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Next World following Traverse Town?

  • Underland ( Alice 2011 )

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • The Lost Empire ( Atlantis )

    Votes: 1 100.0%

  • Total voters
    1
  • Poll closed .

Arcana-Key

New member
Joined
Aug 9, 2015
Messages
148
Awards
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Location
United States
  • Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster
  • Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue
  • Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
  • Put That Thing Back Where It Came From
  • Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
  • Advanced Chain of Memories
A Project covering a protagonist several thousand years post KH2 ; primarily revolving around several thematic elements such as fate and destiny, self-actualization, and growth. While I originally intended for this to be a long-term project covering two or three stories, I decided to write it in an unorthodox method and have friends pitch in on what they wished to see written next.

Most information covering it can be seen on my DeviantArt, here ; included below is the-- preview? I'll throw the prologue in in a second, too. Compared to how it ended up panning out though, this came out kinda-- blergh(?) 'n'


Begin​.
[HR][/HR]

' Falling . . . '

How long had she been drifting? Minutes, hours? Spinning with the current, it was only with a sudden shift in her weight that she went right-side up. Suihei's feet touched the ground gently . . . ( and given her small amount of knowledge on science, that was probably a good thing ) as if she hadn't careened from the heavens in the slightest.

She opened her eyes, then ; the Darkness, while all encompassing as it was before, wasn't as scary. A cursory glance around her revealed not a single soul in sight. Not Barret, nor Caius (the jerk that he was) - she was completely and devoid of company. Without guidance, without safety, without the security that she sought so desperately now. Apprehension crashed down on her in an instant, though it wasn't without merit.

A single step forward lit the ground beneath her with a blinding light. Darkness fragmented, lifting itself from a mosaic enraptured her near immediately - for they weren't shards of darkness as she thought, but birds leaving behind a flurry of feathers.

[HR][/HR]
'I'm . . . falling . . . '

The World was dying.

She didn't know how it happened, but the sky was angry - pulsing with darkness that was swallowing everything in its path. It was disconcerting, and Suihei's own lack of care about her fate came only from the worry she felt over her mom. She hadn't come home - there hadn't been a single thing said to her about staying at work late, nor a call home to placate her worries.

She came to a stop in the middle of the road, eyes widening at the countless eyes of gold glimmering in the shadows. "What?" Her shocked exclamation came from these- these Shadows, things that she had thought only to exist in her dreams, taking form before her very eyes. Crawling towards her with such ravenous hunger in their eyes that she subconsciously took a step back. A twirl on her heel to make an escape revealed that she was surrounded on all ends by the creatures. But that wasn't possible.

She was just alone moments ago.

The creatures leap forward, claws extended with the intent to rend and tear. Throwing her arms over her head, Suihei could only scream in fear at the coldcoldcold sensation threatening to devour her whole. But then a warmth, akin to a sunny day trickled into her her body- and though her eyes could only see Darkness, there was a sudden flash of light that blew the creatures off of her.

Painfully aware that she wasn't smothered anymore, she took the time to look down at the weighted object in her hand, gazing down to it in wonder.

' Keyblade. . . '
[HR][/HR]
'Maybe . . . Maybe I'm dreaming . . . '


[HR][/HR]
'But if this is all a dream . . . '

A cool drop of water against the bridge of her nose was the first sign that something was wrong. " Mom?! "

[HR][/HR]
'Then why . . . '

" A kid like you shouldn't be carrying around a weapon like that. " A woman's voice called out to her, almost remarkably blunt to the point of being painful. " You could end up hurting yourself. "

It was an insult, thinly veiled as it was. Suihei turned on her heels to confront the owner of the voice, with anger and fatigue creeping onto her face in a burst of emotion. "Who the heck are you, telling me what I can and can't carry around?!" That annoyed Suihei for some reason. A reason that was easily explained by waking up in an alleyway of all places, lost - confused, with a real awful kink at the back of her neck that had understandably put her already dampened spirits into an even greater ditch.

Eyes continued to search, until they found the only other person settled outside.

Settled against a pole of a lamp, with her arms crossed over her chest was a woman with bright pink hair. When the mysterious female pushed herself off with a languid motion, she also drew forward a peculiar weapon of her own from the holster on her leg before angling it at the smaller brunette. Sharp, jagged, and not unlike a sword, the barrel of the peculiar weapon seemed to be the more threatening thing at hand. "You heard me. I wonder how that weapon picked you, of all people." The rosette almost sounded intrigued for a moment, though it was quickly discarded in favour of a more confrontational approach.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Suihei questioned, glancing down at her Keyblade with an expression that did nothing to convey the befuddlement that she felt stirring in her chest. Suihei couldn't understand, but - her eyes locked right on the mysterious woman's, keeping her gaze trained on her outstretched weapon.

Smart choice, as tongues of flames began to flicker across the woman's blade ; a second passed, before a roar of fire came careening towards Suihei with a sharp BANG.


Suihei hardly had the time to dodge, letalone realize what was happening, when a fireball was thrown her way. Only instead scrabbling to her feet and dropping into a loose stance after a few moments of confusion.

[HR][/HR]
' Then why am I alone . . . ? '

' The closer you get to light, the greater your shadow becomes . . . '

Suihei turned on her heel suddenly, in order to investigate, only for her heart to crawl into her throat and stop. That wasn't her shadow, she decided. Because her shadow wouldn't be pulling itself out of the ground, wouldn't be growing to horrifying sizes. She stepped back in alarm, attempting for all but a few moments to call forward the warmth of the blade that felt so right in her hands.

Another step back sent her falling onto her rear, so she did the most logical thng she could think of. Run. Catching a glance of it from over her shoulder, she was able to discern that it's face was covered in a 'mask' of black tendrils that appeared to start at it's head. Hair? That definitely couldn't have been it. Elongated arms ended in claws that she was sure would rend her in half if she so much as got glanced by them, and those eyes.

' But don't be afraid. . . You hold the mightiest weapon of all. . . '

Those piercing yellow eyes are what really got Suihei back onto her feet and running to the other end of the platform as fast as she could. The gaping chasm that awaited her was the only reason she'd been stopped, well and truly. How could she forget that nothing was there? Was she really so stupid as to panic like that?! Thankfully her arms extended to her sides before she slipped off the slope, allowing her to regain her lost balance. Another glance behind her revealed that it hadn't stopped growing, and for a second she felt her breath leave her - apprehension etching itself on her face even as she turned to face her current company. If . . . company could be used for a giant behemoth.

It was . . . gigantic.

Easily dwarfing her, climbing a few stories into nonexistent skies. What kinda weapon could outclass that? And where in the world was she gonna get somethin' like it if she had never seen it in her life?

[HR][/HR]
" You're not alone. . . "

" Gah! " Thunk! Thunk! Thunk! Three figures ended up crashing into one another, all from opposite directions, and each with a healthy trail of Heartless running after them. All for different reasons, of course. Each could easily dispose of their respective groups of enemies easily! But with all of them together--

It was with a gruff, peculiar accent that the darkest of the three spoke first- though that was probably because he was wedged between a weird hooded cat that stank of Nothing, and a girl that-- ugh, gross. Her touch burned him. "Get y'er foot outta my face before I lop it off. "

" Get your face out of my foot! " Came Suihei's scathing response, eyes narrowing at the threat thrown her way. The audacity of some people, honestly!

The feline, which had ended up at the bottom of the pile but just as quickly twisted itself out with a water-like movement, tossed his arms to the side in order to lighten his descent. " Something, Darkness Spawn- I believe there are more pressing matters-- "

" My name is Suihei! Not Something-- " The brunette hissed, pushing herself to her feet with shaky knees while her eyes landed on, well-- something that was definitely a problem. A piece of armor - or rather, several pieces of armor, bright purple and with that peculiar emblem on its chest, had risen from the three sets of Heartless that had been trailing after them.

" Noxic. " Came the rabbit's gruff, if not begrudging response. Threads of darkness ran along his arms, before an odd weapon formed in his hands. A scythe with a black stave two jagged, intimidating and crimson blades on each end. With a flourish, he hoisted the weapon onto his shoulders- ignoring the look of unease that the girl shot him now that she had the opportunity for a closer look.

" Nyx Noir. " The feline finally responded, arms raising to form 'claws' of transparent, almost ethereal energy in several threads of white and black. Lightning crackled along the edges of the odd constructs of energy.

" I'd say it's awesome to meet you guys. " Suihei joked with an awkward laugh, willing her Keyblade into existence with a few motes of light flourishing in the air following the summoning. " But I think we can save proper introductions until after this, maybe? "


[HR][/HR]
" So don't be afraid. "

" And just what're you supposed to be, huh?! " Noxic gritted out in anger, throwing his arms to the side in an attempt to push the other two away. They were looking at him with those eyes. Those untrusting, scared eyes that only served to make him angrier to look at as time went on. The Dark Lagomorph couldn't help but take a step back- defensive until the very end. "Some kinda-- some kinda dumb kid that reads self-help books? You don't know nothin' about me! None of you guys do, so you can just sod off--"

His tirade was cut short by Suihei thwacking him at the back of the head in tandem with Nyx, before the brunette drew both of them in for a tight hug. Admittedly, neither Nobody nor Dark Entity were accustomed to such things, causing each to freeze up for all but a few moments. "You're both-- idiotas -- it shouldn't matter where either of you come from, because-"

Because they were her friends.

And that's all what really mattered.

[HR][/HR]
" You hold the greatest light of them all. . . "

"It's called Ice-Cream." Suihei told them with a mirthful smile.

"Ice-Cream?" Noxic parroted her with an inquisitive, and vaguely annoyed look in turn.

"Yes, Ice-Cream. It's really good, see?" Suihei extended the pale blue cone with an impish grin, causing Noxic to reel back in disgust. Guh! What was in that thing anyways? Salty and sweet? Who did that?

Following the first time they'd settled down for the treat, she made it a habit of doing so whenever they were in town after stocking up on materials. For one, it became a tiny gesture of care that he looked forward to every time they visited the mishmash of a world lost for refuge. For another, it simply reminded her of home ( though, it'd never be as good as it was from home ) and for the last, it simply seemed to be another peculiar trait of the Something that looked to him for advice.

[HR][/HR]
" And don't forget . . . The closer you get to the light . . . "

" What's th'worst that could happen? " Noxic asked, glancing over to the duo that had . . . maybe grown on him, during their time together. It was surprising, really, to see how fast they were willing to bait one another into mischief.

"We could get caught. " Nyx pointed out, folding his arms over his chest with a slight arch of the brow. Still-- maybe he was curious to see how this would turn out. At the worst, he'd just have to tug his friends out of a sticky situation, all because they wanted to pretend to be pirates.

" But we have these awesome outfits ; don't be such a sourpuss, Nyx! " Suihei chimed, punching her fist into her knuckles while stepping forward. The new clothes definitely were something, though. She looked like she was right out of a pirate movie! Heck, even Nyx looked neat- though the shorts and hair were kind of weird. He looked like some kinda... mancat. Catman? Errr... less of a cat, and more like a man. "So! We should definitely see if this-- Treasure Planet is a thing, right--"

Whatever her friends were preparing to say was cut off by the sound of a bullet hitting right beside Noxic's head, causing all three of them to slowly turn around to the feline-isque woman staring at the trio with naught but the greatest disdain. "Pirates."

"Still think this is a good idea, Suihei Something?"

"Oh-- shut up Nyx."

[HR][/HR]
" The greater your shadow becomes. "

" A failed experiment, a relic of the past, and a kid with a key walk into a bar. . . " The feminine figure, though hooded in a black coat that was cut in a manner that allowed her navel to be exposed, seemed amused at her rather insulting joke to the trio. Arms extended to the side, as a swell of dark energy pulsed along the ground. They all looked so nervous- good. She'd grab onto that uncertainty and crush them. "Wanting to play the hero, when in reality, you're all just novices interfering in matters that don't concern you!"

Her machine whirled to life behind her with a mechanical hiss, causing yet another swell of darkness to expand rapidly and crack the ground beneath all of their feet. The End of the World - such an interesting place. She figured if she managed to set up the Mammon machine here, of all places, her studies would prove lucrative and she'd finally find that treasure that had eluded her for ages! But then . . . then these runts had to get in the way of everything! She couldn't accept it. She wouldn't accept it.

"So. . ." Her gloved hands come up to tug back her hood, revealing cinnamon coloured skin and a set of dangerously yellow eyes. A streak of white framed one of the messier bangs curling along the side of her face, and the woman could've truly been considered beautiful, if not for the cool, calculating, and outright malevolent glint in her eyes. The Earth cracked again- this time beneath the incredible pressure that her machine had been putting out. "Let's see how much all of you are willing to sacrifice." Her finger pointed at Suihei in particular, a grin of wicked glee breaking out on her features.

"Let's see how willing you are, to give your Hearts to Darkness!"
[HR][/HR]

' Wᴏʀᴅs ᴀʀᴇɴ'ᴛ ᴛʜᴇ ᴏɴʟʏ ᴡᴀʏ ᴛᴏ sᴀʏ sᴏᴍᴇᴛʜɪɴɢ . . . '

' ᴀ ᴛʜᴏᴜsᴀɴᴅ ʏᴇᴀʀs . . . ɪ ᴛʜᴏᴜɢʜᴛ ᴛʜᴇ ᴋᴇʏʙʟᴀᴅᴇ ᴡᴀs sᴜᴘᴘᴏsᴇᴅ ᴛᴏ ʙᴇ ᴀ ғᴀɪʀʏ ᴛᴀʟᴇ. ᴀɴᴅ ɪᴛ ᴇɴᴅs ᴜᴘ ɪɴ ᴛʜᴇ ʜᴀɴᴅs ᴏғ sᴏᴍᴇ sɴᴏᴛ ɴᴏsᴇᴅ ʙʀᴀᴛ? ɪʀᴏɴʏ ʜᴀs ɴᴇᴠᴇʀ ʙᴇᴇɴ sᴏ sᴡᴇᴇᴛ. '

' ɪ ᴅᴏɴ'ᴛ ᴋɴᴏᴡ ᴡʜʏ ᴛʜᴇ ᴋᴇʏʙʟᴀᴅᴇ ᴄʜᴏsᴇ ᴍᴇ, ʙᴜᴛ-- ɪ ᴅᴏ ᴋɴᴏᴡ, ɪ'ᴍ ɢᴏɪɴɢ ᴛᴏ ᴘᴜᴛ ᴀ sᴛᴏᴘ ᴛᴏ ʏᴏᴜ! '

' ᴇᴠᴇɴ ɪғ ʏᴏᴜ'ʀᴇ sᴄᴀʀᴇᴅ, ʏᴏᴜ ᴄᴀɴ'ᴛ ʟᴇᴛ ᴛʜɪɴɢs ʟɪᴋᴇ ᴛʜɪs ᴋᴇᴇᴘ ʏᴏᴜ ᴅᴏᴡɴ! sᴏᴍᴇᴛɪᴍᴇs, ʏᴇᴀʜ- ᴛʜᴇ ʜᴇᴀʀᴛ ᴄᴀɴ ʙᴇ ᴡᴇᴀᴋ, ᴀɴᴅ ɪᴛ ᴄᴀɴ ᴇᴠᴇɴ ɢɪᴠᴇ ɪɴ-- ʙᴜᴛ, ɪ'ᴠᴇ ɴᴇᴠᴇʀ ʙᴇᴇɴ ᴛʜᴇ sᴏʀᴛ ᴛᴏ ɢɪᴠᴇ ɪɴ ᴡɪᴛʜᴏᴜᴛ ᴀ ғɪɢʜᴛ, ʏ'ᴋɴᴏᴡ? ᴍʏ ғʀɪᴇɴᴅs . . . ᴛʜᴇʏ'ʀᴇ ᴍʏ ᴘᴏᴡᴇʀ! '

' ɪᴛ sᴇᴇᴍs ʟɪᴋᴇ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ᴋᴇʏ ɪsɴ'ᴛ ᴛʜᴇ ᴏɴʟʏ ᴛʜɪɴɢ ʏᴏᴜ ɪɴʜᴇʀɪᴛᴇᴅ. ʏᴏᴜ ᴀʟsᴏ ʜᴀᴠᴇ ᴀ sᴘɪʀɪᴛ. ɪᴛ ʀᴇᴍɪɴᴅs ᴍᴇ ᴏғ--'

' ɪ ᴄᴏᴜʟᴅɴ'ᴛ ʜᴀᴠᴇ ᴅᴏɴᴇ ᴛʜɪs ᴡɪᴛʜᴏᴜᴛ ʏᴏᴜ ɢᴜʏs-- sᴏ. ɴᴏxɪᴄ. ɴʏx. ᴛʜᴀɴᴋs ғᴏʀ ᴇᴠᴇʀʏᴛʜɪɴɢ!'

