Chapter 13:


Crimson Core

World Within.Bookmark here

Not every part of [World Within] is open for Active Shard carriers to explore. Only a small fraction of world unlocks piece by piece when Inactive Shard carrier describes the contents of the world as he talks to Active Shard carrier.Bookmark here

All parties that sit around the Prism become a part of [Partially Different Reality], a special state that mimics a state of sleeping. Bookmark here

Just like with sleeping, parties involved with the Prism can awake from PDR-state if disturbed. Known issues that occur in case of forceful awakening include migraine and nausea, short-term memory loss, and in rare cases severe hypothermia.Bookmark here

Each trip to the [World Within] and especially [Crimson Core] causes strain onto mental health of an Active Shard carriers. It is recommended that number of trips doesn't exceed once in four days.Bookmark here

It is of utmost importance that Active Shard carriers are COMPLETELY impartial toward Inactive Shard carriers. Bookmark here

Additional feelings will intensify the strain on mental health of all parties.Bookmark here

„...“Bookmark here

„I bet you didn't know some of those things, right?“ Dr.Chom handed over a cup of tea to Shiki.Bookmark here

Shiki read the papers Dr.Chom gave him for a couple of times now. He wasn't aware that entire science of inner worlds was being developed unbeknownst to him.Bookmark here

He knew that traversing such worlds is a dangerous sport, but there are so many small details that could easily complicate the entire process.Bookmark here

„I didn't know any of this, actually,“ Shiki was actively fighting against his wish of leaving the academy.Bookmark here

„I know that look. I had it when I figured out for the first time that I am the Shard Type 2 carrier,“ doctor said as he sipped the tea.Bookmark here

„But you are...“ Shiki was too perplexed to even form a coherent sentence.Bookmark here

„I'm a dude yeah, imagine that“ doctor laughed while wiping the eyes underneath his glasses.Bookmark here

„How did you figure it out?“ Shiki asked.Bookmark here

„You know how lone shards are grumpy shards right? It's worse for us Fighters. It sought battles that I wasn't able to lead alone, until I met her of course, my Prime Shard,“ doctor sighed.Bookmark here

„Our school nurse?“ Bookmark here

„Who? Cyn? No! God forbid,“ doctor laughed and continued, „she is, well, was my wife. She had passed away unfortunately.“Bookmark here

„Oh no, I'm so sorry,“ Shiki felt horrible for automatically assuming things.Bookmark here

„Don't be! It was a long time ago and trust me when I said this, the two of us had one hell of a ride,“ doctor made a smile that felt forced, while reminiscing about all times.Bookmark here

„I can only imagine...“ Shiki added.Bookmark here

„Oh but you don't need to, you have a partner of your own! I bet she's driving your slim butt around!“ doctor laughed.Bookmark here

„You can say that..“ Shiki let out a tiny laugh.Bookmark here

„Anyway, what I was going to say is that I was scared shitless when Ryunna found me, she is an Omicron you know, those people can be a REAL pain let me tell you that,“ Shiki instantly thought of Omi and could easily confirm doctor's words.Bookmark here

„Yes, one of my club members is an Omicron.“Bookmark here

„Ah right! Say hi to him from me if he ever survives the Nana treatment,“ doctor laughed passionately.Bookmark here

„Nana?“ doctor's words confused Shiki.Bookmark here

„Oh! That was supposed to be a secret, whatever, you'll find out eventually,“ doctor fixed his lab coat and asked, „you want more tea?“Bookmark here

Shiki declined the offer by moving his hands.Bookmark here

„So you and your wife..“Bookmark here

Shiki wanted for doctor to continue talking. He was curious about this thing with Omi and wondered if it had something to do with that bickering between Ren and Ume.Bookmark here

„Ah right! You see, nobody gets to choose to be an Active Shard carrier. You become one by the cold-blooded hand of faith. In your case, you were lucky enough that your club members found you. I wasn't that lucky. By the time Ryunna found me my mind was already a dumpster truck so she had to scour for the parts that were worth salvaging. So be grateful.“Bookmark here

