Excerpt of an ancient text deciphered by Hauyn.Item description for each of the twelve excerpts
Twelve records are found as shining objects, which are added to the player's Key Items inventory when obtained and can be read from there.
List of entries
WOFF Apocrypha I
Added by finding it in The Watchplains, Backroad 3
- Prologue 1/24
How many of you readers have heard of the "Epic of Alexander"? It is an ancient text for certain, but because it speaks of a world and culture completely unknown to us, it is largely thought to be a work of pure fiction despite being written in the format of a historical epic.
But in truth, not only is the epic of Alexander mentioned in the original text of the Azure Prophecy (known only to summoners), its tale is said to take place in another world, and it describes the events that led to the gods of the outer worlds coming to ours. Has your interest been piqued?
But the text itself is written in a very ancient tongue (some even suggest it may not be of this world), and many of its pages are missing. But thanks to the efforts of Cid at the Library of the Ancients, nearly all of the first half of the tale has now been gathered and deciphered. I am writing this in the hopes of spreading this tale to as many people as possible.
The Epic of Alexander is largely divided into three parts, and what follows is a series of heroic tales taken from the first part. With the aid of the vast wisdom of Professor Shantotto and Sherlotta, I have transcribed the tales into simple language that is easy to read, but at the same time I took care to preserve the mood and feel of the original text. It is my hope that you will read and enjoy the fruits of my labor.
Prologue: Beginning of the Fantasy 5/24
Upon viewing the carnage before him, Alexander feels a despair unlike any he had experienced before. He can almost hear the thread holding his soul to his body snapping, and in that moment, it feels as if the ground gives out from under him, sending him plummeting into a dark abyss.
The capital city is engulfed in flames. The Zepar—soldiers in mechanized armor that stand nearly three meters tall—hold flame launchers that reduce everything in their arm to ashes. Buildings and structures burn and collapse, throwing the people into a panic.
With a loud crash, the lookout tower collapses, and from behind the dust and rubble appear the Prokel. Mechanized soldiers standing tens of meters tall, the gargantuan horrors cast a shadow over the entire city. One of the Prokel's eyes lets out a whirr, and in that instant, all structures in its shadow crumble. Could this be the "Time of Purgation" that the prophet spoke of?
As one of the Zepar launches flames toward Alexander, a small, winged sylph casts a "Wall" spell to protect him. But the flames are too powerful for the spell to be repelled, and the sylph's body is engulfed. The sylph lets out a shriek of pain that returns Alexander to his senses, but the Zepar is already reloading its weapon for another attack.
In a rage, Alexander bolts toward the Zepar and strikes it with his still-esper-ized left arm. The force of the strike caves in the ground underneath the Zepar, but the machine soldier continues to reload its weapon as if nothing had happened. Alexander grits his teeth, then lets out a roar of fury.
Light gathers around the esper-ized arm, then launches toward the Zepar as a "Holy Laser." The Zepar's body is instantly vaporized.
Alexander runs toward the injured sylph he called Serafie and lifts her body into his arms. But Serafie's light is nearly extinguished.
"You...called me by name...today...hehe...I'm...glad you're...safe..."
After speaking in a barely audible voice, Serafie hides her pain behind a weak smile, then passes quietly.
Alexander slams the ground with his esper-ized arm, then sinks to the ground in despair. Tears flow from his eyes.
Though Serafie has been with him a long time, it is unusual for Alexander to become emotional about the passing of a subordinate. Perhaps she was special, because the tears keep flowing. Just then, a young man with pointed ears and a tattooed face comes running toward him.
"Master! Are you alright!?"
The young man sees the lifeless sylph in his master's arms, but then continues sternly.
"It is too dangerous here, my lord! Leave Serafie here and come with me! I will carve out an escape route!"
Escape? And leave everything behind? Just like I did once before? As these thoughts run through Alexander's mind, the word "no" naturally comes to his lips.
Alexander remembers the vow he made on "that" day. He would not run from destiny anymore—he would become the king of this world. And yet, here he is now, about to break his own vow. The anger rises within him again, bolstering the tether between his body and soul. Meanwhile, the young man is puzzled by his master's reaction. Alexander believed that once body and soul are separated, they can never again be connected the same way.
But he knows in his heart that they can be connected again...in a different way. Things would not be the same, but it can be done. With that in mind, Alexander rises to his feet and addresses the young man by name.
"Meloch, relay a message to the others."
"What are you saying? Now is not the..."
"I am going to liberate all the territories. In the meanwhile, I want all of you to focus on rescuing the survivors."
"You mean, the humans...?"
"Yes, this world belongs to me now. I won't allow these things to run wild any longer."
At first dumbfounded, Meloch sees the faint smile on his master's face, and sighs with a smile of his own.
"Very well, Master. We will rescue the..."
Before Meloch could finish, a massive sword rains down on him from the sky.
The wielder of the sword is Abigol, a monstrously large mechanical creature. It had torn through the planar fabric and entered the world without making a sound. And now, another Abigol appears and attempts to strike Alexander from behind. Without even turning, Alexander blocks and grabs hold of the Abigol's sword with his esper-ized arm.
A metallic sound rings through the air as an unstoppable force collided with an immovable object.
"Meloch, it's only the second time today. Go on your way."
Thought to be crushed by the sword that came down upon him, Meloch crawls out from under the rubble after craftily evading the strike, then carefully adjusts his attire.
After wiping the dust off his clothing, Meloch notices his face has been soiled as well, and proceeds to clean it back to its former immaculate state, unscathed and without blemish. Bowing a stately butler-like bow, he says,
"Master, I leave this situation in your capable hands. Please leave no regrets on the battlefield."
And then he is gone.
Noticing the force of the blade in his hand had changed from pushing down to trying to pull away, Alexander quickly lets go. This sends the Abigol slightly off balance, forcing it to back down a few steps. The other Abigol that had attacked Meloch was momentarily stunned by the sequence of events, but it now advanced towards Alexander ready to attack once more.
"Come and fight, you wretched..."
But before Alexander could finish, the two Abigol move blindingly faster than before, attacking from the front and back. Unable to react in time, Alexander is reduced to dust by the two blades. In that moment, color and sound vanish from the world, and in that faded world, the seemingly obliterated Alexander resumes his form...and smiles.
"Now, it's my turn."
Color returns to the world. The dust that Alexander was thought to be reduced to now turns into a thundering torrent of crimson water, raging through and enveloping the city.
"All of you wretched machines will rue the day you faced me in battle!"
With that battle roar, the crimson torrent swirls into a maelstrom of intricately patterned light. And from this vortex emerges the Great Esper Alexander. This event marked the beginning of the "Twelve Days of Light and Darkness," a cataclysmic period of history in which creation and destruction collided with one another.
This was the beginning of the fantasy, and the end of the world of men. And now, the tale harkens to a time long before the events of this day...
The Tale of Alexander—Fin
WOFF Apocrypha II
- Dreams of the Crystals 1/11
The giant crystal turns slowly in a void of absolute darkness. The crystal appears at once solid and brittle. A faint sound like glass being ground can be heard as tiny shards break away from it.
A bespectacled, chestnut-eyed young man pinches one of the shards between his fingers and smiles. After studying it for a time, he places it in the somewhat large teacup he holds in his other hand. As the shard sinks into the cup, the young man takes another shard between his fingers, studies it, and places it into the cup.
The young man repeats the ritual over and over, seemingly elated by the drudgery. This is because he sees worlds within the shards. In one world, a floating academy of warriors traveled through the skies. In another, a young man with a giant sword was locked in a mortal struggle against a man who had once been hailed as a hero.
Other worlds had their own tales, such as a ring of time spanning two millennia, a spiral of six hundred million, a tragic war in which espers are used as instruments of destruction, a world covered in mist, the battle of the Warriors of Dawn, a summoner's struggle against a cataclysmic foe, a war between the machines and the king of espers, and so forth. The young man collected these worlds into his teacup with genuine joy and enthusiasm.
Suddenly, the chimes of a clock echo through the darkness. The young man's attention is drawn by the sound, and as he turns around, he sees a giant grandfather clock bound in chains. A small girl is standing silently next to it with eyes closed. She appears slightly younger than the young man, with her beautiful silver hair tied into two pigtails.
As if to validate her existence in the darkness, the girl takes a small breath and slowly opens her eyes.
The single word uttered to the young man brings a slight smile to his face. He knows exactly how to reply.
"Yes, alright, I think that's about enough."
The young man begins to walk toward he girl, cradling the teacup in his hands. But then suddenly, as if he noticed something, he looks toward..."here."
"What's the matter?"
The girl asks quizzically, with her head cocked to one side. The young man replies, "I wonder if someone is looking at us, like how I took into the shards."
After a moment of puzzlement, the girl responds with a chuckle,
The girl then throws a smile toward "here," then promptly looks into the teacup presented to her. Scintillating shards of light whirl within the cup, as if engaged in a mystical dance.
"You collected quite a lot."
"It's still not enough."
"You're too greedy."
After taunting the young man playfully, the girl continues to speak.
"The dream of a dream of a world...an illusion of a world of fantasy."
The young man nods with a smile and begins to walk again.
"Now let's get some rest before 'he' returns."
"Where does 'he' come from?"
"Who knows? Some things are better left unknown."
"...Maybe you're right."
The two walk toward the clock.
The clock chimes again, and suddenly, the young man and girl are gone, as if they never existed. And slowly, the world returns to darkness.
The Tale of the Young Man and Girl—Fin
WOFF Apocrypha III
Added by finding it in the Ice Region, outside Sherlotta's Solace
- 109th Junker Brigade, Part 1 1/30
The chimes of the clock tower in the center of town ring through the streets, reliably informing the townspeople of the important times of the day. As the sun slowly begins to sink into the horizon, its rays enter through a window, painting the room inside red. By the window, a curious fox-like creature donning a light blue ribbon sleeps soundly, letting out a quiet snore...and a little bit of drool.
After hearing the chimes and sensing the red light of the sun, the little fox opens her eyes and wipes the drool from her face. Then, as if she forgot something gravely important, her jaw drops to the floor.
"How could it the-be this late already?! This is the-very bad!"
With that, the little fox bolts from the windowsill toward her master's bed, her fluffy tail wagging as she sails through the air.
"Master! It's time to get the-up! Hurry!"
BLAM! Because the little fox was so anxious to wake up the human she referred to as "Master," her tiny body collides with the sleeping woman's face...a rude awakening indeed.
"Urghhh...Master, please wake up..."
The little fox persists in pleading with the woman, now somewhat awake and holding her face in pain.
The tall, slender woman waddles out of bed, still holding her face which, though slightly maimed, is quite beautiful. Her long silver locks are accented by a single hair standing upright, which also takes nothing away from her overall beauty. What does somewhat distract the eye is a badly bandaged injury that spans from her right shoulder to the tips of her fingers.
"I'm the-sorry, Master, but it's already twilight!"
With her still-drowsy mind unable to completely process the fox's words, the woman looks out of the window, then checks the clock on the table. Then, the horrible realization hits.
"T-T-Tama?! Why didn't you wake me up earlier?!"
"Well I...I the-kind of dozed off..."
The communicator on the wall suddenly rings.
"Y-yes sir! I am awake!"
A man's sigh is heard from the handset.
"I had a feeling you might be asleep, Lieutenant Roksanne..."
"No no no, sir! I am all set to go!"
"Well in that case, head to the Ninth District as scheduled. That is where Lord Lancelot will be today."
"The esteemed Knight of the Circle?!"