' ʟᴇᴛ ᴍᴇ sʜᴏᴡ ʏᴏᴜ ᴛʜᴇ ᴛʀᴜᴇ ᴘᴏᴡᴇʀ ᴏғ ᴛɪᴍᴇ, ᴋᴜʀsᴇᴅ ᴄʜɪʟᴅ.'

ᴀᴄᴛ ɪ ; ʜ ɪ ᴋ ᴀ ʀ ɪ
 

KingdomKey

Never See Me Coming!
Joined
Sep 25, 2010
Messages
6,260
Awards
23
  • Retired Staff
  • Graceful Assassin
  • The Gambler of Fate
  • Beauty Within
  • Cloaked Schemer
  • Whirlwind Lancer
At first, I was befuddle upon reading each segment, because they don't follow each other. Meanwhile, I greatly enjoyed the introductions of Noxic and Nyx. Even more so upon hearing about Treasure Planet. C: Quite exciting to see Suihei face off with her friends against a cloaked individual. I like the joke at the beginning and found it greatly amusing to see. Overall, each one had its appeal. I also happen to wonder if I dare say that was Lightning in the second segment?
 

Arcana-Key

New member
Joined
Aug 9, 2015
Messages
148
Awards
8
Location
United States
  • Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster
  • Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue
  • Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
  • Put That Thing Back Where It Came From
  • Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
  • Advanced Chain of Memories
At first, I was befuddle upon reading each segment, because they don't follow each other. Meanwhile, I greatly enjoyed the introductions of Noxic and Nyx. Even more so upon hearing about Treasure Planet. C: Quite exciting to see Suihei face off with her friends against a cloaked individual. I like the joke at the beginning and found it greatly amusing to see. Overall, each one had its appeal. I also happen to wonder if I dare say that was Lightning in the second segment?

It was, actually! In general the Final Fantasy Cameos range from the folks from the newer games ( ie ; Lightning / Vanille / Serah / Caius ) to folks in the older games ( but no spoilers for those ) . I'll probably be posting the ( only two ) chapters that I have ever done in the next few days ;w;
 

Arcana-Key

New member
Joined
Aug 9, 2015
Messages
148
Awards
8
Location
United States
  • Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster
  • Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue
  • Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
  • Put That Thing Back Where It Came From
  • Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
  • Advanced Chain of Memories
~*~*~* D e s t a t i ~*~*~*
Prologue ; Dive into the Heart
[HR][/HR]


" As I look into this mirror, and what I may have become I wonder... Is this truly what I want? Do I truly want to become just a reflection, or do I have a will of my own? "


[HR][/HR]


Weightlessness ; suspended in nothingness, yet being pulled all the same. A chill bit into her bone ; darkness obscured her vision from across the board. Straining herself, attempting to expand her awareness, told her nothing that would've been considered helpful to her sensory feedback. She continued to get this feeling of 'falling', nothingness replaced with the tepid warmth of water coasting across her flesh akin to a gentle breeze. Contemplation tugged at her consciousness, even as her eyes slid shut ignore the Dark

'Coldcoldcold why did it have to be so cold?' she couldn't help but notice . . .

' Falling . . . '

Her eyes are greeted by the abyss once more, an all encroaching darkness gnawing at her sense of safety, her sense of security -her sense of self.

'I'm . . . falling . . . ?'

Keen of her to observe, mn? She extended her hand instinctually, a moment of weakness in the hopes of doing so would allow her to grasp onto something, anything so she didn't have to endure falling endlessly. Light caught her attention near immediately, and for just a moment, she thought that she had been deceived. There was no way a place this dark could have even a drop of Light, right?

Cool stone scraped against her legs as her inquisitive gaze glanced across a horizon painted in vivid oranges ; a perpetual dusk. Home. How unusual, for had she not been falling moments before? The thoughts were cast away as irrelevant, once she had time to take in the view from her vantage.

Shielding her eyes with her free hand, the brunette can't help but be mildly annoyed, yet relieved at the near silent contemplation on her end being broken by someone sitting next to her - right at the periphery of her vision. Taking her gaze over brought her around to bright brown eyes. Sharp features - short-cropped hair. Shorts and a tanktop. Defined musculature, but that was because he did heavy lifting.

Two more people settled next to him. A blond girl with somewhat messy curls and an artist smock to her left, and a younger looking brunette next to the lone male of the small group. Had she agreed to meet them today? She couldn't recall. Sometimes everything seemed so forced-

Reaching over to pat her friend on his shoulder, she was shocked when, instead of landing on the corporeal, she went through him, as if he were a ghost. The sudden motion knocked her off her balance, sending her into a freefall. Air distorting around her, almost as if a heatwave had struck, had set the world on pause, as gravity once again snagged her into his embrace.

She wasn't going to die, this wasn't going to hurt - it wasn't dangerous - she wasn't sure how she knew, but know she did. Several motes of light peppered the air around her in flourish, coalescing beneath her with a comfortable warmth.

Cheering brought her back into awareness to the world around her, When had she closed her eyes, was it really that peaceful? A familiar weight had settled in her hand, and she lifted the item up to glance it over. Blue? Foamy? Ah, right, a struggle club.

Shoes toyed at her vision, as did the legs that were quite obviously attached to them.

" You'd better be on your guard, Suihei . . . "

Biting purple eyes met her own, expressive hazel in annoyance. Snide, that was the best way to describe his voice. As if he had already won when she hadn't even tried anything quite yet. He dashed forward, meeting her in a deadlock that forced the weight of his club against her own. It proved enough to bring a competitive grin to her lips.

Leaping apart from one another, each competitor eyed the other for any sign of movement.

She wouldn't lose, she couldn't lose, not to him of all people, for pride was at stake and she wasn't quite willing to lose that just yet. They clashed again, exchanging blows rapidly while the cheers of the crowd grew louder and louder, raising into a crescendo that roared in her ears.

Amidst the friendly spar, the storm that were the cheers of spectators ceased to be. As if she were in the eye, it was as silent as a graveyard. Curious as to what caused the sudden silence, Suihei lifted her eyes to the heavens, as everyone else had in shock.

Shooting stars? No, that wasn't what caused the reaction, there was more fear than awe, and nobody feared a meteor shower. Celestial bodies continued to wreathe across the skies in a blaze, light /shading/, but never once /obscuring/ a sight that bordered the bizarre. It took a few moments for her to make out the object, but once she did her eyes widened in shock, disbelief! It shouldn't have been possible, but -

Those shooting stars . . . were her.

It took all her fortitude to not gape like a fish, to be taken aback further than what she had already, but by the time she collected herself, the old feeling of weightlessness returned. Similar to a movie being put in pause, everything around her remained static, unchanging, unmoving.

'Maybe . . . Maybe I'm dreaming . . . '

Like brittle glass, the world began to break apart ; desperation fell upon her near immediately no no no she couldn't keep falling like this. Begging was never her forte, she was too stubborn. But here, she stretched her hand out for help, extending it towards the purple hair boy she'd been sparring with mere moments before. He didn't bother returning the courtesy, instead, he opted to stare at her, as if he were amused at her panic like the bastard that he was.

Only her safety passed through her mind, feeting as it could be. The probability of her actually landing somewhere secure though? Neigh impossible.

Despite the panic that had seized her - and she was panicking - letting go was easier, if nobody else would help. It wouldn't hurt her to let go, wouldn't pain her to continue drifting a bit longer, right? Suihei sighed to herself, eyes drifting shut. If there were a time to be resigned, this had to be it, right?

Numbness embraced her all the same ; there was no need to fret, to stress, to tug on the already tenuous connection she had to the world lest it broke. Streaking down from the heavens, just as her eyes had seen mere moments before.

'But if this is all a dream . . . '

Tepid waters splashed against her face, sending her drifting into the abyss once more. Quite the surprise it caused, when the rest of the world shattered with such an impact.

'Then why . . . '

How long had she been drifting? Minutes, hours? Spinning with the current, it was only with a sudden shift in her weight that she went right-side up. Suihei's feet touched the ground gently, the feeling of weightlessness leaving her, as if she hadn't careened from the heavens in the first place.

She opened her eyes, then ; the Darkness, while all encompassing as it was before, wasn't as scary. A cursory glance around her revealed not a single soul in sight. Not Barret, or Relm, or Marlene, or Caius (the jerk that he was) - she was completely and devoid of company. Without guidance, without safety, without the security that she sought so desperately now. Apprehension crashed down on her in an instant, though it wasn't without merit.

A single step forward lit the ground beneath her with a blinding light. Darkness fragmented, lifting itself from a mosaic enraptured her near immediately - for they weren't shards of darkness as she thought, but birds leaving behind a flurry of feathers as they flew away.

' Then why am I alone . . . ? '


[HR][/HR]

~*~*~* D e s t a t i ~*~*~*


[HR][/HR]

Suihei stood in silence as she contemplated this, chocolate eyes drifting down to the mosaic beneath her feet once the feelings of awe subsided. Certainly it was amazing, and not by any means was the feeling minimal ; the craftsmanship was something right out of a church, but . . . that boy. Suihei squinted to get a closer look.

His features were something right out of a story book - spiky brown locks that seemed untamable, and peculiar clothes. Though the shorts were accentuated by the yellow stripes and sharp red pouches tied to them. Within his hand was a giant key, almost oversized to the point of being comical. And though interested, she was unable to see the colour of his eyes, for they were slid shut, as if he were sleeping. Certainly an interesting figure, but . . . she had never seen him a day in her life.

' Who is he? '

'Focus.' Once the thought was in her head, she'd be able to figure out where 'here' was ; truly, there was nobody else here. Merely her, the agonizing silence of darkness, and a spotlight illuminating her immediate area. A circular platform was the only thing keeping her from falling into the Darkness completely, she noticed ; though it was with some distaste that she took stock of her surroundings, Suihei was at least glad that she hadn't been forsaken entirely. Familiar faces would've been a comfort though- Barrett. Relm. Marlene. Even that jerk, Caius, was preferential to being completely and utterly by herself.

"What am I supposed to do . . . " she rubbed the small of her neck in contemplation, completely unexpectant of the voice that responded to her near immediately thereafter.

' So much to do, so little time . . . Take your time. Don't be afraid, the door is still shut. Now step forward. Can you do it? '

Well, yeah, she had figured that much out. She refrained from saying anything, however, instead opting to fold her arms over her chest while trying to catch a feel for the tone. It was . . . odd. Light, yet biting. Gentle, yet harsh - an androgynous tone at best that made it a mite bit more difficult to discern the gender of whoever, or whatever, had been speaking to her. All she had t'do was get over her worries, right?

Her body, having had enough of her meddlesome indecisiveness, took action by its own accord. Red and white sneakers hit the ground - one step, then another. And another. The soft jostling her necklace brought her back to attention, so caught up in her thoughts she was that she hardly noticed that she had settled right into the middle of the platform until she'd cleared out her head.

Now all she had to do was wait for her next command, right? '

' Power sleeps within you . . . '

A beam of light flared at the edge of her vision, though she took no note of it immediately. Almost prepared to protest the statement, the brunette was nearly cut off immediately by her eyes glancing over to give the risen tablet in the utmost curiosity. A shield, black in colour with a peculiar design of three circles set in the middle, in the middle, greeted her. This didn't stop the voice from speaking, but on the contrary, it didn't seem to be quite finished yet.

' If you give it form . . .'

Suihei pivoted on her feet, just in time to see another beam of light rise from the surface to her left. Yet another tablet had risen from the ground, this time bearing a stave with that odd 'tri-circled' tip of blue. It vaguely reminded her of one of the cartoons she frequently watched on Saturday mornings, though such thoughts were immediately tucked away. After all, there was something about it that was captivating in of itself for her.

'It will give you strength . . .'

Another beam of light had appeared, and with it came another stone tablet from the depths of the floor. Suihei's brows knitted together in confusion. This one had appeared right in front of her - and on it was a broadsword with a gold and blue hilt. Much like the staff, it radiated power in a way that captivated her, enthralled her.

' Choose well. '

She stepped forward to give the sword a closer look. She was familiar enough with swords, at least, due to all of those extracurricular activities after school. Kendo was something that she'd been practicing for a while, so she felt her choice was fairly obvious from the start.

' The power of the warrior. Invincible courage. A sword of terrible destruction. Is this the power you seek? '

She couldn't help but smile when she nodded her assent, fingers extending to wrap around the hilt of the blade so she could test the weight of it in her hand. Despite the large size of it, it appeared to be far lighter than what she initially thought it'd be. Almost like it was made for her. "Yes." She was breathless -- amazed by the sight to the point where she couldn't veil the disappointment that crossed her face once the weapon disappeared in wisps of light.

