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 Post Posted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 2:20 pm 
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"I think you two would probably know better than me." Chandi says, rolling her eyes. "All I can add to it is that everything feels hollow here, which fits what you've said. And that Shell business would probably match Tiranade's whole 'destroy without harming souls' thing that Makosan talked about." She pauses for a moment, then takes a step towards the cavernous tunnel Harmony pointed out. "So we're either in a trap, or this thing that holds souls is emptier than it should be, right? Either way, we can't just stay here talking. Let's see what's down the tunnel." Chandi takes another step forward while bringing the bolt of lightning behind her, before thrusting her arm forwards and tossing the bolt like a javelin, letting it soar down the hallway to give a glimpse with what light the weapon can provide. Once it reaches the end of the hallway, Chandi summons her Shift back to her hand.

 Post Posted: Tue Dec 10, 2013 8:43 pm 
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Destiny grins at Asch, "Not bad. I can see why you're a Mystery Breaker. I think it may be the latter option... that something is storing and hiding the souls here; likely a shell of some sort. It certainly would explain the absence of souls... now, I'm not sure if Athena's gotten into Runic Programming here, but its possible to set up a series of Runes to run command off a supply of ether even if the God isn't here. I suspect both methods were used to construct this." She nods at Harmony, "We are cut off. It's a closed circuit."

Chandi sends her bolt of light down the hallway, but before she can recall it the same ball floats into view behind them from an opposite hallway and stops in front of Chandi. "...huh." Destiny flips her wrist and a small blue thread appears off of a spool floating in the air. She sends the thread floating down the same hallway and in a moment it comes floating up behind them. She cuts the thread from the spool and ties it to itself, tugging it along as it floats in the air. "...well that's just maddeningly unhelpful." She plucks the thread and it the whole thing vibrates, "At least we have a path to follow." She looks at the only two exists to the room, both containing the same thread. "Which way?"

 Post Posted: Tue Dec 10, 2013 9:31 pm 
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Asch lowers her head, letting a smirk escape. "What a funhouse. Well, if it doesn't matter which way we go, we should at least be equipped to detect trickery..." Removing her shift from her belt and holding it pommel first, she says, "Rog-Limitation, Another Type - Lens of Truth!" Red and Blue runic energy course from her hands to the hilt, and well up at the pommel mixing with white runic energy to create a large magnifying glass with a red lens. Lifting it up to her eyes, she starts walking forward with the words, "Come along, the game is afoot."

 Post Posted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 2:00 am 
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As the others begin walking, Harmony follows along, but unlike them, her attention is currently turned inward...



[Yes Harmony?]

#Have you finished your analysis of the Blight?#

[You never told me to do so.]

#Do you really expect me to believe that you have not investigated it? Considering I myself was taken over, you were taken over? There is no way you would have left it unanalyzed.#

[... point.]

Well? What did you find?

[I had hoped to have a chance to further investigate the data, but...]

Oh, just spit it out already!

[This occurred back when I first began to analyze the Blight... Prior to when we knew Tiranade's identity.]

#Wait, you talked with Tira--#

[Hush, and watch.]


MUSE begins to analyze the Blight, trying to make sense of the backward flow that somehow keeps it's form in reverse. It's masterfully done, and appears to be the work of a lot of perfection and even programming... the whole thing reads a lot like MUSE itself.

"Curious... you've made pretty short work hacking into my Blight so far. What are you little ball of weave?" The voice belongs to the tattered cloak man, without a doubt.

There is a short pause as MUSE examines the being. "WHY SHOULD I EXPLAIN MY EXISTENCE, WHAT I AM, TO YOU?"

There is a longer pause before an answer, "...touchy. I'm curious as to what you are. It feels almost like your a sentient shell, but that's impossible for someone on Harmony's level... if you're going to be rude, I'll simply lock you out of here."


"Oh ho ho!" The voice sounds amused, "We have a rather high opinion of ourselves don't we?" The background around MUSE changes, flowing into a waterfall like series of runes, black and purple, flowing against a golden glowing backdrop and moving in every direction at once. "More advanced than this? That Golem was but a test. You seem to be rather curious how it worked... do you feel a kinship with it? Can you?"

"IT REMINDS ME OF MYSELF... WHEN I WAS YOUNG. FAR, Far... younger." The voice of MUSE slowly modulates into a normal sounding, human voice. A sad voice. "It saddens me to see it treated so. 'Merely a test.' A tool, to be discarded when no longer of use."

As it speaks, MUSE halts analyzing, and instead simply focuses on recording the flow of Runes around it. Analyzing of the footage can come later. If it can just keep him talking... but MUSE has an issue with recording.

[Every time I focused on a rune, it would fade away - the best that can be done is to see it from the corner of one's perception.]

And indeed, as Harmony views the recording from MUSE's memory she cannot follow any of the runes, only make them out at the periphery of her perception.

"...who is speaking?" The cloaked figure asks.

"I AM/I am."

Momentarily, there is a strange duality to the tone of MUSE's voice - the mechanic sound of CORE, and the human sound of the Personality Matrix.

"I am a part of MUSE. A part created to... interface with those such as yourself. To have emotions. Intuition. A personality matrix overlayed on top of the Core."

"And I assume that personality... would be the same as MUSEs creators now wouldn't it?"

There is what suspiciously sounds like a chuckle from MUSE. Gradually, the ball of light coalesces into the figure of a young man - a young man with midnight black hair. His face and form is turned away from Harmony, such as she cannot see it - deliberate on MUSE's part, Harmony suspects. "Oh, if he could hear you say that... My initial... 'template', I suppose, you might say came from him. This form you see before you is similar to his, but... ah, what's the phrase. 'As through a glass, darkly.' My personality was indeed similar to his... but I have had far more experiences, seen far more, than he ever... had a chance to."

" YOU. YOU! YOOOU! ITS YOU! I KNEW THAT VOICE! YOU BASTARD! NO WONDER THIS GIRL CAN SHRUG OFF THE BLIGHT! IS IT SOLARIUS? ARE YOU WORKING WITH GODS NOW?! I WON'T HAVE IT! I WON'T HAVE ANY OF IT! I'M MOVING FORWARD, UNKNOWN!" The voice starts cackling as the runes around MUSE begin to shatter, the entire interface is breaking, but before it goes the voice gets in one last thing... "I will obtain her... and you will sleep forever." The interface shatters, and the recording ends.



[... I do not know what he meant. Unknown. And...]

It is impossible that he recognized that voice. After all...

#What. Whose voice was that? He seemed to imply that that voice was the voice of... the one who created you.#

[Yes. The voice of my Master. The one who created me.]

Which is why it is impossible that he recognized it.

#Why? He is... gone. I know that, or at least I could tell that much from the way that you talk of him. But...#

[No... not dead. Worse than dead. Gone. Completely. He...]

