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We need more paper! (ReZero SI)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by JBukharin, Jan 19, 2020.

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  1. Threadmarks: Prologue
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    AN: I generally don't write the notes at the beginning of a story, mostly because I don't wish to annoy people with nonsensical chit-chatting and flimsy detail coming from my tired brain. Yet this time I have to break this rule of mine, just to make a quick premise over what this is all about and why I am particularly invested with this project. Re:Zero is the quintessential Isekai Anime that brought the genre once more to light after few years of inactivity, bringing back to the attention of many the very genre that best represent our generation's desire of having nice things out of the harshness that is life itself. Now, I already said that I wasn't going to bore you there with those well-known facts, and that is why I will skip whatever ranting I could attach to this all and, say what this truly is about:

    Erindor, Lugnica, 422 APF (After Flugel's Passing)

    I should seriously stop listening people and their life advices.

    Twenty minutes of whining from my sister, as she went on some verbal crusade to glorify the need to have some trip to the countryside once in a while to get some fresh air compared to the polluted one of the city, wouldn't have been enough to force me out from my pleasantly comfy chair and away from the computer in a normal situation.
    But I had been quite happy for job-related reasons and I was less prone to reject the very dislikeable idea as I had just started my summer holidays.

    Plus by doing a trip this early on the period of three months I was going to enjoy away from work, I would have a good excuse to skip any other silly proposal from my foolishly extrovert sibling.

    Preparing my stuff for the short trip was a simple thing, having always kept some old schoolbags around that I would generally use as a backpack for 'natural trips' and having already gone camping once in the recent past: A pair of toothbrushes, several tubes of toothpaste, an indefinite number of snacks for quick meals, two pairs of clothes and a First Aid Kit.

    ...Okay maybe I should have packed a lot more, but I was kind of expecting this all to last about one or two days, just enough for my sister to accept the fact I was doing all of this 'against my will'.

    My plans were foolproof against conventional issues... but were quite inefficient to deal supernatural threats.

    An hour or so after delving deeper in the small forest few kilometers away from my hometown, I was ready to set up my newly-bought tent in the nice spot I had found. The ground was flat and the trees weren't as dense as the other areas I had explored until now, thus I decided to pick this section of the forest.

    And now I have to bring everything to a halt as I think the following part of this ridiculous tale is surely going to make some head twirls at the insanity that is there to unravel before my eyes.

    I am a very scrawny dude, doing some physical exercises once in a while and eating moderately for the sake of keeping up with my lacking training regime. I was also average height-wise, 5'8 being the prime result of years of... lazying around.

    I have also never experienced much violence, maybe getting bullied once or twice by the stereotypical kid bully that is always there in elementary schools, so I was pretty much useless in fighting.

    Now imagine my reaction, a simple young man trying to set up a camp, blinking away from the natural reality that was the forest and finding myself in the craziest pickle ever.

    I blinked again, this time my eyes moving to look around the enclosed space I was now in. The first thing that jumped to my attention was the material used to make the room, if not the entire building.

    It was stone, no visible cement between the pieces of rock. Actually those looked ot have been worked to fit best in the carefully-studied pattern to keep it all up and not crumbling on everyone's head.

    There was a large tapestry hanging from one of the walls, showing several human-like individuals and... a dragon(?) facing off something darkened in the cloth.

    The furnitures were of simple wood, but having seen too much IKEA in my life, I knew that those were all made by craftsmen and not by mass-producing machines in some factory in China.

    Finally I glanced at the... people gawking in my general direction as they continued to stare at me with shock and awe.

    Obviously I was kind of intimidated by this sudden... development and- OH MY GOD, WHAT WAS GOING ON HERE?!

    One moment I was enjoying the simplicity of nature and now POOF I was somewhere else with unknown people and-

    “IT WORKED!” I jumped as I was startled by the overly-joyful reaction coming from a… Gandalf?

    I mean, he was shorter and kind of a beggar ripoff version of the grand wizard from Lord of the Rings… but he had a glowing staff!

    Speaking of magical compensating sticks, I was kind of confused about why people would go this far to pull a prank on me.

    I mean, sure I was kind of touched by the fact someone this old would learn how to speak few words of English with this fluent tone, but I couldn’t see why a bunch of unknowns would go this ‘far’ from tricking me.

    There was no way in Goddang hell that this WASN’T a prank.

    I was about to call out this stupid joke off when I saw something… strange. Scratch that, what I saw was utterly impossible!
    One of the better-dressed individuals in the room finally snorted at the celebrating old man and his loud exclamation, picking out a wand(?) out of his inner pockets and pointing it at him.
    A quick, unreachable whisper but the effect was the clearest possible.
    The cheerful elder was immediately turned into a living popsicle, ice completely freezing him on the spot.
    My eyes widened. This wasn’t a prank.

    I blinked. This wasn’t a prank! OH MY GOD THIS WASN’T A-

    “I wish to apologize for the ill-mannered fool.” The man responsible for the magical act started, his stare lowered as he bowed slightly in my direction. “He has always been this… quirky with his lucky moment of magic.”

    I was speechless as my mind was slowly building up what was going to happen next.

    If this was the classic Isekai scenario, I was going to become a hero! One of those badasses that flaunted cool swords and ended up becoming the greatest in the world!-

    “Now I assume you would want to know the reason behind your summoning, Young Sir.” I nodded at his implicit question and the man continued. “This village has been afflicted by a terrible evil and… we need your help, Young Sir.”

    My smiled widened, I could already taste the glory and… it tasted just like the delicious breakfast I had consumed two hours ago!

    “We need you...”

    As the greatest hero of this land!-

    “As our new mayor.”



    Thud

    ----------------d-d-d-d--------------d-d-d-d-d----------------d-d-d-d-------------d-d-d-d-------------d-d-d-d----------

    Afterthoughts: Short, simple and… effective?

    But alas the reason why I didn’t develop this prologue too much is… because this story is going to be long and carefully paced. One of the things I noticed in writing long chapters is that I end up stretching them in the wrong way and… give information with some bad timing.

    This time I will try, and hopefully succeed, by using someone’s interesting method in writing chapters and- Yes, before anyone ask I can keep up with an higher updating production with this chapter-lengths.

    Comments are always accepted, just don’t go ‘full death platoon’ on this poor author. Cheers!
     
  2. Threadmarks: Chapter 1
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    Erindor, Lugnica, 422 APF

    This was bad. This was soooooooooooo bad.

    I know I shouldn’t be whining about having been summoned to fill up a well-paid desk job but… I was and I was doing it so shamelessly.

    Of the many opportunities, of the many jobs I could have been ‘forced into’ that could by any case be connected to heroism and badassery, I was ‘lucky’ enough to get coerced into something as dull as ruling a single town.

    Maybe I was exaggerating a little in my crankiness, but I was incredibly bummed at the prospect of being stuck in a new, magical world and the only thing I could do is doing paperwork and administering this city, Erindor.

    Speaking of the city and the Kingdom it was part of, I admit I was quite elated at the prospect of being in the Re:Zero universe, as I knew most of the known lore about it.

    The enthusiasm vanished at the mere possibility that I was merely replacing Subaru in the canon, thought soon banished by the means of summoning that brought me here.

    The beggar wizard, Egubert, was the prime responsible of my current predicament as he had more than once bragged about his most successful spell capable of bringing out the best candidates to mayor of the city.