"Indeed. Make sure that you pay the proper respect."
"Sir! Yes sir!"
After saluting toward the handset, the woman throws it in a random direction and begins to get dressed.
"Urrrgh! Of all the days for a Knight of the Circle to come!"
There is no time now to contemplate what to wear. The stuffy uniform will do, even though she was libearted from wearing it after being promoted to lieutenant.
"Master! Your the-hair! It's still a mess!"
Tama warns her master as she is trying to bolt out the door.
"If a Knight of the Circle is coming, you have to the-look your best!"
"There's no time! You take care of it on the way!"
After the fox agrees to the task, Roksanne takes a day-old pizza she left out on the table and rushes out the door. Her faithful servant follows suit, balancing a comb on her head.
Logres, known to be the land of miracles, is the oldest kingdom in the land. At the top of its hierarchy sits the Sorceress of Light Merlyn and the order of spell fencers known as the "Order of the Circle." And through the bustle of Logres at dusk, Roksanne bolts down the street with a pizza in her mouth. Upon her head is Tama, craftily grooming her master's hair with a comb.
"Oi, Roksanne! Have a good day at work!"
The greeting comes from the owner of the inn where she always eats. Roksanne raises her hand in response, as the pizza in her mouth is preventing proper speech. A vegetable vendor now throws an apple to Roksanne as a gift. Roksanne catches the apple with one hand, and after swallowing the last of the pizza, shouts a word of thanks. Tama also bows her head in gratitude.
Roksanne now munches on the apple she received as she approaches a large curve where the street starts sloping down. From here, she can see the cemetery in the Ninth District, her destination. Anxiety creeps in as she sees a column of soldiers standing by the entrance. Lord Lancelot is already there!
Members of Roksanne's brigade are usually lax when waiting for her to arrive. To see them lined up in a rigid formation is proof enough that the Knight of the Circle has already arrived. Surmising that it would take too much time to make her way down the street, Roksanne jumps the fence at the curve and bolts toward a cliff that drops down tens of meters down.
"Tama, do your thing!"
"You the-got it, Master!"
Tama, who has been busy combing all this time, now slowly closes her eyes.
"Deploying threshold...now the-Levitate!"
As Tama speaks the last word, a transparent halo envelops Roksanne.
The little fox called Tama is actually a yurugu, a tribe of espers that has entered into a contract with Roksanne. Espers have the ability to create energy fields called "thresholds" which, when deployed, can bring about various "miracles." The miracle just performed by Tama is called Levitate, a spell that allows its target to float lightly in the air. Thanks to the miracle, Roksanne is able to float softly down to the bottom of the cliff.
As Roksanne lands lightly on her feet, Tama hops off of her head. Puff! The fox vanishes along with her halo. Having succeeded in making the shortcut, Roksanne now hurries toward the rendezvous at the cemetery.
The brigade members are standing by the entrance in a single file. In front of them stands a figure that is clearly not of the same ilk. Clad in armor of white silver and a crimson cape, the figure holds a large sword in a chained scabbard. This is Lord Lancelot, Knight of the Circle.
"Do you always take such shortcuts?"
Lancelot asked playfully with a smile, as if amused by Roksanne's slightly panicked state. Because of this gentle demeanor, one would be tempted to speak casually to Lancelot, but a Knight of the Circle transcends all ranks in the Logresian Army. Thus, discretion would be prudent, especially with Lancelot, who as one man is said to equal a legion of knights.
The Colonel had said numerous times that a perceived slight against such a figure could not be rectified by ending just one career. Thus after giving the traditional knight salute, Roksanne replies,
"A thousand apologies, Lord Lancelot! Issues of a personal nature caused my tardiness."
Roksanne is careful not to lie when she offers her excuse, as lying to a knight in Logres carries severe penalties.
"There is no need for apologies, Lieutenant, you are just in time. Now, take this."
Lancelot hands Roksanne a necklace with a center piece shaped like a key. Roksanne takes the necklace deferentially with both hands, places it around her neck, then hides it underneath her garments.
"Now, I leave the rest to you."
"Yes, my lord!"
Roksanne once again gives the knight salute, then internally breathes a sigh of relief. She was fortunate it was Lord Lancelot today. Another Knight who may have been stricter about rules and regulations may not have let her off so easily.
As the sun sets over the horizon, its last rays soak the cemetery in crimson. As twilight draws to a close, Roksanne and her brigade's "usual duties" commence.
"Permission to use Cubes is granted! Prepare to board!"
At Roksanne's command, the brigade members all begin to move at once. They draw the arcane pistols holstered on their hips and fire at the ground.
"Cubes" are said to be relics of an ancient civilization and are also known as "Eldboxes." They are cubical containers that, when infused with magical energy, can materialize their contents outside. However, as the average human cannot use magic, the standard procedure is to "shoot" the cube and its magical energy with an "arcane pistol" created by mages of the court.
The Cube, when launched from the pistol to the ground, puts forth a magical field of intricate patterns. And in this field materializes a Magitek Armor, a somewhat bizarre-looking mechanical vehicle standing three and a half meters off the ground.
The brigade members all materialize their obsidian-colored Magitek Armors and board. Roksanne's Magitek Armor ("MA") is uniquely colored dark red, possibly to distinguish her as the commander. It is codenamed "Crimson Gear," and it is so labeled on its chassis. Roksanne climbs aboard Crimson Gear and addresses Lancelot.
"Lord Lancelot, we will try our best not to trouble you, but please stand by the last line of defense, just in case."
"Indeed, I will."
With a flourish of his cape, Lancelot retreats to the back.
"It's time! Standard formation, as always! Don't try to play hero just to impress Lord Lancelot!"
"You got it, Sister!"
"Hey! Don't call me that in front of Lord Lancelot!"
Laughter erupts within the brigade. Perhaps that is just what is needed to ease the tension. As the sun continues to set, shadows reach their peak length. The extraordinary is again about to take place on an otherwise ordinary day.
Suddenly, a growling sound is heard from under the ground. One of the brigade members remarks,
"Ugh, I don't think I'll ever get used to that sound..."
The growling changes to a high-pitched, shrill sound as the ground begins to crack open. Something is emerging.
A long, tubular object appears out of the ground. Dark decaying matter spills out from the top of the tube. As the shrill sound intensifies, the entirety of the decaying, rusted mass makes its way out of the ground.
Scholars of the kingdom have dubbed these inorganic creatures "phantom vessels." This particular vessel is the Phantom Tank, a square-shaped juggernaut that shoots scattering projectiles from its long cylindrical tube.
To be continued in "109th Junker Brigade, Part 2".
WOFF Apocrypha IV
- 109th Junker Brigade, Part 2 1/35
Four years ago, reports of people being terrorized by a mysterious menace near the cemetery in the twilight hours began to emerge.
Initial investigations hypothesized that this menace was a rogue esper of some sort, but it was unlike any esper encountered before. It seemed to possess no real thought or emotion and was much more akin to the mechanical Magitek Armors that materialized from the Cubes. But somehow, the inorganic fused with the organic, creating a mechanical "organism" that acted on its own.
Why such a thing suddenly appeared in the kingdom and was attacking people remained a mystery. Ominously, they continued to spawn at the cemetery, a symbol of the end of life. To deal with the new threat, the Order of the Circle created a new military task force called the "Junker Brigade." Roksanne, having had several years of experience using Cubes in battle, was named commander of the 109th Junker Brigade.
The Phantom Tank fires its projectiles at Roksanne's Crimson Gear. Roksanne craftily evades the barrage by crossing her vehicle's birdlike legs and spinning. And in the same graceful motion, Roksanne flanks the Phantom Tank and aims the quad-cannon attached to her MA's left arm.
"This makes it six."
Blinding light erupts from the quad-cannon and reduces the Phantom Tank to ashes. Shouts of praise erupt from a nearby brigade member.
"Wow, Sister! Your stick skills are as sharp as ever!"
"Stop calling me that!"
Roksanne replies with a glare.
Biggs, the second-in-command, rallies the troops.
"Let's not have the commander take all of the glory!"
Perhaps it is because the greatest Knight of the Circle is watching, but the brigade seems to be performing even better than usual, taking out the Phantom Tanks with ease as they emerge from the ground.
Roksanne has a moment to check the status of the brigade and survey the battlefield. She is suddenly hit with a premonition. Noticing the concern on Roksanne's face, Biggs draws near to ask,
"What's wrong, Commander?"
"Something doesn't feel right... Come with me and bring two more."
"Aye, Commander. Jessie! Piet! You're with me!"
Piet and Jessie join up with Roksanne and Biggs, and the four MAs venture deeper into the cemetery. Roksanne remarks with a look of growing concern,
"Something is definitely not right. They're too scattered to the sides."
"I think you may be right... It's as if they're avoiding the center...?"
Suddenly, an ominous, earsplitting sound blares through the entire cemetery as steaming smoke erupts out of the ground.
"No...it can't be...!"
Toward the direction the four MAs were heading, a gargantuan tube, larger than that of any Phantom Tank encountered before, blasts out of the ground.
"You three take the left! We'll flank it from two sides!"
As ordered, the three brigade members turn quickly to the left as Roksanne turns to the right. As if on cue, the main body of the phantom vessel emerges from the ground. Roksanne and her brigade members begin their flank attack.
Maneuvering carefully to keep balance on the shaking ground, the four continue their attack, but the phantom vessel appears completely unaffected. Its long body continues to stretch out higher and higher, like a serpent with an arched back. Biggs looks upon the enormous phantom vessel with awe and terror.
"An S Class Phantom Train..."
Roksanne warns the dumbfounded brigade members as the Phantom Train, as if suddenly remembering the concept of gravity, collapses horizontally to the ground. Then, after letting out a full head of steam with a blare, it begins to run straight toward the cemetery entrance.
The other brigade members who had come to assist are blasted away by the renegade train, Magitek Armors and all. The four brigade members run parallel to the Phantom Train, continuing their attack while avoiding the massive amounts of dust and shrapnel generated by its violent run.
"Commander! Our attacks aren't getting through!"
The brigade's current armaments are not powerful enough to damage the Phantom Train. Sensing the futility, Roksanne decides to call off the attack.
"General retreat! Keep away from the Phantom Train! Biggs, take the other two and rescue the others!"
"You the-rang, Master?"
Tama appears above Roksanne's head instantly after being called.
"I need more speed!"
"Coming the-right up!"
As before, Tama deploys her threshold, and Roksanne's Crimson Gear is enveloped in a halo.
As Tama finishes the spell, Roksanne's eyes glow red. She quickly and forcefully bangs on a red button on the left side of the cockpit, completely shattering the transparent safety cover. With a high-pitched revving sound, Crimson Gear's rear engines spit out blue flames as its speed is dramatically increased.
Of all the MAs in the 109th, only Roksanne's Crimson Gear has a special engine capable of "acceleration beyond human capacity." With help from Tama's Haste spell, Roksanne is able to exceed the capacity of average humans, allowing her to maneuver Crimson Gear at blinding speed. She quickly catches up to the Phantom Train and overtakes it, evading the dust and shrapnel with ease.
It it not long before Roksanne can see the cemetery's entrance and Lord Lancelot, resting his sword against the ground. But Crimson Gear shows no signs of slowing down. Another caveat of the special engine is that once it starts, it is hard to stop. Roksanne sighs, and as the MA approaches Lancelot, she jumps out, abandoning her rampaging vehicle.
