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Thread: Seventh Heaven [Assumption]

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    4: Accept the offer, but be alert at all times.

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    3.

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    ​3.

    Mennie finds him hot, it's time to start building up her harem !

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    Hopefully, someone we can talk to for context of where we are.
    The Act of dozing off in the afternoon is a luxury indeed.
    Coffee would be nice, though.

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    A Beautiful Night for a Question

    Unknown
    Unknown Date
    Unknown Time


    Status: Menodora Strauss
    Health: Good
    Energy: Fatigued
    Mental State: Stable



    ☾ ☾ ☾ ☾ ☾
    “Okay.”

    Touka’s mind slammed against her, questioning her decision, but when she responded with a wave of calm and annoyance, he stopped.

    They had absolutely no idea what this guy could do. The last person(?) they had met was a crazy lion monster that nearly killed them both. Just because this one appeared human didn’t make him any less dangerous; if anything, it made him even more of a threat. They were both tired. Trying to fight him would be stupid and potentially suicidal.

    Touka grimaced at the message but said nothing. That was probably as close to an agreement as she was going to get.

    Even if this was a trap, at least it was a trap that promised snacks.

    “Grand! Come along then!” Qing turned on the spot, flourishing his luxurious robes in a vibrant dervish. He glanced over his shoulder at Menodora before addressing Touka. “Would you mind carrying her? She looks fit to fall if she tries to stand.”

    Touka snorted angrily before scooping Menodora into his arms, carrying her with all the care of a sack of potatoes. Menodora provided minor protest, but ultimately remained in Touka’s arms as he followed behind Qing.

    As they came out of the shed, Menodora’s eyes were drawn to the sky.

    The light that filled the sky and brightened the night didn’t come from a singular place. Stars by the thousand filled the dark void above. Rather than simple pinpricks of light, they were glittering jewels hidden amongst a sea of luminescent nebula. Red and yellow and blue and white stars, yet the light they gave off was silver. They were larger than stars she’d seen but far too small to be this bright, yet they still were.

    And hidden halfway behind a cosmic cloud was a single object, a heavenly sphere with a faint glow of its own. Painted in blues and greens and browns and whites, the Earth shone in the sky in the place of the moon.

    “The view from heaven is quite wonderful, isn’t it?”

    Heaven?

    What is happening? What’s going on? How were they seeing-were they in space?! Menodora’s thoughts ran rampant. She felt her heart thundering in her chest. Are we actually dead? Am I dead?!

    Qing giggled, breaking through her terror with infuriating amusement. He quickly covered his mouth, but it was obvious that he was still smiling. “Apologies. The ignorance on your face was too cute not to laugh.” He calmed himself, “Don’t worry. As a gracious host, I will be sure to fill your brain as well as your bellies once we get inside. Hurry along!”

    What an asshole.

    Calm down, Mennie, calm down. Everything is fine. You aren’t dead. Everything is fine.

    Everything was very much not fine, but she could make herself pretend for now. She was good at that.

    Focus on the snacks. Snacks will make you feel better.

    He turned on the spot and trotted away from the shed. A short distance away, across a bridge and through a garden of trees, Menodora could see the building Touka mentioned earlier. A short yet wide Chinese style home with a short wall and gate around it. Smoke billowed from a chimney at the side, flowing up into the sky and disappearing amongst the cosmic clouds.

    “Touka?” Menodora looked at him. He was staring at the sky, eyes unwavering from the sight of the Earth so far up high. Menodora tugged at his sleeves, snapping him out of the trance. A faint blush came over his cheeks.

    “Right. Sorry.” He said in the softest tone she’d heard from him so far. The blush faded and he continued following Qing to his home, keeping his eyes far from the sky.

    ☾ ☾ ☾ ☾ ☾
    Menodora hadn’t realized how cold she was until they were all nestled into Qing’s parlor. The low floor-bed beneath them radiated heat that melted away her shivers and weakness. Qing had tossed a small blanket over her lap and pushed a cup of tea into her hand before disappearing elsewhere into the house. Touka took a seat across from her on the bed, ignoring his tea and fiddling with a hole in his uniform.

    “Do you have another one?”

    “No. Even if I did, I wouldn't bother wearing it.”

    “Do you not like it?”

    “Do you like yours?”

    Touche.

