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Vestige: Re-Union (Tesseract salvage) "Fading Mind"

"They did it!" Picky hugged Tracy as the Warriors of Ae Ahl looked on.
"Yes, they did. Balance has been restored."
The group began to leave.
"No," Luna muttered. "Not him. Anyone but him..."
But it was him. The pig-squirrel had returned.
"Get off my head!" Luna cried. "Get him off my head!" She scrabbled at her head, but the pig-squirrel was able to evade every time.
"You two look so nice together," Anthadd teased.
Luna shook her head, trying to shake the pig-squirrel off.
"Crazy squirrel," Mike muttered.
I thought he said 'crazy birds', Solitude thought.
<SimonBob, do you mind becoming a wolf and putting that squirrel out of its misery forever?> Rockwell asked SimonBob.
"Yes. It's best they work out their problems before it gets worse."
The Chosen Six, Rockwell, SimonBob, and Tracy and Picky left the Temple of the Stars.

"Order in the Council!" Picky exclaimed, pounding his gavel on the podium, motioning for the Council to come to attention.
The Council quieted.
"Now," he began, "we've been brought together for a purpose. We've been chosen, all of us, to keep the universe balanced. That's why we need to come to a consensus. We need to select the best way to keep the balance."
Suggestions rose up from the entire council. Tracy and Picky added their own, and the group worked together to amend the suggestions to create an effective process to follow in the keeping and restoration of balance.
"Thank you, council!" Tracy pounded her gavel on her podium, bringing an end to this meeting of the Council.

"What's wrong, Paula?" Tracy asked.
"Everything's wrong!" Paula snapped. "Ness and Poo haven't returned yet! I can feel that they never will!"
"Surely you don't mean that," Tracy pleaded. "I mean, they have to return sometime..."
"But it isn't necessary they come back, is it?"
Tracy's eyes widened. "Don't you remember what we fought for?"
"What? Balance? Ness'd be alive if that entire fight didn't happen! If the Warriors didn't restore Balance... as if we needed it!... Ness would still be alive. So would Poo! None of the deaths would ever have happened. The entire world would be a better place!"
"A better place... how? Diu Ero would have won! Or maybe Ae Ahl! There's no sense in fighting unless there's no purpose!"
"And what'd we fight for? We fought to kill our friends!"
"We did not fight to kill our friends!" Tracy protested.
"Hmmph! Have it your way," Paula muttered. "Forget the Council. I'm leaving."
"You're throwing away your destiny!"
"I don't care. Unless I can find Ness and Poo, I'm never coming back!"
Paula stormed off.
Tracy was left standing quietly. "Paula..." she moaned.

"Stupid Tracy! Stupid Picky! I never wanted to fight to begin with! If I had known, I would have taken Jeff, Ness and Poo and gone away! No need to fight for Balance... what's the point if you're without friends after it all?"
Paula threw all her most precious belongings in a small suitcase. She'd go find Ness and Poo on her own! Her rage made her susceptible to breaking the balance of the world. Her rage ensured that if Balance and Imbalance faced off, it would be because of her. And she would be on the side of Imbalance.
"Pfft!" she hissed. "Giygas. I'd be happier if he and Pokey had won to begin with."
Then make me win... a voice wafted.
"Giygas?" She hesitated a second.
You need only do what I command...
"AAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!" Paula screamed. She arched over her back, which was in much pain.
Her normally bright blonde hair darkened considerably. Her kind, thoughtful eyes took on an evilness they had never had before... "Aaaah... Master Giygas. I thank you for letting me see the light, as there has never been light."
Go and restore Imbalance to the world! Giygas ordered.
Paula disappeared.

Picky was meditating. He had felt the onset of Imbalance approaching for some time. But he didn't know when the approach would be over, when Imbalance would be here. So he meditated, to sense it when it had come.
Picky's eyes snapped open.
"It's here," he cried.