Having lost its operator, Crimson Gear goes hurtling toward the cemetery wall and is destroyed. Roksanne tumbles hard on the ground after jumping off, gaining small cuts and bruises on her body and face. But this is no time to be concerned with minor injuries. Roksanne approaches Lancelot and kneels before him. Lancelot is unfazed by the sequence of events.
"Shall we proceed with removing the seal?"
"Yes, my lord. I apologize that we have to trouble you after all."
With that, Roksanne takes out the key pendant that she was entrusted with and returns it to Lancelot.
"There is no need to apologize. This is what I am here for."
After hearing those words, Roksanne is further convinced that Lancelot's presence on this day is no mere coincidence.
It is not often, nay, quite rare that a Knight of the Circle (as individual members of the Order of the Circle are known) accompanies Junker Brigades on missions. They are deployed on missions at the behest of Merlyn, the Sorceress of Light, who divines the need for their presence through prophecy. Merlyn's prophecies are said to never be wrong. Somehow, she knew that a knight of Lancelot's skill would be needed on this day.
"With permission from the mission commander, I hereby temporarily release the seal on my powers."
With that, Lancelot uses the key handed to him on his sword. As Knights of the Circle possess enormous power, they are capable of unwittingly doing as much harm as good. That is why on military missions, a seal is placed on their weapon, the source of their magical power, and the key to the seal is entrusted to the mission commander.
The Phantom Train draws ever closer, gaining speed. Walking slowly in the direction of its path, Lancelot unsheathes his blade. The blade shines as it resonates with the knight's magical power. As the Cube attached to the sword accumulates power, a large, intricately patterned magical field is deployed around Lancelot.
"Come forth, Siebzehn!"
With that battle cry, Lancelot thrusts his sword into the ground, and a radiant light emanates from the spot. A Magitek Armor several times the size of the ones used by the brigade begins to materialize. It is human in form, an azure giant.
Taking his sword back into his hand, Lancelot now levitates in the air behind the giant's head. Perhaps perceiving a true threat, the Phantom Train sprouts fire from its cannon for the first time. A great ball of fire strikes the azure giant, scattering corruption across its body...or so it seems before Lancelot shouts "Wall," activating the spell.
The wall of light that has appeared before the giant deflects the fireball with ease. With his sword in his left hand, Lancelot raises his right hand to the sky. As if to mimic the knight's motion, the giant also raises his right hand. The Phantom Train is now moments away from colliding with the giant. Just before impact, Lancelot lowers his hand, and the giant's raised fist makes the wind howl as it strikes out.
Considering the momentum of the Phantom Train, Roksanne thought for certain that it would be the giant that is destroyed. But with a high-pitched shrieking sound, it is the Phantom Train that begins to disintegrate into fragments of light from the point of impact of the giant's fist. Lancelot twists his palm upward, and a massive shell casing is ejected from the giant's arm, triggering a jet of fire from its elbow.
The jet of fire pushes the giant's right arm forward. Crouched in position, the giant now follows through on its strike. An earsplitting sound erupts, and a spiral of light extends straight from its arm. The light envelops the entire length of the Phantom Train.
With Lancelot's utterance, the light spiral tightens around the Phantom Train, and after a moment of silence, there is an explosion of light that turns the entire cemetery into a world without color. Lancelot then raises his sword toward the giant, and it promptly vanishes back into its cube.
After the giant vanishes, so does the light. The Phantom Train is also gone, as if it never existed. After a time, small particles of light fall from the sky like snow. The brigade members, in awe of the spectacle, let out a victorious roar.
"So this is the power of a Knight of the Circle..."
It is not the first time Roksanne has witnessed it, but seeing it again only deepens her feelings of awe and disbelief. The results of today's mission: eight injures, no fatalities, S Class phantom vessel eliminated. Despite several casualties, it is the kind of result that could mean medals for all involved.
Deep in the catacombs of the castle at the heart of the capital city is a giant "space" known only to some in the Order of the Circle and the Sorceress Merlyn. In one corner of that space, a jangling of chains can be heard. These are the glowing chains that bind a giant white dragon. The creature whimpers softly in discomfort, shedding jasper-colored tears.
By the dragon's foot stands a hooded woman, gazing upon the tortured creature with sadness.
"My prophecies are never wrong. That is the will of the Crystal, but..."
"There are no 'buts,' Merlyn."
A knight clad in full azure armor, hiding even his face, interrupts Melyn's voiced thoughts as he approaches her.
"Why are you still here? Your presence here will not change our plans. It is for our own, nay, for the good of the entire world."
"Yes, I understand, King Arthur."
The Sorceress of Light Merlyn replies with a slight bow. The armored knight she called King Arthur observes Merlyn's lament callously, then switches his gaze to a space beyond the chained white dragon.
In that vast space are countless other creatures, also bound in chains...
The Tale of Roksanne—To be continued.
WOFF Apocrypha V
- A New Adventure 1/11
In an instant, a consciousness is born.
The eyes open, but they see nothing but darkness, a darkness so intense that it is unclear whether one's eyes are indeed open or not. The ears also hear nothing but dead silence.
Absolute silence. I would think that in a place so quiet, I could hear my own heart beating, but even that sound is absent. Did I...die? After that battle, I was taken into the Lifestream and...felt warmth, but...I don't know. I thought that when I did, I would see those two again, but they're nowhere to be found.
"Rather coldhearted of them to leave me all alone like this..."
"Ah...despite being a mere fragment of your former self residing in a cube, you are self-aware, and you can speak!"
"Who are you?!"
I draw the large sword I carry on my back.
"Who am I...? Well, in common parlance, I am what you would call a god."
Most people who refer to themselves as such are the least deserving of such a title.
"Yes, I would have to agree with that."
A response to my thought. Can this person...read my mind?
"Ah, yes, I'm sorry. I can hear them, your thoughts. I only used the term 'god' for the sake of convenience. Out of respect for your individuality, I will tell you my name. It is XXX. In truth, I am still only a World Creator."
"World Creator? That sounds like the name of a summon creature."
"Ah! My kin appear in your world, too? That is delightful to hear!"
...Who is this person? What is this place? Who am...
"You are you, yet not you. Your true self still exists in your world of origin. What you are here is a fragment, a piece of your soul removed from a certain point of time."
"I don't understand a thing you just said."
"There's no need. There's no existence that understands everything about the world."
"Yes, even me. I only understand what is within my boundary to see and analyze."
"So you don't know anything."
"No, I do know that you are currently inside a box known as a Cube. And you will have encounters with those that open this Cube. You'll appear in many worlds in many forms, under many names. Time will be both kind and cruel to you."
"You will experience both joy and despair, meeting souls that you know as both allies and enemies. That is how you will become a new Champion. Well, at the very least I'm counting on you to become one. Otherwise, the crystals I received from 'them' will go to waste."
Suddenly, a giant crystal appears before my eyes, dropping tiny shards as it spins slowly, inside one of the shards, I see a familiar sight.
"Ah, yes, that's your world of origin. Midgar, I believe it's called. It's half in ruins after the effects of Meteor, but a man in a red cape and a short-haired girl who is light on her feet are helping people. I think they can be relied on."
"Now, it's almost time. Embark on a new adventure."
After a brief sigh, I respond,
"I still don't understand, but..."
Suddenly, a warm light begins to fill the darkness. Whoever it was that I was speaking to now seems to be gone. Is the source of this light a new world? The stage of my new adventure?
Despite what I always say, this may be a good time to take an interest in what lies ahead. In the pure white light, consciousness shifts and changes to match the new world. I see a figure before me. Could this be the person who opened the Cube?
"What?! Wait, isn't your name..."
"My name? My name is..."
The Tale of the Champion—Fin.
WOFF Apocrypha VI
Added by finding it in The Windswept Mire, Fen 3
- A Man Named Aris 1/40
"Time of Purgation? Twelve Days of Light and Dark? What is that all about?"
The man makes his confusion clear about terms he has never head of. He is rather short for a man, and his dust-covered cloak betrays his long travels. However, his face is quite young for such a seasoned traveler, and together with his small stature, one might mistake him for a young boy.
"Heh heh! I knew you wouldn't have heard of it, Master Aris!"
This other voice is that of a somewhat lackadaisical young girl, and it seems to come from inside the man's cloak. The man lightly flicks his own chest with his fingers.
"I told you not to call me that."
It appears the man's name is Aris, but he is not overly fond of his own name. Possibly because it lacks the masculinity he wishes to exude.
After the voice inside his cloak recovers from the flick, Aris resumes the conversation.
"So what are you saying?"
"Hmm? Oh, yeah! It's a prophecy that everyone in this kingdom is talking about."
Despite the overall lackadaisical tone, the voice seems to carry enthusiasm about the topic.
"What? A prophecy? Why would people waste their time talking about such nonsense?"
"Well, that's because the prophecy was made by Merlyn, the Sorceress of Light!"
There is not a soul in Logres that does not know the name Merlyn. Over the years, the powerful sorceress is said to have performed countless miracles, and helped build the foundation of the present-day kingdom.
"Her prophecies are said to never be wrong, and she predicted that the world is going to end! How can people not raise a big fuss over that?!"
The owner of the now downright excited voice pops out of the cloak. It is a sylph girl measuring about twenty centimeters tall. Flapping her tiny wings, she strikes a pose in front of Aris's face, then flutters alongside him as he walks.
"Hey, don't come out yet! There are esper hunters in this town!"
"Ack! My bad."
With that, the sylph retreats back into the cloak. West Edge is a town known as a bustling hub for monster hunting, but these days, most people no longer consider hunting a worthwhile risk.
On the streets of this rather lonesome town, Aris and the sylph continue their conversation.
"So when exactly is the world supposed to end?"
"See, that's the thing. All that's known is that it's coming soon. That's why everyone is trying to figure out exactly when. Oh, and according to rumors, there's an 'abomination' in the capital attacking people at night. Some people think that's the omen of things to come."
"I see, so you picked up that rumor on your radar then?"
"That I did. The voices were really loud, so the rumor must have spread like wildfire."
Sylphs and the other espers are able to perform task-specific miracles by deploying energy fields called thresholds. This particular sylph's specific miracle is the "Rumor Radar," which she used to gather information on this "prophecy of doom."
When Aris first heard about this miracle, he thought it was worthless, but he has since found its ability to gather information quite useful. This current information, however...
"It's just a stupid hoax! If you're going to deploy your threshold, get me some good information!"
"Well, that's not very nice! You were the one who said any rumor you didn't know about would be fine, Master!"
"I didn't say that, did I?"
"You absolutely, positively did! Ugh...wait, I just had a thought!"
Her mood suddenly shifts from ire to joy. This emotional flippancy is apparently a general characteristic of sylphs, and Aris has been with this sylph long enough to pay it no mind.
"Making prophecies that are never wrong doesn't sound like something an average human can do. Do you think maybe this sorceress Merlyn is using espers to perform her miracles?"
"Who knows? It's possible that she has a Great Esper on hand like the Order of the Circle, but it's more likely that she's just making sure her predictions came true after the fact. Considering the clout she has, it wouldn't be difficult to pull off."
"Now that's a scary thought... It's true enough that there are over three hundred Knights of the Circle in Logres. That's enough power to do anything!"
It is rumored that the ability to perform miracles using Great Espers is a minimum requirement to become a Knight of the Circle. If the rumor is true, that would mean there are over three hundred Great Espers inside the royal castle. As Aris and the sylph sigh at the thought, a petite woman hiding her face in a hood grabs Aris's cloak from behind, trying to get his attention.
