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 Amnesia Fantasy - Before the Aftermath

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VampireCat92
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PostSubject: Amnesia Fantasy - Before the Aftermath   Mon May 29, 2017 2:38 pm

Megumi stared at the ball dancers dancing in the middle of the floor, sipping on her wine in the corner of the room. She watched her brother, Prince Ikki, dance with one of the girls from Rika’s group. She had short blue hair and her ballgown was as flashy as everyone else’s with frills and ribbons. Her eyes never left Ikki’s and Ikki never turned her gaze away. It was a bit sickening how they looked like a couple yet were anything but.

Her mother, the Queen of Spades Gina, told her to keep an eye out on her older brother. Ever since he made a wish upon the Faery Queen he was younger, his gaze could entice any woman to his side without fail. It made him enemies of a lot of men, and a lot of allies were hesitant to even let him marry into an alliance. She sipped on her wine again, but he was more of a match than say, she.

It was bothersome really. Unless the girls didn’t leave him alone, Megumi couldn’t do anything but sit in the corner, sip on her wine, and pray that no one bothered to ask her dancing. She even went as far as to make sure she was out of place on the floor, wearing boots and knee high socks, and a dress that only went to her knees. She made sure her hair was down, not up, and in it’s usual hair-band braid that she liked to do.

None of the men wanted to dance with someone who was looking like a commoner. But that was technically what she was, despite carrying the title of Princess. It was formality, really. At least, that’s how Megumi treated it, even though Ikki and his mother did everything that they could to show that despite that she was adopted that she had the same responsibilities of other princesses.

Not that she wanted them. Megumi couldn’t imagine her life being married to a prince, having his children, and being a pretty doll. She also couldn’t imagine not going outside to explore the kingdom, riding on horseback to the Clover Kingdom to see her long time childhood friend who was also a prince, nor being able to go down to the village, to the pubs exactly, and weaving her tales.

Bards where hated in the kingdom. Hated hated hated.

At least if someone was drunk they couldn’t tell what she was or who she was. Just a girl telling stories. That was it.

“Continue to scowl like that and people will start to wonder why you’re even here.”

She turned her attention to a man that stood next to her. He wore rectangular glasses and wore a sharply made suite that showed the emblem of arms of the Clover Kingdom. He had his own glass of wine in his hand and was watching the dancing with an analytical look on his face.

“Hello Kent, I was just thinking about you.”

He raised an eyebrow and glanced at her from the corner of his eye. “Enough to scowl?”

“Thinking of my future husband and the restrictions he’d place upon me.” Megumi answered, sipping her wine.

“You’re not betrothed.” Kent frowned, “so you have no reason to be upset.”

“I could be if someone or something has their way.” She huffed, “I hope Ikki finds a wife soon. Then he could have the many kids, and I could just spoil them.”

“His wife might not like you in the castle.”

“I can live among the commoners. It’ll be easy.” Megumi smiled happily at Kent. “They have more freedoms, you see.”

“Freedom.” Kent scoffed. “More like they’re more restricted than we are.”

“Oh please, don’t say that. You think /this/ is fun by any means?” Megumi gestured out to the ballroom. The musicians stopped playing their music and the dancers bowed to one another. Ikki was already moving on swiftly to find another woman. “I have to be the one to get him out of a jam when he gets into one.”

“Ah, the responsibilities of a younger sister.” Kent took a sip of his own wine. “How quaint.”

“How indeed. If it was /my/ way, the musicians wouldn’t be here, the music will play itself. Everyone would dance underneath the chandelier light, and the moon would be the only audience. No one would care about /dresses/ and /wives/ and /husbands/ good god. You could come as a single and I would dance with them. Ikki as well.” Megumi grinned, “The libraries would be free for anyone to use so long as they bring the books back, the people would always be well-fed, there’d be no need for a war or alliances, because really…why would you even bother?”

“Your world sounds as majestic and boring as Wonderland.” Kent rolled his eyes. “There’s no excitement there. Just danger for possible outcomes.”

“Ah, the possibilities. See, existing is supposed to bring those you know. Not this…predictability.” Megumi’s nose wrinkled. “See, he goes dancing with another woman, drawing mom’s hopes up just a bit. Hope is one of the few emotions I /hope/ not to experience. But hope is hope, it’s undeniable as fate.”

Kent sighed softly, “No use speaking to you when you’re in a state.”

“I suppose not. I’m furious and frustrated.” Megumi answered, drinking a good two gulps of the wine and then setting the empty glass down. “Ugh, I bet Wonderland knows how to have good wine. That is vile.”

“Then don’t torture yourself with it.” Kent answered.

“I must. For this is torture in of itself. I suppose I should give my brother a break from trying to charm women he has no chance sleeping with.” Megumi sighed as she strode across the ball room and ignoring the gazes that went past her.

She tapped her brother’s shoulder and gave a charming smile when he stopped dancing. The woman, looked furious for she knew and he knew what his answer was going to be. “I’m bored. Dance with me.”

“Ah, so my sister finally comes out of her hiding place. I’m sorry, Tahiko, but would you-“

“Not at all.” The woman, Tahiko smiled, but she gave Megumi a withering glare behind Ikki’s back as he let her go and turned towards Megumi.

Megumi fluttered her eyes a few times in a sarcastic manner, only to rile up the woman more before she was whisked away. “Charming them again, does no one good.”

“Getting them angry at you, does no one good.” Ikki retorted as he gave her a delightful spin, making her smile for real and brought her back into his arms. “You dress horribly.”

“So I did wonderful then. Good. It’ll keep the suitors ten feet away from me.”

“Yes, and marriage.”

“Bah! Marriage.” Megumi shook her head from side to side. “No, Ikki. I’m not marrying anyone or anything. You’ll have to find me dead first.”

Ikki snorted, “Well, I suppose that’ll be because your husband murdered you for being more stubborn than a donkey.”

“A donkey moves when there’s a carrot.”

“So you’ll marry in promise for food. You glutton.”

“I’m not afraid to slap you in front of everyone here and storm off in a huff and pretend that you have angered me.” Megumi snipped back, dancing on his toes in answer. He hissed in pain and on the next spin pretended to misstep and kicked her ankle, causing her to stumble in turn.

"Why are you even doing this?" Ikki sighed, righting her up and continuing the dance, ignoring the onlookers who were a little confused as to what was happening right now.

“Because, you keep thinking that your eyes won’t work on someone and yet they do.” Megumi said gently, “I can see you getting more and more disappointed as the night goes on. Why don’t you just find someone that might love you after the charm wears off?”

“That’s not how it works. I have to find someone whose resistant. Otherwise, I’m always going to think that their underneath my spell.” Ikki reminded softly, “Only then will the charm wear off and I’ll be free.”

“I think the Faerie Queen is just fucking with you,” she shook her head from side to side. “Though I suppose maybe you’re supposed to find someone whose made the same kind of deal?”

“Yes, who would dare have such a wish?” Ikki sighed, “You hope too much.”

“Maybe. I think that’s one of my few charms myself.” Megumi quipped. “But seriously, I’m tired of seeing you look so sad. This is supposed to be a way for you to find someone to love.”

“I don’t think a ball is going to do me any good here.” Ikki gave Megumi another spin, brought her back and did another spin the opposite way. He brought her back into his arms. “I think I’ll meet her another way.”

“Oh?”

“A better way.” Ikki said determinedly. “I’ll meet her in the village, unexpectedly. We’ll have a chat and be on our merry way. We’ll run into each other again and again before you know it, we’re courting.”

“So…a very boring way.” Megumi sighed. “Where is your dramatics? You’re supposed to find her in the forest, lost and afraid. Running away from an evil stepmother who wants her heart or something like that.”

“Why would she want her heart?” Ikki asked, aghast.

“I don’t know. To eat it I guess. I think young blood is supposed to bring back youth or something. So the urban legend goes. Anyway you’re ruining the story.” Megumi hissed, “You’ll meet her in the forest and she’s lost and afraid. You, being the gentleman that you are, will offer her a ride on your horse. She may deny you, but you’ll be persistent. Then, she’ll accept. You’ll bring her here and she’ll meet me and mom.”

“Oh dear god have mercy on her soul.” Ikki sighed, looking heavenwards.

“What’s wrong with meeting mom?” Megumi sounded puzzled.

“It’s not meeting mom, it’s meeting you. Ouch!” Ikki was kind of thankful that the music was so loud. No one heard that he was stepped on again.

“Sorry.” Megumi said sweetly, not sounding sorry at all. “Anyway, she’ll meet me and mom and being the awesome sister that I am, will talk to her. I’ll ease her worries and comfort her. I’ll discover why she ran away and tell you! Then, then…”

“I suppose I kill the mother,” Ikki said dryly. “Or better yet, the poor girl falls into a curse and I have to figure out away to fix it.”

“Yes!”

“Meg, no.” Ikki shook his head from side to side. “I’m not going to be that dramatic.”

“Well, it’s a better love story than saying. “Oh I met your mother at the market. With a plain basket and looking at tulips for the garden.”.” Megumi rolled her eyes. “You have imagination, Ikki. You use it when we play against Kent.”

“Yes. Because it’s for play.” Ikki stressed, “Not everyone lives in their own little world like you do sis.”

“Better my world than this one,” Megumi sniffed. “It’s more exciting and less boring.”

“You’re going to get tired of excitement and boring will seem nice to you.”

