The planet of Divixus; a world built around the mystical that was said to have been crafted by the gods' very hands. It is governed by the elements, eight properties that serve as the backbone of how the universe works: the illustrious Light, the creeping Darkness, the twin-sided Luna, scorching Flame, icy Frost, verdant Earth, tempest-ridden Cloud and the unifying Null. The elements serve as the root of all magic used on the planet and rely on their opposite to be complete.
This is the story of a group of crusaders that band together under the belief that they can defeat an enemy that has taken the world by storm. The chronicles of their struggles starts here...
The moon loomed over the ocean with its lucid lavender glow, offset only by an orange glow in the distance. There was a man lying unconscious on the beach of an island but quickly woke up to the smell of smoke.
As he got up, it was revealed that he had blue eyes, wore a white cravat, black military clothes, black boots that went up his knees, a navy blue cape, a yellow box-cut haircut and an armband on his right arm with a treble clef insignia on it.
He searched his surroundings in a daze. On his left, there was the wide expanse of a dark blue ocean. On his right, there was a lush jungle populated by flora and fauna.
"Wh... where am I...?" He asked, his eyes half-opened.
As he turned around behind him, he noticed a large silver plane on fire. It was sandwiched between several palm trees and gave off a bright orange glow.
"Is that the plane I was on? What happened!?" The man shouted.
The flames sparked wildly as he stepped back. They spewed out harder and engulfed multiple trees in their wake.
"C-Crap! What could have caused this to happen?" He questioned.
As he backed away from the burning metal deathtrap that the plane became, he ducked towards a palm tree and slid down to the ground.
"I don't think anyone else got away from that... I just might be the only person to get out of there alive." He stated, breathing heavily.
As he caught his breath, he contemplated what to do as he looked around the area. He searched the spatially infinite pocket inside of his coat only to find nothing.
"What the -- All of my things are gone! Someone must have stolen them. But who? From the looks of this place, this seems to be a deserted island." The man pointed out, biting his lower lip.
He got up and walked around for a bit only to stop at a boulder that led to the jungle ahead. The man looked up and saw a mountain comparable to a skyscraper in height.
"... Just what kind of place is this, anyway? From the window, it looked like it was entirely coastal, so getting help is probably not an option." He muttered to himself.
He turned to face the path and thought about what to do:
"Since that crash was pretty fatal, there has to be some person or thing living on this island. I mean, everything I brought doesn't just disappear like that. I have to see if there's at least some possible way off of this place, but in the meantime I should look around for something to defend myself with." He pondered.
As he started his search for something, he found a sturdy-looking wooden stick on the ground. It lied on the other side of the boulder, which reached up to the man's shoulders in terms of height.
"A stick? I don't think a piece of driftwood would be enough to protect me from anything out here... But hell, it's better than nothing." The man muttered as he went to pick it up.
However, upon doing so, he noticed a pale figure right next to him. When he took a good look at what it was, he jumped and fell flat on his back.
"Oh crap!" The man yelled, worked up from the sight.
Said figure was the skeleton of what could be assumed to be a teenage girl wearing a slightly torn black and purple high-school uniform with a purple skirt, a purple tie, long gray hair, a red hair band, a purple scarf, black stocking that went up past her knees and white shoes.
However, the thing that stood out the most about the skeleton was the ornate knife-like object impaled through her chest. It had a blue glowing blade along with a silver hilt marked with a treble clef on it.
"... Huh. What's with this girl? That's a Blackmore uniform she's wearing, I can tell that much, but that only brings up the question of just why she would be here anyway." The man muttered to himself as he looked over the corpse.
However, his attention shifted to the knife pierced through her chest.
"Alright... The cause of death. How convenient this would be here." He stated, going over to take it.
As he went to pull it out, however, he noticed something where it was stabbed - a gray stone shaped like a phoenix stuck in the middle of the girl's ribcage.
"A... crystal? Now, why would she have something like this? Well, can't stay around long enough to tell." The man stated, pulling out the knife from her chest.
The stone the knife was impaled through fell to the ground and shattered as the man stepped back out of paranoia.
"... Well then. I'm sorry, miss, but if I'm to have a chance of surviving this island, I'll be taking this." He apologized.
The man turned his back and made his way onto the path ahead. However, as he went away, the crystal inside of the skeleton reformed and let out a crimson light that enveloped the body.