It's probably a bounty hunter that overheard Aris talking to a sylph. People are able to collect a bounty for simply reporting an esper in the wild. The bounty for catching one could feed a person for a decade. Taking this into consideration, Aris thinks it highly likely that anyone approaching him might be looking to hit that motherlode.
"Ah yes, my apologies. I am with the Knight Army, and I have some personal business today..."
The woman tugs at Aris's coat even harder. Aris has heard that some soldiers in the Knight Army are known to keep espers, but it appears the woman is not buying the act.
"Heh, you fellows got tired of hide and seek, did you?"
A group of ruffians emerge from an alley to the right of Aris. The hooded girl reacts with fear and hides behind him, clutching his cloak. Aris now understands the situation.
"I thought this kind of thing only happened in stories."
"Stories have to come from somewhere, Master!"
The sylph's remark almost makes one think she is enjoying the situation. It appears that the hooded girl had heard the voice for the first time as she looks up quizzically at Aris. Looking at the girl's face, Aris sees that she is still quite young, with piercing blue eyes that have an almost hypnotic quality.
One of the ruffians approaches and tries to put a hand on Aris's shoulder.
"This really isn't your lucky..."
With a sudden, violent clang, the thug who approached Aris is sent hurtling away, as if struck by an unseen force.
"Don't call me 'boy'."
As the thug crashes into the ground, the expressions on the faces of his cohorts change.
One of the thugs up front barks at Aris,
"What did you just do?! Who are you?!"
"Th-this person is in the Knight Army!"
The hooded girl responds. Aris cannot help but sigh at the irony of his little white lie causing more trouble instead of preventing it, and the sylph cannot help but snicker.
"There are no little brats like him in the Knight Army!"
The girl's words anger the thugs even more, as they begin to approach Aris, ready to pounce. Aris is relieved by the simple thinking of the thugs. As they draw closer, he dangles his arms down. The hooded girl, still hiding behind Aris, clutches his cloak even tighter and closes her eyes. Aris mutters something, and then...silence.
Curiously, the hooded girl did not hear a single sound after closing her eyes, and was certain that Aris had not moved at all. Yet when she timidly opened her eyes again, she was shocked to see that the men who came after her were all on their backs.
"Master Aris, what should we do with this lot?"
"How many times do I have to tell you..."
As Aris prepares to flick the sylph again for using his name, he senses an intense presence behind him. He turns quickly and sees a man clearly not of the same ilk as the thugs rolling around on the ground.
The man wears a tattered burgundy cloak. He is quite thin, leading one to think upon first glance that he may be fragile, but Aris sees the impressive musculature on his arms. Judging from his attire, he does not appear to be a knight of the kingdom, but the long ornate sword he carries on his back suggests that he is a swordsman of some sort.
"Get away from her..."
The swordsman's voice carries a quiet menace. It appears he believes Aris to be one of the thugs chasing the hooded girl. A simple misunderstanding that can be clarified amicably, but the words Aris chooses are,
"And what if I don't?"
Aris cannot resist the urge to taunt a man whose presence is this intense. His interest is piqued.
To add oil to the fire, Aris pats the hooded girl's head with a tiny bit more force than necessary.
"Don't touch her!!"
You could almost hear something snap within the swordsman as he draws his sword and charges Aris. For safety, Aris lightly pushes the hooded girl to the side, and in that instant, the swordsman's speed accelerates far beyond Aris's expectation. He vanishes from sight, leaving behind only a specter of his blade.
What began as a casual challenge for Aris has now become a matter of life or death. He is unable to predict which direction the swordsman's blade will come from. In the next moment, a violent clanging of metal rings through the air. Aris blocks the swordsman's strike with the chain wrapped around his right arm, and after a moment of silence, a snapping sound erupts as the air escapes from the impact.
Both Aris and the swordsman look astonished. Aris because the arm he instinctively raised in defense stopped the blow, and the swordsman because no one had ever blocked his strike before.
"Knight, please stop! This man saved me!"
As if waking from a trance, the swordsman's expression softens as he hears the hooded girl's words.
With a dumbfounded expression, the swordsman looks around and sees the thugs lying on the ground for the first time. He finally understands what has transpired and quickly sheathes his sword.
The man called Knight apologizes to Aris, who still stands in a defensive posture.
"Are you hurt, sir?"
The hooded girl asks Aris. Aris finally steps out of his defensive stance and scratches his head with his chained right arm. The chains then move as if alive and recede back into Aris's sleeve. This catches the interest of the swordsman.
"Those chains are your weapon of choice? I've never seen such a thing before!"
After being scolded by the hooded girl, Knight apologizes once more with a slight, embarrassed smile. Then, after several more apologies, Knight and the hooded girl take their leave of Aris. During the entire sequence, Aris does not utter a single word.
When the two are completely out of sight, Aris uses his left arm to strike the ground with massive force, creating cracks in all directions.
The sylph calls to Aris in trepidation as he is clearly not his usual self. But then, as if nothing happened, Aris stands up and begins to scratch his head even more vigorously than before.
"That Knight fellow was quite a warrior, don't you think, Master?"
"Eh, not so much. I was caught off guard is all."
"But what kind of a silly name is 'Knight,' anyway?"
"Hm...? Well, maybe he actually is a knight."
"No way, he was dressed way too shabbily! Knights are obligated to wear their dress attire whenever they go out of the castle!"
"I suppose. In that case, it really is a silly name."
"Right? Oh, speaking of names, the radar picked up this new rumor about..."
With their usual rapport safely back in place, Aris and the sylph resume their travels at a casual pace.
At the entrance of the town of West Edge, a number of knights clad in armor and cloaks can be seen, mounted on their chocobos. They appear to be waiting for something or someone. When the young knight in a green cloak sees what appears to be a young girl and a swordsman exiting the city, he dismounts and jogs over to them.
"Lady Merlyn, thank goodness you are safe. Have you completed your errand?"
"Yes...I am sorry to cause you such trouble."
The hooded girl referred to as Merlyn responds with a nod.
An older knight steps forward and addresses Merlyn in a stern tone.
"I trust that you can give us your word that this is the very last time?"
Knight, the man who exited the town with Merlyn, raises his hand lightly to warn the elder knight to be more mindful of his tone.
"My apologies, Lady Merlyn."
"N-no, I assure you that I will keep my promise."
Despite the knight's apology, it is Merlyn who appears to be cowing.
"Then let us return to the castle!"
The young knight attempts to lighten the mood with boisterous energy and a smile. And with that, the group starts walking toward the chocobos. After a few steps, Merlyn stops and looks back toward the town she just left.
Noticing Merlyn's forlorn eyes, Knight attempts to comfort her.
"I know...I know."
After responding somberly, Merlyn playfully sticks out her tongue and resumes the trek toward the chocobos at a light jogging pace.
Watching Merlyn run from behind, Knight mutters quietly to himself,
"Merlyn, there's no choice but to move forward now..."
The Tale of Aris—To be continued
WOFF Apocrypha VII
Added by finding it in The Train Graveyard, Necropolis 3
- Summoner from Pulit 1/49
On a mild plateau near the center of an island in the northern seas is where one can find the Kingdom of Pulit. Known as a magic user's paradise, all its citizens are endowed with magical abilities and keep familiar-like creatures with them called "Lilikin." It is said that Lilikin can perform miracles.
Most Lilikin look exactly like tiny people, with one major difference being that their heads are quite large in proportion to the rest of their body. There are various types of Lilikin who perform different kinds of miracles. The white mages can cure wounds and ailments, the black mages can call forth the elements to attack, the warriors are adept with a sword, and the thieves use their agility to confound opponents. Tens of different types have been confirmed.
Although they are currently called Lilikin because of the sound that they make—"Lili!"—the mage who first summoned them to this plane initially called them "summon creatures." However, their cute appearance does not evoke the image of creatures, so most people now use the modern term. Lilikin are devoted to the masters that summon them, and though incapable of human speech, they understand everything that is said to them. They are perfect partners for mages.
"Okay, that should be enough for the introduction. Time for a little break."
The blue-eyed girl leaves the draft of the report she was ordered to submit on the desk, and goes to the kitchen to make some tea.
"If I had a black mage with me, I could just have him cast Fire or Thunder, and the water would instantly boil! Oh, but Chimmi said that she started a fire once that day... I should be careful what I wish for."
Remembering an anecdote from a friend, the girl strikes two flints together to light the fire for the stove the normal way.
After putting the kettle on the stove, the girl stretched her back as if she has endured a full day of hard labor. She thinks that there must not be many in Pulit who go through such a hassle just to make tea. Her eyes then turn to the Cube that she left by the front door.
A Lilikin clad in a white robe casts a spell. The spell emits a gentle white light that proceeds to surround a scrape on a child's knee. Then suddenly the light vanishes, and the wound is also gone without a trace.
"How does it feel now?"
A teenaged girl clad in a light brown robe asks the child about the magically healed wound. The girl's name is Ennabelle Rald. She is an apprentice mage with a white mage Lilikin, a common sight in Pulit.
"It doesn't hurt at all anymore! Thanks!"
The little boy with the healed knee answers with a smile, then runs off to play again.
"Hey, don't fall down again now!"
The boy's father warns his son, but the boy simply gives a wave and scampers off.
"Thank you for healing my son, Ennabelle. Our family isn't that good with white magic..."
Atop the man's head is a black mage Lilikin with a pointed hat.
The white mage Lilikin that used the spell "Cure" on the boy's knee makes her way back onto Ennabelle's head. If you were to find yourself on the streets of Pulit, you would see that most mages carry a Lilikin on top of their heads. It appears that the top of their masters' heads is the set position for Lilikin.
"It was no trouble, I'm glad I walked by when I did. When it comes to Lilikin, they all have strengths and weaknesses, so a little give and take is always necessary."
"That's kind of you to say. Oh, if you don't mind carrying it, take some of this bread I made at my bakery."
With that, the boy's father takes a loaf of freshly baked bread out of his bag, and hands it to Ennabelle.
"Thank you, sir. I will gladly accept your gift."
The boy's father then says with a smile,
"Come by the bakery sometime. I'll give you a good deal."
He then bids Ennabelle farewell and walks away, following the path of his son. Ennabelle looks at the bread her good deed had brought her. It is still very fresh and quite big.
"Hmmm...I suppose all that's left to do is go home. Maybe I'll pay 'her' a little visit before I do."
Ennabelle is talking to herself but the Lilikin responds with a "Lili!" nevertheless.
With that, Ennabelle makes her way to the house of a childhood friend.
"O, great soul, beacon of hope in the darkness, heed my call and open the door to our world..."
Summoning a Lilikin does not actually require one to recite a spell, but there is a popular urban legend that says reciting words of any kind during summoning guarantees success. Thus, why not try an incantation made up on the spot?
A magical field slowly begins to form around the Cube the girl places on the floor.
This time, it feels like it will happen. The first successful summoning of her life! Excited and anxious, she proceeds with the final incantation.
"Unto this world, I summ..."
Just as she is about to complete the summoning, a small insect flies by her face, making her sneeze. The final word of the incantation ends up sounding like "summon-ah-choo!" rather than "summon."
The sneeze makes her lose her focus, making the magical field unstable. After emitting a bizarre array of lights and sounds the field explodes with a bang, leaving the entire room in shambles and covered in black smoke.
"Wh-wh-what's going on here?!"
Ennabelle, who had just arrived at the front door when the explosion occurred, darts in through the door.
"Where is all this smoke coming from?!"
Then, she hears a voice coming from the floor.
"Huh...? Ennabelle, is that you? Um...welcome to my home..."