“Maybe. Maybe not. Boring is as it does.” The song finally ended and the siblings bowed to one another. “Seriously though, try not to get your hopes up at this dance.”

“I try.” Ikki promised, spinning her and pushing her towards Kent. “Dance with him if you must, but leave me be. And your stories.”

“You’re the only one that listens to them sober besides Kent,” Megumi answered before weaving through the crowd. Just as she left, she could hear a good amount of women trying to get Ikki’s attention to dance with him again before Rika stepped through, wearing her customary black dress and her emblem the raven, shining in the light.

Ikki took her hand and the music began again.

“Well at least Rika might be the one,” Kent offered as Megumi found another glass.

“Eh, maybe.” Megumi watched Rika and Ikki. “They certainly have the same flamboyant sense of style when it comes to clothing and what matches and doesn’t. I can’t imagine the disaster of children they’d have though.”

Kent laughed into his drink.

~+~
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PostSubject: Re: Amnesia Fantasy - Before the Aftermath   Mon May 29, 2017 4:10 pm


"Certainly, with someone so stubborn you'd be able to charm the charmer if it doesn't even work on you!" Tsume's mother quipped as they walked up the steps to the Spade castle.

"Why must you push this on me?! If you are so adamant about continuing the family line, then set up an arranged marriage like a /normal/ parent. I hear it's all the rage." Tsume hissed at the woman whom she was the spitting image of.

"I /tried/ to! You make all the possible matches hate you! Not to mention, I may want someone to /tame/ your wild heart, but I don't want anyone to /abuse/ you. There's a mighty fine line." She snorted, "I also attempted to set one up with Prince Ikkyu. Queen Gina wouldn't hear of it, wants to have you two meet before she considers anything."

"Good on the Queen, then." Tsume lagged behind her mother as she spotted a break among the hedges. Her mom kept going on about how difficult she was and how much trouble she caused for her and it served as the perfect time to slip away. She only barely heard the screams of her to 'get back here' as she found herself walking the pathways around the palace, her dress hiked up so she could storm away faster. It wasn't that she didn't want to meet Prince Ikki, she just hated her mother's pushy nature.

Soon enough, she made it to what obviously appeared to be some gardens, and darted through an archway, trying to weave and wind her way so any pursuers would lose her. Unfortunately, her dress made it difficult to keep jogging, and her heels nearly fell off several times. Just as she slowed down coming up to a fountain, needing to catch her breath, she heard a voice and froze. Damn, caught so soon?

"How on earth can you run in heels? Isn't that killing you? Wait up!" Megumi shouted at her and headed to the fountain. She had managed to get away from that disaster of a dance after a few and Kent had decided to go on home early as well. Neither of them were the greatest wallflowers on the planet. Megumi wasn't entertained, as much Kent liked to people watch, it's hard to remember that the nerd actually was a prince too. Even when he wore the emblem on the cloak. "If you're running away from this too, then that settles how bad this thing is."

"What?" Tsume turned her attention to the peach-haired girl only a year her junior, and the first thing she said instead of 'what are you talking about' was "You look absolutely adorable!"

Megumi tripped in surprise and slowed her run to a walk, her eyes wide. "Well that wasn't what I was expecting to be told. Thank you." She did a small spin and smiled. "No one else thought so. I look too common for those drab folk inside."

"Too common? They were being cruel in not telling you the whole truth. You look wonderfully strange and I like that stripped dress, and the color of it. I'd much rather be wearing boots, myself. You wondered how I could run in heels? The backing hugs my heel, though I'll likely have blisters now." Tsume laughed softly, holding her foot out for Meg to see, "They did slip a few times as they got caught between the pavement stones. Luckily I didn't twist my ankle at all."

Megumi clicked her tongue. "I wish I could just imagine a basket of healing supplies, but I can't. We'll have to go into the castle if you think you might be hurting. Why women wear heels is beyond me. It can't be comfortable and looking pretty doesn't do anyone any good." She shook her head as she sat down on the edge of the fountain. "Come on, sit down and keep those heels off. If worse comes to worse, just dance barefoot. God knows I've done it a thousand times. /That/ turns away people quicker than a fart."

Tsume giggled and did so, sighing in relief, "I should've worn my strapped ones, they're easier to move in. My mother rushed me. Anyway, just what were you talking about, with 'how bad this is' and whatnot?"

"Oh, the dance." Megumi gestured behind her and folded her legs up as she made herself comfortable. "I don't like...the way they look. Too flashy and too...greedy mostly. I mean, you're fine. You're not...horrible compared to the other people inside. I go in and the first thing they do is judge what I'm wearing. The only reason why I'm not tossed out is because Ikki would throw a fit. Well...mom would throw a fit. Ikki would just laugh at me."

"I like to wear men's ruffled tops and tight pants with boots that go to my knees." Tsume smirked at her, "My mother hates it. I guess we share that. I did want to dance, and my mother's probably got your family's guard searching for me by now. I was just tired of her griping about how I make her life difficult and she can't get anyone to agree to an arranged marriage with me."

Megumi gave her an appreciating nod. "I don't have an arranged marriage, mom doesn't believe in that, but I'm certainly not making an effort. Ikki can have that joy if he wants it. I'm fine on my own or with someone that understands me. I don't want to be confined to things. I'm not a very good royal person. Did you want to dance with Ikki or did you want to dance with some other stranger? It's a shame you came when you did. I could've hooked you up with Kent if Ikki is too much."

"I don't know how long this party is supposed to last. I only just got here, but we were late. Our kingdom is a bit further away." Tsume sighed deeply, "I'm sure the legendary charmer is too busy for the likes of me, anyway. He might have a delightfully odd sister, but does he appreciate that sort of thing in another?" She eyed Megumi thoughtfully for a second, "How about we dance together, instead? Not that I'm going to use you as a replacement of any sort, but I know how to lead as well as follow, and I appear to be taller than you, on top of it. We can make it work. Just don't step on my toes?"

Megumi grinned and she jumped off of the edge of the fountain and held her hand out. "Let's go inside then." She said with a smile. "I'd love to dance with you."

Putting her heels back on so she wouldn't forget them, Tsume took her hand and let her lead the way since she had no idea what the layout was. "Look at you, just making even more points with the lads and lassies of this Ball by dancing with a woman." She teased once they pushed passed the curtains that led into the Ballroom from the gardens, "This is the /perfect/ way to make my mother lose her mind, too. 'Is this why you're so against a man?!' sort of thing."

"I like you. Can you live with us?" Megumi sighed happily. "You'd be the best sister and we could drive my brother insane."

Tsume beamed at her, "I'll be lucky my mother doesn't drag me away after this. Let's see what happens first. It's not so easy for a Princess to run away." She drew Meg into the thicket of the people, a hop in her step, until they reached a fairly empty spot and letting go of Meg, she stepped back and did a men's curtsy with one hand out and the other over her waist as she bent in half, "May I have this dance, my dear?"

Boy oh boy the shocked looks on people's faces was enough to make Megumi grin. She knew that her brother was probably watching to see the commotion that was happening and she could bet that he was either face-palming or sighing into the sky. She did her own curtsy back. "Yes you may." She took Tsume's hand and they started to dance, ignoring the open-mouthed gapes that were their audience. "Look how they are shocked to silence." Megumi giggled. "This is probably the best fun I've had at a ball for a long time!"

"Normal Princess life is incredibly drab, isn't it? I haven't been able to have this kind of excitement in a while, either." Tsume agreed on a whisper. Her position was that of the men's lead as she had promised and she easily moved Meg in time to the music. She used it also to focus on anything /but/ those around her as shock faded to disgust and anger. "I am glad I was able to brighten up your evening. How terribly rude of me, by the way. My name is Tsume."

"That's a pretty name. I'm Megumi." Megumi introduced herself, with a smile. She knew the outrage, she knew that Tsume might be marched off, but...hell. She doubted Ikki would let it happen too. "Let's make sure our lives aren't so boring as everyone else's. Customs be damned. By the way, I should introduce you to my brother. Arranged marriage or not, he's going to want to meet you as a friend at the very least. Not many are."

"I would like that." Tsume smiled softly and gave Megumi a simple twirl, then a dip and held her just like any man would. If they were going to play up that they were queer, might as well do it right. It would've been a lot easier in the outfit she described, but this was fun all the same. Smiling, she did the best she could to show Megumi a grand time before the music stopped and she held onto Meg's hand as she did a final bow, "You dance beautifully."
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PostSubject: Re: Amnesia Fantasy - Before the Aftermath   Mon May 29, 2017 9:52 pm

"Thank you, so do you." Megumi said as she curtsied back. She held her arm out and she could see Tsume's mother, or at least that's who she presumed it to be, about to storm across the ball room. Ikki must have sensed that there was going to an outcry or something, for he smoothly appeared before them without showing where he had been.

"Ladies." Ikki bowed, making the woman who was just about to storm to them stop dead in her tracks

Tsume's heart was pounding in her chest after seeing her mother with fire in her eyes and she closed hers, taking a deep breath and counting to ten. She did a proper feminine curtsy to Ikki, "Forgive me for stealing the spotlight. Your sister found me in the gardens and we decided to have some fun."

Ikki looked amused, "You look uncomfortable doing that. It's alright, Meg was being terrible throughout the entire dance. Pouty and what have you. It's good that she found someone who shares her interest in riling up the good people."