Various emotions blazed and grazed within Shiki while listening to doctor's speech. He was fractured and afraid, but deep down he knew that was the ultimate truth.Bookmark here

„What would've happened if she... I mean if they didn't found me?“ Shiki asked openly.Bookmark here

„And that's why I called you! What a nice introduction!“ Doctor stood up from the chair and grabbed small chip-like object.Bookmark here

It looked like a Prism they use at school but it had some strange objects already stuck into it.Bookmark here

„Okay so this is a Prism, but with a Simulation Chip inside it. It will stabilize our trip inside your [World Within],“ doctor started to explain the experiment.Bookmark here

„But we need other shard carriers..“ Shiki whined nervously.Bookmark here

„Pfft! You're a Prime Shard! You can create that bad boy from nothing!“ doctor nudged Shiki playfully.Bookmark here

Shiki was lost in thought.Bookmark here

„Right, right, so, have you ever found yourself pulled within the World without any reason whatsoever?“ doctor asked Shiki.Bookmark here

That strange phenomenon he was beating his mind all this time would finally be explained. Huge smile emerged on Shiki's face as he finally got a thumbs up that he isn't crazy and didn't do something wrongful.Bookmark here

„Yes! Yes!“ Shiki confirmed excitedly.Bookmark here

„Ahh great! But don't act so happily, that is your own shard wanting to tear your mind apart from within.“Bookmark here

Shiki's enthusiasm was trashed beyond repair.He sunk into the chair and counted drops of tea left in his cup.Bookmark here

„Hey hey! No sulking! We're here to prevent further damage okay? You're fine! You're able to walk on your own and everything!“ Doctor laughed.Bookmark here

Doctor's words of encouragement didn't help.Bookmark here

„Why did nobody tell me about all this?“ Shiki's face shriveled.Bookmark here

„You might've heard a lot of times the saying [Ignorance is Bliss], right?“ Doctor put the Prism on a small table between them.Bookmark here

At least this explained the weird relationship everyone has in the Psychology Club. They all dealt with those horrifying truths in their own way.Bookmark here

„Now we will start this Simulation okay? Ready?“ doctor asked Shiki.Bookmark here

„I am,“ Shiki's thoughts played a game of cat and mouse, but he felt like saying that he is ready was the only option anyway. Bookmark here

He wanted to find out more about himself.Bookmark here

But on the other hand, he was afraid of being exposed.Bookmark here

„Did I do something wrong?“Bookmark here

-It depends.Bookmark here

A voice broke out from his lips, but his tongue wasn't moving. Doctor Chom was still sitting across Shiki, writing something on his papers.Bookmark here

„Who are you?“Bookmark here

-You don't recognize me? I'm offended.Bookmark here

Yet again, he felt the vibration of every single word. Doctor Chom was still in the middle of writing.Bookmark here

„Doctor, has the simulation started?“Bookmark here

-Doctour, hass thsy simulashone startied?“Bookmark here

The voice repeated after him mockingly. It laughed playfully at the end. He cooked a name within himself, but was afraid to get it out of the oven.Bookmark here

„Utari?“Bookmark here

-It sounds like poetry, does it? Your words!Bookmark here

The tone changed with each word bit by bit, until a completely new voice finished the sentence. It was a voice that belonged to certain girl he used to talk to.Bookmark here

„Why are you here?“Bookmark here

-Well, you wanted me here.Bookmark here

Shiki paused for a while. He realized he couldn't feel his fingers nor his feat. His head took up a single position and didn't move an inch. The only thing he felt was a warm breath coming from his mouth.Bookmark here

