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Multiple Settings The Mysterious Play: Hierophant of Skies (Accepting votes!)

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Action, Adventure, Anime, Magical, Mystery, Platonic, Romance, Super Powers
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Minako

🎮Super High School Level Gamer: Chiaki Nanami🎮

Rosalina Chandra


>>>SHOUT AT XANDER AND PAPA ABOUT THE ZOMBIES TO FIGHT ZOMBIES

We nearly drowned, so we can be forgiven some confusion. But there ain't no second chances if our companions are EATEN ALIVE BY FREAKIN' ZOMBIES
I agree, we should call out!
If the zombies are not there and we warn Xander and Kaine, there's no real harm done. But if the zombies are real and we don't warn them, then we all might very well get eaten!
They ARE Zombies after all. Yeah, let's call out to them.

Warn them about the Zombies!!

Yeah, it's probably better to just shout about Zombies regardless!!


"BIG BROTHER! PAPA!!!! LOOK OUT! LOOK OUT!!! ZOMBIES!!!! ZOMBIES RIGHT BEHIND YOU!!!" You scream and shout, probably hurting poor Elias' eardrums in the process.​

"OH SWEET CELOSIA, MOTHER OF US ALL!" Adrian shouts and cries, finally noticing the zombies themselves.

"Aha... So... Uhm... I guess we forgot to explain some things to you while you were gone..." Elias nervously mumbles.

"Wait wha--?!" You and Adrian both gasp as Elias seems... Unsurprised and... unafraid of these ghouls?!

YEAH, UH, YOU GUESS YOU REALLY DID MISS SOME MEMOS WHILE YOU WERE GONE, HUH?!

"They're... friendly...? Well they haven't tried to eat or attack us or anything... And in fact, THEY were the ones who alerted us to you being in danger!" Elias explains as you approach the rest of your party members... And the zombies...

"Papa! Big brother!" You run up to them both and embrace them, so happy to see them!

They return your hug in kind and are happy to see you alive as well.

"Rosie, you shouldn't have run off like that!" Xander wastes no time in scolding you despite his relief.

"Yes, sweetheart! If these ladies hadn't told us you were in the witches clutches, we might not have known and Elias may have never found you!" Papa explains further.

Ladies...?

Ah... Yes, you see... At a second glance, and beyond the... uh... less than fresh bodies... They do look like they were once girls!

Wait...

"You're... You're the girls the vengeful spirit has killed... Aren't you?" You put the puzzle pieces together, at first wondering why on earth Zombies would help you, but if they're the girls that spirits led to their deaths and killed...


"Yeeessssss..." The 'leader' of the ghoulish girls seems to hiss, growl, and moan simultaneously which such a surprisingly scary and menacing voice that was actually friendly (which is impressive with a tongue about ready to rot out of her mouth any second!) while gently nodding her head (most likely because sudden jerky movements might make her head fall clean off).​

Despite her rotted body, her hair color still remained kind of in tact, most likely because it was probably a light, pale blonde to start with, and you get the feeling in life this girl was probably very pretty... Before she was murdered.

Upon a second (and closer) look at all the re-animated corpses, some missing their heads and others severely burned, you can tell they WERE attacked by Xander and Papa (no doubt thinking they were once enemies upon first seeing them), but Papa and Xander don't have scratches on them, thank goodness...

"I... I'm so sorry... I... I didn't save you..." Adrian takes about all the blame and responsibility for all their deaths and you kinda wanna give him a shoulder massage since they must ache carrying all that weight!

"NoooOooo, iiiit wassssnnn't yyooouuurrr ffaaauuullltt... IIII diiiieeed loooonnnnggggg beeeefooooreeee yyoooouuuu cooouuulllddd eeeevvveeeennn wwaaalllkk, IIIIIIII aaaaaammmm ssssuuuurrreeee," The ghoulish girl surprisingly patiently forgave Adrian, and he smiled awkwardly at them, but hung his head a second later.

Poor Adrian... He already felt responsible for saving the girls from Loredge he could and now he's face to face with the ones he couldn't to feel even worse about this situation.


"Dooo nooot freeeet," Another zombie woman chipped in, who must have had dazzling orange hair (like Chlo's!) because it was still kinda orangey despite the decay, "Yooouuu haaaavveee saaavveedd maaannyy aa giiirlll fffrroommm Looorrreeddgggeee. Weeee aaarreee mooossstt gggrraaatteeffuull yyyoooouuu hhaaaavvveee prrrreeeeveeennntteeedd sssseeevvveeerraaalll ooooffff tttthhheeeeiiirr ddeaaaattthhs."

"We are their only hope. We must stop that spirit and avenge these poor girls if they are to find peace with Celosia," Kaine informs you.

You nod and aren't surprised, and smile to see Adrian have a look of relief on his face.

"Absolutely," You agree, "Adrian is the water-bearer and he can't even leave here anyway until we've dealt with her for personal reasons anyway, so either way we're not going anywhere until that spirit is gone and these poor girls are avenged!"

"Personal reasons?" Xander tilts his head in confusion, "Did they kill your sister or cousin or mom or aunt or something?"

"U-uh, n-no... No... I-I'm an only child and the only relatives I've known are my grandparents... I don't think I have other family..." Adrian mutters sadly and shamefully.

"Then... no offense, but why--"

"It matters not, Xander," Kaine nods and pats Adrian on the back, roaring joyfully, "What matters is this here courageous young lad is saving all the girls he can with his Celosia-granted power! There'd probably be a lot more poor victims here if not for you!"

"So, the bearer of the Celosian crest of water, huh? Where is your crest, exactly?" Xander asks, examining Adrian up and down.

Oh... Yeah... You've never actually seen the crest of water on his body...

Well, you know surefire he HAS IT, your compass is going nutso cray-zo, but...

Ah! Back at the task at hand: You've got to find out more about that spirit so you can stop them!

The whole isle depends on it!

"We can deal with all this later!" You say, interrupting them all and turning to the zombie girls, "Do you happen to know anything about the spirit? Anything at all...?"

"Nnnnooooooo, IIIIIIIIII'mmmmm aaaaffffrrraaaiiddd... buuuuttttt--" The blonde ghoul begins, then points a bony finger to the northwest, "Yyyyooouuuu mmmmiiigggghhhttt ffffiiinnnddd ssssssoommmeeeetthhiiinnnggggg aaabbboouuuttt hheeerrr iiiiinnn Lllllooorrreeedddgggeeee..."

Well, this is it, then: All signs point to Loredge being your next stop.

Hmmm.... Now all you need is a plan: There's even more pressure now since you're not only trying to free Adrian of whatever shackles him here, but now you must help avenge these poor spirits who only want peace and to go to the other side.

You have to think about this carefully...


"If we go, could you guys stay here and keep any girl from wandering in here? Or stop them?" You ask the Zombies who you are still having a tough time believing are your allies.

It looks like these girls can keep any possible future victims safely away, but you can't bank on them for forever...

You should probably let them guard the Lake, and it looks like there's enough of them to cover a decent perimeter from Loredge to the Lake, and if you leave either Adrian or Kaine there would be extra guarding for the entrance, and Kaine could definitely create a small fire to keep the Zombie girls in clear view...

Hmmmm...

>>TAKE ADRIAN AND KAINE WITH YOU OR LEAVE THEM TO GUARD THE LAKE ENTRANCE WITH THE ZOMBIE VICTIMS?

HOW WILL YOU SPLIT THE PARTY?<<



 
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DreamBeat

Two Thousand Club
Aww, the girls seem like they were nice people when they were alive.

