Vestige: Re-Union, Tesseract 4: "Shadow Mirage Real"
Skulryk stared at the book once more time, then back to his teacher. "Alright, I give up. Just what is the command for a level one basic air spell, and how is it manipulated?"
Skulryk was a member of a group of people who were gifted with an innate magical ability. 500 years ago, the leaders purposely cut themselves off from the world, in the ideaology that their abilities would be corrupted by any outside interference, and that they needed to live in their own world, which they formed several miles beneath the earth crust. They had also genetically bred the children to be elite, to be the strongest, most intelligent, and containing the best qualities there were. Those who did not fit their desires they typically... disposed of. Skulryk was supposed to be the result of dozens of generations of genetic breeding, the best of the best, and what they had strived to achieve 500 years ago. However, in a remarkable event in which he aquired all recessive traits, up to beyond when the magic ability had even been found, and he ended up being the exact opposite of what they wanted. Wanting to avoid a disruption of the masses, the group kept Skulryk, schooling him privately and keeping the truth hidden.
"ARG!" Skulryk's teacher said. "Ok, you stupid fluke, try remembering this." He wrote on the board 'Nazo aie ouru.' "Now, please try to do it, and maybe push that leaf across the table."
Skulryk sighed, stared at the leaf, and said "Nahzo ay ooroo." Nothing happened, and his teacher screamed.
"You idiot! Now, listen to me, how many times must I ingrain into your head that those are not pronounced phonetically! 'Nazo' is prounced 'Haa-zhou'! 'aie' is pronounced 'EEE'! 'ouru' is pronounced 'oh-RUU'! Now pronounce it right!"
Skulryk glared at him. He hated this magic, and hated the whole community. He was constantly reminded he was a fluke, and simply being born dissapointed his entire race. He stared at the leaf, and said "Haa-zhou eee ohruu!" The leaf blew as if it had been hit by a small wind.
His master took a drink of ale. "Thank you, you have just demonstrated the magical ability of a 3 year old. Do you realize that you..."
Blah, blah, blah blah. Every day was like this. If he failed he was lectured. If he succeeded he was lectured. There was nothing he could do to make these people proud, and he hated this magic race and all that went with it.
"NOW," his teacher bellowed. "Use a level 1 fire spell to burn this piece of paper."
Fire spells. Fun. He didn't remember a word of that either. None of the words were spelled as they were pronounced, some with unknown characters and lots of other things. He did not have the accent of everyone else, he looked like a freak compared to them, and was not gifted in any physical way. "What's that again?"
The teacher screamed, then just shoved an extremely large magic reference book at him. "Here, use this. I don't care anymore, just look it up and pronounce it right!"
Skulryk went to the beginning of the fire section, and read the words for level one fire. It read 'Xha russ gaio'. I wish I was somewhere else, with people who would respect me. I hate this place. "Zah russ gaio." Nothing happened and his teacher stood up, but Skulryk glared at him and shoved his desk in his direction, knocking over several books. He had snapped. He began to shout out random words, trying to get some kind of other pronounciation. "Zarush gai! Zaa runch gahi! Zairuz gyaio!"
Something had happened, because Skulryk no longer found himself in the hot, stuffy confines of the classroom. He was on a street, with people going to and fro. He appeared as some people walked towards him, one looking at the other and saying "I am FIGHTING IN THIS WAR!"
As his 'comrades' argued, Siris merely sighed. He was about to walk off on his own when suddenly he noticed that a person had just appeared out of thin air.
"Skul... ryk?" Siris whispered. Upon seeing the person's face, he recognized it as Skulryk. Upon sensing his aura, however, Siris became a bit confused. Then he remembered something... the Skulryk he had met in Scaraba was totally different from the one that he had met in Fourside... So shouldn't it make sense that this one would be different too?
The others had noticed Skulryk by now.
"Hello?" Dan said. "Where did you come from?"
Skulryk hesitated. He didn't even know how he came to be here. As he opened his mouth to say something, Siris approached him.
