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    TacticalFallacy's C-rank Exam (THE FRUIT OF 2 YEARS' HARD WORK)

    TacticalFallacy
    TacticalFallacy

    The Undefined Formula



    Moderator- Quality Badge Level 1- Veteran Level 1- Master [1000]- Senior [500]- Novice [250]- 2nd Place Event/Contest Winner- 1 Year Anniversary- Player 
    Lineage : Spirit Warrior
    Position : None
    Posts : 1373
    Guild : Guildless
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Age : 24
    Mentor : Master Hades (Deceased)
    Experience : 450

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Amaterasu Mudra Formula
    Second Magic:
    Third Magic:

    TacticalFallacy's C-rank Exam (THE FRUIT OF 2 YEARS' HARD WORK) Empty TacticalFallacy's C-rank Exam (THE FRUIT OF 2 YEARS' HARD WORK)

    Post by TacticalFallacy on 2nd June 2014, 9:24 am

    Spoiler:
    Jobs Done
    D Rank: 6
    C Rank: 1
    B Rank: 0
    A Rank: 0
    S Rank: 0
    10 Rank: 0
    100 Rank: 0
    Total Jobs Done: 6
    Miscellaneous EXP:  100
    Total EXP: 350 EXP[/center]

    Spoiler:

    Willing to do the exam, since I intend to advance Aldous a little more in character (and pretty much, re-familiarize myself with the old guy after a long 2 months).


    Last edited by TacticalFallacy on 2nd June 2014, 11:05 am; edited 1 time in total


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    The Forsaken

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    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Ethernano Manupilation
    Second Magic: Heavy Artillery Magic
    Third Magic:

    TacticalFallacy's C-rank Exam (THE FRUIT OF 2 YEARS' HARD WORK) Empty Re: TacticalFallacy's C-rank Exam (THE FRUIT OF 2 YEARS' HARD WORK)

    Post by Godlike Frederik on 2nd June 2014, 9:50 am

    Allright fair enough, approved xD

    If you want I can take on your exam for you, or you can ask an other staff member. Good luck


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    TacticalFallacy
    TacticalFallacy

    The Undefined Formula



    Moderator- Quality Badge Level 1- Veteran Level 1- Master [1000]- Senior [500]- Novice [250]- 2nd Place Event/Contest Winner- 1 Year Anniversary- Player 
    Lineage : Spirit Warrior
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    Posts : 1373
    Guild : Guildless
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Age : 24
    Mentor : Master Hades (Deceased)
    Experience : 450

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Amaterasu Mudra Formula
    Second Magic:
    Third Magic:

    TacticalFallacy's C-rank Exam (THE FRUIT OF 2 YEARS' HARD WORK) Empty Re: TacticalFallacy's C-rank Exam (THE FRUIT OF 2 YEARS' HARD WORK)

    Post by TacticalFallacy on 5th June 2014, 11:33 am

    I'm fine with having Fred/you administer the exam for me.


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    First Magic: Ethernano Manupilation
    Second Magic: Heavy Artillery Magic
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    Post by Godlike Frederik on 9th June 2014, 2:01 am

    Magic, why do we have it? Why is it there. Questions that appear to have not answer. Some people say that magic is alive, and in a sense that might be true. But that still doesn't answer the biggest question of all. Magic.. where did it come from? What is it really. What lies at the beginning of it.

    Throughout the world there are people pursuing that knowledge, and often refer to it as the One true Magic. They think once they discover what it is, they are able to look at the depths of magic itself and see for what it truly is.
    Allong the road there was such a man. Searching for clues that might help him to build and develop his own powers but learning about the truth as well. A young man with the ability to break magic down to simple patterns and formulas. A rare trait and powerful trait.



    Next to the road, leaning against an old wall. What seems to be the leftovers of some small guard post. Was sitting a old man. It was a rather enigmatic appearance since nothing but his own hands were visible. On his back there was a large basket like construction. With among it hanging several trinkets.
    As always he was sitting in silence, staring at a small camp fire. That had some small lizard like creature on a stick hanging above it.
    It was at this moment a young man passed him on the road. He had a fast pace as if he was hastening himself to find something.
    'Keke, young man. Would you have a look at my wares?' The old man suddenly uttered

    Appearance:
    TacticalFallacy's C-rank Exam (THE FRUIT OF 2 YEARS' HARD WORK) Dark_souls_2_zzz_Merchant-Hag-Melentia


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    TacticalFallacy
    TacticalFallacy

    The Undefined Formula



    Moderator- Quality Badge Level 1- Veteran Level 1- Master [1000]- Senior [500]- Novice [250]- 2nd Place Event/Contest Winner- 1 Year Anniversary- Player 
    Lineage : Spirit Warrior
    Position : None
    Posts : 1373
    Guild : Guildless
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Age : 24
    Mentor : Master Hades (Deceased)
    Experience : 450

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Amaterasu Mudra Formula
    Second Magic:
    Third Magic:

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    Post by TacticalFallacy on 9th June 2014, 4:19 am

    “I really, really don’t have time for this, Abraxis.”

    “J-Just listen to me, alright? At least while we’re walking. All I’m saying this: why don’t you just calm down for a little, set your obsession aside for a little bit and let us have some fun?”

    “It is not an obsession,” Aldous snapped back between clenched teeth.

    “And I’m not a bicycle,” Abraxis replied, sighing in exasperation at his friend’s stubbornness. “Look, you had worked your ass off for a whole year at that airship finding out where these things were and then spent the entire last month searching for them. Even if you found nothing, that does not mean you must keep looking. Just lay it off a little. A day or two. What harm can be done? It’s not like those Formulas are going to grow legs and go anywhere.”

    “You might never know,” Aldous growled, uneasy in the back of his mind at the rightness of Abraxis’ statement.

    The mage and his bicycle were travelling down one of the ‘low roads’, a common term for those roads that very few people use, typically because they are usually off the beaten path and lead to the most remote of locations, unlike their more popular and better-maintained brethren the ‘high roads’, which typically connected cities. This particular one, bordered on both sides by a meadow that was denuded of trees, with thick-stemmed spiny grass that reached up to one’s hips, had been the path to Aldous’ most recent guess of the location of an Amaterasu Formula, but that circular lake, located in the middle of virtually nowhere and known locally as the Basin for its apparently bottomless depth, had proved to be little more than an unusual geographical landmark with a very deep floor. Now on their way back to civilization from their failure before night fully falls on him, Aldous was already in the middle of contemplating the next possible location and Abraxis knew it.

    Thus their argument.

    “We’ve been through what, mountains, underwater caves, canyons, deserts and even a live volcano! What else is next, huh, Aldous!?” Abraxis, now more than a little pissed off, yelled at Aldous as he came to a complete stop, his wheels digging defiantly into the dirt. “Deserted castles? Some dragon’s stomach?"

    Aldous let his hand smooth over his chin as he considered. “Given what I know, we could try Spooky Forest’s Grand Pine, Clover Town’s Eternano or perhaps The Bloodbath in Fat Monsterland.”

    “You weren’t supposed to answer that question!” Abraxis’ metallic frame was now shaking violently, sending off a high-pitched tune much like that created by a struck tuning fork.

    Cringing at the apparent fury of his companion and also bothered by the fact that he was refusing to move, Aldous gave Abraxis a scan from head to toe to see whether the bicycle was really that serious. When he was convinced that he would have no way to convince Abraxis otherwise, Aldous could only exhale a breath of defeat. “Fine, let’s take a break.”

    “Oh joy to all, what are we waiting for then, Aldous? C'mon, I can’t wait to get back to Magnolia.” The transformation of Abraxis was, to put it mildly, rather astonishing. “I know a nice place where we could get the finest turkey in Earthland and I have its chef right in my basket. We’ll get it cheap, I promise.”