„Are you hurt?“Bookmark here

-Not really, but I can't wake up.Bookmark here

„What do you mean?“Bookmark here

-You wanted me so badly, and then you ran away.Bookmark here

„Sorry, I had to, it was all my fault“Bookmark here

-You still keep saying that.Bookmark here

„What was I supposed to do?“Bookmark here

-Another familiar line.Bookmark here

„Tell me, what should I do?“Bookmark here

-You only think about yourself.Bookmark here

„Lies! I only ever thought of you!“Bookmark here

-No, I was just a mean for your escapism.Bookmark here

„I love you!“Bookmark here

-No, you only love yourself.Bookmark here

„I miss you..“Bookmark here

-No, you only miss the misery.Bookmark here

„Don't say that, please“Bookmark here

-Then prove it to me.Bookmark here

„Prove what?“Bookmark here

-Prove me that you love me and you miss me.Bookmark here

A voice of a girl deepened significantly. It was atrociously different than before but Shiki was too stubborn to admit that. So he acted like he was talking to his dearest like that used to.Bookmark here

„How?“Bookmark here

-Come with me, into this darkness.Bookmark here

„I will, how will I find you?“Bookmark here

-See? Your self-righteousness is spewing lies again.Bookmark here

„What do you mean?“Bookmark here

-I tried to call you so many times.Bookmark here

„When?“Bookmark here

-But you escaped from my hug every single time.Bookmark here

„The red strings? That was you?“Bookmark here

-Say hello to Nagisa from me.Bookmark here

The voice abruptly ended. Shiki jumped from the chair onto the floor with strong cramps in his limbs.Bookmark here

„Calm down soldier, are you okay?“ doctor jumped towards Shiki.Bookmark here

„Everything... hurts...“ Shiki barely muttered the words.Bookmark here

„Calm down, let me get you on the bed,“ doctor grabbed the immovable body of Shiki and put him on a pure white medical bed.Bookmark here

„Here, take these for the pain,“ doctor pulled couple of pills from his pocket and helped Shiki swallow the pills with some tea.Bookmark here

„Everything is okay, you did great. Get some rest now,“ doctor said gently and left the room.Bookmark here

He took a smartphone from his pocket and typed a number.Bookmark here

„Hey Cyn, yeah, don't worry, he's strong, he'll survive. But there is something else...“ Bookmark here

„....“Bookmark here

„Is this a haunted house?“ Omi asked while taking a peak at every nook and cranny of a half-dilapidated house.Bookmark here

„You scared Omes?“ Nana giggled, „ooh I like that, Sherlock Omes!“Bookmark here

„You're enjoying yourself are you?“ Omi sighed, „so what's the point of being here? To scare me?“Bookmark here

Omi build a defensive walls around his true feeling. In reality he was scared beyond belief. He was never a fan of horror movies and the only thing that came even remotely to horror was smacking pixelated enemies on the console screen.Bookmark here

They stood in a giant hall with dusty stairs that led to the second floor of the house. On both sides of the stairs were wooden stands and atop of them stood baroque candelabra with an astounding amount of spider web that aided the eerie atmosphere of the house.Bookmark here

A pair of big doors stood on the both ends of the hall and occasionally a creek of an old floor could be heard.Bookmark here

„What are we waiting for? Ghosts?“ whined Omi while reacting on every single creek he heard.Bookmark here

„If only!“ Nana yelled.Bookmark here

Suddenly one of the doors opened and an oddly-dressed man approached the pair.Bookmark here

„Good evening, young mister and miss. I am Mr.Schtein, a butler of this humble home, let me have the honor to take you to the master of the manor.“Bookmark here

„Yay, a butler!“ Nana said while following him.Bookmark here

Omi wanted to walk right beside her, but his knees had a mind of their own.Bookmark here

„I didn't even say good bye to my sister, shit,“ Omi cursed as he was persuading his legs to start working again.Bookmark here

They have entered a beautiful hallway embellished with an astonishing number of paintings. Butler walked elegantly in front of them, with some spider web stuck on the back of his pants.Bookmark here

„Why are they so grumpy?“ Nana asked while inspecting every single painting one by one.Bookmark here

„These are the noblemen, the past owners of this manor. They had no sense of humor, you see,“ butler chuckled to his fake-looking beard.Bookmark here

„Is that so? Good one!“ Nana laughed with him in a tandem.Bookmark here

Omi rolled his eyes and occasionally jumped from one side to another just in case nothing grabs him by the leg.Bookmark here