"Tracy!" Picky exclaimed, running towards her.
"Picky? What's wrong?"
"The Balance that was fought for... it's gone."
"G... gone?" Tracy's eyes widened once more. "But I thought that all evil was eliminated from the world when the Warriors defeated Giygas and Morphius."
"It wasn't eliminated," Picky reminded Tracy, "but simply offset. It's why Ke Bao came power, the average, the balance, rather than Ae Ahl and Diu Ero, the extremes. There has to be a certain level of evil and darkness, just as there has to be good and light. What there had to be was equality amongst evil and good, amongst light and darkness. And now, somehow, the Balance has been broken."
"Should we convene the Council?" Tracy offered. "After all, they should have a say in this."
"The problem is that we don't know where the Council is... we have to inform the entire world."
"What's wrong with that? Maybe we could recruit some new allies out of the people, right? Would that hurt our chances of restoring Balance once again? After all, it's not like we're guerrillas this time, like we were in the last struggle."
"It's probably going to hurt our chances. It could be dangerous. The masses could degenerate out of Balance, and closer to the extremes. We could be faced with two problems: popular war and Imbalance. Neither of which I'm in the mood to deal with. And guerrilla or not, it's the same struggle. I say we be as quiet as possible."
"But if we're as quiet as we can be, we'll likely never contact the Council in time."
"Anyway, the Council didn't need to be called in the first struggle. In fact, they came together all by themselves. I'm sure they'll do it again... this time."
"We can't say because something like this happened in the past, it'll happen again. Moreover, we can just convene the Council with a message like this: 'Council, please report for a meeting as soon as possible.'"
"That could work.... but will the people think it's normal?"
"Whether they think so or not, it's fine as long as the Council convenes in a timely fashion," Tracy concluded.

And so the request... no, the order went out. It was exactly as Tracy dictated.
Soon, some of the members of the Council trickled in.
"Jeff! Nice to see you again," Picky said.
The blond genius adjusted his glasses. "Let's hope everyone gets here."
"Anthadd!" Tracy nodded towards the scientist.
"Will this assembly take long? I need to get back to my island. There's certain... complications that have developed since we last convened."
"It shouldn't be that long," Picky answered.
"Mike! Luna! Nice hat, Luna." Tracy winked to show she was joking.
Luna looked at her head. The pig-squirrel was nesting happily in her hair.
"Ha. Ha," Luna muttered.
"Crazy squirrel," Mike said. The skylight of the assembly room revealed a flock of geese flying far overhead. Their honks could be heard on the ground. "Crazy birds."
A pecking on the skylight revealed to them Rockwell.
"Rockwell!" Luna exclaimed.
<You mind opening the skylight so I can get in?> Rockwell demanded angrily.
Picky walked over to a wall and pressed a button there.
A part of the skylight opened up, and Rockwell flew in.
<Thank you!>
"Where are Paula and Solitude?" Anthadd asked. "I would have thought she'd be the first one here..."
Tracy hesitated. She wanted to tell them what happened, but they might get mad at her for not disclosing what happened.
"Solitude's probably searching for her balance now," Luna noted, looking at the skylight. The pig-squirrel stirred, and looked up too.
"Quiet, you."
"Do you think she'll ever find her balance?" Mike asked.
"It's possible," Luna responded. "And if she does find Unity, that could be all the more better. Especially if today's conditions worsen."
"I'm giving them five minutes," Picky said, "and then we start the assem--"
Suddenly SimonBob rushed in!
"Am I too late?" he asked. "I was listening to some heavy metal and totally lost track of time. When the CD finished, I saw the announcement."
"No, you're not late," Mike replied. "We haven't even started."
"Oh, that's good..."
"Yes," Tracy added, "Solitude and Paula aren't here. Don't worry about them. They can take care of themselves."

Four minutes later, as a minute had passed during SimonBob's entrance, Picky began the assembly.
"Order in the Council!" he cried, opening the assembly, as he had for all assemblies before then.
Tracy leaned over to Picky. "Why'd you bother? No one was talking," she whispered.
"It's a rite of the Council. I, as head of the council, must open the Council. And you, as my equal, must close it."
And so the council's most recent convening began...

Solitude sat, cross legged in her tower, meditating slowly. When the council was first created, she had built a home near Anthadd's island. It had a spiraling tower, which was one of the highest points in the region.
She calmly removed all thoughts from her brain, pushing them aside. Only one remained: Unity.
Unity... can you hear me? Unity... agent of Libra... we are needed once more.. I am calling you... you know who I am...

In another corner of the Universe, indeed, another Universe away, a girl with long, blond hair stood firmly atop the highest peak of Mu. She rested her staff against the ground, and sat cross-legged, ready for meditation. Letting her mind wander, she became open to all of nature.
Unity... can you hear me? Unity... agent of Libra... we are needed once more.. I am calling you... you know who I am...
Unity snapped open her eyes. She felt the air turn to ice around her, but she began her prayer again.

