Halcyon

Halcyon

0 INK

From the ashes we shall rise, from the depth of abyss we shall awaken. Once again, we will protect this world [ Full ]

3,916 readers have visited Halcyon since Chrian Blaire created it.

Introduction


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Thousands of years ago, at the dawn of mankind, the world was not like what we once thought. It was the era when magic flows freely across the whole world. Those with the capability to utilize magic is called Magicians. And asides from humanity, other mythical beings existed. Yet, the lives between the beings are anything but harmonious. Endless battles and conflicts were fought between humans and beings from the unknown. We struggle against the creatures that could easily crush us with their unimaginable strengths, yet banded together, we emerged victorious, standing gloriously as we fought for the very world we loved. Such is the legend of the wars of myth.

During the war of myth, our world was once invaded by a race coming from another dimension. They were known as the Drakens, also regarded as dragons in human language. Unlike any other mythical creatures humanity had faced, these majestic beings were much, much more powerful, prideful and bloodthirsty. They ravaged the world with their crimson breaths, they destroyed towns and cities under their crushing weights, they ripped our resistance with their sharp talons, and none can stand against the might of their wings. They have rendered humanity in a hopeless fight, a fight we knew that we cannot win. How can we hope to stand against the threat of total annihilation that was hanging above us, like a guillotine that was waiting to come down at any moment?

Yet from the most desperate of moments, new hopes arisen. Not all Drakens are savaged beings. Some of them too desire peace and did not wish to bring chaos to the human world. Three members of the Drakens have tried to reason with their own kin, yet to no avail. And thus, they betrayed their own cause and join the human side. They aided humans in creating weapons and magic spells that can effectively fight against the Drakens. With their newfound strengths, humanity finally was able to stand up, to regain what they have lost in this one-sided war.

After the forces of the Drakens have greatly been decimated, they were left with no choice but to retreated back to whence they came from, but vowed that one day they will eventually return to wipe humanity out of existence and claim this world as theirs. To prevent such a scenario from happening, the three Drakens that had turned to humans' side join forces with the three most powerful magicians in the world, who also were the leaders of humanity's resistant forces against the Drakens. Together, they performed a ritual and created three strongholds called Pillars across the world. The Pillars erected a barrier that prevent any foreign beings from other dimensions from invading our world.

The Drakens and the magicians have sacrificed their life forces in the process of performing the rituals. However, thanks to their tremendous capabilities, the three magicians managed to anchor their spirits to this world before passing on, and while they cannot directly intervene with the world anymore, occasionally they would appear before their descendants to act as an adviser when they are in need. The three Drakens are not so lucky. But later, they would be worshiped by humans and became legendary figures, named as Yamata no Orochi, Fafnir and Quetzalcoatl by the locals from the place where they erected their Pillar respectively. The three strongholds were protected by the descendants of the three magicians, namely the three most well-respected magician families: the Kotonoha of the Magic Knights, the Vermillion of the Mages and the Isharian of the Wizards. Thousands of years have passed by, and Earth had remained safe thanks to this bulwark.

But alas, once again, Earth will have to face the threats of total annihilation once again, in this year of 2020.

No one had expected that some of the Drakens have managed to took on human forms and lived hidden away in the society of humans. They have been plotting their vengeance ever since their defeat. They have taken the Vermillions and the Isharians by surprise, and though they have been defeated, they have managed to destroy the two Pillars guarded by the two families, effectively weakened the barrier and allowed some of the Drakens to enter from outside our world, targeting the final stronghold under the protection of the Kotonohas in Japan.

Once the final Pillar is destroyed, the barrier will crumble, and comes with it another war of myth that humanity is yet to prepared. Fully aware of the threats, the three families have agreed to work together to protect the last stronghold, as well as the city of Tokyo, against the upcoming attacks from the Drakens, until they can work out a way to restore to the two destroyed Pillars. And for that the Vermillions and the Isharians will send the two of their best magicians to Japan, where they will be given accommodation by the Kotonoha clan.

Six of the strongest magicians in the modern world come together, knowing that the fate of the world is resting on their shoulders. Will they manage to set aside any differences they may have to protect the world they all love? Will they become the best of friends, or the worst of enemies? Only time will tell, as their new magical journey has just begun...

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「 Takiya Kotonoha 」
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For the tomorrow of this world...
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MalexxxMagic Knight 1
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「 Lukas Isharian 」
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To reserve all of creation...
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MalexxxWizard 1
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「 Kallen Vermillion 」
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To protect all life...
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MalexxxMage 1


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「 Risako Kotonoha 」
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To the past, present and future...
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FemalexxxMagic Knight 2

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「 Clara Isharian 」
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To fulfill the promise I broke...
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FemalexxxWizard 2

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「 Ambre Vermillion 」
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For science! ... And humanity, I guess?
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FemalexxxMage 2

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i. Application
Yep, you heard it right. It isn't 'reservation', it is 'application'. I know it's been a thing around this site of for those who would just make a reservation, go all the way to make their characters, and then vaporize from the surface of Earth, spelling doom to a RP. But, I'm not giving hope on those who are truly dedicated just yet. If you are absolutely certain that you are one of those, please make your application in the thread I will be posting in the OOC. Remember that this is NOT first come first serve. But hey, we all enjoy a bit of challenge, don't we? ɾ⚈▿⚈ɹ

ii. Face Claim
If you have read it this far, you certainly would have found out that this RP is anime-based, and thus, only anime FCs are accepted. I know, I like real-life FCs as much as the next guy. But, I have simply decided that the lack of anime-based RP on RPG currently is unacceptable (∩(︶▽︶)∩) so yeah, please stick to the animēshon, babes ~

iii. Commitment
Okay, I'm not going to mince words here >.> No one wanted to be a party pooper and leave so early when things just started, right? So please don't be one. Can't stay til' the end, don't join (っ- ‸ – ς)

iv. Content
300 words per post, please ~ ( ´ ▽ ` )ノ Also general RPG's rules, no godmodding, metagaming, bunnying, Mary Sues, Gary Stus, etc etc. Romance is certainly encouraged within this RP (I was intending to say must LOL) though don't take it way overboard. I know we all have pervy minds but this is not the right place to show it, eh? And please don't torment my or anyone else's sleep with overly gory posts either. My heart is pretty fragile (oꆤ︵ꆤo)

v. Interactions
Please make sure to stay in touch with me - your awesome GM (。>ω<)。and your fellow players. Don't just disappear like sea foams or else I'll be sad, real sad :( And we may have our own disagreements with each other somewhere on the way but please, be civil and deal with them with a cool head. Show respects to each other and get along ~

Well, I know y'all be like 'F*** this a**h** I'm gonna skip this' when you stumble upon this part but I'm still glad you take your patience and read it this far. Please drop in the OOC topic and say hi before filling your application, okay? Love y'all ~ ˭̡̞(◞⁎˃ᆺ˂)◞*✰

Toggle Rules

The GM of this roleplay hasn't created any rules! You can do whatever you like!

The Story So Far... Write a Post » as written by 6 authors

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kallen Vermillion Character Portrait: Lukas Isharian Character Portrait: Ambre Vermillion

0.00 INK

#, as written by cl.love


Kallen & Lukas



Image A bond that prevails when life grows dark. ✘ ✘ ✘


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i.Dialogue : #4B0082 | Thought : #8B008B
iiiiiii FC: Katsuhira Agata | Kiznaiver
iiiiiDialogue : Red | Thought : Darkred
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiii FC: Castor | 07 Ghost
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Kallen let out a sigh of relief once they finally reached the guest quarters, pulling open the rice paper doors that separated their rooms so they could work together more easily. “I am hoping we can decipher this rune before anything bad happens. It would be good to know what the purpose of it is.” Setting the rune down on the low table, Kallen hurried to his suitcase, unceremoniously tossing clothing and other books all over the place in search of the book he was looking for, Lukas helping out as much as Kallen would let him. There would be time for tidying up later.

Kallen reached the bottom of his suitcase, and scolded himself internally, an uncharacteristic frown settling onto his face. “
I am afraid I left the book at home. What should we do?

Oh.” Lukas blinked, pausing mid-reach to a book on the bed. He withdrew his hand, fiddling anxiously with the ring on his finger instead. “Oh no.

Without the book, they couldn’t decipher the rune circle. Of course, they could try it from memory, but the accuracy of the translations would drastically fall, which, considering the circumstances of the discovery, would be less than wise. Biting his lip, Lukas frowned, ruffling through ideas in his mind.

Teleporting? Not yet perfected. Express book order? It’d take a couple of days at least - it’d take too much time. Checking if the library and bookstore had it? Doable, but it was more likely than not that it wasn’t there, and it would also be too time consuming.

Too little options for a book that was in England. Lukas sighed and tilted his head back, resting it gently against the wooden beam supporting the wall. It was too bad they couldn’t just reach right into Kallen’s room to take it -

Wait….

Lukas opened his eyes, memory flashing into his head. “
I think I have an idea. Remember the thing we talked about during the summer?

Kallen nodded slowly. “
The portal spell? The one we have yet to ensure works properly?” Lukas nodded in affirmation, ignoring the unsure tone in Kallen’s voice, as if he were skeptical about using the spell. Which Kallen was, really. They’d yet to actually test it, and the possibility of something exploding was incredibly high. “That could work. We need to find a doorway that no one is going to try and come through.

Turning on his heel, Kallen stepped over to the closet. “
This may work. Did we write down the coordinates to my home back in England? I am hoping I found the exact coordinates to the closet in my bedroom, it would be considerably time-consuming if we have to make our way there from the front door of the estate, and we cannot risk anyone trying to come into the room through the door we are using for the portal.” He said, ruffling through his luggage again to pull out a small sheet of paper with numbers written across it. “Here.” Passing the paper to Lukas, Kallen went in search of chalk.

Thanks!” Holding the paper gently in his fingers, Lukas turned and peered around the room for a suitable place to use the circle. They needed a door, or at least something that resembled it. Approaching the cupboards where the futons were kept, Lukas inspected the door.

It was made of wood and plain rice paper, kept on one side of the room. It was wide enough for two people to enter, and tall enough to reach the ceiling. When Lukas pulled it open, the door slide smoothly sideways, revealing nothing but two empty cupboards that were large enough for someone to use it as a bed. Nodding to himself, Lukas slid the door shut and turned to Kallen.

Sliding door will work!” He called to his friend, noting the coordinates of the door. “Just need something to write on it and we should be good, although.” Lukas hesitated. “We could do this in an empty room if you want? In case it, uh, explodes or something.

Kallen shook his head. “
There is no time to waste on trying to find an empty room here, I assume it will take much longer than we should give ourselves to working on this. We should set up some blast-resistant charms on the walls before we begin, though. And those muffling charms.” He said, hoping the charms would be enough to ward against damages in case the spell went awry- which, considering their track record, was a very high possibility.

Finding the box of water and smudge-resistant chalk in the mess of his luggage, Kallen tossed the box to Lukas and sifted through the immense collection of books he’d brought along, picking up his personal notebook and flipping through it for all his notes on the portal spell. “
This door is not going to be used from the other side so we do not need to worry about the portal breaking. We never fully discussed whether or not a rune circle would still work if drawn in a square…

Oh yeah! Um. A square wouldn't work, too many lines.” Lukas said apologetically. Kneeling down, he pulled the lid of the box open and began to rummage through the items inside. He pulled out a piece of chalk and a sheath of paper, shuffling the papers into neat mini-piles. Closing the box with a quiet click, Lukas muttered a couple of words under his breath. The black chalk began to glow, a sort of dimness that sucked in the surrounding darkness and made the surroundings brighter, and Lukas began to scribble as many charms as he could, using the box’s lid as a writing table.

Muffling charms, anti-explosion charm, anti-possession charms in case we accidentally open a door into the demon realm, gravity stabilization in case we open a door into space or make a warp hole… As Lukas wrote, the black lines the chalk left behind glowed that same faint darkness before fading back into ordinary black charcoal lines - with the papers below that pile bearing an exact copy of the one above it, like a magic photocopier.

While Lukas did the charms, he began to talk. “
The magic in the rune circle runs like electricity in a circuit- one that constantly loops around inside the wire to recycle the energy used.” Chalk skittered across paper. “That's only for the outer circle, though- mostly because it acts as a containment field for the spell, decreasing the effects of its radius. If there’s holes in the containment field, the magic wouldn’t be contained, which is why circles are used. Here, could you help me hang these around the room?” Lukas handed the charms to Kallen, getting to his feet at the same time. “Um. It’ll help decrease risks. I’ll go work on the circle while you do so?

Of course.” Taking the charms from Lukas, Kallen stood and hurried about the room, plastering them across the walls, floors, and ceiling, pulling any open doors closed so as to secure the room. He got the pages to stick to the wood frames of the rice paper walls, manipulating the wood to create hooks of a sort. Please forgive me for damaging your walls, I promise to return them to normal soon.

I hope they’ll be ok with us doing this...” Lukas began to draw on the door, hands moving in sharp, practiced lines. “Oh, right! A square wouldn't work, because it comes out as four separate lines - an open circuit. The magic would leak out of the corners like water, leaving no magic to power the circle into completing its function. In contrast, a circle is like a closed circuit because there is only one line, which is connected to the edges - like so.” Lukas gestured to the now complete circle like a professor demonstrating his teachings to the class, tapping at the drawing gently with one hand. “It's a continuous loop that is locked into itself, and as there's nowhere for the magic to leak out from, it is recycled throughout the circle, allowing it to be reused endlessly until someone breaks the line.

Lukas continued to draw on the door, adding a smaller circle into the larger one and writing runes in the small space in between, moving with comfortable expertise. “
Of course, an oval could probably work since it's made out of one line similar to a circle,” He said absently, completing the last rune, “but if it's got sharp edges, it won’t work because the sharp edges would act as leaks since they're not fully connected. Our best bet for this would be the circle, since it's standard form and the best when it comes to stability.” Brows furrowing in concentration, Lukas quickly added the necessary workings to the circle. Within a few minutes, the circle was complete. Taking a step back, Lukas frowned and tilted his head, taking in the circle with a critical eye.

Not good enough. Leaning forwards, Lukas added a couple more strokes to the circle before standing back again, looking it over just as critically as he’d done before.

That should do it!” Lukas decided with a nod, a faint smile of accomplishment on his face. “Probably, anyway.” he muttered under his breath, turning towards Kallen. He looked around the room, black chalk held loosely in his hand. “What do you think? Are the charms set?

Yes, they are all in place.” Kallen said with a nod, stepping up to his friend’s side. “The charms may not protect the room if one of the walls is reopened, so we should test the spell quickly before anyone disturbs the room. As far as any sense of a checklist goes, we have protected the room - to a certain degree - and we need to make sure the door we are using is closed when we activate the spell. Did you remember to put the coordinates into the rune?

Mm.” Lukas nodded. “Should be the right ones. Now stand back a little, please.

Kallen moved back from his friend a bit, giving him space but still staying close enough to where he could shield Lukas if he needed to. Lukas, for his part, dug through his pockets. “
Where is it, where is it…. Ah.” With some maneuvering, Lukas produced the object most Mages required when they had to cast their spells: his wand.

