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#oh no wait i have a correction to make: there's now 2 female main characters sorry
mint-8 · 3 months ago
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Yo.
I lied again.
So, I thought of this when I saw a post of an “AU?” for Animal Crossing.
Basically Redd is a good and nice fox, and not the con-artist that he is known for.
I decided to make an AU for Animal Crossing.
Why? Why not.
I don’t know a lot about the series, so I’ll stick with New Horizons for now.
Before you keep reading, some warnings:
1. Feedback, corrections and more ideas are greatly appreciated.
2. I’ll do a couple of head canons. I might add more as time goes by.
3. If you don’t like any of this ideas, well, I’m not sorry- Nah, joking. Tell me your reasons and the changes you would do.
4. I will do some extreme changes. From the objective of the game, some mechanics and characters, etc.
That’s it. Enjoy I guess.
* The Animal Crossing series focuses more on developing a goal and trying to work with the obstacles that might come your way.
* In New Horizons you have your own island that was “gifted” to you and must be developed to become a sustainable and good place to live for your villagers. This includes having shops, schools, police station, workplaces, etc. Like building your own city.
Mechanics:
* The player must build and set each building and any extra decoration they might want on their own, just like in the original game. They can also terraform.
* DIY exists but they can only be made by your villagers. For this you must ask them, (sometimes) give them the items to craft and (if your friendship level is too low) make a task for them beforehand so they are willing to make them for you.
* If you don’t have the items you can go to the shop and buy it, but it will cost you bells.
* You can grow trees, flowers, fruits, etc., on your own.
* The fruits and vegetables can be used to make dishes that you can eat or give them to your villagers to increase your friendship level.
* Flowers and anything that you purchase can be used as a gift.
NPCs (oh boy...):
* Blathers runs the museum in your town. He is relatively normal, but he hates anything that has to do with fish but loves bugs (surprising, I know). You can also give him flowers, vegetables, fruits and even trees (he will give you some data about it). If you give him art he will accept it unless is hunted.
* Redd is the main vendor in your island. He likes making silly jokes and will buy anything that you give him (even hunted artwork, but he will be sad). Always has a relax expression in his face and is willing to give you tips about what to do and how to progress in your island.
* Tom Nook, Timmy and Tommy are the “troublemakers” in your island. They will arrive and place their tent somewhere randomly and will start to take the decoration and move it to different locations, destroy your trees, crops, flowers, etc., vandalize your buildings, make your villagers angry, etc. You can buy art and some artifacts from them, but the art could be hunted (never fake, in Tom Nook words’s he has “way too much pride to go as low as that!”) and might be overpriced.
* I don’t know about Isabelle.
*The able sisters basically switch roles. That’s it. Ah, but Label is in a bad relationship with her sisters and it will be the player’s decision to help them or not (this will affect the gameplay) and their parents are alive! They send letters every other day.
* The dodo brothers (can’t remember their names) send and deliver letters. The dodo airlines is now a post office.
* The pelicans trio (can’t remember them either) run an airline now. One is the pilot, the other is the receptionist and maybe the third will tell you about the island you are send to or something like that.
* Flick and CJ also switch roles. Try to think that their personalities and color pallets are switched but their outfits stay the same (they might have some changes as well). Also, Flick is still an artist, but he loves fish and bugs not-so-much.
* Daisy Mae is the one who sells turnips. No change. She might have a different personality and outfit, but that’s it.
Villagers:
* You can talk to your villagers, send letters and gifts, do tasks for them, etc. Not much changes.
* The male villagers personalities can be Normal, Peppy, Brotherly(?)/Uchi and Snooty.
* The female villagers personalities can be Smug, Jock, Cranky and Lazy.
* Their names and faces don’t really change, as well as their color. But their outfits can.
* The villagers tend to be a bit passive-aggressive, especially the “pretty ones” (Marshal, Merengue, Raymond). But the most kind and sweet are the “ugly villagers” (Barold).
* The villagers are the only ones that can craft and depending on their personalities and your level of friendship with them you might have to give them the items to craft, wait more or less and do a task for them.
This is all for now.
I might add more details and even more characters but this is all for now.
Thanks for reading and “enjoying”? Maybe?
See you next time.
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nanakibh · 8 months ago
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Final Fantasy Agito: Gaiden 1, Part 2 Characters: Player, Miyu, Queen, NPCs Summary: Miyu and Queen invite Player to join them on a student council expedition. By visiting the people in town, Miyu hopes Player will receive a better understanding of what it means to guide the future and the difficulties posed by such a responsibility.
The most important thing is to have a heart.
Footsteps of War, Act 1
One day, soon after enrolling at Akademeia...
[Setting: Player's dorm]
Miyu: Pardon me, Player. Have you gotten used to Akademeia? Miyu: Today, we're going to go around Rubrum as the student council. Would you like to join us? Queen: Typically, permission is required for cadets to travel outside Akademeia, but... I've already gotten permission. Miyu: Well then, shall we go? I thought this could help broaden your understanding. Follow me.
[Setting: Field]
Miyu: Hm?! Who is that over there? Girl: Hello. If you came from Akademeia, does that mean you ladies are Agito cadets? Miyu: Yes. That's correct. Girl: Then, do you know my mom? She's been working at Akademeia for over half a year! Queen, frowning apologetically: I'm sorry, but there are a lot of people who work at Akademeia. Girl: Oh, I see... Miyu: More importantly, what are you doing out here? Even if you're close to town, there are still a lot of monsters around here. It's dangerous. Girl: I'm waiting for my mom. Queen: You're waiting for her? Girl: My mom suddenly got really busy, so she hasn't come back in a long time. Girl: She said that she would be back in a month, but now half a year has passed. Girl: Look, over this hill, the bridge goes all the way to Akademeia. You can see it really well from here. Girl: So I'm here again today, waiting for my mom, thinking to myself, "Ah, she's probably still not coming." Miyu: When you said that your mother works at Akademeia, do you mean that she's an Agito cadet? Girl: Yeah! That's why she'd sometimes talk about work. Queen: Perhaps she works for the intelligence or communications department? Miyu: I don't know. But if this girl remembers her mother, then she must surely be safe. Queen: Yes, that’s true. Girl: Do you think my mom will come back today? Or maybe tomorrow... Miyu: Unfortunately, we were the only ones who requested permission to leave this week. No one else will be coming out after us. Girl: Really? I... see... Miyu: Now then. It's dangerous out here. Hurry home before the sun goes down. Girl: Okaaay. Miyu: In return, we'll find your mother when we go back to Akademeia and tell her about you. Girl: Really?! You'll go see my mom?! Queen: Indeed. It's a promise. So please go back home for today. Girl: Okay! Queen: If you're recognized as an essential part of Akademeia, your whole family is permitted to live on the island. Queen: I assume that must be why that girl's mother is working so hard. Miyu, sadly: As a parent, she must want her child to at least live in a moderately safe environment... Queen: The island is protected by a great barrier, and most of the residents are Agito cadets who each possess the strength of a thousand. Queen: Even if you look all over Orience, it would be hard to find a place safer than that island. Miyu: Not only have the monsters been more active, the actions of the other countries have made things more restless recently.
Footsteps of War, Act 2
[Setting: McTighe]
Male Villager: Oh, here comes some Agito cadets! Female Villager: Welcome, cadets. Fine weather we're having, isn't it? Miyu: It is. Hello. Miyu: Agito cadets aren't an unusual sight to the people of this town. After all, Akademeia is just a stone's throw away. Male Villager: I spotted a monster right near the town recently. Just the other day, too, one suddenly turned up on the traveling path. Do you think we're safe? Queen: I understand. As soon as possible, I'll arrange for an extermination squad. Female Villager: The price of food seems to be more expensive than usual this year. Isn't there anything that can be done about this? Queen: Agito cadets aren't involved in those matters... But I can present the issue to the Consortium. Female Villager: Thank you so much. Miyu: Like this, listening to the troubles of the people has become one of the student council's jobs. Miyu: As Agito cadets, it isn't certain whether this is something we should do. So... Miyu: If the choice is ours, don't you think it's most beneficial for us to solve the people's problems? Boy: Misses Agito cadets! Misses Agito cadets! How can I become a cadet like you? Miyu: Ah, and now a promising future underclassman has appeared. Miyu: Let's see... It helps if you have talent, but the most important thing is to have a heart. Boy: Heart? Miyu: Indeed. For the sake of the world, for the sake of the people... You should always be thinking about what's right and hold high standards. Boy: Oh yeah? Alright, I get it! Miyu: Listen to what your parents say, and do your homework without complaint. Boy: Okaaay! Miyu, smiling: To protect that boy's future, as Agito cadets, we have to guide the world in a better direction. Queen: It's an important responsibility.