' Now what will you give up in exchange? '

Give up, huh? Her gaze lingered on the remaining two items ; the shield, and the wand. In order to gain, sacrifices had to be made. So what would she throw away for the power of a warrior? For courage to face all? Her choice was made almost immediately, bounding over to the staff to take it into her hands. Almost apprehensively, she stared at it - it held such power, such untapped strength, that she was almost hesitant to throw it away.

' The power of the mystic. Inner strength. A staff of wonder and ruin. You give up this power? '

She had to wonder if magic was legitimate or not, but . . . well, courage and inner strength were pretty much the same thing anyways, right? Nodding to herself, she responded with a soft "Yes." Similar to the sword, the wand evaporated into wisps of light, though it didn't appear to retain the warmth that she had felt when she had chosen the sword. Almost like a little burble, really - there, but not like the fire of what she recognized as strength flowing throughout her body.

' You have chosen the power of the warrior. . .

You have given up the power of the mystic. . .

Is this the form you choose? '


Musing on the stream of questions would probably get her nowhere in the long run - she could either answer them and continue on with her path, or remain stagnant and be swallowed by her apprehension.

She nodded a final time. "Yes."

The fear that had seized her before had fortunately left her now, which meant that the youth was free to continue carving her path. Suihei nodded her approval, figuring that it sounded rather decent all things considered. Yet, as she waited for the voice to return there was a tremor beneath her feet that almost knocked her off course. Seemed the platforms had disappeared once she had made her choice then, mn?

Quick to gather her bearings, another tremor caused the youth to lose her footing this time around. Glass shattered around her, which caused her to instinctually cover her head with her hands in the hopes of avoiding being cut. Oh, she didn't get cut, but unfortunately she was right back to plummeting further into the dark. There was no light, no warmth, no comforting voice to tell her that she wasn't alone -- merely the void blanketing her vision once more.


[HR][/HR]

~*~*~* D e s t a t i ~*~*~*


[HR][/HR]

She was falling, this time faster than before and with no type of solace from the Dark. It may have been childish to think of it in such a manner, but there was something about it that had always put her off. Evil things lurked in the Darkness, her mother had told her time and again. And everyone had a bit of that darkness in them, as history had taught. Her hair fluttered wildly around her in the breeze that followed her plummet, and her worries of being abandoned to some purgatory of endless falling was ended soon enough.

Straining herself to keep focus, the young woman's mind snapped back into 'the game' so to speak once she came to realize that she was on yet another platform. Similar to the previous one, it a beautiful mosaic beneath her feet - though this time there was a young woman clad in a green dress.

She had skin a few shades darker than Suihei's own nutmeg tone, and dark brown eyes that appeared to be festive as they were determined. The other figures (including a frog with remarkably similar eyes, an alligator, and a young woman with the oddest hair style) were what greeted her, though they remained a shade of green instead of being fully coloured.

After a moment, Suihei felt the rightness, the warmth of the blade she had chosen on the other platform settle its weight into her hand. How strange. She thought it'd disappeared.

' You've gained the power to fight. Take a swing. '

Now that was something she could do easily. A loose stance was taken, both hands grasping the hilt and giving a vertical swing - not enough to lift her off of the ground, but she didn't exactly stop with the motion either. Planting the balls of her feet into the ground, Suihei then gave a quick rotation, blowing back her invisible enemies with a burst of air that extended from her.

The raw power was exhilarating, but-

Had she made the right choice? This thing seemed awful dangerous.

' Alright! You've got it. Use this power to protect yourself and others. '</i>

Tch, as if she didn't know that. It was always important to play your part, do what you had to do to protect those who you cared about or somethin' like that. Rolling her eyes in annoyance, Suihei's gaze focused once she pulled herself from her thoughts. Only to catch a black spot from her periphery. What was that? When did it get here anyways? Her inquiry was answered once it managed to raise from the ground - an odd thing, with ant-like antennae and beady yellow eyes.

It was . . . odd. Surprisingly cute, or, at the very least it would've been if its presence wasn't so disconcerting. Would it hurt her?

' There will be times you have to fight. '

As Suihei watched, another spot emerged, and another . . . and another. By this point, her lips drew into a thin line of apprehension, fingers clenching tighter around the hilt of her blade. These things were a bit more serious than she thought they'd be, it seemed. It would've been laughable if one of the blasted creatures hadn't jumped at her with claws outstretched, intent to impale her body, to rend it to shreds, to hurt something that was too precious for her to give up.

' Keep your light burning strong . . . '

An opening! Suihei bounced forward on the balls of her feet and angled her blade so it would pierce instead of slash, lancing through the shadow in but an instant. Almost immediately, it burst into a fine black mist, obscuring her vision to the point where, if she hadn't rolled out of the way, she would've been caught off guard by a swipe of the claws.

It was a sloppy dodge, enough for her to get her calf muscle scratched by sharp digits. Her sword created sparks, dragging across the floor from her unbalanced motion before it was rectified by her swinging horizontally. Once, twice, until her muscles ached at her, but she continued to cut down every single ant-like creature until not a one was left.

A cursory glance around her immediate area revealed that she had cleared most of them out, but for how long was the question?

' Behind you! '

The forewarning came a little too late ; stricken from the back, Suihei barely had time to acknowledge the blindingly frigid pain sprouting through her body- it hurt, it hurt a lot, but she grit her teeth and used the inner fire she had felt running through her veins to switch the sword into a backhanded grip and gave a blind swing back to dislodge the creature with a soft cry. She turned quickly, sending off a rather pitiful kick that she was sure her teacher would've been ashamed off, and another slash to disperse it, though the relief was short lived.

A rumbling tremor caught her attention.

Her eyes widened at the dark spots, now more than ever, appearing in spades. One by one, bit by bit, they began overtaking the platform that she had believed was clear with that cold, vile, repulsive darkness. Attempting to run was a moot point, for at every turn there was nothing but more Darkness waiting for her ' Why me? Why is it always me? '

Mistakenly, perhaps out of panic, she stepped into the darkness in her attempts to run, causing her to slip onto her backside. She tried, oh she tried to claw her way out of it! No way was she gonna let herself be eaten by this . . . stuff!

But to her dismay, they were everywhere!

Each motion was met with her sinking deeper and deeper, she gasped from the exertion it drew from her as the ice-cold puddle continued to drag her deeper and deeper. Its consistency was akin to tar weighing her down and sapping away the fight from her muscles near constantly. Once submerged completely, she felt her air supply become dangerously limited. Agonizing seconds ticked by, and it was only natural that she struggled as if her life depended on it.

With a gasp, her bare hands touched the cool surface of yet another mosaic.

A few minutes for recovery, that's all she needed. Panting reached her ears, but she didn't take notice of it until her eyes cracked open. She had panicked, let her fear get the best of her. Suihei pushed herself onto her feet shakily, glancing around with a wariness that was only befitting for being put into such a precarious situation. Another platform, great. The most she could hope for was that things didn't get shot straight to hell and back . . . again.

There was nothing waiting for her this time. No voice. No ink-creatures. Nothing.

Well, nothing except a beam of light that caught her attention. Once she righted herself, Suihei brushed her hair behind the shell of her ear towards it- or, rather, towards what it was pointing at. A door - ornate as it was beautiful, was beneath her scrutiny near immediately. Transparent enough to her eyes, and yet, once her hands came to rest on the handles, she proved incapable of pushing it open.

'What a pain. . .'

Attempting to push it open did nothing, and it only seemed to lead to . . . itself. Folding her arms over her chest and cupping her chin, the brunette continued to stare for a few moments, almost curious to what this door was for if only to be pretty. She was distracted from her musings by a brilliant light catching her attention. Suihei turned to face it, only to find a treasure chest waiting for her.

Huh, that hadn't been there a few moments ago. Kinda odd if ya asked her. In curiosity, she opened it, believing that there was a possibility of some sort of treasure waiting for her, or perhaps even instructions on further direction. Whatever had been inside was obviously gone now, but the few twinkles of light brushed past her face, heading towards the area that the door had been.

Curious, she glanced towards the door once again, brows creasing in annoyance once she had noticed that, yes, it was solid instead of opaque as it had been before. Suihei walked over to it, giving it a slow tap to see if it'd cause any sudden gestures. She took a step back in apprehension, though it was all for naught, for the door opened on its own seconds later.

Slowly, the double doors began to part, a disconcerting creaking noise enrapturing her attention, completely. It would've been kept, if not for the radiance slipping between the seams. The warmth it emitted was comforting, painting the veil of her surroundings in golden beams that invoked warm, pleasant feelings within her. As her interest had yet to fade, Suhei took a step forward into the light, only to come into the familiar pale orange of twilight reflecting from the Clock Tower.

Had she finally made it home? Wait- no, she definitely wasn't anywhere near the Tower when she had tucked herself in earlier, so that wasn't it. Allowing her eyes to adjust to the sudden change in brightness, Suihei glanced for a quick investigation of her immediate surroundings.

' Hold on. The door won't open just yet. First, tell me more about yourself. '

Suihei sighed in vexation. Though, she really didn't have a choice did she? Such a stupid, overly complex dream if she'd ever had one. Suihei looked into the building, and across the tracks that would frequently take passengers to the other side of town, she noticed one of the boys she talked to after school was waiting for her.

With short-cropped blonde hair, he leaned against the wall as if he was contemplating something. A vest and somewhat baggy black pants worked with his boots to complete his ensemble. ' Finally, someone to talk to. ' She hummed and dashed his way, only to be completely taken aback by the agelessness she caught in his otherwise even-humoured eyes.

"What's most important to you?"

Suihei, not expecting the question, sputtered indignantly at the otherwise free spirited boy looking so . . . so serious. It was unsettling in the wrongest of ways, though it did serve in giving her some room for thought. What was most important to her? Stupid thing, she didn't even have t think for longer than a few moments. "Friendship I guess?"

A mirthless chuckle rolled from his mouth, chilling her to the core. "Is friendship really such a big deal?"

Unsettled, Suihei began to edge away from him, walking outside if only to come face to face with a young redhead in school clothing - somewhat disheveled, yet hardly anything worth of note. His sharp jade eyes met her own hazel, and for a second she nearly thought about turning around and going right back into the building.

"What are you afraid of?" He asked, hands tucked into his pockets almost lazily as he gave her a once-over. A lot of things, was the sarcastic response that would've rolled from her tongue if she hadn't given it serious though. But, once more, the answer rolled from between her lips before she could even think about stopping herself.

"Being different." She hated the thought of remaining isolated from her peers, abhorred it, even. Yet there he was with a half-smile, as if her fears meant nothing to him and were, at best, a childish little thing to make note of in his eyes.

"Is being different really so bad?"

To have her fears brushed off like that left Suihei with a rather bitter taste in her mouth, though she said nothing that would allude to it. Instead, she turned on her heel, intent on finding a way out - it was better than dealing with that smug smile - before she found herself plopped right on the edge of the clock tower. Oddly enough, someone who she would've considered a close friend if not for their radical differences and pushing her to the side, was waiting for her. Feathery blonde hair framed soft features, while sharp silver eyes pierced her in a manner that had her recoil in shock. She knew she didn't really like her, but this?

Christ, talk about a buzzkill.

"What do you want out of life?" Her voice was smooth, almost mockingly cheerful, as Suihei fiddled with her hair. Either from apprehension or annoyance, she couldn't quite decipher at the moment.

"To . . . " What did she want out of life? A part of her had always dreamed, of course, that there was something out there waiting for her, something beyond the commons of Twilight Town, or the rather shoddy apartment that her mother and she shared. Not that her life was bad by any means, but . . . "To broaden my horizons." That's what her name meant, right? It was an interesting choice for her mother to make and all, if she had to be completely frank.

"To broaden your horizons, huh Princess?" And almost as if she were amused by this, the blonde took a bite of her ice-cream and glanced away from Suihei, as if she hadn't been there at all. She was about ready to storm off again, though she couldn't this time around - her body wasn't responding like she thought it would. One twitch only led to another, but never led to actual movement. It was almost as if she'd been tethered down to the spot by an unreal amount of weight.

'Your adventure begins at midday. . . Keep a steady pace, and you'll come through fine.'

' How weird. ' Suihei thought to herself as the world around her began to wash away in muted colors. Suihei was suddenly right back on the platform that she had began everything on, where that odd boy with the spiked brown locks awaited her. This time, she noticed, his outfit was different. He looked a bit younger, with a red undershirt and white hoodie that was unzipped. In his hand, he held a peculiar star shaped fruit. Like the first mosaic that she had seen, his eyes remained shut, leaving his eye colour an annoying mystery.

Pausing for a few seconds, Suihei tapped her foot against the floor impatiently. Waiting never seemed to work now that she'd thought about it. So maybe it was for the best if she just kept pressing forward.

She was confident in her ability anyways.

Suihei took a few steps forward to investigate her immediate area. In the center of the platform there was a ray of light, or, a pillar rather, with small motes of energy circulating it. Mn? Maybe it was another lead. That'd be a lot better than, well, standing around and doing nothing for sure.

So, without much preamble, she leapt into it, only to grimace once it slid right from beneath her feet to go darting across the surface of the glass. She was right behind it of course, so keen on seeing where she had to go, what she had to do. Gratification lit her eyes once she managed to catch up to it near right near a stairway that she was quite certain led to another platform.

She was getting rather tired of doing these things, but beggars couldn't be choosers, right?

Muted red lit this area this time around, and though there wasn't any discernable features on the work of art. Oddly enough, there was only a silhouette of a young woman, or at least she figured it to be a young woman with the physique and all. Suihei pushed the thought of whatever it could've been out of her mind, instead opting to cease the jog she had began in her little hunt to find the light. Her arms swayed by her sides limply, eyes glancing up to the ray of light that illuminated her features in contemplation, yet doing nothing beyond basking in it's warmth.

' The closer you get to light, the greater your shadow becomes . . . '

Suihei turned on her heel suddenly, in order to investigate, only for her heart to crawl into her throat and stop. That wasn't her shadow, she decided. Because her shadow wouldn't be pulling itself out of the ground, wouldn't be growing to horrifying sizes. She stepped back in alarm, attempting for all but a few moments to call forward the warmth of the blade that felt so right in her hands.

Another step back sent her falling onto her rear, so she did the most logical thing she could think of. Run.

Catching a glance of it from over her shoulder, she was able to discern that it's face was covered in a 'mask' of black tendrils that appeared to start at it's head. Hair? That definitely couldn't have been it. Elongated arms ended in claws that she was sure would rend her in half if she so much as got glanced by them, and those eyes.

' But don't be afraid. . . You hold the mightiest weapon of all. . . '

Those piercing yellow eyes are what really got Suihei back onto her feet and running to the other end of the platform as fast as she could. The gaping chasm that awaited her was the only reason she'd stopped.

How could she forget that nothing was there? Was she really so stupid as to panic like that?!