It was a smooth metal rod encased in yew, around the size of Lukas’s palm and thin as his pinky. As Lukas fiddled with it, however, the wand somehow grew and grew, until it was the size of a conductor's baton and just as thick. Taking a deep breath and pushing down his nerves, Lukas focused, tapped the circle with his wand with a hand that was only slightly shaking…

And said the words that would activate the circle.

The circle glowed. A red light shone up amongst the word like fluorescent light, waveringly pale and mixing into the darkness of the chalk like flames turning into ash. There was a faint sizzling sound like oil in a newly heated pan, white smoke arising from the rice paper door, but no fire happened. There was a rush of magic, pouring from Lukas into the circle until the requirements were met. Lukas gingerly pulled the wand away from the circle, cutting off the connection, and waited.

And waited.

Apart from the sizzling noise fading into the background and the circle glowing a pale, eerie red that was barely visible in the light, nothing else happened. The white smoke stopped appearing. Quietly, Lukas waited some more.

After nearly three minutes had passed, Kallen stepped forward slowly, looking over the door and setting a hand on Lukas’ shoulder. Lukas jumped a little, as if he’d forgotten that Kallen was there. “
I believe the spell is finished. I am going to see if it was successful.” Kallen said wryly. Before Lukas could stop him, Kallen was moving toward the door, pulling it open. Nothing happened when the door opened. However, it was definitely not the futon closet on the other side.

We succeeded.

Y-Yeah.” Lukas said dumbly, staring into the room. He shook his head, a slowly widening grin forming as if he didn’t quite believe his eyes. “Oh my god, yes! It actually worked! We did it!” Bounding forwards, Lukas raised his hand in a high-five to Kallen, eyes gleaming brightly at the door. “All that research really paid off - ah wait a second, please.

Looking around, Kallen grabbed an empty piece of paper and quickly folded it into a makeshift crane. Pulling out his wand, which shrank to the size of a pen, Lukas fiddled with the settings for a couple of seconds. The metal rod changed from a baton to a pen, and he hurriedly wrote something on the crane.

After a few seconds, the paper crane sprang to life. Lukas held it out obligingly towards Kallen’s bedroom through the door. He snatched his hand back as it left its perch and made it peacefully through the door, fluttering around like a butterfly in Kallen’s bedroom before landing on his desk. When Lukas gestured it to come back, it did, passing through the portal with just as much ease as it did before. It fluttered around confusedly for a couple of seconds before landing on Kallen’s bed.

Ok, it didn’t burst on fire or anything on both trips in and out.” Lukas observed. “We can't really be sure unless we use something of flesh and blood, like a puppy, but I think it’s safe to enter.

Just on the safe side, he threw one of Kallen’s books into the room. Nothing happened except for the book landing with a thump on the floor.

I am glad you are willing to sacrifice an innocent animal to the cause.” Kallen said cynically, moving through the door and into his room.

It was a room of mess. The room was filled to the brim with haphazardly stacked books and paper, overflowing from the shelves onto the table and bed. Clothes littered the floor like makeshift carpets, and the bedstand held a couple of empty glasses. Near the window was a balcony full of pots that had plants of many species, all thriving from the sun shining through the window and reaching outside, climbing over the gate and floor in a rush of green.

As they stepped in, the door to Kallen’s room slid open. A middle aged woman holding a broom and dustpan like weapons to war appeared. She blinked at Kallen and Lukas, eyes wide with surprise. Without surprise or hesitation, Kallen approached the woman and set a hand on her shoulder. “
Forgive us, ma’am, we are only here momentarily. If you could wait on cleaning for five minutes, that would be well appreciated.” The woman nodded and hurried out of the room, glancing back at Lukas a few times before disappearing, pulling the door closed behind her.

Kallen hurried across the room and picked up the book, dusting off the cover as he went. “
Ah, there it is.” He stepped over to his bedside table and picked up the book they were looking for, the title reading ‘Rune Translations.’

Making his way back through the portal and into the Kotonoha estate, Kallen flipped through the translation textbook, searching for the symbols they needed. They were interrupted before they could move on, however, as not long after he’d returned, Ambre came rushing into the room. As the door opened and the muffling charms deactivated, Kallen heard footsteps and shouting, a clear sign that something was wrong. “
What happened?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kallen Vermillion Character Portrait: Lukas Isharian Character Portrait: Ambre Vermillion

0.00 INK

#, as written by Kestrel
Ambre Vermillion




Down the well wasn't the worst of it. The second she stepped back into the Kotonoha mansion, Ambre witnessed the entire household in peril. Guards were interlocked in duels with grotesque slime monsters, but there were far too many for them to deal with. “Get back!” She shouted at the guards, but she barely even waited. Ambre widened her stance and spread her arms; beginning to cast a spell. Large chunks of interior crumbled within the blink of an eye. Exposed pipelines twisted violently to uproot from the floor. From the walls, the wiring snapped and sizzled sparks of electricity. Ambre squinted her eyes and bit her lip; with so many guards nearby, she had not an inch of room for error here. The pipelines screeched as bent, the wires wrapped their selves around the pipes and their ends dangled in front of them. Taking one last breath, Ambre took aim for the slimes and blasted them with jets of electrified water!

The slimes she hit convulsed and smelled as if they were burning; the few that escaped her high voltage barrage crawled out of her sight as quickly as they could. The broken pipelines were leaking water; flooding the mansion. Large spots on the floor were scorched completely black. What a scene. Ambre thought to herself; a sentiment reflected by many others in the room. The guards stared at the Vermillion girl in disbelief of her reckless stunt. “Do you even have the time to bask in my glory?” Ambre quipped – well aware their eyes said something completely different. It's always like this. She lamented internally, but there was no time to waste; she had to find Lukas or Rosa. “Go, go, go!”

The guest quarters were closer than the dining room, Jetlag or not, you're coming to solve this. Ambre thought to herself, as she ran through the corridors. Yet before she could knock on Rosa's door, Ambre could sense a powerful but strange magical presence from Kallen's room... Her heart skipped a beat. It can't be. She thought, her fingers shivering as she grabbed the handle and opened the door.

“What happened?” Kallen asked. He seemed unharmed but somewhat confused by his sister's sudden arrival. Ambre's heart dropped from her throat back into her chest, silently thanking her lucky stars her brother was safe.

“They're under attack.” Ambre panted as she stepped into Kallen's room. “There's a demon near the pillar and slimes are everywhere. Where's Lukas?” Without waiting for an answer, Ambre threw open the door separating Kallen and Lukas' rooms and barged in. “Lukas! We need an exorcism! There's a demon possessing a boy. The white-hair one that handed out maps. Look,” Ambre pulled and unfolded the enchanted parchment out of her pocket, waving it in front of the young wizard. “Right here is a well, it's the entrance to the pillar chamber.” Ambre pointed at the centre of the estate. “Takiya and Risako are holding him back; they'll tell you what do to.”

“Meanwhile, we-” Ambre placed her hand on her hip and turned to face Kallen, “- have another wizard to catch.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kallen Vermillion Character Portrait: Lukas Isharian Character Portrait: Ambre Vermillion

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#, as written by Zallen
Lukas gave a wave of his wand after Kallen was a foot away from the portal, a sharp flick aimed at the circle. The circle was wiped in half like an eraser on a drawing in photoshop, and when nothing exploded Lukas let out a silent sigh of relief and wiped it clean with his wand.

"Alright, that worked. Here, um, give me a second." Fumbling at the bracelets decorating his wrist, Lukas detached a brown charm that was in the shape of a book the size of his fingertip. Delicately, he pressed it against the runic book, mumbling an incomprehensible phrase under his breath. The book charm glowed a faint red that enveloped the book like a scanner before fading. When Lukas removed the charm from the book and tapped it, the charm book flipped open, pages ruffling to the middle as it glowed the color of old parchment. A beam of light shot up, and like a flower unfurling its petals in bloom, a hologram of the runic book appeared. Lukas moved away, leaving Kallen free control of the book.

It was a charm Lukas had created in his early years, one he used to keep a record of books he'd liked, similar to a Ereading function on a phone. Although I should probably start using it on all my books now, in case something like this happens again, Lukas thought self depreciatingly. Reaching his hand up, Lukas quickly flipped through the pages, typing rapidly as he compared the picture to the holographic book.

"Ok, I think I got it." Lukas said out loud, frowning in concentration. "These outer circles represent us. Each symbol represents each clan - Kotonoha, Vermillion, Isharian. I don't understand what the fourth one at the top means, but maybe its something that they have in common? Maybe its related to the middle of the circle-"

Ambre burst through the door, interrupting whatever Lukas had to say. As Kallen and Ambre chatted, Lukas moved absently to the side, mind buzzing with equations and combinations as he deciphered the circle.

They'd been mistaken about it not being a summoning circle - the middle of the circle was decorative, an image of the sun, but it was a cleverly designed timer for a disguised summoning circle. Combined with the words deciphered from the runes, it was clearly an attack on the house. But what was it -

“Lukas!" Ambre yelled. "We need an exorcism!"

"Aaa!" Lukas flinched as Hurricane Ambre broke into the room, giving a small yelp of surprise that was thankfully lost underneath Ambre's explanation. As Ambre gave him information, Lukas's face grew clouded with worry and concern. The boy - Yuki - that gave them the map was possessed, Takiya and Risako where holding him back, they needed an exorcism at the pillar chamber. "Got it," Lukas said with a nod after Ambre finished. He turned to leave, but paused as an idea crossed his mind. That'd be pretty helpful...

Lukas turned back to the map, adding code as he kept half an ear out for further chat. "We, um, deciphered part of the circle." He explained rapidly after Ambre finished, fingers flying over the hologram. "It's a disguised summoning circle - probably used to summon the demon by that wizard you mentioned, but it seems to complex for something like that." Lukas frowned thoughtfully. "There was a symbol and rune in one of the inner mini-circles that resembled a demon though, so maybe-" a beeping sound interrupted him, and Lukas glanced down at the map. "Ah, its done."

The map now resembled a simplistic video game map. Red, purple and yellow trackers shaped like tiny arrows marked where Lukas, Kallen and Ambre were respectively, located via the maps. Wherever the maps - and by extension their owners - went, the trackers would go on the map, tiny arrows representing them like a video game protagonist. At the well near the center of the pillar chamber, a green beacon shone brightly, indicating the location Lukas had to reach. Lukas made a note to add the Kotonoha siblings to the map later - after meeting up with them, maybe.

"Alright, I'm off." Lukas said briskly, striding towards the door. He tucked the photo of the circle into his pocket, book charm long since deactivated. With his free hand, he withdrew his wand, holding it in his hand like a gun (too tightly like an amateur duelist, anxiety roiling in his stomach). The explanation of the wizard and circle didn't sit well with Lukas, doubt and suspicion niggling at his mind like barely connecting circuits, but there was no time. Exorcist first, then think about it later. Lukas reminded himself, opening the door, and with that he began to run towards the location.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kotonoha Takiya Character Portrait: Kotonoha Risako Character Portrait: Lukas Isharian Character Portrait: Ambre Vermillion

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#, as written by Zallen
Lukas had only ran a couple of feet down the hallway when he could hear the faint sound of galloping hooves. Alarm bells ringing in his mind, Lukas whirled around, wand out and ready, but there was nothing (not even on the ceiling) - it was just him inside the empty hallway, the sound of galloping getting louder and louder by the second. Biting his lip, Lukas whirled back to the front and resumed running, but he’d barely taken a foot forward before -

There was the sound of something arriving at high speed, and a foot behind him the walls shattered with a devastating crack.

Lukas raised his arm instinctively over his head, shielding himself from splinters of wood flying everywhere. Through the gap he could see a black stallion, plated in armor. The horse had reins attached to it, loops of dark leather held by a headless knight. The knight tugged on the reins and the horse turned to face Lukas, moving easily despite the cramped space. The horse’ nostrils fumed a green gas as the knight atop of it unsheathed his broadsword from it’s scabbard, metal blade gleaming darkly in the light like the armor.

Lukas eyes widened at the sight of the sword. Terror and understanding ran down his back like ice water. He took a step back, and another, but the horse was already charging, the knight already swinging to behead. With a yelp, Lukas ducked under the swing like a limbo dancer. Unable to stop, the horse overshot, and without sparing a glance back Lukas began running back to where he came from at full speed.

“Lukas, get on!” Ambre shouted, as she vigorously tapped the keys on her phone. Not a second later, a futon on wheels with a coffee machine and security camera attached to it rolled into the corridor at neck-breaking speed; stopping inches away from Lukas’ feet. Without pause, Lukas leapt on it, looking expectantly at Ambre.

“You’ll have to drive it yourself,” Ambre tossed her phone at the bed buggy, Lukas fumbling a little before catching it with both hands. “Just put in the coordinates and hold on tight!”

“Got it!” Lukas was already typing furiously into the phone, quickly figuring out how to use it. The bed turned towards the direction to the well, and Lukas turned expectantly towards Ambre. “Get on!” But as he spoke, a shadow loomed over him.

“We’ve got other business.” Ambre looked straight past Lukas, as letters crawled from under her sleeves and dripped down from her fingers. “You know, Lukas, you should-” The mage grinned as her spells spread through the wooden floor and climbed up the bed buggy’s wheels, “-Think fast!”

“Wha-AAAAAAAAA!”

Within the blink of an eye, the buggy shot forward across a freshly made ramp in the floor; jumping over the Dullahan. The tiny wheels screeched and the remainder of coffee spilled onto the horse with a scalding hiss. The horse reared up with a whinny, rider’s hand outstretched as if to grab the vehicle, but too late - fingers closed around empty air, and the horse screamed in frustration as the buggy raced down the corridor at top speed. Lukas clinging onto the sheets for dear life and screaming at the top of his lungs.

“-AAAAA-!” Lukas shook his head and snapped his mouth shut with an audible click, almost biting his tongue. As the machine went helter skelter down the path, wind blowing the hair out of his face, Lukas fumbled with the map, rapidly checking the course.

According to the map, they were close. Close the desired location, and closer still to a wall up ahead. One hand wounded tightly into the sheets, Lukas tapped at Ambre’s phone for it to turn left, only for the machine to continue moving straight forward at the same breakneck pace. Eyebrows going up in surprise, Lukas glanced at the phone - and swore as he caught sight of the black screen. Tapping rapidly on the phone produced no results, and pressing the on switch confirmed Lukas’s worst fears - a white zig zag of electricity at the center of a charger symbol blinked accusingly on the screen.

The battery was dead.

Lukas’s swearing would have made milk curdle. Panic flowed through him as he glanced at the map - he was going to be hitting the wall dead on soon if he didn’t change course! The resounding backlash from a vehicle this fast crashing into a wall head on would do things to his body that Lukas didn’t want to think about (like a broken neck). But the battery of the phone was dead, and he didn’t have anything on hand that could charge it without frying it.

Oh shit. Lukas could feel his breath quickening, heart rate beating a rapid thump-thump-thump in his chest as panic began to overtake him. He was going to die. He was going to smack into the wall and get turned into a pancake. He was going to-

to stop panicking and shut up and do something before he smacked into the wall and joined his family in the afterlife.

Lukas shook his head and took a deep breath, forcing his panic back down. Little time left before the collision. Quickly, he took stock of his surroundings, pulling his wand back out of his pocket. Bed buggy. Mattress. Wand. Dead phone - oh!