Footsteps of War, Final Act
[Setting: Field]
Miyu: So, Player. What did you think of your time with the student council's activities today? Miyu: Every day, many cadets study at Akademeia in the hopes of becoming Agito. Miyu: That may be correct. The main purpose of Agito cadets is to bring about Agito. Miyu: But if everyone is striving to reach greater and greater heights, I fear they may trip over their own feet. Queen: If you confine yourself to Akademeia, you'll never know what the people outside want. Queen: That's why, by going out as the student council like this, even if just a little, we hope to understand more. Miyu: Everyone has their own will, and everyone acts of their own accord. They divide themselves into allies and enemies, and they even kill each other. Miyu: But that's because they're making choices based on their own limited perspectives. Miyu: The understanding of just one person is narrow and shallow. If you look at the big picture, it would be safe to say that you don’t know anything at all. Miyu: What I thought was right may become wrong if I change my viewpoint. Miyu: But that's why I think people can aim for a better future while also envisioning various different futures. Queen: "There's meaning in the way imperfect people try to make things better." Is that your theory, Miyu? Miyu: That's right. If you understood my thoughts even a little, then I could say that this trip out was worth it. Miyu: Well then, shall we head back to Akademeia? Queen: How about we return from over that hill? You can see Akademeia very well from there. Queen, glancing away: Um... Who did I hear that from, again? Miyu: You're right. Sometimes it's nice to take a detour for a change.
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animudabadee · a year ago
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Made In Abyss: The Story
Oh man.. I have so much to say. *no spoilers in first paragraph*
I apologize in advance if I left out anything important like Kiyui, I’m trying to get at what impacted me most.  Note: I also apologize for switching back and forth between “They” and “She” on Pronouns for Nanachi. I know I did that a couple times and forgot to correct it. The general consensus is that Nanachi is female but No one really knows and its never told in the show so the pronouns **should** be ‘they’ but I’m very tired. I’ve been writing this for upwards of 11 hours now (with breaks) and I cba to go and fix it.  I’m going to explain this story in grave detail in this post, and explain how I feel about it in another. 
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So first let me tell you what this anime is about without spoilers, to see if you wanna watch it yourself before I start spoiling. The main character is a young girl (12) named Riko. She lives in an orphanage which teaches their students to cave raid. How that being said, her entire city/town thing has a huge never-ending abyss in the middle of it. This abyss is what they are descending and raiding. How far you can go down is determined by the color whistle you wear. This is because as you descend the abyss, the further and further you go down, the harder it is to come up. This is called ‘The curse of the abyss’. Riko quickly learns that her mother, a legendary white whistle, is possibly still alive down in the abyss. After learning this, Riko decides to go after her, knowing fully well that she will never return to her home-town, or see any of her friends again. Now these are main things in the anime, that everyone knows, and they contain no spoilers as to how or why.  This is one of the most screwed up, saddest most terrible anime’s I’ve seen. And I love it so much. Terrible as in tragic and heartbreaking, and I thought this was going to be one of the cutest anime’s I’ve seen. I was WRONG. Please do not watch this anime if you are easily triggered. 
***SPOILERS AHEAD***
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Okay man, I don’t even know where to begin. I’m probably going to whizz past the first like 9 episodes because the last 3 are where the story gets real. I’ll dive right in to say that Riko, while in the abyss, Riko gets attacked by a creature known as the  Crimson Splitjaw. She tries to run away, but to no avail, the Spitjaw corners her. After the Spitjaw corners her this huge flash of light burns through everything in the vicinity and quickly scares off the spitjaw. Riko has no idea what just happened, and she ends up stumbling accross a boy, who seems to be a robot, seemingly the same age. His name came to be Reg. He has no recolection of who he is, or why he saved her. 
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Riko and her friends manage to sneak Reg into the orphanage and eventually trick its staff into thinking he is an orphan. Shortly after this, Riko recieves word that her Mother, Lyza the Annihilator’s, white whistle had been found, along with a couple of note pages. One of these notes was addressed to Riko, and it simply said “At the Netherworld’s bottom, I’ll be waiting.” So in short, Riko said “fuck it” and was like “I’m going to look for my mom” and Reg was like:
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(sorry I had to, no more out of context memes)  Riko’s friends help guide her to an area of the abyss that isn’t heavily guarded and that her and Reg and his stretchy arm can descend into the abyss. The thing is, they have to get to the second layer before anyone finds them, otherwise they’ll take them back. When a red whistle (basically the lowest level, which they are) descends to the second layer, its considered suicide, and they stop searching.  I don’t remember when, but I do remember that at some point, Riko finds out that her mother actually gave birth to her in the abyss, and that they had to use a curse warding box to get her out alive. Only 2 white whistles in her mother’s squad made it. Her, and Ozen, the Immovable.  I also remember a black whistle telling them about Ozen living at a seeker camp in the Second Layer, the inverted forest. 
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Upon reaching the seeker camp, Reg decides to throw his stretchy arms up to the balcony of the seeker camp to try to ascend (obviously, this will have some effect on riko) when someone grabs his hands. Who else but Ozen? Ozen offers them to stay the night with her at the camp while subordinate, Marulk (also a child) stays with them and hangs out with them to gather some information.That night, while they are asleep, Riko ends up needing to use the bathroom. Upon getting up to try to find it, she sees a creature that looks human, but is definitely missing parts. (I tried to upload a picture but Tumblr said no.) After she discovers this thing, she obviously gets spooked, as any 12 year old would, and runs back to the room and crawls in bed with Reg. The morning after, Ozen overhears Riko telling Marulk and Reg what she saw, then proceeds to tell Riko if she can’t handle the truth, to Forget what she saw completely. RIko being Riko, obviously follows her.
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On her way up the stairs Ozen  went on to tell Riko that since Lyza’s whistle reached the surface, she is dead. The journey Riko is on to meet her mother is over. and she foudn the Whistle and Notes at a grave.   It is then that Ozen takes them to the curse warding box relic, where she explains more about Riko’s birth and the box. Riko was born stillborn, which means she was born dead, essentially, if you don’t know. But, because of Lyza’s love for her child, she wants to take her late daughter back up the abyss with her, and didn’t want her body to be deformed, so she used the curse warding box. Little did she know that this actually had resurecting powers, and brought Riko back to life from being stillborn. That monster Riko saw, was the result of Ozen putting her dead, cooked, dinner inside the box just to see what would happen.  Ozen mentioned that once brought back, the mysterious thing tried to get to the bottom of the abyss, just like Riko has the longing to reach the bottom.
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“Whats interesting is, as soon as you began to move, you, as well as my meat dish, attempted to head to the center of the abyss. Why do you think that is? You of all people might have some thoughts on that. Youre essentially the same of that festering piece of meat.” were here exact words. Marulk then asks her to stop, but she doesn’t. Riko asks “Why would you say that to me?” And Ozen’s response is “Isn’t it obvious? I despise you and your half dead rotten soul” while reaching for Riko. Reg then stops her hand, andddd ozen proceeds to beat him to a bloody pulp. Riko tries to step in but with literaly just a flick of her wrist, Ozen sends riko flying accross the room. As a last resort to save Riko, Reg tries to use his incinerator, but Ozen, strong as she is, makes him point it at Riko, and at a last second he tfrees himself and shoots it up at the ceiling. Now, this royally pissed me off, as it should. She just beat up two children. Who does that??!
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Reg passes out, as he does when he uses his incinerator, and wakes up to find a couple of random cave raiders with him, along side Riko and Marul, after Ozen pounds his metal... toppy, thing.. back into his skull. lol Riko obviously in distress hugs Reg crying hysterically.  One of the cave raiders then Reveals why Ozen did what she did. “I know you wanted to test Lyza’s kid and all but you kinda overdid it.” Reg is then outraged and called her fiasco a “sick act”. Her exact reply is “you had to be tested. And if I don’t go all out, I won’t get the point accross. You must know that I hate childish tricks.” And further goes on she never had any intention to actually kill either of them, just that no matter how hard she went, Reg wouldn’t break, so she got more and more into trying to do it. (She’s batshit crazy from the curse of the abyss) “The creatures that inhabit the deeper part of the abyss, they are going to be far more cunning and harsh than I am.” 
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“If you continue going on in your current state, you’re going to end up as some poor creatures meal, or you’ll just end up as a bloody stain on the ground somewhere. That said, there’s no guarantee you wont end up the same while I try to beat you into shape. Oh thats right. There is one thing I was decieving you about. That grave I spoke of earlier. There’s no one buried there. Did you think I wouldn’t dig it up to see for myself? Lyza IS waiting for you down there, and you at least need to give it a shot.”  
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Then, a cutscene appears showing Ozen and Lyza having a conversationwhile Lyza is just a small red whistle. “I’ve already kicked you twice and you keep coming back. What an unusual little kid you are.” Then some more dialogue not really story important(I don’t think) happens and Lyza asks Ozen to be her mentor. 
