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 There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy

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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Wed May 17, 2017 11:51 pm

There was no light through the blinds, but her internal clock told her it was the morning hour. She had slept for quite a while. Bloodloss had done a doosy and she groaned as she got out of the bed. Things needed to be dusted in this place and badly. The bed was so musty she wondered when the last time the sheets were changed. Rubbing her eyes, she cradled her arm to her and found there was a bathroom attached to the room she was in.

After freshening up, Kazuko left the room and stepped into the halls. She did notice the floating candle that came to her, as if waiting, and she reached for it, "Are you simply a light or are you a guide as well?" she mused, and the candle shook, "So you can respond to me. A guide. You would've been still if you weren't. Lead me to Kent, please?" she asked gently. The candle shook again and then started floating down the hallway. Twisting, winding, she tried to take note of paintings or decor, but it was just a little /too/ dark for her to tell. She would probably have to have this candle at all times, which was a bummer. Unless...a question to ask him, certainly.

Eventually they reached a parlor with a fireplace lit and a hulking green chair facing it, "Ah, so there you are. Thank you, candle." She reached up and waved her hand swiftly through the flames back and forth, as if petting it, feeling the warmth and the tickle of the flames, but if you were quick enough there was no burn and pain.

"How are you feeling?" The words were quick, like he was trying to get a conversation done and over with. Like he didn't exactly know what a conversation sounded like.

"Sore, but that's to be expected. You used a good healing balm, they don't hurt, just ache. How deep were the injuries?" she stepped closer casually, not aware of what a problem that could be until he snapped at her.

"Not a step closer." Kent told her. "There's a reason for why the castle is dark. Stay where you are, or I'll force you out." He took a breath in and out. "They were bad, but I didn't need to call upon Hisako. The healing salve and potions that she has given me were enough to help you through the pain and through the healing. You should not strain yourself and stay for a few more days. After that, we'll talk about your debt and what you can do to relieve it."

"I noticed the gown. Did you change me or did you use magic? I noticed this place is empty." Kazuko put her good hand on her hip, eyes narrowing but she didn't back down. Her mind spun and she probably shouldn't, but she'd wait to hear his answer.

"Magic, I'm not a barbarian." Kent replied.

That made her giggle when it probably was bad and she swiftly moved her hand to her mouth to stifle it. She saw blond hair shift and he seemed about to peek around the corner of his chair, but thought better of it. That wouldn't do. "Well, that's good. So your can do more than just manipulate the intensity of shadows." She took another step closer and ignored his growl of warning. He was probably baring his teeth at her, "I won't be bullied. Now you stand up. Let me be the judge of whether or not I'm afraid, instead of choosing for me. Besides, I'm going to need more than just little candle to guide me. If I'm gunna stay here, I need to learn the halls on my own so I don't get lost. I also need a /tour/ so I don't go where I'm not wanted."

"...." Kent was silent and then he stood up. "If you wish to see something, you can tell the candle to glow brighter. You can tell it to summon more if you have a wish. But no. I don't trust you yet to reveal myself to you. You don't want to be bullied? Then consider this a rule. Obey my boundaries of respect and of my person and I will do the same to you. I will not reveal myself to you, unless it's part of the deal. But we're not discussing your debt. Nor a deal. I refuse rash thoughts. Come. I will give you a tour. I will show you the places and how to use the candles to your advantage. I'm supposing you are one of the unlucky folk who has no magic in your veins."

Kazuko blinked rapidly as the room was plunged in darkness, and she growled a bit herself, watching the deeper, darker shadow of movement as Kent left his chair. She huffed, "I do, too, have magic. Just a little...subdued and different." She turned and walked to the door, since he hadn't moved anymore and oh, so that's how it was gunna be? Ugh. Three-ish days with magic healing and he was going to be a stubborn brute. The smell of him filtered into her mind as they got into the hallways, the single candle from before flaring up again. Trust, though, and all good things to those who wait, wasn't it? Fine, then. She'd wait, but she would not stand by idle. She /hated/ being idle more than secrets. "There are some secrets which do not permit themselves to be told. Isn't that right, Kent?" Yet, secrets could also be uncovered.

"There's secrets that do not wish to be told as well." Kent answered, "I get this feeling that you're going to be more vexing than Megumi. Perhaps I should send word to her and see if can't keep you entertained for the three days you're supposed to be /resting/."

"I hate /resting/. Even when I had pneumonia twelve years ago, I was bustling around out of bed after a week. Some stupid scratches from pesky wolves won't keep me down. If you want me to /rest/ you better show me some gardens and some books." Kazuko harrumphed.

"Books and gardens I can do." Kent said swiftly and changed direction. "The library is massive. Thanks to Megumi and Ikkyu's contribution. I cannot go out and where I please, so the little collection that is my own only takes up few shelves. I'm thankful for my friends who take pleasures in small things. As for the gardens, you're not a prisoner here. I will show you the door where it leads and no further."

Even as he said it, she had a sinking feeling in her stomach about the gardens. If they were /anything/ like the outside forests, it probably needed just as must tending to as everything needed dusting. She clicked her tongue, "You know what, nevermind. Just show me the library. I'll get candle to lead me to the gardens later then."

"As you wish." Kent said though there was wary amusement in his voice. He led her up the massive staircase and through a few hallways before coming to a double door. He pushed it open and it was the only well lit area in the entire castle. He used the shadows to cloak him, and he kept to the corners as he watched her go through into the light. "There's no book here that is forbidden."

"Now that, my friend, is a dangerous prospect. Hell, it could take longer than a century to get through all these." Kazuko rubbed her hand over her face, gaping, "Wow. Just...hell. It's like you duplicated the town library a few times and threw it in here. There's even a /second story/ with a /balcony/?" Her jaw dropped as she spotted it. There had to be seating areas around here everywhere.