Unity... I know you are there... can you remember my name?.... Unity and Solitude... you know more than you realize... emerge!

This time, Unity kept her eyes closed. However, she was shcoked beyond belief. Memoies flooded her, and she instinctively grabbed her staff in the darkness of her own meditation. She hugged it closer to her, and began to broadcast a message.
Solitude... I can hear you calling me... how do you know me? You seem... far away... please respond...

Solitude grinned widely, as she received contact. This was what she had been working for for decades.
So, we finally meet... you know me so well.. I believe that in time you will remember fully who I am. Where are you?

I am atop Mu... I don't think we're in the same dimension...

I know we aren't. I can tell that you aren't one of us... or rather, you were not raised as one of us. You and I are part of the chosen six. Destiny has said it to be so.

Unity opened her eyes blearily, feeling the connection loosen. However, the time on Mu had been enough. She could recall it all with utmost clarity. From her birth, to where she was now. it was as though she had entered a second childhood. However, she could not ignore Solitude's words.
"I have to find her," she said, climbing down a rope, "but I need backup!"

Dan grabbed his wand, barely resisting the urge to blast the hollow plastic stick into last year, and performed another cheap novelty trick.
A six year old jeered. "Man, show us some wheel magic!"
Resisiting the urge to blast him into last year, Dan contemplated using PSI. But he remembered the last time he did that. Right after his adventure with the group that defeated Giygas, he accidentally turned a 5 year old into a mushroom. Now THAT took alot of explaining. Ah, what the heck. He would be careful this time.
"Okay," Dan said, shaking with anger at the little kid. "Here's some REAL magic." The birthday party guests cheered happily. Dan fired a small blast of PSI Nova, only enough to bounce around the living room of Polestar Preschool a few times. The kids cheered like crazy.
"Show us more magic!" one kid shouted.
Dan could get used to adoration. He muttered something, closed his eyes, and disappeared, reappearing right behind the kid who had jeered him earlier. "Boo."
The kid jumped up, much to the delight of the audience.
"Well, ya want something el--" Dan was interrupted as the kids gasped. He turned around, and noticed what had happened. Someone had walked through the door. As in, directly through.
"Why hello, Unity--Waitasec...UNITY!?"
"UNITY! Hey, missy! How ya been?" Rusty got out of the pre-school bathroom. "Oh look! Th' 3 of us are together again! Ain't that sumptin'?"
"Hello to you, too. I see you have some fans..." she said, looking at the kids, who were imitating the PSI Dan had performed by shouting made-up spells. "Rusty, I see your hair is slowly growing back."
"Yeah..." Rusty answered.
"Please don't do that walk-through-door thing next time, though--You're showing me up..." Dan said with a smile. "So, what brings you to a six year old's birthday party?"
"Well... It's a looong story." She related what was happening, all while the kids were jumping around. "...and we've got to find everyone as fast as possible and help them!"
"Sounds like a good idea, Unity! Dan and I are up fer it to, eh? I'll jes have Paula's mum watch after th' younguns."
"So does that mean I can't wait to get paid?" Dan asked.
Unity sighed and grabbed Dan by the hand while Rusty followed. "NO!" And with that, they went through the door. At least Unity did.
Dan rubbed his forehead. As Unity had gone through, he had hit his head on the door. "You've gotta remember I can't do that kinda stuff."
"...Oh yeah..." And with the door now opened, they ran out, Dan making one last failed grab for the in an attempt for pay. Two people had been found. Now off for the next.

Mike sat in his chair. The pig squirrel looked at him and squealed at him. Mike blinked in response. He had no idea why this meeting was called to order. He hoped that he wouldn't be missing dinner because he hadn't eaten in a while.
Picky then began speaking. "As you may or may not know, the balance that we strived so hard to gain has been lost." Picky paused for a moment to let the idea sink in. A small roar due to the commotion of everybody speaking could be heard. He cleared his throat and went on. "That means that we may need to fight once again."
"What do you mean 'fight again?'" Mike asked. "I don't wanna fight again. That was some hard work and it hasn't even been a month yet. Already we've lost what we tried so hard to gain?"
"Mike, this is an entirely different situation. Imbalance is seeking to upset the delicate balance that YOU helped to make."
Mike then blinked. "Well, alright. I guess that you do have a point. But still, must we fight?"
"I don't see any other solutions to this problem."
Rockwell started to say something. "Yes, um, didn't we have to find sanctuaries and whatnot to gain power to fight? Would we need to go to those sanctuaries again and see if we can scrape up some more power?"
"I don't know. You see, there may be even more sanctuaries that we don't even know about. It's all very complicated." Picky blinked, and continued with the meeting.
The meeting went on for a few more minutes. Tracy, seeing that nothing was being done, decided to adjourn the meeting for a bit to let all council members think about the situation at hand. "We shall reconvene in a couple more hours. This meeting is over. Dismissed."
Everybody began talking amongst themselves, not knowing what it was that they had to do. They didn't realize the magnitude of the situation just yet.