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Then another appears, when Lyza is bragging to Ozen about her Black whistle where Lyza says “Ozen! Your personality is irredeemable! ...BUT you’re still the best mentor ever :3″  Which now explains why Ozen cared about making sure Reg and Riko are in shape enough to handle their adventure.
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It is then that Ozen basically throws them into a forest for 10 days on their own, to see if they can survive, and if they do that means they are worthy enoughto train. Which, spoiler alert, they survive.
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During their expedition Ozen ends up getting nostalgic about how Riko came to survive, and explains the story of how Lyza’s love (Riko’s father) had just died, and now her baby was stillborn. “How heartbreaking” She says. “I never wanted to see her in such a state” She speaks to herself, considering leaving the box with the child in it, and carrying and the relic they found up instead, as she turns back around to hear the so-thought-dead baby crying inside the curse-warding box. “You can relax child. I am cursed with a strong sense of duty.
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When Riko and Reg come back from their training, Ozen explains that when she visited the 5th layer she intended to stay down there only for a few weeks, but when she resurfaced, it had been a couple of months. She then goes on to explain that they have no way of knowing how this time-warp manifests in the 6th or 7th layers, and that she has a feeling that not as much time has passed for lyza. Its been 10 years on the surface, but its a possibility that only a fraction of that time has gone by where she is, and that Lyza is most likely very much alive and well. 
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After everyone says their goodbyes a new cutscene comes across as Ozen and Lyza, as a new mother, are having a conversation. ‘My daughter riko is incredibly prescious to me. No matter the relic or whatever else I could offer as payment, its not enough. Thanks to a miriad of priceless things that girl is alive right now. If I continue to stay with her, i’m liable to take away her right to set off on adventures of her own. Plus  I myself would likely give up trying to reach for the abyss. So before that happens, I’m going to head out, so my girl is free to choose the path she wishes.” She then asks Ozen to make sure to tell Riko “about how shes a living corpse”  about how its a miracle she’s alive. And asks her to teach her how to tackle the obstacles in her way.  She says that Lyza should tell her the miracle part herself, but agrees to send Riko down to her. 
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(I had to watch it again to get the wording, and i’m crying. xD) Also Hi, Lyza is so freaking pretty 
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(I am leaving something out that isn’t very story relevant I dont think, its about a small child. I’ll talk about it in another post, but I’m literally only at episode 9 out of 13 and i still have so much to say. The post will be Titled “Kiyui’s Birthday”) Since the entire 3rd layer is a 4000m verticle drop down a circular shaft, Riko and Reg set out to try to reach the fourth layer of the abyss. The decent is full of a bunch of tunnels they need to go through. Riko and Reg end up being attacked by a Madokajack, and Reg ends up having to use his incinerator, shortly after the same crimson redchin that reg hurt before finds them and seeks revenge, I dont remember how much they manage escaping and then Reg passes out, leaving Riko alone and hungry trying to find food for herself. Dragging Reg along with her,  she ends up in the stomach of an Amakagame that baited her with the smell of Baracocha fruit. This smell is used to mainly bait the small Neritantan creatures, but Riko was hungry and well, you know how that goes. She ends up cutting herself out of the creature’s stomach, which explodes with the smell of fruit. Hundreds of Neritantan start to surround her and ultimately chase her because they think she’s the fruit. 
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They chase her into a ditch, and eventually a tunnel that she needs to get out of, but unfortunately... the only way out is an upwards incline.. I’ll lay it out for you here. She’s on the 3rd layer. She goes for it, like the strong willed 12 year old she is. Not 5 steps upwards and she already feels the weight of the curse. She starts to hallucinate severely and pictures herself with her mother, saying the curse doesnt affect them and they can go home now. But, Reg is gone. When Riko realizes Reg is not in her hallucination is where she REALIZES it is a hallucination, saying that “Without reg this was pointless, without Reg, I’ll die!” She then perserveres to the top of the incline, Reg in tow, and falls, when all of a sudden, the crimson red chin that Reg hurt before found them, and Reg uses Lyzas pickaxe thing that i forgot to mention to clobber it. 
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PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE DO NOT MOVE ON FROM HERE UNLESS YOU ARE OKAY WITH TRIGGERING IMAGES.
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Okay. From here on out almost A LOT OF THE STORY will be triggering and I’m going to go into gruesome detail. Images, Story points. Everything. This is literally the part I’ve been waiting to talk about. And even I’m going to have to go through watching it again to make sure my facts are accurate.  THE LAST BIT of this will be ENTIRELY Triggering material. 
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Reg and Riko have finally gone down far enough to reach the Fourth Layer, the Goblets of Giants. Riko and Reg start walking through the Goblts of warm steamy water, unable to see much. While descending and exploring the fourth layer, Reg sees a figure in the fog. Obviously startled, Riko comes in to see what’s the matter. 
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Riko’s demeanor immediately turns scared as she says “Don’t go near it. We need to run for it. That thing is an Orb Piercer! Their quills can penetrate even steel and they’re laced with poison. More than 100 cave raiders have already been killed by these things.” Reg grabs onto riko and attempts to evade the creature but the creature essentially predicted his path and struck an attack. They were unharmed, but their backpack was broken and items flew out onto the ground. 
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They still have (this random umbrella i literally dont remember them  receiving AT ALL) and they use it to try scare the Orb Pierver, since it recoils from anything bigger than itself. Reg then screams, opens the umbrella, and it turns out to be small as hell. The agutated creature IMMEDIATELY ATTACKS THEM with its quills, and when Reg turns around to tell Riko they need to try to run, he sees that RIko has been pierced. 
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Reg pulls out the quill, obviously causing Riko a lot of pain, as he tries to find a way out. He ties her arm with rope to slow the poison from getting to the rest of her body. Reg realizes that the only way out is up.. But they’re on the fourth layer, and that would cause Riko intense pain and bleeding. He shows reluctance until Riko says “You gotta do it, we have to Reg.” When they get up to a higher Goblet, Reg sets Riko down only to see that for some reason she isn’t bleeding, but her hand is oozing. They then come to the conclusion that maybe the curse is spilling the poison out of her body instead of her blood..Nope. 
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Bamboozled. 
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Riko is having terrible hallucinations at this point but Reg has no idea what to do to save her from the poison thats going to course through her body any minute. He looks over and sees that her hand is completely swollen and bloated. He tried to take off her glove but she screams in agony. Reg apologizes profusely and asks her what to do, and for her help asking how he can save her becasue he has no idea. 
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Riko: Cut it.. Reg: Huh?! Riko: Please.. Cut it.. cut it off... Reg: you don’t know what you’re saying. If I do that you’ll never be able t- Riko: Reg, please, just do it. If you can’t do it, I’ll die. Please Reg, I’m really scared. I’m so scared. 
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Reg pulls out his knife as Riko instructs him further on what to do.  Struggling to breathe and stuttering as she talks.  Riko: Listen to me, Reg. You’re gonna have to break the bone first.. A black whistle who had this happen, he said cutting it was tough.  He grabs a rock and preps her arm. 
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And gives her something to bite down on.  (I’m cringing as I write this becase I have to watch it again. I thought he smashed her arm with the rock but I’ve never watched the scene to see what he actually does.) He puts her arm over the rock and cracks her bone in two over each side of the rock. 
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Literally causing her to writhe in agony.  (its blurry in Reg’s vision. 
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He starts to cut her arm but suddnely bugs swarm them and he needs to fend them away. After he does that he realizes Riko isn’t breathing, at all. 
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He starts screaming out and crying about not leaving him behind. For a good 2 and a half minutes he’s screaming and crying. And then all of a sudden you hear a voice say “You are very noisy...” (which absolutely cracked me up for SOME REASON, even though I was crying my eyes out) The person tells him that Riko’s heart is still beating, but weakly, and he needs to get her breathing.  
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The person then instructs Riko on how to do mouth to mouth ressusitation, and he ends up getting Riko to breathe again. Mysterious Person-Thing then takes Reg and Riko to their hide out where they reveal they’re a Hollow named Nanachi. And on the way to the hideout they say “The curse isn’t present here” Reg looks confused and Nanachu says “Oh.. I guess you can’t see it..” This is important later. 
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Nanachi then explains that many cave raiders have had this issue, but they don’t know how to treat it. She has a medicine to give Riko, buuuutttt since they cant give it orally “We have to use the other end”  (I honestly just like Reg’s face here xD)
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Nanachi proceeds to remove the broken bone fragments, and stitch up the blood vessels and flesh, and sees that Riko has severely damaged nerves, while neatly stitching her up. 
