kalin says, moving closer to the slayer," And I jumped off that clock tower with you in my arms...I thought it was kinda cute, the peaceful look on your face as you slept. And I called you 'Snow Princess'. I don't know why I'm saying this, I Just...I thought you should know that you've gotten at least one compliment. If that matters..." He finishes, staring aimlessly at the ceiling.
She slowly opens her eyes, the temperature in the room slowly rises back to normal. She silently looks his way, then sighs, a small jet of cool air puffs out of her mouth. "......I don't know what matters or doesn't matter anymore..... ....I just feel.... confused." The ice cat jumps on the bed and mews at her, and she closes her eyes.
"Well, it's times like these where it's nice to have a focus..." Kalin said, handing her the bag containing her art supplies.
".....I don't feel like painting right now.... ....My mind feels foggy...."
"How about one more trip?" Kalin said, holding his hand out once more. " I honestly believe you won't be disappointed. So what do you say?"
She looks away for a moment, then slowly slides out of the bed and stands silently, a brief nod of her head her response.
Kalin takes her hand, and they disappear with snap of his fingers. when they reappear, the pair are standing on the outskirts of the city staring out over a beautiful body of water as the sun sets in the distance.
Aoi stares at the scenery for a moment, before a wire thin smile crosses her face, and some of the tension eases from her. She looks at the landscape again, and slowly sits down onto the grass, simply staring out at it. She smiles even more after a moment.
".....Thank you Kalin.... ....it's lovely." The sunlight reflects off her eyes, a more radiant glow to them than before.
"I'm glad you like it. You know, the lights look pretty dancing across your eyes like that...speaking of dancing." Kalin said, running forward with flames, keeping himself elevated just over the waters. He begins to skate across the surface, hands tucked inside his pockets as he goes.
Aoi silently watches with her faint smile, watching him and the sunset. She rests up against a nearby tree, and silently memorizes the environment.
This would be good for a painting....
Kalin sees Aoi watching from the tree. Creating a trio of fireballs in his hand, he juggles for a few moments, before tossing them into the air, where they explode in little pockets of fiery sparks.
She has a slightly amused smile. I wonder if I can get used to this life... ...confinement is confinement.... but maybe I can hope for something good to come out of all this...
Kalin motioned for Aoi to join him, flailing his arms playfully to get her attention.
She looks at him for a moment, before standing up and carefully steps onto the water, it freezes instantly to her bare foot's touch, forming a small stable platform for her to balance on. She walks over to him very slowly, trying not to lose her balance. ".......Do you want me to.... dance with you?" She asks.
"seems like as good a time as any" he responded, offering his hand.
She grabs his hand, while Kalin places his left hand on Aoi's hip. She places her other hand on his left shoulder. The two lock fingers and outstretch their arms as they proceed to dance across the water...
I haven't done this since I was a little girl... heh....I wonder just what this guy is up to... does he feel sorry for me? ....Errggghhh.... ....forget it Aoi, it doesn't matter. If he was just doing that back there just to do it, I might as well just enjoy the moment and not think about it.
She lets him lead, taking careful note not to lose her concentration on maintaining the ice that lets her stand.
I wonder what she's thinking...Kalin thought to himself as he danced. I mean, I'm enjoying myself. Possibly for the first time since Rose left...I just hope she doesn't think I'm doing this with any ulterior motives behind it. I can tell she's been hurt enough, already.
"What sort of Mytho are you, Kalin? You have a very.... complex... energy to you." She asks with an edge of curiosity.
"Well, I don't believe a standard definition of my species exists. I am, however, a being born of both Aether and Nether. An odd combination, I've always thought. Considering the species represent two opposing forces that should cancel out when placed in such close proximity..." He said, before looking down at their feet. "Much like fire and ice."
"An interesting comparison you make. So I assume this Twilight is a realm of light and darkness as well? A balance of powers seems to be a running theme with you, don't you think?"
"Yes, both light and darkness envelop this realm completely. Peace within chaos, in a way. As for the 'balance of powers', It truly is a theme, and you can't even begin to imagine how far that theme runs in my life...it gets annoying at times, but It's worth it for the nicer moments..like this, for example."
".....Yes.... ....this feels.... nice."
For a moment, the two stop dancing, simply hanging over the water, their eyes locked upon one another. The only sound is the release of their own breath.
For a moment she just looks into his eyes, futilely trying to read him. She then momentarily looks down, a faint blush comes over her greyish complexion. She then returns her gaze to his eyes, her breath slowing.
She timidly appears to want to embrace him, but is hesitant. I was in a cage so long that I grew to accept it.... it never occured to me to reach out for help.... ...almost like I never knew I needed it.... ...am I free? Or am still a caged bird? ....Will I ever be free? ....I guess.... ...I'll find out....
Before she knows it, she throws her arms around him and embraces him, seeking comfort of any kind he could give her.
"......Thank you for everything...." She whispers.
He holds her close to him, the smell of winter emanating from her oddly warm body. "You're welcome. I'll always be there for you...Aoi."
He feels the tension in her body completely fade as he holds her, and after some time passes, he notices she eventually had fallen asleep in his arms.
Lifting her into his arms once again, he walks all the way back to the house, wanting to enjoy the moment. Like I said earlier, this isn't how I saw my day going...but I wouldn't have wanted it to happen any other way.
He notices that unlike last time, her face isn't peaceful, instead it seems light and happy, rather than simply at peace.
"You look even cuter now than you did this morning, Snow Angel." Kalin said quietly, as he brushed some of Aoi's hair out of her face.
Caess sees them coming and opens the door. "Is this going to be a trend or something?" She asks teasingly.
"Heh. I make it a habit not to kiss and tell, Caess. But...you might be onto something, there." Kalin said, as he carried Aoi inside.