Thankfully, her arms extended to her sides before she slipped off the slope, allowing her to regain her lost balance. Another glance behind her revealed that it hadn't stopped growing, and for a second she felt her breath leave her - apprehension etching itself on her face even as she turned to face her current company. If . . . company could be used for a giant behemoth.

It was . . . gigantic.

Easily dwarfing her, climbing a few stories into nonexistent skies. What kinda weapon could outclass that? And where in the world was she gonna get somethin' like it if she had never seen it in her life?

Maybe the voice was talking about the sword? It made a lot more sense, but it's weight hadn't settled into her hand yet, the large hand of the behemoth with a heart shaped cut in it's abdominal region sort of made things a bit too hard to focus on though. She gripped onto the hilt, surprised that it had even appeared in her hand when her thoughts had strayed that far.

Her thoughts were difficult to bring together with that cold, inky blackness slamming against the ground in a wave that threatened to engulf her, but she held her ground. Schooling her expression into one of resigned bravery, the youth brought the sword up and charged forward with a spring to her step that carried her faster than she thought humanly possible.

Eldritch features only made the behemoth more fearsome, but she steeled herself. Resolved to use whatever force necessary in order to carve her way into freedom if she had to. Looking for the nearest appendage she could find, Suihei found her eyes landing right upon what she needed - its hand. Suihei didn't care, that it swiped at her with claws that could've split her in half. She didn't care, because she didn't think. Her reaction time kicked in at record speeds, sending Suihei leaping onto the vertical appendage with little regard to her own health.

Dully, she counted the amount of time needed for her to reach the head. One. Two. Three. Four. Four seconds, with the almost leaping steps she made. In one fluid motion, Suihei drew the odd sword back. She struck forward - towards the eye, the one spot she knew without a doubt to be a weakness, in the hopes of causing some form of lasting damage. A horizontal blow - then a vertical for extra measure.

The chain caused the Monster's head to give an unstable lurch forward, sending Suihei plummeting towards the stained glass. Landing on her back with an audible thud, the brunette barely had time to recover from the sensation of dizziness before energy began to collect in the cavernous hole of the beast's chest. Dark orbs struck the ground with minor tremors, causing her to lose her footing and the back of her leg to be burned with an uncomfortably frigid chill that permeated along the entirety of her being.

Sitting there would get her hurt- she realized. Even as the tactic of the behemoth finally came into place ( those . . . ant like ones began sprouting from the pools of Darkness that remained ) she, scrambled to her feet, keeping her face as steady as possible.

Slowly but surely, she hacked her way through all of the Shadows again, not ceasing in her charge for a minute. To her credit, being able to do that despite the pain lancing up her leg was an impressive feat. Just - not impressive enough to for her to do anything lasting. Her breathing grew more erratic once the behemoth's clawed hand slammed into the mosaic, and, as she had done previously, Suihei seized advantage of the moment by attempting to run along the creature's arm.

Unlike the previous time she had run along it however, she acted as she ran.

Suihei drew her arm back and hurled the sword as hard as she could, sending it shearing through the beast's head with enough physical force to cut through it like a buzzsaw along a piece of rotten wood. At that moment, however, there was a deluge of darkness that threatened to wash her away, weighing her down with a stench that subconsciously caused her to hold her breath.

Even as a sense of smug satisfaction settled in her chest. She couldn't help but be afraid.

As the icy nails bit into her flesh, as she was dragged into the void, she ceased struggling. There was little point now, all she would do was tire herself out. Consciousness began to fade from her, though before she blacked out entirely, she heard that voice (promising, a whisper now) speak out to her-

' So don't forget: You are the one who will open the door . . . '</b>
[HR][/HR]

~*~*~* D e s t a t i ~*~*~*


[HR][/HR]

The sound of thickly bound paper hitting wood forced her into awareness of her surroundings. "AGH!" Hazel irises snapped open to dart around in apprehension.

' It was a dream . . . '

Suihei sighed in relief, bringing her hand up to her chest in order to calm her still pounding heart. Once she managed to do so, the brunette graced herself with the courtesy of a small smile. It would've been rather alleviating to come to that realization, if not for the understandably miffed expression of her English teacher staring her down like he'd just been told that she'd tried poisoning him.

' Just a dream . . . '

"Dozing off again, Suiheisen?" Just as swiftly as the relief came, humiliation came in to prick at her ears, causing the flesh to burn a bright red. She sat up straight, ignoring the embarrassment that came from sleeping in class in favour of trying to play it off as quickly as possible.


"No sir--" The attempt to salvage her dignity was met with a raise of the eyebrow that told her that her excuse for the day had already outlived it's short welcome.

"No? Then I'll need you to stop daydreaming in the middle of class. School may be ending soon, but that's no excuse to start slacking." There was an edge to her teacher's- , 'Mr.Ross' she reminded herself quickly - tone that elicited more than a fair share of snickers from her peers.

Suihei gave a terse nod, failing to hide away the agitation that had settled into her shoulders. She wouldn't have been able to, even if she knew. Class being dismissed was probably the best thing she'd experienced all day - English was normally her last course of the day anyhow. With Summer Break right around the corner, she would've thought that her teacher would've been a bit more lenient with her, but that had always been wishing for too much.

Brrrrrrng!

Like clockwork, students began filtering out of class, sectioning off into the clusters of friends. The cacophony of chatter was to be expected from the groups of teenagers. Suihei noted, with no small amount of ire, that once again she had no one to walk home with. It would've been neat if she'd managed to make a friend here, but . . .

Only two more days of this, and she'd be home free to do whatever she'd like for the next few months. Suihei couldn't wait.

Already, she could imagine the warmth of the beach on her skin ; the smell of seasalt. Or maybe even meeting up with a few of her friends without the social stigma that her ( admittedly unwanted ) peers tended to impose on her. The Social elite were a cut above everyone else, and at Balamb Garden, a private school set aside for those who could afford it, students tended to go by the pecking order their parents seemed so fond of hoisting around.

While her father had pulled a few strings and ran an enterprise of ice-cream, and thus, was one of the more wealthier denizens of the town, there had never been a day that she actually looked forward to attending school.

It hadn't always been like this, of course.

Though she had tried to convince her Dad that it'd be a better idea if she went a school where she'd fit in, the stubborn fellow just didn't listen. Accommodating to her dad's unyielding will was something that she'd simply dealt with - though, she only really did so because of her mother. Haggard as the woman was, the chance for her daughter to attend an elite school was far too good for her to pass up. Estranged husband or not.

The day had ticked on horridly slow anyways, so boredom had long since settled in as Suihei continued her walk home. Twilight Town had always been known for the perpetual balmy weather it held, with denizens of the city scattering about in the perpetual dusk with their daily lives. Even as classes of the day were dismissed, she could spot a few of her classmates heading off for after school clubs. Yearbooks, she recalled with distaste, would hopefully not be thrown about as they had been the year before.

In comparison, however, the rest of her day proved relatively uneventful. The apartment complex that she and her mother lived in was in the more affordable part of town ; far enough from her school to be considered a pleasant walk, but close enough that her mother never really minded that little fact. She climbed the stairs until she reached the second floor, digging into one of the side pockets of her backpack to retrieve the keys she'd stowed away for that very purpose.

Their home wasn't bad, not by any means. The dingy, scuffed up carpet was worn from years of her running around when she was younger. It wasn't the largest place - two bedrooms, a single bathroom and a kitchenette with a few appliances in there for some quick cooking. Scrounging the fridge produced a container of spaghetti with a note from her mother, detailing that she'd be out working a night shift again.

Suihei shook her head in an attempt to clear out the negative thoughts that had settled into it. If she was going to think, then it was for the best that she looked forward to something, instead of focusing on that moment. Reflecting on how her parent's divorce had left her mother working herself to the bone would just leave a bitter taste in her mouth, so it was for that reason that she tucked it at the back of her mind, smoothed out her plaid skirt, and headed into the living room to flop onto the couch.

Now that the day was over though, and with the knowledge that her mom wouldn't be home for a few hours at least, she did what any reasonably lazy teenager would do. Drift right on into a nap.

' I can't wait for Summer . . . '

The errant thought came as quickly as it went, but Suihei didn't care. Not very much at all. "Only two more days . . . " Suihei mumbled to herself, staring up at the ceiling with a wistful smile. She could do with a bit of a break. The year had been exhausting.

Just two days, until her life would become a little bit easier.

' I wonder . . . what was that dream about . . . '
[HR][/HR]

~*~*~* D e s t a t i ~*~*~*
 

BlackOsprey

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Hm, interesting. A lot of descriptive imagery, I like that... it's something more fanfics need. Quite a few of the passages remind me of how I would novelize the early events of KH in my head. I'm betting that you drew some very obvious parallels to the first game on purpose, especially given that third-to-last line you put in there. Also, Lightning cameo, sweet! I'm still trying to really picture how someone could cut the black coat so that their midriff is exposed, though... hm...

Welp, this has left me with a bunch of questions and few answers, so I'll be back when there's more.

EDIT: Oh geez, I got ninja'd by chapter two. So, our main character is native to Twilight Town, huh?

Little thing about punctuation: I've spotted a lot of semicolons where things like commas and colons ought to be. Remember that commas work best when you're connecting a phrase with a complete sentence, like "... painted in vivid oranges, a perpetual dusk." Also, don't put a space between the ending of a clause and a semicolon. It should look like, for example, "vivid oranges; a perpetual dusk", not "vivid oranges ; a perpetual dusk."

That's just about it, though. Fix up some grammar, and then it's all pretty good.
 
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Arcana-Key

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Oh hey would you look at this, I'm working at another chapter. Eugh. The muse is still rolling, fortunately, so I'm trying to take advantage of it while I still can, ayyyy. Still learning how to do perspective shifts here, though. I think this might be a little random, maybe, to fill the day with mundane activities before getting into the whole 'adventure!' sort of thing, but, uh, I thought it'd be neat to go over a day to day life with a few cameos, maybe? Eugh, that reminds me to settle down and start watching Disney movies before I even get to the meat of the story.

I'll do that. Eventually.



[HR][/HR]


Chapter 2

Lazy Afternoons ;

Twilight Town ;

Sunlight trickled into the small window of a small bedroom, illuminating the admittedly cluttered area with the warmth of the morning sun that sent Suihei crawling right beneath the mountain of covers that kept her from facing the absolutely dreadful bite of reality.

She had never hated school days so much until now. All she wanted was a little more sleep.

"Suihei, breakfast's ready!" Her mother called from the small kitchenette and after a few minutes of her laying listlessly in bed, the morning light found itself beaming into Suihei’s face as a more direct wakeup call. Great. She couldn’t even get a few minutes extra without being bothered.

After a few more moments of complaining, Suihei managed to push herself out of the comfort of her plush sheets. She dragged herself from the bathroom, shooting herself a quick glance once she finished straightening herself up. Admittedly shorter than the rest of her peers, Suihei was no taller than 5’3” and had skin as brown as nutmeg ; something that made her pop out in the crowd of kids at school. She still had that awkward adolescent look to her, with messy brown locks that looked more windswept than anything else. Spikes, too. Those were always a pain.

Suihei took her time in sweeping her fingers through the shoulder-blade length hair in a pitiable attempt to tame it all the same. A hopeless endeavor, but it was the fastest thing she could do besides throw it in a low-ponytail and shoot herself the most confident grin she could muster. C’mon, she could do this. Today would be one of the last day of the school year! No need to be so dour!

Tossing her dirty laundry over into a basket that held no significance, Suihei forced herself to smooth out her plaid skirt and straighten out her tie before sliding into the kitchen to settle down against the counter, taking the piece of toast that was slid her way automatically - out of habit.

"Good morning, Mi Ciela." Suihei’s mother greeted with a light, airy tone – a product of her daughter’s disgruntled, hastily put together appearance. She hadn’t known how many times she had told that child to at least try and be prepared for school earlier.

The brunette paused, squinting over to her mother before grousing out a greeting. "Buenos Dias, Mami."

It was like this every morning, Suihei mused to herself - her mother, Ruth was there to greet her with a smile that reached her green eyes. If there was one thing that the raven-haired beauty was good at, it was making sure that her daughter always met her with a right-as-rain grin to keep her going forward.

"So, what're your plans for the day?" Rosa asked. The inquiry was light, playful. An unneeded question that still found itself hanging in the air for both of their sakes.

"Ah, well, I'll be going to hang out with the guys today, maybe, an-" Suihei's eyes snapped over to the clock silently. 7:00AM glared at her with all the intensity of a hawk preparing to swoop down on its prey. "-d try not to be late to class! Later Mami!" A smooch to the older woman's cheek was all Suihei offered, before she ran as fast as she could out of the door, not catching the sight of the Ruth shaking her head in bemusement at her only child.

She couldn’t help but call out a “Be safe! Don’t be late for dinner!” to Suihei, despite knowing that the girl would already be long gone into the distance when she did so.

Such a busybody, that girl was. It was a wonder that she had friends in the first place. But, Ruth was getting ahead of herself I can make dinner before work.

The sun was just rising, so that meant there was a lot of work to do.



[HR][/HR]

~*Destati*~


[HR][/HR]

"Mnnn." By the time school had let out, Suihei was already bristling with excitement and running down the streets. The day had gone by in a blur, slipping out of her awareness and thankfully coming to an end. When the last bell rang, she was the first to leave and the last to look back.

It took some cutting through a few places ( the Sandlot was the fastest way to the hangout from her school ) before she reached The Usual Spot. Though countless kids had apparently taken the time to use it before her group had claimed it, there was something homey about it that made her bristle up in pride every time she managed to meet her friends there. Tattered red rags hung from the fence to 'hide' it from any prying eyes. Old wood had been replaced ages ago - regularly, actually – in some strange tradition of personalizing it as best as one could. She actually heard that some old mayor had hung out here with her friends ages ago, but that was ancient history and rumours at best. Everyone knew that Mayors didn’t do much interesting.

Her footsteps did appear to have caught some form of attention, however, because before she even had a chance to settle in, three sets of eyes turned to greet her. "Yo, Sui, you're late!" Barrett's abrasive voice cut through the air like the sharp edge of a knife. While they were definitely ( definitely ) friends, the young man who happened to be but a year or so her senior seemed to be relatively irked by her perpetual tardiness.

"Sorry, I sorta got distracted, my teachers sorta wanted to hold me back, and-" A soft giggle interrupted what would've been a long-winded rant by Suihei if she'd been given the opportunity to do so.

"And you got lost on the way here again?" A girl's voice. finished with a far friendlier tone. Barrett's surrogate relative, Marlene. Milk brown pools met hazel playfully. Marlene was a young thing, around eleven or so the last time Suihei had bothered to ask. The white sundress she wore was only complimented by the pink ribbon secured in her shoulder-length locks and white sandals.

