Stirring of Darkness
Thursday. July 9, 2054. 10:00 am.
Kiyro woke up startled on the corner of the bed, his heart clenched, his body trembling uncontrollably.
The nightmare had been so real, the agony so intense. His own soul had cried out in empathetic sorrow, feeling the tortured emotions as if they had been his own.
And then he sensed something else, something dark and eager, and evil. A crouching malevolent presence that had ripped his soul out of sleep, making him bolt upright on the bed; a smothered cry of terror escaped his lips.
Taking a breath, he looked around wildly, beads of sweat dripping down his face. Out of the corner of his eyes, he thought he saw something move across the closet from his bed. He quickly turned his head over to the movement near the closet. His Alive and Embryo gear were laid on top of his chair. A soft buzzing sound rang throughout the room as the Embryo gear turned on. Its logo blinked and pulsated with golden light.
There was nothing. Bright warm sunlight shined through his room, which looked the same as yesterday. He sighed with relief.
Old memories resurfaced of his childhood days. The endless nightmares, the eerie old house that he used to live in, and the days he hid under the covers till the sun rose up. It was surprising that even now it would come back to haunt him. He pushed the old memories aside. It was something he did not want to remember anymore.
He heard the loud clattering of metal pots from the kitchen. His messy black bedhead hair covered his eyes, making it difficult to see. He squinted over towards his closed door.
She’s trying to cook again, isn’t she? He sighed heavily. I hope she doesn’t burn the place down. Kiyro pulled the blanket over his head. He and his sister were back to good terms. There were a couple tears that were shed but everything else was back to normal.
“Kyah!” shouted Anna as another loud crash was heard. Kiyro pulled the covers off him. He was half naked with just his black boxers on. He sat up on the side of his bed. His feet touched the cold wooden floor. He shivered. One thing that he hated and loved about the wooden floor was that it retained the cool temperature. It was a great way to wake up when he was in a hurry.
He reached over and took out a pair of socks from the drawers that were next to his bed. He was still tired from the unfortunate events of the previous day; he did not have enough rest throughout the night. His fever broke around six am, and then after a while he was finally able to sleep. Now his sister might break the whole apartment if he did not stop her.
Anna’s cooking was terrible. All her hot spicy foods were like atomic bombs that exploded in his mouth. He cringed at the thought of her specialty: Volcanic Wasabi Sushi. He wondered how all her ex-boyfriend’s even survived to this day. They either had an iron stomach or just like him tried their best to stay far away from it.
He had gotten sick yesterday. After blacking out in the game, he logged out to take a break. He was hungry. A sudden taste for Chicago-style hot dogs was on his mind. So both he and his sister went out together to eat. There were not many places in Atlanta that made genuine Chicago-style hotdogs. As a child he grew up eating them. He missed their flavorful taste.
Eventually he found a store through the Alive gear, and Anna drove them over. It wasn’t far. They ordered to go and brought them home to eat. He and Anna had almost identical hotdogs, and she’d left hers right next to his. The difference was ever so slight yet vitally important: she basically pasted the hotdogs with a homemade hot sauce that literally felt like it was burning through his stomach and throat.
Without paying much attention, he picked up the wrong one after he came back with some sweet tea from the kitchen. Who would have thought that taking a bite out of the hotdog would make him end up with horrible stomach flu. He groaned.
It had been a long time since he’d eaten something so spicy. Kiyro thought his sister’s Volcanic Wasabi Sushi was the worst, but this truly topped everything. He prayed she didn’t open up the ghost chili peppers in the jar that he was storing for personal use. For an hour his lips were on fire. He chugged down water as if it was nothing. He even had to fan his mouth in between each gulp to try to cool it down.
It took another hour for the burning to finally go away, but then the true terror began. His stomach was on fire. He felt nauseated and had to use the bathroom multiple times. There was constant rumbling from his stomach and he threw up. He literally stayed in all day.
The following day, he had a high fever, coughs, chills, and an excruciating migraine. He had to make sure that his sister did not feed him anything that she had made. He remembered that time when her cooking made him sick for an extra three days when he had the flu. Those were quite possibly the longest days of his life.
The past couple days had made playing Growth difficult, but he was running out of time. He wasn’t sure he was going to be able to reach his goal of level 150 by tomorrow at midnight to join in as a play tester. He’d had a hard enough time getting to level 115. Eve had passed him by twenty levels during the days he was out. He heard from Eve that Zeraph were not too far away from reaching the goal and they had been out hunting together.
Kiyro halted midway through putting on his second sock.
“Please no…” Kiyro groaned as he jumped out from his bed. “For once I want a peaceful day. She is so banned forever from the kitchen!” he exclaimed as he rushed out of his room with one sock on and the other in his hands.
When he got to the kitchen, it was a complete mess. White flour decorated the ceiling, walls, and floor. Most of his cooking pans were littered on the floor. He even saw spoons, forks, and chopsticks in through cereal boxes like darts, sticking out of Anna’s socks, shirt, and nose, and even mixed in the near the electrical outlet. How they all got there he did not know. If the police came by, they would have thought that this was a crime scene.
“Anna. What are you doing?” he asked as he rested his body against the wall. He was still a bit tired. Small crust formed in the corners of his eyes from sleep.
“Making lunch for us.” Anna smiled from under the silver pan on her head. She was covered in white powder from head to toe.
“Teehee,” Anna said cutely with no shame. “I know I’m not great with cooking and cleaning, but you were sick these past few days. I thought I would make you something to eat so you could get back your strength.”
