About kyologist

I write that Phantonics thing.

Chapter 1.29

Previous: Chapter 1.28

Next: Chapter 1.30


The dark alleyways of Nexus City were like no other. Clean—not a speck of any sort of filth that would indicate a lack of care. However, it was not the city that kept things orderly.

None dared to venture into the territory he wandered.

It was a mysterious structure of pulsating power formed from nowhere as if it was a portal to another world. Soaring out of it was a glowing spector—a man coated in blue and partially transparent. He collapsed onto the alley’s ground trying desperately to regain his footing and dash away.

A lavender-colored burst of energy shot from the portal, striking the man without hesitation. Now unable to escape, he began to weep.

“Please… Please…! Don’t do this!”

“Hah?” A young man with a rather skinny physique emerged, scratching his moppy, dirty-blond hair in confusion. “Ya know you’re dead, right? Ya have no reason to beg for mercy. Just stop wandering and accept your fate, dumbass.”

“B-But…!” The spirit attempted to stand once more. However, the vulgar man snapped his fingers, causing the remnants of his energy that had struck his target to shift in shape. They quickly became light-purple chains that bound the ghost, somehow connecting to the surrounding walls.

“Ya don’t get it, do ya?” The young man leaned down, grabbing the spirit by their head. “You’re not supposed to exist. Some shit happened, causing freaks like you to wander around that place. Sometimes, ya guys get the bright idea of entering our layer and into the city. That fucks with the network. I get paid to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

“You… monster…!” The ghost continued to struggle to no avail.

“Look who’s talking.” The young man snickered. “Tell ya what. If ya can remember your name, then I’ll consider letting ya go.” 

“My name…?” The spirit fell silent.

“Exactly. Your memories are completely shot, right? They rotted away since you’re all fucked up, and your phantons keep trying to make ya an intelligent occurrence. If I leave ya running around shitting your pants, you’ll just become a mindless rat shitting everywhere.

The strange lavender substance formed on the man’s back as he stood back up, transforming into two razor-sharp wings with a myriad of feathers. He grinned sadistically while staring down at the terrified soul.

“Here, I can be like an angel for ya! Heaven, hell, the goddamn void—I don’t care where! Ya just have to disappear!”

Before the ghost could scream in horror, the wings descended, smashing the spiritual body on the alley’s pavement as easily as swatting a fly. 

Despite the amount of force put into the strike, the man took care in not damaging anything else. Raising the wings, phantonic energy “soaked” the feathers as opposed to blood. The azure swiftly faded into the air, while the lavender immediately followed. 

“Shit… Boring as usual.” He took out a piece of hard candy from his pocket, quickly unwrapping it and tossing it into his mouth. Beginning to walk, he threw the wrapper behind him which ignited in a bright violet flame, burning away in an instant. 

“I need something more interesting to rip apart… I won’t get stronger at this rate.”

Before taking another step, he paused before placing his foot on the ground.

“…Hey. I thought I told ya Clover Cucks not to pop up outta nowhere?”

Several men had surrounded him, each wearing dark-green suits. Over their eyes were silver steampunk-like goggles with a cerulean lens. One man off to the right pulled out an envelope, holding it in his left hand.

“Alexander Strauss. Sir Rizzo has requested your assistance in a new assignment.”

A violet-colored gust of wind grabbed the article from the man’s hand, carrying it over to Alexander’s. He formed a flame and burned the envelope while perfectly preserving the parchment within. Taking a glance at what was written, he smirked and moved his finger along the lower section of the paper. As if he had written it with a pen, his signature formed. 

“Got it. Now get out of here.”

The same man grabbed the paper and nodded. The agents pulled out what appeared to be guns with hooks attached to the end. They were—quite literally—grappling hooks which they used to latch onto the top of the buildings surrounding them. In a swift fashion, Clover had left just as quickly as they had appeared.

“Weird shits…” Alexander sighed as he began to walk toward the light, scratching the side of his head.

“There were more of them than usual… Are they planning to start some shit?”


Adam felt the comfort of his mattress below him as he slowly regained consciousness. While his eyes gazed at the familiar ceiling, sharp pain radiated throughout his body.

“Gah… Shit. It hurts everywhere…” He sat up slowly—his mind feeling empty. “I’m alive, huh…? What happened?”

Remaining in place for a moment, the memories began to flood back into him. “The… mine. Right… Wait, what happened to everyone!?”

Despite the ache, Adam leaped up from his bed and rushed to his bedroom door. Swinging it open, he quickly realized something was horribly off.

The door had led directly into the mine. Specifically, it had led into the main room where he had begun his fight with Derek. He recognized the shape of the area—potentially a side effect from having Authority over the place—yet it appeared much differently than before. Underneath a giant chandelier radiating a calming blue light, the minecarts had vanished, and it appeared much more orderly than before. 

“W-Wha…?”

Before he continued to survey the changes, a familiar face stood up from the massive table place in the center of the room, rushing over to him.

“Adam! You’re finally up!” Charlotte grabbed onto his shoulders and looked directly into his eyes. “Are you feeling okay? I wasn’t sure how long you would be out of it.”

“I… uh…” Adam seemed in a daze—not fully awake—but was still quite confused over what had just happened. He turned around and glanced at his bedroom door, which had now vanished. “W-What the fuck? No, really. What the fuck?”

“Ah, that? I had connected the gateway to your bedroom with the Azurasphere. The mine’s original properties allowed for access from a certain distance to other locations. It happened to reach your room, so we let you rest up there. We could reach you instantly if there was a problem, and you would wander in here when you woke up so we could talk to you.”

“…I have several questions.” Adam signed. “Like, the ‘Azurasphere?’ What is that? Don’t answer that right now, by the way. There’s another important matter we must attend to.”

“What is it?” Charlotte asked curiously.

“…Bring me back to my house,” Adam demanded. “I have to pee.”


Several minutes later, Adam was sitting at the table across from Charlotte. As he took a sip from his glass of apple juice, he nodded in response to the thing his ghostly ally had relayed to him.

“Okay. Quick review—” Adam placed the drink down on the table. “It’s been about a week since everything happened. I’ve been unconscious the entire time while I recovered. The World Mirror definitely saved my stupid ass from certain death.” He glanced at papers that were scattered all across the table, then took a quick look around the room, noting a few smaller tables with various devices on them, and even more notes.

“We’ve been trying to get things done while you’ve been resting,” Charlotte continued. “As you can see, Jerry has used this room to do a lot of research.”

Adam tapped on the table. “These are made of stone, aren’t they? Winona made them? They’re pretty nice. She could make a living making and selling furniture.”

Charlotte giggled. “I’ve learned from her that she wants to become an architect. She’s been using this place over the last week, designing all sorts of new rooms. It’s been fun, experimenting with different things.”

“I’ll have to look at this place in its entirety…” Adam sighed. “So, you now have 100% Authority over this place, which makes sense. I recall handing you all of it at the last moment there. We’ve completely taken it over from the enemy, and you’ve named it the ‘Azurasphere.’ The color is ‘azure,’ and ‘Azura’ is a name, although I suppose ‘Azurasphere’ sounds cooler than ‘Azuresphere.’ Rolls off the tongue a bit better, I suppose?”

“It just seemed… right to me, for some reason.” Charlotte laughed awkwardly. “Well, that’s the gist of it…” She paused. “Gist…? Anyway—you woke up at a time where everyone else is away doing things.  Brandon and Jerry had to go to the school—Brandon for practice and Jerry to do some work. Winona is helping her father out with a few things. Overall, things are looking fine at the moment.”

“The key part of that is ‘at the moment.’ Obviously, we have a ton we should be concerned about.” Adam sat back in his stone chair which was, surprisingly, quite comfortable. “Win’s Concept is weird… How is this thing not hurting my ass right now? Speaking of, Unity hasn’t found anything out yet?”

Charlotte shrugged. “Not that I’m aware of. She’s reported that everything seems normal. Our activity in the mine wasn’t noticed, so we’ve been able to get away with recuperating. That strange group hasn’t even attempted a counterattack either.”

“So…” Adam paused. “Whatever was in here is gone now…?”

“Yeah…” Charlotte nodded. “I felt it vanish once things started to settle down. I’m not sure how, exactly. Although Authority couldn’t reach into that section anyway, as you could tell.”

“…Dammit,” Adam slammed his fist on the table. “What was the point—”

“I’m going to stop you right there,” Charlotte leaned across the table and poked his forehead. “Don’t beat yourself up with what happened. Everyone’s okay, and we received some good from the situation. This base…” She glanced around the room. “With its power, I can fight much more efficiently.”

“Wouldn’t you have to remain in here, or something?” Adam asked while gently moving Charlotte’s icy finger away from him. “I’m not sure how Authority works, considering it doesn’t seem to be a term used in regular ol’ Phantonics.”

“Jerry was able to discuss that with me!” Charlotte cleared her throat. “It’s true that I would have to either be in an area under my Authority or have it really close to me to receive any sort of power boost. We’ve been testing out theories that could help me fight long distances away, such as creating a ‘warp point’ of sorts with your bedroom door.”

“I knew the mine had passages that shifted around. It can even connect to things outside of it, huh?” Adam scratched his chin. “How did you guys figure out it can do that—”

“Because it was able to connect to your basement.”

Adam turned upon hearing Jerry’s voice, who seemed to exit the wall—a light-blue mist fading away from where he had appeared. He chuckled, tapping the stone behind him. “I just used that entry point, in fact.”

“H-How? Wha—” Adam turned back to Charlotte. 

“Your basement was actually a small distance from where it could physically enter the barrier. There was an effect occurring that caused it to merge with the mine once you entered.”

“As for what I just did,” Jerry placed his hand on Adam’s shoulder. “Charlotte can recognize my phantonic signature, despite me not having awakened phantons. I placed my hand on your basement wall—activating the effect—and I walked right on in here! Aren’t the Ouderkirks freaking cool!?”

Adam looked back at his friend, noting something that caused him to ignore what was just explained to him. 

“Hey, why do you look so exhausted?”

“Huh? Oh…” Jerry chuckled while scratching his head awkwardly, picking up a paper that was near him on the table. “I’ve been extremely busy trying to work on everything. I’m prioritizing things I need to do for school so I can get all of that out of the way. As for the mess you see in front of you…”

“He’s been helping out Brandon understand how to work his Concept,” Charlotte answered while staring at a notebook off to the side. “I’m not sure what kind of witchcraft you plan on performing with this…”

“Those are simple equations,” Jerry explained. “I’m formulating a strategy based on how his Concept reacts to certain stimuli. I…” He sighed, placing the paper back on the table after a glance. “I’m going to corner my father into telling me everything he knows. It has to be in a safe environment where I’m certain we’re not being spied on. With the electrical properties of his Concept, I’m aiming to reduce the problem of technological surveillance.”

“That… is an option?” Adam nodded, taking a peek at the notes Jerry just held. “…Oh, I see letters. Not going to even try to understand what specific shit you’re calculating when there are letters involved.”  

“I can explain it for you!?” Jerry perked up—his sudden excitement proceeding to dwindle upon witnessing Adam’s cold glare. “Ah, I guess there’s not much time to do that right now.”

“Charlotte,” Adam glances over to her. “Didn’t you say you possessed people to get info out of them or something? Why not save Jerry the trouble and try it?”

“I couldn’t obtain specific info that I wanted when I tried that…” Charlotte explained. “It took me several attempts with different individuals to get what I needed. It took time since the technique is incredibly taxing on my energy reserves. I would need to lure them inside here so I have an unlimited supply of power to survey all the things in their head.”

“It’s not a good idea, regardless,” Jerry tapped on the table. “I don’t want Charlotte near any Unity tech. It can probably pick up on her quite easily. And my dad’s always surrounded by that stuff. Therein lies the problem.”

“Even before all of this began with you guys, I was aware that Unity had the means to track me. I didn’t know too many details, so I just avoided it all entirely.”

“Hmm…” Adam was deep in thought. “Jerry, are you still trying to hack Requiem’s servers? That’s what you were originally doing to get info, yeah?”

