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 There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy

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PostSubject: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Mon May 15, 2017 7:22 pm

"So, we get to stay in this world a little longer?" a lilted voice hummed thoughtfully. Trees whistled as wind blew past and the grass tickled her skin that was exposed.

"I would hope so! You didn't even give her a chance to settle into this one!" Was that the same voice? It sounded gentler, even in it's anger.

"Yes, well...also a chance I didn't completely..." Completely what? Her throat constricted and it hurt. What did he mean?

"Shhh, quiet, quiet, she's waking up!" There was a break in the way he spoke that didn't seem...all there.
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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Mon May 15, 2017 8:47 pm

Her eyes slowly opened. Something was really off about this world, but she couldn't place a finger as to what it was. The sky wasn't a bright blue color, but a dark purple and there was a smell in the air that reminded her of...not candy...but something sweet. She sat up. The last she remembered was that she had fallen to her death. It was an accident and hadn't been anyone's fault. She looked over and saw mint green and a man that was..

"I love you. I'm in love with you. When you wake up I'll say it as many times as you want. I'll hug you and confess my love to you. Just please...open your eyes."

A tear slipped down her cheek. Her throat hurt enough that made her weary of talking. She didn't want her voice to break or to show how much strain had been put on it.

"Did I touch you?! I'm so sorry! It's my /stupid/ right hand-"

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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Mon May 15, 2017 9:02 pm

"Aaah! No tears, no tears!" The man waved his hands frantically, and he seemed hesitant to come close, his steps small and he reached a hand towards her, "So glad you're alive. For now. Nice to see you again...or good to meet you?" His mouth indented on one side in thought, "Right, right, you don't know me. Come, let me help you up. Then I can leave you be."
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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Mon May 15, 2017 9:07 pm

"What's your name?" She asked carefully, her throat whined at the use but she ignored it. She wiped away her tears and let him help her up. "You don't have to...leave."
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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Mon May 15, 2017 9:14 pm

"Might hurt you again, too dangerous. I'm dangerous." In helping her up, she came so close to him and he stiffened, but he couldn't help but let his hand linger. "What is in a name?" he purred softly, his finger glancing over her knuckles, but then he jerked, coming back to himself and he jumped back, "Sorry, sorry...name, name...What /is/ in a name? You'll only forget me again." He dipped his hood, ducking his head and his shoulders came up, "This way, that way, go where you please. Heart should find you soon. You were in the same area before." He waved to her as he turned swiftly on his heel and moved from the path they were on, darting into the forest and disappearing almost instantly.


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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Mon May 15, 2017 11:15 pm

She had been about to open her mouth, but after he was gone she just stood there a little baffled. What the hell was /that/ about? Heart? She let out a long, soft sigh. "Too dangerous....huh." She murmured quietly to herself. She had a feeling that he said those words to her before. But he didn't want to give her his name? This way that way....go where she pleased. "I wish he made a little more sense..." She wished this /world/ made a little more sense. Something was...definitely off now that she was alone and looking around. If he thought he was dangerous, then this world must be hazardous. "I should tread carefully. I don't think it matters the direction and...should I try to follow him?" She mused aloud. "No. He'll bolt...again."

"Believe only half of what you see and nothing what you hear." A gentle, sweet voice called to her. When she whipped around, there was a small boy, no older than five, sitting in a tree. His clothes were curious, striped and harlequin-like, mix of shades of purple stripes on his left leg, the following right sleeve the same, and his right leg had light, minty blue and green stripes while the left sleeve matched. The center of his shirt was simply black as were his boots. His hair had braids on either side, which looked like they tied in the back, and it was peachy orange while his eyes were a sweet honey brown.

She stared at the boy for a moment and then looked over her shoulder before turning back to him. "Believe in only half of what you see and nothing what you hear." She repeated. "In this world? About him? About you?"

The shy smile suddenly split his face in two as he beamed at her, "Curious, curious, aren't you, aren't you? All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream."

"A dream within...." She thought about it. So this world was...a work of an imagination. But this imagination had two people in it. Or maybe she was taking it too literally. Maybe the dream within the dream might as well be like having a nightmare and waking up and rediscovering you just entered another nightmare. "If I were to take this literally. I'd say you're telling me that this world is practically imagined. So what I see, or what I think I see, isn't exactly what I'm seeing. It's someone else's wish."

"/Wishes/! Wishes have consequences, you know. They do, they do." He jumped down, but he landed lightly on his feet. "Every moment of the night. Forever changing places, and they put out the /starlight/ with the breath from their pale face."

Okay so not a wish then. So wishes hurt someone. "Don't make a wish on a shooting star. The star....dies?" She decided to try out. "So...someone made a wish about changing places. They killed off a star for that wish?"

The boy giggled at her. "Think outside the box. Isn't that what you do best? Writing doesn't mean sanity."

Writing was insanity. Writing was living in a world where riddles were more commonplace than someone who spoke straight and listening to a boy ramble about wishes having consequences. Shooting stars to be exact. She closed her eyes as she thought about that. /I'll hug you and confess my love to you. Just please open your eyes. You can forget all about me. Just help her./ He wasn't talking to her anymore. So he had found a shooting star. Made a wish. And now, somehow someway she was here. IN this world. With little memory besides a fallen cliff and a name on her lips that wouldn't come. "I should be really careful on what stories I tell here then." She said slowly. "Words have powers, written and or otherwise."

"Good, good, you're learning, and fast. Ah!" He looked towards the darkness, jumping, and he returned to the shy boy again, "Heart King is here. He'll take you to Heart Queen. Careful. A wolf is what a wolf does." The instant she glanced away to see where he was looking, and back to him, he was gone.

Should she run? Should she hide? What on earth was she supposed to do? The man with the mint green hair told her that Heart would find her. She had been in the same area before?

"Meg!" A rough voice shouted, branches cracked, and the bushes rustled. A frantic face came into view and he ran over to hug her tight, "Your scent was so hard to catch onto! /Shit/, at least you didn't go far."

Megumi let out a surprised gasp, but hugged him back out of instinct. A part of her wanted to ask what the heck just happened, but at the same time she had a feeling that she would just be digging herself a deep hole. He caught her scent...so he was a wolf. Something about that...made a lot of sense honestly. His keen observation, his ruthlessness, his surprisingly gentleness towards comrades and friends. "Wolf" suited him. But he had a /name/ and that was on the tip of her tongue too. 'S' something.

"Are you alright, Megumi?" he pulled away from her and deep ruby red eyes bore into her, "You didn't hurt yourself when you tumbled, did you? That cliff was nasty, I had to find another way down. I'm so sorry I took so long."

So she DID fall off the cliff. TWICE for that matter. Wait. That's what he told her, wasn't it? She was in that place before. But....how would he know that she fell off the cliff twice? /We get to stay in this world a little longer?/ "I don't think I'm hurt." She said slowly.

"I didn't smell any blood on you, but you are covered in a bunch of dirt and grime. This is a twisted, topsy-turvy world. One minute we were having a little game next you were gone." He ran his hand through his hair, "We should go back home before the sun sets. It gets even /worse/ in the dark if you don't know how to navigate Hatter's world. Hold my hand and don't let go."

"He can control things here?" Megumi asked hesitantly. "Like...me falling off the cliff? It wasn't an accident?"

"Oh, I don't doubt it was. There are lots of hidden dangers and only he knows them all. I might've even fallen, too, if I had been so unlucky, but I smelled the wash of air where there should have been more green." He shrugged, "He doesn't try to hurt people on purpose, Meg. Sometimes things get out of control. This world is also tied to his emotions. I can tell he's upset by how dark it was even for daylight."

That was true. For some reason, she understood that better than he thought she did. She looked over her shoulder, where he had disappeared. "He doesn't have a name does he?" What's in a name. Would a rose smell just as sweet by any other? "He's not a bad person. I know. He freaked when he saw me."

He stopped suddenly and turned to face her, "You /saw/ him?"

"Spoke to him...even." Megumi said hesitantly. "No one...ever saw him?"

"Hisako has. I have glimpsed him in the shadows, now and again, but I've never caught his specific scent. You say he was with you, but the only thing I smelled was you. Otherwise, no." Shin furrowed his brows, "Let's get you home, and fast. You need to tell her what happened."

She wondered if maybe that had been a bad mistake, but she let herself be led. Soon the came to a palace that reminded her of a cathedral that stood tall after centuries. The walls were forbearing and the windows were narrow and tall. The towers had tall peaks, and she could picture that everything inside was going to be gothic, and cruel. Instead, she was lead through hallways that were gleaming with more light than necessary with warm browns and reds. The castle she thought would be drafty and icy, was filled with warmth and heat. The energy around the castle was friendly and had good vibes. Something spoke in the back of her mind that if she could control things with her voice and Ukyo the world with his emotions, then this person here controlled something a little stronger than that. She gripped his hand tightly, not knowing why. The Heart Queen. The boy warned her to be weary of her and once she stood in front of the throne she could see why.