Hmm... We should probably leave Adrian and Kaine here with the zombies since I think I remember Adrian not being able to leave.
Better to be on the safe side and go do some recon while they keep guard here
 

Idea

The Pun Tyrant The Gif Hydra
I’ll go with taking them with us. The odds another lost victim just waltz into this place inter time we’ll keep them busy is not that great, and we may need their help not only to survive but to achieve whatever we may find we need to do to put a stop to this once and for all.
 

Felis

Meow?
Since there seems to be some connection between Adrian and the vengeful spirit, I think he should come with us when we go look for clues (if it's at all possible for him). He might pick up on things we might miss because we don't see their relevance.

I also don't feel too good about splitting the party in general (especially in a place like this), but if we do, then leaving Kaine to help keep the zombies more visible is probably the best idea. Most people would probably stay away from the lake if they see zombies roaming about, since they wouldn't know that these are friendly, after all.
 

Minako

🎮Super High School Level Gamer: Chiaki Nanami🎮

Rosalina Chandra


Aww, the girls seem like they were nice people when they were alive.

Hmm... We should probably leave Adrian and Kaine here with the zombies since I think I remember Adrian not being able to leave.
Better to be on the safe side and go do some recon while they keep guard here
I’ll go with taking them with us. The odds another lost victim just waltz into this place inter time we’ll keep them busy is not that great, and we may need their help not only to survive but to achieve whatever we may find we need to do to put a stop to this once and for all.
Since there seems to be some connection between Adrian and the vengeful spirit, I think he should come with us when we go look for clues (if it's at all possible for him). He might pick up on things we might miss because we don't see their relevance.

I also don't feel too good about splitting the party in general (especially in a place like this), but if we do, then leaving Kaine to help keep the zombies more visible is probably the best idea. Most people would probably stay away from the lake if they see zombies roaming about, since they wouldn't know that these are friendly, after all.

Try to take Adrian with you!

Leave Kaine here!

"Adrian, do you think you can come with us to Loredge?" You ask your water-bearer and he pops his head back up upon hearing your question.

"Mmm... It's on the edge of where I should go, but..."

He seems hesitant, even more so (you imagine) to even remotely leave the area now that he's seemingly surrounded by his "failures" and doesn't want to tally more women to the list.

"I mean... Clearly you and this spirit are connected... Anything we discover in Loredge.... I feel like you have a right to know... Don't you think?" You ask them.

"Well yes, but..." He looks around uncomfortably.

"You should go with Elias and Ro. Kaine and I can keep guard here," Xander suggests.

"But...." Adrian begins to mutter.

"I mean, I guess we'll relay what we find to you, but... Nothing will beat hearing it firsthand," You tell Adrian.

He hangs his head.

"DDOOOOO YYOOUUUU NOOOTTT WIIISSSHHH TOOOOO DIIIIIISSSCOOOOOOVEEEEERR MOOOOOORREEE AAAAABBBBOOUUTT TTTHHIIISSSS SSSSPPPIIIRRRIIITTT?" The blonde zombie leader asks, and you get the feeling she'd tilt her head... If she could.

"I... It's... Its just..." Adrian again hesitates.

"Are you scared of what we may find?" You ask, tilting your head in the zombie leaders place.

"...Maybe..." He mutters back, a little ashamed.

"Rosie, we need to go," Elias gently places a hand on your shoulder, smiling.

"...Decide," You tell Adrian, who clearly was not expecting this today and is 100% not ready to make this decision.

"I..."

"You don't have to come with us," Elias offers, "But if you don't, you might regret it."

You think back to last night, when you snuck out to follow Elias, and how you would have regretted NOT following him even if it was spying and couldn't agree more.

"...Alright, I'll go," After a moment Adrian agrees and nods.

You and Elias both smile sympathetically at Adrian.

"Then get going," Xander nods and the three of you nod back, and turn towards Loredge.



"I have a really bad feeling about this..." Adrian mutters as the three of you start the trek towards Loredge.

"...I know..." You agree and sigh, the overwhelming lurch in your stomach not being able to agree more with the water-bearer.

As if it wasn't already bad enough since you've been worrying about Tornigan Woodlands.

"We don't really have a choice. All we can do is hope for the best and take what comes..." Elias worriedly "assures" you both.


You all approach Loredge after what seems like a couple hours ride (you didn't really like taking the cart, animals, and supplies, essentially leaving your Papa and big bro stranded, but that just means you'll have to hurry back, and granted it took an hour or two to get here, it seems you'll need to hurry to make it back before nightfall) and, you didn't quite know what to expect but... Well, A village losing all its young girls, close to the edge of the Isle and the haunted Lake looks... Just about as gloomy as you'd expect it to.

There aren't a lot of people out of their homes, and those few that are look everywhere from scared to sad... to grieving.

You can only imagine... How much daughters and sisters (and possible mothers?) has that spirit taken...?

It all looks worn-down and unkempt... And with all the mist and lack of sunshine everything looks dull and grey...

Its like if unhappiness was a place that existed outside of emotions it would be this place.

Every second here reminds you that you yourself were almost killed by this spirit and you punish yourself mentally for not properly thanking your water-bearer!

"A-Adrian…?" You mutter sheepishly while turning to glance at him.

"Yes?" He then turns to you once you got his attention.

"I-I'm not sure if I said this earlier, but... Thank you. Very much. For saving my life," You thank you him meekly while smiling.

He smiles awkwardly back at you and replies, "You're welcome... It's kinda what I do..."



"Are you from here? I'm sorry to just ask out of the blue, it just seems like you're really concerned for these people..." Elias asks, and you can't believe you didn't think to find out more about Adrian by ASKING HIM.​

You're such a simpleton sometimes!

"I... I think so... My grandparents and I don't really live here, though... Our house is built more in-between this village, obviously closer to the Lake than here..." Adrian answered hesitantly.

"...Do you know anything about your parents? I mean... I'm sure they were from here, right?" You ask, but the words more blurted out of your mouth more than they were a thought out question.

"...I think my Grandmother said my mother was from here, yeah... Not sure about my father..." Adrian utters uncomfortably, as if he both doesn't know much and doesn't like thinking about what little he does know.

"Do you know if your parents had any friends here? Family? Anyone who might have known what happened to them?" You keep asking, albeit with a tone of concern to approach this subject with caution.

"No... I don't, sorry..." Adrian sighs, sounding defeated as he hangs his head.

"Why don't we ask the village elder?" You both suddenly hear Elias ask simply.

"Eh?" You ask in response, confused.

"Why the village elder?" Adrian also asks, equally confused.

"Well, usually, when incidents that cause a... lower number... of villagers to be reported occur, even if they're not specifically reported to Auran, they might be recorded numbers in some record books the village Elder or Chief may have... Whoever's in charge here, basically. We need to go to them to ask about the first girl or so missing in those books to ask about the spirits identify anyway..."

Wow! You sure weren't expecting a paper-trail in this Medieval-Era -like world! You REALLY FEEL like you guys are on the right track here!

"You think they'd have info from 17 or so years ago?" Adrian questions, clearly skeptical.

"Haha, probably not, and even if he DID, it might not be legible, but it's really the only shot we have, right?" Elias chuckles.

"Elmiel's rule is pretty recent, right?" You continue the questioning of Elias, "I can totally believe records and stuff being kept after he started calling the shots, but beforehand? Was Hellie's dad so intuitive he asked for record keeping during his reign?"

You don't miss Adrian giving you a surprised look when you address the Empress of all of Cion Isle as Hellie.

"Well, it was more common sense just to check up on people and make sure they were alright and farming prosperously, so that the Emperor knew where and when to send Auran aid!"

"Wow! Hellie's Dad was really smart and considerate!" You praise the late Emperor of Cion.