“I’ve been keeping up with it, except…” Jerry disappointingly shook his head. “I… can’t seem to get it. However! If I stay up tonight, there is something I’d like to try—”

“Forget it. Scrap the idea for now. You need sleep,” Adam pointed at him. “I don’t want you ruining your health over this.”

“I-I suppose you’re right about that—”

“I’m always right when it comes to sleep,” Adam stated firmly. 

“Yes, yes,” Jerry shook his head, sighing with a light smile. “You seem to be in high spirits, at least. How’s your body feeling?”

“It still aches,” Adam motioned his arm around. “It doesn’t seem like the World Mirror has completely fixed it yet,”

“I see. That’s what I expected…” Jerry noted, walking over to one of the side tables to pick up a yellow notebook.

“Oh, a yellow one? Don’t you use those for important stuff?” Adam asked.

“Understanding this ‘World Mirror’ is extremely important!” Jerry flipped through a few pages. Taking out a pen from his pocket, he began writing frantically.

“W-Well, if you’re still not feeling 100%,” Charlotte leaned forward, poking Adam to get his attention. “Why don’t you take a bath in the hot springs?”

“…The what now?”

“That would help—indeed!” Jerry rushed over and threw the notebook onto the table next to Adam. “It’s a perfect opportunity! I can see how the water can affect someone who doesn’t have phantons!” 

Adam stared at his friend for a moment, before exhaling loudly.

“Just show me.”


Steam blanketed the water-filled room. The underground hot spring wasn’t too enormous—only a couple of meters in size. Blue particles of light floated around the space, granting as much vision as possible in the mist.

Adam and Jerry were soaking in the water, leaning up against a tall stone structure that almost reached the ceiling, which seemed to cut the room in two.

“So, what are your thoughts?” Jerry asked with a satisfied grin on his face. “The phantons are capable of enhancing the properties of the water, making it better than any other hot spring. It’s ideal for someone with phantons since it can rejuvenate their bodies and help with fatigue. Most importantly, however, it can help speed up recovery from injuries.”

“How the f—” Adam shook his head, choosing to disregard the process’s technicalities for the moment. “Anyway, this kind of heat is… comforting,” He nodded, cupping his hands to fill them, proceeding to wash his face. His eyes began to glow as he peeked through his fingers. “These phantons floating around are naked to the human eye? There’s even more when I see with my power.” He glanced down into the water. “…Ah, yeah. I see tons of ‘em in there.”

“Charlotte told me she was going to use the phantons in the mine to help Brandon heal his leg. It wouldn’t have helped right away, but I believe that if we used these springs that Winona found alongside that, it could have certainly sped up the process.”

“His leg…” Adam lowered his arms back into the water. “That… person with the mask healed it for him? And, they’re the one that fixed up my basement?”

“That’s right,” Jerry answered. “Whoever Charlotte saw that night, they seemed to help us out. I wouldn’t have a clue as to their identity. The Concept that they’re using, however…”

“Fixing Brandon’s leg, fixing my basement…” Adam paused. “…They could be the one who restored the forest to its original state after Charlotte and I fought. And…” His eyes slowly widened. “T-That Concept could explain how Faye and Emma’s house—”

“I thought of that too!” Jerry almost stood up in excitement, stopping before he unveiled too much. “I-I figured that it could be the same person. As to why they’re doing these things, as to why they seem to be helping us…”

“Hmm…” Adam’s eyes widened. “I have been out of it for a week. I didn’t check my phone. Did Faye and the others try to get a hold of me at all? Shit, I should probably—”

Jerry laughed deviously. “I thought about that. No need to worry, I made sure to take measures so that they wouldn’t catch on to anything!”

“…What did you do?” Adam asked with a glare, expecting a ridiculous response.

“You know how you have an identical phone to Brandon’s now? While I was doing some testing with his Concept, I came up with something. By matching up similar technology using his electricity, we could have messages you receive go to Brandon’s phone as opposed to your own. We then send a response, having it appear like it was from your device. Therefore, we could keep tabs on people looking for you so they wouldn’t grow suspicious!”

Adam was ominously silent. Jerry began to grow nervous at the lack of a response.

“…You know,” Adam finally spoke. “Aside from the obvious legal issues with doing that kind of thing, I think that’s an invasion of my privacy.”

“N-No worries!” Jerry assured with a shaky voice. “We didn’t look into any of your personal data! Just responded to people to throw them off your tail!”

Adam shook his head. “Anyway, looping back to the topic a moment ago… What do you think about ‘Time’ as a Concept? Could that be something this person can use?”

“I considered that possibility. However…” Jerry shrugged. “That would be quite the Concept for someone to obtain. You could do so much more with that power, so why would you resort to using it on merely fixing things up after they’re damaged?” 

“That’s what we’ve noticed they’ve done so far,” Adam wagged his finger. “They could already be traveling back and forth through time to change… things…” For a reason unknown to him, the topic of one time-traveling made him feel uneasy.

“Hmm…” Jerry began to brainstorm. “Hmm… Hmmmmmm… Hmmmmmmmmm…

“Meditating, are we?” Adam snickered at his friend’s demeanor, trying to suppress the strange emotion welling up inside of him. “It’s been a while since I’ve seen you so focused.”

Jerry began to swim off to the side where there was a tiny section of land with towels for the two. He got out, wrapping himself up, and ran up to the wall. “I need to look into something!”

“Huh? What about figuring out how my body reacts to this water, or whatever you wanted to do?” 

“Eh, I’ll deal with that later! It was more of a ‘for the hell of it’ thing. Gotta prioritize the important areas of interest right now!” Jerry placed his hand on the wall—a shining blue light appearing which he entered, disappearing from the room.

Adam sighed, leaning back against the wall.

“You’ve been quiet this whole time, Charlotte.”

On the opposite side, Charlotte too was bathing. She was staring at her reflection in the water with a solemn expression.

“Well, I’ve been letting you two talk…” Charlotte responded. “Hey, you want to know something?”

“I’d love to know things. Especially things that would help us deal with all of this much easier.”

Charlotte sighed. “This water… I think it has to do with the phantons I connected with it using my Authority, but I can feel the heat coursing through my body.”

“You can’t feel temperature normally, right?” Adam asked. “Must be quite the weird experience.”

“I wouldn’t call it ‘weird,’” Charlotte laughed lightly while placing her hand on her chest. “It does feel… nice. To feel warmth. It might be even more refreshing to me, considering I’m naturally cold.”

“Hmm…” Adam sank lower into the water. “What do you think about the whole ‘Time’ thing? Could that be the person’s Concept? You’re the one who saw them. Everyone else was frozen in place while you two chatted, right? It’s gotta be something like that.”

“Their presence… upset me,” Charlotte admitted. “I’m not sure why I felt such dread upon seeing them. They had a strange power that completely canceled out my own. Could it be someone from my past?”

“My guess is…” Adam paused. “If they had the means to negate your almighty phanton-controlling abilities, it would have to be someone in your family, yeah?”

“There aren’t supposed to be any left, I thought?” Charlotte inquired. “Well, there’s also a possibility that they could have similar circumstances happening to them. To… answer the ‘time’ thing. Well…”

“Hmm?” Adam put his ear up against the stone wall waiting for the delayed response.

“T-They literally told me ‘time is a tricky thing’ when I questioned them. That’s the reason they couldn’t tell me anything.”

“…I get it,” Adam began to swim over to the patch of land off to the side. “Can’t mess up the timeline, right?” He chuckled, hiding the fact that he suddenly felt sick.

“Adam?” Charlotte could sense his strange behavior.

“I-I think the steam’s getting to me. Gotta get out.”

Before he could exit the bath, Charlotte had grabbed ahold of his shoulder, phasing right through the stone divider. The usual icy cold hand was, to his surprise, warm. The touch felt like it originated from a genuine human as opposed to a ghost.

“Where are you going?” She held her other arm across her chest upon realizing the action she had taken while undressed, yet remained behind him.

“I-I…” Adam was shaking—evidently noted by Charlotte. “I’m sorry…”

“What are you sorry for?”

“I…” Adam began to shake his head rapidly, holding it as if he was in pure agony. “I don’t know! I’m… I-It’s just too much to deal with! I can’t even handle an average life without trying to off myself! How in the goddamn hell did I get caught up in all of this supernatural bullshit!? I—”

Charlotte had spun Adam around, having him face her. She held his face so that he would focus on her own. 

“Remember what I told you in the forest that night? I’ll be by your side. Through all of this. No matter how harsh things get, I’ll make sure things end up okay in the end.”

“…Nobody is forcing you to,” Adam shook his head. “Even if I have this World Mirror thing, don’t think that just because you’re—”

“I’m doing this cause I’m your friend!” Charlotte assured him. “Forget about my royal ties and all of that other stuff. Even if… it seemed like it was due to that, at first. It’s not…”

It suddenly dawned on Adam the situation he was currently in, physically.

“…Friends get this close to each other while naked?” He asked awkwardly.

“I-I…” Charlotte grew flustered, yet kept her hands on Adam’s face to prevent him from looking down.

“I’m not looking, don’t worry.” Adam sighed, turning back around. “In any case… thanks. I… do need to remember that I’m not alone in this nonsense.”

“That’s right…” Charlotte took a deep breath to calm herself down. “Now then. Since I’m able to stay awake now thanks to the energy from the Azurasphere, I think it’s about time…”

“Time for?” Adam asked, glancing back at her out of habit.

“We’re going to learn how to use that World Mirror of yours, of course!” Charlotte declared with excitement. At this moment, Adam realized that the steam was not enough to completely restrict his vision. He looked away upon this revelation before Charlotte noticed—surprisingly, she did not.

“Ah, I see.” was Adam’s blunt response to her answer.


Next: Chapter 1.30

Previous: Chapter 1.28

Table of Contents

SPECIAL THANK YOU TO THE HEROES OF REQUIEM ON PATREON:

Novagirl93

Probably An Update I Should Have Done A While Ago

Hello everyone!

It’s been a bit since I posted anything at all on the site, even an update. I apologize for that. Lately, I’ve been focusing my entire time to streaming, which has become the priority for me. What does this mean for Phantonics, and my writing overall?

Well, Phantonics isn’t done. Don’t worry about that part. I’m always going to want to work on the series in one form or another until it becomes big one day. Yes, whether it will be written out in a web novel format like it has is up in the air. It all depends on what I decide to do with it. So, writing Phantonics might not come to fruition, but I do love to write. Other ideas (such as Across the Land) could be written as well. I think it all comes down to my time and the drive I have to work on things.

Like I mentioned, streaming has become my priority, for the time being. We’ve been seeing some good growth on Twitch in the last few weeks (hit 15 sub points last night, unlocking my second emote slot, for example) and I’d like to keep with it. I made it a goal to stream every day in 2021, and so far, I have done so. I do give myself some breathing room and count streams that roll into the following day (Example: I start a stream at 11 PM one day and it rolls into the next, therefore I count that second day as a day I streamed), so I’m not pushing too hard. It has been exhausting so far, but we’re getting the hang of it. I’ve been trying some new ideas/new games, but we’re mainly sticking to the main formula of Zelda (mainly Wind Waker randos, although I started a playthrough of Ocarina of Time that I want to 100%) and casual stuff such as Fate/Grand Order and the newer stream game for me: Genshin Impact. I hope to keep on experimenting with a more proper schedule, and hopefully have an official one set by the end of January.

Patreon-wise, I’d definitely recommend not supporting me there for the time being, as you won’t obtain anything anyway, which I, again, apologize for. I do want to focus on the thing that has a higher probability of success, and, most importantly, what makes me happier. If you still want to just for the heck of it anyway, I greatly appreciate it. Although if supporting monetarily is the goal, I recommend doing so on my Twitch, as subs go towards sub points which unlock more emote slots for me to fill (and emotes you yourself can use)! I may consider integrating Patreon/my site into my streaming-related content if things grow to that point, so keep that in mind. Again, Phantonics and writing-related content are still possible in the future, if you want to stick around for those specifically. Just know, Phantonics is always being worked on, at least inside my head haha

So, Phantonics is on an indefinite hiatus, for now. If you’re up for supporting me where I’m dedicating my time, head on over to my Twitch and check out my streams! Would love to have you there!

