A/N: New Story! Okay, so I know I shouldn't considering how many other stories I have out and on hold, but I can't help it. I really want to write this one. This story is Ulrika-centric because well, duh, she's my favorite character and I want more stories about her. I also promise to update my other Mana Khemia fanfics SOON! Because really, MK2 might not be as good or popular as MK1, but I think it was still pretty fun and I wish the MK series had a bigger fandom.
Anyways, this story was inspired to me by another game and I hope I can make this one enchanting, too. Pairing should be quite obvious so I won't say it. But if you really must know, check my profile or message me. Or continue reading to find out.
Disclaimer: Mana Khemia belongs to Gust. I just write fanfictions and draw fanarts.
UPDATE: This chapter has recently been edited so there is a bit of new dialogues added, but nothing that changes the story.
The first thing she sees is a bunch of colorful blurs rendered by the afternoon rays. Her mind is in a daze as she squints to protect her eyes while lifting a hand to shadow her face. The smell of lilacs and floral extracts stream into her nose along with the sweet aroma of nectar. She feels the soft, rubbery flesh of petals and stems pet against her skin, massaging her with pleasure. She believes this is bliss, that she's in heaven, but a looming shadow blocks out the light as it hovers above her. She hears a dull, bleary echo coming from the shadow, but is unable to make any sense of it. Another shadow appears and that too is unclear. Her mind wanders between dream and reality, but eventually it goes blank.
The next time she opens her eyes, she is met with a wooden roof, dim lighting, and a pair of round, bouncy bosoms draping closely to her face, but is soon replaced by pink chunks of hair and an overly wide smile.
"Hiya! Glad to see you finally awake!" says the pink haired woman. In a matter of seconds, a high pitch squeal erupts from her throat as well as the being above her. They simultaneous scamper away before crying out.
"W-whahhh! Th-that scared me!" cries the lady with the large bosoms. "Why'd you do that for?"
The lady in question backs away until she hits the wall and panics.
"W-where am I? H-how'd I get here? Who are you? What did you do to me?" she screams, fear present in her emerald green eyes.
"Huh?" questions the other girl, "What'd I do? I brought you here silly," she replies as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.
"Oh! I'm Et and I found you outside in the -" but before she could finish...
"Oi! What the hell happened here?" cries a light blue haired man with his bangs clipped back. "Stupid sis?"
"Ah! Enna, ahahahah," laughes the girl on the floor, "ummm...I'm not sure, hehe."
The blue haired young man proceeds to face palm himself until he notices the strange girl huddled away in bed.
"Oh, you're awake," he says.
The girl only stares at him and looks down to the girl before her.
"Oh, this is Enna, my younger brother," Et introduces, while the younger boy only nods. "Uhh, I still haven't gotten your name."
The girl's attention perks up and nervously starts to twirl her long blonde hair. "Oh. I-I'm Ulrika..." she says quietly. They look at her questioningly.
"So, Ulrika, do you know what happened to you? We found you in the middle of the flower field on the other side of the mountain just sleeping away. You wouldn't wake up at all so we brought you here."
Ulrika looks at them quizzically and turns around to look through the small window only to see the black sky and shadows.
"Where is here?" she asks without answering the previous question.
"You're in Neah, a village south of the Terin Kingdom. You're not from around here, but you should at least know about our village. It's famous for its winter festival," replied Enna.
The blonde girl, Ulrika, shook her head. "Never heard of this place in may entire life."
They look at her with a bit of surprise.
"Wow, its so weird that you've never heard of Neah. People from all over the world come here just for the festival! Did you hit your head or something? Maybe you have a memory problem," says Et. Enna on the other hand raises his eyebrows and looks at his older sister with disbelief.
"Anyways, you're free to stay here as long as you want, but if you want to go home, we won't stop you...that is, if you know how."
"Ah, that's right! Ne, Ulrika-chan, if you need help, I'll help you get home. Just give us the name of your village and we'll get you home in no time," offers Et.
"I'm from..." Ulrika begins, but for some reason Ulrika can't seem recall its name. She thinks hard while the others watch her.
"I...I don't know," she finally replies, awestruck.