    Part of me wondered why this kind of spell had not been used to help out for the Royal Elections in Canon and the answer to that simple dilemma was given out by my new… advisor.

    Orestes de Lis was a former commandant of the Royal Army back during the Demi-Human War and had been a trustworthy administrator for the city in the period in which the several mayors of the town had been unable to rule.

    Oh right, I almost forgot… the mayors here died frequently. If I had to pick out a funny reference, I would say that the job was cursed as much as the DADA post in Harry Potter.

    So not only I had to deal with a job I was only theoretically prepared for, but I had to be careful because… it was cursed?

    Maybe my predecessors were only dumb enough to die, or maybe it was because this world was kind of RWBY-level kind of dangerous.

    Instead of the Grimm, we got the Demon Beasts. Instead of Salem, we got the Witch of Envy-!

    Holy cow, I had never made that kind of connection. Sure, there weren’t Huntsmen and there weren’t Relic from some old deities, but Flugel’s mysteriousness does remind a lot of Ozma-

    But let us not digress further in mad rambling and let us digress further in ‘mad rambling’.

    As I woke up in my newest quarters, a minor upgrade compared to my former room (minus Computer or any electric devices), the first thing I notice was the books left by the bedside.

    ‘History of Lugnica’ was what enlightened me about my current whereabouts while also expanding a little more on the little detailed lore of the Royal Family.

    While it was true that Emerada Lugnica had been denied a state funeral for alleged connections to the Witch’s cult, the driving force behind the opposition to her proper funeral was fueled by her inherent cruelty towards the people living in her fief.

    From the general insanity to over-zealous following of some of the precepts of the Church of Volcanica, this woman reminded me a little of some other Bloody woman back in England and boy I was happy that she was long deceased in this time and period.

    My quick read of the recent history of the kingdom was interrupted by the arrival of the Grand Healer of the city to the doorstep of my new room.

    The equivalent of a Chief Physician was surprisingly humble in his manners, seemingly concerned on my well-being as he asked me about my medical information, at least a summarized, feudalized version of it.

    I was healthy and a quick checkup proved me right, but I used this opportunity to entertain a chat with the influential ‘doctor’.

    While I was an utter inept in medical science, I still was knowing of some interesting basis that Feudal society would benefit from, especially the poor.

    Concepts like sterilization and clean hands were going to become a must under my rule, especially if I wanted to live a long life.

    As the elder left the room with an intrigued look plastered in his face, I was interrupted once more by the gaunt-looking man that was Orestes.

    “Mayor Bukharin, the Grand Healer said that you were well and-”

    I nodded, groaning a little as I picked myself out of the bed. While it wasn’t as comfy as the one back home, it was still something capable of putting me to sleep if I lied on it a little more.

    “And I need to get at work, I suppose.” The serious man nodded and proceeded to led me through the large hallway in the modest mansion that was now mine to live in.

    The office that came with it was absolutely what one would expect to find in a lawyer’s room, not a mayor, but I found it surprisingly fitting with what I needed out from an office of mine.

    A massive library of books I needed in a daily basis, several maps lying on the desk and the amble wooden furniture that was capable of holding both the maps and the stack of paperwork already there for me to check and sign (or not).

    “Ser Orestes, I know that this task might sound a little underwhelming for a man of your stature...” I paused, thinking if it was something I should genuinely ask to a Knight of that rank. “But I would require the service of part of the city’s garrison in creating a basic census.”

    He blinked at the word. “A ‘census’, Mayor Bukharin?” I nodded at him and took a simple piece of paper that had yet to be stained by ink.

    “I need those who usually are responsible of writing down the equipment of the army and the resources available to the city to team up in writing down the names, ages and family groups of the people living in Erindor.” I wrote down on the paper my name, my age and repeated my surname to represent my family as an example of the task. “This would help a lot in improving the taxation system and maybe improve everything else too.”

    He picked the paper, his confusion had yet to falter even through he seemed to understand my explanation.

    “I will… make sure to do as you command, Mayor Bukharin-” He paused just a moment. “I would also ask you to consider the possibility of expanding the current militia-”

    “Oh, it will be done.” I interrupted and kind of panicked a little as I noticed him frown at my quick reply.
    “I-I mean, I have already thought of expanding the current garrison with the ever-growing monster issues in the available paths to Erindor.” I tried to explain as simply as possible. “But I cannot guarantee an immediate source of good soldiers.”

    “And what do you have in mind.. if I may ask?” I nodded my permission and voiced my thoughts over the necessity of a proper security force.

    “I was thinking of having a training system set for every, able-bodied man in the town to have a proper reaction force.” I paused a moment, frowning at how funny I was thinking of the very option my own country had abolished not even two decades ago. “Compulsory military service for six months, every three years.”

    The idea would have been nuked the moment it would have been brought up to a sensible society… but I was stuck in a medieval-like period and… we needed the manpower to survive in this dangerous environment.

    “It...” Orestes blinked, awed by my deduction. “It would work. But how are you going to convince people to-”

    “By reducing the taxes and giving bonuses to those who did exceptionally well during the military service, I could entice the young unemployed generation to give it a try and make some bones out of the experience.”

    “And it would bring them some honor if they do well in their work.” The knight added up with the ghost of a smile in his wrinkly face. “It is a most excellent idea, Mayor Bukharin.”

    I merely nodded, silently gesturing him to leave me with the paperwork and, once I was alone, I sighed tiredly.

    My projects sounded all so nice in my head, but it was life itself that was going to impartially judge those as they are applied.

    Hopefully, I wasn’t going to get some bad reputation with the sudden militarization.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Afterthoughts: I think I don’t need to explain why going half-dictatorship is a must to avoid any issues about democracy. Democracy is nice, but it would hardly survive in a feudal era without the proper weapon. Cough Nuke cough
     
  3. Mikers99

    Mikers99 Monolithian

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    Oh no...

    POLITICS!
     
  4. Tobi

    Tobi I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Let's start fighting the dreaded enemy of all rulers. Paperwork, followed by finding competent supporters and making sure no rebellions take place. Plus criminals and people wanting to invade you.
     
  5. NuclearBirb

    NuclearBirb A mysterious birb.

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    Oh yeah, politics!
     
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  6. ArsMagna1337

    ArsMagna1337 (Verified Passer) (Unverified Omake Machine)

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    I wonder if he will figure out the art of 'Passing the Paperwork to your Lower Ranking Member'?
     
    JBukharin likes this.
  7. Threadmarks: Chapter 2
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    12 June 422

    I managed a sigh as I started to regret planning this little walk outside.

    After spending a full day procrastinating and dealing with some basic paperwork, I found out the dreadful way that boredom was still a thing and that it was worse than back home.

    No Youtube, no games... Heck, even a TV show sounded appealing to my dulled sense of entertainment.

    Sure, I still had my phone with me but... Writing was kind of pointless if it was going to be stuck there for no one but me to read, the apps I had in there worked only online and finally I was unable to call anyone to rant about the lunacy I was dealing with.

    So walking around was a must, especially with the census attempt still ongoing, as I needed to have a personal insight over the business of the city.

    Mind you that this wasn't the small village near the Roswaal mansion and I was almost tempted to compare it to a German city from Renaissance.