-Kyle

Chapter 1.28

Previous: Chapter 1.27

Next: Chapter 1.29


Charlotte was the first to notice—she was the only one to notice the presence of an additional person. Brandon, Jerry, and Winona seemingly froze in place, unable to react whatsoever.

The hooded figure, cloaked in black, stood off to the side. Charlotte could feel its intense gaze peer through the strange clock-like mask worn over its face. The “clock” did not tell a particular time—there were no hands or numbers to speak of, merely the marks representing each minute and hour of the day. 

“You…” Charlotte began to charge up power to enter her true form. “Who are you—”

With a snap of the figure’s fingers, Charlotte’s transformation was canceled—the raging phantonic energy fading away as she lost control.

“Huh…?”

“I see…” The figure began to speak in an echoey tone. Charlotte was unable to determine whether the distorted voice was masculine or feminine. “You really don’t have your proper strength. You’re… a spirit after all.”

The masked being raised their hand, facing their palm in Charlotte’s direction. A sudden sharp pain formed in Charlotte’s right eye as she grasped onto it frantically.

“Gah! W-What is this…!? Who are you!?”

“…We’re still connected, however. Even in these conditions, huh?” The figure placed their own hand over their mask where their own right eye would be located underneath. “I’m sorry.”

“Sorry…?” Charlotte felt the pain subside while an eerie calm replaced it, spreading throughout her body. “I… Who…?”

“Well, that’s good news. It allows me to play a bit longer if I have some stable pillar in this world. Once I figure out how to get the other source fixed up, I should be able to fully intervene. Finally…”

“What are you saying?” Charlotte asked, glancing around at her friends who still did not move a muscle. “And what did you do to them!?”

“…I heard that it was tough on you, but to think that you’ve forgotten something as simple as this…” The figure shook its head. “I won’t be able to interfere much longer. This world is damaged—far too fragile to use these powers recklessly. I’ll have to leave for a while. But, at least I confirmed something crucial, at last…”

“…Do you know who I am? Do you know about my past…!? Whoever you are, if you know, then tell me!” Charlotte demanded desperately.

“I guess I can see that you’ve always been difficult…” The figure sighed. “I know more than your past, Charlotte. And trust me, I’d love to tell you, but…”

The mysterious person showed Charlotte the back of their right hand, which had a strange azure mark shaped like an arrowhead—the mere presence of its glow radiated a pressure that Charlotte could not describe. 

“Time is a tricky thing.”

With their left hand, the figure once again snapped their fingers, this time in Brandon’s direction. Phantonic energy formed, swirling around his broken leg.

“Hey!” Charlotte stepped forward, still unable to muster up any sort of power. “What are you doing!?”

“It’s my gift to you guys—an apology for causing your eye to hurt. You dealt with it well, though. It can really be agonizing if the connection wants to be a jackass about it.”

“Who…” Charlotte fell silent, unable to comprehend the situation. 

The figure pointed directly at her. “Take care of…” It paused. “…Adam. You’re good at that kind of thing. I’ll do my part whenever I can. I…”

Their body began to fade as a sky-blue light emitted from their body. They leaned over, clenching their fists as if they were upset.

And they were. At the last moment, the figure spoke in a pained tone. 

“…I don’t want any of you to die…”

With the unknown entity gone, the three who were unable to move were now able to. Jerry was still looking at his friends waiting for suggestions to his question while Brandon and Winona pondered the options. Before the red-haired boy turned his gaze toward Charlotte, he almost fell over from a sudden outburst from the friend in his arms.

“N-No way…! What the hell!?”

“Brandon—shit! What’s your problem all of a sudden—”

“My leg…! Dude, my leg!”

“Okay, fish from that one show, what about your leg?” Jerry asked. He gasped as he saw Brandon stomp his “broken” foot onto the floor. “What are you doing!?

“It’s fine now!” He began jumping around. “I-It suddenly felt better, and I was able to move it. Yeah—it’s good! How!? But, yay!”

“W-What…?” Jerry was flabbergasted. “How… indeed?”

“That’s… amazing,” Winona stared blankly at the young man now skipping around the basement. “But… yes. How?”

The three turned their attention to Charlotte, who suddenly fell to her knees.

“Charlotte…?” Winona was the first to react, sliding on her own knee to get next to her quickly. “What’s the matter!?”

She was horrified to see her friend’s eyes water as tears began to fall. Charlotte had started to cry—rather—she started to bawl almost uncontrollably. Almost instinctively, she leaned onto Winona, who grabbed a hold of her gently.

“Hey! Hey! It’s okay! It’s okay…!” Winona assured her, trying her best to comfort the distraught spirit while patting her head.

“T-That person…!” Charlotte attempted to catch her breath. “Who was… W-Why am I feeling this way after seeing them…?”

Brandon had no clue how to react while Jerry let out a long sigh.

“…Tell us what happened when you’re ready, Charlotte.” The young man had notable frustration in his voice—not toward his upset phantasmal friend but the overall irrational situation that had been occurring that evening. Words that his father once spoke began to echo in his head.

“No matter how wise you think you are, never be afraid to ask questions. If you want to be a true genius, things such as pride are a hindrance. I assume you understand that, Jerry?”

He gritted his teeth as he headed toward the stairs. “Is it safe enough to ask him…? Can I find a proper situation where there’s little to no risk?”


Faye exited the bathroom into the dark hallway, holding onto her left eye.

“What… was that? It started hurting like hell out of nowhere. Seems to be okay, though…?”

Faye gazed ahead toward the dim light of her room, the only thing she could see in the pitch blackness. For a reason unknown to her, she began to recall the events of the fire that tore their home apart several years prior.

What stood out from everything else was a mere image of flames with a single silhouette standing unfazed in the center. The only thing Faye could make out was the peculiar clock-like mask the figure wore. 

That person, whoever they were, was the reason Faye and Emma survived that night.

“They’re… the reason the house returned to normal, isn’t it?”

Faye heard the sound of a door opening and closing—the front door to the house. Although feeling uneasy as what occurred with her eye, she had no issue walking toward the entryway of her home, greeting her mother who had finally returned.

“Faye? You’re still awake?” Pam took off her shoes, yawning with clear exhaustion in her voice.

“Yeah… Had an issue I had to take care of.”

“Oh… Wait, I bought more of those, right? We’re still stocked up?”

“Huh?” Faye quickly figured out what her mother was referring to. “N-No, not that! Anyway, are you feeling alright?”

“Heh. Just a little tired.” Pam admitted. “Nothing too out of the ordinary.”

“Right…”

“You know, it feels strange to have you talking to me like that. Merely asking me how I am. You never really used to do that.”

“W-Well I—”

“It’s nothing bad,” Pam chuckled. “It’s nice… You’re finally an adult—you’re ‘equal’ to me now. Not that I ever held myself on a pedestal in front of you girls. At least I hope I didn’t…”

“No, you did nothing like that…” Faye shook her head. 

A silence filled the house. After a moment, Pam walked over and placed her hand on her daughter’s shoulder. “What’s on your mind, honey?”

“…You’re aware of my goals once I join Unity, right?” Faye asked in a dreary tone.

Pam smirked. “I have a pretty good idea. And you have no idea how excited I am.”

“W-Wha…?” Faye was completely puzzled at her mother’s statement.

“Elliot Rizzo—Unity’s Third Executive, who’s had everything under his control for almost twenty years now. If any of us are to finally make things better, we’ll have to kick his ass and become the Fourth Executive.”

“R-Right…!?” Faye’s shock was immeasurable. 

“Rebecca Grayson—Adam’s mother, and my best friend… She should have been the legitimate Third Executive. That didn’t happen. However…” Pam pointed at Faye. “Your Concept is Fire… that’s no coincidence. Her Concept was as well! That means, you’re going to take control from him, right? You’ll become the Executive that she couldn’t be!”

“…I’d love to. But…” Faye glanced at her hands. “I… I can’t—”

Pam grabbed onto her daughter’s fingers, intertwining them with her own. “We’ll overcome this situation where you fear using your flames! I know you have it in you. You’ve overcome a lot, already…”

Faye did not know what to say as she looked off to the side.

“I hope I’m not pressuring you with saying that… I apologize if I am. Making pressure is kind of my thing, with my steam and everything.”

Faye let out a tiny giggle. “Well… wait,” Her eyes widened. “There’s an idea… Hey, do you think I could condense my flames like you do with your steam?”

“Huh?” Pam pondered the question. “I… guess? You can do all sorts of things with a Concept. What are you planning on doing with that?”

“If I can concentrate my fire into a controllable form, then that could help lessen my fear of using it!”

“That… makes sense?” Pam scratched her chin. “Still, we have to get over the hurdle of you being able to release your flames without them disappearing once the panic sets in.” She paused, taking a deep breath. “I… have an idea.”

“Do you!?” Faye asked—her face lighting up.

“Yeah…” Pam nodded. “Actually, it’s an option I’ve known of for a while now. The process itself is terrifying, however. Only Conceptors are capable of performing it—even fewer manage to have success.”

Faye’s excitement quickly diminished. “W-What would I have to do…?”

“It’s… hard to explain,” Pam sighed. “I think I’ll leave it for a person more qualified to explain it all to you. I’ll get in contact with someone in the morning to see if we can set up—”

“Can you at least try to explain it!?” Faye pleaded. “Now I’m gonna be freaking out over it!”

“Don’t worry, don’t worry. You’ll be safe,” Pam giggled while patting her daughter’s back. “And if you are able to overcome it, not only will you have a better understanding of your Concept, you’ll—”

Before the two could continue the conversation, the youngest daughter entered their vision. Emma seemed almost like a demon creeping from the shadows as she glared their way.

“Hey. If you two are gonna keep me up, I’m not doing any damn chores tomorrow.”


Next: Chapter 1.29

Previous: Chapter 1.27

Table of Contents

SPECIAL THANK YOU TO THE HEROES OF REQUIEM ON PATREON:

Novagirl93

“Quick” Update With Writing + Streams

Hi. I figured I’d make this in case people don’t follow my Twitter (which you should, btw).

I decided it wasn’t a good idea for me, mentally, to try NaNoWriMo this year. There has been a lot going on both personally and in general so I figured it would be a bit much to try to write daily to reach a huge 50,000 word goal. Nervertheless, Across the Land will still be developed behind the scenes, and I will plan on releasing it eventually. Still can’t decide if I want it to be a web novel or an actual novel. We’ll have to see. I’ll have more of an idea as we get into 2021.

My goal for this month is to try out a streaming schedule for Twitch. Starting today, I aim to have a stream every weekday. Mondays, I’ll do a playthrough of a brand new game/game I want to beat (for example, I’ll try to finally beat the Ender Dragon today on Minecraft), Tuesdays and Thursday will be reserved for Fate/Grand Order-related shenanigans, Wednesdays I’ll dedicate to Wind Waker randomizers, my usual go-to for streams, and Fridays will be a free day where I choose what I’d like to play. I’d like to start these streams around 12 PM EST (although maybe a bit before or a bit after) and go for about four hours or so. Make sure you follow me on Twitch if this entices you. Streaming is my main goal alongside writing, so (assumingly you’re here because of my writing) just be aware that I do want to have time to work on it as well.

I released Chapter 27 of Phantonics last night after I got a huge surge of inspiration and finished it up. Due to how I’m feeling at the moment, I’m just going to allow Phantonics to have an unrestricted release schedule for a week or two while I work on streams. As I have ideas flowing through me, I may just decide to work on and post chapters on a whim. Or I could work on them and get a schedule going again; the obviously better idea. I’m taking the chapter ahead benefit off of Patreon for the moment, as I do not want to promise them when I have such a flimsy schedule. If I can get well enough ahead, I’ll make that a thing again.