Caess has a faint smile on seeing Aoi's happy slumber. "Well you certainly did something. I haven't seen her like that in so long. It reminds me of when her father would carry her as a child."
" I don't look that old, do I?" Kalin chuckled, as he climbed the stairs. "heheh, just joking."
The ice cat stands at the top of the stairs, apparently waiting for them, mewing for attention.
"Hey there. You wouldn't happen to know how to undress people, would you?" he said, laying Aoi down before bending down to scratch the cat's 'chin'.
The cat purrs, before starting to playfully nip at his fingers.
"I guess not." Kalin said, petting the feline once more before standing up, and walking over to the bed. "I guess it's up to me, then." Being as careful, and quiet, as possible, Kalin removed Aoi's clothing. From her shoes, to her skirt(?), and finally her top. When he was done, he folded the out side clothes, and placed them on a chair.
She shifts in her sleep, but doesn't appear to wake up, her hair partially covering her body from his view like a blanket.
"I never truly realized how much hair she had before." He said to himself as he pulled a blanket up over her shoulders. "Sleep tight."
She lets out a small sigh, sleeping soundly, and the ice cat curls up next to her.
Kalin sits beside her on the part of the bed she isn't occupying, Staring up at the ceiling until he begins to drift off to sleep.
Kalin soon begins to have an odd dream where he sees Aoi falling into some kind of void, her form slowly being consumed and disappearing, eventually she falls out of sight, and then the scene abruptly changes as he along with several blurred figures arrive at the gates of some mighty tower, only to be impeded by a massive blue giant of pure ice, which brings down a massive sword of frost upon them, scattering the group and slams him against a pillar, as the strange giant menacingly towers over him, bringing its sword down to impale him, when he suddenly wakes up in a cold sweat, looking over to see Aoi peacefully sleeping.
"Okay...that's not good." Kalin brushes some of Aoi's hair out of her face, her peaceful expression bringing a smile to his face. He leans over, and kisses her gently on the forehead, before going back to sleep.
When he wakes up in the morning, the bathroom is locked and he can hear the shower. Noise downstairs tells him Caess is preparing their breakfast for them.
Kalin rolls off of the bed, his shoulders stiff from sitting upright through the night. After a short stretch, he turns to leave the room, when the Ice cat crosses in front of him. He trips in his attempt to avoid stepping on it, and falls to the floor.
After a minute, the shower turns off and eventually Aoi comes out already dressed, and spies him on the floor. "I see you're up Kalin. Need a hand?" She offers her hand to him.
"Thanks. I'm not exactly used to dodging furry ice constructs..." Kalin takes her hand, and Aoi lifts him with a grunt. Just as he leans forward after standing, Aoi takes a step back, causing her to trip over the cat as well, who goes running downstairs. As the Slayer falls to the ground, Kalin is dragged down as well, causing him to land on top of Aoi on the floor. "That cat is evil..."
Aoi looks at him blankly. "You can get off me now."
"Hmm? Oh, yeah. Right." Kalin said, standing quickly and offering his own hand to Aoi.
She grabs it, and suddenly he's encased in ice, and she stands up with a playful smirk. "Thank you for taking me home and tucking me in, but the clothes was a touch too much. You'll melt out in about thirty minutes." She laughs, walking downstairs.
15 minutes later, Kalin descended the stairs, having melted the ice early. He came to find Caess and Aoi sitting down to breakfast. "Good morning, Caess. Aoi..." he said, taking the seat farthest from the slayer at the table, as he began piling food on his plate.
"Good morning," They both say. Aoi smiles. "Are you afraid I'm going to freeze you again Kalin?"
"Afraid? No, of course not...just stay on that side of the table please." Kalin said jokingly.
Aoi looks at him for a moment, then grabs her plate and suddenly teleports into the seat right next to him, along with her food and casually begins eating next to him.
"I have to wonder Kalin.... ....you must care a lot to go to all of that trouble for me. ...I have to ask, just how much do you care about me? You already went out of your way to help me be free of White, taken me in... ...and last evening..."
Kalin freezes, a fork in his hand hovering inches from his mouth. After a moment, he manages to snap out of it. clearing his throat before saying. "You're asking...whether I just like you...or 'like' like you?"
"I guess one could state it like that. You could just be doing the things you've done to show me kindness, you could just want to make me feel happy. Perhaps asking how much you care about me was too strong a question, judging by your reaction. It is whatever you take it to be." She says simply, eating some pancakes after finishing.
"No, I don't mind, really. But If you don't mind, I could ask the same of you. I mean, we haven't known each other long, and I can understand your emotions could be...clouded by what I've done for you. It would be easyy for someone in your position to mistake gratitude for affection. So, I guess I'd just like to hear how you feel, in your own words." He said, before finally beginning to eat.
She eats for a while, not saying anything. Eventually, she stops, and just when he thinks she's going to keep eating, she sighs. "I can see the future, Kalin. I knew for a while you were coming. I also knew somehow and somewhere I would be given an opportunity for a new life. My visions are not always clear as to their meaning or what they entail. I chose to believe that somehow your coming could help me. If I didn't believe you could really help me, I would have escaped you the moment you lowered your guard."
She drinks from a glass of milk. "...That said, I feel... confused. I feel grateful, but I feel many things as well. You've done many things for the both of us. As my liberator, I feel gratitude. As my host, you have been generous. ...But all the other actions you've done... the sunrise at the lake, then going so far as to carry me home and prepare me for bed... ...none of it has rationalized as something someone with no interest would have. ...I don't have an answer. I'm confused, I don't know what to think of those actions."
She closes her eyes. "If nothing else, I asked that question so I might have understanding in all of this. I did not mean to ask anything of you that would make you uncomfortable. My apologies."
"You didn't make me uncomfortable. I mean... I thought everything I'd done throughout the day was proof enough that I liked you. But if you'd like to hear my feelings out loud, I am very much interested in you..." Kalin says, growing quiet upon noticing Caess staring at the two of them, A piece of buttered bread hovering just outside what Kalin assumed was her mouth.