Plan formed, Lukas shifted his wand to marker mode and scribbled hastily onto the sheets. He pulled out Ambre’s sim-card from the phone and laid both phone and card onto the circle. He tapped the phone. It glowed a digital green that flowed into the sim card, a stream of data that looked like it was made out of numbers and code that moved like salmon swimming upstream.

While the transfer process happened, Lukas hastily scribbled runes onto the bed. The wall was coming into sight now, a thick brown pillar that was growing larger every second. Once the glow stopped and the runes were done, Lukas pocketed the sim card and transferred the phone onto the top of the bed. Resting it firmly against the bedframe, Lukas silently apologised to Ambre and muttered a spell under his breath.

The phone sank into the frame of the bed and changed. Lukas continued muttering as parts shifted and changed shape with dizzying speed, growing longer and thinner or larger until a control panel was mounted onto the bed. At the same time, the sheets tore into thin ribbons, stretching and knitting themselves together into makeshift seat belts that wrapped securely around Lukas’s shoulders and waist in a makeshift harness, strapping him into a Holding his breath and ignoring the sight of the pillar and wall, Lukas pressed a hand against the screen and waited.

A couple of inches away from the wall, the bed swerved to the right with enough force to whip Lukas’s head sideways and careened down the corridor.

Lukas’s breath escaped from his mouth in a silent whoosh as his body slumped in relief. ”Thank heck that worked.” Lukas wheezed, laughing a little. A normal wizard might have found taking over the bed buggy in such a short time tough, let alone doing a transfer data spell at the same time (hopefully this way Ambre wouldn’t kill him), and Lukas thanked his lucky stars for knowing what to do. Spreading his fingers across the screen, Lukas concentrated, and another screen appeared, map popping up and showing their location. They were closer to the entrance now - just a few more twists and turns. Crossing his legs, wind blowing the hair out of his eyes, Lukas set it to autopilot and sat comfortably on the bed buggy, crossing his legs and urging the machine to go faster.

He shifted his wand back to marker mode. There were a few more modifications he had to make.

-----

He knew what the circle meant now. The inner circle was a summoning portal, for four specific creatures - that was why there were four miniature circles. The outward circles was a warning, one that mocked the three clans for gathering together.

The Dullahan was one. The demon was another. There were two more monsters left - he wondered if Rosa had ran into one of them, which was why she had yet to appear. And the implications - he'd have to let the Kotonoha's and everyone know as fast as possible.

Everyone in the house was in danger.

-----
Soon, the stairwell was in sight. It was a spiral that lead downwards, and Lukas quietly readied himself for the ride.

As he approached the stairwell, the bed buggy began to shift parts around like a weapon changing shapes. Part of the bed frames surrounding the mattress began to rise up like guard rails, clamping down tightly onto the mattress. Fingers twining into the soft fabric in a death grip, Lukas made sure that the pillow was strapped on in front of him like an airbag before lying low and giving the signal.

The bed buggy skidded to a stop near the stairs. The mattress, detached from the bedframe, continued moving forwards as the bedframe collapsed diagonally in the form of a makeshift ramp. Moving forwards on sheer momentum, the mattress slid down the stairs like a ski going downhill. Lukas held on for dear life as it went round and round, gathering speed until finally it reached the ground floor with a soft whump.

“I’m here!” The mattress had yet to come to a stop, but Lukas was already unbuckling and throwing himself off it, wand out and ready as he took in the current situation.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kotonoha Takiya Character Portrait: Kotonoha Risako Character Portrait: Lukas Isharian

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K O T O N O H A
T A K I Y A

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「Magic Knight 2」

#965660 | #DFA855

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Watching as Ambre left the sanctuary to the above ground, the possessed Yukito cackled arrogantly, "How foolish. That brat really did give me a little bit fun. Now it's going to be easier to put you two helpless vermin down. Any last words?"

"Don't be so sure, you are the one who will go down." Takiya said, standing face-to-face with the demon next to his sister, pointing the tip of his blade towards the boy, "I acknowledge that you are a pain in the ass, indeed. Just show us whatever tricks you've got already. If you are that confident that defeating us is going to be easy, just do it. I've never really got a chance to work out much until now."

"Attitudes, eh? Fine then, as a generous person, I will grant you your wish." The demon cut Yukito's arm and draw some blood on the blade, then sprayed them on the ground. Several magic circles appeared and from them, some sorts of slime creatures were summoned. Both possessed Yukito and the slimes then began to circling around Takiya and Risako, surrounding them. The slimes than transformed themselves into the shape of Yukito, clearly as a mean to distract the two of them from the real body. Takiya entered his battle stance with his back turned against that of his sister's. "You ready?" He whispered to Risako. When he got the signal, both of them dashed forward and attacked the Yukitos simultaneously.

Takiya muttered a spell as he magically coated his sword with holy element aura, making it more effective in dealing with demons. Although the creatures were seemingly ahead of themselves, their arrogance was quickly stamped off as Takiya slashed through one of them like a hot knife that cut through butter, making quick work of the poor creature. As expected, the slimes weren't nearly as strong as the possessed Yukito.

The others were quick to counter, but apparently couldn't coordinate so well with each other, as their attacks were all over the place, and none of them manage to even pose a threat to Takiya, as he evaded them with little efforts. It seemed that slimes are indeed a bunch of stupid creature, after all, just like they said. He sheepishly thought as he kicked one of them down while slashing through another. Maybe the possessed demon is trying to sap them out of their energy by make them fighting worthless goons like this. But he'll see who will be the one to go down first.

After a while, Takiya had finished dealing with all the slimes on his side. None of them were the true Yukito, so it must be one of those that Risako was dealing with. When he was about to check on his sister, he heard a familiar screaming voice of someone who was coming down from the entrance of the sanctuary. Seconds later, Lukas appeared with a rather odd entrance, turning everyone's attention in the room towards him.

The demon, quickly sensing the danger that a Wizard might pose to him, quickly shifted from Risako and send several energy slashes towards Lukas instead. Takiya, who was standing near, was quick to act and shielded the guy. "It's about time. So what are we gonna do? Would you be able to exorcise him right away or we need to hold him down first?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kotonoha Takiya Character Portrait: Kotonoha Risako Character Portrait: Lukas Isharian

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kotonoha risako

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Magic Knight
hex codes: #E49E4F || #BDC3AD



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Yukito's eyes trailed after Amber as the blonde left the sanctuary. "How foolish," the possessed Yukito cackled arrogantly. "That brat really did give me a little bit fun. Now it's going to be easier to put you two helpless vermin down. Any last words?"

"Don't be so sure," Takiya answered back, pointing his blade towards the demon. "You are the one who will go down."

Risako cocked her head to the side, not dropping her battle stance. "You just jinxed yourself," she remarked. "You do know that in literally every movie or story, the one who says 'any last words?' always gets defeated right after, right?"

Takiya gave the demon no time to respond as he spoke once again. "I acknowledge that you are a pain in the ass, indeed. Just show us whatever tricks you've got already. If you are that confident that defeating us is going to be easy, just do it. I've never really got a chance to work out much until now."

"Attitudes, eh?" Yukito hissed. "Fine then, as a generous person, I will grant you your wish."

"We're honored," Risako retorted, her tone sarcastic as the possessed Yukito cut his arm and splashed the blood on the ground. Magical circles appeared as some...slime stuff was summoned. The slimes shifted into the shape of Yukito as both the demon and Yukito-slimes started circling the two Kotonoha siblings. The two entered their battle stances, the backs facing each other.

"You ready?" Takiya whispered to Risako. She gave him the signal, and the two ran forward simultaneously to attack Yukito and the slimes. It may not seem like it, given Risako's demeanor, but she understood order. It could be vital to winning a battle, and after all, she was a Magic Knight.

Although Risako mainly fought without weapons, she did carry a few on her at all times as a final resort. So if the slimes proved too much for Weaponless Risako, she wasn't completely helpless. On her side, one of the slimes charged at her, ahead of the pack. Calculating the distance between it - he? She? - and the other slimes, Risako had enough time to kill the first one with her bare hands. With the knife edge of her right hand, she struck the first slime's throat. Since she was at the exact angle that made it perfect for Risako to sever his windpipe, the slime went down, hard and fast. Damn, they're a lot more brittle than I thought they'd be, Risako mused to herself. She used the makeshift knuckleduster Ambre had fashioned her to strike the back of the next slime's neck, successfully breaking it simply with brute force and pressure points. The simpletons in the world always thought that the one with a weapon would be more powerful, more likely to win a fight, but that wasn't always the case. It was quite easy to kill someone with your bare hands, but no one bothered to learn anything about the best methods.

Finally, after taking down slimes by kicking them in the groin, stabbing them in the eyes, and hitting major arteries in their temples, Risako was left with one more. Takiya was finishing up with the slimes on this side, so she had to assume that this was the real, possessed Yukito.

"Come on, Gramps," Risako quipped. "Let's battle."

As much as Risako didn't like it, she knew that defeating a demon would be much, much easier with magic. Contrary to popular belief, she did have a magical arm of her own. She received it when she was fourteen, but she rarely ever used it. Technically, it consisted of two weapons - it was a dual-pair of katanas. Although Risako could use only one at a time if she wanted to, the power would be much stronger if she wielded the two swords simultaneously. Many had trouble with that, since they actually had a dominant hand, but Risako was fairly ambidextrous. It worked for her.

But there was a catch to her katanas; no two people could wield them at the same time. If Risako used one and Takiya used the other at the same time, there would be no magic. None. Zilch.

Of course, demon Yukito. Desperate times, desperate measures. Risako whipped out her swords and started attacking the white-haired boy.

She was out of practice. Sure, since she used a dual-pair of katanas all the time when sparring, her skill was impeccable, but Risako hadn't used magic in a long time. The battle mainly consisted of Risako blocking the energy blasts Yukito sent her way. Every magical arm had its own unique properties, and being a Kotonoha, Risako was wielding some of the most powerful in the world.

Risako was able to use her katanas to manipulate the magic of others if she wanted to, but it wasn't exactly a simple task. After all, magic wasn't a one-dimensional subject.

Before she could even try, Lukas came flying in atop a...mattress? "I'm here!" he cried out. Yukito stopped shooting energy blasts in Risako's direction and sent a couple energy slashed over to Lukas instead. Takiya quickly shielded the wizard.

"It's about time," Risako heard her brother remark. "So what are we gonna do? Would you be able to exorcise him right away or we need to hold him down first?"

While Takiya was speaking, Risako definitely didn't fail to notice Yukito preparing an energy blast. The action wasn't immediate; it was going to be stronger than the previous blasts. Suddenly, the white-haired boy swung back to release the energy, and Risako jumped into action.

Really, all she needed was an extreme stroke of luck. The dark-haired Magic Knight swung her katanas, attempting to propel to impending energy blast toward the demon rather than the others. Yukito released the massive energy blast, the magic shooting over to Takiya and Lukas.

The energy blast abruptly changed course, slamming into Yukito instead. Risako refrained from heaving a sigh of relief and weariness - it worked, but it wasn't easy. She had to hold back from cheering right there. Sometimes, due to her constant refusal to use magic, Risako would just call herself a Knight instead of Magic Knight as a joke. But thank the stars, something magical actually worked for her.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kallen Vermillion Character Portrait: Lukas Isharian Character Portrait: Ambre Vermillion

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#, as written by Kestrel
Kallen & Ambre Vermillion



Beaming gratification, Ambre watched Lukas fly off. “Watch ‘em go.” She poked Kallen’s side with her elbow. “Too bad they chose to bring out a living armour of all things, against me.” Ambre shook her head then stretched out her other arm towards the Dullahan. Her spells jumped from the ramp and latched onto the Dullahan’s armour. “Time to can this tin man, scatter!

Rather than breaking their opponent in a million tiny pieces as the mage girl expected her disassembly spell to do, the letters were swallowed up in the Dullahan’s aura. Before Ambre realised what happened, it raised its sword and within the blink of an eye; the mansion’s walls were reduced to dust!

Kallen hurried to dodge the swings and pulled his sister to the ground, dragging her away as thick pillars of rock came up through the wooden floorboards as a shield between them and the Dullahan. He didn’t expect it to hold for long, so Kallen focused on getting away.

I believe the Dullahan may be invulnerable to our attacks. It absorbed your spell without any show of effort, so we should assume magic does not affect it.” He explained, frowning when he heard his stone wall crumbled in the background. “We may have to find a more creative way to defeat it than using a direct offensive approach.

“Hah, nerd.” Ambre laughed - though she took Kallen’s observations to mind. Rising above the makeshift shelter, Ambre cast her disassembly spell once more, but on the ceiling this time. Cracks appeared in it and within seconds it gave in. Wood splinters and pieces of tiles fell from the gaping hole in the ceiling, before dropping an entire bathtub on top of the Dullahan from the floor above!

Kallen pulled up some of the floorboards to cover their heads, holding Ambre close and keeping a close eye on the cloud of dust where the bathtub had crashed. The dust cleared, and he caught sight of the tub thrown off to the side, the stone wall that had been broken moments before now put back together and shielding the Dullahan. Kallen was up in a second and once again pulling Ambre away from the creature, his thoughts racing a mile a minute.

The Dullahan can absorb all our magical attacks and replicate the spells. I doubt we are able to defeat it with magic attacks.” Kallen tried to explain as they ran, the gaps between words growing as Kallen ran out of breath. He stopped at the guest rooms and let go of his sister, heading straight for the rune book. “Fortunately, the Dullahan is a summoned creature. If we find the summoning rune and break it, the creature will disappear. The only problem is locating the rune.

“I think it’s too soon to run out of breath, Kallen.” Ambre warned her brother. Not a second later, the headless horseman trashed into the room, door and all, heading straight for Kallen. Right before it could swing its sword at him, the floor under his feet crumbled; making him fall out of the Dullahan’s path the second it lashed out at him.

“Just because we can’t use magic on him, doesn’t mean we can’t use it on our selves!” Ambre shouted at her brother, “Get out of there!”

Kallen clutched the rune book close to his chest, a wave of his hand softening the soil at the bottom of the hole so it didn’t hurt when he met ground. “Well, I am certainly not leaving without you.” He grumbled, shifting the ground beneath his sister so she would fall down with him and hurriedly closing it up so they were protected, though only temporarily. It was pitch black, and Kallen touched a hand to one of the walls, a couple of bioluminescent mushrooms growing out from it.

Opening the rune book and flipping through the pages, he found a picture of the summoning rune required to bring a Dullahan into the surface world, holding it up so Ambre could see. “This is what we are looking for. Summoned creatures must follow direct orders, so whomever made the contract with the Dullahan must be relatively nearby, and a majority of summonings are short-term, so the rune will be nearby as well.

“They’re a wizard thing, but that’s not the only thing crawling around. There’s a possession demon near the pillar and a slime who knows where.” Ambre replied, keeping her hands above her head to keep the sand out of her hair, (without success). They could hear the Dullahan trampling the floor, though it was unable to dig through the hard ground Kallen had put between the monster and them. When Kallen and Ambre turned out to be smarter than worms, the Dullahan seemed to leave the guest room above.

“Didn’t Takiya mention runes at dinner? Did he say anything about where he found them?” Ambre asked as the Dullahan’s footsteps quieted down.