Elias and Adrian stifle chuckles.

"Uh, Rosie...I mean, not that the late Emperor opposed to it, but... That decree was proclaimed by the very first Emperor of Cion Isle... Celosia's son," Adrian explains after you gave them a confused look back upon their reaction.

"O-oh! I didn't know they were Celosia's--"

Wait...

Somethings not quite adding up, isn't it?

Isn't... Isn't Celosia a goddess?

Wouldn't that make her son a demi-god (if Celosia even produced her son with a human, because if it was with another God...)...?
Wouldn't that make him immortal?
Shouldn't they still be around ruling this Isle instead of Elmiel and Hellie?


Er... Well... You suppose, given the major religion in your world, and how the child of that God ended up, it's no shocker they're long gone from here... And granted that Celosia is a deity of love, and your worlds God also sacrificed their only child out of love as well...

Nevermind, of course they'd be long dead by now. Sacrificed in the name of love for Celosias other children. Her believers.

...Right...?





"Thank you!" You hear Elias chirp as a random stranger smiles and waves while walking away from your group.

"Hm?" You bounce back to reality, back to paying attention to the world around you.

"He told us where the village Elder lives! All we have to do is just walk down to the end of the village and there they live!" Elias enthusiastically informs you now that you're back.

"Oh! Great!" You blurt out rather quickly, hoping you don't look too slow in his eyes.





When the three of you get to the house of the village elder, it's pretty normal looking: It's scarcely bigger than the other homes, and even the wall around the land isn't that much wider than the house. There's a small shed surrounded by a tiny field with vegetation growing from it (you think you see tomato plants and pumpkins?) and perhaps a flower bush or so, but aside that and the house, not much is in the walled off living area.

It looks a little worn down, but not too rickety, considering...

The three of you slow down as you approach it, and then you and Elias exchange determined nods amongst yourselves before marching forward to go inside!


...You promised yourself you weren't going to let Elias OR your feelings for him distract you, and sure enough, you look around to realize Adrians not beside you two!

You quickly turn to see...




He's... just frozen there...

"...Adrian...?" You cautiously approach him, having a hunch about what the hold-up is.

"If I... Go in there... I... I might finally figure out what happened to my mother... a-and father..." He states, but he sounds less than thrilled about this prospect.​

"...It's possible... It's also possible we'll be lucky to find the record book where her number amongst Loredge was no longer accounted for..." You attempt to comfort him, although if you're honest with yourself, you aren't really sure whether he wants advice or just an ear to listen to him.

"That's another thing: I... I'm not sure I want that either... I WANT to know... I do... I just... I know there's a reason she and my father are gone..." Adrian troubledly mutters, and you can't tell if its to you or himself.

"...You really don't know what happened to them...? At all? Your grandparents had no clue either?" You ask.

"Mm-mm... I tried asking, but they just always get silent, and look so pained... I feel bad pushing..." Adrian confesses while shaking his head.

"...But you think they know, right?"

"Yeah, probably. I feel like I'm going behind their back..." He confides in you, then chuckles, adding, "We came here to check for information about that spirit, right? When did it shift from that to this?"

"Hee hee, well, Elias is right: We might as well ask about your mom while we ask about this spirit, right?" You reassure him while taking Elias' side.

"Maybe... I... I have to be honest: Between you and me, I'm more scared about finding out about my mom than that spirit!" He shyly mutters.

"Aw, Adrian..." You begin, unsure.


You feel like you're on track, but... Now that Elias isn't here to distract you, you can't ignore you've also got a bad feeling about this.

You feel like Adrian should be with you and Elias, he CAME here for this, right?

But... You also know no one is gonna like whatever answers may come...

Should you insist he come with or let him stay behind?

>>URGE ADRIAN TO GO INTO ELDERS HOUSE OR NOT??<<


 

DreamBeat

Two Thousand Club
We've come all this way, and the guy wants some answers. This might be it. Be it good or bad, this is our chance at answers. Also, I want us to stick together.

I say bring him with us.
 

Idea

The Pun Tyrant The Gif Hydra
A hidden truth haunts you forever, but an ugly truth can still bring you closure. I vote we urge him to go in, and stand by him as he potentially confronts his past.

On a sidenote, demigods aren't exactly known for being immortal... Like in mythology they at most age slower, but I believe most actually tend to die young (killed most of the time). The exception to this is when they ascend to godhood or are born as gods.
 

Felis

Meow?
I also think Adrian should come with us. Even if it's bad news, I think it's better if he hears it firsthand.
 

Minako

🎮Super High School Level Gamer: Chiaki Nanami🎮

Rosalina Chandra


We've come all this way, and the guy wants some answers. This might be it. Be it good or bad, this is our chance at answers. Also, I want us to stick together.

I say bring him with us.
A hidden truth haunts you forever, but an ugly truth can still bring you closure. I vote we urge him to go in, and stand by him as he potentially confronts his past.

On a sidenote, demigods aren't exactly known for being immortal... Like in mythology they at most age slower, but I believe most actually tend to die young (killed most of the time). The exception to this is when they ascend to godhood or are born as gods.
I also think Adrian should come with us. Even if it's bad news, I think it's better if he hears it firsthand.
Leave Kanie because I dont like him-

Convince Adrian to go inside!


"...You wanna know what I think?" You say after taking a moment to think it all over.

"...Hm?" Adrian, who had hung his head moments before, pops it up at your words.

You smile and place a gentle hand on his shoulder.


"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take," You tell him.​

He gapes at you in return, dumbfounded.

"You've come all this way... Why not settle this: Once and for all?" You ask with a comforting smile.

"...I'm scared..." Adrian confesses, and while your almost certain stereotypes back in your world would frown upon a boy being so emotionally vulnerable but you adore that Adrian trusts you enough to allow you to see this side of him!

"I know, and that's okay!" You chirp back, smiling.

"It is...?" Adrian questions back, not expecting you to say that.

"Sure... Well, as long as you keep something in mind," You remind him, matter-of-factly.

"What's that?" He asks, curious.

"That finding out about your mom is more important THAN that fear," You tell him while giving him a comforting yet stern look.

Adrian smiles and chuckles, as if he's been a bit silly all this time.

"Yeah... Yeah, I guess you're right, Rosie," He agrees, and moves forward, as if to follow you, "I did come all this way, after all."

Specifically, to follow you into the Village Elders' house.

"Guys?" You hear Elias behind the both of you and you turn to him with a hyped-up expression and give him a thumbs up.

Elias, taking your cue, smiles back and gestures for the two of you to hurry.

And he's right: You guys have absolutely no time to waste!



You take deep breaths in and out and try to hide your shaking knees as you approach the Village Elders house, and your heart darn near stops when Elias opens the creaky door! (You try to hide most of this for Adrian's sake, It's already taking him everything he's got to be here, and the last thing he needs is to see YOU freaking out!)


It looks pretty decent: There's a bed, a pretty big nightstand, and bookshelf in one corner, a place for a tub in another, and opposite the corner with the tub is a place for an oven/fireplace. The air here is dry and musty, and it's not a particularly great smell, but it's not rancid or anything either...

Ah. You see why it's a bit stuffy in here: The village elder is sweeping their floor. They're a bit of a short and stout man, with curly, medium brown hair and plump cheeks to match the rest of their body (You're a bit surprised to see someone... er, with some meat on their bones... granted everything going on, but you figure as long as the rest of the village is well-fed and he's mostly eating his crops, it's fine...) and a dirty green colored tunic. It's a bit more gray-with-a-slight-tint-of-green, and his pants and boots look like they're only a slightly darker color than said tunic.