She hopped off of the crate she had been sitting on in order to walk over to Suihei. Marlene's face twisted into one of slight exasperation at the older girl's look, though the expression only served to make her look cuter. Suihei brought her hands up with an awkward grin, as if attempting to fend for herself while the pre-teen affixed her with a tiny frown. All in jest, really.

Marlene and Barrett- you wouldn't be able to tell that they weren't related, due to the fact that they were simply so close. Suihei envied that relationship, really. Their parents worked for a power company on the other side of the town, Shin-Ra, Suihei recalled with a grimace.

AVALANCHE, as Barrett had taken to calling the little club ( that was more like a going green committee, really ) , had been formed because Marlene's mother had gotten sick some time ago from working there ; though the intricacies were often tightly sealed, Suihei refrained from asking more out of personal respect. Boundaries were the first things to be established when they started hanging out a few years back.

"Aha, yeah . . . " Suihei began with a start, only to wither beneath the annoyed silver eyes of the other girl who'd taken a seat on yet another crate.

"So if we're all done waiting for the Princess, can we talk about what we're gonna do today?" She intruded, causing Suihei to fluff up indignation. Really, Relm wasn't the meanest of girls, but her mouth was as sharp as her eyes were, sometimes. She was a pretty thing though, with wispy blonde hair tied back with a bandana and a shirt that had experienced its fair share of paint splatter over the years. Artwork happened to be one of Relm’s ( many ) passions, though that never really stopped her from joining the ragtag group of friends out of either amusement or obligation.

Kinda hard to tell with her, really.

Barrett was the one to answer the question. "Well, what I was sayin' before Sui was late." at this Suihei gave another sheepish grin. "Was that we needed to get a few things goin' before we even thought about spreadin' the message a bit more. There're a few folks around that got jobs and stuff, so if we go ahead and help 'em out, then we can get AVALANCHE’s name out there more." Barrett punched his fist into his empty palm, as if doing so would cement his point in all the further. He definitely knew what he was doing though, and the extra munny would always be used for a little trip that the quartet could enjoy later.

It was a lofty idea, fundraising, coming together to try to expose light to the questionable working conditions of the power company, but it was just that. An idea.

We’re just a bunch of kids. What’re the odds of us changing anything anyways? Suihei thought morbidly, palming her cheek in her hand as she passively listened on.

"So, if we go down to Market Street, there should be signs in front of the shops, right?" Marlene was the one to ask this question while she eyed the rest of her friends with that somewhat cheerful expression of hers.

Suihei folded her arms behind her neck. "Well, not exactly. I think they moved them off to the side for some reason." Something about kids standing in the way of people wanting to conduct business or the like.

"We'll need about 500 munny if you want me to make the posters." Relm cut in, arching a slim brow at the incredulous looks that the trio shot her. "What? I hope you weren't expecting us to pay people to do somethin' that I can do for free."

Barrett had the dignity of not looking like he swallowed a sour patch of strawberries, at least.

Marlene sighed, "Well . . . if you can do it for that, then we can work at getting more munny for other stuff, right? Maybe we could even go to the beach tomorrow to pick up a few things, recycle, even- or, uh, stop the littering!"

"But tomorrow is the last day of school. We can totally do it over the rest of the Summer." Suihei groaned, not liking the idea of spending the last day of the school year picking up garbage of all things. The insensitive comment wasn't exactly met well, because, well, everyone knew that Suihei could be kind of selfish sometimes. It was in her nature, though that didn't make it any less favorable for the people that she called her "friends" in the loosest sense of the term.

"Or we can go the day after when we're all rested." Barrett could go undisputed like that, quickly snatching the situation and putting it back in place before it blew up in everyone's faces. "That's that then, let's get to work."



[HR][/HR]

*~Destati~*



[HR][/HR]


With the goals for the day in mind, they swept between the busy crowds in order to head to the post-it-board that Suihei had spoken of but a few moments prior.

The bustling streets made the day hotter than she expected and everyone had taken their jobs before splitting off to take care of them. Barrett had gone on ahead and decided to push a cart up into a garage for a young man that had just moved locations of one of his shops. Relm had gone to tear up some garbage that an elderly woman had been having trouble with disposing of ( it had smelled to high hell and back, in Suihei's humble opinion ) and Marlene had decided to spend her time trying perform a juggling a few rubber balls in order to provide entertainment to a small crowd for a pleasant amount of pocket money.

That left her with . . . not the worst job possible.

Rollerskating to deliver mail was actually one of the easier tasks that she could be saddled with. Having made the smart ( and that was sarcasm there ) decision to leave behind her backpack this morning proved to be more of a bane than a blessing. The second decision to leave her shoes back at the Usual Spot? Not so dumb.

She was glad that she had enough experience in the activity from years of doing it in her spare time. Her mother wouldn't allow her daughter to grow slack with inactivity after all, and had stretched their already limited funds thinner in order to keep the girl active.

Tucking the small collection of parcels beneath her arm, Suihei began to skate down the hill she'd been gestured to start at, as the directions had told her. When she was given the go ahead, she was off in a sprint, skirt fluttering from the backlash of wind against her slim legs bursting into motion. She weaved through the confused and annoyed patrons of the town with a few apologies, holding onto the hem of her skirt with a free hand once she jumped over a railing to drop off her first package to a young woman - a baker, she remembered - who didn't seem to be expecting it at all.

She didn't even waste any time turning back, only offering a quick "Sorry!" and a wave before she was off again.

Wind blew her already messy hair in front of her eyes, but she had the fortune of remembering a quick shortcut to her next point. The potion shop where old lady Elmyra stayed. She spied it in a few moments and altered her path as quick as possible to swerve beneath a passing set of folks moving a chair. "Excuse me!" She called back, only stopping to set the package against the door before skating off again.

Only one more package to go!

Jumping out of the garbage can of an alleyway she cut through scared the everloving crap out of her. "Gah!" Nearly stumbling to a halt, she jumped into the air - kicking off from the wall in order to avoid barreling over the feline entirely in a split-second maneuver. She continued on her way by bursting out of the alleyway with a few obscene curses flowing from her mouth. Her grandmother would've been appalled to no end and probably would've given her one of the firmest talking-to's in her life if she'd ever heard the expletives that poured freely from her lips.

As she finally veered towards her last stop for the day, Suihei wiped away a bit of the sweat that condensed at her brow. Her legs were burning, her heart was pounding, and there was a faint metallic tang at the back of her throat along a soreness to her gums that she attributed to pushing herself too fast after she'd gotten scared.

It was tough work - she had to go all the way from the Station Heights down to Main Street and cross back over to Dawn Drive, but Suihei couldn't help but smile as she swerved a bit on her heel. Papers threatened to spill out of her hands from the sharp turn out of yet another alleyway, but she was quick to recover and the final bundle at the door of her last target for the day.

She was surprised by an elderly man ( the one who had given her the job, she vaguely recalled ) greeting her as soon as she was about to go. His gray eyes seemed amused at the youth, who seemed to be quite quick to speed off! Had she forgotten that she was supposed to be paid by him? "You've forgotten something, young lady." At her curious expression, he gave a wisped chuckle.

"For all your hard work. 500 munny, as we agreed." The sac of munny came as a surprise, if only because she’d been expecting significantly less. Maybe she should’ve read the sign closer next time. But if the amount of munny was a surprise, the small potion tossed her way was nearly twice as pleasant. Because while they weren't exactly rare, they weren't inexpensive either.

“Ah, thank you!” Quick to hold onto it both items between her hands as if both were treasures to cherish above all else, Suihei didn't so much as spare a second glance back after bidding the elderly man a farewell.

Now to see how everyone else's day turned out.



[HR][/HR]

~*Destati*~


[HR][/HR]


"Huh, here first? " Suihei sighed to no one in particular as she flopped right back against the aged chair. For once, she actually managed to be one of the first back from her little task for the day, though the peace and quiet was, unfortunately, short lived.

"You're tellin' me." Relm grumbled as she came striding in, followed by two grunts of assent from Barrett and Marlene.

As expected, they all carried their own small sacs for the munny they had accumulated for the day. "So what's the total product for everyone?" Marlene piped up inquisitively, scrunching her nose in disgust at the scent of stale sweat coming from Barrett and Suihei.

"450." Relm said, squinting at a piece of . . . garbage bag? That had ended tangling up in her bandana. How disgustin'.

"200." Marlene huffed dejectedly. How was she supposed to know that she wasn't that good at juggling anyways? A tough crowd, that's what they were-

"500." Barrett and Suihei piped up at the exact same time, causing both to squint at one another in almost competitive disdain.

"It's not a competition you guys." Marlene reproached gently, knowing that if she didn't nip that little bud in the butt soon, they'd have two overworked kids trying to outdo one another for the sake of saying they'd contributed more.

Relm assessed the situation for what it was, calculating the amount of money they had managed to scrounge together that day with an almost wistful expression. "That's about 1,750 munny. Not that bad. We have a little extra to spend." She wasn't going to give a straightforward compliment, no matter how much her friends tried to dig at her for one.

That just wasn't her style.

"So. Ice-cream?" Suihei piped in with a cheery, albeit, exhausted smile.

"Ice-cream." Came the rumble of assent from the rest of the group.

Well, this day wasn't looking too bad after all.




[HR][/HR]


*~Destati~*


[HR][/HR]


They met on the Clock Tower, with a bit of convincing towards the employees there to let them slip up to settle down on the edge of it, at least. It wasn't so bad, Suihei thought to herself. Not at all. She'd settled right on the far left of the group, with Barrett and Marlene sandwiched in the middle, and Relm closing up the right quite nicely.

"So, what do you guys think we should do for the Summer?" Marlene's voice broke the comfortable silence that the quartet had taken, not that anyone seemed to mind. Encouraged by this, she continued to speak. Marlene may have been the youngest, but sometimes she liked to think that she helped everyone get along. "I mean, besides going to the beach."

"I heard there might be an amusement park opening up on the other side of town. We could always catch the train to go." Suihei perked up at Relm's suggestion, leaning over slightly so she could give the silver eyed girl an incredulous look.

"I heard that place was going to be expensive. How could we even afford it?" Barret chipped in, leaving How would Suihei even afford it? unsaid.

While Suihei didn't doubt that either of her friends would be able to cover themselves if they asked their parents, Suihei bore ill-will towards the thought! Her mom already had enough problems as it was trying to support herself and her daughter. And God knew the last person she wanted to ask was her father. The man left a bitter taste in her mouth every time she had to so much as spend a second near him!

"That sounds lame anyways. . . " Suihei mumbled, taking another bite out of her ice-cream. Her eyes had flicked to watch the Sun disappear over the horizon. It blanketed them in a tranquil calm for a few moments . . . or awkward. She had a thing for making things awkward. "I wanna travel a bit, myself. This world . . . " Is too lonely. Her lips pinched together in a frown, brows knitting while the briefest sensation of annoyance flitted through her. ". . . this world is too small."

With an exasperated sigh, the blonde of the group shook her head and tapped her finely manicured nails against the stone surface of the Tower. Though she hadn't heard it in months, it didn't make Suihei's rambling any less annoying for her to deal with. "Right, here we go again. How many times are we gonna have to tell ya Sui, there aren't other things to do outside of this town, and you’d have to go all the way to the other side of the world to get to Daybreak. It’s not like there’s anything interesting there, either. You're being an idiot." Relm was as quick as the pen that was often tucked away behind one of her ears, neither brutal nor unforgiving, but not relenting either.

The verbal barbs still stung though. But Suihei laughed it off with a strained sorta noise that refused to just quite spread across her face. "Yeah, I know . . ." It was true though. Twilight Town was a small place in comparison to the other cities that peppered the planet. It was homely for sure, but after a while home started to feel like prison.

Barrett, though somewhat awkward about interjecting, was quick to shift the subject before it broke out into another argument between the tentative friends. Planet knew he didn't want to hear one of those spats again, irritable as he was.

"Yeah, it ain't no big, so . . . " The conversation drifted on after yet another abrupt shift.

After reviewing on what other things their funds could be divided on, AVALANCHE had called it a day with the promise of meeting one another after school ended tomorrow.




[HR][/HR]


*~Destati~*


[HR][/HR]


The brunette was in a relatively good mood, she felt. Nothing could keep her down at this point - the Summer was right on the edge of her grasp, she might've finally been getting along with the guys beyond a superficial level- despite the argument, that is. And the most important part?

She'd be able to enjoy that trip to the beach, at least.

Still, as once she finally made her way home, she couldn't help but peer out of the window with an expression of wistfulness etched onto her face. If there was one thing she'd never liked, it had always been people telling her that something was impossible. Sure, she'd felt that she could trust those guys with the little, whimsical wish of being able to see bigger and better things than what Twilight Town had to offer, but for once - just this once . . .

"I know there are other worlds out there." She mumbled to herself, closing her eyes. Her chin came to rest on her arms, which had been settled in the windowsill. Suihei knew there were. She just had to do something about it to prove it. She hadn’t meant town like Relm thought. There just had to be something better out there. Something that nobody else would ever be able to think of.

So wrapped up in her thoughts of adventures, discovering riches and seeing great sights, she hardly took note of the fact that her mother hadn't even come home yet ; she normally worked late in order to try to make ends meet, so Suihei seldom took the time to notice. She knew that there’d be a note scrawled out on the counter telling her to eat, and that dinner was stuck in the fridge. But for now? Just for a little while, Suihei allowed herself to squint up towards the heavens.

And in the reach of the heavens mottled in the pink and dusky blues of the twilit skies.

A lone star blinked out.




[HR][/HR]

~*~*~* D e s t a t i ~*~*~*


[HR][/HR]


A shorter chapter? A shorter chapter. Seeing as how there wasn't much action going on here, I didn't think much of including anything in here that could've been deemed unnecessary. It was . . . pretty interesting to write, I guess? I mean I don't doubt for a second that I might've rushed towards the tail end of it ( and wow is it quarter to 2 AM already-) but, aaah, this was just to introduce a few more characters I guess! Maybe. Maybe I'll get better at writing chapters in the near future. I always end up getting stuck on what to start sentences with ( despite knowing that there are a near unlimited amount of words to start sentences with ). Once again, feel free to leave a review and don't let the bed bugs bite-
 

Arcana-Key

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k
Hm, interesting. A lot of descriptive imagery, I like that... it's something more fanfics need. Quite a few of the passages remind me of how I would novelize the early events of KH in my head. I'm betting that you drew some very obvious parallels to the first game on purpose, especially given that third-to-last line you put in there. Also, Lightning cameo, sweet! I'm still trying to really picture how someone could cut the black coat so that their midriff is exposed, though... hm...

Welp, this has left me with a bunch of questions and few answers, so I'll be back when there's more.

EDIT: Oh geez, I got ninja'd by chapter two. So, our main character is native to Twilight Town, huh?