This woman was indeed powerful. She didn't even have to speak, she radiated it from the way she sat on the throne. Her dress was black and red, much like how the man who lead her through the castle was black and red. She was young, younger than Megumi by a few years. But there was an age in her eyes that made Megumi's back stiffen.

He bowed his head to her by a fraction, more of an embarrassed action than submission, "The Hatter's corner decided to tip her upside down."

The woman looked concerned. "Are you alright? You're not hurt are you?" She stood up and quickly went down the stairs. "You don't look like you're bleeding anywhere...."

Stay silent. Stay calm. Stay weary. This must be Hisako. Megumi quickly bowed. "I'm alright your highness."

Hisako made a face. "I keep telling you, if you're that adamant of showing me respect, "my lady" is fine. It sounds way to formal when you do it." She turned to the man. "You look no better though, love. Why are you so grim?"

"It seems...she saw him. Yet I didn't smell anybody besides her." He hadn't lost the knot between his brows, "Something...else seems to be going on. I don't know yet."

"You saw the Hatter?" Hisako turned to Megumi. "Which one?"

Megumi slowly let out a breath. Be weary. Be cautious. "I'm not going to answer that. He found me and he was worried about me. He made sure I was alright and then he left." She refused to say much more than that. That he knew that she fell off twice. That he knew her...and knew that she forgot him. That he had a name and it wasn't /Hatter/ but...what name?

Hisako looked amused. "Who would have thought."

Megumi looked confused. Was she going to get another rambling riddle? "Thought what?"

He sighed, "We should get you to your room and changed. It's almost time for dinner."

Hisako smirked as she watched Megumi give a clearly confused look when she hadn't been answered and watched the two of them leave. Once she was alone, she let the smirk fall and she looked out the window. "I never thought I'd see the day you'd spare the one whose seen your face. She means something to you, I see it in the way she stayed still when I asked her about you. You have your secrets...and clearly Meg has her own now. So now we wait don't we? To see who controls this world again."

~*~
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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Mon May 15, 2017 11:33 pm

Shin came back to Hisako after bidding Megumi goodnight. Dinner had been fairly quiet, and that had raised his suspicions even further. She was on the balcony that extended from the throne room and he wrapped his arms around her waist and looked out at the deep forest, "She's so stiff with us. Wary, but not afraid. It is like she has only just met us again. I don't like being reminded of the times before."

"We've watched them do this a thousand times." Hisako agreed, holding Shin close. "And we continue on. But I think this time it's going to be different." She turned her head to kiss his cheek and rested her head against his. "Let her be weary, love. She'll figure us out again and know us. She'll know everyone again. This time she has an advantage. She met him face to face and he spared her instantly."

"Ah...so she did forget? I should tell her my name, then. You forget now and again I get lost in these as well." Shin sighed, "You're immune, but I'm glad you're able to flow with it so flawlessly. Otherwise I really would lose my head. I'm feral enough as it is without you to tame me."

"Oh I never tamed you." Hisako's eyes were alight with teasing mirth and her voice turned sultry. "I just gave you a different kind of outlet. The kind where your touch could burn me without you even making a fire, and you could devour me without eating meat and still feel satisfied and full." She let herself turn into his grip. "The kind of outlet where you could eat me again and again and never get tired of the same meal. Where you and scratch and claw and know it's not pain I'm moaning."

Upper lips curling just a bit, Shin inhaled and growled, his eyes fluttering closed, "If you're going to talk like /that/, and /smell/ the way you do on /purpose/ then perhaps we should move this elsewhere? Unless you're perfectly happy with any of the guards below seeing us."

"Like they haven't seen worse," Hisako said hotly as she gently kissed his mouth before making it dirty and filthy with tongue and teeth. She nipped his lips and whimpered as his fangs cut her lower lip. The taste of blood and copper made him growl lowly and she felt herself be thrown to the floor. It was hysterical really, to think that Shin thought he was /tamed/. /Honestly/.

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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Tue May 16, 2017 5:17 pm

Today was a better day. The sky was brighter than it had been before, and there was something in the air that reminded her of the feeling wistfulness. She leaned her head against the window as she felt the breeze play with her skin and the warming sensation of the sun. The world was controlled by the Hatter’s emotions, so…something was making him happy, but something was also giving him longing.

“Good morning.”

That voice. She turned around and she saw a tall man with a blue suit that looked just as formal as Hisako’s black and red dress. She didn’t see any frills, thank god, but she had a feeling those kinds of things annoyed him. He liked the clean cut, but stylish look. Whoever made that suit, certainly knew his taste. “Ah, so you did forget again.”

“Apparently I forget a lot.” Megumi answered, leaning her head back against the window. “I was just enjoying the day.”

“Sure you are, cooped up inside and not out with your nieces and nephew.” He replied, pushing her legs so that he could sit down on the sill with her. He looked outside. “Ah, so he’s watching them again.”

The Hatter, undoubtedly. “Why would he be watching them?”

“I think he has a certain fondness for them. He seems to take care of people he deems himself close to…or at least people you’re close to.” He said softly. “I’m exempt from the way the world works. So is Tsume. So is Hisako. But the rest of us fall victim to the turning clock. Again and again the cycle goes.”

Megumi sighed softly, again with the riddles. This world wasn’t going to kill her, it was going to exhausted her mentally. Before she’d even have a chance to figure this world out, she’d be ended because she was too tired to keep up. “Have you met him?”

“Only once.” He said softly. “Just the once. Hisako only met him once too. So did Tsume.”

“I’ll meet him more than.” Megumi already knew that was fact and she knew that the world would force them to meet again. Once didn’t seem to be their vocabulary.

/Nice to see you again…or good to meet you?/

They met. A thousand times and half of those she was meeting him again for the first time.

“You should come out and play before my children think that you’re ignoring them for reading a book.” He teased gently. “I’ll give you their names and everything on our way down.”

“Who am I to you?” Megumi turned her attention towards him. “Sister?”

“Yes. Practically blood in my opinion though you’re adopted. That’s why you don’t look like me or anything like that.”

/I know something you don’t./

“Ikki.”

“See? Is it so hard to know names?” Ikki teased.

“What is in a name?” Megumi didn’t know why she said that, but Ikki’s expression fell. She bit her lip and stood up. “Today’s a good day.” It was a bright day, warm. As long as the Hatter’s mood was good, she decided to take advantage over it. “I’ll go play with the kids since you’re so desperate to get away from them.”

“You wound me.”

Megumi rolled her eyes. “if I wanted you to be hurt, you’d be bleeding right now.”

“So you know?”

She stopped halfway to the door and looked at her brother in confusion. “That words have power here? Yes. I know.”

“That solves at least one half of the problem, but it only complicates the other seventy eight. Or twelve. Kent would know more about that, I’m sure.”

“Kent?”

“A friend of ours. We’re the only ones allowed in his castle. No one else dares to go.” Ikki answered smoothly. “Come. We’re keeping the little ones waiting.”
~+~
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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Tue May 16, 2017 7:44 pm

"Mama, Mama! I made a friend!" A little girl, maybe five, had run over with what could only be a hummingbird with how it fluttered around her head, playing with her light blue hair, her pale pink eyes sparkling and her laugh filling the air. It wasn't a true hummingbird, though, it's beak silver and glinting, looking like a /real/ needle with the hoop attached to it's head like a nose ring, and it's body was a mix of yellow and blue, it's wings pure white and shimmering as well, more than they should.

"Aw, what a pretty little thing, Ayaka." Tsume cooed softly and patted her head, "Where are the rest of your siblings?"

"Moriko and Saiyuri are over by the talking flowers!" Ayaka giggled, "Nori and Tami are getting dirty playing hide and seek with Kichiro and Manami!"

"Oh dear, here we go again. I hope Hatter can keep them from going too far." Tsume sighed.

The man Meg had seen before was watching them closely. His hand resting gently on a tree, a bit further away. The seven little 'dwarves', huh? He had taken all night trying to remember what This Ukyo knew. Emotions. He had to control himself here, which is why he had tried very hard to make today bright and sunny. It helped when he saw Tsume with her children. Some looked like Ikki, some looked like Tsume, others a mixture. There were /seven/ with all the possible combinations. It was a beautiful sight. It really was.

There were things that were still tugging at his memory, he couldn't remember it all in one night, after all. These things took time, and sometimes he didn't always have time. This was much different than the towering buildings of steel. The skies...he didn't have his camera, but he would remember these purple skies with blue puffy clouds and pink whispy clouds. The sun was white instead of yellow, but it was good enough.

He heard crunching and whipped his head over, moving his hood enough so he could see clearer. A little boy with dark blue hair that had light blue tips, shaggy but in a cute way, and brown eyes. He was wrapped up in a snare and hanging upside down. The doe brown eyes blinked at him and then the cutest laugh escaped tiny lips. He was only three, he had to be, but he was so adorable. Ukyo smiled softly and came over to the little boy, reaching for him and he came down, the snare unwinding and he plopped into his arms, "Now, just what do you think you're doing?"

"Hi 'n' see!" he waved his arms excitedly.

"Well, I found you. So who are you hiding from?" Ukyo poked his nose and then set him down.

