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Mushroom_king

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    I'll See You On The Dark Side Of The Moon!
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  1. Chapter 5 - Archaeology Neil packed up everything he owned, which wasn't much more than what he'd brought from Myopia, though he'd gotten a slightly bigger rucksack since then. As he was leaving the castle grounds, he was stopped by someone shouting. "Wait! Neil!! Wait up!!!" yelled the voice, accompanied by powerful steps. Neil turned around to see he was being pursued by Destral. "Yes, what is it?" Neil asked sternly. "Well, I thought that since you've only lived here in the palace in your entire six years in Warudo, you might need someone who really knows the country. You don't know anything outside of what's written in your book. But I've been all over the country, or at least to most of it." "So you want to be my guide." Destral nodded. "And... I think you could use someone to talk to. You know-" "Yes, of course. But-" Neil stopped and looked at Destral. In his left hand he had an enormous (to Neil) suitcase. He'd already fully packed? He'd been that sure Neil would take him? "... Fine. You can come with me." Destral smiled at him. "That's good," He breathed. "I was worried you'd say no, after I went through all the trouble of packing." Neil sighed. "Just don't get in my way, alright? First off, it would be nice if you told me if there's anyone within the city itself who would be interested in kidnapping Amkast. Any anti-government groups, things like that." Destral thought for a second. "Well, there's this crime syndicate that I once tangled with. I think they're called the Chrictons or something, and they're led by a man named Michael Zomyata. I've never seen him myself. The only things I know about him are that he's quite young, and Zomyata might not be his real last name." "Quite young, huh," Neil murmured. "I do know that years ago, I would have to deal with his gang breaking and entering into homes, at least that's what they did most of the time. Then one day we were suddenly ordered to not deal with Zomyata anymore. It was really weird. And no, they didn't stop their activities." Neil sighed again. "I do wonder why. I'm sure he bribed the King. He seems like the kind of man who would accept a bribe from criminals." Destral shrugged. He wasn't too comfortable saying such things about his employer. "What are you waiting for?" Neil called as he walked ahead, Destral lagging behind. "Let's hurry into town and see what we can learn. Show me where you once had to deal with those gangsters, assuming they still hide out wherever that was." "Okay," Destral responded, "I don't think his gang gives up too easily, so they ought to still be operating there." Neil waited for Destral to walk in front of him so he could lead the way, and then said, "If they aren't still there, Destral, you know that I can read buildings as well as read minds. I could probably find out where they are that way, do you think?" Destral didn't look at Neil, and plainly said "Yeah, that sounds good. Now listen, keep your weapon out. You don't know what might happen around here." "You don't have to tell me," Neil snapped, taking the sword out from under his duster coat. Eventually, they reached what could only be described as the wrong side of town. Destral was trying to remember which building he had been at, when Neil pointed at one. "This one." Destral stared at it, unsure, but then beamed. "Yeah, this is the one!" They ran down towards the building, down a dark alleyway, when Neil stopped. "Destral-?" Neil suddenly saw the ground rushing up towards him, and he blacked out. "Neil, what happen-" Destral turned around and saw a group of huge thugs, and then a piece of the street coming up to his head. He, too, blacked out. ----------------------------------------------- Neil came to and found himself in what looked like a storeroom, and had no idea where he was nor how much time had passed since he'd blacked out and now. He looked over and saw Destral, also blacked out, a few feet away from him. It would probably take longer for him to wake up... great. He tried to figure out where he was, and saw he wasn't tied up, oddly. He expected to be when he'd been... kidnapped, he supposed. He did notice that their weapons were gone. He stood up and looked around, muttering to himself, "This is a fine way to start a search...". He didn't even attempt to wake up Destral, preferring to search in quiet. His first action was to try the door, just to make sure it was locked, which it was. He tried to see if he could hear anything from the other side, There were definitely male voices on the other side, but he couldn't make out what they were saying; what could they want with Neil & Destral? Maybe they recognized Destral's uniform and were anti-king radicals... or pro-king radicals who had somehow found out about Amkast's feelings for Neil... He looked around the room, which contained two nearly bare bookshelves, with dusty, outdated books on history, archaeology, and earth magic. There were not-quite-so-dusty bones on some other shelves, and after a close inspection, Neil was happy to report they were not human, or anything similar. He turned around sharply when he heard the door click open. In walked a man who certainly looked younger than Neil, wearing a black fedora covering black curly hair, glasses, and a full-piece suit that looked awfully expensive. Over the suit was a blue and white jumpsuit that was unzipped down to the waist. Neil thought it would be an awfully hot thing to wear. Behind him were two suited men, their faces obscured, bulky trench coats covering thin bodies. Behind them were two similarly thin, masked men carrying a desk and even more carrying chairs. Zomyata, Neil thought bitterly. And his goons. He looked at the curly-haired man's hand, which had Neil's sword in it. It probably wasn't wise to lunge for it and try to wrestle it out of his hands. "So you woke up," He said quietly, almost whispering. He ordered the goons to put the desk in front of him and to seat himself and Neil. "That's good. Perhaps you and I can talk." "Why did you kidnap us?" Neil demanded. The man shook his head, and laid Neil's sword, still wrapped, on the desk. "And what are you doing with my blade?" More goons came in and placed Destral's enormous axe right next to Neil's sword. Neil stared at it... what did he want with these weapons? "You better not have done anything to it," Neil said darkly. "I would never," The man said, frowning. "Relax." He unwrapped the sword carefully, and Neil noticed he was wearing rubber gloves. The steel glinted in the dull lamp light of the room. He brought a magnifying glass out of the pocket of his jumpsuit. Neil could only watch, sitting on the edge of his seat as he worried about the sword. "What are you doing?" Neil asked, nearly shrieking. The goons suddenly forcefully sat Neil down in a chair just as he was about to grab the sword, and restrained him. His captor eyed the sword with the glass curiously, and then Destral's axe, then back at Neil's sword. "This axe is one of the most finely crafted weapons I've ever seen," He suddenly said. He looked back at the sword. "But this... this is pure Myopian steel, of the highest quality. Not to say the axe isn't high quality, but... Myopian steel..." Neil swallowed. "My father gave it to me. Both of my parents were veterans in the war." He shook his head. "As for my friend's axe, I'm not sure about its story." "They're both beautiful. But the sword is gorgeous. Do you mind?" Without waiting for an answer, he tenderly picked up the sword and looked at it again. "N.R.?" "My name. My father had my initials engraved in it," Neil explained. The man set the sword down and stood up, and stared at Neil. "You may have guessed by now, but my name is Michael Zeml-Zomyata. I'm an archaeologist and a historian, and your sword fascinates me." "I thought you were a gangster," Neil asked, not for a minute forgetting the name slip-up Michael made. "I am that, as well. But please, I only do it because it helps me get the artifacts I need." He wrapped the sword back up, motioned as if he was about to give it back to Neil, and then hesitated. "But I should ask. What exactly were you and the giant looking for in the alleyway? I didn't think castle guards came to our part of the town except for raids. I remembered him-" He motioned towards Destral, and scowled slightly- "And while I know the King and I are in an agreement, I thought he meant me some harm. So tell me, what were you doing in this alleyway?" Neil felt the ugly, cold stare of the guards as they lifted guns out of the holsters around their waists. "My friend and I are starting a search for the Princess. Surely you heard about that?" Michael eyed him suspiciously. But he nodded all the same. "Yes, I heard about it. The princess who disappeared." Michael thought for a moment, and then his eyes shot open. "Wait, didn't one of you guys see her leaving the city?" He asked, directed towards the goons behind him. They all looked at each other, and Neil's eyes were even wider than Michael's; he shot up and ran forward, leaning across the desk, and grabbed the lapels of Michael's suit jacket. "Where?! Where did they see her?!" "Ease up and be careful with my jacket, Rüzgar, it wasn't cheap." Michael snapped and wormed his way out of Neil's grip. One of the mooks spoke up. "I saw her. Her clothes were different, but not very different. I recognized her face. I don't know why no one else did. It took me a minute to find out who she was and when I did she was gone. But she was heading for the eastern gate." "The eastern gate," Neil muttered. He tried to think of the geography of Warudo. "But if she's leaving the city eastward, she'll run right into the river. And even if she does manage to cross the river, there's nothing out east but plains and towns like Cirque that are littered with criminals." Neil gulped. "Er-" "No, no, I understand. And I don't consider myself in the same class as the petty thieves in Cirque who steal for themselves. Besides, Rüzgar, think about this logically-she couldn't have gotten far." "No, she couldn't," The mook replied. "I just saw her a few hours ago. And she didn't have anything with her. She had to stop for supplies." "And besides, Neil, she could be headed for Yass. You know, the port city to the southeast? Maybe she's planning on running all the way to Sien! Ha!" "That isn't funny," Neil said, sinking back into his chair. "What am I going to do? Warudo is an enormous country, and I don't even know where to begin looking for her." He sounded as if he wanted to cry. "Cheer up, Rüzgar. Warudo isn't all that big. And don't you have telepathy or something?" Neil began to speak, but stopped when he was interrupted by a series of heavy groans. He turned around to see Destral rolling over onto his back, eyes still closed. "Neil, where are we...?" He asked, slowly and sleepily opening his eyes. When he did, he was greeted by the barrel of a tommy gun, which had been on Michael's lap the entire time and had only now become of use. Destral stared at it, wide-eyed and fully awake, and then frowned. "No one points a gun at me!" He shouted, clutching the barrel of the gun with his fist, and with little struggle bent the gun's barrel upwards at a 90 degree angle before standing up. "Dirty coward!" Michael stared at the now-useless firearm with not a small amount of fear in his face, and even though their faces were obscured, you could sense the fear from the mooks as well. His gaze, still surprised, followed Destral as he stood up and conked his head on the ceiling. Neil was the only one not surprised, as you can imagine. "We're in the..." He looked around. "Actually, I still haven't been told where we are. Would you mind telling me, Mr. Zomyata?" "This is the Densetsu History Museum," He said plainly, a few beads of sweat rolling down his head as Destral's gaze burned into his scalp. "The storeroom, to be exact." "There isn't very much here." "I don't believe in keeping things in storerooms. Why hide things that can be discovered by my patrons? I display as much as humanly possible in the museum. There's mostly little things back here, and personal books." He straightened himself up. "Neil. I'm willing to make you an offer. I will not only aide you in your search for Amkast, but I'll let you out of this city with your life, if you give me this sword." He was about to place his hand on it when Neil stopped him. "I would never give this sword to someone, especially not someone like you." The mooks exchanged glances. No one had ever so bluntly turned Michael down before. Michael smirked, and shrugged. "Fine, then." He threw the bent tommy gun on the ground, and was promptly handed a new, fully loaded, and most importantly unbent one, which Michael held it in such a way that Neil got a good look at it. "Then perhaps we can fight over it. Let me see if you're even worthy of wielding such a beautiful blade." He smirked again, laughing. "If I win, you leave in shame and I get to keep this sword, and I will display it in the foyer of the museum, so you can always go look at it." "And if I win?" Michael scowled. "If you win, I will be your companion in your search and you will have full access to all of my resources." "But we can't battle in here. It's too small of a room." "Then we go outside." "What about the people?" Neil asked. "You want to possibly harm people with that gun of yours?" "Oh, Rüzgar, you worry too much. There's no one outside. Everyone in Densetsu knows what this alleyway is, and they stay away if they're respectable. Except for you, obviously." Michael & Neil both shook hands and headed outside, with the mooks and Destral tagging along. When they got out to the street, Neil unwrapped his