I mentioned before that Chapter 26 was the end of the Crimson Mine Arc. Ehhhhh, sort of. Chapter 27 still branches off of it, and the events of the next chapter or two would probably be a better way to end it. There will be a huge time skip of… a week, so I can use that as the cutoff point between arcs. This is similar to the previous version after Adam’s fight with Derek where he was out of commission for a bit. We still have an entire arc before we get to where the previous version’s first book ended, and we almost have as many words. I certainly put much more content in this version, and the next arc will be similar. Hope you look forward to it/look forward to the story getting back on a regular schedule eventually.

I think that’s enough for now. Just wanted to let everyone know what’s going on/gather my thoughts. Thank you for reading, as always!

-Kyle

Chapter 1.27

Previous: Chapter 1.26

Next: Chapter 1.28


“So that’s how it’s going to be…?”

The leader of the group stood up from his chair, beginning to walk toward a room off to the side.

“W-What now?” Chris asked while looking frantically at the other members.

“Well…” Jason sighed. “I’ve officially lost any way of spying on the place. They’ve legitimately taken over all the Authority we had. With the Ouderkirk girl beginning to change the bull’s body into fuel for her power, it’s safe to assume we won’t have any way to get back in.”

“The girl…” Derek hesitated. “The one who’s supposedly kept down there. What will become of her?”

“He already took care of that,” Jason assured. “She’s ‘safe’ for the time being.”

“Hehehe…” Carl let out a creepy giggle. “That was rather bold of you to bust open the coffin at the last moment. Are you sure it’ll stay in place until we can retrieve it?”

The leader stopped, not turning back to look them in the eye. “Yes. What’s left of that thing is merely a shell. It won’t shift onto our layer until we provoke it. We’ll need a few weeks to prepare. Carl—I leave you to get things situated.” 

“Right right right…” Carl grinned, glancing at the monitor next to him. “I sure wish we could have retrieved the Blood Bull to confirm your theory. If what you say is true, then I have an idea. If we can summon one of them into the world, then our power will surely…

“Unity…” The man clenched his fist. “It shouldn’t have fallen into his hands. If she had the opportunity to lead it, this country—this world would be in much better shape. If she…”

“Get ahold of yourself,” Jason suggested, floating over next to him. “It’s been a while since you even mentioned her. Is what happened tonight the reason? Are you sure she would have agreed to the actions that were taken? I assume she wouldn’t be.”

“Of course not,” The leader shook his head. “The heroes were able to win this time without losing anything precious. It’s possible for that to happen. However, when faced with something that they cannot overcome—”

“Yeah, yeah. I get it, I get it. You want this to be a lesson for him? Is killing him a form of teaching?” Jason questioned in irritation. 

“Man, glad Jason doesn’t have a body. I’m sure he would be dead talking like that to him…” Chris commented anxiously. 

“No, Jason’s right,” The man responded, startling Chris. “In any case… once Carl gets everything ready, we’ll retrieve the remnants. If we encounter the Ouderkirk, we’ll still attempt to capture her—”

“Actually,” Carl chuckled while rubbing his hands together. “I have an idea for that as well. One where we wouldn’t be placed in danger. If you allow me to handle that matter personally, then we’ll succeed.”

“Oh? Very well,” The leader nodded. “I’ll leave you to that. Also, when it comes to Adam Grayson’s peculiar power… there is one thing that comes to mind. Especially if he’s happened to side with an Ouderkirk. It was mentioned by Winifred once before. It sounded as though it was nothing more than a myth, however. I’ll keep it in the back of my head. For now, let’s try to not kill anyone if we can help it.”

“Pretty sure they’re more than capable of killing us, ya know?” Chris flinched as pain surged through his body.

“Oh, yes. Good work, you two,” The man finally turned toward them. “Jason was able to relay what he witnessed to me. My suggestions… Derek—refine how your Full Abstraction works. You have a lot of potential there, especially if you can successfully replicate the rings’ true power. Chris—finish developing your Full Abstraction. From what I’ve seen, it could help tremendously with faster foes that like to move around.”

“Woah, you can actually be a leader…” Chris was astonished. Derek lightly smacked him on the side of the head while approaching the man.

“This girl… is she who I think she is?”

“Yeah…” The leader answered. “I said when I recruited you that I knew what you had been dealing with. I went through the same thing, after all.”

“Even down to the same relation to a Chaonic Entity, huh?” Derek sighed. “Man, what the hell…?”

“The Chaonic Entity in your case is an issue that we surely need to deal with. However, with mine…”

“It’s much bigger,” Jason continued. “It took the sacrifices of one of the world’s strongest Conceptors and the last full-blooded Ouderkirk to contain—”

“Are we sure we should be messing with shit like that!?” Chris asked abruptly.

“…Our group is called Fangless,” The leader began explaining. “We’re weak. However, we strive to obtain strength that can protect all of the weak. My power happens to be a good match with what we’re aiming for, so it’s worth the risk if we can take everything that we’ve lost back while aiming for that goal.”

“Pretty sure you’re not getting what you’ve lost back, especially at this rate…” Jason commented. 

“…At least they still have a shot.” The man said before opening the door he was in front of, closing it behind him.

Derek glanced down at his finger where his wedding ring was once worn.

“If it’s all for your sake, then…”


Inside the dimly lit room, the man walked up to an old rusty refrigerator taking out a few ice cubes from the freezer at the bottom. He threw them into a whiskey glass that sat on a counter next to the fridge, proceeding to pour the drink from its bottle.

“This is something you don’t do at home, huh?” Jason’s shadow asked as it formed next to the man. 

“I made a promise to never do this in front of anyone,” He sat down in a creaky red recliner while taking a sip. “Not that it does anything for me anymore…”

“…Is this the right thing to do?” Jason questioned. “Ever since I appeared that day and you named me, I’ve just been following whatever you decide. I scout all over the place and see all sorts of things, and I’m just wondering… Have you seen enough of the world to know if your world-changing view is right?” 

“If I’m reaching for a reality in where they could have genuinely smiled, then—”

“You’re rejecting the reality that’s here now. There are pieces left over that I’m sure you’d love to see prosper as well?”

“It’s easier for them if I cut those connections.” The man rattled the glass around in his hand.

“…Well, aside from handling Unity, there’s the matter of that other guy. How do you propose we deal with him?”

“If I’m still around by that point, then I’m sure I’ll know the answer…”

Jason sighed. “There’s a sliver of hope that’s appeared today. You should consider that a part of your answer. Due to the results of this incident, one of your goals has already failed, so you might as well—”

With a tap of his finger on the recliner’s arm, a faint red wave of energy shot out. This seemingly caused a reaction of sorts, as a crimson portal formed next to Jason. It began to suck him in like a whirlpool.

“Ah—okay, okay! I’ll leave you aloooooo—”

His voice faded while the portal vanished. The man rubbed his head in frustration while taking another sip of whiskey.

“Aside from your voice, you really are just like him when it comes to being annoying as hell…”


“All right. Adam’s resting now.” Jerry walked into the living room where Winona sat in the chair while Brandon was propped on the couch—taking care to not cause further harm to his leg.

“Is he gonna be good?” He asked in concern.

“It’s remarkable how his body heals…” Jerry noted. “I got all the blood off of him and it’s like he… never even fought to begin with.”

“I sure can use that power right now…” Brandon groaned. “What are we gonna do about my leg, man?”

“From what my dad’s told me, they scan your phantonic activity either by taking your temperature, obtaining a blood sample—that sort of thing. Unity legitimately paid hundreds of thousands—most likely in the millions—to distribute phantonic technology disguised as mere medical equipment. He even uses that stuff. It would be near impossible to avoid some way of them finding out you have a Concept.”

“Well, there is another option…” Winona spoke up. “If you join Unity, you won’t have to worry about getting in trouble. They pay for everything medically-related, so that would—”

“Ain’t they making doctor and hospital stuff cheaper anyway? They’re finally trying to do that, yeah? I’m sure I wouldn’t have to pay too much…?”

“The laws haven’t gone through for that yet,” Jerry commented, shaking his head. “I’m sure it won’t for quite a while. Anyway, moving away from politics… that would be the safest option, at the current moment. I’m confident in saying that Winona would agree on you not joining, however.”

“…How they’ve made my dad continue to work even after his injury, and everything that’s happened to my sister… no. Do not, Brandon. It’s unforgiving. If our bodies didn’t obtain large amounts of durability from our awakened phantons, we wouldn’t last. We’d literally be worked to death.”

“…I made my decision,” Brandon sat up. “We’re gonna go kick Unity’s ass! Between me now having this power, Charlotte being a super OP-magic-ghost-person, and Adam’s OP-magic-god-energy, we can fight back!”

“You’re gonna kick it with your broken leg?” Jerry snickered. “Let’s focus on one problem at a time, preferably the immediate ones right in front of us.”

“I mean…” Brandon began to ponder Jerry’s question. “…So, if I balance on my non-broken leg I could electrify the broken one and like… whip it around or something—”

“Another issue is your soccer practice, Brandon,” Jerry interrupted while taking a seat at the end of the sofa. “A broken leg means that’s a no-go. Which begins a domino effect… You wouldn’t be able to join the college’s team if you don’t complete the practice and you’d lose your scholarship money, which means no school for you.”

“Fine by me!” Brandon cheered. “I finally have something I want to genuinely put my heart into! Being a badass and saving the world…!”

“Although with a different type of energy, you’re just like Adam…” Jerry sighed, proceeding to let out a tiny chuckle. “Listen, Brandon. I assume you can connect the rest of the dots in your head. Basically, you’re in deep trouble. I suggest we find some way of healing your leg fast if you want to successfully take on any of your options.”

“Do you think Adam can learn how to control that power of his and have it heal me too? That could work perfectly, and—”

“We can’t count on Adam right now,” Jerry stated. “Besides, we’re not sure if that would even be possible for him to accomplish.”

“Unity has a way to heal up pretty fast…” Winona suggested. “A Concept that can heal all sorts of injuries a person can sustain. The catch is that it only works with the person’s own phantons, and they pretty much need to be awakened for the process to be effective. Also, if that person’s low on energy reserves or they wait too long, it won’t work. We would probably have to get Brandon to him tonight if we want to do that.”

Jerry nodded. “But obviously—”

“Yeah, I know. We’d basically be handing Brandon to Unity with that method.” Winona sighed, holding her head in frustration. “Man, I’m exhausted…”

“Are you okay, Winona?” Brandon asked. “You fought like hell as well!”

“Tired… but I didn’t take too many injuries, so my body should be okay. Awakened phantons do actually help accelerate our individual recovery, although it still takes time.”

“Let’s say, for example, your leg would heal in eight weeks—normally,” Jerry explained. “You might be able to get it working again in like… two weeks, maybe? That’s still too much time. We need an option on par with Unity’s Healing Concept—”

Charlotte suddenly sprang up from the floor, causing the three to almost jump out of their seats.

“Guys! Something’s happened!”


In the basement, the group was baffled at the sight before them.

The basement had returned to its original state, everything neat and orderly once more. Everything that was broken, such as the washer and dryer, had seemingly fixed themselves.

“What…? How?” Brandon asked while leaning on Jerry’s shoulder for support as his friend held onto him. 

“The forest Adam and I fought in had the same thing happen—it was like our confrontation never occurred. I let it be since we had no way of investigating properly with my power messed up.” Charlotte shifted back to her black-haired form while standing next to Winona.

“Some kind of Concept, obviously. But…” Jerry pondered. “W-Wait a second… Charlotte. Can I ask you something?”

“Yeah. I hope you ask me a lot of things,” Charlotte said. “Now that I can stay awake—hopefully—we can discuss what we know.”

“Right, yeah. Not right now. There’s an important detail that somehow just crossed my mind.”

“What is it?”

“How the—recently named—Azurasphere works. Even if it was a perfect sphere situated underneath Prelude, the size of the town… Adam’s right near the outskirts of the place. If this basement leads inside the barrier, going horizontally, it would take quite a few steps to reach the top of the thing. We’re nowhere deep enough as to where we could instantly be in there once we go through that wall.”