Kiyro sighed loudly. “Anna…thanks for the thought, but don’t ever cook, okay? Just go watch T.V.” He began to clean up the kitchen, picking up one item at a time. He was not surprised at the amount of mess she had created. It was always the same scene and it did not faze him. He remembered the time when she had somehow caught the pot of water on fire. It still amazed him to this day.
“But…I wanted to make something for you though…” Anna whined like a child. She really did have a knack for making him want to smack her couple of times to get her to have some sense.
He actually did once, and it made things a lot worse. On that day, he truly knew what a woman’s wrath was. He did not wanted to be near the butt end of it. Kiyro gave her a stern look as she sulked. She got up from the ground, her head cast down with defeat. She solemnly walked over to the living room.
Stacking the dishes back in their original places, Kiyro was surprised the ceramic plates were not broken. Usually these things broke easily, but life was still kind to him. He did not have to buy new plates, pots, or glassware.
As the TV turned on Kiyro heard the voices of the newscast. “We have breaking news. Around 6 am this morning, in the city of Atlanta, a family was brutally murdered. Apparently the mother is on the run with the youngest daughter. It was a custody battle over the children and she had lost the case against the father. The following day, she murdered the father, both the grandparents, and her youngest son. The eldest son is in the hospital under intensive care and their daughter is still missing,” said Simon with a tinge of anger in his voice. He shuffled his papers.
Finished cleaning up, Kiyro came over to watch the news. On the TV, right next to Simon, the picture of the woman and her family was shown. A sharp-looking mother with glasses stared out with wild eyes as her black frizzled hair was pulled back into a bun like a school teacher.
“She’s not caught yet? How has nobody caught the psychopath yet?” exclaimed John with a bit of anger in his voice. His hands slammed down onto the wooden table.
“No. So far not yet. Allegedly, she slit her husband’s throat while they were sleeping. Reports came in stating that the whole family was first fed sleeping pills to be able to do this.” Simon stopped for a moment. “Wait a moment. We are receiving new information. Police have found the bodies of both the woman and the child. I can’t believe this. Reports state that they found her gutted with the dead daughter in her stomach. They were found dead about ten miles away from their home, in a storage facility, locked in a room. This is truly an unfortunate case,” said Simon with a gloomy face.
“Are you serious?” said John, appalled. He recomposed himself as he looked over to Simon. “Karma is a bitch, isn’t it John, but to die in such a way is truly astounding. Who would have thought the killer herself would end up murdered. To the family of the deceased, my complete condolences.” John bowed his head in respect towards the camera.
“I can’t believe it,” said Anna, horrified at what she was hearing. “To have to hear such horror these days…what is with people nowadays?”
“It seems like some females just can’t let things go,” Kiyro commented as he sat down upon the sofa. He wasn’t as surprised at the news. “People like to hear the bad things in life so they don’t feel so bad about themselves. Either way, news thrives on the negative aspects of life.”
“What are you talking about? We so do not.” Anna glared at Kiyro.
“See.” He stared back at her with equal intensity.
“Come on. You don’t understand the mind of a woman. I suppose you’re some kind of expert now.”
“No. I didn’t say that. I only stated that some females won’t let grudges go. You guys quietly let it fester until it builds up. Then wham!” He slammed his fist into his other fist. He let his anger slowly subside.
“Think about it: she might have a valid reason why she did that. Her husband might have been a horrible person. Plus her child is more precious to her, like jewels.”
“To take such drastic action, but still end up like that… I don’t know. It’s too much. She could have lived longer with her loved ones instead of dying such a gruesome death.”
Kiyro stayed quiet and did not go on with the conversation.
The TV news cast continued to talk amongst themselves.
“On to another topic, in the last couple of days there have been unusual reports stating that an Embryo Dive gear has been used to help speed up the healing process of an injured patient. The patient was a female who was in a horrible traffic accident on Highway 285 and had a metal rod impaled in her chest. Luckily she survived all that and is doing really well,” John said happily.
“What do you mean?” asked Simon.
“There have been reports stating that she is healing faster than a normal person would. There are signs that her recovery time is cut down by half. And she’s not the only one who has gone into this specially induced recuperation coma. So far there have already been twenty people who were in life-threatening situations that were put into comas with Sense gear in order to be healed at an accelerated rate. But you have got to remember, folks: not all Sense gear can do this. The gears that the hospitals use are specially reconstructed by the company Kosmos. Please do not try this at home,” John stated sternly as he looked towards the camera.
“Kosmos? Weren’t they the ones who were working with Yami Hikari Company and parted ways?”
“Yes. Kosmos is paying for the use of the gear and now they have been upgrading it for the medical field and research. Their intention is to develop a natural healing process by stimulating the cells to reproduce the tissues five times faster than normal.”
“Has the patient come out of the coma yet?”
“Sadly, no, but there have been signs of brainwave activity. There are also reports that there have been sightings that she is actually playing in the game called Growth.”
“That’s pretty spooky. It’s like a ghost running around in the game world.”
“I agree with you there.”
For a bit longer Kiyro continued to listen to the news. His headache wasn’t completely gone yet.
“Anna. What do you think about the medical usage of the gear? ” Kiyro looked over to her curiously as he waited for an answer. It was truly an unusual development to hear how this type of device could be used.
“I think it’s a great achievement. It benefits the human race in speeding up the process of healing. I don’t know much about how they are doing it. My company does not work with Kosmos, so I don’t have inside details on that aspect. I would so love to find out more,” she excitedly explained.