    The schoolgirl outfit had been one of her sister’s dress up games. Ever since they were little, Elle loved dressing Menodora up in different clothing and styles, then taking pictures or showing her off to their mom and dad. Mennie didn’t mind too much, but saying it didn’t bother her at all would be a lie.

    “I guess you aren’t a heroic spirit schoolboy then.”

    Touka snorted. “No. This uniform is a part of tampering from when I was summoned. My guess: we were meant to match. Schoolboy, schoolgirl."

    That’s the second time he mentioned something messing with him. In the shed, he’d gotten pissed off about some woman messing with his head. That must’ve been the same person that put him in the uniform. So what had she done to his head? Was she the woman Menodora had seen when she first arrived, the nun in her dream?

    "So we're supposed to be a matching set?"


    “Then I would hate to break up a pairing.” Qing returned, carrying two bundles of cloth in his arms. He handed them to each of them. “They aren’t quite a match to one another in color, but the style should be fitting. Foreign goods aren’t common, but occasional merchants pass through and sell their wares, and I’ve always had a taste for the exotic. You can change in washrooms. Or in here, if you like.”

    Yeah, no way in hell, that’s happen-why is Touka unbuttoning his shirt?

    “The hell?!”

    He stopped, already pulling off the tattered jacket, revealing the white t-shirt underneath. As expected, his arms were very muscular yet lean, like tightly wound cords. He looked at Menodora.

    “What?”

    “You’re just going to get naked in here? In front of this creep?”


    “You speak your true feelings so easily.”

    Menodora clapped a hand over her mouth, trying to look apologetic. Qing hardly looked bothered. In fact, he seemed rather amused. Touka looked confused.

    "What does it matter?"


    Menodora sighed. “Just take me to the washroom first.”

    ☾ ☾ ☾ ☾ ☾

    Frankly, this outfit felt as much like a costume as the uniform had.

    Menodora: New outfit unlocked!

    That being said, it was definitely much more comfortable than the uniform had been. The fabric was unreasonably soft against her skin. It felt like being wrapped up in a blanket made of clouds. Qing had also provided a pair of sandals, but they had been too big so Menodora would stick with sneakers for now. That made more sense anyway, if the lion man were any foreshadowing.

    As she relished in the comfort of her new clothes, there was a knock before the door slid open.

    “Done?”

    Touka: New outfit unlocked!
    The new outfit suited him well. Better than the uniform did, even. Maybe this kind of wear was more normal for him?

    “Knock first. Don’t be a creep.”

    Touka rolled his eyes. “Not on your life, runt.”

    “Runt?”

    With a smirk, he quickly snapped up the protesting Menodora, carrying her to the parlor and dumping her onto the bed. He slid onto it next to her, placing them both across from Qing.

    The man had his wings out once more, resting them on his lap while he sipped from a tea cup. He looked at them over the rim and hummed, setting the cup down.

    “What an adorable pair you two make. I have other outfits if you’d be willing to try them on. I’m much more of a collector than a wearer myself. I prefer simple fashions.”

    “No,” the two said in unison. Qing chuckled.

    “Of course, of course. You’d like to get to the good bits. Well then, sit back and relax. Grab a kompia, sip some tea, and ask me whatever you wish.”

    Alright then. Time to get some answers.


    ☾ ☾ ☾ ☾ ☾
    |CHOICES|
    Dressed and warm, you now have a chance to ask someone that knows something some questions. Now, all you have to do is pick the right questions. What do you really want to know right now? [Pick two]
    1. What the hell is this place?
    2. What is he?
    3. What are Attendants?
    4. Who is the Queen?
    5. Who is Ziyu?
    6. Has he heard of the Holy Grail?
    7. Does he know how to leave this place?
    8. Does he know how they got here?
    9. Where the hell is the moon!?
    10. [Write-in]

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    Probably get the two foundational questions out of the way, and I feel like we can learn more of the inhabitants such as Qing plus the attendants as we go along.
    The Act of dozing off in the afternoon is a luxury indeed.
    Coffee would be nice, though.

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    Such a Heavenly View

    Unknown
    Unknown Date
    Unknown Time

    Status: Menodora Strauss
    Health: Good
    Energy: Fatigued
    Mental State: Stable



    ☾ ☾ ☾ ☾ ☾

    “Who’s this Queen?”
    “Where are we?”

    Menodora blinked at Touka. “What?”