Suddenly, for some reason, she whirled back to Kent, her eyes huge, "The wolves...you'll have to send for Shin, too, if you send for Megumi. I don't think the sheer intimidation force of the horses and carriage are enough anymore. I think only Alpha Scent could keep them safe. The coach, too, should wear armor just in case. I hope Ikki made it home. We only killed four of six, I didn't see if the fifth was dead on the road or if the horses were instead."

Kent frowned. "Then should I or should I not send for Megumi." He pondered on this for a moment. "Shin's alpha scent is strong and he might be able to figure out the feral wolves. However, Megumi's prowess with words could keep the wolves at bay and perhaps change alliances since she can do her own summoning. Ah, but that's only in here...unless she carries something from the Hatter or if the Hatter grants her a bit of his life. No. She shouldn't be sent for. Shin's more adept. Megumi has her hands full with /one/ feral animal and a madman all in one person. To suggest more is folly."

"Who your send for is up to you, I just wanted to warn you of the dangers." Kazuko told him gently. Meg sounded like she meant quite a bit to Kent. The gentle sweetness in his tone when he talked about her made her eyes soften, "If you don't want to stick around me anymore, I'll just go find a book now." She turned halfway before she sighed heavily, "Sorry about earlier. You're right, I didn't think to ask the hallway candles to brighten for me, or the little candle to duplicate. You don't have to give me a tour, but somehow clearly mark the ways I shouldn't go."

"I will do so." Kent said quietly, "Enjoy the stories we weaved." He quickly walked out of the library, quite glad to be away from her and saddened too. He couldn't ask her to relieve the curse. He would take the silence and go. Now, to mark those doors.

()
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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Thu May 18, 2017 12:35 am

"What has got you frowning so hard?" Shin asked as he sauntered towards Hisako's desk. He'd been outside when he saw the tell-tale hawk that belonged to Kent as his messenger.

"Bad tidings from the Clover. Unlucky guy for someone who is supposed to be filled with it." Hisako answered as she set the letter down. "He is confused, the poor man. He obviously needs you, but should or should we not let Meg wander over there when it's perilious or shall I distract her with thoughts of the Hatter and lead her to him. One is more dangerous then the other, but at least one offers a quicker, painless death."

"Cryptic today. It really is bad. I even just read a letter from Toma about a mystery girl he wants my nose to find. I can't split myself in two. What's going on with Kent? Tell me a little more?" Shin sat in a plush red chair.

"....This will hurt you love." Hisako looked at him sadly. "I don't like hurting you. I hate seeing you in pain. I'll try....I'll try to be plain. There's a pack of wolves that have lost their minds. They attacked Spade's carriage. Ikkyu had a dagger so he was able to defend, and save a woman whom he brought to the Clover castle. She is badly injured, but not to the point where I'm needed. She just needs rest, and she needs a distraction, hence the request for Meg. The wolves on the other hand, since you're better to communicate with them, of course is yours."

Shin sucked a breath through his nose and his eyes widened a fraction before he narrowed them, his mouth turning into a thin line, "So I would be Meg's protection if she went. Kent's worried about her getting hurt. Your Clydesdale horses could kill even a direwolf. Yet the coach...if Meg were to go, to put Kent's mind at ease so a stranger doesn't see him, I'd drive. I won't let somebody get killed by my ilk. Ikki lost his, didn't he?" He put his hand over his mouth, feeling his stomach turn wickedly, "Has Ikki sent a letter? Does anyone know if he's okay?"

"Injured, but not grievously." Hisako said quietly. "It's so light, Ikki doesn't think Meg should know, for we know she'd wind up in a panic and send the Wonderland upside down since Hatter wouldn't know, or feel what Megumi is going through. He would certainly hear her crying though. As for Kent and the wolves. That will hurt her too. I will not doubt that Kent will tell her about Ikki after everything is settled. She can go to his Castle and see for herself how he fares and play with the small ones. It will hurt the Hatter. He hates it when she leaves for too long. But if we can convince Meg to tell the Hatter her disappearance, perhaps Wonderland will still be standing by the time you two return."

"I know he won't show to me. Thrice he's met her, and she even saw his other side and was more upset /for/ him." Shin nodded, closing his eyes to regulate his breathing. This was going to be awful. "You should pack us with more healing supplies just in case I have a run-in trying to see what's up so Kent or Meg can help me. Thankfully even a rabid bite won't effect me."

"I'm telling you, this cycle is vastly different than the ones we've been greeted before. Since when has Toma concerned himself with a woman, and Kent with a prospect of breaking his curse? Since when has Megumi actually began to fight?" Hisako shook her head and stood up. "...I'll pack you up a kit and I'll make one for Meg as well since she has been trained by healer hands. Send her to the forest if you will, and we'll see if the Hatter can't be convinced to let her go."

"Two days shouldn't be too bad." Shin stood as well and he went to her side, wrapping her up and kissing her passionately, but there was no spark of heat for more. Things were too dire right now. It was fine. "I'll send Toma a letter back saying he'll have to wait and try and search on his own and gather more clues on his mystery woman."

"May the starlight shine your way to safety and the sun warm your coat." Hisako leaned into his hold, pressing her forehead into his as she took in his scent. "My wolf, my mate, come home to me safely as you can."

~
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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Thu May 18, 2017 1:25 am

"You had a purpose in your step." It was the first time they hadn't crossed each other's path on accident. He had been curious at the way she walked, different then the tentative tip-toeing. "Something's on your mind." He stayed hidden behind a tree, watching her look around. "How's your back? Are you alright? I am sorry for hurting you."

"I'm alright. It hurts, but..." She smiled and shook her head. "Wonderland's dangerous at night. So I got a little sliced up..." She trailed off, thinking about the situation that was going to happen and she swallowed. "It's me whose sorry, Hatter. I'm happy though, I got to see you smile."

That confused him. "Why are /you/ sorry?"

"For startling you, for tripping over you last night." Megumi bit her lip. "For making you try to complete the cycle again. I know how this works. I'm supposed to die by your hand or Wonderland kills me. For some reason or another, that's why you say you're dangerous to me. I had a dream. That's why I know. To be honest, I'd much prefer it if you did. I'd fight you, I'd use whatever I can to survive you and make you survive as well. But...I'll be frank. Kent's Kingdom is in trouble."