"Sissies!" He put his finger on his lips, "Shh-shh! Dey fin me!"
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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Tue May 16, 2017 9:21 pm

It took some time, but it wasn't the sisters that found him. "Ah-Ha!" Megumi jumped from behind one of the trees, making the boy shriek and then laugh with surprise as he waddled to her. "You went off into the forest aga-" Her attention snapped from the little boy to the man with the mint green hair and her eyes went wide. "Don't leave." It was the first thing that tumbled from her mouth and he looked particularly surprised by it.

Ukyo tensed and froze in place, but he did reach for his hood and try to hide his face from her, "The Hearts are taking care of you? I see you met the Spades."

Megumi looked down at the kid and gently turned him the direction she needed him to go. "Go straight and don't wander. The forest is dangerous here." She watched the boy obey, turning back a few times to give happy little bursts of waves. She opened her mouth a few times to speak, but it was hard to figure out the words. After a moment, she decided to ask the one question that was important. "How important am I to you?"

Ukyo's throat constricted and he stared at her hard. She...had absolutely no idea. Of course she didn't. She never did. "You play with fire, sweetling. Do you know how well you can use it?" He answered a question with another question.

"I know your name. It's on the tip of my tongue but I don't know the sound. I know that you made me a promise." It had to be a promise. Surely that was not something she made up. She pursed her lips together. She watched him for a moment. "I know you're not happy with my question and I know it hurt you. I know you were happy and filled with longing just moments ago and then I felt this spark of /joy/ when you found my nephew. So I'm asking you, just the one question. How important am I to you?"

"Tis of three of which I could quote you, the fourth be too forward. Ini-Meni-Mini, which would be your Moe?" Ukyo felt a little proud of himself for spinning such a question.

So much for getting a straight answer. Megumi looked up at the sky, a little annoyed but...she should have figured that by now. This world was going to really kill her with all of the riddles. "Three." She said after a moment, looking at him. That probably would give her the closest to the straight answer she'd ever get.

"Sometimes..." Ukyo swallowed, his hand gripping the nearest tree and he tried again, "Sometimes I'm terrified of my heart; of it's constant hunger for whatever it wants. The way it stops and starts." He looked away from her, "Will you let me leave now?"

Megumi took a soft breath in and let it out. "I have a feeling that was a roundabout way of keeping the promise you made me too." She watched him for a moment and then felt her heart sadden. She was important to him, she meant...something to him. But something about her made him scared. "You can leave..." She said quietly, stepping back. "For what it's worth...I'm sorry I don't remember."

Tsume looked up from talking to her husband when Megumi came back, "Meg-chan...the wind turned cold. Did you see him again?" She noticed she looked sad as well, "Oh, dear..."

"Maybe I should try a riddle or two of my own, next time. It seems straightforwardness doesn't do anything but give me more questions and less answers and make me doubt myself. Hear nothing, see half of the things. Emotions can be seen, I can feel his like you can probably feel mine." Megumi bit her lip. "Of course he's an open heart, everyone knows his emotions, but I wonder if they actually /know/ them. The wind's cold with despair. I hurt him badly."

Tsume's eyes widened and she looked at Ikki before back at Megumi, "So you remember that? I was told to be careful, let you come to yourself as the memories come back. You're right, we can only guess his emotions since he won't come near us. I can't feel the despair in his wind. You're much closer to him than we could have realized. At least it's not Toma or Kent."

"What do you mean?" Megumi blinked a little surprised.

"Possible suitors. Possible anything really." Ikki said slowly. "I mean, I told you that you're adopted into our family, so that kind of makes you a princess."

"I am not getting married that is the /last/ thi-"

"I never said get married." Ikki held his hands up. "Go right down the rabbit hole won't you? I'm just /saying/ those were possibilities."

"Did you think of the Ball Toma's mother is holding? Is that what made you panic?" Tsume blinked at her slowly, "Kent's too isolated for anyone to go near his castle, after all."

"I...didn't even know there was a ball." Megumi frowned deeply. "Or anything like that...I just..." She wondered how she could word this. "Someone already is holding a cage for me to crawl into. Whether or not I fall into it gracefully, die with dignity or he entraps me anyway is really up in the air." Yay! First riddle and it wasn't even much of one. She was going to need to get some practice. The air shifted though. It was still cold, but...there was something curious about it.

"Shh..." Tsume came over to her and rubbed her back, "There's not going to be anything like that. Toma and Kent like you as a friend, if that's good enough for you. Toma isn't looking forward to this Ball, even. You haven't ventured to the parts of the castle Kent labeled off limits. He trusts you and that's something only Ikki and I have seemed to gain. Kent doesn't even let the children enter, not that we would, either. It really is dreary." She sighed, "Don't tell Hisako or Shin you saw him again. It's unheard of to see him twice and we know you'll see him more than that. If you can bring him out, that'll be nothing short of a miracle."

Bring him out, would that even be possible. She looked back into the forest and made up her mind. She couldn't rely on chances. She might have to venture farther and maybe, just maybe, try to get her answers that way. Right now though, that wasn't a good idea. She hurt him and she was hurt by him. They needed to think, they needed to heal, and then she could find them with the purpose to apologize properly and then to see if she couldn't bridge that gap. She was at least good at that.

"I'm going to go and distract the children." Megumi smiled softly at her sister-in-law and her brother. "Thank you both."

"No problem?" Ikki watched his sister leave and he looked at Tsume curiously. "I don't know what you said that made her look determined, but Hatter better look out."

"That is the question, isn't it?" Tsume shook her head and she reached for his hand, "Let's go enjoy ourselves while she handles the lot." With that, they went to wander through Hisako's maze of a garden, greeting guards as they passed.

~*~
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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Wed May 17, 2017 12:34 am

She waited only a day before trying to explore the forest again. She was quite fascinated with how different this world was now that she actually had a chance to /look/. The trees had faces that would sometimes speak. The leaves could /whistle/ in the wind. There were birds of all shapes and sizes with different random things about them. There was a bird whose feathers were made of cotton and whose beak was like a pelican. She was careful and weary of the flowers because some of them liked to puff out some weird smelling smoke that made her dizzy as hell and then there were some plants that clearly had boils on them she didn’t want to touch too.

But then she reached the fork in the road and no road sign. Well, there was a road sign but it’d be kind of road to call….

“You look just like him.” Megumi blinked in surprise as she stood staring at two children who were probably seven years old. They had mint green hair and were wearing the same type of outfit. Black and white and checkered. One had more black, the other had more white.

“Look like who?” They asked together. The way they said it so in sync made Megumi step back a little.

The girl with green eyes laughed, “No one looks like us besides us and the one that created us.”

“Um…” Megumi really didn’t want to go down that path if she could help it.

“You’re not very good at riddles yet, so we’ll be easy on you. You should go that way.” The girl pointed left, but the twin slapped her hand down with a glare.

The one that slapped her sister had eyes of honey gold similar to the young boy with his different colors. She turned them towards Meg and they were fierce, "If she goes that way he'll get upset again. We don't want that, do we, do we?" The way she spoke was rougher than her sister's and yet lilted just like the odd voice Megumi had heard when she came to the other day, "This way, that way. There's no yellow brick road to follow here. You have to chose your own path."

If writing was insanity, then she definitely was insane. Probably more so than the Mad Hatter. God she's actually /calling/ him that. She bowed her head and shook her head from side to side.

"I think we broke her." The girl sounded in awe and then gasped. "Oh no, he's going to be /upset/."

The young girl with more black rubbed her face, "Do you really not remember hardly anything?" she stomped her foot, obviously getting mad, "I thought you were retaining some memories from world to world? Are /none/ of our hints helping?"

"I know he made a promise to me. I know his name but I just don't know the sound of it. I know that he has two people not one and apparently four..." Megumi gestured to the two girls. "I know that he's scared of loving me or something close to that now that I had a decent rest after that. I know that...I know....I know that he's still hurting from what I did. I know that this world is controlled by his emotions and even if he controls his emotions /I/ still feel it. He calls himself dangerous and I know he is." She let her voice soften. "I know he's trying to do what he can to protect me. I know that I have some ability in this world too and I need to figure it out becuase maybe, just maybe that ability can answer more questions than the damn riddles I have been plagued with since I got here and....I'm cursing in front of children and lost control of my life." She gripped her hair tightly.

"Well you haven't actually lost control of your life, just a little bit of your sanity but honestly who needed it?" The girl with more white quipped.

"You need to also remember more things. You need to meet more people. Diamonds and Clovers will help make the full set. Kings and Queens they make together, but apart they mean nothing." The honey-eyed one ran her hand through her hair, "This way, that way, wrong way, we're all mad here. Next time you come by, you'll know which one to take."

So meet Toma and Kent and whatever ladies they had lined up? Well. She could always ask Shin and Hisako if there was a way to meet them. Toma would be easiest. She might have to go through Ikki to get to Kent, or maybe she'd just....know. Maybe she should trust her instincts more. First thing first, get out of the forest and then figure out a way to meet them.