She looks at the two of them, silently thinking for a moment. "I see. I approve, but there are conditions. Do not do anything she is not comfortable with, and you must be utterly responsible for her protection, if you choose to establish a relationship, you have permission, but I would prefer if you were to take it slow and be open with her. As you may have noticed, she isn't exactly specialized in interacting with others."
Aoi flushes with embarrassment, and chooses to eat a sasauge rather than respond to her.
"I agree to your terms." Turning to the flustered girl beside him, Kalin said, "And you, Aoi. Do you have any terms?"
"....I guess... ...just give me time to know you more and take things slow on me. ...I don't like to rush." She blushes a bit. "Though I appreciate the thought of last night. ...even if it is quite embarrassing..." She somewhat stutters.
"Alright then. And my terms? That our relationship not be made official, until you decide to ask me out yourself." Kalin said, a wide grin on his face.
Aoi's blush is so strong it practically glows, and she quickly ducks her head down, only to get her face full of food.
"........Not again...." She takes a napkin and wipes her face off irritably. Aoi sighs, then stands up. "I'm going to go paint now...."
"Alright...have fun." Kalin says, wanting to laugh very badly, but attempting to spare her feelings.
Caess watches her go, then slowly looks at him and resumes her water and ice form, flexing her hand experimentally.
"...You know, she's one of the few Phoenix members who has an active hybridization of three species. While the others probably have more, their genetics are a mere side note. They can't actually draw power from their heritage, aside from certain extremely limited aspects. ....Aoi has three active genetics. Shapeshifter, Endlos, and Elemental. ...I surprised that she hasn't shown any signs of change."
"Wow, three species, huh? I'm impressed..."
Caess looks at her frozen and liquid body. "I used to be a full Endlos once. Did you know? One day however, in the relatively abandoned empty world of Echo, the Eight Elemental Warlords descended upon the world. At first they ruled in peace, but then they sought to wage war upon their creations and each other, and eventually found me. The Lords of Water and Ice took my soul and will and ripped it into this crystal, and charged my soul with control over the waters of the world, and the great frosts of winter."
She flexes her crystalline body, a soft crackling is made as she does so. "It was pure torture. For many years I couldn't think straight cause of the pain of not having my body. Eventually I got used to this existence, and even managed to use my Endlos powers to shape a body of flesh temporarily. When I met her father, and decided to have his children... I prayed that they would be spared my curse. I had two others, who at birth bore bodies of the elemental frost and water, and I cursed myself and my masters for making me what I am. ...Aoi was born years later, and you cannot believe how joyous I was that she was born as she is."
Caess pauses. "But she is still of my blood Kalin... just because it hasn't revealed itself... I dare not to assume it's not there at all. 'The Curse of Frost'. I know she has it. Before she had Ice Slayer, she could use water and ice just like me, only her body did not show signs of turning to frozen crystal and liquid water. It terrifies me that it might happen to her."
Thinking back to his dream from the previous night, Kalin grows pale. He turns away from the Endlos, wondering if he should share the information. "I'm sorry for your ordeal, Caess."
"Don't be. It's alright." She places a hand on his shoulder, as gently as she can manage. "All I wish for is for Aoi to be safe, to be happy. Thank you so much for what you've done for us, Kalin. You're a good man. You should keep her company, and watch her paint. I think she'd like the company, as quiet as she is."
"You're probably right. Talk to you later." Kalin said, patting caess's frozen hand. He then left to observe what Aoi was doing.
He comes up to see Aoi at the canvas, just in time to see the ice cat bite her leg, and she stops painting silently. "....Cat, do that again and I will make a hound that will give you no small amount of grief."
She resumes her painting, and Kalin silently gets closer to take a look, and from the early startings of the painting he believes she is working on an image of the sunset they saw together yesterday. She has a silent happy expression on her face, as she carefully and slowly recreates the scenery with a combination of water color and acrylics. She doesn't seem to notice he's there at the moment.
Kalin remains silent, keeping himself close enough to see Aoi's work, but far enough to not attract her attention. He watches her progress in voiceless admiration of her skill.
She carefully finishes making the landscape surrounding the lake, before starting to work on the lake itself, slowly adding various waves and light reflections to the water's surface. She runs a hand through her hair for a moment, before finally moving to work on the sky and the sun, slowly adding various clouds and birds, finishing with a pleased sigh, leaning back in her chair.
"Wow. You really do have a lot of talent." Kalin said, looking at the finished piece. "It's almost as beautiful as it was seeing it in person..."
Aoi briefly starts, but relaxes. "....Thank you. It isn't anything really.... ...it's just a simple pleasure for me...."
"Well, your simple pleasures are a gift to everyone else. Heavens knows I can't do anything on par with this..."
Kalin said, walking up besides her.
"....Thanks Kalin. ...I'm glad you like it. ....By the way, is this ok? Bringing us here? I mean, isn't there some ruler of this realm or something? Shouldn't you get permission before you bring strangers to this realm or something?" She asks with a twinge of worry.
"Well, I'll be honest: the king usually hates having uninvited guests in his dimension. But he's seemed to calm down recently. Being dead must be a great form of therapy."
Aoi looks at him in surprise. "The king is dead?"
"Yeah. He had lost himself to corruption in order to gain power. He became cursed, and believed the only way to cure himself was to use Rose as the container for his soul..."
".....I see. ....I'm sorry about that Kalin. So, the king is dead, isn't there anyone left in power though?"
"Well...yeah, I guess you could say that. But the point is, you guys have no reason to worry. You're safe here." Kalin said, smiling gently.
" So, now that your art is finished, do you have any idea what you might want to do with the rest of your day?"