"It has been since he answered the Fairy Queen's riddle wrong." Ukyo frowned deeply, "What's different about it now?" She would rather fight him, and survive by him? How curious.

"Feral wolves attacked a woman and a carriage though I'm not told whose, I got a bad feeling I know." Megumi pursed her lips together. "The woman's staying at the castle, but the wolves are acting starved, like they haven't eaten in forever. I don't know how long I'll be gone. I don't know if I'll come back. I want to help. I want to do what I can to help Shin fight or ease the wolves' minds. I want to bring them back here, or help them find a new home. Surely...surely they're not made from evil intent. Even if they are, good intent can bring them back...we just have to work at it."

Ukyo felt fear grip at his chest and he came from behind the tree, going to grip her shoulders, "Surely you'll be killed if you go! Why are you always so reckless? Walking into danger without care?! You say...you say you know about the cycle, so why would you willingly go and risk the chance of beginning again?! If we did, none of it would /matter/ of what you do here!"

Megumi was actually kind of surprised that this wasn't at all surprising to her at all. His fear, the way his nails dug into her skin, his panic. His panic was the most familiar to her. She could remember thousands of times where he would suddenly fly off the handle over little things. Of course, this wasn't a little thing, his fear was more desperate. She knew how important she was to him, even if they only spoke in quotes. She cupped his face with her hands and he looked at her in surprise. "Then tell me a quote and I'll take it as protection. I'm told I can do little magic if I'm given something from you." She rubbed her thumbs across his cheekbones. "And when I return," not if. If was too dangerous now. "I swear to you, I'll hug you and tell you that I'm falling in love with you. I'll do it as many times as you want. Tens, hundreds of times."

His throat tightened and his eyes glazed with tears that threatened to fall in an instant. The clouds above were getting darker and swirling. He pulled away from her, gripping at his chest, "I was never really insane...except upon occasions when my heart was touched." It wasn't particularly a quote of protection, and he knew she was right. She needed something of his, but she already had his soul, she just didn't know how to strum the cords of his heartstrings. So instead, he unclasped his cloak and put it around her in a swirl, but by the time she managed to get if off her eyes he was gone again.

"Yeah for the first time ever you actually spoke to me in plain speech." Megumi laughed watery. "Wait for me, have faith in me. Maybe when I come back, I'll actually be able to /sing/." She held the cloak close to her, feeling protected, and warm despite the cold that suddenly came. "Don't cry, dearheart. I'm not going to die in this world yet. You'll see." She walked out of the forest, hoping that her words gave him comfort, and encouragement.

~
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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Thu May 18, 2017 4:37 am

It was...absolutely horrific. Shin hadn't seen even the Hatter's world look like this. No wonder Hisako never told him of any of the times she came this way. The town they'd rolled through gave him weary looks. Everyone seemed too tired, too gaunt and the forests surrounding looked like they might not take another winter before they fell. Harvest crops would be bad this year for them, they'd have to ask for food from the surrounding Kingdoms. Were there wolves /really/ starved here?

Five hours it took them to see the castle in their sights, looming dark and eerie and yet the only sign of the wolves were the ones dead in the ditch, the carriage of blue and white horribly stark against the ground. "Meg, don't look out your window. Close it."

Megumi had promised Shin that she'd listen to his every word since he knew the wolves better. She closed the window's curtains, but she couldn't help but to casually lean back to see if she couldn't see a little through the small slit. She saw....a blood-soaked ground and her brother's carriage. It was enough to make her lean forward and refuse to see more.

"Stay alert, Night, Marie." Shin cooed to the horses and patted their noses, "Spot a wolf, and bolt to the castle. Keep Meg safe. Highest priority." He patted Marie's back and as he turned to the ditch, and he took a deep breath. His eyes went full red, his pupil slitting and his eyes glowing. His teeth fanged and his nails grew. He had to be ready, but he didn't let the change go any further, just sliding down to inspect.

Four wolves laid in heaps. Ikki's boot dagger Hisako had gifted him one Yule was sticking out of one's head, and he yanked it out, taking his handkerchief and cleaning it, putting it in his belt. He collected the bloodstained broadsword, doing the same before he had to place his boot on the other wold and heave a bit to unstick Ikki's fencing sword. Everything accounted for, cleaned as best he could, he took to looking them over now.

They didn't.../look/ starved. They looked plump and full, but their fur was matted and unclean. There wasn't foam in any of their mouths but he still smelled sickness. Something was horribly wrong with these wolves, and he had to pinch his nose, taking a breath so he wouldn't hurl. Then, as he was looking at the injuries closer, he saw...decay. They shouldn't be decomposing this fast. It also went deep, mingling with the sickness.

Shooting to his feet, Shin hurried back to the carriages.

Megumi heard the growling first and she could feel the horses's unrest. She knew the order. Stay in till the wolves were dealt. Then she could see what she could or couldn't do for the rest. She gripped the Hatter's cloak, a name just barely touching her teeth before disappearing. But she had a sound, the first syllable in her mind. She let out a breath. "I'm going to be okay." She said, touching the cloak tenderly. The fabric liked to grip her in a death hug, like somehow, someway it'd be armor despite the fact that she was already wearing enchanted clothing Hisako gave her. "See, alive and breathing. Shin's strong too. He might get banged up a bit, but Hisako likes a man with a little bit of blood. More his enemies than his own though if she had a preference."

Shin just barely managed to knock off one of the wolves and get up the ditch so he could smack Marie's rear, "I said go!" and the horse reared, taking Night with her and the carriage rolled off, thundering with it's weight and the hooves beating the road. There were more than two, another pack, and he tackled one trying to chase after it, flaring his energy, his magic, drawing all attention to himself. If he fully shifted he'd be dead, but this way he could hurl spells as well as gnash his teeth.