Tsume met his eyes straight on, and her breath caught at how stunning they were. His emotions were refined, if held back. She felt his amusement deeper than the smile on his face, like he wanted to laugh out loud rather than chuckle softly. She also felt the glimmer of hope as she continued to hold his gaze. "She was certainly rather shocked when I told her she looked cute in her outfit. What I failed to say was it might be something even the White King would get a kick out of."

Megumi's cheeks flushed deeply. Ikki had to smile widely now. "You know of him?"

"I live close to the oceans. While Clover takes one side of the Wonderland upstream, my home is downstream on the other side. It's part of the reason we arrived so late into your party. We do have to travel through Diamond to get to yours, since their lands are smack in the middle." Tsume explained, picturing the maps in her mind and speaking slowly so she could get the layout right before talking.

"Oooh." The siblings chorused together at the same time. Ikki grinned brightly, "I'm surprised you know his likes and dislikes in women's fashion. I hear that he's the odd sort, anti social actually."

Megumi rolled her eyes. "Well, I'll take the compliment. If a /King/ would like what I'm wearing, then maybe it's all the more reason to continue to do so. Much to the annoyance of others."

"Oh boy." Ikki said dryly. "I hope the White King understands that anything you tell her now she'll take as Royal Permission to do as she pleases."

"Oh, but now, isn't it also true that 'no great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness'?" Tsume was enjoying toying with Ikki, much to his chagrin and Megumi's delight, "She's not crazy, her reality is just different from ours, and isn't that what the White King would enjoy most?"

"I'll tell you what," Ikki turned to Tsume. "if you can marry my sister off to the supposed White King, not only will you have my admiration, but I'll make sure to send him a sympathy card."
Megumi gasped. "Ouch. That hurts my heart."

"You would hate being Queen, Meg. If you hate being Princess so much. But you know, if he could love you for you and you love him for him and titles are damned, then you /both/ would have my blessing. But at the current moment, I just pity the man that we're actually considering sending you." Ikki explained.

"Meg, is it a happiness to wonder; is it a happiness to dream?" Tsume asked simply with a smile, and then she looked at Ikki, "We still have quite an audience. Either you can appease the masses by letting me dance with you, or we can take our discussion elsewhere." She was getting uncomfortable with the any negative emotions running around, but she was also refined in keeping her face kind and neutral like he was.

"I think I'm tired of dancing, and you're too much fun to converse with. Let's take our discussion elsewhere." Ikki said smoothly, holding his arm out for Tsume to take. The moment he did and the siblings started to walk off, did they hear the loud break out of discussion. "So much for keeping you in the spotlight, Meg. I don't doubt Tsume's mother is going to arrange for a marriage now."

"Easy Casanova, you have to court her first and that's if she'll even let you." Meg quipped back as they walked up the stairs. "To the library? No one's going to bother us there. What would a pair of royals even care for books?"

"Is the Library going to be too boring for you?" Ikki turned his attention to Tsume. "Or do you think somewhere your mother could reach us? She looks quite torn between what's happening right now." He had chanced a glance over his shoulder to see that she was going off, undoubtedly to find their mother.

Tsume worried her lip before shrugging, "I think we'll be fine there. If she finds us, she finds us. We'll cross that bridge when we get there." She enjoyed Ikki's warmth and leaned into him as they walked. She hadn't realized she'd even been cold, what with the warm-up from the dance floor, but as it was easing into September the nights were getting cooler.

The three of them went up to the library, which was far from the ballroom, but just as grand. It wasn't huge or anything like that, a small modest two stories with shelves against the walls instead of stacked in rows. The carpet was a beauitful calm blue and the fireplace was going. Hidden was a piano that was clearly for practicing since it wasn't in the music room. "Ah, good. One of the servants must have thought Megumi would be hiding in here otherwise, we'd have to worry the fire ourselves." Ikki said, leading Tsume to the sitting area that was near the piano. He sat her down and took a seat next to her. Megumi, ever the rebel, sat down on the table, crossing her legs and smoothing her skirt. "Tell us a little of yourself. Princess of a far way land and knows of the White King. You're intriguing to us already and you barely mentioned anything of you."

Tsume's cheeks flushed, "Ah, well...as I told Megumi, I enjoy dressing in men's clothing more often than not." She slid her shoes off and massaged the backs of her heels absently, "My mother lets me get away with most of it, as does my father, but when it comes to marrying me off and having grandchildren that's where her controlling nature comes out. She wants a man of good status and social standing who'll take care of me. Yet every time she tries to set me up with someone it fails. All I want is to run a business where people can come and feel better A sauna house, a hot spring, what have you. Yet that's something a noble household would be more suited to take care of, not a busy Princess."

Ikki thought about it, "But having a Princess run it would be more beneficial. The people would adore you, you'd have more social standing, and not only that, you have people that'd be a little more lenient towards you. You said you were by the ocean right? Springs and such are abundant there right? Especially in the winter time."

"You could work with her, you like math and keeping track of books." Megumi pointed out helpfully. "With your hobby and her business sense, you'd have success. I hope I'm out of the business unless it's to map out where you want to build?"

"...." Ikki gave her a slight look before he shook his head. "Already we're trying to take over your idea. Forgive Meg, she gets too excited when it comes to trying to help people. Overly doing it."

Tsume smiled softly, "I understand, and I don't mind. It's...refreshing to hear someone actually back my idea. Though, involving you so quickly may be a little too forward. I want to be friends, certainly, but if the best we can be is penpals then we definitely can't talk business. Honestly, I doubt that even, since I was the only one you whisked away, wasn't I? I saw a lot of women give me death glares." Sensed, really, but one didn't outright say something along the lines of 'oh hey, I'm an Empath'.

Ikki frowned, looking at her curiously, "You don't think we wouldn't invite you back here, do you? Even if it's not business," he glared at Megumi who held her hands up. "Friends are welcome here. Especially someone that seems to understand my sister. It's rare to find those. Rarer even that they're women."

"Because they're all after you." Tsume added for him, a bit airily, "I'm sure my mother will want me to spend /all/ the time in the world with you, especially if she successfully manages to get your own to agree to an arranged marriage. At least we know each other now, and seem to have a good start. I was just throwing some possible bad outcomes out there. I like to make sure I cover all the angles."

Ikki and Meg both exchanged a look. If those were the /bad/ possible outcomes, heaven forbid Tsume actually thought of the /worst/. "Don't worry about it." Ikki said after a moment. "If your mom is really going to try to do an arranged marriage, then she's not going to get it. We don't do that. My mother would much rather us try to find love at least first before she resorts to drastic measures. If anyone is in danger of having an arranged marriage, it's my sister. That being said, you're right when you said that the women were after me. However, I think you make the mistake of thinking that they're after /me/ as well. No. I think we'll figure out a different solution that'll benefit all of us."

Tsume watched them, felt the truth in their words and in their emotions. It was strange. Perhaps this trip wasn't such a lost cause after all. "Think we might be able to outnumber her by picking out a room for me? It sounds like your mother is all about making you two happy. I don't think we'd get back to our own palace until after midnight, either. Might as well, right?"

"Do you want your own room or have you ever had a sleepover?" Megumi asked, clapping her hands excitedly. "It's something I've been wanting to try. It'll be fun. We'll even raid the kitchens when we're hungry late at night."

"You could just.../ask/ the servants to give you food." Ikki let out a soft sigh.

"Imagination." Megumi pointed at her brother. "This shows your lack of it."

"No, I just don't see the appeal of a late night /kitchen raid/." Ikki flicked her nose and she let out a cry. "Oh that didn't hurt."

"It did too! You don't know!" Megumi whined, rubbing her nose.

Tsume's grin became wide, "Who has not, a hundred times, found himself committing a vile or silly action for no other reason than because he should not?" She quoted and reached over, attempting to poke Ikki's cheek only to poke his nose instead when his keen eye spotted her movement, but she rolled with it, "You act twice your age. Have you dampened your own personal whims so much to cater to your ladies that you forgot what it was like to do something /you/ wanted?" She pulled away, "We'll drag you along with us. Maybe we can get some wine, too. Loosen tongues as well as inhibitions."

"I'm fighting your mom to keep you." Megumi sighed happily and she stood up. "Would you feel comfortable dragging Ikki into a sleepover? Perhaps we could do a lot more to loose him up as a team rather than having to talk to him through a door."

"You'd be less inclined to do anything /scandalous/ if your sister's in the same room." Tsume got to her feet, but she simply grabbed her shoes instead of putting them back on, "I vote yes."

"If it's what the ladies want." Ikki sighed, knowing too well how this was going to go. He had a feeling that Meg and Tsume were going to be a force to be reckoned with and that it was best not to try to fight them, especially with /two/. Secretly though, he was quite pleased at how easily Tsume slipped into their lives. A breath of fresh air...and something more.

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PostSubject: Re: Amnesia Fantasy - Before the Aftermath   Tue May 30, 2017 7:52 am

Tsume's mother was definitely not the greatest woman Megumi had the pleasure of meeting and was kind of thankful when the woman left, though sad to see Tsume go. Ikki was partiularly affected by her absence, but kept himself busy with his studies and work. A week after the ball, the rumor mill was starting to run it's course. Megumi was constantly hearing that Ikki was betrothed to Tsume of Princess of the Tidal Oceans and there was a few that were saying that it was /Megumi/ of all people who was betrothed. Of course, no one could say for certain, but she did catch wind that there was a betting pool on who exactly Tsume was going to marry within the year's end.