“So you’re not a part of it? I thought you would have some kind of inside scoop.” Kiyro was surprised by Anna’s statement.
“Well, our company is not on good terms with Kosmos right at this moment. There have been small squabbles here and there, but it’s all settled for now. There was just a lot of anger running around for a while.”
“Ah, I see.” Kiyro stopped for a moment to ponder the information. “Then was it you guys who created the Seed?”
“Yes and no.”
“What?” He looked at her, confused.
“We took part in bringing the materials, but we didn’t create its core functions. I heard that was done by a group of scientists and programmers specifically scouted out by Mrs. Noriko. Where she got those people, I don’t know, but they are amazing. If only we had one or two working for us…” She sighed. “They all declined our offer and surprisingly Kosmos’ as well.”
“So what does the seed even do?” He leaned closer to her.
“We don’t know. All that information is classified. We don’t have a single hand in it. All we know is that the Seed and the Seed Shard are two of the same but separate things. One is for questing and the other is for the players to have for themselves. As you already heard on TV, there were some strange rumors going around that it’s some crazy science project bent on brainwashing young kids. Highly unlikely though,” scoffed Anna.
“How would you know if you yourself don’t know anything about it?” he asked with a bit of worry.
“Mrs. Noriko is not like that. She’s a very intelligent woman, but she’s not evil. I have known her for five years now,” said Anna with confidence. She lay down comfortably on the sofa.
Kiyro stayed silent. He was not sure if he should tell his sister that he had personally obtained a seed as well. Instead he quietly continued to click through the channels.
Zero opened his eyes and looked around in confusion. Firelight dimly lit the room as flames crackled in the fireplace. It was evening in Noriene, while in the real world it was afternoon. He wasn’t completely sure where he was, but he was lying in a bed. He slid out a flint dagger from under his sleeve, ready to use it if necessary. As he looked around, what he saw surprised him.
Books…Books. Books. Books.
From left to right, on top of the shelves, underneath tables, and even stuffed in cracks. Each piled up higher and higher than the next as they were stacked haphazardly.
“Am I going to be okay?” said Zero with worry. He was worried that they might topple over onto him and bury him alive. Some books were balanced so precisely that if he moved even a centimeter, it could all come crashing down. He did not understand at all how someone could live in such place. There was almost no room to maneuver, just enough space to sleep, eat, and read. The strangest thing was, there was not a single speck of dust on them.
“You’re awake.” A male voice mumbled as if he was eating something.
Zero looked around trying to find the voice. Large brown ears poked out from the stacks of books at the end of his bed.
“It took quite an effort to bring you here. Three of us had to carry you up the flight of stairs, through the long hallways, and finally here.” Garrett smiled as he walked over to Zero. He had brought him a hot steaming cup of green tea. Carefully, Zero took it.
“Thanks.” Zero blew on the tea.
“I was quite surprised that you blacked out. Did that book give you that bad of a scare?” Garrett chuckled at his own joke.
Zero took a sip.
“No.” With his mind relaxed, he put away his dagger. He was worried that he was taken hostage, but it was Garrett. Other than the clumsiness caused by him being a bookworm, Garrett was not much of a threat. Garrett’s level was below an average NPC’s. Possibly with just one hit, Garrett would die in an instant. Most Lunar Rabbits had surprisingly high levels for a race that looked so harmless—which made it even stranger that Garretr had such a low level compared to everyone else.
It did not make sense nor did it interest him much. What did interest him though was why he passed out. He wasn’t sure if it was the effect of the Seed or the book. Whichever one it was, he did not want either.
When he checked his inventory, the seed that he got from the book was not present. He was not sure if what just happened was all an illusion or if it was about the seed that the people were talking about.
He shook his head. No…It can’t be an illusion. I’m here in a bed. The last thing I remember I was in the Royal Library…surrounded by messy stacks of books… Zero looked around once again. It’s not much of a difference, is it? Maybe Garrett would know where the seed went.
“Garrett, did you see the seed that came out of the book?” Zero asked.
“Seed? What seed?” Garrett looked befuddled. “I’m not sure what you are talking about.”
“Never mind then. Are you sure you don’t want the book Historia back?” asked Zero. Come on, take it, he silently prayed.
“No,” said Garrett sternly, “I cannot undo the sacred ties you now have with Historia. Instead, I suggest you take the time and read it, learn it, memorize it, and live it. Commit it to memory. You are now the Record Keeper of Historia. It’s a very sacred job.”
“You’re kidding, right?” Zero looked upon him quizzically. “You expect me to be a historian? All this requires time and commitment. I barely passed my language arts classes. What good would the book do for me?” Zero pulled out the book and waved it in front of Garrett’s face.
“Language arts? Pray tell what is that?” Garrett put down his hot tea and walked over to Zero.
“It’s nothing.” Zero stopped and changed the topic. “Besides that, what is with this book?” Its worn leather jacket rested upon his hands as his fingers lightly rubbed against it.
“Ah, the Historia is truly an amazing book. It does not appear for just anyone, nor would everyone be allowed to read it,” Garrett said excitedly. He had begun to rant off into his own little world. “You my friend have been given the gift to wield the book of history.” Garrett bounced around excitedly.
“It’s a book.” Zero stressed his words. “A. Book.” He did not understand how a book could give him the power he needed in this game. He understood knowledge was power, but so far he had not learned even a single skill from this book.
“Not just any book. It’s The Book of Historia. The Recorder of Life.”