No, but I believe I heard a guard mention the Ginza District, and he did mention that it was found in an alleyway. That was for the rune Lukas and I are deciphering though, and it isn’t a summoning rune.” Kallen replied, closing the rune book and tucking it under his arm. “I am not sure how long we will be able to stay here safely. The Dullahan could be setting itself against the Kotonoha staff.

Suddenly, Kallen's phone rang. “Are you going to take that?” Ambre asked, though her narrowed brow betrayed her suspicion. She grabbed Kallen's phone from his pocket, but the number on the display was unknown.

Ambre picked it up, “Hello, hello?” She tried to say, but dropped the phone from her hands. With eyes spurred wide-open she looked at Kallen, as her brother's phone landed on the speaker button. On the other end of the line, the Vermillion siblings heard only screaming.

Kallen couldn't help but cringe at the sound- one he had heard only once before, when their own house staff had been killed in the explosion that had destroyed the Vermillion pillar. The guilt he still felt over their deaths came flooding back, and Kallen hurriedly hung up the phone, reaching his arms up to touch the ceiling. The dirt easily began to wedge itself around and underneath the two of them, lifting them up to the surface.

“...Kallen? Ambre’s lip quivered as she caught sight of her brother’s expression. She squeezed his forearm, waiting for his answer.

Once light broke, Kallen dropped to a crouch, checking to make sure no one was in sight. The Dullahan was not immediately nearby, though screams and the cracking of wood could be heard in the distance. Glancing back and forth between his sister and the door of the room, Kallen finally ruffled Ambre’s hair and thrust one fist on the floor, the dirt from their shelter crawling up into a stone box around her.

“Kallen!” Ambre reached for her brother, but fell onto a stone wall. “Damn it! Kallen, don’t you dare!” She shouted, punching the stone box. The glimpse of light she’d just so briefly caught vanished in an instant. Her knuckles bled and her heart jumped up her throat. “Don’t you dare Kallen, don’t you fucking dare! I’m not letting you go alone!”

The wooden floor under Ambre’s feet pulverised into sawdust, but she was too late. Kallen’s cage already had a bottom. Ambre threw her shoulder against the box with all the strength she had, but Kallen’s magic didn’t budge. Neither did Ambre. “Kallen!” She shouted, unwaveringly tackling the box… But Ambre couldn’t even hear her brother anymore. She could feel her shoulder swell up and the sawdust irritating her eyes. The girl dropped to her knees in a whimper… “Kallen…”

Kallen checked to make sure the box was secure and tucked the book safely next to it before racing out of the room, following the sounds of battle. He ended up in what had once been the guest quarter’s entrance, the walls and ceiling now gone, shrapnel and torn rice paper littering the ground and the smell of death lingering in the air.

There were already bodies. Not many, which Kallen was grateful for- it seemed the Kotonoha staff knew how to protect themselves and each other. But there were still bodies.

Bodies that may not have been there had he not retreated and hid from his opponent.

The Dullahan was standing above the chaos, showing no emotion or hesitation as it threw down another wall. Kallen erected a wall of dirt and grass to shield him from shrapnel, and when the barrage ended, he moved the wall around a group of fleeing servants, trapping them in stone much the same way Ambre was back in his room. It was the best way to keep them safe, as the Dullahan didn't seem to be able to dig through it.

Testing the waters, Kallen thrust a small mound of dirt and grass straight at the Dullahan’s chest. The mound was dissolved and instantly fired back at him. Kallen dodged with a frown, confirming that he wouldn't be able to use magic to fight. Seems I will simply have to use hand-to-hand.

Waiting for the Dullahan to strike first, Kallen dodged its attack, ducking under the swing and sliding over the grass to punch it in the gut. His hand cracked painfully on hard armor and he reared back, swearing under his breath. The hit had done no damage, not to his opponent at least. The Dullahan took his pause as an opening and backhanded Kallen across the courtyard.

Struggling to grasp his breath, Kallen dug one hand deep into the dirt, encasing a few more of the servants in stone and hoping the shelters would hold. He stood, keeping all the attention on himself, and picked up a decent-sized rock from the ground, waiting for the Dullahan to charge. When it finally did, he just barely ducked beneath its swing, shoving the jagged edge of the rock in between the cracks of the creature’s armor.

The Dullahan jerked back in what Kallen hoped was pain, and he threw the rock at it as it retreated. He quickly learned that it didn't like being injured.

Kallen, having already grown tired from lack of proper battle stamina, found it harder to keep up with the Dullahan’s suddenly frantic swings at him. Some of his hair littered the soil where he'd been too slow to dodge, and he'd bitten through his tongue at some point, blood spilling over onto his shirt. The Dullahan did not slow down, and Kallen grunted as the blunt edge of its longsword hit him across the chest, pushing him back a few steps.

Kallen dodged another swing of the sword, a dodge too close for comfort, only to find the creature anticipating his move. The Dullahan’s horse turned faster than should have been possible, its back hooves kicking him several feet away, his head cracking on one of his own stone cages, effectively knocking him unconscious. The stone cages dissolved with him.

A ray of light passed through Ambre's earth prison. As the sun touched her face, Ambre looked up to see her cage was falling apart. She tried to pick herself up, but her left arm wasn't responding to her. It was swollen and bruised, from her shoulder to her elbow. Her knee was blemished black and pain seethed through her entire leg. Clenching her teeth, Ambre raised from her crumbling prison. “...Kallen? She whispered against her better judgement, but her brother was nowhere to be seen.

The sawdust recollected itself into the shape of a staff that the girl could lean on. Cold sweat ran down her spine and her heart hadn't left her throat. Ambre saw the book Kallen had left under the newly formed pile of dirt. A bookmark was stuck between the pages... He couldn't have/ She feared the worst.

The staff trembled in her hand as Ambre walked through the corridors. She heard screaming and shouting faintly – as if she was wearing earplugs. She dragged her feet. Ambre's body was telling her she was going to a place she did not want to be, but like a moth drawn to a flame, the girl could not help but follow the echoes down the mansion.

Two of the Kotonoha guards, a male wizard and a female knight, ran past Ambre. “Miss Vermillion?” She could barely hear one guard speak as the knight turned around. The knight must had been in her early thirties. Her left eye was shut and judging by the sweat on her brow and scratches on her face, she must had fought recently. “What's going on, are you alright?” The knight asked, but Ambre didn't answer. The woman shook her head, then ran ahead ahead. Ambre followed.

Each step she took, her sense of pain seemed to fade, voices grew softer – and her heartbeat, still beating like a drum, almost felt like it slowed down. The two guards lead Ambre back to the guest quarters. The walls were torn down and past them, she recognised domes made of dirt… Kallen!

Rushing forward as fast as a leg and a staff allowed her, Ambre turned round the corner. The familiar silhouette of a headless but mounted knight loomed over one of the domes; it’s sword repeatedly slamming down against a reinforced katana, drawn by the woman knight that had passed her earlier. Like Takiya earlier, the woman’s veins lit up like magic circuits, strengthening the muscles in her arms and legs; but with each and every strike she was forced further back… And behind her laid the unconscious body of Kallen!

Time slowed in front of Ambre’s eyes. She could not tear her eyes away from her brother. The sound of the clashing blades muffled. The wizard guard was shouting at her, but she couldn’t hear what he said. Even her own heart, Ambre could no longer feel…



“Kallen, Kallen, I did it!”

Ambre's memories flooded her mind. She saw herself, with small, cement-covered hands, standing in a pile of dust in her mother's mansion. It was the first time she'd successfully cast a deconstruction spell; and the living room wall had felt it! There was a giant gaping hole where nicely layered bricks were supposed to go and Ambre – at six years old, had ran up to her brother's room and dragged him downstairs by the sleeve.

“I touched it and it went boom!” The girl beamed at Kallen. She could hardly contain herself, jumping up and down as she pointed at the hole. “And look, look, now it's gone!”

“Wow. Did you do that? You are amazing.” Kallen ruffled his sister's hair, smiling in a way even Ambre rarely saw him do.

“I did, I did!” Ambre grabbed her brother's hand and pet herself with it more. “I'm going to show mum, then she'll let me go to school!”

For a second, Kallen's smile vanished. As if Ambre had been speaking of the devil, Elise Vermillion came down the stairs. Ambre felt a gust of wind swoop through her hair and then the corridor; taking out the dusty mess she had created.

“What is this!” Her mother gasped, but unlike her brother, Elise did not smile at all. The woman's brow narrowed – and for a split second wrinkles blinked in and out of existence. “Who did this to the house?” She shrieked in anger. Ambre balled her fists.

“I am sorry mother, one of my spells went wrong.” Kallen answered, before Ambre could even say a thing. She tried to protest, but Kallen covered her mouth. “It is my fault.”

“Well of all-” Their mother could barely restrain herself. “Kallen, we're having a word right now!” Elise barked at him and grabbed Kallen by his sleeve. Ambre tried to run after her brother, but her legs were too short to keep up. Kallen turned his head and smiled at her, silently hushing her by putting his index finger to his lips as Elise pulled him up the stairs.



The Dullahan had forced the knight her back against the wall. With a fell swoop of its sword, it knocked up her katana and with its heels, the monster spurred on the horse to trample her! The knight raised a force field in a knick of time, but was thrown back through the wall, into the kitchen. For a second, the Dullahan hovered over Kallen, but decided to pursue its opponent.

The memory faded from Ambre’s head. As did the feelings from her heart. The scene in front of her, the knight defending Kallen, the wizard handing out shield charms to all the servants emerging from the domes… She could see it all in slow motion. Ambre’s mind had never felt so clear. She tore her body from her thoughts, as every step she took after the knight and the Dullahan, she sizzled with magic. Ambre brushed Kallen’s cheek with her fingers as she passed him; he was still warm.

Inside the kitchen, the Dullahan had its opponent on the ropes. There was a dent near the midriff of it’s armour, but it still fought ferociously. Ambre could see the knight’s lips move, trying to tell her something while she was fighting, but Ambre still heard no sound.

The mage her mana seeped into the entirety of the kitchen. Each cupboard, each drawer, each oven, she could feel their presence like extensions of her own body. As the Dullahan raised its sword once more, the beams tore from the floor and the exposed water pipes burst; throwing Dullahan and horse of their feet and tossing them across the room.

The entirety of the estate began to rumble, as a golden glow spread like cracks through the kitchen. The knight ran up to Ambre, but the girl could not tell what she was saying. The floors fragmented and - with pipelines spurring them, the kitchen floor rolled like waves around her. Knives rattled in their drawers and gas stewed from their stoves. The knight grabbed Ambre’s shoulder, but the mage’s magic overtook the knight’s clothing; sewing her legs together. The knight was then toppled by the maelstrom of wood, water and tiles underneath her, as it roughly tossed the woman out of the kitchen.

The horse could hardly catch it’s footing. The Dullahan tried to stab it’s sword in the floor to absorb the magic, but to no avail. The mana ebbed and flooded faster than it could pinpoint Ambre’s spells. An indiscriminate chaos of magic tore down the foundation of the kitchen. Chunks of wood and stone rained from the ceiling, Fire-alarms screeched. Sprinklers and pipelines stormed water everywhere. The Dullahan’s horse climbed atop a kitchen counter, using the isle for a short gallop, before it jumped at Ambre.

A burst of gas met the Dullahan mid-air and the stove flickered; blasting a stream of fire at the horseman’s side! The Dullahan was blown off it’s horse and both crashed into the floor. The horse landed inches in front of Ambre, who promptly opened a drawer with her staff. The kitchen knives glued onto it, forging a heavy spear, which Ambre, barely glancing at the beast, plunged into it’s neck. The horse convulsed and it bled and burned - but the girl’s eyes were fixed on the Dullahan.

The headless armour was at the mercy of Ambre’s maelstrom, tossed around like a ragdoll by the waves, it could no longer get up. The raging seas split before their creator as Vermillion mage approached the Dullahan, bowing for her each time her spear tapped the floor. Behind Ambre coiled gas lines; like snakes they leered over her shoulders. One wave after another, they spit fire at the Dullahan; boiling it inside of it’s armour.

If it screamed, Ambre couldn’t hear it. Once it was a medieval harness, but now the Dullahan’s form was broken, malformed and melting. As if paying the girl their respects, the closer Ambre came, the calmer the floors and walls that had so violently trashed her foe became. The Dullahan lied at her feet, convulsing with the last of its strength inside of its red-hot armour. Ambre knelt down, being so close to the glowing iron brought sweat to her forehead, but the girl did not care. Her index finger touched the armour, the blaze consumed her skin, but Ambre’s senses were too numb to feel the pain. Her magic spread throughout the harness; transforming its protective layers into spikes bent inwardly. The limbs melted together. The visor closed. The Dullahan’s armour warped into an iron maiden; with the monster still inside.

Slowly, Ambre could feel her heartbeat returning. Pressure built up in her ears - as if landing a plane. Her knees submitted to the sudden weight in her chest, she would have tumbled over if it weren’t for a pair of hands catching her fall. It was the Kotonoha guard, the woman knight, who pulled Ambre against her breast. A beeping noise filled Ambre’s head, although she knew for sure the woman was supposed to be talking. “...Kallen?” Ambre muttered. The woman pointed her finger outside where her wizard companion was performing first aid on the white-haired Vermillion boy.

“...Thank… You.” Ambre’s voice was hoarse and small. She let the knight support her in the spear’s stead and for a brief moment, she felt the weight slide off her chest.

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kotonoha Takiya Character Portrait: Kotonoha Risako Character Portrait: Lukas Isharian

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"U-Um." Lukas flinched as Risako deflected an energy blast, knuckles turning white around his wand. "I need you to hold him down first. Then I can exorcise him." He said rapidly, and began to pull an impossibly long string of metal from his pocket like a never-ending handkerchief out of a magician's hat.

"It's prayer beads," Lukas explained the obvious, voice tight with tension. He continued to pull at the string of metal - it wrapped around his arm in loose loops. "Holy object - according to religion, anyway. It'll help to trap the demon in place. It's a rush job, but it should work. Here." Lukas jerkily handed the coiled string of metal to Takuya, eyes flickering towards Yukito's direction. The boy was still collapsed on the ground. When he looked at the Kotonoha siblings, his face was pale but serious. "I need him to be touching this while I do the ritual. That way the demon can't escape and possess anyone else while I do the exorcism."

The metal string was a meter long and absolutely covered in beads. small and medium-sized silvery beads hung on the string at even intervals, separated by five larger beads which had runes etched into them. At one end hung an oval bead, etched with a rune that looked vaguely like a cross. In his pockets were items he'd crafted from the materials used from the bed - charms written in blood using the sheets, blessed salt from his pouch that his mom had trained him to carry around at all times, and chants he'd memorized. And if all else failed, there was a little surprise from the metal he'd welded to the mattress that the demon wouldn't like.

"Here. anti-possession charms." Lukas handed over two small patches of metal that looked like flattened screws to the Kotonoha siblings. It was etched in runes that glowed a faint red in the light. He already had one attached to his charm bracelet. Exorcism wasn't his strong point, but Lukas at least knew what to do, what precautions to take. He kept his eyes trained on the fallen figure. The demon was awake now, rubbing his head with a groan. "Won't work on someone who's already possessed, but it'll help in case things go bad."

They were ready.