"Is your name... Skulryk, perchance?" Siris asked.
"Y... yes," Skulryk replied. "How did you know?"
"I... uh... nevermind," Siris began. "It's hard to explain."
Siris felt something within this Skulryk that pleased him deeply: The presence of magic. Very faint, but it was there.
"Skulryk... can you use magic?"
Skulryk eyed Siris suspiciously. "Sort of... though not very well."
"Another magic-user..." Siris whispered to himself. "After all this time..."
"Another...?" Skulryk inquired. "YOU can use magic?"
Siris nodded. He doesn't seem like a proficient spellcaster, though... I wonder if he cares enough to learn...
Dan, Unity, and Rusty had simply been watching. Siris remember their presence, and promptly shut up, fading into the background once more.
"Mommy, daddy!! Let's go, we're gonna be late!"
"She's right, honey! We'd better take a taxi, if we want to get there on time!"
"They're following us! Oh my god, they're following us, there's no one else around... oh god..."
"Mommy?? Daddy?? C'mon, we've gotta get you to a doctor... mommy... daddy... please wake up... please..."
"Luna, you did the best you could. It's not your fault."
"We're going to send you to a boarding school in Winters! It's an all-girl school, I'm sure you'll love it there, and make lots of new friends!"
"Stop it! I know what I'm doing! Let me go, LET ME GO!!"
Luna woke up, tears streaming down her face, while she gasped for breath, and shook silently. It was just a nightmare.
A nightmare. Yeah, right. She looked over at the glowing computer screen beside her bed. Quietly, she shifted out of the bed, and pulled on a robe, sitting in the computer chair. Three images flickered on the screen, with information under each one.
Ghrame Seikou (195X-199X) (Deceased)
Madeline Seikou (195X-199X) (Deceased)
Luna Seikou (198X-?) (Alive)
Luna's eyes misted over with tears as she stared at the screen. After she and Mike had returned from the temple, she had said goodbye for the day, and teleported to her island home. She had been looking for information on Dabih, whom (she assumed) would have the same last name as she did. But no information, except for hers, and her parent's, had come up.
She wiped her tears away, and walked over to one of the room's windows, where there was a pillow-filled ledge that she sat on and watched the sun come up every morning. Her smallish mansion sat on the end of a long pointe on Anthadd's island. She could watch the sun come up every morning, and set every evening.
"Ah..." she sighed, as she watched the sun peep up on the horizon, spreading its golden tendrils across the sky. Luna smiled slightly, and yawned again. "I've got a million things to do today..." she mumbled, flicking the computer switch to 'off' position.
Unity lay in a bed inside the Twoson Hotel. She stretched out, and yawned. She'd had a weird dream, that was nothing new. But something troubled her. Sure, it was easy to SAY she was going to manipulate the stream of time, but it was next to impossible to DO. She needed... her eyes opened wide, as she stared across the room at the person standing there.
"Howdy, Unity! I thought you might need this!" Luna grinned, drawing a ball of silvery light out of her sidepouch. It glowed slightly, with a mythical light. "I had a dream last night that you might need this!" she spun it in her hand, and it glowed brighter.
"The Platnium Orb..." Unity whispered, then blinked, and stared for a minute. "Yeah, we need it for... well, I'll explain it to you along the way. We've gotta get the others."
"Others?" Luna asked, but Unity was already out the door.
"Luna!?" Siris gasped, and stood for a minute, staring. He took a deep breath, and sighed. "-I mean...I'm Siris." He answered the silvery-haired girl.
"Nice to meet you!" Luna answered in reponse, giving him a slightly strange look that seemed to say, 'How the HECK do you know my name?' then turned to Skulryk. "And who're you?"
"Skulryk..." he said, blinking slightly. Yesterday had been weird, but Skulryk had a feeling things were going to get weirder at huge rates.