“And that’s going to make any difference? It’s just a word change,” said Zero with a bit of irritation in his voice. He did not get where Garrett was going with all this.
“Now, that’s where you are wrong. Legends state that it records the life of all living beings: from birth to death, and even future events that might happen. How it works, no one knows. Supposedly it has a mind of its own. It is a powerful source of magic that has been waiting for a Record Keeper—or, in another word, a Guardian. You are lucky to be allowed even to hold onto something so sacred.” Garrett chastised him like a child.
“There is only one such book in existence. My race has been watching over it for thousands of years. Sadly except me nobody knows about it anymore. My wretched race has fallen so low in keeping this library clean that we have forgotten our history, our culture, and our identity. It infuriates me that, that imbecile of a rabbit snob thinks that cleaning this place is more important than our race’s history. Young’uns these days don’t ever listen to their elders. It’s like that wretched Reth.” Garrett scoffed. “Do you know what that wretched rabbit has done to this library?!” Garrett threw his hands up in anger and curled his hands into a fist. Zero stared at the insane rabbit.
“Cleaning! I hate cleaning. If I could, I would go around and topple all of his books and mess up his personal space. It would make me so happy. It is one of my personal goals to see his face when that happens.” Garrett laughed heartily.
“Garrett. You already stated that repeatedly. I get it.”
“Kid, what are you talking about? You don’t understand how infuriating that rabbit is. Do you know what he has done to me?”
“Do I need to know?”
“Yes.” Garrett paced back and forth as he explained. “Reth, the fool, has alphabetically organized the books in order from A to Z and backwards. I leave things in certain places because I know where they are. I keep certain pages open so I can go back and read them. After he cleaned, I could not find anything. His cleaning is completely pointless and void. He doesn’t even remember where exactly each book is, either.”
Zero could not believe what he was hearing. He had thought that putting things in alphabetic order made things easier to find, but listening to Garrett did not make any sense at all. He just continued to nod his head in agreement and listen.
“Ah, where was I with Historia…Oh yes, so many have come and gone to wield the power of the book of Historia, but none have seen its true form.”
“Well, getting it was too easy, but when I opened it, all the words were gone,” said Zero. Perhaps Garrett would know what had gone wrong. Getting such a rare and sacred book had taken far less effort than he had expected, but it was useless if all the words were gone.
Garrett looked alarmed. “Gone? What do you mean gone?”
“It’s exactly what I mean. There are only blank pages. Nothing is written in it.” Zero showed the book to Garrett, but he stopped short as he noticed black ink appearing on the open page. One by one magical word appeared on the page in black ink as a voice only he could hear spoke.
To the descendant of Drezo Regalia and bearer of Historia: Welcome. You were given the gift to observe the lives of the many before you. We welcome you, our guardian, our Record Keeper. Let us journey through the past, present, and future together and fly through the endless streams of Lives.
Magic continuously swirled around the book while the words were being written in black. Splotches of colors appeared on the pages as pictures formed before him. A young lady with golden armor raised her sword and rode on a white gryphon. Her majestic and angelic appearance stood out from the page. Wind blew back her fiery red hair streaming behind her.
A guardian is chosen every fifty thousand years. Leelu, the first ever guardian of Historia: a mercenary. For hundreds of years she protected the book and kept it safe. The legends of her adventures still exist throughout the world.
The picture swirled as blotches of black ink spread. The splotches formed into black demonic creatures that devoured the whole page. The bright golden light became dimmer and dimmer as the darkness encompassed her. The sound of a female voice yelling trailed off into the distance as Zero heard the clashing between monsters and her sword. Shrieks of the dying could be heard. His eyes were glued to the book as if he was watching a movie.
The life of Leelu ended in the fight with the Mage of Darkness. With her life lost but the world saved, a new guardian has taken her place.
The picture changed and flipped through the lives of many different guardians. Then it flowed to another scene, and a young, happy-go-lucky man appeared. His green eyes glowed with power as dozens of animals surrounded him. From deer to rabbits, foxes, birds, and tigers, his brown cleric-like clothes merged with the forest.
Endowed with the power of nature, Zeno saved a major city from the fiery blaze of a volcano. His power was great and vast. But like all light, darkness followed after.
Fire-like monsters appeared and engulfed Zeno. Echoes of the dying could be heard as the page went completely red. As the red faded away, the page once again turned clean white.
Let your Story begin anew…Child of Drezo Regalia. Welcome. Welcome. Welcome
The voice trailed off and echoed off into the distance. A gust of wind blew through the cracked window and flipped through the pages till the end of the book. Just as it reached its last page, the book closed by itself. Zero was amazed at what he saw.
Quest Initiation of Record Keeper of HistoriaPart I. History of Drezo Regalia.
As the guardian of the Historia, you have been given the task to find who and what you truly are before you can become the True Guardian of Historia. You must find the lost history of your race and record it in the book of Historia.
Difficulty Level: C
Zero was surprised. “There’s no consequence for failure or success this time? That’s a bit odd. What just happened?”
“Boy. You have glimpsed a bit of the history of the Historia itself. You truly are blessed to be able to see it.” Garrett glanced at Zero with jealousy. “How I would love to read it.” Garrett sighed as he adjusted his broken monocle. “Those who are not a guardian are not able even to glimpse through its pages.”
A loud creaking sound of the door opening was heard. Zero and Garrett whipped their heads towards the door.