Charlotte rushed over to the cabinet without responding. Tossing aside the structure like it was weightless, even in her normal state, she placed her hand firmly on the wall. Winona was seemingly quite impressed with the feat while Brandon and Jerry were borderline terrified.

“…I see now! I… I think. It must be working kind of like the maze was. Once you pass this threshold, you’re automatically shifted to a section that’s within the barrier. The tunnel that we could see when there was a hole here, however…”

Winona placed her palm on a portion next to where Charlotte was touching. “…I get it. It’s meant to fake you out. It goes far enough to where you can’t see the end with the naked eye, but it’s there. Why is that even necessary? I don’t get it…?”

“You guys don’t see the problem here?” Jerry asked them. The girls looked back in curiosity while Brandon seemed completely oblivious. 

“W-What’s the problem? This place fixing itself up?”

“No, not that. Although that’s a huge concern, too…” Jerry took a deep breath. “Guys, why is this entrance even here inside Adam’s basement?”

As Jerry posed the question, the four did not notice that there was now a fifth person that had joined them. 


Next: Chapter 1.28

Previous: Chapter 1.26

Table of Contents

SPECIAL THANK YOU TO THE HEROES OF REQUIEM ON PATREON:

Novagirl93

My First Year Doing NaNoWriMo + Introduction of the Story!

Happy Halloween! Tomorrow, it’ll be November. Which means NaNoWriMo begins; my first year making an attempt at it. Feel free to add me on NaNoWriMo if you’re also participating!

The story will be called Across the Land. Set in the world of Aeteal (I’m gonna say right now that name is a pun, and you can already figure out how so by the first sentence. You can get it, I believe in you) and stars Colos, an elf who lives in the small village of Slathorne, part of the country of Ultiria. Colos seeks adventure, and would love to go on one. The issue is that he was born with a defect that causes mana within him to build up in his mana network (think of it like a bloodstream of mana) and unable to release magic effectively. His brothers, Igna and Uya, do not have this issue and are able to successfully do what they want. The three were found as babies by their adopted mother, Verrona, in the forest after mysterious lights appeared before her. The green revealed Colos, the red revealed Igna, and the blue revealed Uya. Verrona raised the three like her own children and made sure to keep them safe, as the encounter in the forest was, without a doubt, incredibly mysterious.

Luckily for Colos, his family is kind; the entire village is kind to him. They attempt to help Colos solve these issues to the best of their ability. In Aeteal, you need to have a competent grasp of magic to safely travel the lands; a license is typically granted to allow one to officially take on quests. With his weakened wind magic, Colos—at best—can maybe move a glass on the table closer to him or knock it over.

Everything changes one day. Igna and Uya visit home, returning from their classes at Five Elements Academy located in the capital of Ultiria, Nexen. Uya wishes to conduct an experiment in the old well of the town’s school using his water magic, and he needs Igna’s fire magic to assist. They have no issue inviting Colos to tag along, which he happily does. Wielding a mere Goat Steel Sword (forged from the metal horns goats continuously grow in Ultiria) he travels down below with his brothers. However, what the three discover will change everything; not only for them, but the entire world of Aeteal.

Aaaand that’s all I’ll say, for now. I’ll admit that, currently, 90% of this story is in my head, with nothing written aside from the notes. In order to complete this challenge, 50000 words are going to have to be written by the end of the month. Each day will need around 1500-2000 words if I want to keep on track. Since writing large amounts of words in a short time is my biggest issue in general, it’s going to be tough.

I’ll actually be streaming MORE on Twitch in order to help me take breaks/keep myself sane. Perhaps I may even do chill streams where I write (if that’s allowed, I’m not sure)? So be sure to follow me on there if you want. Aside from the potential writing, I play Wind Waker Randomizers, Fate/Grand Order, sometimes Pokemon, sometimes Minecraft, and other things.

This will act as a prologue to the overall series of Across the Land, which will continue either as a book series or a web novel; I have to see what would work the best, as I obviously still plan on continuing Phantonics. THAT, by the way, will have a very loose schedule this month. I may or may not post chapters at random times, so I apologize in advance for that.

Anyway, wish me luck with my first attempt at NaNoWriMo, and good luck to everyone else who is participating!

Chapter 1.26

Previous: Chapter 1.25

Next: Chapter 1.27


…Huh?

Where the hell… am I?

I can’t see anything…!

How… How do I get out of this?

I’m falling…? Why am I falling?

Wait. I’m slowing down…?

Something… something’s touching my back.

Who is it…? I can’t turn around.

Everything’s pitch black anyway—I doubt I could see who it is. Or… what it is.

Hands—gentle hands… yet they fill me up with anxiety.

Does that make any sense…? No. Regardless of who or what it was, they’re pushing me—I’m now ascending.

As I soar further away from whatever had helped me, I swear I can hear a voice.

“Re… fuse…”

Refuse? Refuse what?

“Refuse… Re… fuse… Refuse. Refuse. REFUSE. REFUSE! REFUSE! REFUSE!! REFUSE!!! I REFUSE!!!

It’s like this void is shaking at the incomprehensible voice’s rage.

Yes, rage. Also sorrow. And… a shit ton of regret. I can feel those emotions ricocheting back and forth around me.

I can’t… breathe.

Is this hell? It has to be some kind of hell. That would be the best explanation.

If I could release words from my mouth—any at all—I would ask this voice what was wrong.

…No. No, that’s not right.

If you want the honest truth… I’d tell it to shut up.

If this is where I meet my end, I don’t want some jackass shouting through the process.

I want my peace and quiet.

…Ah. Yeah. I get it. You really do want to die, don’t you, Adam?

Why do I, exactly?

I know how I got to this point, for sure. However… why me?

Why do I have to go through all of this?

Sure, I want to be at peace. But…

Just why can’t I be at peace while I’m alive?

I…

…That’s right. I told Charlotte to trust me. And… I promised Brandon I wouldn’t die. 

…I guess I don’t have much of a choice, do I?

I can’t let anyone else cry for my sake.

Not again.


Adam’s unconscious body lit up in a white light—the World Mirror’s second wind kicking in at last. This startled Brandon, who was close to using his brand new Concept as a means to shock life back into his friend. With the ghostly aura came a deep breath as life slowly returned. 

“T-Thank god…” Brandon took a deep breath himself. “Is… Is he going to be okay now…!? Is everything good? He’s still out cold…”

Charlotte walked over and placed her hand over Adam’s forehead. “Hmm… I see.” She nodded. “Yeah, he should be out of danger. The World Mirror is prioritizing his life force as opposed to his body. As long as that remains, it can take its time restoring him physically.”

“How can you tell…?” Brandon asked anxiously. “D-Did the mirror talk to you or something?”

“No,” Charlotte chuckled. “It’s not like that. Instead, it… well, it can’t be put into words. That’s why…”

As they spoke, Jerry had finally caught up to the action—the mine now allowing a straightforward path. Feeling like his lungs were close to collapsing, he removed his goggles as Type:Roswell floating next to him tumbled onto the ground.

“W-What… in the… g-goddamn… h—” He could not help but cough violently. “Br-Brandon…! Concept…!? How!? Adam… I-Is he…?”

“H-He’s fine!” Brandon exhaled in relief. “It’s all fine now…”

Charlotte returned her gaze toward Adam while Winona walked up to Jerry to make sure he was okay. As her hair returned to back and her clothes reverted to normal attire, she was incredibly puzzled.

“Phantonics… As a science, I truly think it’s impossible to define the things that are happening. It shouldn’t center around the phanton—there’s a much broader scope that we need to look at.”

“Jerry,” Charlotte followed Winona’s footsteps over to the sweaty, exhausted young man. “I need you to work with me from now on. There are things we need to work toward. My ancient knowledge and your modern knowledge need to merge as one.”

“Huh…?” Jerry attempted to stand up straight. “I-I couldn’t agree more. But are you sure? Right now, I mean… aren’t you gonna pass out again. From the looks of this place… you had quite the battle, yeah?”

“That won’t be a problem,” Charlotte assured him. “This mine is now—”

She froze. Turning her head toward the end of the cavern, she could sense movement. By the time she registered the action, it was too late.

There was no immediate danger to the group. Instead, she felt a “snap” occur, followed by a surge of energy rush outside of the barrier. Charlotte understood that whatever was kept securely inside the mine had escaped. 

“…I’ll be right back!” 

Changing back into her spirit form, Charlotte soared through the stone ceiling, phasing through and reaching the surface within a second.

For the next hour, she would scout the entire area around Prelude—energy she took from the mine, allowing her to expand her search range around Nexus City. As the night took over Requiem, the ghost continued to survey any possible route the energy took, attempting to find any trace toward its new location.

Eventually, Charlotte accepted the fact that the strange power had vanished. However, this had a silver lining—she could be sure that her friends and the surrounding community would be safe for the time being. 

Returning to the mine, she recalled the peculiar shadow that had been with the enemy during their battle. Being able to sense the entirety of the spherical “barrier” that remained, Charlotte would be able to know if it was observing them—preventing it from obtaining any sort of information. 

“Damn, you were gone for a while!” Brandon yelled, attempting to stand—failing as his leg would not allow him to. He sat on the ground with Jerry by his side and Adam in front of them, seemingly sleeping peacefully. Energy continued to emit from his body, now with a more calming aura. 

“…It’s gone,” Charlotte said bluntly. “Whatever it is that Adam wished to rescue… it’s gone. I can’t even trace where it went. How did it—”

“That’s fine,” Jerry interrupted. “We can deal with that at another time. For now, the chaos that happened today has concluded. I heard everything from Brandon and Winona’s point of view. Let’s chill here while you tell me yours. It’s safe in here now, isn’t it?”

“It is, and I’ll make sure it stays that way!” Charlotte returned, once again, to her casual form. Sitting down, she took a quick glance around. “Where is Winona, actually?”

“Digging around the cave with her Concept,” Jerry shrugged. “She says there’s a method to her madness. I’m not gonna argue, especially with someone who still has that much energy after a huge fight.”

“She’s not inside of the mine right now… Oh—there she is. Nearby.” Charlotte sensed her friend’s location while her eyes were shut. “Okay… anyway. Let’s talk. While I was searching for that thing, I was brainstorming a bunch of stuff…” She paused. “Brainstorming…? Didn’t think I’d pick up a word like that.”

“Can you guys figure out what to do with my leg…?” Brandon hesitantly asked. “I-I need my leg to work so I can, you know… walk. That would be cool—walking.”

“I have a solution for that!” Charlotte’s eyes lit up. “I think it’ll work! You won’t have to go to one of those hospitals either!”

“T-That’s good,” Jerry nodded. “Normally, we’d get him to one. If they figure out what he’s been involved with, however…”

“Can’t we just lie?” Brandon questioned. “I could say a bear attacked me or… something?”

“You have an awakened Concept now, Brandon,” Jerry explained. “As long as you’re in Requiem, any hospital has the means to detect that.”

Charlotte nodded. “I figured. Well, want to hear my idea? Not just for Brandon’s leg—we’re gonna branch far past that!”

“Oh?” Jerry was growing curious. 

Raising her arms, Charlotte smirked. “I’m taking the spherical shape these guys had for their barrier and recreating it from scratch with my own Authority. We’ll develop our own base of operations and begin our pursuit of the truth! I…” She paused. “I don’t know whether I was a good person or a bad person… Right now, that doesn’t matter. I want to take back Requiem and make it a better place. We’ll start right here…!”

She pictured the structure of the area in her head as it lit up in a vibrant blue. Phantonic energy began to scatter and dance around the cavern walls—each particle seemingly having a life of its own. This calmed the young men who watched the phenomenon while simultaneously taken aback by the magic-like event unfolding.

“The crimson mine is no more…” Charlotte declared—a name forming in her mind. Although a peculiar one, the requian royal found it oddly fitting.

“Welcome to the Azurasphere!”


Next: Chapter 1.27

Previous: Chapter 1.25

Table of Contents

SPECIAL THANK YOU TO THE HEROES OF REQUIEM ON PATREON:

Novagirl93

Phantonics’ 2nd Anniversary! Another Ramble About What I Think

(This is a few days early, but I can’t sleep right now. So, here you go.)