Really. It was like they couldn't have anything better to do with themselves. Megumi grew bored of listening to the endless chatter and endless congratulations as well as questions about who it really was. She tried to deny it the best that she could, but either they thought she was lying, or they just thought that she was keeping a secret. Since the town was being horrible, Megumi knew better than to stay within it's walls.

Tsume told her last week that she lived downstream in Wonderland, and Megumi had heard plenty of rumors about it and the White King. Well, the Mad King king depending on who was talking and who was doing what. The land had a mind of it's own, and things that weren't supposed to exist did. It made her wonder, it made her excited. She heard of all sorts of things and there was always a warning that went with every story she heard.

What is down is up, what is up is down and what is sideways...well...that's when you know you're spinning.

She didn't exactly tell her mother and Ikki where she was going, she knew that Wonderland could swallow her whole if it wanted to, but...

Something about it, even just the name called to her. Like a familiar voice from a long time ago. Now, that was worth exploring and if she gave a bit of a white lie and saying that she was traveling to Kent's castle, well...they didn't need to know the honest truth.

So Wonderland she went. And wonderland it was.

This land was...absolutely insane. The sky was hued with a light dusty pink, and the sun was green today. The trees were orange and brown and red and purple. She even saw a weird color of yellow that she wasn't sure was yellow to begin with. The roads felt...weird as well. There really wasn't a map of Wonderland for the roads were always forever changing to the whims of Wonderland itself.

"Hello!"

She stopped in her tracks and looked around, but she didn't see anyone or hear anything.

"Hello!"

"She's not looking."

"Aw. Is she dumb or something?"

"Oi." Megumi's eyebrow twitched.

"The human's upset! The human's upset!"

Megumi whirled around and came to a cluster of flowers. They were innocent looking enough. Beautiful oranges and yellows and she blinked. Something urged her to go over, so she did and she knelt down. "Aren't you pretty." She cooed.

"The human complimented us!"

It took everything Megumi had not to scream. Holy shit they were talking flowers. Talking. Flowers. She stared, mouth opened before she spoke again. "That is so cool."

The flowers burst pollen, making her sneeze like crazy. "Sorry! Sorry!" The flowers chirped. "Where do you go? Where do you wander?"

"Just...wandering."

"You should go faster. Faster." The flowers hummed excitedly. "Someone needs help. Down the road you go. Off off!"

Someone needed her help? She couldn't imagine what that person could possibly want with her, but she felt the urgency. She couldn't exactly run, she didn't want to loose the path, but she matched her pace to a brisk walk and headed away from the talking flowers.

What is sideways is when you know you're spinning.

Megumi was pretty sure spinning wasn't this. The forest was starting to look the same with all the whacky colors and she was pretty certain that she passed that cluster of flowers a long time ago...and then she came across him.

He was a small boy, no older than nine or so with ombre hair and chubby cheeks. He looked a bit banged up and she clicked her tongue. She was thankful that she brought a medicine pack with her since she didn't know what kind of troubles she'd get into. She approached the boy with caution. She was certain he was taught stranger danger, and he wasn't going to believe her if she said that she was a Princess of Spades.

Hell he might call her crazy and run off dangerously off the road and into the deeper parts of Wonderland. "Hello." She said softly. "You look worse for wear."
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PostSubject: Re: Amnesia Fantasy - Before the Aftermath   Tue May 30, 2017 7:52 am

"You dress like you're from here. Your dress is all striped." He tilted his head at her, "Yet you don't smell like you're from here, or from Toma's territory. Did you just move into the village?" He made a face, "My name is Shin. Who are you?" His manners were mediocre, but he was as polite as a blunt boy like him could be.

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PostSubject: Re: Amnesia Fantasy - Before the Aftermath   Tue May 30, 2017 8:38 am

Megumi wondered about that. Stripes seemed to be a thing. This kid was wearing not stripes per se, but diamonds on his clothing. Which meant that he was from Diamond. Shin...wasn't he the younger brother of the Diamond Prince, Toma? That'd explain why he'd call it Toma's territory. She put away that knowledge for now. Right now, this was a little boy that needed her help. "You can call me Meg." She answered and knelt down. "I'm a healer in training too. You look like you could use a couple of bandages. Where were you heading off to?" She knew Wonderland was dangerous by now. Hell, talking flowers? If that was tame, she knew danger could be more. But did...children live in Wonderland? That was something to see if she couldn't find out from the locals.
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PostSubject: Re: Amnesia Fantasy - Before the Aftermath   Tue May 30, 2017 9:48 am

Shin looked down at his body. His elbows were scraped up, his arms had small cuts from the rocks and branches, and his pants had a few new rips in them, a bloody and bruising gash on his knee. "I was heading to Hisako's. Her home's pretty deep in the forest. You can't get there by the roads. He protects her like she was his own. I go as far as I can like this then I have to veer off."

Megumi didn't know who the he was, but decided that it wasn't important. "As long as he didn't do this to you," she said as she pulled out her pouch. "Here, sit down." She knelt down on the road and watched him look at her before also sitting down. She started working on his wounds. "How about you and I go into the forest and find Hisako's home?" She offered. "I don't want to see you get hurt any further than you already are."
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PostSubject: Re: Amnesia Fantasy - Before the Aftermath   Tue May 30, 2017 9:51 am

"No, he doesn't hurt me on purpose. I tripped over a tree root." He looked non-too-pleased about that, making a scowling face, "Wonderland likes to play tricks. You should know that. It doesn't show you malice unless you do first, but it still likes to make you dizzy and have it's own fun."
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PostSubject: Re: Amnesia Fantasy - Before the Aftermath   Tue May 30, 2017 9:59 am

"I noticed the dizzy part, and that's good." Megumi said softly as she wrapped up his wounds, being careful when she placed on some oil to help the cuts heal without scarring. "Sorry that the tree root made you fall," she smiled at him a little. "But that means next time a tree tries to talk to you, you'll at least stop to acknowledge it." Why not give a bit of a story? She could feel Wonderland still and the grass that was at the edge of the road turned a bright, curious orange. Huh. Weird. Shin was giving her a look asking her if she was dumb. "No it's true!" She protested. "Trees are older than us, so much so that if you ask them for advice they usually give it so long as you give food to the animals it shelters first. I think the tree said hello, or maybe tried to warn you that it's root was out and you didn't hear it so you tripped. You gotta be careful about that."
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PostSubject: Re: Amnesia Fantasy - Before the Aftermath   Tue May 30, 2017 11:53 am

Shin blinked at her slowly before he looked at the tree root and then towards the tree it came from. The flowers could talk, but he hadn't heard the tree. Maybe he hadn't been paying attention, too eager to get to Hisako's place. "Sorry, Tree." He said simply, not sure what else to say, before returning his attention to Meg, "Wonderland likes you. I don't think that's happened since Hisa."
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PostSubject: Re: Amnesia Fantasy - Before the Aftermath   Tue May 30, 2017 11:56 am

Megumi blinked and she smiled softly, warmly. "I'm glad to be liked. That doesn't happen much." She finished her work and she beamed. "There, all better now. You know, it'll be faster for us both if you get on my back. You can direct me to the way you need to go and we can get to her cottage fast. Of course, if you'd much rather continue on your way, I understand that too." Dangerous though. She didn't like that, but she wasn't about to force a kid. Wonderland's orange color faded to yellow and the air started circulating again. She wondered what made it still to begin with. Her story?

"Not everybody understands you and people don't like what they don't understand." Shin looked sad and forlorn at that, but he dusted his pants when he was standing, "I can walk. I heal quickly, and your medicine makes it feel better. Thank you. Anyway, it's this way," he pointed and motioned for her to follow.

Megumi wondered what happened to him to make him understand that. It was sad that someone so young already knew that people hated what they didn't understand. She followed him, admiring that he was able to navigate the forest without looking too lost. She was probably a bumbling bee in comparison. "Whose the he you were talking about that protects Hisa?" She asked curiously.

"He goes by lots of names. White King, Mad King...Hisako likes to call him Hatter, so that's what I call him, too. He adopted her before Toma and I could." Shin smiled over his shoulder at her. "She'll like you, too. I'm telling you a lot of things I really shouldn't, but while you smell like you don't belong, that's only because you live somewhere else. You could belong here easy."

Belong...? Megumi stumbled a bit  and he gave her a surprised look. "Apparently I'm not listening to the trees either. Oops." She laughed a little shakily but...belonging. "Wait." She blinked, "The /White/ King goes by the name of /Hatter/?"

"That's a fun story Hisa might like to tell you." Shin grinned at her, "A story for a story. Perfect exchange, I think."

Megumi raised an eyebrow. The kid probably didn't know that bards were dangerous, and if the Hatter was the White King, she would have to tread carefully. He might like the way she dressed and her attitude, but he wasn't going to take kindly to her telling stories. "I think I'd have to see what happens." She said after a moment, carefully. Children wouldn't understand. "I think as long as it's indoors and away from anyone, I wouldn't mind staying for a story or two."

"Well, we're almost there. Hisa will help you understand." Shin nodded, taking her hand and veering another direction, leading with ease and they finally crossed a worn but taken care of cottage.

