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    [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya)

    Akeya
    Akeya

    Twilight Dragon


    Twilight Dragon

    Dragon VIP Status- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Dragon Slayer- Rich- Veteran Level 1- Character Application Approved!- Character History!- Magic Application Approved!- Get A Pet!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Novice [250]- Player 
    Lineage : Hic Sunt Dracones
    Position : None
    Posts : 1176
    Guild : Fairy Tail
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Mentor : Whedalsin
    Experience : 12,330

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic
    Second Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic
    Third Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic

    [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya) Empty [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya)

    Post by Akeya 26th September 2020, 9:51 am

    Job Details:

    Akeya really hated the Neutral Grounds. That hatred was something unique, something special. She'd become more open to emotions over the years, but even so the hatred she felt for the Neutral Grounds was something that couldn't easily be replicated by anything else.

    The problem was very simple. As a dragon she was an inherently magical creature. Beyond her elemental powers magic formed a part of her being, it helped her function. Areas which were filled with magic were good for her health, but conversely an area like the Neutral Grounds, where magic was blocked, essentially inflicted a magic deficiency upon her. The magic that sustained her body wasn't completely annihilated, but she could definitely feel her body struggling to remain operating at peak efficiency. She felt uncomfortable, out of her skin, and even a little bit sickly.

    Which was why she was rather upset that nobody else bothered to take this job. The first time she'd come across the job she'd hoped that someone else would take care of it, as the Neutral Grounds was a place she'd rather avoid. However as time passed it became clear that other mages and guilds weren't taking the potential threat seriously. To them the job was a minor issue at best, and further investigation had revealed that the only reason it had been accepted as a 100-year job was because the client had bugged the Magic Council for quite some time before finally those guys had relented.

    Most people didn't think of the world of dreams as a real place. They thought that dreams were merely constructs of the mind, created and contained by the soul of the dreamer. Akeya only knew differently because she was by nature curious, and spent a lot of her time reading about many things. She had a particular focus for the supernatural and anything else which might help make sense of this reality, with all its complexities and mysteries.

    But the world of dreams was real. There were records of people who managed to contact each other through dreams. Stories about people who had received omens through dreams, which had been confirmed to be based upon real events. There were creatures from other worlds, other realities, who managed to reach through the veil using dreams as a medium. The world of dream was very much a part of this reality, and if something was threatening the world of dreams it was a threat to the waking world as well.

    And so it was that, despite all her complaining and resistance, Akeya ended up accepting the job nobody else took seriously and flew over to the Neutral Grounds. At least her wings didn't require magic to function: they were biological, as much as her inner organs. Flying over the metropolis she headed for the address where she was supposed to find the client. Apparently they'd been researching the disturbance in the world of dreams when they sent out a call for help. Akeya had to admit that she had a fondness for scientists and researchers: they were usually methodical and thorough. They based their ideas on facts and evidence rather than mere fancy and opinion. The profession attracted logical and calm-headed people, with the occasional erratic who nevertheless had a brilliant mind.

    Diving down Akeya ignored the cries from some of the passer-byes. She wasn't in the mood to care about their surprise, and even if they tried to alert the city guard or anything she could just say that she was here for a job. Even if mages generally avoided the Neutral Grounds because it left them weaker members of the guilds were still accepted as being part of society, accepting and completing tasks that nobody else could handle.

    It also helped that the city guard would most likely presume that Akeya wasn't in any state to be a real threat. Magical creatures like herself were generally weak and helpless inside the radius of the Neutral Grounds. And Akeya wasn't exactly an exception, but she'd already thought of several ways to overcome that particular obstacle. If she wished to wreak havoc she'd always find a way: she wasn't the kind of person to just accept that an entire region was outside of her domain.

    Knocking on the door she waited impatiently, until the door opened and a tall woman with dirty blonde hair stepped out. She was tall, tall enough that she was only a foot shorter than Akeya herself. Given Akeya's impressive height that was quite the accomplishment. The researcher blinked as she suddenly had an amazonian dragoness on her doorstep, but Akeya quickly broke the silence. "I'm here for the job concerning the world of dreams." The client quickly nodded and stepped to the side. "Ah, yes, please do come inside. I'm glad someone finally answered our call."

    After Akeya stepped inside (the tip of her tail twitching in annoyance) her host closed the door and led her through a hallway towards a room where the floor and the walls were covered in tiles. It was clearly a lab of sort, meant to be clean and sterile. One half of the room was hidden behind a curtain, Akeya's eyes narrowing as she could sense a turmoil of emotions from beyond. "Uhm, may I know your name before we begin?" Akeya looked around at the various instruments in the room even as she answered the request. "I'm Akeya. Can you explain the problem?"

    The scientist nodded again, sitting down on one of the tall stools in the room. She looked rather unnerved, although Akeya was uncertain whether that was because of her or something else. She could see signs of sleep deprivation on the woman's face. "Ah, yes, I'm Belinda. Belinda Ramfield. Something is corrupting the world of dreams, causing unnatural nightmares to form and trap people. It was difficult to find evidence at first, but by this point I'm certain of it." Akeya raised an eyebrow at that part. "You don't sound very happy about proving your theory."

    Belinda shook her head, brushing some of her dirty blonde hair out of her face. "Of course it's not a good thing that the world of dreams is in danger, but aside from that the evidence is... unpleasant in itself." Standing up she walked over to the curtain and slowly pulled it to the side. "I was working on this with a group of colleagues. We don't know exactly why, but it seems like the magicless nature of the Neutral Grounds makes it easier to come into contact with the world of dreams. We didn't notice anything wrong at first, but now..." She didn't finish that sentence, instead showing Akeya what the dragoness had already begun to expect.

    Beyond the curtain there were seven beds, their differing designs evidence that they'd been pulled into the room rather hastily. Each bed was occupied, with monitoring equipment right next to it. The sleeping folk weren't moving a lot, but Akeya could tell from their expressions that their dreams weren't happy ones.

    "Everyone you see here has been asleep for at least a week now. I've been doing my best to monitor their state and keep them nourished, but it's difficult to keep that up when I'm trying to avoid falling asleep myself." As she talked Belinda moved from bed to bed, checking their vitals and reading the information displayed on the equipment. "At first waking up was merely difficult, but now they can't wake up at all. And their mental activity shows they're having one nightmare after another."

    Akeya followed Belinda, trying to make sense of the readings. She wasn't an expert on the field, but even she could tell that the readings were irregular and intense. Although honestly she didn't truly need the readings... she could feel the turmoil wafting off of the sleeping people.

    Folding her arms she looked at Belinda. "Okay, so something is up. Do you have anything else so I know what exactly we're dealing with?"

    The scientist looked back at Akeya, biting her lip before slowly answering. "...I think I do have something else yet. How much do you know about the world of dreams?" Akeya frowned. "It's real, it's where your mind goes when you're asleep, and it can be used to enter someone's dreams." Belinda nodded quickly. "Okay, well... The world of dreams is also known as the spirit world, and originally it was one with the material world. Over time the two worlds diverged, with us primarily inhabiting the material world and the spirits remaining in the spirit world. We believe that the current situation is caused by the spirits being angry at us."

    "Angry about what?"

    "The spirits were happy living together with us flesh-and-blood people. After the two worlds diverged they endured the separation because spirits could enter our world and we could enter theirs, but these days most people have no interest in the world of dreams."

    "They barely acknowledge it exists."

    "Exactly. The spirits, to compensate for this, have been visiting this world more and more frequently. We think that there's a powerful faction of spirits trying to trap everyone inside the world of dreams to put an end to this."

    Akeya's expression became a thoughtful frown after that piece of exposition. It was... strange, certainly. The idea that the spirits would want to essentially imprison the humans so they didn't have to live apart from them any longer. However she could tell that whatever was afflicting the other scientists was definitely real. Even if Belinda was wrong about the exact case she couldn't ignore this.

    The dragoness finally nodded. "All right. Do you know of a way to deal with this?"

    Belinda nodded, leaving her incapacitated colleagues alone for now as she stepped to a door which had been hidden by the curtain before. "I do have one idea, but I don't think you're going to like it. While it's possibly to move from one world to the other it's nearly impossible to affect one world with actions inside the other. So for you to deal with the issue we'll have to put you to sleep."

    Akeya's eyes narrowed at that, especially when she saw that the room beyond the door had another bed in it, with even more monitoring equipment around it. "...And what guarantees my safety while I do this?"

    Belinda paused, facing Akeya with clear uncertainty, even a little fear. However she then sighed and shrugged. "I can't provide certainty, but I can say that we have little choice, and that I wouldn't go through all of this just to take advantage of you while you slept. If it helps, I'm fairly confident that a being of sufficient power could find a way to return to this world even if I destroyed this body."

    The twilight dragoness glared at Belinda, her emerald gaze piercing as she tried to estimate the odds. Eventually she stepped over to the bed and climbed on top of it, glaring daggers at the scientist the whole time. "Just remember that if anything happens I'll make sure you regret it." With that she closed her eyes, her breathing slowing down as within minutes she began to fall into the depths of dreams.

    WC: 1,875
    TWC: 1,875/11,000


    Last edited by Akeya on 26th September 2020, 3:23 pm; edited 1 time in total


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya) CADlsHa
    Between the Sun and the Moon, where it is neither Day nor Night, the Dragon of Twilight sleeps.

    Character|Magic
    Akeya
    Akeya

    Twilight Dragon


    Twilight Dragon

    Dragon VIP Status- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Dragon Slayer- Rich- Veteran Level 1- Character Application Approved!- Character History!- Magic Application Approved!- Get A Pet!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Novice [250]- Player 
    Lineage : Hic Sunt Dracones
    Position : None
    Posts : 1176
    Guild : Fairy Tail
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Mentor : Whedalsin
    Experience : 12,330

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic
    Second Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic
    Third Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic

    [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya) Empty Re: [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya)

    Post by Akeya 26th September 2020, 3:21 pm

    Ada

    As sleep overtook her Akeya wondered what would happen to her. This entire exercise would be rather silly if she didn't dream, or if she had no control over the dreams. She'd tried practising lucid dreaming in the past but with limited success: supposedly as long as you kept at it you'd keep getting better at it but progress had been very slow. Was that a weakness of Akeya, or was it just difficult to get a hold of your dreams? Given that something like a world of dreams existed the dragoness wouldn't be surprised if it turned out that yes, it is in fact difficult to seize control over your own dream.

    What was the relationship between personal dreams and the world of dreams? The records Akeya had read had been uncertain about that. Some believed that any dream you had existed within the world of dreams, others thought that personal dreams were more like reality bubbles which could be used to access the world of dreams. Most likely they suffered the same problem as Akeya, namely that their control over their own dreams was limited and therefore it was difficult to obtain consistent data.

    Maybe as a bonus from this mission she'd be able to put that question to rest.

    For now though she felt herself falling through nothingness, her body weightless and even formless. She couldn't see her hands or her torso: she was merely a thought at the moment. She wasn't even certain how she knew that she was falling, but somehow that fact come to her as if it was carved in stone. As she fell the nothingness slowly became brighter, light surrounding her. And with light came a world.

    Spreading her wings (she wasn't even aware her body had returned until she did so) Akeya slowed down her descent until her clawed feet touched the ground. Looking around she quickly ascertained her surroundings. She was standing in the middle of an open field, with grey clouds overhead and a light rain washing the earth. In the distance there was a forest, with mountains causing the horizon to take on a jagged shape in the background. A nearby stream made its way towards the forest, curving around irregular and oddly-shaped boulders that dotted the field. The field also wasn't flat: Akeya herself was standing on top of a small hill, the landscape weaving up and down as if frozen waves which had grown grass.

    Looking behind her Akeya blinked as she saw that not far from her position the grass and the dirt were replaced by sand, which in turn made way for water. Behind her there was an entire ocean, the traditional sounds only now reaching Akeya's ears. Shouldn't she have heard those before she saw the water? And why would the stream be heading for the forest if there was an ocean nearby?

    Shaking her head the dragoness tried to remind herself that she was now in a world of dreams. Things didn't have to make sense in the traditional manner. If there was one place where the rules of physics didn't have to apply, the rules of magic even, it was in dreams. More important was to figure out how to proceed from here. She idly observed how despite the rain she wasn't actually getting wet, the droplets of water hitting her body but leaving nothing behind. Maybe she should first go towards the forest: it was the closest thing to a landmark in this eery landscape.

    As she began to walk Akeya noticed that the world quickly changed around her: the clouds were receding, the terrain evened out, the mountains disappeared in the distance. However the forest remained the same, no, it actually was quickly growing in size, the trees turning into wooden giants that towered over everything. She'd only taken twice a dozen steps when she was facing an actual jungle, the verdant forces of nature consuming everything.

    "WHY. WON'T. YOU. DIE?!"

    Akeya's head snapped around as she heard a frustrated battlecry. Not far from her position she saw a familiar face: Ada. An ace of Onyx Moon who'd often seemed more interested in getting drunk than anything else. Not that Akeya could blame her for that: Onyx Moon had been a hectic place to be in charge of.

    And Ada was fighting... the jungle. Akeya observed with some bemusement as the Iron Dragon Slayer was furiously slashing away at vines and branches and limbs which came flying at her, her sword blazing as she cut them down by the dozens. However the flow was never ending, and Ada looked like she was becoming exhausted as she slowly retreated. But behind her there was also nothing but jungle. The two of them were now in the middle of nature's bounty, trees forming walls in every direction while animated branches swung towards Ada only to be cut down.

    So far the Dragon Slayer was winning the fight, but she was fighting an army all by herself. An endless army.

    "So... Is this your dream then?" Akeya shadow stepped to where Ada was, summoning her dark dagger and using it to slice through some vines. "What? Dream? What are you talking about?!" Ada yelled out as she kept striking, slashing and stabbing. Now that Akeya was watching her back the raven-haired swordswoman was no longer in danger of being overrun, but the two of them weren't out of the woods yet.

    It seemed like Ada wasn't aware she was in a dream. Looking at the other woman's expression Akeya saw that beyond anger there was something else in those aggressive eyes. Fear. Ada appeared to be genuinely terrified, the terror only fuelling her rage further as she howled together with her strikes. Her movements were stiff, she wasn't using her magic properly, she seemed to be driven by emotion and forgetting her technique and skill. This wasn't a dream: Akeya had found her way into Ada's nightmare, somehow.

    How did you get out of a nightmare?

    "Ada, this is a dream. There's something corrupting dreams and turning them into nightmares-"

    "If you've got time to talk about dreams, help me get rid of these things!"

    Of course that wouldn't work. The scientist had made it clear that the most likely source of the corruption was an attempt to trap the inhabitants of the waking world in the dream world. If she could just shake someone awake there wouldn't be an issue. Akeya tried to think through the problem even as she kept chopping down the endless stream of animated plants. Some of them were forming actual bodies, humanoid shapes formed from wood and plant matter. It was a good thing that they were individually weak. The problem here wasn't the danger, but the exhaustion.

    If this was a nightmare that Ada couldn't wake up from then Akeya had to find another way to dispel the nightmare. Maybe she could lead the dream to its logical conclusion? No, dreams didn't work on logic. She had to get rid of the source of the dream.

    Would killing Ada work? No, nightmares often included dying. There was no reason to believe that killing Ada would end the dream: it could just as easily send her somewhere else, another part of the nightmare. She had to stop thinking within the rules of the dream and target what was anchoring it.

    ...Why was Ada having a nightmare about being assaulted by animated plants?

    "Ada, do you know why we're here?"

    "What are you talking about? We're on a job, remember? We have to cut down this jungle before it reaches Crocus!"

    "Crocus? But if it came that far it'd just get burned-"

    "STOP TALKING AND KEEP SWINGING!"

    Ada definitely wasn't making this easier. Akeya frowned as she considered the situation. So far the dream had been rather static: the plant assault had slowly become more advanced, but at the same time it was just more of the same. The twilight dragoness looked at Ada's expression again. She could feel that there was something deeper here.

    "Right, new plan." Raising a hand Akeya gathered all light in the area and formed it into a prismatic sphere enveloping herself and Ada, growing until it was ten meters in diameter. The plants crashed against the barrier, but only ended up burning themselves. "Ada, this isn't going to work."

    "Will you stop arguing!" Ada turned towards Akeya, eyes filled with that same mixture of fear and anger... and then Akeya slapped her across the face. Hard. "Calm down."

    There was a moment of stunned silence before Akeya continued. "This can't be about Crocus. This jungle would be razed to the ground if it actually became a threat. These plants aren't even a threat: I could probably ignore them for as weak as they are. One good fire spell and you'd take out an entire horde of them. The two of us could wipe them all out in an instant if we focused. Why are you so frantic?"

    "Because-! You-!" Ada seemed too shocked to be angry at the dragoness. Instead she pointed towards the magical, animated plants that surrounded the two of them. "Can't you see?! We have to get rid of them before-!"

    "Before someone else burns them to a crisp. Look at them. These things aren't a threat. If you'd approached the situation calmly you'd have taken care of them ages ago. So again: why are you so frantic?"

    Ada remained silent, struggling for words, then cast her eyes to the ground and said in a defeated tone. "I can't... These things are monstrous. I can't just ignore them."

    "...Magic plants."

    "Hey, I don't judge you for your-!"

    "Name one phobia of mine."

    Ada stared blankly at Akeya, her cheeks reddening both with anger and faint embarrassment. "Fine! But what do you suggest we do then?"

    "Look at them. See them for what they are. Yes, they're magically infused plants. However you can tell that they're not anything special. They're weak, easily struck down, and while there's many of them a mage of your power could deal with that as well. There's really no reason to lose your head over this. If you'd encounter a magical tree of sufficient power to actually pose a threat to you there might be cause for concern, but that would be an issue of power and ability, not the fact that it's an overgrown wallflower."

    Ada looked at Akeya, then at their surroundings. The plants were still attempting to break through the barrier, but the attempts had grown weaker as Ada's attention had been taken away from them. The Iron Dragon Slayer looked up at the skies, then covered her eyes. "Yes, I guess you're right..."

    As those words left Ada's lips her entire body was enveloped in a soft light, her form soon becoming part of the light. Together with a soft chiming sound the light then faded away, leaving Akeya standing in the middle of a jungle which, now that Ada was gone, quickly looked like the kind of forest you might take a walk in during your free time.

    "...Please tell me this isn't going to be one long streak of therapy sessions..."

    WC: 1,873
    TWC: 3,748/11,000


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya) CADlsHa
    Between the Sun and the Moon, where it is neither Day nor Night, the Dragon of Twilight sleeps.

    Character|Magic
    Akeya
    Akeya

    Twilight Dragon


    Twilight Dragon

    Dragon VIP Status- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Dragon Slayer- Rich- Veteran Level 1- Character Application Approved!- Character History!- Magic Application Approved!- Get A Pet!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Novice [250]- Player 
    Lineage : Hic Sunt Dracones
    Position : None
    Posts : 1176
    Guild : Fairy Tail
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Mentor : Whedalsin
    Experience : 12,330

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic
    Second Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic
    Third Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic

    [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya) Empty Re: [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya)

    Post by Akeya 26th September 2020, 4:35 pm

    Julius

    Well, that was one issue taken care of. Although Akeya couldn't exactly say if getting rid of Ada's nightmare actually helped her achieve her goal. The corruption was supposed to be spreading across the world of dreams, trapping people in nightmares. Was getting rid of those nightmares actually going to be effective in halting the spread? Maybe she could find a way to locate Belinda's colleagues and free them so they could get back to work on figuring out what exactly was going on here... although Akeya suspected she was in here for the long haul. Whatever the researcher managed to discover back in the waking world wasn't going to be of any use to the dragoness unless they established a method to communicate between the two worlds.

    They really should have thought about that one before they sent Akeya into enemy territory.

    For now the assassin decided to spread her wings and fly up into the sky, quickly leaving the trees behind as she hovered above the world. The world beyond the forest didn't look like it had before she'd entered Ada's dream, however: before she'd found herself in a strange kind of foothills, located close to the ocean. Now the ground was rocky, forming sharp mountains and deep crags from which a fiery orange glow cast twisted shadows. Flying over one of the cracks Akeya could see magma down below, slowly flowing into one direction. However up where she was flying the air was chilly, gusts of wind making Akeya's raven hair blow in every direction. Akeya looked at the badlands down below, then into the distance from which the frigid gusts were coming. Flipping a coin mentally she headed for the gusts of wind.

    Her choice was rewarded with the ground below turning pale, stone replaced by sheets of ice. The magma fought against the change before the crags were covered behind thick layers of snow, until the entire world around the flying dragoness was that of the heart of winter. It was a good thing that she was resistant to the cold: she'd gotten used to the freezing abyss that was space, so winter wasn't much of a challenge any more.

    Ahead of her rigid, gray pillars rose up from the snow and ice. Buildings, and tall ones. Within moments she was flying towards a city, monotone and imposing as it dominated the landscape. Flying lower she descended towards the streets, the buildings at least acting as barriers to keep the winds at bay even if they did nothing to fight the cold.

    Akeya was pretty sure she knew where this was. Or at least, what it was based on: Iceberg. The nation which was permanently wrapped in cold. Once flourishing it was now struggling to survive, and its population of farmers had been replaced by city dwellers who tried to hide from the cold inside their large buildings. At least, that's what it looked like here: the city wasn't as big as, say, Rose Garden, but it definitely was built impressively.

    Landing on the stone-clad streets Akeya looked around. The streets were largely empty, people hurrying to get back inside if they did have to leave the safety of their homes. It was a dreary place, devoid of joy. These people didn't live to enjoy life: they only kept going because giving up still seemed worse. The dragoness imagined that most people would feel bothered by this, even pitying these poor folk. And, well, she did pity them. She just didn't care enough to start a revolution and free them from the tyranny of the Winter King.

    Once again she decided that walking was the best approach to her current situation. She moved through the streets, her strong clawed feet finding purchase on smooth, frozen stones that probably sent many a man slipping and sliding. Like with the forest it quickly became clear that once she was inside it expanded infinitely in every direction: it looked like the world of dreams had a geography based on setting rather than coordinates.

    "My apologies, fair lady, but could I perhaps trouble you for a moment of your time?"

    Coming to a halt Akeya looked towards the alleyway she'd just passed, where a man strolled towards her with confidence. Or, at the very least, a determined attempt at confidence. A quick look told her that his clothes (once of high quality and style) were worn, even torn in some places, his physique was gaunt, and his hair unkempt. A man who had, by all appearances, fallen on hard times, no matter how smoothly he tried to move and how determined he was to keep up that charming smile.

    "See, I couldn't help but notice a beauty such as you strolling through this fine city, and I was wondering if mayhap you would be willing to spend some time with a gentleman-"

    "No thank you." Akeya didn't know this man, and she had no interest in him. It might be sad for him that he was currently in such a poor state, but she had more important matters to take care of. Besides, he could just as easily be a figment of the dream, nothing more than a distraction.

    Although that did make her wonder: assuming that the people she'd seen so far were all fake, did the world of dream spontaneously spawn them or could they only form in the presence of a dreamer? Or were they natural inhabitants of this world? So many things she didn't know.

    She'd already turned away and resumed walking when she felt a hand grabbing her wrist. Turning around sharply she saw the man stumble back, her emerald eyes narrowing. The man coughed, scraped his throat, but then composed himself and smiled again.

    "My most sincere apologies, oh darkest rose of the night, but I would implore you that you at least hear me out before-"

    "Hold up."

    "Beg your pardon?"

    Akeya held up a clawed hand to motion for Julius to stay where he was as she stepped towards him, peering into his eyes. She could see something in there, in his expression: he held himself with composure and grace, but it was fake. This man was hiding his true self.

    Within those eyes she saw deep despair. Now that she was focusing on the man she could feel it as well: a terror barely kept in check. For all his efforts his movements were stiff, his stance was rigid, his eyes darted about when she studied him, his smile was plastered onto his face, without any genuine emotion behind it.

    And more than that she could sense magic, even if it was faint.

    Okay, so she'd found another dreamer. A man who dreamed of being a beggar in the midst of a forlorn nation, where survival was difficult even for those with a better life. So... what should she do? She doubted that just giving him a bunch of jewels would make the nightmare go away: most likely it would just produce something that would make the jewels disappear, or transform into trash or something like that. Solving puzzles really became more difficult when the puzzles didn't actually make sense.

    "Is there something you wanted-?"

    Without warning Akeya slashed his throat, her claws easily ripping through the soft flesh of his neck. The man let out a startled cry and fell back, blood gushing out of the wound to splatter across the front of his tattered clothes. Hitting the ground he grabbed his throat, the dragoness watching with some curiosity as he squirmed and trashed about only to find that the wound was gone. The blood was still there, staining his clothes, but he was as hale and hearty as he'd ever been.

    "Okay... lethal injury doesn't work."

    "What was that for! I just wanted to ask if you could spare some jewels, you-!" The man did his best to recover quickly, closing his eyes and taking deep, shuddering breaths and climbing back onto his feet. "...If you would excuse me, I believe I have somewhere I need to be."

    "No you don't." Akeya replied matter of factly. She folded her arms as she looked the man in the eyes. As much as he wanted to look away, something about those reptilian, emerald orbs held his gaze, keeping him from moving as the dragoness continued talking. "We are in the middle of nowhere. There is nowhere for you to go to and nothing for you to do. However since you won't understand any of that I'll focus on something more productive: who are you, to find yourself in a place like this?"

    Looking somewhat uncertain the man nevertheless straightened up and bowed. "It appears I forgot to introduce myself! I am Julius Reilly, trader by... well, trade." He straightened up and tried to once again give Akeya one of those winning smiles. "Could I ask for your name, miss...?"

    "No. Instead answer my question. You only told me your name. I asked how you ended up here."

    "...Ah. That is... maybe a story best left for when we've-"

    "Answer the question."

    The man paused, swallowed, tentatively feeling at his throat. That he hadn't run away screaming was at least a mark in favour of his courage, although it might also be fear of what Akeya might do if he went against her wishes. "If you insist I... can't really refuse." He looked around, then spread his arms. "I realize all of this may look unfavourable, but I assure you this is merely a downturn of my luck. Soon enough I'll once again be solvent, able to expand my contacts and-"

    "A beggar. In the middle of nowhere. Striking it rich." The only reason Akeya's voice wasn't more flat was because it'd have to spontaneously replace the floor. "You look like you haven't eaten in days, you can't afford warm clothes, you approach random strangers begging for a handful of jewels. Unless you stumble upon the biggest windfall in your life you're going to die here, freezing to death."

    As she talked the man's eyes became hollow, the despair now naked in his eyes as the dragoness methodically stripped away his defences. He took several steps backwards, then sat down onto the edge of the walkway with his head in his hands. "...You... You're right." His elegant demeanour was now completely gone, only a broken man left. "I have nothing. Just like before!" And just like that the dam broke. "I had it all! Riches, women, fame! I managed to climb from a nobody, bullied for his magic, into a prince of the underworld! And look where I am now! I would be lucky if I didn't get my throat cut tonight so my organs could be sold to the highest bidder!"

    Akeya raised her eyebrows as the man fell completely into despair in front of her. And she either was imagining it or the world around them was becoming chillier, harsher. The buildings appeared more imposing, but also without life or warmth to them. Forcing this man to confront his fears might not have been the best move. Not if she couldn't turn it around...

    "Good. Now we know where we stand. Time to turn it all around."

    "...Excuse me?"