Little thing about punctuation: I've spotted a lot of semicolons where things like commas and colons ought to be. Remember that commas work best when you're connecting a phrase with a complete sentence, like "... painted in vivid oranges, a perpetual dusk." Also, don't put a space between the ending of a clause and a semicolon. It should look like, for example, "vivid oranges; a perpetual dusk", not "vivid oranges ; a perpetual dusk."

That's just about it, though. Fix up some grammar, and then it's all pretty good.
WhOOPS, yes thank you very much for your feedback! This is ( admittedly ) a good few months old, as is chapter 2. I had originally started on it with the intention of doing a full-length story, but my brain regularly crashes on how to make things move in a story. It's definitely something that I find interesting to be on the receiving end of, and imagery is one of those points where it's like "man scene transitioning is difficult."

AND YEAH, she is! A long time ago, iirc when I was first making the character it was supposed to be like a 'player 2 / girl player' option, but that ended up distancing itself hard over a few months once I finalized designs and got a bit of roleplay in. Chapter 2 is actually pretty badly written in my honest opinion, ( it just kind of prattles "orz -- ) because I feel like I could use a little more work on the important bits, the meat of the story like dialogue and characterization.

Thanks so much about the review though, I've been trying to get feedback on how I could improve for forever​, haha. ;n;
 

BlackOsprey

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If ya want a little more feedback, I'd recommend replacing "the brunette" with just "Suihei" or a typical pronoun like "she." It's odd wording and it throws me off every time I see it, since something like "the brunette" usually is used to introduce a new character to a scene. It was alright before Suihei's name was mentioned, but after that, it feels a bit out of place.

I feel ya. It's far easier to give a deep, descriptive retelling of a story that's already been visually set up than attempting to do the same with a story you're trying to put together yourself. Right now, you're trying to set up your own scenario and characters, so not everything moves itself along like it would if you were just retelling cutscenes from KH.

And don't feel bad about meandering for a bit before giving the plot a swift kick in the rear. I'd rather have a good feel for the characters, setting and atmosphere than plowing through a lot of story and action while leaving the setting generic and plain.
 
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KingdomKey

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Your first chapter was a nice introduction. I felt nostalgic as Sui went through a few similar steps to achieve a keyblade. I imagine things will become more hectic after awhile. What really blew me away was chapter two! I didn't expect our heroine to be living in twilight town and be friends with Barrett and Marlene! And hearing them be a group called Avalanche makes it even better. <3 I actually like how much shorter the second chapter was because, it flowed more and didn't overwhelm me with tons of details. So, I'm kind of the opposite of BlackOsprey. On the other hand, I'm actually curious why she doesn't like her estranged father. Probably won't find out if the next chapter involves heartless? OH! And this didn't feel rushed at all. Both were great chapters. C:
 

Arcana-Key

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Your first chapter was a nice introduction. I felt nostalgic as Sui went through a few similar steps to achieve a keyblade. I imagine things will become more hectic after awhile. What really blew me away was chapter two! I didn't expect our heroine to be living in twilight town and be friends with Barrett and Marlene! And hearing them be a group called Avalanche makes it even better. <3 I actually like how much shorter the second chapter was because, it flowed more and didn't overwhelm me with tons of details. So, I'm kind of the opposite of BlackOsprey. On the other hand, I'm actually curious why she doesn't like her estranged father. Probably won't find out if the next chapter involves heartless? OH! And this didn't feel rushed at all. Both were great chapters. C:
Oh gosh, well, thank you for the support and the compliments, you actually made me blush! I'm actually working on the next chapter right as I type this, amusingly enough. This chapter is actually going to be pretty stretched out and wraps up the First Arc nicely so we can transition into the actual meat of the story. What I may also do is include a few images as I go along so I can paint a more vivid picture, if that makes sense, to help with visualizing the main protagonists as they're introduced. Or probably make a sub-thread to introduce the characters proper / answer questions as they come along. The reason why she dislikes her estranged father is hinted at ( I think , unless I've been just staring at my notes ) and will be something that she'll have to reflect on at a later date. I'll continue to hint at it, because that'll be more of a sub-plot instead of an acual overarching plot. In between Arcs, however, I'll be doing Reports that may or may not tie together the overarching history of the expanded universe this takes place in.
 

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  • Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
  • Advanced Chain of Memories
Surprisingly managed to whip up a chapter in a day after coming up with a relatively rough outline ; this might be subject to getting changed later, because it seems like my brain couldn't decide on a consistent writing style and decided to just go with whatever it was fancying at the time. Finally getting the ball rolling though, and at the bottom of this chapter will be... three images of our protagonists so you have a better mental picture of how they look instead of going 'I don't understand-' I may do that with every chapter that I manage to cram out with correlating art ( it'll mostly just be world outfits tbh-- ). I may go back and add appropriate images to chapter 1- I did get something that matched the Awakening thing. Or I may just add it here. As always, reviews / comments and conversation are always appreciated!



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Chapter III ;
Sinister Sundown
Twilight Town ;

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Of all the things that Suihei had ever experienced, school had to be the dullest. It wasn’t the dull metronome of the clock whenever she was suck in class, nor was it the near constant thoughtlessness of a repetitive day. It was just… dry. A lack of color, a lack of variety. If there was anything that she’d ever been happier to do when she heard the bell ring that day, it was leave school behind without a second thought.

Balamb Garden, for all of its pretentious titles and acolytes, was the place that Suihei hated the most. Not only for the fact that, well, she felt like she didn’t belong (because she didn’t), but because it kept her separated from the people that she genuinely considered friends. “Well, friends in a superficial sense…” She murmured to herself, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. Her books had been collected in the crook of her arm, papers hastily tossed in her

It had been a day since she and the gang had agreed to meet up again, and by her own choice she waited longer than what they agreed on until going. She hadn’t seen them because, in her mind, it wasn’t something that she deserved. The guys had their own time anyways, and, well, considering the almost not-quite fight that she had gotten into with Relm, Suihei thought it was the best. Perhaps it was a selfish desire, driven by a need to play the matyr. Or maybe she wanted an apology.

It was a selfish desire, and she was aware of that. Unfair and childish, not even Marlene would resort to leaving a few days up in the air just because someone disagreed with her. ‘You’re so standoffish sometimes’, Suihei had been told time and again. That was probably why she had avoided going to the usual spot. “Get over yourself.” She whispered harshly to herself. She had to look down to avoid a few perked eyebrows tossed her way, shame burning at her cheeks. It wasn’t only with her group of friends that she tended to get the proverbial foot in her mouth though.

Considering that her old man paid for her to go to the school with the elite of the elite, there were certain behavioral expectations. Expectations that she failed to meet. A lot. Quite the thing to drop on her, when Suihei hadn’t stayed with her dad in years. “Just get home-“ Again, Suihei murmured to herself. She extended her hand towards the door of the longue, eager to leave before she made an even bigger fool of herself.

It was a good decision too, for out of the corner of her eye, she caught sight of familiar purple locks and a youthful countenance twisted into a sneer. Caius. Venom lanced up her spine in that moment. Harsh and paralyzing. Stop lingering and go. Her mind screamed at herself, giving her a much-needed jolt to exit the school building.

Frustration coiled inside of her like a toxin. Fine. She’d drive herself feverish if she didn’t try to meet up with the gang anyways. And maybe, just… maybe it was for the best if she apologized for going missing on them.


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~*Destati*~



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After dropping her stuff off at home, Suihei meandered. The Usual Spot wasn’t that far from where she lived – just a little off the Common Area, but that didn’t make her any more eager to go and try to see her friends. Her feet felt like they were weighed down by lead, making her all the more hesitant to finish what was, at best a fifteen minute walk. There was no point in making the worst of it if she could’ve just apologized, right?

By the time Suihei arrived, she was painfully aware of the fact that she had three pairs of eyes on her. A shameful flush crept down her neck, and she made a point of lifting her eyes up while avoiding eye contact with anyone.

Absently, she caught sight of a few pieces of paper scattered on a wooden box that acted as an impromptu desk. There was the scent of paint lingering in the air, fresh as possible. She didn’t have the guts to speak. It was too humiliating. ‘What was I thinking? They were waiting for me all this time and I expected—‘

She was drawn out of her self-inflicted tirade by Marlene perking up from a stack of papers, “Told you she’d show up eventually!” the younger girl said, standing up from her position abruptly. With the sudden shift in movement acting as a catalyst, the stack of papers that she’d been working on scattered across the floors, leading to an even bigger mess that drew forward an irritated sigh from Relm.

“Yeah yeah.” Relm said, looking over her shoulder to affix Suihei with a stare that said she didn’t forget about the girl shunting them off. A long talk was only the inevitable thing in this situation. “Figures she’d show up now of all times.”

Now? What was going on now? - Barret had apparently caught the question on her tongue, and attempted to diffuse the tension that blanketed the room by explaining. “Weird stuff been happenin’ around town lately, y’know? Y’hear about how old man Biggs’ shop got broken into the other night?”

She had, but it wouldn’t hurt for a reminder. “No?” Suihei said, crossing her arms across her chest in order to passively smooth out the wrinkles in her school shirt. “I heard about old man Wedge- you know, the guy I delivered for the other day?” At the few nods of assent, she continued. “I heard that his shop got broken into, too.”

That was unusual. Strange. It wasn’t like he delivered anything but a few spare potions and strange trinkets. Her parents had gotten her a little trinket from the shop ages ago. What was it called agai-

“Yeah,” Barret nodded his head to the side. “, s’somethin’ like that. Well, turns out, they ain’t the only two that’s been havin’ their stuff stolen. People been lookin’ at everyone else cuz’ s’startin’ t’get weird.”

“Nobody trusts one another.” Marlene took the stage from here, having managed to situate her papers again with the help of Relm. “Even though everyone knows that nobody here would steal without getting caught, someone is doing it, and, well…”

“It’s suspicious.” Relm finished, tucking her paintbrush behind an ear. It was suspicious. Twilight Town, despite the disparity between the wealthy and the poor, was not a bad place, not by any means. Those that didn’t have much simply lived with what they could, and those that had, had the humbleness to not flaunt their wealth amongst their peers. It was a tight-knit community, woven even tighter due to the laws introduced ages ago by one of the older Mayors of the town.

“So…” Suihei shuffled atop a crate, swinging her sneaker-clad feet against it with a few audible thunks. “… people think someone did it but can’t figure out who?” She inquired. Assessing the situation for what it was made it sound weird, even to her. It was remarkably outlandish, even to her.

“Yep!” Marlene chimed, dusting off her skirt as she came to stand next to Barret. “So we’re gonna look for the answers ourselves!” She declared, setting a hand on her hip and pointing at Suihei with an impish grin. “Isn’t that right Barret?” Her surrogate sibling gave a gruff noise of consent.

“We’re gonna be travelin’ to those seven spots, jus’ to see if there’s anything weird that can be explained by those, too. Y&#146;know, the ones with the all the creepy urban legends surroundin’ ‘em?” He explained while Relm finished packing up her art materials. Apparently whatever they’d been planning was going to take a fair bit of work.

“She clearly doesn’t, she looks more confused than you did after we visited the Moomba vendor.” Relm teased in a sing-song voice as she whipped around, leveling her friends with a grin that was as sharp as it was impish. “Alright Princess.” She ignored Suihei’s indignant bristling – wasn’t her fault if the girl rose to the bait, after all. “I don’t have all day to explain, so listen up. I’m surprised you haven’t heard these stories before.” There was a note of exasperation in Relm’s voice that made the statement seem condescending.

“Basically, the seven wonders of Twilight Town are places that’re really attributed to having weird things goin’ on around them. They’re all over the Town, and the last few days, we crossed a few off from the map. First we went to The Spooky Steps – y’know, the ones that have the step numbers that change every time y’go up and down?” At Suihei’s slow-nod, Relm huffed. “Turned out that someone was dumb and miscounted. Then we got the alleyway with a ball that’s said t’be thrown out by a ghost…”

“It turned out to be a cat batting at a case of balls.” Barret interrupted with a hint of amusement in his voice. Relm hated cats.

Despite her efforts to level Barret with a glare, Relm couldn’t help but pick up on what she’d been saying earlier. “Anyways, it turned out to be kind of a fraud. So, then we traveled to the Moaning Tunnels…”

Marlene was the one to interject this time. “And that turned out to be a faulty vent!” She sounded so indignant at the entire situation that she’d even huffed up a bit, frustrated at the fact that they kept coming to dead ends. Suihei couldn’t help but stifle a quick laugh behind her hands at the girl’s indignant tone. “And then after that, we traveled to see the Animated Bag and the Ghost Train, which—“

“Turned out to be a dog stuck in the bag and a broken down train.” Relm said, once again invoking the slightest hint of exasperation to her tone. “Every single one of them so far have been hoaxes, and it’s really startin’ t’get on my nerves.” She hissed, grinding her foot into the floor, frustration plucking at her for just that fleeting, passing moment.

Suihei wouldn’t blame her. First an unexplained series of thefts, and when they try to investigate it to see if there was some form of logical explanation about it, there was nothing? Just dead-ends, convoluted twists, turns that would’ve driven her up the wall if she had to deal with it for more than a few passing seconds. Her empathy for Relm was severe, at that moment. “Okay, so where to now that you guys have gone to…” She looked down to her fingers, counting them off. “… five? What now?”

Barret was too glad to answer her question with a roll of the neck to loosen the stiffened joints. “Three. We gotta check out The Doppelganger, the Haunted Mansion.”

“How do you suggest that we get there? Does anyone even know where that place is? It’s just an urban legend, right?” Suihei inquired, knitting her brows together with an almost speculative expression flitting across her countenance.

The room seemed tense with a ripple of excitement, and Marlene couldn’t stop herself from clapping her hands together, interlacing her fingers with one-another when she did so. “Well, that was going to be the last place we went. It might be better if we went to the other side of town first?” Marlene suggested, rocking on her heels as she walked over to the entrance gate. “So then we could come back and relax when we’re done!”

It made sense, that way they’d be able to backtrack when all was said and done, and also be able to handle whatever was deigned necessary on the way back.

“Do you still have that potion from the other day, Suihei?” Relm asked, biting her thumb. At Suihei’s questioning glance, the young artist shrugged, “Just in case someone is dumb enough to get into an accident at the mansion.” Oh, she was being cautious. That made sense.

“I’ll—grab it when we come back this way.” Suihei responded, dusting off her plaid skirt with a quick fleeting smile. Relm returned it with an amused snort under her breath.

“Don’t get lost on the way back.” She said fondly, levelling Suihei with a fierce little grin. “I’d hate to have to wait a few more hours or days for you to show up.”

With a tousle of Suihei’s brown locks, Relm trailed behind Marlene and Barret, leaving Suihei alone to catch up.