    “He and the beastman both mentioned a Queen before. Clearly, she’s the one in charge and probably the reason we’re here.” That was a fair point, Menadora could not deny; however, she was much more curious about their exact location. The Earth was in the sky and there were men with wings and lion people. Something profoundly and magically strange was happening wherever this was.

    “Hm, well, it should be no issue to answer both questions at once.” Qing said, “Though I do wonder how helpful the answers would even be to you.”

    “Well, we won’t know until you tell us, will we?” Touka grumbled.

    “Quite true. Well then, to put it in very succinct terms, the two of you have, through circumstance I am delighted to speculate upon, found yourself within the gardens of Xihua (West Flower) atop Kun Lun. The owner and ruler of these lands is none other than the Queen Mother of the West!”

    …..

    “Neither of you know what any of that means, do you?”

    The two shook their heads. For once, Mennie wished she had bothered to listen to her sister’s extensive lectures on mythology. She’d promise to actually pay attention next time there was one, but even life threatening danger couldn’t make her commit to that.

    “Not just frogs, but tadpoles,” Qing chuckled to himself. “It seems a proper education is in order for the two of you. Pay attention, my dear students, while the Master fills your brains with something other than moths and dust.”

    Menodora pushed down Touka’s fist. Punch later, learn now.

    Suddenly, Qing’s wings, which had been resting upon his shoulders as a mantle, flared around him. The light within the room cast by fire and candle began to waver as though everything were a mirage. The candles dimmed and everything grew dark around them, yet the three were able to see one another. Menodora grabbed onto Touka’s arm, ready to flee when the scenery shifted to outside.

    The three of them sat atop a lake the color of gemstones. Mostly green-blue, the small waves that rolled over the surface shimmered in reds and yellows and orange and violets. It stretched out around them for miles save for one direction. There, floating above the gem lake was a palace, Chinese in style and grandiose in scale. Satellite islands circled around it, sporting towers and gardens and waterfalls that spilled over into the lake below.

    Menodora couldn’t believe her eyes. A castle in the sky. A fantasy she never could’ve imagined.

    “Is this real?”

    “As much as anything else,” Qing said. “That is the palace of the Queen Mother, the deity that reigns over this place. It lies at the center of the Jade Lake. From there, she watches over the garden and those who reside within it. Everything within its view is hers.”

    A deity. A goddess. So unlikely. Almost certainly a lie under any other circumstance. The gods were gone, she knew that much. And yet. And yet.

    System Update
    Location Update:Kun Lun - XihuaOasis of Immortals
    “Are you also hers?” Touka asked bluntly. Qing nodded.

    “In a sense. I am her subject, just like any other resident of the garden. We aren’t slaves or objects, many of us can leave if we wish to, but very few would. This is a paradise for people like me.”

    “Could’ve fooled me. Do you welcome most people with lion monsters or are we special?”

    “Yes, actually.” Qing smirked, smoothly, cooly, as if he were looking at a very cute puppy. “You two are very special to be given such privilege as to walk in the Queen’s garden as you are. Why, I cannot fathom, but it is very fascinating.”

    “As for the beast you met, that would be the security. An attendant, as we call them. They deal with any issues that might appear in the garden. Disputes and troublemakers. It is rare for them to be active, so they are very out of practice in combat, which explains how you survived your encounter with one.”

    Touka scoffed, “Survived? I tore that thing to shreds. If I had a proper weapon, it wouldn’t have even touched me.”

    “Certainly.” Menodora didn’t think he sounded so certain.

    “So wait,” she said, “this place is her garden, but what does that mean? Where are we in relation to the Earth? When are we?!”

    Qing only shrugged. “That is a much harder question for me to answer.” He looked to the sky, towards the Earth. “I remember a time when the moon was in the sky, and yet, now I see the Earth above me.” For the first time since she met him, Menodora saw Qing do something besides smile: frown. “How odd.”

    “So you don’t know where we are?” Menodora rolled her eyes at Touka’s bluntness. All the tact of a hammer.

    Qing stayed frowning for a moment longer before looking at Touka with a smile. “To a point. I do know that you currently reside in the lands of Huáng.” Qing anticipated Mennie’s question with a click of his fingers.

    The surroundings shifted again and the three were now in the sky, far above the lake, now a blue puddle in a circle of land. The land rose out from a sea of golden clouds, surrounding the garden in walls of sheer stone. Menodora yelped, scrambling until she found herself seated in Touka’s lap, holding onto his shirt.

    “Really?”

    “I-I don’t like heights.”