"How do you not know?" asks Enna with a hint of annoyance. She could tell that he thought she was just screwing around, causing her to frown.
"I just don't and I'm not kidding. For some reason I can't recall the name of where I'm from and frankly, I don't even remember how I-"
And suddenly she sees a flash of white, a shadow of a man as he walks away, and then there was nothing.
"Ulrika-chan?" she hears her name and turns to see who called her.
"Are you okay? You look like someone just died in front of you," says Et.
"U-uhu-huh? O-oh...s-sorry..." Ulrika mumbles. What was that she wonders? She also realizes that she momentarily stopped breathing.
"Are you sure? Maybe you should get more rest, we can talk more later," suggests Enna. According to her behavior, he worries she might be suffering from some kind of traumatic experience.
"A-ah..." she replies, "thanks, that would be nice."
With that, they wish her good night and leave Ulrika in solitude. She starts to wonder what that image was, but she dismisses it for sleep, that is if she can at all.
The next morning came and still Ulrika could not recall a thing. When she asked them how they found her, they laughed as if it were the funniest thing in the world.
"I was just admiring the view and picking some flowers and suddenly there was this hand that popped out of no where!" squeals Et. "I thought you were a zombie or something. I was prepared to take you down, but then Enna came and stopped me, hehe. Don't you think that a zombie popressy would be cool?"
"Zombie apocalypse, stupid." He sighs before turning his attention towards Ulrika.
"If it weren't for me, you'd be dead...actually, it still amazes me that you weren't already frozen to death," says Enna.
Apparently, winter had just hit Terin Kingdom and escalated down toward the small village. Now that he mentioned it, Ulrika can visibly see her breath form and vanish before her eyes. It was odd, she didn't feel cold at all even with the summer wear she had on.
"Ne, Ulrika-chan, do you want to borrow my clothes? It's pretty cold lately," offers Et as she motioned towards the door.
Ulrika shook her head, "Thanks, but no thanks. I doubt I can fit your clothes anyways."
From the moment Ulrika first saw Et, she knew there was no comparison.
"Eh? But don't you want something fresh and clean? You need to shower too since you've been sleeping the whole day."
"You shouldn't be talking," scoffs Enna. "Besides, compared to her, you're a giant."
"W-wuh?" Et looks at him exasperated. Then she twiddles her fingers together and sighs.
"Y-your right, Enna...Ulrika would fit your clothes better."
"W-what are you saying!" he shrieks, "I'm a guy!"
"Yeah, but you're smaller than me, Enna! Be nice to Ulrika-chan!"
Enna turns away and hesitantly looks towards Ulrika. She looks back and they both realize...Et is right.
In terms of build, Et was tall for most girls and bustier. Not only that, she was thin yet judging from the shape and thickness of her skin, Et is also quite muscular. Unlike Enna, he measured about the same height as his sister if not a wee bit taller, which was about average for guys, except he was so skinny he seemed almost as tiny as Ulrika. Sure he was a good few inches taller, but his less than masculine physique made him look quite feminine in her eyes. Not to mention his hair was tossed close to his chin and the hair clip holding his bangs back added nicely to his pretty boy look. If it weren't for his voice, she was sure he would be mistaken as a girl. As if he read her mind, Enna blushes.
"F-fine," he grunts, "I'll be back."
Moments later, Enna emerged with a pair of clean clothes and nearly tossed it to her. In annoyance, Ulrika glares back at him and mutters a quick 'thank you'. Et had left earlier to start a bath for her leaving her with only Enna in the guest room.
"Well? What are you waiting for? The waters gonna go cold," barked Enna still sore from the earlier conversation.
Ulrika just rolls her eyes and proceeds to leave, tailing behind Enna.
"U-um, thanks for taking me in," Ulrika mumbles slightly blushing. She hears a few muffled words, but is unable to register it.
"I said I didn't do anything," he grumbles.
"But-" she starts, but halts as she recognizes the growing redness on his cheeks bathed in humiliation.
"O-oh well, thanks anyways, and thanks for lending me your clothes. Tell Et I said thanks, too."
"You can do that during breakfast."