"And of course you know Dan and Rusty..." Unity said, grinning at the other 2 guys. "Don't worry about Siris. He seems to know everybody's name..."
"Hmm. That's kinda strange. Maybe he knew us in another time?" Luna asked, staring at Siris deeply, causing him to blush slightly. "Anyhow, where to?"
"The Stream of Time." Unity said, full of seriousness. "So, let's get going, if we ever want to reach it!"
The road to the stream of time was not some remarkably trying dungeon, or a mysterious castle. In fact, it was... well, a stream, which proved very anti-climactic considering the fact that it was one of the most important parts of the universe, and that the souls of every human being in the dimension was carried along its curving waters.
After a 30 minute hike, the travelers reached their destination.
"So..." Skulryk began, "what do we do now...?"
Unity laughed at the question. "You jump in!"
"THIS is the stream of time!?"
Dan looked at the confused person in front of him. "Yep."
"No secret passage, no long quest, just... a stream? What a letdown!"
Rusty sighed and dived in.
Luna was about to follow, but remembered something important. She stopped Gauntlet and Skulryk. "Whatever you do, DON'T BREAK ANY BUBBLES, because each one is a human life."
The group jumped in, making sure that the bubbles, which mere tougher than the average one, remained intact. However, due to a clumsy swing of the arm by Dan, one moved back in the stream slightly.
An old man named Herbert suddenly seemed to shed 20 years, and promptly danced through the streets of Forside until being struck by a car and remaining bedridden in Fourside hospital the next 3 weeks.
Unity motioned for them to surface for one moment. They did, and she spoke. "This is what we're looking for, for those of you new to this...
"What we need here is a 4 bubbles - those belonging to the chosen four. There is only one way to correctly determine which of the bubbles we are looking for from the rest, and I have a hunch that it involves the platinum orb. However, I am clueless as to how we remove them, and extract the person themselves from the bubble. I figure we take it one step at a time, and then work out what goes on from there."
Unity held the platinum orb, and raised it abover her head. She swam forward slightly, but as she did, a rock in the water sliced a bare spot on her leg.
"Owwie!" Unity started to bawl, and her face became slightly red. Suddenly, it was as though she snapped. She whirled around, and pulled her face back to normal. Luna could hear her whispering slightly to herself.
"Pull it together, Unity..." Luna raised an eyebrow. Had the smashing of her gauntlet from the last adventure truly made her schitzophrenic?
Unity glared slightly at Luna, but then shifted her gaze. She continued to lift the platinum orb abover her head, and she called out the four names.
"Ness! Paula! Jeff! Poo! Show yourselves!" As she spoke, the others noticed a few bubbles changing color. One became pale blue, another fiery red. A third became a dark green, and a fourth phased into a midnight blue.
Dan stared in awe. "Well, there you have it. Now how do we get them out?" he said, looking at Luna. However, her gaze was focused somewhere else.
Above her head, a black cloud formed. It seemed to vibrate in individual pieces, and hang in the sky with no effort at all. As she looked on, it started to split. Luna stared slightly, then saw a figure take form in the center.
"The Time and Space Guardian!" It was true; the Guardian of Time and Space had arrived. The Large bird swooped down from the sky; its entourage of crows hanging back.
"Crazy Birds..." Dan muttered, but was thankful for the help. The Guardian landed comfortably on a branch near the stream.
"I see you need the chosen four. Am I correct in assuming that?" The Guardian hollered.
"Yes! We would appreciate your help!" Unity said, cupping her hands over her mouth to yell.
"Alright then!" The Guardian raised his right wing, and as he did, four bubbles wafted out of the river. One pale blue, one orange, one green, and one navy.
"These are the ones you wanted?"
"Yes! That's perfect!"
The bubbles floated out from the stream, and floated neatly onto the bank. The Guardian lowered his wing, and a light flashed from the bank. When the light was gone, four children stood together.