While attempting to pretend like nothing had happened wouldn’t be the right option, at least they didn’t seem too upset about her being a few hours late.
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~*Destati*~



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The walk across Town was spent with casual conversation buzzing between all four members of AVALANCHE, taken through the underground walkways that allowed the denizens to take a longer, if not cheaper trip to the other side of the tracks by way of foot. While the underground tunnels had originally been made as a way of filtering water some centuries before, constant renovations and a just as constant use to skip through town had made it change it something more akin to a walkway for those who desired to take such a path.

Heck, it was also the place that Caius frequently came to practice his Struggle techniques—where a lot of people came to practice their struggle techniques, now that she thought about it. But as Suihei’s mind drifted towards how she had caught sight of the purple haired young man earlier in the day, her expression twisted into something resembling a grimace, if a grimace found itself formed by sucking down the pulp of a lemon, at least.

“…hei? Pay attention, we’re almost there.” Barret’s voice drew her out of her musings, causing Suihei’s eyes to snap up from her dress shoes.


“Sorry what?” She said, asking for clarification.

“ We’re almost there, you should start payin’ more attention. Thinkin’ ‘bout him again, huh?”

No!” Her rejection was enough to gain a roll of the eyes from Relm.

“Keep denying it all y’want, we all know that you wanna punch his face in, Sui.” Barret picked up with a snort under his breath. Not as dismissive as she thought it’d be.

“Well… I might be able to, just wait until the summer gets here!” This wasn’t the first time Suihei had said this, and it definitely wouldn’t be the last.

“That’s what you said last year, you know.” Marlene said, her voice taking on the slightest hint of teasing. “But I think you can do it. I know you can. You’ve been practicing pretty hard, and besides…”

Barret spoke next, “Nobody in AVALANCHE is some two-bit wuss. If y’wanna be the face, then y’gotta be willin’ t’kick a whole lotta a-“



“Anyways,” Relm interjected, tapping her finger against her jawline with an impish grin. “, we shouldn’t be getting too hyper now. Its a few months away, and school ends

Their rivalry was the stuff of legends… in Suihei’s head, at least. Struggles had always been something to bring the community together and give them something to look forward to over the summer, and Caius had remained the undefeated champion for as long as she could remember. Just thinking about him made her skin crawl.

Suihei herself used to participate in Struggles as often as she could, with raw determination and a near overwhelming desire to win festering within her. Even she enjoyed it, rare as it was her to get anywhere near the finals. She always got knocked out of the brackets as soon as she was close, by no other than Caius.

It made for a nasty sense of antipathy, when she wanted something the most and couldn’t get to it. That was why their hopes had been pining on this year’s Struggle Tournament, far away as that may have seemed.



As the quartet made their way out of the labyrinthine tunnels, Relm paused abruptly, turning on her heels in order to face Suihei. What was it now? Did she actually want to have a serious conversation in the middle of finally getting out of here? Suihei glanced over Relm’s shoulder, awkwardly looking at Barret and Marlene as they continued on, conversing passively about one thing or another that had captured their attention. No help then.

“Hey… what do you want out of life?” Relm’s eyes seemed serious when she asked that, appraising her not-quite, but still kind of friend with a gaze that was as penetrating as it was thoughtful.

Suihei blinked abruptly. In surprise, maybe, from the question that had been pitched her way. Reminded of the dream that she had the other night, it took her a few moments to gather her bearings for an answer. She fiddled with her hair for a second, tugging on a few of the semi-spiked locks before she shook her head and cleared her throat. She was just imagining things, right?

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Suihei asked, taken aback. It was an unexpected question that made the dim roar of their path seem a little louder.

“Like…” Relm huffed, rolling her eyes, unaware or uncaring about the fact that Suihei’s confusion at the question. Whether annoyed or not, it seemed as if she was intent on lingering back as their friends continued on without them. “… you’re weird, y’know?” Seeing that this was causing her friend to huff up in indignity, Relm gave a light laugh and punched Suihei on the shoulder. What was so funny anyways? “Don’t worry about it.” She dismissed, as if she were genuinely amused by her friend’s reaction.

One wave of the hand led to Relm walking ahead again, leaving Suihei standing in the spot she’d been stopped in. A part of her was genuinely confused by the abrupt interaction. It was almost like Relm wanted to talk about something serious, to question her on if she were satisfied with her lot in life.

“Tch.” Suihei huffed under her breath, running forward to catch up with her friends. “What a dumb question…”

If she had bothered staying behind for a few more minutes, she would’ve caught sight of a flash of purple-black light and the sound of air distorting. It was a good thing that she had advanced, for lingering in the shadows cast by the tunnel was the most peculiar thing…

A pair of golden eyes…
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~*Destati*~



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By the time they managed to get to the fountain where the so-called doppelganger took up residence, the sun had began to set. The slow rumble of water splashing in its container allowed the quartet to relax for a few moments, though, thirty minutes into staring at the fountain led to nothing but a dreary air of boredom around everyone.

“Are you guys sure this was the brightest idea?” Suihei asked. How could she have gotten herself roped into this? Was she really so naïve to think that something as simple as a fountain would bring a doppelganger out to attack her? What kind of dweeb would believe in that? “It doesn’t look like anything is going to come out and attack us…”

Thankfully, the fates seemed to give them that kindness on them today.

Relm grew impatient, folding her arms over her chest and tapping her foot against the ground. “Yeah, well, this ain’t much of a surprise! S’just like the rest of ‘em, so I’unno why we thought this’d be any different.” A prickly attitude really caused the rougher side of her upbringing to come out. But it was true, it looked like they had come out all this way for nothing.

Was it just a hoax, like everything else? Or was it just something to give the kids a thing to do?

Marlene and Barret had long since splayed out on the ground, with the younger of the duo braiding together flowers to crown her surrogate sibling’s close-shaved head passively. “Maybe they just got freaked out by the reflection?” Marlene suggested, flaring her cheeks out.

Feeling as if that weren’t a logical enough answer, Suihei stood to her full height, placing her hands on her hips and squinting over to Marlene. Fortunately she had nothing to say to that, because it looked like it could’ve been true.

People tended to believe things without so much as doing the research themselves. “So who do you think was behind all of this mess if not some weird doppelganger?” Suihei asked, arching an eyebrow in speculation. It could’ve been anyone, or maybe just some contrived convenience that everyone had lost their things. With summer so close, it wasn’t impossible to think that they’d just left their doors open enough for the light breeze to knock it open a smidge.

Dully, she realized that this wasn’t the best explanation she had.

“Welp.” Relm sighed, standing up to stretch the kinks out of her back. “I’m gonna get ready to head back to the other side of town. Meet me at the mansion if you’re gonna stay here.”

“Right behind ya.” Barret said.

“Ditto.” Marlene followed, helping herself up by way of Barret’s shoulders.

“Mmm…” With a hum, Suihei’s bare hands came to fold behind her neck, head tilting from side to side as she gazed upon the fountain for a few minutes. Once she heard the sounds of footsteps signifying that her friends had left, she leaned forward, eyebrows knitting together as she gazed at the murky surface of the water with the vaguest hint of curiosity flashing across her face. Looking until she was sure that she saw something swimming in the depths of her reflection, Suihei waited with a baited breath…

She slowly reached a finger forward, touching the reflective surface with such a sense of anxiety that she was sure that she could feel her heart pounding against her ribcage. Maybe… maybe there was something in there! It definitely—

No… it took a few seconds for her to be able to tell, but there really wasn’t anything in her reflection. It took such a short time to come to that conclusion, that she couldn’t help but give a sigh of disappointment.

Scoffing beneath her breath, Suihei turned on her heel to leave it behind. Eager as she was to go, she didn’t take notice of the reflection rippling with an unsettling Darkness until the sound of air compressing drew her hazel gaze over her shoulder.

Hesitation caused her feet to plant to the ground like cement. Had she really seen something, or had it been her imagination? A quick sweep of her immediate surroundings revealed nothing that she hadn’t already concluded. Nothing was there. “Ugh, this is getting annoying…”

Had she remained behind for a few more seconds, she would’ve struggled to fathom the fact that there were golden orbs peering from behind the veil of water at exactly her height.

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~*Destati*~



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Quick to traverse the town, Suihei stopped by her apartment as promised to pick up the potion she had gotten but a day previous. While she was there, she felt it was appropriate to change into clothes that wouldn’t get filthy from traveling through a forest of all things. Her dad would’ve killed her if he found out that something he’d spent so much money on was ruined by her mindless adventures.

Squashing the thought before her bearings were lost, Suihei shuffled on a capri-length unitard that found itself zipped up. Over that, she wore a pair of gray shorts with pockets that she’d always thought were way too big. She secured a belt around her waist hastily, squinting down at the haphazard attire before grumbling something under her breath about it not being enough.

Seeing that she had little time however, Suihei quickly grasped a star-shaped necklace that her parents had gotten her years ago ( a wayfinder they called it, left behind in that old man’s shop ) and secured that around her neck before tossing a red and black hoodie over it. Adjusting the suspenders that came with the shorts over her shoulders, she put the finishing touches of her attire on by slipping on a pair of fingerless gloves and sneakers.

… Right. That was a lot of time spent getting dressed.

It would’ve been embarrassing if she ended up staying home for too long, so Suihei quickly grasped at the pouch of munny and potion she’d gotten from her work the other day. Hastily leaving her apartment behind, Suihei rushed across town and stopped at the crack in a wall located not too far from the shopping distance. Much to her pleasure, it looked like her friends had waited for her, causing Suihei to smile and wave over to them.

Relm rolled her eyes and continued forward without another word, heading into the forest now that she saw that the last piece of their puzzle had decided to show her face again. Late, at that.

It was rare that people came through here, if only because of the abundance of urban legends surrounding the place. The dense patches of forests surrounding Twilight Town also deterred people from poking their nose around too often anyhow. Many people avoided going into them, and for good reason – as Suihei found out once she got a chance to peek into the low-light filtered foliage.

’This isn’t too bad.’ Suihei thought to herself as she glanced around, taking in the sight of trees that seemed to reach into the heavens. Incredibly tall, but it wasn’t so dark that she wasn’t able to see which way her friends had headed. There were footprints in the grass that helped with that anyhow.

She stepped forward, following path through the forest with feather-light steps that guided her to a clearing on the opposite end. As Suihei brought her hands up to shield her eyes from the glare of light that threatened to blind her, she took a peek at where she had wound up.

It was an old building that had seen better days, shrouded with a history that was as questionable as it was mysterious. Wrapping along the gate were several vines, grown unhindered for as long as they were free to. They stretched across the surrounding stone wall blocking the public eye from seeing further into the courtyard, unfortunately sending a sharp feeling of annoyance through Suihei. The gate had been cracked open though, and as she looked down, she spotted that the footsteps she’d followed to the opposite end of the forest had, in fact, led to the front of the gate.

Urban legends had ranged from someone being murdered in there, to people being stuffed away and forced into an eternal sleep. For this reason, few bothered to see it for themselves, and even fewer had the gall to attempt to excavate the building to explore the ruins, for fewer still knew where it was located.

It was really only through luck that Barret had managed to piece together the best path, Suihei recalled blearily.

Scrutinizing enough to peek around, Suihei blinked in surprise at the lack of her friends showing up. It was like they’d disappeared! But that wouldn’t be possible. At the most, they were only a few seconds ahead of her. Suihei grimaced. Letting herself get left behind was something she really needed to stop ; besides it being a point of frustration for her, the worry that she felt once she saw they were gone was enough to get her grinding her heel into the ground. If she didn’t want to look too stupid, she was going to have to step forward.

Suihei grumbled under her breath. “Geeze, talk about a way to start the day,” she hardly noticed when Barret, Relm and Marlene came from around the gates. Turning her eyes up from her shoes, Suihei made a face as she brought her thoughts to a pause. Okay, so she was panicking about nothing then! Great.

Suihei folded her arms over her chest. “Did you guys find anything?” she inquired, leaning forward with an expression that drew forward a mild noise of amusement from Relm.

“What, did you think we were going without you?” Relm asked in turn, disarming the question with yet another. Even if she answered it truthfully, Suihei knew that her response would’ve been met with another set of rolled eyes and an amused snicker.

Marlene smiled faintly. “Well, the doors are locked, so it wouldn’t be like we’d be getting in there anyways.”

Barret made a mild noise of discontent under his breath. Even he seemed to be mildly annoyed at the entire situation. After all, they had wasted the better most part of the day chasing around empty clues for no reason. Locked doors led to nowhere, and their frustration seemed to be tangible at this point.

Suihei swore she heard Barret curse under his breath about it being a bunch of nonsense, but she said nothing to hint that she had. “Well… I guess that we should just call it a day then?” she suggested, clasping her hands behind her back.

“Yeah, s’prolly for the best.” Relm groused out, but Marlene and Barret seemed to have the same idea in mind anyways, trekking their way back from the way they came as soon as the opportunity presented itself.

“We’ll catch y’all later.” Barret said as he hoisted Marlene onto his shoulders.

Marlene peeked over her shoulder, hand waving exuberantly at the duo. “Be safe guys!”

“Well, guess I’ll be around Princess.” Relm finally said, pinching the bridge of her nose with a clear expression of annoyance settling onto her face. Clearly Suihei wasn’t the only one dissatisfied by the turn of events.

“Just great,” Suihei moaned, wrapping her arms around her shoulders and hoping that she didn’t waste any more time than she had already. It wasn’t the most productive day in the world, yet she couldn’t help the feeling of foreboding that had been roiling in the pit of her stomach all day.

Suihei shook her head, turning away from the mansion with a disgruntled huff. She walked away, leaving behind what could’ve been the solution to the great mystery that had captivated them. Upset that this had been somewhat of a waste, she began her own path home.

Without a thought, she planted face first onto the couch and drifted off into sleep.

If she had paid any mind to the skies, she would have wondered when the forecast had predicted a storm.

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~*Destati*~



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Suihei woke a few hours later, cold and with a pit of discomfort coiling in her heart. The source, she realized as she took her gaze outside, was the dark, dark storm clouds rolling across her immediate field of vision. That was unusual. Twilight Town got storms, sure, and they even got a storm season, but they had never gotten anything as bad as this. Immediately, anxiety began pounding at her chest. For some reason, this storm wasn’t something that she liked, and the reason became apparent as soon as she flitted her eyes around the apartment. Not a single light was on, leaving her in an uncomfortable pitch darkness. That wasn’t the most pressing matter, however. Her mother wasn’t home. She was sure that she would be, as the woman always got in by the time Suihei woke up from her post-hangout nap.

Turning her head, she squinted into the darkness and made out the vaguest hint of purple in the clouds. “Maybe I should go see if she’s alright.” She said to herself, pushing herself out of her lounging position. Without thinking, she slipped her shoes back on and opened the door, grabbing an umbrella before she left in order to shield herself from the torrential downpour that seemed so adamant about ruining her night.