He didn't know how long it took, and he was shaking hard when he made it into the courtyard. Three small, young wolves had run away after the alpha went down, but he still had to take care of five of them. His clothes were in tatters, the weapons on his belt barely hanging there, and he might as well have taken a bath in blood. Night and Marie had two dead wolves by their feet and he knew they weren't from the original lot.

He couldn't let Meg see him like this. He also could barely walk. Bile was rising in his throat with each step and finally he could take the taste, that file, tainted taste of blood and the smell...gods the /smell/.

He felt a hand on his shoulder after retching and looked up to see blue-grey eyes staring at him, also bandaged up on one side. Had this been the woman Ikki and Kent saved? This was just as bad as Meg seeing him and he tried to swat her away, scooting back, only to collapse on his side, breathing hard.

"Be /still/!" She huffed and came over to him again. She helped him, putting her arm around his waist and got him the rest of the way to the door, "Get in the dark, Kent is waiting." She left him to the sounds of Kent's footsteps and went to the carriage, knocking on the door, "Are you Meg?"

"Yeah," Meg opened the door and shook her head. She had been jolted from the horses quick departure. She jumped down and she frowned deeply when she saw that Shin had already made his way inside. "Shin." She wasted no time with introductions, and she felt a little bad about that, but she knew how Shin was with blood, so she ran into the castle in hopes to see how he fared. But Kent was faster apparently for all she got was an empty hallway and the candles dimmed as much as they could without being fully extinguished. "You know guys! I am a HEALER!?" She shouted at the castle.

"You do realize that Megumi /has/ a point when she says this?" Kent asked mildly as he guided Shin up the stairs.

"Kent...she /forgot/. I don't...I'm...such a /mess/..." Shin's shaking was awful and he had to have Kent practically drag him, "All I can...smell and taste..is /blood. I could...be sick again. Just...you can do it. She...Hisako packed more medicine and healing supplies."

"Muscle memory is stronger than memory and she might not have forgotten as much as you may think. But if it'll ease your conscious, I'll do what I can and bear Megumi's wrath. I'm surprised you have forgotten what she's like when someone decides to sidestep her." Kent said easily as he lead Shin to a room and set him down. "How many times have I been on the beating end of her stick for letting myself wither to this point? Though you do like dangerous women. There is a reason why she stays in your castle after all. Heaven forbid she stays in mine."

As Kent worked, Megumi fumed at the lower level. She couldn't see /anything/ and she knew too well that if she told the candles to turn on or something, she might accidentally set the the castle on fire. She blinked when she heard the door shut and she turned around to see the woman that Kent had saved. Immediately her anger disappeared and she turned embarrassed. The Hatter's cloak was gently giving pats on the shoulders like they were trying to say "there there". "Sorry about that. I'm Megumi. You're Kazuko? I'm sorry that I shoved you aside like that. I had /hoped/...well...Shin's always had more pride than what's healthy."
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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Thu May 18, 2017 7:09 am

"Candles, brighten, would you?" Kazuko asked sweetly and the entrance hall they were in got bright enough they could see each other properly. She came over to Meg and bowed a bit, "Pleasure, yes, I am Kazuko. It's fine, you were worried. Shin looked like a wreck. For a wolf, it's strange he has a fear of blood. I wonder if he's had that always or if it's a trauma thing. Just, give him some breathing room. I'm sure he'll let you do the redressing of his wounds once he's cleaned up."
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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Thu May 18, 2017 8:14 am

"Trauma." It was almost easy how that memory came to her. Megumi raised an eyebrow as Kazuko bowed to her. "You don't have to bow to me. What Princess runs around freely in Wonderland where she can get killed every five or twenty seconds? Unless I'm somehow established or something, I'm just a regular girl. Okay not so regular." She amended when she felt the cloak tap her shoulder a few times. It was kind of fun to have a way to communicate with the Hatter, even it wasn't his emotions. "But what about you? You're a daughter of a hunter?"
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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Thu May 18, 2017 9:22 am

Her jaw dropped a bit, "Not a lot of people guess that. Was it because you heard of how I fought? I also bowed because you're princess by association, more or less, being adopted. I thought it was right. I won't do it again, promise." Kazuko shrugged with a smile, "I wasn't sure you'd come. Kent was worried of it. He cares a great deal about you and by how Shin acted, he does as well. So, besides that I heard that you could 'entertain me' via Mr. Tall Dark and Scary himself. He's been getting huffy and puffy with me about how I should /pick a spot/ because I won't stay in the library even after I picked a book."

She held a hand up as Meg's brows furrowed, "He marked the corridors so I would know where not to tread. Though, /honestly/? As soon as my three day limit's off, I'm grabbing a duster, a rag and a bucket of water. Maybe, now this is a huge maybe, he'll loosen up a bit if his armor statues and vases shine and you don't sneeze every twenty minutes because you disturbed a dust bunny."
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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Thu May 18, 2017 1:24 pm

"I had wondered if I should imagine the place clean or something. It'd save you time, since you would need a ladder if you want to get the dust moths up there." Megumi pointed upwards where a there were a few moths that had settles themselves to fly around the candle light. She let her hand down, an amused smile on her lips. "I thought you wer a hunter because of the way you hold yourself and the way you bowed to me. It was stiff, but it was more respectful than some of the bows that I normally get. Usually bows of indifference since I am a princess in name, or a bow that's supposed to be impressive or flattering. You did neither. Also, your hands tell a story of a girl that knows hard work. You knocked with firmness, not a dainty flimsy knock, or a scratch. I know that obersvering people is Shin's job, but you remind of a story. Like someone I would write about. Not a helpless woman, but a fighter." Megumi smiled a little. "I wonder if that sort of tale would be something he'd want to hear." She patted the cloak absently. "Let's not stand in the hallway and go into the sitting room. They'll be a while, even if a wolf heals quick."
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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Thu May 18, 2017 3:45 pm

"No...that's the point of doing it by hand." Kazuko shook her head, though smiled with a faint blush as she followed Megumi through the halls, the little candle that had become a quick friend helping them along even if the halls also brightened ahead and dimmed behind. "With it so dark, you can't see the above anyway. It'd only be what I can reach, what he can see. The railings of the library stairs, or even the stairs we frequent. I would also walk around and find the sections of the library visited most and clean those shelves. It...doing it by hand also gives me something to do, Megumi. I don't like just standing around or even sitting for too long at a time."