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Nanachu asks why Reg didn’t just cut it off at the elbow joint instead of breaking her arm, and he says he was just following Riko’s orders. Nanachi admits their admiration for Riko, as they explain that if the part past the elbow is left in tact then it totally changes what one can do when cave raiding. She was still determined to press on, even though she went through everything she just went through. They also explain that literally everything they’ve done since the 4th layer, Nanachi was watching them. Nanachi explains that they didn’t help the 2 because its dangerous for her to show themselves, but she started to pity Reg, and she couldn’t stand it anymore. They hear a little “Waaaaah?” In the distance and Reg asks if Nanachi lives with anyone. “Just my roommate, come meet her. This is my cute little Mitty”
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Reg: What.... is that?? Nanachi: This child is also a hollow. R: What? N: Have you heard the perils of ascending from the 6th layer? R: I was told that it causes the loss of humanity. Or even death at times N: right. If someone survives, this is what becomes of them. Their personality and intelect vanish. The person becomes a holow husk of who they once were. No matter how hard they’ve tried, no one’s ever gone back to how they were. That trick you did with your extending arm.. just thinking about what would happen if you did that on the sixth layer is pretty thrilling.  R: But Nanachi, you don’t look anything like that! N: well yeah, there’s a reason for that, but I’m an exception among exceptions, so dont get your hopes up too much. That reminds me. If a cave raider ever becomes a hollow, their fellow cave raiders kil them and collect their belongings. Given the alternative, I suppose its better to tell people they died. Imagine what would happen if I went like this out in the open. I’m living proof that its possible to return from the 6th layer while still retaining some sense of humanity. Naturally, people would come capture me if they could. Revealing myself to a group of cave raiders is a big risk for me. even if its just out of pity, saving someone is a good thing, right?
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After this conversation, Nanachi sends Reg to get a bunch of stuff intended for saving Riko. Except.. it wasn’t. One thing was. The rest was literally just to make dinner. The Ingredient to save Riko: Shroombears. They are bears that have a fungi called Watermushrooms. They’re parasidic. When it looks like their host is going to die, they share their nutrients to revive their host. Nanachi stitches some WaterMushrooms to her wound, to help with the bone healing, and help prevent her flesh from rotting, but they hurt like crazy to pull off. 
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Mitty, for some reason, decided to crawl up on Riko and lay on her. And Reg dislikes this, and Mitty seems to be yelling at him for yelling at her. Nanachi explains that Mitty has never grown this fond of any visitors before, that Riko and Mitty are close in age and Mitty was a little girl before this happened to her. After Reg asks mitty not to eat the mushrooms Nanachi had this to say N: Shes not one to ever treat other so cruelly. It was thanks to her that we got the poison out so soon R: whaddaya mean? N: that medicine was made by injecting Mitty with an orb Piercers poison. She has the ability to neutralize poison all on her own. So naturally i decided to use her blood to produce the medicine. 
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Riko remembers what Nanachi said about the curse not being present, and asks them to tell him how to evade the curse. Nanachi explains that they feel its useless to tell someone who can’t even see it. Reg immediately gets up in their face and begs them.So the nature of the curse is as follows: (Nanachi uses a clear cloth to explain) The curse is flowy and natural like an invisible blanket, piled on layer by layer. Even if you poke it, you won’t feel it. Even breathing is enough to alter its flow. When you touch it, it warps. 
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They explain that as you go up, once you finally break through, the symptoms hit you all at once. If its something like your finger you’ll hardly be effected but if its your head or chest or a vital part.. well.. not good.  (this was hard for me to understand so I’m gonna try to explain as best I can with almost word for word from Nanachi’s explanation)
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Reg asks why You can descend and nanachi explains like this It has a flow similar to inverted thorns which wont allow you to leave. And they draw a picture explaining their meaning. Its just like a trap for its prey. 
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The curse was inactive around Nanachi’s hideout because the curse gets weakened the father you get from the verticle shaft. Its a forcefield. It will even alter its flow to someones consiousness. Orb Piercers aren’t intuitive, they can preduct the future because the forcefiels allows it. Which is why as you go further down the abyss the creatures become more difficult of a fight. Nanachi then has an idea to help Reg experience it, even though he can’t see it. nanachi places a microphone/speaker thing inside his helmet and instructs him to do EXACTLY what they say no matter what.  The scene changs to Riko and Mitty, and gets closer to Mitty’s eye. You then se a depiction of a creature, that slightly resembles Riko, crying We then see this
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We then see this, and I’m confused as to how this doesn’t scare the child more. But from that eyeball, is even more, Louder crying than the skin girl was.  
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These are the next few scenes, and they’re not explained, but they’re important for later.  A new scene shows reg walking through one of the Goblets with nanachi talking to him in his ear. From a distance, Reg hears a whistle beoing blown, and against Nanachi’s ordes, he ran to see who it was. It was a black whistle, fighting the same orb piercer. He advises Reg not to get any closer. 
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Nanachi gives him specific instructions that no matter what happens do what he says, and dispose of the Orb Piercer. She had him look up, and commit to the act. Then  jump hard, to the right. 
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With that jump, reg had the piercer by the nose. This is the organ it uses to sense the forcefield. After he confuses it, he ties it with his stretchy arms, and then blasts it with his incinerator. 
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WHile Nanachi is amazed by his incinerator, Reg approached the black whistle, again, against the command of Nanachi. He asked the cave raider to bring a message up to someone at the Belchero Orphanage. “we’re continuing our adventure” The black whistle agrees. After Nana and Reg meet back up, Reg asks nanachi if they’d like to come with him and Riko. To which Nanachi had their own question for Reg. “I want you to... kill Mittty for me.” Then the scene jumps to a flashback of Mitty on nanachi’s back in the cold winter as Nanachi speaks to Mitty.  “I’m sorry for running away like thisbut I just cant let him do it anymore. Not as he pleases.  I promise I’ll figure something out for us.”
This is the end of episode 12. The finale of the show, episode 13, Is based around Mitty and Nanachi’s story. 
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Nanachi, as a child came from a very unweathy place. She is sleeping on the floor saying to herself that they’d like to go to the bottom of the abyss. There is a commotion outside and a bunch of children are running to see what’s up. A boy Yells at nanachi, and pushes them saying “you stink get away from me” When they reach where the commotion is coming from, the white whistle bondrewd is standing in a door way with all the children clammoring “What’s he doing all the way out here” He asked for volunteers that are suitable for forging a path to the next era. Basically asking who wanted to go into the abyss with him. Nanachi, along with many other children took the offer. Out of the corner of her eye she saw a girl standing there, being bullied by a young boy. The same boy that was being mean to nanachi telling the girl “I dont hang out with idiots!”
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After this, they show the children descending into the abyss, into the 5th layer, having barely anything to eat, but all supplied with blankets and bland food. Finally, Mitty approaches Nanachi and asks what they wants to be when they grow up, and explains that she, herself wants to become a white whistle. Nanachi said that she was fine with anything. All the other kids in her village would steal for food or neg for money, but that was never their thing. Saying “if you’re fine with whatever then we should be partners! My name is Mitty, a future white whistle! Who’re you?” I’m not sure how long it took them to descend but it seemed like quite a while. 
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After this, they stayed up late at night reading and learning new things about the abyss, studying while all the children are sleeping. The two are inseperable from this point on. Bondrewd advises them to please not climb more than 10 meters, because they’ll be hit with the curse if they do. Nanachi and Mitty obviously in awe seeing the 5th layer.
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All of the children seem to be put in a singular room to hang out with each other for their time there. (one of these kids looks like Gasai Yuno) Nanachi and Mitty spend their time drawing and researching more about the abyss, but as you get a look around the room there are significantly less children than before. One by one a child will leave and for some reason, never return. 
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nanachi and Mitty hope they’re allowed to go out together. Then, while they’re asleep, Bondrewd calls Mitty out to go with him. Nanachi asks to go with her but Bondrewd says “you’ll get your turn Nanachi”
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But nanachi being impatient and worried about her new-found best friend leaves the room anyway. She overhears A black whistle and Bondrewd talking.  Whistle: Sovereign of Dawn, I dont understand your reasoning. Bringing this many people down to the fifth layer? Even children from overseas?? Bondrewd: Why are you bringing this up now? it is for this purpose that I advocated to have black whistles enter the fifth layer W:its just.. it’d be different if they were cave raiders. But taking children who will never be able to return? its unhumane. B: ah. then there is no reason to worry. I am not making use of them as humans. I’m sure you understand. Care to have a look?
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Nanachi then makes the dumb decision to start running to try to find Mitty. When she does, Mitty is trapped in a glass cylander  From here will be significantly shorter between pictures. 
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Bondrewd comes up behind Nanachi.  B: Well, what have we here? What perfect timing you have Nanachi. Come, its your turn now. 
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“That elevator is capable of going quickly down to the depths of the 6th layer, although its destination is no more than a dead end
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Its the perfect depth for testing out many-a-things. Its my own miniature garden. 