    The comparison wasn't off by much because the style did remind me of some Bavarian old-style villages that I've seen via photos online, the main difference was the materials used to make most of the buildings.

    Stone was a good material, but without cement it was a risky gamble for proper builders to take.

    "What is keeping buildings from falling apart?"

    It was a curt query that I let out loud for my two guards to hear and contemplate.

    Oh, I almost forgot.

    Since the role was supposedly a 'dangerous' one and I was totally screwed in case I faced an assassin directly, a pair of bodyguards was provided by the local militia.

    The duo, which I had nicknamed 'Pinkie' and 'Brain' for the stark resemblance to the two toon mices, proved to be a renewable source of funny remarks and snippets.

    By renewable I mean: They are funny, but get quite annoying after hearing the two bickering so much during their shift.

    Anyway, as the walk around the city continued, a new source of concern appeared to me in the form of some peaceful protest in the market area of the Erindor.

    People were throwing shouts at the smug-looking merchant and... his merchandise.

    Two children, twins. Both young boys with silver hair and... Two pairs of fox-like ears.

    I took a moment to study the animal ears, the first time I saw this kind of stuff so... Realistic-no, so real.

    Yet the awe vanished the moment I remembered why they were both here.

    I approached the scene, my face the truest form of livid and the crowd noticed my presence.

    Their voices turned into soft murmurs and the slave trader finally caught up with my arrival.

    "To think that today my humble establishment would be blessed by our newest Mayor."

    His crooked smile further pissed me off but he seemed to ignore the scowl plastered on my face, stretching his open palm at me. "Name's Hornos Hert, just a merchant passing for this beautiful city."

    I blinked at the gesture, frowning at the attempt to avoid a confrontation- but I merely smiled.

    "I don't shake hands." Quoting the good, ol' Mahk seemed to work brilliantly as the smirk on the merchant's face faded in a light scowl.

    "Is there any issue, Mayor, or are you here to just dumbly stare at my... products?"

    The two kids turned their attention on me and I felt a difficult decision coming-

    Actually, it wasn't that difficult.

    "I wish to see the permits for your stay, Mr. Hert." I stated coldly. "To make sure that you are fully regular to be there."

    The man snorted, pulling out several documents from one of the open crates.

    I started to read them, one by one, as my eyes analyzed every single detail I could use to make the filthy scumbag pay.

    Surprisingly enough, the opening for a case came in the form of a document about selling slaves... Or a lack of one.

    "Mr. Hert, I humbly apologize for this but-" I smiled widely. "You are under arrest for setting an illegal slave shop within the city without proper documentation."

    "W-What?!" He seemed ready to jump me on the spot, but sadly his desperation was trumped by Brain's intervention.

    The shortish man tackled Hornos to the floor as a patrol of the city guard had finally arrived to the scene.

    While Hornos was taken away from the market, I noticed that the two demi-humans were looking at me with surprise and... hope.

    What a weird sensation...

    I decided to take them with me away from this disgraceful place and back to my newest home.

    As I tried to get them to follow me back to the manor by kindly holding their hands and leading them out of the square, my own voice was suddenly drowned by the thunderous acclamation of the large crowd of people that had witnessed the whole predicament.

    But why would they be happy?

    ...

    Uh? What?

    Brain, what do you mean 'I arrested the leader of the local crime group?

    ------------------------------

    Afterthoughts: Slavery, crimes and two new responsibilities... All in one walk.
    Also kind of short but... I wrote this with my phone and my writing pacing is more limited than with my PC.
     
  8. Threadmarks: Chapter 3
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    13 June 422

    I am incredibly lucky.

    Scratch that, I have been blessed by Lady Luck herself.

    Once I reached back for the mansion and ordered the servants to help the two new occupants of the place with food and clothes, the first thing I genuinely decided to study was what had just back in the marketplace.

    Checking on the diary of my closest predecessor, one Eugenius Kasiski, I was stunned by the extensive section dedicated to Hornos Hert.

    The 'merchant that was passing by Erindor' was actually a citizen that had for long crippled the city itself. Extortions, intimidation campaigns and several hefty crimes that were never addressed for the fear of retaliation from the thugs under his service.

    My direct confrontation had been unexpected and had temporary left the man detached from his large criminal network.

    After driving the funny thought that I just got some crime boss Capone'd away from my serious thoughts, I decided that an immediate action to permanently remove Hornos was now the only viable way.

    A quick execution wouldn't bode well with the people as it would give the wrong message to most of them.

    I needed to set a proper trial, one open to the public and... Deprive the criminal scum of the means to bribe his way out of jail.

    As Orestes knocked at the open door of my study, I was quick to greet him and let him report the current progress of his task.

    The peasants had been the first half of the population to be approached for how quick the process with them was compared to the rest, then it was the turn of the merchants and the proto-bourgeois class of craftsmen and intellectuals that existed within Erindor.

    The reason why the census would take a day or two more than planned was the minor issues created by the local nobility.

    There was a small group of landless nobles in the city, either the second- or third-born children from the important families in the Capital or the descendants of enobled knights.

    While they literally had just some big houses on their names and nothing else, they were still quick enough to reject the presence of low-born officers tasked with the census for the sake of... Their status.

    Thus Orestes had been forced to call in the little noble staff present within the militia to take up the job of not only continuing the census but also mending whatever 'offense' was thrown at the higher class.

    As I finished dealing with the old knight and the duties, an old maid stormed inside the office with an irate look plastered on her face.

    "I apologize for the intrusion, Mayor Bukharin-" The woman started a little embarrassed. "But there had been an accident in the kitchen."

    I frowned at this. "An accident?"

    She nodded and took me right at the place where a large commotion was stirring, the epicenter of the scene was taken by the two demi-human children.

    Hans and Fritz (I know, not the most original names but-) were both pale, looking quite terrified by whatever had happened while they had been out of my sight.

    It was strange to consider that they could have done anything even remotely horrible in the span of so little time and yet it seemed like something important had occurred.

    The scene of the previous night, during dinner, was the prime reason why I would be this skeptical about this eventuality as their behavior had been fairly simple.

    They had been mostly quiet during the whole time at the table, asking just the barest to even eat their food as if having trouble with the lack of directions.

    They would ask for permission and they looked so surprised when I would bluntly remind them that this was their food to eat and that they weren't forced to ask to eat.

    So when I was brought to witness whatever was going on, I briefly ignored the crowd of servants trying to explain what was going on and gave a look at the place.

    There were shards of blue on the floor, mixed with cookie crumbles and-

    Are you kidding me?

    I was curious for why this matter had been inflated to this grand extent and I decided to ask to someone that sure knew the best of the whole predicament.

    Turning my attention to Fritz, the boy glanced nervously my way and looked partly-guilty.

    "Did you two ask before getting the cookies yourselves?" I asked with a careful tone, unwilling to punish the child without a proper explanation. There was just something off with the twins taking this initiative so eagerly.

    He nodded slowly at my question and I could feel a theory slowly turning probable the more I connected the dots around me.

    The crowd had grown quiet now as I was finally understand what had happened without people annoying me with their noticeable chatting.

    "Can you tell me whom did you ask to?" I asked again, this time my expression softening and letting the child understand that I wasn't accusing him just yet.

    The moment those words left my mouth was right when one of the young men in the place jumped to interrupt this brief exchange.