“Zero. You’re awake,” said Agnis as she entered the room. Her snow-white hair swung back and forth. Her face was just as enchanting as he remembered. Zeraph closely followed behind her like a shadow with a grin.
“What?” Zero gawked at both of them. He noticed Zeraph still had an odd sparkle around him. There were a couple of times he wanted to smack it off of him.
“You’re awake. How are you feeling?” She looked at him sympathetically. “It’s been awhile since you’ve been out for so long.”
“Why, what happened to him?” Zeraph asked.
“He got a stomach virus,” replied Agnis.
“I’m alright so far. The pain went away; it’s not a big problem anymore,” said Zero with relief. He was glad that the horrible experience was over. He did not want to experience that pain any longer.
“Those stomach viruses can seriously cripple you for a couple of days.” Agnis cringed in sympathy.
“I completely agree with you.” Zeraph nodded with understanding as he crossed his arms.
“Zero, you have grown. You look like a thirteen-year-old now. Have you hit puberty yet?” Agnis curiously peered over him. “The last time I saw you, you looked like a six year old kid.”
“I look older?” He raised his hands to see if there were any differences. “Nothing feels any different.”
“Yep. You look a lot older than the first time I met you,” Zeraph agreed.
“Huh.” He put his hands down and remembered something more important. “Well, by any chance did you guys get the seed that people were talking about?”
One of Zeraph’s eyebrows rose up with interest.
“The Seed? Yeah, I got one. It was during my real life quest,” said Agnis with surprise. “It happened when I was helping someone get out of a burning car.”
“Burning car?” said Zeraph, startled. His eyes widened with amazement.
So it was her, thought Zero.
“Yeah. I helped someone in a car accident. I had to pull her out before she got toasted alive in the car.” Agnis smiled with glee. She rocked back and forth with her hands behind her back.
“So what did you do with the seed?” asked Zero. He was very interested in what she was going to say, especially when it came to the seed that everyone was talking about. He wondered if it was some kind of special upgradeable item one could get.
“That’s the thing. Nothing happened. After I opened it, it just disappeared.” Agnis looked at them with concern. “I hope it’s not some tracking device that gets implanted in our character.”
“No,” said Zeraph without a single doubt in his voice.
“How are you so sure?” Agnis asked.
“If you looked in the forum as well as the website to the game, the company gave a statement that it is not a GPS tracker or anything like that.”
“Oh.” Agnis was deep in thought. “Then what about you? Did you get one too?”
Zeraph glanced at her for a moment and replied, “Yeah, I got one too.”
“Really?” Zero asked, surprised.
“Three people with the seed all in the same room. What’s the chance of that?” Zero looked upon them, bewildered. “I thought getting one was difficult.”
Agnis looked back and forth between Zero and Zeraph. “How did you guys get it?”
Both of them hesitated before answering.
“Got it from a quest called Drezo Regalia,” explained Zero. He turned his head towards Zeraph.
“Someone gave it to me,” said Zeraph quickly, wanting to wrap up this conversation.
“There are three different circumstances of getting it. I wonder what other ways there are,” Zero pondered.
“Either way, there is not much information on it.” Zeraph brushed the topic aside. “Instead we should be focusing on what we need to be doing. We all have a task to do.”
Agnis nodded in agreement. “True, one way or another the answer will be shown before us. Stressing about it too much is not good for our health.”
Garrett was listening with interest. “What are you young’uns talking about?”
“The seed. Do you know anything about it, Garrett?” Zero asked.
“The seed? Plants? I do know the steps to farming. Is that what you are asking?” Garrett tilted his head as his ears flopped over.
“Never mind.” Zero did not know if he should continue to pursue the subject anymore. If the NPC did not know, then how could anyone else? “Anyways, Garrett, I’ve been given a task to record history. What does that mean? Do I have to write down notes or something?” Zero peered towards him in a plea. He was hoping that he didn’t have to do anything like that.
Garrett smiled. “There are many ways to do it, but I think it’s best to go and talk with Ren. He’s another rabbit like me. You should be able to talk with him on the first floor of the Royal Library. Take the stairs on the left hand side and when you exit, you’ll be in a hallway. Go through it and you should arrive at the southeast corner of the first floor. He will be wearing all purple clothes. He’s an odd one, that one.” Garrett nodded as he pulled out a lettuce leaf from his pocket and munched on it. His foot tapped with joy.
One is enough but two? Zero eyes wrinkled with stress. He was already getting a headache from dealing with Garrett. Another one didn’t sound like a good thing at all.
“So to get this straight, there is a rabbit name Ren wearing all purple, and he might know how to start to record history?” Zero asked him to make sure he was getting his information straight.
“Yep.” Garrett nodded as he continued to munch on more lettuce. Zero wondered where Garrett had gotten all those lettuce leaves he was chewing on.
“So what exactly does he do?” Agnis pressed for more information.
“You’ll find out. He’s an interesting one.” Garrett nodded and smiled.
“I know, I heard you the first time.” Zero did not understand why Garrett had the knack of repeating the conversations continuously in different ways. He knew that NPCs had an extensive database of dialogues even to the point to having a normal conversation.
“Well, come on. Go on.” Garrett shooed them towards the door. Zero got up from the bed. He stumbled a bit but caught himself on the bedpost. As he pushed himself up from the bedpost, he noticed Zeraph and Agnis were already being pushed out the door by Garrett.
“What’s the rush?” Zero asked perplexed. “Ren’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Right?”
Garrett’s smile turned into a frown.