There was a battle. A great battle, between mortals. Mortals who had obtained the power of Gods, or close enough. He was a great experimenter, my Master... but he had begun down a dark path, at the end. His focus was on directly manipulating the Soul - his own Weave - to gain great power. But he, a mere mortal, was locked in battle alongside his comrades against a being that had gained access to the Etherial Realm - a mortal who had gained the power of a God. And they were losing... as a last ditch effort... He told the others to run, to flee to safety. He saw them... and myself, for he commanded it... off the planet. And he focused his power on himself on his Soul, and... unravelled himself. The explosion blew back through the gate we used to flee - I lost my physical form then... but everyone made it out to safety.

[But for the intervention of the Arbiters afterward, it could have been... bad. They managed to hold the destruction to a single planet, but as it was, the entire planet was lost... my Master, the one he was fighting, everyone on it... almost the entirety of the enemy forces was on that planet. As I recall, the entire incident was the cause for one of the current laws of the Arbiters - that Arbiters have the right to intervene in a purely mortal conflict if the mortals have gained powers similar in stature to a God.]

#But he... he's gone then. Entirely gone. Unravelling... there's nothing left. He...#

[Yes Harmony. My Master... your son... is gone. Completely. Utterly. He sacrificed... unravelled himself 2065 years ago.]

#Then... how could Tiranade recognize him? Tiranade recognized his form... his voice. Tiranade... he isn't that old? And... Unknown. He called him Unknown.#

[I do not know. It is impossible that he has encountered the Master. He is not that old.]

#But... if he has seen him, then he might still be alive. He might still...#

[No. No, it is an impossibility. He unravelled himself. He is gone. Completely. I witnessed his destruction myself.]

#But look how far gone I was... if he--#

[No - you never fully unravelled. That explosion... the power of it - there is no doubt of what happened to him. Between his own unravelling and the ensuing chain reaction... there was nothing left.]

I know you don't want to believe it... but it is impossible. It cannot be him. This person... This... Unknown... has to be someone else. Perhaps a resemblance. Perhaps something that, somehow, has made itself into a copy of the Master... but it cannot be the Master himself.

#Do you... do you have more of him? More about him, who he was, what he did?#

[Ever since the moment he installed the recording function into me, I recorded him... and I was constantly by his side. He was prone to... leaps of intuition. He needed logic to help keep him grounded, even if it was just a simple AI that could remind him of his limits.]

#Could I see more? More of these... memories?#

[Some day, perhaps... but you are not ready. They are too tied with other memories. The reason why you weren't there, at the end. I even have the recording of his final moments... but I will not put you through it. It is painful to watch. Even for me.]

#But... one day? Could I see more?#

[One day. When you are ready, you will have all of the memory and Weave I hold from you. Now is not the time...]

#No... no, you are right. What about the analysis. Did you ever discover anything about the Blight? Or were you cut off too soon?#

[No, Tiranade was very efficient at hiding his data from me.]

#What about the tether? Do you have any idea why we seem to be immune to the ties?#

[Destiny said to take a look at your soul, to expose it, and you would see.]

#Why can't you--#

[Just. Look.]


Harmony pauses momentarily as she focuses on herself... and on her soul, to try and see it and the tether.
As predicted, the tethers aren't connected to Harmony or any of the other Goddesses, Destiny included. They snake around them, seeming to observe them, but any time one tries to crawl closer they suddenly leap backwards, if stung. The only difference is with Destiny... her tendril won't even approach her. It just seems to hang back, trying to look as small as possible. Harmony tries to focus on the tether, trying to catch exactly what is causing the tether to recoil away from her own soul.


#MUSE, can you tell what is causing this?#

[No. But there is something... odd about how they pace and move about the room. Perhaps with more time to analyze...]

#Can you trace the tendrils? See where they lead back to? Even a general direction?#

[Not without actually touching them. Which would almost certainly tie us into the bomb. Which I am not going to do. And before you even think about it, if you so much as make a move to touch one of those tethers I WILL stop you.]


Harmony finally sighs and shakes her head before turning to Destiny.

"Does the name... Unknown... mean anything to you?"

"Unknown what? Is the name unknown? Or forgotten or something?"

"No... I was speaking with MUSE. It had an encounter with Tiranade that I was not privy to, and it only just now decided to mention it to me."

Harmony pauses for a moment to gather her thoughts.

"MUSE, play that again for the others."

Obligingly, the scene replays again, as a sort of diarama in front of the group.

"Do you have any idea what he meant?"

 Post Posted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 3:10 am 
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Chandi follows slowly, letting the lightning bolt rest on her shoulder, a puzzled expression on her face. When Harmony chooses to replay the memory, Chandi stops, and watches closely. "Hmmm..." she says for a moment. "Knew that little ball of light would be interesting." She murmurs with a grin. "I've got few thoughts. But I think I should divert any thoughts to one higher than myself." Chandi turns her head. "Lady..." the word comes out with more venom than Chandi intends, a fact evident by the look of regret on her face. A short pause, then Chandi repeats herself. "Lady Destiny. What do you think?" Whatever malice was present disappears, and Chandi bows her head to the Elder.

 Post Posted: Sun Dec 29, 2013 4:30 pm 
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Asch begins searching with her new lens as the others follow behind. In the meantime Harmony plays the recording between MUSE and the Tattered Cloak man. Destiny ponders, "Odd. I have no idea what an Unknown is. Tiranade seems to be quite afraid of them however... beyond that, I'm still curious as to why I can hear and see these memories when everyone else you've shown these things to cannot."

"That, my dear, is a very good question."

Asch's lens detects that the entire room they are in is a massive illusionary field moments before the room melts around them, what's revealed is a much bigger room with a fleshy purple tower in the center, growing from the ground into the ceiling; like a grotesque tree. The roots of said tree run inside and out of the ground like writhing worms, and connect to the walls in the wide circular room... to countless large containers full of blue ethereal energy; souls. Billions of them.

"You know, I was going to toy with you all for quite a while... make you work to get this far." A near identical twin for the Black Golem on Utopia walks out from behind the tree... the only differences being the energy forming it's white eyes is split by a long yellow soul scar along it's right eye. "But your little friends on Asguard are presenting me with some... new options that have made me move my plans along faster than I had intended."

Destiny grins, "Tiranade I presume? Or is it just your soul inside this construct."

"Long ranged Soul Insertion - one of the benefits of the Blight. You must be Athena Sensei's replacement... Destiny was it?"


The Golem/Tiranade looks down at the quivering tendril that refuses to connect Destiny to the blight, "Interesting... if I am not mistaken, I'd say the blight looks afraid of you. What secrets do you hide my dear?"

"Many. None of which you are privy to. Now disarm this bomb and leave my college alone." She draws her scythe from her back.

"Touchy... but my little distraction here gives me the advantage of time, wouldn't you say?" Though the Golem cannot smile, the grin is apparent in it's voice.

Destiny grins right back, "An advantage that always runs out... even I cannot stop time. Now enough games, what do you want?"

"Why, the peace and balance of the entire universe! To protect all souls and lives, mortal and immortal alike, from all the things that would destroy them!"

"Your Sarcasm is so thick I think I may drown in it."

"I'm hurt my lady! I'm tell the truth!"