"The chosen four are now here; each with the latest memories they have accquired; Poo's being the last before his death. Needless to say, they will have some catching up to do. The other 3 are as how they are in reality; having been transported from their homes. I am sure that their parents will not ask questions. However, I must be leaving you now. Go! And find a way to the other world! The rest of Earth shall be joining you shortly, but hopefully tragedy will have been prevented by then!"
The chosen four stood on the bank of the stream of time, staring around in amazement.
The Guardian of time spread its wings. "My job here is done. Farewell." It proceeded to take off into the sky.
The chosen four stared around. Paula spoke up. "What... what happened?" Her surroundings had changed quite a bit from her room to the bank of the stream of time. "Where am I... Poo!"
Ness and Jeff turned their heads towards their once deceased comrade. Poo spoke "What happened to me? I have been released from death's grip? How?"
Ness spoke up, his voice weak. "You... Poo, you were dead. After you died, we... we defeated the evil which had overcome Lardna. She is good now, and Giygas had gone... Now, I don't know where we are..."
Unity grinned, then shouted to them, "Well break it up, We need to get moving along, and find our way out of this world!"
Paula looked up. "Unity!" She said. "What... What is going on?"
"I hate to be brief," Unity said. "But the world needs your aid once again, chosen four. Not our world this time; there's a whole different dimension which needs our help."
"So..." Jeff said. "Just how do we get there?"
"I don't know!" Unity said, giggling.
The chosen four sweatdropped.
"Anyways," Unity said, regaining her composure, "we're going to find a way to get to this other dimension and save it from what's going on."
"And just what is going on?" Ness said.
"Well..." Unity said, not quite sure how to explain it. "Paula... The Paula in the other dimension that is... Something has happened to her. She is not right, and is attempting to throw off the balance of the entire universe!"
The chosen four gasped. "So, what do we do now?"
Unity snapped up. "We find how to get to the other dimension, of course! Let's go!" Unity then laughed out loud and started marching down a path.
Dan turned to Skulryk, muttering to him, "She's sure a strange one, I'll tell you that..."
Skulryk simply stared. "Yeah, quite interesting..."
Jeff sighed, and started down the steps of the meeting hall. Below the hall, a small rec room had been established, and he often found himself lounging below, watching TV. Today, being a particularly stressful day, was no different. He reached the second to last step, and with a small thud, jumped down to the floor below him.
Jeff tossed himself onto the couch, and grabbed the remote off the table behind him. Idly, he flipped through the channels, until he found something he could tolerate.
"Yes! Battle Bots!" He sighed contentedly, and sat back to watch the show. However, something was amiss. It took him a few minutes to realize what was wrong, though.
"I wish I could do something to stop Giygas from hurting Paula..."
"Oh, when there's a will, there's a way."
Jeff jumped out of his seat, sending the remote flying into the wall. It shattered on contact.
"Who are you?"
"Oh, Jeff, you always were a silly boy. You know me by now... you remember Giygas, don't you? What a BAD MAN he is! Darkness is evil!"
Jeff's eyes glazed over slightly. "Yes... darkness took Paula, and killed Ness and Poo..."
"EXACTLY! Now, what's the best way to destroy darkness?"
"Use... the light... Ae Ahl!"
Jeff nodded rythmically, as the owner of the voice stepped out from the shadows. Really, he couldn't step; the room was a tight squeeze as it was.
"So whadda ya say, Jeffy boy? Would you like to give your old buddy Morphius a hand?" The bright entity leaned closer, and stared into Jeff's eyes.
"Sure... anything to help Paula..."
Morphius grinned, and proceeded to enter Jeff's body.
"Now let's go. We have a short amount of time, and we need to work to gain the temples! Remember, it's for the best!"
Solitude walked out of Anthadd's lab, with the coin from the beach in her pocket.
"I'm surprised I didn't see it before... the resemblence is truly striking; that is, if you know where to look." She whistled as she snapped her fingers, dissapearing in a gleam of silver.