    "Sir Mayor, the two scoundrels didn't ask for anything and-"

    "Did I ask you that question?" I added a cold hint of annoyance to my voice, causing the man to pause and pale as he just realized that I knew what was going on. "Might I suggest you to be honest here or-"

    "I-It's because they shouldn't be there, Sir Mayor." He blurted back, as if appealing to some-sort of undoubtable logic that I was supposed to share with him.

    I raised a brow at that little sentence. "They shouldn't?" I repeated with a dull tone, eyes narrowing on him "Why?"

    One of the greatest questions in the world and the silly racist wouldn't be able to truly answer- and before anyone ask, no I wasn't jumping the gun there with the label, the man was actively glaring at the two children- but he still tried to make a stand with this.

    "It's- It's because of the War-"

    "You mean the one that ended up five decades or so before the boys were born?" I snapped back with a furious glare; he flinched but I was far from done. "The one that was caused by just a small group of Demi-humans?"

    He refused to reply to that, thus I decided to press a little more on the opening this moron had just given me about his 'supreme' reasoning.

    "The one that was concluded with an everlasting peace?!"

    He didn't reply, he just couldn't. No one in the crowd couldn't as there was shame evident in everyone's eyes.

    With a tired sigh, I gestured the two children to follow me away from the room... but I stopped by the doorstep to give one last warning.

    "Mind you that I will ignore just this once the hideous lack of judgment coming from you, mister for the sake of mercy." I narrowed my eyes at him my irritation fairly clear to the group as well. "But I hope you will not mistake my mercy for a weakness as my patience is very limited and another attempt against my wards will warrant a detention in jail."

    I didn't stay for long, I really didn't want to be bothered by this needless racism and I ended up bringing the two boys back in my office, offering the two seats in front of my desk as I returned to my own chair.

    I had already completed my daily quota of paperwork, it was quite smaller fraction compared to what I had planned to introduce in the near future, and so I was allowed to have some free time that I could spend as carefully as possible, without exaggerating or ruining anything in the process.

    Picking some unused paper, some quills and ink bottles, I decided that maybe I should genuinely focus on Hans and Fritz, to give the two boys something to do rather than have them sort out their own situation.

    I wasn't much of a parent, but I could understand boredom and I knew the children weren't adept in dealing with it. So I had to give them an input, something that could be as interesting as important.

    "Do you two know how to write?" Their heads shook negatively, a sigh building up but never leaving my lips.

    "Do you know how to read?" This time Hans nodded slowly while his sibling replied with another negative.

    "Ok." I picked a book out of the bookshelf behind me and brought it to the two.

    'First book of Geometry'

    A curious tome, I reckon, since it would entail that there was some civilization that followed the footsteps of pre-Roman traditions and introduced some Greek-like Canons to the world. Very interesting.

    "I want you to read the first chapter of this-" I handed the small tome to Hans. "While I teach your brother how to read so that he can help you too."

    They both nodded, their eyes shining at the chance of having something to do after so long; as the more introverted twin started his study, I asked the youngest of the two to bring the chair closer to my side so that I could teach him about the alphabet of this world, much different from what I was aware of but... I was still capable of understanding it.

    Why? I don't know, nor I had the clues to make suggestions about this sudden knowledge.

    A few hours passed and, after taking a brief pause from the teaching, I asked some simple questions to Hans.

    "So a square is-"

    "A plane figure with four equal straight sides and four right angles." The child replied rapidly, his fox ears twitching with a certain and determined look.

    I blinked at the swift reply and he looked embarrassed as I rewarded him with a head-pat, careful to not hurt his animal-like ears.

    He looked a little nervous at the action at first, then he melted at the touch and leaned in for some more.

    Yet as he was enjoying the reward, I was trying to make sense of how he was able to memorize those explanations so perfectly.

    My musings were interrupted by Fritz tugging at my other arm, a childish pout on his face as he glanced at the little pleasant face his brother was displaying.

    "There, there," I smiled a little while I addressed the youngest. "You were also good with learning to read."

    My other hand was now patting his head too, the pout replaced by a pleasant smile as both children seemed to be in utter bliss at the simple activity.

    And as I spent a full hour enjoying the company of the two twins, I couldn't help but wonder how they were going to grow up into.

    Hopefully, I wasn't paving the road for some Dark Lords.

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Afterthoughts: Another chapter written by phone and I will write more today because... I am away from home right now.
    Quick facts:
    1) Hans and Fritz are both ten, Hans is older by few minutes;
    2) Plotwise, this is all happening an year or two before Subaru's arrival;
     
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  9. Kalem_Lee

    Kalem_Lee Versed in the lewd.

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    Hey i recognize this. Are you not posting on SB anymore?
     
  10. JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    The story is being written here, in SB, SV and FF.
     
  11. Kalem_Lee

    Kalem_Lee Versed in the lewd.

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    Sweet. I like this one alot.
     
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  12. NightmareWarden

    NightmareWarden Know what you're doing yet?

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    This is a promising start! I wonder when Egbert will suggest summoning another prodigy from a distant land. Who knows they might have their own powers. Also how is “Bukharin” pronounced?

    The fox boys are cute. I wonder what adventurer class or career path will catch their interest once they get most of their problematic impulses worked out. If Bukharin wants to nudge them towards a particular path all he needs to do is tell the right story lifted from a game or whatever from our world.
     
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  13. JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    Oh, trust me when there is no need for another SI as there is in fact a rival worth of note... and unwarranted stalking.

    While the famous namesake is said like 'Bucharin', this MC (but also the Author) are read as 'Bukarin'.

    Their arc will happen a little while later. Still, I've yet to write it.

    Two words and a number. Ex Volume 1.
     
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  14. Threadmarks: Chapter 4
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    16 June 422

    Today was the day of the trial and... I was perfectly fine with the preparations I have managed to get before the event.

    A thorough investigation of the merchant's house brought to the light some interesting piece of evidence for the prosecution, adding to the pile of accusations grand theft, sabotage and high treason against the Kingdom.

    It would seem that the criminal not only tried to carve a fief out of his criminal network, but also sold sensitive information to the bordering kingdom of Gusteko in the north.

    And while both nations enjoyed amiable relations by sharing a common enemy in Volacchia, selling details regarding the manpower deployed by the local garrison and by the one dispatched near the border was easily considered treason by the Law of the Dragon Kingdom.

    I had expected for this to be a mere example to set a precedent for possible future trials, a 'City of Erindor v. Mr. Hornos Hert' kind of situation.

    While the idea was well-liked by the judge attached to the trial, with the new evidence the name was changed into something a little more... Threatening.

    The 'Dragon Kingdom of Lugnica v. Mr. Hornos Hert' was the first time an entire Kingdom challenged in a trial a single man. Sure, Hornos had warranted this by actually betraying the nation, but I admit I almost felt bad for the poor man.

    At first the trial was set to happen a day beofre, on the 15th, but news from the Capital demanded a full-day delay.

    The reason? An entourage of people, a mix of judicial experts and intrigued nobles, wanted to witness the trial as it unfolded.

    There was no Barielle, no Karsten, nor any other known noble members.

    Yet there was going to be an important guest, one of the current heirs to the Kingdom. Which one I was unsure, but the first- and second-born were surely not the mysterious VIP.