    “Just after one more try.”

    “Oh hell no!” Again, another fascinating shift of mood for a bicycle. “You pulled that stunt on me the last three times, Aldous!” Turning on his wheels, Abraxis gave Aldous a derisive snort as he begun to roll away, “Fine, that’s it. If you want to exhaust yourself to the bone, I’ll be at Magnolia, enjoying my turkey!”

    “See you then,” Aldous bluntly replied, shaking his head in resignation as he continued on, confident that Abraxis is just having a little tantrum. “He’ll be back beside me anyway. He’s going in completely wrong direction if he really wants to return to Magnolia,” Aldous chuckled in an admittedly cruel fashion, but the mage was just amused that Abraxis was sacrificing convenience by refusing to walk in the same direction as him, while at the same time forgetting the fact that Aldous was the one holding the jewels.

    “Anyway, back to the search.” Aldous dismissed his mild mirth, plodding on down the path, deep in his own thoughts. “Where oh where shall I go next?”

    “Keke, young man. Would you have a look at my wares?”

    It was an abrupt sound, a sharply grating voice that almost sounded like it was speaking right inside Aldous’ head, just grabbing for his attention. Stopping so fast that his heels nearly slipped against the soil, Aldous turned to feel his eyes sting and squint at the sudden flames that were cooking before him. How did he miss that?

    But it was the man smirking at him from behind the fire that fully caught his attention. Hunched over, as if his back had been forcibly sharpened into an ‘L’, the man dressed in frayed rags was carrying a massive wooden ‘carriage’ of sorts. And that wall behind him…Ruins of a guard post?
    “What…?” Aldous’ brow furrowed. Was he really that deep in thought that he failed to notice this person? And surely that guard post wasn’t there before, or did he not give it any notice on his way to the Basin? Inside Aldous’ mind, alarm bells were ringing: a mysterious man just waiting on the side of a ‘low road’ for customers? Something does not smell right. Tread carefully. Walking up while making sure that the fire remained between him and the old man, Aldous asked, keeping himself alert of his surroundings, “Maybe. What do you sell?”


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    The Forsaken

    Administrator- Moderator- Developer/GFX Artist- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- 11 Sinner- Veteran Level 2- Veteran Level 1- 1 Year Anniversary- Player 
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    Experience : 258,199
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    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Ethernano Manupilation
    Second Magic: Heavy Artillery Magic
    Third Magic:

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    Post by Godlike Frederik on 11th June 2014, 10:17 am

    'Trinkets, odds and ends, that sort of thing. Stock that might be garbage to some and treasure to others.' replied a man with a rasping voice so dry it sounded as if merely talking would rip open the inside of his throat. In the meanwhile he reached out to Aldous with his hand, gesturing him to take place across of him at the other side of the fire.

    Once Aldous would do so, the old man would suddenly roll out a ravaged blanket that barely showed the color it once had. Dirt and mud, or was it dried up blood stained the once deep colorful purple that the blanket could've had.
    On it layer a variety of goods, some were as old and forgotten as the blanket it seemed while others seemed relatively new. Those products mixed together gave the wares a rare contrast.

    'Maybe something for your lady friend?' he said out of nowhere while pointing at a silver with red colored brooch. That had the form of a small butterfly. 'Something like that would fit a kind lady nicely, however the red in the silver might be a little cruel for it's design. No? then what about something more courageousness for yourself?' he continued while his finger moved over several odd wares, like broken pots and dirty handkerchiefs. As well what seemed as the remains of a small rodent like creature and a few locks of blue hair that were bound together. Right until his finger pointed at a rusted old dagger.
    'It might not look like it, but it still has an sharp enough edge to defend yourself with'
    The dagger's blade was showed so much rust that trying to trust that thing into someone might break it apart. Yet the hilt of it showed that it used to be of some worth as it appeared to be of silver that had lost it color and glance over the years.
    'And if that doesn't suit you, how about a destination?'

    The man's hand moved from the dagger to an old scroll at the far left side of the blanket. 'It's not really worth anything. Mostly because it a map that just shows the way to some old forgotten town. With nothing else to see then some library I think.... so what do you think. Is there something that you desire?'


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    TacticalFallacy
    TacticalFallacy

    The Undefined Formula



    Moderator- Quality Badge Level 1- Veteran Level 1- Master [1000]- Senior [500]- Novice [250]- 2nd Place Event/Contest Winner- 1 Year Anniversary- Player 
    Lineage : Spirit Warrior
    Position : None
    Posts : 1373
    Guild : Guildless
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Age : 24
    Mentor : Master Hades (Deceased)
    Experience : 450

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Amaterasu Mudra Formula
    Second Magic:
    Third Magic:

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    Post by TacticalFallacy on 13th June 2014, 3:10 am

    'Trinkets, odds and ends, that sort of thing. Stock that might be garbage to some and treasure to others.'

    At the mention of these words, Aldous barely managed to hold back a concerned frown, easily seeing that the old man was baiting him. He should have expected this kind of……sales pitch, but something, just something, about the way the man’s voice grated itself into his head, as if it was hammering nails into it, binding him to unyielding chains that threatened to drag him wherever they please. Perhaps it was just charisma (though one look at the guy could tell one that he won’t be getting elected into the Magic Council any time soon), but Aldous, as he complied with the man’s gestures and kneeled down at the opposite side of the fire, was getting that inkling feeling that he was dealing with a freak of the supernatural. Whatever it was, it definitely was not something as obvious as a spell, though Aldous would not put it past himself that he might have simply failed to notice a spell being used.

    Remaining warily silent as he watched the Trinketeer (a hasty nickname, but one he felt was appropriate) reach back into that huge basket of his, Aldous was halfway ready to leap up and back and take a combat stance when that man rolled out that weary-looking blanket of his, fearing a magical seal that could trap him or summon something unspeakably horrifying. Instead, he flinched at the sight of the display blanket unveiling its contents, its dirtied fabric an unflattering background for the Trinketeer’s equally unconvincing goods. Cracked, rusted, eroded, the little trinkets may have once been jewels in ages long ago, but in this day, they were visibly banged up and in one sweep of the eye over them almost convinced Aldous to just let out a disappointed sigh, give the man a polite refusal and walk away. That ‘almost’ would not have been there had it not been for that voice’s steel grip on Aldous’ attention.

    “Maybe something for your lady friend?” Aldous gave a blank expression at the man’s words, both out of bafflement and suspicion. Lady friend? Aldous had no such thing. Perhaps the occasional female acquaintance here and there, but no one so dear to him that he would call them a friend. But in another time, long ago, he did have someone like that. Could this man possibly be referring to her?

    ‘No, she died along with the rest, back at that island. It couldn’t be…,’ Aldous accepted with forced disappointment, but he knew deep down that he could never truly extinguish that tiny star of hope, and when he spotted the butterfly brooch held in the man’s bony fingers, he could not help but think that it would look amazing on her. Perhaps he should, just in case…no no no no NO! She’s gone! Down in the seas! Accept that!

    “No? Then what about something more courageous for yourself? It might not look like it, but it still has a sharp enough edge to defend yourself with.” When Aldous’ eyes followed the man’s hand and came down onto the dagger, he instinctively compared it to his Amaterasu Regalia: Cloud Penance held inside in the casket strapped to his shoulders and lying behind his hip. Against the greatsword with its eight-hand-long blade of blue steel and its hilt of polished onyx, the little dagger was the equivalent to the little pinky of a baby’s hand. Unhesitant in his decision, Aldous dismissed it as a foolish purchase.

    And then the man said something that instantly snatched his ear. “'And if that doesn't suit you, how about a destination?” Coincidence? No, this was way too convenient to be a mere twist of fate. And so, Aldous was convinced that the Trinketeer, who continued to drone on about the map with visible (and extremely enticing) boredom, was more than a mere purveyor of little objects. A library in a forgotten town was undoubtedly an extremely probable location for such a study-based magic.