sword and threw the rope and paper to Destral. The half-giant wasn't too afraid for Neil's safety, having seen what the man was capable of when he really wanted to fight someone, had felt it himself. He still felt he was much more powerful than Neil, of course, but Neil was a close second. "Neil, why don't you let me at him! I'm itching for a good fight!" Destral shouted at him. "Itching like you can't believe for a good fight!" "Then perhaps you can occupy yourself with his men," Neil said, not keeping his eyes off Michael. "But what about 'the people'?" Michael asked, sneering ever so slightly. "My men... my family... they're people, too, don't you think?" Neil didn't say a word, but simply walked over to one of the mooks, and with no word and no warning, lopped the fedora off of his head. These hats cast dark shadows on their faces, and now they could be revealed for what they were. Under the hat was what looked like an unwrapped mummy-a decaying human, their skin rotting around an ancient skull, with dried-out eyeballs or no eyes at all staring out of their sockets. "No, Zomyata, they were people once. Now they're merely zombies, resurrected by your Earth magic. Ancient bodies from a bygone era, living again when they shouldn't be." He motioned for Destral to come over and take care of the zombie goon, and he did, with a swift blow to the bony neck with the giant axe. "Really, I've never seen resurrection magic capable of making them speak." Michael's jaw hung agape as Neil did this, and he closed his mouth into a vicious scowl when the psychic finished talking. No one had ever figured out the secret before... "Why don't you come and fight me already, you son of a bitch!" Michael yelled, throwing his jumpsuit to the ground and his freshly shined black shoes running over the ground. As soon as Michael's lips stopped moving, Neil charged forward, his control over the wind keeping his hat on and his black coat and scarf blowing briskly behind him. He positioned the sword readily as he neared Michael, but soon found himself jumping out of the way to avoid a stream of bullets that made their way towards him, the sparks they made reflecting in the lenses of Neil and Michael's glasses. As Michael kicked his jumpsuit out of the path, Neil lunged with his sword, Michael barely dodging it. Michael jumped back a little ways, aiming the tommy gun at Neil and shooting him again, with one or two of the bullets going through his coat. One of the bullets headed towards his hat, and before it could send it flying off his head, he used the wind to slightly move his hat upwards. Neil walked over to Michael once again, but before he could even ready his sword, the ground beneath his feet began to crack and give way. "Magic!" Neil muttered, and he looked over at Michael, who was raising the ground around him as a shield. Neil's glasses were about to fall off his face, and as he pushed them back up he thought about what to do. If Michael wanted to use magic, then Neil could fight back with his PSI. Neil noted that the Earth shields were mostly soil, not gravel or cement. He could use that to his advantage. "PK Cyclone!" Shouted Neil, and he pointed the sword at the soil pillar. Michael was aiming the gun. "Beta!" The bullets began to fly once more, but they all went into the cyclone that appeared before Michael that had begun to tear through the street and straight into the earth pillar, utterly destroying it. Michael tried to create another one, but the cyclone destroyed it as well, and then it vanished. Michael panicked for a second, and then devised a plan. He began running away from Neil, creating a series of raised ground, like a set of steps, leading up to the rooftops. Neil hurried up them, the steps crumbling away beneath his very feet, but the very last step fell away before he could step on the roof. Neil lunged his sword into the side of the roof, swinging himself upwards onto the roof, landing in front of Michael, his hat flying into the air. Neil turned around and faced Michael, holding his sword out in front of him. Michael held the gun up and attempted to shoot Neil at point blank, but the tommy gun had completely run out of bullets-and he left all the spare ammunition in his jumpsuit. "Not that this matters," Michael muttered. "The earth is at my command." "As the wind is mine," Neil replied. "Gravel Cannon!" Michael yelled. "Earth beats Wind, Rüzgar, even you should know that!" "I do," Neil muttered. Bits of rock from the devastated street below them flew up, and corresponding to the way Michael moved, made their way towards Neil, who raised his hand towards the incoming attack. "PK Cyclone, Iota!" Neil shouted, and another tornado, far larger than the one he'd created earlier, appeared in front of him. Neil stood stoic as ever as his own hat landed plainly back on the top of his head. The swirling mass of wind grabbed Michael and sent him hurtling towards the street below him, the concrete coming up to meet him ever so quickly. Neil watched him falling, and with a panicked look in his eye, shouted "PK Nimbus, Gamma!" Before the hard ground could crush him, a soft, fluffy, pillow-like cloud of psychic energy appeared below Michael and cushioned his fall, and he landed on the ground with only minimal bruising. Neil leapt down off the roof of the building, sword still in his hand and clutching the hat on his head. He stood in front of Michael, who was still on the ground, clothes and hair in as disastrous a state as the street around him. Neil positioned his sword, and took a blow at Michael... chopping the fedora off of Michael's head. Michael only stared in awe, not even looking at the hat as it fell away, an awe rhat was mixed with fear. "Fine," Michael said, shakily. "Fine. You win. I'll help you in your search." "And what do you have that could benefit me?" "If you don't take me with you," Michael said, his voice still shaking, "Then good luck getting into hotels, and good luck when you need extra money." "Well," Neil said breathily, putting his sword away, "Destral did cremate your men over there. Perhaps it's for the best?" Both Neil & Michael looked over at where Destral was. The entire time they'd been fighting he'd been either cutting the rotting heads off the mooks or setting them on fire, but usually both. There was nothing left of them but ashes now. Michael gulped, and with his legs feeling as weak as jelly, he stood up and grabbed his jumpsuit and gun.
  2. Chapter 4 - Birthday Later that night, Neil, for the second time, led Amkast to her lavish bedroom, waited for her outside to change into her black-and-white nightgown, and then went in her room to talk to her, to lull her to a drowsy state so she would go to bed properly. Neil assumed she must have been very restless normally. "Did you have fun in the library today, princess?" Neil asked. Amkast sat on her bed, holding two books she had taken from the library tenderly to her chest. "I did..." He sat down next to her on the bed. "Though I wish Destral hadn't been in there," She murmured. Neil sighed. "But I did have fun. I hope every day will be like this." "Every day," Neil repeated, under his breath. She looked at him. He was staring out into space, as if in deep thought. "What? Do you not like being my caretaker?" "Oh, no, Amkast, I like it...but exactly how long will you need one?" She thought for a moment. "I would think until I get married," She said. "But Neil-" She suddenly clutched his shirt very defensively. "Neil, promise me you'll...you'll keep in touch after I get married..." Neil looked down at her, and sighed again. He grabbed her hand, and she looked up. "I promise you, Amkast. You are my friend, after all." She smiled. "That's good," She sighed happily. "I'll go to bed now. Good night, Neil." He got up, turned out the lamp next to her bed, and left, never taking his eyes off of her. --------------------------------- Neil & Amkast were both twenty years old when Neil first arrived in Warudo, and every day, for years, was like that; Neil & Amkast would meet somewhere in the castle and play board games, read together, and sometimes Neil would even sneak Amkast out of the castle to see the capital city, albeit against his own wishes. Over six years passed, and soon Amkast's 26th birthday began to come up. It wouldn't have been anything special, if not for the fact that her father gave Neil some distressing news for him to give to Amkast. As he walked to her bedroom, legs shaky as he prepared to give her the news, he wondered why the King didn't give his own daughter a life-changing message himself. But no matter. "Princess?" Neil said, opening the door very slightly. Amkast was sitting on the chair in front of her vanity, examining a hated tiara with a book about the Gaian mines spread out in front of her. "Come in, Neil," She said, marking her place in the book. He sat down on the bed, as he had done many times. "Amkast, you know your birthday celebration is coming up in a few days." She nodded. "I don't get why it's such a big deal, but I'm happy for all the Warudans who are getting a day off for it." "Have you already prepared the speech?" Neil asked. He didn't want to get to the point yet. "No, not yet. I don't know what it's supposed to be about." "Oh, right..." Amkast was going to have to give a speech in the middle of Densetsu, though no one really knew what about. Hundreds of Warudans, mostly ones from the capital city itself, would be gathered to hear their precious princess speak. "Not only do I not know what I'll be talking about, but these past few weeks have been a huge hassle. I barely get to spend any time with you between all the manicures, hair cuts, the makeup, the dresses, the-" She groaned, setting her head down on the vanity. She grabbed the tiara again, half looking at it. "Like this. I'll never wear this again. I'd rather just wear a cute hair bow." She rubbed her thumb over a blue gemstone. Then she sat up and looked straight at Neil. "Neil, I don't want to do this! I'm sick of wearing frilly dresses and wear a tiara and make a stupid speech." "Amkast, I need..." She went over to him, sitting down next to him. "I need to tell you something. It's a message from your father." He groaned. "I don't know why he didn't tell you himself..." He sighed. It was more difficult than he thought to tell her. "Amkast, you may have heard some rumors about your speech. I have, as well, and I'm...I don't want to tell you this, but at least one of them is true." "I don't understand." "Your parents both recently went on a trip to New Tonsen, up in the north. You remember, right?" She nodded. "While they were there, they met with several...several noblemen. They're not of your rank, as you can imagine, but they're close enough." He swallowed. "And there's one in particular they want you to meet. One Viceroy Damien Bersetuju. His family owned the New Tonsen territory before it became a part of Warudo and now work for your family." Amkast suddenly looked horrified, and began shaking her head. "No..." "And Viceroy Damien...he wants to wed you, to put it simply." "No," she said again, softly, shaking her head. "No..." She suddenly leapt into Neil's arms, sobbing. "No, no, no!" Neil looked down at her head, bobbing as she cried. She clutched the sleeves of his coat, crying into his scarf and vest. Neil put his arms around her to comfort her. "I don't want to!!" She cried. "I don't want to, I don't want to, I don't want to!!!" "I know you don't," Neil said quietly. "I don't even know this guy," She said, looking up at him. She was already a wreck-her makeup was running down her face in black streams, her brown doe eyes that Neil was so familiar with were practically coated with tears. "I know," Neil murmured, trying his hardest to comfort her. "But listen to me." Amkast wiped the tears and makeup away with the back of her hand. She nodded, signaling for him to go on. "Your speech is going to be about this: you'll announce to the city that you're going to be wed to the Viceroy Damien Bersetuju, and...whatever else you need or want to say about that." He brushed her hair back into place behind her ear. "And you have to promise me something." "What's that?" "You have to promise me...promise me you'll go through with this-" The two were clasping hands, like they had years ago. Amkast was blushing a deep red from it, but Neil, still, thought nothing of it. "-Promise me you'll live a happy life with him. Okay?" Amkast sighed, and nodded. "I don't know if I can be, Neil," She protested. "Because I...I..." Amkast looked up at Neil, into his blue eyes behind his glasses. She gulped, blushed even harder (if that was possible), but found herself unable to say whatever it was she was trying to say. Neil stood up, adjusting his tie. "I have to return to my quarters now, Amkast. Please get to bed." "May I have a good-night kiss?" She asked before he could leave. "I don't know how appropriate it is, since you'll be engaged soon. But I will." He walked over and kissed her very lightly on the forehead as he often did. He walked out, locking the bedroom door as he was ordered to do, and went back to his bedroom to talk to Destral before going to sleep. Neil may have disliked Destral's vanity and his arrogance, he still enjoyed his company on occasion; he was pleasantly surprised to find out that Destral was quite the intellectual, not just a stupid brute like he had thought before. As long as Neil strayed from the topic of magic, Destral was an enjoyable person. Usually. In contrast to Neil's room, which was very plain ("drab", Destral thought) and a bit small, Destral's room was massive and definitely looked like the bedroom of the eighteen-year old young man who had joined the Royal Guard years before. The bed, the dresser, everything was huge-to match Destral himself. Neil didn't like going inside it, because being around Destral made him feel small