"Says the God with a mortal soul-fueled bomb ready to blow up an entire school of innocent lives to get at the Elders. Do you have any idea what the chain reaction would do to the universe if this thing goes off!?"


"...I am beginning to dislike you."

"And here I thought we would date." Before Destiny can fire back, the Golem bows to the trio of other Gods in the room, "A pleasure to see you three again as always. Any latent side effects from the Blight? Harmony - you connected with it deeper than the others - how do you feel? Leave out no detail, I do love to study what it does to others."

 Post Posted: Sat Jan 04, 2014 11:41 pm 
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Asch doesn't need any mystery runes to tell that Tiranade!Golem is full of it. Regardless, she indulges the construct with a wry tip of the hat. "Lingering after effects? I don't know, I was out of it for most of that fight, but you did rather irritate the one who gives me orders." Reversing Rog-Limitation again as though to prepare a blade, she continues, "It is clear that talking to an ego-maniacal fool will get us nowhere from the outset." Stomping her foot with the snap of her open finger, a pulse of blue energy surges from her feet, moving as a wave across the room.

[Action 1. Mystery Rune Lv 2 - Wide Area Witch Hunt - Gather Data on the Golem's connection to the bomb]

Asch gathers data from within the room, trying to observe just what the golemn is to the bomb. From what she gathers, it's not the trigger - but it's likely what presses the trigger. She enters this result in to her database, and then mentally communicates the results to Harmony.

 Post Posted: Sun Jan 05, 2014 12:16 am 
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"Now Asch, there's always time for talk." And, mentally to others, "Let's not piss off the man holding the switch, yes? And let's also not try anything like blowing it up - I'd have the golem set with a dead man's switch."


#MUSE, analyze that data for me. Is there any way we could prevent the Golem from triggering the bomb?#

[I cannot even process how it would trigger the bomb, so I cannot detect how to stop it.]

#I was afraid you'd say that.#


Harmony turns to Golem-Tiranade.

"To answer your question, Tiranade, the Blight felt quite similar to MUSE at its worst. Cold, passionless, logical. It is a Runic AI, is it not? At least, the basis of it is..."

She slowly walks forward, closer to the Golem, making no sudden movements.

"That said, though the AI may be cold and logical, capable of pressing the button and blowing us up, I'm not so certain about the maker... I find it hard to believe that you would be willing to risk the destruction of so many lives. You are... you were... an Arbiter. One of us. There is only one thing that makes me think you might be willing to do it..."

She tilts her head slowly to the side, a sad expression on her face.

"What scares you so, Tiranade? What did you see in that long, long absence of yours? Why would you fight your brother and leave him chained, little more than a mortal? Nearly get your teacher killed? Why would the sight of MUSE's creator send you into a berserk rage? Who are they, these... Unknown, you fear so much?"

She stops, just out of reach.

"Why did you leave Eevee to die?"


[... this is your idea of not pissing him off?]


 Post Posted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 4:01 am 
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The lightning bolt in Chandi's grip arcs and roils, then the ethereal head of Aja rises from the golden base, hissing and sparking at the golem. Chandi pulls her hand back, preventing the dragon from lunging towards the monster in front of them. Irritated, the lightning dragon arcs across Chandi's body, a shock spreading from her arm to her legs, around her waist, then back to the golden base form. Chandi is frowning, not only at the golem, but also at Destiny's response to the situation, what might have happened on Athena's world to warrant such a reveal, what state her friends are in, and the entire ordeal itself. But there's something else to ask first. "So you believe what you say, that your goal is to protect all souls and lives from that which would destroy them. That could means one of three things. You think Arbiters and all they touch are something that would destroy souls and lives. You think the destruction of our souls is salvation in some form or another. Or...well, if you think it's just Arbiters, you wouldn't be sacrificing the innocent from Utopia. If you thought destruction was salvation then your little project would just kill everything rather than locking it up. So, I'm curious," Chandi points to one of the soul jars, "After the 'bomb' goes off, and puts all of us in jars like that, what are you gonna do with all that energy?"

 Post Posted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:18 am 
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The golem turns towards Chandi, ignoring Asch's japes and tilts it's head, "Why, I'm going to unleash it."

And then Harmony steps up.

"It's a bit more advanced just a basic AI... you might be interested in learning it." The golem crosses its arms, "I was an Arbiter, yes. As for what scares me? The Unknown my dear. They would scare you as well if they could be remembered. My brother and my battle was done for our own reasons; the very same is why I left him... wait."

"I never told you about him..."

And then Harmony drops the big question.

"...excuse me?"

"You let her go alone. You were not there. The Leyline collapsed on the planet, and she unraveled. Why? You loved her, you both did. Even should it have been a routine mission, she still could have used your support. But you fought. She decided on Makosan. You all had separated..."

"And... why would the planet collapse? Why would the Leyline suddenly just... go? It was supposed to be a simple medical excursion, hardly a cause for such a thing to happen. And yet... right at the same time, you chose to fight Makosan. And right at the same time, the Leyline collapsed."

"... a simple medical problem, it was on the planet, yet it somehow led to a Leyline collapse. An infection. Perhaps... a Blight?"

The Golem begins to tremble, shards of itself are falling off, "You have no idea... do you think I killed Eevee?! I WOULD NEVER DO SUCH A THING! I'd never unravel a single solitary SOUL! Don't you understand it!? I thought you were clever!!" A huge crack appears along the Golem's body, "I didn't kill Eevee... someone else did. Someone she trusted... Mako and I were busy having a damned pissing contest over her... and she was betrayed because of the threat she posed... to Solarus."

Destiny blanches, "You accused Elder SOLARUS of unraveling Eevee Starfang?! Are you insane?!"

"I have no proof... just clues. Hunches. But if you honestly think Solarus is clean you are sadly mistaken. He has personally unraveled more souls than any other God that's ever existed. He's the biggest threat the Universe has ever faced... until now."

"Mystery Breaker Rules, Knox Edition, Rule Number 6. Mystery Breaker Rules, Dine Edition, Rule number 5. Hunches and intuition are forbidden." Asch rattles off rules semi-robotically, as if reciting for an oral exam. "A Mystery Breaker must only use logical deduction and valid evidence before accusing a Demon."

With a cold glare of her burning red eyes from under her hat, she continues, "An accusation of that magnitude must be interrogated, the wheat separated from the chaff. You have accused an Elder of a High Crime. Your testimony shall stand trial." Another blue aura of runic energy erupts from around her, and then flares out.

[Mystery Rune, Level 2- Cross Examination ~ Moderato]

"Speak. I will have your testimony on Solarus' unraveling of souls."

Mentally to Chandi and Harmony, Asch speaks. "I don't yet know where this is going, but even if he is mad, we may learn something more through this testimony... and if we put on airs of taking him seriously we may find a way out of this."

"Assuming of course that we aren't interrupted by a certain other Elder in the room, who may see this humoring as a problem in and of itself."

Chandi turns her focus from the Golem to the Soul Jars littering the walls, examining the structure, and looking for any weak points.

Destiny's jaw drops, "What."

Tiranade pauses, "...fine."