They reached the sitting room, different than the parlor Kent liked to sit in. She knew because the huge chair he would probably sit in was in the farthest corner instead of close to the fire. In the shadows and in the cold. No blanket. Kazuko frowned, and took the blanket off one of the chairs near the fireplace and took it over there instead, placing it across the arm before coming back to Meg who had lit the fire. Now was the best time to say what she didn't want to say in the hallways, "Cleaning with magic would also defeat the purpose of making him feel like I care. I care enough about what this place looks like to clean it up. Melancholy wreaks havoc even worse if your surroundings match your feelings. You let things deteriorate with you and feel bad about it but if you already feel like 'what's the point' and it gets worse and it's a horrible cycle. It's one thing if he makes it dark to hide himself from others, but keeping it dark to ignore your problems and, hell, responsibilities doesn't make it right."

She ran her hand over her face, "I also /want/ to. I don't want to admit the why for that quite yet. Not really as...reasonable as why I want to clean everything, but it's the why to the why." She looked at Meg and blinked out of her rambling little stupor, "You say you write? I used to write, too. Journals, loads of them. I haven't since I was seventeen, though. When adulthood really caught up to me and..." when things started to get worse. When she started feeling the darkness creep and get to the point she couldn't ignore it anymore. When she started feeling 'it's pointless', too, sitting and sitting with no inspiration, only a year after the barafae stopped dancing with her. "Mr. Broody said you and Ikki have a lot of stories here?"
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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Thu May 18, 2017 7:17 pm

Megumi smiled warmly as she listened to Kazuko's reasoning. She hadn't done much by hand since discovering her ability to imagine things into being. She spent so much time practicing and trying to reclaim the gift that she lost, that she had forgotten what it meant to use physical means instead. Kent should count himself lucky that such a woman was willing to look at the palace and try to upkeep it. More than that, she was the first person to name the sickness that plagued his heart. "This castle is home to more stories than books can contain. The shadows that plague the castle hides the bright sun we used to create. Ikki was more fasincated with defeating evil with puzzles and riddles and Kent played along. Sometimes he was the villian and sometimes Ikki would play villian. They did this as children and it amused me. Now that I'm older, I still remember that and I still remember using my imagination constantly. So much so, I wandered into Wonderland and decided to stay."
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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Thu May 18, 2017 8:57 pm

"You're going to be here for a while." Kazuko smiled, "Until I feel better, right? So we have plenty of time. I've heard horror stories about the Queen of Hearts, and that carriage and her horses are terrifying. What's she really like? Is Shifter Shin's and her story just as bloody and horrific as the rumors tell?"
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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Sat May 20, 2017 3:53 pm

"It is. The rumors have a sense of truth to them. There was once two kingdoms of Wonderland. One of the White King who had gone Mad and became the Mad King in the kingdom of Insanity and the other a Red Queen, also known as the Red Rider, for she would ride the Wonderland paths with a red riding cloak on her shoulders. A long time ago, a hunt went awry and a wolf was cast out of the town. The Red Rider who did not have a crown to her name at the time, was upset that the town would hurt him so cruelly. See, his father had went on a hunt and murdered a person in accident since the man was a hunter and he had gotten in the way of the prey. The town accused his father and had him skinnned. Since the hunt only went arwy and no one was too badly injured, a cast out appeared to be "nice"." Megumi explained. "But that's just the surface. See, this wolf did not come from a pack, for he hated killing animals and blood in his fur. He hated trying to impress the Alpha when he knew that he wasn't going to get any further in the ranks than what he already was. So the Red Rider made him a promise, she would do the hunting for him since blood didn't bother her. She would bring as much as she could carry, as fresh as she could make it. She didn't hunt big game since she was not a Hunter's daughter such as yourself, but she hunted small prey, and easy to get to animals. She would carry them in her basket and take it through the forest where wolf hid deep in the Diamond Kingdom's forest, as Wonderland's forests depended on the mood of the Mad King."

Megumi cleared her throat, "Glass of water." A crystal glass appeared and she took a sip of water before continuing, "One day the Red Rider was walking down the familiar paths of the woods when the Faery Queen appeared. She goes by many names, one of such is "Faery Godmother" for she grants wishes. Well, she grinned and told Hisako that she must have a wish for she appeared and Red Rider said that she could wish for nothing, for everything that she could wish for was already granted. That upset the Faery Queen, for she was used to mortals bowing on their knees to get a wish granted for her, for a price of solving a riddle. So she told the Red Rider that it was a lie and that she could see the desire in her heart. Perhaps the wolf boy should become a boy? To never have to hunt again, to never have her hunt for him as a disgrace. The Red Rider said, its true that she would wish for something like that, but it would hurt the wolf. See, that is where the mistake was made. Had the Red Rider said nothing, or even spoke in a roundabout way, the Faery Queen would have no power. But alas, the wish was made and the Queen gave her a riddle. She failed and the Queen laughed at her and went away. The Red Rider went on in fear trying to see what damage had been done.

In the meantime, the wolf was walking home along with the Prince of Diamonds, his brother in bond. He confessed to wanting to make the Red Rider apart of his pack and the Queen overheard. She took that desire and told him that it wasn't the desire of being one with the Red Rider that made his heart yearn. It was the desire of the hunt. So, when the Red Rider approached his lonely cabin, as she had done time and time again, and he crossed her path at his doorstep. It was not a loving embrace that caught her."