enough, he didn't need Destral's half-giant sized furniture to make him feel anymore dwarfed. But Neil knew he was more comfortable in Destral's room than Destral would be in his-he had seen Destral around the castle, having to sit in two chairs at once if there wasn't a special one for him, having to bend down to go into doorways. So Neil felt very small sitting in an oversized red chair in Destral's bedroom, and more than a little trapped and helpless. "Destral, what do you think of Amkast's big birthday celebration?" Neil asked, trying to not sink into the plush velvet. "You spend most of the day with her majesty. You know more about it than anyone else, save her parents." Neil scowled and furrowed his brow. "I asked what you thought of it, not what I personally know about it." Destral laughed his booming, hearty laugh, which practically shook walls. It was difficult to believe he was only half-giant, and not fullblooded. Neil, he found it annoying. But even moreso, he found it annoying that Destral was changing into his nightshirt right in front of him. (Luckily for Neil he had already changed into his pajama pants...) "Look, I hate to change the subject, but please put on a shirt." "Don't be jealous, chubby," Destral laughed, smacking Neil on the back, sending him to the ground once again. He picked himself up off the ground and stood up defiantly. "I am not jealous of your hulking physique. I'm also not chubby. I'm going to bed now." "See you in the morning," Destral called to him as he slipped the shirt over his massive shoulders. Before Neil could get out the door, Destral spun Neil around and poked-no, jabbed-him in the stomach, giving a sensation like Neil was punched in the stomach by a teenager. "See? Chuuuubby." "Shut up!" Neil yelled, narrowly holding back the urge to punch him. Once again. ------------------------------------------- Amkast's birthday came as it always did the next day: The 12th day of Suono, the month of the Sound element. Neil woke up that morning, bright & early as usual, and the sounds of bustle could already be heard outside his door. Destral would have already woken up, dressed, and left to go prepare for the ceremony. Unfortunately, Neil couldn't see Amkast for very long before the ceremony, even though he thought she would need him; after all, she would be very stressed out and would probably need to talk to him. A guard entered his room and told him what he would do during the ceremony: due to his great service over the past six years, he would sit on the same stage that the princess was speaking on, with the guards. No other castle employee got this honor. Neil could care less about it. It was an hour before the ceremony, and Neil went to go see Amkast, who was practicing her speech in her room. Getting the news on what it was about at the very last minute had been detrimental to her, and it was stressing her out. "Princess...?" "And I would like to say...oh, Neil. Come in, please." "I can't talk to you for very long." "That's fine, I suppose." "You don't really think that." Amkast sighed. She wanted to lay her head down on the vanity and cry, but knew she couldn't. "I know you're upset, Amkast, but please, it's for the best." "For the best, huh," She mumbled. "It won't be so bad. Maybe you'll like the Viceroy. You never know." Amkast half-heartedly nodded in agreement. "Come on, then. It's time to go." -------------------------------------------- Neil scanned the crowd of Warudans gathered around the stage who were waiting for Amkast's speech. There must have been a thousand people out there. On the stage was a box for Amkast's parents, and a podium for Amkast herself to stand behind as she spoke. Neil, surrounded by the guards, sat on the sides of the podium, set up the same way as the lines of guards in the throne room. Amkast walked out of the castle door, followed by the deafening roar of applause from her subjects. Well, what would be her subjects. She twiddled her thumbs for a moment, and then cleared her throat. She wasn't sure what to say. Her parents looked at her, angrily, their eyes searing the back of her head. "Everyone..." she started, speaking into the microphone. "Today...I turn...twenty-six years old...as you know..." She swallowed. "I'm sure some of you still remember when I was born...and how excited you were...for Warudo to finally have a female heir..." Amkast was trying to make a joke, but no one laughed. She was already sweating, and just wanted to melt into the floor like a block of ice. "I guess now is the best time to tell you what this speech was really for..." she said, legs shaking beneath the elaborate dress. "My mother and father...they want me to marry some Viceroy Damon...I mean, Damien...from up in New Tonsen. Well, that is, he wants to marry me, and they agreed to it. Me, I would have appreciated getting to know him before the decision was made..." No one heard her second joke over the roar of applause and yelling. Amkast looked down at the crowd, impatient, angry, as if they just didn't understand. She leaned into the microphone and shouted over the crowd, a shout that no one there thought the fragile girl was capable of. "But I won't!" Everyone stopped cheering. Everyone started gasping, including all the guards, who had been silent the whole time. Neil, who had been calm and collected the whole time, suddenly gasped as well. Dammit, Amkast, what in Mufis' name do you think you're doing! Her parents motioned to get out of their seats. "Because I love someone else already," She whispered into the microphone. More gasps. More talking amongst themselves. Neil turned pale, but no one noticed in what was beginning to be a panic. He slowly began to mouth 'No, no, no' as he shook his head. "What do you think you're doing, Amkast Juliaunna Tyu?" "Speaking the truth," She said back to them. Her mother walked over and dragged her back to the box, as the guards began to untie the curtains that normally surrounded the stage. Outside, another set of guards was keeping the crowd calm and trying to get them home. "Who is it?!" the King demanded. "Who is it?!" Amkast said nothing. "I'm asking you who it is!!" The King repeated his question. Neil was about to stand up and walk over to her when she suddenly said, in between sobs, "It's Neil! Neil Rüzgar!! I-I love him-" "Outrage," Her father muttered. Neil simply stood there, frozen. He felt the eyes of everyone in the room on him, and very suddenly felt like a criminal. "You...you...what are you saying?!" "I'm saying what I feel," She said, her voice not so tear-choked anymore. "Stop it, you're acting ridiculous!" "You'll let me marry Rüzgar, or I'll-" She was stopped short of finishing her threat by her father slapping her square across the face. He'd never done that to her before. Amkast felt her cheek, completely speechless, and Neil finally got his legs moving and ran over to her. "You get away from her!!" The king shouted at him, and Neil stopped just next to Amkast. Neil glared him, his eyes burning with hatred. "You hired me as her caretaker, and now I'm going to keep fulfilling that duty." "Considering the way things have turned out, it was wrong of me to hire you for that duty, wasn't it?" Outside, the crowd had dispersed, visitors to the city heading home confused and disappointed. "And what's that supposed to mean?" Neil asked. The guards were staring at him. The king said nothing, but motioned for both Neil and Amkast to follow him. Over the years, Neil had given in and taught Amkast the skill of telepathy-the only psychic skill a non-psychic could ever hope to learn, though Neil was the only person she could send messages to. Somehow, I always knew, Neil thought as they entered the castle. Amkast tried not to blush. I wanted to tell you earlier, Amkast admitted. So I assume that's what you were trying to say last night, and this morning when I saw you? ...That's right. Silence. You caused a scene in front of half the country, and in a few hours the whole kingdom will know about this. Neil thought angrily. It was foolish of you to do that. You knew your parents would get upset. I don't care. I wanted them to know. And if you're going to talk to me like my father then you can just shut up, Neil! Silence again. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to say that, she thought. In his mind, Neil sighed. Well, I suppose that's one way to prove your independence. Neil, you've always said you would do anything to make me happy. That I would. I am your caretaker. Then, if it would make me happy, would you marry me? That I would. Amkast had to restrain herself from stopping and gasping. They had to give no sign that they were communicating this way. So that means- Don't get the wrong idea. I would only do it if it made you happy. She smiled shyly. You know, you sound different in your thoughts. I'm used to thinking in Myopian. The King took them into the throne room, sat down, and looked at the two of them with cold eyes. He regarded his daughter with these eyes. "Amkast Tyu." She looked up at him. Neil was on his knees, trying to be as respectful as possible. "Yes?" "Do you mean everything you said?" "Every word of it," She said, faltering. "So you love this Myopian?" Neil shivered. This Myopian. As if it was a bad thing. "I do," She said, her voice shaking. "He's my friend. My best friend." The King looked at Neil now. "Neil Rüzgar." "Yes?" "Do you understand the gravity of what's happening? Rather, do you understand the gravity of what I could do to you? If word gets out of this, everyone in Warudo will look on you with scrutiny, if I don't tell them your nationality." Neil turned red, thought out of anger, not any kind of embarrassment. "Of course, Neil, I was originally going to keep you around because my daughter liked you so much. But now, knowing quite how much she likes you, I think I'll just have to fire you. It's the only way to keep Amkast in line..." Under his breath, he muttered "Honestly, a man like Rüzgar...knows nothing of her own status..." Amkast stood up, and Neil thought she was going to start crying again, but instead, she started yelling. "No!!" She shouted, and Neil looked at her. "No, you can't do that! Daddy, I promise-I won't do anything with Neil, I'll marry that Viceroy, I won't run off with Neil, just please, don't do that-" "I'm afraid I can't." He shook his head. "How can I believe you, after what you did during the speech today?" "I hate you!!" Amkast shouted to her father. I hate you! I hate you! I hate you!" "Amkast-!" Neil and the King said in unison, and the girl dashed out of the room, with Neil giving chase, followed by plenty of guards. Amkast ran outside of the castle, into the elevator that descended into the town, followed by the guards and Neil. But down in the city, everything was still chaotic, and they lost her in the crowd. No one seemed to notice that the princess was bumping into them, not even a man in a long trench coat that she shoved out of her way as she made her way towards the Eastern end of the city. Neil gave chase the longest, shouting her name over and over again, before he felt a hand on his shoulder. "It isn't any use," Destral said, behind him. "We won't find her in this hubbub." "But-" "Come on, Neil." "What are you saying, Destral?" "I'm saying let's go back! We have to!" In the end, Destral wound up, for the first time, being the more level-headed of the two and dragging Neil back to the palace. ----------------------------------------------------- One news of Amkast's running away got out, the Kingdom was in a panic; guards were stationed in every single major city of Warudo, and a select few in overseas countries, to watch out for the princess and to ask around about her. A head to toe, back to front search of Densetsu and every citizen was carried out with no results. No one knew what to think, no one knew what to expect, and many believed the very worst. The King felt deep shame over the whole incident-it was his own outburst against her that drove her to run away. But he decided that it was best to get a scapegoat, and as he decided who to blame in his mind, he eventually began to believe his idea. After deciding, he called every soldier and other castle helper to his throne room to announce the plan. "My daughter hasn't returned for over a week now, and no one, not even in the biggest of searches, can find her. It is clear who is responsible: As you all know, Amkast loves Mr. Rüzgar. So, she would have come back for him. But has she? No. No, she hasn't. Put two and two together...she's been kidnapped." Gasps. "But then I realized something." He pointed to Neil. "Neil Rüzgar! You are clearly and obviously a Myopian double agent, determined to bring down my government! You seduced my daughter, and now she's gone, taken by you and whatever cohorts you have!" Neil stepped out of the formation and began to argue. "What! That's completely-That's completely ridiculous! Recall when I first came here, six years ago. I didn't even know you had a daughter. I didn't even ask for the job of a caretaker! The job of the princess' caretaker was one given to me-by you!" The king was visibly angry. Neil continued. "Amkast saw-sees-in me the only real friend she's ever had. You obviously didn't care about her one bit. That's why she fell in love with me, and that's why she ran away. True to my Myopian customs, I do not approve of what's she's done as a result of her feelings." "That's enough out of you!" The king roared. "Neil Rüzgar. You have two choices. The first is that you be executed for treason, for your attempt to bring down the monarchy, and for the seduction of a royal. The second, you find and bring back Amkast safe and sound to this palace. You have as much time as you could possibly want to find her." "I may not know where Amkast is," Neil said, "But I assure you, I will find her." Neil turned on his heel and walked out.