'I don't know... is there some place we might see here? I haven't really seen much of the city or any of the land, a tour perhaps...?"
"That sounds like it could be fun. Is there anything in particular you might like to see?" Kalin asked, backing away, and beginning to stretch.
Aoi gets up and stretches her arms and legs a bit, yawning. "Doesn't really matter where. I just want to get accustomed to this place.... we will be here for a pretty long time I imagine, right?"
"Well, you can stay as long as you like. Although I don't suggest leaving before White-that is the evil ladies name, right?-is busy with other things. Even then, I don't think that will stop her from coming after you once things calm down...Man, you really just might be stuck here forever."
She embraces him, a bit more readily than he expected. "That's why I said I just want to get accustomed to this place... ....so it'll feel like home sooner..."
"Aoi...you wouldn't be asking me out on a date, would you?" Kalin said as he gently pulled her back, so that he could look her in the eyes.
"Interesting that you should say that. If by 'date' you mean escorting your guest through the strange city she doesn't know so she can be more familiar with it, then yes. Do I sense a reverse question by chance?" She says with a smirk.
"Well...can I kiss you?"
Aoi stares at him blankly. "I don't know, can you?" When he tries to lean in to kiss her, she smiles and flips backward and then flips again out the window and up onto the roof, laughing.
"I said, can you?" She smiles, waiting for his next move.
Kalin appeared behind her in a flash of light. "I am positive I asked you first...not to mention, I totally can." He said.
She tilts her head to one side. "You must really want to kiss me... fine then." She sighs, giving up.
"Really? I'll admit, I didn't think it'd be that easy." He said as he stepped in front of the Ice Slayer. " You sure?"
She crosses her arms. "Either kiss me or don't. I don't want to play games."
"Fair enough." Kalin says as he pulls her closer before pressing his lips to hers.
Her reaction is a genuinely surprised expression in her eyes, with a sharp burning blush, and she makes a small squeak of surprise.
Kalin was tempted to laugh at Aoi's response, but wished to enjoy the moment. He brushed the hair out of her face gently as he held the kiss. once again, she experienced a distortion of her sight, less severe this time. However, his lips were still pressed to hers after the feeling had subsided.
Aoi starts to breath heavier, struggling to think clearly after the initial shock runs its course.
Kalin pulls back from Aoi, a serious look on his face. "Am I making you uncomfortable, Aoi? I don't want to push you into some thing you don't want to do..."
"I-I-I simply thought it was going to b-be another kiss on the forehead, or possibly a kiss on the check... I-I..." Her face burns bright enough to be mistaken for sunburn. She breathes heavily for a moment. After she seems to collect herself, she laughs wearily.
"I guess it should be said.... ....that you really weren't kidding when you said you were very interested... ....in me...." She pants.
"What can I say? I'm an honest person." Kalin said, short of breath himself. "Soo, how was it? I was at a disadvantage, being the only active participant, and the lack of tongue, but..."
She blushes again. "....I...don't have words.... except that was my first... ...I've never been even remotely cared.... .......loved.... in.... that way..." She hugs herself to reassure herself.
"Well, considering how much time we'll have together, I'm sure you won't be able to say that for long." Kalin offers his hand to Aoi. "Now then. Are you ready to see this world for real?"
She takes his hand. "Yes."
Kalin pulls Aoi into his arms, and the two are enveloped in light.when Aoi is able to see again, they are back atop the clocktower they first arrived upon. "Well, if we're going to do a tour, what better place to start than the beginning?" Kalin said.
She blinks, looking around. "I never got a good look around up here.... it's pretty tall...",
"Yeah. Believe it or not, I had to climb this thing whenever I wanted to leave this place. That is, until I learned to make constructs. Now I can fly." He says, demonstrating by creating a small black flower, which he hands to Aoi.
She takes it and cups it in her hands. "You know, they say the black rose is both a symbol of extreme love or hatred." She says with a small smile. "The first is because they are so hard to find, a black rose. But black can be taken to mean grief and hatred as well." She blinks. "Sorry. I just like reading about the various cultures of worlds and what they view as symbolism."
Kalin laughs gently, after she finishes speaking "I think it's an interesting way to think see things, if you ask me. I never learned much about the many worlds until recently, and now I have something new I can say I've learned." He stares at her for a moment smiling, before realizing and turning away. "Sooo, over here is the market district," He said, pointing out to a busy portion of the city to the east. "And it's usually where most people...well, market. it's also home to an amazing blacksmith, and a being that distorts the fabric of reality around itself..."
"Interesting, sounds like a intriguing place."
"It really is...on a good day. Now, over here," He says facing out towards the opposite direction. " Is the Commons District. It's where the less... 'exceptional' beings live. To keep them safe, you know?"
"The people don't live together? Hmmm... Interesting."
" Well, For the most part, the beings in this world don't have any special. They're little more than human. Those with any advanced abilities usually join the Royal Knights, or leave the realm for an adventure of some sort... Only a few have ever actually stayed. Me not being one of them.
"I see. What do the Royal Knights do now that the king is dead?"
"Same thing they did when he was alive; slack off, and run their troops into the ground with unreasonable training sessions." Kalin said, laughing softly. "The honest truth is, those guys are a protective force in name only. With the lack of any honest threats to this dimension, They aren't really needed. Although, it also means that their army's numbers increase at a far higher rate than they decrease...and the most common reason for the drop is retirement."
"I see. Anything else here? What's the castle like?"
"It's hell...Oh! I'm sorry, that's past experience talking..."
Aoi looks over at the sun. "They defeated Jibaku.... only Valeric remains. ....If Phoenix should win this entire fight, Earth may lose this war." Her eyes seem a bit distant.
"What fight? Is something happening on Earth?" Kalin said, surprised by Aoi's words.