Landing neatly in the center of town, she walked toward the meeting hall. In the rec room, there was some decent science equipment she could use to analyze the coin, to figure out if she was right or not. Taking chances was never worth it.
Solitude opened the door to the hall slowly, and noted it was empty. She grabbed the coin tightly in her hand, and walked down the steps. As she walked by, she noted the TV show: Battle Bots.
"Ugh. People who let robots do the fighting for them disgust me."
She walked over to the computer, and was about to put the coin on the desk, when she saw something out of the corner of her eye; the smashed remote.
After Luna had left, Mike decided to go back to the council building to rest before making his way back to his home in Summers. He got there safely and then started to think.
Ugh, I hate snakes. Why did it have to attack me? He made his way up a set of stairs within the building to a room where he could rest.
He got to the room and removed his shoes. He laid on the bed, and soon thereafter he went to sleep. He then started to dream.
Well, where am I? Mike looked around slowly. The surroundings were composed primarily of blocks of light and bright colors. This is making me feel sick. Mike wandered around his dream world, looking for a way to get out. He found that he was stuck. So he sat down.
Well, looks like I'm stuck here. I don't even understand this place... A bird flew by.
"Crazy birds," Mike muttered without thought.
"What is it with you and birds, Mike? What is there to not understand?" A feminine voice was talking to Mike.
"Uhh... who are you and why are you here?"
"You know very well who I am."
"Yes, very good. So, you're stuck in your dream, huh? I know why. I trapped you here."
"I need your help. C'mon, help me. You know this balance thing is just a crock. It hasn't given us anything without leading to more problems. At what cost, though? At the cost of those who I hold dearest. What if YOU lost somebody, Mike?"
"Well, that's something that I'll have to deal with when it happens, huh?" Mike gulped audibly. "You want me to abandon the thing that I fought for? I don't think I can do that."
"That's because you're weak. You know it, I know it, everybody else knows it. Help me. Be strong."
"I... I'm strong enough, okay? I don't need to isolate myself from any other people."
"Alright, fine. You don't seem to understand. You help me, or you'll be trapped here forever. You aren't strong enough to get out of here on your own."
"What?" Mike tried to wake up, but he couldn't. "Let me out of here!"
"You give me what I want, and I'll give you what you want."
"Never." Mike tried even harder this time. Nothing happened, though. He then started to concentrate. I must get out of here. This is becoming WAY too dangerous.
With that thought, Mike split into four. One of the other Mikes yelled at the original Mike to wake up quickly. They said that they'd take care of it.
"What are you doing?" Paula became furious.
"It appears as if I'm stronger than you think..." Mike began to disappear.
Mike woke up with a gasp. He was sweating all over and was shivering.
Guh, I've gotta talk to somebody. He gave himself a few minutes to compose himself before going to see somebody.
Over the island, the sky darkened.
"Wonderful," Okabe muttered. "Rain again."
"I don't think that'll work much, Miss Okabe," the cat pointed out. "Whining about the rain, that is."
Anthadd called the skylight open.
"I don't think it's rain," he observed. "I'm thinking it could be snow."
His observations were true; it soon began to snow.
As the snowfall slowly became heavier, a warning flared in Anthadd's body.
"Be careful!" he warned. "Something's not right here."
And not right something was. Not long after, the skylight shattered.
While the snow began to fall into the laboratory, Wild and Wooly Shamblers fell, too.
"Aaah!" Okabe shrieked.
"Get ready to fight, or flee, Okabe," the scientist called out.
"Fighting's our business. Ready?" Cyan said, nodding towards the cat.
"Let's go." The cat dodged an attacking Wild and Wooly Shambler. There was a crash and some smoke. "Cantomon shinka ... Knightmon!" When the view cleared, a knight now stood where the cat had been and Cyan was suddenly taller.
"What did it do?" asked Anthadd.
"I'll explain later," promised Cyan.
Okabe backed off and Anthadd debated whether to join the fight or hold his position and defend Okabe. He decided on the latter. "Ke Bao Dragon Armour Infuse!"