"Shin!" The door flung open, obviously the little girl had been waiting by the window to wait for her friend. She bounced up and down, waving her hands like they couldn't see her, but then she stopped. It was clear to Megumi that the girl realized that Shin brought company. They got closer to the cottage and the girl placed her hands on her hips. She wore pants with holes, a multitude of stringed and leather bracelets and her hair was long and wavy, most likely from a braid. "Who are you?"

"Meg." Megumi answered easily enough. "Shin was telling me about you."

Hisako frowned and looked at her friend. "She's not from here. She doesn't talk like he does. How did you get so badly hurt?!" She gasped suddenly realizing the bandages and started running her hands over his arms.

Shin caught one of her hands in his and brought her fingers to his lips, his red eyes lighting up in a way that made him look older than e was. "I'm fine. They've likely healed by now. She had medicine in her basket. She's not from here, but she looks like she belongs, doesn't she? She told me a short story."

"A story?!" Hisako brightened and she looked at Megumi excitedly. "I only ever hear of Hatter's stories."
Oh boy. Megumi knew that she wasn't going to get out of this. "It was just about being nice to the trees." She said carefully. "Since he tripped over a root and the tree warned him and all."

Hisako frowned, well. That was weird. She'd have to ask Hatter if that was true, but Hisako had been around the forest a long, long time. There was no such thing as a talking tree. "Let's go inside. A story for a story then." She nodded and the three of them went it. Megumi had to admit, it was a nice, little cottage. Three rooms, a small kitchen with a table for three or four. A living room that had knives and an alter and plenty of herbs and plants that she was taming. There was a small hallway where a bedroom and a bathroom could be found as well.

For someone so small, she certainly knew how to run a household and undoubtedly the Hatter had helped with that. "I'm not a bard," Hisako admitted outright and made Megumi fear that one of the windows was open. "So I don't have good words, but I'll try telling you a story. Um...what story?" She looked at Shin curiously.

"Why you call the King, Hatter!" Shin grinned wide at her, "I told Meg-chan that you'd tell her, since to those who don't know won't understand. I like her, Hisa. She won't hurt us, and she made the grass orange and the wind stop."

Hisako stared in surprise, for that was weird. Wonderland didn't do that for anyone unless it was the Hatter's will. She thought about it and nodded her head. "Well. I call him Hatter cuz he had a weird hat on his head. It's like a flat top, with a  brim, and around it is a white and black checker-board. He looks weird without it. He's always wearing a long black trenchcoat too. He's not much of a White King to me, but he doesn't say his name either."

"Why not?" Megumi frowned.

"Cuz of the faeries." Hisako admonished. "At least that's what I thinks. See, faeries like to use /names/. Names give them powers you wouldn't believe. So, I think Hatter ran afoul of a faery and now he has to hide."

Megumi blinked slowly. So things she read about them /were/ real. "So, what about his kingdom?"

"He doesn't have one. It went gone!" Hisako raised her hands up. "I don't know what happened to it, but he says he's "content that it's where he left it, hidden in the secrets of memories and gardens" whatever that means. I think he's telling me where it is, but I don't know where secrets of memories are. Or the gardens."

"What about the people? Surely the people have to be waiting for him." Megumi said, a little skeptically.

"They all left too." Hisako placed her hand down. "I'm the only one left. My parents ran away and dropped me off by a swamp. They were hoping that the poison water would entice me to go in. It's a bad water. Of course the animals aren't good too. Like the Water Snake. It's like an alligator, but it slithers and it's huge and...." She shivered. "Ugly too."

"They left you by a /swamp/?" Megumi's voice went high. "Are you /kidding/ me? How on earth could they /do/ that?!"
Hisako looked pleased and turned to Shin. "She sounds /just/ like him."

"Yes! I knew you'd agree!" Shin beamed at her, "Meg-chan, tell your story now! I want Hisa to see what you can do!"

See what she could do? Megumi thought about the story that Hisako told her. About her parents abandoning her, about how a kind man who was once a White King saved her. It was clear that he stayed here sometimes. Where else would he go? Since a sad one was already said, a happier one should be told. "Let me think..." She mused, wondering what kind tales these kids would like. Something happy, something with a hint of fantasy. Action too, since Shin and Hisako seemed to be the type. No blood. No death.

"A long time ago, before Wonderland was named Wonderland it went by a different name." Megumi said slowly, making the kids still. "No one knows what the name it went by, but they all knew the location. Over and yonder the purple mist and rain, behind high mountains and below great plains." She said, her voice changing to something mystic. She heard the pitter-patter of rain and she thought it was interesting that it suddenly went that way. She didn't think it was going to storm. "That was where you would find a land where you would want for nothing. Everything given, everything gained. Every wish would be granted and every soul and heart would be soothed and tamed. Many people thought of this land as to be scared and holy, but there were those few who feared it. "Don't look at the mist, for you will see your hearts desire and you will go amiss" was a constant warning to children out to play, to men leaving to a next door kingdom and women who weren't even going to /go/ that far."

She smiled softly, "But there were two young souls, or perhaps the one, who could say, who decided that they wanted to know what it was about. What /was/ inside the purple mist, and rain? What could the mountains be guarding and what could the plains be hiding? So they went, packed a light lunch and a pack filled with clothes and they went, not even telling their parents good bye for an adventure awaited them. Through the mist they went and the mist would make them spin, spin, spin. "Come now child," the mist would say. "Tell me what you desire most of all. Is it to be young and play forever? Could it be that you want to be older and stronger?" They say, "Nay, I have no need for it. I just want to see what wonder the land is." And the mist, knowing that it couldn't sway these hearts, disappeared and they were lead into a forest. Now this forest was a bit different than the ones you know of right now. You said you saw the grass turn orange?"

She turned to Shin, and at his nod, she grinned. "Oh it was much brighter than that. Trees had leaves that were purples and pinks. There were flowers, some that was round and fuzzy, and would purr like a cat when touched and petted. Or there was one that would be picky to raise. Only bloomed for those that did something good for it, like water it often or give it food. It liked bugs a lot. There was a place in particular that had more than one cross road and they all lead somewhere different though mostly they all lead back to the beginning of the fork. The children were /delighted/. Especially when they discovered that the land provided for them. When they were hungry and said so, food would come. When they were thirsty and parched, water would come. They never met the person who cooked the meals or gave them the drinks. They just said, "I want" and it would appear." Megumi's own throat was a little parched for this story.

So imagine her surprise when she saw that water had appeared on the table, and snacks. She had to stare at that for a bit as Hisako and Shin grinned at each other and grabbed food without even bothering to ask where it came from. Okay. Wonderland was playing along. She sipped the water, surprised to find it cool and refreshing. She could go along with it. "But then the children began to get bored. It wasn't fun wanting all the time. Where was the adventure? Where was the fun? So they decided to exercise something called imaginations. One of them thought about an animal with long ears, furry body like a rabbit, attitude like a cat, and no tail. It could hop from tree to tree, never landing down. Or a bird, that was small like a chicken, but a beak for a pecilian and could camouflage itself. So smart around humans it knew how to run. Zig, zag, zig, zag, it'd go and it's so fast, it's hard to catch." Maybe animals were....not the way to go here.

Megumi blinked, "I don't even know /how/ that happened, but...I think it's something I should just roll with." She suddenly fell on the floor and rolled. "NOT LITERALLY." It stopped and she found herself by the door. "Okay....words are strange here. Got it."

Hisako burst into delighed giggles. "Wonderland already does! It's so happy it made a friend! Hatter's going to want to meet you. We should find him. Oh but...you were going someplace weren't you?" She looked disappointed before cheering up. "Come by tomorrow and I'll let him know to let Wonderland find you."

"I think I'd be suspicious if I did tomorrow, so how about a week?" Megumi bargained. "I'll even stop by here on my way to...wherever it is I decide to go that day."

"What about today? Where were going today?" Hisako pressed.

"I was just wandering the Wonder Land." Megumi grinned a little, "And...found more than I thought was possible."

Hisako nodded solemnly and turned to Shin. "I think she should belong to Wonderland. We'll talk to Hatter tonight."

"I don't belong anywhere to anything." Megumi frowned at them. "I'm a wanderer and explorer. But I'll be happy to visit more often."

"I think it's sad that you don't belong somewhere. You should belong here. But wandering's good and exploring's good. Come by more." Hisako said and she jumped off of the couch and walked over to where Megumi was standing. "I'll watch you go and tell Wonderland to be nice to you and let you go home."

"Thanks." Megumi said gently. "I'm glad Shin managed to get here safe and sound and that you're well taken care of. Children like you should be treasured."

"Oh he will love you." Hisako gushed. "Go, go, before I adopt you or something." She opened the door for Megumi and watched her take her leave, muttering something about an umbrella and suddenly having one in her hands. "Oh she's wonderful!" She turned to Shin. "Let's go find Hatter now!"

Shin took Hisako's hand, "I think he'd want to know what the fuss was all about with the hopping rabbit thing and the sudden rain. We should tell him everything. I knew I liked her when I saw her. I'm glad you did, too, Hisa."
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PostSubject: Re: Amnesia Fantasy - Before the Aftermath   Tue May 30, 2017 8:08 pm

~*~

Ukyo hadn't stopped the rain that fell across the forests of his Wonderland. It had been sudden, with no clouds in the sky, but that was a real thing that happened even outside. Angel's Tears, as they were called by Believers, or by some they called it witchcraft and wouldn't leave their homes. It didn't bother Ukyo much, really, so he let it be. What /had/ caught his attention was as he walked along the edges of one of his favorite clear lakes, a lavender purple mist rolled through. It was warm, comforting, like a gentle hug from Hisako. It caressed his exposed skin of his hands and cheeks tenderly, and he hummed, also letting it go.