The blue-eyed girl who attempted the summoning, greets her houseguest looking a little dizzy from the explosion. Receiving the second shock of the day, Ennabelle responds incredulously,
"Hauyn?! What do you mean, 'welcome to my home'?! What happened here? Are you alright?!"
Inside a run-down house on the outskirts of the capital city, a gentle white light glows.
"Ohhh...that feels much better. Thank you, white mage!"
Hauyn, mildly injured by the explosion, has her wounds treated by Ennabelle's white mage Lilikin. Meanwhile, Ennabelle surveys the destruction around her and shakes her head.
"I don't think I even need to ask, but did you mess up a summon again?"
"It's not funny, Hauyn. You're almost fifteen now."
"Yes! I'll be fifteen, just like you! And if I don't succeed in summoning a Lilikin soon, I'll be banished from the kingdom for sure!"
Hauyn tries to laugh off her last statement, but Ennabelle is stunned.
"Is that true?!"
"How can you be surprised, after all this time?!"
Nearly all citizens of the Kingdom of Pulit possess aptitude for magic. Nearly, but not all.
Long ago, people who used magic were persecuted as witches and abominations. Even after such times passed, a vague distrust of magic persisted, leading many capable of magic to hide their abilities from others. Then, the first king of Pulit decreed that "magic is good," and that all who fostered its growth would be given a decent living and stature within his kingdom. He was offering sanctuary to magic users.
This was how the mage's paradise was created. But according to the first king's decree, it is those that use and foster the growth of magic who are offered sanctuary in Pulit, and those that do not, cannot stay. One of the standards created to enforce the decree was to summon a Lilikin by the age of fifteen. Despite that time limit closing in on her, Hauyn seems nonchalant about her latest failure, saying,
"I honestly thought it would work this time, hehe..."
The ability to face failure with positivity (some may call it aloofness) is something that Ennabelle envies Hauyn for possessing. With a sigh, Ennabelle looks around the room again, and spots the Cube used for summoning Lilikin on the ground. However...
"This is a Cube for Lilikin summoning, isn't it?"
Cubes are usually simple in design on the outside, which is what led them to be called such a generic name; some people call them "white boxes" due to the lack of any color or adornments. However, this particular Cube's exterior is covered with intricate patters and designs.
"I've never seen a Cube like this before. Is it an excavated relic?"
Most Cubes in Pulit are issued directly by the kingdom, but there are some Cubes that are excavated in archeological sites outside of the island. Such cubes are sold for quite a premium by merchants, so Ennabelle assumed that Hauyn had procured it that way.
"No, some strange lady..."
In the midst of replying, Hauyn stops and shakes her head, mouthing something.
Several hours prior, while walking back from the mage apprentice trials, Hauyn is stopped by a voice from behind.
"Pardon me, Miss Eternal Apprentice Candidate?"
When Hauyn turns around, she sees a tall, bespectacled woman who exudes an air of sophistication.
In Pulit the world "apprentice" almost always refers to a mage's apprentice. Only those that complete their apprenticeship can be called mages, and mages who perform great deeds for the kingdom are honored with the title Grand Mage. Hauyn, on the other hand, has merely been a candidate for apprenticeship for the past five years, leading some to tease her as being an "eternal candidate."
"Um...how did you know I was an 'eternal candidate?' I know I don't have a Lilikin with me, but still..."
Hauyn then notices that the woman does not have a Lilikin with her either. The woman points to what seems like Hauyn's shoulder.
"It was written on your back."
Hauyn only then realizes that someone had pinned a piece of paper that read "Eternal Apprentice Candidate" to her back. It was probably the other young candidates she met at the trial registration, she thinks to herself. Then, as if she had forgotten the whole matter, Hauyn rips the paper from her back, crumples it up, and asks the woman another question.
"And what would a stately lady such as you want with someone like me?"
In an instant, all emotion flushes out of the woman's face and a small bolt of lightning strikes Hauyn from a clear blue sky. She is surprisingly not gravely harmed, but the jolt is enough to knock her off her feet. The woman gazes at Hauyn coldly.
"You should be more careful with your words. The heavens know that 'stately' is a code word for 'old.'"
"I-I will certainly keep that in mind from now on, ma'am..."
And again, another bolt strikes down from the sky. Hauyn is sent back down to the ground that she crawled back up from only moments before.
"Ah, the ear of the heavens is most keen. I believe you called me by another questionable term... What was it again?"
"Uh...young miss. It was young miss!"
"Finally, we can continue our conversation."
With that, the woman approaches Hauyn, who is still sitting on the ground after the last strike, and hands her a decently sized Cube that she seemingly pulled straight from the sky.
The ability to summon lightning and make things appear out of thin air without a Lilikin present suggests that the woman may be a mage of considerable power.
"Uh...may I ask what this is?"
"It's a gift. I suggest you don't try to look it in the mouth."
After half-forcing the Cube upon Hauyn, the woman turns around to leave.
Hauyn does not understand the entire sequence of events, but she does feel that a word of thanks is in order.
"Uh...thank you. That's very generous of you, ma'am..."
Lightning strikes for the third time in one day.
"You never know when the wrath of the heavens will strike. Be careful."
And with that, the woman takes her leave of a further electrified Hauyn.
It was the wrath of the heavens she had suffered earlier that made Hauyn choose her words carefully when responding to Ennabelle's question.
"A...a very young lady gave me that Cube...hehe..."
Several moments of awkward silence pass.
"Why would you take a Cube from a total stranger?!"
Ennabelle is now clearly angry with Hauyn, leading her to talk faster than usual. Cubes for Lilikin summoning are regulated by the state, and one must go through a strict procedure to officially acquire one. Even the aforementioned excavated Cubes are heavily monitored by the kingdom, their origins coming under intense scrutiny.
"Hehe...I just had a feeling that I would succeed with this Cube, so I figured, what the hay?"
"'What the hay' is the last thing someone like you should figure!"
Ennabelle cannot hide her frustration with Hauyn who, despite being nearly the same age as her, continues to act like a child. After scolding Hauyn once again, Ennabelle lets out a deep sigh.
Then, something catches Ennabelle's eyes in the corner of the room, buried underneath a pile of books that fell during the explosion. It appears yellow and...spiky.
"What is this...?"
Ennabelle crouches down to pull the yellow, spiky thing out from underneath the books. It is human-shaped, with a head as large as its body...
"What?! This is..."
Though currently unconscious from the blast, it is undeniably a Lilikin. But at the same time, it is unlike any other Lilikin Ennabelle has ever seen. Suddenly, the Lilikin comes to, and after instinctively knocking away Ennabelle's hand, it jumps and spins several times in the air before making a perfect landing.
Finally realizing what Ennabelle is looking at in amazement, Hauyn lets out a cry of joy.
"Yes! I did it! I summoned a Lilikin!"
Half out of control with elation, Hauyn pounces on the newly summoned Lilikin and squeezes it tight with a big hug, making it lose consciousness yet again.
Some time later, the Lilikin opens its eyes once again.
"Hauyn, I think he's come to."
"Oh, thank heavens!"
Hauyn is overjoyed to find out that she has not crushed the Lilikin she had summoned after five years of trying.
"But what type of Lilikin is he? I've never seen one like this before."
The Lilikin has yellow spiky hair and clothing that consists of what looks like dark blue coveralls, a chest plate, and large buckles. But what really catches the eye is the oversized sword he carries on his back.
"Considering he carries a large sword, maybe he's a warrior type...?"
As if in response to the analysis, the spiky-haired Lilikin quickly puts his hand on his sword.
Ennabelle is stunned by the Lilikin's quick reaction, whereas Hauyn remains typically aloof about the manner. The Lilikin then draws his sword and leaps in the air toward a nearby wall. He then carves something onto the wall, and when he is done, he spins his sword gracefully several times before sheathing it again on his back.
Though the quality of the handwriting (swordwriting?) is a subjective matter, the Lilikin clearly carves the word "Cloud" onto the wall.
"Cloud? Is there a Lilikin type called 'Cloud'? Maybe he's a rare type... Yeah! Ennabelle, I summoned a rare Lilikin!"
Ennabelle jumps around the room with excitement.
This was the first meeting between the Champion and the two summoner girls Ennabelle and Hauyn.
In the very center of the kingdom of Pulit stands the royal castle. In the throne room located at the highest level of the castle, said to reach the clouds, a man sits on the throne with his eyes closed. The man appears to be in his twenties, but his most distinguishing feature is his left arm. The fingertips are long and sharp like a beast's claws, and the flesh somehow appears organic and inorganic at the same time.
Suddenly, the deep silence within the throne room is shattered by the loud click of heels against the ground. The man in the throne room opens his eyes.
"So, you're here..."
A woman wearing high-heeled shoes now casually stands next to throne, as if she has been there the entire time. Unfazed by her appearance, the man continues to speak.
"How is the Sav...no, the Champion Project proceeding?"
"Smoothly. Many things will be set in motion on many worlds now."
The woman responds to the man's question with a slight smile, leading the man to respond with a larger smile.
After being unable to restrain a nefarious laugh, the man sneezes unexpectedly.
"This room is too cold, as usual. I built this castle way too high... Well, I'm off to have a bath. Keep up the good work on the project!"
The man then leaps off the throne and vanishes from the room. The woman lets out a small laugh, something she has not done in several millennia.
"Well, I suppose I'll have to keep turning the gears...just like before."
The Tale of Hauyn—To be continued.
WOFF Apocrypha VIII
Added by finding it in the Nonary Region, to the right of the end of the stairway of light
- Summoned to the Castle 1/35
"What?! You've been summoned to the castle?!"
Biggs is stunned by Roksanne's words. After the mission at the cemetery, the brigade had gathered at the usual inn where they have supper together. This is where Roksanne made the surprising revelation.
"Do you know why you were summoned? Is it because you were disrespectful to Lord Lancelot?"
Biggs speaks more informally and candidly to Roksanne when not on duty. After all, the two had served together for nearly six years now. There was no need for formalities between comrades. Roksanne has never been one for strict procedure anyway, so the entire brigade feels comfortable speaking to her in a casual way.
"I have no idea why, but I have to go tomorrow, and I want one of you to come with me."
In an instant, the entire brigade looks down or otherwise avoids Roksanne's eyes. After surveying this sea of cowardice, Roksanne sees Biggs hanging his head down with the others and stares at him irately.
After a minute or so of Roksanne staring him down, Biggs can no longer stand the pressure. With a sigh, he raises his head.
"F-fine, alright then. I'll go with you."
"Very good then."
While Roksanne smiles at Bigg's forfeit, the rest of the brigade let out a collective sigh of relief and resume eating.
"Jessie! You're coming too!"
A female brigade member attempting to put distance between herself and Biggs freezes as if caught in the middle of a burglary.
"M-me, sir? Oh, no! A lowly grunt like me couldn't possibly be worthy of entering the castle...right?"
"You're coming, and that's final."
Biggs authoritatively shuts down the debate.
"Two escorts are standard when an officer is summoned to the castle, and there may be places where only women can enter."
"Jessie, you're my adjunct within the brigade. I shouldn't have to tell you to go, you should be volunteering."
"Okay, okay...why do you have to be so scoldy all the time?"
As Jessie agrees to her superior officer's orders, Biggs stares her down. Roksanne, who was enjoying the exchange, says to Jessie,
"Well, Jessie, I'll be counting on you tomorrow."
"Yes, of course, Commander! Do you really not know why you were summoned? It won't be dangerous, will it? Like...we'll all be labeled enemies of the kingdom and put in little cages...?"