"Uhm, excuse us, we--"

"Yes? How can I--" They began, warmly smiling at first, and then freezing... Upon getting a good look at Adrian. One second in and he's already as pale as a ghost

Oh. Ooooooh boy. You should send this moment to Guinness for the "Shortest amount of time it took you to not like where a situation was going".



"Wha-- Tidus?! N-no, but..." He mutters in shock, disbelief... and regret.

In fact, he reeks of regret.

"Tidus?" Adrian asks in confusion and curiosity.

"E-eh? A-ah, oh... Y-you're not--? Haha, of course you're not! Of course! He-- Uh, ahahaha..." He nervously laughs at himself for his "silly mistake", he apologetically looks at Adrian and nervously adds, "He... uh... Left this village... l-long ago... haha..."

He looks away nervously, clutching his broom tighter, and purposefully avoiding eye contact with any of you cautiously. Too cautiously. He's starting to sweat... but it's not that hot in this house...


Your eyes narrow in suspicion and suddenly...

You are filled with a near searing, blinding rage.

The stench of regret fills your nostrils and adds disgust to your ever growing theory that this man is guilty. You don't of what. But you know he's guilty.

"Stay frosty, Ro..." You hear your brother's voice in your head, but this time...

This time you just can't bring yourself to listen.



"...What did you do...?" You slowly inch closer to them as your frown quickly becomes a glare.

"Gah! Wha-- I-I-I didn't do anything, I swear!" He pleads, more nervous and still not making eye contact.

And on this day... You've heard the biggest, most insulting lie told to your face.

The insult makes you even more furious.

"What. Did. You. Do?" You demand again, very much in a "Did I stutter?!" type of way, and add menacingly, "Don't make me repeat my question a third time. You WILL regret it. I promise."

They bite their lip and hang their head and you are about one second from becoming violent.

"She asked a question," Elias backs you up, and you resist the urge to give this "elder" a smug and sly smirk.

"Wh-who even are you people?! T-to come into my home--"

"You know what?" You curtly cut them off, knowing exactly where this is going, "You're right. NORMAL people shouldn't just barge into your home and start asking questions... But we AREN'T. NORMAL."

"B-because of those things on your face? Or your glowing necklace?" The elder asks, terribly confused.

"Because I'M THE HIEROPHANT OF SKIES," You boom, quickly losing control of your temper, "And ONE of my THREE crest-bearers doesn't wanna leave because there's a spirit haunting the nearby lake, and UNLIKE YOU, he's taking responsibility for it and not letting those young girls die anymore! He can't leave with us as long as that spirit's there... So we've come to try to find out more about it. To see if we might discover something... ANYTHING... that can appease it."

The Village Elder would have been LESS surprised if you had busted out a bow and arrow and shot him, you're sure.
Can't say right now you particularly care, however.


You take off your glasses... And part your bangs sideways.



The Village Elder looks like he is about to soil himself, and you feel bad for a millisecond until a very dark part of your heart tells you he probably deserves it. You'll find out in a moment: He looks like he's about to sing like a canary.

Oh look: You finally found the one moment you don't really mind looking like ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL PEOPLE ON THIS ISLE.

"E-EMPRESS?!" He gasps in shock and disbelief, "Y-YOU'VE BEEN THE HIEROPHANT?! A-ALL THIS TIME?! BUT--"

"I just told you: I'm NOT the Empress, but I AM the HIEROPHANT OF SKIES. And I only brought TWO out of THREE of the crest-bearers I've gathered so far with me... But I imagine that's MORE THAN ENOUGH to kick your a** ten ways to Celosia if you don't start talking. I KNOW you're hiding something. TALK. AND TALK QUICKLY," You correct him, not letting him keep that horrible misconception of Hellie being the Hierophant all this time and not lifting a finger to find other crest-bearers.

He looks at you pleadingly, and then--

"THEY'RE DEAD! THEY'RE DEAD! CELOSIA HELP ME, MAJESTY, THEY'RE DEAD!" He cries like a baby, rather pathetically your dark heart notes, and you raise a brow.

"Who is dead?" You ask in false calm.

"...The bearer of the Celosian crest of water..." They reply defeated, and with their head hung.

"Wh--" Adrian begins, clearly alive and well, but you raise your hand as if to urge him silent, and you're sure in your new... effervescence... He's just freaked out enough and scared of you to oblige.

You're very interested to hear why he thinks your water bearer is dead.

"Why's that?"
You asked with a raised brow.


You aren't happy he seems to think you're someone you're not... but you HAVE already told him the truth... and if it will get you answers...



"They were just a baby, not even a year old..." He muttered and then buried his face in his hands sobbing, "I HAD TO! I HAD TO!"

"What did you have to do?" You ask again, and you have a VERY bad feeling about this.

"After we killed Tidus... W-we chased Marianna out... Her and her baby..."

Your eyes widen and you definitely DON'T like where this is going.

"Marianna... She ran... She ran to the lake... She fell a-and fainted as she sank into the water... H-holding the baby..."

"Why?"

"THEY WERE A CREST BEARER!" He cries.

Your eyebrows raise as high as they can possibly go as Hellie and Elmiel's words that were said so casually now come back to haunt you:

"While the people in AURAN here certainly think that the Hierophant is the heroine who will save us all, because our Emperor believed so and our first Emperor was a direct descendant of Celosia... others... Well..."

"Others can see them and
the crest-bearers as omens of said catastrophe... Some can think of their very existence, or in the Hierophant's case their arrival, as the very reason why this is all happening to start..."

Those words didn't impact you much then... Sure are NOW.

"There was a great drought near the day they were born... The very MONTHS leading up to their birth... They were the driest months we've ever seen... Maybe even all of Cion has ever seen!"

You hear Adrian make a sound, and when you look over to him, he's wincing in pain. You then bring your attention back to the Village Elder.

"Tidus and Marianna were always walking around with that baby... and our crops were always watered after they did... It didn't take long to figure out who exactly the child they sired was..." He continued, and you are physically shaking in anger (you can't remember the last time you were this angry before).

"They water your crops and you repay them by killing them?" You coldly asked while you sneer at him.

"Majesty, PLEASE! You have to understand, THERE WAS NO WATER! The lake was DRYING! IT HADN'T RAINED IN MONTHS! With no sign of it raining again!" He begged on.

"So you tried to kill him?"

"W-we thought... We thought since it all happened near when they were born... I-If... If we killed them... Th-then... Then..."

"The rains and water might come back..."

"Yes! We were stupid! Foolish! When we went to demand Marianna and Tidus' baby--"

"Naturally they didn't give him up without a fight," Elias grimaces.

"Tidus held us off as long as he could while Marianna snuck away... But we killed him... Celosia spare me... We killed him...! Marianna was found shortly after, running off, and she somehow managed to make it to the lake--"

That was no easy trek. On the carriage, it was a while... You can only imagine on foot... And with such precious cargo...

Poor Adrian's mom... Poor Marianna...
She really did love her son... She really did love Adrian.
That is a mother's love...

"She ran from us with all her might... She was so tired when we reached her... She wasn't looking where she was going, and she fainted as she fell into the lake... Taking the baby with her... We left them there... W-we thought... We thought that was the end of our problems... Th-the rains came back! They came back, but--"

"The lake became cursed. Haunted. Young girls, I'm guessing AROUND MARIANNA'S AGE started disappearing, didn't they?" You speculate.