  3. Korean Vocaloid "SeeU". Have you heard her demo yet?
  4. Same here, at least for now. Another problem is, with most of the amateur songs I've seen (especially stuff produced with english language characters) it's difficult to get them to sound real, and even professional songs sometimes sound robotic, and I would want them to sound realistic.
  5. Aloysious eventually nodded. "It's my duty to meet all of your friends. Or at least a good portion of them." Mushroom shrugged. She wasn't exactly close to the models, just on friendly terms... but they were friends, she supposed... "They're roommates," Mushroom explained as she knocked on the door. Aloysious nodded. PMM looked awfully excited. The door creaked open, and standing there was a tall, dark-skinned girl with similarly dark cat's ears and tail, and a hot pink tank top, skinny jeans, and shiny, curly hair that went to her shoulders. She was pretty, Aloysious admitted. "Who is it?" Called a distant voice. "It's the Mushroom girl! And some other guy... not her husband..." "Is that Miss B?" Mushroom asked. The catgirl nodded, laughing. "Come on in. I don't get to see you often enough!" MK grabbed Aloysious by the arm and PMM helped push him in. He was interested, of course, but also a bit shocked. "So who's this guy with you, Em Kay?" "Aloysious Ahrroww," Mushroom said, "The-" "Ohhhhhh, I know youuuuuu!" She exclaimed, her hands on her hips, and then leaned down and told him "I know who you are, 'cuz I've seen you before!" Aloysious smiled weakly. He'd never had a woman lean so suggestively towards him. "Yes, I would think you have." Miss Kitty Girl plopped down on a pink pillow, while Mushroom, Aloysious, and PMM sat on pillows of dark pink, purple, and green respectively. Aloysious took a look around the room and saw it was painted in an almost blinding shade of pink, and everything-nearly everything-was pink. Did they ever get enough of it? They were models, not little girls. He was actually surprised how messy the room was, with makeup strewn on multiple dressers, the TV blaring, CDs opened and all over the place, and the catgirl couldn't decide if she wanted to watch music videos, fashion shows, or crime dramas. The radio was on, too, blaring some odd combination of pop-country that neither Aloysious nor Mushroom could stand. The only thing that really broke the pink was the occasional green, or the occasional red, white, and blue Texas-shaped thing. Aloysious suddenly wondered why Texans liked Texas things so much. "If you don't mind me asking-" "Would you stop saying that?! No one minds your asking!!" Shouted PMM, irritated. "If you don't mind me asking, who was the woman I heard earlier?" "Miss Bunny," Miss Kitty Girl answered. "I told you she would be the only one here," Mushroom muttered. "I see... where is she? And what is she doing? It's taking her some time." "I don't know!" Miss Kitty Girl shouted, getting flustered and sounding impatient. "Probably bathin' or makin' tea-" "Tea?!" "Yeah! And hot tea! I only like iced tea..." "Maybe because you're from a rather hot part of the world," Aloysious said, grinning. "And you like tea?" "I... I do like tea." "Well, I think the two of you will get along then," She said, smiling. "Are you two talking about me?" Came a voice. Aloysious turned to see where the voice was coming from, and saw, standing in the entry to the bathroom, a curvy and quite tall Asian woman with rabbit's ears, decorated with ribbons. She was still dressed in her clothes from the modeling day-and, fortunately or not, Miss Bunny was a lingerie model, and as a result, she was still outfitted in some kind of lime-green, ribbony & flowery corset, though she did have a silk robe over it. "I-I..." Stuttered Aloysious as she came over to them, Miss Bunny tying the robe up, her face awfully shy. He seemed more surprised at her clothes than at her beauty, though upon examination, he thought, they definitely accentuated her looks. He swallowed his words and smiled politely at her. "I did make tea, actually," She said. "Do I need to brew more? Because I only made a cup for me..." "Yes please," Came the instant reply from Aloysious. "I'll take care of it," Miss Kitty Girl said. "No, no, I will," Miss Bunny argued. "We both will," Kitty said. "Okay, okay," Bunny said, in defeat. Aloysious was barely able to handle it. Two beautiful, scantily-clad girls fighting, and serving him tea, and he was in their room. Who cared if they had cat ears and bunny ears?! They were otherwise human... They weren't like Kat, who was covered with fur and had paws and whiskers and cat eyes. Eventually, Miss Bunny finished the tea, and she leaned down so he could take his tea off the tray, giving him a wonderful view. Mushroom grabbed the tea as well, even though she wasn't too fond of it. "H-Hi," Aloysious said, sweating, as Miss Bunny sat gracefully across from him and sipped her tea. "Hi," She smiled back at him. Aloysious had no idea how to react. You're a gentleman, Aloysious, remember that... PMM's DS and PSP laid abandoned (at first) as Miss Bunny began to tell Aloysious stories, but they were eventually picked up when he decided they were boring. Aloysious was too enthralled by the two girls to care. "... Of course, Miss Kitty here had to have a lot of lessons to avoid knocking things over. She can be so hyperactive sometimes." Miss Kitty Girl gasped at the accusation, and Aloysious began wondering if all cat-people were like this. "Hyperactive! Just 'cuz I'm not shy like you doesn't mean I'm hyperactive." "Then you're clumsy," PMM stated. "I'm not clumsy, either, shorty!" "Aloysious," Mushroom started, "I think we need to get going." "Going?! Why?" "It's getting late and I think we ought to go find Arkcher and Kris. Even here it's not that safe in the city at night." There could be sanity-stealers from Outside the Wall, she thought. Aloysious sighed. He hadn't even gotten to finish his tea. Oh well. "Thank you very much," He said to the two models. "It was fun talking with you. I'll be sure to visit again... real soon." ------------------------------------------------- As they traveled through the city, looking for Arkcher & Kris, PMM was unable to shut up. "Mushroom... we're in an area of the city where there's, like, no people. This is kinda dangerous, don't you think. We might as well go back to wherever it was we're staying at, cuz I bet Kris & Arkcher are there, or Kris went back home, or to Kat's house, or something... I kind of don't want to get sanitynapped, if you know what I HOLY ####-" Two bright lights flashed before them, and a purple Cadillac zoomed past them, nearly running the three of them over, the car grazing a lamppost before zooming off down the street. "YOU! ALMOST! GAVE ME! A HEART ATTACK!" Screamed Paper Mario Master between breaths. "God!!" "Was it just me, or was there a person in that car... holding a sock?" "I saw them! I'd never seen that person, that car, nor that sock in my whole life on this planet!" Aloysious looked around, heart pounding from the experience and yet horribly confused. "Er... that must be a call for concern, then." Suddenly they heard a crash down the street, and instinctively began to run down the street to see what had happened. "Someone screamed," Aloysious said, slowly becoming unable to keep his cool. "And now I think someone's crying..." "Hurry up! That person might need out help-" "We can always bandage up their wounds with that sock," Paper suggested. Up ahead, the Cadillac had rammed itself into another lamppost, and something-someone-was sobbing hysterically in pain. Sitting in the seat of the car was a androgynous.... person, with monkey ears and a tail, wearing a striped shirt and beret. On their lap was a sock. "What's going on?" Mushroom asked, spotting Horatio. "I don't know. I don't even know this girl here." Mushroom gasped. If he didn't know who they were... then... "They're not an Invisionist? How is that possible?" Then something struck her. "Wait a minute. Who's crying?! It's not her!!" "Yeah, about that," Said the girl, looking at the night sky innocently. "It's my car..." "Your... your car is crying." "My car is crying." "If you didn't drive me so recklessly..." Came a soft, masculine voice. "The car is alive? How does stuff like that even happen?" Aloysious asked. "Mushroom! Dad! There you are!" Mushroom_king looked, and saw Arkcher running towards her. Kris wasn't with him. "Oh!! There you are!! We were looking for you when the accident happened-" She embraced Arkcher, and then they looked at the car again. The monkey-girl had that same, sorta-blank expression on her face. "That car, living or not, will have to be brought to the shop," Horatio explained. "And... your name?" "Breakfast," Said Breakfast. "Breakfast, right." PMM said, unconvinced. "That's the dumbest name, ever." "Because Paper is any better," Arkcher said under his breath. "Okay, Breakfast," Horatio said, ignoring them. "Come with me and we'll take you back to the Best Friends of Horatio club, so you can get your citizenship taken care of-" "WAIT UP, HAMSTERMAN! They-Uh, she-She could be a sanity stealer!" "A what now?" Asked Breakfast. "A-HA! PRETENDING! TYPICAL!" Yelled PMM, leaping up onto the edge of the car. "YOU'RE PRETENDING TO NOT KNOW! I AM A SANITY AND I HAVE RIGHTS AND YOU CAN'T KIDNAP MEEEEE!!!!!" "So dramatic," Arkcher muttered, facepalming. "No! I swear! I have no idea! I plead the fifth! Is that what I'm supposed to say? But anyway, from what I know about sanities, you don't look like one. Aren't they, like... an abstract concept?" PMM calmed down. Sort of. "I'm not?" "No." PMM and Mushroom whispered to each other as if discussing a secret plan. "Okay, okay. Horatio, proceed." Horatio, unfazed and not angry at all (somehow), opened the door for Breakfast and let her out. She still clung to the sock for some reason. "The Club isn't too far from here. This way." "Hey, wait! I can still..." Cadillac tried saying, but its pleas to be driven were ignored. Breakfast stepped gingerly out of the car, and nodded towards Horatio. "This way," He said happily, and everyone followed him, despite the car's protests. Paper Mario Master was watching her. She looked genuinely mystified. "Hey, uh... what's with the sock? Why are you carrying it? It's just an ordinary sock." Suddenly, another voice came out of seemingly nowhere: "Yeah. You're real mean." "WHAT THE HECKKKKK-" "Oh God, that sock just..." "You really aren't used to socks talking to you?" (this was from Aloysious.) "OF COURSE I'M TALKING TO YOU! My name is Sockysock. I'm not just a sock, morons." "Breakfast and Sockysock? What the #### is happening on this planet?" Muttered Arkcher. "And the car's name is Cadillac because it's a Cadillac." "Genius." They finally made it to the Best Friends of Horatio club, which was where Horatio the Hamster, as well as his secretary Patricia, lived. She was ordering people around when the group arrived there. "Horatio! Horatio! HOOOOOR-AAAAAYYYYYY-SHIIII-OHHHHH!!!!" She shouted. "Yes, it's me. Listen, these two... this girl, and her talking sock, crashed their sentient car on Dixon Avenue. They don't have sanities, and we don't know where they came from. The girl is Breakfast, and her friend is Sockysock. The car's name is Cadillac." Patricia's eyes glimmered. "That's... that sounds important. Where is Cadillac?" "Getting repaired. It did crash, after