"Megumi, just who are you talking to?" Shin appeared as silently as a ghost behind her.

Megumi let out a surprised yell and turned around. "Shin! Don't scare me like that! I was talking to these two kids...they kind of look like the Hatter so I-"

Shin sniffed the air deliberately and frowned. He even walked around her and to where the two girls stood stalk still. He sniffed again, scowled, and then turned to her, "There's no one here. Are you seeing something invisible? They look like the Hatter?"

"Invisible things are the only realities." The colorful boy appeared, sitting in another tree, "Twee, Tweedle. You stuck around too long. Shouldn't have let wolfie know we're here. Heart Queen will be sad. They'll be even more desperate."

Tweedle sighed and took her sister's hand, "C'mon, Twee, Chess is right." She looked at Megumi, "If you don't know where you want to go, it doesn't matter which path you take." She added for good measure, then when Chess jumped down the three disappeared into the forest.

More desperate? To find the Hatter? Megumi's breath caught. Fuck. She fucked up. She fucked up so bad. There was no way to recover from this was there? "....My imagination. It overworks itself sometimes. You know how it goes." Oh, yeah. And there's the look of disbelief and the "are you fucking kidding me right now' expression Shin was good at giving.

A simple roll of his eyes and he shook his head, "At least you stayed on the road. I didn't have to try too hard to follow. Hisako wants to try and see if we can find an outfit for you to wear to the Ball. It's coming up fast." He wrinkled his nose, "A lot of people are going to be there."

"...." She was supposed to meet new people but she hated crowds and dresses and looking like a /princess/. She liked the outfit she was wearing even if people did assume she was the castle maid and she did enjoy being able to muck around with the children without fear. But it was the way to meet Toma and Kent the fastest. Well, Toma. She doubted Kent would leave the castle. She worried about him for that. "Let's go then. I didn't mean to worry you."

"This way, then." Shin motioned ahead, and began walking, hands deep in his pockets. He was troubled by the way she acted. Girls that looked like the Hatter? She had seemingly been standing there when he found her before, too, looking confused at a single spot before he hugged her in his relief. Had she really hurt herself when she fell? She hadn't mentioned any headaches, or shown any pain in her eyes. Sometimes injuries to the head weren't visible, but pain tended to follow a concussion. She hadn't been dizzy, either. Just what was going on? He had to tell Hisako about it when he got the chance.

She wondered what would make Shin and Hisako desperate to find the man. She thought about Tsume's warning and she wanted to hit herself in the head. Why. Why did she fuck things up. She should just keep her mouth shut is what she should do. Believe in only half of what you saw. Hear nothing. She was ignorant here and she knew it. This world, for all of it's beauty, had a certain kind of crazy to it. She knew it. But those kids. The girls looked like him and the boy...now that she saw him again...looked like her. She'd have to be a real idiot to not know what that meant. But she held her tongue. Now wasn't the time to delve in secrets. She could explain to the sky later. For some reason, the world certainly knew when she was talking about her feelings, or going nuts over stupid things. "Hey...Shin." She decided to speak cautiously. "Why do you and Hisako want to find the Hatter so badly?" She didn't have a name to give him and it pained her to say that one. She needed to find it soon.

"He is a lonely man. We're all, if you haven't noticed, different in our own way. I cured Hisako from a curse, and she saved me from myself. We want to help him. Yet he's also unpredictable. There's a truth to what she said, that no one's lived to see him twice, and the forest is hostile at night." Shin explained to her, "I don't speak in riddles and neither does Tsume. If you want to ask, just ask. Tsume...she used to be your biggest confidant as well. She's sad you forgot her."

"..." Megumi was careful when she said her next words. "Please don't tell Hisako."

Shin looked at her and furrowed his brows, but he took a deep breath and nodded, "If you want me to keep it secret, I will. You will have to promise to tell her yourself, then, when you're ready instead."

Megumi smiled and hugged him. "Thank you." She said and let him go. "I'll keep that promise and I'll tell her when I'm ready." She smiled warmly and then she frowned. "You know, no one really told me what the ball was...for exactly. Is it just...like...a random party or...is something happening with Toma and Kent?"

"Kent, Hisako and I won't be there. We aren't welcome. Not by Toma, or even his mother, but by the people. It also is a separate realm. The skies are blue, clouds white, sun yellow. Ikki and Tsume and Kent all live in that realm as well." Shin sighed and began walking again, "Toma's mother is trying to find him a wife."

"Does...he not have that kind of reach or...?" Megumi frowned. It was weird that the thought of "normal" was actually a little scary now.

"The technicalities of that is best asked to Hisako with all her magic prowess. I can't understand it for the life of me." Shin shook his head, "It's part to do with is reach, he likes his little bubble, but part something else. Different magicks and things. I once lived in that realm. Also in part why I don't speak as Hisako does. Ikki and Kent speak in riddles mainly because they enjoy the mental acrobatics."

"So it's a language barrier." Megumi said softly, quietly. "That...oh."

"Did you figure something out?" Shin glanced over his shoulder.

"I think I've been fucking things up since day one." Megumi admitted. "I think that, I've been thinking too hard about things when in reality it's not that hard and I'm just...trying to translate what isn't there. Putting words where there isn't any and taking meaning where there's none." She bit her lip. "...I'm not from this realm or am I from this realm and does it even matter?"

"Honestly...no one knows?" Shin winced, "It's the whole reason you're adopted, Meg. Everyone loves you because you blend and flow. Before you forgot, this world never used to bother you. It's why you live with Hisako. It...hurt to have to tell you my name. Your wariness...not fear. Never fear. That's something that stayed. I don't know what I would've done if you were afraid of me. I would've known immediately. I had just thought it was the fall that made you a little delirious."

Writing was insanity. She let out a breath. "But the kids I mentioned, I never said anything about them before? They're new to you?"

"That's right." Shin agreed. "Ikki could tell you more about your past. I've only known you for a year, a while before I broke the curse with Hisako. You were lost, but you'd never admit it. Always having an adventure instead, never lost. I had been beaten badly, chased and had rocks thrown at me. I was even in my wolf form. You helped me. It wasn't the first time it happened, I was content to find a cave to lick my wounds, but you..." He laughed a little weakly, emotion in his voice he didn't show usually, "Your basket...damn you, you had bandages in them and patched me right up, then and there. I think Hisako took her cue from you, as she did the same."

She remembered that. She remembered carrying a basket with her, or something with her all the time. She remembered Shin teasing her that her basket and apron were made with never-ending magic. Never ending magic. But that wasn't true. And those adventures. Oh. Oh. No wonder. It made her heart stop beating for a good moment. How important was she to the Hatter? He was scared of himself, of how much he wanted. How important was she? She was the only one here who probably trusted the Hatter. And how many times did she break that? Crush that?

Shin took a deep breath, "I'm sorry...my own past...it hurts. You also have that power, your own personal power, not the power that the Hatter's World gives you. Of people telling you things they don't speak of to others."

So, let go. That was basically the end game wasn't it? She had two powers then. One that the Hatter gave her and the one that she just..naturally had to begin with. She reached out and gently made Shin stop and brought him into a hug. "Thank you." She said softly. "For being the kind of friend that you are. Your past doesn't have to hurt anymore, you have a good future to look forward to."

Shin swallowed thickly, and he hugged her back tightly. He took a while before he pulled away and took a breath, "We'll be home soon. Come on." He patted her back and turned back to the path.
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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Wed May 17, 2017 1:22 am

Megumi was silent for most of the rest of the way of their trip when she noticed a red thing flying right past her face. It was a beautiful red flower that had wings and a bug like body. No. It was a bug that had a flower on it's back and it's wings were leaves. "Aw look at you." She cooed, reaching up to touch it.

Shin turned to look at her curiously only for his eyes to widen, "Meg, no, get away from it!" He jumped to her side and grabbed her hand, but that seemed to make the little creature upset at being tumbled around by the breeze created by his speed. It spun around in a circle first and then came right at them, doing a figure-eight around their heads and the rose on it's back puffed out sparkly clouds of what seemed to be powder. "No, nonono!" he batted it away and towards the forest, but that caused one more poof right in his face and he coughed.

It smelled so sweet, but the burning sensation was practically instant. Her blood felt too hot and her clothes restricting. She felt like someone was trying their best to torture her to turn her on, and yet she wasn't being touched. It wasn't hard to let her mind /go/ that direction since there was a man right /there/ who could probably pin her to a tree-

Pin her to a tree.

Megumi's turned on mind flipped a switch. That was /Shin/ and not her intended and oh god Hisako was going to chop her head /off/ for this. "I-I-You gotta stay there Shin. No boy."

"Stupid Barafae..." Shin growled as he stuck his face in her neck, groaning deep, his teeth already scraping skin. He was panting like he had no air. Indeed, his throat was thick and it was hard to swallow. His eyes stung, his nose burned, his ears rang. His skin /boiled/ and as he moved he was in so much /pain/ and /pleasure/. He'd gotten too hard too quickly, and he didn't think twice about reaching down to unbuckle his pants, moving things around so he wasn't bent at such an awkward angle, instead curving up towards his belly and he sighed with just the little relief it gave. He was licking along Meg's pulse and sucking at her collarbone now, his hands holding onto her hips.