"Attune to me. The three of you.. and your friends on Asgard. You are not what I expected."

"Wait just a Godsdamned minute he-" Destiny disapears in a flash of light.

"There. Now we shan't be disturbed. Attune to me. Three-Eyed Goddess, lend these two your power. Detective, question away."

"You misunderstand. I have already asked my question. I would have your testimony as to the crimes you accuse Solarus of. Eevee can come later. First, testify to your statement of Solarus unraveling souls."

"I have a hunch on what this might be, now that he mentions it."

"Or perhaps I should say, an educated guess."

Chandi turns back to the Golem and raises an eyebrow. "Not sure what I can offer, rocky." She says, resting the lightning bolt on her shoulder. "But no harm in trying I suppose." A crystalline rune appears around Chand's hand, then circles both Asch and Harmony. A second, smaller layer glows a light shade of blue between the gaps in the first rune.

"I'm trying something different here, so if it doesn't work, just let me know what I can do."

The runes spin, growing tighter and tighter around the two fellow Arbiters, before disappearing entirely within the two women.

[Support Rune - Change: Personal Growth]
[Support Rune - Deviation: Spread the Ether]

"Thank you, Chandi..."

Harmony slowly approaches the golem, and reaches out her hand. She seems to briefly hesitate, and then touches the black crystal. Tilting her head back, she closes her eyes... and begins to sing.

What comes out first is a clear soprano, ringing clear above the others, a song of Truth, pure and uncut. Then, surprisingly... another voice overlays on top of the first- a questioning alto, the song of Mystery, seeking and weaving, discovering. Then, below it all... a low, contralto voice, solid and steady. They seem slightly out of tune at first, but slowly, one by one, each voice comes into sync with the other, until the song truly reaches... Harmony.

With a soft hum, Harmony stops singing. In three voices, she speaks. "It is done. Answer."

The effect between the three is incredible - There's a resonating boom; the entire room shakes - the blue tubes on the wall shine bright and turn clear, revealing them hollow inside. The Golem itself appears to fade, becoming almost a shadow of itself and Tiranade's form stands overlapping it, nearly solid.

"Impressive... very impressive. I have no evidence aside from small hunches, passing comments, but no solid proofs. I belive that Solarus takes those Gods he deems as unsavory, and disrupting of balance, and uses his powers to unravel them out into the depths of space where nobody and no soul can be caught in the explosion... that or he has a means of destroying souls without the explosion.

I feel this because of knowledge I have learned, knowledge I cannot yet share without extreme risk. It is from this knowledge I feel that Solarus lured Eevee away on her mission... and destroyed her. I think she got too close to the truth.

With a flare of red ether Asch shouts, "HOLD IT." Purple words appear behind her, taking the form of part of Tiranade's testimony. "That or he has a means of destroying souls without the explosion."

Asch puts her hand to her chin and says, "Can you think of any such methods that you have heard of? Something that might elaborate on this hypothesis of yours?"


Tiranade grins.

"I have discovered a way to cure Soul Scars using the blight... it undoes all damage and even replaces shattered memories. A method that, until now, defied all possibility. If I can cure destruction on that level, then surely there must exist or will exist a way to bypass the that ultimate release of energy unraveling the soul causes."

"HOW?" MUSE pops into existence next to Harmony. "HOW EXACTLY IS THE BLIGHT DOING THIS? EXPLAIN."

The grin slides off Tiranade's face, "I don't think that was part of this examination little music ball... but I will tell you this. YOU gave me the idea... when you played the Musica Universalis the first time."

Asch smiles in return. "Interesting. Very well then." She goes back to thinking, then snaps her fingers and shouts, with another red flare "OBJECTION." The same words linger behind her.

"You can only imagine that there 'must be a way'? That's funny. I can make an honest guess as to what that way is." A blue hologram of Athena appears behind her, from one of their very early classes.

She raises her palm and a blue spinning light appears, "Your Souls spin and put off the Weave you battle with..." The blue light begins to shrink as it pours into her other hand where a white ball of light grows. "That energy then changes from Weave, to Ether, and from there into our powers. I will get into this lesson in a while. Know, however, that energy cannot be created from nothing, nor can it be destroyed... it can only change forms. It applies to every thing, everywhere in existence... except for Elder Solarus. He has the unique and impossible ability to create energy from nothing. Even I, as marvelous as my intellect may be, do not know how he does it... nor has he ever explained it. But it makes him incredibly powerful."

The blue ether disperses and spirals around Asch, forming the shape of a blade. She speaks as The One Truth ignites with blue energy, her words forging the mold for the blade. "If your hypothesis is true, then Solarus does not in fact create energy from nothing. No one can. Your supposed means of unravelling souls without releasing energy is in fact the very ability we are taught is his unique and impossible one of creating energy from 'nothing.'"

A sly smile appears on Tiranade's face. "I see. A bold claim indeed." He juts his thumb out behind him, to the pillar in the center of the room. "Here is the core of my little device here..." He waves his hand and a rune of unknown make appears and shatters, flowing around it in an endless string of runic programming. "This is the programing that binds this all together... I'm aware of your methods Mystery Breaker. Are you so sure of this? If you are - then strike the core. If you are correct, my device will be unmade. If you are incorrect... well. I'm sure you can imagine. How much faith do you have in those skills of yours Ashley Sheppard?"

Asch buckles at the mention of her full name, and pulls her hat over her face. "Ggg..." Her breathing accelerates, her chest heaves. "My... myyyyyy... that's not... my... that is... my... gggggggg!!!"

Tiranade raises an eyebrow.

"Wait." Harmony finally speaks herself, her voice echoing with the power of the three threads she is still linked to. "It is not her responsibility to make that decision. It is mine."

"But first, a moment."

She walks over to Asch, cautiously looking in her eyes.

"I have left this be for long enough. Mystery Breaker, you have been a mystery to me... and I suspect yourself, for far too long. Asch... Ashley... Sheppard. Look at me."

Her voice deepens in power as one thread is dropped and another one is added.

With a pained glance upward, Asch stares right in to Harmony's eyes... and for a brief instant, she can see not Asch's red eyes, nor Ashley's blue, nor even Sheppard's purple, but a small flicker of green. But the moment passes, the red returns and she lets out a pained grunt, closing her eyes. "No... she mustn't... she can't... it's not allowed... it's against the rules... now is not the right time..." The eyes open again, blue, and with a manic grin she says, "NEVER TRUST A WITCH! AHAHAHAH!" before grunting again, closing them, then reopening with an intense purple glare. She's silent for a moment before she speaks. "You want in? You want to talk to her? I'll give you time. But then you leave, and never return."

Chandi releases her Shift, letting it float in the air where she let go. She takes a few steps towards the others and then lays her hand on Asch's shoulder. A rune forms underneath Chandi, Harmony, and Asch. Unlike the vast majority of her runes, this one is dull, static, and slowly takes shape.

[Support Rune: Change- Homeostasis]

"Harmony, I'm going to take a closer look at things."

She takes a moment to breath deeply, closes her two eyes, then opens the third.

Tiranade's crossed arms drop, and he waits... watching.

