Disclaimer: Nothing is mine. "Eye of the Storm", I felt, was good though I could've done better with it. It was this thought, along with random musings of one character from that story meeting a canon character from Ep7, that this re-write began. This will keep the same basic plot points as the original, but the story will be almost entirely different. I don't want to give away TOO much, but I can say that while the original was a hypothetical post-series scenario, this will take place directly during the events of Ep7, and take Ep7 in a slightly different direction. So in that sense, this can also be considered as an AU. You don't need to have read the original in order to understand this.
A few more notes before beginning: 1) First and most importantly, NO EP8 SPOILERS IN THE REVIEWS PLEASE. Not even as a joke. If I have the characters say something unintentionally ironic relating to Ep8 revelations, DON'T give it away in reviews OR PMs. Chuckle about it to yourself, or amongst friends, but to my face, may I repeat, NO. SPOILERS. 2) This will contain accurate Ep7 SPOILERS, but I assume most of you have either read through Ep7 by now, or have spoiled yourselves rotten. So you most likely know about a heartbreaking revelation about two, or one, character(s) that might also hold up true in this. Or maybe not. And 3) One similarity this shares with the original is that the second chapter earns this story its M rating, and the scene in question may or may not be more graphic than the original. You have been warned.
Oh, and happy Passover!
One eye open.
This was not the cousins' room.
Another eye open.
This was not her room.
The walls, pink and rosy, were unfamiliar.
The floor, hard and wooden beneath her back, felt strange.
Where was she?
She let out a groan and sat up. It did not feel as though she had woken up from a deep sleep. Rather, it was like waking up from a nap. Her entire body felt heavy, her eyelids did not seem to want to fully open, and her mouth was dry. And, she was hungry. But Gohda's dinner had been especially filling that night. So why should she be hungry now?
She was alerted by the sound of a door opening. Who was there? Was it a friend or foe? Was it the person who had trapped her here? Or was it an ally coming to rescue her?
The door slowly opened…
"Well, thank goodness that was over with, ihihi!"
"Ah, but I did want to stay for the cakes, and the candies…"
"Which Ronove makes for you all the time anyway. It's amazing you haven't gotten so fat yet…or maybe it all just went to your cow tits, ihihi—gah!"
The newly-wed couple, Battler and Beato, were taking a stroll through the garden and chatting about their wedding. It had been both stressful and miraculous. If Beato had been one second too late in finding out the truth and freeing Battler from that closed room…
With a swish of his sorcerer cape, Battler said, "So, Beato, what do you say we go up to our room now and consummate this marriage?"
Beato blushed and she took on a shyer tone. "I was looking forward to seeing the roses again…"
"Ah, I guess we can stay out a bit longer," shrugged Battler. "You know, I wonder what will be in store for us in the next game. I heard rumours that Bernkastel might be the next game master. Knowing her, she'll probably have something sadistic up her sleeve…"
Beato noticed a silhouette through one of the windows, which she spotted even in the darkness illuminated by the golden butterflies. "Is someone in there?"
"Eh?" Battler took a look through the window. "Hey, it looks like Ronove's serving someone some tea. I can't make out the other person, but they look kind of familiar…maybe we could go inside and see who it is."
Jessica took a sip from the cup. "No thank you," she said. She placed the cup down on the saucer. She was still a bit anxious as to what she was doing here, but she felt slightly at ease to be treated as a guest rather than a prisoner. She had been a bit scared to find Ronove standing in the doorway, but he had been very kind and gracious to her. He seemed like a real gentleman.
Or maybe he was just putting her at ease so he could so something to her…
"Are you the one who brought me here?" said Jessica sharply. "If so, then you've got one minute to say what it is you want, or else…" She slid one hand up her sleeve to slip on her brass knuckles.
"Rest assured, I am not the one responsible for your presence," said Ronove. He placed the teapot down on the tray alongside the cookies. "I was surprised to see you here, actually. It is a pleasure to meet with you once more."
"Eh? What's that supposed to mean?" said Jessica in the same, sharp tone. Her instincts were telling her this man could be trusted, but all the same, she wasn't willing to take any chances.
"We fought together in one of milady's games," Ronove went on, "and worked alongside each other in the last one."
"Games? What games?" demanded Jessica. The more she inquired, the fishier these answers became.
Surprised, Ronove said, "You mean you weren't brought here by milady, or Lady Bernkastel, as new pieces?"
"Bernkastel…pieces…" muttered Jessica. It was slowly coming to her now. Bernkastel…the name sounded familiar…
Just then, two people came walking into the parlour, and froze upon seeing Jessica sitting there. "J, Jessica?" burst out Battler. "What are you doing here?"