When the light cleared, the girl started to move again, her skin and organs restored and her complexion as healthy as a normal person's. Upon being alive again, it was revealed she had long black hair, purple nails and green eyes.
She took a large breath and audibly gasped in and out. The man heard this and turned around only to be taken aback by the sudden revival of the girl.
"What the actual hell?" He stated in bewilderment. The man slid up to her and went to her side to ask: "How are you alive?"
"Whu-what...?" She drowsily muttered, with her eyes half-closed.
"You were just a skeleton a second ago, and now you're a flesh and blood girl again! How in the hell did you do that?" He shouted.
"Ahhh... I was dead? For how long?" The girl asked as she rubbed her forehead.
"Well... you were reduced to bones, so I assume several weeks had passed." He replied.
"R-really? Oh no! But wait a minute... that can't be. I don't smell that rotten." The girl remarked as she sniffed her clothes.
"You don't? Then how come you were a pile of bones before I got here?" The man stated.
"Something must have disturbed my Immorta Stone. It must have killed me and decayed my body to the point where I become a skeleton." The girl pondered.
"... Immorta Stone? Strange... I've never heard of that before. And what's your name, anyway? You look like a student of Blackmore High School." The man questioned.
"My name? It's Nocta Ventelle. And yes, I am a student for Blackmore - a senior, actually. As for the Immorta Stone, it's the phoenix shaped gem inside of my body - it's a very rare and treasured piece as it has the power to fully restore people upon dying. It only works when it's bonded to someone, though." She explained.
"Hmm... Very interesting. So, this Immorta Stone can bring you back from the dead whenever you want?" He replied as he put a hand to his chin.
"Yes, it can. But to think that there could be something that could stop the magic flow..." The girl stated.
"Do you mean this? I found this pierced through your chest." The man said, showing her the knife.
Her face turned white and her eyes widened at the knife he showed her.
"Oh jeez! Do you know what this is? This is a Silencing Dagger - it has the power to prevent magic from being used! If you didn't come along and pull it from me, I could have been stuck here without any chance of being found!" Nocta stated.
The same expression creased the soldier's face as he imagined what her fate would have been.
"... Well then. I'm glad I came across you then, Nocta." He said.
"Say... what's your name, sir?" She sweetly asked.
"Ah... I go by Lirus Trescale, and I'm pleased to meet you." He said as he held out his hand.
"Likewise! So, what brings you here, mister Lirus?" Nocta greeted as shaked his hand.
"... Long story. How about you tell me how you got here first?" He insisted.
"Well, okay... You see, I'm a witch in training. I work with Dark elemental magic, with my specialty being shadow manipulation. I'm considered by a lot of people to be a prodigy. Apparently I'm so good that Princess Diana picked me!" Nocta stated.
"You don't say? To think, of all people, you would actually meet her standards." Lirus sarcastically remarked.
"I know, right? But that's not all - after I became her apprentice, I was given a mission by your family, the Trescales, to find out information about something called the Deathmoon Mansion. Because of that, I searched high and low for possible tidbits. That is, until I flew over this place." Nocta stated.
"How come? This place doesn't seem like it would be very useful. Also, if you can fly, then how come you don't just take us both out of here?" Lirus inquired.
"I barely got along with just myself flying. If I carried you along with me, we'd be treading water before you could count to five. As for why I came here, I couldn't explain it - there was just some odd feeling about this place. As soon as I dove down to the ground, I knew something was off. I wanted to ignore it, but before I could even blink, I got stabbed in the chest by that same dagger you just pulled out of me. I didn't even see who threw it." She explained.
"Well, there goes one option. So, the knife just came out of nowhere and pinned you against that rock?" Lirus questioned.
"I still remember how much it hurt, too. But anyway - what about it, Mister Lirus?" Nocta asked.
"... I think my doubts about this place being inhabited are gone. Nocta, how about you come along with me? I could certainly use some help to get off this place." He suggested.
"Of course! I'd be glad to get us both off of here! But wait a second. You didn't tell me how you got here." Nocta pointed out.
"Oh yeah... You see, I was flying back home from a mission in a plane. I had just spent several days back in the Outer Fields helping weed out a monster infestation with a couple from my troop. But as we were going back, the plane got shot down without warning and crash-landed here." Lirus recounted.
"Really? How many people made it out?" The schoolgirl asked.
"I'm afraid I was the only person to make it out alive. I can say that without a doubt, considering that the plane is on fire." He stated
"That's awful!" Nocta stated.