    "You're out here begging for scraps because you're down on your luck. And you think that's the only fate left for you unless someone decides to help you out." stepped forward and grabbed the man by the collar, lifting him up. "Yet despite all your bad luck you still have your magic. You aren't starved to the point of uselessness yet. And you still have your wits, as long as you don't let the despair overtake you."

    "B-but..." The man appeared fixated on her words, even though he was dangling from her iron grip. "I-I need money. Funds! I need something to get me started or-"

    "No you don't. You just need to review your options more carefully. What magic do you use?"

    "I... I can make portals-"

    "Excellent. You're a dream come true for every logistics manager. Instant transportation from one place to another? Find the right man and you could have enough money to sleep on a warm bed before night falls." She lowered Julius far enough that he could stand on his own feet, downtrodden man doing so with some confusion... but he did listen to her. "If you'd ever lived out in the wilds you'd know that your position isn't even half bad. Start out small, perform small tasks where your portals are useful. Build up your reputation as a useful guy like you did before." She raised one eyebrow and smirked lightly. "It's not going to be easy, but reaching the bottom isn't the end. In fact it just means there's a lot of up to aim for."

    Of course there was a dark side to all of this. Many people who tried to climb their way out of misfortune on their own failed. The unfortunate, the poor, couldn't shake off their chains just by being optimistic and determined to try. That's why any functional society aimed to support the downtrodden and help them improve their lives.

    But she didn't need to speak the truth. She just needed this man to believe it. Although she wasn't lying when she said that portal magic was amazingly useful.

    Julius looked at Akeya, then at his hands. Then back up at her. Where before his eyes had been filled with despair there was now a bitter vigour. He was still broke, hungry, and alone on the streets, but now he had the will to try and change his fate rather than lurking in alleyways and bemoaning his misfortune. "You... are right." He said it slowly, his face one of determination. He straightened up, did his best to clean up his clothes, and bowed again. "I'm sorry I showed you something so unsightly, my lady. I thank you for your assistance, but I believe I must go now. We're wasting daylight as we speak, after all." With that he straightened up, gave her a last smile, and then strode away, a familiar light enveloping him before he faded away.

    "...I don't think I even have any jewels on me."

    WC: 2,380
    TWC: 6,128/11,000


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya) CADlsHa
    Between the Sun and the Moon, where it is neither Day nor Night, the Dragon of Twilight sleeps.

    Character|Magic
    Akeya
    Akeya

    Twilight Dragon


    Twilight Dragon

    Dragon VIP Status- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Dragon Slayer- Rich- Veteran Level 1- Character Application Approved!- Character History!- Magic Application Approved!- Get A Pet!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Novice [250]- Player 
    Lineage : Hic Sunt Dracones
    Position : None
    Posts : 1176
    Guild : Fairy Tail
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Mentor : Whedalsin
    Experience : 12,330

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic
    Second Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic
    Third Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic

    [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya) Empty Re: [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya)

    Post by Akeya 26th September 2020, 6:16 pm

    Imai

    Well, now she was alone again, standing in the middle of a grey, boring, uncreative city. Of course with Julius having disappeared the city wasn't as hostile as it was before: snow was gently drifting down, the buildings looked like places you'd live in rather than places you'd use to incarcerate people you really hated, and there were more people about, actually holding conversations.

    Akeya wondered if the more positive interpretation was a result of her own mental state. Everything else aside she wasn't actually feeling that bad: the world of dreams was a rather curious place, and she did enjoy unravelling puzzles. Even if these puzzles had the annoying aspect of having no real logic or reason attached to them. She just had to find out what someone's deepest fear was, or at least the fear that spawned the nightmare, and then push them to overcome that fear. While she could believe that it was great for those people to have a nightmare end with them actually facing their fears rather than running away from them, metaphorically or otherwise, it had little to do with her.

    But all in all, she was feeling... neutral. Ish. Maybe the world of dreams was just usually a pretty nice place if nightmares weren't twisting it into unpleasant shapes. Given the story Belinda had told her she wouldn't be surprised if this was some kind of paradise if nothing went wrong. That would also explain why the worlds diverged: as much as the waking might claim otherwise, paradise wasn't a good place to stay in for too long. At least not for creatures who were designed to strive for something, no matter how large or insignificant.

    But now wasn't the time to get hung up on the workings of the dream world. Research might be useful in figuring out how to resolve the current crisis but she'd rather not spend all day standing here pondering the imponderables. If she wanted to learn something she needed test subjects. And tests. And some other things which were important to the field of science.

    She could fly into the sky again... but if this world didn't use normal geography, did she really have to resort to that? Maybe there was another way. The dragoness folded her arms, frowning thoughtfully as she considered her options. She didn't notice the ocean until she looked behind her, when she walked towards the forest she was standing in front of it within a few steps despite it being several hundreds of meters away from her... When she walked through this winter city she kept repeating the same streets endlessly. Time and space clearly worked differently here. Maybe she could use that to her advantage instead of just wandering about aimlessly, hoping to stumble into the next nightmare.

    What was the first thing you should try if you were in a dream?

    Akeya considered this, then closed her eyes and took a step forward. Opening her eyes she found that she was now standing on top of a mountain, overlooking a vast landscape with various other mountains surroundings her. Her clawed feet securely held onto the stone of the peak, keeping her securely in position as she surveyed her surroundings. There was no sign of the winter city anywhere.

    It looked like she'd been correct with the assumption that in the world of dreams you moved from setting to setting, not from location to location. There were various terrains down below, some of them making little sense: one of them appeared to be a forest made of water and ice, frozen trees rising up and leafs of water letting droplets fall back to the ground.

    Dreams were strange.

    But given that clearly there was a pattern here she might as well keep going and hunt down nightmares. Whether it worked or not she still wasn't certain of, but it seemed to be going well so far. At the very least it meant she had a goal, which was almost always an improvement over aimless wandering. She'd just have to think of a way to reliably locate the next nightmare...

    Closing her eyes again she focused on her other senses, slowly shutting them all down. Sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste... eventually she even shut down her magic sense, leaving herself almost completely blind to the world. The only sense which was running at full power was the strange one she wasn't entirely comfortable with, which she could only use if she focused on it. Somehow it allowed her to sense emotions. And as she focused on it this time she felt... grief. Faint, far away, but distinct. Grief, mixed with some amount of panic and anger.

    Perfect.

    Taking another step Akeya opened her eyes and found herself in the middle of night, standing amidst what could only be called a forest of stone pillar. They were irregular and unevenly spaced, jagged slabs of rock sticking out of the ground in every which direction without any pattern or rhyme to it. Perhaps in the waking world this would be the remnant of a great battle which managed to shake the earth itself. Here, however, it was just more scenery.

    As she twitched her ears Akeya could hear heavy breathing coming from one of the boulders. That was were the emotions were coming from. At the same time she could feel another emotion from around them: anger. Fury. It felt less like the sparks of cognisance of a single individual and more like a wave, washing over everything. A group of people sharing the same emotion? Curious.

    Akeya headed over for the boulder behind which the fear and grief could be felt. Stepping around it she found a man wearing a white scarf and with fiery red hair, holding tightly onto a white-haired beauty with red horns adorning her forehead. And along with those red horns there was also blood, seeping from a deep wound that went from above her ear to the crown of her head. It coloured her white hair an ominous red, matching the shade of her horns but definitely not looking healthy in any way. The fact that she was barely breathing only supported that hypothesis.

    The man looked up at Akeya, his expression alert and panicked. Somehow her appearance made him relax somewhat, although he was still on guard, protectively cradling the woman in his arms. "...Who are you?"

    Not the worst question to ask. "My identity is irrelevant for the moment. What's going on here?"

    The man looked down at the woman, trying to get rid of the blood with his white scarf. Unfortunately the only thing he achieved was dying his scarf a vivid sanguine. "Why should I tell you if you won't even tell us who you are?"

    Also not a bad question. "Well... For one thing I don't think you have the luxury to argue. I might be able to help, but not if you became obstinate about knowing my name.

    There was clear frustration on the man's face, but he slowly nodded. "I'm Imai. This here is Kenna. What's going on is that those... that those people are hunting us."

    So her guess that it was a group of people was correct then. "A mob? What for?"

    "They found out that Kenna is a demon. And now they want to exorcise her, and they say they'll burn me as well for consorting with demons." The stench of demon was thick in the air, so the dragoness didn't bother with questioning the revelation. The redhaired man looked her in the eyes, clearly doing his best to remain in control of the situation. "So, can you help us?"

    "Probably." Given that apparently injury didn't actually do anything to actual people she couldn't just cut the mob down, but there were other methods to deal with the issue.

    "What do you mean, suddenly-"

    Grabbing Imai and Kenna Akeya wrapped all three of them in a layer of dark, hiding them from view. When the shadows dispersed the three of them were gone as well, leaving the encroaching mob to waste hours searching for a couple which was long gone.

    The three of them reappeared back where Akeya had first landed in the world of dreams. Although instead of on top of a hill it was right next to the stream. Imai, to his credit, immediately got to washing Kenna's wound with the fresh water, cleaning the blood away as best as he could. Akeya watched impassively, but she could already tell that it wasn't going to work: the wound was too deep. The demon girl's life was quickly flowing out of her body, her skin growing paler and her breathing becoming even shallower.

    "Can you do anything to stop the bleeding?" Imai shot her a grateful look for getting them out of that place, but at the same time she could see that he was pleading. Despite his efforts to take care of Kenna he too was aware that he was merely delaying the inevitable. The dragoness shook her head.

    "I'm not a healer. And I don't think the average healer would be enough for that her."

    "I see. Hmmm..." Even as he kept doing his best the man looked thoughtful, his expression brightening up as he looked back up at Akeya. "I know! Could you bring us to Luna? Or Itori. Either one works."

    So, this man knew Luna? That was interesting. Although not important at the moment, unless Luna was also trapped in this world. The dragoness shook her head, already seeing disappointment enter Imai's expression. "I don't know who those two are, and even if I did I don't know where they are. And there are plenty of places I couldn't easily go." Genre savvy guilds knew how to protect their headquarters against unwanted intrusions.

    Imai's expression fell. "I... see. Thank you for helping us then. I'll take over from here." He gave her a smile, but his expression grew sombre as he returned his full attention to his companion. She hadn't moved even a little: the only thing proving her life right now was her breathing, and that was steadily growing fainter.

    Akeya remained where she was, watching the two with curiosity in her eyes. After several minutes Imai looked back up at her, confused but also a tad annoyed. "...Is there something you wanted from us? I'm kind of busy right now but you could come back later if it's urgent."

    "You do realize that it's useless."

    Akeya's words somehow made the world seem more quiet. Imai paused for a moment, then shook his head and kept working. "It's going to work. It has to work."

    "Do you believe that everything will turn out all right as long as you try hard enough?"

    "Giving up isn't going to make things better."

    "It would stop you from wasting time and effort."

    "IT'S NOT WASTING TIME!" Imai's anger burst like a bolt of thunder, his voice echoing over the plains. The man looked furious for a moment before casting his eyes down towards the demon. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have yelled. We're very grateful for what you've done, but could you please leave us alone now?"

    "Under normal circumstances I would, but circumstances prevent me. Why is it so important that you save her?"

    "...Are you serious?" Imai looked at Akeya, peering into her eyes. What he saw there was the dragoness's apathy: she was purely motivated by curiosity here. Any other motivation she might have was carefully tucked away. The redhead sighed, but the assassin couldn't tell whether it was frustration or exhaustion. Maybe both. "She's my friend. No, she's more than that. She's..." He carefully brushed some hair out of her face. "She's the closest thing I have to a sister. If she dies here... If she dies..." As he spoke the man began to tear up. His hands kept moving, cleaning away the blood and attempting to bind the wound, but his expression distorted into one of abject misery and grief. His eyes shimmered as tears began to roll down his cheeks.

    "If she dies I'll have lost someone irreplaceable. Kenna..."

    Akeya raised an eyebrow as Imai slowly embraced Kenna once again, sobbing softly as he buried his face in her chest. His shoulders shook, his entire body shuddered, and he clung into the demon girl as if his life depended on it. From the looks of it at least his happiness was at stake here. The dragoness folded her arms, one hand kneading the bridge of her nose as she thought of how to approach this.

    The girl was going to die. There was no avoiding that. She'd have to find a way to get this man to overcome to fear of losing her while still accepting that he'd lose her. That was... going to be tricky. She could pull out some spiel about how everything has to die sometime, but somehow she didn't think that'd work. If only because the simply response to that would be "Just because she had to die sometime doesn't mean I'm not sad she's dying now."

    How would she do this? She wasn't a therapist. She wasn't even emotionally well developed. She endured most situations primarily through not being very emotional in the first place. What would other people say in this situation?

    "Listen..." She stepped forward, squatting down next to Imai and Kenna. The man didn't move, still sobbing as he held onto his companion. "You can't die here Kenna..."

    "I said listen."

    It took a bit longer for Imai to regain enough of his composure to do as Akeya told him, but eventually the redhead looked up at her, tears and snot still making a mess of his face. "If you want her to stick around that badly we could find a necromancer and-"

    "ARE YOU INSANE?!" Another burst of anger. Imai was shaking with rage this time. "I'm grateful that you helped us but if you're going to suggest something like that you can FUCK OFF!"

    "Explain the issue to me."

    "The issue? THE ISSUE? I DON'T WANT HER TO SHAMBLE AROUND LIFELESSLY! THAT WOULDN'T BE KENNA!"

    Akeya closed her eyes, her calm infuriating Imai even further. However the next words that left the dragoness's mouth managed to silence his anger. "So that means you're doing this for her sake. Good."

    So stunned was Imai that he didn't reply to that, instead staring at Akeya with his mouth hanging open. By lack of reply Akeya continued. "You're doing this for her sake, because you care about her. You don't want to defile her body, but you want her to stay with you. That's good, since it means that your feelings are legitimate. However... you'll have to accept reality."

    This time Akeya interrupted Imai when he tried to reply. "It's not going to be pleasant. You're going to curse and cry and shout. You'll wish you were dead yourself rather than live on in a world without your beloved sister. The fact that it had to happen sometime isn't going to change that.

    And tomorrow you'll wake up and still feel horrible."


    "Can you please-"

    "And the day after that. You'll be out of sorts for weeks. Months. It might take years. But every day you wake up. Every day you do what it takes to get to the next day, even if you wish you didn't. In ten years, twenty years, maybe a hundred years... you'll look back to this day. And it'll hurt. For the next hour you'll feel miserable. You'll think about all the things you've experienced which your sister will never know about. You'll think of all the things you'd want to say to her which you can't. You'll think of her voice, her personality, how she would have made your life a little bit brighter." Akeya's voice was emotionless throughout all this, the dragoness recounting it as a historical record despite the weight of her words. "But then you'll take a deep breath and get on with your day. You might even perform a little ritual for her. But you'll wake up the next day."

    Imai's expression had changed. From anger and shock he'd gone to a deep sadness, mixed with stubbornness. "You're saying that I shouldn't care, because life goes on?"

    "There's nothing wrong with grief. You're allowed to feel sad. However you shouldn't deny what's real. If you accept that she's gone the world isn't going to end, as much as you might think that it should. You said it yourself, giving up wouldn't make things better. Grief for her, wish that she was still around. But also accept that the reality is different from your ideal world." She looked down at Kenna, who looked almost peaceful at this point. "I'm merely guessing here, but I'd say that she would also be happier if you didn't let this stop you."

    Another silence followed. Neither dragoness nor human spoke. Imai looked at Kenna, slowly stroking her cheek even as more tears dripped down from his chin. Slowly, however, he managed to smile. "I'm sorry I couldn't protect you Kenna. I'll always miss you. Goodbye." Lowering his head he softly kissed the demon on the forehead, ignoring the blood that stained his lips after.

    Akeya tilted her head as she watched this. That was number three on the list. However... A part of her wondered if she could do something else here. These people didn't matter to her, but still she wondered if there was something she could do.

    Recently she'd begun to feel emotions from other people. It was strange, since their emotions were almost always stronger than her own. From Imai she could feel a sadness as deep as the sea, but there was also acceptance in there now. She looked at her scaled and clawed hands. She had recently achieved balance between light and dark. Two opposites. This expanded her options greatly, but there were still things she couldn't do... or things she hadn't imagined doing.

    Maybe one of her earlier statements had been a lie, without her even knowing it.

    "Only one last thing for me to do here." Reaching forward Akeya placed her hand on Kenna's head, covering the wound without touching it. Imai watched with some surprise, although given that Kenna was already about to pass away there wasn't much the dragoness could do to make things worse. "...What are you planning?"

    "Something I've never tried before."

    Dark and light. Neither was good, neither was evil. But they were opposites, the same way good and evil were. The same way positive and negative were. With both essences in her hand....

    The scales on Akeya's hand began to shimmer, and at the same time the blood on Kenna's head turned dark. Slowly the dark receded, retreating back under the cover of Akeya's hand. Underneath that scaled appendage Akeya cast a new spell, one which she'd never before tried to cast. Both light and dark filled the wound, then slowly they merged, forming the purest twilight. And with that merging Kenna's wound closed as well.

    Pulling her hand away Akeya leaned closer to see the results of her work. Kenna's wound was gone, as if it never had been. While she was still looking pale her life was no longer dissipating. Looking at her hand Akeya saw the twilight that enveloped it, and placed it against the demon's chest. The twilight first expanded to cover Kenna's chest, then seeped inside of her body, passing some energy onto the demoness. Energy she could use to live.

    Imai's eyes grew wide as, slowly, colour returned to Kenna's form. Her breathing stabilized, there was no sign of blood left on her. "Why... why didn't you do that before?"

    Akeya shrugged as she stood up, already seeing the soft light begin to envelop the two. "I needed you to accept her demise first." Another shrug. "That and I didn't think of it at first."

    Imai stared at her, his eyes filled with utter shock. Then, with tears still streaming across his cheeks, he began to laugh. It was genuine, almost unhinged laughter. It was filled with joy, relief, and some amount of outrage. He laughed at the knowledge that he wouldn't lose Kenna today, he laughed at the dragoness who toyed with him and his feelings almost nonchalantly.

    He was still laughing when the light took him and Kenna, resounding throughout the hills before it faded away. Akeya tilted her head, then scratched her chin.

    "At least now I can say I got something out of all of this."

    WC: 3,442
    TWC: 9,570/11,000


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya) CADlsHa
    Between the Sun and the Moon, where it is neither Day nor Night, the Dragon of Twilight sleeps.

    Character|Magic
    Akeya
    Akeya

    Twilight Dragon


    Twilight Dragon

    Dragon VIP Status- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Dragon Slayer- Rich- Veteran Level 1- Character Application Approved!- Character History!- Magic Application Approved!- Get A Pet!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Novice [250]- Player 
    Lineage : Hic Sunt Dracones
    Position : None
    Posts : 1176
    Guild : Fairy Tail
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Mentor : Whedalsin
    Experience : 12,330

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic
    Second Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic
    Third Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic

    [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya) Empty Re: [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya)

    Post by Akeya 27th September 2020, 8:51 am

    Kyra

    Well, that last one had certainly been a doozy. Her personal apathy aside, it was the first of the nightmares which had involved someone's love for another person. Even a coldblooded assassin like herself knew that there were few things which evoked emotion as much as harm to your loved ones. The truth was that she also had several people in her life who she wished would remain unharmed, with the knowledge that if they came to harm her response would be anything but peaceful. It was just that the number of people who met that criteria was very, very small, and most of them she hadn't had contact with for years now. Being a natural loner had those kind of consequences.

    However that was irrelevant right now. She had to find the next nightmare. At least the previous three had given her a good idea of how to navigate this world of dreams. Coordinates and directions were useless: this world functioned on setting and theme. Right now she was close to the beach, standing right next to the stream. With Imai and Kenna having disappeared the world around her slowly grew darker as the clouds returned, rain falling harder than before. Was that a manifestation of her mind? She wasn't sure. This world was strange even now that she'd spend some time getting familiar with it. Maybe the dream just felt like producing rain.

    Now, which way to go... Closing her eyes she stepped forward and ended up on the same mountain peak as she'd used to locate the previous dream, sticking out far above the clouds. Thanks to that she couldn't see the landscape far below any longer, but she didn't need to. Keeping her eyes closed she tried to once again capture the sensation of other people's feelings. Emotions were a strange thing to sense: they varied wildly, both in nature and intensity and behaviour. And even the same emotion wasn't necessarily the same between two people: some people felt anger like venom, coursing coldly through their vain and tainting their mind. Others felt anger like a flame, burning them up from the inside even as it lashed out with heated lashes. Love, anger, sadness, joy, excitement... This new sensory ability of hers was new, and she'd need time to refine it and become better at using it.

    At least the nightmares made it easy. Just find the biggest concentration of negative emotion and you found a nightmare. If only all her hunts were this straightforward. As she stood there she felt several spikes of strong negative emotion from the dream world. Not all were as strong, but together they made a sky full of stars, each star a nightmare, some of them shining powerfully and other mere dim specks. The more powerful ones were going to be more important to get rid of, so the dragoness picked one which was flaring up and stepped off of the mountain peak and onto solid pavement.

    Opening her eyes she saw that she'd found herself in another city. However this time she recognized it from her own memories: this was Magnolia Town. It was evening, the sky was clear, and she could smell blood in the air. Around her people were heading either for their homes or for taverns and pubs, satisfied with a day of good work. Some of them were frustrated, some of them were happy, some of them were worrying about something trivial. None of them noticed the smell of blood, which was strong in Akeya's nose. As a predator it was one of those scents that her brain was keyed to pay attention to, as blood could signal the next meal.

    The fact that it was human blood mattered little to her brain.

    Walking towards the nearest alleyway Akeya melded with the shadows and stepped inside, remaining unnoticed as she saw the source of the blood: a man, a bit on the chubby side, wearing clothes that indicated he was some kind of manual labourer. Maybe a carpenter? Akeya was aware that she'd picked up the habit of being a bit dismissive of commoners, given that they were rarely important in the great scheme of things. Besides, how critical could it be that she could distinguish between the outfit of a jeweller and a toymaker.

    Not that this man was going to do any work ever again, whether it be carpentry, jewelcrafting, or toymaking. His eyes were glazed over, his expression was one of surprise and panic, and his skin was pale. His stomach had been torn open and a figure was kneeling next to him, hands digging into his belly to pull out flesh, muscle and innards, gulping them down with a ferocious hunger. Akeya listened to the sound of bones being crushed and cracked between teeth, flesh tearing apart and innards bursting to spill their contents.

    Was this the nightmare of the man who died? It would be the first time she'd have to deal with a dead person in these nightmares... no, she could feel that the emotions were coming from the figure devouring the dead man. There was a mad revelry there, the thrill of the kill coursing through her like an addictive drug. Akeya was aware of that particular thrill, even though she'd long ago dismissed it as being the emotions of a lesser being. To hunt and to kill may be a part of life, but those who enjoyed it were nothing more than junkies.

    Underneath that elation and the deep hunger there were the emotions that Akeya had been sensing, strong even though they were currently buried beneath the influx of adrenaline: Terror. Self-loathing. Desperation. It appeared that this figure, this cannibal, wasn't happy with her situation, even if she was letting her hunger control her actions.

    Her appearance definitely didn't look like a serial killer: she looked like the kind of person you'd meet on your way to your job, everyday and mundane. Reddish-brown hair, tall but not abnormally so, a healthy build. Akeya imagined that most people would consider her to have a homely beauty to her. Not someone who made you slackjawed with awe and desire, but nevertheless someone you enjoyed looking at. Of course the fact that her hands, forearms, and face were covered in blood, with more of it dripping onto her front, kind of ruined that picture. For most people.

    The dragoness didn't interfere at first, instead observing as the woman kept feasting away. She ate so much that the observer began to wonder how her stomach could contain all of it. That wonderment only kept increasing until it finally clicked for her: the magic she could sense from the cannibal was vile, bloodthirsty. Her cannibalistic tendencies were tied to her magic, in which case it would make sense that she could keep eating without it affecting her figure. It might also just be that the dream didn't bother with registering the consequences of overeating, but Akeya felt fairly confident that the killer's magic was involved in some manner. It would also explain the conflicting emotions: her magic would push her to kill and eat, and her own self would be opposed to it.

    It was only when the cannibal had nearly finished her meal that Akeya stepped out of the shadows, looming over the redhead and peering down at her with sharp emerald eyes. "Enjoying yourself?"

    The reaction was almost instant: the girl spun away from her meal, focused on Akeya with red eyes, and lashed out towards her with a fist which had bones jutting out of the knuckles like spikes. As fast as her movements were Akeya could anticipate them and react to them, and before the spikes could reach her the offending arm had been grappled by the twilight dragon's prehensile tail, lifting the woman into the air by her arm. "I'll take that as a yes."

    Her target squirmed and struggled, trying to kick at Akeya before the assassin responded by punching her in the stomach. After that she quieted down, although she still looked like she was desperate to find a way to escape. "P-please let m-me g-go!" She pleased with a soft voice, not at all what Akeya expected to hear from something who not only killed and ate people but who'd react to being surprised with such aggression. "I-I don't want t-to hurt y-you!"

    "...I don't think you have to worry about that." Akeya replied dryly. She understood that from the woman's perspective things were a bit different, but for herself the idea of this cannibal actually harming her was hilarious. Especially since it appeared that in this dream you couldn't hurt people.

    Although that did leave the question, how did this woman get her victim...? Maybe the man had already been dead when the dream started. Maybe the restrictions only applied to dreamers and fabrications were fair game. Another question to the pile. "Settle down before I punch you again. First, what is your name?"

    "M-my name? M-my n-n-name i-is-"

    "I'm not going to hurt you if you cooperate. Just hurry it up." Akeya was already getting annoyed by this woman. She didn't like cowards, and this one seemed to have some severe issues with courage and confidence.

    Indeed the murderous redhead swallowed slowly before finally answering in a small voice. "K-Kyra Velkhomme."

    "...Hmmm." That didn't sound like the name of a commoner. Someone of nobility or wealth? "All right, Kyra. Can you explain what you were doing here?"

    "Wh-what? I-I was just-" Kyra's eyes flitted from Akeya to the half-devoured corpse and back, her stuttering quickly growing worse as she was trying to answer the dragon's question without admitting to the truth. Akeya, not in the mood to deal with that, slammed her against a wall.

    "I don't mean the killing and eating." Akeya ignored the cry of pain Kyra emitted after her body collided with the hard stone wall. "I mean why are you doing that when I can tell you're terrified by it."

    "I... I... Th-that is, I m-m-merely n-n-" Emerald eyes rolled in their sockets as Kyra went on another tangent of stutters and mumbles. This time however Akeya waited a bit longer, giving the redhead an opportunity to compose herself and actually give a proper answer. "I-I n-need t-to... I c-can't help i-i-it." The admission came out of her mouth as if forced, so softly that if it wasn't for her sharp senses Akeya wouldn't have been able to catch it. Kyra looked defeated at this point, dangling from Akeya's grasp without a shred of resistance in her as she looked at the ground. At the same time, however, her red eyes were glued to her victim, and Akeya could feel the hunger rising within the girl. "Th-the hunger a-always c-comes b-back. I t-try t-to i-i-ignore it b-b-but i-i-it a-a-a-always-"

    "Shut up." Akeya said it flatly, but it worked well enough: Kyra fell deadly silent. As the dragoness had already surmised, whatever magic this girl possessed it was forcing this cannibalistic hunger on her. "So, is that all you fear? The hunger?"