all." Patricia got Horatio's laptop for him, and he began to ask Breakfast some important questions. "Listen-we need you to tell us some information about yourself and your two friends." After a short question-and-answer period, Horatio gathered a short bio on them: Name, Breakfast Monkey; Species, Human/Anthromorph (Monkey); Planet of Origin, Civolv, Gender Female. Name, Sockysock, Species, Sock [sentient being], Planet of origin, LR, gender, has a masculine voice & personality. Name, Cadillac, species, Car [sentient being], Planet of origin, Earth, Gender, Has none. Horatio looked at all this, and then at Breakfast, tugging at Sockysock on her lap. "You have no idea where you are and you have no sanities. That's correct?" Breakfast nodded. She seemed frightened. "Do you know how you got here?" She looked at the ceiling, and, looking and sounding less scared, said "We crashed in a rocket in a really cold place, and we somehow took a boat across the ocean to this place. Cadillac crash-landed in a different pod out in a jungle somewhere and made his way here." "Excuse me? You said you crashed in a rocket in a cold place?" Arkcher exclaimed. "I was about to ask you if you knew anything about this, Arkcher," Horatio commented. "When?! What time?!" "Yesterday, maybe? The day before?" "That's-" He looked at his father. "That's the day before you showed up! That wasn't you in that rocket Jeanette told us about?!" "Son, don't raise your..." "How did you get here, then?!" Aloysious' face, usually so mellow, suddenly grew harder around the edges, and began to exert his own authority. "Arkcher. I will explain everything to you when I can." Then back to mellow. "I am afraid I do not have much to say, though." "And what does that mean?!" "Arkcher, calm down. What's important is dealing with Breakfast and her friends." "I don't think we'll be leaving anytime soon," Breakfast said. "Then... Well..." Breakfast looked like she was going to cry. "We can't stay..." "No! No, nothing like that! You can stay, it's just you'll need sanities, and I don't have the power to issue those out, only Stewart does, and-" Horatio suddenly paused. Oh no, Thought nearly everyone. He always gets like this when they mention Stewart. "What about Stewart?!" "He's gone. He isn't coming back." Mushroom exchanged a surprised glance with her husband, but he was too angry to pay enough attention, so she switched to Paper Mario Master. Horatio was the most optimistic person they knew. He had never-never-said something like that before. Forever the optimist. "I'll see what I can do. All of you, you can leave now. Breakfast, you stay here for as long as you need." Arkcher didn't mention that his father would eventually need a sanity as well, because he didn't think Aloysious would be staying much longer. ----------------------------------------------------- After the very quick flight home, Arkcher called his father to the dining room long after the others had gone to bed. "Dad. You have a few things to explain to me, don't you?" The way he spoke, it was like he was the father and Aloysious his son. "I want to tell you, son, believe me. But I doubt you would believe me." Arkcher smiled at Aloysious. "Trust me! I'll believe you, okay? I just want to know how you got here. If it wasn't in that rocket." He seems so happy now. He was livid back in Hamsterdam. "Well, I.... Arkcher... to be perfectly honest.... I have no idea how I got here." Arkcher's smile melted away, and the emotion in his eyes melted away for a second. Then he slammed his fists on the table. "WHAT? He yelled-no, bellowed-his face practically murderous by this point, his shout and his fists shaking the table and probably waking someone up. Aloysious fell back in his chair. Livid again. "Don't you yell at me!!" Aloysious said, but his voice was too timid to command any kind of authority. "HOW CAN YOU... HOW CAN YOU TELL ME..." He continued to slam the table, probably waking up more people in the process."HOW CAN YOU TELL ME YOU DON'T KNOW?!" "I just told you! What kind of question is that?" Arkcher gripped the table, staring Aloysious dead in the face, eyes white with anger. Aloysious really thought he was going to flip the table over. His voice then got very low, very dangerous. "Tell me everything you know about what happened when you got transported here." "The only thing I remember was a... there was this man-" Arkcher froze. "This man with a suit and long hair-" Oh my god Stewart no it couldn't be "-He had hair as red as blood-" Hair as red as blood? Arkcher thought. Stewart had... he had orange hair. No. It wasn't him. Who was I trying to kid? "He said something, but I felt like I was in a dream. I went with him, I blacked out, thought I was going to die, and here I was, on your front step. I remember he said to me-" Wait, blood red hair? " 'This is your son's house.' " Arkcher sat back in his chair, staring blankly into space. Then he shook his head, after a few seconds of deep thoughts and planning, and then stared at his father. "Is that so..." Aloysious nodded. He was actually sweating. Arkcher smiled again, but it only made Aloysious' skin crawl even more. "I understand. Actually, dad, it makes sense. Do you know how all of us got here?" Aloysious shook his head. "Do you remember Stewart, the guy Horatio mentioned?" "I was going to ask who he is." "He's the guy who 'founded' the planet. He went around the universe and picked up random people to take back here-" Aloysious' blood went cold. "Wait." Arkcher waited. "Is something wrong?" Aloysious looked up at Arkcher, his eyes glistening as if he was going to start sobbing uncontrollably. "Arkcher... three years ago... your mother and I got a letter from the boarding school that said you vanished in the middle of the night." "I was about to tell you-" Aloysious interrupted him, and actually did start crying. "The entire-everyone was looking for you! And after all that time, they all thought you were dead!" Aloysious's head fell to the table, sobbing. Arkcher leaned over to try and comfort him. "And, last month, I finally gave up hope you were gone..." Arkcher froze as his hand was reaching for his father to comfort him. Dead? In all the three years he had lived on Invision, he had never considered the implications of his disappearance. He had never considered how his father would have felt, or his two friends at Snow Log Boarding House. He had never tried to contact his friends, even though they were probably online. And how had his mother treated Aloyious in the intervening years? He didn't want to think about it. "Dad... It's fine now." "It almost seems... it almost seems like I wished it," Aloysious said, sitting back up, his eyes red. "I gave up a month ago. Then all of a sudden I'm transported to where you were spirited away too. If I had known you'd been taken to another planet-" "Stewart is the one who took all of us here," Arkcher said. "He was the one who brought me, and everyone else, here." "That makes me wonder if Stewart has any children of his own. If he did, he would have thought about the effect it had on someone like me." "He's a good man, dad. Trust me on this. At least-what little I know of Stewart. He wouldn't have intended to hurt you like that." Arkcher smiled. "And, the both of us are away from Mom now, aren't we?" Aloysious didn't want to say he was happy about that, but he was. Arkcher stood up. "It's best we went to bed and put this behind us. I need to do something important online before I go to bed." "Alright." The two hugged once again, but without Arkcher pushing his father away this time, and Aloysious retreated to the guest room. ------------------------------------------ Arkcher sent out an e-mail to his two best friends on Earth, with the simple message "It's me, remember? I'm not dead. I can't tell you where I am right now, though. I wasn't kidnapped, either. I think. But I do hope I can see you guys again someday." At least they would know he was alive. "PS don't tell anyone." Arkcher's hand shook as he moved the mouse and clicked 'send'. He hoped they saw it. One more thing. He pulled up Instant Messenger. No one was online except Kat, of course, but he sent a short message to the email-less Cheesemaster anyway. "Can you come to Hamsterdam? I'm on a trip with my father right now, but there's something we need to discuss. Send. Arkcher got up, the two missions done, and he, too, retreated to bed.
  6. -Chapter 3: Tyu, Neil, and Destral too- For about a week, Neil didn't do much caretaking for Amkast; he would meet her in her room, or in the courtyard, and he would see her to bed. Every day he would do something new with her to help her 'break in' the new caretaker. The day after their inital meeting, Neil awoke and went out to one of the castle grounds for a little morning exercise. As he went out, he heard a strange thumping noise, looked around, but saw nothing unusual. Hmm. He kept walking, adjusting and loosening his scarf. Down in the city, it was a nice day out, but up in the sky it was a little cool. Thump. Neil began to really wonder what that noise was. He walked over onto a beautifully decorated stone ledge, which had a gate and some stairs behind it. He heard the thump again, much louder this time. He looked over the gate and saw Destral, his jacket off but wearing a faded red wifebeater tank top, and gasped; not at the wifebeater (why gasp at that?) but at the axe he was carrying and swinging into a large wooden pole. First off, the wooden pole was thicker than any tree Neil had seen. Second off, the axe was bigger than anything Neil had seen someone holding in his life. Destral, see, was over ten feet tall, and as wide as two people he was so muscular, and the axe was bigger than his chest. The handle for the axe was as tall as he was, and Neil could tell from the way it was constructed that it was a retractable handle. But what was more was that Destral was wielding this iron terror with one hand. He slammed the monstrosity into the wooden pole, creating a huge gash in it. Then he put it on the ground, which caused at least a quarter of it to dig into the garden, and leaned on it. It didn't even move, it was stuck so firmly in the ground; in fact, Neil swore that it had moved deeper into the ground. Destral's coat hung off the branch of a nearby tree, and he reached into the breast pocket, taking out a handkerchief, and wiped his forehead of sweat. As he did, he happened to look up, and saw Neil. He grinned and yelled, "Neil! You're up early!" Neil was speechless. He was looking at the axe. Still. "Er...Neil?" "I-It's..." Destral was awfully confused for a moment, before following Neil's eyes, and saw he was looking at the axe. He laughed a little bit. "Oh, this thing?" "It's enormous..." When the princess had told him that Destral had a battleaxe as big as his torso, he thought she was exaggerating. She wasn't. Destral laughed heartily. He pulled it out of the ground and retracted the handle so it had a shorter handle. He swung it up over his head with his left hand, and let it rest on his left shoulder. "Wh...where do you even get axes like that...?" "Jotunheim, where do you think?" Neil stared. "Ughhh...Jotunheim! It's a big town on Mt. Gaia! It's my hometown!" "Yeah, still not..." "Darn it, why's no one heard of it?!" "If that's where you're from, then it must be home to a bunch of giants." "Yeah! That's