"I know. Not only did my buddies kick the bucket, but so did dozens of civilians. I wish we could stay and pay our respects, but I'm afraid that if we stay around here too long, something dangerous is going to come our way. Now come on - let's go." He motioned as he went forward.
"O-of course. I'm right behind you." She nervously replied.
The duo delved into the pitch-black jungle, with the only light being the glow of the knife Lirus had and the purple glowing orb Nocta summoned. There sounded noises of several insects that broke whatever silence there could have been, with Lirus and Nocta close together all the while.
They wandered for a while until they came out onto a large open area. It was a spacious field filled with several boulders and palm trees, with the lavender light of the moon over their head. The duo looked around as they stepped onto the middle of the field.
"Mister Lirus... Can you let go of my hand?" Nocta asked.
"Huh?" He said.
Lirus looked down to see that he was holding the schoolgirl's hand, much to his surprise.
"Well then!" He yelled out before he yanked it away.
"... Are you really that embarassed?" Nocta asked, curious.
"The dark must have been playing tricks on me, is all." Lirus stated, blushing.
"Aw, I understand. It's not often a big guy like you gets scared, huh?" Nocta said.
"If you take that in any other way than - hey, wait a minute." The soldier remarked as he took a good look around. "Nocta, do you see something on that rock over there?
"Hmm? What is it?" She asked, with him going over to it.
He went over to the boulder and noticed deep claw marks scraped against it.
"... Damn! What kind of claws can cut through solid rock?" Lirus muttered as he felt his hand through the indentations.
"Oh wow - look over there! There's more of them." She said as she pointed at several other rock formations and trees.
Each boulder and tree were blemished with slices and tears, with some trees on the verge of falling down due to how badly damaged they were.
"... I don't think we're welcome here either." Lirus mumbled.
"There might be something here as well. We should keep - what was that?" Nocta said only to stop in her tracks.
"What was what?" Lirus asked as he turned to face her.
"I heard rustling. I think we're not -" The schoolgirl replied, only for the noise to pop up again.
She nervously stepped back towards Lirus as both of them grew afraid the more the sounds got louder. The rustling faded only for the ground to rumble and rattle the entire place, much to the duo's dismay.
"... Alright, I think we should-" Lirus stated only to stop midsentence.
A decaying hand spiked up from the ground followed by multiple others. With the hands rose up mutilated bodies, all of them with deftly hammered metal appendages bonded to their bodies.
Under the moonlight, their bloody torn open chest cavities, rotting flesh and large metal claws could be seen for miles. They shambled mindlessly and painfully towards the duo with their mouths agape.
"Alright! Zombies. Wonderful... ugh." Lirus groaned.
Nocta covered her face with her hands and rattled with fear. Lirus on the other hand clenched the knife in his fist. They put their backs to each other as they stepped away from the crowd of undead.
"Wh-what's with these things?" The schoolgirl yelled out.
"They're definitely not any common undead - they're the same creatures that made those claw marks, I suppose." Lirus observed as he made a battle stance.
"Well... umm, should we try and fend them off? I mean, there are a lot of them." Nocta nervously suggested as she turned to face him.
"Let's just try our luck. And you may as well show off how good you really are - cause I'm still kind of sketchy about what you told me." Lirus stated with a grin.
"... Trust me, I won't disappoint. Just wa--." Nocta deviously stated only to turn forward.
She was met with the close-up face of one of the undead. Its mouth tore open and revealed copious amounts of maggots and drool as it lurched toward her.
In response, Nocta shrieked at the top of her lungs and retaliated in her fear as she summoned a blade made from her shadows that vertically bisected the zombie.
She then went on to attack the other undead in a panicked frenzy - she flew through the air and summoned solidified shadows to slice at them, screeching:
"DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE!"
Lirus looked on in awe at the onslaught she caused and bit his lip.
"Damn! She wasn't kidding. And to think she's only 17 or so..."
As he was distracted, however, a zombie slashed at him with its large metal claws. As he jumped forward and let out a yell, he immediately turned around and stuck the knife into his attacker's skull.
The zombie kept shambling, only for Lirus to follow up with a large yellow laser blast that fired out of the hilt of the knife. The headless corpse fell over backwards, only for Lirus to turn back around.
"At least they're not completely different." He cautiously muttered.
