A/N. Ok, here's the second chapter, hope you guys enjoy it and thanks for reading!
Disclaimer: I own nothing!
C2: Ad Libitum Pt. 1
"Wow, Terresia's World Tree is huge!" The twins immediately recoiled, their hands going up to cover their ears as Mormo's voice reached an unnecessary volume, only made worse by the sheer fact that the whole town seemed to be dead. Of course, it was night, the moon having already risen above the horizon and taken the place of the sun hours ago, but even at night there was life. Nocturnal beings that slept only when the sun shone and thrived in the darkness that revealed the stars that lay beyond the skies, humans that refused to sleep simply because of the adventure and wonder that such a seemingly foreign and mystery time provided, even small creatures, such as cats, usually paraded the night streets without fear. But this town, these streets, were silent, as if the town itself had been abandoned and its people, long gone with the winds. It was strange, and quiet only emphasized just how loud their strange companion was, and just how out of place their group as a whole seemed.
"Shh, Mormo, you need to be quiet." Kanonno instructed, her own voice barely above a whisper and her tone pleading as she hushed the suddenly overexcited cat creature. Mormo squeaked in response, his tiny paws flying up to cover his mouth as he nodded apologetically and immediately lowered himself so that he was flying closer to the ground.
"It's okay." The pinkette replied, head nodding in reassurance to show that no harm had been done. They walked in silence for a time, doing their best to keep up with the obviously more experienced Chester, while still trying to remain unseen. More than once they had had a slight scare, diving into deserted alleyways or behind large bushes and other vegetation as what the twins could only take as soldiers passed by, chatting loudly amidst themselves and laughing about something or another that had happened that day. There were whispers as well, of something or another, rumors that had drifted quickly about a dead body being found in the World Tree, one of their own having been killed in some brutal fashion, no doubt the same man that Lunete had killed earlier that day. If it was in the same man, than rumors did indeed fly fast.
"So why do we have to be so quiet and sneaky?" Mormo questioned as they took shelter behind a large row of bushes as what seemed like the fiftieth group of soldiers walked pass. Chester was the one to answer this time, instead of Kanonno, peeking over the top of the bushes, before ducking back down for a split second to motion that it was safe for them to move for now.
"What?" The creature questioned again, head tilting to the side in confusion, the twins mimicking him from behind.
"Those soldiers that we've been sneaking around. They're part of the Ailily Militia, the town's defense force… Or that's what they are supposed to be."
"So what are they…"
"Now?" The twins questioned, maneuvering themselves so that their bodies were hidden by one of the many buildings that lay snuggled between the roots of the World Tree.
"Tyrants lead by a dictator." Chester ground out, voice dripping with obvious anger as he took the time glance around a corner before motioning for the group to follow him yet again. "Since you guys will probably be staying in Ailily for a while, you should know."
"Know what? Who's this dictator you're talking about?" Mormo tried to push for a better explanation, cutting himself off as Chester held up a hand to signal that he needed silence for a moment. They waited a few seconds more, the quiet of the night starting to get to the twins, as it clearly showed when they started having trouble sitting still. Kanonno gave them both a sympathetic look, probably recognizing that this whole situation and what they had been doing so far was more than just a little disconcerting.
"The town mayor. His name is Ganser, and he's a cruel son of a…"
"Sorry Kanonno." He smiled apologetically before continuing with his explanation, making sure to keep the group moving at the same time. It wouldn't do them any good if they got caught, especially so close to Ad Libitum base. If Ganser decided to investigate the area, and he discovered their hideout, it could spell bad news, for both his friends, the other members of Ad Libitum, and the town as a whole. "Anyways, he's a tyrant, oppressing the people and keeping everyone trapped within town. Nobody can leave and nobody can enter either. He says it's to protect the World Tree, and the mana it provides, from other towns that would want to attack. I think it's just a bunch bullshit excuses."
"He's got a law in place, and as of recently, has been putting special emphasis on seeing it carried out." Kanonno had picked up the explanation where the eldest of their group had left off, seeming to have wordlessly taken charge of herding the twins towards particular spots where they would be well hidden. "It doesn't matter whether your old or young, a defenseless child or a powerful adult. Even if you have a good reason for it, no one is to be outside past a certain time. A curfew if you will. If you get caught at all while outside at night, you'll get dragged off without even being given a chance at a proper trial. He was lenient with the law at first, if you could sweet talk your way out of it you could get away quite easily with being caught outside at night. But for some reason he's now gotten stricter."
"This Ganser guy doesn't seem like a very nice person." Mormo summed up after listening to the explanation, tilting his head to the side and crossing his little arms over his chest as he seemed to mull the information over in his head.
"He's not. In fact, he's the very opposite." Chester agreed, nodding his head in confirmation, as he surveyed their surroundings for a before looking back at the others. "Ok, we're fairly close to the Ad Libitum base. See that building over there?" He questioned, changing the topic to something a little more important as he pointed to what he meant. There was a resounding nod from their three new companions, and Chester nodded back before continuing, "Good. If we can just get there, it'll be a straight shot through the alley. We'll have to jump a wall of course, but once we get over that, we'll be good." He explained quickly, motioning to the empty space that lay between the building and another structure. All three nodded in understanding, eyes narrowing as they took on a look of concentration and seriousness. Chester couldn't but smile slightly, at least they understood the situation to some degree. "We'll explain the rest once we're safe inside. For now, let's worry about getting over that wall. Everyone ready?"