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The 6th layer’s curse is death, or loss of one’s humanity. And I’d like to do something about that
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The chambers you’re situated in are capable of switching the curse all to one side. Attempts were made at pairing a person with a non-human, but those attempts were unsuccesful. However, Nanachi has decided to join us.  Mitty, You will be on the side to which the curse is driven. Please do your best to endure it. If you die halfway through, your partner will be hit with the curse. 
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The pure terror in their eyes breaks my heart. 
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And then. He pulls the lever. 
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It was then clearly depicted what Bondrewd meant by his “garden”
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“nanachi! Its alright. I promise! I’ll get through this. But if. If for some reason I end up not being Human anymore”
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PLease let my soul return to you. Nanachi promise me!
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Right after this, nanachi yells out for mitty, then the elevator starts heading back upwards. I don’t even want to explain. Just have pictures. 
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At this point you hear Mitty plead for Nanachi to kill her. 
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After this happens Nanachi basically becomes Bondrewd’s pet. Helping him with certain things, and research.
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He explains that he now understands the curse Mitty received. He reveals that it did more than just cause her to lose her humanity. IT also made her incapable of dying.   The picture below was the 9th time she’s been resurrected. The only change is that her form becomes slightly more distorted. 
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This, among obvious other things, is what caused Nanachi to run away. 
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But no matter what Nanachi tried, Mitty just suffered. She promised that she would find a way to kill mitty without making her suffer through life anymore. 
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The scene then goes back to when Mitty promted Reg with this question 
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Reg asks to think about it a little bit. nanachi explains that Mitty answering when she’s called and other reactions are just reflexed. Real interaction has proved impossible for her. And that by looking at her eye, she has a strong feeling mitty’s soul is imprisoned in that body. 
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Mitty still continues to obsess over Riko 
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After they make something terrible to eat, Reg decides that he will go along with killing Mitty, and tells Nanachi the next day.  Reg just asks how Nanachi is sure that Mitty isn’t happy. “Well, when I die, which of course I will, Mitty will be alone forever. Can you imagine? Mitty never eats and she still doesnt die, but if she gets stabbed it hurts and she still sheds tears of pain. even if those are just mere reflexes she’d still be forced to endure her endless suffering forever. She’s not even capable of screaming out. Her soul would just remain imprisoned for all eternity. Reg this is my last chance to end her pain. You have the power to set her free. Please. I’m afraid an opportunity wont present itself like this.”
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He says he will on one condition: That Nanachi does not commit suicide once Mitty is gone. She agrees, and promises. They set up a really pretty deathbed for her. 
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But just as Reg starts to power up his incinerator, a hysterical nanachi can be heard screaming “STOP IT!”
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“Mitty I’m so sorry, I was wrong I should have tried more. I’m so so sorry.
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Listen to me. We’ll always be together,okay?
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My sweet Mitty, you feel so warm. 
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Thank you 
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SHe heads back over to Reg and says “okay I’m ready now.”
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And a very sad, and hesitant Reg then blasts her with the incinerator. 
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And then there you see mitty, being basically ripped to shreds, but with no painful tears in her eyes, and still making the same, non painful sounds, she normally did. 
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Nanachi turns around to look at whats happening, with tears in her eyes 
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Honestly this is one of the most heartbreaking cries I’ve ever heard in an anime. Most of them are like, you try to stifle a laugh but this made me bawl my eyes out and I’m crying as I’m writing this because I’m listening to it for the screenshots. 
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Nanachi yells at Reg to leave her alone, but he keeps hugging them and cries with them. 
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After this, reg ended up passing out from using his incinerator and wakes up to RIko finally being awake, and helping teach Nanachi how to cook.  Some comic relief strikes up as riko praises nanachi telling them they’re doing such a good job while snuggling up to her fur. 
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Riko, then randomly asks if someone else lived here. When prompted with why she’s asking. She goes on to explain that she was having a nightmare, where she was closed in a bolder like thing. And it wouldn’t budge. There was a cavity that was the same size as her that kept getting smaller and smaller. She was lost. (and then the depictions from before came back up again)  “I didn’t know who or what I was anymore. KI even forgot how to speak. I was so scared I just kept crying. 
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and I heard more crying. But not from me. It was coming from someone else
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At first it kind of scared me, but then i realized it was another girl. and she was scared too. It helped ease my mind if even a little. 
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So we just stayed like that for quite a while. 
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Whevener I got scared, there was that girl who was even more frightened that I was. I couldn’t speak.. but with my eyes I kept on telling her that it was going to be alright. Then I smelled something like smoke, and the crying finally stopped. 
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And well, that girl left without ever looking back
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But when I looked at her, she was just like all of the other cave raiders I’ve seen, her eye had an insatiable longing and just like that i remembered what I always wanted to be one day.” 
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And then she had a feeling, that she would some day see that girl again, and then she woke up. 
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Then Riko and Reg take a bath in some waters, while Nanachi teases them about Reg having a boner, and how they feel about each other. 
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After this peaceful scene comes more painful when they have to take the mushrooms off of Riko.
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I’m guessing a few days or weeks later, Riko is attempting to move her hand at all, but cant. And ends up getting her thumb to wiggle. 
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Reg comes over completely upset, and apologizes to Riko for mangling her arm. RIko explains that Nanachi told her how uoset he was when he though she was dying and how seeing her like that reminded Nanachi of her with Mitty, which i why she helped them. Riko is thankful for the scar because its proof that Reg protected her. 
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When Nanachi comes back out Riko asks her to go with them. And Nanachi says yes, Saying that Mitty would be mad if they abandoned the two.  and then Reg tackle hugs them. 
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They all send up a package in a hot air balloon that goes through multiple layers and probably months of time to get there. It even gets caught on the second layer, and marulk and the cave raiders sew it together and send it back up. 
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The entire credit scene is based on the air balloon message and Reg, Riko, and Nanachi getting ready to leave to continue their journey.  Unfortunately. The last few scenes show Bondrewd, and a bunch of lights. One, I believe to be Mitty’s not lit up. 
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“congratulatiuons Nanachi, you finally managed to do it. I would like to express the extent of my gratitude. I hope very soon I’ll get to see you once again. 
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AND THEN IT FADES TO BLACK. AND I AM DONE WITH THIS.  This story is so messed up. I love it. (because its wholesome and I wat some damn justice for Nanachi and Mitty) And I can’t wait to see Bondrewd get kis ass handed to him. I hope the movie comes out soon and i understand it. I rate this anime 10/10 to be honest. I’ll put more about how I feel in another post but its 2AM and I’m goin to bed. If you read this far, Thank you! <3
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Chapters: 10/? Fandom: Dragon Age - All Media Types, Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening Rating: Mature Warnings: Graphic Depictions Of Violence Relationships: Female Amell/Female Surana Characters: Female Amell, Female Surana, Anders, Velanna, Nathaniel Howe, Oghren (Dragon Age), Justice (Dragon Age), Sigrun (Dragon Age) Additional Tags: Established Relationship, Alcohol Abuse/Alcoholism, Self-Harm, Blood Magic Series: Part 2 of void and light, blood and spirit Summary: Amell and Surana are out of the Circle, and are now free to build a life together. But when the prison doors fly open, what do you have in common with the one who was shackled next to you? What do you have in common, save for the chains that bound you both?
The problem, of course, was that for what felt like a long time, it was alright.
In the months that followed, Loriel threw herself into her work, driven half by guilt and half by some unknown manic energy. If before she was aloof, she was a ghost now. The few remaining Commander’s duties which she had retained gradually slid under Yvanne’s purvey. A couple of the new recruits didn’t even seem to realize that Yvanne wasn’t the actual Warden-Commander, and seemed very confused to take orders from her, given that they’d all thought the Hero of Ferelden was supposed to be an elf.
Loriel encouraged her to stop correcting them. In response to Yvanne’s protests, she simply said, “Oh, very well. You can be acting Warden-Commander instead. Does that satisfy?”
So Yvanne was acting Warden-Commander.
There was more to do now than ever, with the Ferelden Wardens still growing. To keep track of it all, Yvanne was obliged to withdraw from much of her old daily routine, and resort to delegation. She simply had no other choice. She spent more and more time at a desk taking reports, writing letters in Loriel’s name, hearing petitions. Sometimes if she ruled against somebody, they would demand to see the actual Arlessa and hear her opinion. Every time, Yvanne would dutifully fetch her, and every time, Loriel would listen to the dispute with a glazed expression, nod understandingly, and back up Yvanne’s decision, whatever it had been. Eventually, people stopped asking to see the actual Arlessa. The actual Arlessa unnerved them, anyway, with her black, black eyes, and her too-pale skin and all the grisly stories about what she had done to save Amaranthine.