Hearing this and remembering that the transformation is lengthy - for mid battle, that is - Cyan moved towards Anthadd and clobbered one Shmabler, knocking it away.
Anthadd finished his transformation and took up a defensive stance in front of Okabe, protecting her. Meanwhile, the pair of knights dealt with the Shamblers without too much difficulty.
"Light Blade!" called Cyan as he swung at one Shambler.
"Sword of Light!" answered the other knight, taking out a second.
Anthadd knocked a Shambler away with his sword. "Scorpius Blade!" exclaimed Anthadd as he defeated it with the Stellar skill.
The Shamblers defeated, the two knights stumbled over to Anthadd and Okabe. The two knights began to glow for a second. One shrank back to the cat Cyan had appeared with though Cyan himself remained his larger size. The cat was now slightly larger than it had been originally, as well.
"Are you all right?" queried Cyan.
"I think we're okay," started Anthadd, glancing at Okabe.
"I'm all right," she acknowledged.
"Good," commented Cyan, pleased.
Dabih ran her fingers across the dusty surface of a desk in the Hall of Records. Maximium security? Hah! All she had done was just "manipulate" the truth of the story a bit to get the key from Picky. She let the back of her hand trail across the musty, age-stained book spines.
"No, no, no... ah..." Her tight mouth broke into a wide, almost psycho grin. She pulled the book out, with a company of dust particles. "Yessss... this is the one." Dabih opened it, and started flipping through it gently, with her slim fingers. She finally stopped at a page. She scanned it quickly, and her grin widened.
Her finger traced a name. "Hmph. Computer records are so easily hackable. But books. Ah, books are a problem," she said, mockingly.
She ripped the page out of the book with one swift motion. It fluttered to the floor.
'Dabih Seikou' The top of the page pronounced in bold, curling script. But no sooner had it touched the floor when it burst into tongues of flames. She sneered at the smoldering remains of her birth record, history, and real last name. Her attention turned back to the book. She traced another name, the name on the page behind where hers used to be.
"Luna Seikou... you still have no idea who you're dealing with, do you?" Dabih sighed, almost pityingly. "I'll have to show you, won't I? You'll remember soon enough, Luna. Don't be afraid to remember... the truth!" She laughed a cold laugh, and turned in the direction of the door.
Solitude raced down the stairs. Where was Jeff? He hardly ever left the Council Compound, and when he did, he ALWAYS left some sign. A note, a document of some sort... anything to indict his departure. As she ran down the stairs, she noticed someone standing beside the Hall of Records. She came closer.
"Um, hello... and who are you?" Solitude asked, looking at the black-haired girl who was re-locking the Hall. "Hello, who let you in?"
The girl shifted around, and glared into Solitude's eyes with a mix of pure hate, cold, and malace. Solitude took an uneasy step back, but shifted foreward again. The girl's two cold black pools stared into Solitude's. "How did you get the key to the Hall of Records?" Solitude asked defensively.
"I asked for it." she said, smiling innocently. But her eyes betrayed her.
"Who are you?" Solitude asked again, clenching her fists. "And why are you here?"
"Why, I'm Luna's sister!" she said, continuing to paste the smile on her face. "You're solitude, right?" Dabih extended a hand.
"Yes, I am." Solitude took her hand, and shook it.
"I've heard a lot about you, Solitude. A lot." Dabih hand gripped Solitude's in a tight grip, before releasing her like dead fish. Her smile remained, but her eyes never changed. A shiver ran down Solitude's spine.
"Have you seen a yellow-haired boy around?" She asked, trying to sound as casual as possible.
"Nope! But I'll come to you if I do!"
"Thank you. Hope you have a good day." Solitude answered stiffly.
"Oh, I will." She whispered, her smile arching into a menacing smirk. She turned away from solitude, and began walking down a long hall towards another room. She twirled the key on her finger for a minute, then pocketed it. Laughing to herself, she began running down the hall.