    “Is there something that you desire?” The moment of truth. He so wanted to jump straight on it, but at the same time, money matters beg him to not show his interest so blatantly, lest the Trinketeer would pounce upon the opportunity and empty his wallet.

    “Interesting things you have here,” Aldous murmured under his breath as he pretended to consider the goods one more time, letting his hand reach out and hang over one little trinket tentatively before heading straight for another. As he jumped from rat’s tail and old pottery to black tea bags and a dented biscuit box, Aldous suddenly found himself eyeing the brooch once more. The way the fire's light glistened against its shape, how the wings, so frail yet strong enough to fly, captured him. Forget it! It’s worthless to you now! He attempted to steal himself back, to return his attention back to the map, but in a moment of self-defiance, his hand gently folded its fingers around the butterfly, feeling the elegantly etched design as he cradled it within his careful palm. Her face flashed in his mind, a little butterfly entrancing him with her grace.

    “I’ll have this.” Aldous whispered to himself, before repeating it to the man in a much more assured voice. “Plus that map,” Aldous muttered off-handedly, surprising himself at how little, in the grand scheme of things, the little parchment that might lead to his next magical breakthrough amounted to little more value to him than the paper it was made of. He found himself not needing to fake his relative disinterest in the map; it was very real. For the map, he hoped to bargain it down to a low price. The brooch, however, was worth the world.

    She was, no, is worth that much to him.


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

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    Cecile
    Cecile

    Player 
    Lineage : Wrath of an Ex Husband
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    Post by Cecile on 19th June 2014, 9:25 am

    'Good..good kehehe' replied the Trinketeer to Aldous choice. Immediately followed up by a short yet unhealthy sounding cough. Which was the apparent result of his short cackling laugh. After the man was done coughing he'd slowly rolled out his hand, showing Aldous an empty palm who's skin was so think that it was you could almost see the bone formations of his fingers.

    'hee..hee, that will be 100 jewels then... please..'

    The price that the men asked for the piece of paper and the butterfly brooch, seemed far to low. Especially since the materials of the brooch looked only more radiant as the fire's light reflected on the accessories' red colors.

    (Allright, after you pay the Trinketeer, you are free to follow the map he has given you. What you do there is up to you, there is one certain location that is probably a must see for Aldous and that is the library.
    As I said you full fill your exam is up to you, you may find an hint towards the next step in your magic. An other formula, or other location to travel to.
    The exam will have a word count of at least 1500 words. There is no post count, you may put it all in one or in several that is up to you. Good luck ^^)
    TacticalFallacy
    TacticalFallacy

    The Undefined Formula



    Moderator- Quality Badge Level 1- Veteran Level 1- Master [1000]- Senior [500]- Novice [250]- 2nd Place Event/Contest Winner- 1 Year Anniversary- Player 
    Lineage : Spirit Warrior
    Position : None
    Posts : 1373
    Guild : Guildless
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Age : 24
    Mentor : Master Hades (Deceased)
    Experience : 450

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Amaterasu Mudra Formula
    Second Magic:
    Third Magic:

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    Post by TacticalFallacy on 14th July 2014, 6:38 am

    “Fine then, 100 jewels it is then,” Aldous agreed, with an expression of shock hidden behind his solid blank mask. His eyes scanned over the Trinketeer for any hint of a reason behind his sudden display of generosity, but multi-folded skin the colour of dried bark was all he could make out. As he meddled with one of the drawers lined along the side of Cloud Penance’s casket in the search for his stash of jewels, Aldous was already in the middle of listing at the top of his head all of the possible identities of this Trinketeer, from old members of Grimoire Heart and people he met in his past jobs to any books that make even the tiniest mention of a craggy old man selling trinkets to random passer-by’s by sheer ‘chance’. There were rumours, fleeting whispers of such a mystery, but all were so vague and varied that little commonality could be found. By the time he slipped the single 100-value jewel into the Trinketeer’s deeply creviced palm, Aldous was at a total loss and the Trinketeer’s sickle of a toothless grin almost seemed to mock his confusion.

    The very moment the jewel touched his skin, the Trinketeer suddenly shrunk back, both hands covetously curling around his payment. Aldous flinched, not knowing what to make of this sudden behaviour, but as the Trinketeer gave the prize hidden away in his hands a hard, checking look, Aldous scowled as he understood. He wouldn’t cheat the guy for such a pittance?! Oblivious to his customer’s annoyance, the Trinketeer looked up from his task and grinned towards Aldous, apparently satisfied. “Thank you kindly, kehehehe….” The Trinketeer chuckled, the pitch of his voice eerie enough to chill air. “May we do business again some other time….” He opened out his skeletal arms, palms wide and inviting.

    “Only if I find what I am looking for,” Aldous returned with careful conditionality, slightly aware in the back of his mind that the jewel had vanished from the Trinketeer’s hands. Perhaps he had slipped it into his sleeves, though Aldous found it hard to make himself believe that the rotting fibres that make up those rags would hold to the slightest of weights. Anyway, that’s not important.

    Turning around to catch the fire’s light, Aldous gingerly removed the lizard-skin string. When that obstacle was gone, impatience built up from a long fruitless day almost seemed to take hold of the magician as he jerked the scroll open, though he attempted a bare semblance of care.

    Nothing.

    “What is the meaning of this?!” Aldous bellowed, his tempers flaring just like the flames that now towered over his back, roaring down upon him.

    Jumping back from the sudden inferno rising up into a spiralling tornado of red-hot cinder and ash, Aldous, wordless to the scene before him, squinted his eyes for any sign of the Trinketeer, whose seat would have been swallowed up by the conflagration by now. But all that was left of the being were the lingering echoes of his laugh, dominant even over the howls of burning wind and the moans of dying wood.

    Pouring forth without end, the ‘campfire’ was already shooting forth towards the sky, its ever-expanding top now licking the clouds, its redness bleeding above the world like a wound in the now starless ceiling.

    “Looks like you got duped.” Aldous could not even find the time to retort to the snorting Purgatory. He was too busy gawking at this magical spectacle, all while stumbling back from the sheer heat. Only when he managed to get a good thirty steps away from the source-point could he opened his mouth without his tongue instantly drying. “What you going to do now? Should we run? Surely someone would have seen that giant dick of fire fucking the sky. They might come to erroneously believe that it is your incompetent ass that spewed this beauty out. Perhaps they will even think you are up to no good.”

    “No, wait,” Aldous halted Purgatory’s train of words, much to the grumbles of his inner entity. “I feel it. This is one of them.” Aldous was now utterly mesmerized. To the normal eyes of other mages, this tornado of fire would be just that, a chaotic storm of magical wildfire gone horribly wrong. But to the trained Amaterasu Formula user…..

    “It’s an Amaterasu Formula.” Aldous could see it all. The way the fireballs along the periphery swirled around the funnel to control the spell, the intricacies of the tongues of fire coiling around one another to form the spell, the ripples that ran up the tower to ensure its ever-lasting nature, these impossibly delicate, yet perfectly executed patterns that gave the spell ‘life’ were all Aldous needed to figure out that he was facing one of the Last Ten, the highest tier of the Amaterasu Formulas and his most desired set.

    “Oh geez, stop that drooling and go suck an egg.” Aldous ignored Purgatory.

    The Trinketeer must have been an Amaterasu Formula genius, perhaps he was one of the ancient practitoners! Excited with this prospect, Aldous begun to cross-reference in his mind all mention of Amaterasu Formula magicians from his massive catalogue of texts. Archward the Malicious, Polarius Who Makes Stars, Tendo Law, Hades the First of his Kind…

    And then Aldous smelt smoke. The noxious kind that told of a material doused in numerous chemicals. It was a very distinct type of smoke. Paper-smoke.