Finding his usual little nitch, he sat down and watched the barafae come out, yellows and pinks and whites, fluttering about and squealing in their tiny voices at the raindrops, playing in it like they were nymphs. It was adorable to watch, and he leaned back against the tree.

"Hatter!" Was the familiar childlike voice that greeted him constantly and there through the mist was Hisako, with Shin being pulled along with her. She was grinning, a little wet from the sudden rain and was positively beaming. "It affected all of Wonderland after all!"

"What? What has? Do you two know about this? Shin! Why are you all bandaged up like a mummy boy?" Ukyo looked at him up and down, a brow raised. He didn't move from the tree, just flourished his hand and made a branch from the tree ease out to cover them, "You two will catch ill, running around like that."

"I tripped over a tree root since I didn't here the tree's warning because I was too excited to see Hisako." Shin told Hatter first, talking fast, "A girl with peachy peach colored hair came by and helped me with medicine from her basket. I forgot to take the wrappings off before we left. They're all healed now."

Ukyo blinked slowly at Shin and then looked at Hisako, "Have you heard the trees talking to you?"

"Just today!" Hisako beamed happily. "They're not very chatty though, but they try to tell you where their roots are."

"Sometimes that whistle on the wind is the trees, not the wind." Ukyo told them slowly, "The leaves flutter, too. It's rare for people to hear the trees. It takes time and practice listening."

"She heard it!" Hisako grinned, "She's the one that made the mist and the rain. She also gave us animals! Two of them. One of them is probably up in the trees right now. You might meet ZigZag later. That's what she called it anyway. Oh. Her name's Meg. She's a nice, nice person. Gentle. Scared though. We asked for a story and she was hesitant. I don't think where she lives likes her very much. Not at all."

"She...made animals? She also made this rain?" His mind buzzed. He didn't know of anyone like that. Who would have magic as powerful as his own? It took a rare, special person for Wonderland to say 'yes' to.

"I felt like she belonged here. She didn't smell right, not from here nor Toma's Kingdom, but I told her what I felt and she didn't seem to believe me, either." Shin agreed with Hisako, shuffling back and forth on his feet.

"It's harder for older people whom are different to feel accepted and loved anywhere." Ukyo told them both tenderly, swiping his finger over both their noses, "You've both been scorned, but she is probably much older than either of you, and has been scorned more often. It'll take more time and work for her to relax here."

"I think you should meet her." Hisako said after a moment of thought. They were scorned. Her for her magic and Shin for his shifting. "I think you'd like her a lot. I think you two would be good friends. I think she'll be nice to you. I told her you were the White King. I told her why I called you Hatter. But the word "story" and "king" made her very scared. Those two words together I mean. In the same sentence. It's like..." She thought for a moment. "Like how snakes are my fear and seeing one is /really/ scary."

"I much prefer being a Hatter than a King. Perhaps if Wonderland guides her to me, I'll sooth those fears away." Ukyo stroked Hisako's hair and leaned over to kiss her cheek, "You should hurry home and start a fire to warm up and dry off. I don't want either of you sick. I'll open up a straight path for you."

"Okay. I'll ask Wonderland to do the same." Hisako said solemnly. "She said she'll try to come here again next week. So next week we'll see her. She's the type that keeps her promises. I know." She hugged him tightly. "I hope she becomes your friend, I hate you lonely." She admitted to him before pulling away. "Let's go back Shin. We did what we wanted."

"Okay. I'll ask Wonderland to do the same." Hisako said solemnly. "She said she'll try to come here again next week. So next week we'll see her. She's the type that keeps her promises. I know." She hugged him tightly. "I hope she becomes your friend, I hate you lonely." She admitted to him before pulling away. "Let's go back Shin. We did what we wanted."

Ukyo watched them run off, the trees opening and closing behind them as they did. A week, huh? A woman with peach hair and a magical way with words?

He couldn't wait.

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PostSubject: Re: Amnesia Fantasy - Before the Aftermath   Tue May 30, 2017 10:48 pm

Megumi had known that escaping again would be a challenge. Kent called her out on her bluff, but Ikki just pursed his lips together and didn't say anything. So when she snuck out again, she left a note saying /this/ time she was going to go and see Tsume. Which was, in fact the truth. She missed her friend, and she wanted to breathe something more than dust and dirt and horses. No, she wanted to know what the ocean's salt smelled like and she wanted to see the castle for herself. A seaside castle! It'd be fun. So, she chose another direct path, heading to Wonderland. Only this time, Wonderland was different. If cheerful had a look, it was this. Yellows and oranges, and a lot of talking flowers that were welcoming her back, urging her to get off the pathway and let Wonderland take her for a spin.

And honestly, who was she kidding? The pathways themselves had led her to an interesting part of meeting Shin and a young girl Hisako in a cottage. Surely getting off of the paths were good. She was a little scared in doing so, but Shin and Hisako were adamant that Wonderland liked her so, she did something no explorer or wanderer would do sanely. She jumped off the path. She wandered through a thicket of forests, she found a babbling brook (she wasn't kidding, it /babbled/.) and she also jumped over tree roots and heard them say things like they were thanking her for not stepping on them and to be careful of the moss that was right over there. (it traveled so slow like a snail, she had half of the mind to pick it up and put in water, but...did moss really like water?) She continued till she saw a white rose thing flying around.

The white rose had petals that fluttered and it's leaves were wings. There was a tiny, tiny body that was on it and she stared at it in wonder. It had a high voice, but she couldn't hear them too well. But she had a feeling that she was supposed to follow it. Keeping an eye on the flying rose she followed it towards a thicket and she bent down and peered through the bushes, the rose going up and around a man with a black trench coat, a flat hat with a checkered band, and long green hair tied in a braid. His head was tilted up at a tree that was bright purple and pink, and the rose things that she had followed were dancing all around him.

He looked like he just...walked out of a painting. He was so beautiful, it made her breath catch in her throat. He looked so content, staring up at a tree and being around the roses. Like he belonged right there, just right at that spot in that moment. She was about to leave, not wanting to disturb him when she felt something shove her forward and she fell out of the thicket with a cry and landed face first in the ground below.

"Now now, were you so clumsy you couldn't catch yourself or was that push a little harsh?" Ukyo asked, highly amused, and the barafae around him giggled as well. "A week it's been, a week I've waited. Little witch and her wolf told me about a wandering stranger in Wonderland."

Megumi got herself up, pulling twigs and leaves out of her hair that had managed to get caught on her way down. He must be talking about Hisako and Shin. She wondered why he called them a wolf and a witch, but...that wasn't important right now. "So you're...the Hatter I presume? The mysterious White King I heard tales about?" Great, well. If her stories wasn't the reason she was in trouble, it certainly would be her mouth.

His face split into a grin, "Indeed I am! Come, come, have a spot of tea with me!" He clapped his hands and got to his feet from sitting next to the tree, and the barafae oooed and clapped as a white table with a glass top appeared with white chairs facing each other. There was an array of snacks, muffins, cupcakes, pastries and cookies. In the middle was a white teapot with purple roses decorating the sides, the saucers also purple that the teacups and pot sat on. The barafae flew around and took pieces of the food before flying into the tree to watch them interact, tiny excited puffs of yellow, white, and pink powder littering the table and the air, but he didn't seem to mind.

Megumi wasn't too surprised to see that he was able to do that, considering what she did last week. However, what really caught her attention was the puffs of the roses. It looked like pollen and yet. She nearly bumped into the table in her fascination that she blushed a bit. "I think this world makes me look more clumsy than I am." She sat down slowly in front of him. "What are they?"

"Have you not seen a barafae?" Ukyo's eyes widened, "I know they exist outside of Wonderland. While their main glen is here, they fly where they please. If you can think of any rose color you've seen, they exist in fae form. The trick is, do you know what the colors stand for?" He held his hand out to a white one that had stayed, sitting on the teapot and munching on pieces of a cookie. She came to him, standing on his hand, and she hugged his nose when he brought her close. Then he sent her to Megumi.

Megumi blinked, it was the same barafae that had lead her here. She held out her finger and watched as the white one landed, looking at her curiously. "I'd say innocence for this. Sincerity." She thought about it. "Yellow is a cheery type. A joyful one. Pink though...you know, that pink reminds me of my brother's eyes. So I'm going to go with crushing. An innocent type of love. Not a sexual one."

"Sexual love would be red. They're the more haughty, mischievous type as well." Ukyo nodded, happy she answered right. Pouring both their cups, he floated hers to her as well as the sugar cubes once he dropped three in. "How do you like Wonderland? I know this is only your second time here, but your rain and purple fog made quite an impression."

"Not a bad one I hope." Megumi said carefully as she took the cup and set it down on the table, where it should /be/ instead of floating. Dangerous with the hot liquid, but she didn't mind too much about the sugar cubes, taking a few and dropping it in. "I like it here." She admitted. "It's calming, peaceful even. Of course, it's wild and adventurous too. I came in the same way that I did last week, and everything changed. It's like a random game of lottery. Where will I be next? It's a mystery."