right!" "And that's why no one has heard of it." "I don't get it." "Look, never mind. I came out her for some exercise before I started my day's work." "That would do you some good," Destral said bluntly as he started to put the huge red coat back on. "And what's that supposed to mean?" Destral smirked at Neil. "Look, never mind." Neil grimaced up at Destral, who laughed and smacked Neil on the back, sending him falling to the ground of the courtyard. "I'm kidding, Rüzgar, it's all in good fun. I'll see you later." Neil stood up, standing up straight-his back hurting a little bit. Destral doesn't seem to know his own strength, he thought, except when he can show off. Neil threw his duster coat and scarf on the ground. Beneath the duster coat, which was quite bulky, Neil concealed the Myopian sword he had with him at all times; dude to the coat's size it was always hidden. He stared at the wooden pole where Destral had been practicing. It had been a tree at one point, an enormous one, but the branches must have gotten in the way of...the castle? Either way, Neil looked at one of the smaller trees, which were quite lush, getting as much sun as they wanted up in the sky. This particular tree also had some slash marks in it, showing that someone else had practiced here before Neil. He withdrew the sword, attacking the tree with it as lightly as possible, but the first blow left a dent in the tree, and Neil moved backwards. Suddenly he heard someone calling his name, and looked up on the ledge to see Amkast, some guards appearing by the entryway behind her. She was looking at him as if she expected something. "Tyu," He shouted back up, turning his head slightly to look her in the eyes. "How did you know where I was?..." Tyu shivered as she told him that Destral had tipped the guards off. She ran down the steps to him as he moved to put his coat back on. So much for some morning exercise, he thought, though he wasn't bitter about it-he was curious about Amkast, and this was his job, after all. Amkast ran towards him and stopped short of running into him, backing away just slightly. "What are you doing out here so early?" "I was about to ask what you were doing up so early," Neil responded, fixing his tie, which had loosened up during his time outside. "I usually try to get up early," Amkast explained. "I don't have any reason to sleep in, after all, and I like to make the most of my day." Neil smiled at her as she said this. "You too, princess?" "I told you, call me by my name," She said. "I'm sorry. But I always get up early," He said. "Would you like to sit down?" Amkast nodded. The two sat below the tree Neil had been slashing at a few minutes before. "-Like I said-I can't stay up late, nor can I sleep in. If I do, I'll feel like I wasted the entire day-I'll feel irresponsible." Amkast listened to him intently. She found him deeply fascinating. "That makes sense. It's just what I would think a psychic would say." "Well, what's that supposed to mean?" Neil asked sternly. Amkast backed off. "I-I didn't mean anything bad by it," She stammered. "I just-" "No, it makes sense." He looked away. "I'm punctual. I have a schedule to follow, every day. It's always been that way." Amkast looked at him. He was staring off into space at the wall of the courtyard. "Even when you were a little kid?" She suddenly asked him. Neil turned back towards her, their eyes meeting. "What are you talking about?" "Surely, you didn't have such a scheduled life when you were a little kid..." "As far back as I can remember..." "But that's awful," She shouted. "You should have been able to play and have fun and all that good stuff when you were a little kid!" "Come off it, it isn't so bad." Then he gave her an aside glance. "Besides, surely you didn't spend your childhood exactly free to go wherever you wanted, did you?" She froze. He was glaring at her now, and while he didn't intend it to be threatening, she still felt herself burning under his gaze. "Well...no, I didn't, but..." She looked at him, angrily, defiantly. "But I still got to be a little kid! I didn't have schedules! What in Mufis' name were you doing on a schedule when you were a kid, anyway!" "Training," He said quietly. "What!" "What do you mean, what?" "I mean, what kind of an answer is that! Do you expect me to believe that, Rüzgar?" "It's the truth, so yes." She paused, and stared at him with those huge brown eyes. Neil saw they were starting to glisten lightly, as if she was going to cry. "Training...for what...?" Neil sighed, and looked away, suddenly shrugging his shoulders and grasping his right arm with his gloved left hand. He seemed hesitant. "Can you not tell me?" "Oh, no, I can. I'm trying to find the best way to explain it to you." He shrugged again, shifting his weight to his left side. Then he looked at her again, his fedora casting shadows over his stone cold blue-green eyes. "Basically, it's like this: when I was...I believe I was five or six years old, when my parents both discovered that I had latent psychic abilities." "Your parents are psychics, too?" "Yes, but my father isn't the same kind of psychic I am, and he's not a very good one. My mother was a wind psychic, as well, though, and she was the one who noticed." "Did she train you?" "Certainly not," He snapped. "If my own mother taught me, I would never have learned." "Why is that?" "Because if I didn't get it right, she would never push me to do better. If I did something wrong she would never punish me." He cocked his head slightly. "I think..." "Just go on," She said softly. "My mother realized that I had a great, untapped potential, and found a teacher for me, another Wind Psychic." "Was he nice?" "She," Neil corrected roughly, "and no, she was not a very nice woman. She was a tough no-nonsense type who would not deal with a fidgety child. And I quickly gave up that way of life." Amkast was genuinely appalled at hearing this. "Neil, that's awful," She said, clutching his shoulder. "She taught me everything I know about PK, and she hammered it into me how important emotional control is." He adjusted his tie with his right hand. "It's because of her that my control is so good." "Don't you dare ignore what I say!" She yelled, standing up. "You wanted to hear the story," Neil said, "I can respond to your comments after I'm done telling." Amkast choked back tears, but sat back down. "It was that way for...well, for as long as I can remember, for years and years...until I turned seventeen, when she declared I could be taught no more." He suddenly smiled, and put his hand over his heart. "That was the only day that my teacher told me I was good-and didn't list all the things I could improve on." He reveled in that happy memory. "That was the day I finally earned the distinction of being a true Psychic. I was...I was so proud of myself." He sighed, and the smile melted away to reveal his normal stoic, frowning in that strange way-a frown that wasn't angry, nor sad, but merely unemotive, though sometimes it seemed condescending. Amkast found it fascinating, but frightening; frightening in a way that made her want to learn more about him. That made him very different from Destral. "A true psychic," She said, her voice cracking. "Well, I'm very happy for you-" "Please," he said suddenly, looking at her. "It was a great achievement in my life, but I can't focus on it. I can't be prideful." "Of course," Amkast responded. She realized the two were clasping hands now, which made her turn a little pink, but she could tell he thought nothing of it. "Of course. What you were saying about emotional control." She looked away, then back at him. "I think I understand it, a little bit." "It's not that complicated of a concept, but anyone who's not a psychic may have a difficult time grasping the idea of living like that," Neil responded. "I could never live with my emotions under wraps like that," She whispered. "It's the only way I can live," He responded. "It's the only way I will live." He saw the concerned look she was giving him. "Please don't worry about me, princess; I've been living over ten years like this!" She smiled softly, but then shook her head, frowning. "But Neil-that teacher of yours..." "I know," He said. "You think she was awful." "She is! There's no 'I think' to this, what kind of person would treat a child like that! How young did you say you were? Six? It's like-It's like raising you to be a soldier or something! The way you described it-" Neil was getting visibly angry as she spoke. "-It's like you were broken down into a state where you were forced to not show any emotion-" Neil stood up and suddenly exploded on her. "And what makes you think you would know better than I do?" He yelled at her. Amkast backed away from him, still sitting down. Neil's face stayed very angry for a minute, and then twisted into one of sadness. "Oh, God," He muttered. His stoic shell had cracked. "Amkast, I, I'm sorry-" "Neil," She murmured. Neil started to clutch his tie, a look of genuine remorse plastered on his face. "I'm sorry I yelled at...Oh, why did I do that..." "Neil, I'm sorry..." Amkast whispered. "I didn't mean to insult you...I didn't mean to make you explode like that...you lost control of your emotions-" "What does that matter?!" Neil yelled, leaning down and picking her up off the ground so both were standing. "I'm your caretaker now, Amkast, and to yell at you, to scare you like that, to almost make you cry-" He looked away, sighed, then looked back. "I'm sorry." "Please, no, it's my fault for insulting you." "No, it's mine. I was stupid-in Myopia it's just a regular thing for a child to be trained that way. It didn't even occur to me that it doesn't happen in Warudo with magicians." "I understand," She replied. The two were grasping onto each other's sleeves now, the wind ever so slightly picking up. It was then that Amkast hugged him, "Your majes-" "Neil, you're a good friend..." "What made you suddenly want to tell me that?" He asked her. "And you've only known me for a day now, that isn't long enough at all to constitute me as a friend, let alone a good one." "I think it's long enough when you're like me," She said, hugging him even tighter. "When you've never really had a real friend before." "Really," He said. "I've never had a real friend before either....and yet I believe the opposite..." Amkast pushed herself away from him, but still grabbing onto his vest, when the door to the courtyard opened once again. "Princess? It's time to go." "Already? But Neil was going to take me to the library," She complained. "Then he can do that after you've finished your lunch, Tyu." "Okay," She sighed, and began walking up the steps. The guard looked at her disdainfully, reminding her that if she wasn't careful, all her expensive dresses would be ruined by her walking around on them. She paid him no mind, by this point in her life Amkast had given up reminding them that she preferred shorter, black-and-white dresses, maybe a nice knee-length one, because after all it wasn't like they paid any mind to what she really wanted. Neil watched as she walked away, giving him a backwards glance and a wave; Neil smiled at her and waved back, and then went inside as well to go have his own lunch.
  7. I just re-read this entire freaking tawpeek. and I'm convinced that this is the SINGLE GREATEST THREAD I EVER MADE it is revived as of right now.