Even as she started her path towards the clock tower where her mother worked, she couldn’t stop the feeling of worry from ebbing into her thoughts. It was dark. Much too dark for her to see much, and while normally this wouldn’t have bugged her, there was something about this darkness that just seemed unnatural.

Straining her ears, the youth struggled to keep her footing against the winds that threatened to knock her off balance. It would’ve been easier to do so, if she hadn’t caught a flash of black from the periphery of her vision. What is that? A part of her was aware of what it was before it even revealed itself. It was darker than the already dark night, somehow managing to make the rain seeping into her clothes seem warmer in comparison to the cold, encroaching grip of fear that began to roil in the pit of her stomach.

A part of her wanted this to be a dream. A fever induced dream from eating too many burritos for dinner. It wasn’t real, her mind screamed, but that didn’t stop her from backpedaling hard enough to land on her backside. The hard stone dazed her, leaving her vulnerable for precious few seconds that the living, amorphous shadow only seemed to glad to take advantage of.

Gold eyes that were familiar, but unfamiliar all the same, peeked at her from the void. Suihei felt a scream freeze in her throat as it jumped forward, arms outstretched and sharp, sickle-like claws completely intent on tearing her apart.

Instinctively, she gripped her umbrella and lashed out with a swing. It missed. For a second, Suihei believed that this is where she was going to die. She could feel cold, cold cold scrabbling against her, could feel cold talons barely digging into flesh, somehow slipping beyond fabric in an attempt to get to something and it hurt. God it hurt enough to make eyes well up with tears.

It was beyond the physical pain of getting her skin punctured, of having flesh raked across it felt like something inside of her was literally gripped by the icy cold grip. ‘I don’t wanna die-‘ She thought to herself, desperately swinging the umbrella as more of the wreathing shadows attempted to join the first in a practically open feast. ‘I don’t wanna die!’

For a moment. Just a moment, as darkness obscured her vision, Suihei swore she saw Light. Desperately, she reached for it, needing something, anything to banish away the frigid sensation that crept through her body like a poison. As soon as she reached her hand out for that light, she felt a tingle that raced along her spine. It was an unusual sensation, something different and warm and bountiful that she desperately grasped at. The jolt solidified into something tangible, a solid, expansive wave of warmth that lashed out violently to the dark creatures that swarmed Suihei. There was a blinding flash of light that brought spots to Suihei’s eyes. Disoriented, but not one to look a gift horse in a mouth, she blindly stood to her feet and lashed out with the weight in her hand once more, noticing that this time…

It seemed to actually hit one of the creatures, causing it to disappear in a black wave of smoke. Her victory wasn’t one that she gloated over, for the pain in her chest distracted her from the otherwise surprising moment.

But she didn’t stop there. Instead, she hastily rolled out of the way of another one of the creatures that leaped above her and reacted with a sharp, vertical slash that sent that dispersing into black smoke as well.

Suihei planted her hand on the ground, pushing herself up while the sharp icy sensation that was practically a beacon for her at this point crawled up her arm. There was a sharp splatter of red against the ground, and she had to bite back a hiss of pain as she lashed out with a shoe-clad foot against the wobbling, antennae twitching head of the eldritch beast.

The strike delivered true, knocking the entity of darkness right back into the ground long enough for Suihei to swipe out with her blade again. One, two, three, before she pivoted in place with a circular swipe that cleared the area around her enough for her to start making a break for it.

She hadn’t had much time to even notice that the weight in her hand gloved hand had increased a bit. Her mind was racing, plucking apart whatever fraying thoughts she had with even more worries that weighed her mind down.

It proved enough for her to actually take a deep breath and pause against the final stretch of wall before she hit the clocktower.

After she gathered her bearings enough to actually look around and see what happened, Suihei finally glanced down to her left hand, only to blink in surprise. Whatever had just happened had, apparently, replaced the umbrella that she had been using to defend herself, albeit poorly.

It was a strange weapon, about three or so feet long at an immediate glance. The handguard of the weapon vaguely reminded her of a key, though the grip between the empty space made this comparison fall a bit flat. Twin sapphire prongs spread from the guard to where the blade began, with steel dark as night and light as dawn glimmering at the periphery of her vision. Both edges of the blade were separated by a blue line that twinkled with the incandescence of an inner power that shined brightly, with what could only be described as the ‘teeth’ of the weapon resembling a bright silver crown that had two prongs glimmering gold. If she squinted, Suihei noticed that she could even make out a charm dangling from the weapon – a tri-circled… thing crowned with yet another sapphire ornament in the shape of, well, a crown.

Keyblade…’

“What…?”

Kingfisher…’

If she were honest with herself, Suihei was confused. She hadn’t had the weapon before, and it clearly hadn’t been there seconds ago. The pain in her chest bloomed into an uncomfortably warm stickiness that she subsequently decided to handle by digging into the pouch of her shorts. Withdrawing the potion that she had been given the other day, Suihei took a quick sip while she ran as briskly as possible in order to prevent herself from agitating the wound.

Getting to the clock tower was her priority right now – making sure that her mom was safe from these… things from her nightmares was more important than a little pain. As she crossed the final threshold she continued to encounter the writhing shadows, who seemed more aggressive than previous and honed in on her location nonstop.

Every leap towards Suihei with extended claws, however, were ended fiercely and brutally by her own hand. Though she was panicked, and worried, she had enough of her calm to realize two things.

One, something was wrong. The world was dying, the sky was blackened with a writhing, contorting darkness that only seemed to spawn more of these creatures.

Two, this wasn’t a dream. It couldn’t have been. She didn’t know how she rationalized this, but that somehow made the situation more terrifying. A dream could be woken up from with no harm, but this? This was something else entirely.

The truth for Suihei was that this terrified her. If this wasn’t a dream, but reality, then it wasn’t only her mom that was in trouble. Marlene, Barret, Relm… ‘Dad.’ She told herself, whipping her gaze around as she allowed the weapon to fall into an idle position. Then, biting her lip, she screwed her eyes shut and took a deep breath.

One, two, three.

“I can do this.” She told herself, attempting to instill courage into herself. She felt foolish for trying to do such a thing, but it was needed. Without bravery, she’d end up doing something stupid and getting hurt, or worse, the ache in her chest reminded her violently. The roar of wind and rain seemed to grow more intense, leaving Suihei plastered head to toe with water as she slowly began to make her way onto the platform that overlooked the city and lead to the station. From her perspective, she could see everything – from the seemingly endless sky that swirled with dark clouds that churned in malevolence, to an angry, pulsating orb that bathed her immediate area in a pale light. It filled her with fear. The rain slowly began to screech to a halt, causing Suihei to glance left and right with an expression of relative confusion.

Beneath her feet, the earth began to tremor beneath the strain of something, drawing her attention. Chunks of earth began to raise, and before Suihei’s eyes, she watched building after building raise up to the malevolently swirling orb in the sky. She gasped, stepping back as her hand flew to her mouth to cover the scream that threatened to spill. Unfortunately for Suihei, this was just the beginning of her nightmare, for while the world around her was being torn apart, a large pair of hands gripped the railing of the platform she stood on and hoisted itself up slowly.

She took a few more steps back, nearly dropping to her backside as she took in the familiar visage of the gargantuan creature from her dream. Anger, righteous anger filled her as soon as its tendril wrapped gaze landed on her. “So you think you can just show up and take everything from me, huh?!” Suihei’s teeth gritted as she leveled the fiercest glare she could muster on the giant monster, allowing herself to fall into a center of gravity while her wrist passively rolled, giving the odd, key-shaped weapon that had appeared in her hand.

She gripped the hilt of the… keyblade tighter as she rolled aside, barely dodging the large hand that threatened to squash her like the bug she seemed to be in comparison. If this were anything like her dream, then maybe she’d be able to…

There!

It swiped at her right side with a set of gnarled claws, knocking the wind out of her as a reward for her gross overconfidence. But she’d been fast enough to react, surprisingly fast at that – her reaction time surpassed what she thought possible, causing the weapon to flash from her left hand to her right in order to catch the brunt of the blow from the beast. It still proved enough for Suihei to nearly stumble over her feet, but she wasn’t prepared to give up yet.

She needed to beat this. She didn’t care what happened, so long as she got her home back. So long as this dream ended. Suihei took a deep breath after she reoriented herself. Surprise registered across her mind for a moment once she realized that the weapon had swapped hands, but she didn’t cease in her assault. Instead, she swiped at the hand once, twice, then rolled out of the way once it swiped at her again.

This time, she used the momentum from her roll in order to spring into a run. As she leaped and landed on the fearsome creature’s arm, she repeated what she recalled from the dream, with the bonus of stabbing the weapon into the monster’s arm and dragging it up that caused a proverbial gout of darkness to cloud her vision.

Suihei leapt as soon as she managed to get close enough that it would not have been a problem to deliver her assault. With brutal, obscene amounts of force behind her blow, she descended upon the tendril-wrapped face of the beast, angling the Keyblade downwards with a warcry and as much strength as she could muster in that moment.

Yet, she hadn’t watched what had been going on that entire time. Despite the fact that she had been in the midst of shearing through the Monster’s head like wet paper Mache, it had been preparing its own attack. Her breathing grew erratic as she realized the behemoth had began collecting energy in the cavernous hole at the center of its chest.

As she collided with its head, and her weapon sparked with an edge of warmth, she could just barely make out the fact that her victory had come at a price.

For the first thing that greeted her as the slowly sizzling ball of energy coiled and tugged skyward towards the pulsating clouds was not delight, nor a sense of victory, but raw, unfiltered pain.

Suihei gasped in agony, and then there was darkness.

[HR][/HR]Arc I ; End

[HR][/HR]
Character Art - Kawaii Pixel Edition.

Suihei ; Noxic ; Nyx Noir

 

Arcana-Key

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[ Interlude I ]


I oft question my influences, my inspirations, and my drive to go so far – reflect on the certain marks when times of peace cross my consciousness. Such thoughts are easily dismissed however, because the answer is rather clear. Why I do what has to be done is because and for him, my one true motivation.


I hope to uncover and reveal some of the world's greatest questions, to find the secret behind the most inspiring, moving and mind-blowing feats that goes beyond human endurance and fortitude. The secrets of the Heart.


I have compiled this collection of notes together as they stand, because not only have these results gone beyond what current science suggests, but they have surprised even me. Outcomes of subjects in experiments which cover such a broad spectrum: from Antarctic hell, to desert disaster; from unparalleled courage in the face of insurmountable odds to facing unimaginable horror all in order to survive, conclusions which all suggest that these are indeed where the Heart thrives.


But what drives men and women to plumb such depths and to risk it all? Where do those wells of resilience, grit and determination come from? Are we born with them pre-set within our Hearts, or are they something that grows as we learn? Again, these are the answers I aim to uncover, and if I have learned anything it is that there is no mould for a powerful Heart – they come in all sorts of unlike guises. And people often surprise themselves when these hearts are tested.


At the same time, there is an element of me that sees how certain Hearts are destined for greatness. They develop character and courage, and they cultivate self-belief and vision from a young age. And it stands the well when their time of testing finally comes.


There are individuals for whom the unattainable has a special attraction. Usually they are not experts: their ambitions and fantasies are strong enough to brush aside the doubts which more cautious Hearts might have. Determination and faith are their strongest weapons, ones which can spawn unimaginable power that goes beyond anything mere biology could suggest, beyond any simple restrictions such as Mana fortitude or physical strength the body may carry.


I also believe that all Hearts are capable of great things, as well as having incredible reserves of strength that the individuals who carry them might never know what they possess. One thing my results show in common is that, in each case, every one of the experiments was squeezed within an inch of their life, and they all had to plumb untold reservoirs of courage, tenacity and fortitude within their Hearts. In the process some died, some succumbed to the influence of darkness, and some lived. But through their struggles they each touched at that very power which we still do not understand – they found a fire inside that goes far beyond the physical. They all had the glowing embers deep within them; it just took a little forced coaxing into flame.


I must understand this important part of humanity in its entirety, I must discover how and where such powers can rise from, and I need to know everything about this integral part that transcends mere tissue and fibres. For if I am to make my own dream come true, this knowledge will be all too important.


Seria Reports I - Matters of the Heart​
 

KingdomKey

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Your next chapter was freaking awesome. I love how the storm developed in Twilight Town instead of Destiny Island. The fact that Suihei was chanting "don't want to die," gave this chapter a ton of suspense. I wonder if Suihei has anxiety sometimes from the way she tried to avoid her friends, and maybe has a sense of rivarly with Caius along with a crush? I might be looking into that a little deeper than I need to. Anyways, I love, love, love how you didn't make us visit all of the seven wonders in TT either. I actually liked how there was a set of yellow eyes waiting and watching Suihei too. And I'm curious if Caius will turn up again in the following chapters too? *is hoping he does*

And the Seria Report was a fascinating thing to read too. C:
 

Arcana-Key

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Your next chapter was freaking awesome. I love how the storm developed in Twilight Town instead of Destiny Island. The fact that Suihei was chanting "don't want to die," gave this chapter a ton of suspense. I wonder if Suihei has anxiety sometimes from the way she tried to avoid her friends, and maybe has a sense of rivarly with Caius along with a crush? I might be looking into that a little deeper than I need to. Anyways, I love, love, love how you didn't make us visit all of the seven wonders in TT either. I actually liked how there was a set of yellow eyes waiting and watching Suihei too. And I'm curious if Caius will turn up again in the following chapters too? *is hoping he does*

And the Seria Report was a fascinating thing to read too. C:
Oh gosh, well, first and foremost I'd like to apologize for taking so long to actually respond to this ;n; when I was writing the storm part, I was more or less grasping for straws. Talk about a way to kick off the Summer Vacation, though. As for anxiety? Eeeh, she's just like anyone else, really. In this situation she was just super worried and has this weird trait of letting her imagination run wild, sometimes. It can be good, and bad, all things considered ;w;. She doesn't have a crush on Caius though, sadly, just a really fierce competitive streak that can't stand losing to people. I do have plans for him in the future though! Whether or not he's a major antagonist, an ally, or a motivation is entirely up in the air at the moment. ( And goodness knows when it came to doing the seven wonders of Twilight Town, I had to narrow it down to the two that'd be either significant, or enjoyable-- )

I'll spoil a bit though - the historical Mayor they were referring to though? Olette. c:
 

Arcana-Key

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A note! Should I continue and drop an updated preview? Or just drop the chapter when I'm done? 'w'
 
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KingdomKey

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This fills me up with so much nostalgic. Thank you for the special preview/chapter on my behalf, Arcana-Key. C: I love seeing Suihei fight against Lightning. This is so much like when Sora was up against Leon. I'm dying to know who she meets next when she wakes up! Gosh, Suihei sure is quite the demanding little girl, but it makes sense to want her parents attention; or mainly her dad's. Good preview/chapter. I can't wait for the next one!
 
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