    The delay day was spent preparing a proper greeting party for the arrival of the royal entourage, something that was planned to be pleasant but also not overly-extravagant.

    Part of the latter noon was spent teaching both Hans and Fritz some basic etiquette, just enough to move smoothly through the curtsies and bows they might encounter on the big day.

    Morning struck and I was already undergoing with my usual ritual: A quick visit to the bathroom, changing my sleeping clothes with the formal ones that were already available from the Mayor's wardrobe and some early morning paperwork.

    Going for a light breakfast, I was swiftly checking around for any possible issue about the event, hoping for it to proceed smoothly.

    This kind of visits were generally a grand boon for a city like Erindor as it allowed to bring up to the King's attention any need the town required a solution.

    In our predicament, the city required a proper military stand, one that could be achieved quickly if there were good men with war experience willing to train the volunteers in the City's Militia and Guards.

    But this was going to be mentioned by the end of this whole situation, for the good reason that this needed to be perceived not as soemone's begging but as an official request to the monarch.

    I was busy helping the two boys in putting on their formal clothes, something that they were showing distress as the texture of said clothing was far from pleasant to the touch and I too was having a hard time keeping myself from scowling at the sensation, when one of the guards barged in with a thrilled expression. "Mayor Bukharin, the entourage has been spotted in the distance."

    I sighed at the excitement coming off from the young soldier. "Then I guess we shall all go to meet up with
    Ser Orestes by the gates."

    The two siblings shared a collective nod and we walked out of the mansion, reaching the old knight few minutes later.

    For someone that is usually less inclined to show emotions, Orestes looked moderately giddy at the prospect of this opportunity and greeted us with a small smile.

    "Mayor Bukharin, today truly is a good day."

    I nodded at his greeting. "Indeed it is, Ser. But I hope the cast offered by the capital isn't going to be too difficult to please.

    He sighed. "I doubt it, especially since I have personally spotted the leading figure of this visit."

    "Truly?" Now that was interesting. Could it be the unknown royal? "And may you tell me who it is?"

    "Miklotov McMahon himself."

    ...Fuck.

    The lore about the character wasn't much but the history I knew from the few books I managed to read gave a highly-detailed narration of the deeds the elder is known for.

    The one that brokered the peace in the Demi-Human War, he was known for having not only brought peace but also stipulated several rights for Demi-humans by using the war itself as driving reason while also circumvent the king and the royal council in the process.

    He was deemed incredibily intelligent, having held several posts at the Royal Academy and having been its headmaster for two four-year-long mandates.

    Not much is known about his background and many suspected that the reason for his foggy past is his low-born status that was a dark reminder that... The feudal system sucks.

    Finally the large convoy of carriages reached the gates of Erindor and I couldn't but stare in awe at how 'peculiar' the vehicles looked.

    They were all painted white with golden details, some runes visible by their sides and... The lack of a mounting beast.

    Those carriages weren't using neither horses, nor Earth Dragons. It was fricking magic and super-speed.

    I mean, two days were a lot but to reach this city from the capital, the entourage had to have gone around the humongous mountains that ruled from the center of the kingdom and... I was quite sure by normal means it would have taken a month or two.

    I tried to steal a glimpse at the prince in the small crowd forming from the people rallying out of the carriages and yet I couldn't see anyone with the distinctive blonde hair and red eyes.

    My search was brief as I was quickly brought to meet up with the old Sage.

    "Honorable McMahon, the city of Erindor greets you."

    He frowned. "But what about its new Mayor?"

    I blinked. "I- what?"

    "You said 'Erindor' greets me, but is the same from the Mayor and-"

    "Yes, the Mayor of Eridor greet you, Honorable Sage."

    His mouth closed, his face relaxing in a pleasant look. "That is good to know."

    "I-I can't believe it..." I looked at Orestes, the old knight staring in shock at the crowd and, as my stare followed the direction his eyes were looking at, I found out quickly the reason of his surprise.

    I was stunned myself when I spotted a familiar old man wearing a butler-like clothes chatting quietly with some nobles.

    Wilhelm van Astrea, the Sword Demon, was here.

    But why would the husband of the previous Sword Saint be there? Why would he be recruited for this situation- the prince.

    The Royal family had to have asked his services to protect whoever was there but... He looks so cool!

    "Mr. Astrea has kindly accepted to escort the prince for this visit, while making sure he doesn't wander around in some unpleasant predicament." I turned back at McMahon and frowned in confusion at his words.

    "But where is the prince?"

    "He was feeling tired for the trip and was sleeping in his carriage." The sage explained calmly. "He will join us late in the greeting party and... I think it would be rightful of you if we were taken to said celebration."

    I nodded at the subtle cue. "Indeed and I've seen for the trial to happen after lunch, to give everyone the time to rest and prepare for the work."

    "That sounds delightful." And with that comment I personlly led the group from the capital thorough the town as the Militia and Guards cooperated in securing the path from the curious people of the city.

    The walk was short and went smoothly as we reached the largr mansion and its ballroom.

    A small orchestra had been engaged for the event and some dancing ensued.

    Ten minutes of chatting around, trying to mingle with high society and I was feeling disgusted by the silly topics that most of the group were discussing about.

    I spotted the twins chatting quietly with Miklotov and I was surprised to see the sage visibly pleasant with whatever they were talking about.

    I was kind of distracted by the sight and- *thud* Ugh!

    Someone crashed into me and we both tumbled on the floor. Flinching at the simple pain I barely glanced at the individual that had tripped us all.

    "I-I am sorry, I was distracted by the room and-" "I-It's alright I was distracted myself."

    I accepted his helping hand and finally got a glance of him. Frowning at the relatively big hat, I tried to make sense of the young man in front of me.

    For some reson his face reminded me of someone but.... I was unsure whom.

    Smiling nervously, his dark-red eyes seemed to glow because of the small shadow created by the hat.

    "I don't.. think I saw you back at the entrance." The blunt comment froze him up in a still pose of shock.

    "I-I was busy to... The toilet!"

    I blinked at the excuse, the loud tone it was delivered suspicious. "The toilet?"

    He nodded again to emphasize the point. "The toilet."

    "Mh."

    Whatever this individual was hiding, I hardly guessed it was dangerous. He surely wasn't anyone from the Witch cult, no one from the group capable of pulling that kind of infiltration... Yet.

    "T-Then could I offer you an apology in the form of.. Some treats?" He took a plate of appetizers out of the hands of a passing waiter.

    "But isn't that something I am offering?"

    He smiled cheekily. "But do you also offer some friendly tales of manliness?"

    ....Pffft- T-The gall to be this cheeky!

    I cracked a twitchy smile at his hilarious tone and nodded. "Then do enlighten me with your tales."

    I have met several jokesters in my life but... This one was insanely funny.

    While the initial topic was 'manliness', the stories soon spiralled into downright silly but relatable.

    Soon we were sharing funny bits of each other but I was still unable to get a name out of the fun guy.

    At least that was until I noticed that someone was approaching our general direction... And was Wilhelm himself.

    I narrowed my eyes but the old man barely glanced my way as his stare was fixed on my new friend.

    'Sir, I think it's time for you to drop the act. People are asking about you."

    The words made zero sense and I was about to ask for some clarification when the red-eyed buddy nodded at the' Sword Demon' and removed his hat.