Biggs puts his face in his palm.
"I really don't know. Only that the king wants to speak with me personally."
Roksanne makes another startling revelation in the most casual of tones, and the entire brigade freezes once again.
"...What?! King Arthur wants to speak to you personally?!"
Biggs blurts out after recovering from the initial shock. It is rare for Biggs to lose his composure, but he is clearly rattled.
"Yes...there are no other kings in this kingdom, are there?"
After marveling at Roksanne's nonchalant attitude, the brigade begins to discuss the situation among themselves.
"Is this the end of the brigade?"
"She might be banished on the spot!"
"I heard King Arthur likes to deal with disloyal officers personally."
Arthur—the king who acquired the holy sword Excalibur and achieved victory in every battle he fought. He has never so much suffered a wound in battle, as he is said to possess countless creatures that perform the most powerful of miracles. A legend among legends, to be sure.
After becoming king, Arthur brought stability to the kingdom. With the Knights of the Circle by his side, he strives to keep the peace in his own kingdom and neighboring lands as well. Above all else, he is said to value order and never forgives those who do evil.
"Biggs, I mean, sir...are we going to be alright?"
"I don't know Jessie. You may want to get your affairs in order just in case."
Roksanne laughs at Jessie's lament as if uninvolved. Meanwhile, Biggs finishes the food in front of him and then ordered more, because why not, if there may be no tomorrow? With the entire brigade cheering on the festivities, the raucous feast resumes.
After enjoying the feast for some time, Roksanne leaves her seat to speak with the stocky, bearded innkeeper.
"Apologies for the ruckus. As if there isn't enough trouble during the dark hours."
"Oh please! With you lot around, this is the safest place in town!"
"I appreciate you saying that. There aren't many places we can eat now after a job."
With that, Roksanne puts down several silver pieces on the counter.
"Let them eat and drink as much as they want. If that isn't enough, I'll pay you again later."
"Aye, that'd be fine."
Ever impressed by the care given to the brigade by Roksanne, the innkeeper softly whispers to her...
"Will you be heading home now?"
"Yes, after taking in some of the night breeze."
"Be careful out on the streets."
Rosanne says good night to the innkeeper and quietly leaves through the door. The streets are deserted and cold. Roksanne puts her hands in her pockets and starts walking home.
"Tama, do you see it?"
Tama, the esper, appears on top of Roksanne's head.
She looks behind Roksanne and reports,
"Yes, I the-can see it."
"Hmmm...so it's still there..."
Roksanne deliberately makes a large sound with her feet as she suddenly stops and looks behind her. She sees the deserted market street covered in darkness, no people can be seen and no presence can be felt, yet Tama says that she can see something or, more likely, someone. This has been happening for over a week now.
At first, she thought that it may be an old adversary she defeated that had come for revenge, but the presence seems to only observe her. She had considered the possibility that whoever it was may choose to strike during one of her missions. She thought that the mission at the cemetery would be an ideal time for such a plot, but maybe the presence of a Knight of the Circle prevented the person from acting...
"Well, whatever this thing or person wants, I wish he, she, or it would get on with it! I've been pretty patient until now."
When Roksanne became brigade commander, the colonel warned her not to cause trouble for a while. But now that she has been summoned to the castle, she can no longer afford to be passive.
"Is it still there?"
Roksanne softly asks Tama for an update, almost whispering. No amount of darkness could fool Tama's keen blue eyes.
"Yes, it the-is."
"Um...the-diagonally right...maybe thirteen degrees?"
Roksanne looks hard in the direction Tama specified. If something is there, it must be hiding very well, because her eyes cannot see a thing. Whatever or whoever it is must be quite adept at stealth, Roksanne thinks to herself. She then decides to ask Tama for further support and pinches a coin in her pocket between her thumb and index finger.
"Tama, do your thing."
"You the-got it, Master! Deploying threshold..."
As Tama deploys her threshold, something moves in the darkness. The light signaling the miracle is ready envelopes Roksanne.
With that incantation, Roksanne flicks the coin inside her pocket.
The coin rips through Roksanne's pocket and flies in the direction of the presence like an arrow. With a loud crash, the coin hits a wall and creates a large hole. Roksanne rushes toward the point of impact, hoping to find something or someone there but all she finds is rubble from the damaged wall.
"It the-vanished. Not quickly, but more like it was the-there, then it the-wasn't."
"Could it be some miracle that controls time and space?! If this mysterious presence can do such a thing without an esper..."
While Roksanne is contemplating the situation, several people who heard the large sound she caused have come out for their homes to look curiously over toward the damaged wall.
The next morning, Roksanne heads to the castle after being woken from her sound sleep by Biggs. Roksanne lets out a big yawn.
"I heard about it, you know. After you left the inn, you caused a disturbance by destroying the wall of some poor soul's house...?"
Biggs rolls his eyes as he speaks to Roksanne.
"Yes, it was quite a hassle! Those guards must have questioned me for hours!"
"I would say it was you who caused the hassle. Not an ideal thing to do the day before you are summoned to the castle."
"No, you see, it's because I was summoned to the castle that I decided to do a little patrolling."
Biggs sighs upon hearing his commander's rather shoddy explanation. Meanwhile, Jessie, who is walking next to Biggs, looks quite ill.
"Urgh...Biggs...sir, don't you feel sick after eating so much last night?"
Once again, Biggs sighs, this time at Jessie.
"You know, if you weren't feeling well, you should have gone to a healer before coming."
Jessie responds with a puzzled look.
"Too much food is just like poison. It's not cheap, but a quick Poisona from a healer would have speared you a lot of pain."
Biggs sighs again at Jessie's lack of common knowledge.
"Then I'll go right now!"
As Jessie attempts to turn back, Biggs quickly stops her.
"It's too late now, just suck it up and deal with the pain. You have no one but yourself to blame."
"Oh! Then maybe Tama can cast Poisona at me, Commander?"
Jessie's eyes twinkle at this last-ditch chance for pain relief.
"Hehe...I'm sorry Jessie, Tama is good at support magic, but bigger magic and white magic? Not so much."
Jessie's heart sinks at the news, and tears start to well up in her eyes.
"Here, just take this."
Roksanne hands the despairing Jessie a small jar of poison antidote, brightening Jessie's expression in an instant.
"Thank you, Commander!"
While Jessie is elated at the commander's generous gesture, Biggs looks upon it with concern. Roksanne would not have brought a miracle item without good reason.
"Think nothing of it Jessie, but I'm counting on you to bail me out if there's any trouble."
"Of course, Commander!"
"Do you know how much that little jar costs?"
Biggs whispers the answer to his own question in Jessie's ear.
Jessie responds with a "Whaaat?!" and is left somewhat dazed by the magnitude of what seemed like a simple generous gesture.
"Lifesaving miracle items come with a cost commensurate with their effects. Make sure that you repay the commander with hard work."
Thinking now of the ramifications of what she is about to do, Jessie stares at the little jar somberly for a few moments before downing its contents entirely.
As Roksanne and her escorts approach the castle, she looks up at its massively tall towers stretching up into the sky. She then whispers quietly to Biggs,
"I have a bad feeling about today. Be prepared...just in case."
Though momentarily stunned, Biggs immediately returns to a neutral expression and nods slightly. It's unfortunate, he thinks, that the commander's bad feelings often turn out to be right.
It can't be helped, Biggs further thinks to himself. He would have to treat the castle like any other battlefield and be prepared to use "it." Diligence and quick action will win the day. Still, Biggs lets out a big sigh as he imagines what the rest of this day will be like.
The Tale of Roksanne—To be continued.
WOFF Apocrypha IX
Added by finding it in the Library of the Ancients
- The Numbers, Part 1 1/40
In a forest of lush green, a man is running as fast as he can.
"Nobody said there was going to be three Knights of the Circle!"
"I-I must have missed that detail, too...!"
The sylph on top of the man's head replies in a tone that could either be aloof or mortified.
"And how could I have just walked into an opponent's threshold like that? Am I really that careless?"
"I-I missed that one, too...! Master Aris, wh-what are we going to do...?"
"Stop calling me...oh, never mind! Can't be worried about that right now...we have to get out of this threshold!"
Aris forcibly halts his sprint by putting his left foot forward, causing him to skid a little. As he stops, something blindingly fast darts past him, and within moments the entire forest is covered in flames. Flummoxed by Aris's sudden stop and the instant inferno, the sylph lets out a yelp of panicked terror.
"What was that scream all about?"
A somewhat seductive female voice asks from beyond the burnt cinders of the trees. Aris lets out a long breath to relax his body so that he will be ready for any eventuality. He turns to face the voice.
Before him stands a female knight of crimson and gold. The crimson being her long, roughly-braided hair and the gold her heavy, shining armor. She looks out of place in the woods, like a fantasy dreamed up by a madman. The flames that trickle out from the creases in her armor only add to the illusion.
The female knight observes Aris curiously, as if appraising an antique, and asks,
"You wouldn't happen to be the infamous knight hunter, would you?"
"He is an outlaw in any case. Deal with him and be done with it, Kaye."
A deep masculine voice booms out before Aris can answer. He subtly adjusts his eyes toward the voice, keeping half his attention on the female knight named Kaye.
Aris sees that the owner of the voice is a hulking knight, nearly two meters tall.
"Bedevia, that kind of simple thinking is the reason why you have not fully earned the king's trust."
Another younger voice chides the hulking knight from behind and to the left of Aris. Yet again, he turns to face the voice.
The owner of the voice is a knight of smaller stature wearing a helm with odd, blade-like ornaments.
"I will not tolerate insults from the lowest-ranking among us, Gareth."
The hulking knight responds to the smaller knight. What Aris has been suspecting, he now knows as fact.
"Gareth, Kaye, Bedevia...they're the Numbers, Master Aris!"
The sylph whispers in horror what Aris already knows.
The Numbers are an elite group within the Order of the Circle personally selected by the king. They are each given a number and the authority to operate above the law. There are said to only be twelve in Logres, yet here are three of them in one place...
Aris heaves a heavy sigh.
"I suppose this is yet another 'I told you so' moment..."
Now, let us take the story back to a slightly earlier time.
After encountering the mysterious blue-eyed girl and the swordsman of extraordinary skill, Aris travels to his destination—an old castle on the outskirts of West Ede. When he arrives, he sees something he did not expect.
"Wh-what is this place?!"
The sylph blurts out from inside the cloak, unable to contain her surprise. Another entire town sprawled out within the walls of the old castle, and not just any town. The bright lights, the hustle and bustle of people talking, eating, and shopping...
"It's a market district."
"Y-yes, I kind of gathered that too, but what is a market district doing in a place like this?!"
"I have no idea, but there's something else about this place..."
With that, Aris looks behind him toward the path he had entered from and sees that it is now blocked by an old mansion, as if it had been there the entire time.
"Wh-what happened to the entrance we came in from?! It's gone!"
The sylph's voice sounds more panicked than ever.
"I think someone or something doesn't want us to leave."
"Yes, I gathered that too, but what I mean is how did..."
"Never mind that now."
Aris takes another look around.
He cannot put his finger on it, but Aris knows something is off about this place. The dark streets illuminated by lights of all colors, merchants peddling their wares on deserted streets, and...a child? Aris suddenly notices that a small boy with golden hair and blue eyes is standing in the middle of a street intersection ahead, watching him.