“I personally don’t have all day. I need to do my work. You guys being here already took up my time in research. I am close to a breakthrough right now. I don’t even have an apprentice to help me out on my research.” Garrett eyes drooped in sadness. “With me being the only one to finish my twenty years of work, I do not have anyone to pass it on. So, with that being said, I need all the time I can get. I don’t have time to babysit when I have more work to do. Ren will be there. So now go!” Garrett assured him as he pushed Zeraph out the door.
Zero followed right behind him without another word. He did not want to be pushed out.
“Now if you guys will excuse me. I’ve got work to do.” Garrett grumbled and slammed the door in their faces.
“How rude,” replied Agnis. “First he shows us hospitality, but when Zero is awake and okay, he kicks us out.”
“I agree,” acknowledged Zero. He did not expect to be rushed out the door so quickly. He thought having some connections with Garrett would make the old rabbit more polite.
“Either way, I’m going to go find Ren. What are you guys going to do?” Zero peered at them curiously. He did not mind their company as much anymore.
“I’ll stick around,” replied Zeraph. “I don’t have anything else to do.”
“Same.” Agnis replied. “I got what I need for now. It wouldn’t be so bad to see who this Ren guy is. Garrett was an interesting character to talk to. He had quite a lot of stories to tell.”
“I thought he wouldn’t shut up,” replied Zeraph.
“Really? Like what?” Zero asked curiously. All three of them began to walk towards Ren on the first floor of the Royal Library.
“He was talking about an old legend that had been mixed into many religions. It’s so old that different people tell it a different way. Supposedly the original is lost. Where it came from, no one is really sure,” Agnis replied.
They had begun to descend the winding stairs. Its musty smell of old wood permeated through their noses. Zero listened intently as Agnis retold the story.
“He stated that this world of Noriene is connected to many dimensions. Eight higher dimensional shifts with higher frequency energy and eight lower dimensional shifts with lower frequency energy are all stacked on top of each other like pancakes. Then there is one connecting them all together. It is the physical and spiritual world of Noriene: the plane of life and death. Supposedly holding all these together is the tree of life,” she said.
“The tree of life. Then does that mean in this game there is more in death?” Zero looked upon Agnis, bewildered at the depths of this game.
“I’m not sure. When you died, did you walk amongst the dead or did you choose not to?” asked Agnis, glancing back at Zero, who trailed a few steps behind them. “I personally choose not to. It was a bit too creepy for me. The weird dreary colors and odd feeling that place gave off… It gave me the creeps.” She shivered with unease. “If I can, I’ll try to stay out of it as much as possible. A lot of people say the same thing.”
Her voice was low and subdued, and Zero sped up his pace to catch what she would say. “Yeah. I did walk amongst the dead and I know what you are talking about. It’s something different…it’s not too bad after you get past the dark shadowy apparitions.”
“What? Apparitions?” She gave him a skeptical look.
“There were a couple of incidents that I would say are a bit out of the ordinary, but it’s worth exploring,” Zero reassured her.
“What about you, Zeraph?” Agnis asked, glancing towards Zeraph for an answer.
“Yeah, I died a couple of times. I usually just skip that part and log out for the day. I had other things to do that needed my attention,” Zeraph answered.
“I’ve talked with many people and they all choose not to walk among the dead. Something about how it feels too weird deters them.”
“It’s just a game.” Zeraph laughed. “There’s nothing more to it.”
“I know. I’m just going off what other people have said.”
They reached the bottom of the stairs. A large picture hung on the stone wall. It showed the six heroes that saved the Fire Continent, sitting in front of a fireplace talking cheerfully with one another. They held cups of hot drinks in hand, and a snowy storm could be seen through the window of the wooden cabin.
“You guys, we should do that one day. Sit by the fire and drink hot cocoa together. It would be so fun.” Agnis’s eyes sparkled with excitement. She looked upon both of them with pleading eyes.
“Why?” Zero did not understand why she wanted to be cooped up in a cabin in a blizzard.
“Because I’ve never done that before.”
“That doesn’t sound fun, though…” Zero voice trailed off as he noticed Agnis’s smile drooping to a frown. He could not go any further with his conversation.
“Sure, why not, Agnis. If it ever happens, we will go and try that out.” Zeraph gave her a soft smile of reassurance.
“Thanks, Zeraph. You’re a great friend.”
Zero silently watched. Why are girls so difficult to deal with? He shook his head and continued forward.
Rows upon rows of large marble naked humanoid sculptures stood on both sides of the hallway, each of the sculptures in a sequential animated pose. It was so quiet that they could hear their own breathing. A lump of brown dreadlock-looking fur stood between the statues. It was wearing a loose purple butler suit. A soft tapping sound could be heard.
“What is that sound?” Zeraph looked around.
“Hmmmm,” an unknown voice mumbled. “Hmmmm.” The lump of dreadlocks moved to the side.
“What is that?” Agnis stopped to look upon the odd lump of brown fur. “It just moved. Did you see that?” She moved back with unease.
“Yeah…excuse me?” Zero approached slowly, perplexed at what the dreadlock-looking thing was doing.
“Hmmm…yes?” The lump of fur did not move to face them.
“May I ask what are you doing?”
“Inspecting. I’m doing something very important. These statues are in a sequential pose which resembles their animated motion. This specific statue seems like it is a couple of inches off. It’s bugging me that it’s not in the right position,” said the lump of brown dreadlock fur in annoyance.
“I see. Well, do you know where Ren is by any chance?”
“Yeah? What do you need?” The lump of brown dreadlock fur turned around towards Zero.