It was just as well, because the departure of Anders—and Justice with him—had as good as ripped a gaping hole in the social fabric of the Vigil’s original Wardens, and left it to rapidly unravel. It wasn’t that they weren’t friends anymore, but they were no longer a group . Yvanne still tried to keep up with their lives, to the degree she still could. Were Velanna and Nathaniel together together, or just together? How were Felsi and the nugget doing? Did Sigrun need another book? But it was getting harder and harder, and it wasn’t making her happy anymore. It just reminded her of what didn't exist anymore.
They’d come together to accomplish something, and they’d accomplished it, and now they were inevitably drifting apart. Maybe that was just the way of things.
Things didn’t change all that much between her and Loriel. They still spent a great deal of time together. They ate together. They drank a restrained glass of evening red together. They went to bed together. Oh, yes, they went to bed. Back when Yvanne was a teenager and falling into a discreet closet with anybody she could get ahold of, just because it was something to get away it, she’d thought of sex as something sort of fun but mostly uncomfortable. She’d had no idea how good it could be, with someone you really loved, when you knew so much about each other, when you had all the time you wanted to explore anything you liked.
In fact, when Yvanne thought about her life now as opposed to even a few years ago, it was so good, so much better than anything she'd had any right to hope for. It wasn’t that she was never angry or afraid, but compared to the stew of constant, helpless rage and fear—this was the dream. This was the life that she had fought so hard for.
It had all been so intense before, but maybe that was just what it was to be young. Yvanne wasn’t that much older than she’d been, but she felt old, like the main part of her life was already over. She’d had her grand romance, her heroic adventure, and now the curtain had fallen. N ow she was an actor still standing on an empty stage, unaware that the play was over, and only just now beginning to feel foolish.
And month ticked after month, until another full turn of the seasons had come and gone, and still the days piled higher.
Yvanne woke suddenly. She didn’t jerk awake or scream, she was too used to nightmares for that. She just slowly became aware that she was safe in her bed, still human, still sane. She groped blindly in the dark for Loriel, but found her side of the bed cold and empty. Then she remembered that she’d gone to bed alone that night, as she did more and more often. But even on the nights when she got too tired or impatient to wait for Loriel, she always came to bed later. Usually if Yvane woke in the night, as she often did, there was someone there waiting for her. But not tonight.
For a while she lay in the dark feeling her sweat cool on her skin, until she was shivering. The Keep could get quite cold. Sure, she could have simply redrawn a fire sigil under the bed, but suddenly she didn’t really want to stay under the covers. With a sigh, she got out of bed and slipped into a heavy robe, feeling the cold flagstones on her bare feet.
It was a good thing that Loriel was never difficult to find.
Yvanne groped in the dark until she found the passageway to her laboratory. She felt oddly furtive going down there alone, for a reason she couldn’t pinpoint. It felt, irrationally, like a violation.
Loriel was asleep at the desk she kept down there, head on her folded arms, snoring softly. She woke right away when Yvanne touched her shoulder.
“Hm? You’re still up?” she yawned.
“Already up, more like," Yvanne said. "You never came to bed.”
Loriel rubbed her eyes. “What time is it?”
“Not too long til dawn, I think.”
“Oh, no...I’m sorry, love. I must have lost track of time, and...fallen asleep.”
“It’s alright. I only just woke up.” She eyed her. Was it the dim light of this room—the gas lamps had long since gone out, leaving only Loriel’s fading magelight wisp to illuminate it—or were the circles under her eyes deeper than before? “You should really try to sleep in a bed more often. You look tired.”
“Why were you up, anyway?” Loriel said, and Yvanne didn’t fail to notice that she hadn’t really responded to her last comment.
“Bad dreams,” Yvanne said briefly.
“Oh?”
She recognized that tone. No getting out of it. She waved a dismissive hand. “Usually I just get back to sleep, but you weren’t there. It was cold.” And I got worried.
“Darkspawn dreams?”
Yvanne considered lying. “Yes,” she said instead.
Loriel’s brow crumpled. “They’re still bad, then?”
“Not so bad,” Yvanne said vaguely. “Still not my favorite thing in the world, but better than they used to be, during the Blight and right afterward. Mostly I’m used to them. Are you coming to bed or are you going to spend the rest of the night impressing wood grain onto your cheek?”
She snorted. “I’ll come to bed. I’m clearly too tired to get anything done tonight, anyway.”
“Good,” Yvanne said, relieved. “We can sleep in tomorrow. You look like you need it.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m fine.”
Yvanne rolled her eyes good-naturedly. “Here, this might help a bit.” She put her hands on Loriel’s pale cheek and muttered a spell she’d known for a long time, now. A tiny wisp of a spirit came to her, and her hand glowed briefly blue against her skin.
Loriel let out a little breath. “That did help. What was it?”
“Blood-replenishing spell. Just helps along what the body does naturally.” She couldn’t help but remember. “We used to cast it on women giving birth. In Kinloch.” She shook her head, trying to dispel the memory like dusting a cobweb, but it was no good. “I used to hate doing that. Helping bring a life into this world that was just going to get sold to the Chantry. I never felt worse about being a healer.”
She trailed off. She rarely thought about Kinloch. Whenever she did, it was like she was back there, still teenaged and furious, and there was little she hated more than to feel that way.
Loriel noticed. She grabbed her hand. “Thank you for it. I do feel better. Let’s go to bed, then.”
“Right. Yeah.”
They turned to go upstairs.
Then Loriel said, “I’m going to get you out of this, you know.” She said it so low and quiet that Yvanne wasn’t sure it had even been meant for her.
“What?”
“The dreams,” Loriel said. A fey light was in her eyes. “The Blight, the Calling...all of it. I got you into this, and I’m going to get you out. I’m going to get us both out. I swear it.”
Yvanne fiddled uncomfortably with the end of one of her braids. “You don’t need to do that.”
“I do, though,” Loriel said, yawning. “I do.”
“I’ll settle for you sleeping in an actual bed with me,” Yvanne said. “Come on, let’s go. I’ll get the light.”
One day early in the spring a knock on her office door revealed Nathaniel. Straight-backed, proud-shouldered Nathaniel Howe, how different he was from the man she’d met (and screamed at) in the dungeons so long ago—though it hadn’t been that long, had it? Two years, going on three. Not so long at all, really, but it felt like ages.
He indulged her obvious desire for small-talk for a while, but Nathaniel Howe wasn’t a man to beat around the bush. He got right to the point—he was requesting a different posting, far from Vigil’s Keep.
“Why?” she asked, befuddled, slightly hurt, and doing a bad job of hiding it. “I mean, of course you can have whatever posting you want, but…”
He shrugged and muttered something that sounded perfectly reasonable and utterly empty, and even all her most skillful prying wasn’t enough to get anything approaching the truth out of him. All she could do was shrug and approve the transfer and sternly lecture him on the importance of regular reports, and he’d better believe that if she didn’t hear from him for too long there would be hell to pay, from her and Delilah both. Yvanne saw her more often these days. She’d left Ser Pounce-a-Lot with her months ago. It was just too damn sad to see the poor animal wandering around the Vigil without Anders there to take care of it, and she didn’t want reminders of him, anyway.
Nathaniel laughed and said he was sure there would be, and departed a few days later. It all seemed to happen so fast. Less than a week and another one of them was gone.
It was a real shame, too. Of the people Yvanne trusted most, Nathaniel was the only one with even a smidgen of leadership potential. She wanted trustworthy people in high positions of the Ferelden Warden’s command structure, and nobody else fit the bill. Velanna would have been her second choice, but the last time she'd had any authority, she’d lead her people to a grisly death. Sigrun was too much of a follower, too ready to defer and subvert herself. And Oghren was...Oghren.
Nathaniel, though—she wouldn’t have thought it when she first met him, but he would have made a fine commanding officer. She’d been hoping to make him her successor
But he was gone now.
Her first, most obvious thought was that something had happened between him and Velanna. She never had quite figured out the nature of their relationship, just that there almost definitely was some kind of relationship. Or perhaps there wasn’t, anymore. But asking Velanna was less than illuminating. Even the mention of Nathaniel in her presence was liable to send her abruptly out of the room, and the one time Yvanne risked asking her directly, she got snarled at so viciously that she didn’t feel inclined to try again.
But Velanna was going to be fine, Yvanne was pretty sure. Velanna was like the vines she used in combat—resilient, and ridiculously so. It was Sigrun that she was worried about. She couldn’t help but feel like the ex-Legionnaire was still just waiting for her chance to die.
“How are you holding up?” was Yvanne’s regular question to her.
“Oh, me? I’m fine,” Sigrun said, just as cheerful as ever. It was pretty easy to get her going. They talked about the book Sigrun was reading right now and whether it was any good (it wasn’t) and whether Yvanne should read it (she definitely should).