  8. Thanks a ton for the award, Horatio, I've been really putting my all into this story, equal to the amount I put into Invision if not more (especially since with this I have to work with making up fictional cultures and magic and stuff) Anyway, chapta twu. Neil Rüzgar didn't want to be seen as a timid foreigner-certainly not considering that he was normally a very outspoken man. He reminded himself as he dressed the next day that he was a very powerful psychic-one that had been chosen specifically from all the young psychics in his hometown by his teacher-and if anyone tried to harass him, let alone kill him, he could certainly make them back off easily. Nothing made a prejudiced person back off like a strong gust of wind and a strong, well thought-out speech. Neil had buttoned up his vest and was making sure his tie was tied correctly and was straight, and thought about how much he disliked the King, despite having known him for so little time. This King in particular had only been a prince during the Psychic Wars-his father being the one who ordered the war in the first place-and seemed careless, and blind to real issues. And Neil also saw him as being too carefree, a quality that no Myopian worth his salt would want in his political leader. He didn't seem to view his wife, his kingdom, and especially not his daughter with any sort of emotion. He also wasn't so sure he liked Destral, with his boasting attitude, but he was such a friendly person, and Neil couldn't argue with a nice person welcoming him to Warudo. Neil adjusted the charcoal black lapels on his duster coat, and let the coat fall over his body. He made sure his fedora and his hair both stayed out of his eyes, and headed out of his room. Waiting for Neil outside of his room were a few officers, who were there to escort him to the courtyard where he supposed Tyu was. He saw Destral coming out of his room, buttoning up the bright red coat he wore, and bid him a half-hearted good morning. Neil went to the courtyard, was shown out the doors, and then found himself alone. This area, which was blindingly green for the most part with various bursts of rainbow flowers every couple of feet, with brown-and-grey benches as well and some elaborate fountains. He walked through the courtyard, until he saw a girl sitting down on a wrought-iron bench, looking away from him. That must be her, Neil thought. He walked over to her, and she suddenly turned and stared straight ahead. She was pretty-beautiful, maybe, with big, greenish-brown eyes and long, silky brown hair. She was wearing a lavish, ruffled red dress, with white and black highlights. Neil supposed she must have been his age, maybe a year or two younger. He took his hat off respectfully, and said "Amkast." She turned and looked him in the face with curosity. His heart pounded, and he felt nervous. He walked closer to her. "Who are you?" She asked him, her voice light, even fluttery "Are you my new caretaker?" Neil said nothing for a moment, about to back away, when he said "I'm aware you've had several." She stood up and walked over to him. She closed her eyes and nodded 'yes' to his statement. They just stood there for a moment, Neil holding his hat up in front of his face, looking over it with an expression that really was timid, leaning away from her, when she gently took his arm and sat him down on the bench. She sat down next to him. "Destral was my caretaker for an entire year," She said, staring in front of her again. "He scared me." She gave him a side glance. "Please, put your hat back on." She smiled at him, and then giggled when he blushed, putting it back on his head. "Your name is Neil Rüzgar. Is it true you're a Myopian Psychic?" "I am," He said, then stuttered and said "Yes! It's true." He looked at her, and then at the ground. "I was going to go work for my own king, but he's three years old. I think it's ridiculous, so I came here instead." "Why not Hyperopia?" She asked. "He's not one to take helpers in," He explained. Amkast was listening to him with rapt attention, with wonderment. "Mr. Rüzgar, tell me everything you know about Myopia." Neil told her everything he knew about Myopia, and about Hyperopia, though he knew less about them. Amkast responded by telling him everything she knew about Warudo. "Everything I own is from Myopia," he told her, thinking she would be interested. "My sword-" "Is the sword big?" She asked suddenly. Neil found the question a bit odd, but answered her. "No, certainly not. Myopian swords are always small, and thin, and very strong." Then he added, "Why do you ask?" "Destral carries this axe with him wherever he goes. It's even bigger then his own torso." Neil looked at her, his eyes soft. "Is that why he scared you?" She nodded. Neil smiled at her. "Well, Destral's axe would be frowned upon in Myopia. And I suppose here in Warudo, as well." She suddenly reached for his face and pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose. "You have these, just like Destral does," She said softly. Neil blushed even more, and she laughed. "And the same boots. But I like you so much better than him already." Neil put a hand on her shoulder, smiling awkwardly at her. "I like you too, Amkast." "Could you show me some of your psychic power?" She asked, and Neil stood up. "It's a little like magic, I would think," Neil said. "But in magic, the power comes from your body and the weapons, and is mostly manipulating the elements in the form of spells. But with PK, the power surges from your mind, and is simply offensively or defensively manipulating the element in its purest form." He could tell by her expression she didn't entirely understand. "I myself am a Wind Psychic: if I was a Wind Mage, I would use the spell Sky Bullet to take a large piece of air from high in the atmosphere, shaping it like a cylinder, and sending it zooming towards an opponent." "Oh," Amkast said. "Knowing that, watch me." He put his hands to his sides. "Since it's all in the mind, you don't have to make any movements, but sometimes you can move your arms to better control the elements." He stood there completely still, the wind already moving to his command. Amkast could feel it, and wrapped her arms around herself, getting a little cold. Neil's coat and scarf blew in the wind, but his hat stayed put on his head. He lifted his arms as if he was going to recieve a large package from someone, closed his eyes, and whispered "PK Wind," Although it was good enough to merely think it. The wind blew in a different direction, and his right arm fell to his side, his left extending straight to the side. The wind flew past him, 'curled' up his body, and with some more arm movement and him turning around, he directed the wind so it flew towards a bush, sending it careening from its roots. It hit one of the walls of the castle, and just as suddenly as it had begun, the wind stopped. Neil sat back down, feeling very relaxed, and Amkast clapped. "You know, I don't get to see magic very much either," She said. "Destral refused to show me his fire magic...and I'm too scared of it anyhow." They said nothing for a moment, and Amkast muttered "My father says Destral is the greatest fire mage in Warudo, if not one of the greatest wizards in the country." She sighed wistfully. "I wish I could use magic, or anything else." "You could study alchemy," Neil suggested. "Magic and PK are inborn, but you can learn alchemy. "But I don't even know my element," She complained. "My parents refuse to have someone check me. Destral says he can tell, but he's forbidden from telling me." She suddenly looked at Neil. "Can...can you tell?" He shook his head. She sighed, but tried to smile. "What all elements are there?" She asked him. "Just think of the calender," Neil said. In Warudo, and other countries, there were 21 months for the 21 Elements, and Seven Seasons for the seven major elements. She thought for a moment, and then said "Oh! Right..." She looked at the sky, then back at him. "But you know, I don't understand why Love is separate. Isn't there an Emotion element?" "There is," Neil said. "But I don't rightly know why Love is separate." Amkast smiled. "I'll bet if either of us were in love we would understand why." Neil gasped lightly as this statement. He remembered what his father, and his teacher, had reminded him... "If that's the only way to know, then I suppose I'll never know," Neil said matter-of-factly. Amkast gasped, loduer than he had. "Neil, don't say something like that! I'm sure you'll find someone!" "Please, Amkast, I'm perfectly fine by myself." He assured her, looking a little annoyed, but trying not to show it. She was about to ask him something when a guard opened the door and told Neil it was time to go, and he said his goodbyes to Amkast. ----------------- That night, Neil was asked to keep Amkast company until she fell asleep. "Good evening, your majesty. How was your day?" Neil asked as he walked over to her enormous bed. "Please don't call me that. Just Amkast, please, or Tyu, if you must." "Tyu," Neil said, trying out the name. "Tyu." "I ate fine, and dinner was good, I suppose. I just wish you and all my other..." She didn't want to say servants. "All my other helpers ate with me. My parents are so horrendously dull." She sat down on her bed, wearing a red satin nightgown. Neil was a little embarrassed, looking at it, as it was semi-transparant. He felt this even moreso when she motioned for him to sit next to her, but Neil sat next to her anyway. His coat, scarf, and hat were all back in his room, but his vest and tie remained. "Could you tell me some Myopian stories? A legend, or something like that?" "I don't know many legends," Neil admitted. "And I told you all I know of our history, and a lot of culture..." he put his hand to his face lightly, thinking. "Tell me about psychics, then," She suggested. He looked at her, worry in his face. The two faced each other, with Amkast grabbing the sleeve of his white shirt. "Or maybe the three-year old king? He sounds adorable." "I suppose he would seem that way," Neil said disdainfully. "Well, perhaps-" She thought for a moment. "Can you speak Opian?" She asked. Neil was more comfortable with that subject. "Could...could you teach me some?" "Well, like what?" Neil said, having never been in the position to teach language to someone before. He looked around the room. "Kalut Hepej is hello. It translates into something like 'Praise from Mufis' [Praise from God]. Informally it is just Kalutor Hepej though Kalut is usually used for a very powerful psychic. So if I was walking through Dahlia-that is my hometown-and I saw someone older than myself, I would say Kalut Hepej to him, but they would only say Kalut to me, because I'm a very powerful psychic. If an Opian meets a Warudan, he says Kalut Waruj Hepej which means something like 'Praise to Warudo from Mufis'. So if I was walking about the capital of Myopia and I saw you or Destral, that's what I would say." He cleared his throat. "And then, after I was done talking to them, we would both say Haibek Kalut, which is Goodbye, as you can imagine. Yes is Kin, and No is Lut." Amkast stared at him in admiration. "You speak Warudan so well," She complimented. Neil blushed again. "Well, I learn fast. My teacher always said that." "Your teacher? In school?" "No, my psychic teacher. I was-I am-a gifted psychic, so I had another powerful psychic help me hone my skills, help me better control my emotions-" He stopped here. She probably didn't know about the concept of emotional control for a psychic, or how important it was. "Well, either way, you don't even have any kind of accent." She smiled at him, and then yawned. Neil started to get up. "I'm tired, Neil," She said as she crawled under the blankets. "I'm going to bed." "Good night, Tyu," He said, about to walk out, when she said something. "Could I have a good-night kiss?" Neil froze, and his still-pink face turned red. "What?! Why?" He asked, his lgs shaking. "A long time ago, I heard from a little girl that every night her parents kissed her good night. My parents are never able to do that, and I never liked a caretaker enough to ask him." "I..." He started to fumble with his tie. "I suppose I could. But not on the lips." "I didn't expect that much, Neil," She said, laughing. "You're so red. Are you sure you're controlling your emotions?" "What! Of course I am!" He said angrily. But he walked over to her, his face calm, and leaned down towards her, planting a small kiss on her forehead. His own mother had done that to him a few times... "Good night," He said, and she fell asleep promptly. He forced his shaky legs to take him out, turning the lights off. Neil returned to his quarters after a long day, and noticed Destral outside of his room once again, about to go in. "Hey! Neil!" He said, smiling. Neil was tired and didn't exactly feel like talking, but didn't want to be mean to him. "How was your day? How do you like the princess?" "She's a nice girl," Neil said softly. "Very curious. She kept asking me about Myopia, and PK, stuff like that." He smiled. "But I liked it. And she seems to like me plenty, which is good." Destral 'Hmm'd' and frowned. "Well, that's more than I can say for myself." "Yes, she told me today how terrified she was of you." "I didn't mean to scare her," Destral said defensively. "I actually did try to be gentle with her, but I suppose I can't treat all human women like I treat my mother." He sighed, and tried to stretch. "But I'm not too cut out for that kind of work anyway. I'm a fighter!" "You certainly seem like you are," Neil said. "Good night, Destral." "Good night, Neilly-boy."
  9. Don't worry, the feral kangaroo will return once I get to re-writing Kat's story.
  10. I've actually been wanting to purchase Big Al or English Miku when she comes out so I can put my songs on YouTube, or possibly both of them so I have both female and male options for songs. One of the lame-o things though is that some of the Japanese-language characters would suit my songs better, but they can't sing in English too well. I would like to use Kaito for my EarthBound songs but he can't sing English. Nevertheless, the software is crazy expensive and I have to think about which ones suit my needs before buying one. Until then, I just listen to other people's songs.
