Note: Hey, all! Thanks for checking this out~ First things first, I basically had a crack dream years ago that this fic is (VERY) loosely based on, so I just kinda ran with it. This is a bit of an AU from the Millennium World arc/MW "history" so forgive me for taking a few liberties with story telling. I'm guesstimating it'll be about 10 chapters, most of which will be longer than this intro. I hope you guys enjoy the ride! Lemme know what you think! :)
When the blackness faded she was in a room, but not the one she last remembered standing in. She tried to understand what was happening, where she was, and why, but it proved difficult in the stifling heat. The room was filled to the brim with murmuring people and yet Kisara never felt so alone. She could hear them all around her – whispering, breathing, pushing others aside to get a better look. Her body was too weak to move, though even if she was able Kisara would have been too terrified to run. The stone dais was cold against her skin and made her painfully aware of the fact that she was naked.
"Is she alive?" someone behind her whispered.
Footsteps closed in on her, and there was a person at her side. A smooth, warm hand touched her arm. A deep voice asked, "Your Radiance? Are you hurt?"
Everything ached. Yes, she hurt quite a lot, but perhaps they would leave her alone if she pretended to be dead. She was not given that luxury.
There was a second set of footsteps and two strong arms slipped under hers and lifted her off the floor. Her captor held her up as if she was a doll. Her hair hung in front of her face, partially obscuring her view, but she could still see the vast auditorium congested with what must have been a thousand people.
This is a dream, she told herself. That was the only explanation that made any sense. Why else would she be paraded in front of all of these people as naked as the day she was born? Every inch of her skin was aflame with embarrassment, but the crowd before her did not care. Silence covered the room like a stifling blanket for just a moment. And then the man who spoke to her stepped into view. He raised his hand to the crowd and announced, "It is done!" and the room exploded with excitement. Every single person in the room, no matter how young or old fell to their knees and bowed until their heads touched the floor. They rose in unison and song and dance broke out. The celebration began and their chanting voices rang in her ears.
"Renenet! Renenet! Renenet!"
Her head spun. This wasn't a dream – it was a nightmare. And no matter how hard she tried, she couldn't wake up.
It was a perfectly boring Sunday morning. The cramped apartment filled up with the sound of an alarm clock until a pale hand slapped the snooze button. It would protest once again in another ten minutes, but that meant ten more minutes of sleep. And Kisara Ryuzaki desperately needed sleep.
Her tiny coffee table overflowed with stacks of research papers, reference books, and empty Cup-o-Noodles containers. Beside a dusty television, there were more books stuffed a bookshelf on the far side of the room – and were also stacked on top of it and all around it. They were everywhere, impossible to escape. They say you should surround yourself in things you love and Kisara intended to do just that. She would have slept on a bed of books if only she could find one comfortable enough, and she might have settled on being a librarian if she wasn't… Well, if she wasn't Kisara.
When the alarm clock shocked her to consciousness once more, Kisara blinked a bleary eye at the time, let out a yelp, and scrambled out of bed. In seconds, she'd gathered up a change of clothes from the floor (she knew they were clean, they were from the clean laundry pile) and bolted into the shower. After cleaning herself in record time, she toweled off her long white hair and pulled on her clothes. She grabbed a slice of bread from the kitchenette to cram into her mouth while brushing the kinks out of her hair. One glance in the mirror told her she looked presentable enough, so she grabbed her faded bag from its home by the door and ran to the bus stop.
The bus was already there and the passengers finished boarding, but the doors stayed open while Kisara sprinted the last block. Puffing and panting, she flashed her bus pass to the kindly middle-aged driver. The driver gave her a nod and remarked, "Cutting it close today, hm?"
She was too exhausted to answer. Eight stops later, she squeezed herself off of the bus, waved at the driver, and looked up at the great marble steps leading up to what she once mistook for heaven. The museum was the largest one around, and it was a place of wonder and adventure to her as a child. Too late she realized that the excitement was only within what the museum protected. The museum itself was a different story.
Being a teacher's pet paid off in university. A notable professor pulled a few strings to land her the internship of her dreams with an acclaimed historian.
She walked into the untidy office and cleared her throat to announce her presence. The older man sitting at his desk had his eyes fixed upon the computer screen and did not look up. She cleared her throat once more and murmured "Excuse me?" to no response.
And so, it was time for the waiting game. Kisara pursed her lips and rocked back on her heels to await his answer. After a minute or so, he graced her with it.
"I'm sorry," she replied. "I overslept."
"You didn't bring my coffee."
"I'll go and get it n—"
"Don't bother. Junko had a few call outs today, and she needs an extra set of hands. Go find her in Haskell."
