Has anyone played Chaos Rings Omega yet? Cyllis is batshit insane. But I still feel for her. And Theia needs to go die. Seriously. And Yorath replaced Ayuta as the prettiest male character in the games. SO SHINY! And I will never look at Escher the same way again. Dark skin + white hair = direct descendent of Vieg and Vahti. HE FREAKING LOOKS EXACTLY LIKE OHM. And his sword? It looks like Vieg's. PLEASE TELL ME I'M NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO NOTICED THIS. Anyway, enjoy!
The door slammed shut behind Escher and Museia. They whirled around, but the door was gone, a pale blue crystal in its place. They appeared to be on a mountain. It was snowing, but Escher felt strangely warm. "What is this place?" Museia asked rhetorically. "Where are we?" Escher gritted his teeth together, resisting the urge to glance back at her.
"No use thinking about that now," he retorted. "Let's go find that ring." Escher stepped forward, and Museia seized the opportunity to stride in front of him. She kept walking without looking back once, and Escher had to break into a run to catch up. Museia suddenly stopped in her tracks, and Escher nearly crashed into her.
"Well, if you're going to keep following me…" she hissed.
"I don't really have a choice in that matter, if you haven't noticed already," Escher shot back. "Now I don't like this any more than you do, so deal with it." Museia turned and glared at him fiercely.
"You bastard…" she cursed. Escher's grip tightened around his sword as he glared at her in return. Suddenly, he saw something move out of the corner of his eye. He couldn't see exactly what it was, but he could see its glowing, menacing eyes. He could tell from the way it was perched that it was about to attack Museia.
"Look out!" Escher yelled as he thrust is sword in the creature's general direction. It was a tiny blue mouse-like creature, and it cleanly avoided his sword. Museia shook her head incredulously.
"Are you serious?" she whispered. "If they're trying to kill us here, they might as well try harder." The mouse-like creature lunged at her again, snapping its jaws shut on her outstretched hand. She shrieked in pain, and Escher seized this opportunity to stab the creature, killing it once and for all. Once the creature was dead, Escher felt a slight burning sensation in his chest. He panted slightly, unsure of what just happened. It was as if his body moved on autopilot; why was he so ready to defend a girl who tried to kill him just minutes before?
"Are you all right? Are you hurt?" The words tumbled out of his mouth before he could stop them. Museia glared at him, cradling her now profusely bleeding hand.
"I don't need your help," she shot back. Escher sighed irritably, grabbing her wrist.
"Look, that's going to get infected if you don't treat it soon," he warned, pulling her towards the pale blue crystal. "You'll just hold me back if you die because you were too stupid to treat that wound."
"That… definitely wasn't there before," Escher mumbled uncertainly as he and Museia gazed up at the cat-like creature propped up against the wall.
"Hi there!" the cat chirped. "I'm Piu-Piu, your friendly inter-timespace traveling salesman!" Escher's eye twitched.
"Right…" he said shortly. "Piu-Piu." Museia cocked her head to the side.
"What is that thing?" she asked.
"I don't think I want to know," Escher replied shakily. He shook his head frantically. "Anyway, do you carry bandages here?" Piu-Piu gave him a toothy grin.
"No need!" he said in a sing-song voice. Museia glowered at him.
"No need?" she repeated. "You make people fight for their lives while trying to find tiny rings in hostile environments, and you don't even carry bandages?" Piu-Piu looked slightly uneasy.
"Hey, look girlie, if you just take a look at your hand, you'll see that there really isn't any need for bandages," he clarified. Museia looked at her hand confusedly. The blood spread over her hand was now taking on a reddish-brown hue, but other than that…
"It's not bleeding anymore!" she noticed.
"No way," Escher refuted. "That thing practically chewed your hand off. There's no way…"
"You heal faster here!" Piu-Piu told them. "Way faster."
"But… how?" Museia asked, dumbfounded.
"That's for me to know and you to ponder," Piu-Piu said absentmindedly. "So how 'bout them bandages?"