Lirus turned around to face more of the undead and shot off crescent-shaped waves of yellow light energy at them from the knife that sliced them all in half.
Nocta had already killed her set of zombies, only for a legless zombie to grab onto her left leg as she stopped to catch a breath. Her reaction was less than amused as she covered her "territory" from view with her hand:
"Whoa! Get away from there! This is no way to treat a lady - I don't care if you have worms coming out of your eye, that's no excuse!" Nocta furiously shouted, followed by a violent kick to the zombie's face.
The resulting shadows that shot out from her kick were inexplicably long spears that gored the zombie and even hit some of the trees by complete accident.
"... Note to self, do not ever get Nocta angry or that'll happen to me." He mused as he saw the incident.
As they kept on fighting, the zombies stopped coming. Lirus went up to Nocta, who used her shadows to beat in an zombie's body until it was nothing more than a pile of gooey crimson. Her face was twisted with fury but when Lirus went up to her, her anger faded and got replaced with a meek smile.
"... Oh, I'm sorry you had to see that." She shamefully muttered as her shadows dissolved from view.
"What was that all about?" Lirus yelled, astonished by her brutality.
"It's... nothing, really. I've just had some severe necrophobia issues ever since I was little. That's why I never go to funerals unless it's inside." Nocta muttered as she twiddled her fingers.
"... Wow. I feel really bad for you now, cause you can't really call yourself a witch if you're afraid of the dead." Lirus teased.
"Hey! You just saw me tear those guys a clean new one - and besides, I won't stay afraid forever. I just got to work on facing my fears, is all." Nocta lashed out.
"Okay, okay. I'm just saying. Now come on, how about we go before more of those guys show up?" Lirus suggested.
"You lead the way." Nocta muttered.
The two of them were about to move until Nocta noticed the slashes on the soldier's back.
"You're hurt! What happened?" She said with a concerned tone.
"Ah... One of the dead guys got me while my guard was down. It's alright, though - this is nothing compared to what I had to go through one time. Vampires are not fun." He replied.
"... I don't want to know. But what should we do about this wound? It looks pretty deep." Nocta asked.
"I'll be fine. I know a bit of healing magic in case this stuff ever happens." Lirus reassured.
"Oh, I see. We should get somewhere safe and treat your wounds there." Nocta suggested.
"Alright." The soldier replied.
However, as they turned around, there sounded loud footsteps and a growl. A large entity tore down palm trees and made mini-earthquakes with every step that got worse the closer it came.
"Oh lord, what is it now?" Lirus asked as he slapped a hand against his forehead.
"Another "friend", I suppose." The schoolgirl stated.
As the footsteps stopped, a large creature jumped several feet into the air from the grove of palm trees.
The entity smashed against the ground upon landing and was revealed to be an absolutely hulking eight-foot tall corpse with a mini-gun grafted onto its left arm. It gave off an impressive roar and left the two dumbfounded in its wake.
"Where did this guy come from?" Nocta complained as she put on an overwhelmed smirk.
"Steroid cyborg zombies with guns... Now I have seen everything. Nocta, get behind me." Lirus stated.
"How come? It's not like your body can withstand bullets... Can it?" The schoolgirl curiously asked.
"Trust me, if I were invulnerable to gunfire, I'd have six hundred less problems per second to worry about. No, I've got a better idea." He replied.
As he raised his right arm, a lavender-colored barrier came up with it. The giant zombie charged at them in an ape-like manner and threw a punch with its muscular right arm. Once it collided with Lirus's barrier, it knocked the two of them back a ways with dust flying as they skidded back from the impact.
Nocta, in retaliation, shot off spinning blades from her shadows at the creature but it effortlessly smacked them away with its minigun. Lirus poked out his hand out from the barrier and shot yellow beams from his knife at the creature, but they only made it stumble back.
In response, the zombie let out a furious roar as the barrels on its minigun spun faster and faster.
"Aw hell, stay close!" The soldier motioned to the schoolgirl as he put both hands on the barrier.
The creature barraged the duo with a steady flow of rapid bullets. The onslaught strained the barrier considerably as it broke out into small cracks.
"Why a minigun of all things?" Lirus stated as sweat dropped from his face.
Nocta saw him struggle to keep the barrier up and tried to think of a way to help:
"He's not going to last at this rate. And the second that shield breaks, the minigun's going to tear us into shreds! Oh, if there was only a way to get past this... I hope I can at least break through its defenses!"