Not a moment too soon - the possessed boy was back on his feet. "Hmmph." The demon sneered, tilting Yukito's head at an unnatural angle as he registered them. Lukas winced as his head snapped back to normal - that was going to hurt once Yukito had his own body back. "Reinforcements? Foolish." Shivers ran down Lukas's spine at the sneering tone in Yukito's voice. He raised his wand as Yukito raised his swords into an offensive position. "That'll do nothing to stop me. But that just means..."

The grin on Yukito's face was unnaturally wide, the demon's pure malevolence shining through. "One more to kill."

Setting

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Character Portrait: Kotonoha Takiya Character Portrait: Kotonoha Risako Character Portrait: Lukas Isharian

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Takiya took the prayer beads and the charm from Lukas and nodded. “Be careful. Don’t get yourself killed.”

Lukas and Risako nod in return, and Takiya turned away. He knew that despite his insecurities, the young wizard was not so incapable - he wouldn’t be here in the first place otherwise.

He faced the demon, who was taunting them, and raised his sword towards it. “Your petty arrogance is getting tiresome. Just give up already. If you think you can handle the three of us at once, you are clearly having a death wish.” Magic circuits then began to appear on his arms and legs, “Let’s finish this quick, shall we?”

Like a flash, Takiya dashed forwards towards the direction of the possessed Yukito. His speed surely has caught the demon by surprise, since he was holding back earlier. The demon was staggered a step back as it dodged Takiya’s slash by mere inches. Up until now, except for the first shockwave, its movement has been rather predictable, not so different from Yukito himself. It seemed that all that this demon did was to physically and magically enhanced Yukito’s body, instead of giving him some new abilities.

The two of them engaged in a deadlock as their swords clashed together. Takiya was considerably faster and using more hidden moves than earlier, which in turn caused the demon to actually struggle to keep up with him. After catching the possessed Yukito off balance with a slash, he suddenly switched places with Risako.

Risako’s katanas were now sheathed - she had gone back to the style of combat she was most comfortable with. It was lucky for her that she actually took the time to notice Yukito - she got the basics of how he fought. The demon was off-balance and startled by Takiya’s performance - the possessed Yukito relied too heavily on his arrogance. That was going to be his downfall.

The amber-eyed Magic Knight went immediately for the sword - the demon might be able to conjure up new weapons, but Risako was used to disarming her opponents first when she had the upper hand. She, like Takiya, was moving faster now that she was hiding few of her abilities. While Takiya was stronger than her, Risako was faster, overwhelming the demon with her hits. Every time the demon recuperated, before he could make another move, he was hit once again.

As I expected, sooner or later that he would deplete his energy. Takiya thought. From what he has observed, the demon has been fighting the four of them without a moment to rest or using any means to refill his mana pool since the beginning of the battle. Though it might have bestowed Yukito’s body with a considerable larger amount of mana, it has been using mostly a plethora of energy attacks at high intensity, which can only serve to run its’ pool dry. In other words, it wanted to finish them off as quickly as possible, but now, its’ intention failed miserably. This could only proved how cocky the demon was, believing it could simply take the best magicians of this era on by itself. Such foolish recklessness spelled certain doom to it the moment the fight began.

“Grrr. Why don’t you slugs just DIE already?!” The possessed Yukito screamed in anger. It struggled to even stand as it was sent sliding backwards by Risako’s chain of attacks, damage evident from the multiple hits it had sustained. Now disarmed, the demon desperately drew more blood from Yukito’s hands and tried to summon more slimes to aid it.

There were more clones of Yukito now than it is before. Knowing the state the demon is in, they should not be too much of a problem for them now. But this time, it shifted its’ attention to Lukas, as he seemed to be an easier target to take down in comparison with Takiya and Risako. While sending several of the slimes to surround the two Magic Knights, the possessed Yukito charged with the rest of the clones towards where Lukas was standing.

“Take care of Lukas and finish off the cronies. I’ll deal with Yukito.” Takiya said to his sister before swinging his sword and sent a powerful slash that made quick works of the slimes surrounding them. After sending Risako to fend for Lukas, he dashed forwards and got behind the back of the demon. Takiya slammed his sword on the ground and two energy blasts were conjured, as they travelled diagonally before abruptly changing their directions and run into each other right in front of the demon, prevented it from approaching Lukas and Risako any further.

Fortunately, the main threat was apprehended. Unfortunately, the lesser threats - which was the multiple amounts of slime - were free to merge towards their incoming target.

Lukas’s eyes widened at the incoming wave of slimes. Reaching into his pouch, he quickly pulled out a red cartridge. The bottom of his wand opened up, and Lukas deftly slotted it in like a gun magazine as the wand morphed into a sleek red handle, a smooth silver cylinder - a caricature of a gun.

The slimes were coming in now, homing like missiles towards Lukas. The wizard raised the gun up towards them. With his other hand, he pressed into the frame of his spectacles.

The spectacles flickered a faint green like a loading screen. Through the spectacles, everything suddenly became vivid - as if Lukas had just cleared a patch of dust from his lenses and was seeing the sky for the first time - and suddenly, the slimes gained markers. Just like virtual reality goggles, only in this case, things were very much real.

Lukas took aim and fired.

Small round balls that looked like bb bullets hit the slimes with deadly accuracy. A dark green glow emanated from where they’d been hit, and the slimes froze onto the spot with a shudder - creating an opening for Risako to slay. Aided by both instinct and the magic in his spectacles, Lukas continued to shoot like the protagonist of a shooting game as more slimes took the place of their fallen brothers, barely missing a shot.

Risako jerked the neck of a shuddering slime, shattering the windpipe. Neck snapping may seem a bit brutal, but it was quite effective. As Lukas shot slime after slime (where did he get that accuracy?), Risako slaughtered each one, only allowing a couple of them to not face her wrath.

The ones Lukas had shot but Risako had failed to get continued to shudder in place. As they shook, tremors convulsing their liquid bodies until finally, they burst into small green droplets that faded before they could even touch the ground.

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The demon got no choice but to shift its’ attention back to Takiya. Despite knowing that it had no chance of winning now, it still managed to put on a maniacal laugh, “Why are you fighting so hard for this brat, anyway? He’s only a worthless whelp. He isn’t capable of anything like you. He isn’t even a family member of yours. So why does it matter?!” The demon shouted as it summoned Yukito’s sword which Risako disarmed earlier, as the sword flew from where it laid to the boy’s hand.

Takiya didn’t say anything as he stood calmly, as he watched the demon pouring all the remaining energy it had left into the sword, before slamming it down on the ground like Takiya did earlier and sending an enormous blast towards Takiya.

“Hang on, Yukito. It will be over soon.” He muttered before raising his arm as a barrier of the same magnitude with the blast appeared. The two spells collided, and the impact they caused was strong enough to shake the whole foundation of the chamber itself. They were caught in a stalemate for a while, but in the end, Takiya’s barrier was stronger, as the blast exploded, sending a resounding shockwave back to the demon, causing it to be sent flying backwards.

With no hesitation, Takiya enhanced his legs and dashed with great speed towards the demon, as if he was teleporting from whence he stood earlier. While the demon was still mid-air, he hastily swung the prayer beads and let it wrapped around Yukito’s body. The beads tied him from his arms all the way down to his feet before he hit the ground with a thud. It seemed that the object was truly harmful to demons, after all, as it seemingly caused it to scream out and winch in pain. “Now!” Takiya shouted to Lukas before jumping backwards a considerable distance away, leaving room for the wizard to do his job.

“Got it!” Lukas fired one last shot at a slime that was about to creep behind Risako before reaching under his sleeve. Amidst all the charms he was already wearing was a bracelet that was an exact miniature replica of the prayer beads that surrounded the possessed Yukito. Pulling it off his wrist, Lukas cupped it in both hands in the posture of a prayer and began to chant.

The exorcism had begun.

The beads wrapped around Yukito glowed the exact time the bracelet did, a soft white glow that chased away the darkness, the color of disinfectant. The demon screamed and began to struggle, writhing in pain as the beads began to tighten around its body. It clawed desperately at the beads, but when the line held strong it renewed its struggle, thrashing about in an attempt to get free.

“Curse you!” Spittle flew from Yukito’s lips as the demon spat out curses in a stream of unspeakable words, rage with the intent to destroy. But with every cuss it shot out, the demon’s true face began to show, an overlay of inhumanity that lay over Yukito’s snarling face. Slowly but surely, the demon was being forced out of Yukito’s body by the exorcism.

In the background, protected from the slimes by Risako, Lukas’s voice gained a harmonic lilt as he continued the chant, determined and steady despite the chaos happening around him.

It was like seeing a 3D hologram come to life while a person was standing inside it. Yukito lay still wrapped in the beads, held aloft by their weight alone. The demon, echo turned real, writhed in pain where the beads touched him. The beads grew impossibly tighter, wrapping around Yukito like a metallic boa constrictor, but the demon was the only one who felt the pain - it gasped and choked, attempted to flee - but where the beads caressed Yukito it chained the demon to the earth, a cage for its destruction.

In the background, heard over the noise despite its calmness, Lukas continued the chant. He raised the bracelet, giving it a sharp twist as he began to sing more than chant.

The beads glow intensified, a blinding white light that spread light into the room and destroyed the darkness. The demon - and the shape was visible now, face and body overlapping with Yukito’s like a semi-transparent coating - opened its mouth one last time in a wordless scream, a chilling howl filled with anger of being cheated from victory, the pain and terror that came with being destroyed. The sound reverberated throughout the room, a harsh mix of two voices screaming - the demon and Yukito’s. As the howl went on, the sound gained discord - the voices began to separate, pulled apart like taffy in the face of Lukas’s determined chanting. A mix became a harmony became a disjointed duet, and soon, only the demon was the one howling in pain - and that too began to fade, alongside the demon’s body.

By the time Lukas ended the chant, it had gone silent, and Yukito was the only one left wrapped in the prayer beads.

The exorcism was over. The demon had been successfully banished.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kotonoha Takiya Character Portrait: Kallen Vermillion Character Portrait: Kotonoha Risako Character Portrait: Lukas Isharian Character Portrait: Ambre Vermillion

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「Magic Knight 2」

#965660 | #DFA855

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After the demon possessing Yukito had been expelled from his body, the white hair boy laid where he was struck, motionlessly. "Yukito!" Takiya called out hastily as he dashed forward towards his apprentice, unwrapping him off the prayer bead and held the younger boy up in his arm. His breath was weakened, but fortunately, his heart was still beating. His eyes, demonically reddened only a while ago, are now back to their primitive state. Yukito then stirred and mumbled weakly, "T...Takiya-sama... is that... you?"

Takiya smiled lightly and brushed some of Yukito's stranded hair away, "Yes, it's over now. Just rest."

As if a sense of relief and assurance had just washed over him, Yukito's consciousness left him completely as he nudged over Takiya's shirt. Holding the boy up in his arms, he stood up and turned to Risako and Lukas, "Let's get outta here. I have a feeling our estate has already been wrecked into a ruin up there already. But don't let your guard down yet." With that said, the three of them made their way out of the sanctuary. For now, the Pillar will be safe, as Minami can take care of any other intruders should they have the guts to face her head on.

And as Takiya expected, the scenery outside the well is a complete mess. Every corner of the estate was reduced to ruin. One good thing though, is that there seemed to be no more monsters wandering about, as the guards have apparently dispersed of them for now. However, most of them are all worn out and wounded, as the few lucky unscathed ones are trying to clean up the mess that the attackers left behind and tend for the less lucky ones.

So, the Vermillions and the Isharians are also like this when they were under attack... Takiya thought and sighed. Never had he thought they would be struck with such severe casualty like this. All of the security tasked with the duty of supervising the estate are of the top elites, yet there are those who have died for their causes. This could only proved how much the odds are against them in the upcoming days, not to mention that the Drakens are even yet to step into play. They need to step up their games now, or everything they are trying to fight for is lost.

"Takiya-san." Shinoda and Tetsuo called over to Takiya as they approached him. They too didn't look very bright after what had happened, but at least they are still alive.

"Glad to see you two didn't end up in body bags." He nodded to them, "How's thing?"

"It seemed that the situation was much worse than we anticipated, but luckily the body count is kept at the lowest possible. I think we have warded them off for now, but I have no ideas when will they strike again. Hopefully we'll be more ready when that happen."

"What's done is done, we'll see if we can rejuvenate the situation before we face another storm." Takiya remarked, "Let's focusing on cleaning things up and heal our wounds for now. Get me a medic." He then carried Yukito into the nearest room that hadn't been destroyed yet

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It was the third time those two trying to corner me up and tried to beat me to a pulp already. I don't know what exactly that had happened. All that I've ever seen in my life is darkness. Yet, this time, I don't know why, but I felt as if a hidden strength within me had told me to fight back, to live on even though I have no directions to aim for, and to no longer running. And before I could even notice, I have taken them down.

"Hey boy, nice putting these two scoundrels down. You okay?"

Another man approached me, and I have no idea who he is, or how he looked like. But I can faintly felt that he is extending his arm, offered to lift me up. Unlike the two I beaten down, this person exerted no ill intentions towards me, but he is much, much stronger than them, and at the same time intimidating. I felt like if he wanted to kill me, then he would be able to do it in mere seconds. That was enough to send chills through my back, as shook my head violently and curled into a ball.

"Hey, no worries. I'm not going to harm you or anything. Tell me your name?"

"... I... don't know... For as long as I know... I have been wandering on these streets..."

"You're visually impaired, yet you managed to survive that long by relying on your other senses alone, completely unaided. That, I must say, is simply remarkable. I don't think I could have been able to pull that off if I were you."

Although the man is still quite intimidating, at the same time, his words also felt so... tender and genuinely caring. Never in my life have someone treated me that way. And somehow, strange feelings I have never had before filled my heart.

"Thank... you...?"

"Say, I think if you are trained enough, you will be very strong one day. I certainly can use a hand like you around my place." He extended his arm once again towards me, "So what do you say? Will you come with me and be my apprentice?"

Those words for me were like a lifesaver, and I certainly would be a fool to pass such an offer. But somewhere in my heart, I think I accepted it simply because that I wanted to know more about this man, and to be closer to him. So, like someone who was offered a rescued hand after having drifting on the ocean for ages, I reached out my own hand to him.

"Yes."

"That's good. My name is Takiya, I came from the Kotonoha household." The man called Takiya helped me to stand up, as he patted my shoulder, "You have beautiful white hair like snow, and since you don't know your name, from now on I will call you 'Yukito', how does that sound?"

I don't think I have ever smiled so happily in my life before, as I was quick to accept my new given name. I must looked really silly back then, but I don't think I care, as I know for sure that... I was saved.


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Two Days Later

Everything slowly went back into order as two days slowly passed by after the attack of the monsters on the Kotonoha estate. As far as things are concerned, no Drakens were involved in this attack, but the monsters surely must have taken orders from someone. The explanations are still on Lukas and Kallen, who have been researching the magic circle that Takiya found, though after their encounter with the dullahan demon, both Kallen and Ambre have been shaken up quite a bit, and Kallen have been outcold ever since. One good thing though is the wrecked Kotonoha estate is now restored with the help of Ambre and the guards, and those who survived the attack are now healed and revitalized, prepared for any further movements from the invaders. Those who unfortunately given up their lives have also been given proper burial.