    The question seemed to leave Kyra speechless, as if she found it strange that Akeya would dismiss that fear as being important. However she did answer, if only because the dragoness narrowed her eyes when she took too long. "I-I... I-I'm scared... Th-that the n-next t-time I give in... I w-won't come back..."

    A fear of being lost to the primal hunger. Akeya didn't think this was the first time she encountered someone who suffered from that, although she couldn't immediately recall who it was that she was reminded of. The dragoness looked towards the corpse as she considered her options. These nightmares... they weren't focused on anger or sadness. They were formed by fear. Which made sense: there might be scenarios which incited negative emotions in you, but even normal nightmares were formed by your fear of such scenarios. In this cannibal's case, the fear of losing herself to her urges.

    How could she dispel that fear? Tell her that there wasn't anything wrong with being a bloodthirsty cannibal? Somehow she didn't think that would work. It wouldn't address the true fear after all, the fear of her own personality being overwritten.

    So she'd have to convince Kyra that either the cannibalistic hunger wouldn't get rid of that personality, or that she could fight it off.

    "C-could you p-please let m-me g-go? I-I p-promise I w-won't do it a-again-"

    "Shut up." Akeya returned her full attention to the girl. She seized Kyra up, taking in all the details. Nothing truly remarkable about her beyond those red eyes. "Listen. You seem to think that this hunger is a parasite, latching onto you and taking over when it grows strong enough. However that hunger is born from the magic you possess, and as long as you have control over your magic the hunger can't control you."

    "...I... I k-know that, but-"

    "You've tried it before and it didn't work. That's because you've been going at it the wrong way." Akeya reached forward and placed a single taloned finger on Kyra's chest, right on top of where Akeya could sense the core of her magic. "As long as you have this magic that hunger is never going to go away. Rather than trying to suppress it you need to learn how to control it. You'll have to make it your own, rather than seeing it as something alien, something malicious that tries to overtake you."

    "B-but I-I d-don't w-want-"

    "Don't want to be a cannibalistic serial killer? Tough luck. If you ever grow strong enough you might be able to seize control over your magic to the point that you can resist the hunger entirely, but for now the best you can hope for is that you feed on your terms, and not let it overtake you." Akeya released her hold on Kyra, allowing the redhead to drop to the ground as she kept talking. "There are many people in the world whose problems are greater than themselves, who can't fix things on their own. Your problem isn't one of them. So rather than complaining that you can't do anything about it stand up, steel your mind, and move forward." She smirked. "You'd be surprised how much you can achieve if you just try."

    Kyra looked up at Akeya, her expression a mixture of surprise, disbelief and fragile hope. "D-do you really th-think I c-can...?" Her voice was even softer than before, but at the same time it was... calmer.

    "Well it's definitely not going to be easy, given how you seem to have trouble even speaking normally, but its definitely possible. And as someone recently told me, giving up doesn't make anything better."

    Kyra looked back at the corpse, then slowly stood up. She looked at Akeya, her expression now one of... well, it wasn't very strong, but there was some determination in there. "I-I u-understand. Th... Thank you."

    Akeya rolled her eyes again and was already walking away when the light enveloped Kyra and took her away from the world of dreams. "Human flesh doesn't even taste that good."

    WC: 2,533
    TWC: 12,103/11,000 (Completed)
    Excess WC: 1,103


    Last edited by Akeya on 27th September 2020, 2:49 pm; edited 1 time in total


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya) CADlsHa
    Between the Sun and the Moon, where it is neither Day nor Night, the Dragon of Twilight sleeps.

    Character|Magic
    Akeya
    Akeya

    Twilight Dragon


    Twilight Dragon

    Dragon VIP Status- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Dragon Slayer- Rich- Veteran Level 1- Character Application Approved!- Character History!- Magic Application Approved!- Get A Pet!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Novice [250]- Player 
    Lineage : Hic Sunt Dracones
    Position : None
    Posts : 1176
    Guild : Fairy Tail
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Mentor : Whedalsin
    Experience : 12,330

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic
    Second Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic
    Third Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic

    [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya) Empty Re: [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya)

    Post by Akeya 27th September 2020, 11:37 am

    Danny & Arminius

    Four nightmares resolved. It might be Akeya's imagination, but she thought she could feel something different about the dream world. The corpse of the devoured man faded away, and instead the streets grew noisy as the people of Magnolia Town left their homes for one of their many festivals. Akeya had never attended any of them, but being a part of Fairy Tail she was keenly aware of how much the people of this city loved to party. It would have been annoying if she wasn't almost always somewhere else, and thus didn't have to deal with it.

    Stepping out of the alleyway Akeya paused for a couple of minutes, observing the coloured street-lights as they helped give the place a decorative and cheerful atmosphere. People were drinking, laughing, talking, dancing: there didn't seem to be a specific theme to whatever festival this was. Maybe they were just celebrating being alive. Who knew? The fact that this was all fake, a mere fabrication of the world of dreams, made that ironic in a way. If her surroundings were pulled from her mind then Akeya was observing how she perceived that the people of Magnolia behaved. Cheerfully, without any worry in the world as they prioritized being happy and spending time with each other. Even as she watched she saw stalls form out of nowhere, stall owners setting up competitions and merchandise which quickly drew adults and children alike. Folding her arms the coldblooded assassin observed all of this: was this the peak of humanity? People living happily together, celebrating life itself? It wasn't something you'd see among dragons. Even if one of them organized an event there wouldn't be many attendees. Most likely it would be limited to a gathering of family members.

    Or it could just be so much waste of time and resources. It depended on how important you found it to set some time aside for doing stuff that might seem silly at first. Akeya didn't mind observing for a while, but once it was clear that the scene wasn't going to change any further she shrugged and took a step forward, finding herself back on top of the mountain. The humans might be happy in their cities and their large communities, but Akeya found herself more comfortable here, high above the clouds and overlooking the world. Nobody to bother her, although if she settled in such a place she'd at the very least have to build herself a house: she didn't actually want to live on top of a mountain peak with absolutely zero possessions.

    She'd have nowhere to store her scrolls, for one thing.

    Sighing she closed her eyes and returned her focus on the sea of emotions. The sky filled with stars which shone with many thoughts and feelings, even if the current state of the world of dreams meant that most of them were glittering with anger, fear, sadness, grief, hatred... It was a good thing that Akeya herself wasn't very emotional otherwise feeling all this negativity might get to her. Instead she just found it concerning as it indicated that the corruption had already spread so far. Although... Maybe it wasn't as advanced as it had been? Given how new she was at sensing such things she couldn't be certain, but she did have the hope that solving these nightmares did actually help cure the dream world as a whole. otherwise she was just wasting her time playing therapist.

    Aside from the part where she learned important things about the world of dreams and that she could use healing magic, that is. That wasn't a waste of time in the slightest.

    So the next dream... There weren't any dreams which shone with the same terror that Kyra's had, but she did detect one which was filled with a different kind of fear: dread. Dread mixed with abject sorrow. It wasn't as intense as the previous dream but it was strong nonetheless, and it had a deeper undertone to it. Maybe it was a nightmare about something someone had been dreading for a long time already? There was only one way to find out.

    Stepping forward Akeya found herself in the middle of a graveyard. Around her tombstones rose up tall enough to obscure her vision, and a cold mist covered the ground and clung to her ankles. The sky was grey, the air was still, and all in all it was the exact stereotype of what you'd expect a graveyard to be like. Less scary and more... forlorn. Devoid of life. A bit creepy, but mostly it reminded you of the mortality of most living things, how everything had an end. How for humans places like this were a last ditch attempt at clinging onto what was lost, even though at the same time these places were avoided by the living.

    It would also be quiet if she couldn't hear a voice resounding throughout the otherwise desolated place.

    "Arminius?! Sam?! Can you two hear me?" The voice was that of a young adult man, clear and strong but filled with dread. The person Akeya was looking for, almost certainly. The dragoness jumped on top of the nearest tombstone, looking out over the graveyard into the direction from which the voice came. What she found was a man with a rather interesting hair colour (although she'd seen much stranger). He had the built of a rather average guy, not too skinny or too chubby. He could maybe stand to work out a little bit more, although it didn't look like he was atrophied either. Handsome in the kind of way which in a girl would be called pretty. It made the dragoness think of the term 'lady's man': a guy who knew they were conventionally attractive and used it to be charming towards women. Not that there was anything wrong with that in itself...

    She blinked and slapped her hand against her forehead before shaking her head. That was a stray thought. Better to focus on the task at hand. She could feel the dread from this man, but it was accompanied by that sorrow and something... else... A strange feeling that Akeya couldn't immediately parse. It was alien to her, which rather surprised her since for all her differences as a dragon the spread of her emotions generally matched that of humans.

    Worth investigating. Not that she had much of a choice, given that she'd have to fix this guy's nightmare before she could be on her way. Was this really going to be nothing more than her playing therapist for random strangers who'd had the bad luck to be captured by the corruption of the world of dreams? Not that she blamed them for that... much.

    Stepping off of the tombstone Akeya's perspective shifted and she was suddenly standing behind the man, watching him from a scant few meters away as he wandered through the graveyard, repeatedly calling out for his... friends? Family? He didn't seem to notice her in the slightest, despite Akeya making no effort to hide herself. While she could take that as a point of pride, that even in her passive state she was hard to spot, but she strongly suspected that the reason he didn't notice her was because he was lost in his own world. So to catch his attention she coughed and then called out to him. "So, who are you looking for?"

    The man jumped, startled, before turning around and looking at Akeya. He gave her a polite smile, but it was obvious that his heart wasn't in it. "Oh. Hello there. Sorry, I didn't see you there." He gave her a small bow, quickly straightening up after. "Once again sorry, but have you seen a small kid? Seven, eight years old? Hair like mine, bright blue eyes, very cheerful." He looked hopeful for a moment, but then again became crestfallen when Akeya shook her head and folded her arms. "Can't say I have. Your son?"

    The man nodded, even in his current distressed state looking happier as he began to talk about his son. "Yes. His name is Samuel. Bright kid, always knows what's going on. Confident, too. Always the first one to try exploring new locations." His eyes lit up at the thought, but then his expression grew sombre again. "I've been looking all over for him, but he seems to have gotten lost. Usually he likes wandering around in graveyards but he's nowhere to be found."

    "And the other person?" Akeya wasn't going to ignore the fact that the man had been shouting out for two people. That was kind of an important detail here, although she already suspected where this dream was going to go.

    The pink-haired man blinked, then hesitatingly drew breath before scratching the back of his neck. "That is... a slightly longer story. You see, ever since I was young I've had the ability to... see ghosts." He looked at Akeya half expectantly, half defiantly. The look of someone who knew that what he just said sounded silly and was challenging the listener to call him out on it. Akeya, for her part, just indicated for him to continue with a small nod. Ghosts were nothing compared to some of the crazy stuff that existed in this world.

    With the dragoness showing no sign of disbelieving him the man pressed on, apparently feeling a bit more confident now. "You see the one ghost that's always been right beside me is that of my dead brother, Arminius. We were twins, you see, but he... died. But given my ability to see ghosts we were ability to be together after all. Apparently he can't pass on into the afterlife until I'm also dead." He gave a small, slightly awkward laugh, before frowning. "But now I can't find him either. That's even stranger than Sam. Sam loves to wander off at times, but Arminius would never stray for too long."

    Akeya nodded thoughtfully. What she could feel from the man... maybe she was being presumptuous, but she was already guessing at the next step. "Well, I don't have anything to do, so I might as well look around to see if I can spot anything. I've got much better senses than you humans after all."

    If the man was bothered by Akeya's speciestic comment he didn't show it. He looked too grateful for her offer to help to be bothered by such small comments anyway. "Thank you very much! We should find them in no time if we work together." Akeya fell in next to the man, and together they began to walk through the graveyard, disturbing the mist in an otherwise dead and forgotten place. The dragoness couldn't even see the edge: the tombstones and graves extended infinitely in every direction, until they faded away into the mists.

    "So the ghost of your twin brother has been with you all your life. Sounds like you've gotten comfortable being accompanied by the dead." Akeya commented as she cast her gaze around. The man was already looking in every direction, but still answered her. "Yes. It's been a bit odd at times, but by this point it's just the way things are. I can also see other ghosts, although strangely enough there aren't any around here... Normally there's a couple of them in a graveyard."

    "This place looks old. Any ghosts that lingered here have already moved on." Akeya commented. The tombstones were weathered by many years of exposure. "If that's what's normal for you, you must feel at a loss without him around."

    The man gave her an odd look now, but nevertheless answered her once more. "I... Yes. He's as much a part of me as my own arm, in a way. I wouldn't know what to do without him." The dragoness nodded. "Understandable. I've lived my life alone, but I am familiar with how important bonds are for other people. Humans in particular put great stock by them, which makes sense given that your species became strong through cooperation rather than individual strength."

    "That's... definitely true. Although now that you mention it, what are you exactly miss...?"

    "I'm a dragon. Don't worry, I'm not hostile. And your name?"

    "Oh! I'm Daniel. Daniel Von Weiss. My friends call me Danny." The man quickly introduced himself, then waited for a moment. When it became clear that Akeya wasn't going to give her own name he continued. "Yes, I've lived my entire live with Arminius by my side. But now I can't feel him at all... It scares me." Akeya really was grateful that inside dreams people tended to be less secretive about their true feelings. "And my son, Sam... He's wandered off before, but he's always come back. I feel like I've been looking for days already." Akeya would have found that doubtful, but she didn't know how long this man had been trapped in the nightmare already.

    The dragoness shrugged. "I'm sure we'll find them. But as I understand it your life practically revolves around the two of them. Isn't it a tad unhealthy to have your life be based on others?"

    "Weren't you the one who said that humans grew strong through cooperation?" Danny didn't sound hostile, but a tad confused.

    "I didn't say that a pathological attachment to others didn't come with its drawbacks. It's one of the greater flaws of humans: you fall apart without community, even if your community makes you strong."

    "I wasn't expecting a discussion about the nature of man, to be honest."

    "People rarely do. It's only when an outsider starts giving their opinion that people start looking at what they otherwise take for granted."

    Danny fell silent after that, the two of them wandering through the graveyard without exchanging any words. Akeya was trying to think of the best way to resolve this nightmare. Her first guess was that both Samuel and Arminius were gone, and that she had to make Daniel accept that. However she'd already done that one with Imai, and she'd rather not make a habit of it. Especially since the nightmare hadn't provided any evidence of their demise yet...

    "I think we should leave this graveyard. If they were in her we'd have found them already."

    "Are you sure?" Danny looked a bit doubtful, as if he was loathe to leave the graveyard.

    "As sure as I can be about this. Haven't you checked other places already?"

    "This was the last place where I saw them. I figured that if they were anywhere it would be here."

    The dragoness shook her head. "You said that your kid loves exploring graveyards, but he'd eventually get bored and wander off. And your brother is probably looking after him until you come back." She gave him a light smirk. "Ironically they might be the ones wondering that you are lost."

    Danny was silent for a couple of seconds, then nodded. "I guess you're right. I can always return after."

    "Also correct. That said, you are aware that you must also be capable of living without them, right?"

    "I... what?"

    "I don't doubt that you care about them, but your body language is practically screaming that you're lonely. And you had no objections to me joining you." Akeya pointed out matter-of-factly. The dragoness didn't give him a chance to get a word in edgewise as she kept going. "Cooperation might make humans strong, but you still need to be able to stand on your own two feet. The amount of times that someone accompanies you your entire life is very low. You meet people, you get to know them, and then you part ways."

    "What about family and-"

    "Among humans parents often die when you're in your middle years. Your children aren't part of your life until you're already an adult, and even then eventually they move away and start their own lives. Siblings may be a part of your life for a long time, but even they slowly drift away, which isn't even mentioning all instances of siblings getting into large fights which cause them to be at odds with each other. The point is that most people can't expect another person to permanently be a part of their life, and because of that it's important that you can manage to live on your own, even if it's a painful thought."

    Danny came to a halt, turning to face Akeya. His expression was now one of suspicion, looking at the dragoness with naked wariness. "Why are you telling me all of this? Has something happened to Sam or Arminius?" While his voice was still calm it was clear he was upset, his expression tense and his body language telling Akeya that he wasn't sure whether to walk up to her or stay where he was. For her part she shook her head. "No, I'm just saying that you shouldn't build your entire life around them. You might be fortunate and have them be part of your live forever, but if the unfortunate happens and they leave you have to accept that and keep living your life instead of wallowing in grief and loneliness."

    Danny's breathing had become a little heavier, his eyes now narrow as he listened to Akeya's words. Slowly the man regained control over himself, taking a deep breath and then releasing it before opening his eyes again. He didn't look terribly happy, but at least he was no longer actively hostile. "...Thank you for the thoughtful words. However I don't think I can let go of the people I love that easily." His voice was... tight.

    Akeya shrugged. "It might take a while before you come to terms with it. Most likely you've been trying to avoid thinking about it as much as possible. However it's better to come to terms with it before it actually happens. As for your son and brother, they're over there." As they'd talked the graveyard had given way to a street surrounded by houses, with Samuel and Arminius standing at the entrance. Samuel waved with two hands, while Arminius just raised one hand and gave Danny his usual smile.

    Danny blinked, then yelled out. "Sam! Arminius! Where were you two?"

    "A better question would be where you've been, bro." Arminius answered. "Come on, don't just stand there."

    Danny took a step forward, then turned to look back at Akeya. "Thank you for your help. And... I might think about what you said."

    "It'd be better for your own mental health if you did." Akeya replied. Danny nodded, then turned back towards his family and rejoined them, chatting happily with them even as he faded away with the light. Akeya, not having much interest in sticking around here, stepped back to her mountain peak.

    "Don't therapists usually get paid for this stuff?"

    WC: 3,141
    TWC: 3,141/11,000


    Last edited by Akeya on 27th September 2020, 2:51 pm; edited 1 time in total


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya) CADlsHa
    Between the Sun and the Moon, where it is neither Day nor Night, the Dragon of Twilight sleeps.

    Character|Magic
    Akeya
    Akeya

    Twilight Dragon


    Twilight Dragon

    Dragon VIP Status- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Dragon Slayer- Rich- Veteran Level 1- Character Application Approved!- Character History!- Magic Application Approved!- Get A Pet!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Novice [250]- Player 
    Lineage : Hic Sunt Dracones
    Position : None
    Posts : 1176
    Guild : Fairy Tail
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Mentor : Whedalsin
    Experience : 12,330

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic
    Second Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic
    Third Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic

    [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya) Empty Re: [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya)

    Post by Akeya 27th September 2020, 1:13 pm

    Michael

    That was number five of the nightmares dispelled. The second nightmare which revolved around losing your loved ones, although it had been much more subdued than the first. Imai's dream had been about watching his beloved sister dying in his arms, incapable of stopping it, forced to watch it happen and accept that he'd have to spend the rest of his life without her. The second dream, on the other hand, seemed to have focused more on the loneliness. There had been no evidence that either the son or the brother was gone, but the nightmare had instead been about how Daniel felt when those he relied upon were no longer there.

    Would that make him a worse man than Imai, since rather than focusing on the death of a beloved he was more afraid of being alone? Akeya frowned as she pursued that line of thought. On one hand it implied that he was more concerned about himself than his family: they were there as anchors for his happiness, rather than having worth of their own. On the other she might be trying to read too much into it and the two dreams had the same fundamental idea, only approached from different angles. No matter how she spun it the end result was that both dreams were about losing a loved one, and the more positive interpretation would be because of the value that loved one had as a person rather than a living crutch.

    As well as the fact that Daniel hadn't been acting like he was unhinged.

    Akeya also thought she'd discovered some symbolism in that last nightmare, which up until this point she hadn't really been paying much attention to. The graveyard itself had been devoid of life, empty. As long as Daniel walked around within the confines of that place he couldn't find his family. Which made sense, if you thought about it: graveyards were a place where you put mementos for those you'd lost. Those people themselves wouldn't be there. Those who visited graveyards weren't those who were lost, but those who sought to remember those they lost.

    And the moment Daniel left the graveyard he found his son and brother, and was happy again. Akeya was willing to bet quite a bit that that was symbolism of a sort. It certainly had some undertones to it, in sharp contrast to the other nightmares so far: Ada had, very straightforwardly, been afraid of animated plants. Akeya wasn't entirely sure what that was about, but that was how it was. The second one, Julius, had been afraid of losing his possessions and position, becoming powerless and hopeless. Maybe the grey city symbolized a cold and uncaring world, where one without power was considered worthless? Maybe. Imai's dream had been very straightforward: no need for symbolism there. And Kyra's dream... that also had been to the point. Maybe if Akeya had taken the time to study it a bit more she might have found something more significant, although at the same time she kind of doubted it. She figured that even if the corruption of the dream world forced people to have nightmares those nightmares were based on the mind of the trapped person. And dreams rarely made much sense: they were fabrications of someone's subconscious, regurgitating memories and thoughts and combining them in random patterns which made no sense. That there was symbolism in Daniel's dream either was pure coincidence or he just happened to be the kind of person whose thoughts were more subtle.

    But that was enough of that. Time to find the next nightmare. As she looked out over the world of dreams Akeya this time was pretty certain she felt a difference in the amount of nightmares. It was still subtle, but it was there. She didn't know how the corruption of the world of dreams work, but her current theory was that it was like a network, chaining together nightmares and using them to fuel more nightmares, dragging people into negativity that forced their dreams to turn twisted. A self-propagating web of corruption that would eventually affect everyone from the waking world, trapping them in the world of dreams forever. However Akeya was attacking the fatal flaw in that plan: every time a strong nightmare was erased there was a backlash on the rest of the network, weakening other nightmares and even dissolving the weakest ones. If she kept going like this she might end up finding the source of it all, the spirits that started the plan. Once she dealt with those the crisis should be over... although the real question would be how she could deal with them. Violence apparently did nothing against people, so she'd have to think of something else...

    Closing her eyes she searched through the stars of nightmares, the sea of despair and fear. Although weaker than before it was still strong, strong enough that she wondered if she could end up being consumed by it if she dove too deeply. Fortunately she didn't have to, as she quickly found a star of sufficient brightness that it was worth looking into. This one was filled with fear, but also with a strong feeling of guilt. Someone whose nightmare revolved around something they'd done? Maybe similar to Kyra's, although from what Akeya could tell the problem with Kyra was more that she feared to lose control than that she actually felt bad about feeding. Not that she was one to judge that kind of thing.

    Well, like before, only one way to find out for sure. Stepping forward Akeya felt her clawed foot sink into something liquid. Opening her eyes she saw that rather than the ground she'd stepped into a sea of blood. Quickly spreading her wings she launched herself upwards before she was submerged, the blood quickly sliding off of her body and leaving her unmarked as dreams tended to do. This nightmare was definitely different: all the others had at least been placed in a setting which someone could easily find themselves in. Even Daniel's dream had been about a graveyard, even if it had appeared to be a graveyard of infinite size.

    A sea of blood? Less normal. The sky was completely covered by a blanket of black and crimson clouds, as if shaped from vaporized blood rather than water. Everything in this dream had a reddish tint to it: looking at her own hands Akeya saw that her midnight blue scales looked purple more than anything at the moment. Looking back up at the clouds she noticed that not only their colour but their shapes were strange as well. At first you might not notice, but if you looked closer you saw that the clouds formed screaming faces. Expressions of pure terror, agony and rage. The longer she looked the more detailed the faces became, until it looked like the entire sky was one mass of distorted faces, merged together into one mass of torment. Along with the sea of blood below it was clear that whoever was having this nightmare was definitely not having a good time of it.

    What was strange to the twilight dragon was that, despite such a morbid scene, there wasn't an actual storm. There was a wind, yes, but the sound it made was less of a howl and more faint shrieking. There was no lightning amidst the clouds, and the blood below didn't form meter-high waves. It was strange how the relative peacefulness of the scene was actually making it more disturbing. If it had been a hurricane, with waves a kilometre high threatening to swallow her and gusts of wind slamming holes into the surface of the water, then Akeya would have processed it as being fitting for how dreadful this entire place looked.

    Instead what she got was... this. Still not very pleasant, if only because Akeya wasn't a big fan of the colour red. It was too aggressive a colour for her liking. It lacked finesse, it was in your face and heavy. Comparatively speaking orange had a similar kind of energy but in a slightly less brute form.

    Maybe right now wasn't the best time for her to start thinking about her favourite colours. She had to find the person who formed this dream and figure out just what they'd done for this to be their nightmare. The memory of all that guilt was strong in her mind, so she was pretty sure that whatever the dreamer had done, it somehow related to this. By this point she was kind of expecting to find some mass-murderer who was reliving his greatest accomplishment.

    As she flew above the ocean Akeya tried to position herself exactly between the clouds and the blood, so that if anything came towards her from either direction she'd have time to react. So far nothing had tried anything, but more than the other dreams she felt like this place could turn hostile any second. It might be all the screaming clouds above, or the shrieking wind, or the ominous gurgling of the blood below. Blood, in contrast to what many people might believe, had a higher viscosity than water. The result was that a large mass of blood like what she saw below didn't smoothly flow. Not the most pleasant of sights.

    Flying about Akeya quickly found the source of all of this. At least, she dearly hoped that it was the source because otherwise this nightmare was about to get even more disturbing. Ahead of her there were corpses drifting about just underneath the blood surface, and if she glared harder she could see even more bodies underneath. The entire ocean was filled with the dead. And ahead there was a figure right above the surface, with dozens of the corpses rising up out of the bloodbath to grab at his arms, legs and body. The figure was struggling, but Akeya could tell that he was losing the fight: other corpses held onto the broken remains of those who had a hold of the figure, helping them pull. Slowly but surely the figure was being pulled under, the blood already reaching his knees.

    Akeya had the strong suspicion that whatever else she may see during this journey, this nightmare would take the number one spot of most morbid. It was like this entire scene was straight out of one of those horror stories, a symbolism for hell. Diving towards the figure Akeya sped up until she was little more than a blur, passing straight over the surface of the blood ocean. Several crippled and ravaged bodies rose up to try and grab at her, but she moved too fast and they all missed. Reaching the figure she grabbed him by the shoulders, using her clawed feet to get a good grip on them before lifting him out of the mass of bodies. Feeling the weight of all the corpses the twilight dragoness released several blades of dark, slicing through the limbs that were holding onto her rescuee so the two of them could escape into the sky.

    Corpses weren't people, after all, so damaging them was fair game.

    Her rescuee struggled in her hold, something which surprised Akeya. Letting go of him she instead wrapped a cord of dark around his waist and used it to hold him aloft. Below them the corpses were practically building a tower using their own dessicated remains, slowly reaching up in the skies towards their target. It was an interesting sight, since there was no clear organization or structure in there. Just mangled bodies reaching upwards, the ones below pushing those above higher and higher until they'd already reached an altitude of several meters.

    Given that she'd rather not deal with them Akeya gathered some energy and released it as a blast of light, burning the tower away. She could already see that the corpses were going to form a new one, but she could just periodically keep blasting them back down. Unless this guy turned out to be a real piece of work she should be done with him before she began to suffer from energy deficiency.