Megumi had to smile as she watched Kazuko's reaction to the story. It had been such a long time since she got to weave a tale. The last time she got to do this was for the Red Queen herself. "The wolf chased her all over the forest till they came upon a cliff. He leapt at her and shoved her off. She screamed and he transformed back, outraged and alarmed at his own senselessness for he had seen her as an enemy, and not a lover. When she was healed, she became the Bloodlust Queen. Everyone and everything was subjected to her rule. She used her magic to transform the wolf's cabin into a castle and created her own gardens and her own fountains. Work for her and your life was spared. No servant nor guard dared to go against her wishes as if one angered her, it wasn't just "off with her head" no. It was to send the dog, particularly the wolf that loved her so dearly after them. The village tried to find the Mad King, to tell him what was happening, but he was no where to be found.

Till a young girl appeared. The Spade Kingdom had heard what was going on from the Diamond Kingdom and his best friend from the Clover Kingdom had befallen a horrible curse. Unable to see the pain in his friends eyes any longer, he took up an iron sword ad started gathering an enemy. Not wanting his only family to get hurt, he sent his little adopted sister away. The sister was supposed to go into hiding, but instead she was lured into the Wonderlands border by a particular song. She followed the pathways and the tricky bubbling creeks and following the music all the way to a party where three people sat a table. They welcomed her and bid her to stay and so she did. They asked her what she was good at and she said that her ability was in weaving tales. So she told them story after story and one person specifically was always listening. Always."

It hurt her heart. She remembered the song, and it hadn't been Ukyo who sang. It had been the world itself, guiding her to him a long time ago. His name came to her so naturally, she was a little shocked at how saddening it was that she had forgotten it. She took another sip of water and continued the story. "Before long, the young sister grew weary of the party. The people were delightful, but there was no action or cause of danger. She needed more, so she told the Hatter, for that was what he liked to be called back then, that she wished to continue on. He tried to plead with her to stay. To do anything. Finally, he relented and told her that since she had stayed and given her company she'll be given two gifts. One with words and the other to go to the bakery and seek out information there.

So to the bakery she went, to discover the town of Wonderland in turmoil and fear. People saw her and slammed their doors and windows shut. They hid anywhere that they could, even underneath wagons. People who were a little braver threw rocks at her and told her to leave. A stranger she might be, she managed to get through the Mad Kingdom without a scratch. Why would the Mad King help her rather than them? The younger sister did not know that was the plight. She worried about what the Hatter had told her and she walked along the paths till she found a bakery. There, a man gave her medical supplies and a bit of meat and food. He told her there was a windy path to take and follow without leaving the path, no matter what tempts you. The younger sister went on hr journey and was tempted three times to leave the path, but those weren't much for temptations. Her resolve was too strong for it to take any affect. She came to a cave where a bleeding wolf was and she quickly helped him with he major injuries. Some had to be healed by magic, something the younger sister did not have. The wolf pleaded with her to save the Red Queen. As that was what she was called by now. Always drenched in blood unseen. "How?" She asked.

"What gift did the Hatter leave you?"

"Why the gift of words."

"Then you must tell her my story and tell her that it was my fault she turned to be this. Remind her that she is loved very much."

But the Red Queen's castle was hard to get into, and there was no way she would be granted entrance. She would be granted a death sentence before then for some reason or another. She thought and thought and came to the conclusion that there had to be someone the Red Queen would listen to. She went back to the bakery and asked the bakers wife if there was such a person and she said yes, the one who crowned her."

Megumi took her sip. "The Mad Hatter had crowned her the Red Queen, not for the blood shed that she caused, but because he believed that there was going to be a time where the kingdom would be turned upside down. She went and found the Hatter and told him that she needed his guidance for she couldn't do this alone. He decided that since she had stayed and told story after story, she deserved a third gift. So he tagged along and helped her get into the castle, for he was the only one she would ever see and would never kill. She saw the young sister and was about to demand what was going on, when the Hatter told her basically in a roundabout way that she was a storyteller who could weave magic, would you listen? Since the Hatter didn't come by with guests much less protential murders, the Queen granted it to him and the younger sister told her the tale about the wolf and how he was now dying slowly since he was hunting his kind in her name. She told her about the love that the wolf had for the Queen, and that his death nor any others that happened before were her fault. He was the one that attacked her and turned her into this monster of a Queen."

"Something about that tale awakened the Queen's heart and off she went. She demanded the younger sister to make her a cloak of red, like she wore when she was the Red Rider. The younger sister agreed and the Queen ran off to heal the wolf of all of its pain and the curse that was placed on her by the Faery Queen was forever broken. But the end of her story, was only the beginning for the younger sister. Was that story alright?"
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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Sat May 20, 2017 10:12 pm

Kazuko was literally on the edge of her seat and grinning wide and her eyes sparking, "That was amazing! I could picture everything as you were talking about it and it was so /good/! I can see what Kent meant now. Tell me...actually, Meg, do you think you have the power to make any room in this castle cut off from Kent's magic? A void where he can't hear me?" She stood up but then knelt in front of her, "When he met me he assumed I was magic-less. Actually...I keep it suppressed. My magic is in my voice. I learned when I was young. Singing...it's like speaking a spell. There's plenty music in the lands, people who sing, but their voices aren't like mine. People say I'm a siren. I stopped singing except for a single place that is now gone from me, taken by the sickness because I was unable to visit enough. The magic fades over time. If I'm going to stay here...I /want/ to stay here after two more days...I need a place. I haven't sang for a long time. I don't want him to hear me." She licked her lips, "I want to sing for you, for telling me such an amazing story, as payment for creating a void for me in the place I choose."


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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Sun May 21, 2017 12:51 am

"I would love to hear you sing a song." Megumi smiled warmly. Kazuko summoned the small candle and they walked to the gardens that Kent took care of. Once the magic was contained and "pushed out" so to speak, she turned to Kazuko. "There you go."
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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Sun May 21, 2017 1:25 am

Kazuko winced and blinked as the sunlight filtered through the glass windows. Kent's magic plunged the world in black, but she was surprised to see the conservatory wasn't as desolate as she thought it would be, but there were still gnarled branches and sad looking plants. She stroked the petals of one nearby and looked around some more, walking deeper until she found a sitting area with stone benches. "You could just sit here. You'll hear me even as I move." She promised. "I'm sure Kent's going to be upset you did something like that for me, but I hope what he sees will make him less angry. Just..." she took a breath, "Gimme time to think."