She summoned a shadow and made it sneak over to the creature's machine gun only to turn shoot it upwards as a bladed pillar when she stomped her foot. With a metal clang, the minigun was knocked off balance but quickly fired back at the duo.
"No! Why didn't it work? Well... If anything, I should at least stop it from firing at us!" She anxiously thought.
With a swift move of her hand, the same shadow swerved and struck the zombie straight through its chest and made it stumble backwards. Lirus, on the other hand, fell to his knees as his barrier shattered into a million pieces.
"... Thanks. What would have happened if I didn't find you?" He stated as he held a hand out to Nocta.
"You would have been zombie kibble. Now, come on - let's get rid of our 'buddy'!" The schoolgirl said as she helped him up.
"Of course!" He nodded in response.
As the goliath composed itself, it attempted to use the minigun again but got intercepted by Lirus as he ran ahead and fired off another crescent-shaped blade at the minigun arm.
Unlike Nocta's shadows, the blade sliced through the entire thing with little difficulty. In retaliation, the zombie tried to crush him with its tremendous fist only to be blocked by a shield formed from shadows. With another move of Nocta's hand, the shadows creeped onto the zombie and ripped its arm clean off with sharp tendrils.
Without any other way to attack, the zombie opened its mouth and fired out a reddish-black laser straight toward them only to have it backhanded by another one of Lirus's barriers.
Nocta ran towards the creature and drilled through the creature with her shadows whereas Lirus jumped into the air as he grew a translucient yellow blade of energy to the end of the knife.
He landed straight on the zombie's head only to break off the light sword edge as he hopped back to Nocta. The creature's body fell to the ground as a gory mess while the duo stood still to catch their breath.
"... That was a bit too close for my tastes." Lirus sighed in relief.
"No kidding... We should run away before more show up. I don't want to keep pushing our luck." Nocta proclaimed.
"Good idea. Let's get the hell out of here!" He replied.
With that, the duo delved into the jungle once again and sprinted through the darkness together. Before long, they found themselves in front of a brick gate with black metal doors.
It was guarded by what seemed to be pale-skinned little boys wearing dark green berets, blue and white robes, dirty blue hair, green eyes and angel-like wings sprouting from their backs. They held spears in both hands and looked on the duo with stoic glances. The door they were guarding was open, much to the duo's unease.
"Umm... What is this?" Nocta asked.
"Kids? Here? Well, if that isn't strange, then I don't know what is. Should we go and meet them?" Lirus asked.
"I don't know... something's not right about them. I can't put my finger on it." She muttered in a cautious tone.
"Hmm... We may as well give it a try. Come on." He motioned as he went on ahead.
As Lirus and Nocta went up to the gates, the guards put on small insincere smiles.
"Excuse me. Who are you?" Lirus inquired.
"We're just guards... on guard duty. What of it?" The one on the left replied.
"Well, why are you here? I thought this was a deserted island. And besides, this is a dangerous place." The soldier questioned.
"We know that. It's not dangerous to us though, master Lirus." The one on the right stated.
Upon the boy saying the words 'master Lirus', the duo stepped back a bit. Apprehensively, Lirus gripped onto his knife.
" ... How do you know my name?" He questioned as he raised his eyebrow.
"Oh, our masters know all about you. They've been watching you ever since you landed here." The boy replied.
The two boys slowly waved their hands toward the gate ahead as they spoke in unison.
"Go on. They're waiting for you inside."
Lirus and Nocta hesitated but eventually walked inside. Without warning, the black metal gates shut behind them and startled Nocta as she let out a small squeal. She promptly covered her mouth while Lirus raised his eyebrows at her.
Ahead of them was a two-story building with several grey stone fences surrounding the sides and a path that led up to it that was illuminated with black metal lanterns.
They slowly walked up to the front porch and knocked on the wooden door only for it to creak open.
To greet the duo there was a slender, fair-skinned woman with long yellow hair tied into twin-tails, blue eyes, long red nails, an elaborately designed black, a red and orange dress that showcased her cleavage, a blue choker with a red phoenix shaped symbol on it, blue crystal earrings, black stocking and white heeled shoes.
"Hi there!" The woman energetically stated.
"Jeez, lady..." Lirus mumbled, taken aback by the person in front of him.
"Uh... hello. Who are you, miss?" Nocta asked.