    As for the man she'd rescued... he was fully armoured, for one thing. Completely covered in blood as well, dripping from every part of him from which liquid substances could drip. She couldn't see his face, or anything else. She wasn't even entirely sure how tall he was, although he was definitely shorter than herself. He was still struggling in the hold of the dark thread that held him airborne, but Akeya put a stop to that by tapping him on the helmet. "Stop struggling unless you want me to drop you back into that mass below." She pointed down towards the newly formed tower. Clacking her tongue the dragoness launched another beam of light, resetting their progress back to zero. "I'd fly higher but I somehow doubt those clouds are much better. Now, who are you and why are you stuck in... I can only really call it a hellish landscape. A bloodsea."

    The armoured figure struggled some more before finally giving up, turning his helmet to gaze at the dragonss. In response to her threat he looked down at the mass of body down below, then back at her. "...Don't drop me in there." His voice was rather cold, but Akeya could tell that he meant it. Of course he meant it. Who actually wanted to be dropped into an ocean of blood, with corpses ready to drag you under? "I am Michael. As for why I'm here... I don't know." He grabbed the side of his head, appearing confused. "I don't know how I got here, but I do know where this is. This... is my penance."

    Akeya felt some satisfaction at being correct about the guilt, but that wasn't the important part right now. She had to figure out what exactly his guilt was. "Judging by everything I've seen, you killed a lot of people and now you're being dragged under by your victims. It's disturbingly straightforward. And very morbid." She tilted her head. "Which leaves the question why you'd have killed all of them if you're going to be punished like this afterwards." There were tons of reasons, of course, although most people would tell you none of them justified a massacre. Akeya's morals were a bit more flexible, but even she was interested in hearing what Michael had to say for himself.

    The armoured man named Michael looked at her. "I... killed a lot of people yes. But they deserved it." Looking down he clenched his fists. Akeya launched another beam of light as he continued talking. "I was part of a cult... a religious group. We were minding our own business for the most part, but apparently not well enough. One day a group of heretics destroyed everything, killed everyone. Everyone I knew, everyone I cared about... only I was left after." Akeya could practically feel the rage emanating off this man. "So... I killed them all. To the last man. But you can't just go and kill so many people without it coming back to haunt you. This... is my penance."

    "That's the second time you say that." Akeya commented as she destroyed the tower of the dead once more. They sure were persistent. Maybe because they had nothing to lose. "Honestly this one is really straightforward. It's just extremely morbid." Of course just because it was extremely gory didn't mean it had to be complicated or difficult. Just really, really nasty.

    "What do you mean?" The man sounded confused, which wasn't very surprising since Akeya wasn't bothering to hide the fact that she'd been hunting nightmares this entire time. The one dreaming the nightmare wouldn't understand such concepts. While you were dreaming your mind was muddled, thoughts limited.

    "Simply put, you're sad and angry that the life you knew was destroyed, and you took that out on the people who did it. But now you're afraid that you're going to be punished for it. You're afraid that killing them all wasn't actually the right choice. You're afraid that maybe you could have done something to prevent it, and that all of it is your fault." Akeya explained all of this matter-of-factly. "Or to put it all together, you're feeling guilty for every person you killed, because you believe that killing is wrong and you can't ever be certain that the circumstances demanded that you do it. You're thrown in here because you believe you deserve this."

    "To take the life of another is wrong. To do so for many people is even worse. I can't just do that and be allowed to keep going on as if nothing has happened." There was resignation in the man's voice, but also stubbornness.

    "Of course you can."

    "...Eh?"

    "You murdered a bunch of people who first killed the people you cared about. That might not be pretty but it's entirely fair to do so. Society may say that you shouldn't take the law in your own hands or stuff like that, but out in the wilds eliminating threats is essential if you wish to survive." Akeya shrugged as she casually dismissed the entire justice system civilization had built up over thousands of years. "Of course I wasn't there so I don't know the exact details, but I can tell you that "they killed my people, so I killed them" is hardly the worst sin anyone has ever committed. And even if you were out of line... You believe in karma, don't you?"

    "Well, I mean, yes. Of course."

    "Have you never questioned that it's kind of strange that karma would consist of bad deeds being repaid by misfortune? You could argued that it's payback, but it doesn't balance the scales. It just means that every negative act is followed by more negativity."

    "It's not about balancing negative with positive, it's about bad deeds coming back around to yourself-"

    "That wouldn't change the fact that it doesn't help anybody. A better way of making up for what you did would be to focus on doing good things, if that kind of thing really concerns you." Akeya launched a bigger beam of light this time, intense enough to drill a hole into the sea before the blood slowly filled it back up. "Rather than thinking about how you should suffer from all you've done, about all the people you've killed and how they must resent you, just think about how you can make up for it by helping improve the world." She glanced towards the man. "At least, you seem like the kind of person to care about that kind of thing, since you were complaining about penance and all that."

    Michael didn't immediately answer. When he did, he spoke rather harshly. "That wouldn't remove the fact that I killed many people though. Their blood is on my hands. I can never escape from that."

    "Dying wouldn't make it better though. You just wouldn't have to worry about it any more." Akeya rolled her eyes. "Of course if that's what you want that's no skin off my back, but if the only concern is your own mental health you might as well just dismiss the fact that you killed them all."

    "I- You-" Michael was at a lost for words, the armoured man staring at the dragoness blankly as she drilled another hole into the... sixth tower of corpses. Maybe it was the seventh? Eventually Michael slowly nodded. "I'll... Try to focus on being better in the future rather than focusing on my mistakes in the past." He shook his head immediately after. "But that's not going to undo all the damage, including what was done to myself..."

    "You'll just have to live with it.' Akeya replied bluntly. "As long as you can face what you've done without getting hung up on it my task is done. With that said, good luck." She let go of Michael at the same time as he was enveloped by the light that signalled a dreamer whose nightmare had been broken. As he dispersed the tower of corpses turned into a pillar of foam which splashed back onto the ocean, the red of the blood fading into the blue-green of seawater. The clouds above turned into their usual grey, a rumbling resounding through the skies before rain began to pour down. The wind, shrieking before, now howled instead, enthusiastically pushing the water up into waves.

    "I'm starting to think this place is making me emotional."

    WC: 3,434
    TWC: 6,575/11,000


    Last edited by Akeya on 27th September 2020, 3:02 pm; edited 2 times in total


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya) CADlsHa
    Between the Sun and the Moon, where it is neither Day nor Night, the Dragon of Twilight sleeps.

    Character|Magic
    Akeya
    Akeya

    Twilight Dragon


    Twilight Dragon

    Dragon VIP Status- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Dragon Slayer- Rich- Veteran Level 1- Character Application Approved!- Character History!- Magic Application Approved!- Get A Pet!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Novice [250]- Player 
    Lineage : Hic Sunt Dracones
    Position : None
    Posts : 1176
    Guild : Fairy Tail
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Mentor : Whedalsin
    Experience : 12,330

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic
    Second Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic
    Third Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic

    [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya) Empty Re: [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya)

    Post by Akeya 27th September 2020, 2:48 pm

    Jaeger

    And that was number six. Progression was going quite smoothly now. As she hovered in the midst of a storm Akeya considered her approach. So far the nightmares all had a single clear origin. A fear of plants. A fear of hopelessness. A fear of loss. A fear of madness. A fear of loneliness. A fear of failure. Were all dreams going to be straightforward? Would a future dream catch her off-guard, force her to spend more time figuring out what the exact cause was and how she was supposed to treat it? It was definitely possible. One thing she'd noticed that in every dream it hadn't taken very long for her to find the dreamer. Maybe that was just the nature of dreams. They centred around the dreamer, so once you were inside you couldn't escape them. If that was true then that definitely would make things easier for Akeya, as at least it meant that she wouldn't have to hunt the dreamer down.

    Although of course it was possible that the dreamer didn't appear as who they were in the waking world: in your dreams and nightmares you could be something completely different. As she'd already wondered before, it was possible for the dreamer to technically be dead, but for their consciousness to still be present. Other changes were also definitely possible. A different hair colour. A different gender. A different species, even. Given that she herself was already capable of altering her shape her dreams didn't bother much with changing her appearance: if she wished to look different she'd just make it so. But every single person she'd encountered so far had appeared to be human. More or less. Humans often were stuck with the form they were born with and grew up in, so for them shapeshifting might be intriguing enough an idea that it would show up in their dreams.

    Well, even if they ended up having odd shapes Akeya could hone in on their magic and emotions, so it shouldn't be too much of a problem. The only issue would be if somehow their consciousness got altered... or was already unusual to begin with. A consciousness that spread out over a large area rather than focusing on a single location? That could be a challenge.

    The dragoness shook her head as she flew back towards her mountain peak. She'd picked it at random at first, but by this point she could remember it accurately enough that she could return to it every time. As a base of operations it was quite the excellent choice: it was far away from everything else so she wouldn't be bothered by any dreamers or spirits, and it gave her a good overlook on the world of dreams. It may not allow her to see everything but something was still better than nothing.

    Balancing on top of the peak, two clawed feet firmly holding onto the rocks, Akeya closed her eyes as she once again searched through that familiar web of nightmares. They were clearly getting weaker, the amount of stars decreasing. There were still a few strong ones about, but she had to spend more time looking for them... Her work was bearing fruit. If she kept this up it might only require a few strong nightmares before she'd be able to locate the core of the corruption. Once she had that knowledge she could abandon all this therapy nonsense and go take care of the problem at the source. While it hadn't been as unpleasant as she'd been fearing it still wasn't her idea of a good time. People problems just weren't her thing. It mattered little to her if someone was afraid of losing their loved ones, or whatever the hell was on their mind. But here she was, practically forced to act like she cared, present to them answers to their fears as if they mattered to her. She'd get angry over it if the anger wouldn't be pointless, and if it wasn't for the fact that so far things had been going quite nicely.

    Locating a nightmare star of sufficient strength Akeya spent some time studying it closely. She no longer felt like the corruption was strong enough to be a genuine threat to her own psyche, so she could afford to be a bit more thorough with her search. Like the other nightmares she'd visited the fear was strong here, but there was also a sensation of shame. Deep shame. A nightmare about embarrassment? Compared to what she'd come across so far that actually sounded rather tame. Was this really the strongest nightmare she could find? Maybe she should search a bit further so she didn't waste time on some insignificant dreamer who just was worried about being naked in public or something ridiculous like that.

    Increasing the scope of her survey Akeya went from one nightmare star to another, studying the emotions that she felt radiating off of them. Fear was the one permanent factor. Other common emotions were anger, sadness, grief, loneliness (she finally figured that one out, after having been stumped by Daniel's dream before), embarrassment, panic, frustration... It was a gathering of negative emotions, with the worst one appearing the most often. Which made sense, given that people feared the worst things, and the worst things evoked the worst emotions.

    Eventually she settled for a nightmare star which had a rather... interesting composition. Like the first star there was a sense of embarrassment to it, but it had a different undertone to it. The fear was also a lot sharper, if not quite as deep. The nightmare almost felt like it was panicked. Rather than dread it was something fierce, intense, but also short-lived. It might be easier to resolve such a nightmare than one which was based on a much more complicated fear.

    Maybe there was a fear of clowns in there.

    Keeping that nightmare in mind Akeya stepped forward, opening her eyes to find herself standing in an open field. It was... positively idyllic: the sky was bright blue, the sun was shining, there were only a few white clouds drifting about innocently. In the distance to her right there was a forest, to the left and in front of her the field expanded into farmlands. Behind her there was a ravine, but it was only two meters deep and you could easily climb out of it if you happened to fall in. It looked like a river had once been there before it dried up or got diverted. She could practically hear the birds singing in such a paradise-like setting.

    Not Akeya's preferred scene. Not that it was horrible, mind you, but beyond a certain point her flowers-and-rainbows tolerance hit its limit. It might just be that she was too used to things being a bit more morally grey to appreciate what was essentially the landscape variant of pure goodness. Why, she wouldn't have been surprised if there were children frolicking about in the fields-

    "AAAAAAAAH!!"

    ...Well, that was probably the dreamer. It wouldn't be a proper nightmare if everything was nice and peaceful, after all.

    "MAKE WAY! MAKE WAY!"

    That certainly sounded a bit more forceful than the fear of abandonment. Akeya turned towards the forest, from which the screaming was coming. The voice sounded vaguely familiar, although she hadn't heard it that often. Folding her arms she tapped her foot as she waited for the dreamer to show up, her tail slowly moving from side to side behind her. Just how hard was that man screaming if she could hear him clearly but it took him so long to-

    Out from the forest a man ran that Akeya... somewhat recognized. She was pretty sure that he'd been part of Onyx Moon, same as Ada, but she didn't know him well enough to identify him by appearance alone. Especially since she didn't think he looked quite the way he did back then: the horns definitely were new to her. She watched as the man, completely clad in black, ran as if his life depended on it. His speed was actually quite impressive for someone who wasn't using magic to enhance it. Magic seemed to be difficult for dreamers to use: maybe humans had trouble subconsciously registering their magic as an extension of their own selves?

    Thankfully Akeya didn't have to wait too long to figure out what it was that the man was running away from. Unfortunately what it was that made him run away got her staring with open surprise and confusion, both eyebrows raised as... giant apples burst out of the treeline, chasing their prey in a manner which could only be described as very aggressive bouncing. Akeya was pretty sure apples didn't bounce like that. Of course apples also weren't two meters in diameter so maybe she was choosing the wrong thing to complain about.

    Oh, and the big apples were accompanied by smaller apples. Some of the bounced, others rolled, all of them were apparently hell bent on chasing the black-clad man down. It would be terrifying, watching them pursue with such vigour, if it wasn't completely ridiculous.

    The man, in the meantime, had managed to reach Akeya and had run straight past her. She actually wasn't entirely sure whether he'd even noticed her or if he'd been too focused on running for his life. Looking back at the giant apples she saw that they had strange, maw-like holes, their outer layer forming rows of jagged teeth. She didn't see anything like a digestive tract behind the mouth, so she wasn't entirely sure how they were supposed to use their mouths... but, once again, she was probably focusing on the wrong thing to complain about.

    "...I don't think I want to stay in this dream too long." She could handle horror, tragedy, and thriller, but silliness never really parsed well for her.

    Reaching out with her hands she formed threads of dark that shot out and wrapped around the applies. Whipping them back she launched the applies high up in the air, then let go of the threads and released a barrage of light spears that launched the homicidal apples far, far away. She used enough force that they disappeared from sight before they even hit the ground. She'd hoped to perforate them, but apparently those apples were on the list of things she couldn't just destroy inside the dream. Which she wasn't very happy about, since that meant that she might have to spend more time in the dream.

    Reaching behind her she grabbed the man with another dark thread and reeled him in, throwing him onto the ground before dispersing the thread and folding her arms again to look down at the man. "...Apples? Really?"

    The man was breathing heavily, but his eyes widened a little when he saw Akeya. Apparently he really hadn't noticed her the first time he passed her. "Oh. Hey... Akeya, right?" After Akeya nodded her head he pushed himself up into a sitting position, one leg stretched out and the other pulled in so he could rest an arm on the knee while he regained his breath. "Haven't seen you in a while. Actually, don't think we ever officially met."

    "I recognize you vaguely but I can't recall your name. I believe you were part of Onyx Moon."

    "The West Fiore Trading Company, at the very least. And my name is Jaeger." The man didn't appear to be offended by Akeya not having remembered his name, instead just grinning at her. "So, how have you been handsome?"

    "I'd rather you answered my question Jaeger." Akeya replied, a little bit coolly. She wasn't here to make him feel bad about himself, but if she had to deal with homicidal apples because of him she wasn't in a mood to be nice.

    Jaeger for his part made a face, a combination of frustration and embarrassment. "It's not my fault! I was just strolling through the woods and suddenly those apples came at me! You should have seen them!"

    "I did see them. I got rid of them. They're far enough away now that we should be done here before they return." Akeya narrowed her eyes. "But that's not the point of my question. My question is why, of all things on this magical planet, you'd be afraid of apples. Apples that, apparently were trying to eat you. Without having a stomach to digest you. At least Ada's dream-"

    "Hold on, can you explain to me what you're going on about? Because I only caught half of that." Jaeger interrupted her as he pushed himself up, standing up straight. He was the tallest of the people Akeya had helped so far, although he still came up short as he looked her in the eyes. "What was that about a dream?"

    Akeya paused for a moment, then facepalmed. Launching the apples meant that Jaeger now had the peace of mind to ask her about the dream. Well, might as well explain it to him and see if he actually understood it. "This isn't Earthland. We're in the world of dreams, where a corruption is trapping people in nightmares. I'm on a job to-"

    "Wait, the Dream Realm? Are you serious?" Akeya blinked as suddenly Jaeger looked very enthusiastic. The dragoness stared at him for several seconds before replying. "...Yes. You know of it?"

    "Of course I do! I mean I've heard about how beyond personal dreams there's an entire realm which can only be accessed through dreams. Are you saying this is also a dream?" The black-clad man looked around, whistling as he saw the idyllic landscape around him. "My dream is quite nifty, huh?"

    "It's a nightmare. You're currently stuck in it. And given that this place is practically a paradise apparently your fear of those apples is strong enough to be equivalent to someone drowning in an ocean of blood with the hands of those who killed them dragging them down under." Akeya stated all of this flatly, without emotion. Her expression was also completely flat, although the way she looked at Jaeger made the man shuffle his feet a little.

    "..." Scratching the back of his head Jaeger looked away. "Look, don't judge a man for his phobias. I know it's silly but... Actually just don't tell anyone."

    "I can assure you that I've got no interest in talking about this. Quite frankly I'm already glad that at least one of you understands that you're trapped in a nightmare." Akeya replied. Jaeger nodded gratefully, then placed his hands on his hips and blew out air between his front teeth. "So, if I'm trapped in here, do you have a way to get me out?"

    "Not an easy method, unfortunately. I have to find a way to make you either overcome or forget about the fear that spawned this nightmare. So I either have to convince you that your fear of apples is completely ridiculous, or I have to make you forget about apples entirely. And given the fact that you're already aware your phobia makes no sense..."

    "I thought we agreed not to judge me for my phobia. Way to kick a man while he's down." Jaeger frowned at Akeya, but then dismissed it as he instead scratched his chin. "But if I'm understanding this correctly your task is to solve the nightmare. The easiest way is to make me overcome my fears... Which isn't going to work well since I already know it's an irrational fear."

    "Worse than that is the possibility that your awareness that this is a dream will complicate matters. All the others I've helped so far never realized that they were inside their own nightmare, so I could guide them through it. With you, however..."

    "I'll be aware that everything you say and do is about trying to break the nightmare. Which makes me think about the nightmare and my fears." Jaeger finished Akeya's train of thought. It wasn't exactly what the dragoness had been thinking, but it boiled down to the same thing. "As interesting as this is I'll admit that it might have been better if I wasn't aware of this."

    "It's not unusual that someone realizes they're in a dream but then forgets it again. With some luck the same happens for you." Of course Akeya actually was happier having someone who was up to speed on things, but if that got in the way of solving the nightmare she might have to hope for Jaeger to forget everything again. "For now we would be better served on finding other ways to resolve the nightmare. Making you face your fears... Unfortunately an aspect of this world of dreams is that you can't actually damage anyone, so you wouldn't be able to go and destroy the apples. At least, not as long as you see them as creatures rather than, you know, food."

    "That's... definitely annoying. So we can't beat them... I mean I wouldn't want to fight them anyway, but it does mean we have to think of something else." True to his word, Jaeger did not look like he was particularly upset that fighting the apples was off the table. "I'm going to guess you've already tried pinching people awake."

    "I sliced someone's throat and they immediately healed." There weren't many people who could make that particular sentence sound as nonchalant and mundane as Akeya. She might as well have said "I went for a stroll in the park and fed some ducks."

    "...Yeah... let's not try that one again then. So you can't pinch someone awake, I can't face my fear of apples because we can't damage them... Maybe we could bring the nightmare to a conclusion?"

    "What kind of conclusion?"

    "Even if we can't kill-"

    "Destroy."

    "Destroy the apples, yes, we could make them go away so they're no longer a part of the dream. Given that I'm aware it's a dream I should have some control over it, even if it's a nightmare."

    "Maybe. How familiar are you with lucid dreaming?"

    "Not terribly. I've experienced it a couple of times but it's always accidental and often I can't do much with it. It's not often I have this level of clarity though, so I should be able to do something as long as it's not too far-fetched."

    Akeya considered this. On one hand, there was no guarantee that it would work. On the other, it was the best plan they had right now. The dragoness slowly nodded. "All right, so our plan is to get rid of the apples so the fear of apples no longer anchors the nightmare. From what we saw just now I can't injure the apples but they are still affected by kinetic forces, so they can be displaced if you exert force. The easiest approach would be to put them somewhere where they can't cause any trouble."

    "If we launched them all into space that'd get rid of them."

    "I was thinking in the other direction, actually." Akeya pointed towards the ground, her tail tapping the grass for emphasis. "How deep a hole do you think you can make?"

    Jaeger followed her gaze towards the ground, then frowned and thought about her idea. "That might work. And I can make a pretty deep hole if I've got time. And given how far you launched those apples we should have more than enough time. Thanks for that, by the way."

    "You're welcome. Now get to digging."

    "Jeez, what a slavedriver..." Jaeger commented as he stretched his arms and focused. Akeya stepped away, giving the man space to work while she kept an eye out for any malicious, ravenous, rotten, despicable, homicidal apples. The fact that apples were now something she had to watch out for really got on her nerves, but there was nothing she could do about it.

    Behind her Nekros began digging a large hole, tree roots ripping chunks of dirt out of the ground and tossing them to the side. While he seemed to have trouble getting started at first he quickly sped up, a glance over her shoulder telling Akeya that he was making good progress. Within minutes the hole was deep enough that only someone with the right type of magic or serious excavation equipment would be able to climb out. "This good enough?"

    "As deep as you can make it." Jaeger nodded as he kept digging, more and more dirt forming mounds around the hole, the mounds turning into hills. Thankfully one of the advantages of the world of dreams was that exhaustion wasn't an issue, so Jaeger tirelessly kept going as the dirt piled up and the hole became deeper and deeper.

    It was at least an hour later when Akeya began to see signs of apples on the horizon. "All right, I hope you're ready because here they come again." Jaeger looked up in abject panic, dropping the last clod of dirt and letting it fall back into the hole. "Oh. Well, I guess the hole is deep enough so if you'll excuse me I'll let you take care of this while I go and-" Before the man could get away Akeya used a dark thread to grab him again, lifting him into the air as she walked to the other side of the hole. "Hey! What are you doing!"

    "Insurance." That was the only thing Akeya said as she stood there, waiting for the apples to arrive. Jaeger struggled and cursed, but the dark thread kept him in place and nothing he threw at it managed to break it. When he tried to grab Akeya with a tree branch the dragoness glared at him with such intensity that he stopped his struggling, resigning himself to his fate. With heavy eyes he watched as in the distance the apples quickly closed the distance, their jagged maws chomping and spraying apple juice everywhere. To Akeya this was by far the silliest nightmare she'd come across so far, but for Jaeger this was terrifying. Here he was, stuck in place and unable to do anything, and there in the distance the apples came closer and closer... he could feel their malice, their desire to gobble him up. He began to wonder if Akeya was maybe a part of the nightmare, here to give him false hope and then sacrifice him to the apples. Maybe she'd been lying all along...

    When the apples got close enough they all jumped over the hole, all of their hunger focused on Jaeger, Akeya completely forgotten. The hole was big enough that they needed quite a running start to cross it, but they'd been doing nothing but running and bouncing. Jaeger closed his eyes at that point, tears forming in the corners of his eyes...

    And while all of that happened Akeya slammed all the apples into the hole with a hammer of solid light, straight from the sun itself. In a flash all of them were falling into the depths of the earth unable to do anything about it as Jaeger's nightmare hadn't actually given them arms or legs. They couldn't grab onto the walls of the hole, they couldn't halt their descend, they could do nothing but make strange sounds, as if pieces of apples being crunched together, as they kept falling until they faded out of sight.

    Akeya waited until the last one was gone before she put Jaeger down. "Now close the hole."

    Jaeger opened his eyes, clearly expecting himself to be chewed on by apples. Instead he found that the apples were nowhere to be seen, and Akeya had returned his freedom to him. "Wait. Where..."

    "In the hole. As we planned. Now close it." Akeya pointed towards the hole, her tail tapping the ground behind her. Jaeger looked at her, then at the hole, then nodded and quickly slammed his hands against the ground. Large tree roots burst from the walls of the pit, each of them embedding themselves in the opposite side. All of them together then pulled the hole shut, leaving nothing but smooth grassy fields. Without the apples the place was once again as idyllic as before, a paradise for people who liked things sugar-sweet. Jaeger for his part scratched his head, then looked at Akeya. "That was... rather cruel."

    "Yes, but now you've at least faced your fear, even if you didn't actually overcome it. And the nightmare is over and done with." Akeya nodded towards Jaeger as he was enveloped by light. "That's the way out."

    "Oh. Okay then. Thanks for the help... I guess? Next time try to be a bit nicer about it though."

    "If your next nightmare is about something a bit more serious than apples I might consider it."

    "...Fair enough." With that Jaeger was gone. Akeya watched the spot where he'd been standing for a little bit longer, then turned around and stepped back towards her mountain peak. From there she looked out over the landscape once more. The forest of water and ice had disappeared, and instead there was the traditional land of candy and snacks. In the distance a large volcano was erupting, throwing black obsidian in every direction. However where the lave hit rather than melting everything around it the land turned a sickly green, and every living thing that came into contact with it mutated and transformed.

    Peering into another direction Akeya thought she could see a snowy landscape, a mighty blizzard raging about, forming claws of ice to scrape out large chunks of the ground. Beyond that there were ships flying through the air, traditional wooden ships with bold emblems on their sails.

    In another direction there was a city of such size that it was a nation in and of itself, tens of thousand streams of smoke polluting the air. The city was made of metal tubes and cubes, with windows guarded by rails and little in the form of either colour or life. With her sharp eyes Akeya could see figures moving about in the streets and inside the buildings, but they were formed of metal and wire rather than flesh and blood, oil making their joints glisten. Akeya couldn't tell if that was a dream or whether those were spirits which had taken an unusual form. Thinking about it she hadn't encountered any spirits yet. Only dreamers and their nightmares. If this world was inhabited by spirits she was quite sure she'd encounter some of them before the end of this journey.

    The world of dreams was a strange place, where one's imagination became rule. There appeared to be some underlying rules, but beyond those rules the dominating force wasn't gravity, or space, or anything rigid like the rules of physics that the waking world was subjected to. Even magic wasn't the dominant power here. It was all in the mind. And despite all of that what came to Akeya's mind at that moment was a single line:

    "He should be glad I didn't stab him a couple of times for making me put up with that."

    WC: 4,523
    TWC: 11,098/11,000 (Completed)
    Excess WC: 98


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya) CADlsHa
    Between the Sun and the Moon, where it is neither Day nor Night, the Dragon of Twilight sleeps.

    Character|Magic
    Akeya
    Akeya

    Twilight Dragon


    Twilight Dragon

    Dragon VIP Status- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Dragon Slayer- Rich- Veteran Level 1- Character Application Approved!- Character History!- Magic Application Approved!- Get A Pet!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Novice [250]- Player 
    Lineage : Hic Sunt Dracones
    Position : None
    Posts : 1176
    Guild : Fairy Tail
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Mentor : Whedalsin
    Experience : 12,330

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic
    Second Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic
    Third Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic

    [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya) Empty Re: [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya)

    Post by Akeya 28th September 2020, 2:49 pm

    Vera

    Well, she hoped the next dream was going to be a bit more serious. While nightmares weren't exactly pleasant Akeya was more comfortable in situations where she didn't have to waste energy wondering whether someone was being serious or not. Jaeger's dream about homicidal apples definitely had been too far into the field of silliness for the coldblooded assassin. It wasn't that she was opposed to fun, but the things she found fun generally didn't include stuff which was just outright nonsensical and without rhyme or reason.