The boy notices that he has been spotted and now seems as if he is about to cry, but he suddenly turns around and takes off down an alley to the right. Aris takes one step to pursue the child, but then stops when the chains wrapped around his right arm shift and clank together, as if reacting to his movement. Just then, the sylph jumps out of his cloak to pursue the boy, but Aris quickly stops her. Oddly, she tries to go left, when he clearly saw the child go right.
"Wh-why did you stop me, Master Aris?!"
"Why did you suddenly decide to give chase on your own?"
"Why?! Because...wait, I don't know why..."
When he saw the child take off, Aris felt a strong compulsion to follow him, but his chains reacted to some kind of danger and made him return to his senses. He now knows that something or someone is trying to control his will.
Sighing has recently become a habit for Aris. He came to this place on the information given to him by a certain individual, and was prepared for a fight depending on how he would be welcomed, but...
"They don't even care who we are...we're all targets."
The sylph shoots her master a puzzled look, unable to decipher his cryptic statement.
"This threshold obviously wasn't deployed specifically for us. Whoever it is just leaves it deployed inside the castle walls, which means..."
"Wait...we're inside a threshold, Master Aris?!"
"You mean you didn't know?!"
The two are mutually stunned by each other's statements.
"Well, now that you mention it...that would explain why there's a market district inside the walls of an old castle."
Normally, thresholds are simple fields of magical energy that espers deploy in order to use their powers, but there are some espers that can create artificial worlds within their thresholds, such as this market district.
"So, now that's clear, I was saying that this threshold has been in place since before we arrived, which means..."
"Ohhh...that's what you meant by 'we're all targets.'"
The two are finally on the same page.
"That boy we saw earlier is probably a trap too. They even tried to use some kind of mind control. Well, now they've got my interest."
With that, Aris resumes walking.
"Wait Master, didn't you just say that we were being led into a trap?!"
"I've decided to spring it, and then deal with it somehow. Not like we have anything else to do."
Aris arrives at the entrance of the alley lined up with shops, but they are all the same shops, with all the same faces.
"Wow, talk about lazy illusion making..."
The sylph offers her honest opinion before attempting to go on ahead.
Aris grabs the sylph with his left hand to stop her.
"Wha...?! But Master, didn't you say..."
"I said I was going to spring the trap, not fall into it!"
With that, Aris swings his right arm toward the alley.
The chains around his right arm fly forward into the alley and suddenly, as if reacting to the motion of the chains, giant metallic spikes spring out from both the ground and the sky, filling the entire alley.
"Ahhh! Master! What just happened?!"
"I told you. It's a trap."
Aris then moves his right arm and craftily begins destroying the spikes in the alley by whipping the chains about.
When the chains finally return to Aris's arm, all the spikes in the alley are destroyed.
"Now we can move on."
"Wow...that's quite impressive, Master...oh?"
Before the sylph could continue praising Aris, she notices a figure standing among the destroyed spikes in the alley.
The figure is that of a little girl—did he see her flee into the alley earlier? She holds a black sword in her hands and wears a somber expression. Aris casually walks toward the girl, as if he cannot see her. Is this some tactic on Aris's part, approaching the girl so carelessly? Why did he refer to the child as a boy, when what the sylph sees now is clearly a girl...?
The child raises the sword in her hands, and with an even more somber expression, swings it down toward Aris.
"M-Master! Look out!"
The sound of clashing metal. Whether it is the sylph's warning or the chain's reaction to the danger, Aris's right hand barely but surely blocks the girl's strike.
Aris is stunned by the sudden assault as if he had not anticipated it at all. The girl moves slowly to the right of Aris and strikes sideways.
"Master, to your right!"
Aris twists his body to the right and jumps back but he is unable to fully evade the attack. He suffers a light wound across his chest. Shielding it with his left arm, he goes down on one knee.
"I'm alright. You can see it, right? Whatever this is?"
As it turned out, Aris did not approach the girl tactically; he is unable to see her. He cannot even feel the subtle changes in the air that her attacks should cause.
"Master Aris, right in front of you!"
This time, Aris evades to the right as he gets up off the ground.
"What am I fighting exactly?!"
"Huh? Oh, it's that blonde child from before, holding a big sword!"
"Master, to your right!"
"The right?! There's a wall there!"
Aris lets out a strange roar and instead of evading, pounds the ground with his right arm. As the sylph looks on quizzically, chains flow out of the arm with a loud clang and rise into the air like a waterfall flowing up to the sky, forming a protective wall.
The clash between the sword and the wall of chains causes a violent, intense grinding sound. Then all at once, the chains fall from the sky and sprawl onto the ground below. Aris is nowhere to be seen. The girl, with the same somber expression, surveys the aftermath of the exchange and furrows her brow. She then turns quickly and leaves.
A short time after the girl leaves, the mound of chains on the ground begins to move, and a wounded right arm emerges with a clang. The arm makes a fist, and with a gush of wind, all the chains on the ground retract back into the arm. A large hole can be seen in the ground underneath the chains. Inside it is Aris holding the sylph in his arms.
"Looks like your trick worked, Master."
The sylph speaks only after making absolutely sure that the child is gone. Aris says nothing and begins to scratch his head furiously, something he habitually does when he is dissatisfied.
"Master Aris, how is your wound?"
Aris usually heals quite fast due to the magical curing wards he has on his body, but this latest wound is slow to heal, and there is lingering pain.
"It's not healing right...the weapon may have been cursed."
"Master, why couldn't you see that little girl?"
"What did you just say...?"
"Huh? Oh, I was just asking why you couldn't see that girl."
"Wait, you initially said, 'the blonde child from before.' Are you talking about the child who went into that alley?"
"Yes, I thought you would know that immediately...did I say something strange?"
"I get it now. You see a girl, I see a boy. You see her go left, I see him go right... We weren't seeing the same thing... Probably trying to split us up."
For the third time today, Aris heaves a great sigh.
To be continued in "The Numbers, Part 2"
WOFF Apocrypha X
Added by finding it in the bookshelf in Besaid Laboratory
- The Numbers, Part 2 1/21
Surrounded on three sides. There is no hope of escape. Then again, taking on not one, but three Knights of the Circle that are said to be equal in worth to an entire army, is a losing proposition.
"Master Aris, can't you, like, pound the ground like you did before...?"
"That was kind of a one-time thing."
The sylph begins to think it was a bad idea to tell Aris that the Rumor Radar picked up a tip—Merlyn, the Sorceress of Light, has been seen outside of the castle. Aris is now intent on meeting her, despite the danger.
Aris figured that as Merlyn would be traveling incognito, at most, she would have a couple of guards with her. He never imagined that the guards would be the Numbers—the greatest warriors in the kingdom.
"Well, even if you're not the knight hunter, people who find out about 'that' place have to be made to...vanish."
With that, the female knight Kaye summons a small flame in her palm and steps forward.
The other two knights follow Kaye's lead and slowly begin to approach. Despite their reputation as fearsome warriors, they are being cautious. Aris takes this is a sign that they want to make certain he is dealt with. Sensing no obvious openings, Aris whispers something to the sylph and she disappears into his cloak.
With a fierce battle roar, Aris suddenly charges the smaller knight Gareth with his left arm out in front of him. Gareth reads the posture as a magic attack and summons a gravity ball that absorbs all manners of attacks—an ability he is well known to possess. Aris sees the gravity ball appearing...and smiles.
"Do it now!"
"Yes, Master! Casting Reflect Shield!"
The sylph deploys her threshold and a green magical barrier surrounds Aris. He then jumps into the gravity ball...and vanishes.
The three knights are stunned by Aris's unexpected action.
"You will not escape!"
An enraged Bedevia charges toward Gareth's gravity ball and jumps in after Aris. Kaye attempts to follow suit but stops when Gareth yells,
"Jumping into this gravity well is too dangerous."
"What about Bedevia?"
"He is special, just as we are. I doubt he will perish."
"Then why can't I go through as well?"
"The gravity well is a space that eats spaces. There is no telling what kind of world it might throw you into, or whether you would ever return."
"Hmmm...so you just open a door without knowing where it leads to?"
There is a hint of criticism in Kaye's voice. Gareth ignores the jab and makes the gravity well vanish.
"Knight hunter or not, there is no way that man will survive in the place he is now. We can forget about him."
"Bedevia is an impulsive fool."
"That is not new information, Kaye."
"Well, I suppose we should call it a day, then."
As Kaye says this, her threshold—the deep green woods that surround the entire area—vanishes. In its wake stands a solitary mansion, the front door of which slowly opens. From behind the door, a hooded woman pokes out her head with curiosity.
"Lady Merlyn, the outlaw has been dealt with. We should continue with the ritual."
"Yes, of course..."
Nodding ever so slightly to Kaye's suggestion, Merlyn, the Sorceress of Light, disappears behind the door once again.
"You know, you can be pretty adorable when you're scared."
"What kind of thing is that to say all of a sudden, Master?! I'm always adorable!"
After climbing out of the hole created by the wall of chains, Aris and the sylph decide to move forward.
"Whatever, it doesn't matter. Anyway, if you see that kid again, let me know."
"Yes, of course...and it certainly does matter! Are you sure we're going to be alright now, Master?"
"Master Aris, please...!"
Aris and the sylph resume their usual banter as they walk through the illusionary streets of the market district.
"By the way, I've been wondering, Master. You came to this place to meet someone who had been banished from the Order of the Circle, right? Then who...or what is creating this illusion?"
"What do you mean?"
"Well, no matter how I look at it, this place seems to be a reflection of a human soul."
"Maybe you're right. I can't imagine this city being imagined up by an esper."
"Yes, but only espers can create thresholds. Could the desires of a human and an esper be so aligned that they could create this...?"
Aris knows what the sylph wants to say, and he has slowly come to realize why this place feels so odd to him.
Theoretically, any kind of world can be created within an esper's threshold, given that the smallest details of the world can be imagined within a soul. However, an esper should not be able to comprehend the human soul and its desires deeply enough to create a human world. Yet the existence of this market district seems to be definitive proof of the opposite.
"An esper that can build worlds based on the desires of people...interesting."
"Do you think it's that child, Master?"
Aris is about to give his usual 'who knows?' but he is suddenly struck by a thought and smiles.
"You just thought of something, didn't you, Master? Tell me!"
"Why should I tell you?"
"Wow, that's pretty mean even for you, Master! If you don't tell me and there's some kind of emergency..."
The sylph abruptly halts her protest when she sees that someone has appeared before them.
"Master, she's here! This time she's holding..."
The girl now holds black swords in each arm, but again Aris cannot see her. The girl seems to know this as she draws closer, dragging the swords on the ground.
"She's getting closer! Are you sure we're alright...?!"
"Just stay behind me."
Leaving the sylph behind, Aris raises the hood on his cloak over his head to his face and begins to walk toward the girl he cannot see.
After Aris mutters something under his breath, the chains around his right arm tighten.
Aris winces slightly from the pain caused by the chains.
"I just need to borrow your powers...for a little while."
He then clenches his teeth and closes his right fist tight. A red aura begins to emanate from his arm.
The girl then frowns slightly at the sight of Aris's glowing arm, but she continues to walk toward him with one sword slung on her shoulder and the other still dragging on the ground. As she prepares to attack, Aris takes one step into her striking distance...
The Tale of Aris—To be continued
WOFF Apocrypha XI
Added by finding it in The Sunken Temple, Quacheon 4
- The Lilikin 1/17
I've met many Legend Lilikin since that time. They're not like warriors or mages or any of the standard Lilikin. They're all very brave, powerful, and kind.