    “NO!” Aldous yelled in utter disbelief, as if it would do any good to stop the flames eating up the paper the Trinketeer had sold him. It may have been disappointingly blank, but he should never judge it purely on that. There may be, Aldous almost violently hoped, something else to it. Hurriedly picking up handfuls of sand, Aldous threw it down on the fire in an attempt to suffocate it, but the moment he threw the dirt on, the flames burst into an all-consuming torrent that devoured the sand, and the whole map, in the flash of a second. They vanished just as quickly.

    That was the power of one of the Last Ten.

    “……” As he watched upon the opportunity burn up in that instant, he did not utter a sound. His mouth opened several times, ready to curse, ready to cry, but nothing came out in the end, for words were meaningless.

    Aldous slumped backward, sitting against a convenient log while his brain still tried to comprehend the opportunity that had just been snatched away from him. He tried to clench his fist, to summon up some form of heaven-directed anger within his soul, but Abraxis was right. He was just too tired to even care anymore. All Aldous could do was shake his head forlornly and wait for someone else to come by and take him away.


    Last edited by TacticalFallacy on 19th July 2014, 12:16 am; edited 1 time in total


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    Post by TacticalFallacy on 16th July 2014, 3:47 am

    “Now, I’ve been patient with you up until now.”

    “Oh, if that was patience, I can’t imagine you waiting in line.”

    “Snap that trap of yours! You were clearly found at the scene of the incident, right beside the very source of that…thing.”

    “My, my, if you really think I made that, then I suggest you leave this room, this building, this town if you want to live. Only monsters can make such a powerful spell, and I must warn you from personal experience: you should never be close to a monster.”

    “Urk! I-Is that a threat?”

    “Call it an education. You seem to lack that a lot.”

    “Just you wait. I’m not finished here.” A door somewhere in the Rune Knight Outpost at Beanstalk Village slammed shut.

    “Apparently you are.”

    Purgatory groaned, planting his bored face onto his arm lying on the bare table. He had been amusing himself with his frustrating and insulting of the four different interrogators the Rune Knights had thrown at him, but the novelty was beginning to wear off. He felt so, so tempted to break his handcuffs, the walls around him and go out for a midnight stroll through the park. He would do those things and more, if it weren’t for his idiotic landlord sulking inside him. Even if Purgatory is at the reins, controlling the mind and all, it was still Aldous’ body and thus his nervous system being in total wracking shambles at the moment from Aldous’ emotions was utterly paralyzing both of them.

    “AH! Quit it!” Purgatory shouted down towards Aldous, who curled up even tighter into his fetal position in response. Lying on their mental landscape, a barren, flat surface of grey land, Aldous looked like a miserable pimple, which Purgatory so wanted to snuff out of existence. But just like bursting an actual pimple, doing that now would hurt. Really badly. “So what if you lost a chance? It’s just one of many chances! Nothing to get all waaa-waaa about!” So all Purgatory could do was appeal to his most hated person in the world the best he can.

    “So close…..it was just right in front of me….”

    “What do you need? A pacifier? A pillow? Need your mommy to pet your back and put you into bed? OH WAIT, you don’t have one!”

    “I could have….I should have….”

    “YOU SHOULD HAVE THROWN YOURSELF INTO THAT INFERNO! SAVE US BOTH THE TROUBLE!”
    Heavy emphasis on “best”.

    “Why did Hades pick someone like me….? All this time…useless...”

    “……”

    This time, Purgatory remained quiet. Why? Purgatory had always considered Aldous a useless flesh of meat, a waste of space, whose only value was as a container for yours truly. Any other time, he would be so ready to drive home that opinion into the heart of his landlord, in that ephemeral hope he would stop it stone-cold.

    But that was his opinion, NOT the truth.

    In reality, while he might profess complete derision for his useless vessel, Purgatory knew, and has been told, why it had to be Aldous. Why Hades had him revived over and over again during those experiments, instead of just getting a replacement. Why he taught none of the Seven Kin the Amaterasu Formula, instead passing it to that one little boy he picked out from the carnage.
    “Soon, he will get closer to it than anyone else. Eventually, he will sit upon its throne.”

    ‘Ridiculous,’ Purgatory reflexively dismissed the claim, ‘No one reaches the Line. Not even us.’
    Purgatory scanned Aldous from feet to the head cuddled up between his knees. ‘Let alone you.’ He says that with disgust-enhanced certainty now, but at the same time, Purgatory cringed at the fleeting hesitance inside him. He did not believe in prophecies, destinies or the ever-so-popular “I have a special feeling”. And yet….

    “WHAT! WHAT DO YOU MEAN ‘LET HIM GO’!? HE WAS AT THE SCENE! HE’S A MAGE! WHAT ELSE WOULD WE NEED TO LOCK HIM UP!?”

    Purgatory looked up towards the mirror across the room (undoubtedly one-way), his interest piqued at the mention of freedom.

    “DO YOU KNOW THE AUDACITY OF THIS MAN?!”

    Now he really can’t afford to have Aldous like he is now. While they might give him the keys to the door, they definitely would not arrange to have him carried out.

    “THAT MAN HAS SENT TWO OF OUR GUYS IN A SCREAMING MESS, ANOTHER ONE UTTERLY MUTE AND THE LAST ONE WE HAD QUITTED HIS JOB! JUST NOW! AND NOT GIVING A SINGLE CLUE ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED!”

    Okay, maybe they would.

    “Ha…..ha…..that man makes too much noise….ha…”

    “For once, I concur with you. Oh? You’re back.”

    “…….”

    “Apparently not entirely. So, what did your puny ego tell you this time? You’ll do better? Unlucky break? You screw up now, won’t happen again?”

    “It’s not over yet.”

    “Wha…”

    “ARGH! FINE! DO WHATEVER YOU WANT WITH HIM! BUT IT’LL BE YOUR NAME I’LL BE THINKING OF WHEN HE DESTROYS A VILLAGE AGAIN!” Purgatory scowled as he was interrupted by that trumpet of a Rune Knight. Even the man’s footsteps could be heard stomping away. Apparently, he had lost the chance for an easy promotion. All thanks to some mysterious benefactor of theirs. Who?

    Purgatory’s eyes narrowed at the opening door.


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    Post by TacticalFallacy on 17th July 2014, 6:04 am

    “Oh, it’s you,” Purgatory sighed, disappointed that it had not been someone more exciting.

    “Why, you are happy to see me, Mister,” Locker, Sergeant of the 10th Rune Knight Custody Enforcement Unit, returned the reception with a sarcastic grin. “I would have personally arranged a welcome in recognition of what you had done for this village a week ago, but…” As he sat down across Purgatory, Locker removed his three-topped Rune Knight hat, brushing off revealing his sections of hair burnt off to the scalp. The fire had been extremely efficient and targeted; not one strand had lost its cinnamon colour. “…we had to deal with that spectacle of yours first. As is our duty.”

    “You managed to ‘deal with’ that?” Purgatory snorted, shaking his head in unbelieving amusement. “Forgive me if I highly doubt that that little laundry pole you Rune Knights carry around could do more than act as firewood to that level of magic.”

    “You seem more pissed off than normal, Mister,” Locker remarked, prompting Purgatory to realize that the Sergeant had no idea about him.

    “Be more careful,” Aldous advised from inside, “I’m not ready to return just yet.”
    “Hell yes I’m pissed off. If you were the one to be forcibly hauled away, locked in these chains and blamed, without evidence mind you, that you caused some super magical catastrophe, even though it did little more than create a sun in the night, I’m sure you too would be just as cranky right now!”