"It used to be pure water. Pure as crystals... It was once called Crystal lake! Soon after Marianna died, the rains came back with a vengeance... And so did SHE. It became a wretched place... Every girl sent to fetch the once blessed water stopped returning for a long time... Only a few years ago did they return once they were sent... Still wretched, but survivable... The girls who survived and describe the spirit describe Marianna entirely...Oh Celosia!" He bawled, he clearly regretted everything he'd done, and he doesn't have the heart of a killer, you know this... but blood is still on his hands. Namely Adrian's parent's blood.

"Do you realize what your idiocy could have done?! Do you realize what you might have caused?! ALL OF CION ISLE COULD HAVE FALLEN BECAUSE OF YOU!"

"MAJESTY, PLEASE! PLEASE FORGIVE ME! I THOUGHT THEY WERE A CURSE! I THOUGHT THEY WERE A CURSE!!!"



>> PUNCHED SOMEONE FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER!<<

"You're a curse---"

"And you're lucky you didn't succeed..."

You turn your back to him but make sure he gets a good look at your glare as you turn back to face him a moment to tell him that, and shake your now aching hand (you still couldn't believe you did that... You've never punched anyone before until that moment). You don't want to give this man the satisfaction of seeing your hand in pain.


"M-majesty...?" The village Elder asks questioningly, like you had just said something wrong, as you now return to facing him to continue this (now turned into an) interrogation.


It was at this point Adrian approaches the man.

"I came with the Hierophant for two reasons: To figure out things about the spirit haunting the lake so we might stop it once and for all... And to figure out what happened to my parents... I... I guess now we know they were one in the same."

The Village Elder now goes wide-eyed while rubbing his cheek where you decked him and gazes at Adrian.

"It can't be... Y-YOU'RE--"

"I'm that baby all that time ago... Yeah... I'm Tidus and Marianna's son. That explains why my Grandparents couldn't talk about it... To re-live how their daughter died so tragically..." He muttered, looking down sadly.

So his grandparents at least had the decency to tell him his own mother's name, at the least...

"Th-then... Y-you..."

At this point, Adrian takes out a pretty leather flask, opens it, and you assume with the magic from his crest (weird... From this angle, you can see something shining from his upper back...? His shirt is hiding it...)takes out the water from it easily. Manipulating like it was play-doh or magic sand, swirling it around him, and truly looking like he was a crest-bearer.

"I'm the bearer of the Celosian crest of water, yes. I've been using it to... To save the girls of this village... From my own mother..."

Adrian...

That explains why he felt responsible for their deaths...


"FORGIVE ME! PLEASE! PLEASE FORGIVE ME! IF I HAD KNOWN YOU WEREN'T A CURSE I WOULD HAVE NEVER!" He grovels and begs at Adrian for forgiveness.

"...You were scared, weren't you?" Adrian asks, and you can tell he, like you now, is hiding back some anger.

"Yes... I'm sorry, I'm so, so sorry..." He keeps pleading, "I, CASSIUS, THE VILLAGE ELDER, BEG YOU FOR YOUR FORGIVENESS!"

"Fear, anger, and hurt can often cause one to lose all sense of rationality. It surprises me not in these trying times people search for a scapegoat or way to channel all those negative emotions unto others who do what they cannot so that their suffering is more bearable. It is merely human nature. Pitiable, but also possible. Fair has no part of this and never has."

Elmiel's words continue to haunt you...

You kinda wanna punch this ****er again...

"...I'll forgive you," You hear Adrian reply, to your shock, but then he adds, "Not because I pardon you for robbing me of my parents and my grandparents from their daughter... I'm not THAT good a person... But... Only because I'll be bitter at you all my life if I don't... And..."


"--You just seem like you really need it, is all."


Poor Adrian...

Cassius is on the floor sobbing like a baby, and you sorta feel bad for him, though you suppose with that one punch you can support Adrian in forgiving the man who ordered his parents slain essentially for no good reason...


"Adrian..." Elias put a stern hand on Adrian's shoulder and nods.

The two of them look at each other a moment, and as if they were communicating wordlessly, Adrian gives him a small smile. Elias then turns to you and smiles as well.

Your anger is finally beginning to dissipate, and you can't stay mad when his handsome face is smiling at you like that. You hate that he's seen the worst of you... but try to hide a blush at the fact he saw it and can still smile at you like that...


The three of you walk away as you mumble, "With that punch you are forgiven."



Then you hear Cassius one more time...

"Travellers... Highness..."

The three of you stop and Adrian looks back.

"Yes?" He asks.

"Your father... Tidus... He was a traveler... He was a good man... He brought small, leather flasks for transporting a small bit of liquid on ones person... to us... Sold it to us for cheap... and they were so beautiful... That flask with your water... It was probably one your Father had..."

Small flasks for--

Medieval versions of water bottles. His father sold medieval versions of water bottles...!


"He met your mother and almost instantly fell in love... He courted her a bit... And... Once he found out she was with a child... HIS CHILD... HE... He stayed... for her... and you... He loved you both so, so much..."

Adrian stands there, shocked...

"I know this foolish old man didn't deserve to be forgiven... I just thought that was the very least I could do for you... After what I've taken from you..."

A small tear forms in Adrian's eye.


"Thank you..."

"Thank YOU for saving our girls... Because of my foolishness..." Is the last thing you're willing to hear his simpering self blather on in tears.



"So... You lost your parents as well, huh?" Adrian asks as the three of you were once silently walking back to the cart until he asked that question.

Elias winces and nods.

"Yeah... My... My mother died giving birth to me... And my father was killed by Soldiers from the Land Kingdom eleven years ago..." Elias mutters sadly and uncomfortably.

"WH-WHA?! NO WAY! FOR REAL!?" Adrian blurts, surprisingly shocked...?

"Hm?" You ponder about his reaction with a tilted head, blinking.

"Wow... It's just... Wow... I mean, not that we really know anything about the Kingdoms down below anymore, but... How did they even get up here?! And if they found a way up here once, how come they haven't been seen again?!"


You bite your lip to remain silent... It looks like your hunch about that being a lie may not remain a hunch for much longer...

"I mean, if they kinda were racing to get up here I can't imagine they'd have different weapons than us, right?" Elias speculates.

"Yeah, I guess so, maybe... I just don't see it happening, you know? Or, well... I didn't til just now... Still, it seems like overkill to have the soldiers in Levi Plains for a threat that, as far as we know, is way below us..."

"It is better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war..." You mutter a proverb your history class read, and you didn't pay much mind to it, but even if Elmiel wasn't potentially covering up his lie, you would rather have capable people defend Hellie just incase those unhappy people down below DO miraculously make it up here one day (and since you're saving Cion, that means it HAS future... Meaning that if/when this world gets to YOUR WORLDS level, that worry won't exist once flight is discovered... If they don't get a thousand years or so boost with some sort of aviation magic...

...No...

Wait...

Magic or Technology...

Celosia... Celosia would have thought of that... wouldn't she?

There's no way a Goddess would overlook that...

She must have taken other precautions just in case they did discover flight spells or develop airplanes, right?

But wha-----





Huh?

Why did you suddenly think of Carbuncle...?

And, you feel terrible about this, but why do you suddenly feel like everyone training in Levi Plains is superfluous...?

"Ha! Well, we've got warriors out there training in LITERAL STORMS, so no worries there?" Elias smiles.


"Haha yea-- Wait, what?"

"I keep forgetting you're from another world!" Adrian chuckles, nearly laughing, "You didn't know? Levi Plains is ALMOST ALWAYS FILLED WITH LIGHTNING STORMS!"

DEFINITELY SUPERFLUOUS!! AND WHY ARE THEY SAYING THAT SO CASUALLY!?

"A-AND THAT'S NORMAL?!"

"Of course not, but considering its intense conditions it's the perfect place to train a soldier for battle!" Adrien snickers your cluelessness off as you stare at him in awe and confusion.