It took her some time, to the point she was worried Kent would blow open the doors and demand Meg explain what was going on. Swallowing thickly, she went to the broken window and whispered that it should mend, making it even brighter as cracks sealed and the mud and grime disappeared. Even as her magic would fade in the long run, at least she could keep the windows standing and able to withstand another storm.

"Many nights we've prayed..." She started softly, turning back to the gardens, and felt her fingertips tingle, her throat constricting, "With no proof anyone could hear...In our hearts a hopeful song...We barely understood..." as she walked, the ground beneath her feet sparkled, and she held her arms out, brushing along petals and leaves and branches. It felt so strange, as more of her song tumbled from her lips, but it was like a weight had lifted. There was no burden here, no one to tell her to stop, no fearful eyes. While there was magic abundant in the world, people who used it on a daily basis, for some reason storytellers like Meg and songweavers like herself were scorned.

The garden came to life as her voice carried in the air, pulsing with her, spreading farther as she got deeper into her magic, and she did wish deep down that Kent could hear her, but she didn't want to tell Meg she also feared he would think she charmed him, using magic like the barafae to mess with emotions and thoughts. She wanted him to think her care was genuine. After this, she didn't want to fuck up anymore. She'd do what she could to make him see she wasn't going to be afraid. Not of him. His magic and energy called to her, a sad melody she knew too well from her own heart, and also...reminded her of her Ghost.

As she finished she came back into Meg's line of sight, touching up the gathering area with the trailing end of her magic, and then let it hang in the air. Gulping, her face flushed, "To imagine...this is only a glimpse of what it used to be. I'm going to try and make it a reality."
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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Sun May 21, 2017 5:47 pm

Megumi felt her heart lift and break as she listened to the song, for as Kazuko went around the garden mending and bringing back life to the scenery, she had also unknowingly broke a barrier that was on Meg's memory. She could recall the many times that they had used their magic together to create something wonderful in Wonderland. A little nook in the corner with a pond, flowers, and a lure for faes and lightbulb bugs to light up the little area. She remembered a time where they would lay down underneath the stars and she would make up stories about the pictures they saw overhead. She remembered how she would leave, return, and leave again for many days till he gripped her tightly and begged her to stay.

Stay, for his heart couldn't bear the pain of continuing the madness of seeing her go and wondering if she would ever return. To love him as much as he loved her. His soul was hers, all he wanted in return was her heart. She had loved him at the time. Loved him with a madness that could probably exceed his own. She agreed, abandoning her home and staying with him without a notice.

She remembered her death. How he found her afterwards' screaming in pain. He gripped her tightly, begging her to open her eyes, fearing that this was because he didn't say he loved her enough. He loved her so much, did she understand that? Did she know?

The wish, the curse. It made tears fall down her face and she stood up on shaky legs as she walked over to Kazuko. She gripped the woman's hand. "You did more than sing me a song. You gave him back to me. I lost his song, his soul, and now I can hear and feel it again." Her cloak did a happy flip over her head before it went back down again. She laughed, some of the tears were wiped away, but they were still falling freely. "I don't know if a thank you would even be enough for what you just did for me. I know you didn't know you were doing it, but...that song reminded me too much of us. Of what he means to me and what I mean to him in return." She knew now what she could do when she returned home. She knew now that when she walked to Wonderland, it would be completely different than before to her. "I believe that you can do exactly that. I think you could break the curse on Kent. I can't tell you the conditions, it goes against my promise. What I can do is tell you this. Your song can heal the most deepest of wounds if you so let it. Maybe not physical. But physical wounds are the easiest to treat. It's the soul that needs the most care." She smiled. "Don't worry about Kent's reaction to the cut off. For what you did for me was important and if I express that, his anger will only last a moment."
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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Sun May 21, 2017 9:57 pm

Kazuko choked up a little as well, gripping Meg's hands tightly in hers, "The Hatter..." she murmured, "I'm glad I could give him back to you. I didn't know you lost him. There must have been an accident?" at Meg's nod she smiled, understanding. "I hope you realize what you've done for me, as well. I could sing for you for hours. I feel as like a dam's been broken. Sad songs, haunting songs, enchanting songs...I missed feeling like this. Telling stories of the heart. I want to sing a specific song for you, later before you leave for home. For now, as much as I want to keep going...I feel as though we should leave, and you can explain to Kent what happened. We can check on Shin, too."
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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Mon May 22, 2017 1:35 am

"Yes." Megumi said, her smile fading into something a little more serious. She would have to talk to Shin about what they're going to do. They left the garden, and Kent was walking towards them as a big, black shadow. Kazuko tensed behind her, but Meg just smiled, "hello Kent."

"My magic was cut off in the garden, and I know that you're the only one here that's strong enough to do something like that. What happened?"

"Kazuko gave me a way to return my memory. To do that though, she needed no interference with other magical sources." Meg said smoothly. "It was a snap decision. I'm sorry, Kent, I should have asked you if I told was alright to cut the magic off. I know it hurts since the castle is you in a sense."

Kent's shadow merely folded its arms, but there was also a sense that he was pursing his lips too. "You should have asked me. Shin was worried. I was worried. You don't cut someone's magic without good reason, so I'll trust your judgement this time. Shin is fine, so you should go and see him and discuss whether or not you can do anything with the wolves. Chances are, we'll just have to deal with it and try to warn travelers away. Magic here is warped, no thanks the the cycle."

Megumi pursed her lips. So it was her fault. Every time she died, a bit of Wonderland ceased to exist. She wondered if it was Ukyo's doing. If it was, then what was the purpose. If it wasn't, then how could the two of them together bring back magic here? She would have to try to find him sometime when she returned to Wonderland and ask him. "I'm going to go to Shin. Candle, come with me for a bit." A candle came by and bobbed it's way down a hallway and Megumi followed it, humming softly.