    “And shut up! I don’t NEED your advice!” Purgatory gritted his teeth behind his lips. He made a mistake, so what? Why do people just love to keep pointing out even the teensiest of mistakes?

    Obviously he had to be fuming steam right now, because Locker’s face was paling at the sight and when he managed to speak again, his tone was much more careful. “Forgive those men for being a little too eager with doing their jobs. It isn’t just you who is complaining. We have many others who find our new methods too harsh, too draconian and think we take a “guilty till proven innocent” stance and from their perspective, they are quite justified. But after what happened with Acnologia, security and policing had to be greatly stepped up. A lot of people, many of them Rune Knights, lost their lives then. They, everyone, just want to avoid another incident like that. Don’t you see? I hope you understand.”

    “Uuuu….,” Purgatory pouted. He was personally unconcerned with the petty sentiments and paranoia of lower beings, but right now, he had to pretend to be that the all-caring, all-charitable messiah that he so desperately despised, Aldous. “Fine…” That one word was worth the entirety of his pride and dignity.

    “Thank you, the Rune Knights don’t get much support these days.” ‘Yeah, I wonder why that is so,’ Purgatory thought, but he, wisely, kept that to himself. “So, you going to let me out?”
    “Almost,” Locker halted him with a ‘stop’ hand, while fingering through some files that he had produced from under his uniform. Whatever they contained, they were extremely thin, which made sense to the watching Aldous since he never really showed his face in public. “I can vouch that you aren’t capable of such magical prowess, nor do you have any harmful intentions towards the villages nearby, but I still cannot rule out that you were at the scene and thus, a key witness to what happened.”

    “Someone else did it, okay! That’s all you should need to know,” Purgatory, ever so brief with his masks, was already beginning to break. “Some old man transformed some campfire into that giant flame tower you Rune Knights somehow managed to extinguish.” Purgatory had clearly not let that last part go, his disbelief in lower beings having such capabilities.
    “An old man?” Locker raised his brow. “Please, could you be more specific, Mister?” He dodged the question and Purgatory saw that he was clearly not in the position to assert his right for an answer. Must be some top-secret Rune Knight stuff. Maybe Acnologia had finally taught them to get a much-needed upgrade.

    Letting leak a sigh of resignation (the last he will let anybody see), Purgatory relented and told Locker what he knew about the Trinketeer. Throughout the reveal, Purgatory attempted numerous times to slip in a question about what the Rune Knights did back, but Locker was definitely experienced with interrogations and on the lookout for such tracks, so he always managed to pull Purgatory back on track, wringing every detail out of him until he was a dry desert.

    The whole process took ten minutes, but for Purgatory, it felt like an infinite eternity. “Damn you, Aldous. You were supposed to be the one to deal with these things.” Aldous did not answer, as if he had turned himself off from Purgatory’s voice. Purgatory fumed at this obviously deliberate absence, leaving him to deal with this. Was it payback for what he said back then? Him not needing his advice? Well, that was never going to change, no matter what the landlord.
    “Alright, I gave you all you asked for. Can I go now?” Purgatory snapped at Locker, without a doubt in his mind that this Rune Knight was just being a waste of his precious time.

    “Yes,” Locker acknowledged, giving out that smile that so infuriated Purgatory with its self-satisfaction and complete ignorance of his rebelliousness. As if he was conversing with a child who just wanted to play. ‘I’m not one of your frail little boys,’ Purgatory hissed, furiously conjuring up ideas to snap that Locker’s spine, rearrange every bone, skin him alive, et cetera et cetera. “You may go, Mister. Would you like an escort?”

    “I am not a child. I can exit a building by myself. Thank you very much,” Purgatory took the chance to express himself. He immediately regretted it to a slight degree, knowing full well that he could have blown his cover then and there. But Locker only nodded, in that (mockingly) understanding fashion of his, and gestured him towards the door.

    As Purgatory exited, slightly puzzled over how he dodged that bullet, and passed through the Rune Knight headquarters, he begun to realize something. Something Locker said just does not seem to...

    “OI!”

    When Locker was interrupted from his train of thought, he realized that he had already stepped out into the streets of Beanstalk Village, the trademark beanstalks out in the distance, towering over every other building in sight.

    Purgatory would have admired them in his own derisive and disgusted manner, but right now, what waited before was grabbing the entirety of his attention, while fouling up his mood at the same time.

    “You….”

    “Purgatory….”

    “…So the little rolling scrap heap was the one who brought that Locker mongrel to me. Oh, my saviour, should I give you some oil to lubricate your gears?”

    “Glad to see you are fine too, Pug,” Abraxis smirked as widely as his brass bell of a mouth would allow him. “I was so worried. I never thought that the mighty Purgatory would bend his head so easily to the law, to the point where he had to be saved by a scrap heap and a mongrel. Oh how you have fallen. Would you like to lean on me?”

    “And give you the pleasure of falling apart from under me? I think not,” Purgatory brushed the bicycle off, “I would rather use a dung heap than you for support.”

    “Oh how wonderful!” Abraxis ‘cheered’. “I was wondering how I could hide the smell!”

    Purgatory’s jaw tightened enough that he might bite through stone. “Why you little…!”

    “Enough, Purgatory!” Aldous suddenly called from within, his presence suddenly returning to the mental surface. “I’m sure you are tired from Locker’s questioning.”

    “No thanks to you.” Purgatory answered bitterly, as he slowly slithered away from the reins, the physical body twitching slightly to represent the transition. “I’m going to rest,” he warned to both Aldous and Abraxis. “Don’t look me up for a long while, else I….”

    “Yeah yeah, you’ll cry for a bedtime story. We get the drift. Just leave already,” Abraxis
    “Tch.” And with that, Purgatory slipped into obscurity, out of touch, out of mind. With his departure, Aldous assumed complete control, re-familiarising himself with his body. As he stretched his arm out, he could almost feel new sinews of magic power coursing among his veins and when he practised drawing a Formula, his fingers danced faster than ever before and for a moment there, he found himself putting too much energy into the seal. It’ll take some time, but he will get used to his new limits. Beizel's treatment had really done the job.

    “Wow, you are looking good. I take it you got what you wanted from your trip?” Abraxis whispered to Aldous. The latter had already assured him that Purgatory was too deep in his mind to hear them, but the bicycle, while having put on a brave front against him, was really terrified of what the violent entity would do to them if he were to find out how they cheated him of the secrets of Amaterasu Formula.

    “Yeah.” Finally ready to take on the world again, Aldous gave a tiny smile as he opened his hand. As if on cue, a little red butterfly, its resplendent wings leaving behind a trail of fiery lights, glided down from the sky, resting gently upon Aldous’ palm as it morphed back into the butterfly brooch.

    “You won’t believe where my mind wandered off to.”


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    Post by TacticalFallacy on 19th July 2014, 2:05 am

    Last night….

    As he retreated into the depths of his mind, hoping that drowning himself in thoughts will numb the pain, Aldous felt the presence of Purgatory passing by him, undoubtedly in a gleeful haste to take control of the empty body. He noted the move and did little else, having nary the strength he would normally have to confront Purgatory. Countless ventures and their inevitable failures take their toll like that.

    Instead, he moved on, walking through the barren grey, until books begun peppering the floor. The air smelt like paper and dust and years as the environment shifted into his destination. His mental self had decided to head for his own mental library, perhaps in a wild, frantic hope that somehow, somehow, that blank map had been pointing to that. But as he wandered among the massive shelves crammed from ground-bottom to sky-top with leather-bound books and ancient scrolls, the representation of his collective readings, he reflexively sensed that it was in vain. Just like all the other times.