"It's pretty convenient! Right around the time, Elmiel joined the council was when those storm clouds came and never left!" Elias chirps like it was nothing.

Wow... That really is convenient... That must mean for about ten or so years that storms been a-ragin', right?

Hmmm...

"You know the future Emperor?" Adrian asks.

"Yeah! He's my elder brother!" Elias proudly informs Adrian.

"WOW! I THOUGHT YOU LOOKED FAMILIAR! Dang!" Adrian gapes.

"Right!?"


As the two go on, you silently try not to think about how much of an idiot you are to not wonder or suspect about weird oddities on the map and just how much more mysterious places this compass (which is STILL going nuts, by the way!) will take you to...

It all sounds suspect...




"Rosie?" You hear Elias snap you back to reality (aw jeez, how many times have you spaced out in front of him JUST TODAY... Let alone the rather short duration of your guys' friendship?!)

"A-ah, yes!?" You blurt out loudly.

"Er... Are you ok? You were just kinda staring into the ground..." Adrian explains their concern.

"A-ah! I'm fine! Really!" You reassure them, not wanting to explain you were exploring a bunch of crazy theories in your head.



"...So... What now...?" Adrian asks as if he were uncomfortable.

"Huh?" You and Elias ask in unison, both stumped as to why he was uncomfortable.

"I mean... I guess now we know who the spirit is... And why they're haunting Lost Loch..." Adrian recaps while scratching his head, then adds, "I never would have thought that finding out about my mom and my spirit were the same thing...I guess it makes sense in hindsight... But..."

"...But what...?" You ask.

"But I still don't really know how we're supposed to... Uhm... Convince her to go to Celosia..."

"Adrian..." Elias mutters.

"She... She died so young and so senselessly... I... I can't support what she's doing, don't get me wrong... But... I can understand it... How can we just go up to her and ask her to move on when I can get why she's so mad... She should have still been alive... And with dad... raising me..."

"Wait... Wait didn't Cassius tell us that... When she died... She had you with her?"

Adrian's eyes widen.

"You don't... You think she thinks I'm--"

"YES! Yes, I very much DO think she thinks you're dead!"

"Wha--?! BUT--!"

"Adrian, we need to return to Lost Loch ASAP! We've got to tell your mom you're ALIVE! That may be why she's still there!"

"Ok, maybe, but HOW?! You can't get near her without her wanting to kill you! We don't have a prayer!"

"We don't have a PLAN," Elias worriedly corrects Adrian, and it seems he's agreeing with your hunch as to why Marianna's still around.

"I-I'm working on it!" You reassure the both of them, actually making this up as you two go along.




Let's see... You've got a small army of Zombie women, a Captain of the Royal Guard, and 3 crest-bearers at your disposal (each specializing in wind, fire, and water magic respectively)...

One of those 3 is the very son of the spirit haunting the lake...

You suspect perhaps Marianna died in that lake... Meaning... Their body is probably still IN the lake... Or... well, whatever remains of them, anyway... So you all know where her son and her remains are...

Shoot!

You're not short of powerful, talented allies... Surely there must be something that can be done with all the information you have!

Right...?

>>IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN DO??<<


code by @Satanic Nightjar
 
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Idea

The Pun Tyrant The Gif Hydra
"Because I'M THE HIEROPHANT OF SKIES," You boom, quickly losing control of your temper, "And ONE of my THREE of my crest-bearers doesn't wanna leave the lake because there's a spirit haunting the nearby lake, and UNLIKE YOU, he's taking responsibility for it and not letting those young girls die anymore! He can't leave with us as long as that spirit's there... So we've come to try to find out more about it. To see if we might discover something... ANYTHING... that can appease it."
And this is a moment when we see Rosy's position starting to get to her head. I have a feeling she's going to do something very stupid sometime in the future and get some backlash. Only time will tell of course...

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

For now, my suggestion is we attempt to have the zombie girls help us keep the spirit at bay, and maybe point us in the direction of the corpse. If I recall, crest bearers have some control over their element, so we could ask Adrian to maybe help pull the mother's dead body out of the lake so it can be given a proper burial.
 

Felis

Meow?
Since I don't have a better idea, I'm going to agree with Idea Idea 's. We already have some clues where to look, too: Marianna's body has to be on the side of the lake closest to the village, and it'll probably in fairly deep water, because the lake was partially dried up when she died. Adrian would probably be the best suited to actually look/dive for it (thanks to his water powers), though I don't feel too comfortable asking him to look for his own mother's remains... Maybe the zombie girls can help?

On another note, I'm not sure Adrian saying "prayer" was just a slip of tongue. I'd suggest we ask him what he meant - it doesn't hurt to have a backup plan/additional ideas, even if it sounds a little superstitious.

I have to say, I'm not sure what Kaine and Xander can do besides make sure we don't (almost) drown again? Elias can perhaps thin the mists a bit with his wind powers so we can see what we're doing, but I'm not having many ideas for fire - it won't be too useful in seeing what's under the water's surface since the light would reflect right off it, I'm afraid.
 

Idea

The Pun Tyrant The Gif Hydra
Adrian would probably be the best suited to actually look/dive for it (thanks to his water powers), though I don't feel too comfortable asking him to look for his own mother's remains...
I was thinking we could try to get him to like "part the waters" so to speak so we could look for and retrieve the corpse.
 

Minako

🎮Super High School Level Gamer: Chiaki Nanami🎮

Rosalina Chandra


And this is a moment when we see Rosy's position starting to get to her head. I have a feeling she's going to do something very stupid sometime in the future and get some backlash. Only time will tell of course...

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

For now, my suggestion is we attempt to have the zombie girls help us keep the spirit at bay, and maybe point us in the direction of the corpse. If I recall, crest bearers have some control over their element, so we could ask Adrian to maybe help pull the mother's dead body out of the lake so it can be given a proper burial.
Since I don't have a better idea, I'm going to agree with Idea Idea 's. We already have some clues where to look, too: Marianna's body has to be on the side of the lake closest to the village, and it'll probably in fairly deep water, because the lake was partially dried up when she died. Adrian would probably be the best suited to actually look/dive for it (thanks to his water powers), though I don't feel too comfortable asking him to look for his own mother's remains... Maybe the zombie girls can help?

On another note, I'm not sure Adrian saying "prayer" was just a slip of tongue. I'd suggest we ask him what he meant - it doesn't hurt to have a backup plan/additional ideas, even if it sounds a little superstitious.

I have to say, I'm not sure what Kaine and Xander can do besides make sure we don't (almost) drown again? Elias can perhaps thin the mists a bit with his wind powers so we can see what we're doing, but I'm not having many ideas for fire - it won't be too useful in seeing what's under the water's surface since the light would reflect right off it, I'm afraid.

Plan set!

You take a deep breath and try to play various situations out in your head... But they all lead back to Adrian fishing his own mother's remains out of that Lake.

You feel so bad about that, but... He's really the only one equipped to go into the water...

"S-so... I think I... Have an idea..." You mutter a little loudly.

At least, loud enough to get Elias and Adrian's attention.

"Oh? What is it, Rosie?" Elias inquires, and Adrian looks like he wants to hear what you have to say as well.

"I'm so sorry, Adrian," You begin with absolutely zero confidence and all the hesitance in the world, "But... I think we might want to ask the zombie girls back at the Lake if they can help us get to your mom's remains... And then you might have to help them fish them out... and... maybe a proper burial and telling her you're ok might... well... you know... I know, it's insensitive, and I'm so sorry, but it's really all I've got so far..."

