Chapter 1:

A Girl on the Shore

A Tour of the World Between Worlds

I found myself waking up on dirty ground. A cough removed some water that was trapped in my throat. My head spun like a top, and my limbs felt like jelly. It took a moment before enough strength returned so that I could push myself up.

After a moment, I managed to get my head above the ground. I still laid on the dirt, but I managed to support my chin with my forearm.

The scene I laid eyes on was that of a forest, except something felt off about it. The trees were dull, with only shades of grey to make any color, and there was no wind to shake the leaves. Not a sign of life could be seen, and no smells penetrated my nose. It looked like a painting—albeit a depressing one.

Above the trees, the sky fared no better. No sun lit up the sky, and it maintained a dim grey. It was not the kind of grey that appeared during overcast but instead looked as if the blue color was sapped away.

Though there was no sun, and the source of light was a mystery, I could still see.

I should have been concerned about that mystery, but another more important one filled my head.

Who was I?

Now that I had a minute to think, I realized I was missing some crucial details. I still had language to think and knowledge of the trees and ground, but who I was evaded any attempts to recall.

I managed to get on my feet, though I could hardly stand without wobbling. I looked around at the rest of the scene.

Behind me was a rather large body of water. It was colored a striking blue that seemed to sparkle in a manner out of place against the grey backdrop. A closer inspection revealed it only appeared to be water; it was something else. A mist or energy might be the best way to describe it.

As I stared into the watery substance, my reflection came into view.

My face was slender, and my eyes light red. Raven black hair was neatly tied into a ponytail that stretched to my waist, and a sharp dagger had been placed like some sort of hair ornament.

I wore a black form-fitting material across my whole body. Above that, I wore a bright pink petal kimono that was cut short around the legs for easy movement. The sleeves were left long, and several knives were hidden within them. A ribbon and band were wrapped around my waist, and a short scarf covered my neck. A pair of ornate daggers neatly hung by my side.

“Who are you? Some sort of kunoichi?” I asked the reflection; it only repeated the movements back at me. It occurred to me that knowing what a ‘kunoichi’ was implied if I had not been one, then I was heavily involved with one. Still, I didn’t know why someone with business in stealth would wear a pink kimono with petal patterns.

I cautiously dipped one of my hands into the water. It didn’t feel anything like a liquid but rather a rushing wind. It didn’t hurt, but I suddenly felt like I had been pulled, yet my body remained in place. I soared through the air in an out-of-body state over a city that was on fire. People ran for cover as many beasts ate through everything in front of them.

The beasts were large and round, with bulky legs and no arms. They had no eyes, and most of their body was covered in a large mouth with four forked tongues that stuck out. Smoke covered the whole horizon as the monstrous creatures devoured the landscape just outside.

Beyond that, I could see many more cities, and each was being destroyed. It was like I could see the whole planet at once, and every scene was one of despair. Even further, something large which towered over all the other beasts.

I quickly pulled my hand out, and my sight returned to my body. My breath was heavy, and I felt a cold sweat cover me. Was that where I came from? Or was it something else? I couldn’t be sure.

Carefully I stood up and took several steps away from the faux-water. I didn’t plan to stick my hand back in that pool any time soon.

I shook my head in a fruitless attempt to shake off the thoughts. As if to interrupt me, a geyser suddenly shot out from the body of water. At least, that was the best way to describe it. A sudden trail of the faux-liquid seemed to fire into the air and arc like a long snake. It soared past where I stood until I heard a crash in the distance that resembled a large splash.

I held my head up and gripped one of the blades at my side. It felt like something deep within would allow me to defend myself if I needed to. I took a step to the trees in the same direction the geyser had gone with that in mind. I had no leads and no idea what to do next. The direction of the water seemed like a good enough way to go to start an investigation. 

Pope Evaristus
Taylor Victoria
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