    Following the little beacons of candle light flitting through the air, Aldous wended his way down the narrow aisles beneath a ceiling that slowly and gradually sloped downwards into the direction that Aldous was headed. It would eventually come to a stop, just a foot short of the top of his head, and would be joined by a wall that marked and encased a circle in the centre of the library. On the other side of said wall was Aldous’ personal space. To the common eye, it would look little more than a reading room, with a lonely table among straight pillars of organized books, almost seeming like columns holding up the low ceiling, but as he phased through the wall as if it was never there, Aldous knew that there was no better place to be truly and utterly alone. Founded upon walls of mental conditioning taught to him by his old mentor and refined over the years, Aldous was confident that no one can enter here. Not even Hades. Not even Purgatory.

    Not even the white-haired girl sitting on the chair, reading the “End of Games” with a strangely familiar intensity.

    Appearance:

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    Thinking fast, Aldous replaced his despair with desperate adrenaline as his hands endeavoured to draw Formula 21: Vorpal Stalagmite. He had little experience with fighting people in his own mind or how much good his magic would do for him in a mental scape, but he clawed for what he was most familiar. Within a second, his Stalagmite was fully drawn, ready to engulf the intruder in its black spike.

    Then Aldous returned his attention to his target.

    Within that second, ten or so Amaterasu Formulas, all of a different shape and form, all of them of much greater complexity than Formula 21, surrounded Aldous entirely. While they whirled about, primed to set off, their caster turned a page, as if she had not done a thing. The speed, the accuracy, the almost imperceptible grace with which his opponent drew her Formulas, placed Aldous in total awe. Only one other person could do that to him.

    “Oh my,” Her voice was akin to the sweet call of the gentle violin, edged by the piano’s soothing undertones. “I’m sorry, do you live here?” And it seemed to have the stick of a conductor as well, for every fluctuation in pitch and stress were immediately followed by a reaction from her Formulas, be it a re-shaping, re-sizing or just oscillating in the air as if dancing to her voice. “Excuse my rudeness.” And with that, all of the Formulas dispersed into the air, as if they were merely sand in the wind.

    “How?” Aldous mouthed, having never seen anything quite like this. He had heard before that Amaterasu Formulas have been drawn and controlled through a multitude of different means, but this was the first time he had seen another method beyond drawing by hand.

    “Did you mean: how did I get here?” The girl’s head tilted questioningly towards him, while still keeping her eyes fixed upon the pages. “Umm…Well.” Before Aldous could even say ‘no’, the girl was already in the middle of replying, blushing with apologetic embarrassment. “I might have umm…been slightly too enraptured with one of your books. Fascinating stuff you read. Uh…I hope you don’t mind.”

    “No, I wasn’t asking about that…” Aldous finally felt his tongue return. Realizing he was still pointing Formula 21 at the girl, Aldous sighed as his now seemingly slow fingers swiped across it, lining numerous random squiggles across it till the Formula begin to visibly crack from the deliberately improper drawing. He hated doing it like this; it takes a while, but he really did not have much of a choice.

    “No, no, no, you don’t do it like that.” Aldous nearly jumped out of his skin when he felt the girl lean her head on his shoulder, as if he was piggybacking her. Even then, she was still reading the book in hand. “You are wasting even more energy on removing energy that was already wasted. If you really want to destroy it, you should be focusing on destabilizing its key points.” Stretching over his shoulder with her unoccupied hand, the girl gave the softest prod at somewhere around the centre of Formula 21. The Formula shuddered for a moment, before, with a sharp crack, spontaneously shattering into Eternano particles.

    The suddenness of the disintegration made the watching Aldous briefly imagine the girl’s touch becoming the lethal bane of that Formula, and by extension, himself. It prompted him to step back, mouth open, and attempt to turn around to shake her off, but despite his best and determined efforts, she continued ‘clinging’ onto him, even though she was not even trying to hold on, instead immersed in her reading as has been established as her character trait. It was as if there was some sort of inexplicable magic Velcro sticking her chin to his shoulder.

    “I’m sorry, umm…excuse me?” She finally removed her eyes from her book, laying them on the wheezing Aldous. With that cuteness that could only come from shyness, she hesitantly asked, “Could you not breath so loud? I really wish to read this. Please.” Before Aldous' jaw dropped a few inches from the utter ignorance by this little girl of her most immediate surroundings, she had already returned to her favourite hobby.


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    Post by TacticalFallacy on 19th July 2014, 10:17 pm

    Realizing against a rising tide of irritation that it would hopeless to deal with the girl directly (given what she was capable of), Aldous forced himself to try to act as normal as possible, walking up to the table, picking out a random book (Sisters: A Tale of Two Daughters, if you were wondering) and flipping it back to where he recalled to have last stopped. Doing all this with a girl attached to his shoulder by the chin.

    “I don’t suppose it was by sheer coincidence that at the very same time I had been the closest to finding a breakthrough in my search for Amaterasu Formulas, you appeared in my mind?”

    “Nope.”

    “Could this have nothing to do with a certain old man who sells trinkets?”

    “Nope.”

    “Would you mind telling me your name?”

    “Nope.”

    “Would you tell me what you are here for?”

    “Nope.”

    “Can you tell me anything?!” Aldous, visibly shaking, removed himself from his reading and eyed his guest. Nothing about his look suggested anything left of his initial impression of her awesome power.

    “Well, I can tell you that I came here based on a letter of recommendation from a certain old tick that you already knew.” The girl now snapped her book shut for the first time since she came here. As her eyes met his from behind her halfmoon glasses, Aldous remained fast under her scanning gaze. He had been too far pushed too many times to really care about offending this ‘little girl’ equivalent of Master Hades. “I was to follow the light in the sky, where a certain person holding a certain piece of paper would have it burnt.” That was undoubtedly him.

    “I would tell you what I want to do right now, but I was also informed that there is some…thing else.” Her voice sunk to a whisper. “Something that can’t be trusted with the gift.”

    “Purgatory,” Aldous whispered back. “So…you can’t tell me anything until I somehow keep him occupied.”

    “Exactly,” she approved, apparently pleased that she had been understood. “So, you have a plan? You are the one who probably best knows”

    “I….” Aldous murmured, uncertain that he had the resources to pull something off. “I might have a thing in mind, but I lack a way to communicate outside of this body without grabbing his attention.”

    The girl raised a brow. “You don’t know 5? I’m surprised you didn’t figure out such a basic Formula.” Aldous frowned at her disappointed tone, unsure of what to make of an insult being thrown by a girl who is both as powerful as his master and looking 5 years his junior. What took him even more by surprise was the implicit suggestion that he could ‘figure out’ a Formula by himself, rather than relying on old records left behind around the world. It made sense after all when he thought seriously about: Formulas had to be first conceptualised before they could be ever passed down. Aldous was now all the more curious to hear what this girl had to say to him.
    “Alright, can you demonstrate it to me? It may be just what I need.”

    And so that was how Aldous managed to inform Abraxis (who had gotten there first due to how close he was to the flame pillar) about what was occurring to him, telling him to get Sergeant Locker from Beanstalk Village, while giving him permission to tell Locker about the other personality inside his head (without revealing where Purgatory had come from, lest Locker mistook him for a genuine dark mage).

    “…make sure you don’t anger him. He is far too strong for you to take on directly. Just try to keep him entertained. He loves confrontation, so keep up questioning him as if he was the culprit. He’ll toy with you, but keep it up and he’ll eventually get bored.” Aldous whispered to the listening Locker through the telepathy-granting Formula 5, a series of criss-crossing lines that formed a circle. “Once he seems to get fidgety, drop the accusations and promise to let him go in exchange for information. He’ll immediately take it up.”

    “When you ask him questions, don’t let him distract you. Make sure you try to elicit every piece of information as possible. I need as much time as possible.”