"Do you think it would really work?" Adrian asks, and he definitely doesn't look comfortable at the thought of helping fishing out his dead mother's remains, but he doesn't seem too opposed to it either.

"I wouldn't ask you to do something so morbid and heavy if I didn't think it had a fighting chance," You reply, pleading Adrians forgiveness with your tone.

"It sounds like a good idea," Elias nods, adding, "Giving her a proper burial and reassuring her that her son is alright sounds like a great start."

"...And if it's not enough?" Adrian worriedly challenges.

"We'll have to cross that bridge when we get there..." You sigh.

"...Rosie, you COULD DIE if it's not enough..." Adrian points out worriedly, "If my mother isn't quelled by knowledge that I'm alive and a proper burial she WILL DROWN YOU!!"

"Adrian, remember what I said about fear? I'm petrified of your Mother, and I obviously don't WANT to drown, and if you have any BETTER ideas, I'm all ears! Until you do, however, this is our best bet!" You retort back at him.

"Don't worry, I won't let ANYTHING happen to her--" Elias begins to reassure you when--


Oh, in all the hustle and bustle you didn't notice you guys had pretty much returned back to your guy's cart and Carbuncle kinda heard... In all the chaos of earlier, you forgot Carbuncle wasn't aware of what almost happened to you.​

"Don't worry, Carby-kins, I'm okay!" You reassure them, though that doesn't seem to make them feel any better.

"She's with me now, Carbuncle, I'm not gonna let anything happen to her!" Elias reassures and you can't help but look away with a blush and an odd expression.


He... uh... Doesn't seem very convinced.​

Elias jokingly looks downtrodden (well.. at least you're almost sure it's jokingly) as you and Adrian chuckle while getting back on the cart and doing your best to quickly make it back to Lost Loch... Once known as Crystal Lake.

"So... I guess... I guess it makes sense that it's no longer called Crystal Lake..."

"Yeah... Especially since my... my mom's remains might... might still be..."

"Hey hold on, Girls are sent there to fetch the water, right?"

"Yeah, it's usually an all-day task, as walking to and fro from the village pretty much takes up all the light in the day--"

Right, dawn to pretty much dusk sounds about right, and poor Marianna tried to run it... Carrying Adrian...

Wait... She died in the lake, right?

"But if your mom's remains are still in there, then that water can't possibly be drinkable!"

"Eh? Oh... Aha... Rosie, I can purify water, not just control it," Adrian explains, then adds, "I can make it too, but I find it a bit easier to just use this pouch to carry some water... Plus, if this was my father's, it just makes sense... I guess if I drink it all I can just refill it..."

"WH- OH! OH WOW!" You exclaim, not expecting that, "So wait... That mist surrounding Lost Loch, it's--"

"Yeah... Me..."

"A-and you haven't purified the lake because of---"

"Yeah... It would be a moot point to purify the water with her remains in it... So... I guess it's for the best all-around..."

"I'm sure a proper burial and letting her know you're ok are AT LEAST a good start..." Elias reassures.

"Wait... How are we going to distract my mom? I can barely get close to the lake even WITH my mist covering me, so how--"

"You just leave that part to ME," You reassure Adrian.

It is YOU Marianna is after, after all...

"Rosie... You... You've got to be kidding..."

"Cion Isle is more important than my fear," You respond to Adrian, "Remember what I said about fear?"

"Well, yeah, but... but..."

"Don't worry... As I said... I won't let ANYTHING happen to her," Elias determinedly states.


You take a deep breath and sigh, "As I said, If you've got a BETTER IDEA, I'd love to hear it. Until then, however, I'm your best shot at distracting her so you can look for her remains in the Loch."

You're not going to lie, you feel kinda bad that the only role you can think of for yourself is LIVE BAIT...


Mostly because, to the best of YOUR KNOWLEDGE, it doesn't usually work out so well for the lure...

But you really can't think of any other way to get Marianna's attention and keep her distracted while Adrian looks for her remains...

"My life is in your hands, Guys," You think to yourself, exhaling and adding internally, "...Well, I guess if I die then everyone else does, too, eventually... So I guess everyone's life is in your hands... Good luck..."

As the three of you go on, you don't miss a worried whinny from Horse Carbuncle...

When your group finally approaches Lost Loch the sun looks like it's just about to set... And you can't deny you're getting more and more scared as the sun sets...


"Welcome back!" Kaine greets you as you reunite with your Fire-bearer, Big brother, and apparent zombie army.

"What did you find out? Anything that we can use against the spirit? Or, at least, anything useful?" Xander, as expected, gets right to business asking the important questions.

You and Elias both turn to Adrian, as you feel it's his story and he should really be the one to tell it.

"...Yeah... They're... They're my mom, Marianna..." Adrian begins explaining, and the look on both Xaners and Papa's faces are priceless.

"Lad... I'm... I'm sorry..." Kaine expresses his condolences, knowing loss a little too well in your opinion.

"Oh... Shoot..." Xander murmurs, now feeling like a real heel from his earlier questions.

You imagine if the Zombie ladies could really have expressions they would be surprised, but given their current state...

"IIIIIT ISSS QUUUIIITTEEE IIIRROOONNIICCCC," The blonde leader of the undead ladies begins, "TTHHHAAATTT HEEERRRR SOOOONNNN IIISSSSSS TTTHHHEEE SSSAAAVVVIIIOORRR WWWWHHHIIILLLEEE SSSHHHEEEE IIIIISSSS TTTHHHEEE SSSLLLAAAAYYYYEEEERRRR..."

"Fits perfectly with why he felt responsible," Xander notes.

Adrian sighs and nods, then hangs his head.

You place a comforting hand on his shoulders and he pops his head up, looks at you, and gives you a shy smile. You give him a gentle smile back.

"So, what do we do from here?" Papa asks, and it looks like everyone... EVERYONE... is turning to you for what to do next.

You nod to yourself and take a deep breath.

"Ok, so," You begin, "Here's the plan: The lovely undead ladies and Adrian will try to fish Marianna's remains out of the lake, I'll lure her out and away from it as much as I can, Papa and Xander can help me if things go south, and Elias--"

"CHIIIIKAAAAH!!"

Hm? What?!


EH?! He's back to being a bunny!?​

"Chi-Chika! Chika!" Carbuncle whines as he jumps up to you and you instinctively catch him in your arms.

"Carby?! What are you doing here?!" You shout as he lands safely in your arms.

"Chika! Kah!" He whines.

"Awww, were you worried about me?" You ask while nuzzling him.

"Chi! Chikah!" He nods indignantly.

"Haha... It's not safe here, though..." You try to talk him out of staying, but Carbuncle stubbornly shakes his head in rebellion.

"TTTTHHHHEEEEEERRREEEE MIIIGGGHHHTTTT BEEEE AAAAA SSSLLIIIIGGGHHHTTT PPRRRROOOBBBLLLEEEEMMM WWWWIIITTTTTHHH TTTHHHAAATTT PPPLLLAAAANNNN..." The orange-haired one who also pardoned Adrian spoke up, and you already feel your heart sinking as things already aren't going according to plan and it hasn't even been enacted yet!

"Oh no... What's the problem, If it's the mist, Adrian--"

"IIIIT IIISSS NOOOT THHAAAATTT BUUUUTTT--" They begin, "SSSIIINNNCCCEEEE SSSHHHEEE KIIILLLEEEEDDD UUUUSSSS BYYYYY DRRRROOOWWNNIINNGGG UUSSSSS--"

OH NO--

"WWWWEEE ARROOOSSEEEEE FFFRRROOOMMM TTHHOOSSSEEE WWWAAATTTEEERRRRSSS AAAANNND IIIII HHHAAVVVEE OOONNNLLYY EEEVVVEEERRRR SSSSSSEEEEEEEN OOOUURR CCCOOORRRPSSSEEEESSS, NEEEEVVVEEEERR HHEEERRRRS..."