She nods. "Phoenix was preparing to go to battle with Jibaku, the god of destruction, who lost, and Van Valeric, god of ice, who is still being fought now. White is also engaged in battle, but has already dispatched Kado. ....He's incredibly weak right now. She's fighting with a group, but I know she's just toying with them."
"So it happened..." He says, remembering the visions he saw in the white room. "And I wasn't there to help. I hope you all can find a way to win, Kado..." As his voice trailed off, Kalin turned towards the sun, as well, it's warmth calming him.
Aoi looks at him. "You aren't going to help them? If you want to help them, you can still go. Fate hasn't been decided yet."
"You're right. The world's fate is not set in stone. But, I...I've got the feeling I wasn't meant to be there. I guess someone out there wanted me here, with you." He responded, looking at Aoi with a smile. " I can't say I'm too upset with that...and I have faith that everything will be okay, if I don't interfere this once."
Aoi thinks for a moment. "Yeah.... it will...." She says, her eyes closing with a slightly warm smile.
Kalin wakes up, the early morning sun shining through the window. It's been a few days, and a dream has been plaguing him lately, of a strange angelic being endlessly following him, and the only reason he runs is a strange fear, as though if she gets close enough, she will take something from him, yet no matter how far he goes it finds him, and at the end of each dream she manages to pin him, almost touching him, before each time he wakes up.
He looks over at Aoi, who has been slowly seeming to have grown closer to him, even starting to appear at ease in Twilight. She lets out a small breath, sleeping soundly.
Kalin smiled gently, brushing Aoi's cheek. First that 'Curse of Frost' thing, and now this...ugh, these visions suck.
She lets out a small sigh and smiles in her sleep. A faint rose color is in her cheeks.
Kalin slipped out of the bed, kissing her gently on the cheek before stepping into the shower.
Aoi eventually stirs and rises from the bed, looking out at the morning sun through the window. "What am I going to do today....?" She looks at the various few paintings she's made.
"....I should draw a sky today....." She smiles, a more radiant glow in her eyes than her more passive general one. "....Hmmm.... I feel so cheerful.... ....I guess today is just going to be another good day...." She looks over at the bathroom door, then towards the downstairs door.
"Wonder what mother will do for breakfast..."
"Oh. You're awake." Kalin says from the bathroom. "Before you run off downstairs, would you care to join me in here?"
Aoi looks over at the bathroom door. "....Actually Kalin, I'd rather talk to you once you're done. Some other time."
"...Alright then." Kalin said, a gentle sigh being drowned out by the rush of water. After a few more minutes, the shower turned off, and he stepped out, fully clothed. He smiled at Aoi as he took a seat beside her. "Morning, beautiful."
She smiles a bit more warmly than usual, then looks at the morning outside.
"Thank you.... ....it's looking like a beautiful day. ....Do you really think I'm beautiful?" She asks, turning her head to face Kalin, the light reflecting off her eyes, making them seem like glowing blue plasma.
"Of course I do. And I'll keep telling you that, so long as you promise not to turn into one of those girls that fishes for compliments. It's a really earth thing to do, but it seems they rub off on everyone...I'm going to stop talking now." Kalin replies, using his remaining breath to kiss Aoi passionately on her lips, the gentle frost on her breath mingling with the warmth on his own lips.
Aoi to his surprise kisses him back, though somewhat short, before she pulls away slightly. "I.... wanted to say thank you Kalin.... ....I haven't felt so.... ...happy.... in years..... ....thank you." She embraces him in a hug.
"I could get used to this life here and.... ....with you.... ....I'm blabbering now aren't I....." She burns with slight embarrassment.
"Well, yes, you are. But I'd be lying if I said I didn't like it..." He finished, pecking her gently once more. " So, have a good night's rest?"
"Yes, actually. I feel much more at ease at night now than back at Phoenix... I'm not sure which is more enjoyable, these past few days or nights, or even both. I feel as though many countless weights are lifted from my shoulders."
"I'm glad. Although, if you want to see enjoyable...nah, I'll tell you about it some other time." Kalin winked, standing up from the bed, and grasping her hand in his, causing her to stand with him. "Alright. I'm ready to do stuff. Do you have any plans for the day?"
"I've thought about painting, but I'd kind of like to be with you. Is there anywhere you'd like to go? In Twilight or otherwise? I don't care where you'd like to go. Do you usually travel a lot anyway?"
"N-nooo. I don't go anywhere. I usually stay here. Right here, in this house, yeah, just do that all day, every day...yeah..." Kalin said, in an unconvincing tone. he then sighed. "Well, to be honest,I ususally leave this place as quickly as I make it here. But since you got here, I've had this constant nagging feeling something bad's gonna happen when we step foot out of here..."
Her eyes close. "So you've had the visions too? I see." She has a thoughtful expression on her face, then she opens her eyes and faintly smiles. "You love me, or don't want me to get hurt, or even both. And you want to protect me, right?" A happier cast to her expression becomes more apparent. "I'm not afraid of my future, whatever it will bring. I won't run from it."
She pulls him close to her and kisses him for a moment. "But I will enjoy what prosperity I am meant to have til the future must take its course. ...Kalin? ....I do think I ....love you. At the very least, you have made me so happy, I could care less about my fate, what you've given me will make up for a life time of pain."
She holds cheek with a hand and blushes. ".....I hope I didn't say anything stupid again.... ....I feel so foolish...." She closes her eyes. "I'm not a fool, am I?"
Kalin's eyes beamed at her confession, the light reflecting off of his irises making them seem like countless stars. In that moment, for perhaps the first moment in a long time, Kalin was speechless as he embraced Aoi, holding her tight in his arms. Smiling ffrom ear to ear, Kalin said, "No, you're not. Unless I'm a fool...for loving you, as well. In which case, I could care less, heheh. I...love you, Aoi. And I'm glad to have met you."