"Yes, sir," she replied, inclined her head, and walked as fast as she could from the room. Mr. Yamaguchi was a brilliant man. He was one of Japan's most renowned historians and his research was groundbreaking. His personality left something to be desired, but Kisara wasn't working under him because she wanted companionship. She wanted the experience, the credentials, the raised eyebrows when her future employer saw Yamaguchi's name on her resume.
Her reassurances that it would pay off in the end grew staler with every coffee run.
In the Haskell Wing, she found Ms. Junko barking out instructions to various others. In many ways, Ms. Junko was no better than Mr. Yamaguchi, but at least she liked Kisara enough to remember her name and give her tasks more engaging than being a barista. Ms. Junko gave Kisara an appreciative nod. "So he finally got around to sending you over? It's about time."
"Good morning, Ms. Junko," Kisara said.
"You've been shown the lab downstairs, correct?"
Kisara hesitated. "I know where it is, but I've never been inside."
Ms. Junko unclipped the key ring from her belt and tossed it to Kisara, who only just managed to catch it with her fumbling fingers.
"Go to room A-3 in the lab. I left the map of the floor plan there, and we need it now. I'd go myself, but someone has to keep watch over the flock of turkeys in here." She gave a pallid young man a disdainful glance as he rushed by her before turning to Kisara once again. "Go quickly. I need that map five minutes ago."
"Yes, of course," Kisara jumped. With the keys in hand, she hurried off to the staff elevator that would take her to the basement. Certain artifacts were kept there to better preserve them, and some were restored and researched in the labs. Kisara had never been given clearance to enter it before, and probably for a good reason. Lowly interns were hardly the type to be trusted around delicate artifacts that could be ruined with as little as exposure of the wrong lights. A delighted smile came to her lips. This was the first opportunity to explore, and better yet, it was chock full of things the public had scarcely seen before. Euphoria overcame her as she thought of all the treasures locked away, and entertained the wistful notion that perhaps she might peek in some other rooms while she was there. After all, how often was she going to get to see this part of the museum if Mr. Yamaguchi kept her doing boring secretary work?
With Junko's card key, Kisara was granted access to the sealed metal door that separated her from the labs and storage at the end of the hall. She was quite sure that if she was seen, there would be hell to pay. She swiped the card and moved as fast as she dared. Her eyes scanned the signs until a plaque labeled A-3 came into view. Pausing before it, Kisara swiped the card again, and opened the door.
"Excuse me?" she called into the room, hoping she wouldn't catch anyone by surprise.
It was empty inside. The stark white room was lit only by a handful of fluorescent lights; most of them were off since no one was there. Kisara swallowed hard and tried to fight off the uncomfortable feeling taking hold of her. The door closed behind her as she groped along the wall for a light switch. It felt eerie. Kisara had never been in a part of the museum before that was so devoid of human life. Being alone didn't bother her, but the suffocating silence did.
Still trying to find a light switch, she was half-blind in the dark of the room. Her hand swatted at the wall for the switch, but her nerves caused her to misaim. She hit a shelf leaning against the wall – and to her horror, something fell from it and crashed to the floor.
Her cry of shock echoed through the room, and she flattened herself against the wall. In doing so, she hit the light switch, and the room was illuminated. With her heart hammering, she was flooded with panic. Dozens of bits of metal had fallen from a tray she'd knocked off of the shelf. They were all shapes and sizes, some the length of her finger and some the size of a saucer.
"Oh no, oh no, nonono—"
She dropped to her knees and fixed the tray. One by one, she collected the metal pieces and arranged them all to fit on the tray, hoping that no one would notice. How long would it take for someone to come and investigate the noise? She quickly replaced the tray on the shelf, but something glinting underneath the lab bench caught her eye. It was another piece of metal that fell, she realized, but when she knelt down to retrieve it, it was not ordinary piece of metal. For a moment, she was shocked that it had been thrown in with the ugly bits of copper and tarnished silver, and she stared at it.
It was dirty and ancient, but it was gold nonetheless. The medallion inscribed with hieroglyphs and an eye of Horus shaped into the center. She reached for it, but as she did, she froze. Some animal instinct had arisen within her. Don't touch it, a voice deep within her warned. She should not have been touching any of the metal at all without protective gloves, as the fluids secreted through human skin were harmful to such ancient things – but that's not what the voice was warning against.
Footsteps came closer and there were voices. People coming to investigate the noise, she was sure. It would look bad enough for her to be in a generally restricted area with Ms. Junko's key card and no good excuse to be unattended. Kisara could hardly expect to keep her internship if she also took blame for tampering with artifacts, too. There was no time for anything else. So she reached under the bench, clasped the medallion in her hand, and scrambled to stand up.
No such thing happened. For a split second, she looked at the medallion. It was just long enough for her to see the light glowing from the center of the eye of Horus, and before she could even register what was happening, the light engulfed her – and faded everything to an ocean of black.