Anthadd returned to his island.
"Okabe, are you there?" he asked.
Okabe Ryuuda had washed up on the shores of the island a few months ago. Her memory was totally lost. Utter, complete amnesia. Of course, Okabe did have some flashes of memory.
Anthadd had been training her in Stellar, hoping that a practice like that could help calm her mind, and loose the bonds holding her memory back.
"Aaaaaa!!!" a voice cried.
"Okabe!" he cried, running towards the worried child.
"Okabe!" Anthadd exclaimed. "What's wrong?"
"I... had another vision," Okabe replied.
"I was in that gold mine again... and it kept raining. Like it did before."
"I guess it's progress," Anthadd mused. "It's probably related to your memories."
"Hopefully it is..." Okabe trailed off.

Rockwell flew out of the skylight, spreading his wings, forming a shadow onto the table.
<I don't believe this... the balance that we worked for so hard... is now destroyed. I better start training... I guess.> Rockwell sighed, as if falcons could sigh.
He flew back to Twoson, onto a roof of a condemned house and flew behind the house out of people's sight. He gasped and then walked out from behind and showed himself in human form.
"Ah... relaxing. I have only an hour to train each time..." Rockwell sighed as he clenched his fist and pulled out his sword.
Then he stopped, a scream echoed inside the house. It sounded... terrified. Rockwell looked at the front door and whipped out his Esca Sword and slowly apporached it with the rapier in his left hand. He reached out with his right hand and gripped the doorknob. He took a breath and then swung the door open. An imp of some sort ran out of the door and out of sight, screeching. Rockwell shook his head in disbelief and looked inside the house and found a girl on the floor. She was gasping and half-sobbing, as blood flowed from her arm. Rockwell drove his sword into the rotting floorboard of the house and ran to the aid of the injured girl.
"Are you okay?" Rockwell asked.
But as he approached her, she quickly pulled out a crossbow of some sort. It was a rather strange looking weapon. It had three arrows, one on each side and each arrows were of different colours. One was blue, one was red and one was golden. Rockwell immediately put his hand up and transformed into a small thick-hided dragon. The girl gasped and shot the red arrow at him, which bursts into flame as it made contact with his skin, but left him unaffected. The girl dropped her crossbow and held up her uninjured hand, trying to protect herself.
"Please! Don't hurt me!" she cried out loud.
Rockwell shook his head and transformed back into a human once again.
"Let me help you," Rockwell said as he reached a hand out, offering assistance, "I won't hurt you."
The girl looked up at him and nodded as she gripped Rockwell's hand and pulled herself up. Rockwell walked her to a couch, which seemed to be in a good shape. Rockwell ripped off a part of his shirt and began to wrap it around her wound.
"What's your name?" Rockwell asked as he held a pin in his mouth.
"Mika," the girl answered out of fear, that the boy would turn back into a dragon.
"Why are you afraid of me?" Rockwell asked.
"Well, you would be afraid too, if you saw someone turning into a dragon..." Mika blurted out.
"Oh, I understand. I'm sorry, but it was necessary. By the way, would you mind telling me what happened and what was that... thing?" Rockwell asked.
Rockwell inserted the pin into the shirt/bandage to hold it together as Mika winced.
"I was inside the house, trying to find a ball that my friend threw into the house. My friend walked into the house with me and the ball was missing. I turned around and saw my friend turning into that... creature. For some reason, he bit my arm said that he was going to sacrifice me to... something." Mika looked at the ground in guilt, as if the whole thing was her fault, "I don't know what it was that he turned into... but he worries me."
"Look, it's not your fault an-" Rockwell was interrupted abruptly.
"I never said it was my fault?!" Mika protested.
Rockwell held up his hand and said, "I know you didn't say that. But I could hear it in your voice."
Mika looked at the ground and said, "I guess... I own you one. If you hadn't walked into the house, he would have killed me..."
"It wasn't a problem... but you might want to go home to your parents. They might be worried about you," Rockwell said with a stern face.
"Oh, no. I'm an orphan. My parents died when I was a child. Please, let me go with you... I don't want to go back to that foster home," Mika said quietly as she rubbed her arm that wasn't wounded.
"Are you prepared for the consquence?" Rockwell asked.
Mika looked up at him and said, "Consquence? I'm up for anything..."
Mika gave a big smile, giving Rockwell a reason to make a small smirk.