    Searching through the nightmare stares she tried her best to find one which matched her preferences. Something a bit darker, with a deeper tone to it. She wasn't entirely sure she was good enough at this to be able to select a dream based on the level of non-silliness, but it was worth practising even if she wasn't sure yet whether she could actually succeed at it. At least the last seven dreams or so had made her more adept at using the world of dreams for her own ends: she could move about freely now, and her mind felt as clear as it did in the waking world. Speaking of the waking world, she wondered how things were going on the outside. Had people noticed a change, or was Akeya making insufficient headway for it to be reflected in the waking world?

    She also really hoped that Belinda hadn't been lying when she said that she wouldn't do anything to the dragoness while she was asleep. A normal human had little hope of actually injuring the twilight dragon, but she didn't like being betrayed. Fortunately she already had a pretty decent idea of what she would do if she did find evidence that the tall scientist had taken advantage of the situation. Akeya wasn't necessarily thinking of anything improper: her greater concern was about the scientist attempting to obtain some of her blood. Dragon blood, like most of a dragon's being, had potent magical properties. Potent enough that some people would actually risk their life in an attempt to obtain it. The fact that they sometimes succeeded was just evidence of how much effort they put into it, and how much value a dragon's blood, or even scales, had.

    Finding a nightmare star which had the appropriate set of emotions Akeya stepped forward, her clawed foot meeting solid ground. The nightmare gave a feeling of deep dread, and a fear which was unusually blunt. Along with that there was a sensation of abandonment, but that also felt a bit different from the previous two occasions. All in all the nightmare felt... odd. There was something about it that made it stand out, even if Akeya couldn't say for certain that it was more potent than the rest. Opening her eyes she found herself in a clearing amidst wide plains, the dirt directly visible as many feet had stomped out the grass. Around her there were many tents, of various colours and with fancy decorations. Balloons, flags, coloured lights... It didn't take the dragoness very long to realize that she was at a festival of sorts... or a circus.

    Was this going to be a dream about monster clowns? Because she really hoped that there was something more to this than just a fear of clowns. She'd done her best to search for a dream where the fear which served as the anchor and source of the nightmare had something more going for it than a phobia. Jaeger's dream had been about an irrational phobia and that had been the worst dream of the bunch so far. Akeya narrowed her eyes as she walked up to one of the nearby tents, studying it up close. It definitely was the kind of tent used for festivals or events, bright and shiny and... completely devoid of people.

    That last part was... rather odd. Now that she was done complaining about people and their irrational fears she noticed that there weren't any people anywhere. The entire place was abandoned. One might think that it was because it was already late in the evening and people were going for bed, but in that case there would still be people around. They'd just be focusing on finishing up the day's tasks. Especially since festivals and events usually lasted well into the night, so Akeya wasn't even sure whether the show would already have ended at this time of day. Gazing up into the sky she located some familiar stars to get a better grasp of the exact time of day. Close to midnight. Would festival-goers be asleep at this point? Probably not.

    And even if they had finished their tasks and had gone to sleep... Akeya still should have found signs of that. Sleeping people didn't stop existing, they just went in a low-energy mode while they recovered from a day's worth of life and prepared themselves for the next one. So if there was nobody that was definitely a part of the dream. She just had to figure out whether it was because the dreamer simply hadn't thought of there being people here... or whether it was part of the actual nightmare.

    Slowly wandering through the festival grounds Akeya found more signs which could easily be seen as slightly disturbing. She found some toys and dolls lying around, along with other miscellaneous things you'd find at a festival. Cheap food, masks... As if the place had been filled with life and activity mere moments before and then everyone dispersed into thin air. Which within a dream was a very real possibility, but that didn't make it any less ominous. Akeya frowned as she began to find splotches of blood on the ground and on some of the items that were scattered across the fair grounds. It was dried up, but she could still identify it as blood.

    The theory that this was about monster clowns was rapidly gaining support. And Akeya couldn't even take the opportunity to rip them apart. She didn't exactly have anything against clowns in specific, but something about them did make the idea of tearing them into pieces appealing. Maybe it was the fact that they reminded her of fools and idiots, laughing at their own stupidity. She really didn't like stupidity.

    WC: 1,049
    TWC: 1,049/1,000 (Completed)


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya) CADlsHa
    Between the Sun and the Moon, where it is neither Day nor Night, the Dragon of Twilight sleeps.

    Character|Magic
    Akeya
    Akeya

    Twilight Dragon


    Twilight Dragon

    Dragon VIP Status- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Dragon Slayer- Rich- Veteran Level 1- Character Application Approved!- Character History!- Magic Application Approved!- Get A Pet!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Novice [250]- Player 
    Lineage : Hic Sunt Dracones
    Position : None
    Posts : 1176
    Guild : Fairy Tail
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Mentor : Whedalsin
    Experience : 12,330

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic
    Second Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic
    Third Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic

    [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya) Empty Re: [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya)

    Post by Akeya 28th September 2020, 3:32 pm

    Vera

    As she walked further a giant tent began to rise up in the distance. Normally speaking Akeya should have been able to see that thing from kilometers away, but within a dream you couldn't depend on reasoning like that. You didn't see important landmarks until it was important for the progression of the dream for you to see it. In a way it was already impressive that the rest of the fair grounds had been so detailed despite the dragoness not having found a single sign of the dreamer. They had to be somewhere nearby though... the dream was always centred on the dreamer, so they had to be somewhere on the fair grounds. Maybe in the giant tent... it would be the appropriate place for them to be, considering that it clearly was the centre of the event.

    Looking closer at the giant construction Akeya finally settled her internal debate over what kind of place this was. It was a circus. Even someone like her, who rarely frequented festivals, could recognize a circus tent, a ridiculously oversized fabric construction meant to hold hundreds of people so they could all laugh and point as the circus folk did silly things and then acted like it was funny. At least, that's what Akeya had been told about circuses. Her lack of interest had led to her having little personal experience. Supposedly some circuses were a bit more serious, focusing on people and animals performing amazing tricks, including displaying magic abilities, but those were rarer and attracted a slightly different audience.

    As she walked Akeya cast her mind through the memories she had reading about circuses and their forbearers. In a way it made sense that at least one nightmare would be focused on a circus, as in the past these things really weren't as fun and harmless as they were depicted as in modern times. Circuses had a surprisingly nasty and bloody history, once you dug a little deeper. The first circuses hadn't been about silly performances or display of impressive skills. There hadn't been acrobats, or clowns, or jugglers, or bears balancing on a ball. The first circuses had been freak shows. The focus wasn't on the performance or the flashiness: what drew everyone's attention, what caused hundreds to flock together, was the desire to see freaks of nature, abominations and abnormalities that they could behold in awe and disgust.

    It was little more than another way to earn money from treating people and creatures like possessions. The freaks which were put on stage for everyone to gawk at were slaves and tools, living miserable lives. They had no freedom, no individual will they could express, no hope of improving their lot in lives. They were kept in cages, fed scraps, whipped whenever they didn't behave. If their freakishness was particularly noteworthy they might even end up being forced to mate in the hope that their offspring would be just as misshapen. The owners of the circus were little more than slavers, cashing in on the desire of the common man to see the grotesque and the bizarre.

    So no, she wasn't very surprised that someone would have nightmares about the circus.

    Finally reaching the giant circus tent Akeya was about to head inside when she heard sobbing. It was very soft, regularly interrupted by gasps that signalled panic and fear. It was the sound of a girl doing her best not to be heard but having to fight against her own emotions, as clearly something made her want to bawl her eyes out. There was fear in there, and sorrow and dread.

    Akeya was pretty certain she'd found the dreamer. Pushing open the flap leading into the giant tent she blinked as the inside was shrouded in dark. And not just normal dark, but a dark that even she herself couldn't see through. As the heretic dragon who mixed light and dark against the wishes of the heavens she found that rather concerning... but she might as well press on and see what she found.

    The only place where there was light was in the middle of the ring. Like a spotlight, only much smaller and weaker, it shone directly upon a single girl, curled up into a ball with her arms around her knees, sniffling into her legs and trying not to make a sound. The fear radiated off of her like light from the sun, filling the tent and making Akeya narrow her eyes. A child? That could explain why this dream had felt so vibrant. Children didn't hide their emotions very well: they wore them on their sleeve. Adults tended to complicate matters.

    Walking forward Akeya approached the girl, noting that she couldn't even see herself inside this dark shroud that blanketed most of the tent. "So, and what's your nightmare about?"

    The girl's head whipped around, and she stared in Akeya's direction with wide eyes, apparently frozen in place. She didn't even try to stand up or anything even though she was trembling all over. "W-who... who are you?" Her voice was high-pitched, choked.

    "Just a wanderer at the moment. What's going on here? Where is everyone else?" As the last question left her lips the girl buried her head in her legs again, her sobbing resuming with renewed intensity. Still, she tried to answer between all the tears. "Th-the others... They're... They're... Th-they're all-!"

    "They're all having fun... can't you see?" A new voice resounded through the dark, a nasal voice which immediately got on Akeya's nerves. It had a kind of sickly sweetness to it, as if it was meant to sound endearing but instead sounded depraved. As the voice spoke more spotlights illuminated the inside of the tent, allowing Akeya to see what the girl had been surrounded by this entire time.

    Bodies were strewn about in the ring, dried up blood having turned the sand into red mud. Intestines had been ripped from stomachs, skulls had been smashed, limbs had been torn off. Yet each person still had their face, their expressions forced into horrible grins, cheeks torn open to make the smiles even bigger than they naturally could be. Some of the bodies didn't even have eyes, but the grins were ever-present.

    Beyond the ring the stands were filled with similar corpses, draped about as if they'd been watching the show before Akeya's arrival. Some of them even had some of that cheap food in their laps and in their torn hands, although the food was rotten and spoiled. Akeya, who wasn't exactly a fan of people being that excessively joyous, found the entire scene simultaneously macabre and highly irritating. But she could see why the girl in front of her might have a more terrified reaction. Most humans probably would. The dragoness just turned to look at where the voice had come from, but there was nobody there.

    "Let's leave this tent first." Reaching forward with her tail Akeya wrapped it around the girl, lifting her up in the air before turning around and walking back towards the exit. The girl at first resisted, but after the twilight dragon formed a prismatic sphere around her she remained still, almost catatonically so.

    "Are you sure you want to leave? The show is about to start~" That same creepy voice again, and this time Akeya also heard footsteps. They were irregular, uneven, and it soon became clear: from the backstage appeared another corpse, but this one looked monstrous rather than mangled. Its joints bent in odd directions, its hands looked like claws, and its face was the stereotype monster clown, a horrible rictus of a smile, mad hollow eyes, and sharp needle-like teeth. The fact that the skin was as pale as maggots just complemented the entire thing.

    "Don't worry, the first show is free~" A gurgling giggle escaped the clown's lips as he reached down and ripped the heads from some of the corpses in the ring. Juggling them he slowly advanced, the flying heads somehow constantly looking at Akeya and her passenger. The dragoness raised her eyebrows, then narrowed her emerald eyes. She was not in the mood for this.

    "Get lost." Pointing towards the clown she released a burst of sunlight, bright enough to illuminate the entire tent and leave everyone other than herself blinded. Within the next second she was standing outside, turning around to watch several more of those monster clowns slowly head towards the exit, each of them gurgling and giggling as somehow they were visible amidst utter dark.

    "I'll admit, when I was thinking of monster clowns I didn't think they'd go to this extreme. I'm actually rather impressed." Akeya commented as she slowly lowered the girl to the ground, dispelling the prismatic barrier. The child quickly latched onto the dragoness's leg, shivering as she looked away from where the undead clowns were slowly reaching the fabric that separated the insides of the tent from the rest of the world.

    "There's much more laughter to be had-"

    "No." Raising her hand Akeya formed an orb of light which was as bright and fierce as the sun itself. With a forward motion the sun smashed into the circus tent, then swelled up and swallowed the entire thing, basking the fair grounds in its noonday light and for a moment dispelling the dark of night. The illumination only lasted for seconds, but after that the circus tent was one giant bonfire, burning away merrily. The clowns were gone, although Akeya was pretty sure she could smell burnt flesh.

    "Well, I can see why you'd be upset." She reached down with a clawed hand to pat the girl on the head. "I really hope this isn't based on true events, but I'm starting to think that hope is false. However, listen well." The girl wasn't making any sound, so the dragoness assumed she was listening. "Whatever may have happened in your life, you're still alive. You'll have to make peace with what happened and move on."

    "B-but..." The girl spoke in a shaky voice, her face still hidden against Akeya's leg. "M-my parents... Th-they were also..."

    "...I see." Akeya looked back at the burning tent, then carefully turned the girl's head until she was looking at it as well. "In that case you should say goodbye and tell them whatever you think they need to hear." She really didn't know how this kind of thing worked, so she was just legging it.

    The girl was silent for a bit longer, then spoke again. "Mom... D-dad... I-I'll... I'll be g-good... A-and... I'll..." She swallowed heavily. "G-goodbye M-mom... Goodbye... D-dad."

    Akeya patted the girl on the head again. "Think of it like this. This reality is huge and strange. There's a good chance you'll see them again, in some form."

    Now the girl was looking up at her, tears in her eyes. "R-really?"

    "Definitely. There's plenty of beings who can communicate with the dead."

    The girl stared a bit longer, then nodded and closed her eyes. A familiar light enveloped her and then Akeya was alone again, the burning tent turning into a campfire and the clearing around her shrinking until it was of suitable size of someone travelling alone, with trees in the distance.

    "Of course it's going to be difficult to laugh when you associate laughter with your family being killed."

    WC: 1,894
    TWC: 1,894/1,000 (Completed)


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya) CADlsHa
    Between the Sun and the Moon, where it is neither Day nor Night, the Dragon of Twilight sleeps.

    Character|Magic
    Akeya
    Akeya

    Twilight Dragon


    Twilight Dragon

    Dragon VIP Status- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Dragon Slayer- Rich- Veteran Level 1- Character Application Approved!- Character History!- Magic Application Approved!- Get A Pet!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Novice [250]- Player 
    Lineage : Hic Sunt Dracones
    Position : None
    Posts : 1176
    Guild : Fairy Tail
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Mentor : Whedalsin
    Experience : 12,330

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic
    Second Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic
    Third Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic

    [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya) Empty Re: [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya)

    Post by Akeya 30th October 2020, 6:08 pm

    Cassiti

    Akeya remained at that clearing for a while, taking her time after already having dealt with eight nightmares. She didn't know how many more she'd have to deal with before she could address the root of the issue, but she was pretty sure there weren't a lot left. Unless she couldn't find any big nightmares and had to make do with smaller ones. While those were probably easier to solve she doubted they would have as much of an impact on the dreamworld as the big ones. Besides, so far the bigger ones had been pretty easy for her to deal with. Of course that might also be because while others would be horrified by all the things she'd been exposed to, their sympathy and empathy causing them to feel the fear, despair and horror of the ones trapped in nightmares, Akeya just observed it all with minimal immersion and did her best to figure out how to resolve the entire issue. It was probably a good thing that scientist had chosen her for this task: an empathic person might have an easier time figuring out how to soothe someone's fears but at least Akeya wasn't in danger of developing trauma in response to all these nightmarish encounters.

    Squatting in front of the fire the dragoness used her tail as a third leg. Unlike tailless species for whom such a position would be a balancing act Akeya could maintain this for hours on end, her strong tail resting on the ground and giving her the third support point needed for balance. Just that alone already made having a tail far better than not having one, although Akeya could imagine that those without tails wouldn't see it that way. Those who were lacking in something were always good at thinking of reasons why it was advantageous to not have that thing. She imagined that it had to do with evolution: people who could see the bright side of things weren't as quickly burdened by stress and trauma, which made them more efficient when it came to not dying.

    However she'd already considered that theory many times, and she wasn't about to start doing it all over again. Instead she finished her break and stood up, preparing to return to her base of operations when suddenly she heard approaching footsteps. The footsteps were accompanied by the soft squeaking of little wheels and the rumbling of said wheels moving over bare dirt. Turning her head to the side Akeya watched with genuine curiosity and confusion when an old lady dressed like a witch approached her pushing a cart, smiling as if there was nothing out of the ordinary. Another dreamer?

    "Oh, g'day there." The woman called out in a friendly voice, apparently genuinely happy to see Akeya the same way she'd greet another stranger. That Akeya looked like a dragon woman wasn't worth a second thought for this strange fake witch, seemingly. Akeya just nodded as the other woman approached, raising one eyebrow in curiosity. She couldn't feel anything suspicious from this costumed person, and given that in the world of dreams it seemed incredibly difficult to actually harm anyone she didn't have much reason to be on her guard... at least, not overtly so.

    For her part the old lady just held up one of the many treats stacked on top of her little cart, holding it out to Akeya. "Won't you do me a favour and eat this deary? I put a lot of effort into making this so I hope you'll enjoy it." The assassin's confusion mounted rapidly as she looked at the offered food. It was a doughnut with an orange tinge to it. "...What kind of doughnut is it?"

    "Pumpkin-flavoured!" The fake witch proclaimed proudly, holding it out a little bit more insistently. "I put a lot of effort into making them and I'm very proud of how they turned out. Now, come on, have a taste and see for yourself!" Akeya had to admit she wasn't entirely happy with how pushy this random stranger was, but after considering her options she rolled her eyes and grabbed the doughnut, taking a bit out of it. She'd eaten pumpkins before, but she never found them that tasty... although she had to admit that the lady had indeed done a pretty good job making these. "Well, you're not lying, these are very good." She admitted after swallowing the first bite.

    The costumed lady smiled proudly in return. "Thank you my dear! It's always a delight to see people appreciate your baking. Now, I'd stick around and chat a little longer, but I've got to deliver these to others as well. Happy Halloween!" With that she rolled her cart out of the clearing, happily humming to herself. Akeya watched her leave, still confused even as the doughnut remained in her clawed hand. "...Is it All Hallows' Eve already?" How long had she been asleep by this point?

    Shaking her head Akeya stepped forward to return to the mountain peak she now felt very familiar with. Her clawed feet quickly settled into their usual position, sharp talons grasping hold of the solid rock to cement her position while she gazed out over the vast world of dreams. Like before the landscape had shifted from before, even if the mountain remained the same. Most likely because Akeya's focus was on the mountain, whereas the world below her was mere background for her search for more nightmares. The twilight dragon closed her eyes as she once again began to search for the largest nightmare stares, a web of terror and dread rising up in her mind's eye. As she expanded her search she took another bite from the doughnut. It really was quite good.

    As she'd suspected, the nightmares had greatly diminished in their presence. Each nightmare fed the web, so when someone came along and started removing the biggest nightmares the result was that the web as a whole weakened. She was pretty certain that several nightmares which had been rather prominent before had already disappeared entirely, a sign that the corrupted grasp the culprits had on the world of the waking was quickly weakening. Given how their plan revolved around something as nasty as dragging people into their own worst nightmares Akeya felt satisfaction at the progress she'd made. She might not be the nicest of people, not by a long shot, but she also wasn't cruel: she just found the well-being of others irrelevant to her own motivations. But that didn't mean that she didn't dislike those who intentionally took the most twisted of paths to achieve their goals. If nothing else it was almost always unnecessary, a path chosen to fuel some emotional desire rather than the pragmatic approach. A sick pleasure from watching others suffer, satisfying a grudge which made them feel entitled to behave like a prick, or maybe just a wild maelstrom of negative emotions that made them lash out at others in an attempt to lessen their own suffering.

    Whatever the reason, Akeya found it the sign of a weak person and had a low opinion of those who'd let their emotions control them like that. She much preferred those who like her were willing to perform acts normally considered horrid because it was the pragmatic choice. From what she remembered of Belinda's explanation this entire fiasco might be caused by a group of spirits who wished that the inhabitants of the physical world returned to the world of dreams because they were upset at being neglected. Aside from how that was still an emotional motivation Akeya was pretty sure that there had to be more effective methods for that than to trap people in nightmares.

    As she got herself irritated about her adversaries she located another nightmare star of sufficient size that its removal should have an impact on the spreading corruption. Well, the corruption: with how many nightmare stars she'd shattered the corruption which was powered by the web of nightmares wasn't really spreading any more. By this point it was practically struggling to maintain the hold it had on the world of dreams. Good.

    This ninth nightmare star felt like... despair again. Horror as well, and a lot of guilt. Self-doubt and self-loathing. So a nightmare about someone having done something they feel horrible about. That could be tricky. With nightmares focused on external fears you could fix them by removing the threat or by giving the dreamer something they could use against that which they feared. When someone's nightmare was mainly about their own failings you had to play therapist, and while Akeya had a good track record with these nightmares so far she wasn't actually that great at fixing people's mental issues. Mostly because most mental issues revolved around personality traits she either didn't have or only in a diminished way.

    Shaking her head Akeya stepped forward into the nightmare star, the world around her shifting. The clear air from the mountain peaks turned into one made heavy by smoke. Dark smoke, accompanied by the smell of many different things burning. Wood, tar, straw, green plant matter, cloth, various other fibres. And of course the smell of burning flesh, skin, and bones, with the finishing touch of boiling blood. The sky was dark, the smoke of disaster mixing with clouds that promised thunder but seemed to be going easy on the rain. Rain that could have helped combat the fires that were raging but which were left to continue spreading with nobody doing anything to prevent the spread.

    Looking around Akeya found herself hovering in the sky, looking out over a scene which had played out throughout history countless times. Below her there was a city, a sprawling mess of manmade constructs surrounded on all sides by jungle. Somewhere isolated, then. Somewhere where the outside world would never hear about what happened until it was too late and everything had already been rendered into ash and charred husks. The jungle was on fire, as were large parts of the city. From her vantage point the dragoness could see that the fire must have originated from the city but the lack of control meant it had reached the surroundings trees and plants and had begun consuming them as well. Given the size of the jungle this fire would probably take days to burn itself out, and if Akeya's suspicions were correct... She saw a harbour on one side of the city, the boats and ships which were anchored at the piers ablaze as well. If this was an island civilization then the entire island may be consumed by the fire before it was all done.

    If someone was responsible for causing this Akeya could imagine that they wouldn't be very happy with themselves. Taking a third bite from her doughnut her sharp eyes surveyed what was going on inside the city aside from the fires. She'd been hearing shouts and cries, filled with rage and fear, from the moment she arrived here: a city which was tearing itself apart. A civilization which was reaching its bloody end, not because of external factors but because the people who made up that civilization could no longer tolerate each other. It was one of the main reasons why civilizations fell: after reaching their peak people would slowly become more entitled, forming feelings of envy and distrust towards their fellows. Disparity between different classes in the society would increase, discontent would rise, and eventually a single spark would light it all aflame, leaving behind remnants too weak to survive.

    She watched as humans attacked each other with savagery and ferocity which they would otherwise claim to be above. Their expressions were twisted into rage, hatred and fear, their words filled with a desire to see their perceived enemies dead. Bodies lay broken in the streets, stabbed and cut and beaten. Some of them even had entire body parts missing, their blood painting the paved roads a vibrant red. Where some buildings had already finished burning out there were charred husks of people and their possessions.

    All of this was very educative and Akeya wouldn't have minded observing a bit longer to get a better grip on things, but she had the person who dreamed up this nightmare and shake them awake. She doubted they would be in the middle of the fighting: they'd probably be observing from somewhere like herself, watching the consequences of their actions with mounting horror. Scanning the city the dragoness's emerald eyes focused on a single figure standing at the edge of a tall building near the middle of the city. The building was one of the biggest in the entire city, with multiple layers and decorated with gold and other fancy stuff. Akeya was pretty sure that was a temple. Perfect.

    Spreading her wings Akeya flew over to the temple, landing close to the lone figure. A woman with the same dark skin as the people fighting in the streets below, her hair separated into several long dreadlocks banded by golden rings. Average height and shapely figure, although Akeya imagined that she was a bit too busy with being horrified at what she'd wrought to appreciate the compliment if she spoke out loud. Instead the dragoness just watched the lady's expression, one of despair and panic and confusion, before finally speaking up. "So... what did you do?"

    A startled glance, several steps back, and for the moment the woman's attention was entirely on Akeya, ignoring the bloodshed in the city as she instead tried to make sense of the new arrival. "Who are...?" She asked before cutting herself off. Maybe she realized that she wouldn't get an answer, as Akeya just watched her coolly. Despite her initial surprise the... priestess? Didn't seem to be terribly worried about Akeya's presence. Licking her lips her eyes darted back and forth, trying to answer the dragoness's question but struggling to do so. "I... I thought that they would be happy hearing the words of Aryannrhod. I never could've... I wouldn't have..." She turned her gaze back towards the civil war that was tearing the city apart while the jungle kept feeding the sky more black smoke. "I don't know what's happening."

    "Well, I didn't exactly ask for your reasoning. I just want to know what you did." Akeya had patience, but she also wanted to get this woman to hurry up and get to the important part. Once she knew what exactly this person had done she could think of a way to fight the underlying fear. Although she figured that it had something to do with unwittingly bringing about the downfall of a civilization. "Also, what's your name?"

    "My name? It's... Cassiti. Cassiti Calixte." Cassiti answered slowly, her eyes moving back towards Akeya. "As for what I did..." She cast her eyes to the ground, her hands clenching into fists. "I... am an oracle of Aryannrhod. My task is to bring the word of our goddess to our people, to help guide them through this world. Our goddess wants us to live in balance with the world, taking and giving in equal measure." As she watched the battle in the streets her lips quivered, tears trailing down her face. She'd been crying before as well, Akeya could tell. "I didn't think... that they would react like this. Should I... not have told them?"

    "What did you tell them?" A civilization ended by a message from their guardian goddess? Akeya actually found that a funny thought, but mostly because she didn't hold the deities in high regard. She was pretty certain they were primarily self-absorbed and arrogant nuisances who saw reality as their plaything. That one of them ruined their civilization was just fitting. Although she wouldn't say that out loud.

    "I told them that... Aryannrhod wants us to move to the mainland." Cassiti swallowed heavily. "She says that in our current state, isolated on this island, we are not truly in balance with the world. We remain unchanging while the rest of the world drifts by, and static is not the same as balance."

    Akeya raised her eyebrows at that. Interesting goddess. "So she told you to tell these people to just upend their lives and move to another place en masse? From the looks of it they didn't receive that command well."

    Cassiti flinched, but didn't disagree. "They... argued. Some of them thought I must have interpreted Aryannrhod's words incorrectly. I told them that I was confident that this was what our goddess wanted. They kept arguing, saying that it was dangerous and that they had lives here." She was talking to herself now, allowing Akeya to listen in as she went through the events once more. "At first it was still fine, but then the arguments changed. Suddenly they were saying that the servants of Aryannrhod were using her name to control their lives. Others said that this was blasphemy. There were... so many different grievances suddenly being brought up."

    "A bit odd that this temple is left untouched for the most part then."