    “Sure,” Locker murmured in hesitant agreement. “So, you are going to help me with this now? It looks ready to spread.” Ever the by the books Rune Knight, he had at first been sceptical about heeding Aldous’ instructions, especially when it was coming from within his own head. It was only when the girl implied to him that she could neutralize the fire storm, Locker was willing to do him a favour.

    “Done,” The girl answered with an almost nonchalant snap. Locker returned it with what Aldous guessed was stunned silence.

    And so that was how Aldous, after a long wait till morning and a little bit more manipulation (Such as his 'advice'), managed to extract 10 minutes of no-Purgatory time. Those would be his most important 10 minutes in his life.


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    Post by TacticalFallacy on 3rd August 2015, 7:40 am

    “So…what did you want with me?” Aldous narrowed his eyes upon the (second) intruder in his head. She did not seem to even notice his gesture, apparently infinitely engrossed in her reading. It irked him a little, seeing such a bookworm. Sure, while he himself may be an extremely avid reader and could very much appreciate finding someone else with the same passionate love for the beauty of the printed text, in current circumstances he was much more preferring to someone who could quickly explain to him her purpose here while Purgatory remained completely focused up there and distracted.

    It was quite a different sensation: having the two minds in one body being focused on different things. Before this, Purgatory and Aldous would have their attention converging on the same thing, mostly because they were doing battle against the enemies of the physical world, working together in the broadest sense of the word. Back then, their conscious thoughts almost flowed freely between them and they had experienced it enough for them to converse with one another even in the middle of the chaos of combat. Sure, most of their words to one another were that of hate, disgust and frustration, with a little more taunting on Purgatory’s part, but that shared connection essentially meant that neither of them could block out the other from learning information from the outside world. But now, that wasn’t happening.

    Indeed, now that Aldous thought about it, where was the throne of chains? The bindings that would hold him down while Purgatory took over his body. Instead, he was in his own mental library, but that would only come about when he was deep in meditation, when both Purgatory and Aldous left the reins of the body alone.

    “I redirected you, allowed you to meet me in a place with a much friendlier atmosphere. I don’t suppose you would be very receptive to conversation were you tied all up in that thing’s ridiculous throne,” the intruding girl interrupted Aldous’ thoughts, a taunting smirk stretched across her petite face. Aldous cringed, his next words coming in an unamused growl.
    “How does that work? Reading my mind while you are inside it?”

    “What? That?” The girl’s brow raised, her smirk disappearing behind disapproval. “Whoa. You are greener than I thought. The jeezer warned me you would be like this, but not this bad. Why did Hades even bother with you?” Aldous bristled at the chastising, especially from someone who looked six years younger than him. “Look here, Aldous, I’m not here to bore you with the triviality that are the five levels of Mind-Distortion.”

    “You are here to teach me more about the Amaterasu Formula.” Aldous took the initiative to interrupt her this time and he gave the same smirk back at the narrowed glare she shot his way.

    “Yes and no. I am here to help you learn about the Amaterasu Formula, not to teach you. I am here to present upon you the resources at my disposal, for your own will, but I will not in any way be guiding you on how you will use my gifts.”

    “I don’t understand,” Aldous murmured hesitantly, his mind wrapping around the implications of her words. He had felt  “If you are saying what I think you are saying, then why bother giving me resources in the first place? Are you just going to give me puzzles to solve, riddles to guess? Are you telling me that I’ve been going about this the wrong way? All those years, accumulating my knowledge of the Formulas from the old texts of the past users. Were they all wasted?”

    “Wasted?” She snorted, an almost cruel sound that did not match her appearance. “Hardly. It’s what brought you to our attention in the first place, spawn of Hades.”

    “’Our’?”

    “While you were out running around the world looking for the knowledge you sought, devouring all that you could find, some of our elements were observing you, noting you. For myself, I merely thought of you as a footnote, another little blip in gulfs of time, incapable of making a mark beyond a few years. After all, all I saw was a lost little boy blindly following the texts he obtained, not even close to being Enlightened.” Aldous noted the stress on the last word. Enlightened? Did she mean….?

    “So you are saying that I shouldn’t hold so tightly to the teachings of the past users? That I should test and theorize my own way of using the magic?”

    “Exactly. Hoho, so you did have thoughts of breaking out of your shell. Maybe the jeezer is right, you might have promise. But I still cannot understand why, even if you already had misgivings about what you were taught, you kept adhering to practices that are obviously not suited for you." Aldous bit his lower lip at the last statement, a little hesitant to reply. It was true: he had many doubts and questions about the efficacy and efficiency of the techniques and formulas that he had discovered and studied in the ancient grimoires and had hypothesized several enhancements and new aspects to be introduced, but….

    “I tried and none of them worked.”

    ……

    ……

    ……

    “Pfff.” Aldous scowled dangerously at the little girl attempting to hide her inner laughter. In fact, it was perhaps deliberate that he could even hear her do it. Her mocking jade eyes were just begging him to punch them into her puny skull.

    “That’s it? You just gave up? Why didn’t you just keep trying? Surely someone as well-read as you would understand the virtues of hard work even in the face of an eternity of failure. Wait. Perhaps....” She put down her book, apparently done reading through it, and when her focus suddenly came fully onto him, he could feel himself, his soul, his magic, his body, all of it being thoroughly read like the pages of a book.

    Her eyes widened. Aldous' own narrowed. She must have seen it.

    “Oh my. Oh my my my,” And then the mocking stopped. “……your experiments scarred your magic. Quite horrendously, I might add. You can’t control the Formulas anymore. It’s not even natural to you, using your magic. You are just forcing yourself through the motions.”


    “Not if I attempt to divert away from the established techniques. But if I follow the normal Formulas and draw them, I should still be able to bring out their power.”

    “And in the end that will all you will ever achieve, Aldous. You will remain nothing more than an imitator, a counterfeit, a mage who can only emulate, never innovate. I thought you would be a small blip, but now I see that you will be absolutely nothing, not even a ripple in the stream, for all you can do is repeat what has already been done and that is the single most ignored deed in the entirety of history.”

    “And yet, you will still help me?”

    “I have half the mind to leave you here to your fate. I can barely see how you can grow into one of us. But I must admit that you are quite cute.” Aldous flinched at the confessed attraction. He was suddenly very aware that this little girl’s eyes were appraising him in a rather hungry manner. “And your ability to mix up all of those techniques, all developed by different mages, into one cohesive magic, even if it was only a crude fake of the real Amaterasu.”

    “So, you will help?”

    “Perhaps. I don’t see why I should give you my entire collection, but perhaps I might find the kindness in my soul to gift a lost puppy like you with a few.”

    “Collection?” And that was when he saw it.

    The Archive of Magic.


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    The Undefined Formula



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    Post by TacticalFallacy on 3rd August 2015, 8:37 am

    It was the briefest of sights, yet it would be one that Aldous would never forget for the entirety of his existence.

    It was near-indescribable, but when Aldous attempted to note it down in journal, he attempted his best, never satisfied with his words.

    The Archive was not your traditional library. Neither was it even close to a library. It would be much more appropriate to refer the entire thing as a country.

    A country of text. From horizon to horizon, rolling hills upon mountains of scrolls and books and perhaps anything that contained a text referring to magic. Even statues that were simply quoting about simple magic aspects were present among the piles and from what Aldous glimpsed of the sky, the clouds in the paper-white screen were actually text bubbles – tangible text bubbles – and while he never got a close look of that unusual phenomenon, he would hypothesize then that those text bubbles must have contained the spoken word, for whatever information involving magic passed through the Earth, the Archive would record and take it in, no matter the form. Even in the very air, as he inhaled, thoughts that were not his own blared through his mind, all of it involving a person’s own remunerations of magic.