On October 27, 2018 I began posting my story, Phantonics, online. With weekly chapters (sometimes two a week), a few hiatuses, a renewed version that began this January, it’s been a bumpy ride. I’ve learned quite a lot from this experience.

I started writing this story in 2010, where I took a shot every few years or so at working at a brand new version. With a plot that’s been developing for over a decade and characters that I’ve had since I was little, I’ve really grown attached to this story. At one point, I added and removed so many details to the story that I legitimately thought “This is confusing. Maybe that’s the point?” Since then, I centered around the idea that the story was meant to take place in a unpredictable, chaotic world, and it was up to the cast to unravel all of the secrets it held. Although I still stick by this, it has led to a few issues, and mixing in other outside elements has caused chaos for me.

I love my characters. I love them to the point where I allow them to tell the story themselves. Although this is a lot of fun, and it leads to good dialogue, it can derail the story quite easily. Add this to the already confusing world, and you have a lot of situations unfold that are either tangents or completely unnecessary.

I’m pretty sure I discussed briefly in the last rant about the new plot surrounding Brandon and his “alter ego.” It was an idea I’ve had for a long time, and it leads into a lot of good things later on in the story, but I honestly believe working around that in this version messed me up. In the last version, I felt that him awakening to his Concept (Ability back then) was rather lackluster, and wanted to build it up this time. I think I dropped the ball with having all of this alter ego stuff be the thing that leads into it. The last version’s first glimpse of it was at the conclusion of the fight with him and Muraco versus Ivan, where he temporarily awakened it and one-shot the guy. Again, that was also lackluster in my eyes. Brandon is legitimately the oldest character I conceived along with Paul and Charlie, so I want to make sure I write him correctly. He also shows my own growth as a person and writer, as he was rather simple and kind of scummy back in the day. I don’t know, I think I need to take a step back and look at his character some more.

I’ve discussed before my conflict of wanting to continue the story as a web novel. This (along with other issues) has been a leading cause in the several hiatuses that have occurred. As I’m reviewing the last two years, I’m starting to see how the series works overall, and how the concept of a “schedule” for each chapter goes. I think releasing the story less frequently and in bigger “chunks” could be the best route. It gives me more time to plan out what I’m actually writing and allows for more flexibility in my schedule, especially since I’m considering streaming more seriously again.

I’m going to try and get this next chapter done for Tuesday (maybe the Patreon chapter as well), and then I may take another breather in November to decide on how I want to proceed. HOWEVER:

I’ll still be writing. This year, I plan on participating in NaNoWriMo for the first time with a brand new story. It’ll be a breath of fresh air, as I’ve only focused on Phantonics-related content at this point, and it may give me more of an idea on what I want to do with my writing overall when it comes to online content. I want to have the story be a huge prologue, which could lead into it becoming a web novel of its own; it all depends on how it goes. I’ll be posting more as we get into November, so stay tuned.

All I can say is don’t feel bad if you’re someone who can’t decide on what they want to do with their life. I’m twenty-six and am still trying to figure things out. Well, I’m decently confident in believing that writing/streaming is what I want to do, it’s just going about those that’s the conflict. I need time to plan everything more carefully.

Anyway, happy two years to Phantonics. Despite how hellish it is to write you, I still love ya. At this point, it’s guaranteed that the series will continue in some kind of form, so if you—the reader—enjoy the series, don’t worry. I’ll figure out a way to control the chaos. There’s a reason why Chaos Energy is one of the three great World Powers of the universe. What the hell does that mean? That was an out-of-context spoiler, so I hope you enjoyed that. (Hmm… World Powers… World Mirror… Hmm…)

Thanks for reading, as always.

-Kyle

Chapter 1.25

Previous: Chapter 1.24

Next: Chapter 1.26


At the end of the mine lay a tiny room—light seemingly unable to enter. Within these shadows, a coffin was placed in the center. If one could view it, they would see that it was made of some sort of metal that had begun to rust. From the cracks that could be seen along its design, chaonic energy started to leak out.

“…What are you doing?” Jason asked, staring at the group’s leader, who had taken a seat in a chair next to Carl’s. “You’re using power directly from that?

“If Authority is lost over the mine, then this is the only way we can do so,” The man explained. 

Jason’s shadow let out a sigh. “What exactly do you plan on doing with said energy?”

“…Oh!” Carl’s face lit up as he peered through the mine with another shadow—they could only watch over what was currently happening. “You’re… gonna make one!? Yeah? Yeah? Yeah!?”

“That’s right,” The man leaned back in his chair, holding his head to concentrate. “This should be a good test.”

Inside the cavern, the energy formed into a giant red mass as it exited the room and into the wide-open area. Black hooves dug into the ground as four muscular and hairy legs emerged—the transformation beginning.

“…Does everyone here know the tale of the Blood Bull?” The man asked.

“Huh? Blood Bull?” Chris was confused at the name.

“I do,” Derek responded. “Wait… that’s what you’re trying to make?”

“Not ‘trying.’ I’m going to make it.” The man stated firmly as he sat up—eyes closed. “The Blood Bull… After witnessing its mate killed by humans, it lost its sanity. It, in turn, began to kill. Kill. Kill. Kill. That’s all the beast’s existence centered around. The tale goes that its own horns developed a dark, sinister power as they absorbed all of its victims’ blood. You could not escape it—the curse drew in people despite their fear. You could not fight it—the thing seemed immortal. It only died from its own exhaustion, so they say.”

“Why…!?” Jason questioned. “Just why are you going to throw that thing at them!?”

“Cause the good guy always wins.” The man responded. “Well, they always have the capability to as long as they are willing to make sacrifices to do so. That is the test I’m giving. Let’s see what they come up with.”

The Blood Bull walked at a brisk pace while it’s upper body continued to manifest. Sharp, crimson fur covered its enormous frame while its head began to emerge. The bull’s horns formed, completely drenched in a substance identical to blood. 

Just when the process seemed to be complete, something occurred, much like a glitch in a video game, the Blood Bull’s body to shift and distort in a red pixelated fashion.

“Interference…?” The man shook his head—the strain increasing in intensity.

“It’s because of their Authority, isn’t it?” Jason asked. “Even if you still have control over the coffin’s power, that cave is now—”

“No…” The man’s crimson eyes opened. “This is something else. Carl—” He glanced over to the man in the chair next to him. “Bring up the data in File IV for me, would you?”

“…Wait, wait, wait!” Carl shot up from his seat—a mixture of excitement and concern controlling his body. “If you’re asking about that file, then do you mean…!?”

“Yes, I do. Get to it.”

“Right, right… right.” Carl sat back down, typing furiously on the keyboard. 

Derek stared at the two men anxiously. “File IV…? What could that be?”


Despite the error, the Blood Bull—for the most part—had indeed appeared. Regardless of it being a creature of myth or reality, it was a fact that the man—the apparent “leader” of the group—had created a living, breathing monster.

Composed of chaons, it was naturally known as a “Chaonic Entity.”

And it had one goal: Kill.

Beginning to charge ahead, the Blood Bull was rather swift even with its massive size. The entire cave shook as its hooves continuously made contact with the ground. 

It was at this point where Charlotte, Winona, and Brandon could see the beast approaching them.

“W-W-What is that thing!?” Brandon asked in an immense panic.

“It came from the end of the mine… A place our Authority couldn’t seem to touch.” Charlotte explained, changing the sword in her hand into a bow. Creating an arrow, she quickly fired at the monster—the projectile making contact in less than a second. This did nothing, however.

“Winona! Move those two to safety!” Charlotte ordered, creating more arrows and firing them with more power. Just like the first one, these too proved ineffective. 

The Blood Bull prepared to charge at Charlotte while Winona used her sand to move Adam and Brandon away from the battle zone.

“Charlotte…!”

Charlotte intercepted the strike by changing to a gigantic axe—a crimson horn clashing against the sharp and bulky weapon. The force caused the earth surrounding her to shatter to pieces.

“This thing… What the hell is it?”

Charlotte noticed a peculiar sensation as she stared at the bull’s horns. It was a malice of some kind, one that neither human nor beast could generate normally. While she struggled, the ghost girl realized another oddity.

“It’s chaonic… but my power isn’t purifying it?”

Her axe began to crack as the Blood Bull swung its head toward the side, obliterating the weapon—the energy behind the impact launching Charlotte toward a large stalagmite.

Instead of phasing through, she maneuvered around the obstacle, regaining control over the direction she flew in. A moment later, the monster smashed through the stone, continuing its pursuit of her.

“It’s focused on me. Good! As long as I can keep it away from them!”

A ball and chain appeared in Charlotte’s hand. She swung the rattling weapon around a few times, building up momentum. Despite how heavy the object was, she still managed to fly with ease, evading the Blood Bull’s rampage.

While the already torn up cavern was ravaged, a storm of stone scattered around the area. A good distance away, Winona used her Concept to prevent the wild projectiles from causing further harm to the boys behind her. 

Brandon was speechless at the sight. Even if his leg happened to recover through some miracle, he lacked any sort of courage to face a demon of that caliber. 

From the dust, Charlotte launched the ball at the beast. The contact made with its left horn created a gale which blew the stone and sand around them away instantly. Even though she swung with all of her might, her weapon could not dent the creature.

With a roar, the Blood Bull whacked the ball off to the side, prepared to continue its rampage. As it did this, Charlotte motioned the chain in her hand upward.

“How about this!?”

The action caused the ball to swing around the creature as the chain wrapped around its neck in an attempt to strangle it.

At least, that’s what it seemed like Charlotte was plotting. As an Ouderkirk, she could take this “ordinary” ball and chain and cause much more damage. When the weapon had fully constricted the beast—the sphere resting on its horn—she clenched her fist.

The ball became a bomb—phantonic energy stored within was unleashed, producing a devastating blast, point-blank on the Blood Bull’s head.

“Wow…” Winona watched in wonderment at the power Charlotte held. 

“Holy shit…” Brandon said, completely astonished. “Did… that do it?”

A burst of crimson energy answered that question for him. The Blood Bull’s horns radiated magnificent power, which knocked the sky-blue explosion away. 

“What the—” Charlotte could feel the intensity of the beast’s power as it surged through her and the entire mine. She was certain now that this demon had the capability to take back the Authority that the enemy had lost. She could not allow that—the Authority had helped her keep her body stabilized without having to worry about absorbing phantons in the surrounding area, focusing all of them toward the battle. Without it, the fight would be nearly impossible for her to win.

Along with that, she was well aware of the Authority keeping Adam alive.

“I can’t let it fall back into their hands… If that happens, Adam will—”

“Charlotte.”

“Huh? Adam?”

She glanced in the direction the group had moved. Adam was quite the distance away, yet was somehow speaking to her. Even stranger, he was entirely unconscious at this point, with the World Mirror struggling to heal him in time.

“I guess Authority lets me speak to you like this,” Adam’s voice noted. “We both share it here, after all.”

“W-What’s up? I’m kind of busy here—” Charlotte—terrified—evaded the Blood Bull just in time, as it had crazily decided to leap up into the air and smash its head into the ceiling above in an attempt to strike her. The resulting avalanche of stone was nothing to the beast, shaking it off as it came back down. 

“I can still tell what’s going on… Damn, this stuff is freaky. I can’t even explain how this is happening, but it just is.”

“Heh…” Charlotte created several javelins, launching them one-by-one at the Blood Bull from varying directions to see if she could find a weak point. “These powers sure are strange, aren’t they?”

“Yeah. And I don’t think you can defeat that thing with your current strength,” Adam stated. “That thing’s a Chaonic Entity, I’m guessing. It looks like the Blood Bull from the requian myth titled—naturally—The Blood Bull.”

“Is it something similar to how that man was using his powers, based around stories of Requiem? I assume—Authority and all—you saw what happened there?”

“Sort of. Although… it’s sort of hazy since I was unconscious. I’m guessing?”