No! No no no no! What would work? What would work? Scent! Wolves and scent, wolves and scent. "WATER BUCKET!" It made him pull away since that had to hurt his sensitive ears, but for some reason she felt a weight in her hand and she wasted no time or thought when she tossed that weight into his face and...she actually threw the water and the bucket at him. "Oh my god, I'm so sorry."

Shin groaned as he held his head, his hair and the top of his suit jacket soaked and he stumbled back, shaking his head, "That /hurt/." He growled lowly, red flashing into slits, but he gained a little sense, "You should /run/. Before I rip your clothes away. Red Barafae make you /need/."

"Uh....Uh....I need another bucket." She snapped her fingers and then she said quickly. "Water bucket!" And she got one. This time, instead of throwing it at him, she dumped it on herself, tossed the bucket to the side and yelled over her shoulder. "COME AND GET ME WOLF BOY!"

Meanwhile in her head she was practically screaming. /HATTER IF YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT URGENCY LOOKS LIKE, YOU'LL LET THIS FOREST TAKE US THE CASTLE!!!!!/ She knew he couldn't read her thoughts or anything, she doubted /that/ highly. However, it made her feel better than yelling at a god she didn't even know existed or not. She /never/ thought in her /life/ that Shin would be the one to go /after/ her. She just prayed she could sick him on Hisako in time. She didn't want to explain /this/.

And she never been so grateful to see the castle come up so quickly. Fucking fuck, Shin was a fast mother fucker and she did everything that she could to make his life hard. Obstacles, jumping over random things that may or may not have tripped him up, running in a zig zag like a rabbit. Trying to distract him with the /idea/ of a rabbit, but she didn't think that summoning went very well.

They finally made it onto the castle grounds and he slipped with the change from grass to stone. He fell hard onto his knees and the pain made him pause. His hands gripped the ground, his nails scraping the rock. His fangs bit as his bottom lip, and he tasted the blood.

"I'd help you up, but I think-" Megumi was about to say something when she saw a wisp of black suddenly envelop Shin and forced him up right. She turned to see Hisako with a scary look on her face forcing him towards the fountain and then her magic gave a shove and he /tumbled/ right into the large marble basin. Megumi had forgotten that the castle had a fountain in the front of the yard. It wasn't all that impressive. A three tier with a heart that sprouted water from an arrow piercing it. Like death. Like a dick that- "I'M GOING TO MY ROOM!" Meg shrieked suddenly and headed in only to run straight into the door. She rubbed her face where her nose started bleeding, but shoved the door open and ran in.

"I was about to dunk her too but..." Hisako looked a little amused as the magic faded and she headed towards fountain and leaned over it where Shin sat in it, a little dazed. "Barafaes?"

"Your heart and my heart are very, very old friends..." Shin cooed at her, half a purr half a growl and he sat up. Scent was muddled, but the heat and need he felt before changed. Mate. His mate. The other one wasn't right, but it was the only thing available. He climbed from the fountain, dripping everywhere, his eyes fully red with black slits, "My mate...mine...can't make it inside. Maze? Too open here."

She loved this when he got a little possessive and the wolf took over a little more. "Let's go." She said, her voice low and filled with promise. "Our hearts are one of the same, my love. The maze anyone can get lost in when they wander...we just happen to know a very good hiding spot. That's all." She helped him up and guided him towards the maze when she heard Meg's voice shout.

"IF YOU WERE HERE YOU COULD HELP A WOMAN OUT YOU KNOW!"

Well if that didn't get the Hatter's attention nothing would.

The wind swirled around Shin but he didn't shiver. It was a warm wind, and he looked at the sky to see the clouds swirling together, "Hatter's confused." He said simply.

"I can't wait till she tries to explain that to his face." Hisako laughed. "That's some mating cry."

With his senses no longer dulled by water, Shin's sense was fading and he slipped too easily back into his growl at the word, his clothes ripping easy as his claws punctured fabric and his uninhibited strength popped buttons. He kept following her, instinct telling him not to grab, not yet, she was too feisty. Also willing enough. No need for another chase. She wasn't prey, she was his mate, and she always gave to him willingly. All he had to do was follow.

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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Wed May 17, 2017 11:34 am

The ball was needlessly to say crowded and filled with gorgeous ballroom dresses that were of different colors and different kinds of sparkly. The violin and piano made a beautiful accompaniment to the dancers. Megumi felt out of place in such a luxurious type of setting. She couldn’t imagine dancing with any of the men who approached her, and the fastest she could find a hiding spot the better. A few times she was stopped and was fawned over like she was a thing rather than a person. It made her upset and wish that she could summon things here. Shin had told her though that her magic wouldn’t work this far.

Magic didn’t touch this corner of the world and it made her kind of sad. She could imagine the sparkles of the dresses making gorgeous trails after a spin. She could imagine floating tea light candles that would hang above them rather than a chandelier. And the music would just play itself, there wouldn’t be a need for a musician because everyone would be dancing and no one would be left out.

“One day you’re never going to return here and you’re going to be forever locked away in your Wonderland.” A familiar voice made her look up. He was a blonde prince, wearing a black suit with some yellow accents here and there. It didn’t look too tacky nor bumblebee like. It was just enough.

“Maybe.” Megumi said softly as she looked back at the dancing. “Not going to join them?”

“You can’t find true love in a masquerade.” Toma gestured to the dancers. They weren’t wearing masks or anything, but Megumi supposed that she could understand the sentiment. “I would like to find it with a little more peace.”

“True love isn’t peaceful. Whoever gave you that knowledge didn’t know what they were talking about.” Megumi let out a startled laugh. “It’s louder than the rolling thunder and hotter than the sun. It’s more saddening than a death and more brilliant than a birth.”

Toma’s smile turned sly. “You’re talking of the Hatter again.”

“Am not.” Megumi frowned swiftly. Again? “I was talking of true love.”

“But you only talk like that when you’re talking of him.” Toma pointed out. “You don’t speak the way we do. Your speech is too plain.”

“I’m sorry that my speech must bore you.” Megumi rolled her eyes, “I can stay silent.”

“Silence is the loudest form of speaking there is.” Toma said quietly. “And sometimes the most dangerous way to know things you never wanted to know to begin with. No, don’t stay silent. Open your mouth. Tell me your story that you want to weave. I pinched a nerve with you.”

“I don’t have a story. I just didn’t want to see you give up because the setting was wrong.” Megumi gestured towards the ball. “Though I wish-“

Toma clapped her hand over her mouth and gave her a look. Megumi’s expression turned confused and he let his hand drop. “Never say that word.” He warned. “It’s a dangerous word here.”

Wish. That’s right. Wishes have consequences and it could do things no one else could do. She swallowed. “I wonder what the ball would look like with a little more flair. A little more pixie dust so to speak.”

“Perhaps a private one, between the two.” Toma mused. “That’d be better than to be surrounded by strangers who don’t know your name.”

“I wonder what that’s like. To be a stranger and yet know their name.” Megumi mused. “You just lost the sound of the music that it makes.”

“Maybe it’s not the music that’s lost, but the melody.” Toma pointed out. “Perhaps you know their name and hear their music, but you can no longer sing the part.”

“That’s tragic.”

“But you could figure out the words, I’m certain. I thought you were the one that always leapt before she looked.” Toma smiled a little. “Say, who exactly are you here for? Hisako and Shin? Yourself?”

“Neither.” Megumi shook her head from side to side. “My brother wanted me to come, so I came.”

“Perhaps it’s not here you belong to but back in the wonderland.” Toma gently nudged her. “Maybe the music here is bleeding out the melody you wish to sing. Here doesn’t bring a smile to your lips. Here brings a sadness and longing that I’m sure he can feel if he so much thought your name.”

“Does he even know the melody it makes?”

“Perhaps it’s he that’s waiting for you to sing. Here is where you’re supposed to get upset with me and tell me that promises are meant to be kept, Meg. Yet you stand there looking puzzled. Has he forgotten?”

“I think we both have.” Megumi’s answered softly. “Just like you don’t even want to try to dance to someone’s tune.”

“Ah you can’t compare the two. Music’s music. But you two have always had your own dance. Maybe you should leave, Meg, and see if you can’t remember the steps. See if you can’t find a way to meet him again, and try once more.” Toma gently shoved her. “You’ll find no true love here, Meg. So go home, to where your heart beats and where the touch lingers.”

“Wonderland’s dangerous at night.” Megumi heard that often enough from Shin.

“Sometimes.” Toma agreed. “But I never knew you to be a coward. I know you drew the forest from a map and made the rivers flow. I know you like how it changes on you, and how you’re life is at peril. I also know that you hope. And that’s a dangerous emotion to take care of let alone to give. You don’t know what someone might do, with something so powerful as that.”

“What do you think someone would do with love then?” Megumi questioned.