"Who am I? My name is Linoura Tuleriit." She replied.
"Oh, alright then. Do you mind telling us about what's going on here?" Lirus asked.
"Of course! But... why don't you two come into my house, first of all?" The woman smiled as she waved them in.
Lirus and Nocta took her offer and went in. To their surprise, the inside was decorated with lavish furniture and ornate decorations. In the middle of the room, there was a fireplace with a phoenix-shaped symbol marked over the mantle. The duo sat down on a large sofa while Linoura sat down on a red chair.
"Okay... Allow me to introduce myself. My name is-" The soldier said only to get interrupted by Linoura.
"Ah, don't tell me! You're Lirus Trescale, and you're Nocta Ventelle." She said.
"Yeah. But... how do you know our names?" The schoolgirl asked as unease welled up in her gut.
"You see, I've been watching you two. And that basically means I listened in on your conversations." Linoura explained.
"... Red flags are already being waved, to be honest." Lirus replied.
"I know, but I had to make sure that you two were safe. You remember when the plane was crashing? Who saved you from certain death? I did." Linoura proclaimed.
"You did? Well, I'm very grateful for that." Lirus stated.
"Aw, it's nothing." She replied.
"I'm kind of confused, though... what happened to my stuff? I had a whole hyperspace pocket's worth of things." Lirus stated.
"I honestly don't know, sweetie. Maybe the plane crash rescue didn't go as smooth as I thought." Linoura stated as she shrugged her shoulders.
"So I could have lost all of my stuff forever? My incredibly valuable sword was in there!" Lirus shouted as he leaned back on the sofa.
"Hey, who were those two kids at the gate? They seemed kind of... off." Nocta asked.
"Oh, them? They were my guards to make sure none of the zombies get in here. They're sort of tricksters too, so don't take it personally if they act weird around you." The woman said.
"Okay then... But wait a minute. Why are there even zombies here anyway?" Lirus questioned.
"I'm not sure myself. They just started showing up out of nowhere and ever since then we've had to barricade the area." Linoura said.
"Well... why do you even stay here? I mean, this place isn't a very good location to live in. We're in the middle of nowhere." Nocta stated.
"I'm not living here, sweetie - this is just the house we stay in. You see, I'm a scientist. I came here with my assistant and my guards to do some research on this island, but with the zombies showing up and all, progress has kind of slowed down." The woman stated.
"Oh, I see. How about we help you until we find a way to get off the island? Because if you've been listening in on us, you should know that we want to leave." Lirus stated.
"I wouldn't have it any other way!" Linoura happily said as she clasped her hands together.
"Thank you, miss Linoura! Say... what time is it? Me and Lirus have been running around for god knows how long and we're kind of tired." Nocta asked.
"It's midnight. Now that you bring it up... I think it's time we all got a bit of shut-eye, don't you agree?" Linoura said as she got up from her chair.
"Yeah. But where are we going to sleep?" The soldier asked.
"We've actually made rooms for you upstairs since we knew you were coming." Linoura replied.
"Well... thanks a lot! I appreciate your hospitality, miss." He mumbled, with him and Nocta went up the stairs.
"You're welcome! Please, make yourselves at home!" She curtseyed with a warm smile.
When the two of them went upstairs, Linoura's thoughts ran wild but didn't break her smile:
"Finally... we'll be together again."
Once upstairs, the duo went into two seperate rooms. They were rather small, with one window each and plainly colored white walls, ceiling fans and rather well-made beds.
On the sides of their beds, there were nighttables with digital clocks that read twelve o' clock. There were no other clothes available for them, so they stuck to undressing and just delved into sleep.
The clocks now read four thirty five AM as the soldier and the schoolgirl were deep in sleep.
That is until Nocta was awakened by an unknown noise. She sprung up from her bed, confused at what the sound could have been. She looked around and saw nothing but the light that came in through the window.
"What was... that?" She muttered as she held onto her blanket.
She decided to get out of bed and looked out the window but saw nothing but blackened rows of palm trees and the moon in the sky. Despite her heart beating, she returned to bed only to hear another noise. This time it was eerily clear - it sounded like a man's scream.
"Okay, so I wasn't imagining it! That was definitely someone in pain. Could it have been... No!" She muttered.
Nocta ran out the door and went to Lirus's room. She burst through the door only to find him peacefully asleep in the bed. The schoolgirl let out a sigh of relief as she stood in the doorway.