    “How?” Aldous would murmur before that sight vanished away from him and he was back in his own, comparatively insignificant library, if it could even attest to having that classification after what he had seen. The girl, no, the entity now grinning in front of him, had under her arm a few tomes, their hardbacks worn away from what was apparently centuries, millennia of age. “Oh, you could see it?”

    “I could feel it, all around me. It was for a moment, but I was there.”

    “Huh? That’s a first. I usually never teleport someone directly into there. A little longer and you could probably destroy yourself…..and the world.” The world? No, no, Aldous knew adamantly that she was downplaying the true scale of her archives. It’s not just the magic of Earthland that was in there. He could feel it, the foreign, almost alien feel of Edolas magic, a dying breed, in there as well. Along with the magic of a billion, trillion other worlds.
    With that Archive, he might be able to obliterate all of them.

    “Was that….the One True Magic?”

    “OTM?” The girl guffawed, apparently amused by the audacity of his statement, “Nah, but it would be quite close to it. Your unwanted friend, Purgatory, used to call that place, or at least a part of it, home, you know?”

    “What?” Aldous gawked.

    “Pity he went mad as he did. You must been having a lot of trouble with my ex-boyfriend in my head, right?” And that was when Aldous’ world stood utterly still. What?

    “You……you are…..like him?” Aldous asked almost immediately after but he was immediately taken aback by the weight of the grimoires the girl shoved into his arms. He stumbled a little back, shocked by the tons that the tomes felt like, but also the relative ease he bore with it. He could feel it in the paper, in himself: his Amaterasu Formula was reacting to its similar kin inside the pages, ready to assimilate and evolve into newer, greater forms that he could not imagine. Just having the tomes against his chest was enough for his power to begin to unmistakably grow from the intense concentration of magical knowledge.

    “No, he used to be like me. Like us. But that's changed now. Don’t give up on him though, alright, Aldous? Please. He may have the answers we all seek.” The girl smiled, a soft, gentle one this time, as she leaned in and caressed Aldous’ cheek with a hand the texture of divine silk. “And if you do have to fight him....destroy him,” she said this with pained eyes, “please tell him that none of us blame him. We may despise him for not being stronger, but we do not blame him for what he did.”

    “And you trust me to say this to him?” Aldous quivered, this time out of a cold rage, a counter-reaction to this girl defending the entity that has been tormenting for his entire life. It was inconceivable, a total denial of what Purgatory had done to him. “You trust me to show him compassion? Friendship?”

    He was about to say more, but that was before the girl leaned in and covered his lips in hers.

    “Pity. I thought I might feel him from you. Even if it was a tiny bit. But you are entirely different from him though. Not a shred of your mind has fallen to him.” she mourned after they parted, Aldous completely dumbstruck by the motion, a thousand voices screaming inside the mind inside his mind, some in cheer, others in disgust, many in just utter confusion to a girl’s sacred touch. “I guess Hades chose you well. You are a worthy Heritor.”

    “….we are out of time, aren’t we?”

    “Almost. I had wanted to give you a much more comprehensive explanation, but like I said, I wasn’t supposed to guide you anyway. This conclusion is probably for the best.”

    “I see….may I at least know your name?”

    She paused, even looked away, apparently hesitant to share this information. But when she glanced at Aldous again, she simply gave out a resigned sigh. “…..……Beizel. ”

    “That's the name of the Irulian Goddess of Death. Could it be....?” Aldous asked this without surprise. It made sense to him, after all, for the one in charge of the Archive to be such a powerful being.

    “Perhaps. Though goddess is a stretch. And no, I’m not the one in charge, but that’s classified information. I might have to kill you if I tell you.”

    “You could try, but I heard that I escaped the grasps of Death Gods over fifty times.”

    “Yeah, a lot of us don’t really like you for that. But I myself have a thing for bad boys.”

    “Is this what happens if I Enlighten? Do I become one of you? Another Purgatory?” He threw the question out of nowhere, hoping against hope that he could get the answer at these last moments, but all he got was a now cruel, but ecstatic laugh. “Oh, you have a very long way before I can even hint to you the answer. Sorry, but spoilers.”

    And Aldous was flung back into the conscious world.


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    Post by TacticalFallacy on 4th August 2015, 9:00 am

    “So now what?”

    “Hmm?” Aldous turned back to Abraxis, his face calm and cool. The duo had now left the village behind and were on their way towards the original site of the Last Ten formula, in a last hopeful bid to perhaps gleam some clue about it, though in the back of his mind Aldous knew that Beizel would have done a very thorough neutralization of the spell. Even though its display was equivalent to that of an A-rank spell, Aldous was sure that the Trinketeer, that wily and still completely mysterious being, had been holding back the power, else it should have swallowed Aldous whole in its wake. Such fine control was impossible for him now and perhaps, Aldous painfully noted, forever.

    “I know you can’t tell me anything about what happened, lest that busybody in your head were to peek on us, but he will still be able to see that you’ve grown stronger, won’t he?” Abraxis questioned as he trailed after Aldous on the same low road as before, their destination clear due to the outpouring clouds of smoke that were left in the fire-storm’s chaotic wake.

    “It was not my increase in strength that Purgatory didn’t need to know, but how I got it,” Aldous explained as he slowed down to match Abraxis’ lagging pace. After all, he no longer felt a need to be in such a rush, especially with the wonders that have been added into his mental library courtesy of Beizel’s collection. He dared not read them unprepared, lest he might not be able to handle the magical force behind their knowledge or allow Purgatory to catch him doing so. “My benefactor was very adamant on keeping identity secret. They might be connected. That is as much as I dare to tell you. Sorry.” Aldous bit his lips at the last word. He did not like it, keeping a ten-year-old buddy so far in the dark.

    “Oh it’s fine. So long as you get one-up on that Pug, do what you need to do.” Purgatory nudged his handlebar against Aldous’ thigh in an affectionate manner. Aldous returned it with a nod.

    “Thank you.”

    “Hey, I’m your best bud. No matter what we go through, thick or thin, hell or heaven, I’ll be there for you, bearing your burdens with you. Doing anything less would make me unworthy of calling myself your friend.”

    “Hahaha,” Aldous laughed, a sudden release of emotion at Abraxis’ words, “And if we die tomorrow, let me say first that it has been an honour knowing you. Even your bad sides.”

    “Hey, I know you love me when I’m bad.”

    “Yes, yes, I do. I especially like it when karma comes to stab you in the butt for it.”

    And the two continued on, in their eternal wandering of the world and beyond, side by side, hand to handlebar. A boy, taken in by the darkest guild, losing his home to the darkest mage, losing himself to an unwanted intruder. A cat, flung from his world, stripped of his body, transformed into little more than a frame of cold metal. Fate should have made them bitter, cynical, give them a seething hatred to the universe that had wronged them of normal lives. And yet they defied such a direction, perhaps through sheer force of will, perhaps luck or maybe just by having each other.

    Time, oh the ever cruel lord, may bring them finally apart, but for now that seems very far away.

    …….

    …….

    “Is it done? How is he? Is he alright?”

    “I’ve done what you've asked. From I can see, he’s fine. Though I still can’t believe that we will leave in the grasp of that monster. We should just go for it. Take it down. Release him from those bindings.”

    “And leave all of our planning for naught? You little fool. You still have so much more to improve on. After this, it will be back to your studies with you.”

    “Tch…..then what do you propose?”

    “We shall wait. And see. I am confident that he will succeed, where we have all failed. That he will awaken and realize his true potential. A seed that will finally bloom into the world, for the good of it all.”

    “And at its roots, the results shall be made plain to us.”

    “Will we have it then?”

    “….And that is why you are still in such need for further introspection.”


    “Tch.”


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    Post by Chelvaric on 5th August 2015, 5:41 am

    TacticalFallacy's C-rank Exam (THE FRUIT OF 2 YEARS' HARD WORK) OsrTydV


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