She rests her head against his shoulder. "Thank you Kalin...." She lets out a deep, contented sigh of relief. "Thank you so much...." She sheds a tear of happiness from her eyes, and cherishes the embrace, even as she embraces him.
"I want to cry.... ...I don't understand why...." She says, her voice full of emotion.
"I think you are crying a bit, already." He said, pulling away lightly to brushing the tear out of her eyes. " But you're crying in happiness. It's a common response to being extremely emotional. And it's a sign that you're feelings are genuine." As he finished speaking, Kalin brushed Aoi's cheek, his hand remaining there as if frozen.
From downstairs, Caess calls them. "Hey, you two! Come downstairs before the food gets cold please!"
Aoi smiles faintly. "I think we shouldn't keep mother waiting too long. She made breakfast after all."
Kalin stands after kissing Aoi, making his way to the door. "Yeah, you're probably right. After you, milady." he said, smiling as he motioned towards the stairs.
She walks downstairs, a spring in her step that wasn't there before, something that is noticed fairly quickly by Caess.
"....Hmmm.... If I were to wager, I would say that someone finally broke the ice between you two.... care to tell me how it went?" She says with a smile, a full breakfast prepared for them.
"Wha-what? I don't know what you're talking about, Caess..." Kalin said, uncharacteristically flustered by Caess' statement.
Caess smiles even more. "I bet you do. The two of you are brighter than two stars in the sky. Something had to have happened up there."
Aoi sits down and has at it with some pancakes, a gentle smile on her face.
"....And the fact she's still smiling confirms it. I know as well as you that Aoi doesn't smile all that much."
"Yes, that's true. But I promise, Nothing happened! Granted, I have no idea what might have happened in that shower but...no I'm not going there..."
Caess quietly shakes her head.
Aoi smiles as she eats. "Well we did admit we like each other." She blinks. "Mother, how do you think brother and sister are doing?"
Caess also blinks, in surprise. "Well... I don't know. I haven't been to Echo since White took us in the first place. ...I wonder how Twin Valleys is doing...."
"You guys have more family? That's a surprise." Kalin said, sitting down beside Aoi, and laying food onto his plate.
Caess closes her eyes. "Well, I don't know if my parents are still around, but seeing as I never sensed them, her brother and her sister must be wandering alone out in the wilds somewhere in Echo.... ....poor things. ...I wish we could let them know we're alright." A brief sad look crosses Caess' face.
Aoi tries to smile for her mother. "Well since we're free, I imagine we could always pay them a visit."
Kalin glanced over at Aoi quickly, before returning to his food. "Yeah, you could do that. And I'm guessing you'd need a portal out of here. So if you ladies decide you'd like to head out, let me know."
Aoi smiles faintly. "That would be nice. Oh! Strawberry!" She helps herself to a small bowl of strawberries.
Caess looks at Kalin for a moment. "We should at some point go to Twin Valleys, at the very least to let the Lord of Endlos' know of our welfare. Perhaps before that we can bring my lost son and daughter back there as well, so they can be in the presence of company and hospitality."
Kalin feels a small bite on his leg as the ice cat playfully chews on his leg again. "Mew!" It purrs.
"You know, just because I let you stay here, it doesn't mean I won't melt you down in a second...oh who am I kidding? you're too cute to be vaporized." Kalin said, lifting the small cat into his lap and feeding it some fruits as he continued his breakfast. " Caess, are you sure it's alright for you to go back to Echo? The whole 'elemental terror' thing is still going strong there..."
Caess laughs. "I don't doubt. The Twin Valleys is a place of Endlos', where I originally came from. There at least I will be safe."
"Alright, then. If you say so, I'll trust your judgement." Kalin said, before taking a long sip of orange juice. "Man, I haven't eaten this often in years."
"These past few days have been the only times I've ever eaten at all to be honest, Kalin. Well, since my captivity at least. When we finish eating, do you think we can first go to the North to look for my two children?"
"Sure, there's just one thing I wanted to do, first. It won't take long, I promise." Kalin said, taking a few more bites of food before standing from the table.
"What is it?" Caess asks, as she drinks lemon juice.
"Oh, nothing important. I'm just going to absorb a dying star..." Kalin said simply, drinking more of his juice.
"Dying star? Why would you do that?" Aoi asks, confused.
"I saw it in a dream a few nights ago. It was giving off alot of energy. especially Nether...and considering that's half the stuff my powers come from, I thought it'd make sense not to let the chance slip by me."
"I see...." Aoi thinks quietly. "So you can see visions as well?"
"Yeah. It wasn't as strong before...well, it's gotten much stronger recently. I've seen plenty of things, some... more important than others." Kalin said, looking down at the floor as he finished speaking.
Aoi looks at him quietly for a moment. "....Well, when you get back, I'll be looking forward to the trip! I've never seen a Endlos community before...." An excited air and smile comes over her face, but he wonders if she's partially concealing some sort of worry.
"Alright, then. I'll be back soon." Kalin said, opening a portal. "Don't get into too much trouble before I get back." He then walks through the portal, smiling gently at Aoi before he goes.
Aoi smiles gently after him, after he leave, her eyes become slightly downcast.
Caess tries to put a hand on Aoi's shoulder. "He'll be back, love."
"....That's not it.... ....he saw my visions.... he's been seeing the same things I have.... ......come back soon.... Kalin....."
Twilight, the place where Fantasy and Reality intertwine. Contrary to the believe that everyone could coexist peacefully here, Twilight had its own dark side, one often obscured by the light...
Chika walks out the door, saying by to China, the maid. She walks up to a mercenary. "I need a ride."
"You got the payment, I got the service," replies the mercenary, not moving from their position against a wall.
"Twelve pieces of gold for travel to Earth."
"You got yourself a deal, lady," says the mercenary, "Be ready in an hour or you'll be left behind."
"Okay." She goes to the market.