"... then so be it." Slowly, Harmony's left eye begins to glow, the Rune of Harmony slowly taking shape.

"Mystery Breaker. Know thyself. Unravel your Mystery. Expel all Illusion. See the Truth."

And with that, Harmony fully syncs into Asch/Ashley/Sheppard using Metronome... and turns her Runes upon her.


Asch's outfit explodes outwards, and wraps around Chandi and Harmony. They find themselves in a world constructed from the mind; a long barren hallway filled with locked doors. Sheppard approaches, bandolier of keys strapped over her chest. She walks between them... and unlocks a door directly behind them. "Step in to the Library. She lives there."

Harmony raises an eyebrow... but gives a short, respectful not to Sheppard before slowly opening the unlocked door.

Chandi merely nods and follows, all three eyes open. All three watching Sheppard.

Harmony blinks when she noticed that Chandi followed her in... but then shrugs and proceeds.

Harmony and Chandi find themselves on a high balcony overlooking an elaborate library, seemingly infinite in size.

Sheppard follows them in, closes the door, and calls like a mother to her child, "Little Ashley! Oh, Little Ashley! You have guests!"


The sound of a young girl, not even a teenager echoes through the infinite library. Bounding up the stairs, a small girl with long brown hair and green eyes gives a rosy cheeked smile. "Oh wow Miss Sheppard! I've never met someone from outside before!" She runs up to the three women holding a picture, a poorly drawn scribble of something red and something blue seemingly fighting. "Look, look! See what I drew?"

Sheppard somberly nods. "Yes, it's lovely, child." Then, below her breath so that only Harmony and Chandi may hear, she recites, "Wake not the Dreamer who seeks through Myriad Truths, for once the Dream Ends, She shall play the Golden Nocturne. I will return shortly." And with that, she steps out of the room, leaving Harmony and Chandi looking at a very excited little girl.

After giving Sheppard a long, long look, Harmony turns to look at Ashley, lowering herself down to the girl's head level.

"Hello, young one. I'm Harmony. This is Chandi. And you... are Ashley, is that correct?"

Harmony has a gentle, friendly smile on her face.

The girls eyes widen happily. "Harmony! And Chandi! Yay! Mmm... yes, I'm Ashley! Ashley Sheppard! Mmm!" She holds the picture up to them. "Look, look! It's a picture of Ashley fighting Asch! It's for a book I'm writing! Mmm!" Every time she says 'mmm', she nods a few times.

Chandi's eyes follow Sheppard as she leaves the room, turning back to Harmony and the child once the elder is gone. When her attention returns to the child, Chandi smiles, weakly when compared to Harmony's. "And why are they fighting?" She asks, after a few moments.

"Because Ashley is the Witch and Asch is the Detective! Mmm!"

Chandi pauses at the statement, furrowing her brow, before turning to Harmony and merely shrugging. "Any reason they can't get along?" She asks dumbly of the little girl, honestly unsure of what else to say.

Ashley tilts her head to the side like she doesn't understand Chandi's question. "Mmm? Mmm... Witches and Detectives don't get along! They're never in the same books together! Mmm!"

Harmony tilts her head to the side. "What about witch detectives? I've read a few books with those in them. Magic can be a very useful thing when it comes to discovering the truth. How better to fight a mystery than with magic, hm?"

Ashley's eyes widen, mystified by the idea... but then shakes her head. "Mmm, mmm! That's against the rules! Asch can't use magic to solve mysteries!" She then looks down and sheepishly raises her eyes. "But... I would like to read those books..."

"And Ashley can't use her magic to help solve mysteries because she's too busy fighting Asch to do that, right?" Chandi says, sitting down next to the balcony's edge, still focusing on the little girl. "You said you were writing a book, right? May I ask what it's about, or is it a secret till it's published?" Chandi says, the beginnings of a sly smirk growing on her face.

"Mmm! A secret!"

"Who ever told you that you that a witch using magic to solve mysteries is against the rules? Why would it be against the rules?" Harmony looks slightly confused.

"Witches don't solve mysteries! They make mysteries! At least... that's the rules I made!"

Chandi hmms and hahs for a few moments, leaning back against the railing and looking up, before finally stumbling onto another question. "I don't read a lot of books, and on my world we don't have witches. So I'm curious little one, how exactly do you define a witch and a detective?"

"Mmm... mmm?" Ashley doesn't seem to get the question.

"What makes a witch a witch?" Chandi says attempting to rephrase the question. "And what makes a detective a detective?"

Ashley nods. "Mmm! A detective looks for the truth! A witch hides the truth!" A simple answer.

"And what does Ms. Sheppard do?"

"Mmm?" She tilts her head. "Ms. Sheppard? She's the Librarian. She takes care of my library for me."

"Does Ms. Sheppard ever... take books out from the library?"

"Of course! She also puts books in to the library, too! Mmm! She is always recommending new books to me!"

"Yes... I'm sure she does." Harmony fights off a grimace.

Chandi stands up, and looks over the edge of the balcony, gazing off into the infinite library. "So, are Asch and Ashley around here like Ms. Sheppard? And" she pauses for a moment, then places a hand on the railing, "may I take a look at one of your books?"

Ashley stares blankly... and then laughs. "Asch and Ashley are right here! Can't you see them?" At the question of the book, though... her eyes darken a little. "No. It's MY library."

"Can Asch and Ashley read the books here?"

Ashley is no longer smiling. "Asch and Ashley don't read the books. Only I read the books." She seems annoyed by the question.

At this, Harmony frowns slightly with puzzlement as she looks around. "Why? It is, after all, a library, complete with librarian. Books in a library are meant to be read. Meant to be shared. That is what they are for. It is the very definition of a library - a place to store and share books with your friends. They are your friends, are they not? I can certainly understand not allowing us to read your books - we're strangers, you don't know us, cannot trust us so easily. But surely you trust them?"

Ashley's cheeks puff and she stomps her feet. "THEY'RE MY FRIENDS! BUT THEY DON'T READ THE BOOKS! MMM!!"

"Have you ever asked if they wanted to?"

Tears start to well up in her eyes, and she throws the drawing in her hands to the ground. She starts to storm off.

Chandi winces, and approaches Ashley before the girl has a chance to leave. "Sorry, little one, we're sorry." She gets down on her heels, eye level with the child. "We didn't mean to make you upset. Is there anything we can do for forgiveness?"

"You can open your ears and listen." Tiranade lands gently in front of the two Goddesses, between them and the child. He kneels down and picks up the drawings. "Here my Child... Ash and Ashley are a little grumpy from being dusty, but otherwise unharmed." He kneels and hands the drawings back to the little girl.

Ashley's mouth and eyes widen and the tears begin to clear from her redding eyes. However, just as suddenly as Tiranade arrived, the doors of the Library swing open widely as Sheppard bursts in.

"HOW DARE YOU. You were NOT given permission to enter the Library."

"I pray your forgiveness Guardian. But such damage to memory is a terrible thing to behold. I have not harmed her, nor will I." He turns and pats the little one on the head, "If you ever leave the Library, some day, seek me out little storyteller. I've got quite a few stories of my own to tell." He turns to leave...