    "They'll be coming for me eventually. This all started with a meeting in the town square. It was meant to be a way to address everyone's concerns on neutral ground, away from the temple. But then... then..." Cassiti wrapped her arms around herself. "I was watching from here, but I saw them begin to fight. The guards moved in but that just made it worse. At first it was just punching and kicking but then one of them used a dagger. And then..." Cassiti didn't finish the sentence, but Akeya didn't exactly need the words to be said. A story of an isolated civilization which had been doing quite well, only for a single event to lay bare all the problems, all the negative thoughts, all the distrust. Any society with a distinct hierarchy was a breeding ground for both disdain and resentment. In this case the priest class most likely had developed conceit over time while the rest of the people had grown wary of how they'd have to do anything a religious figure told them to do, in the name of their goddess.

    Could this have been avoided? Probably not. Such things were inevitable. One of the reasons why dragons fared as well as they did was because they were solitary creatures. Aside from clashes when one's territory was invaded most dragons were perfectly content to stick to themselves. Any dragon who did try to cause trouble didn't last very long. Civilization, on the other hand... too many different people with too many different opinions, thoughts and desires.

    "I just wanted... to bring balance to my people... Aryannrhod, why is this happening...?" Akeya watched as Cassiti sat there, hugging herself and trembling as she tried to make sense of all this. "I did what you asked of me... is this what you wanted...?"

    Well, Akeya had a pretty good image of what was going on here now. The question was how she would wake this woman up from her nightmare. She'd have to confront the fact that she failed without it breaking her, which was a tricky case, as the dragoness had already anticipated. Folding her arms Akeya frowned as she considered what to say. "...You do realize that this was inevitable, right?"

    "...What?"

    "Telling everyone they have to leave their homes and go live somewhere else? You'd actually have been lucky if they just laughed it off and called you crazy. Civilization is a fragile thing: a single push can reveal its unstable nature and cause it to tear itself apart." Akeya shrugged, even as Cassiti stared at her with wide eyes. "If it wasn't what you said then something else would probably have resulted in this."

    "But... I was the one... If I hadn't... I shouldn't have..."

    "As oracle your task is to interpret the will of your goddess and relay it to the people. Not much you can do about that when the will of your goddess causes the people to devolve into barbarism."

    "No... If I'd been more careful I could have avoided this. Why are you...?"

    "You want to blame yourself? Okay, fine, sure." Akeya went right over Cassiti, the dragoness watching the carnage in the distance as she spoke. "Yes, you could have done it differently. You could have carefully brought up the idea without fully committing to it. You could have put more effort into keeping everyone placated. You could have spent your time addressing people's concerns before it all came to this." Cassiti flinched with every line, but Akeya kept going relentlessly. "So many ways you could have prevented this or lessened the damage. But you know what? That's how life goes. Hindsight is perfect. But more importantly..." She turned her emerald gaze to Cassiti, draconic eyes boring into the woman's soul. "You could still try to make the best of the situation. Go fight the fires. Rescue those who aren't consumed by their anger. Go do something to make sure that after all of this there's still something left. You say that Aryannrhod wants balance in the world. You caused this, so instead of sitting here and weeping go and try to resolve it. You might not succeed, but if you can only act when you're certain it'll work out you might as well slit your own throat immediately because that's not how reality works."

    "Failure is not an option - it is mandatory. The option is whether or not to let failure be the last thing you do." Akeya once found a little book with seventy insightful lines. While clearly some of them were meant to be amusing rather than insightful some of them did help give you a more pragmatic outlook on life.

    Cassiti's eyes widened as she kept staring at Akeya. She seemed stunned by the dragoness's words. Slowly, however, her expression became firm as her shaking stopped. Pushing herself up she set her jaw as she looked at Akeya, then at the burning city. She cast her eyes on the jungle, then looked back at the assassin. "...You're right. I have to... I have to at least try." Giving herself a rough shake the dark-skinned woman stepped forward. While she clearly was still struggling at least she had the motivation to move now. Coming to a last halt she looked at Akeya one last time. "...You could have said it more tactfully, but... thank you." With that the oracle began to run, a familiar light enveloping her before she disappeared.

    With Cassiti gone the fires that had been feasting on the city and the surrounding jungle died out, and the people down in the streets slowly decreased in number until there were none left. Instead Akeya was left standing at the entrance of a large temple overlooking an old and abandoned city, with plants having claimed large parts of it. The dragoness actually found it quite a nice scenery. The sky also cleared up a little, although many clouds remained.

    "Figures that the nightmare about guilt would belong to a priestess."

    WC: 3,860
    PWC: 3,860/2,500 (Completed)


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya) CADlsHa
    Between the Sun and the Moon, where it is neither Day nor Night, the Dragon of Twilight sleeps.

    Character|Magic
    Akeya
    Akeya

    Twilight Dragon


    Twilight Dragon

    Dragon VIP Status- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Dragon Slayer- Rich- Veteran Level 1- Character Application Approved!- Character History!- Magic Application Approved!- Get A Pet!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Novice [250]- Player 
    Lineage : Hic Sunt Dracones
    Position : None
    Posts : 1176
    Guild : Fairy Tail
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Mentor : Whedalsin
    Experience : 12,330

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic
    Second Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic
    Third Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic

    [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya) Empty Re: [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya)

    Post by Akeya 6th November 2020, 7:47 pm

    Seika

    While Akeya enjoyed the scenery of the lost city in the jungle she couldn't stay here forever. By this point she'd become familiar enough with the world of dreams that she could almost feel how the nightmares had weakened all around. Was that the usual reaction people had to the world of dreams? That they could feel things such as corruption and the presence of others? The dragoness couldn't say for sure, because she tended to do her own thing. The advantage of this was that she wasn't bound by the same limitations that others often struggled with, but it also meant that when she encountered something she had little understanding off she couldn't use herself as a baseline. For all she knew it wasn't normal to be able to just step from one dream into the other with no repercussions: Belinda certainly hadn't sounded very confident about how Akeya was meant to stop the disaster that was looming over both the world of the waking and the world of the dreaming.

    But enough pondering about the imponderables. She'd have to try and figure this out later. For now the fact was that she could feel that her hard work was bearing fruit: She hadn't noticed it at first, but when she arrived the world of dreams had appeared... tense. A difficult term for what was essentially a world rather than an individual, but Akeya was no stranger to the unusual or the difficult. Usually she played a part in things being unusual and difficult for other people, not least of which being scenarios which involved directly interacting with her lovely personality. Currently the world of dreams was a lot more peaceful, as the plants which had overtaken the city seemed to avoid causing any damage to the structures even as grass poked out from the cracks in the streets and some trees even grew on top of the buildings. Even the temple behind her wasn't unaffected, although no tree had yet taken roots in its surface.

    Although Akeya's moment of peace was quickly interrupted when she turned her attention to the temple behind her. She felt something inside of there, tendrils of dark seeping out from the entryway like dark mist. The twilight dragoness narrowed her emerald eyes. Unfortunately for whatever was in there magical dark didn't hinder her any more than mundane shadows did, so its attempt at obscuring the insides of the temple did it no good. However it did alert her that there was something which actually was trying to hide something, which given the circumstances was enough reason for her to investigate and deal with the issue if that turned out to be necessary.

    Of course she could have just left: whatever was in there wasn't hindering her departure if she so wished. However she could already tell that whatever it was, it would follow her. And she'd rather deal with it now while she wasn't dealing with another nightmare. Were the spirits responsible for this situation finally striking back at her? It wouldn't surprise her, given the damage she'd done to their plans... but on the other hand it seemed a bit strange that they'd use this approach. Especially since they should known that she had no reason to fear the dark.

    Shrugging the dragoness walked into the temple, glancing around as she tried to locate the source of the problems. The large main entryway of the temple led into a large room, large enough that the ceiling was in fact the roof of the temple itself, with a central hole letting light shine down into the shadowed interiors below. To both sides there were other openings leading further into the temple, but the back of the hall was occupied by a large altar, which together with the large stone bowl directly underneath the skylight must be used for ceremonies and rituals. Akeya wondered if it looked like this for the last nightmare owner, or if this is what it turned out after that woman left and the dragoness was left to impose her own imagination upon the place.

    The one responsible for drawing her attention was quickly found, as it was floating above the ritualistic stone bowl: A figured dressed in the tattered remains of formal clothes which went out of fashion at least a century ago, dark colours with some red and gold thrown in. Aside from the fact that the outfit was tattered there was no bottom part, and no legs either. The creature's hands were thin and stark inside velvet gloves, one of them holding onto a lit lantern with overly long fingers. As for its head, rather than skin and hair there was a pumpkin, dark despite the fiery glow that surrounded not only the head but the entire figure. While the light of the lantern was clearly meant to illuminate the ominous glow that shrouded the figure itself was actually making it harder to make out precise features. A light that obscured.

    Combined with the candy lady from before Akeya was convinced that it was All Hallows' Eve in the world of the waking and she'd been asleep for a lot longer than she'd imagined. She glared at the figure as she felt its stench infiltrate her nose. A demon. She hated demons.

    "Greetings! I am Sir Jacky Pumpolian the 3rd! No need to be frightened, I don't mean any harm!" The demon cackled, a raspy sound that echoed throughout the chamber. For all his reassurances Akeya wasn't convinced in the slightest, although she did keep walking until she was a scant few meters distanced from the strange entity. "What do you want then?"

    "What I want? Why, nothing more than to pose a challenge to you, mortal!" Sounding overly jovial Jack apparently ignored the narrowing of Akeya's eyes as he called her a mortal. She wasn't some deity who'd get overly offended at the mere idea of being a mortal, but at the same time she didn't have much patience with demons in the first place so it didn't take a lot for her irritation to rise. "Something silly I'm presuming, given the circumstances!"

    "Silly? I'm hurt!" Akeya would have believed that if he wasn't still cackling as he said it. His voice echoed oddly, which just annoyed her even more. "My challenges are meant to be a serious test of your wit and cunning! Calling them silly is an insult to my craft!" He leaned back as if leaning against something, despite floating in mid-air without a lower body. "However I won't judge you for it, for I am a gentleman. Instead I pose my challenge! Answer my riddles three or suffer a terrible fate!" With those words the entire chamber was filled with dark, with little wriggling lines of orange light serving to cast shadows more than actually illuminate.

    Akeya wasn't very fond of riddles either. They were often too subjective: what might be teeth for one person would be spiders for the other, and how could you say which one was correct? She wasn't going to put up with some demon playing around with her and asking her riddles of which the answer could be many things. "No."

    "...Pardon?" Jack appeared to be genuinely surprised, apparently having presumed that as irritated as she was she would at least accept the challenge.

    "I've got no interest in your games. Leave or be forced to leave."

    The pumpkin wraith, still visible in the dark, looked stunned for a moment before his grin threatened to split his oversized head in two. "Oh-ho! A feisty one! However, if you refuse to play then your fate is sealed!" Cackling wildly the wraith sent its shadows at the dragoness, the twisted shapes swirling around her and reaching out to pluck her soul out of her body.

    Akeya, for her part, waited until the dark-based attack was close and then reached out with a clawed hand, grasping it and ripping it apart. "Honestly I'm curious whether I could die in this world, but I'm busy."

    "Wh-wh-what? How did you-?" So far Jack had been composed, but seeing Akeya tear his attack aside like it was mere smoke clearly had taken care of that.

    "Twilight dragon. Now leave." Dashing forward Akeya closed the distance quickly, using Jack's surprise to catch him off guard and grab his head. Her large claw allowed her to hold it securely in her grasp. Holding the demon up she began to pour light into him, his entire body glowing as he struggled and squirmed. "Nono! Wait! Don't! I'll-" Before he could finish his pleas the twilight dragoness closed her clawed hand, crushing the demon's head while his body exploded in a burst of light. The flash was brief but intense, and afterwards all signs of the demon were gone.

    "And now that that is dealt with..." Turning around Akeya stepped forward, leaving the temple and moving back to her outpost on the top of the mountain. She'd already wasted enough time on the interloper.

    Closing her eyes and spreading out her awareness she quickly found that the web of corruption was now at its weakest. There weren't a lot of nightmares left and the ones which remained weren't very strong. The spirits responsible for this crisis might be trying to build it back up, but Akeya was destroying their foundations faster than they could throw up defences. Among the remaining nightmare stars none of them held the same ferocity and terror as the ones she'd dealt with before, but one of them held a deep sadness and loneliness which was good enough. Reaching out for it Akeya stepped forward, the world around her shifting as she entered what would turn out to be the last nightmare.

    The place she entered was a series of cliffs overlooking an endless ocean, with rain pouring down from dark heavens to the extent that it was difficult to say where the land ended and the water began. It was the kind of weather where you could imagine someone drowning while standing on solid ground. It was in fact such a heavy downpour that it did a good job of hindering Akeya's vision, which ignored obstacles of either light or dark nature but which couldn't pierce through solid hindrances. Whoever had this dream definitely was heavy on letting the weather match their emotions. Then again that seemed to often be the case for nightmares.

    Having figured out how this works by this point Akeya didn't bother searching too much and just walked into a random direction. The nightmare was focused on the dreamer, and therefore as long as you travelled you'd always find yourself facing the dreamer eventually. She ignored the rain that kept washing over her like an airborne flood, although she did use some minor magic to protect her eyes so she wouldn't have to keep them as slits just to avoid having droplets splatter against her ocular organs. It'd take more than a storm to stop her.

    As she expected it didn't take long before she found another figure walking amidst the rain, wandering aimlessly but at the same time looking as if they were searching for something. As she got closer she identified the person as a short woman with soft orange-pink hair and, curiously enough, golden eyes. Well, golden eyes weren't exactly uncommon but at the same time they did usually indicate that the owner was not your average citizen.

    "So, looking for something?" Akeya had to call out fairly loudly, as along with all the wetness the storm was making a lot of noise. The rushing of countless droplets and the howling of fierce winds threatened to overwhelm anything else that might dare to challenge the storm's might. The dragoness couldn't do much about that, so instead she resorted to simply yelling.

    The woman looked up, startled, then gave Akeya a curious glance before returning to her search. "Oh! Hello there, I didn't see you. Although I guess that's only to be expected given the weather." She laughed, but even with the storm drowning out the sound Akeya could hear that the stranger's heart was not truly in it. However before she could prod further the woman continued. "But yes, I am looking for something. You see I was out here with my friend when suddenly this storm hit us. She said that she'd find us some shelter but then she disappeared and I've been hoping to find her. I considered yelling but I don't think she'd hear me in the storm, so I was hoping that maybe she'd have left signs or something so I could track her down." She ended up volunteering quite a bit more information than Akeya had initially asked for, and the dragoness began to suspect that with this person getting her to stop talking might be the bigger challenge.

    "The weather is quite bad today. I'm pretty good at finding people, so I'll stick with you until you've found your friend." It sounded so selflessly altruistic that Akeya actually felt a bit uncomfortable, but she suppressed that. She wasn't someone who helped people for no reason but she also had no reason to turn people away if their problem was an easy one to solve. Aside from that helping this woman would resolve this nightmare and hopefully fix the issue of the corruption of the world of dreams.

    "Really? Thank you! I mean I thought you looked a bit odd but if you're offering to help me without me even having to ask you can't be too bad. My name's Seika by the way, my friend is called Aphelia and she's taller than me with silver hair and red eyes. She's very pretty but she doesn't like being flirted with which I always tell her that she should just accept but then she says that she isn't interested..." Akeya quickly began to regret this course of action as she joined Seika, the other woman going on and on about everything and nothing. While it gave Akeya a picture perfect grasp of the situation, Seika herself, and her friend, it was also so much noise that it was threatening to drown out the storm, illogical as that was.

    "I keep telling her that she it would help if she was nicer to her summons but she says that as long as they do as they're told it doesn't matter what they think or feel but personally I think that it would be an improvement because I've noticed when I summon them they're a lot more..."

    ...Maybe Akeya could leave this nightmare and find another? Or maybe this was the twisted spirits fighting back, drawing her into a nightmare which was also horrible for visitors.

    When there was a pause in Seika's onslaught of words Akeya quickly interjected. "So, you appear to care a lot about your friend, given how much you talk about her."

    Seika faltered a bit at those words, her liveliness dying down a little as the anguish that Akeya had felt from the nightmare stare finally seeped through. She hesitated before slowly replying "Well, yes... We've been friends for a while now and she's been a big part of my life. I don't mean romantically or anything but I can't really imagine what it would be like to not have her around. We trust each other and help each other out when needed, and really..." She cast her gaze into the distance. "I really hope I can find her. I mean even if it's not possible during this storm... But still..."

    Now that Akeya was paying closer attention to Seika she noticed that while the woman behaved lively and cheerful she showed signs of underlying disagreement with her behaviour even when she was prattling on and on. It was very subtle, and it might just be because she was currently heavily distraught over potentially losing her friend, but it was there. The dragoness came to a halt and looked up at the skies. "Finding her shouldn't be that difficult, actually. Just stay silent for a minute while I concentrate." While they'd been walking along the cliffside their surroundings hadn't changed much, in part because rain was the same wherever you went.

    She'd told herself that she couldn't do much about the storm, but was that the truth? This was a dream after all. And while Seika was the dreamer and had control over this bubble of reality maybe Akeya could borrow that power. She just had to make Seika believe that the dragoness could do what she said she could do.

    "I'm going to get rid of this weather, and then you can find your friend." Gathering quite a bit of magic in her scaled hand Akeya let it glow brightly, enveloping her claw even as the rain refracted the light a thousand times. Seika shielded her eyes even as the twilight dragon reached up, moved as if to grab the clouds with her glowing  hand, and then swept them away as if drawing aside the curtains.

    Within moments the weather had turned calm, the storm having disappeared into the distance with only the faint rolling of thunder an indication of its presence. The sun above finally could reach the ground once more, and as the two of them watched a large rainbow formed in the aftermath of the water-weather.

    "...Wow." Seika looked at Akeya in awe, but before she could say anything the dragoness pointed towards where the cliff sloped down towards a beach. There was another woman standing, dressed in blue-black clothes and with long silver hair cascading down her back and shoulders. And wearing a rather funny-looking hat.

    "Aphelia!" Completely ignoring Akeya Seika rushed over to her friend, who was already waving at her. The dragoness watched from a distance as the two reunited, the relief on Seika's face palpable. Of course even from this distance she had to listen to the peach-haired woman's waterfall of words as she was telling her friend how she was glad that she was all right and that she'd begun to worry that something must have happened. From the look on Aphelia's face she was used to this.

    With the source of the nightmare resolved Seika and her companion both disappeared in the same light which had claimed all the other dreamers. Leaving Akeya once more standing alone in the world of dreams. Gazing out over the ocean she turned around when she heard a crackling sound in the distance. There, far away, the mountain which she'd been returning to after every nightmare, was now surrounded by violent crimson clouds.

    "Dear twilight eternal did that girl talk a lot."

    WC: 3,120
    PWC: 3,120/2,500 (Completed)


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya) CADlsHa
    Between the Sun and the Moon, where it is neither Day nor Night, the Dragon of Twilight sleeps.

    Character|Magic
    Akeya
    Akeya

    Twilight Dragon


    Twilight Dragon

    Dragon VIP Status- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Dragon Slayer- Rich- Veteran Level 1- Character Application Approved!- Character History!- Magic Application Approved!- Get A Pet!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Novice [250]- Player 
    Lineage : Hic Sunt Dracones
    Position : None
    Posts : 1176
    Guild : Fairy Tail
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Mentor : Whedalsin
    Experience : 12,330

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic
    Second Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic
    Third Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic

    [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya) Empty Re: [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya)

    Post by Akeya 8th December 2020, 4:41 pm

    With the tenth nightmare having been dispelled Akeya could feel that most of the world of dreams was no longer under the grasp of the corruption. It looked like her hypothesis that the nightmares formed a web which fed on each other was correct, given that her plan of disrupting the corruption by removing strong nightmares which served as pillars had the desired effect. That said, the corruption wasn't completely done yet: it looked like the ones in charge of all this had gathered all their power around the mountain Akeya had called her base of operations. Most likely they were concerned that if they kept their influence spread out the dragoness would keep purifying it by removing the malicious interference in the world of dreams, although the assassin would be highly surprised if they weren't also planning to strike back at her now that she'd ruined their attempts at consuming the entire world with their nightmares.

    Although at the same time the warped bloody storm that raged around the mountain didn't seem inclined to move towards her. It stayed where it was, violent red lightning striking the steep slopes and cliffs of the tall mountain and ominous clouds swirling and churning. She could almost feel the resentment radiating from that storm, despite her only looking at it from far, far away. In the world of dreams distance didn't necessarily mean much, but even so she would have thought that from this distance their grudge wouldn't be this strong.

    Not that she cared.

    Narrowing her eyes the dragoness considered her options. She couldn't just attack them from this distance: for one thing, violence wasn't very effective in this world. Especially at the spirits which lived here and knew the place inside and out. She had to deal with them in another way. So far the path forward had been to address the source of one's fears, as those served as the anchors of the nightmares along with other harmful emotions. However she doubted that would work for the instigators of this attempt to corrupt the world of dreams and kidnap everyone from the waking world. How was she supposed to disable them?

    Well, maybe it would pay off to at least consider what made them act the way they did. According to that scientist this entire plan had originated from a desire to unite the world of dreams and the world of the waking. In the past the two worlds had been one, and these spirits wished to return to that state after feeling neglected and abandoned by all the creatures which had decided to spend most of their time in the world of the waking. So at the core of it all was a feeling of loneliness and a desire for company. She... couldn't really fix that the normal way. She had little motivation to stick around here just to make those spirits feel better, and quite frankly she doubted she alone would be enough. Especially given that her personality wasn't suited for making people feel appreciated.

    Folding her arms the dragoness let out a sharp breath. She couldn't immediately think of a way to approach this last part of the job, and it frustrated her. She wouldn't consider herself lacking in creativity or one-sided in her approach but she had to admit that she preferred it when elimination of the target was a real possibility. As it was she was left with no solid clues as to what she was supposed to do, and while she'd become more comfortable residing in the world of dreams she still wasn't an expert who could do whatever she liked. Especially at those who had more experience and expertise than herself.

    On the other hand, standing here pondering what to do wasn't helping either. If she waited for too long those twisted spirits might try to do something...

    Eventually she unfolded her arms she looked at the ground before her. In that last nightmare she'd figured out that she could affect the world of dreams directly by enforcing her will, although inside the nightmare she had to use the host's own imagination as a medium. Now that she was not inside a dream owned by any specific individual... Raising one clawed hand she held it forward with the palm facing upward, fingers stretched out as if ready to grasp something. Curling her scaled talons she raised the hand as she focused, imagining that she was grasping the earth and lifting it.

    It looked like her journey through the ten nightmares had paid off: in front of her a patch of dirt several meters across began to slowly float into the air, moving in accordance to the speed with which she raised her hand. Moving her hand from side to side the 'handful' of earth followed those directions as well. Releasing her grip Akeya watched as the dirt floated for a bit longer before falling back down.

    Okay, so that worked... but it wasn't good enough yet. The dragoness looked up at the skies. After she'd cleared them to cleanse the last nightmare they'd remained clear, with only a light breeze from the ocean. Keeping her eyes open Akeya willed the skies to turn dark again, not with storm clouds but with the dark of night. A network of stars would be the only illumination aside from a crescent moon, bathing everything in a clear silver light that was cold yet serene.

    As she imagined this the skies above her followed suit: the blue skies turned dark, the sun changed into the imagined crescent moon, and as she watched the twilight dragoness could begin to count the many stars that decorated the heavens, forming patterns alien and familiar. Stretching both arms to her sides she felt the moonlight shining down upon her, turning her skin pale and her hair and scales silver. Glancing to the side she willed a thorntree to rapidly emerge from the ground, within seconds growing from a mere sapling into a giant. A tree which in the world of the waking would have taken at least decades to grow that magnificent.

    Whether this was something anyone could do or if Akeya just had a knack for it she didn't know, but it looked like if you became familiar with the world of dreams you could impose your imagination upon the world the same way that you'd change your own dreams once you were aware that you were inside of one. While it was still far from ideal it at least meant that as long Akeya didn't allowed herself to become distracted or uncertain she could respond to whatever the twisted spirits had in mind to deal with it. She suspected that whatever they had planned for her it wouldn't be very pleasant.

    WC: 1,133
    PWC: 1,133/2,500


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya) CADlsHa
    Between the Sun and the Moon, where it is neither Day nor Night, the Dragon of Twilight sleeps.

    Character|Magic
    Akeya
    Akeya

    Twilight Dragon


    Twilight Dragon

    Dragon VIP Status- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Dragon Slayer- Rich- Veteran Level 1- Character Application Approved!- Character History!- Magic Application Approved!- Get A Pet!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Novice [250]- Player 
    Lineage : Hic Sunt Dracones
    Position : None
    Posts : 1176
    Guild : Fairy Tail
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Mentor : Whedalsin
    Experience : 12,330

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic
    Second Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic
    Third Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic

    [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya) Empty Re: [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya)

    Post by Akeya 22nd December 2020, 6:03 pm

    Well, no point in wasting any more time. She wasn't going to become any more prepared for what was to come next than she already was, and every second she stood here doing nothing the higher the chance that her adversaries would have some trap lying in wait for her. Akeya still wasn't happy that she didn't have a more concrete plan, but she wasn't some entitled brat who'd stomp her feet and refuse to move until the world gave her something she was satisfied with. As a professional assassin she often had to move with limited information about what was ahead: the only difference was that this time around she knew for a fact that murder wouldn't be a viable solution to the problem at hand.

    At least her ability to manipulate the world of dreams through her imagination and force of will would mean that she wouldn't be completely unarmed.

    Taking a deep breath the twilight dragoness stepped forward, the world around her shifting until she was once again standing at the peak of the mountain. Below her the slopes of the stone giant were consumed by the raging storm, painting even the heavens above with an angry red as lightning struck randomly. The feeling of resentment she'd felt from a distance was even stronger up close, along with something which would be hard to describe as anything other than malice. Which was strange... She thought that these spirits were motivated by loneliness and a feeling of betrayal more than a desire to inflict harm. While such feelings weren't very healthy or positive she would argue that they weren't necessarily malicious: for social creatures it was natural to experience such feelings if those they cared about had left them behind.

    Perhaps their loneliness had turned into something more ugly? Well that kind of went without saying given that they were trying to forcibly take over both worlds, but even so Akeya hadn't thought it was quite this bad. Not that it changed what she had to do... although she'd have to see if she could find some way to eliminate a target inside this world of dreams. Violence wouldn't work, but maybe she could destroy them by breaking their spirit? A thought that would probably get her denounced as evil by less pragmatic people.

    She didn't have much time to ponder that, however, as the ominous clouds below surged upwards until they enveloped the summit. Akeya narrowed her eyes as she forced her direct surroundings to remain untouched, but even so her power in this world was still insufficient to dispel the clouds entirely. She couldn't see anything other than the broiling clouds, with flashes of light to indicate the red lightning shooting about.

    "So, I've heard at least one reason why you all are doing this. Are you going to keep trying after I've shown myself capable of removing any nightmare you create?" Maybe these spirits would realize that their plan wasn't going to work if someone was going around sabotaging it and they'd be willing to give up. Or at least negotiate. Not the most satisfying of conclusions but Akeya focused on results.

    "We.... xjek... will not... give kaxil... up..."

    Akeya frowned as she tried to comprehend what was just said. It sounded less like words and more like... rumbling. She guessed they were using the clouds to communicate. Which was rather odd, but maybe they were worried that she could take advantage of any information she had on them. She'd definitely do so if she could, but she didn't think that was a realistic concern for now.

