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Elizabeth: Miracle

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One year, three months, and eighteen days ago, the most important person died.

Time didn't always hold meaning to Elizabeth. In the Velvet Room, a day or a year didn't make much difference to her. She stood at her Master's side awaiting the arrival of a guest. She would offer her services and wish him a safe journey. Life consisted of going through the motions, nothing more. But that all changed when she experienced the human world with him. Suddenly time held meaning. It passed all too quickly when she was with him at the mall, or the shrine. When she was with him in his room, she wished it would never end.

She remembered waiting for him to come. When that door creaked open, blue light would shine through, and he would emerge. They locked eyes and her heart would skip a beat. A faint blush would tinge her cheeks when she remembered his touch. Towards the end of that boy's journey, she contemplated leaving the Velvet Room to live a human life with him. What would he say to such a request?

But now he was gone. The day he died, she wept in front of her Master. Igor stared down his long nose at her. He said "don't fret," and nothing more. Then he waited for the next guest, and a little over a year later it turned out to be that robotic girl, Aigis of the Aeon Bond.

The year leading up to that point had been long and trying. Elizabeth found herself leaving the Velvet Room often to revisit places they had gone together. She also went to places they had never been, but that held some significance to him: the bar where the Tower Bond had started, or the kendo club where he met the Chariot Bond. Her days became divided between cataloging the life that person had been living and trying to find a way to bring him back. Her Master never stopped her, though he did beckon her back briefly for what he had called "The Answer".

Elizabeth remembered "The Answer". Those events had steeled her resolve to bring him back. So she left, abandoning Master Igor and ignoring the counsel of her older sister Margaret. The remaining months between then and now had led her down this road. Finally she stood before the last door, one of many she had taken from the Desert of Doors that had appeared before her. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and went inside.

The atmosphere changed in an instant. The air held a blue tinge and stars glittered in the distance. It felt like she was in space. There was nothing below her feet, yet somehow she stood stable. Elizabeth surveyed her new surroundings, and froze when she saw what she had longed for all this time. Floating in the air was a naked Minato Arisato. His arms were outstretched, suspended by something invisible to the eye. He looked to be in a deep sleep.

"Minato," Elizabeth whispered.

"This is the boy?" came a voice.

The air distorted before her and robbed figure appeared between them. It was a small boy in an unassuming gray cloak. He tugged at the top of his hood to cover his eyes. She saw nothing but the bottom of his face, which showed thin ashen lips over pale skin.

"Yes, this is him," Elizabeth said.

The boy nodded and turned around. "Can you sense it? It's hard to see, but there is a seal behind him. He seems to be attached to it."

"With the power of the World Arcana, he became a part of the seal for Nyx and the darkness in mankind's hearts that summoned her." Elizabeth explained.

"Right, I remember," the boy nodded.

As Elizabeth opened her compendium and began flipping through its pages, the robed boy drew symbols in the air. White light trailed his fingers as he intoned words in a language that Elizabeth didn't understand. When he was done, the symbols began to swirl in the shape of a ring.

"This person is the medium for the Great Seal and Nyx. I will use a substitute medium which will keep that seal intact. His soul will be carried inside that book of yours, which also contains remnants of his bonds with others. The real human body is mostly decomposed, but the shell I've created is a near perfect match. The mind and soul will be transferred to that body and he will be given life once more." the boy said. "The substitute won't hold forever, but it will be enough for him to live out the rest of his natural life. When he dies for any reason, the substitute will fade and his soul will once again return here to be part of the Great Seal. There is nothing to be done about that, unfortunately."

The swirling array began to flash and the air grew heavy. Elizabeth nearly buckled to her knees, but managed to stay standing. The book in her hands started to shake, but she held it firmly. As the flashes grew brighter, she closed her eyes and waited.

After the spectacle seemed to be at an end, Elizabeth looked up to find a life-size burlap Minato doll in place of where the real boy had once been. The doll had buttoned on eyes and a stitched on smiley face with blue straw for hair. The same symbols she saw swirling through the air a moment ago adorned the it's body. The ritual had been a success.

The book in her hands, Elizabeth realized, had a warmth to it. When it was in her hands she felt a connection with Minato. She smiled and held it close to her heart.

"It's done," the boy said.

"Thank you," Elizabeth said with a small bow.

"We're not done yet. Meet me in the living world. We still have to put his soul into the shell."

The air whirred, and the boy was gone. Elizabeth turned around and went back the way she came, the whole time keeping Minato close.

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Yukari: Dream

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It was routine by now, but at its onset she never noticed.

She emerged from the stairwell and onto the school roof to be greeted by the warm sun. It was quiet. Not a soul in sight except for him. He stood by the railing with his back turned and his hands tucked into his pockets. She approached with a smile. He turned to face her. Long blue bangs obscured one of his eyes, and in the other she saw a vacant stare. As soon as she was close enough to put a hand on his arm, that deadpan look melted away and he was all smiles.

"Hey," Minato said to her in that soft-spoken voice of his.

"Hey," Yukari answered. She took his hand in hers and together they sat on the near by bench.

They spent a few minutes in silence as they often did, watching the students eagerly leave, watching ships come into port, and watching the birds fly in the distance. There was a lot to take in from here. It was a place of significance, one they couldn't forget, and one where they could tell that peace had returned to the city.

Minato shifted suddenly and started lying down. He set the side of his head into Yukari's lap. She laughed shyly and pulled at the bottom of her skirt. Then he turned onto his back so he was facing the sky.

"You look tired," Yukari said suddenly, looking down at his face. "You have dark patches under your eyes and you're a little pale. Are you taking care of yourself?" she put the back of her hand onto his forehead; it was warm.

"Hmm. Sleepy," Minato replied lazily.

This was the part, Yukari remembered, where he closed his eyes. He wouldn't move for a while, and just when she would start to worry, his eyes would open and he would ask her if she was okay. She would tell him about what she was doing lately and what was happening in her life. He would smile and tell her he was glad, and when all was said and done, they would leave the roof together hand in hand and she would awaken to the grim reality that he was gone and it had all been a dream.

But this time it was different.

"Yukari," Minato said, wincing.

She frowned, "What is it?"

His body turned to colored sand that spilled out onto the roof, only to be carried away by a sudden gust of wind. Yukari stood with one hand over her mouth in horror. She reached out to try and catch a part of him, but he slipped through her fingers and disappeared into the distance. Yukari fell to the ground, buried her head into her hands, and cried.

"That's interesting," someone said. A hooded boy in gray knelt down at her side. Yukari looked at him through teary eyes."It seems like you two were sharing the same dream before I called his soul back."

And with that, Yukari awoke.