“You’re guessing a lot, aren’t you?” Charlotte couldn’t help but smirk in response.

“Yeah, remember my whole heroic speech a few minutes ago? With not knowing anything—anyway, back on topic. The Blood Bull is resilient, desiring to kill anything in its way to avenge its mate’s death. I figure that fact is transforming into power for this thing. In which case, you need to unleash everything on it if we have any hope of winning.”

“That… seems like a really nonsensical strategy,” Charlotte admitted. “Besides, my power right now… I’m not sure what the limit is.”

“…I think I have an idea. You’ll probably hate this one even more, but…”

Charlotte managed to catch her breath while the dust gave her temporary cover from the Blood Bull’s constant attacks. “What is it…?”

“You take all of the Authority—one hundred percent of it. The mine will be all yours. Use the power it has and destroy the hell out of this thing.”

“You’re right… That plan is horrible.” Charlotte shook her head. “You need Authority right now! If you lose it, then you’ll—”

“I’m gonna be honest with you…” Adam interrupted. Charlotte flew around close enough to where she could see the three clearly. He had regained consciousness—Brandon and Winona were unaware of this—and looked at her with only his right eye open. “Right now, even after everything that I said… I still feel like I wouldn’t mind dying. Especially if it was to make sure you guys were safe… I-It sucks—feeling this way… However, knowing how much everyone would suffer if I were gone… I-I won’t. I can’t… put them through that experience again…”

It seemed as though Adam was about to cry. As she noticed this, Charlotte began soaring around in random directions while the beast continued its desire to kill, smashing multiple projectiles that she threw at it.  

“Adam…”

“So, I have to ask… Do you trust me?”

“Huh? Trust?”

“Yeah. Do you trust that I’ll survive, even without Authority?”

“I-I mean… the World Mirror is restoring your body as we speak. But I’m not sure if the speed of the process is—”

The Blood Bull managed to close the distance between itself and Charlotte. As it prepared to smash its head into her, multiple stone spikes ascended from the ground below, piercing the beast multiple times.

“This is…!?” Charlotte looked over—Winona with her hand planted firmly on the ground.

“I… I said I’d be back up, remember…?” 

Even though Winona had managed to break through the demon’s fur, the Blood Bull thrashed around, breaking free with ease. The small wounds received lit up with chaonic energy as they closed swiftly. 

“Heh… I prepared them to be wicked sharp, but I also took into account the vibrations it caused while stomping around. I got a basic timing down on how it moves its legs, and at what point the belly is most exposed.” Winona’s body began to shake. “I-Is this my limit…?”

“…You’ll just have to trust me,” Adam said. “We can’t let anything happen to them, yeah?”

“I…” Charlotte hesitated in her response. At this moment, the Blood Bull changed targets, now aiming for Winona and—in turn—Adam and Brandon.

Whether she used a projectile or simply blitzed the beast with her speed, Charlotte knew she was not fast enough. Her mind, thankfully, was now quick to make a decision. 

“I trust you!”

The Authority was transferred to her without delay—Adam had no clue how he did it, yet it happened. As pain overtook him, the last thing that reflected in his eye was nothing but a vibrant azure.

Charlotte had created chains—not from her person but directly from the cavern’s floor and walls. They quickly grabbed onto the Blood Bull, stopping its mighty charge a few feet from Winona. 

The demon roared in frustration as the chains were firmly constricting its movement. Winona felt like she was about to pass out—however, she managed to avoid collapsing.

Charlotte landed in front of her, becoming a wall that divided Winona and the Blood Bull. With a tiny motion of her finger, Charlotte caused the chains to pull the demon upward toward the stone ceiling.

“The stomach, huh?” Forming a bow and a single arrow, Charlotte aimed upward as massive amounts of energy concentrated around the tip. She looked back toward Winona and gave a warm smile. “Giving me advice just like then, I see.”


Charlotte groaned as she stared at the assignment on the desk in front of her. It was a large study hall where kids were either working on homework, reading, or even talking amongst themselves—the teacher appointed to watch over the room did not seem to care what they did. 

“I don’t get this geometry stuff… Why did I bother going undercover here, again…?” She mumbled softly to herself. 

Although sitting a distance away from other students, one girl decided to walk up toward her, sitting in the seat in front of her. 

“Shapes can be complicated, can’t they?”

“Huh?” Charlotte glanced up at her. “Y-Yeah, I guess they can be…”

“I hope I’m not bothering you… I saw you struggling and thought you could use some help?”

“I… suppose. It’s not that big of a deal, though.”

“Well, I’m pretty good at geometry—had to study up on it quite a bit for my own… stuff, so…”

“…Do you know which side of this thing I’m supposed to measure first? And what is the point in doing these ‘proof’ things to begin with?”

“Ah, yeah. Those are silly. But I can help you—wait. I know you just moved here, but we only have a few months left before the end of the year. You don’t know about proofs yet!? Ya didn’t learn them at your old place!?”

“Eh… n-no, not really,” Charlotte chuckled. “I guess my old school wasn’t caught up with the times, or something?” 

“Well, that’s fine,” Winona assured. “You’re Charlotte, right?”

“Yeah…” Charlotte nodded. “You’re… Winona, if I remember correctly?”

“Mhmm!” Winona replied cheerfully. “Now, let’s take on these shapes, shall we?”


“You were one of the first people to speak to me on their own volition…” Charlotte noted. “Wish I could have told you all that geometry help was pointless, but—”

“It wasn’t pointless!” Winona interrupted. “I had fun teaching you! I-I…” She took a deep breath to calm herself. “…Now that I know the truth, y-you’re not going to leave us, are you…?”

With a smirk, Charlotte casually released the arrow from her grasp as it ascended directly into the Blood Bull’s gut. An explosive force began tearing through the creature—the entry point the epicenter of the energy. With the help of the chains, the beast was being ripped apart, piece by piece. 

“There. It seems like I can purify it now. Had to peel the fella’ open to get to all of the good stuff.” Charlotte paused, shaking her head. “That was a weird way of speaking… Anyway, I’ll absorb it into the mine so I can use it as a power source—should help us quite a bit. And as for your question…” She walked over and leaned in front of Winona.

“I’m not going anywhere.”

Winona could not help but stare into Charlotte’s eyes—their usual nonchalant energy was masked by a more firm and powerful glimmer. Although the young ghost woman was willing to return the gaze, another matter at hand interrupted the moment.

“Adam! Hey, Adam! Charlotte did it! We… did…” Brandon’s cheer faded quickly upon realizing the current situation. 

Adam was no longer breathing.


Next: Chapter 1.26

Previous: Chapter 1.24

Table of Contents

SPECIAL THANK YOU TO THE HEROES OF REQUIEM ON PATREON:

Novagirl93

Chapter 1.24

Previous: Chapter 1.23

Next: Chapter 1.25


“So that’s what’s going on…” Winona stared at the blue beast in front of her, which had remained stationary for a few minutes as Adam had explained the situation to her. “W-What should we do…? We’ve gotta change Charlotte back!”

“I’d love to,” Adam sighed as his body continued in its attempt to heal. “But I can’t snap my fingers and make things like that happen. At least, I don’t… think so? Charlotte—return to normal!” 

His fingers would not allow this simple action. The flick Adam wanted to do failed as blood spewed from the contact point, flying all over the place. 

“Gah! Wh-What the—”

Blood also began to gush out of his mouth as he started to shake, collapsing onto the ground in a violent convulsion filled with a mix of heavy coughing and agonizing screams. 

“A-Adam…?” Winona was panicking at this point. She tried to reach down toward him but could not, as Charlotte had started to thrash around once more. Her focus had to remain on the sand within the bestial body if she hoped to keep her friend in place. This caused Winona to remain practically frozen in place except for her hands, struggling to maintain the situation.

“What am I going to do…? I’m going to lose both Adam and Charlotte if I don’t think of something! I’m… I’m at my limit right now. I…”

To Winona’s complete dismay, Charlotte began preparing a new method of attack. The slime that had surrounded her ascended, detaching itself from her body. It began to light up as it shifted from the gelatinous substance to pure phantonic energy. A humongous sphere had taken shape, and it was obvious what was going to happen next.

“If she launches that thing at us… we’re done for!” Winona motioned her left arm to the best of her ability, causing tiny amounts of sand to rise toward the sphere. “Even if I release the sand weighing her down, it won’t be enough…!”

Winona also had to consider the possibility of Charlotte retaliating the moment focus was taken off of her body. In her current state, it seemed like there were no options left for her.

“I’ve got to get Adam out of the way, at least!” She waved her arm, directing the sand in a new direction back down toward the bloody young man. “Can I get him out of the way fast enough…?”


Brandon, clad in fierce electricity, dashed through the cavern at remarkable speed. Although the mine was no longer swapping sections around, he would be quick enough to avoid getting caught in an endless loop.

“This is… a Concept, yeah!? This feeling is… freaking awesome!”

Brandon was going so fast, in fact, that he was soon to reach a wall where the path takes a sharp turn to the left. Normally, one would not encounter a turn in these caverns. However, he would—the obstacle being his first challenge as a Conceptor.

Brandon could see the stone coming toward him fast with the light from his electricity and the torches. What would occur next would all happen within a single moment. 

“Crap, crap, crap!”

Brandon could feel the surge of electricity running through his entire body. This included his brain and nerves, as they began responding even before he was fully aware of what he was about to run into. His feet planted into the ground as lightning tore through the hard stone—Brandon shifting his body toward the left in an attempt to turn in time.

He slowed down, but could not stop entirely. His body slammed against the wall, smashing it to pieces. 

However, Brandon barely felt anything.

“What the…?” 

Adjusting his footing, Brandon took off once more, quickly regaining his speed as he continued to dash forward.

“If I remember correctly, awakened phantons help keep your body more durable, or something. Man, this shit’s cool!”

Shaking his head, Brandon returned his concentration to the matter at hand— lightning scattering and dancing throughout the cave with each step he took. 

“I’ve gotta save him…! For sure, this time!”

The mine began to open up around him as Brandon entered a new section away from the torch-filled passage. Far off in the distance, he noticed a bright light that seemed to be growing in intensity. 

“That’s…!” 

Gritting his teeth, Brandon picked up the pace as electricity crackled around him. He soared through the rocky terrain like an actual lightning bolt, aiming directly where Adam and the others were located. 

The massive azure sphere was in plain view now as it began to descend toward Winona and his blood-soaked friend. In a split second, he understood what he had to do.

“I’m not letting that thing go off!”

Leaping into the air, he instinctively wound his leg around his body. Like kicking a soccer ball, he struck the side of the sphere in an instant—a frenzy of blue scattering at the source of impact.

“Wha—” By the time Winona reacted, the force of the collision knocked her off her feet, quickly spinning her body around to land back on them safely. “What is—”

She could not see what was interrupting Charlotte’s attack—the scene was far too bright. Adam, who had managed to calm himself down, glanced upward as his right eye viewed the phenomenon. Through his silvery-white eyes, he managed to make out a person’s silhouette, whom he recognized easily.

“B-Brandon…?”

“Get this shit…” Brandon buckled his knees, building up enough force to knock the sphere off of its projected path and toward the right of its targets. “OUTTA HERE…!

The attack collided with the ground and began to skid through the cave, shredding the solid stone to pieces as its energy dispersed—an explosion releasing its remaining power hundreds of meters away from them. In the same moment, Brandon landed much like a superhero would—something he managed to calculate doing.

“Heh…” Knowing what he had just accomplished, Brandon stood up with an incredibly conceited expression on his face. “It’s gonna be okay. Cause the Shepherd has arri—”

He collapsed onto the ground, unaware that he had broken his leg upon kicking the sphere away. “Guh!” 

“Brandon…!? What are you doing here—are you okay!?” Winona rushed to his side, seemingly unaffected by the small amounts of electricity emitting from him.

“Gah… N-No, I’m not okay! M-My leg…!”

“You managed to knock Charlotte’s attack away… But going up against pure phantons like that was stupid! You’re lucky you hit it from the side, or else that wouldn’t have worked!”