    "So you're going to keep making failed attempts? Every time I disperse a nightmare I become better at it, so unless you've got a plan to stop me I'll figure out how to stop you." Akeya kept her stance balanced, emerald eyes glancing around. She couldn't make out any specific details within the storm, but she wouldn't want to be caught off guard. And so far as she could tell she was speaking the truth: if they couldn't harm her then there wasn't a lot they could do to stop her, and eventually she'd become capable enough to remove not only the nightmares they inflicted upon others but also the control they had over the world of dreams.

    "Arrogant... rujk... We can... stop... himx... you."

    Akeya would have asked how they were planning to do that, but before she could do so the clouds converged and swallowed her. The dragoness tried to force them away, but it looked like she couldn't win in a contest of control with one of these spirits head on. Closing her eyes she focused on her other senses, feeling the world around her shift as the resentment and hatred of the spirit attacking her surrounded her like a sea of acid and venom. It really was good that she wasn't a social creature herself or such a flood of negative feelings would most likely have inflicted some mental damage on her.

    She didn't notice that something was wrong until she felt her clawed hands and feet begin to rapidly cool down. She tried to flex them, her alarm spiking as she realized that she couldn't. Her limbs wouldn't move. Trying to open her eyes she found that those weren't functioning either: her entire body was unresponsive. She could barely feel it either, aside from that chilling sensation that quickly had spread to every part. She was lost in a freezing void, unable to perceive anything other than the cold.

    "In death there is nothing. You shall remain here for the rest of eternity, buried and forgotten. Nobody will know that you are here, and so nobody will rescue you." The voice was clearer now, with a masculine tone to it. It also sounded both ruthless and confident. The spirit apparently was confident that Akeya wouldn't be able to escape this predicament. "Your terror shall feed the rest of the nightmares we shall use to return all those who abandoned us."

    Akeya would have taken a deep breath if she could. Instead she tried to focus on what she could still perceive. Aside from the cold and that voice there wasn't much. Even her magic sensory and her empathy had been smothered. At this point she wasn't even sure if she still had a body.

    So... was this death? Was this was came after life? Nothingness. Oblivion. Even the cold was now fading away, and the voice had gone silent. Akeya the twilight dragoness was left with nothing except her own thoughts, and even those were becoming sluggish as if she was sinking away into a deep sleep. A sleep from which she would never wake. That certainly sounded like death.

    Akeya was no coward, but it was true that she feared death. Death was the end of the line. All your goals, desires, plans, hopes... all of those would be lost once you died. Everything you were, every part of you, all of it would be gone. No more second chances. No more new experiences. There might be something like reincarnation or the afterlife but the current you would be gone one way or another.

    So to experience this oblivion, where she had to struggle to think straight, definitely was unpleasant. She instinctively struggled, instinctively tried to feel something, anything at all. Anything that reminded her that she was alive, that there still were things she could do. This wasn't about saving the world or anything silly like that: this was her own self she was trying to save here. If she died here... Well, it would be just like any death, but she didn't want to die in the first place. She'd heard many times of people who got tired of life, either because the suffering was too much or because they were just bored. She never could understand those people: she wasn't as emotional as others, which meant her experiences usually weren't as intense. But she still found the experiences of life worth it. It wasn't even anything she needed to support with rational thought: as a living being she wanted to keep living.

    But how to escape the current predicament? Akeya thought furiously even as she fought off the desire to sleep. She still needed to read more books. She needed to improve her abilities. She needed to explore more of the world. She needed to unravel the nature of magic and the rest of reality. In the back of her head she also thought about those three hatchlings she'd been made responsible for. She wanted to see them grow up. She wanted to meet up with Leila again. Life itself may not be important but she wouldn't let death take away her ability to exist.

    As she kept recalling everything she'd done and still wanted to do she realized that her thoughts were becoming clearer. Not one to let an opportunity slip through her claws Akeya began to think about even more things, in more detail. She'd gone a great distance in perfecting her control over both light and dark but there was still more to do. She was confident that she could impress almost anyone with her dancing abilities if she truly wished but there were still more steps to learn. There were more types of magic and more types of dragons out there to discover and investigate. There were more beautiful things to behold, memorize, and preserve. She still had to...

    "Kill the gods."

    Akeya didn't like the gods. She saw them as smug bastards who played with the world as their personal toy, with the creatures existing in that world being nothing more than pawns. She didn't necessarily want them dead but she did want to make it clear to them that they weren't safe from her retaliation if they tried to treat her as nothing more than a plaything. Just like this spirit was doing.

    The dragon's anger wasn't hot or energetic. It was cold, focused, deadly. However that was enough to fully revitalize her: her entire body tensed as she let out a threatening hiss, her eyes opening. She was surrounded by dirt and rock, but now that she was back in control that was easy enough to fix. Pushing herself upwards the grave she had been laid down in erupted. Stepping out of the hole Akeya immediately grabbed the figure who'd been standing at the foot of her resting place, pulling him close and staring straight into his eyes.

    "W-wait, how? HOW?"

    "All living beings fear death. It's a strong fear... but simple. Easy to beat." Akeya smirked as the spirit tried to escape, struggling and twisting in her grasp. "Just have to remember everything that matters and the fact that it's never truly over until the very end."

    There was a faint glow surrounding her. She recognized it instantly: the same glow which enveloped those who had awakened from their nightmare. However she wasn't done yet with this world of dreams. On the other hand...

    It would be difficult for her to describe how exactly she did it, but she forced that glow to travel up her arm into the twisted spirit before her. Even as he screamed the light surrounded him and then sunk into him, and it was as if the light burned away a layer. Underneath that layer the spirit, vaguely human-shaped and previously radiating resentment and malice, turned into a vibrant mix of colours and emotions. Squeezing her hand shut Akeya dismissed the purified spirit, then looked around. She was standing in the middle of nowhere, with old mountains surroundings a plain of barren wasteland. Her grave was the only real landmark. On the other hand she appreciated the peace and quiet.

    "And that's one."

    WC: 1967
    PWC: 3,100/2,500 (Completed)


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya) CADlsHa
    Between the Sun and the Moon, where it is neither Day nor Night, the Dragon of Twilight sleeps.

    Character|Magic
    Akeya
    Akeya

    Twilight Dragon


    Twilight Dragon

    Dragon VIP Status- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Dragon Slayer- Rich- Veteran Level 1- Character Application Approved!- Character History!- Magic Application Approved!- Get A Pet!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Novice [250]- Player 
    Lineage : Hic Sunt Dracones
    Position : None
    Posts : 1176
    Guild : Fairy Tail
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Mentor : Whedalsin
    Experience : 12,330

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic
    Second Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic
    Third Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic

    [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya) Empty Re: [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya)

    Post by Akeya 5th January 2021, 8:07 am

    So, the next step for the twisted spirits was to use Akeya's own fears to fuel the nightmares. That did make a lot of sense: as long as the dragoness was going around destroying their nightmares their plans couldn't proceed. The more nightmares she dispelled the better she became at it, and given that so far she'd been winning the contest between creating and purging nightmares their odds weren't very good. However if they could disable her that would change the equation to be in their favour again, and since they were working with nightmares anyway one of the easiest ways to disable her would be to trap her in a nightmare just like everyone else.

    It was the kind of thing Akeya herself most likely would settle on if she were in the shoes of these twisted spirits. It was an efficient solution which played to the strengths of her adversaries.

    Unfortunately for them this was going to be a challenge. While Akeya did fear death just like almost all living beings did beyond that she wasn't known to be quickly disturbed. There were many things that she was wary of and her paranoid nature meant that she was quick to assume the worst, but there was a difference between that kind of response and actual fear, which is what the spirits would need for their plan to work. Now that she'd figured out how to fight off the fear of death in this world of dreams that particular weapon most likely wouldn't be effective any longer, and the amount of things she was truly and legitimately afraid of didn't go much further than death.

    The dragoness planted her hands on her hips as she sighed and tapped her feet. Of course that wouldn't stop them from trying. Their fervour and tenacity was great enough that they were willing to consume the entire world: a single stubborn dragoness wasn't going to make them give up. The only way to resolve this situation was to force them to give up, and while she'd disabled one of them by forcibly purging the corruption from its being she wasn't entirely sure how many more there were to go. For all she knew there were legions of twisted spirits, or a mere handful.

    "This is going to be either arduous or challenging. Or both." Maybe she should spend some more time practising her control over the world of dreams? She'd managed to overpower that spirit by focusing on things that truly mattered to her, so while their control was probably still greater she could use the advantage that their attacks were focused on what mattered to her, and in the world of dreams where thoughts and desires were made reality that kind of thing was a potent advantage.

    She'd already figured out how to move about in the world of dreams: rather than direction it was destination which mattered. Beyond that she could control her surroundings through her imagination and force of will. And then she'd... somehow pushed that glow into that spirit. That last part she didn't truly understand yet, which could be important. Fortunately it didn't look like the other corrupted spirits were planning to attack again any time soon.

    Sitting down on the barren ground Akeya closed her eyes, her breathing becoming slower and steadier as she began to meditate. Well, not quite meditation, but something similar. A state of deep focus where she could consider all her thoughts in an orderly manner without interruptions or distractions. Given that she was in hostile territory she couldn't completely let her guard down, but it should still be worth the minor risk of being ambushed to think this through.

    Every time she'd freed someone from their nightmare they'd been enveloped by that glow, and quickly afterwards they'd disappear. From what Akeya could gather their disappearance coincided with them waking up and returning to the world of the awake. And when she forced that glow into a corrupted spirit the corruption was... purged? Cleansed? Afterwards the spirit seemed to have returned to normal, although the dragoness hadn't really given herself the time to test that before dismissing them. In hindsight that had been a hasty decision, although quite frankly she'd been feeling an adrenaline surge at the time from forcing herself to overcome the fear of death and probably hadn't been thinking clearly. A shame, but not exactly something she could do anything about right now. She could possibly hunt down another spirit... But she wanted to have this sorted out before she went into another nightmare situation. If she could somehow find a friendly, uncorrupted spirit who knew about these things it would be a different matter, but right now she didn't know how to find one of those. She could try to use those parameters as her destination while travelling, but as convenient as the method of transportation in this world of dreams was it wasn't automatic wish fulfilment. Every time she'd travelled she'd had some idea what she was moving towards beyond just a desire.

    Actually the fact that she could locate nightmares was in itself something she'd have to ponder on some more. It could be that in the world of dreams nightmares like the ones used to trap all those people Akeya had been saving were beacons for everyone who had an idea for how to sense them, but on the other hand she felt like even before she'd entered the world of dreams she'd recently developed a sense of... empathy? Although she imagined that anyone else would disagree on the notion that empathy was often associated with caring for people, whereas Akeya's ability, if she wasn't just making a mountain out of a molehill, was the more literal ability to tell what other people were feeling. It was vague enough that she wasn't confident about it, but there was... something. She'd always done her best to have a grasp of her surroundings, including the behaviour and mental state of people around her, but recently she'd become a lot better at that last part to the point where it required a lot less internal calculations than it used to.

    If she could actually pick up on what people were feeling that would be a huge boon, especially if it carried over into the world of the waking and she could develop it further. As an assassin such a skill was invaluable, which was rather ironic since one of the other traits Akeya carried which made her such a good assassin was that she largely was apathetic towards the wants and desires of others, leaving her with no reservations against eliminating her targets whereas more human assassins could be felled by their ethics and sympathetic feelings.

    For the moment, however, she could only safely conclude that she could detect nightmares with enough accuracy to find them in the world of dreams through the peculiar method of locomotion that this world provided to everyone residing in it or passing through. She could do so with enough confidence and skill that she wasn't very worried about suddenly losing the ability unless her enemies managed to figure out how to jam it, in which case she'd merely have to take care of their jamming effect.

    So, back to the actual topic, the glow... Given that she could direct it the obvious conclusion was that it was an actual force, rather than merely being a cosmetic side effect to another process. Her first guess would have been that it merely symbolized that the nightmare was being cleansed from the target's soul and that they were about to wake up, but now she was thinking that maybe it was an expression of the soul instead. Given how she'd been dealing with the nightmares (that is, addressing the fears which fuelled the nightmares) to purge a nightmare you had to disrupt the weakness inside the mind which served as the anchor. Once that was done that glow appeared and the target's soul was pulled out of the world of dreams.

    And if she could direct it... that glow was actually how the soul cleansed itself. Maybe. It was merely a hypothesis. But it could be similar to how the body fought off an infection, with the glow being similar to the pus. Other people would probably try to describe it a bit more elegantly, but Akeya had no delusions about how cleansing processes worked. Unless you could actually annihilate the infection (or corruption) entirely the best you could do was use some agent to absorb it and then remove it from the thing you wanted to cure, whether that was a biological body or a soul.

    Holding up a clawed hand she looked at it. She'd need some way to verify this. If she misjudged the nature of the glow then it could backfire drastically at the worst moment. People with lives similar to her own knew that you could be lucky a thousand times, but the first time you messed up and your luck didn't cover for you could immediately be the last time. Not because you learned afterwards, but because the mistake resulted in your life being forfeit, with there being several ways how you could lose that life. Only fools relied on luck or mere guesses. As you progressed through life and learned more things you might become better at making the right call, but you still should verify everything whenever possible so you were working off of facts and evidence rather than whatever made the most sense of you.

    The question, then, was how she was going to verify something like that. She could try to get caught in another nightmare, but with the corrupted spirits having turned their attention to her she didn't think that would be a safe move. And even if she could safely let herself be consumed by a nightmare and then try to fight it off that wouldn't necessarily teach her how to control the glow. She was pretty sure that if she hadn't forced that glow into the spirit and used it to purify the entity she'd have woken up then and there, which might have been a pleasant reprieve but wasn't something she could afford to do right now. There was no reason to believe time flowed equally in the world of the waking and the world of dreams: her waking up could mean that by the time she fell back asleep she'd be back to square one.

    Instead she'd have to use someone else as a guinea pig. A text subject. While she'd removed almost all the nightmares she should be able to find some weak ones which were still lingering around... and they'd be easier to deal with as well. The ten nightmares she'd dispelled throughout the course of her visit to the world of dreams had each been powerful. The average nightmare should be a lot easier to deal with, especially with all the experience she'd accumulated.

    But she'd first carefully think of the steps to take before she went to search for a nightmare. She wanted to study the glow, which would mean that she'd have to bring it forth inside the one serving as the anchor of the nightmare. Preferably in a way which wouldn't result in them immediately waking up. Could she hold onto their soul for a little bit before they freed themselves? She'd been able to grab that twisted spirit, but that was a resident whose main existence was inside this world. Souls might be a bit trickier to hold onto, especially when they were in the process of departing from this world of dreams and returning to the world of the waking.

    Even though she'd been in this world of dreams for a while now and had encountered several interesting scenarios she still wasn't very knowledgeable about all the mechanics. Not entirely surprising, given that a novice wouldn't become an expert just after a couple of weeks of tutoring. Only the extremely talented could pick things up that quickly, and even then they'd still have a lot to learn. Akeya did think herself a quick learner, but she couldn't just do everything flawlessly on the first try or understand the fine details of an entirely new world after trying out a couple of things.

    First things first, she'd have to find a nightmare to experiment upon. Given that she'd been rather aggressively removing the nightmares brought about by the twisted spirits that could be a problem: after those ten big ones their web of corruption had diminished until there was almost nothing left. Of course if she waited too long to make her next move they might start building up that web again, but given that she’d been able to dismantle it relatively easily she imagined that the twisted spirits would have as their highest priority finding a way to deter her. Whether that was by disabling her or reinforcing their defences so she couldn’t purge their nightmares as easily.

    It might be that she’d have to search for a natural occurring nightmare, and hope that it persisted long enough for her to use it to gather data about how the corruption and that purifying glow worked. The drawback was that she wasn’t entirely sure if natural nightmares had the same effect as the enforced nightmares, and finding a naturally occurring dream might in general be trickier. From what she could tell about how dreams normally interacted with the world of dreams they were like bubbles floating through the sky. While the inside and the outside were of a similar substance there was still a barrier separating them, so there was no guarantee that you could just enter the bubble. And if you tried there was a chance that your interference caused the bubble to pop and the dreamer to awaken. She’d have to be subtle about this…

    Standing up Akeya closed her eyes and focused, searching for emotions in the world of dreams. One advantage she had was that she somehow could sense the negativity that accompanied the nightmares. She would’ve thought that this was simply one of the effects of the world of dreams, except… before she’d taken on this mission she’d begun to notice that she was getting better at telling what people were feeling. Significantly better. In fact at some point she seemed to have stopped really thinking about all the tells which helped paint a picture of someone’s frame of mind. While she was by nature apathetic towards the needs of others her profession did require her to have a good grasp on how others worked and what they thought, so what she lacked in natural talent she made up for in meticulousness and analysis.

    It was possible that she’d been doing this for so long that guessing at people’s state of mind was becoming second nature to her, but at the same time it felt more… instinctive. Was she developing a form of empathy? Not the way other people used the term, where it was implied that you also cared about other people. This dragoness considered empathy in its most base form, the ability to understand what other people were feeling. The only reason that usually resulted in more caring is because most people were social creatures by their nature and thus knowing other people’s feelings also made them more attentive. In Akeya’s case it was just helpful while pursuing her own objectives.

    Nevertheless if she was beginning to develop an ability to sense emotions the same way she sensed dark and light she’d make use of it. If she could refine it even further that would only be beneficial, after all. So far she hadn’t noticed anything like a feedback effect where she shared their emotions, which could have compromised her own mind. That might in itself partially be because the effect was still so vague that she wasn’t entirely sure if it was an actual ability of hers or not, but she could keep an eye on how her attitude changed as she worked in improving her ability to tell what others were feeling. And if she could also learn how to read minds… an assassin who knew what others were thinking, not just feeling, would be one of the most dangerous entities in the world.

    And there was also the possibility that it was in actuality an extension of the world of dreams and she was unconsciously rewriting her memories to apply the same effect to her time in the world of the waking. Memories were fickle things: she usually had a firm grip on her own but if you weren’t careful you could end up using new data to alter old memories without ever noticing yourself. Constant training of your mind and memory was required to keep that kind of alteration to a minimum. Although if the world of dreams gave you the ability to sense feelings… Akeya was beginning to worry that the world of dreams didn’t have any strict rules on how its abilities worked. Maybe the only overarching rule was that since it was a world where your imagination becomes reality it worked whichever way you thought it should work. Akeya was a highly analytical and logical person, so for her the world of dreams laid out a set of rules which were strange but inherently consistent. A more fantastical person might get a very different effect inside the world of dreams, using rules which didn’t make any kind of sense.

    She’d have to study that more in the future. Probably after this mission was over, as while she wanted to know as much as possible about the world of dreams before dealing with the rest of the corrupted spirits she didn’t have infinite time… unless she could use the properties of this place to shape time itself? That was not something she could really experiment on in a situation where her time could be limited. She’d already hypothesized that time in this world of dreams and the world of the waking didn’t flow the same way, but controlling it was another matter altogether.

    As she was having all these thoughts she finally picked up on a nightmare. A small and weak one, almost laughably so compared to the ten big nightmares she’d already popped. Either corrupted nightmares were inherently stronger than natural nightmares, this nightmare wasn’t very strong even by natural standards, or both. Regardless, it was the first she found and she’d have to see if it was sufficient for her needs. Stepping forward Akeya opened her eyes as she found herself walking through the streets of the capital of Fiore, Crocus. As always it was almost excessively oversized and grandiose. Clover and Magnolia were also big cities but Crocus was openly flaunting the wealth of the entire nation. Not entirely surprising: the leaders wanted to make it clear just how powerful Fiore was under their rule.

    But that wasn’t what she was here for. She had to track down the one having the nightmare, figure out what the nightmare was about, and resolve it while carefully monitoring her test subject so she could get a better grasp on how to use that glow. Sniffing the air she headed towards one of the many squares that were scattered throughout the city, where people would meet up and many shops and stores were located. Crocus was one of those cities which had developed in such a way that if it didn’t have the rest of the nation to provide tourists and products it would quickly begin to shrink: its economy was primarily aimed towards services rather than the production of base goods.

    Reaching the square Akeya came upon a sight which quickly made apparent the nature of the dream and also caused her to snort. Compared to those ten nightmares this nightmare was indeed silly. She’d dealt with monster clowns, the death of loved ones, seas of blood, the loss of control of one’s own body and urges… and what did she find here? A man, curled up, arms wrapped around himself in an attempt to hide himself. He had short, wild black hair, grey eyes, and the mana he passively radiated spoke of the element of water. He also had a fairly fit build, which the dragoness could see very well because he wasn’t wearing any clothes. Apparently she’d stumbled upon a man whose nightmare was public exposure. It might be that her nature as a dragoness simply left her unable to grasp all the precise factors, but while she could imagine it being mildly embarrassing she couldn’t agree with it being a true nightmare to be seen naked. Or maybe it was just a difference in personality: not everything could be traced back to one’s species, and she was sure there were humans who were fine with being seen naked.

    Fortunately for the man most of the people walking around in the square didn’t pay him any attention, although what few stares he got already had him cringing and curling up further. Even if he was embarrassed about all this Akeya would still have thought it the smarter option to run away and find himself some clothes. Well, dreams generally didn’t lend themselves to people behaving rationally, so she could cut the man some slack. Walking closer until she was only half a dozen meters away she studied the man from behind, tilting her head. So she’d have to address his current situation. She could try to make him realize that being seen naked wasn’t that bad, or…

    So far she’d resolved nightmares by addressing the underlying issue. However what if she instead just got rid of the immediate problem? Like those dreams where she helped someone find a loved one they were searching for. Maybe it would give her new and useful data. In that case she already had a pretty good idea of what she could do to help this man. It was fortunate for him that she didn’t share his issues.

    Walking closer she first tapped him on the shoulder. ”Hey.” The man’s first response was to stiffen, but before he could do much more than that Akeya grabbed him by the shoulder and lifted him up, turning him around in the process so he’d have to face her. At first it looked like the man might try to stay curled up, but after a couple of seconds his dignity probably decided that being seen naked was still better than being handled by a toddler, lifted by the neck and held aloft. Even if the person holding him like that was a tall dragon-woman who could probably do that to most people. He looked at Akeya with his emotions open on his face: panic, shame, embarrassment, confusion, and a little bit of arousal. Not surprisingly even though he wasn’t comfortable in the current situation not all his instincts were geared towards revulsion.

    ”...Who-” ”Come with me.” Akeya didn’t give him a choice in the matter: grabbing him by the wrist she pulled him along as she walked towards a building she’d spotted earlier when she entered the square. A building which had a board hanging outside to advertise itself, with the kind of silly name which made it clear what it was even amidst all the other shops. No matter where you might find yourself, you could almost always find an inn or a tavern if you looked hard enough.

    The man behind her feebly protested, but despite those attempts he wasn’t actually pulling away or resisting too much. He used his free hand to try and preserve what dignity he had left, but beyond that he did his best to keep up with the dragoness’s steady strides. The truth was that Akeya had no idea who this man was, but also that this didn’t matter: he was only there for her to figure out more about the rules of this world of dreams, or at least the rules as they presented themselves to a mind such as hers.

    She quickly materialized a small bag of gold and tossed it to the man behind the counter as she dragged her victim up the stairs towards the first floor. As they were inside a dream she didn’t have to worry too much about any interference: as long as the man himself didn’t imagine such a thing the dream wouldn’t make it happen. Dreams often had a tunnel vision, which was useful in instances like this where Akeya didn’t want any outside variables making a mess of her experiments. She’d use it for some more research if she wasn’t sure that she wouldn’t be able to trust the outcomes for different reasons entirely.

    Opening the first door she stepped through, her tail swiftly closing and locking it once she’d pulled the man inside as well. Turning around she looked him in the eyes. ”Don’t say anything.” With that she pulled him closer, one scaled arm wrapped around him to hold him in a tight embrace while her other clawed hand rested on top of his head. Closing her eyes she began to focus on his emotional and mental state. At first the man was still stiff and panicked, but as time went on he relaxed and even moved his arms to wrap them around Akeya in return, the dragoness’s eyebrows twitching. On the way there she’d already noticed that the man’s focus was primarily on certain parts of her body, and it looked like now that she was holding him tight against herself he was daring to act accordingly. To a certain extent, at least. Evidently he was still not courageous enough to initiate anything more than the embrace.

    At first his emotions had been a mass of shame, panic and confusion. Now that he was given the chance to catch his breath somewhere where nobody could see him the panic and shame was quickly fading away. She could sense that he was still embarrassed, and plenty confused, but he was no longer having trouble remaining calm. It took less than a minute for his emotional state to return to a peaceful and positive level. The confusion and the embarrassment were still there but he was also radiating comfort and an increase in arousal. As a result of this he also began to produce that familiar glow, and Akeya could swear she could feel his mind becoming more aware as a signal that he was beginning to wake up.

    However she didn’t want him to wake up just yet. ”Don’t move.” She warned the man as her thoughts raced. Now that she could feel the glow forming while she was fully focused on it she could tell that it wasn’t anything like pus or soap, used to wash away the negativity of the nightmare. Instead it was a wave of positive feelings, purifying the mind. It was more like annihilation than washing. That went against her theory, but at the same time that might make it even more useful if she could get the hang of it. And beyond that… maybe she could alter the effect of the glow.

    Inside her own mind she quickly formed a mental image of a slightly different dream. A very slight difference, but with a completely different goal than the man’s original nightmare. It should also match the man’s new state of mind quite well. Taking the man’s positive feelings as a template Akeya pushed this mental idea, feelings and all, towards the man, a glow forming around herself and then flowing towards the man to combine with his own. While the man also disappeared it looked differently from the previous people the twilight assassin had purified: rather than a sudden disappearance it was more like he faded out without changing position. Like he’d shifted to a different phase rather than waking up.

    Akeya didn’t really feel like she owed the man anything, but since she’d used him as a test subject for one experiment she figured she might as well use him for another. Especially since the second experiment would be a lot more positive for him if it worked out. And it wasn’t like it was anyone she knew, so the only result would be that he’d wake up feeling very satisfied, rather than the faint embarrassment he’d have felt if he woke up out of his dream of public exposure.

    Stepping towards the door the dragoness blinked as she noticed that at some point her own clothes had also disappeared. Either the man’s dream had managed to affect her in a superficial manner, or the mental image she’d used to alter the man’s disappearance from the nightmare had also resulted in some small changes to herself. Staring down at herself for several seconds she shrugged and snapped her fingers before stepping out of the city and onto a clearing in the middle of a forest. Not that it mattered right now, although it could be entertaining in future dreams. Close by there was a small stream, but beyond that the clearing was very plain.

    So if her research was accurate the glow was like a pulse of positive feelings and thoughts, formed and emitted by the mind. This pulse would separate the mind from the negativity from the dream and allow them to either wake up or enter a more pleasant dream instead. She imagined that it could also change an existing nightmare into something more positive, as nightmares didn’t always have to remain nightmares until the very end. The interesting part was that apparently the positivity of mundane dreams wasn’t enough to prevent a nightmare forming in the first place.