After her warm bath, Ulrika went out to eat breakfast. They spent a good amount of time eating and chatting away. She learns that their cabin is located on the outskirts of Neah village, right beside the woods that lead to the summit. The cabin actually belongs to a close friend who lets them stay over whenever they feel like it as long as they take proper care of it. In exchange, they helped him get a place in Terin Kingdom, but due to work there, he rarely comes home.
After hours of talk, they came to the conclusion that Ulrika would stay with them until they can help her get home. While living together, Ulrika would help with the housework in return. It was about noon when they set off to do chores. After cleaning around the living room, Ulrika sought company from the siblings. Apparently, Et was out chopping firewood and Enna was left to prepare dinner. According to Enna, he'd rather catch his own prey and eat it raw before he'd let Et touch the stove.
"So..." Enna starts without looking at her, "how is it?"
"How's what?" Ulrika asks. He doesn't reply immediately, but a few seconds later it clicks in her head.
"O-oh!" she squeals, "Thanks, they are a bit long, but they fit all right."
Enna briefly glances at Ulrika to see her clad in his navy blue v-neck sweater and the smallest pants he could find in his closet. He didn't ask her until now because he was too embarrassed with Et around. They were clothes he kept from when he hit puberty and had grown out of them a few years ago. Still it hung quite loosely against her flesh and the v went down a little further than normal, but it wasn't anything close to revealing. The pants she wore were his old sweats with adjustable strings. Ulrika also borrowed a hair tie from him so she could keep her locks from getting in her way during chores. Her low ponytail swished passed her bottom, giving her a casual, yet preserved look. Overall, she didn't look as bad as he though she would, but there was no way he'd say that out loud.
"I see," her replied moments later.
"So...is there anything I can help with?" Ulrika asks changing the topic in awkwardness. It made her feel a bit squirmish to be examined so intently, that and the fact she never wore male clothes before.
"Can you cook?"
"I can. It's a survival skill if you live alone."
"You lived alone?" he continues to question her.
"Uh...yeah..." It came out weird the way she said it.
Ulrika doesn't know why, but she knows, yet it seems like such a distant memory. She can't quite place her finger on it, but somehow, someway, it feels like something is keeping her from remembering her life. It wasn't as if she couldn't recall any memories. She remembers bits of her childhood, her parents, her age, birthday, those sorts of things. But when she tried to recall what happened to her, it's foggy. There's a face, a feeling, but it's cloudy. She tries to remember hobbies or moments that stood out to her, but nothing comes up.
She hears Enna calling her out of her daze. "Oh, sorry."
"Nothing...I think." Her reply leaves him confused like she. They remain silent for a while until Enna speaks up.
"You're not from here...that much I can tell."
He pauses and then starts again. "The way you dress, it's a bit old fashion so I'm assuming you are from the country side, but on the other hand...the way you talk is just like us. You understand everything we say, which means you're from this kingdom."
He looks at her with steady eyes, but suddenly turns away. Ulrika can't help, but feel a stiffness in her shoulders.
"But they all contradict with the clothes you wore..."
He remembers when they found her lying in the field. She looked so peaceful and serene that it felt like a sin to disturb her sleep, until he saw her flashing green eyes behind half open lids. Her hair was sprawled and tangled within the flowers. Her white top hung loose and flattened against her chest. She had it tucked under her long, pleated red skirt that flapped gently against the breeze. Even in the freezing weather, a small smile finds its way to her lips.
In a tiny voice, he mutters, "Just who are you? And where are you from?"
"Enna-" her voice pipes up, but is soon dismissed.
"Anyways, don't worry about dinner. Go help Et bring in the firewood, she should be about done."
She stares at his back in silence before replying, "Alright."
After making her way out of the kitchen, Ulrika steps out of the living room door and into the winter world. She spots Et at the edge of the cabin stacking the chopped wood, preparing to hull them in.
"Ah, Ulrika-chan!" calls out Et. "What are you doing out here?"
"Enna told me to come out and help you bring in the firewood."
"Oh, thanks Ulrika-chan, but I'm fine. This is as easy as...as um...boiling noodles!"
"Enna also said he wouldn't let you come near the stove."
"Geh! Did he? W-what else did he say about me?" Judging from her behavior, even Ulrika could tell that cooking is an impossible task for the pink haired girl.