Escher felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up as he narrowly avoided Museia's rapier. She stumbled in front of him and fell to her knees. He drew his sword and placed it gently on her shoulder, dangerously close to her neck. "I already told you," he said through gritted teeth. "Try that again, and I will kill you." Museia smirked.
"So why don't you do it?" she retorted. "Right now." Escher's eyes narrowed.
"I can't," he said. "As much as I hate to admit it, I need you if I want to win this thing and become immortal."
"It won't do you much good if you're dead," Museia snapped back.
"Shut up!" Escher almost shouted. "Why do you hate me so much anyway? Do I even know you?"
"Don't even think of denying it!" Museia cried. "You killed all the priest and sisters at the monastery!" Escher looked genuinely confused.
"Monastery?" he repeated.
"You killed the priest and all the sisters," Museia repeated. "They were like family to me." Realization dawned on Escher's face.
"Oh yeah," he said. "I did, didn't I?"
"You bastard," Museia cursed.
"No, wait," Escher interjected. "I let all the children get away. How are they doing these days?"
"I've been taking care of them," Museia answered after a slight pause. A hint of a smile appeared on Escher's face.
"I see," he said. "That's good to hear." Museia scrutinized his face for a few minutes. "So are we done with the reminiscing? Then let's get going."
"Museia!" Mana ran up towards them, Ayuta running behind her. "It's great to see you here!"
"Hello, Escher," Ayuta greeted politely. Museia smiled brightly at Mana and Ayuta.
"Hey, you two!" she greeted. "Did you guys get your ring yet?" Mana's face fell.
"Not yet…" she mumbled. "We're still looking for it."
"The monsters are really slowing us down," Ayuta lamented, sighing. Museia looked slightly worried.
"Really?" she asked. "We haven't really had much trouble with them." Escher scoffed.
"Are you kidding?" he retorted. "One of those mouse things practically chewed your arm off!" Museia shot him an icy glare, and Escher immediately shut up; Ayuta and Mana exchanged worried glances.
"So how are you two doing?" Ayuta asked casually, though it sounded as if he was trying hard to make conversation.
"I've been better," Escher replied.
"Same here," Museia added. Mana clapped her hands together in glee.
"See?" she asked brightly. "That's one thing you two can agree on!" Escher's and Museia's eyes narrowed into slits.
"Um… Princess Mana…" Ayuta whispered. "Maybe that wasn't the best thing to say."
"Oh…" Mana mumbled. "I'm sorry…" Museia grinned.
"Don't worry about it, Mana," she said.
"Don't get too friendly with them," Escher warned. "We're going to have to kill them sooner or later." Museia turned back to glare at him. Ayuta's eyes narrowed slightly.
"Though I do not wish to fight…" he said softly. "I will cut you down if you harm Princess Mana." Escher smirked.
"Now we're talking!"
"We should go, Ayuta," Mana warned. "We still need to look for that ring." Ayuta nodded.
"Yes, of course," he affirmed. "See you guys later."
"Ok, bye," Museia said, waving as they left. She threw Escher a furious glare before proceeding to the next warp crystal.
"What was the point of putting that fire out anyway?" Escher asked rhetorically. "It was just one big hassle." The two made their way to a passage leading to a new area, only to find Olgar and Alto there. Olgar had his axe drawn, and Alto had collapsed on the ground.
"Hey!" Museia yelled. "We're not supposed to fight on our own!"
"Leave them be," Escher instructed her.
"We don't need an extra combatant in the Ark Arena," Olgar said to Alto. "You're leaving this place, one way or another."
"So… strong…" Alto mumbled.
"Only death awaits those who can no longer fight," a voice echoed throughout the area. The grim reaper-like creature appeared and swung one of its scythes at Alto.
"Garrick…" she whispered before disappearing once and for all.
"How come that Olgar guy didn't get punished?" Museia whispered to Escher.