    Looking towards the stream Akeya thought about how that would work. It could be very similar to a river: the stream might be large and strong even under normal circumstances, but a well-constructed dam could still block it. After the flow was obstructed the river had to build up strength before it could force itself through the blockade, if it was capable of doing that at all. While a normal nightmare might not require such a forceful wave of purification the corrupted nightmares had an element to them that prevented a more gradual improvement, so one had to build the dreamer up to a state similar to an epiphany to create strong enough a pulse to negate the fear that served as the anchor of the corrupted nightmare and remove the entire nightmare as a result.

    Raising a clawed hand Akeya looked at it. She herself wasn’t a very emotional person, so it would be difficult for her to do that at will. With the fear of death it was easy since the instinct to survive was one of the strongest in existence. In that sense trying to use the fear of death as the source of the nightmare was actually a risky move from that twisted spirit, since it meant that if she managed to grab hold of her will to live she could easily summon forth enough strength of will to disrupt the nightmare. And with the man… well, she mostly used his feelings with her mind only providing ideas.

    Still, if she could produce such purifying waves… If she could forcefully render nightmares into neutral or pleasant dreams… It would make her task a lot easier. And it made sense in a world of thought, dreams and imagination that one could pull out and weaponize their own emotions.

    Now, what emotion could Akeya feel strongly… Well, she was always good at feeling determined to fulfill her objectives. Stubbornness?

    She focused on her thoughts of how she’d never allow anything to get in her way of achieving what she wanted to do. Not even the limits of her own abilities. She’d spent huge amounts of time training every aspect of herself: physical, mental and magical. When she encountered an obstacle she couldn’t overcome she wasn’t the kind of person who’d ram themselves against it fruitlessly in the hope it’d just break after a while: she was the kind of person who’d retreat and then carefully study the obstacle to find a way around it. Her determination was not the bullheadedness of youth: it was the unrelenting desire to fulfil her objectives through any means necessary that could often be seen in those who lived a turbulent life.

    As she concentrated her thoughts she tried to direct them to the space right above her extended hand. At first nothing happened, but as she kept honing her state of mind, meditating on her own stubbornness, she could eventually feel a change occurring. A faint glowing of the palm of her hand, which then extended into the air and coalesced into a small sphere. The light wasn’t warm or soft: it was sharp and precise. It was the kind of light one would use to carefully examine something, revealing every detail. Even calling it light was not entirely accurate: it was a kind of change in atmosphere, a small area in which everything was revealed and clarified.

    Pouring more and more of her feelings into the sphere it grew larger and stronger, until the dragoness made a sweeping motion with her hand and launched it at her surroundings. The sphere quickly expanded and enveloped everything before fading away, but Akeya could see the changes it had brought about: the forest around her was different. Where before everything had been rather plain now she could see countless little paths amidst the foliage on the ground. The branches on the trees now looked perfect for climbing and arboreal maneuvering. She recognized several of the plants around her as possessing useful qualities. Like her own mindset, where one had to study everything and exploit everything for the sake of achieving the objective, forest had turned into a treasure trove for those who could see it. A physical manifestation of her cunning determination.

    This was definitely a useful ability to have, but Akeya couldn’t rely on it just yet. This stubbornness of hers was one of her strongest feelings, and even then it took a lot of effort to manifest it outside of a stressful situation where she had adrenaline to help her hit a peak in her mental state. How much time could she afford to dedicate to developing and improving this ability? So far she hadn’t been able to sense the spirits acting against her, but she couldn’t rely on that helpfulness forever. If it was clear that she was busy with something completely different, or worse, something that would make her more of a threat, those twisted entities would no doubt act.

    But she also wanted to have an extra weapon in her arsenal. She was fighting against those who were masters of this domain. To treat them lightly was the height of foolishness. She’d have to find a way to quickly improve her abilities. Fortunately there was one way to do that, although it went against Akeya’s usual modus operandi and she wasn’t sure if the method was even available to her.

    If she could find a spirit who was knowledgeable on the topic of forcing your will upon the world of dreams they could give her some hints on how to quickly reach an adequate level of control. She could already make physical changes with little issue, but to manifest her own emotions was a different matter. She didn’t know how old spirits became or if they were immortal, and she didn’t know if spirits were born or naturally formed over time or there was a set amount of time which couldn’t be reduced or increased. Truthfully her information on the world of dreams and its inhabitants was woefully lacking. Then again, she suspected that in the world of the waking knowledge on this topic was very limited in the first place. This world of dreams had been abandoned after all, and the scientist who’d brought the problem to her attention had bemoaned that nobody took it seriously because barely anyone even believed that such a thing as a world of dreams even existed. This entire issue actually was caused by those who chose the world of the waking neglecting and ignoring the world of dreams.

    So to find a spirit who could help her might be an adventure in and of itself. And just like with training her abilities she didn’t have unlimited time. The dragoness folded her arms as she considered the best way to approach this. Any spirit who could help her would have to be ancient, regardless of how the existence of spirits worked. They’d also need to have experience interacting with living beings: an ancient mountain spirit or the like might have the age but they probably wouldn’t know as much about emotions and feelings.

    The fact that this new technique was based off of such things actually bothered Akeya quite a bit: while she had learned to accept that feelings and emotions and other such soft things had their purpose and were vital for sapient beings to thrive she still saw herself as a primarily rational and logical thinker, so the idea that she’d have to prioritize emotional matters to master (or at least learn) this technique was at odd with her approach to life and reality. If she could just use logic instead she’d have it mastered in no time, and instead she was here thinking about which spirit would combine age, experience and emotional strength in the right way to pass on the technique to her.

    Sighing the dragoness did her best to just live with it. The situation wasn’t going to change just because it wasn’t entirely to her liking. She’d have to make this work even if it meant going outside of her comfort zone. For now she just had to find the right spirit. Even after considering which spirits might be helpful for this scenario she didn’t have an idea which one to approach. The simple problem was that she didn’t know a great many spirits. She knew of the zodiac keys, but she wasn’t even entirely sure if those celestial spirits were also residents of the world of dreams. And even if they were the fact that she knew they existed didn’t mean she could just track them down and ask for help.

    Although… As she considered that angle an idea began to form inside Akeya’s mind. It wasn’t a certainty but it was worth giving a shot. Better than nothing at the very least. Her first step was… to find any spirit who might know a lot about other spirits. If she didn’t know any spirits who might qualify she’d just have to ask around. Closing her eyes again Akeya spread out her awareness over the world of dreams. It was a strange sensation given its unusual geography and its approach to direction. Thankfully closing her eyes allowed her to perceive it in a different way: rather than a world with the standard three-dimensional directions she felt a great many different aspects constantly mixing, conflicting and merging while each also occupied their own space. Her target? A particularly powerful aspect. A concentration of feelings, prolonged and powerful. Not the negative ones of the twisted spirits, but those which were likely to belong to an uncorrupted spirit. Ancient ones most likely had a strong presence, even if their emotions weren’t as fervent as those of younger spirits.

    The search took longer than Akeya would have liked: while she could make her way through the massive web of aspects, feelings and thoughts she wasn’t used to it and had difficulty making out the exact details. Some places in the world of dreams were more heavily populated than others, both by natural residents and visitors who came here through their dreams and nightmares. Other places were almost completely left alone, or only inhabited by the kind of entities Akeya was pretty sure she would be better off avoiding. One place in particular… she had the sensation of many legs, strings and a voracious hunger. A place of spiders in the world of dreams? While spiders weren’t innately evil they were… often dangerous. One could argue that out of the more mundane living creatures spiders were some of the best representations of pure selfishness and predatory instinct. In that sense Akeya found them pragmatic, but her approval didn’t make them less dangerous, especially in the world of dreams were their abilities were unknown to her.

    It was only after she’d already spread her focus far and wide that she found something which might serve her needs: a large presence which was filled not with passionate emotions but rather deep rivers. A sensation of tranquility, of persistence in the face of time. While such an entity could be dangerous, Akeya was pretty certain she had a decent idea what she was facing here, and stepped to the location of the entity.

    Opening her eyes she was standing in the air above a humongous lake, with giant sheets of ice floating over the surface. The air was such a clear blue that it was almost painful to look at, and while the lake below wasn’t unruly she could see that it was constantly shifting, water rolling and swirling in a slow, endless motion. The lake was so large that she could only see a semblance of land near the horizon, and even then she wasn’t sure if that wasn’t just more sheets of ice which looked like they’d clumped together from this distance.

    This had to be the location of an ancient spirit, one which had a strong attunement to winter and water. Maybe from the frozen wastes up north? Due to the constant climate there the winter was everlasting, and any spirit connected to such a place would have long memories. The dragoness frowned as she figured out how to call out the spirit. She doubted that yelling would help any. Maybe she had to announce her presence a bit more forcefully to see if it would be interested in hearing what she had to say.

    Well, first things first, she could set the theme of the meeting. The world below was endless water and ice, but she could claim the world above. Raising both claws to the sky she made a sweeping motion, the piercing blue of the open skies turning into a mix of blue and orange, a state between day and night. On one side the light of the sun was painting the heavens a soft orange similar to gold, while on the other the dark of night created a blue so pale as to almost be silver. Amidst all of this the stars covered the sky like a pattern too grand to be spotted from such a lowly position. And given that this was most likely a northern location the aurora also danced in the air, a swirl of many different colours. A spectacle to behold, although Akeya figured that the spirit below must have seen the like a thousand times before. Still, at least it should make her presence known.

    Waiting for several seconds Akeya thought that she saw minor changes in the scenery below, but in the end she had to conclude that the spirit wasn’t interested. Or maybe it still hadn’t actually noticed her: while changing the heavens may look impressive here in the world of dreams anyone with a little bit of skill could do it. She’d have to be a bit louder this time.

    Placing her claws together Akeya once more focused on her single-minded determination to achieve her goals no matter what. Now that she’d managed it once before it came a little bit easier, but still too slow for her to be satisfied with it. She kept growing and growing it, until she had a sphere even larger than last time. Spreading her claws she let the sphere expand and cover the surroundings, even causing the waters below to stir and the ice to form into intricate patterns which could be magic or strategy, depending on how one judged them. This should both announce her presence clearly and also give an indication of why a person like her would be in this place. She was looking for a way forward, and she needed this spirit to give her what she needed.

    Again it took over a minute, but finally Akeya saw a distinct change in the world below. The sheets of ice began to take on multiple shapes and move across the water surface, until they formed a fragmental pattern which made her think of the scales on fish and the shell patterns of turtles. The water itself became calm as a mirror, and then began to rhythmically ripple. The ripples bounced off the sheets of ice, forming an intricate dance of water that Akeya would have loved to watch for hours if she wasn’t busy with trying to get rid of the corruption that was plaguing the world of dreams.

    Finally a voice spoke. It was a strange voice, reminding her of the sound you got when you moved your finger along the edge of a clear drinking glass. It reverberated in time with the ripples on the water surface, and it was a voice both chilling and calming at the same time. It was, in a way, beyond the nature of mortal beings: even if Akeya as a dragoness wasn’t limited to the short lifespans of most living beings she still was a singular entity, with a limited perspective. She wondered if it was even possible for her to fully understand what she was facing right now.

    ”Who is it… That seeks me?” The question was simple, but made it clear that the spirit at least seemed willing to hear Akeya out. The twilight dragoness cleared her throat before answering, amplifying her voice by having the shadows that adorned her body resonate with her voice. ”I am Akeya Kuusai, the Twilight Dragon. I seek a spirit who can teach me how to use my ego to affect the world of dreams.” The best way to describe what she did with her emotions and thoughts was to call it a manifestation of her ego, at least that’s what she herself thought. Your ego could be considered the culmination of your being, the sum of all your aspects. The fullness of your existence as an entity with a will.

    ”I do not… concern myself with such things. Why… approach me?” Akeya couldn’t really tell what kind of emotions were behind that response, but the sensation she got was still one of calmness. Could this spirit even feel emotions the way living creatures normally did? Or did it simply not show impatience or anger? ”Rather than asking you to teach me I wish to know how I can find the celestial spirit of balance.” She’d actually met Libra before, and back then the spirit had been a good adviser in how to improve her abilities. She hoped that this time around she could enlist the same kind of aid. As the spirit of equilibrium Libra had to be old, and she interacted frequently enough with sapient beings. In addition the concept of balance could also apply to emotions, but to calm them but also to aggravate and express them.

    This time the response from the world below took a bit longer, but when it came it had a certain strength to it. ”The spirit you seek… is found where balance is both precarious and stable. In this location… equilibrium is both at its weakest… and its strongest.

    Akeya thought about this. She’d have to seek out the aspect of such a paradoxical idea. Balance which was about to collapse but which was also completely stable. A balance at the edge? Stable so it doesn’t collapse, but a single change could bring about that inevitable collapse. She nodded ”I’ll do that then. Many thanks.”

    ”Calm… the ones who… seek the past.” Akeya blinked at this, but before she could inquire the world below returned to how it was before. Sheets of ice adrift an endless water surface, no discernible pattern behind them. How did the spirit know about Akeya’s goals and purposes here? She should probably take this as a lesson to never underestimate spirits. They might not be gods but in a certain way they might be even harder to get a good grasp on. While the spirits who interacted more with mortals might display a similar type of consciousness spirits such as this one were likely some of the most alien existences Akeya would ever meet in her life.

    However she’d gotten what she came for, so rather than wasting time pondering what kind of being she’d just held a conversation with she’d go and find the one she was looking for. Stepping away from the spirit’s residence she stood on top of the sharp peak of a young mountain, claws gripping into the stone to keep her balance. She didn’t think that was enough to find Libra, but it would at least put her in the right frame of mind.

    She’d have to search for the right aspect… an aspect which was paradoxical with itself. Ancient yet young, stable yet precarious, tranquil yet turbulent. The embodiment of change and consistency. Yin and Yang. A fundamental concept which could be found in nearly every aspect of reality.

    The problem wasn’t going to be finding such a thing, but locating the very core, where Libra would be located.

    Still, she had been given her clue, and apparently the spirit of the northern lake was confident that Akeya could find Libra with what she had been told. That or the spirit really didn’t care and just gave the dragoness a truthful but useless answer before retreating. She wouldn’t dare to assume to know what thoughts that entity truly had. Closing her eyes she instead focused on that which she could actually do: search for her prey. The twilight dragoness immersed herself deeper into the world of dreams and its aspects, its concepts, its elements, its residents, its visitors. Flashes of emotions from vibrant dreams, swirls of feelings from spirits, an ominous rumbling from a place where the earth was constantly cracking and reshaping itself. The ancient spirit up north, and those similar yet also completely different. There were so many different sensations that Akeya couldn’t keep them all apart, and as she immersed herself she began to wonder what her place in all of this was. Where did her own existence end and the rest of the world of dreams begin. What concept did she embody?

    Fortunately before this philosophical bent completely claimed her focus she found that which she sought. Like a dollar balancing on the tip of a needle, like a spinning top defying gravity. Stable yet precarious. An existence defined by its expression of equilibrium.


    Hopefully Libra would be in a helpful mood.

    Stepping forward Akeya found herself standing on a paved road in the middle of nowhere. On the left there was a grassy field, on the right there was a cliff leading into an endless chasm. Up ahead there was mountains and clouds and… a familiar sight.

    ”Hey. Long time no see.”

    ”I think it’s been a couple of months.”

    ”Does it really matter? The sentiment is the same.” Libra grinned as she walked towards Akeya, looking like she had all the time in the world. She probably did. The dragoness couldn’t help but notice that behind Libra the left side of the world was practically the inverse of the right. On one side a grassy field with a wide open sky, on the right a chasm with dark clouds covering everything. Akeya guessed that Libra’s presence was rather strong even for a spirit. She folded her arms as she raised an eyebrow. ”In that case I guess it’s safe to assume that you’re happy to see me.”

    ”Oh, of course. It’s always nice to see Leila’s partner. Especially one who shares my preferences” Libra’s grin grew a little wider as she was now standing in front of Akeya, looking up at her with an easy expression. Not that she had anything to fear from the dragoness, but most people still would be a little more stiff or distant when interacting with her due to her own distant attitude. ”Of course knowing you you’re not just here for the sake of a friendly talk. What can I help you with?”

    The assassin knew she couldn’t hide something so obvious from Libra, so she was actually glad that the other woman quickly skipped to business rather than wasting time with frivolous talk. ”The world of the waking is under attack by spirits from the world of dreams who wish to trap all the waking in this world. I’ve been dispelling the nightmares they’re using to trap people, but I think that to deal with the spirits themselves I first need to improve my understanding of this world.” She indicated the chasm to the right, where with a quick motion a gust blew up and made the hair of both women dance. ”I’ve already figured out how to use my imagination and will to shape the world of dreams, but since the spirits use emotions and feelings as the catalyst of their abilities I should be able to use those as well.”

    Libra fell silent for a moment, looking at Akeya thoughtfully with a slight tilted head. Then she hopped backwards onto a ball which hadn’t been there before, sitting perfectly still on it with the ball showing no sign of rolling despite the road being perfectly flat. ”That’s an interesting request you’ve got there. Why do you think I’d be the one who can help you?” Her expression was still relaxed, but aside from a small smirk she wasn’t showing any signs of what she was thinking.

    The dragoness shrugged. ”Truth be told it’s something of a gamble, but equilibrium can be applied to many things, including the balance between oneself and the world around them. That and I actually know you unlike most spirits and you’re likely to contain knowledge about this kind of thing.” She really hoped that she wouldn’t have to find another spirit for this, but she wasn’t actually sure what odds she had that Libra would have what she needed.

    This time there was a small chuckle from the spirit, folding her legs on top of the ball. ”So I’m just your first choice? I guess I should be flattered about that~” Her expression grew a little bit more serious about that, raising one finger towards Akeya ”As you guessed I can help you with this, but it’ll be difficult. Especially for you. I know the kind of person you are. You’re so certain that you can make sense of everything if you just try hard enough that you’re quick to dismiss the more flexible parts of living as irrational and inefficient. Now you’ll have to learn how to use your emotions as much as you use your reason.” A sly smile was upon her lips. ”Then again that might turn out to be in your favour once you get the hang of it. If you have both reason and feeling you can impose your will without losing yourself. Someone with a bit more passion might have an easier time getting the hang of this but they’d put themselves and others in danger.”

    Akeya frowned briefly at this before nodding. She could see what Libra meant: the abilities she was asking for would allow her to mess with the world of dreams in a significant manner. While you couldn’t hurt anyone here through normal methods you could inflict emotional and mental trauma on them. Throwing around your emotions would be easy if you were the emotional type anyway but if you didn’t have a firm grip on yourself that could result in your influence quickly growing out of your control without any good way to put a stop to it. ”Given that I managed to destroy most of the corruption that they were using to trap people in this world we do have some time, but I do hope that this won’t take too long.” She didn’t like the idea of giving her opponents time to regroup and plan a new strategy.

    ”Unfortunately you’ll just have to live with sacrificing some time for this. It’s not something you just do within a couple of hours.” Libra stated this matter of factly, making it clear that she wasn’t going to argue about this. She just said it as it was. ”Of course, fortunately for you, I can reduce the amount of time this takes by a significant amount. It’s certainly better than running off and getting trapped in a spirit’s snare.”

    Akeya hissed at that. That was essentially what had happened with the first spirit, and while she’d come out the winner due to said spirit relying on the wrong kind of fear that didn’t mean she was happy being reminded of it. And from the way Libra was smirking at her the woman was aware of what had happened to the dragoness and was intentionally using that knowledge to drive the point home. As unpleasant as it was Akeya would have to let the spirits do their own thing for as long as it took for Libra to teach her the minimum required for her to stand a chance. ”Understood. I’ll just have to make up for lost time afterwards.” The good news was that she didn’t think that these spirits would be too eager to mess with Libra. That and if that scientist was correct their plan to drag everyone into the world of dreams had already been going on for a while before Akeya showed up so it was not like spending a couple of days training would leave them with enough time to execute their plan.

    ”Excellent. Now, first of all, let’s chance the scene.” Spreading out her arms to both sides Libra concentrated briefly and their surroundings shifted. Gone were the field, the chasm and the turbulent sky. Instead they were standing in a valley in a mountain range. The sharp peaks up ahead barely let in some sunlight to paint the sky a glimmering gold and illuminate their surroundings. The ground was now made of artificial stone, carefully carved to form rings and circular patterns. Surrounding the two of them was a ring of statues. As Akeya looked around she raised her eyebrows. ”A preferred scenery?”

    ”It is nice to see everything symmetrical.” Libra replied truthfully. She was still on her ball, although now she was standing up and moving by walking backwards on top of it to make it roll into the direction she wanted it to go. ”So, to start, as you’ve already figured out the world of dreams is its own realm but the same time it’s still the world of dreams. The thoughts and ideas you have affect it even if it will always change into something else in due time. In that sense it’s the ultimate playground… although someone like you might object to the fact that you can’t inflict any true injuries since any wound you make is already healed moments later.” Akeya watched Libra carefully as the spirit of equilibrium walked a large circle around her. ”So the stronger your thoughts are and the sharper your imagination the more effectively you can shape your surroundings. This is what you’ve been using and which works for you because it appeals to your sense of logic and precision. The downside of this, however, is that such precision means your influence is limited. You can make the sky turn to night with an array of stars but once it’s formed someone else can quickly make it look like something different again. Influencing the world of dreams based on emotions and feelings is less precise but can have more complex effects.” She turned back to Akeya. ”Specifically it’s a lot better at getting other spirits and souls in the world of dreams to submit to your influence. You could form a cage around someone, but they could shift themselves out of it. However if you force upon them the feeling of entrapment they can’t escape until they’ve managed to overcome that feeling.” She grinned again. ”This isn’t going to be easy to learn. Are you ready for this?”

    Akeya didn’t immediately reply, instead digesting what Libra had said. It sounded a lot like her method of influencing the world of dreams with distinct thoughts and images was like a scalpel whereas the method of influence which relied on broad emotions and feelings was like a sledgehammer. Crude, but powerful. And better suited for dealing with the corrupt spirits. ”I am, yes.” Not that she could give a different answer. Without this training the risk of failure was too high.

    ”Well then! Let’s see if we can remind you how to feel again.”

    WC: 10,198
    PWC: 10,198/10,000 (Completed)


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya) CADlsHa
    Between the Sun and the Moon, where it is neither Day nor Night, the Dragon of Twilight sleeps.

    Character|Magic
    Akeya
    Akeya

    Twilight Dragon


    Twilight Dragon

    Dragon VIP Status- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Dragon Slayer- Rich- Veteran Level 1- Character Application Approved!- Character History!- Magic Application Approved!- Get A Pet!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Novice [250]- Player 
    Lineage : Hic Sunt Dracones
    Position : None
    Posts : 1176
    Guild : Fairy Tail
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Mentor : Whedalsin
    Experience : 12,330

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic
    Second Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic
    Third Magic: Twilight Dragon Magic

    [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya) Empty Re: [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya)

    Post by Akeya 8th May 2021, 5:52 pm

    Libra was true to her word, and the training did take much more than mere hours. While it was difficult to accurately track time in the world of dreams, where everything was fluid and flexible, Akeya was pretty sure that it had taken weeks, if not months. Of course, for someone else it could easily have been mere minutes: it looked like time was not only different between the world of dreams and the waking world, but between different dreamers in the world of dreams as well. One person could spend an entire week here while someone else only experienced an hour, while the both of them were only a meter away from each other.

    But the time was well spent. Libra taught her a lot of things, both about dreams and about emotions and spirits. In a way the time spent under Libra's tutelage might have been some of the most fruitful time Akeya had experienced in her entire life, as she was educated in fields that she'd only superficially known about before but now became to comprehend to an almost instinctive level. Although, according to Libra there was more to that than her abilities as a tutor: Akeya herself seemed to have a knack for these things.

    Before she'd found Libra Akeya had wondered whether she'd been developing some ability to sense the feelings and thoughts of others, but Libra had confirmed that this was the case. While her own emotions were calm and firmly controlled Akeya's soul acted like a kind of radar, picking up the emotions of others as if they were ripples on a pond. It seemed to be an innate ability somehow, even though Akeya had never noticed any such effect before. But it did mean that while training she picked up on certain things a lot faster than Libra had expected.

    Of course, even with such an advantage it still took a long time before Akeya and Libra were both satisfied. Which just went to show how much Akeya had to learn and how high her expectations were. It took so long that she and Libra actually set up some sort of lifestyle together. Neither of them required sleep, but they would still set up schedules of a sort so they could do things other than just training and learning. In Libra's words, you had to have a balance between learning and playing. Even if the kind of playing the two of them agreed on might be considered unorthodox by many.

    But at the end of the training period, Akeya felt like she finally had what she needed to take on the remainder of the corrupted spirit, as well as a new set of tricks which could be useful outside of the world of dreams as well. Many of the things Libra taught her didn't apply to the waking world, but some of them, like the ability to sense emotions? Those were going to make a drastic difference in Akeya's effectiveness as a survivalist and assassin.

    "So, leaving then?" Libra asked this as she hung upside down from a tree, crossed legs holding into a thick branch. The spirit wasn't even looking in Akeya's direction, instead watching the clouds move above.

    "Your tutelage has been worthwhile, but the spirits can't have been sitting still either. I'll probably return once I've removed the corruption and finished the mission." During the time that they'd been training Akeya would occasionally pop some nightmares to ensure that the spirits didn't take the opportunity to spread their web of nightmares once more, but even so... time was fluid, but that could also mean that the spirits had years where she only had weeks or months. It was frustrating, the unreliable nature of the world of dreams, but she had to make do with what she had.

    "If you say so. See you soon." Libra gave a small wave, but Akeya had already disappeared. The spirit of the scales let out a small sigh as she kept studying the clouds, even as they turned into large flowers that drifted on the surface of an ocean that covered the heavens. "With how stubborn she is I pity those spirits. Maybe I shouldn't have taught her those things."

    The mountain which Akeya had used as her homebase in the world of dreams was still occupied by the corrupted spirits, but Akeya could just move somewhere else. The dragoness shifted herself to a cave filled with glowing crystals, bathing everything in an cool cyan light. Tapping her clawed finger against her hip she considered her next step. One spirit had been dealt with: Libra had told her that most likely only three more remained, plus one who served as the leader of the nightmare cult. Supposedly these would be the King of Dreams and his four Advisors, also known as Counts. Why the dreamworld would use the same terms as mortals Akeya didn't know, but it might simply be a translation of their true nature.

    They would try to use Akeya's own weaknesses against her, warping and twisting her thoughts until she could no longer fight back. If successful she would be trapped in the world of dreams, after which it would only be a matter of time until the same happened to the rest of the waking world. Unless, of course, someone else managed to prevent this, but Akeya wasn't going to take on this mission assuming someone else would pick up the slack if she failed.

    She wasn't the heroic type of person, but here and now she was, more or less, the one person standing between the waking world and complete domination by the world of dreams. There was still the small argument whether it would really be bad if everything returned to the world of dreams: people couldn't be hurt physically here, and people's dreams could become true.

    However, Akeya was pretty sure this wasn't the best idea. In this world an unpleasant person with enough willpower could force their desires upon others with no real way to do anything about it. Everything might work out, but there was a good chance the world of dreams would turn into a battleground between the dreams and nightmares and thoughts and desires of everyone. Very disorderly, to say the least.

    WC: 1,050
    PWC: 1,050/2,500


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    [Job] Dark Dragon Dreams (Akeya) CADlsHa
    Between the Sun and the Moon, where it is neither Day nor Night, the Dragon of Twilight sleeps.

    Character|Magic

      Current date/time is 13th May 2021, 9:02 am