Zero stepped back in surprise. It was actually a rabbit underneath the heavy layers of matted hair that reminded him of a specific dog, a Komondor: a Hungarian breed of livestock guardian dogs with a long-haired fur coat. “Um. How could we help you?”
“Help? Do you think I need help? Hm…” Ren was deep in thought, drumming his fingers against his chin.
Zero could barely even see his eyes underneath the dreadlocks.
“He looks like a mop,” said Zeraph quietly. He chuckled under his breath.
Agnis elbowed him in the ribs. “Shhh.” She gave him a glare.
Zeraph shrugged it off as if it was nothing.
“So do you need any help?” Zero said it loudly to catch Ren’s attention.
“Help. Ah. Yes. Yes. Yes. Can you move this statue a bit? Please don’t break it. I worked hard to get all of them aligned correctly. I can barely lift anything up right now.” Ren showed him his palms, crossed with angry red calluses.
“It shouldn’t be too hard to move it. Give me a moment.” Zero walked up to the statue and positioned himself to move it. “Which way would you like it to be turned?” he asked.
“To the left about an inch would do.”
Placing his hands firmly against the statue, Zero pushed hard. A loud grinding sound of stone against wood echoed in the hallway. Zero groaned with the strain as he heaved with heavy breaths.
“Keep going…Keep going…okay. Stop! That’s perfect.” Ren clapped his sore hands in glee. Zero fell down, exhausted. He hadn’t expected it to be so heavy.
“You did wonderfully. Finally the motions are perfectly inlined.” Ren admired his handiwork.
“Ren. Garrett told me you know something about how to record history.” Zero watched Ren move from side to side, inspecting the handiwork. He even saw Ren delicately lick the statue. Zero winced at his odd behavior.
“Hello?” asked Zero. He could not believe what he was seeing. This was going a little too far for his taste.
“Is that rabbit okay?” Agnis peered over worriedly.
“He’s insane. I can’t believe we are dealing with another one.” Zeraph stared at him and crossed his arms.
They all watched as Ren started to rummage through his pockets. He pulled out his hands and they noticed a marble-sized crystal ball with two circular patterned designs spaced out evenly on opposite ends.
“What? Is that a smoke bomb?” Zeraph asked as he strained to look at what Ren was holding.
“I don’t know but I don’t like this.” Agnis stood on tip toe to watch the action.
“The statues that are in an animated pose have been completed. With the statue in place I am able to move forward to the next phase.” Ren had begun to walk from statue to statue as he held up the small crystal ball in front of him. It glistened radiantly underneath the fire lights.
“Is he talking to himself?” Zero looked upon Ren, stupefied.
“What the hell? He’s ignoring us. Give me a second while I go and give him a piece of my mind.” Zeraph went forward.
“Hey. We were talking to you.” Zeraph looked upon Ren with disdain. He reached over to pull Ren over to face him. In a blink of an eye, Ren snatched Zeraph’s hands out of the air and pulled him down to his level. Ren stared Zeraph dead in the eye.
“I heard you,” growled Ren as he squeezed Zeraph’s hand hard.
Zeraph’s eyes widened. Ren let go without a blink and Zeraph snatched his hand back. Ren turned back to what he was doing. Both Zero and Agnis stood speechless. Zero didn’t expect Ren would be able to move so fast, nor had the guts to snatch Zeraph of all people. For a second there, Zero thought he saw Zeraph ready to snatch Ren off the ground.
“Now, as you can see the wonders of motion in effect, you should understand the beauty of it.” Ren pointed it out towards the group. He waved his hands in an arc, accentuating his words.
“Um, I do not understand what you are talking about. They’re just statues.” Zero cautiously approached Ren. He did not want any other strange occurrences with Ren.
“Tsk. Tsk. Tsk. Young bucks these days don’t appreciate nor understand the meaning of motion pictures.” Ren shook his head. He rummaged through his pockets once again.
“You see this in my hand?” Three small marbles glistened under the light as swirls of green and red mixed harmoniously with one another. “This is what you use to record motions with.”
Zero inspected them closely with interest. Small silhouettes and figures moved inside the glass marble ball. From hopping rabbits to galloping stallions, the silhouettes shifted quickly to different images.
“Is that it?” Zero asked, perplexed by the purpose of the glass marble balls.
Ren grinned widely. He stood back and crushed one of the glass marble balls in his hands.
Wisps of white smoke appeared before them and crept along the ground. Shimmers of light danced with magic as a life size black stallion stood in front of him. Its majestic coat glistened with sweat as it reared back, thrashing its hooves towards Zero. Large sublime muscles rippled with power as its black mane swayed side to side. A sharp piercing scream of the wild stallion’s voice echoed throughout the hallway.
Zeraph pulled out his sword, ready to strike forward. Agnis jumped back as she pulled out her wooden bow. Zero fell backward in startled as he dodged out of harm’s way from the thrashing hooves. As the black stallion’s hooves landed on the ground, lush green grass erupted outward around all of them. A beautiful scenic view of the meadows lay out in front of them all.
“Isn’t this wonderful?” Ren exclaimed with joy. He laughed with excitement.
“What? How?” Zero was so stupefied that he had difficulty putting words.
A blue butterfly fluttered around Zero. He reached up towards the butterfly, waiting for it to land on his hand, but it passed through his hands as if he was not there.
“I don’t get it. Is this a hologram?” asked Zero in awe.
