Episode 24

Vell-Savaria. Forgotten by most Attoractians, and spoken of with malcontent by those unfortunate scholars and adventurers that know of the cursed land. The exact nature of how the once shining metropolis fell into such ruin and accursed chaos is lost to history, but the curse persists, unassailed by the passage of time. 

Day, night, sun, rain, all impermanent joys of the outside world were lost to the infernal city. Vell-Sevaria was in a constant state of confusion, madness, and fire. It’s inhabitants, afflicted with the same ancient magic as the city itself, had been transformed into strange creatures. 

Though the denizens suffered the torturous flames throughout eternity, they seemed unable to leave, magically compelled to continue their humdrum lives. Such a place was perfect for Alisaris. The time-hopping sorcerer was intrigued by the city, drawn to it by it’s endless memories of pain and disaster. 

His regalia, Ifrit Glass, fed on the pain of the city and enhanced the disaster that gripped the poor town. “Welcome back Sylvia. 

I hope you got what you wanted. Sleep now, forever.” Lapis, who stood with Alisaris at the center of Vell-Savaria, stared towards the empty sky. Ashes around the two floated upwards, dancing with embers. The Primogenitor turned to his cohort. “The tree protecting this world seems to be reaching its limits. Alisaris, I’ll leave the rest to you. I need to begin the ritual to compress this world.”

“Understood, Master Lapis. What will we do about the girl?” “I’ll leave that to you. She’s a remnant of a lost world, a veritable walking library of disasters.” “As you wish.” All across the planet the land shuddered and convulsed. Fissures formed in the ground, widening as the earth spread beneath the feet of terrified denizens.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- “Jeeze it’s hot here. I guess this is that Vell-Savaria place, huh?” 

Kaguya grumbled as she fanned herself. “Blech. Even with this I’m still hot. I wish I knew ice magic.” “This isn’t right” Alice spoke in a low tone. “I know! Even when I move the winds here they’re hot, it’s awful!” “I can’t sense him.” “Yeah...hey wait, who is ‘he’ exactly?” Alice paused for a moment before responding. “I can’t sense Lapis.”

“That’s the big baddy’s name? Wow Alice you sure are smart about all this stuff. I guess I don’t really sense anything like that either” Kaguya rubbed her temples and furrowed her brow to demonstrate her effort. “Ever since I emerged from the world tree, I can feel it. When he’s near, there’s a...a shadowy resonance.” “A shadowy resonance? With what?”

“The other me. The me that wants nothing but revenge. When he’s nearby. I can hear her screaming, crying, begging me to take him down.”

“Oh man. That doesn’t sound normal. Seems like you’ve got it tough in a couple ways.” Kaguya frowned for a moment before something caught her eye. “Alice, over there!” Circling the city was an enormous phoenix, a powerful flame aura emanating from the creature. On top of the immortal bird stood a lone figure in a red hood. “That’s gotta be a bad guy, right Alice?”

Kaguya turned to Alice, but Alice had already leapt into the air, flying towards the phoenix and cloaked man. “Man she’s fast...Ah, this is no time to sit around!” Kaguya too sped upwards towards their foe, but just as the two drew close, the space that held the bird and man twisted like a spiral. 

When the space straightened back it appeared as though the phoenix and its rider had vanished. Alice and Kaguya looked around for where the hooded man might have ran to. To their surprise however, their previous surroundings had vanished. They now floated in a hazy red expanse. “He vanished. What’s going on here?” Alice looked around in every direction. 

Kaguya however, immediately realised what had happened. “Alice! It’s an illusion. Some kind of trick to trap us!” “So it’s just an illusion? In that case...Excalibur!” Responding to her call, Excalibur, now empowerd by Yggdrasil, appeared in the girl’s hands. Alice swung the legendary blade in a large arc, a trail of light following the edge of the sword. 

The misty expanse, cleaved by Excalibur, cracked and shattered like glass. As pieces of the real world quickly came back into view, the two girls could make out the shape of the red hooded man floating before them. “Seems that tree guardian has taken a liking to you.” Alisaris adjusted his glasses. “You think so? I think it’s more that Yggdrasil just really doesn’t like you guys.” 

Alice gripped Excalibur in anticipation. “There’s little difference. Either way it leads to the same eventuality; your will be sealed beyond time, just like him.”

“Him?” “I suppose there’s really no reason in telling you.” “I’m not really interested in listening anyway. All I want to know is where Lapis is.” “Hey, hey! Can I get in on some of the dramatic dialogue too?” Kaguya looked annoyed and grumbled to herself yet again. The heat of the blazing city, mixed with heat of battle as the world drew closer to its end.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- “Valentina...I finally found you.” Pricia whispered to herself, a dagger held to her chest. For the past day, Pricia had stalked the outside of Shangri-La’s palace, waiting for her target to emerge. The palace itself was too fortified by both magic and steel, and too large for Pricia to find Valentina quickly. No. 

She needed to wait, and wait she did. While the rebel army had not begun a formal assault, its members had been inciting small riots around the city in the hopes of drawing out its ruler. At last it seemed to have worked. Valentina, followed by only a few guards, was walking through a narrow under-passage. Pricia stood on the other side against the wall, to the side of the exit.

With each step the betrayer took, Pricia felt her heart sink. This was it. No turning back now. The beast queen’s breath staggered slightly and her hands trembled. Just a couple more steps...a couple more steps... “You can’t hide from me, Pricia.” The calm, confident voice of Valentina echoed through the small tunnel. No. No no no no. She knew? 

How long had she known? Had she been watching Pricia sneak around the entire time? No. This couldn’t be happening. Everyone was counting on her. Pricia felt paralyzed. For a moment her chest tightened and she felt like she was suffocating. “Y-you noticed, huh?” At long last she managed to get a few words out.

“Of course. I’ve been unable to smell anything else for the past day. I must say, I’ve grown tired of it.” “Valentina. Today we’re going to take back Shangri-La. But more than that, I’m going to end you. I’ll get revenge for all the people you hurt.” “Revenge for them? The dead should be grateful to have been slain by my hand. But since you’ve come so far just to fail, I suppose I’ll indulge you for a while.”

Pricia, having revealed herself, stared down Valentina. The overlord dismissed her guards nonchalantly. Pricia stood ready, her body trembling as she held her weapon pointed at her hated enemy. Valentina looked by nearly all accounts to be perfectly calm. If it were not for her wide eyed crooked smile one would be hard pressed to notice anything was wrong from the way she carried herself.

“Come then, little rat.” In a flash, Pricia leaped forward and thrust her dagger into Valentina’s stomach. The princess of love had made no effort to evade her.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Attoractia, the World of the Seven Kings