Upon reaching the market, Chika finds herself as the center of attention... again. People stare at her in awe or rush towards her, asking thousands of questions, or outright bow down to her. This appears to be an ordinary occurrence, but is still rather bothersome to shop owners and attendants.
She greets everyone by name, saying special hellos to every child. Chika also informs the older friends of hers of her travel.
Chika's friends ask her dozens of questions regarding why she's leaving and when she will return(and in the case of one friend, if there will be any souvenirs). Eventually the crowd dies down, allowing Chika to get what she came for... if she moved quickly.
She walks to the park, parting the water. This reveals some stairs to a temple. As soon as she is inside, the water and stones re-cover it. "The Sword of Banishment..." she says while staring at a large black fencing sword.
The sword shimmers for a moment, as if the blade was made of liquid, before a pillar of stone covers the blade. A second later, Chika hears splashing and the sound of something being dragged across the ground from no discernable direction.
She gets in a ready position, making her wings fold into her body.
The sound grows louder, drawing closer to Chika as the seconds pass. eventually a murderous chill runs down her pack as the sound's source zeroes in on her position.
She simply walks up and touches the sound. As she does, the sound's source feels agony and pain beyond belief.
Before Chika shimmers a large reptilian creature with metallic scales and a rusty anchor of sorts. It stands bipedal and looks fairly draconic. The creature writhes for a moment before the woman feels a massive claw rake across her back, piercing her skin as if it was a soft layer of plastic and cutting into one of her wings as she is catapulted forward. The wounded area burns unnaturally hot and the angel's vision begins to distort.
"Damn... You...." she says as the pillar of stone disapears and Chika grabs the sword.
The sword that Chika grabs for dissolves into the air, a hallucination brought on by the wound from her back and the poison it introduced to her body. The creature that attacked the angel draws closer, anchor rising above its head. The pillar with the sword in it stands yards away from the angel, a distance that feels worlds away as her legs buckle from the poison.
She gets up, punches the creature's skull in, and starts to fly to the pillar as her regen finishes taking care of the poison.
Punching the creature proves to be a bad idea as it drops its anchor onto the angel as it collapses, damaging her other wing.
Chika screams in agony, alerting the other creatures of her presence. She wiggles out from under the scaly beast, then goes to the pillar with the sword. She swings, breaking the pillar and releasing the real sword. "Finally," she says as she picks it up and stabs the creature, damning it to hell.
Chika is left alone by the remaining creatures, guardians of the sword. Having completed their roles, the reptilian sentinels clear a path to the temple's exit, dragging their fallen with them.
"Thank you, Guardians..." Chika says as she exits the room. Her wings heal and she flies back to the mercenary's position as her time runs out.
The mercenary looks up, startled and annoyed.
"About time you got here, you almost missed your ticket out of here," they say, eying Chika, "And what happened to you? Looks like you got into a losing battle with a bear."
"I was... Collecting something..." she replies. "Ready?"
"Yes, let's just go before you attract any attention." Without another word the mercenary speeds around a corner, not waiting for the angel.
"Okayyyy," she says as she blasts through the streets after him.
The mercenary pivots around corners and makes abrupt turns as he continues towards his destination, finally ariving at a gate of sorts.
"This is the place. I'll activate it and we can go through."
The mercenary activates the gate, signified by a loud whirring sound followed by the crackling of purple lightning. Moments later a vortex forms in the center of the gate.
"Alright, last chance to turn back... No? Alright, into the gate!" The mercenary hops into the gate.
Chika walks through the portal, her wing finally finished healing...
Aoi and Caess quietly talk to each other, discussing things like the past and such things. Aoi brushes her hair out of her face.
"....And yes, mom, I told you for the last time I'm sure that's what I saw. ...Can we not talk about it?"
Caess reluctantly sighs and nods. "I'm just worried for you."
Aoi smiles. "I know. But I know he'll.... you know."
"Who're you guys talking about?" Kalin said, stepping out of his gate with a bundle of flowers in hand.
Aoi wheels around and has a happy face in a matter of seconds. "Welcome back Kalin! How was your trip?" She asks, not noticing the flowers immediately, however Caess cleverly conceals a smile with a glass of water she drinks.
"It was...something. I'll admit, I feel a few hundred years younger after draining the power from that star." Leaning over to kiss Aoi on her cheek, Kalin also took the opportunity to present her with the flowers he'd brought. "So, have fun while I was gone?"
She happily takes the flowers and holds them against her chest, smelling them. "Mmmmm.... ....Thank you Kalin!" She says happily. She then looks at Caess, then back at Kalin. "Well we talked a little bit, can't exactly say it was fun. I'm glad you're home and that things went well though." She says, a bit of a rosy blush over her cheeks from her happiness.
"I'm glad you like them. And if you're feeling bored, I think we can..." Turning to find Caess staring at the pair, Kalin stops midsentence. "We can find a game to play.'
Aoi looks puzzled. "A... game....?"
Caess looks at Kalin. "I very strongly wish to find my son and daughter. Once they are found, I'd like to go back to my home of Twin Valleys. I have been away for a long time. I very much would request your help in that manner, as I am not familiar with the Twilight."
"Right, sorry. We can play a game later. Well Caess, I'll get started working on preparations. Aoi, would you care to join me?"
Aoi nods. "I would love to."
Caess closes her eyes. "Thank you, Kalin."
"Its nothing, really. I was born to help. As much as I'd like to, some days, I can't fully deny my nature. It's what makes me the person I am." Kalin said, taking Aoi's hand as he makes his way towards the basement.
Aoi still holds onto her flowers with her spare hand, occasionally smelling them with a smile. "So where'd you pick these up? They smell nice."
"They were growing in this beautiful field that I really think we should visit sometime. What's really great is what happens when you touch the petals. go ahead, try it." Kalin said, stopping at the bottom of the stairs, and motioning for Aoi to do as he said.
