Chapter 15:


A Snowed Abode

They went back to the castle, just after chit-chatting a slight bit with the 'twos' once again, for telling them that their ancestors are still alive is only a polite thing to do, surely. Then, they rode the waves of 'jazz' once again, to arrive in the main continental area, and straight to the castle, for who wants to bother with the people in Nix if one can procrastination in some spooky abode... they were, at any rate, curious as to how this will turn out...Bookmark here

Turn out it did... the first upper floor seemed to be accessible now, and within they found... what seemed to be... possibly holographic images of... someone they assumed to be the monarch, but this was strange for every time the went onto one they disappeared as soon as something was said, and as such, due to the hazy atmosphere too, the trio assumed this was some re-enactment from the past... possibly before the possession of the archetype?Bookmark here

"I happen to be so alone, in this time and age; I feel as if I expired, and soon to be extinct..." This is what made them think this was the monarch, for they only ever read about extinction in relation to this institution before, in this very castle...Bookmark here

"Ancestors, what ever shall I do? Not that I mind too much, but if I let go I would be the very last of my kind, and you would never possibly look upon that positively..." Wait, he was an ancestor worshipper...? Well, I suppose, slightly more interesting than other types of religions, possibly...? Hey, he could always consult the archetype, soon...Bookmark here

"These scrolls that inscribe the very essence of my kingdom... I wonder where they happen to come from? Our recent past has gone so well, too, why then would anyone put these up?" Gone well? I suppose we were sort of told that the more outlandish madness began recently, presumably after the meeting with the archetype... but, scrolls? Perhaps that is what these ethereal creatures use? But, why? Are not scrolls physical... not ethereal...?Bookmark here

"Fear, for archetypes shall annihilate."
"Fear, for houses are built on crumbling rock."
"Fear, for only the ethereal reigns supreme."
Well, that is definitely some threatening vertical paper, but honestly, why would anyone effectively sell their 'soul' just because of some writing? Would that not have been even more of a risk? Being alone and all, one supposes that changes perspective...Bookmark here

"Are these a direct threat to me and my stable prosperity so far, perhaps? Why else would they be here?" But how stable was it, really? A foundation not directly voted to be built by anyone? That could never be; prosperity, on the other hand, might be more subjective...Bookmark here

"Dread, for despair is dark."
"Dread, for dreary is dire."
"Dread, for detestation is doom."
These other scrolls... they seem to have a fascination for one specific letter, too. If it was a different one I would have suspected the 'twos'... but they are far too cuddly to write any of this, of course. This is all... definitely... dark...Bookmark here

"If only I had someone left to consult with... but they all seemed to evaporate into thin air, just before shrieks could be heard for some reason..." Shrieks...? Could it be, perhaps... the giant beetle and maniacal clown... were once sane civil servants, or something?Bookmark here

"But how would I handle the social contract, if I were to...?" Presumably he is thinking about possessing the archetype at this point... but, really, what contract, with such a fundament...?Bookmark here

"Ah, but everything was so smooth too, despite being the last institution of the kind... could archetypes be rebels?" Not... quite... you see... well, hopefully he got to know what they are before totally consuming him, I suppose?Bookmark here

"No, the ethereal seems to be... I see... so, this is an existential threat, is it?" Yes, it surely is... so, will he give in? Find out in the next episode of...Bookmark here

"This... power... this... immense... energy... such... intensity..." There we go... weak personalities, and all... but, this monarch was not as one-dimensional as we might have always thought up to this point... clearly, other things happened in the background... more than these spectres reveal too... and the internal, unspoken conflicts, no one could know about, too... but, in the end it is still a fact that in order to try to sustain this the monarch resorted to some bizarre concoction...Bookmark here

They proceeded upwards, to this room which seemed to be made out of the universe itself, it was quite the sight, and at the very top of it was this creature... not quite the recognizable form of the (presumable) monarch we just saw apparitions of... it was a more otherworldly creature... one that seemingly integrated the universe in itself, too...Bookmark here

"You... are... you! What have you come here for, after so many centuries...?" So, presumably, he is not quite speaking about the trio, for they have, in all likelihood, not lived that long... I suppose Ventus might have, looks being deceiving and all, but who knows at this point...

"To put a stop to your meddling, my old friend... I have observed you for so long, but finally I have this opportunity to end you, once and for all..." Is what the perceptual archetype who just so happened to have become our companion (one would think) said... 'end', though, is strong...

"We... shall... see... about... that..." Is what this other, more malevolent archetype uttered... as if anger cannot be contained, and yet is still trying, for some reason...

"We shall, but if you truly think that through sheer instinct, and no contemplation whatsoever, that you will have the upper hand... you will be sorely mistaken..." One supposes this is what the perceptions of our new associate have indicated...?
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"What makes you think I have no grand plan...? Do you think I merely took over some individual's mortal coil...? We can play chess if you so wish, but be also mindful that we will not have an eternity within such a game, and so your centuries of observation will come to no use..." Well, that seems fair, after all chess is never play for all time... or is it? Time does seem to slow down a tad bit...
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"En... garde!" Is what our friendly, ethereal colleague now said... admittedly, not the most thoughtful of phrases recently said...
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After quite a bout... this was a formidable, grandiose creature pretty much outside of time itself, after all, and so, it needs to be said, it had a lot of... fortitude? Well, thereabouts, at any rate... after all that, the battle ended, but not quite in the way the trio, or apparently our immaterial ally, had thought it would end...Bookmark here

"Ah... what is happening, where am I? Last I remember..." The monarch said, dishevelled, and more physically devastated than we could ever glimpsed prior... worse than our impression from all the writings could ever impart, too...
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"The mortal... where has the ancient archetype gone?! They have fled their coil... we have but defeated a human..." Is what our insubstantial fellow stated... perhaps outwitted, despite all those centuries of pure observation? I suppose a strategy can do that...

"We have defeated the monarch... but... was the archetype really in control of all the actions thus far? Have they really disappeared from here? Have we still a problem, then...?" Pax finally admitted, as if somehow he never even considered this possibility... then again, truly, does he ever consider anything? Well, perhaps eating strange food...

"Unfortunately... it seems like we might have... but, for now, the immediate threat Ignis posed seems to be over... for the future, though, who ever knows...?" Is what our intangible mate now said... but, really, how is it over if the malevolence has merely escaped...?

"Have we... not been mindful enough of what our problem was...?" Clemens proposed... for once, it indeed seems mindful consider that we have not been so through out journey, but I am of the opinion that we could still rectify all this...

"Not necessarily... you see, I think archetypes have indeed more of a will than any mortals ever could... but there is still consent that is needed, the monarch still conceded to the archetype, and in turn... ironically, it merely led to the extinction of not just the institution, it appears, but life itself..." Ventus asserted, seemingly knowledgeable about ethereal matters, which should really be what is expected, considering that is their stated specialization...

"This is sad, really... a confluence of forces seems to have been the problem, but in the end we only managed to separate them, for now..." Indeed, Pax, we merely detached reality from the ethereal, but that does not mean that, like magnets, they could not simply conjoin once more...

"Indeed... now, it depends on you, your will, as to how to proceed, but as always... be mindful..." Is what our incorporeal friend now said, as if... somewhat of a hint, a challenge, perhaps? Or maybe just my perception...Bookmark here

The trio, then, and... their odd sidekick... observed, and thought about their next move, but what seemed certain is that there was, apparently, an inherently interesting element to this tale, a quality which seemed to transcend mundanity... hopefully.Bookmark here

Mahina Miyuki
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