"Yes." The girl agreed immediately, nodding their heads at the same time to further emphasize their point. Belatedly, Chester couldn't help but not just how synchronized their movements were.
"Good." He waited a few seconds, glancing around the corner yet again to make sure that the coast was clear, before motioning with his hand for them to move, allowing Kanonno to herd the girls on ahead first. "Let's go!"
Getting over the wall had been somewhat tricky, Lunete and Eira not being the most talented of people, or the most knowledgeable outside of battle as it seemed. Mormo himself wasn't entirely shocked. They were descenders, born to protect the World Trees that created them. Bluntly speaking, and as cruel as it sounded, they didn't serve much purpose outside of battle. True, they could interact with other beings within the worlds that they were created in, they could develop emotions and even attachments to the people around them, but that was not originally what they were there for in the first place.
A descender was created in times of great strife, when a crisis had befallen the world and the beings that currently inhabited that world could do nothing to stop it, and the World Tree itself did not have the necessary power to eliminate the threat itself. In a way, a descender was nothing more than an extension of the World Tree's influence; pure, raw mana taken directly from its core and given sentient thought and a body in which to move. Very little thought was usually given in the way of personality; as long as they could fight they were of use. There were World Trees, amidst the many worlds and difference universes that existed both alongside and parallel to each other, that took the time to put more thought into the descenders they created, to the point where some even actually thought of them as their children, which in a way, was in fact true. But the fact still remained, descenders existed to fight for and protect the World Tree and the world and lives it supported, and as such, outside of the skills necessary for battle, not a whole lot else was needed.
Of course, it also didn't help that they were in a rush, and pressed for time to get over the wall before they were spotted by Ailily militia soldiers.
"So quick question. I know you said that this Ganser guy said that he was protecting the tree from outside threats originating from other towns, but why?" Mormo asked finally, drawing Chester's attention away from their pink haired friend a few seconds as he tried to get more information about the town and its apparently twisted inner-workings.
"Well, like I said before, it's a bullshit excuse, that much we know for sure. But we don't know what he's really after. Up until a while ago, he wasn't really anything to worry about, but then whole parts of the world started disappearing due to the Devourer, and suddenly he got really powerful and just took control of the town." Chester paused for a moment, glancing over the area one last time before sparing one final glance towards the wall they had just cleared, and motioning for the group to follow him as he made way for the building that lay before them. "He accuses anyone trying to leave the town of being spies."
"What about people entering the town in order to escape the Devourer?"
"He accuses them of being spies too. And they're all found guilty and carted off without even having a chance for a fair trial. We have no idea where they're being taken though."
"Sad…" All three looked back at the twins, blinking slightly as they took note of the upset expressions on their faces. Chester gave a small smile, patting the two on their heads before helping Kanonno to herd them inside the building.
"Yeah, but Ad Libitum is working hard to help the people of Ailily and free the town from Ganser's reign of terror. If we could just… Well, anyways, welcome to the Ailily Chapter of Ad Libitum." Chester finally said, deciding that it might be best to drop the topic for now. The twins were still young, even if they were actually younger than he truly believed or even knew them to be, they didn't need to get involved in this mess just yet in his mind.
On a whim, Chester glanced at a clock on one of the walls, gazing at it for a few seconds before the actual time it read fully registered in his mind. "Yikes…" He grimaced, realized that it was probably best for both himself and Kanonno to get the twins settled in and check in with their leader. The man wouldn't be too happy that it had taken them this long to complete a simple gathering mission that usually took the pair at the most, half a day. "It's really late, and you three are probably really tired."
"I'm not tired at all!" Mormo objected, almost seeming proud of himself, though it was obvious he was almost as exhausted as the twins.
"That's all good and well Mormo, but unlike you, Lunete and Eira are still young and they need their rest. We should at least get them to bed." As if to prove Chester's point, the two girls yawned, Lunete going the extra mile to rub at her eyes as they both fought to stay awake. "C'mon you two, I'll find you a room to rest in." Chester quickly moved to herd the two off to the back area, getting them into a room with a big enough bed for the two since they didn't seem to want to be apart from each other just yet.
"Hey, Eira, Lunete?" Kanonno questioned quickly, hand hovering over the light switch to the room, as the twins got settled in, Eira pulling a defiant Mormo down with them. Both girls immediately gave the girl their attention, though it was obvious that the two would probably fall asleep very soon. "Thanks for helping me back at the World Tree." Both girls released a yawn, blinking tiredly before responding.
"Fine." Kanonno couldn't help but giggle, finding the twins' manner of speech cute, before finally turning off the light and closing the door. She'd have to remember to tell the others that they had guests staying in the room for the night. She wasn't entirely sure how it would go if the twins were caught in a room that, to the others' knowledge, was supposed to be empty.
"Good night you two, I'll come check on you in the morning."
A/N. Hope you guys enjoyed the chapter and thanks for reading! Please leave a review, and see ya!