“B-But I did knock it out of the way… Ain’t that impressive? Please…?” It looked as though Brandon was about to cry. “Please, don’t tell me I broke my leg for noth—” His eyes slowly widened. “Wait… did you say ‘Charlotte’!?”

He glanced to his right, quickly analyzing the now idle creature.

“…W-What the fuck is that—that’s not Charlotte!?” Brandon began crawling frantically away from the beast as he slipped on Adam’s blood, almost causing him to land on top of his friend. “…Huh…? Adam…?”

“I guess I have to be the one to thank you…” Adam chuckled, painfully shuffling his body so he could talk to Brandon directly. “For once, you were pretty cool… even if you did bust a leg to accomplish it…”

“D-Dude…” Brandon shook his head, violently. “Forget my leg! What happened!? You kept pushing yourself, didn’t you!?”

“I sure did—” Adam coughed—it took him a second to resume speaking. “We’re… both not cool, to be honest. So, we have to make sacrifices to pull off shit like this.” 

“…That p-power’s gonna heal you, yeah…?” Brandon questioned, terrified of the state Adam was in. 

“I’m not sure at this point…” The bloody young man started to sit up.

“Hey! You can’t move in your condition!” Brandon attempted to keep Adam in place. Winona, glancing back at Charlotte, leaned down next to the two.

“Adam, there’s nothing you can do right now. While she’s not moving, I need to get you two out of here! I…” She took another look at the beast, now beginning to whimper. “I can’t save all of us…”

“That’s okay, Win…” Adam patted her on the back as he sprung to his feet. “You did plenty. Let me finish this…”

“H-How…” Brandon was in disbelief at what he was witnessing. “How are you able to move, dude!?”

Adam, stop! You—” Winona attempted to grab Adam’s arm, only for her grip to slip off due to the blood that coated him. 

“My World Mirror can’t do much right now… The Authority I somehow have over this place is the only thing helping me move…” Adam began to explain. “She shares the same Authority with me. I’m the only one who can reach her.”

“Does…” Brandon slammed his hands on the ground in frustration. “Does that even make sense!? Winona, does that make any sense!?”

“I’ll leave Charlotte to you…” Winona said—the words leaving her mouth against her will. 

These words cause both herself and Adam to flinch upon hearing them.

“W-What…?” Winona’s body began to shake. “I… I didn’t…”

“No need to worry, Win. I’ve got this.” Adam began to step forward. Brandon attempted to stop him but could not, as he was incredibly confused.

“…What just happened? That wasn’t a natural exchange. At all.”

“W-What do you mean?” Winona asked him.

“You went from a hundred to zero! Ya can’t be all ‘No, don’t, stay!’ to ‘Alright, go.’ just like that! Freaking ‘Oh, I’m the only one who can reach her, let me handle this.’ isn’t a good response to have your whole attitude take a one-eighty—you’re too smart for that shit!”

 “I-I…”

Before Winona could respond, a burst of blue energy erupted in front of them—the force knocking them onto their backs. Mysteriously, Adam—who was closer to the event—remained in place.

Winona swiftly regained her composure while Brandon began to whine in response to everything occurring. 

“My sand…!?”

The earth that Winona had manipulated and transferred directly inside Charlotte’s body had been torn apart—a sandstorm now engulfing their vision. Adam, using his eyes, managed to keep his sight, not even flinching. 

He could see Charlotte’s body begin to transform, decreasing in size. It was evident that she was returning to her normal, human-shaped self. However, with the dust beginning to clear, Adam could see what her new form looked like.

Although she was a white-haired human once more—rather, a ghost—Charlotte was now clad in several dark-blue scales that formed randomly on her skin. They covered her enough that she would not be nude, something Adam was thankful for, as he could not be sure how Brandon would respond to seeing his first naked woman in this situation.

Charlotte was leaning down, growling like a wild animal. Her teeth appeared razor-sharp like one would have, as well. Adam shook his head at the sight before him.

“Even without the Authority, it’s pretty damn easy to tell now…” He let out a small sigh. “You’re afraid, aren’t you?”

She had her attention entirely on Adam now, remaining in place as she hissed at him. 

“This appearance…” Adam shook his head. “Charlotte. Are you able to talk in that state? If you can, then I want you to tell me how you’re feeling…”

Charlotte responded with a sudden, sharp, and agonizing shriek—one that shook the very souls of Adam, Brandon, and Winona. Thankfully, in this form, eardrums remained intact. Even if Adam could regenerate them, his friends behind him would not be as lucky.

“Gah…!” Winona held her head, trying to shake away the pain surging through her body. “C-Charlotte…!?”

“This…” Brandon was unsure of how to process how he felt as he heard Charlotte’s screams. “I…” He backed up, still crawling around on the ground.

Adam came to the realization. Whatever Charlotte was experiencing was something they currently could not deal with. They had no answers to what was causing her such grief. He knew that it was even worse, as she did not know why she experienced such anguish herself.

“Well, if that’s the case, then…”

He leaned down so he could be at eye-level with her as he began to speak.

“You listening to me? I’m not one to walk on eggshells—not anymore. If I think something or feel a certain way, I speak up. If… If everyone was honest with each other—didn’t hesitate or hold back on how they’re feeling, I feel like the world would be a much better place. Granted, it’s tough. Overcoming that barrier… Especially when you know you’re gonna have to deal with shit once you open your mouth. But… it’ll be done and over with. By not getting it out of the way—letting it muster up inside you… it just ruins you. I never said anything, and I just kept my opinion to myself as I watched everything crumble around me. That’s how I got to that point… Anyway. I would tell you to vent all of your frustrations right here and now, but there are two problems with that. One: You don’t even know what the problem is, yeah? That hole in your memory is gonna be a hassle to deal with… Two: There… are things that are really, really difficult to open up about. With how you’re reacting to pure emotions of whatever it is… I can tell. If you do figure it out, it’ll be hard to talk about…”

Charlotte had been staring at Adam in silence as he spoke. Her eyes slowly had vitality return to them, and she began to look more aware of what was happening. The scales were starting to crumble away, causing Adam to motion back at Winona.

“H-Hey! Help me out here!”

“…O-Oh! Okay!” Winona noticed the panic in Adam’s voice as she stood up, rushing over to him. “What… do you ne—”

“Cover her. With something.” Adam was incredibly blunt in his request.

Winona immediately motioned sand around her, forming a cloak-like object. Adam grabbed onto it—noting that it actually seemed quite soft—and wrapped it around Charlotte’s body.   

Brandon attempted to chuckle lightheartedly. “S-Such a gentleman…” He said in a sarcastic tone. 

“You’re lucky I know how you operate, or I’d slug you for that remark.” Adam sighed while keeping his focus on the girl in front of him.

“Charlotte… are you okay?” Winona asked, now sitting next to her.

The ghost girl had grabbed firmly onto the cloak—the comfort helping her regain composure. “Y-Yeah… I… I’m so—”

“Don’t apologize for something that’s not your fault.” Adam glanced downward. “It’s my bad… I rushed in here in the first place, and look at what happened.” He glanced at Winona. “Sorry. Looks like I needed your help, after all. I can’t create stuff out of nowhere—at least I think I can’t. And I wanted to make sure that Charlotte…”

“I don’t even know why I let you go like that…” Winona remarked. “It’s not like me to let something like that happen. You’re injured, and I let you walk right up to her while she was like that…”

“W-Why did I lash out…?” Charlotte began to raise her voice. Although not in tears, she sounded quite pained toward the circumstances. “I-I don’t even know—”

“Man!” Brandon was on his foot now as he skipped over toward the others. “Confusing stuff keeps on adding up, doesn’t it! I had a lot go down before I came in here and saved the day, and now—” He tripped—his face planting right into the stone ground. “GHH…!”

“I think he was trying to add himself into the convo so he could help us help you out…?” Adam shrugged. “And then he fell—good thing you have a Concept now, or else that could have really messed up your face…” He pulled on Brandon’s head, raising it to confirm its condition. “Yeah, it’s fine. As fine as you can be, at least.”

“Y-You guys are all over the place, aren’t you…?” Charlotte questioned, beginning to calm down. 

“We sure are—that actually helps lead to the conclusion of what I wanted to say. Ahem…” Adam cleared his throat, took a deep breath, and closed his eyes. Opening them a moment later, a gentle smile formed on his face.

“The world is confusing. It can be so goddamn random at times, and usually not for the best. So, you’re lucky you associated with me—with us. We can handle that kind of thing. Even if it seems like we can’t… we’ll flip everything upside down until we’re able to. Whatever happens in the future, we’ll be there to solve it together.”

Charlotte was taken aback by Adam’s words. While investigating him and learning about his circumstance before confronting him, she certainly never expected such an attitude to be a part of who he was.

“Mhmm, mhmm!” Winona nodded her head, grinning from ear to ear.

“So freaking cheesy…” Brandon snickered. “But… good. You finally understand, don’t ya? We’ve gotta stick together—that’s the most important part. When dealing with anything.”

Charlotte giggled. “Well, you guys are the ones who live in this era. If that’s how we do things nowadays, then I’ll just have to trust you.”

Winona’s smile quickly faded. “Right… what Adam talked about. Not only is she an Ouderkirk, she’s…”

“…W-Wait a minute!” Charlotte sprang up, taking care of keeping herself covered. “Winona!? H-How are—how did you…!?”

“You’re just now reacting to her…?” Adam shook his head. “Well, you’re going through a lot, so I guess it’s natural.”

Winona placed her hands on Charlotte’s shoulders. “It’s okay. Adam told me. I-If there’s anything I can do to help out… then I will!”

“I don’t want you getting in danger, though!” Charlotte exclaimed. “I’m aware of how Unity operates, and—”

“Don’t worry,” Winona’s face was stern. “I won’t let anything happen to me. Or you. I swear…!”

“W-Well… all right.” Charlotte was hesitant in agreeing, yet managed to do so.

“I didn’t know they knew each other…?” Brandon bumped Adam with his elbow. “How long has that been a th—”

“GAH!” An astronomical amount of pain suddenly tore through Adam’s body, knocking him over onto his side. 

“A-Adam!?” Brandon crawled over and grabbed onto his friend. “That pain’s catching up to you, isn’t it!?”

“No…” Charlotte shook her head, walking past Winona and glaring down toward the end of the mine. “It’s a reaction from our Authority being meddled with! Something’s coming… from that area…!?”

“I’m… gonna assume that the reaction hurts like hell for him cause his body’s all messed up? Wait, what’s this ‘Authority’ thing you mentioned?” Brandon looked nervously up at the two women.

“I’ll tell you later, Brandon,” Winona tapped her foot on the ground. “I can feel it too… What is that…?”

Charlotte grabbed hold of her cloak. “Winona, thank you for making this for me. I’m okay now, so if you don’t mind, I’m gonna use the phantons you put into this thing…!”

“Huh? H-How?” Winona turned to see the sand cloak light up, transforming swiftly into her blue armor. 

“Well, like that. Cool…! I can change the structure of something phantonic, even if you used actual earth to create it?”

“I-I don’t know if that’s what just happened…?” Winona grew flustered. “I-I’m not sure if Ouderkirks are capable of something of that nature, although I can’t be sure—and not to undermine you, o-of course!”

“Winona…” Charlotte glanced at her. “Are you able to fight in your condition? Adam can’t, and Brandon’s leg—along with his inexperience with his Concept—make it difficult for him to help.”

“You know I have a Concept now!? How the hell do you know—did you see me pull off that cool move!?”

“This Authority…” Charlotte looked down at Adam. “It’s… interesting, to say the least. I want to learn more about it. But, for now…!” She returned focus to Winona, waiting for an answer.

“I’ll… I’ll still fight!” Winona assured her, swinging her arms around excitedly. “Even if it’s support, I’ll help you out!”

“Good…” Charlotte breathed in slowly, exhaling as she formed a blade in her hand. “Cause after everything that’s happened down here, I have no clue what’s going to happen next!”


Next: Chapter 1.25

Previous: Chapter 1.23

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