The sky above Anthadd and Okabe darkened.
"That's not good," Okabe noted.
"No, it's not." Anthadd peered at the sky, tried to see into space.
He feared what he would see. He knew what happened when the planets were brighter than usual. War. War amongst Diu Ero and Ae Ahl. And now, war amongst Diu Ero, Ae Ahl, and Ke Bao.
His heart rose to his throat. It pounded harder than it ever had before.
Okabe sensed this worry in her friend.
She gripped his hand tighter.
"Don't worry," she said soothingly. "It'll turn out all right."
There! He saw it!
"No..." Anthadd moaned, slumping to his knees.
"What?" Okabe asked, looking where Anthadd had been staring. She looked up, spun dizzily a few times, then fainted.

Okabe Ryuuda.... the voice echoed.
Okabe Ryuuda....
Okabe Ryuuda....
Okabe Ryuuda....
Okabe Ryuuda....
Okabe Ryuuda....
"Who are you?" she cried, trying to shake herself awake.
Who I am is of no importance. However, who you are is of importance. Do you know who you are?
"Why do you need to know who I am?" Okabe demanded.
Your life... the world's life depends on it. Your amnesia wasn't natural. Your memories will return. Eventually. But I myself can not return them.

Okabe woke up!
She found herself back in Anthadd Labs, with Anthadd looking at her. He seemed worried.
"Did you have another dream?" Anthadd asked.
"Yes..." Okabe said, her face pale and jaundiced. She tried to sit up, but Anthadd would have none of that.
"Just lay down for now. I think we're coming to a big memory breakthrough with you..."
"Are you sure?" Okabe inquired.
"Yes... just go to sleep and work it off."
Okabe closed her eyes, and tried to revisualise what she had seen. She saw golden wings.

Solitude smiled softly as the connection between her and Unity slowly died out. She stood up, and straightened her magenta skirt. With a quick look around the tower, she descended the stairs to the courtyard below.
Solitude's castle was minutes away from the Ke Bao council hall, where Picky was currently giving his speech. Solitude whistled slightly as she walked. Her lightened mood even surprised her, but she had a good reason to be so joyous.
A person careening through the roads slammed straight into Solitude, sending her flying face first into the ground. She wiped the dirt from her face, and looked up.
"Paula? What are you doing in such a hurry?" Solitude said, staring into Paula's angry, pale face.
However, Paula was in no mod to converse. She blasted a chunk of ice at solitude, but she rolled out of the way just in time. Solitude bolted upright, startled.
"Paula? What are you playing at?"
Paula had started running again, but she turned around to face Solitude. Her eyes gleamed a deep crimson as she spoke in a cutting tone. "I'm no longer playing. I am going to leave this universe... and you can do nothing to stop me?"
Solitude stared dumbfounded as Paula sprinted off into the horizon. She slowly stared walking again, and then she picked up speed. Within seconds, she was running full speed toward the council hall.

"Where are you going?" Okabe asked.
"Just to see Solitude," Anthadd replied.
"Wasn't she at the meeting?" Okabe stirred slightly, trying to get out of the bed she was in.
"Just stay!" Anthadd warned.
He tucked Okabe in. She quickly fell asleep again.

Anthadd stared at the lab slightly.
He took a deep breath, then infused the Ke Bao Dragon Armour.
The planets were still brighter than normal. In fact, it seemed as if in addition to the regular planet, there was a complete duplicate of the planet!
He whistled quietly, then transformed into Anthdragn and began to fly to Solitude's island.

Okabe struggled awake.
"I wonder how long I was out," she mused.
She jumped out of bed.
"Why is he so protective of me?" she wondered out loud, walking over to a covered platter of chocolate mayonnaise cake. I'm sure he won't mind me having a little piece...
She lifted the cover.
"Put it back, Okabe," a robotic Anthadd voice droned.
Okabe flushed slightly. She felt her knees going weak, and she collapsed again.

Roaring deafened Okabe's ears and she woke up.