"Maybe after Garrick was killed, Alto was no longer required to follow the rules," Escher guessed. "They must not have any use for those without a partner."
"Well, aren't you calm and collected," Olgar said in a menacing tone. He had heard every word.
"I do my best," Escher retorted. This guy… he thought.
No use for those without a partner… Museia thought. If that's true, why would that be the case? I get the feeling there's something we still don't know about these rules. Olgar stalked away, leaving Escher and Museia alone. The two made their way to a sort of clearing. A large, two-headed cat loomed before them, growling menacingly at them. Escher drew his sword and pointed it at the cat.
"Get behind me," he ordered instinctively. "Now!" he shouted when Museia didn't move. Museia nodded and obeyed without question. Escher slashed at the cat, and the two moved to opposite sides to avoid a swipe of one of its paws. The cat turned its attention onto Museia, who held her rapier out hesitantly towards the cat. She gave a shriek as the cat swiped its paw at her. It slashed at her arm, which she used to block her face. Without thinking, Escher dove for the cat, sword drawn, and cleanly sliced off its two heads. The two panted slightly, and Museia cradled her injured arm to her chest.
"Ow…" she groaned.
"Are you ok?" Escher asked. He scoffed. "Clumsy girl. Here, let me see it." He reached his arm out towards her, and Museia swatted it away with her uninjured hand.
"Don't touch me!" she shot back.
"Hey, don't get the wrong idea," Escher said. "I just want my immortality, and I need to keep you around for that."
"Me, help you?" Museia asked incredulously. "Go to hell! Who cares about eternal life and youth anyway? I can't believe we're fighting to the death for something so stupid!" Escher sighed irritably. Ignoring her protests he took her arm, pulled out a handkerchief, and began wiping off the blood on her arm.
"You don't get it, do you?" he asked. "There's only one reason why eternal youth works as a reward. Because everyone participating in this ridiculous competition wants to live forever."
"That's absurd," Museia said. "I don't want to live forever."
"If you say so," Escher said reluctantly. Suddenly, something glowed in front of them, and a ring appeared in mid air. It descended down and landed in Escher's hand. "I'm taking this one."
"Whatever," Museia grumbled, pulling her arm away from him.
"That's twice you were injured now," Escher warned her. "Don't make it a habit."
"Damn you…" Museia growled. As Escher walked towards the exit, something stirred in him. He couldn't comprehend why he felt so protective of a girl who tried to kill him just hours ago. The way his body seemed to move on its own accord when she was in danger… it drove him crazy. Stop thinking about her, he mentally chided himself. You just need her for immortality. Nothing more.
"What's going on here?" Museia asked as soon as she and Escher arrived in the main hall. A long table was spread across the hall, covered in a white tablecloth. Large pots were lined across the table. Olgar, Vahti, Ayuta, Mana, Eluca and Zhamo were setting down plates and utensils.
"Dinner," Mana explained, stopping near Museia momentarily. Olgar, who was right behind her, gestured towards a much smaller table in the back. Eight glasses were lined up on the table in rows of four.
"You can help us set the table," he said. "Go bring those glasses here." Escher and Museia obeyed, setting glasses down next to the plates. As he was setting the table, Escher felt a burning sensation in his chest. He stopped dead in his tracks, and Museia ran into him.
"What the hell did you stop for?" she hissed at him.
Damn it… Escher thought miserably as the burning sensation grew worse. Not again. He turned around. "S-Sorry," he said. "Can you finish setting the table? There's something I need to take care of."
"Absolutely not!" Museia said.
"Please, Museia." There was a hint of desperation to his voice. He needed to take his medicine quickly. Otherwise… "I'll be right back." He thrust his remaining glasses into her hand and ran towards the bedrooms he had found earlier. Sure enough, his medicine was there in a drawer in one of the nightstands. As Escher opened the bottle, he realized something: he forgot to bring a spoon. "Damn it," he growled as he slammed his fist down on the wooden nightstand.