"That.../excites you/..." Ukyo's eyes twinkled, "Not many enjoy the thrill anymore. Shin's friend Toma always gets lost trying to visit Hisako. He gets so frustrated. He's got a silver tongue, and I don't think Wonderland likes that. He is a good boy, though. Polite, kind, gentle. Jealous, though, secretly, especially towards Shin. He gets too happy when Hisako cries and he gets to comfort her and Shin can't."

Megumi was a little surprised that he would be excited that she had a sense of adventure. Of course, he was right. Everyone seemed to have left it behind. Only the brave, the cunning, or the really, really insane would think that they could take on Wonderland. "Shin's afraid of a woman's tears? Oh man, well. I'll be sure to keep mine to myself then when he's around. Probably a good thing I tried to distract him with the story about the tree."

"You thought the story you weaved was fake when you said it, didn't you?" Ukyo's smirk was playful, "Have you realized they really do speak?" He leaned back in his chair and took a sip of his tea, "He isn't happy about being afraid of tears. He tries his best, that sweet boy. So much has happened to him. He'll be stronger for it when he's older."

"Yeah I heard them when I was trying to not step on their roots." Megumi answered, making him still. "I know. He looked pretty surprised that I stopped to even bandage him up. I got worried about how he got those wounds. He was quick to defend you."

Ukyo smiled knowingly. "People tend to believe because Wonderland is me and I am Wonderland, that I get people hurt, lost, and upset on purpose. That's simply not the case. These lands were here long before me. Circumstances simply made it so we became attuned to one another and bound eternally. I'm much, much older than I look. I even lost track."

Megumi nodded, she could believe that. "Wonderland before it had a name." She said as she sipped the tea, content enough to think that it was cool enough. It wasn't bitter or dark, but floral and pleasant. The sugar didn't hide but enhanced. "What made you stay?" She asked curiously, tilting her head. "Or is it that you're bound here with blood and a vow?"

"Of all the things I remember, that's something I do. I nearly died." Ukyo smiled wistfully, "I was careless. There /are/ things that Wonderland's madness can't change, like the general overlay of the landscape. I fell from climbing up the side of the waterfall that my castle is near. I've since created a steep and path with my magic, but back then that was the only way to get up. My friend decided to try and race, wanting to see beyond the waterfall. See, I'm a clumsy person by nature. I can't tell you how many times I've fallen into the lakes and streams, or rounded a path I've traveled for ages and hit my face on a tree. I couldn't possibly understand then, and I don't now, why he wanted me to race him. Anyway, I fell, got banged and cut up bad enough I would've bled out before the trauma got to me. My friend...made a deal with the land. This was before the Faery Queen, mind you. He made a deal that he would give up everything, his ability to stay, his ability to bend the land to his whims, if I could live. So, the water my blood had seeped to traveled to me, patched me back up, and my magic was born. Yet he had to leave."

Megumi wondered what else her stories had that were filled with truth. It was weird that trees could indeed talk, and that his story matched almost perfectly with hers...but with just details of a private life that only he could give. "Wait. And you /laughed/ at me for falling out of a /thicket/?"

Ukyo laughed, the sound tinkling in the air around them and the barafae giggled along, happy he was happy. "I laughed because I was uncertain if it was you or the tree."

He was really pretty when he smiled like that. Megumi's cheeks flushed a bit as she took another sip of her tea. His laugh was genuine and carefree too. It made her a little happy and relaxed, that he could be as relaxed as he was. "The tree." She said quickly. "I was shoved out of the thicket. Though it as me that couldn't catch myself. I /do/ have some grace." She paused, watching him. "You're not curious. About why I'm here or...who I am...or anything of the sort are you?"

"I'm certain you'll answer all my unasked questions sooner or later. I can wait you out, Meg." Ukyo cooed, "This is only your second time here. Take your time, enjoy yourself. Though, I'd love to have teatime with you more often. The children will be pleased I finally have a friend besides them."

Megumi wondered what he would do when the kids were grown and left Wonderland, if they could do that. She bit back that question instead and took a sip of tea. What was a little more shocking was that he wanted to be her friend. Not many people were. Not just because she didn't conform to social statuses either. "Well. I think you deserve at least one thing about me, so I'll give you this. It's lame since I know you probably already know, but...it's something. I'm a bard. And your story and my story could almost be siblings, but I never...heard anyone talk about Wonderland like that outside. I just said /two/ because of Shin and Hisako. Trying to relate the story to them."

"Truly it does relate in a way. I had a feeling you were a bard; so was he. I want to say you look like him, but his face has blurred over time in my memory. It feels like the right thing to say, regardless." Ukyo felt a flutter in his chest. She was special, he knew it. Shin and Hisako had, too. "Share with me a story? I'll let you go back to your wanderings after. I'm just curious."

Megumi didn't know why, she knew that it was probably wrong, but she felt warm. She felt like she was given just a small something of a past that she knew nothing about. She didn't know her real parents, or her ancestry. For him to acknowledge it, a story was a perfect idea. "In a kingdom not far from here there's a Princess that's...well...let's call her...unruly. She was not the well-bred royal of fluttering eyes and flowing gowns. She was at a pub every night surrounded by drunken men, dancing and singing but most of all doing something what the kingdom forbid and something I'm telling to you now, story-telling. One day her brother comes to her along with a girl he met in tow from a ball that he came back from and says to her, "Now it's your turn to marry. I found mine." For they had made a bet that if he could find love first, then she had to marry. But the Princess didn't like the title and every man that came to the kingdom who was a Prince or King were always dressed to stiff, had ideas of how a woman should behave, or at worst, tried to hit her when she denied advances."

Megumi tried to remain calm throughout this story, as it was a little more personal but she was also preforming it in front of a literal king. "Finally there was a man that came to the door. He wore plain clothes of a commoner. His hands were rough from work, and not soft like those of yours or mine. His skin was sunkissed and his eyes had wrinkles from squinting in the rays. The door was shut in his face. But he tried again. Again and again till finally the Queen and the Prince let him in. He says, "Though I don't look it, I am a Prince and I want to marry your daughter." He was laughed at naturally for really? A man like that? But the Princess saw him and was curious. "What's your kingdom?"

"A kingdom of stability. You won't want for nothing." He promised, "All you have to do is give up your name and your rights or bring me into the fold and turn me into something I'm not."

The princess thought about this for days and nights." Megumi continued, "Till finally she decided. She walked out into the ballroom where her brother, his wife, and her mother waited on baited breath and she said, "I see you. I know you don't think that I do, but I see your tricks. Your hands are rough not from hard work, but from hurting others and your eyes aren't filled with love, their filled with greed. No. I will not marry you and I end this debate. I'll marry myself, love myself, and be with myself. For no one can tame me, no one will see me for who I am, and loneliness of one is better than loneliness of two." She ended the story easily.

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PostSubject: Re: Amnesia Fantasy - Before the Aftermath   Wed May 31, 2017 6:25 pm

Ukyo had been silent while she talked, but his mind was whirling. He was surprised that she would share something so personal with him right away. "Are you trying to scare me away, sweetling?" he asked gently at first, "Showing me your heart in such away that you hope I turn you away like the rest? Megumi, adopted daughter of the Spade Queen. It dawned on me where you're from when you mentioned your brother. Yet, he hasn't found his one quite yet, that is where the story turns. The Prince isn't a Prince at all, but someone who works a hard life...he doesn't exist, at least not yet. Your stories may weave a bit of the Sight in it. I've caught wind of the rumors of Ikki taking an interest in the Princess of the Ocean." He motioned his hand int he direction of the seas. "Tsume's magics have changed since she came back, as magic only tends to do when it's found another that resonates and pulls with it."
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PostSubject: Re: Amnesia Fantasy - Before the Aftermath   Wed May 31, 2017 6:38 pm

"She's a good person. The rumor mill won't shut up about how it's a tie between me and Ikki for Tsume's hand. Really, they need to sort out their priorities. And stop dragging me into this mess." Megumi said, sipping the tea and putting the cup down. She leaned forward to grab a pastary since she realized she hadn't tried any of them yet, and took a bite. It was pretty good, she hummed happily but set the thing down so she could speak after chewing.

"I don't know what the Sight is, but...it wouldn't be the first time I said something and have it come true." She brushed her lips of crumbs, "But scaring you? If I was trying to scare you by doing that, that was a terrible way of doing it. No, I'd just tell you all the horrible things I do to my brother instead." Her eyes twinkled a bit, and she leaned back in the chair. "That would /really/ make you run for the hills."
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PostSubject: Re: Amnesia Fantasy - Before the Aftermath   Wed May 31, 2017 6:56 pm

"Is that so? Sibling rivalry much?" Ukyo grinned right back, " I've forgotten what it's like to tease and play like that. It's quite entertaining to observe, though. The village children like to get into playful tiffs in the roads or try and lose their younger siblings in the forests during play, they don't know much better, most of the time." Her eyes widened, "Yes, Wonderland has a village. Would you care to see it?" he offered, "There's a wonderful bakery there. The three nicest people, my good friends, work in it."
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PostSubject: Re: Amnesia Fantasy - Before the Aftermath   Wed May 31, 2017 7:00 pm

Megumi hated that he looked so hopeful. She had Tsume to get to, but...then again she didn't really write a head to tell the Princess that she was trying to head her way. She doubted Ikki would write either, probably already knowing that Meg was trying to do something else. But, ugh. He made it so hard. "Show me the next time we cross paths." She bargained instead. "And I'll even throw in staying a night and a day. If you have a village, certainly someone will be willing for me to stay, or I could stay outdoors. Look really out of place. Up in a tree maybe?"
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PostSubject: Re: Amnesia Fantasy - Before the Aftermath   Wed May 31, 2017 7:10 pm

"A bed of cushioned, fluffy grass with the stars for company." Ukyo lit up and Wonderland's hue shifted slightly, "Seasons are rare here. Something has to happen, or I will it, for it to rain or snow. Like your little shower last week. That was quite pleasant, by the way. Calming and gentle. The fog was an odd touch, but pretty with the purple hue."
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PostSubject: Re: Amnesia Fantasy - Before the Aftermath   Wed May 31, 2017 7:35 pm

Megumi was a little surprised, that he thought that the fog was pretty and that the rain was gentle and calming. She smiled a little, a soft tint to her cheeks. She wondered a bit about what Wonderland felt, and what it meant. The ever shifting hues and the way it reacted to his emotions. "Thanks." She said, her cheeks tinting a little. Though she had to wonder why the /fog/ would be weird to him out of all of the things. She'd leave it be for now, but take it as a challenge to see if there was anything else she could create that would make him double-take.