She curiously touches its petals, letting out a soft gasp when it releases little balls of light like fireflies, eyes widened at the display.
"It was much more beautiful in the field, where there were hundreds of them. But i thought just this was nice, too. Honestly, they reminded me of that first day we got here, with the sunset..,and the dance across the water. And that moment where I thought about how beautiful you were." Kalin said, brushing Aoi's hair to the side and smiling gently.
She smiles and almost looks like she could cry. "You could smother me... you're so kind to me Kalin...." Her eyes glow more brilliantly than before.
"I try my best. I enjoy making you happy. It's a great hobby in between saving kingdoms and slaying monsters, I'll tell you that." He responded, chuckling softly as he gazed into her eyes.
She leans in and kisses his cheek, before continuing walking. "So how can I help you prepare?" She asks.
"Well, you'd be fine just standing there and looking pretty. You could also give me some info aboout where we're headed, and let me know what we might need, instead. I'm good, either way."
"Well, from what I understand my brother and sister fled north in the north pole and have been living out there for a while. Specifically I'm not sure. Warm clothes, at least for you might be a good idea. Maybe a few packs of food in case we're looking a while."
"Well, we can always come back here, if we really need to, so food shouldn't be an issue..." Kalin said, laughing as he went into a cabinet. "The north pole, huh? Interesting choice."
"The North is extremely unpopulated, and as they are Water-Ice Elemental - Endlos hybrids, I doubt they'd be concerned about the ice. In fact it would probably strength their survival chances alone. I wouldn't doubt if they would be distrusting of strangers as well."
"I guess I'll just have to amp up the charm, then. Kalin said, collecting a number of vials and small sealed bottles. "So, these guys are your siblings, right? I wouldn't be surprised if you told me your relationship with them was a bit shaky."
"No... we were a good family. Everything was fine until White came for us. She tore us away from each other, and I haven't seen her in years."
"Well, then that's good. This should be a happy reunion...alright, then. I'm going to visit a friend for a moment, grab something, and be right back." Kalin said, opening a gate behind him. He turned, and kissed Aoi gently on her lips."I'll be ready to go then, so you and Caess be prepared as well, okay?"
Aoi nods quietly. "We'll be ready. Good luck Kalin!" She waves happily.
Kalin stepped into the gate, which closed behind him before disappearing.
When he returns, he finds Caess and Aoi sitting at the table once again. Buttoning the remaining portion of his shirt, he walked over to them. "Alright. Are we ready to go?"
They both nod, Aoi a bit more enthusiastic, Caess is a bit more calm about it. "Ready when you are!"
"Okay. Off into the frozen abyss we go! Ladies first. Y'know because I don't know where I'm going..."
Save the Last Dance
When Aoi and Kalin return, Aoi tightly hugs Kalin. "I'm sorry Kalin... I knew that Azula was coming for me soon, I should have told you... forgive me." She creates a flower of ice and hands it to Kalin.
"There's no need to ask forgiveness from me. I believe you had your reasons." Kalin said, grasping her hand as she held the flower. "It wouldn't have changed anything, regardless. Azula would have come for us eventually..."
Aoi closes her eyes. "We can't live like this... I don't want to live like this... in fear.... there has to be something... something... we can do... right?"
"There's not much that can stop a being with the power to do anything...but we really don't need to stop her; we only have to stay out of her reach until she 'loses interest', as it were...or..." Kalin said, looking up at the unnatural sunlight.
Aoi thinks quietly. "The old Phoenix garrison... it's got to have something still there... I know Noriko went digging there a couple times... maybe we can learn something if we find her..."
"Hmm? Oh, yeah. Anything we can learn about what's happening is worth seeking out. But where is it?" Kalin responded, taking the flower. In his hand, it seemed to go farther into a state of bloom, the flower's petals becoming reinvigorated by his energy.
"Well, it's on Echo, but I don't know where it is in relation to anything else. Noriko would know for sure, White had to send search parties multiple times for her because she would constantly go looking around outside. I think... she's somewhere on Echo... if you give me a while, I think I could locate her..."
"Okay. I'm going to perform a search of my own, in the meantime..." Kalin said. "First things first. Do you need anything to do it properly?"
Aoi shakes her head. "Can you take me to the house first? I won't need anything else. What are you going to look for Kalin?"
"I'm going to look for a friend. They might have some answers for me. There's also the chance they know nothing at all...even still, I think it's worth a try." Kalin said, enveloping the two of them in shadows. When the darkness dispersed, they were in the living room of their home. "We're back..."
She gives him a hug, then sits down on a couch. "Good luck Kalin. I don't know how long it will take me to finish, so if you can, come back soon ok?"
"I wont be far..." Kalin said, opening a gate, and stepping inside. The door remained open, however.
About 20 or so minutes later, Kalin returned. He seemed cheerful, despite his useless attempts at information gathering. As his gate closed, he went over to where he left Aoi, hoping she had learned something.
She looks up at him from playing with the ice cat with a smile. "Welcome back Kalin, how was your trip?" She seems in a good mood.
"It was...honestly, I havent quite figured out if it went well or not. Unfortunately, I didnt learn anything from it that I coulnd't have guessed on my own. How about you?" He said, brushing the cat gently before grasping Aoi's hand with his own.
"Well, I got in contact with Noriko, and she managed to relay some information about CE's in general, as well as the location of the old Phoenix Garrison. If we're going to find answers, we need to start there. It didn't take very long though, Drake was there though, and he wasn't exactly well... ...nice. At least I figured out where we need to go."
"That plan sounds as good as any. I'm ready whenever you are."
She gets up after patting the cat on the head. "I'll be ready to go whenever. You know where Azure is, right?"
"Yes I do. Let us be on our way..." Kalin said, opening his portal.
Aoi takes his hand and walks with him through the portal.