Ashley's eyes widen and darken again upon the suggestion. "I don't leave the library."

Tiranade smiles warmly, "I know." He's gone in a flash.

Harmony looks after where Tiranade went with a troubled expression before turning back to Ashley. "I think I see now. I apologize child... I'm afraid I misunderstood what you were saying."

She then turns to Sheppard. "I apologize to you as well, Guardian. You should not have had to have dealt with such an intrusion into your sanctuary here."

Sheppard sighs. "Silence. I have no ears for your pity. Do you understand, now, what the pitiful existence that is Ashley Sheppard is?"

"Yes, I'm afraid I do." Harmony backs away from the child. "How... why did this happen? Can you tell me?"

"I cannot elaborate on all the details... but I can say this. Ashley Sheppard's soul is not scarred. It is worse- it is Amputated."

"I... see..." Harmony looks sadly at Ashley. "I can only assume it was absolutely necessary." She turns to Sheppard. "With your permission... I would like to come again, at some time. I know it may be much to ask, given what just happened, but... she shouldn't be alone. If she can't interact with the world outside of the library, the outside world needs to come into the library to interact with her. I think she would be... happier that way. I have a colleague who would have plenty of stories to tell her, I think. She would like them."

Chandi merely nods in agreement, letting the more level headed Arbiter talk.

Sheppard puts her hand to her chin, thinking. "Because of her condition, she is very fragile. As you have noticed, she is stuck in time from the moment she was amputated. I am her shadow - the remnants of her soul that continued on from that point. Until we achieve our goal... she is to be protected from the outside world..." But with a sigh, she reaches for a key on her bandolier. "But you are right. In truth, I may have been shielding too much. I will grant you permission to come and go... a privilege which I reserve the right to revoke if you abuse it and fill her head with thoughts of prematurely leaving the library."

Harmony gives a brief, bitter smile. "Believe me. I understand. Only when the time is right, right? Only then can she be returned to herself. Thank you, Librarian. I suppose I shall see you again... assuming that all goes well. Chandi? I think it is time for us to be leaving."

Chandi nods once more, pausing for a second to return to Ashley. "Sorry again for making you so upset Ashley. I won't be bothering you any more." She smiles brightly at the little girl, and ruffles her hair with a short playful noogie. "Ready to go leader." Chandi says, rising to her feet, and returning to Harmony's side. "Let's finish this whole bomb business."

"I will see you again, child. I promise you." With one last look at Ashley, Harmony turns with Chandi and exits the Library.


The group exits, surrounded by a pillar of light - Tiranade stands by his device, his pupils have taken on the shape of a rune, surrounded by smaller and deeper threads of runic programming - it must be the full version of the eye techique Makosan mentioned...

The trio find themselves all with a hand on Asch's blade, which is now glowing golden - but a shade of which it has never glowed before... it is not the fire of a memory ripped out and fueled... but something else entirely - the power of a memory shared.

Asch stares at the blade with wide eyes. "What... what..." She looks at Harmony. "What did you do?"

Harmony doesn’t say anything… only closes her eyes and bows her head. From Chandi’s third eye projects a memory… a memory that has fueled into the blade.


You see a woman, fleeing through the back streets of a city. In her arms is a basket, with a bundle of blankets inside. She’s badly wounded and leaving a trail of blood, but still her movements are swift and sure. From behind her, a howl calls out – she turns quickly, golden eyes searching through the night before glancing back down inside of the basket… where another set of golden eyes, belonging to a baby, stare back at her.

“There is no time…”

Frantically, she runs through the streets, weaving from alley to alley, ducking through the shadows.

“I know… I know it is here. That mission with the child… the orphanage. He will be…”

Safe there, though she doesn’t speak it aloud. The thought is too painful. Racking her memory, she follows the path that she thinks will take her to her destination… and sighs with relief when it does.


The sign proclaims.

The woman crouches down, slowly, gently lying the basket upon the steps of the orphanage. She doesn’t say anything, not at first… but her hand caresses the baby’s head. They stare at one another with golden eyes. Bending down, she whispers softly in the baby’s ear.

“I am sorry. I know those aren’t the first words you deserve to hear from me, but… I’m sorry, my son. Sorry…That I won’t be able to see you grow. Sorry that I won’t be able to protect you. Mother you. Spoil you. Teach you. Cook for you clean for you bathe you feed you… I’m sorry that I won’t… be there.”

“Like a bolt from the blue, you were. A lightning bolt right to my heart. That’s why I named you this.” She pats the slip of paper tucked into the basket with him. “I never meant for this to happen… but if there is one thing I am grateful for, it is that all of my pain… all of my suffering… it was worth it. If it keeps you safe.”

Slowly, a tear runs down her cheek. “Maybe one day you will forgive me for this. But just know this… no matter who you came from… no matter how you came to be. You are my son. And I love you. No matter what, remember this… I love you. I love you.” Shaking silently, she bends down to kiss the baby’s forehead… and pulls away, leaving the baby behind.

With one last look back at the child, the woman runs into the night. However, from behind her, howls ring out again… and swift forms run on the rooftops.. Though she evades her pursuers for some time longer, she is finally brought to bay. Three of the pursuers are bestial – human-like, but with the features of an animal. And there is one other… a man, the leader. He wears a fedora, with purple eyes glinting out from beneath the brim. ”Well... well... well..." He slowly steps into the light.

"I should have known... it'd be you... after me..."

The man grins wide, "But of course my dear... you are the rarest race on this world... and I must study you. Now come and be a good girl... Harmony."

The woman removes her hood, and you see her – Harmony. But she’s different from the Harmony you know. Older. Colder. More intimidating, with a dominating presence. Still beautiful, still herself, but less what Harmony is now, and rather what Harmony could be… if she had lived a different life.

He claps, "Yes… that’s it. That’s the look. That’s the same look you gave me when I first captured you. When I turned your Hunt against you. How surprised you were… but I was impressed at how swiftly you recovered. It took everything we had to subdue you the first time. Truly, you were well trained.”

“Now!” He seems to relish the situation. “Back to business! Where is he? Where is the boy? Was it successful?”

In response, Harmony spits in his direction.

“Now, now, is that any way to treat the boy’s father?”

“You are NOT his father.”

“Oh, I believe I am. Any biological test will prove so as well.”

“Genetics do not make you a father. Providing a tube and a bit of your genes does not make you a father. Being a father – being a mother – means doing what is right for your child. Doing whatever is necessary, no matter what…” Her voice grows pained as she holds her bleeding stomach. “No matter what the cost is to yourself. Something that you will never understand, you selfish, egotistical bastard. You will never find him. He is safe from you. I have made sure of that.”

He seems like he is about to speak, but then his eyes narrow as he takes a closer look at her wounds. “Harmony… what have you done to yourself.”

“Stopped you. Stopped you from ever trying this again.”

“You…” He seems, for once, completely surprised. “You didn’t…”

Harmony manages to give a grim smile. “Yes… it would seem that you’ll have to find some other way to do your little… experiments.”