“You told me it’s loud.” Toma gestured to the ballroom. “To me, it is the silence of death. It’s the moment of truth. It’s agony. It’s suffering. But it’s determination. I see it in you. I see it in Ikki. I see it in Hisako and I feel it in Shin’s heart. Brothers are closer than you might think. Siblings always know.”

She wouldn’t doubt that. “Then I’ll return home since you’re going to kick me out of your own party. But Toma. You shouldn’t linger in the shadows. They might just swallow you. Dance with someone, maybe you’ll figure it’s their siren call.” She walked away and Toma watched her leave out the door.

He wondered if he sent her to her untimely death, but decided not to worry about it. The Hatter will decide if she was worth saving or not. Megumi was stronger than she looked too. The forest once bowed to her whims before. Perhaps they'd do it again.
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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Wed May 17, 2017 11:57 am

~

Watching the orange haired woman walk by, Rika tugged Maya closer out of the way and bowed to her, so she followed suit. She didn't seem to notice them, nearly running for the black and gold carriage that had a coach getting ready at the reins. "Wonder what her hurry is..." she mused, finding she thought the woman was quite pretty, her dress different than those she had woven and made her fingers bleed for, pretty blues and whites with a heart weaved in the corner of her bodice. It all pointed to the Heart lands, in Wonderland.

Rika only shrugged at her, told her to wait for her signal which was her fan splaying out, as she went up to the security and introduced herself, brandishing her orange envelope from the bag over her shoulder. She was supposed to sneak by, since she was but a commoner and not nobility like Rika, not to mention Rika had an invitation and Maya didn't. While the man at the podium was distracted, taken by Rika's charms, Maya slipped by quickly.

They were both so late Maya had feared they missed the party entirely. It was nearly Midnight, the two of them having been working on the dress she wore. An alteration to fit her slightly larger frame to Rika's slim one, also white with the ruffles mixtures of golds and oranges. Rika had gotten it just for this Ball, made by her own hands instead of Maya. That was until she found her bawling on the floor of her shop, staring at the scraps after just finishing up the dresses for her three harpy followers that had come because of King Ikki so they could dance with him, not the slightest bit interested in Prince Toma.

It /should/ have been a masquerade, but it was still three more months before Harvest and those types of Balls became common place and almost a sort of competition just like Yule. She felt exposed with her face so open, only her yellow flower-printed fan to shield her. She had come here hoping, wishing, just for a single dance even if it was brief.
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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Wed May 17, 2017 12:08 pm

Toma wondered if Megumi was able to carry a little bit of magic with her, for soon after she had left he had decided to wander the ballroom, not really thinking of finding a partner. Too many of the girls were already underneath Ikki's charms. It was nice of Tsume to let the women have their dances, but he knew that she would blaze him with passion later. Yet as he wandered, he could hear someone. Not...a song or a melody like Megumi described. But a drawing. He decided to follow where it was that he was being led to and he came across a woman whose curves could be on a statue and her face shy and hidden by a fan. He was struck literally dumb by her beauty and how well that dress and the scene looked.

Like a painting come to life.

He needed to stop with the metaphors, but he certainly was going to write Megumi a letter about this later. He gathered up what little courage he had and approached. "May I dance with you?" Her eyes were so beautiful, and soulful.

Maybe this was why Ikki was a good poet. Though whether this was love or something else was entirely up in the air.
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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Wed May 17, 2017 12:23 pm

Maya heard a murmur or two, but the actual words were lost before they made it to her ears. She stared at orange topaz eyes, her breath caught in her throat as she froze in place. She felt like a mouse drawn to a trap, but as the blush rose in her cheeks she closed the fan and placed it in the sash of her dress. She reached for his hand, and while both of theirs were gloved, the warmth still spread as she never dropped her gaze from his, the spark igniting between them that way instead. His face lit up at her non-verbal acceptance, his smile so bright she might as well be staring at the chandeliers directly.

He swept her easily to him, by his side as he led her from the wall and he could have taken her to the middle of the room or the gardens or the stars, and she wouldn't have known the difference. Through town she had seen him now and again, because his friend and bond brother the Shifter Shin would not go to his castle. Since the broken curse, Shin wasn't nearly as feared in the village and they were able to walk freely now, instead of playing in the forests. They had bakery they enjoyed going to, and she knew the Baker and his wife that hadn't been afraid of Shin in the first place, giving him food when he needed it. Waka and Mine were good people, even if they were unable to give him shelter.

Toma had a soft spot for Shin, knowing him since they were a child and a pup, before the animosity of others really grew heated in their young teens. He had also know Hisako, and while Toma didn't tend to go into Wonderland, he met with her often at the border between lands instead where the oddest but prettiest sights could be had. She had even painted it, the blending gradient of purple into blue, pink into white and the sun, neither white nor yellow but swirling both like a marble ball in the sky.

Never had she dreamed that she would be here with Toma, being swirled and swayed and dipped and giggling all the while, feeling like they were on air instead of stone. After watching from afar for so long. She owed Rika a great deal after this. A personal painting, perhaps, if Rika would even accept it and not brush her off calling this beautiful, wonderful gift merely an act of friendship. Rika had granted her greatest wish, and the blond woman knew it.
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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Wed May 17, 2017 12:46 pm

They danced in silence, Toma had a feeling that breaking it would break the entire story that was being weaved right now. He had no idea of her name, or what her occupation was. What he did know about her was that she was shy. Shy like he was and the crowds that had been dancing around them, were starting to make themselves the audience. This was a another reason why he hated parties. Every time he made he did something, the others would turn it into a spotlight and a spectacle. Even if they were far away from the crowds and in the balcony.

She was tensing in his grip, her eyes were starting to dart around. He tried to project a sense of calm, trying to project that she was safe and there was no need to worry. He didn't tighten his grip on her, but he tried to spin her more, trying to make her dizzy enough so that the crowd's gaze couldn't get under her skin.

But there was really no point to it. The midnight bell chimed, the music played it's final song. The crowds were hushed and were waiting for that magical kiss. Instead, he was shoved aside and the woman that had been in his arms, had fled suddenly from his grip. "No! Wait!" He shouted, but the spell had been broken. The painting that she had made had suddenly turned from artwork to shambles. "Wait! Please!" He pushed away the crowds, trying to get to her. The guards were already coming towards them and he wondered what could the fuss be.

But she ran down the stairs, tripping over herself in the process. She straightened herself up and ran off again. Toma felt his heart break. This wasn't how it was supposed to go.

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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Wed May 17, 2017 12:57 pm

"Once Upon a Midnight Dreary..." Maya sniffed, her knee shooting with pain. She needed to stop listening to the ramblings of those who came from Wonderland. One of the guards were coming closer and she snapped, "I'm leaving!" at them. No need to fuss. She wouldn't bother anymore and she limped her way towards Rika's carriage. Rika had said that she would get Ikki to bring her home, like the gentleman she heard he was, and so Rika's coach gripped the reins and snapped them as soon as she was inside. Lifting her dress she looked and saw that even through the layers there was a gash and so she reached for the sash, only to realize it and her fan were gone. She must have loosened it with the fan earlier, then when she tripped it made it fall. It was fine. Anyone could claim it, but it had her artist signature on it because the flowers painted on the fabric were her own.
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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Wed May 17, 2017 8:46 pm

Toma had found the fan and the sash on the staircase and carefully took it with him. He wrapped the sash around the fan so that none of the girls could see it and try to claim it. He frowned at the guards when they reported that they weren't able to catch her and decided to leave it at that. He'd figure it out himself, who the mysterious dancer was.

It'd be a fun way to kill time anyway. It's been forever since someone called upon his prowess. Though maybe "called upon" wasn't a good phrase for this. Nevertheless, what an exciting time it was.
~+~
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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Wed May 17, 2017 9:39 pm

It was a busy night tonight. Some from the Wonderland village had gone to the Ball as well and Ukyo looked up at the sky. Waving, reaching his hand, more stars appeared as he gave a content sigh. "Once Upon a Midnight Dreary, while I pondered weak and weary..." he hummed softly, almost softly singing, he walked along the forest and let the flowers bloom under the glow of the moon through the trees. The leaves glowed a light blue, the undercurrent a dark purple and when the wind whistled through and rustled them, they fluttered both colors and it was lovely.

"Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore..." He cooed as he continued speaking his poem and waved a hand when he reached a clearing. The grass turned plush and flowers into a colorful pillow, "While I nodded, nearly napping..." he closed his eyes, getting comfortable on the ground and as if following his cue, he felt the pulling snap and a flood of magic as she entered his realm again. So she hadn't stayed. He figured she wouldn't, "...suddenly there came a tapping, as if someone gently rapping, rapping...at my chamber door..." he cooed as he drifted off to sleep.
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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Wed May 17, 2017 9:46 pm

The brilliance of the stars had made Megumi stop in her tracks as she watched more appear. She could feel Wonderland shift, like a soft lullaby was being sung. So, the Hatter was asleep somewhere in the forest where she probably couldn't wander to. She knew that while he slept, the forest would probably have a mind of it's own. She needed to hurry back to the castle before the forest woke up to start doing damage.