“But what about you?”
Yvanne stared blankly. “What about me?”
Sigrun laughed. “I mean, how are you doing? We hardly ever get to talk anymore. What with you being so busy.”
“We don’t, do we?” Yvanne sighed. “Funny how the months get away from you. I swear the whole summer passed without me noticing.”
“Haha, not me!” said Sigrun. “It’s still such a novelty to me. love watching the seasons change. My favorite is winter, when it snows.”
Yvanne remembered when summer had been a novelty. When snow was a delight, and the brilliance of autumn colors and spring flowers was a marvel unparalleled. For most of her life she had watched the seasons change from inside the tower walls.
Sigrun smiled slightly. “I really am fine, you know.”
“Wasn’t saying you weren’t,” Yvanne said, as though she hadn’t been doing a fair impression of an anxious mother hen for nearly a year now. “Just wanted to, you know. Check in.”
“Consider me checked.” And then she sighed. “I just miss them sometimes.”
A sudden, powerful wave of abject misery hit Yvanne before she could consciously stop it. She was supposed to be happy. She was supposed to have fought for this. How could she possibly be so ungrateful as not to want it anymore?
She had to talk to Loriel. She knew she did. But these days Loriel felt as remote and inaccessible as a high, locked tower.
And besides, it wasn’t so bad. It wasn’t intolerable. Mostly, she was happy. She was.
“Hey—is everything alright?”
Loriel’s head hit the pillow with a thump and a weak exhale. “Sorry, love, I think I’m just tired.”
Yvanne rolled off her. “No need to be sorry.” She tried not to sound petty or passive-aggressive about it, because she wasn’t. Or at least, not about this.
Loriel propped her head up, leaning on her elbow. “I can still…”
“No, it’s fine. You’re tired.”
Loriel was often tired lately. It was no wonder. She’d lost weight—a lot of weight, and she hadn’t had much to begin with. Her ribs and pelvis and collarbone all pressed thin against increasingly papery skin. And then there were the scars.
She’d started out being quite professional about it, when she’d first gotten heavily into what was essentially blood magic research with herself as the subject. Neat incisions with minimal scarring, or none at all if Yvanne was on hand. But as time went on she cared less and less about neatness. Both her thighs were covered with little marks. Her arms, too.
It was taking it out of her, the research. Yvanne had increasingly little idea of how it was going. Loriel didn’t talk about it as much as she used to. But her eyes were getting hollower, and the scars were getting sloppier, and some days Yvanne thought she looked like she might disappear altogether.
If Yvanne thought too much about it she’d start panicking. So she tried not to think too much about it. Maker knew all her attempts to talk to Loriel about it were about as useful as a square wagon wheel.
“That spell might help. The bl—”
“I know the one.” For a moment Yvanne thought to refuse. Loriel couldn’t cast it herself; blood magic interfered too much with her connection to the Fade, made spirit healing impossible for her. Maybe if Yvanne stopped helping her, if Loriel really had to feel everything she was doing to herself...
Maybe she’d stop, clear her head. Realize that what she was doing wasn’t helping anyone.
But who was she kidding? She was a born enabler. She’d never refused Loriel a thing. Wordlessly, she cast the spell.
Loriel let out a little breath of relief. Some color had returned to her cheeks, but she didn’t exactly look healthy. “Thank you. I owe so much to you.”
“Mm.”
Yvanne got under the covers, and, realizing that actually she was also pretty tired, resolved to sleep.
“Are you alright?” Loriel said.
She wished she hadn’t asked that. “I’m just worried about you,” Yvanne mumbled.
That upset her. It always did. “I’m sorry,” she said.
Yvanne groaned and buried her head under the pillow. “Stop being sorry already. It doesn’t help.”
“You’re the one who said you were worried.” Her voice wasn’t exactly petulant, but...
“You’re the one who asked.”
Loriel hmphed. “Excuse me, then, for having perfectly reasonable concern for my wife.”
Like she was falling or that old trick. “You’re excused.”
“I can get worried too, you know.”
You don’t, though. “I know.”
They lay in silence for a while.
“Are you even still attracted to me?” Loriel whispered.
Yvanne was so surprised that she took the pillow off her head and sat up. “What?”
“Am I ugly to you?”
“Andraste’s—no, you’re not. Of course you’re not.”
“Don’t think I haven’t noticed.” Loriel pulled the sheets tight across her shoulders. “I’ve changed. The way you look at me has changed.”
“Nothing’s changed. Not that, anyway.”
Loriel’s breath hitched. “I’m not an idiot, you know. It’s alright if you don’t want me anymore.”
“Stop it.”
“I’ll understand. Really, I will.”
“I said, stop it.”
Loriel fell silent.
“You are,” said Yvanne, “the most beautiful woman in the world. To me, you always will be.” She meant it. Even now. “But you’re really scaring the shit out of me lately.”
Loriel had given her that look before, lots of times, but never out of eyes so sunken.
“You’re not sleeping. You’re not eating. And the blood magic…”
“I’m doing this for you.”
“Yeah? I never asked for you to.”
“You did, though,” Loriel mumbled. “Not directly. But you did. You asked in a hundred little ways.”
“You never gave me any of what I really wanted,” Yvanne shot back. “And I’ve learned to live with it, haven’t I? I still love you, don’t I? So don’t—just, don’t.”
It wasn’t fair. Never was an exaggeration. But she’d already said it and there was no taking it back.
She rolled over and pretended to be asleep, marking the end of the conversation. Loriel didn’t pursue it. In fact, she got out of bed entirely. Yvanne lay awake for—she didn’t know how long. Maybe only minutes. Maybe longer. She was sure Loriel wouldn’t come back at all, that she’d gone back down to her lab, but she did. The bed creaked and there was a brief rush of cold air and there she was again. Yvanne wrapped her arms around her and didn’t even complain about her cold feet and cold hands, and Loriel buried her face in her neck. They didn’t mention the argument in the morning, and Yvanne tried not to think about how in the morning light, Loriel looked like she’d barely slept at all.
Yvanne spent more time around Oghren these days.
At first she told herself it was because she was going to help him get his life together. It had never sat well with her, the easy way Loriel seemed ready to give up on a person they both considered, in his own way, a friend. You can’t treat people like projects, Loriel would say, and Yvanne would sniff. What did she know? She hardly treated anyone like anything.
But after three separate failed interventions and countless falls off the wagon even Yvanne was starting to think that Loriel might have been right about this one.
But, hell, who else was she going to reminisce with? It almost seemed perverse to reminisce with Loriel. They’d been too close. The memories they shared of the Blight bent under the weight of the memories they shared of—everything else.
It was so easy, being around Oghren. He didn’t demand a damn thing, and it was so easy to laugh around him. All Yvanne would have to do was say, “Remember the poet-tree?” and they’d both be cackling for probably longer than the quality of the joke warranted.
The drink helped, but it was still funny.
Of course she drank. What else was she going to do?
Yvanne wondered sometimes what would happen, if she just disappeared. What would happen to the Keep? After the siege, she had become like an overbearing mother to this place and its people. What had happened with Anders had only strengthened the feeling. But really, did this place even need her? If she vanished one night, the next-most senior Warden would take over—it was some fellow name Tevye, who’d gotten promoted ahead of the older Wardens on the basis of basic competence and leadership ability—and between him and the robust administrative support that Yvanne had spent so long cultivating, the Keep would probably be fine. If she stayed in bed all day, probably nothing bad would happen at all.
Oh, sure, there were still plenty for her to do. Assignments to review. Letters to send. Rotations to sign off on. But it wasn’t the same. Anyone could have done it.
That was what she got, for being such a diligent leader. She had rendered herself obsolete.
It was a cold morning, the one where she realized she knew how Oghren felt.
They played cards together, and enabled. That was one nice thing, about being a spirit healer. No hangovers.
“You know some of these days I swear I’m not even needed around here,” she hiccuped.
“Y’say that like it’s a bad thing, Warden,” he said, and took another swig.
They played cards until they no longer had the dexterity to hold them.
“Oghren,” she said, throwing her head back to stare at the dancing lights above. “Oghren, I think I’m rotting.”
He just laughed as though she'd said something painfully naive. “Warden, we’re all rotting." He topped off her tankard. "Get yer kicks in while you can, and sod the rest."
--
Another night, another game. They bet drinks and played to lose.
“Why does anybody love anyone, anyway?” Yvanne said, staring at her terrible hand. “You ever think about that? You ever think about why you loved Branka, or Felsi, or the kid? Makes no damn sense, does it? Maybe you just love people because they’re there, and the love is inside of you, and it needs somewhere to go. Does that make sense?”
“No,” he said, and belched. “Y’shouldn’t’a reminded me of Branka. Now I need another drink.”