“So. It seems I underestimated the depths of your conviction, my dear. But at the same time… you have underestimated me. My dear, you should know by now that the rule every good scientist follows is this… always have a backup plan should one’s research go awry.” He gives a cruel smile. “Even should none of the others prove viable… all that would mean is that I will have to go for the other option. While risky, I suppose it should, if everything goes as planned, have its own… benefits.”

Harmony’s eyes widen with shock, and she backs a few steps away… but she cannot go any further in the alleyway – it leads to a dead end.

“Others… what… others?”

He slowly begins walking toward her, a slow smile on forming on his face. “You are unique, my dear. Completely, utterly without precedent. A medical miracle. An impossibility. The power you hold, the potential you have… one experiment was not enough. But that is no matter. No… I must know how... I must know why. Why do you exist? How do you exist, you beautiful monster, you… No. I must know. Give yourself to me!" At his gesture, the others rush Harmony, but she disposes of them with a howling scream... a sub sonic shockwave so powerful their skulls collapse in on themselves when they get close. There is no contest… but he is not affected. "Impressive, and cold blooded too! So rough on your former subordinates... I like it! But! I suppose it is for the best you have that wound. Else doing this would be… troublesome."

He moves with blinding speed, his hat flying into the air - he's planted his fist in Harmony's wound before she can even react, and she's unconscious before the hat hits the ground. The man picks it up and places it back on his head... his hair, ears and features cannot be seen save for his face and purple eyes. He slings her over his shoulder and walks off into the night, whistling softly to himself.


Another memory… but this one different, hazy. You get the feeling that this is not one of Harmony’s memories, but someone else’s… and the source of it is… MUSE?

Far off into the distance, a baby cries in the night. The cries start soft, but grow louder and louder, waking the residents of the orphanage. An old woman, hobbled with age, opens the door and looks with some surprise at the basket.

“Hello, little one… where is your mother?” She takes a look around, and slowly notices… a red trail leading up to the door, and then back away. “Oh… oh, child. Oh, poor, poor child…” Slowly, she bends down and picks up the basket, rocking it back and forth. “Hushshshshshshshshshshshhhhhh…” The old woman quiets the baby with the experience of long practice, and slowly but surely, the baby quiets, staring at her with wide, intent eyes. Golden eyes. “Those eyes… Beautiful eyes. But what shall we call you, hm? What is your name?” As she rocks the basket back and forth, a slip of paper falls from the folds of the blankets. “This? Is this your name?” She holds the paper in front of the baby, but he only tries to grab at it instinctively. “I suppose it will do as good as any. Yes…”

“Rai. Rai is a good name.”


The blade glows bright golden, now red, now blue, now gold, now white, now golden so bright it almost could dim the sun... and shatters. From there, the hilt of Asch's Shift begins to change... it folds, it opens, it reforms.... into Asch's Single Shift - the first of Those Who Remember to open.

Aetheric Energy flares around Asch's hand, as the handle of One Truth bends and widens... forming in to the butt of a rifle. The energy shoots outward, forming a long blue shaft, and with it a bandolier of shotgun shells manifests and instantly wraps around Asch's body.

This is Asch's manifestation of the Single Shift - Myriad Truths. By filling shotgun shells with data stored in Asch's database - evidence, testimony, profiles, and so on - as well as information gleamed from the shared truths of her friends, it fires spreads of blue energy that cut away lies and reveals the form of the truth.

The blade of evidence can only cut single targets, and is brittle and frail. It is not useful for attacking demons, who are elusive and treacherous. The true tool of a Mystery Breaker is one that prevents all possible escape.

That is Myriad Truths.

Tiranade smiles as his eyes fade back to normal. "Now, detective... care to test your Theory?" He stands aside and motions towards the core.

"My theory?" She closes her eyes and thinks. "Ah yes... that theory." She looks at Harmony. "Truth be told, I feel it is missing something important."

Harmony, unfortunately, isn't saying anything. Or doing anything. Or, near as you can tell, seeing anything. It seems she is still locked in memory. Nearby, MUSE hovers worriedly... but it seems that it can't do anything to help.

Asch clicks her tongue. "When the leader isn't around, the decision must fall to the assistant leader, is it? Of all the times..."

MUSE breaks off hovering near Harmony, and somehow Asch gets the feeling that the glowing ball of light is looking at him.


Asch smirks. "Not yet... there's still just one thing I think we need to find... Chandi!"

Suddenly, Asch links her mind to Chandi, and time seems to slow again, as a world of their own creation speeds around them.

[Link x Mystery Rune Overcharge - Revisualization ~ Synaptic Resonance]

"Chandi, I need to rely on you for support, and I need you to ask questions. This is a world of our creation - no time will pass in here. Every question that my theory does not answer - help me ask them, and help me draw out a miracle."

Chandi's eyes widen, all three, and she bites her lip before nodding.

"All right. First, where are the souls from Utopia?"

As if in response to Chandi's question, a red line streaks across their minds, illuminating all the data Asch gathered from Utopia.


A vision of Utopia appears, collapsing quickly into the corrupted condensed core - Athena's voice speaking, "When a Leyline collapses, the souls inside become dormant and trapped until a God can enter it and release them."


A vision of the empty soul Jars appear floating next to the collapsed core, Chandi's own voice asking the question, "If you think it's just Arbiters, you wouldn't be sacrificing the innocent from Utopia. If you thought destruction was salvation then your little project would just kill everything rather than locking it up. So, I'm curious... After the 'bomb' goes off, and puts all of us in jars like that, what are you gonna do with all that energy?"

Tiranade's voice answers, "Why... release them!"


The question remains... which of these two pieces of evidence are of more importance right now?

"How can he release what isn't there to begin with?" Chandi asks of Asch. "I think the second memory might be more important."

"Where are the souls of Utopia? If this were the collapsed core of Utopia, we would expect to find them here, but the soul jars are empty, expecting to be filled and released." Asch thinks calmly. "The first option only implies something we're already aware of - that something should be here that isn't. That means we might gain more understanding if we dig deeper in to the second memory."


And thus, the soul jar grows and appears to open, leading the trio deeper into the created world. A second set of images appears, one showing the snaking black tendrils of the blight connected to all the Arbiters in the school and HQ, the Elder's voices come back to them, "Nobody can tell they are connected but us, so we're keeping it secret so there isn't a panic and a mass exodus."


A second image appears, that of the tendrils not connecting both to the Arbiters that were on Utopia and the one that shrunk away from Destiny ever since she time-slipped and dodged the connection. "I don't know why, but it can't reconnect to me..."


Chandi thinks. "The second implies the first yet again, it seems. The only information that separates the two is the fact that the Elders can see the connection that others can't."

From MUSE, a recording plays in Chandi and Asch's minds, that of Destiny and Elder Yasuhiro: "I noticed no such thing! How could we miss that? --- Because whomever set that core up is as strong as we are... if not stronger."

A flicker of memory from Chandi...