But something about the way he said that, about sleeping under the stars, told Megumi that he did that often. So often, in fact, she doubted that he had a home, though she wasn't about to open her mouth and say something about it. Sure, his castle was a place of shelter, but a home wasn't that. Living forever, that probably sucked out a lot of joys. She wondered, did anyone tell him that he was so strong? She doubted it, but she didn't dare open her mouth to say it either. Last time she wanted was for him to think that she was weird. Odd as she was already. "I don't think I ever done that before, sleeping under the stars. That'd be fun." It'd drive the palace guards /nuts/.
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PostSubject: Re: Amnesia Fantasy - Before the Aftermath   Wed May 31, 2017 8:13 pm

"I'll show you all sorts of fun things, if you come back. I can also take you to the edge of Wonderland and point you in the right direction for Tsume's castle. Will I have to wait a week for you to return this time?" Ukyo sounded sad and disappointed in that. "The bakery has the most delicious treats, and I bet you've never smelled ocean air, have you?"
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PostSubject: Re: Amnesia Fantasy - Before the Aftermath   Wed May 31, 2017 8:20 pm

"No. Never have." Megumi shook her head and she thought about it. "And the bakery sounds divine too. Wait for me a week, and then you'll never have to wait longer than." She promised him immediately. "Unless I fall sick or something, but I have a feeling you'd know."
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PostSubject: Re: Amnesia Fantasy - Before the Aftermath   Wed May 31, 2017 8:38 pm

"That's a high promise...but we'll see how things go." Ukyo tipped his hat to her, and stood up from his table, "Shall I show you the way out so you can be on your merry way?" he offered.
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PostSubject: Re: Amnesia Fantasy - Before the Aftermath   Wed May 31, 2017 9:06 pm

"Now that is odd." Megumi said as she stood up as well and pushed her chair in. "Being offered an escort? That doesn't happen, but I'll take it." She didn't want to part from his company so soon.
~+~
"What could you be researching so intently?” Ikki asked as he walked through the library’s upper staircase and finding Megumi sitting by the window sill, her leg propped up against the wall across from her and her other leg bent, supporting a book. A cup of tea was steaming beside her. He picked it up and took a sip, his eyebrows furrowing in confusion. “And since when have you taken a liking to herbal teas rather than coffees?”

“Shh. I’m reading.” Megumi waved at him, her eyes scanning the pages, and flipping through with excitement. “Someone I met commented about something and so I’m trying to find more about it. Bu the only record that I can find, dates back thousands of years ago. Even before Wonderland’s time, with a woman who was gifted the Sight only to never be believed. No one else would dare stand up and-“

“Careful with that line of knowledge, you’re stepping into Witchcraft territory.” Ikki cautiouned, setting the cup down. “Is that why you’re taking this so seriously? You met a Witch?”

“No, I mean, yes in theory.” Megumi answered, “She’s a tiny child though, so that doesn’t matter. No, something else. Someone else. It doesn’t matter, does it?”

“I suppose not, for a child makes you bouncy. This person, whoever it is that spoke to you, makes you dreamy.” Ikki leaned against the wall by her foot, his arms folded. “And that tint on your cheeks hasn’t gone away since you appeared back from the forest. I doubt Tsume said something to you, as I wrote to her and again you failed your bluff.”

“You keep spying on me, no one’s going to think that’s attractive.” She warned, folding a page corner and setting it aside. She lifted her other leg up and allowed herself to fall down a little more so that she was curled better on the sill. “I don’t have a crush on anyone.”

“Lies and slander.” Ikki cooed. “So, what were you doing running away from home? You weren't around in our kingdom, people would be talking about you being in the pubs and how we're horrible for not keeping you here. You weren't in Clover, Kent would've written. Diamond?"

"Why would I go to Diamond of all places?" Megumi stared at him, in surprise. "I have no business there."

"A suitor might be from there, oh don't scoff." He grabbed her book that was on her lap and grinned when she didn't try to take it back from him, setting it aside and shoving her legs off the window sill so he could claim a spot. "Tell me why you look like you're half-way in love and half-way in like."

Megumi chewed on her lower lip, for how was she going to tell him what she thought? If she wasn't in any of the kingdoms, then she could only /be/ in one spot unless she traveled further on. "Wonderland."

"Tsume's stories got to you?" Ikki leaned back against the wall, leaning his head against the window as he looked at her slouched. "So, who did you find? Or was it just the land itself?"

"The land itself is grand on it's own, but I did meet a person there. Someone you and Tsume mentioned a thousand times."

He stilled and then looked out the window. "You really did meet the White King."

"He's absolutely insane, but gentle." Megumi said lightly. "He's so kindhearted and sweet," her tone changed to something a little more sad. "But he's lonely. Immortality would do that to you, I suppose."

"Of course you'd like the oddities. Why wouldn't you?" Ikki sighed, turning back to watch her for a moment. He saw the way the light shone on her face when she spoke about him, and how the dark cloud went over her eyes when she spoke of his pain. "Don't...get your hopes up that he's going to love you or something."

Megumi's cheeks warmed brightly, "I'm not hoping for anything like that." She looked back to the window. "He's just a lonely guy who needs a friend and I want to be that friend."

"..." Ikki wondered which would be more painful for the King. For him to love his sister, or for him to be friends. Instead, he sighed and shaking his head. "Well. I hope to meet him one day."

"You'd like him." She assured, looking back at him. "You'd like Wonderland too. Oh the things I could do there! Like I told you about the purple fog right? He thought it was /weird/."

Ikki laughed, "The weirdest guy on earth is the one that things that the fog was weird instead? Huh." He shook his head. "I'd love to see your powers in full bloom." He looked at her again and then felt something break in his chest. When did she grow up? When did love suddenly make her into a woman instead of a child? And when on earth did she look like she was out of place here all of the sudden? Wonderland clearly meant something to her, she carried it's mark somehow unseen.

He wondered how long it would take before Wonderland would take her completely and refused to give her back.
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PostSubject: Re: Amnesia Fantasy - Before the Aftermath   Wed May 31, 2017 9:39 pm

()

The week that went by had been more painful than Ukyo could've imagined. Even he was surprised to see that Wonderland was in pain. Things had lost their luster. It was almost as if Autumn was around the corner. Yet, that wasn't possible. He'd told her so. Then why was his home like this?

The day before she promised to arrive, he became as excited as he possibly could, bringing back the bright blooms and pulling straight from his core magic. It left him tired, but he was looking forward to sharing his life with her.

It sounded so surreal, thinking of it like that. Had he fallen so quickly and so hard? Truly, madly, deeply? That would surely frighten her away. He knew she was only sixteen, anyway. A child, a babe. Yet she spoke like she was as old as he was. Wielded her magic of words so spectacularly that her story he'd been able to see in his mind's eye with ease. Hisako and Shin were looking forward to seeing her more, too.

Hisako had spoken like a wise woman just the other night. 'The soul knows'. That had made him wonder. Did it really? He felt a pull towards her like nothing else he'd felt before. He hadn't wanted her to go, but she had a life, and he wouldn't keep her prisoner by any means. As much as it pained him he would /always/ let her go, unless he felt her in danger of something. How would he be able to tell her any of this?

His emotions and mind were tumbling around and around that he hadn't realized he was spinning in Wonderland's dizziness of circles until he heard a shriek and then a /peel/ of laughter. It pierced through his musings like an arrow and he snapped his head up. Quickly, he got through the forest to where he had heard the sound, only to find Megumi with the skirt of her striped dress in her face, trying in vein to hold it up to hide her pantaloons. Her legs were wound up in a snare and he was glad he saw she was wearing boots. "Had you not been wearing boots, I fear the snare might have twisted your ankle when it swept you off your feet. Not very romantic, being upside down like that, but at least you weren't hurt."
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PostSubject: Re: Amnesia Fantasy - Before the Aftermath   Wed May 31, 2017 10:40 pm

"No, not romantic at all. If someone was going to have me upside down, I prefer them to do it and not a snare." Megumi giggled as she struggled with her skirt. "But you by chance have a knife or a way to get me down? I'm dizzy from my way here, and I can't seem to get my mind to concentrate on a concrete thought right now."
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