OH NO!

"We're gonna have to lift the whole lake and scour it for the only remains left in there: Hers. The faster the better," Elias interjects.

"Is Adrian strong enough to lift the lake?" Xander asks.

" A-ah... Well... I-I've never tried it before..." He responds worriedly and you don't blame him for doing so with the immense amount of pressure now dropped on him.

"He won't have to do it alone," Elias comforts Adrian while a gust of wind circles his now formed fist, "If you can control that amount of water enough, and I can muster a strong enough hurricane--"

"AH! I get it! Combine your crests!" You absent-mindedly interrupt your crush.

"Exactly," Elias surprisingly channels Elmiel and coyly responds while winking at you, but it's... Not seductive... More playful when paired with his innocent smile.

You try to stop yourself, but you can't help but wonder for a moment... Did he refuse to truly flirt with you just now because everyone was present (especially with Papa here and they just had that talk...) and he wasn't comfortable (for multiple reasons) or... Because he's differentiating you from Hellie, and in doing so doesn't feel...

AUGH! NO! NO! YOU CAN'T LET ELIAS DISTRACT YOU!

SPIRIT FIRST, THEN ACQUIRING CREST BEARER, THEN YOU MARVEL IN AWE OF HIS STUPID-HANDSOME FACE!

"Alright... So the both of you might be able to lift THE WHOLE LAKE?" Xander asks.

"If only this was as simple as merely finding the remains in the lake..." Papa sighs.

"Are you sure WE can do it, Elias...? It's kinda a decently big lake... Big enough to make me question if I can lift the whole thing... And I'm the WATER-BEARER!" Adrian nearly chortles out in frustration.

You feel kinda bad about this, but it makes you feel a little bit better now that Adrian has finally actually claimed he was Celosia's Water-Bearer, not that you really doubt it with the compass going nuts around him, but you haven't really seen his crest yet...

"We have to... I think," Elias replies, losing a bit of confidence at the end there, but then taking a look at you and seemingly gaining it all back.

"Alright then, I guess Elias goes with Adrian and the Zombie Ladies' team, and Carbuncle comes with us," You compromise.

"So instead of having two crest-bearers with you, you'll only have one..." Xander nearly growls, clearly not liking this... But you also get the feeling he feels HIS own strength is not enough to protect you from Marianna and it's not a great feeling for him.

"It shall be alright, I won't let anything happen to her," Papa replied.

You look at Elias (you're TRYING not to let him distract you, but just sometimes...!) and you feel bad at how ashamed and pained he looks at promising to protect you and now he's placed on Adrian's team.

"Alright, If we're all ready... Let's do this NOW... We're losing light, and we're losing light fast..." Xander points out, and quickly getting back on track you definitely DO notice how dark it's getting so quickly.


The sun had set before you knew it, and it was time for you to check if your other team was in position after your first team just got to where it needs to be.

Adrian had cleared the mist entirely and after that was done, you have Papa quickly wield his fire in his hand and raise it, and moments afterward you see tons of figures and shadows move closer and closer toward the lake.

It's time...

You take a deep breath and throw your fear aside...


"MARIANNA! MARIANNA! MARIANNA, I KNOW IT'S YOU!" You shout at the top of your lungs right in front of the lake.

"How did you know my name...?" You suddenly hear an eerie, coarse, whisper-type of voice.

You turn around to see Marianna's spirit glaring you down... and her eyes are glowing.

"No! Marianna, listen to me!" You cry, "I'm not even FROM Loredge... I... I know why you---"

"YOU..." She hisses and sneers in anger, "WHAT WOULD YOU KNOW?! WHAT WOULD YOU KNOW ABOUT ANYTHING!?"

Ok... This... Is progress... You think?!

"I know what those stupid people in Loredge did! I know what they took from you!" You shout, and you don't really know why you're not freaking out at an angry spirit yelling at you!

"YOU KNOW NOTHING!" The spirit snarled, her anger her form became even more hideous than ever before, "YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IT'S LIKE TO RUN FOR YOUR LIFE! UNTIL YOUR BODY IS ABOUT TO GIVE OUT! TO SAVE YOUR CHILD!"

"You ran all the way here from Loredge for them..." You mutter sadly.

"I would have ran to Auran if I could--" They reply.

That is a mother's love...

"Marianna, please--!"

"THEY TOOK AWAY EVERYTHING FROM ME! MY LOVE! MY SON! MY FUTURE!" She screeches like a banshee and your heart stops as your blood runs cold, "AND NOW--"


"NOW I'M GOING TO TAKE AWAY THEIR FUTURE. I'M GOING TO TAKE AWAY ALL OF THEIR FUTURES... GIRL BY GIRL..."

That's why she's killing young girls... To keep Loredge from having future mothers!

No young girls, no eventual mothers... No eventual mothers... No new generation for Loredge...


"AN EYE FOR AN EYE MAKES THE WHOLE WORLD BLIND! YOU'RE KILLING INNOCENT GIRLS WHO HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH YOUR DEATH! PLEASE! NONE OF THIS IS FAIR!" You cry, trying to reason with her.

"DO NOT SPEAK TO ME ABOUT FAIR!" She cries and continues snarling, "WAS IT FAIR MY LOVER WAS MURDERED TRYING TO BUY ME TIME!? WAS IT FAIR I TRIED TO SAVE THAT GODFORSAKEN VILLAGE DURING THE DROUGHT WHEN I DISCOVERED MY SONS GIFT?! WAS IT FAIR MY SON AND I WERE KILLED TRYING TO RUN AWAY TO TRY TO LIVE IN PEACE!?"

AH! She's charging right at you, when suddenly---!


>>LOST CARBUNCLE<<
CARBUNCLE!!! HE GOT THROWN OFF THE ISLE!!

NO!!!!

"CARBUNCLE!" You cry trying to run to them, but Papa stops you, and Marianna's gunning for you now!​

"NOW!" Papa roars while raising his wrist high in the sky and creating a literal beacon of FIRE raised high in the sky, and signaling for Adrian and Elias to LIFT THE LAKE!

As soon as the signal hits the sky you suddenly hear... Rushing waters.... you turn around to see:


WHOA! THEY'RE DOING IT! THEY'RE DOING IT!

THE LAKE IS LIFTING!​


You frantically try to scan the ever-moving waters, in search of any bodies or bones, but... You can't... You can't see anything but water!!!

WHERE ARE TH--


Wait...

Wait...

THERE! AT THE BOTTOM OF THE LAKE!​

As the lake roars and surges through the sky, keeping Adrian and Elias occupied with everything they've got to literally lift the lake, you see... something!?

You lost the light of day... You can't clearly make out what you see all the way down there, but---!

It... It's buried... Buried deep... You can barely see it, but--

Is it...? Could it possibly be?!

If you run ahead you KNOW Marianna will chase YOU and avoid Papa! If you're wrong, you could DIE!

But if you're right--!!

>>TAKE A CHANCE OR NOT?<<




code by @Satanic Nightjar
 
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Idea

The Pun Tyrant The Gif Hydra
We have a murderous ghost of unknown power chasing at us quite enraged. I think the moment to not take chances is long since past. We have nothing to loose really, take that chance!
 

Felis

Meow?
Oh no, Carbuncle!

But I agree, we decided on this plan, so we need to roll with it. If we don't move now, we might lose our only window of opportunity. Let's take the chance! (And it's not like any option we have at the moment is truly safe anyway...)
 

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