...a piece of the black mist splits off and points at Chandi, like some sort of headless snake. It strikes fast, screaming towards her like an arrow before bending backwards, bouncing off her Soul as if there were an invisible barrier around it. Defeated, the extra tendril soaks back into the mass streaming from Elder Viata's soul...

..."I am immune to the Tethers due to my powers over time... I've developed a reflex when something is cast upon me unexpectedly - though I did allow Asch's rune to make contact. I slip out of time for a few seconds; the Tether lost it's lock and it hasn't tried again since - at least so far as I have noticed."


And from MUSE...


Harmony pauses momentarily as she focuses on herself... and on her soul, to try and see it and the tether.

As predicted, the tethers aren't connected to Harmony or any of the other Goddesses, Destiny included. They snake around them, seeming to observe them, but any time one tries to crawl closer they suddenly leap backwards, if stung. The only difference is with Destiny... her tendril won't even approach her. It just seems to hang back, trying to look as small as possible. Harmony tries to focus on the tether, trying to catch exactly what is causing the tether to recoil away from her own soul.

Asch considers Chandi's suggestion, and then continues, "However, if we reconsider Destiny's situation, a much more curious question arises - why did the tethers treat Destiny differently from us? Whatever our defenses to them might be, the tendrils treated Destiny as though she were a separate class. We should focus on why the tendrils don't connect to ourselves and Destiny."

Again, the image zooms into the tendrils of energy, one of them recoiling in fear from Destiny and the others trying and failing to connect to the Arbiters... but from the view of the Tendrils - each time they try a small rune glows deep inside the Arbiter's chests... Athena's Blessing - it's repelling the tendrils every single time.

The image zooms in further, putting the group inside a tendil and the room goes darker - a final set of image appears; the first is short and simple. A remembered conversation between Eevee and Makosan that Harmony witnessed when she first used Metronome:

"I think I found him Eevee. I think I found Tiranade. I can feel the Soul Scar."

"Of all the damned timing... Elder Solarus has a special assignment for me... apparently there's a world that's close to a Leyline Collpase and he wants me to use my Shiakugan to try and save it. I can decode what's wrong with it instantly."

"...Right. I'll come with you then."

"This may be our only chance to get Tiranade back. You go, talk to him. I'll have this planet healed in no time, I've done it hundreds of times before."

"...are you sure?"

"I want Tiranade back. I know you do too."

"...alright. Just be careful alright?"

"Heh. I'll be Wreckless."


The second image is that of Tiranade himself, patting the little child inside Ashley's head before disappearing - his words like smoke appear around him, "But such damage to memory is a terrible thing to behold. I have not harmed her, nor will I."


"There's only one answer. We step forward in to the information that pertains not just to Tiranade, but Makosan, Eevee and Solarus as well."

The image shatters - the room shatters - and the trio is back into the tower room with Tiranade, who appears to have just noticed the Shift opening - what he does not appear to see is the three images now circling the runic trigger - The Empty Jar, The Repelled Tendrils, The Last Conversation -- all three hover around the core as whispers can be heard on the wind.

"What is a bomb without fuel?"

"What would happen to Athena if you all died?"

"Who really Unraveled Evening Starfang?"

"The answers can lead you to only one true conclusion..."


"Just this hypothesis? You sure you want me to fire that, Tiranade?"


Asch snaps the shotgun down, ejecting the shell, already loaded with the hypothesis that formed the blade, in to her hand. "This doesn't have enough gunpowder and lead. It wouldn't make a dent."

Tiranade grins.

"So I'll do you one better. Whodunnit. Howdunnit. Whydunnit. The miracle answer, the golden truth." She clenches the shell tightly, focusing on the three questions.

"If you're wrong... you wreck everything."

"'What good is a bomb with no fuel.' It doesn't damage... but it does threaten. This bomb was created as a deterrent, a distraction."

"What would happen to Athena if we died.' Through our deep bonds with her, she would be damaged... but it is that same bond which protects us from being tethered to this bomb. By not being tethered to it, we are free to go investigate it - or go off world. As you see, we were able to choose both. In other words, by virtue of our connection to Athena alone, we are uniquely qualified to dealing with this bomb threat. That implies a maker- none other than our beloved instructor, Athena."

With each statement, Tiranade's grin grows wider.

"'Who really unravelled Evening Starfang.' The question is wrong - Evening Starfang is not completely unravelled. In fact, for a catacalsymic event that resulted in many worlds being destroyed, the offical report, that the unravelling of the souls of Evening Starfang, Makosan Fireblaze and Tiranade Fireblaze caused the destruction, is completely full of holes. It is contradicted by the most obvious of evidence - the perpetuation of the existence of those three souls. What's more, to every Arbiter except for Athena, the official line is that those three Souls are fictional characters. Therefore, the massive destruction had to be caused by some form of energy creation - and the only being in existence that matches that profile is Elder Solarus."

The smile slides off Tiranade's face. "Then fire, detective."

With that, Asch tosses the shell in to the air, catches it with the open shotgun, snaps it closed with a flick of her wrist, and finishes. "That is your reason for suspecting Solarus. The lies surrounding this attrocious scandal, and the myriad lives lost to it."

Aiming at the target, she cocks the rifle and pulls the trigger. At the moment she finishes squeezing the trigger, a wave of blue energy explodes from the rifle, a multitude of truths moving like a wall to crush all in its path...

 Post Posted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 1:42 pm 
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The Tiranade/Golem leaps to the side as the wave of truth slams into the trigger tower and shatters it into dust and debris - the Golem is caught in the blast and it, too, shatters like glass. For a moment Tiranade's disembodied soul stands there smiling. "Well done Detective, well done. This was all a distraction, a ruse. Athena knew I was alive from the moment you encountered my Brother - she had other suspicions before then as well. She needed to play her part well to get out to see me, so she set up this little distraction using programming I left for her in the core..." The room begins to fade to white, the entire structure turning to dust. "And now if you'll excuse me... we're going to have company on Asgar-"

Destiny appears in front of Tiranade's soul and rams the spiked bottom of her scythe into his chest, "Lockdown." A huge pulse of blue energy fills the room and suddenly everything floats perfectly still... well almost perfectly. Everything is still moving, but at a pace so incredibly slow it can hardly be perceived. Destiny, however, still moves normally. "I made Athena a promise... she once saved my very Soul, and I owe her much more than that. She would not tell me how or why - but before she left she told me this: 'When they figure it out - buy me as much time as possible to talk to them.'"

She smiles sadly as a tear rolls down her cheek. "So that's what I've done. The moment you broke this thing, I was able to get back in - nobody is even aware it's defused as of yet, they just think I dove inside again. To the Elders and Gods watching, this thing is still active. From within here, I will hold it's shutdown and Tiranade as long as I can - but I cannot last forever. Once it becomes apparent to them that you've won, they will be on Asgard in an instant." She turns to Tiranade, "As for you... you really shouldn't have linked your soul here. I am a master of Time; therefore I am also a master of Space." The head of her scythe moves up and slashes down, ripping open a portal in mid air. "Thanks for the free ride to Asgard."

The trio of Goddesses are sucked into the portal before they can even blink.

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