"Here." Escher whirled around, only to see Ayuta walking towards him, holding a spoon out towards him. "You're sick, right? That's why you want immortality so badly."
"Mind your own damn business," he retorted, snatching the spoon away from Ayuta. However, when Escher downed a spoonful of his medicine, Ayuta stayed by his side. "What are you still doing here?"
"Making sure you're all right," Ayuta said. "We wouldn't want what happened to Alto to happen to Museia, now would we?"
"I'm not going to die," Escher insisted. "At least… not anytime soon. I can't. There's something I still have to do."
"What is it?" Ayuta asked curiously. Escher scrutinized his face for a minute. Then…
"Mind your own damn business." Ayuta gave him a gentle smile.
"I understand," he said. "I'm overstepping my boundaries, and I apologize." He turned to leave. "You should tell Museia, though, about your illness." And then he left, leaving Escher alone in the room. Escher put the medicine bottle and the spoon away in the drawer and followed Ayuta out. Back at the dinner table, everyone else was seated at the table. Museia sat in between Mana and Vahti, pointedly avoiding eye contact with Escher. The only other seat available was one between Ayuta and Eluca, and Escher took it gratefully. The Agent loomed before them, and the grim reaper creature opened the pots, revealing different types of foods, all steaming hot. A delicious smell filled the air, though it left Escher feeling slightly nauseated.
"Dinner is served," the Agent said before disappearing with the grim reaper creature. Everyone just stared at the food.
"Eluca…" Zhamo whispered. "Do we have to eat it?" Eluca shook her head.
"No," she said. "Don't eat it. I don't trust the Agent one bit."
"I agree," Escher added. "I think he's playing us."
"M-Maybe because we worked so hard, he's rewarding us with food?" Mana suggested.
"I highly doubt it," Museia refuted, glaring at the food ahead of her.
"Just eat it," Olgar instructed as he loaded some food onto his plate. "Nothing will happen." Even Vahti had started eating. Still, Escher, Ayuta, Eluca, Mana, Museia and Zhamo all stared blankly at the food.
"Only death awaits those who do not follow the rules," the Agent's voice echoed throughout the hall.
"But I didn't even do anything wrong!" Museia cried.
"Are you saying eating dinner is one of the rules?" Eluca asked. Escher sighed.
"I don't see why not," he said as he loaded some mashed potatoes onto his plate, taking care to give Eluca some as well.
"Thank you," she said curtly as she began eating. As Escher nibbled on a roll he stared up at the ceiling. There was definitely something odd about the Ark Arena.
"No!" Museia cried, crossing her arms firmly across her chest. "I refuse to share a bed with him!"
"Says the girl who's been trying to kill me ever since we got here," Escher muttered darkly.
"Shut up!" Museia snapped at him.
"Well it's true," Escher continued. "Wasn't I the one who looked all over the place for bandages because you were too clumsy and careless to avoid getting injured?"
"Bastard," Museia growled. Ayuta and Mana exchanged worried looks.
"Ok, how about this?" Ayuta interjected. "Escher and I will share one bed while you and Princess Mana share the other. That way, everyone will be happy." Escher and Museia glared at each other for a minute.
"Fine," Escher said.
"Fine," Museia repeated. She jabbed her finger into Escher's chest. "But if you put even one toe out of line, you're dead."
"Try to kill me in my sleep and you're dead," Escher shot back.
"Hey!" Mana interjected, stepping in between Escher and Museia. "Why don't we just go to bed? I'm sure we have a long day ahead of us tomorrow." And with that, Mana began dragging Museia away from Escher.
"That is a wonderful idea, Princess Mana," Ayuta said hastily. "Come, Escher." When Escher crawled into bed, he lay on his back, staring up at the ceiling. It was all so strange. He rolled over onto his side and slammed his fist on the bed.
"Damn it…" he muttered to himself.
Whew. Sorry that took so long. As you can see, I added some of my own scenes in there to elaborate on Escher and Museia's relationships with other characters. So… PLEASE REVIEW!