“Hologram? I am not sure what that is. This is a special type of magic that records events in real time and can be replayed in front of you at any given time.” Ren excitedly pointed out his surroundings with a wave of his arms to Zero. “Recording could be done anyplace, anytime, and anywhere. With the right tools and magic one could learn this art.”
Whickering voices of distant echoes of other horses could be heard galloping towards them. A dust storm trailed behind the group of horses. The black stallion settled down back onto the ground and neighed back at his group of horses.
“It’s so beautiful,” said Agnis. She smiled at the recording in front of her as she put away her weapon. Zeraph calmed down and brushed it off as if it was nothing.
The scene before them faded back into a shimmer of light and disappeared. Shattered glass reanimated back into perfect marble-size glass ball.
“This is known as an Oculus-Morpheus or O.M. It is made with the ingredients from different monster eyes.”
“From an eye?” Agnis cringed back with a bit of disgust. “Does it have to be made with an eye?”
“Yes. The eye is the window that lets us see and capture the pictures in front of us. I have developed and refined this magic.” Ren preciously held the Oculus-Morpheus in his hands. He lovingly caressed it. Zeraph looked upon Ren as if he was completely nuts.
“An eye…” Zero gulped as he pushed back the rising bile that was about to leave his stomach. He was not sure if he would enjoy collecting the eyes of different monsters to create those precious glass marble balls.
“Isn’t this beautiful?” Ren lovingly held it up to the light, where it sparkled like diamonds.
“May I see it?” Zero asked, though he felt uneasy. He wasn’t so sure he wanted to hold onto the O.M. but his curiosity got the better of him. Ren placed it gently into Zero’s hands.
“Please be careful with these. Once it is completely broken without activating it, you can never ever get it back,” Ren said with worry. Zero nodded.
As Zero cupped his hands around the O.M., a flash of bright golden light erupted in his palm. The book of Historia appeared and magically levitated in front of him. A gust of magical wind blew towards the book as it flipped open. Hundreds of blank pages sped by until it stopped through it half way.
From the book of Historia, long tendrils of white webs shot out towards the O.M. and wrapped around it tightly. With a pull, it yanked the orb out of his hands and swallowed it into the pages of Historia.
“What did you do!” gasped Ren as he rushed towards Zero. He tried to grab the book of Historia, but his fingers passed through it like water.
“My darlings!” Ren cried out in horror. “Your book swallowed my darlings!” Ren darted forward wildly grasping onto the book but fell through.
Zero stopped Ren from getting too close to him. “Wait! It’s not my fault. I don’t know how this book of Historia works.”
Ren stopped just before he slugged Zero in anger. “Did you say Historia? Why didn’t you say so sooner?” He patted Zero hard on the shoulder.
“That explains why I could not touch the magical book.” Ren grinned from ear to ear as his hands gripped Zero’s shoulders. Agnis and Zeraph relaxed from the tension.
“You truly are a lucky guy.”
“What do you mean?” asked Zero. He was not sure how he was lucky in getting neither the book of Historia nor the situation at this moment.
“Don’t you know that it is the largest collections of stories that could be watched? It is the epitome of all motion pictures,” exclaimed Ren. He continued to blabber on.
“So you’re saying that I could literally sit down and watch millions of different stories that could be played right in my lap?”
“Yep.” Ren nodded.
“But the pages are blank.”
Ren’s face fell from shock. “Wh-wh-what?” he stuttered. “How-w-w can this be?”
“You tell me. The words just disappeared and wiped clean off the pages. What’s the point of having clean pages anyways? Does it want me to write my own story or something like a diary?” Zero scoffed at the idea of writing.
“This is unheard of. How do Historia’s pages of stories just disappear like that? This is truly peculiar.” Ren paced back and forth. “So tell me…what exactly happened?” He stopped in front of Zero.
“Well, I just touched the book and the history of the past Record Keepers of Historia were played before me. It was truly fascinating. I didn’t know there were so many.”
“And what else?”
“It knew I was a Drezo Regalia.”
“Drezo Regalia? I’m not sure what that is. Is it some kind of food? I would love to eat some celery right now.” Ren wiped his mouth clean from the drool that was coming down.
“Nevermind.” Zero shook his head.
“I see.” Ren pulled back his long hair that covered his face. Zero was surprised that there were actually large eyes underneath the furry dreads.
Zero stepped forward. “I would like to learn the arts of motion pictures.” He knew that when his book swallowed the O.M. it could be the answer to solving the mystery of Historia.
“Oh?” Ren glanced at Zero with happiness. “You would truly want to learn the arts?” he asked excitedly.
Zero could not say no. He needed to learn this skill to progress forward in his quest.
Ren smacked him hard on the back. Zero stumbled forward.
“You don’t say.” Ren said with a booming voice. He excitedly whistled a tune of glee. “Follow me. I’ll show you what you need to learn. You have a long way to go.”
Zero followed closely behind. “Guys. This might take a bit of time. Why don’t you go ahead and do something else while you wait?”
“Nah, I’ll stick around with you,” Zeraph answered. “This is getting too interesting to not stand behind and watch.” He smirked.
“Same,” replied Agnis.
A loud bell like sound rang out as Zero received a new message.
|Apprenticeship under Ren has been initiated.
Quest History of Drezo Regalia has been updated.
As the guardian of the Historia, you have been given the task to find out who and what you truly are before you can become the True Guardian of Historia. You must find the lost history of your race and record it into the book of Historia.Apprenticeship under Ren has begun in order to learn the arts of a Record Keeper.