Disclaimer: Yuu Watase owns Alice 19th, not me. This is a story simply written in honor of it.

Here is chapter 2 of A Difficult Choice, entitled Save Me! Enjoy! .

Arisu arrived at Kyou's house shortly, through the magical guidance of her courage charm. She searched the rooms of the house for him. No signs of life in any of the rooms. Kyou's parents must've been out buying groceries or something. She gingerly climbed the stairs, disgusted with herself at her trespassing crimes. She checked all of the upstairs rooms until she finally came to Kyou's room. She stopped and stared in fear.

"Uhh… This doesn't seem to be good…" Nyozeka's voice faltered, dotted with the shrapnel of fear.

A dark, vile cloud seemed to be devouring Kyou's room. The Mara!

Nyozeka gulped nervously before continuing. "The Mara appears as though it has gained enough strength to be able to manifest itself in our world. We've seen it before, but only for minutes. It looks like this cloud has been growing for hours!"

"W-what should we do?" replied Arisu, her eyes watering from both fear and the evil in the air.

"There is only one thing to do if you wish to save Kyou. We have to go in! You should begin to gather good thoughts in your head to help to shield yourself. On the count of three, we run in there and leap straight into the cloud. Ready? 3… 2… 1… Go!"

Arisu had rather odd happy thoughts. She thought of popsicles, anime, and… Kyou's lips? She had never thought quite that way about Kyou previously. The adrenaline rose in her veins. It felt as though light surged through her. She leaped into the Mara just as a dark, spindly hand emerged from it to grasp her. Her skin glimmered for an instant, and it missed her.

Nyozeka nodded to herself. Her protection charm must be developing. It would probably be added to her bracelet after this venture.

Arisu landed hard on wet, swamp-like ground. A spray of mud lifted around her, and Nyozeka went flying off her shoulder to land two meters away. Arisu struggled to stand, the mud sucking at her limbs to keep her down. It made a sickly smacking sound as she broke free from it. Unable to lift her feet, she simply shoved her way through the mud over to free Nyozeka. Nyozeka's ears almost came off from the strength of the mud.

Nyozeka's eyes were wide. "This is Kyou's inner heart. Who knew it was such a mess in here?"

"What is this stuff?" Arisu asked as she attempted to shove some of the mud off of her uniform.

"It is the buildup of darkness that comes from a dark childhood. Hm, now that I think of it, this is extraordinarily befitting of Kyou, him being Mr. Dark Past and all. Nevertheless, be wary of it. We should probably get moving, as this stuff can act as quicksand. If you don't keep moving, it'll suck you in, down to the last hair. It may be hard to move your foot, but just try!"

Arisu looked down and gasped. The mud was already halfway to her knee! She tried to lift her food from it. Impossible! It felt as though twenty kilos were weighed down on every inch of her feet. She gritted her teeth and pulled her foot with all her might. With Nyozeka's encouragement, she was eventually able to pull both feet from the mud. She broke into a run, being sure to keep her feet on the ground for the least amount of time possible.

She ran over hills and through mud pits, the mud slowly disintegrating from her shoes as she went. After about half an hour of straight sprinting, Arisu found a dry piece of land at the crest of a hill. She stopped her feet and fell face first onto the patch of dirt.

Nyozeka jumped down from Arisu's shoulder. "We can rest here for a while. You've been working hard. We must be nearing Kyou's deep inner heart. The mud will thin as we close in on it. The debris of the soul is usually pushed out into the outer reaches of the heart to accumulate. I believe we've made it through the most difficult part.

Arisu slowly regained her breath as relief swept through her. The mud did look to be thinner up ahead. There also appeared to be a gigantic black cloud about 50 meters away. "The Mara appears to be especially concentrated up ahead!"

Nyozeka sighed. "That would be the center of his inner heart, and most likely where Kyou is being held by the Mara."

Arisu's heart dropped. Then her eyelids. Then her head. And Arisu had collapsed from exhaustion.

Knack-san says: I hope you enjoyed chapter two of Arisu-san's adventures! Please submit reviews, I really do appreciate feedback on my writing! The adventures will continue next week in chapter 3, when Arisu will go head to head with the Mara, only to discover a surprise visitor…