"I was just asking the same thing," said Jessica. She looked to Battler's left and noticed an actually very adorable-looking Beatrice standing right beside him. "Beatrice?" she said in disbelief. "So everything Maria was going on about was true?"
"Indeed," said Beato, now taking on her former persona, "I, the Golden Witch Beatrice, am delighted to see a new piece in my home. I wonder, who called you here?" In a flash, she switched over to a look and tone of suspicion and worry. "If it was that Bernkastel…"
"That name again," muttered Jessica. If this Bernkastel person was so important, had she been the one to bring her here?
Not sure what to make of the situation, Battler cleared his throat and said, "Ah, so…so you really have no idea how you got here at all?"
"No, "said Jessica with a shake of her head. "The last thing I remember is going to bed in the room we share. Maria had read this really creepy letter out loud to us at dinnertime, and I was still wondering what it meant. Then, I had these really strange nightmares where everyone was killed…right before I woke up here, the last thing I saw were two, cackling witches."
"By any chance," said Battler, "did either of these witches have blue hair and a cat tail, or dressed in all pink?"
"Yes, actually," nodded Jessica. "Why?"
"Bernkastel," said Battler darkly. "She must have been the one to summon you here, along with Lady Lambdadelta. Keep your guard up, Jessica. We can only imagine what they have in store for you."
"For now," said Ronove, "would you like it if we were to make you feel more comfortable? We don't know how long you're going to stay here, so it would only be appropriate for you to settle right in."
"Th, thank you," said Jessica slowly. Then, "You know, you remind me of someone…"
"Perhaps my younger brother," said Ronove. "Will you be taking a cookie, or shall I take this away?"
Jessica took two cookies. "Thank you. That will be all."
Beato and Battler had decided to show Jessica around the mansion for a bit. Their honeymoon could wait. For now, they needed to have the new player get accommodated.
"Oh, you'll get used to things around here, all right," said the playful demon Gaap, phantom thief of valuables and best friend to Beato. "Just wait till you get a taste of Rono's cookies!"
"Now Gaap, behave yourself for our guest," warned Virgilia. She smoothed out the front of her dress, yet Jessica struggled to see any hands doing the smoothing.
Gaap smiled pleasantly and disappeared into a black hole just in time for a series of stakes to come flying through the air and narrowly miss piercing Jessica.
"Good evening, new visitor!" they unanimously declared as they each transformed into attractive young women wearing revealing outfits.
"Uh…hello?" said Jessica awkwardly. The more she got to know the people in this place, the weirder they got.
"Ahh, it's good to be the furniture of Lady Beatrice again~" sang Beelzebub. "It was so sad without you around…"
"Kya~, we're so glad to see you and Battler finally got past your blatantly obvious sexual tension and got married!" squealed Asmodeus.
Sexual tension? Married? Wha…
"Long story, we'll explain later," said Battler as if reading Jessica's mind. "Right now, I think it's about time we all headed for bed."
Virgilia led Jessica to her room, back to the one she had woken up in. Jessica had a feeling she knew this woman from elsewhere…
"I apologize for this sudden inconvenience," said Virgilia as she showed Jessica the wardrobe. "I'm afraid I don't know just how long you'll be here for."
Jessica wandered around the room, still in a slight daze. This couldn't be real. She had to be dreaming.
"Will you need anything else?" said Virgilia. "Would you like to be showed around a bit more?" She smiled slightly. "Or perhaps you would enjoy some roasted mackerel?"
Jessica shook her hand. "No. I'll be fine from here. Good night."
"Good night," said Virgilia. She walked out and closed the door behind her. Her smile dropped and she began to worry.
"Bernkastel," she whispered, "what is it you have planned for these children?"
The nightgown's fabric felt loose and smooth on Jessica's skin as she sat up in bed and thought about her situation. The more she thought about it, the closer she came to the conclusion that all this had to be some sort of crazy dream she was having. Yes, it was a dream and nothing more.
Yet she didn't get the same, drifting feeling she had when she realized she was dreaming. She felt very much "there". Perhaps this dream was more realistic than most.
"I'll sleep for now," she muttered, her eyelids growing heavy. "Tomorrow, I will wake up with the cousins…I will ask George about Shannon…I will keep Battler's pervert hands away from every other female on the island…and I will ask Maria to talk about something other than Beatrice…"
She closed her eyes, and began to drift off to sleep, unaware this "dream" was soon to become a battle for the survival of not only herself, but also for her entire family.