"Oh thank god. But if it wasn't him, then who? He deserves to know about this too." She thought out loud.
The schoolgirl went up to Lirus and poked him until he woke up:
"Lirus. Lirus! Get up."
"Wh-what is it, Nocta? What's wrong?" He drowsily asked.
"I think I heard someone scream. And it wasn't a dream, either." She anxiously replied.
"Positive? How do you know you weren't just-" He muttered only to get cut off by yet another scream, except this time it was that of a woman's.
Upon hearing it, chills ran up their spines as Lirus jumped out of bed.
"I see what you mean. The hell was that, even?" The soldier questioned.
"I don't think I want to know, but we have to go and see anyway." Nocta stated.
"Right. Let's go, Noc- jeez!" Lirus exclaimed as he noticed what little the schoolgirl was wearing.
"What? Is something wrong?" She asked.
"No, it's just... Go get dressed. You're revealing to me that you're a mature, grown-up young woman." He muttered, looking away.
"... What are you- Oh. Oh! Mister Lirus, I understand completely. I'll just be going now." She awkwardly giggled, sneaking out the door.
As Nocta left, Lirus kept blushing as he went to put on his clothes. He looked back to see if she was gone only to turn around and slap his hands down against his face.
"I swear, this is just going to be one giant test of patience for me..."
With that, the fully-dressed duo ran down the stairs to see what happened. The lights were off with the exception of lit candles and the orange-glowing fireplace.
There was a doorway that led into what seemed to be a kitchen. But out of the corner of their eyes, Linoura popped up behind Lirus and Nocta. She surprised the both of them when she mouthed out:
"Just where do you two think you're going?"
Lirus and Nocta turned around only to see the yellow-haired woman standing by the stairway as she wore the same dress from before. She had a disapproving scowl on her face as she crossed both her arms.
"Oh, it's just you, miss Linoura." The schoolgirl stated, still shaking.
"It's four in the morning. What are you doing?" Linoura asked.
"Well, we heard something and it woke both of us up." Lirus explained.
"Oh that? It was just a new experiment we were trying out. Nothing to be scared about." The woman stated.
"Experiment? But I thought we all went to sleep." Nocta questioned.
"I didn't. You see, my work is never done, so it's only very rarely that I get to rest." Linoura said.
"Oh, alright. If that's all, then we'll just be going back to sleep." Nocta stated, walking back to the stairs.
"You had me worried there for a second." Lirus stated, going up with her.
Just as they were halfway up the stairs, Linoura suggested to them:
"Hey, wait. Since you guys are up, how about you come and see the experiment for yourselves? I promise that it won't take all night."
"... Should we? I mean, I don't think screams are a good sign." Nocta mumbled.
"Well, if you insist, miss Linoura. Come on, Nocta. I bet we can't say no, anyway." The soldier motioned as they both went downstairs
"Okay then. The two of you just follow me now, alright?" Linoura stated with a smile.
The duo trailed behind her as they went outside from the kitchen area. It was a pitch-black area, illuminated only by more lanterns and the chirps of insects. After a short walk, the three of them wound up in the middle of a large area.
"So what's this experiment about, miss?" Nocta asked.
"Yeah. I'm kind of curious." Lirus stated.
Linoura walked out in front of them, with her back turned.
"Why? Well, it's simple... You're really dense to let me trap you!" The woman said with an evil grin as she turned around.
She snapped her fingers as spotlights shone on the duo, with more of the guards from before crowding around them. Surprised, the duo put their backs to each other as they got into battle stances. Linoura let out an extravagant laugh while holding her hand in front of her face.
"I won't hurt either of you, though. I'm just going to return both of you to your true forms!"
"What's the meaning of this?" Lirus demanded.
"Lirus, dear, I may as well not keep lying to you anymore. Do you know who shot down the plane? Yours truly! The person who threw the Silencing Knife at Nocta? Also my fault! Don't you see? I've brought both of you here for a reason!" The yellow-haired woman laughed maniacally.
"What reason? What could be worth murdering dozens of people?" The schoolgirl asked.
"Hey, I'd gladly kill hundreds as long as it involves getting my brother back..." Linoura stated.
Upon hearing the word brother, Lirus's eyes widened.
"Yes, you! I'm a Zealite demon and therefore, so are you. But for some reason, you were reborn as a mortal, Lirus... that will quickly change." Linoura stated as her grin grew wider.