    I stared at the blonde locks and the overall appearance and-

    Oh my God, I just become buddy with Fourier Lugnica.

    -------------------------------
    Afterthoughts: My phone is at 1% and I will have to wait a little while before writing again. Still, we got Fourier and... Isn't he supposed to die quite soon?

    For those who don't know who 'Fourier Lugnica' is: here!
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2020
  15. Threadmarks: Chapter 5
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    Same Day, 422

    If someone asked me about past 'best friends' and 'Bros', I would quickly find myself explaining quite the complex predicament.

    Attempts had been made, mingling with classmates was something common during pauses in-between lessons and I was generally detached from class' life.

    I wouldn't go as far as label myself an outcast in that period as I managed to spend a minimum effort in getting together with some pseudo-friends, those kind of individuals that you share a friendly relationship with but would be keen to refuse to give needed help with some fake excuse.

    At first I hated Pseudo-friends, kind of messed up my childhood and all, but then I understood the logic behind this subclass. Immediate help was a must for classmates and cheating in tests was sometime required because... teachers.

    What makes a teacher hateful and easy to hate? 1) The fact said teacher doesn't care to do his job properly and 2) the adult isn't even paid enough to deal with childish crap.

    The second category could get some forgiveness, the former are those scumbags students generally hate at school.

    But I suppose this little deviation is senseless, as we were talking about friendship and-

    When I say that I 'am buddying' with Fourier, a character in the story that is so well-liked even without screen-time, I am not pulling some 'optimistic' BS on the matter.

    It took me just few hours of talking after his identity was revealed to the entire room and I was completely elated to have met someone like him. The kind of happiness that makes you actually concern about people's future and urge you to give Fate itself the bird while trying to save those worthwhile individuals.

    I guess I need to explain a little more the 'why' this was possible and the 'why' someone so keen to go full-depression to actually endure-no, enjoy being together with someone as socially adept as the blond.

    The topics used by both weren't so far casually picked. The first chat having kickstarted a slow process of bonding, where the lengthy set of topics chosen by both sides were somehow connected to the previous ones but also selected to better fit with the interest of the other.

    There was caution in not making the conversation stale while also keeping it moderately quiet to not sound over-bearing for each other.

    There was respect, which was returned. There was care, which was returned too.

    But I bet the one genuinely surprised by how things turned out to be, the most at least, was Fourier himself as his face was incredibly expressive in showing some early surprise.

    Surprise that the reveal barely dented the friendship was slowly being built there and his growing smile proved the cheerfulness returning back to his mind.

    The main discussion survived through the brief interactions the prince was supposed to entertain with the fellow members of the entourage and the local nobles, the latter quite intrigued by the fact I, the Mayor, was keeping thing going smoothly.

    The pre-trial event lasted about an hour more, ending by lunchtime and- "Of course my good friend would be kind enough to invite be for lunch."

    I frowned at his cheeky tone, but I admit I was smiling myself. "Indeed, what kind of friend would leave a rich prince to be devoured by his own hunger?"

    He chuckled. "A very annoying one, John." He poked at my shoulder. "But a very funny one too."

    "So I should just refuse? I do find 'annoying' quite a pleasant adjective on myself." The mock pout was worth the cheek and soon we were already enjoying the delicious dishes offered by the hardworking servants in the kitchens.

    I was quite surprised when Miklotov McMahon asked to join us, not so much about when Wilhelm van Astrea did the same as he was supposed to guard the Fourth Prince of Lugnica.

    "The twins, they are quite educated." The two demi-humans perked at the curt compliment coming from the elder and I gave a genuine look of surprise. "They do have an interesting predisposition to logic, different from each other, but still the potential to have a grand future."

    I let a nod out. "I have merely started to taught them Math's basics and some grammar to catch up with their... 'past condition', but I suppose I can understand your reasoning, Honorable McMahon-" "Please, call me Miklotov."

    The old man chuckled. "You should learn to relax just a little more, young man. Formality yes, full subordination is just rude."

    I looked sheepish for a moment, maybe I was being too stiffy and even Fourier nodded at that statement. "You do look like an old man with how you behave, John." The prince pointed out with a small smile, his Yaeba showing a little. "Maybe the truth is you are actually one-"

    "How about no and I am going to leave you to eat wood?" What would have been perceived as a threat in normal circumstances actually was felt more like an embarrassed comeback, which the blond replied with another cheeky smile.

    "Then I would have to send you to the dungeon to eat dust at that point, good friend." We shared a chuckle, the escalation kind of senseless now that it sounded so fake to everyone.

    The Sword Demon didn't spoke much, merely giving some quips once in a while during the friendly bantering and nothing more. I suppose he was still grieving for his wife's death, even after so many years had passed and... I wonder what kind of individual Reinhard is.

    While he had shown quite the stereotypical heroic personality in the series, it could also be true that the hate from his grandfather would have some hidden effect on the Sword Saint.

    The trial started with the local Judge Foreni addressing Hornos with the list of accusations against him while also asking for each his pleading in each of them.

    I was glad that I had decided to keep the twins back home. While this event could be used as an educational sight, the possibility of having their past detractor standing so close once again would undoubtedly cause some panic attacks.

    And that wasn’t something I was trying to get out of them.

    Most of those he kept with 'Innocent' while the lesser claims he decided to claim 'Guilty'. I suppose this was his attempt to reduce the issues against him but... that would have worked perfectly if he would have been able to afford an Attorney.

    Much to my surprise, while most of the world was still stuck in Feudalism, the Judiciary System of the Dragon Kingdom was quite modern for its times. I would go so far to compare it to the flexibility of the English Law System.

    There was something similar to the Habeas Corpus, there was the opportunity for the accused to afford an attorney to defend his situation but there were no court-appointed lawyers. I suppose it was a light improvement compared to Gusteko and Vollachia, the former being closer to Tsarist Russia while the latter having something similar to a non-Imperial Prussia.

    The Prosecutor for the case was relatively young, not inexperience but also quite expressive in his body language of the nerve-wracking pressure on him. He was supposed to not fail something this easy, especially since there was no real opposition to his task.

    So the due process began, the exposition of the proof gained from the past investigations bringing Judge and Jury to pale at the seemingly endless list of evidence that was burying even more the hopes for the 'merchant' to get out of the situation without few decades to spend in Jail. The predicament was literally influenced by the lack of a cross-examination, of a standard defense...

    And yet Hornos was looked calm. Far too calm for someone that was supposed to be actually facing an execution.

    I was sitting right beside Fourier, while on the other side I had Orestes watching the scene with some similar confusion. I tugged at the knight's armor, drawing his attention on me.

    "Get the guards to patrol the area. I have a bad feeling about this." He nodded and slowly got out of his chair as to leave the room- *BOOM*

    We all jumped as a quick explosion crashed one of the walls down, triggering chaos by the public stand. I gritted my teeth and bit down some swearing as I barked at the guards. "Secure the criminal!"

    In world where spies are essential in warfare, I should have imagined that Gusteko would go this far from getting Hornos out as quickly as possible. The Guards and Militia were surely storming towards the tribunal with the loud blast echoing through the whole town but I was hardly convinced they would have been quick enough to intercept the escaping foreign force.

    We were currently outnumbered but... we had some quality fighters. Orestes joined the fray with a single battle-cry, mowing down two grunts with a simple swing of his bastard sword.