    “Hmhmhm,” Qing chirped, “so cute. I apologize, but this is the best way for you to get a ‘lay of the land’ or so it goes. You see, the garden is quite expansive and in order to tend to it properly, it has been divided into six parts.”

    Pulling the view closer to the ground, it was easy to see what exactly Qing meant. On the right side of the lake, Menodora immediately recognized the violet, flowery forest she had wandered through earlier. Beneath that area, separated by a river, the trees became more sparse, replaced by wide open fields of yellow grass with patches of trees. After that, another river came and split into tributaries, splitting the land into sandy deltas bristling with red reeds. Above this land was a place of solid stone, crags, and cliffs with no signs of life. Crossing a wide mouthed river north, the land was covered in thick snow, contrasting with the green land next to it, sitting above the land of flowers.

    “We are here.” Qing pointed at the yellow area. “This is Huáng. The land of beasts, where hunters such as myself may enjoy ourselves and indulge in our hobby, while also providing food for the Queen’s feasts through our tribute.”

    “An-and where is the exit?”

    At that, the scenery shifted once more, returning to Qing’s cozy living room. Menodora snatched up a piece of bread to calm her stomach, still perched in Touka’s lap. Qing gave her an examining look, lips pulled in a tight pondering grin.

    “That is a question I cannot answer, my young tadpole. Not for you. My method of departure would not work for you, especially if you wish to return home. Truthfully, you shouldn’t even be able to be here, yet you are.”

    “I bet the Queen knows.” Touka said. “If she is really a goddess and she rules over this place, then she should know how to get us out.” Touka’s face twisted in disgust as he spoke, as though biting into something bitter.

    “Possibly, but meeting the Queen Mother is unlikely to happen. She does not take audiences lightly and your very presence here is grounds for destruction. Few mortals have ever reached these lands and they tend not to leave the same, for one reason or the other.” A shiver ran down Mennie’s spine. She could feel her stomach start to twist in anxious knots. “But there might be someone else who can help you.”

    “Some-one…..elshhhhhh,” The words frothed on Menodora’s lips and the world began to spin at an angle. Her face met the warm floor of Qing’s living room before covering it in the contents of her stomach through violet retching. Green and brown with the iron scent of blood mixed in. Touka shouted but Menodora couldn't quite tell what, as pain pulsed through her nervous system. Violent tremors shook and twisted her body while her mind was assaulted by a fury of sensations, drowning out the world around her.

    No....please....not again....


    As the tremors began to settle, another body fell next to her and Qing’s cold, dead eyes met hers, his neck bent at an unnatural angle.

    Someone—with strong, cold hands—lifted her up into her arms and shouted, their voice still distant as her mind recovered.

    “Menodora! Menodora! Meno-”

    A flash of light blinded her for a moment and she fell back to the floor, still cradled in Touka’s arms, the boy now slumped over and unconcious. The pain was beginning to fade, yet she still could not move, only able to stare upwards, into the eyes of Qing, neck still bent. He looked down at her, smiling still, soft and almost apologetic. Gripping his head from both sides, with a sickening crack, he placed his neck back at its proper angle.

    “Such a strong young man. He’ll serve you well, I’m certain of that.”

    Words tried to come out of her mouth, but it was nothing but frothing through blood and vomit.

    “Ah ah, don’t try to talk, it might make it worse.” Qing crouched down, wiping his hand over Mennie’s mouth, pulling it away stained in blood. “I had a feeling this might happen. It is good to have confirmation.” He slipped his fingers into his mouth, swirling them around before pulling them out clean.

    “I’m afraid that your body isn’t quite fit for these climes. The density of magical energy in these lands, including the food, is like poison to your body. Perhaps even more for you than most other mortals. Your body seems almost weak to magical energy from this reaction.”

    Of course. Of course. That made sense…..

    “There is a protection on your body at the moment, one that keeps the atmosphere from killing you, but it seems food can bypass that, at least a little. Even worse, it seems that it might only be temporary. That is what these eyes of mine can see.”

    But then…..

    “You are on borrowed time, little one. It is unfortunate.”

    But…..no……please…….


    “However,” a smile that would shake the devil spread across his face, “I might have an idea for that.”

    No……please……I don’t want to die……

    “Sleep, now, little one. I pray you wake again.”

    ☾ ☾ ☾ ☾ ☾

    System Update
    Status Update
    Health: Good -> Low



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