On other news, Rosa somehow had disappeared during the whole ordeal and was nowhere to be found. The search for her had been going on for the past two days, yet there were no positive results so far. The Isharian household on the other side of the world was quick to be informed by this and they have promised to send another one of their wizards as a temporal replacement for Rosa until she is found.

They were all shaken up by what had happened, but they all know the risks, and they needed to be vigilant still.

Yukito began to stir as the sunshine peaked through the curtain of the room he was lying in. "Morning, sleepy head. How do you feel?" Takiya, who was sitting next to the futon he laid on, asked with a light smile.

"Takiya-sama?" He abruptly sat up when he heard the familiar voice, then turned his face away while blushing a little, "I... I'm fine. Better than ever, I suppose."

"You've been out cold for two days already, you know." Takiya filliped on Yukito's forehead, which caused the boy to let out an 'Ow' why rubbing the place where he was hit, "Just how careless you are to allow yourself to be possessed like that?"

"I... I'm sorry. Everything was in such a ruse back then..." He gripped the blanket, feeling guilty for having caused trouble for his master. But then, he was taken aback when Takiya ruffle his hair, "Just kidding. I was worried, you know. Be sure to watch your back next time." He said with a smile.

Yukito's face scrunched up as if he wanted to cry, and then without restraining himself, turned to Takiya and hugged him, buried his face into his well-toned abs. "H-Hey, what's wrong?"

"I swear... I'll never leave your side... Takiya-sama... I'll give up even my life for you..." The white hair boy mumbled between sobs, which left Takiya to blink in confusion, as he was left stunned by the sudden emotional outbreak of his apprentice. But he just let Yukito to hug him anyway.

"Yeah, I know. You're important to me too, so don't come dying." Takiya ruffled the boy's hair like a mother comforting her child and smiled.

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#, as written by Kestrel
Akiyama Tomoko - a knight who had served the Kotonoha household for as long as she could remember, as her parents did before her, had requested audience with Kotonoha Minami. Tomoko had served the previous head long before Takiya and Risako had taken over Minami’s position. She was known to be a loyal retainer and an honourable warrior. Despite her dutifulness and discipline, Tomoko was also known to be stern and rough around the edges - though she always did her best to hide it when faced with Minami or her children. She always put forward her best manners in front of the Kotonoha clan.

Dreams had been haunting many of the staff, but where many feared for the defences and sudden invasion of the Kotonoha estate, the image stuck in Tomoko’s head were the eyes of Ambre Vermillion. She had seen the girl sloping throughout the house, restoring the damage that had been done to it. Every wall she saw Ambre work on, Tomoko remembered the eyes she had looked at her with. First when they had met in the hallways - and Ambre had stared at Tomoko like as if she were a more apparition. Then the hakama Ambre had methodically wrapped around Tomoko’s feet to throw her out of the kitchen - and lastly… The void in her eyes when the girl maimed and tortured the Dullahan. Tomoko could not forget.

There was only a single person in the household that Tomoko knew might provide her answers and so, she headed down the well to the pillar chamber, to meet with the previous head of the clan, Minami. The opening of the seal down the well made sure to announce her arrival soon as she entered, Tomoko could see Minami stand - unwavering as always - in front of the Kotonoha pillar..

“Minami-sama, there is something I would speak to you about.” The knight bowed before the previous head. Inklings of the wounds she had taken a few days ago she still wore as scratches on her face. Tomoko had insisted the magicians had better uses of their time - but Minami would know that scars inflicted by a powerful opponent were marks of pride to the guard.

“I am worried about the Vermillion girl. If you’ll permit, I would request your thoughts on the matter.”

“You mean Ambre?” Minami turned from gazing at the Pillar to face Tomoko, “Why is it that you are concern about her, of all people?”

“During the invasion, she fought one of the monsters.” Tomoko started, but hesitated. It was difficult to criticize Minami’s guests in front of her, but the knight’s own sense of justice demanded her to do so, “- Fought is not the right word. Strength is not what defines a warrior. Even to their opponents, a warrior must show respect. They must not inflict needless suffering. The girl…” Tomoko shortly looked away from Minami. “Ambre. Her moves were calculated, but they were not efficient. She sought to harm her opponent. Ambre did not kill her opponent; she left it to suffer.”

Tomoko’s face had turned pale at the memory, her eyes lowered as she continued to speak. “She shows remorse for the damage she has done to the estate. I do not believe she is evil - but this is no way for a child to act. I am concerned, but confused. I do not know what a girl with such power needs to grow honourable the way your son has. I know of no one else to ask.”

Minami listened carefully to the concern of her loyal guard. She pondered a bit as of why Tomoko would be worrying so much about a foreign magician from a faraway country whom she had barely got to know until a few days ago, but knowing that her fellow Magic Knight is an honorable warrior, and a person with a heart of gold, it is normal of her to feel so.

“I see.” She nodded to Tomoko, “To begin, I believe her behaviour is partly due to the difference in what us Magic Knights and what the Mages view as ‘honor’. They all came from foreign lands, and you cannot expect them to be raised to act like we do. I do not know much of what the Vermillion clan did in bringing up their children, but whatever she does, Ambre is still a Mage. She fought as a Mage, and I think it is of her own belief that as long as she can get the upper hand on her opponents, whatever she did to them is justifiable. This is a shared trait amongst many magicians I have met in my life, and it has become their own code of honor. For that, you must accept that while Ambre can slowly be changed in the way she acts to be less destructive, she will always be a warrior of her own calibre, and Ambre will never be the same as Takiya and Risako have grown to be.”

Minami stopped a bit to let her words sink in, before continuing, “For the next part, I am not to meddle with the business of the Vermillion family, but as far as I know, both Ambre and Kallen were raised solely by their mother, Elise, in a similar manner as I did to both of my children. But looking at them, I believe they have been left to fend for themselves even within the presence of their guardian. Elise is a respectable Mage, but she does not know how to balance between her duty with her clan and her responsibility with her offsprings. That no doubt had been weighing too much for her to bear, and it had greatly affected the way she guided them. I might have been tough on both Takiya and Risako, but I still left enough room for them to search for what they believe to be righteous, and they did. It is not the same when it comes to Ambre. Whether she noticed it or not, her surroundings have had a big influence in the way she is today. She is a defiant and feisty child indeed, and while her ways of dealing with her opponents may seem intriguing to you, it is what she simply believe she must do, otherwise she will lose her own persona, and lose her mark in this world.”

The former head set her gaze back on the Pillar, as it exudes a rather intense aura, as if it is trying its’ best to hold the burden for the two Pillars that had fallen. “I believe the best thing to do at the moment is to keep watching over Ambre. She will not simply listen to mere words from anyone, for that I have no doubts. To protect our world from its’ impending threats, the six of them still have a long way to go. There is no better way for them to find their own paths and realize where their real strength lies than to face the challenges waiting for them themselves. The same applies to Ambre. You will see that her golden heart will be revealed, sooner or later.”

“To trust her to find her own way...” Tomoko pondered. The confidence Minami placed in the girl was impeccable; an answer Tomoko could not have found for herself… But Tomoko had no children. She could only accept Minami’s words were a wisdom beyond her. The former head was known for good judgment, after all. “Thank you for your counsel, Minami-sama.” The knight bowed her head. “But there is one more thing I must ask of you. When I met the girl - Ambre… Her eyes were empty. I sensed no anger, sadness or bloodlust. Despite her wounds, she showed no signs of being in pain. Is this too the way of the mages?”

“Alas, as you have known, I have my duty, I do not have too much time to spend near the children, so I cannot say exactly why she seemed apathetic like you have said. Perhaps it is the way Ambre had chosen to deal with the hardships she had faced in life. I have seen many who, even in the face of death, bore no fear nor courage, but simply nothingness. And I believe she is building a shell of sorts to shield herself against any odds that may come her way. It will take time, but I have a strong feeling that she will eventually shred that shell.” Minami replied.

“I hope so, Minami-sama.” Tomoko felt for the child. To be so young yet be compared to fallen warriors from the Kotonoha clan, the knight truly wished there was something they could do - but had no choice but to cling to Minami’s words of hope. “Thank you for your time and guidance. I will return to my duties.” Tomoko bowed to the former head - though the knight’s face was still pale and her eyes wavered. “By your leave.”

“Stay vigilant, Tomoko. We will all need it in the upcoming days.” Minami said to the Magic Knight and returned to her position.

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Character Portrait: Kotonoha Risako Character Portrait: Lukas Isharian

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#, as written by Zallen
Lukas Isharian




Lukas closed his eyes with a sigh, massaging the bridge of his nose in an attempt to stave off an upcoming headache. It was no good - the pain was already creeping up into his head, a faint ache that was gradually growing larger.

In the two days of the aftermath, Lukas had done three things.

First was to visit Kallen. Lukas had stayed only a few minutes before turning away, unable to take the sight of his best friend in a coma or the sight of the clinic. It was a scene that was far too familiar for his taste. Guilt and anxiety roiled in his stomach - maybe if he had attempted to take out the Dullahan first, or provided a shield charm, maybe Kallen wouldn't have suffered so...

Which lead to his second idea - protection charms.

Immediately after the visit, Lukas spent most of the first day locked in his room preparing shield charms for both himself and the others. At first, it was a way for him to relax after the harrowing events of the day. It rapidly became a way to prevent himself from breaking down at the thought of what had happened to Rosa (what if she was dead? What if she was being tortured? What if -) and to distract himself from his worry over Kallen. The smooth cold feeling of metal at his fingertips and the repetition of the steps he had to take to make the charms helped calm him down.

The metal Antimony as a base for balance and protection. Obsidian for protection against physical attacks. Amethyst against psychic attacks, Fire Agate against spritual possession, Black Tourmaline for general protection. Trace amounts of Silver and Gold might help....

It took all night and his stock was running low by the time Lukas was done, but the end result was a small circle of metal, inlaid with stones and precious metals. It looked like a decorative charm that could be used for anything ranging from a keychain to an earring, but the end result was that it was an extremely powerful protection charm. It'd work for a few times before running out of juice, but it would hopefully save the wearer from certain death if surprise attacks happened again.

When he'd distributed it amongst the others, they were confused. "A shield charm?" A middle age woman said, studying the pin keenly. Her eyebrows rose up with approval. "Good workmanship. Powerful too. And you created all of these in merely a day?"

"Um. Yes." Lukas scratched his head, uncomfortable with the way she stared at him. Sure, shield charms of that caliber normally took a couple of days to make, especially in bulk, but he'd worked hard on it - he'd seen the bodies. Lukas didn't want anyone else to die, especially not if he could do something about it. Maybe he should have waited a few days... too late now, though. "I, uh, thought it'd be useful in case anything like this happened.... please help me distribute it. To the new troops too, please. Thanks!"

He scurried away before the other could call for him, stomach in knots. Even though his friend Alder was in the reinforcements that came, Lukas had no desire to meet them yet. He didn't know what to say.

The third was simple - a text towards Risako. could we meet later today? its about the proposal you made. i have my answer. another day is good if you don't want to, tho!

Text sent, Lukas fingered the other charm in his pocket, stepping towards the infirmary. It was something he'd thought of halfway through the protection charms. It was the size of two thumbs, an oval charm made of different types of wood that were fused in place with magic, all based on healing and protection. It might help, or it might not, but Lukas felt better if Kallen had it.

Halfway to the infirmary, however, his phone rang again. Lukas raised an eyebrow as he saw the sender of the text. "Ambre...?"

Setting

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Character Portrait: Kotonoha Risako Character Portrait: Lukas Isharian

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kotonoha risako
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dialogue: #e49e4f.....thought: #bdc3ad
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"Is sparring all you do?" Jitsuko asked bitterly as Risako defeated her once again. The older woman scoffed. "You know, some of us are actually doing something, making progress, protecting the pillar -" Jitsuko scowled and stopped talking when she realized that Risako wasn't actually listening to her. She crossed her arms, waiting expectantly for Risako to answer.

"As much as it pains me to say it," Risako responded, almost in an indifferent manner, "Increasing guards around the pillar isn't actually making progress." She scowled to herself as Jitsuko sneered at her disbelievingly. "Unfortunately."

Risako brushed that matter off. "In response to your other question," Risako's tone was light, before quickly becoming sarcastic, "yes, I do something other than sparring. For example, I breathe." Risako looked at her companion pointedly.

Jitsuko wrinkled her nose with distaste. "Wow," she drawled sarcastically, clearly unimpressed. Risako rolled her eyes at Jitsuko's disappointing response.

"Anyway," Risako changed the subject. "I'm sure you have other things to do." Risako furrowed a brow as she scanned through the "normal people stuff" section in her brain. "Don't people your age...flirt? Or something like that."

Jitsuko scoffed condescendingly. "People your age flirt," she retorted. Risako's eyebrows shot up in surprise. "That is, if you ever bothered to get your head out of the clouds to notice." Risako narrowed her eyes, not happy with that response. Of course, she didn't let it get to her.

"Then you must be really old," she commented, clearly getting on Jitsuko's nerves. The amber-eyed Magic Knight received a text notification. Saved by the bell, she thought.

Clucking her tongue, she turned away from Jitsuko as she started to walk away from her. "Excuse me," she said indifferently, more out of habit than actual politeness. Jitsuko scoffed, but willingly headed the other way.

Risako raised an eyebrow as she saw who sent her the text. Lukas...it must've been about the offer she had made earlier. Wow, what bad grammar, Risako thought to herself, before reminding herself that it was a text, not an essay.

could we meet later today? its about the proposal you made. i have my answer. another day is good if you don't want to, tho!

He could've just texted me his answer, Risako thought, but whatever.

you could've just texted me your answer. but it's fine, where's the rendezvous point?

Risako furrowed a brow at her message. "Wow, my language is actually strangely formal," she muttered. "I don't think anyone uses the words 'rendezvous point' anymore." She snorted. "Probably too French for them."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kallen Vermillion Character Portrait: Lukas Isharian Character Portrait: Ambre Vermillion

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#, as written by Kestrel
Ambre & Lukas




No matter the clear skies in Tokyo, Ambre’s head had been clouded for the past two days. She sat next to Kallen’s futon, legs folded sideways as she looked over her brother. Ambre wore bags under her eyes, her long hair tangled and her cheeks had sunk in. Not a sleight of her usual energy had shown since the invasion, rather, Ambre had communicated more with glares than words.

Between waiting at her brother’s bedside, Ambre had spent her days helping with the repairs to the Kotonoha mansion. Though she could feel the opinions on Ambre’s actions were somewhat divided - he dullahan’s summoning circle had been found and erased, but she’d heard the staff talk about how it’s cries still haunted their nightmares - it seemed the previous head Kotonoha Minami valued the victory more than the methods. Her fingers still ached, even if the resident staff had healed back her skin - at least, after Ambre persistently refusing treatment until she had restored the kitchen scene.

With said fingers, Ambre weakly clutched onto Kallen’s blanket. Even now, the fear he’d instilled in her still echoed. Not if I have anything to say about it. Ambre had repeated in her mind. She had told Takiya and Risako that security lacked something - and whether her hosts would like it or not, Ambre was determined to make up for it. With her free hand, she took out her phone. It was a new model after Lukas had… Not exactly brought her old one back in any recognisable shape or size. She wasn’t exactly sure why the wizard had deemed it appropriate to buy her one in a Hello Kitty case, but at this point in time, Ambre couldn’t bring herself to care much.She opened the messaging app, better able to recognise it by its symbol than the moonrunes on the display, before popping up the qwerty keys and entering a message for Lukas.

fullmetal | you made a map tracking kallen and me.
fullmetal | for how many people can you do that?
fullmetal | how much time do you need?