"Oh well, just watch Ulrika-chan!" With her spirit lifted, Et suddenly hurled the mountain of firewood as if she were picking up tiny rags.
Ulrika gasps at Et's amazing display of strength. It seemed too phenominal for Ulrika to believe that her eyes nearly bugged out of her sockets.
"Heehee, come on Ulrika-chan! After I bring it in, let's have a snowball fight!" cheered the optimistic fluff of pink. As Ulrika gulped and tried to turn her down, Et disappeared into the cabin and reemerged in a matter of seconds.
"Hooray! Since Enna's cooking, he can't play with us, but it's okay with just us two."
And once again, she tries to decline, but a cold sonic swish zooms past her so fast, she can barely register it at all.
"I-I just bathed!" Ulrika screams, but her voice dies as another flurry is launched at her.
"Ulrika-chan, do your best!" calls out Et as she ensues a war with snow.
'Oh heavens, I'm gonna die!' her mind screams. Twisting her body around, Ulrika sets off into a sprint and into the nearby woods as humongous snowballs are hurled at her.
As she runs she can hear loud smacks against trees and the sound of crumbling that isn't snow. She gulps and speeds into the forest, trying to get away from Et. It amazes her that she's still alive and breathing.
Seconds, later, Ulrika realizes she trailed away from the cabin to run away from Et. Fortunately the sun is still out and she can retrace her steps. Following the footprints, she comes upon a trail she doesn't recognize, but then again, she ran so fast she barely saw the scenery at all.
"I-I guess it's this way," Ulrika mutters to herself not completely confident if she should. But hey, it wasn't as if she were lost. She just happened to run through the woods without looking at which direction she was headed. She could backtrack, easy peasy.
The more she walks on, the path seems to stray further and further into the woods and every step she takes, a little more of her courage slips away. but still she refuses to believe she was lost.
Ulrika takes a moment to take in the surrounding and realizes that it started to snow. The footprints were slowly being covered and were nearly invisible causing her to panic. In her frenzy, her legs seem to pick itself up and scurry off after the leftover prints.
"Oh no, oh no!" she shrieks. The snow falls harder and begins to obscure her eyes. Soon, she can't even see trees any more. The thought of being buried alive creeps under her skin like the cold sensation provided by the icy touch. She doesn't stop running, until one step leads her sinking into a pile of fresh snow. She struggles to pull herself out while crying for help, only to have it drowned by the winds fury.
"Et! Enna!" she cries. It's no use. They don't know where she is, she herself doesn't even know, yet she continues to struggle.
It doesn't matter what she does, it's futile. The helpless feeling sinks into her like her foot sunk into the snow. It was a cold and desperate feeling. The white wonderland scares her because all she sees is snow and nothing else. It continues to bury everything, leaving her with nothing and she's afraid of that.
"Get out, get out, get out!" she berates herself, but she sinks further down causing her to release a frilly shrill.
And suddenly, like she wished, the snow breaks freeing her from its cold clutches, but now she's falling. She remembers tumbling down and suddenly slamming into something hard before coming to a halt.
The white cold that surrounds her, swallows her, becomes her, slowly overtakes her. The white like the flash, leaves her breathless and again the shadow of a man is walking away. And it is the same white that blurs her vision, the same white that stole from her everything she knew and treasured. It is the same white she unknowingly hates from the core of her heart because it leaves her with a beautiful glimpse full of nothing.
But in that instant she hates, a speck of blue renders into her vision amongst the purest whites. The touch of warmth clasps around her body unlike the dreadingly, icy snow. The feel of silky strands, tickle her nose along with a hint of mints. It's not beautiful like the first sight she saw, but it's warm and inviting. The blur of white mixed with the light blue in her eyes piece together to form the shadow of a man so close that she almost doesn't breathe. Light blue strands brush against her cheek and she feels like maybe this time, she'll be taken to heaven.
"E-Enna...?" she whispers. She hears a dull ring and the echo of pounding snow mute any and all voice.
But it's okay, she thinks, because she believes she's in bliss, that she is in heaven. Her mind drifts between dream and reality, but eventually it goes blank.
Chapter 1 end