    Wilhelm jumped in and scattered four of the attackers like petals to the wind, his sword so quick that I couldn't even catch up its actions.

    I blinked as Fourier tugged at my sleeve, a sword in his other hand. "I am going in." I narrowed my eyes, ready to protest his intervention but he still entered the small battlefield.

    I scowled and felt conflicted on what should I do. Useless in fighting here and frankly, I didn't have any weapon on me- Right at that thought I saw a detached limb falling right in front of me, a sword still held by it.

    ...God, are you kidding me?

    I didn't even ask for a sign and- You know what, I needed to man up here. Useless sure but a coward? I ain't one.

    So I picked the blade out of the lifeless hand and rushed inside the limited conflict, my eyes spotting a single thug seemingly disoriented by the mayhem around him.

    The perfect prey for someone that sucked in fighting. I slowly waltzed between the couple of fighters, trying to pass unnoticed by the dizzy soldier and, closing my eyes, I thrusted the sword into him.

    A loud squelch, I felt blood pouring out of the sword and I squinted a look, regretting instantly as the sight in front of me was terrifying. The sword had punctured through his jugular, the sound of rasped breathing surprisingly reaching my ears as I slowly retracted the blade, my face white at what I just did.

    Someone died. It could have had family, or maybe he was a terrible man with the scummiest personality... but it was still a shocking experience.

    In that moment of numb realization, I felt someone slam on my back, forcing me to fall face-first on the floor. Adrenaline was driving my mind crazy and I rolled away just in time to avoid getting killed by a sword now stabbing the floor.

    I looked up and my eyes widened at the man using the deadly blade. The red-faced Hornos looked even more pissed at his failed attempt at my life, but his crazed smile countered whatever sanity he seemed to have until before the trial.

    "You are dying here, boy." Heh, I guess I am. I mean, we are still talking about Re:Zero, this kind of mad shit was going to happen to everyone at least once in a while and I guess I was filling for Subaru's role as sacrificial lamb here.

    My inner monologue was interrupted as the man tensed up after just finishing to raise his blade once more to finish his job. He looked down on his chest and I did the same, a white, pointy sword piercing his torso from behind and I spotted a familiar golden mane.

    "I was dropping by and... my, oh my, it would say that you do fit well the part of the damsel in distress, my dear friend." I snorted, trembling a little as Hornos finally fell off the blade and onto the ground near me. I accepted the helping hand and was about to reply to his cheeky remark when-

    "Get DOWN!" My throat felt sore at yelling but I was glad that Fourier quickly complied, the soldier trying to stab the prince failed to land a hit on the dodging youth. I grasped tighter the hilt of my own sword and slashed at the man's face.

    Against any prediction, the blade did met land on the foe but... not the way I had expected. It pierced the side of his head, protruding thought the brain and instantly killing the bastard.

    I blinked, feeling lunch slowly rising down my throat at the ever-familiar scene. It did remind me a scene from Call of Duty but... this close-up and realism was just insane.

    Quickly releasing the sword out of the man, his corpse fell down with a thud and the prince slowly roused from his crouched stance.

    "T-That was a close one." We were both staring at each other with wide-eyes and I nodded at his comment. "I-Indeed."

    Few moments later and the rest of the remaining intruders was dealt with. Some other groups had been ready to cause problems in the city, but the mobilization of the Guards had been quick to repel whatever ambush they were trying to setup to support their retreating main force.

    While there had not been any hint that would suggest that the perpetrator of the assault was Gusteko, any attempt to mask this attack as something created by Hornos himself would be in vain.

    His bandit force, or whatever was left from the past few raids, was highly-disorganized and made mostly by disloyal mercenaries. They wouldn't have been able to afford an attack of this magnitude.

    I was quite surprised to learn that there had not been a single casualty on our side, just some lightly wounded guards while others, those that were still inexperienced regarding real fighting, were merely shaken by what had just happened to them.

    Despite the good news, I still felt sick inside. The fearing faces of those I had just killed were... dreadful to be reminded of. And yet my mind was having a field day in flashing those moments continuously, forcing me to take a seat away from the dead zone.

    Surprisingly enough I wasn't the only one feeling quite bad from what had just unfolded in front of us. Fourier looked deflated, his usual smile was now replaced by a sad line as his own mind was surely reminding him how close he had come to die.

    I suppose being fearful of dying by the mysterious illness that was taking down the Royal Family one by one could create a strong attachment to life. A will to fight back the adversities and keep living.

    If I had not reacted at the sight, if I had not been quick enough to- to react. Oh man, I was lucky. But luck was not a good thing to have.

    It meant that a change was needed, one that would help me not get killed by some assassin or simple thug because of my inherent inability to fight.

    Maybe Orestes would agree to offering some advice on the matter. Maybe I could get the boys to train too.

    "You alright?" The question felt foreign without the usual tone, but I still glanced at the blond. He was trying to smile, a shaky result was what he got.

    "I am peachy." He sighed and I nodded. There wasn't much to say and frankly, I wasn't in the mood for chit-chatting.

    Coping with death wasn't so far something easy to stomach, especially for someone that never fought in his entire life.

    "W-What about you?" Red eyes blinked once, then he stared at me.

    "I feel like... crap?" I frowned at the word choice and I saw his lips twitching into a smile. Mine did the same and...

    "D-Does that mean that I will have to- to address you as 'Your Poopiness'?" Dumb joke, I know but it was silly enough to make him finally crack a smile.

    "D-Dad would probably find it appropriate for me." He let out a small sound, the beginning of a chuckle. "F-Felix would probably join in too and-" Finally he stifled one and I smiled a twitchy smile. "She would probably say that it isn't becoming of royalty."

    He was talking about Crusch, wasn't he? I guess that I will have to... poke at that. After all, I didn't know what he was talking about.

    "Fourier, do I hear that you have someone you are hiding from me?" He twitched on his spot, his eyes diverted to the ground but his cheeks were indeed heating up in embarrassing.

    "N-Nobody important." I raised a cheeky brow at that attempted diversion.

    "Then I guess you could talk about... 'Her'." He crossed his arm close to his chest and tried to keep quiet... but I wasn't letting go yet. "C'mon, you told me 'she is not important' and I wouldn't mind hearing about your secret friend."

    He opened his mouth, hesitation ever-present in his face, then he closed it. Finally he spoke. "I-I guess that I could tell you about her- but I want you to keep your trap shut about this in front of others."

    I sipped at the cup of cool water. "Deal."

    He sighed tiredly. "'She' is Crusch Karsten, she is the heiress to the Karsten Family." A small dreamy smile on his face was now there for me to see. "She is... cool."

    I blinked in surprise. "Cool?" I tilted my head in confusion. "What kind of cool?"

    "Everything about her is... cool."

    I know that love makes people go down like this but... seriously, cool? Was that the best he could come up with.

    "Is she beautiful?" I asked bluntly, the prince blushing at the question. "Is she strong?"

    "Yes."

    --------------d-d-d-d------------d-d-d-d----------d-d-d-d--------------d-d-d-d------------d-d-d-d------------------

    17 June 422

    The rest of the previous day was spent fixing up the damage caused by the aggressors, taking their bodies away from the city and burning them away from Erindor. A little bit cruel, I suppose, but I didn't have any of their names, nor I knew to whom I was supposed to send their corpses back.