She ran through, keeping her thoughts as still as possible. The Forest couldn't be tricked for long, but she hoped that if she worked hard enough at it, she'll get at least to the edge before the Forest tried to draw her back. She was just about to run through another clearing when she stumbled on top of something. She turned around just as the man with the mint green hair woke up.

You should stay far away from me when I'm sleeping.

Megumi scrambled to get up and tried to turn to give a good look, but he tackled her to the ground and pinned her shoulders. This was not the Hatter. Not the gentle one anyway. This one had smaller pupils and darker shadows underneath the eyes. Like he hadn't slept in years. In decades. There was a bitterness that she could taste, as well as blood. The world had shifted into a dark ruby red and the grass felt like needles against her back. She wouldn't doubt that she was being pricked, nor sliced from the blades of grass.
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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Wed May 17, 2017 10:00 pm

"Here in the forest, dark and deep, I offer you eternal sleep." His voice wasn't musical anymore, cutting deeper than the grass. His one hand was gripping her throat and the other was reaching for the dagger on his belt, "The boundaries that divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where one ends, and where the other begins?"

Megumi felt the answer on the tip of her tongue, but she decided to swallow it. She felt her throat constrict and burn with the way he gripped her tight and she watched in muted fear as he took out his dagger. It was sharp and pointed, clearly well taken care of. She looked him in the eye, and watched as his eyes watered. Of course. Of course. Just as he brought it down, she said quietly. "The blade shall turn to flowers." She let out a grunt of pain when he punched her chest, flowers and petals going up her face and nose causing her to sneeze too.

He stared at the petals in his hand and blinked dumbly. Had she just...? A startled laugh escaped him and then he jerked his hand away, the shadows leaving his eyes and his face wasn't scrunched up anymore, "Meg...that was brilliant, but you should go. I'll hurt you again. It's not safe here." He scrubbed his hand over his face as he fell back onto his rear. He was so tired and if he was tired then he had less control over his other side, and he stared at the forest beyond her, "Deep into the darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before..." he whispered in soft despair mostly to himself, his eyes glazing over as he lost himself a moment.

Megumi felt her heart clench. She sat up as well but she didn't go. Instead, she decided to be that person Toma said that she was and she went over to his side and hugged him around his neck. He stiffened. "I won't ask you for a quote." She said, holding him tight. "I already know. Just like I'm learning again the melody you play and the notes I'm supposed to sing. What fortitude the soul contains, that it can so endure." She pulled away, bleeding and aching but she smiled at him. "Don't you dare give up on me yet, Hatter. If you love me as much as you so think, then endure and suffer a little while longer. I'll do the same." She stood up swiftly and ran off into the night.

~*~
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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Wed May 17, 2017 10:47 pm

Hisako tsked after she was done bandaging and putting a healing salve on Megumi's back. She didn't even make a hiss of pain or a whimper, but had clenched hard into the bedsheets. Shin had left since the blood made his stomach sick since she was a friend and pack rather than prey. "So you outwitted the witty. It was smart of you to turn the blade into something made of peace, but look at your poor back. I'm shocked he didn't feel it when you embraced him. Surely he hugged you back? No?"

"He didn't hug me, so I don't think he'll know till the sun rises." Megumi answered as she slowly sat up. The wounds tugged uncomfortably, but she was thankful that Hisako was good at herblore and knew how to heal. She let the nightgown that she was wearing slide down her back, careful not to catch on the gauze. "I think he's too busy trying to puzzle what I'm talking about."

"You riddled him? You of all people?" Hisako was flabbergasted. "You were so vexed by our way of roundabout talking that you decided to go ahead and pick up the enemies tongue?"

"Okay, one, you're not an enemy even if you like to paint yourself that way and two, I'm still a little annoyed with all the riddles but I didn't exactly riddle him. I just...spoke plainly with really pretty language." Megumi shrugged. "And I might've tossed in a line from a poem I like."

"Well, I suppose that's one way of doing things." Hisako shook her head from side to side and she let the bloody rag drop into the cooled off water. She picked up the basin and set it aside, knowing that one of the servant girls would come and take it away from her. "But why did you leave the ball so suddenly? Did something happen with the Diamond Kingdom?"

"Toma said I wouldn't find what I was looking for at the ball and told me to return home. I wasn't happy." Megumi shook her head. "And he was right. I wasn't happy there. Too many men approached me after hearing that I was related to Ikki and too many men tried to flatter me rather than talk to me. So I spoke to Toma and he reminded me a little of what my duty was here."

"You...are a princess and you should find a husband." Hisako agreed after a moment. She didn't flinch from Megumi's glare. "Yes. I know where your heart beats. I know where it lingers too. I know who keeps it safe in a box, buried underneath the flowering trees. And I'm aware of how the world responds to you. You were always stronger than me. In magic and otherwise. Whether it's because of the promise he keeps, the curse he shares, or the bond between the two, I'm not sure. But I could probably assume that it is none of all. In fact, it is because simply put, he was the one that called you. Therefore you are."

"What do you mean the one that called me? Shin told me that even he didn't know how come Wonderland and I flow so well together." Megumi stopped her train of thought because that explained a lot didn't it? He lured her into Wonderland, therefore, why would Wonderland do anything /but/ let her flow with it?

"You just answered the riddle. You're getting better and better at this. But you should rest now." Hisako gently patted Megumi's shoulder, mindful of the cuts. "You and the Hatter have always been the strongest of the lands. Sometimes I wonder if the people even understand how dangerous the two of you actually are. If I was the queen I used to be...you two would have died a long time ago." She walked out of the room with a soft hum.

()
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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Wed May 17, 2017 10:48 pm


How many times had she gone down these paths?

Years and years, spring through autumn, sometimes on the better days of winter. Horseback or on foot, it didn't matter. She knew these lands by heart. What took some five hours would only take her three. Cautious, always wary of bandits or wolves. Two types of wolves there were. The ones like the Heart Queen's, where he was a Shifter Wolf, still strung along by baser needs but he could transform between man and the four-legged furry type. Then truly wild wolves which sometimes even the Shifters had a hard time controlling. They were the reason the Shifters had a hard life, mistaken so often for each other no one even cared to learn the difference, see the signs of more intelligent life behind wild eyes.

Usually, because the paths smelled so much of human the wild wolves stayed away from them. That had been the case for roughly twelve years, going on thirteen now. Unlucky number, thirteen was supposed to be. This September, early October. It would mark the thirteenth year her beautiful world had turned dark.

She had a favorite stream she would go to. Lush forests surrounded it, it wasn't too wide to be a full fledged raging river, and the depth would only go mid-thigh or just under her breast at the deepest. Plenty of rocks worn by time to perfect stepping stones from one edge to the other. A small island in the middle of it where it got a little wider and then narrowed again going around a bend. A tiny waterfall with a giant rock she could sit on and listen to the water flow for hours, daydreaming, reading, writing. She had filled many journals sitting on that rock.

There was even a small cliff-face, about twenty feet high, Not even as tall as a house and not enough to kill unless you hit your head on a rock. A mudslide had taken one of the heavier, larger trees down a ways downstream, so even if you fell you wouldn't drown.

She had only been twelve herself sitting on that rock when it happened. A freak, early snow storm and she had barely made it home, barely still escaped death from hypothermia and following that pneumonia. It had been awful. Following that, it seemed as though no one wished to talk about the castle just beyond the stream, the one she saw but never ventured to. Servants stopped coming to the village, and the animals grew strange and fear rose.

Truly, she shouldn't be out here. Her dog had been mutilated by a wolf not two weeks ago, staving off an attack so she could run. The wolves were becoming feral, and she had half the mind to ask the Heart Queen for her King's help. She didn't understand. Once in every great while she saw the blue coach of the Spades, King Charming Ikki and his Queen Tsume, or sometimes just Ikki. The coaches were too big, the huge horses and their giant hooves too great for any wolf to go near. Then the black and red of the Hearts, with just the Queen, never her King. What would he think if he saw this place? Saw his brethren in such disarray?

It hurt her. Daresay sometimes it felt like it was killing her from the inside out watching the lands decay, the trees growing gnarly and blooming less leaves each year, flowers becoming weeds and not even Barafae flying to and fro. They had stopped playing with her when she was sixteen.

The only place that had any magic left among the death was her little island with is tiny waterfall and her favorite rock. Sometimes it seemed like even the water glowed, if only just around that place. It often felt like she was being watched, but it was a comforting thing, always.

Coming upon her hideaway, having to keep taking a detour to avoid the space her dog had died, she felt tears immediately bring to her eyes. "No...no, why do you haunt this place?" She whispered brokenly, hopping and even stumbling upon the rocks, splashing through the water to the island and falling to her knees in the sand. Sitting upon her rock was a black little creature, glowing with a white ring around it and grey to black in the middle. Leaves drooping, they were the darkest green and looked barbed, a black rose upon it's back. She reached for it, "Little Barafae, why do you stray so far? Is this place doomed as well? Have I not even two months left before it is gone from me? As bad as crows and ravens, screamed at for the death and despair they bring. Yet here you are. Poor little thing." She stroked the petals on it's back but it didn't puff it's powder at her, a tiny face staring at her in surprise as she held it close.