“What you need is to go soak your head.” But she poured him another drink anyway. Why the hell not? Weren’t they all dying, anyway? Weren’t they dying right this second, no matter what Loriel did or didn’t do?
“That’s what’s so funny about it all,” she said out loud. “It doesn’t matter at all that she’s killing herself over this! It doesn’t matter at all. We’re all dying. Not just us Wardens, either. All of us, every single one.” She laughed. “Maybe you were right.”
“Course I’m right, Warden.” He raised his tankard. “Say the toast. Drinks don’t count if you say a toast.”
“Get your kicks in,” Yvanne toasted. “Sod the rest.”
They drank.
“Y’know what I really like about you, Oghren?” she said. It was later. She didn’t know how much later. “I can say whatever the hell I want to you, and you’re not going to remember any of it in the morning. Anything I want! Stuff I usually won’t even think. You’re such a good goddamn friend. I’m glad we met."
Oghren made a noise halfway between a grunt and a belch.
“Too right.” She stared out over her tankard. “I just don’t understand why she’s doing this to me. I’ve told her she doesn’t need to. But it’s like arguing with the sea. She says she’s doing it for me, but I don’t want it. Why can’t she see that? Why would she do this to me?”
Why, indeed? She looked at Oghren, his meaty fist clenched around a dark red bottle. He had his vice. Yvanne was well on her way to the same one. Maybe Loriel’s was a little unusual, but was it any different?
Why would she do this to me? It was the question she’d been asking over and over again in her head. It was easier to obsess over the question, after all, than to obsess over the only reasonable answer—that what Loriel was doing had nothing to do with Yvanne at all.
“I love her so much,” she hiccupped. “But I can’t remember why ‘nymore. Maybe I’m drunk, ‘n that’s why I can’t remember. But I don’t think I can remember when I’m sober, either. But I do love her. I love her so much. You know?”
If Oghren knew he didn’t say so. He was already snoring in his chair.
Yvanne started crying. It was true. She did love her, so much. And maybe when the room stopped spinning she’d go upstairs and tell her so and maybe this time it would work.
Maybe an hour later she made it, but Loriel wasn’t there, and she fell asleep alone. She felt terrible in the morning, but not for very long.
One night she returned to their chambers so late that Loriel was there. That hardly ever happened anymore. Most nights Yvanne waited for her, and many nights out of those she didn’t manage to wait long enough.
“Loriel! My best friend! My wife! My beloved!” She swept her into a sloppy embraced, nearly overbalancing. She leaned on her, laying her head on her shoulder. Her hair smelled like sweat, iron, and the acrid stench of intensifying reagent. “You make me so damn sad.”
Loriel steadied her. Yvanne could feel her trembling beneath her weight, but she couldn’t seem to make herself stand up.
“You’ve been drinking,” Loriel said. It was an observation.
“So what if I have?” Yvanne snorted and drew back. “What else am I going to do?”
“You know I don’t like it when you drink.”
“Yes, well,” Yvanne said, waving a hand dismissively. “You do lots of things I don’t like, too.”
She sighed. “You should have some water.”
“Spirit healer, remember? Don’t need to bother. I’m hangover-proof!” She wiggled her fingers to demonstrate. “Anything goes wrong, I can just use magic to fix it. Isn’t that what you’re counting on?”
Loriel looked like she wanted to say something, and then thought better of it.
“Listen, Lori—I’ve been thinking,” Yvanne said. She wasn’t really all that drunk. Just enough to give her the courage to say this. “Maybe we should get out of here.”
Loriel eyed her, arms crossed across her belly. “What do you mean, get out of here?”
“Out of the Keep.”
“Like a vacation?”
“Sure, sure. Vacation,” Yvanne said vaguely. “Maybe one we don’t have to come back from.”
She watched Loriel’s face, which gave nothing away, not so much as a twitch.
“I mean, we’re not really even needed here, are we?” she barreled on, before Loriel could say anything. “Keep practically runs itself, at this point. We had a goal here, and we accomplished it, why stick around?”
For a bright moment it seemed as though Loriel were thinking about it. Or else it was just her imagination. “And where would we go, exactly?”
“I don’t know,” Yvanne said. “Does it matter? It can be anywhere.”
Loriel only looked at her. “I thought you wanted to stay here,” she said, in a voice much sharper than her expression belied.
“I did, but—”
“I thought you were growing your garden,” she said, cold.
“I was! And I did! And it’s grown now, it doesn’t need me anymore. Doesn’t need us.”
“Isn’t it funny,” Loriel said remotely, after a time, “how only one of us is ever happy at a time?”
“Oh, come on!” Yvanne burst out. “You can’t possibly expect me to believe that you’re really happy? You’re killing yourself.”
“I am happy, in my own way,” Loriel said evenly. “I have everything I need, right here. I enjoy my work.”
Yvanne meant to argue, but Loriel cut her off. “Do not fault me because my happiness doesn’t look like yours.”
“Come on, Lori,” she said, going soft, “Wouldn’t it be nice to run away together? We never got to do that, did we?”
“Always with the running away.” Loriel set her jaw. “You’re still running away. Because of course you are. When are you going to stop?”
“It was a turn of phrase,” Yvanne said defensively. “It doesn’t have to be away. It can be towards. Towards a future.” A future where Loriel didn’t need a blood-replenishing spell every few days. A future where they could actually be a part of the world. A future where they weren't rotting in here, in anticipation of a death that hadn't come yet.
Once, the world had offered itself to her imagination. She had always revolved around Loriel, but at a distance, and no more than she revolved around her in turn. But slowly that orbit had shrunk—and the worse Loriel got, the faster it narrowed, going faster and faster, until Loriel was all she could see, all she could think about in a rising panic that threatened to swallow her whole.
And Loriel, as always, stayed put.
“Towards a future,” Loriel said skeptically. “A future you’re also going to get tired of, in a couple months time?”
“That’s not—it isn’t—”
“It is, though. It is.” No sound but the two of their mingled breaths.
Loriel went on: “You told me about the dream the Sloth demon made for you, back during Uldred’s rebellion. You said we had children, in your dream.”
“I remember.” She still dreamed of it, sometimes. That dream had been full of sunlight. Not like their shadowed chambers here.
Funny, how their world had shrunk to these four walls. This room was the only one they ever saw each other in. Yvanne had every part of it committed to memory. The velvet canopy; the linen sheets; the copper bathtub in the corner; the fireplace; the woven rug. Their home, their prison. Loriel, her home, her prison.
“But how realistic was that, really?” Loriel whispered. “Would you have gotten tired of that, too?”
Yvanne struggled for the right response, choking on the unfairness of it all. Loriel could be awfully manipulative, when she wanted to be. She didn’t fault her for it. It had kept them alive in Kinloch. But she hated when she caught Loriel doing it to her, knowing that there must have been times where she didn’t catch her.
If she could have just explained—
No. That wasn’t true, was it? No matter how much she explained, Loriel wouldn’t want to hear it. Loriel would find some way to turn it around on her.
Unpleasantly, she was reminded of Wynne.
“I’m—going to take a walk,” she said. “Clear my head.”
She went out onto a parapet. She had proposed to her here. Right there, on that spot, in the moonlight much like the moonlight tonight. It had been—nearly two years ago, now.
Do not fault me because my happiness doesn’t look like yours.
This had not occurred to her. It was hitting her now, the idea that Loriel might really be happy. That, absent any looming threats or mandatory duties, she really did prefer this life above all others. That her aloneness, her work, her magic—was enough for her. That what Yvanne experienced as loneliness, stagnation, rot—Loriel simply experienced as contentment.
Now that was a sobering thought.
After all, she thought, why were they together at all? Because they loved each other. But why did they love each other? The same reason anybody loved anybody, of course. But the two of them, specifically?
Because they had been imprisoned together.
But now the prison walls were gone. They’d destroyed them, one by one. They’d been shackled beside one another, and now they weren’t. Now they were free.
Without the prison walls pressing down on them, without the shackles binding them together—why in the Maker's name would a pair of prisoners be so foolish as to flee together?
Yvanne looked at her wedding ring, a simple golden band, the least elaborate of all her rings. Wasn’t that a shackle, too?
Some days she wished she’d been a better study at shapeshifting. At the time she’d insisted that it was simply because Morrigan was such a bad teacher, and that was true, but it wasn’t why she’d failed at it. If only she’d tried a little harder, she might have at least acquired it. And then she might have turned into a bird and taken off from this parapet, wheeled in the air for as long as she liked, and maybe never returned.
But she wasn’t a bird and she wasn’t a shapeshifter. She was Yvanne Amell, and maybe she was fickle and thoughtless and everything Wynne had called her during their last meeting—but she had chosen this home, and this person. Again and again, she had chosen them.
Her head pulsed. She really did need some water. So she went back inside to live with her choices, such as they were.
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