When they had reached the end of a long hallway, butler opened the door.Bookmark here

„Master Eden, the guests have arrived,“ he said while taking a bow.Bookmark here

„I told you, they are the chasm cleaners!“ blond-haired guy around Nana's age complained to butler.Bookmark here

„You must excuse master Eden, he likes his Halloween throughout the month of November,“ said the butler while leaving the room and closing the doors in front of him.Bookmark here

„Ah, that Schtein, he is always in the character but then with a small detail ruins the scene,“ Eden took a small metal brush and wiped his golden-colored tuxedo.Bookmark here

Omi immediately liked the guy for his taste in clothes.Bookmark here

„Greetings darling and good sir,“ he bowed graciously.Bookmark here

„Hey Ed, sup?“ Nana giggled.Bookmark here

Omi opened his mouth like a fish stranded on a dry land.Bookmark here

„Not you too Nana-chan!“ guy whined, „ahh never mind, you always tease me anyway.“Bookmark here

Omi felt a bit out of place so decided to speak up.Bookmark here

„So, what's the story here?“Bookmark here

„Man on the mission I see! Very nice, he's already way better than the last guy you brought here,“ guy inspected Omi from head to toe, „although your attire is kinda meh.“Bookmark here

Nana and Eden laughed together.Bookmark here

„I usually wear nice stuff, she grabbed me and drove me all the way here,“ Omi pointed at Nana.Bookmark here

„How dare you! You were totally oozing at my bottom all the way to here!“ Nana sat on the expensive-looking chair and crossed her legs.Bookmark here

„Oh my, trouble in the love nest already..“ Eden mumbled while turning his head around.Bookmark here

„I wasn't oozing at you! I was scared shitless cause you kidnapped me and brought me to a haunted haus!“ Omi swayed his arms around like a baby bird learning to fly.
Bookmark here

„Oh so it is that good! Thank you very much, I'm glad that you like it.“Bookmark here

„See? He's thrilled,“ Nana added.Bookmark here

„You know what, never mind, tell me why I'm here,“ Omi lost patience due to all the nervousness he felt.Bookmark here

„Nana, darling, was coming to my home in order to help me with my... issues. We were having these sessions for the past year, but each time she would bring someone with her, the guy wasn't good enough so we would have to start over next time,“ guy poured himself strange colored liquid into a tea cup.Bookmark here

„Should I be worried?“ Omi gulped heavily.Bookmark here

„Noo, you see, you're the seventh guy, you're the one,“ Nana smiled innocently.Bookmark here

„Yay?“ Omi acted surprised.Bookmark here

„There's the strange connection between this lady and number seven. She messes up something six times and succeeds on the seventh out of nowhere,“ guy explained while sipping down the tea.Bookmark here

„Is this a joke or?“ Omi looked at Eden and then at Nana.Bookmark here

„No, we're serious. She wanted to plant tulips. She messed them up six times and then the seventh time, poof, garden filled with tulips and it was basically winter!“ Eden mimicked explosions with his hands.Bookmark here

„Ed speaks truth, I am the Seven!“ Nana chuckled.Bookmark here

„Great story, so when do we start?“ inpatient Omi wanted to get on with business when he realized it's past 9 O'Clock and his sister will be extremely worried.Bookmark here

„Whenever you folks are ready,“ said Eden.Bookmark here

„Okay here's the Prism,“ Nana put the chip-like object from the pocket and placed it on the table.Bookmark here

„Allow me to call my butler first,“ at the very second that Eden finished his sentence, the door behind them opened.Bookmark here

„You called me, master?“ butler asked with a rubber toy in his hand.Bookmark here

Sunbar happily followed him.Bookmark here

„How did he...?“ Omi was thoroughly confused.Bookmark here

„Oh, I took a liberty to pull this adorable creature out of that tin can of a car,“ said the butler.Bookmark here

„Isn't he the best?“ said EdenBookmark here

„You broke into my car? Savage!“ Nana seemed astonished.Bookmark here

So the first trip to the [World Within] for the newfound pair has begun.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.