"So she sings his song again." Kent mused, watching her before turning to Kazuko. "I don't know what you did, but if she is happy then you did something fine. Tell me next time so I can brace myself. I didn't know that she requested your help for one thing or another."
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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Mon May 22, 2017 1:46 am

"I told you when we met, that I have magic." Kazu told him slowly, "It's...a peculiar kind, like Megumi's storytelling. It is the same but different. I haven't used it in a long time. Perhaps after my three days is up, and she has gone, I'll tell you the entire truth, but I won't lie to you, Kent. If you go into the gardens, though, it's super bright. Not only was the magic cut off but I mended the windows. Just be careful. I'm not sure how you take light like that anymore." She couldn't tell him to /not/ go in there, it was his castle for crying out loud, but a fair warning was what he asked for. "Um...I guess I'll go make some food? They've traveled quite a distance, from what I remember of the maps."
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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Mon May 22, 2017 2:12 am

"You don't have to." Kent said slowly, but made a mental note to go see what she had done later when they weren't around for any accidental sightings. "But you're stubborn, so I'm sure you're going to anyway. Raw meat fares best with Shin, just don't get too bloody. I'm sure Meg told you a little about that. As for Meg and myself we'll eat anything. So you have room too move there. Remember to take the candlelight with you. Daylight comes naturally here, but there are times it may still be hard to see. Just call us when you're done. I'll hear you through the castle no matter where you are and tell Meg and Shin to come down."
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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Mon May 22, 2017 2:19 am

Why did her cheeks feel like they were burning? She supposed right now, she was glad that he couldn't see her well. Opening up like that to Megumi had made her feel like she was but a young girl again, and hearing his rich timber made her whole body warm. She smiled at him, a small and sweet little thing, "Alright." She called for the candle guide, which took her passed Kent and towards the kitchen. Even cloaked in shadow, she felt his presence as she passed and had to grip the sides of her dress so not to reach out and touch him. He wouldn't like that, not one bit, and she had promised herself she wouldn't mess this up.

~

Shin looked up, dressed down in just a white billowy undershirt and his slack pants. Magic had cleaned his earlier outfit, but he needed something comforting. "Meg." He greeted simply, and then perked at the light in her eyes, "I know that look. Have you come back?"
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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Mon May 22, 2017 2:28 am

Megumi beamed and hugged him, careful not to be too strong since the wounds probably still hurt even if they were healed. She pulled away, "I'm home." She assured. "Well, as much as I can be since the Hatter doesn't know yet that I am." She placed a hand on her hip. "I feel bad that the fall caused that. But I wonder if it really was the fall, or if something else was at play. Magic had to bring back my memory. That's not a good sign. How are you feeling?"
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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Mon May 22, 2017 2:45 am

Shin furrowed his brows. To think there was something other than the fall... "Whatever that could be, for now it will have to wait. Those wolves...I'm lucky nothing will come of these injuries, and that Kazuko was only scratched up. They were decaying. From the inside out. Plump, full wolves like they've been eating well, but it might have been bloating. Their fur, their skin, their blood...it was all so wrong."

Shin shook his head vigorously, "You were hoping for some magic touch? I don't think there is one. I think even if the curse is lifted, a lot of the animals won't make it. I doubt there will even be a heat season, no babies in the spring. The young wolves I did see part of the pack that ran off were at least a year old. There's no new generations. It'll take a while for the wildlife here to get better. I'm sorry to disappoint you, Meg, but Kent's curse is just too awful for anything to endure. I hate to say it, but there...might not be another year to come. Winter will kill off everything that's left. Nothing might even make it to Yuletime. Not even those villagers. Too pale, sickly, and gaunt. Shocked Kazuko looked so well off."

He hoped deep down that Kent was hearing him. It was dire. They'd lose this land and their friend along with it. "It's a lot of pressure, but Kazuko might be his last hope. Only a month and a half..." He did whisper this, "What did you think of her? If she brought back your light?"
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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Mon May 22, 2017 4:38 pm

"I think she could do it, if she worked hard and she kept Kent's trust. I know that she is a strong minstrel. She could heal his heart with song, while only I can put it at ease with a tale. Kent knows that minstrels of song and of tales aren't really welcomed beyond Wonderland. Our imagery and soulfulness scares people off. Even though I am a princess, I wouldn't have a land in my name nor people who would be willing to follow me if I remained here. Loved or not, people still look at me weary for my talent. Undoubtedly it's the same for Kazuko and Kent understands the pain of being misunderstood. It's a sad way to connect two souls, but lonliness is sometimes the only way. Ikki and I have that kind of bond, only more sibling like." Megumi assured Shin. "So we can't do anything to help them along the way? I know that spells and curses would be much more welcome than...this. A dream if it must be, but still. Sitting here and watching his home fall apart to ruin, I can't help but to feel like I'm a terrible friend for leaving the responsibility on Kazuko's shoulders."

Funny enough, the coat must have sensed her distress that there was nothing that could be done. The cloak that was around her shoulders hugged her fiercely, almost like relief that his prayers were answered that her life wasn't going to be in immediate danger, at the same time in comfort as well. Ukyo knew her well.
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PostSubject: Re: There is no Beauty without some Strangeness - Amnesia Fantasy   Mon May 22, 2017 5:03 pm

"I don't know...talking and being near is going to be the only thing they /can/ do if Kent decides to let her stay. Also...he's got no clue about how women work. Getting flustered out of shyness and nerves, he might misinterpret it as fear. If only someone could stay, and we weren't so far away. Rushing things, that isn't good. Yet Ikki would get really excited hearing about this and scare Kent." He rubbed his face, "I know the thoughts too well, 'if she'll really want me, she couldn't possibly'. He'll scoff at the thought she's even remotely self-conscious of what he thinks of her. What needs to happen most, is he'll have to open up and accept her. It certainly won't work if it's one-sided."
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