She cried without the powder. She knew what this meant. She was no longer safe here. Everything was turning mad. "I should have known two weeks ago...yet still I came, if only to feel that ghost." She sighed and went to the center of the island, setting the Barafae on a stump there, "I hear the rolling tracks of a coach. It's time to go, even though I only just got here. I doubt we'll see each other again, little friend. Don't let yourself be snared." With that she walked back, taking a bit more care through the water and on the steps, making her way back up the small hill to the odd path that went to the main road.

Everything went wrong from there.

A pack of wolves sprang from nowhere, not headed for her but for the sound of the coach. "They've really lost it now. It's not even winter and they're acting starved!" It sounded like King Ikki's coach. Funny how she knew the difference between the two. His was lighter, more like air that breezed along the path and his horses practically pranced like the pampered pets they were and not just animals that pulled people along. Heart Queen's were also pampered, yes, but they were sassy and marched with purpose, her coach heavier and more threatening, daring people to go near it. Not to mention King Ikki came here the most often.

She shouldn't have run after them, but hidden beneath her cloak she brandished a sword, and unlike last time when she had been taken by surprise, she would not run away this time.

Sure enough, there were enough wolves to scare the horses and they ended up tipping the carriage over, dumping it into the ditch and the door had busted open, King Ikki sprawled in the dirt and dazed. He carried a sword, too, of course, but just a fencing one. A flimsy thing not meant for burly, heavy monsters with teeth like razer wire. The horses had scattered off, unhooked when the carriage fell, and the screams of the coachman that drove them already disappearing in the distance, blood on the leaves.

Jumping down, she hacked at the biggest wolf's back, causing it to yelp and jump. Three compared to the six. Younger ones must've tried to go after the horses, more meat, more gain. A second wolf jumped at her and she slashed across it's chest. The third tried to round across the back but King Ikki managed to regain his senses and get his sword out, cutting it across it's snout. It snarled and snapped, turning it's attention on him instead. Just as she predicted, he wasn't able to do much damage with it's thick coat of matted fur, but he could keep it at bay.

She swung her sword in heavy cleaves, and one wolf went down fast with how crazy it had become, lunging at her with no regard. The other took a little longer, seeming to ignore the pain entirely, bleeding everywhere and eventually it also hit the ground not to come back up again. Turning back around, she gasped as she saw King Ikki pinned, but she failed to see the sword sticking through the wolf as she dropped her guard and hurried over to him.

That was when one of the others returned and lept at her from the bushes. She barely turned and held her arm up, getting it gashed open by claws as well as along her side as it crashed into her, her sword dropping off somewhere in the brown grass stained red. She had the breath knocked out of her and barely registered the pain before closing her eyes and preparing for the bite when all of the sudden dead weight thumped to the ground beside her.

Looking over, the wolf had a dagger in it's skull.

"Full of surprises, I see. Hiding that in your boot, were you?" She thunked her head on the ground and puffed a breath, "Four of six...the other two must be gorging, or the one's killed by the horses. Either way." She heaved herself up, wincing and gritting her teeth, tears stinging her eyes but she wouldn't let them fall. She rolled the other way onto her knees, "We need to get out of here. Kazuko, before you ask."
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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Wed May 17, 2017 10:50 pm


"Ikki, but you knew that already." Ikki answered and he got to her side. "I know some place nearby. I can take you in, but I can't stay by your side." He told her swiftly and he picked her up, ignoring the blood that was staining his shirt. He could almost hear the worry and the despair in his wife's eyes and the little ones who didn't understand what red meant. He would have to figure out a way to get in to his castle as quietly and swiftly as possible so the children wouldn't see.

But first, to get her to shelter. He was thankful that he was born a fast runner. Even with her weight staggering him, he was able to swiftly get up to a looming, intimidating castle that had dark dead vines covering the gates. The cobblestones were broken and moss had grown on the surface. The doors looked locked and forbearing, lonely and not care for. He didn't bother knocking, but he opened the doors and laid her in the doorway. The hallway dark with only few candles to light the way, but it wasn't enough light to see exactly what was inside the shadows. The furthest that could be seen was a red, dusty carpet and paintings on the walls. There were possible cobwebs hanging from the corners. The smell of musk and dust was fragrant here.

"I'm leaving her to you Kent." Ikki's voice raised and the echo went through the hallway. "Take care of her for me!"

"I will do as you ask." A rumbling voice answered, the echo sounded like muted thunder that was just on the brink. "Go home Ikkyu. Your wife waits for you." Ikki wasted no time and closed the doors, putting Kazuko and the hallway into darkness.

"Ah..." Kazuko cursed under her breath and instead of moving her hand away from her injury she gripped it tighter, hissing. At least she wasn't being jostled around anymore, causing the blood to flow. Shifting, she shimmied her back against the wall so she could get to her feet, though that made her dizzy with vertigo, "Sorry..." she mumbled into the darkness, though her eyes were adjusting, "King Ikki was coming to see you...now he has to go home." Kent...that name sounded so familiar she thought she heard it before, but if she had it had been so long there was no face to go with the name.

"I know." Kent rumbled. "You should stay where you are, the lights hurt and you're injured. I'll come to you. Do not be alarmed." His steps were loud, like he was wearing something heavy on his feet. The sillohette showed a hulking mass, but he was careful not to reveal himself in the candlelight. When he approached, his nails were sharp and his fingers felt ice cold. His hands weren't paws or anything like that, but there was something...wrong. It was best not to dwell on it. He picked her up without so much of a grunt and he carried her through the castle. "The only magic that lingers in this section is here." He told her, like he knew the question on her mind. The candles were floating, albeit weakly. The shadows moved and covered where they needed to be without so much of a word. "There are rooms you can and cannot go. Follow my rules and you will live. Go through my castle recklessly and you will to seek your death. For now, I will heal you. So sleep. You are safer here than outside, that is a promise."

"I'm Kazuko, nice to meet you, Kent..." Kazuko whispered, curling further into him even as the wounds stung and she felt him stiffen, his steps faltered, "So I don't owe Ikki, but I owe you now. I'll follow your rules in kind." He was the source, she could feel the echo of the magic that lit the candles in him, and that gaze...it felt so familiar. Was he...? She could wonder on that later. She felt so tired and weak and his scent, she supposed, should revolt her, but it was the deeper musk that called to her instead, through the rotting smell. She supposed she smelled it enough she was used to it. How sad was that? Slowly, the rhythmic heavy-footed thumping and rocking lulled her into blackness, her nose buried in the collar of his jacket.

~
After bandaging her wounds and letting her sleep in the guest room, Kent walked away from the room and headed towards his. He didn't remember the last time he slept. Sleep was a luxury that he just didn't have anymore. Half corpse, half human, what was the need for sleep? It shortened his time and research on ways on how to break the curse that was set upon him. No, sleep wasn't something that he could have, but for the woman he'd grant it to her. He couldn't give much here. Shadow magic was what he was best known for, so shadows are the only things he could grant her besides a candle to guide her way should she wake up.

He doubted that she would stay and linger here. She would heal and she would leave and he would be cast in shadows of loneliness again. Ikkyu would feel upset that his intervention and quick thinking hadn't been too fruitful, but Kent knew the words that would sooth the wounds that Ikkyu would have on his heart. He would tell him that the girl was well and wished to leave and he would let her. He would casually drop Meg's name, and Ikki would go and find her, as the castle always felt a little brighter with Megumi's working imagination and story-telling.

Half of the library was her books and stories after all. The rest was Kent's and Ikkiyu, but Meg always had the voice and the words to weave a tale. There was a reason why the Hatter never liked it when she left Wonderland after all. He wondered if Kazuko would like the library. Would she sit and read by the fireplace, would she light up tens or twelve candles in order for her to read the print? Would she request a storyteller when Kent ultimately reveal that he knew one? How would she take to Megumi and her powers of a weaver? How would she like Ikkyu, the charmer and graceful fighter? How would she take to Tsume, the sharpest eye and the kindest heart that he knew? And the little children he feared all the time coming into his castle, but would enjoy seeing in Megumi's stories. How would she take?

Ah but those were dangerous thoughts and ultimately thoughts that weren't going to come true. She was going to leave. She would find a way to repay the debt and leave. Probably swearing herself to silence. It was a common gift. He would accept because what other could he demand? She'd never return, and she'd feel shamed to even have walked among the halls. He entered a room that had a glowing blue barafae that was encased in a beautiful crystal dome. The blue let out a shining light that was bright enough to cover the ceiling and floor, and reach out towards teh balcony from the middle of the room. He touched the glass.

A petal fell.

Ah so it was about time then. He sighed softly as he pushed himself away from the barafae and the prison that the faery queen made for the small creature. He couldn't save himself. It was about to be too late for the curse to be broken. He walked away from the room.

If she was serious about that debt, then perhaps it was time to be a little selfish. He couldn't let himself die yet.

He couldn't let himself really become a pile of bones.

~
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