Lukas answered almost instantly. If she didn’t know better, Ambre could have sworn the boy had his phone glued to his hand.

Glassabi | uh ye. idk, i think a lot of ppl? Depends on how many there r n if they gt maps. Takes a few min tops why?
Glassabi | if ur planning on pranking every1 dont minami n takuya will kill u ( ;-_-)

fullmetal | no.
fullmetal | i’m planning to prevent future murder.
fullmetal | can you do track people without maps?

Glassabi | ok. And uhhhh
Glassabi | it’ll take me some time but
Glassabi | mb?
Glassabi | i passed out some charms td t evry1
Glassabi | made some fr u 2
Glassabi | i can recog the settings t trak the charms instd of the maps
Glassabi | shldnt take me much but why?

fullmetal | if you can track who goes in and out
fullmetal | at what time
fullmetal | you can see when someone unusual comes in. when someone goes somewhere unusual. i can make sure that gets analysed. i can eliminate the possibility of invasion.
fullmetal | your sister is missing. with this i could have found out what happened.

Glassabi | I… ye. I guess so hmm
Glassabi | but thats not ur goal. Nors the rescuing people. I think
Glassabi | ur doing this for Kallen, arent you?

Ambre bit her lip, Who does he think he is? She muttered inwardly. It was a good thing they were having this conversation over text instead of face to face, because if looks could kill...

fullmetal | so?

Ambre promptly admitted. Though her fingers were weak, in that fraction of time she felt like she could have crushed the tiny pink device with her bare hands.

Glassabi | ... how long have yo bn up? U eaten anything?

fullmetal | will you do it?

Glassabi | answer my question and ill ans yours.
Glassabi | if you havent i can get something fr you to eat

fullmetal | i haven’t.
fullmetal | don’t bother.

Glassabi | r u kidding me of course im gonna bother!

You clueless little… Ambre almost hissed at the phone. As if she could even get one bite down her throat with Kallen like this. Ambre grinded her teeth. You need his help. You need his help.

fullmetal | not hungry.

Glassabi | dsnt mean you dont need to eat.
Glassabi | ill bring you fd. I dont think Kallen wants his sister fainting from not eating and i nd 2 pass you guys stuff anyways, so 2 birds 1 stone.

fullmetal | whatever.

Glassabi | if you dont take care of urself im not helping u with the system. Nd 2 tell Lady Minami first tho cause its her house

fullmetal | if you must.

Glassabi | Rosa would murder me if i found her with the wrong methods
Glassabi | what d’u want 2 eat?

The door opened the same time the message arrived. Shoulders tense, Lukas stepped into the room like a soldier into the battlefield. “What do you want to eat?” he asked with a smile, phone in hand. “We could get something from the kitchens if we ask nicely. Uh. Probably.”

The wizard however, was met with a cold glare, but Lukas’ smile was set into his face like hardening cement. “If you’re worried about Kallen, this charm will help to take care of him.” Lukas produced the wooden charm in his hand, showing it carefully to Ambre. His tone was gentle, considerate but firm. “Eating is necessary. I don’t think Kallen will be happy to know that you stayed up all this time without taking care of yourself.”

”Over there.” Ambre pointed at Kallen’s bedside, her tone of voice chilling even her own spine. She looked Lukas dead in the eye. Her lip trembled, but Lukas continued to smile like a generator at full blast, eyes turning into little upside down crescents with the force of it. Stalwartly, he looked utterly unaffected as he walked by her, but the trembling of his hands betrayed his anxiety.

“Got it.” Carefully, he placed the charm at Kallen’s bedside. The charm glowed a warm kaleidoscope of leafy colors before settling on maple red, and Kallen’s bed was immediately surrounded by a faint clear barrier. Even Ambre could feel a gentle warmth radiating from the charm - and when she blinked a slight hint of colour seemed to have returned to Kallen’s cheeks.

“It’ll protect him until we get back, or when he wakes up.” Dusting his hands, Lukas turned to face her, still wearing the same smile. “And this is yours. Here.” Walking over to her, Lukas handed her two charms - the protection charm he had made in bulk and a ceramic green-glazed spiral.

The ceramic spiral was cool to the touch, and the moment Ambre took it, she could smell pine tree and petrichor, as if her skin-contact ignited a scent candle. As though Lukas had opened a window she could feel a soft breeze against her skin. Within a fraction of a second she dropped charm and it’s effects faded.

”I’m fine. Thank you.” Ambre replied in a low growl - even if she still looked and sounded far from it. She brushed the charm further away with the back of her hand, her lip twisting in disgust as she touched it.

From Lukas’ gift on the floor, Ambre heaved her gaze up to the wizard once more. ”I’d like to be alone.” She stated monotonously, but visibly trembling. The pounding of her heart echoed in the hollow of her chest. ”Please leave me be.”

With a sigh, Lukas walked towards the fallen charm. “Alright.” He said easily, still smiling, but the worry behind his eyes was apparent. The charm had fallen in front of Kallen’s bed, and Lukas crouched down to pick it up, tapping lightly against the floor. His expression was hidden as he picked up the charm, but his voice was gentle as he asked, “Just answer me this - why do you want to be alone?”

”Go away.” Ambre’s voice quivered and tears welled up in her red eyes. ”Go away. Lukas.” Her fists clenched. Her skin crawled. Her voice raised. ”Go away.”

“And I will, if you tell me how going away and leaving the both of you alone will help Kallen.” Lukas’s voice was still light, even in tone as he carefully stared at the floor, but his shoulders were tensed like he was ready for a blow. Quietly, he placed the charm back on the floor. “I know you’ve been taking care of him, and I understand that you’ve been doing a really good job of it, but leaving only one person to guard Kallen seems foolhar-”

Lukas' speech was cut short as the floor behind him gave in; the beams under his feet bent upward; throwing him off his feet face onto a makeshift wooden catapult that - with no hesitation - launched Lukas back the way he'd entered Kallen's room. Midflight, Lukas could see the door he just flew through transforming into solid wall before he even landed.

The impact to the wall didn’t do a thing - the charm Lukas had made only yesterday protected him. With a shaky sigh, he sat down, leaning his back against the wall.

“-dy.” His voice echoed from inside the room as if hidden speakers had activated. “That was pretty rude, Ambre. Especially since I hadn’t finished what I was saying. You look like you’ve gotten no sleep, and you haven’t eaten anything. That’s why I added my protection charm, in case you felt like doing that anytime soon.”

Lukas' protests were met with silence, but thirty seconds later his phone vibrated on the other end of the wall.

fullmetal | go away or suffer consequences.

It didn’t take Lukas more than a few moments to respond.

Glassabi | Id love to, but I have a promise 2 keep. Kallens share s also on the tray outside, givit 2 him when he wakes up!

The Hello Kitty case crumbled to dust in Ambre’s hand alongside the replacement phone, and the calming charm Lukas had left as his speaker was impaled by a stake that rose from the floor. Ambre put her head down on Kallen’s chest, drying her eyes with the blanket. ”Please wake up soon.” She whimpered. The girl didn't know how much more she could take.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kotonoha Risako Character Portrait: Lukas Isharian

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#, as written by Zallen
Lukas Isharian




Outside the room he was thrown out of, Lukas sighed and rested his head against the wall opposite it. Sprawled loosely in a cross-legged position, the Wizard looked like he was merely taking a rest - which was exactly what he was doing. Getting thrown out of a room with enough force to break his spine was no joke.

Sure, there were better places to rest, but Lukas didn’t feel like moving. Not while his body was still shaking with adrenaline and unwanted emotion.

Spread haphazardly on his lap were bits and pieces of wire and casings. Absently using his wand as a tool to weld the pieces of metal together, Lukas could feel his breath slow and his fingers stilling in their trembling after a few minutes, mind clearing just a bit from the turmoil it was in.

He had to compartmentalise before he fell apart. Before he laughed or cried or did both at the same time. Emotions being felt at the moment - worry, anger, fear, exhaustion. Rationalise. He had to rationalise. Why was he feeling these emotions?

Exhaustion. Easy to explain. He hadn’t slept in over 2 days - between making charms for everyone, researching the circle and confirming (running) some thoughts he had, there wasn’t exactly much time for sleep.

Then there were the emotions related to this incident with Ambre and Kallen. Worry for the both of them, regret for being unable to do anything, terror for Kallen’s situation, annoyance for Ambre’s actions towards him that caused him to be more obstinate and insensitive than he should have been. Clearly, he had done something wrong for Ambre to behave like that, but what exactly? Was it because he activated the charm and gave it to her before explaining what it did? Refused to step out of the room and kept pushing?

Lukas wasn’t entirely sure, to be honest. It was what the rest of his family had done whenever he’d gone too deep into a funk - drag him out despite his protests to either talk or grab something to eat, a method that grounded him into the world even if he screamed for them to stop, although it had always done him good in the end. Lukas had tried to copy their tactics in an effort to keep his promise to Kallen, but evidently, it hadn’t worked.

Maybe it was the messages? At first, it had been an attempt to lighten the mood, but after she’d mentioned Rosa -

Clang.

Lukas started as his wand dropped to the floor with a clatter. Eyes wide, he stared at his fingers, willing them to stop shaking. They didn’t. “Ah…”

Deep breaths. Four seconds in, four seconds out. Raking his hands through his hair as if the pain would ground him, Lukas desperately tried and failed to keep his breathing even. He tried to shove the memories back, tried to think about algorithms and recipes and procedures, but now that the dam had been torn open all the thoughts Lukas had suppressed rushed from the depths of his mind like a tsunami, drowning him with their intensity.

Surrounded by fragments of machinery, curled in on himself like a child and his hands clasped over his mouth to muffle his sobbing gasps, Lukas closed his eyes and wished that it was all a nightmare.

Unfortunately, the reality was this - His best friend was critically injured. He’d pissed off his best friend’s little sister and failed to keep his promise. He’d almost died two days ago. And his sister - Rosa, the only family member left -

She was gone. Disappeared in the chaos (before the chaos, if he was right) and the implications left Lukas reeling and falling into the void.

The Rosa he knew was tough, determined, someone who met everything in her way with a fury that resembled a blazing fire. She’d have stayed and summoned her zombies and fight. She would never have left without a word, especially after the Pillar had fallen. And she would have never left without telling him.

The circle, too. He’d figured out the meaning of it. The four small circles were four summoning circles - the demon which possessed Yukito, the Dullahan that had attacked them, the monster Lady Minami had destroyed, the slimes the rest of the house had dealt with. The larger circles where teleportation circles, intertwined and connected so that the monsters would appear in different parts of the house. It was why the monsters had been so spread out - someone had spread markers around the house, and they’d used those as spawning points to wreck havoc in the house.

The markers had been scrubbed from the walls, but nobody knew who had placed the circle. It had to be a Wizard - demon and monster summoning from a magic circle were something only a Wizard could do, and a talented one at that. Even Lukas couldn’t, although he had written down circles that could, in theory, do so.

There were only a few people he knew who could activate such a complicated circle without it backfiring. Of the few, only one had been here at the time. Combined with the rest of the evidence he had…

Despite all his attempts at suppressing it, the traitorous thought bubbled up once again. All evidence points to her. Are you sure you want to find your sister? Are you sure you want to send the only family you have left to her death?

Is the person you travelled here with really your sister anymore?


Slowly, Lukas wrapped his arms around his knees. Caging his face into the space between his arms, Lukas’s body shook as he finally, silently fell apart.

--------

It took a bit for Lukas to get himself back under control. Wiping at his eyes, Lukas tapped the side of the frame of his spectacles. For a moment, the glass shone - and when it faded Lukas’s eyes were normal instead of red underlined with dark bags. A simple illusion charm, although only limited to his face.

Items packed, Lukas stood up and reached for his phone. He still had to text Risako.

Glassabi:
Gt important info and stuff i need to give 2. The living rm s gd. Meet in 10 min y/n?

Text sent, he walked to the destination. Within minutes, he reached there, looking none the worse for the wear on the outside.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kotonoha Risako Character Portrait: Lukas Isharian

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Kotonoha Risako
18 Female Magic Knight #2 #e49e4f #bdc3ad


Risako paced, slightly impatient. You would think that someone, especially a head of one of the most powerful and influential families of the magical world, would have something to do in their own home.

Yes, a lot has happened since the Isharian Wizards and the Vermillion Mages had arrived at the Kotonoha estate. Kallen was out cold. A demon, of all things, had infiltrated Kotonoha grounds. And of course, there was that rune, among other things.

The others were busy, though. Lukas was presumably researching that rune, or doing whatever Wizards did in their free time (Risako assumed that he spent a lot of time on charms and whatnot). Ambre was looking after Kallen - she was loyal, Risako would admit, but going too far with one's steadfastness isn't a good thing (and no, Risako did not feel guilty about the incident when the two met). Rosa was missing - of all the things that could happen. Even if there were any leads, Risako was admittedly unskilled in the areas required to find Rosa. Of course, another Isharian representative would arrive soon, so that issue would be partly resolved.

At last but certainly not least, Risako's dear brother, Takiya, was looking after Yukito and doing whatever a proactive Magic Knight would do.

It was not that Risako was lazy when it came to her duties. But there wasn't much they could do besides do whatever they could to upgrade their security. Risako didn't have the necessary skill set to help with that; Ambre and Lukas were more creative when it came to matters like this. Risako had always focused strictly on battle and military magic and intelligence, and maybe she was starting to regret that. Just the tiniest bit.

Finally, that nerdy redhead Mage sent Risako a message responding to her previous question.

From Glassabi:
Gt important info and stuff i need to give 2. The living rm s gd. Meet in 10 min y/n?

Of course, it took a few moments for Risako to decipher Lukas' message (yes, it was basically texting, but where did this guy learn his English grammar?). After she figured out what it all meant, the amber-eyed Magic Knight responded with perhaps the simplest text she was capable of.

To Glassabi:
k

Risako, perfectly satisfied with her message, set off for her destination. A few Magic Knights bowed slightly in a respectful manner as she passed by, albeit a bit stiffly. While very few people were close enough to Risako to hate her, it was even rarer for someone to sincerely like her. Risako was no doubt highly respected, but that was mainly due to her bloodline and skill.

To put it bluntly, Risako's personality wasn't "cute." While many respected her skill, few respected her as a person. Risako wasn't as chivalrous as Takiya (Risako wasn't quite sure if her brother was truly chivalrous, but everybody seemed to think so), and she had no charm (at least, in her eyes). Risako being Risako, the Magic Knight had simply brushed this fact off over the years, but sometimes, she wondered if she desired someone who would befriend her out of their own free will - for herself, not her standing.

Is this why I proposed to help Redhead? Risako asked herself. Because he's seemingly gullible enough to manipulate him into being some empty shell of a friend? Risako shook her head slightly. Shut up, Risako, you sound like a creepy, lonely, and psychopathic villain from those really crappy American horror movies. The world would fucking blow up before I could even think of having an existential crisis.