The first Legend I met was the swordsman Cloud. Then it was Fran with the bunny ears, then the esper summoner Yuna, then Laguna, who fought with a strange weapon called a "gun," then Vivi, who I first thought was just another black mage, but he turned out to be anything but.
I've had many adventures with the Legends that I'd love to tell you about one day, but today I want to tell you more about the Legend Lilikin. One of the first things you should know about them is that their original form, or shall we say, the people they are based on, all exist in a completely different world from ours.
But a handsome...I mean, very young-looking lady told me that an entity like the god of our world cut out one moment of time from these people. Then, to call them into our world, she gave special Cubes to people whose souls were compatible with the Legends (such people exist, but they're very rare). She also gave Cubes to people who could open magical pathways between worlds (the lady called them mana conduits). Apparently, I was one of the latter.
Oh, apparently there were these things called "summoning rituals" in the past, where these mana conduits were widened to form a giant portal. But a long time ago, before this kingdom even existed, a great mage was ordered by this king to force the power of summoning onto every citizen in the kingdom...to make the world more convenient, I guess. This lead to a lot of destruction and chaos because not everyone had the ability to control a power that potent.
But they blamed the incident on some kind of plague and kept the whole summoning ritual quiet. At the time, not everyone was able to open a mana conduit, but some of the ones who did and survived became knights who used magic in battle, and some became hermits that avoided the rest of the world.
Apparently, the latter people who became hermits are our ancestors. I'm actually not supposed to tell you that, but the...very young-looking lady became really fond of me and told me so many interesting things. She said that I reminded her of "the fifth girl." I still don't know what that means.
So anyway, the reason it's become so normal of us to summon and live with Lilikin is because it actually benefits other worlds close to ours. The Lilikin that are raised here can have a moment of their time cut out and be summoned to other worlds that need their help. The lady called it a buffer or a stopover or something. That's why it's a good thing for many Lilikin to grow and thrive in our world.
Ugh...Ennabelle, I should have really taken your advice and taken notes when I learned something really important. I can be so forgetful, especially about the little details and things I don't fully understand. Well, I do want some time to enjoy my life, especially since I don't have much time left...oh, never mind that last part.
Oh, one more thing: the whole "cut out a moment of time" thing, that could have happened to me or you or anyone else in Pulit. That means we might exist as Lilikin in other worlds! Maybe we've even met some of the people who are reading this right now.
With the preparations complete, Hauyn slowly opens her eyes. In front of her, the king of Pulit sits on his throne with his legs crossed.
"I apologize for the delay, Your Majesty. We are ready to proceed."
"So...what is the next step?"
As if to answer the question, Hauyn raises her arms and deploys magical fields on either side of her, summoning the most powerful Lilikin whom she fought alongside.
"That old windbag sure fed a lot of nonsense into you before disappearing."
"You may incur the wrath of the heavens if you continue to speak that way, Your Majesty."
"That may actually make this day more interesting. She should have stayed and gotten a feel for the battlefield again, but that's neither here nor there. So just to confirm once again...what are you going to do now?"
Without hesitation, looking directly in the king's eyes, Hauyn says,
"I will defeat you."
"But even if you succeed..."
"Yes, I am aware, but at least this will no longer be a world where the destinies of the people are determined by a single entity."
"Very well then, it will be an amusing distraction. If you can defeat me, I will return the future to the hands of the people..."
Before the king can finish his sentence, he notices something, then,
He breaks out into a roaring laughter so intense that Hauyn is taken aback. The king is laughing so hard that tears are welling up in his eyes.
"This is truly hilarious! It's as if the one who vanished...oh, I understand now! I understand it all!"
Hauyn still has no clue what the king is going on about.
"Oh...sorry, this has nothing to do with you. Allow me to set the proper mood now..."
With that, the king stands, his eyes glowing red, and in that instant the throne room, nay, the entire world is blanketed in darkness.
Hauyn is stunned by the king's transformation.
"The moment I defeat you, this world will end. That is the price you must pay...for defying a god."
Hauyn falters for a moment before the king's overwhelming presence, but then with renewed resolve, she replies,
"I will not be defeated. I will prevail...for Ennabelle, for my comrades, and all the people of this world!"
The Lilikin guarding Hauyn's flank draw their weapons.
"Then let us begin...the end of this world."
"Nay, the beginning!"
After the king's ominous proclamation, Hauyn puts forth one last shout of defiance. And now, as the Ring of Time enters its first rotation, the battle for the fate of the world is about to begin.
The Tale of Hauyn—Fin
WOFF Apocrypha XII
Added by finding it in the Underground Prison, Ophion 3
- Order of the Circle 1/27
As per usual, Lancelot is checking the schedules of the king and select members of the Order of the Circle, when he comes upon a surprising name among the people who are meeting with the king on this day. Lancelot calls to a nearby scribe who is sorting documents,
"Pardon me, but do you know why this individual has an audience with the king today?"
"Which individual...? Oh, the one from the Junker Brigade. She was summoned to receive a reward from the king personally for her meritorious conduct yesterday."
"Yes...oh, I believe it was the mission that you were present for, was it not, Lord Lancelot?"
"Mm, yes, but..."
Something does not feel right. It is true, the king offers rewards to soldiers in the Knight Army for exceptional valor, but he has never heard of the king offering the reward personally before today. Furthermore, the way the schedule is written, it appears the meeting was set before Lancelot even submitted his mission report.
"Could it be...Merlyn's prophecy?"
"What's that you say about Merlyn?"
As Lancelot speaks his thoughts, he is questioned by a youthful-looking man in heavy cyan attire, wearing a monocle on his right eye.
Though he appears young, his mature tone and demeanor betray that he was a learned man of some years.
"Ah, our esteemed royal tutor, well met. How fares the king on this day?"
"Your skills of verbal evasion are as sharp as ever, Lord Lancelot. How fares the king you ask? Well, as always..."
In the middle of his seemingly light banter, the royal tutor draws closer to Lancelot and whispers with a concerned look,
"Something is wrong."
"Ah, it is good to hear that His Majesty is well."
"Yes he could not be more well than he is now, if you ask me."
As the two resume their initial conversation as a charade, the nearby scribe looks at them rather quizzically.
"Walk with me, Master Tutor."
Without even waiting for the tutor's reply, Lancelot leaves the room.
"Lord Lancelot, I had business in the archives as well...he's not listening."
With a shrug, the tutor follows Lancelot out of the archive room.
Lancelot and the royal tutor slowly walk down a corridor near the castle halls. After confirming that no one else can hear them, Lancelot asks the tutor,
"You know why the king summoned the commander of the Junker Brigade today, do you not?"
"What? Oh, do I...? Let me think..."
The tutor evades Lancelot's question rather ineptly.
"You have been by the king's side since he was a youth and you are also a trusted confident to Merlyn. I cannot believe that you would not know."
"Well...yes, I do know, but why are you asking?"
Lancelot is slightly irked by the tutor's continued poor effort to evade his query, but then he realizes that he himself does not exactly know why this matter concerns him so much.
"I have an odd feeling, nay, a bad feeling about this meeting."
As Lancelot stops and offers his straightforward answer, the tutor cannot help but be impressed by his unbending sincerity and keen instincts as a knight. With a sigh, the tutor finally replies,
"Yes, I know the reason and as you suspect, it has to do with one of Merlyn's prophecies."
Upon hearing the answer, Lancelot realizes something. The tutor sees the revelation in his eyes and scratches his head with one finger uncomfortably.
"Is today a Star Day...? Is a selection taking place? Has that woman been selected?"
"...An agent has been observing her for a week, but I must say, she is impressive. She knew immediately that she was being watched, and she even tried to attack the agent yesterday."
"Then we should stop the selection."
Somehow, the tutor knew that Lancelot was going to say that. Continuing to scratch his head, the tutor replies,
"That's not possible, Lord Lancelot..."
Again, without even waiting for the tutor to finish his sentence, Lancelot starts walking toward the throne room.
"Lord Lancelot, it's no use! Anyway, I have my own business with you..."
Lancelot's stride does not break for a second.
"My business with you also comes from Merlyn."
This finally stops Lancelot's feet.
"Well no, just a suggestion. I was reluctant to ask, which is why I went to the archives to think of a different way."
Lancelot could not understand what the tutor was trying to say.
"Lady Merlyn suggested that I consult you...about preparing the chains. She said that it was vital that I handle them."
"What?! But why? Why did she tell you to speak to me about the chains?"
"Well, all things considered, I would guess it has something to do with what you are trying to stop."
Again, Lancelot is shocked by the tutor's words.
"So Merlyn does know...she knows, yet..."
With a bitter expression, Lancelot bites his lip.
How long has it been since he realized? The king had taken to wearing his armor at all times, not even removing the mask on his helm. After a time, other Knights of the Circle began to do the same. Lancelot asked several of them directly about the phenomenon, but they all simply laughed and said that it would happen to him one day.
There was no noticeable change in the attitudes of the other Knights of the Circle, as far as Lancelot could see. If anything, they were even more devoted to the king and the Numbers. This in itself was of course not a bad thing.
But in the end, Lancelot and Lord Gawain, who had only recently been welcomed into the order from another land, were the only ones who ever removed their armor. The realization sends a chill down Lancelot's spine. Is his loyalty being tested...? His heart says no.
"What are you two going on about then, eh?"
As if out of nowhere, a knight clad in deep blue armor and a horned mask appears before Lancelot and the tutor.
"Ah, Lord Mordred. Are you back from an assignment of some sort?"
The tutor attempts to hide his surprise at Mordred's sudden appearance by offering some light banter.
"I've just returned from dispatching several of the younger knights."
Mordred answers the tutor with a disinterested tone while never facing away from Lancelot.
"Dispatching the younger knights?"
Lancelot reacts to Mordred's answer.
"Never mind that. What does she know, and yet...what?"
The tutor is stunned. How could he have heard that...?
"Lord Mordred, when you say the younger knights..."
"Master Tutor, you are excused. I have a matter to discuss with Lord Lancelot."
After Mordred curtly cuts off the tutor's question, magical energy gathers around his right arm, eventually forming an enormous sword. A matter to discuss...while drawing a blade? The tutor cannot help but heave a sigh of despair.
How could this have happened? Wedge has been weighing that question in his head for some time now. How could this have happened? That is the only thing he can think when viewing the unbelievable sight before him.
"Acting Commander Wedge, help..."
A sudden sharp sound. The brigade member who asked Wedge for help is...
...The brigade member collapsed toward Wedge, sending him into a panic. Somebody grabs him from behind to restrain him.
"Acting Commander, control yourself and issue orders to the others! Neither Commander Roksanne nor Lieutenant Commander Biggs are here! You have to get it together, or the entire brigade is doomed!"
The man restraining Wedge and trying to return him to his senses is Piet, the young rising star in the 109th.
"What are your orders? The flames will reach this place soon! Your orders!"
It has been several hours since the brigade was gathered in the command station with the commander absent. How could this have happened? Inside the command station, now engulfed in flames with periodic volleys of arrows flying in from outside, that is still the question that Wedge's mind is mired in.
He does not even notice that the door behind him is slowly opening...
The Tale of Lancelot—To be continued
- Epilogue 27/27
On a final note, you might be saying, "That's all? That's the end?" Unfortunately, this is indeed where the transcription of the first part of the epic ends. Those who must know what happened afterward may want to consider visiting the Library of the Ancients and asking Cid to show you the original text (keep in mind it is written in an alien language). It is my hope that I can continue to present this work once new transcriptions and discoveries are available.