  11. [Okay. Basically, this is the NEW new version of ADRPG. It doesn't suck. I actually like this as much if not more than Invision, which is saying something.] [basically, this is the only story I write that's actually actively written down in a notebook and then typed up, unlike everything else I do which is typed up period. Right now I have two filled notebooks of story, which is now over 400 pages. I only have five chapters typed up, though, as well as two sheets of background information, with a third in the works.] [Here's the first chapter, I don't want it to be too overwhelming so there'll just be one for now.] You see me now, a veteran of a thousand psychic wars. My energy is spent at last, and my armor is destroyed. I have used up all my weapons and I'm helpless and bereaved Wounds are all I'm made of. Did I hear you say that this is victory? -Blue Oyster Cult, 'Veteran of the Psychic Wars' Yes, how many years can some people exist Before they're allowed to be free? Yes, how many times can a man turn his head Pretending he just doesn't see? The answer, my friend, is a-blowin' in the Wind. The answer is blowin' in the wind. -Bob Dylan, 'Blowin' In The Wind' -Prologue: Warudo, Myopia, and The Great Psychic War- This is the country of Warudo, a small, mostly forested country, with enormous mountains and a river that stretches all the way across it, connecting two oceans. Across one of these oceans, to the North, is the Opian Region-Myopia and Hyperopia. In Warudo there are two islands to the north called Myopia and Hyperopia, collectively known as The Opian Islands, or Waruisz to Opians. They're a symbol of Opia's friendship with Warudo, having been a gift to the country centuries ago. Warudo, the country of mages, people who use magic: and Myopia and Hyperopia, two of the few places in the world where you can find psychics, people who can use psychokinesis-or PK. Warudo & Opia had once been allies, practically sister countries, when something happened that no one, not even the greatest of Time mages with their powers to see into the future, nor a psychic with their intuition, could forsee. A rogue magician, a Body mage, infiltrated a meeting between the leaders of both the Psychic Kingdoms, and murdered the princes of both Kingdoms. The Opians immediately believed it to be an attack in cold blood by an official, leading an attack on New Tonsen; the then-current King, rather than sort things out, declared war on both countries, a war that lasted for years and focused itself mainly on the two Opian Islands, and the Valley in between Mt. Gaia and The Puzzin Peaks in Warudo. Thirty years have passed since the end of the war. The once-green and peaceful valley became a wasteland of monsters that people began to call The Uncanny Valley. The Opian Islands are still recovering from the destruction of the fighting that took place there. Abandoned cities dot the landscape of the Valley. Opians never really got over the shock of what happened, of the image of the two prince's minds being overloaded, of their brains splattering against the walls. Warudans never really got over the surprise attack on their country. And while the governments of both countries have agreed to the peace treaty, the residents have not. Prejudice has gotten so bad in Warudo alone that even Warudo-born people of Opian descent must hide their identity from the general public. To many psychics, it is simply suicide to mention in casual conversation that you are indeed psychic, indeed, to even GO to Warudo... -Chapter One: The Wind Psychic from Myopia- Neil Rüzgar carried nothing but an overstuffed rucksack and a thin sword, made of the best Myopian steel one could buy, wrapped in torn paper and ragged string. It was all he had taken with him on the ship from his hometown of Dahlia to New Tonsen, and all he had taken with him on the small, rickity train that would take him to Densetsu. Neil had not seen even a bit of Warudan countryside-he was far too busy studying the books he had purchased back in New Tonsen: the book on Warudan customs, but more importantly, the book that would teach him the Warudan language. He tried to do this without revealing to anyone on the train that he was Myopian. Neil's father had been a soldier in the War years ago, and had told Neil that if he wasn't careful, he would be murdered in the street for being psychic. Neil didn't want to believe that such a thing was true, but he didn't want to take any chances, either. As he studied the finer points of the usage of verbs in the Warudan language, a new fear rose up: What if he spoke with an accent? Would anyone even recognize it as being Myopian? It made him sad, really, to have to (in a way) give up his own culture; he, a proud Myopian; just for a job. Yes, his job...his job working for the King of Warudo. He refused to become a helper for Myopia's king, a three-year old who couldn't even take care of himself. It was ridiculous. Neil gazed down at the map in his guidebook. If his calculation was correct, they would be just arriving in the Uncanny Valley now. He felt the air in the cabin get very cold very suddenly; he took his black duster coat and long grey scarf off the seat next to him and put them back on, over his orange-brown vest; his black fedora still lay on the seat across from him. He put down the guidebook and was about to look out the window, when the sound of the door clicking open and a voice stopped him. "Sir! Don't look out the window!" The door slid open, revealing a uniformed man. "This is the Uncanny Valley. The most awful spirits in all of Warudo are out there, and if you look, we're not liable for any psychological damage that occurs." Neil looked at the man. How kind of him to look out for his emotions, which had to stay level if you intended to be a good psychic. Neil saw the man as an opprutunity. "Is that...is that why it is so cold?" Neil asked, speaking as quickly as possible. The uniformed man nodded. "There's a lot of ghosts in the valley. They absorb heat from around them, from places like this very train, to make themselves visible." "I see," Neil said. He shivered. Ghosts in a place that had seen hundreds of battles during the War. "May I get a blanket? I-I-mean, have a blanket? May I have a blanket?" The officer said something to another man in uniform, and got a blanket and even a bowl of hot soup for Neil. He heartily gave his thanks to the officers. That wasn't so bad, Neil thought. He'd spoken Warudan very well, he thought, and he understood everything the officers said quite well. He picked up the book of Warudan customs. This book, in order to motivate him to learn Warudan faster, was written in Warudan; he would have to learn the language in order to avoid making a fool of himself, or worse, offending someone. Though fear was a wonderful motivator as well. He ate his stew, and although he wasn't afraid of anything outside of what might happen to him in Warudo, he still didn't look out the window. --------------------- Hours and hours of rigorous Warudan study passed, and finally the call was raised for passengers getting of at Densetsu, the capital of Warudo. Neil was about to leave the blanket and stew bowl behind on the seat with a quaint thank-you note (practice for writing Warudan properly), when an officer told him that he could keep them if he liked. Neil looked at the officer with wide eyes, and then smiled very softly. "Thank you. That's very kind of you." He took the blanket and bowl, his first possessions of Warudan origin, and shoved him in his coat pocket, leaving only the card. There was no more room in his rucksack for a blanket, nor a bowl and spoon. Neil hurried out of the train and out of the busy station, where signs and voices in Warudan were all around him, their words being translated in his head. He repeated important aspects of Warudan customs in his head. He walked out of the station, and stared out at Densetsu. It was a glorious city, though the buildings were not immensely huge, there were still so many buildings, and so many people... But he had no time for buildings nor people. He had to get to the castle as fast as possible. The first things Neil had learned in Warudan, months ago, were the things on the letter he had sent to the Royal Warudan Mail to request a job working for The King. Amazingly, he'd gotten a reply, and now The King of Warudo awaited him. It was more than a little nerve-wracking, but Neil faced it with as calm an outlook as possible. He looked at the map of Densetsu that was in his guidebook, and began to walk. The Warudan Palace, with the help of Space, Earth, and Wind Magic, floated above the city; to Neil this was an incredible sight, as psychic power wasn't capable of holding a palace, and the ground it stood on, above a city for so long. As a psychic of the Wind element, being up in the sky filled him with anticipation. Neil finally found the building for getting up to the palace, and asked if he could go up. "Who are you?" asked the officer. He was much louder and had a rough but young voice-Neil didn't like him as much as he did the officers on the train, and hoped not all the officers at the palace, if there were any, would be like this. "My name is Neil Rüzgar." he said plainly. "His Majesty expects me..." The officer flipped through a notebook, and then shut it. "Right this way, Mr. Rüzgar." Neil followe the officer, until they reached an elevator-esque box that would rise them into the sky, and up onto the piece of earth which the palace rest on. As they ascended, Neil tried to ask the officer some questions. "That land is from the city, right? That it rests on." The officer pointed to a section of the city. "From there," The officer said bluntly. "They've built a park and a neighborhood there since they rose it from the ground." "Since the ground there used to hold the palace, it must be awfully expensive to live there." Neil quipped. "That's right." They said no more as they went up. They finally reached the landmass in the sky, and the officer bid Neil good day. As it descended, Neil noticed a logo on the elevator that read "Zuwa Da Dadowa" and below it "Made in Zuwa, the Atkan Empire". Neil stood there for a moment, looking around at the palace grounds, and the well-dressed people going about their business there. Then he walked towards the walls of the castle. Guards stood at the massive doors, and loudly asked, in unison, "Who are you, and what is your purpose here?" "My name is Nelil Rüzgar-" "Of course, right this way, Mr. Rüzgar!" They shouted, and the doors opened. Two officers led Neil inside the palace, where several people waited about the front hall of the castle. The entire buildingwas decorated beautifully, as Neil expected, with Warudan-styled art & architecture. It was different from the palaces of Myopia that Neil had seen so many pictures of, which didn't have pictures inside of them and where the walls were painted in duller colors. Both styles were beautiful, Neil thought, but this castle was a little too bright and excitable for Neil's taste. "Go on in, sir," the officers said, standing outside what Neil surmised to be the throne room. The doors opened, and they shut after he had entered. Neil walked a bit down the gold-colored path, feeling the stares of people on his skin, and eventually found himself before the King. "My name is Neil Rüzgar," He said for what felt like the hundredth time. He hoped his Warudan did not falter and went on. "I believe you got my letter?" "So I did," The King said. He paused, then said "Stand here." as he pointed. Neil did so, and carefully listened to what the man was telling him he would be doing-the news Neil had eagerly awaited. "Mr. Rüzgar, you sent your letter at a momentous time. Do you know of Princess Tyu?" Neil shook his head. "She's my...our...daughter," he said, shifting his eyes so they were glancing at the empty throne next to him. The Queen was somewhere else. "Ever since Tyu was a baby, we've had numerous caretakers. The most recent one proved less suitable as a caretaker and more suitable as a soldier." At that moment, Neil realized why he had felt so many eyes on him as he'd come into the room: on both sides of the walkway were soldiers, all in red-and-orange uniforms and the same black boots that Neil liked to wear. They all looked pretty much the same, save for one man who was so much taller than the others that he stood out like a sore thumb in the formation. Neil pointed to this man in particular. "That one?" "Indeed. His name is Destral de Foc." Destral looked over at the two of them as they talked, and his eyes met Neil's for a very brief moment. "He lives in the same part of the castle as you're going to, so perhaps you can get to know each other." Neil nodded, and Destral ever-so-slightly cocked his head, still watching. "That's good to know." And before the King could continue talking, "And I supposed I'll be the new caretaker?" The King nodded in return. "That's right. And Destral can tell you all he knows about Tyu." Neil wondered why he was going to be educated on the princess' habits by a hulking giant of a man rather than her own parents, but didn't raise this concern. "You will live in this palace, and take care of my daughter. I assume you have some offensive skills in case the need ever arises?" Neil gulped. "I have my sword. And...I...I am a psychic. A Wind Psychic." The soldiers all looked at him now. Destral was especially curious. "I did expect that, with you being from Myopia and all." "I am from Myopia, sir." "Indeed. Well, that is good to know, Mr. Rüzgar; and I hope you do a good job of taking care of Tyu. Maybe she'll like you better than her other caretakers..." He shifted his head from one hand to another, and his free hand made a waving motion. "You and Destral both are dismissed to your quarters. Mr. de Foc, you will show Mr. Rüzgar where said quarters are." "Of course, sir," Destral said, his voice extraordinarily loud. He closed his eyes and ran his fingers through his hair, which was light brown and extremely carefully combed. Destral waited for Neil, and when he caught up, he grabbed the rucksack and sword out of Neil's hands and tucked them under one arm. Neil noticed then just how very tall the man was; he had to have been at least four feet taller than Neil, and to add to that, he was much wider than Neil, and very muscular. He had an intimidating prescence that made Neil a little wary. They got out the doors, and Destral, ever so gently, closed the doors. " 'Mr. de Foc'....I've told him a hundred times, call me Destral, I am not formal." He turned around and faced Neil, a huge smirk on his face. "Nice to meet you, Neil. You already know, but I'm Destral de Foc, the Fire Wizard." Neil was impressed by this: it meant Destral had gone beyond ordinary spell-casting and could fully control an element. "Here's a little secret: I'm a psychic, too." "That's impossible," Neil retorted. He wanted to get to his room.... Destral laughed, never faltering from his smirk. He gestured to himself. "Not if you're a half-breed, which I conveniently am." He led Neil down a little ways towards the living areas. "My father was a magician. And my mother was a psychic!" "That doesn't make you a half-breed," Neil muttered. "Oh, but it does! My father's a giant, and my mother's a human!" "Oh," Neil said, looking up at him. "So that explains why you're so tall. You're a half-giant." He looked back at the corridor they were in. "That makes sense." Destral nodded, and with his free hand adjusted his glasses, which were small and oval-shaped. Then he frowned. "I don't even know why I was the previous caretaker," He said. He stopped in front of two rooms, bent down, and unlocked them. "Look at me. Do I look like I can take care of a princess, and one so small and fragile like her?" Neil shook his head. "No, you don't." "Exactly." Destral stood back up, and pointed towards the rooms. "Mine. Yours. Got it?" Neil nodded to show he got it. "You seem kinda timid," He said, leaning over to look Neil in the face. Neil looked offended. "I'm not," Neil said, grabbing the key from Destral, distributing it to his pocket, and then taking his things. "Well, you seem kinda quiet." "That I will take. It's a part of my nature." He turned the knob to his room. "Surely, with a psychic mother, you would know that?" "Well, she was pretty shy," Destral said. He smiled at Neil, this time very sincerely, and leaned on the door to his room. "I'll see you later, Neilly-boy." Neil said nothing as he went into his room.
  12. Is anyone here into Vocaloid? Or know what it is? I'm mainly asking this because I'd like to see how many HDers like it, plus I kind of wrote a fanfic about Vocaloid that I was thinking of posting. If anyone here does like it, feel free to name some songs you think are good.
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