Risako entered the living room, catching sight of Lukas immediately. "Oi," she greeted, her manner neither friendly nor hostile. "You could've just messaged me your response, but if you prefer the sincere, in your face business, I guess I won't stop you."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kotonoha Risako Character Portrait: Lukas Isharian

0.00 INK

#, as written by Zallen
Lukas Isharian


“Yeah, I guess. Sorry.” Lukas slipped a hand casually into his pocket. “Here,” he said almost apologetically, pulling out three of the charms he’d given Ambre earlier, “A protection charm for you, your brother and Yuki.” He held them out for her to take. “These charms provide general protection ranging from possession to physical attacks. They can also guard against a fatal attack, but after that, they’re going to be inactive for a bit. To recharge.”

Inside his pocket, a charm activated silently. Much needed peace washed over Lukas, and his lips quirked up. It was slightly happy, calmly exhausted and hard to notice, but it was still a smile. “I also found out information on the circle. Timed summoning circle for four different summons - the Dullahan, the demon, the monster Lady Minami handled and the slimes.” Lukas said matter of factly, ticking them off his fingers. “The smaller slimes are offspring of a larger slime. So we’ll need to find that. And…”

For the infinitesimal span of a few seconds, Lukas hesitated. But this was a question he needed to know. Steeling himself, looking up directly into Risako’s eyes for the first time, Lukas asked, "Is it alright for me to know what the households plans in regards to my sister? Please?”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kotonoha Risako Character Portrait: Lukas Isharian

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Kotonoha Risako
18 Female Magic Knight #2 #e49e4f #bdc3ad


"Yeah, I guess. Sorry," Lukas responded, casually slipping his hand into his pocket. "Here," the redhead said in almost an apologetic manner as he pulled out three charms from his pocket. "A protection charm for you, your brother, and Yuki," he explained. Lukas handed the charms to Risako. "These charms provide general protection ranging from possession to physical attacks," Lukas continued. "They can also guard against a fatal attack, but after that, they’re going to be inactive for a bit. To recharge."

Risako nodded on reflex. "Thanks," she said cheerily, not sounding very genuine, in all honesty. "I'm sure my brother and Yukito-kun will appreciate it."

Lukas smiled slightly. "I also found out information on the circle," he said. That caught Risako's attention. "Timed summoning circle for four different summons - the Dullahan, the demon, the monster Lady Minami handled and the slimes. The smaller slimes are offspring of a larger slime. So we’ll need to find that. And…"

Lukas hesitated for a few moments as Risako raised a brow expectantly. The redhead visibly manned up an stared directly into Risako's amber eyes.

"Eye contact," Risako commented wryly. "Impressive."

"Is it alright for me to know what the household plans in regards to my sister? Please?" Lukas begged in a way Risako would consider pathetic. There were a few moments of silence before Risako sighed.

"What's there to tell?" Risako shrugged in a nonchalant way that could be considered disrespectful or insensitive. "As you know, we've sent some people to search for Rosa. We're basically limited to Japan, so hopefully your sister hasn't gone overseas." Risako paused. "And, as you may or not know, your family is sending another one wizard as a replacement. At least until Rosa is found." Risako furrowed a brow. "The name is...Clara Isharian, is it?"

Risako continued on. "Anyway, if you would like me to be honest with you, I cannot guarantee your sister's safety. We have quite the number of search parties out there looking for her, but that's all we can do at the moment." Risako cocked her head to the side. "However..."

Risako took a deep breath before continuing. "As you - hopefully - know," she began. "There is a point where we have to stop searching for Rosa if we don't find her in a certain time frame. We can't afford to use are resources attempting to find someone, who, in all honesty, might not be alive anymore." Risako looked Lukas in the eye, her gaze surprisingly serious. "I'm not doubting you're sister's abilities, but let's be logical here. There are bigger threats out there we need to focus our energy on. If you can't take that...sorry, but I won't try to soften the blow for you."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kotonoha Risako Character Portrait: Lukas Isharian

0.00 INK

#, as written by Zallen
"What's there to tell?" Risako shrugged in a nonchalant way that could be considered disrespectful or insensitive. "As you know, we've sent some people to search for Rosa. We're basically limited to Japan, so hopefully your sister hasn't gone overseas." Risako paused. "And, as you may or not know, your family is sending another one wizard as a replacement. At least until Rosa is found." Risako furrowed a brow. "The name is...Clara Isharian, is it?"

"Yes."

Risako continued on. "Anyway, if you would like me to be honest with you, I cannot guarantee your sister's safety. We have quite the number of search parties out there looking for her, but that's all we can do at the moment." Risako cocked her head to the side. "However..."

Risako took a deep breath before continuing. "As you - hopefully - know," she began. "There is a point where we have to stop searching for Rosa if we don't find her in a certain time frame. We can't afford to use our resources attempting to find someone, who, in all honesty, might not be alive anymore." Risako looked Lukas in the eye, her gaze surprisingly serious. "I'm not doubting you're sister's abilities, but let's be logical here. There are bigger threats out there we need to focus our energy on. If you can't take that...sorry, but I won't try to soften the blow for you."

She hadn't need to. The words still stung, but Lukas had already guessed that the clan would come up with something like this - it was professional and pragmatic. Exactly how his mother would have done it, had she still been alive.

Lukas took in the information with a nod. The charm in his pocket didn't activate at her words. "I see," he said quietly. He smiled politely at Risako. "And it's ok. That's kind of why I asked you, actually," he said dryly, scratching the back of his neck. "I already know what the priorities are. I just wanted to confirm what the clan's plans were in regards to my sister. Thanks."

Well, there was nothing left for him here - oh wait. "Slimes love dark and damp places, so your clan might want to check those out." He said, still smiling the same polite smile. "Be careful - it might still be breeding, so there might be a lot of them around. Approaching the room Kallen's in is also not a good idea - Ambre's in a mood, she'll throw everyone out. And uh." He added, "If it's still there, I accept your offer for training. Thanks."

This wasn't a nightmare. He'd hoped it was, but that had been pretty foolish of him. The person in front of him was more real than reality tv show, as proven by the conversation (partially why he had decided to meet face to face). This was more or less rock bottom, so all he had to do was move onwards. He still didn't feel up to meeting Clara or Dera or the others (they were too close to the problem for him to feel comfortable), but. Maybe someday.

Feeling like a bruise that'd just turn yellow, Lukas smiled lightly.

"If you need me, I'll be in my workshop. Bye."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kallen Vermillion Character Portrait: Ambre Vermillion

0.00 INK

#, as written by Kestrel
Kallen & Ambre Vermillion



Kallen’s breath became uneasy. Ambre raised her head from his chest; there was sweat on her brother’s brow. His mouth opened, but no words came out. Ambre took Kallen’s hand with both of hers, as she watched him toss and turn… But as Kallen did… Reflections of her own home started to appear on the room’s walls. Ambre’s heart skipped a beat. It was almost as if their mother’s magic was present in Tokyo, but the reflections were more treble than Elise’ picture-like illusions. Yet they distinctly showed her something… As if she was peering straight into Kallen’s dreams.

Kallen stands in the Vermillion estate dining hall, the table impossibly long, stacks of plates and piles of cutlery set on trolleys against one wall. Elise stands at the end of the hall, poised as ever, her face impassive as her steely gaze settles on Kallen.

“Kallen.” She says, voice hard. “Set the table, properly.”

Nodding without a word, Kallen steps over to where the plates are set, taking them off the tall stacks one by one and setting them in their places. He moves as quickly as he can without endangering the dishes, and then repeats the action for the glasses, and then the cutlery.

When the table is set, Kallen turns to his mother, only to find her staring back at him with a look of disappointment. “You have failed, Kallen.” She says.

Kallen whips back to the table, searching for what it is he did wrong, but as he turns, his pants catch on the tablecloth and drags the entire table setting off and crashing to the floor, plates and glasses shattering into a million pieces and the tablecloth fading the floor into black.

Then, Kallen is standing in the courtyard, a man standing a few feet in front of him, Elise on the other side of the area. The man bows politely, and Kallen bows back, confused.

“Kallen, defeat your instructor in this match.” Elise says. Kallen nods in silent affirmation.

The man flies forward, and Kallen ducks between the blows, shooting out to attack but never getting close enough to do damage. Barely a minute has passed and Kallen is exhausted, his dodges slowing until his instructor finally hits and knocks him across the yard.

Kallen struggles to catch his breath and looks up to find Elise right above him. “You have failed, Kallen.”

The image swirls and then Kallen is looking out a gaping hole in the wall of the main hallway of the estate, the Vermillion Pillar in the distance, crumbling to the ground. Pools of blood and lifeless bodies litter the ground, the smell of death overwhelming all of Kallen’s sense, screams and Elise’s cold voice sounding in his ear. “You have failed, Kallen.”


“Kallen?” Ambre her own hands felt ice-cold in contrast to Kallen’s sweaty palms. She clenched her brother’s hand tight, but could not tear her eyes from the scenes Kallen was showing her.

Like a picture from a horror film, Elise’s body distorts grossly into abstract shapes and lines until it is no longer Elise’s face looking at him, but Ambre’s, mouth scrunched up into a signature scowl as she glares down at her smaller brother- symbolic of how small he feels despite his gigantic height. As Ambre’s gaze bores down on Kallen, he tries to move but can’t, transfixed by her stare.

Ambre looks away with a click of her tongue, glancing back at her brother with a look of disappointment in her eyes, leaving without so much as a word. Kallen reaches out for her but finds her image disappearing-


Kallen’s eyes fluttered open, then shut reflexively against the light. When he opened them again, Kallen was met with a silent, red-eyed gaze. The pale figure of his sister hunched over him, her pupils flickering and tracking even his slightest moves. Her hands, though meagre and cold, squeezed his as if they were stuck in a trash compactor. Ambre’s lip quivered for a moment, before she toppled over her brother and hugged him tight. Kallen could feel Ambre’s chest heave as she pressed him against it with all her might.

Kallen opened his mouth to speak, but the only thing that came out was a pathetic squeak, followed by a coughing fit that made his throat sore and eyes water. He settled for moving his heavy arms to rest over Ambre, savoring the warmth of her back and the knowledge that she is alive and well, and not disappointed in him, if the bone-crushing hug was any indication.

“I saw your dream.” Ambre’s hoarse voice mumbled. Behind her, Kallen could see familiar watery images, blurring back into the estate’s walls. “You’re my only family. You better not think I’m ever leaving you. Because I won’t. Ever. I don’t care what Elise says or what the world thinks.” Ambre’s fingers cling to the back of his shirt, her chin weighing down on his shoulder. “You’re my brother.”

“But you better not lock me up again, Kallen.” Ambre’s grip loosened as she spoke his name. Kallen’s sister raised her head to face him, brushing away the tangled hair that dangled in front of her eyes. Though red and teary, they were stern and unrelenting. “That thing. It could have killed you.” Her voice shook, worming itself through the chokehold of emotion. “What if it had, Kallen? What if it had?”

Kallen coughed a couple of times, fingers curled into Ambre’s hair. His voice was soft and every word made his eyes tear up, but he spoke anyway. “If it had, then you would go on to kill it and protect everyone in my stead.” He said, honest despite the dark undertone of the phrase. “You’re stronger without me than you are when I’m here, holding you back with rules and propriety.”

“Liar.” Ambre balled her fists. “You are demonstrably wrong.” She snorted, let go of Kallen and stood up. “One-” She counted the reasons on her hand. “You were faster to deduce its ability to absorb and replicate magic. Two, you know I’m no good at conventional magic, so you raised a barrier to protect me. Three, you....” Ambre scraped her throat. “You put a dent in it’s armour, in that way you told me it could be manipulated. That’s how I killed it.”

Ambre turned away, hiding her expression from Kallen. “I didn’t go and erase the circle like you said I should. I didn’t go and protect everyone in your stead. I ran to you. I wanted to save you, I just wanted to save you…” There was a break in her voice, as she swallowed a fraction of her emotion. “But I couldn’t escape your stupid cell - and when I did, I couldn’t even make it in time.” Even in her draping clothes, it was clear how Ambre’s entire figure shivered at the memory.

“One of the guards did. She fought the monster too, she was the one protecting everyone. She sacrificed an eye, you know?” Ambre’s voice shook despite the iron grip she tried to maintain on her throat. “You know what I did? You know what I felt?” She asked her brother, for just a second looking him in the eye.

“I put the estate in shambles. I wanted… I wanted that piece of shit to feel powerless before I killed it. I wanted it to suffer. I wanted it to fear me before it died.” Ambre’s feelings ran down her cheeks - shaken to a point Kallen had never seen his sister before. “And it’s not just some stupid monster, Kallen. Ask Elise. Ask her servants. Ask any fancy-pants stuck-up little mage. Ask any of them how much of a protector I am, how much of a Vermillion I am.”

Her chest heaved. Her pupils had grown small - and so did her voice; “I don’t care, you know? I don’t care what they think. It’s fine.” Ambre whispered, sitting down to once more clamp Kallen’s hand. “But if you really believe I’m any kind of strong, it’s only because of you. You were the first person to ever be proud of anything I ever did, Kallen. Maybe you’re the only one who ever was.”

She sat up, wrapped her arms around Kallen’s head and pulled it against her chest. Contrasting her voice, Ambre’s heartbeat was fast and heavy. “So don’t leave me, Kallen, and don’t you lie to me. You’re my brother and worth more to me than anyone else in the world.”

Kallen listened to every word Ambre said with rapt attention. Having bottled up everything he felt for so long, he couldn’t help but let out his tears into his sister’s shirt, weak arms wrapping around her middle and holding as tight as he could. “I promise.” He whispered. “I promise never to lie to you again.”

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Character Portrait: Kotonoha Takiya
Character Portrait: Lukas Isharian
Character Portrait: Ambre Vermillion
Character Portrait: Rosa Isharian

Newest

Character Portrait: Rosa Isharian
Rosa Isharian

[ NPC ]

Character Portrait: Ambre Vermillion
Ambre Vermillion

"I bet my mom'd hate it if I saved the world."

Character Portrait: Lukas Isharian
Lukas Isharian

"Um. If we save the world, we can go back to doing whatever we were doing before this, right..?"

Character Portrait: Kotonoha Takiya
Kotonoha Takiya

"None of us are ready for this, but it does not matter, for we will fight and we will win."

Trending

Character Portrait: Rosa Isharian
Rosa Isharian

[ NPC ]

Character Portrait: Kotonoha Takiya
Kotonoha Takiya

"None of us are ready for this, but it does not matter, for we will fight and we will win."

Character Portrait: Ambre Vermillion
Ambre Vermillion

"I bet my mom'd hate it if I saved the world."

Character Portrait: Lukas Isharian
Lukas Isharian

"Um. If we save the world, we can go back to doing whatever we were doing before this, right..?"

Most Followed

Character Portrait: Lukas Isharian
Lukas Isharian

"Um. If we save the world, we can go back to doing whatever we were doing before this, right..?"

Character Portrait: Ambre Vermillion
Ambre Vermillion

"I bet my mom'd hate it if I saved the world."

Character Portrait: Rosa Isharian
Rosa Isharian

[ NPC ]

Character Portrait: Kotonoha Takiya
Kotonoha Takiya

"None of us are ready for this, but it does not matter, for we will fight and we will win."


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