    Still a bit shaken, the plans of the Royal Entourage went unchanged, readying up to leave the town early in the morning.

    Or at least that was for most of them all.

    "The prince has requested to stay in your manor for at least a week." McMahon explained as he was ready to enter his carriage by the gates of the city. "I found his plea acceptable because of yesterday's ordeal and... I think he would recover quickly by staying with someone familiar for a while."

    "I suppose... it can be done. But what about Mr. Wilhelm?" The Sage nodded at the question but looked to be ready for it.

    "The Sword Demon is going to receive an extension to his mission. He was given the choice to return to the capital and for other guards to replace him in the duty but he was content to pick the extra work in exchange of an adjustment to his pay."

    I wonder if the old man was doing it truly for money or because he cared for Fourier. It wasn't stated much but... I think that his connection to Fourier was one of the reasons why he joined Crusch's camp in canon.

    Half an hour later, the set of carriages was already leaving the city and I was on my way back to my home. With what had just happened, I bet Gusteko will have to send some representatives to reply to any possible accusations the King was going to forward their directions.

    An attack had happened and the man the unknown group was trying to take away was a known spy for the nation, they were going to do something about this failure.

    Yet I realized right in that moment that my luck was even bigger than I had initially thought.

    Sure, there had been an assault but...

    I didn't have to face a pseudo-vampire obsessed with guts.

    ----------------ddddddddddddd--------------ddddddd------------------ddddddddddddd---------------------

    Afterthoughts: I bet someone is thinking what I mean with 'pseudo-vampire' as Elsa is regarded as a Vampire in many stories... but she isn't. I would love to engage in some more info giving but I think I will just point you all to the Re Zero wikia page that surprisingly has some good info on her (not everything but... it is enough for this situation).
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2020
  16. Mikers99

    Mikers99 Monolithian

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    Typo
     
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  17. NightmareWarden

    NightmareWarden Know what you're doing yet?

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    Bukharin did not spare a moment to check on Hans and Fritz during the attack? The mayor could have made a mental note about the two of them being sequestered away from the trial, he could have ordered a particular guard to protect his boys when the attack began, or he could have sought them out in the aftermath (this would comfort his nerves and calm them down).

    The first option could be justified with the following explanation: the mayor’s boys were obligated to make an appearance, but the actual trial covered enough graphic crimes that younger guests were dismissed.

    Perhaps that idea doesn’t need to be edited in... Moving on!
    Our mayor has made an exceptional showing in spite of the unfamiliar obstacles. I wonder if any guard’s performance warrants a reward along the lines of his mandatory military service plan. If so, then whatever agenda Bukharin pushes in the attack’s aftermath could get a lot of attention from nobles across the continent.

    Closing thoughts: I enjoyed the silly verbal jabs a lot! I hope to see more like it. I would not mind reading an interlude from Fourier Lugnica’s perspective, especially if he follows some of Bukharin‘s advice to woo Crusch!
     
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  18. Threadmarks: Chapter 6
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    17 June 422

    It was early in the morning. No one was there to disturb me in my little office as I continued to scribble furiously on the poor piece of paper several notes, equations and words.

    The reason behind this crime against paperkind? I was working on something a bit 'private' in a very limited frame of time.

    While some of my trustworthy aides knew that I was not from 'this place' and that I was showing to be a little flamboyant compared to the classic medieval style, I hardly felt eager to reveal the simple and harmless fact that I knew much about the not-so-distant future.

    Sudden death of the entire royal family, the Witch Cult turning active after so much time of silence, dealing with Gusteko and Volacchia, and finally the most important of the known issues.

    Since I had been summoned here by someone that wasn't the Witch of Envy, I was fairly sure I was going to see Subaru in a year or two and...

    I will be honest, I don't think I would be able to bear the fact I was going to deal with someone so much... 'outgoing'? I mean, I can forgive the fact he is a jobless NEET and that at first he was quite idiotic in not assessing his situations early on during the first month, but to think that he would be the one to commit quite the heinous deed in the whole world?!

    'I love Emilia'.

    Even thinking about that little detail was irking as- WHY WOULD YOU REFUSE SOMEONE AS SWEET AS REM!?

    While I was sure as hell not going to meet the murderous twins and that creep Roswaal, I cannot understand how someone like the boy could be that much dense.

    ...Okay, I might be getting incensed more than necessary because I did grow with some chivalrious feeling for women and that put down was... wrongfully unraveled.

    It was obviously an opinion. One that will possibly manifest in the form of a serious skull bashing until the next RtD session for the unlucky Barusu.

    But skipping this whole parentesis about the Japanese native, I was now focusing on a pressing detail of my current predicament.

    Economy was an essential part of a city and Erindor wasn't no exception.

    The city was largely depending on the fertile grasslands that were being owned by large landowners that used peasants for the hard work. There wasn't much of a wage system in this case, but the few regulations that were set to limit the capacity of the nobles to exploit the system were actually interesting to study.

    The first thing that jumped on mind was to introduce an innovative Planning Board that would have the role of formulating ideas and drafting laws' previews to pass to the Mayor. Of course the members had to be chosen out of merit and not by 'birthright', but some of the ones I had planned to invite were from the elite class of the city that had showed outstanding responses to several minor crisis that had hurt Erindor just four years ago.

    The second step was a progressive tax system that was meant to reduce the fiscal weight on the people's shoulders, both the rich and the poor.

    The reason behind this relief act was all explained by the following idea of mine: State-owned shops.

    Introducing several activities that were owned by the city itself, in this case the Mayor, I would create work for some of the less fortunate local merchants while also sparking some competitiveness among the foreigners. Fixed prices were going to become a thing in those new shops and while the independent merchants would be able to set lower prices to entice a large chunk of the people to them, this was all resolved by a signed proclamation.

    The new shops would enjoy a proper documentation that legitimated their activity and the authenticity of the products sold in those places. While some of the crowd will surely keep buying cheap, the rational bunch would be easily swayed to verify the truthfulness and unknowingly built faith in the local administration.

    And while this concluded positively for the needy, I still had to solve the issue regarding the nobles.

    My first thought was to intrigue the richer people to invest in buildings or art, to usher some pseudo-Mecenatism to induce a proper economic boom, but the idea lacked the foundations: How was I supposed to 'push' them right where I wanted them to be?

    Arrogant and quite pompous in their ways, Erindor's nobles were hardly dumb enough to fully fool with a simple trick and I was hardly capable of stretching the current, available funds to bribe some of them into kickstarting the whole process.

    Just as I let out a tired sigh, folding the paper with the notes and safely putting it in one of the drawers of the desk, I noticed that the door to my office was open.

    I tilted my head, not in confusion but with amused curiosity. Fourier's short ahoge twitched the same moment Hans' and Fritz's animal ears did, the trio knowing that they had been caught spying on me.

    "I am surprised you are all awake at this hour."

    Understanding my cue, the blond prince was the one that took the lead while entering the room, yawning a little. "I am as well." He said ever so calmly.

    "And?"

    He sighed. "And I was just thinking about spending some time pestering my good friend!" I groaned at the louder final bit and mock-glared at him.

    "While also dragging the twins out of their bed." He looked sheepish and I thought it was out of embarrassment.

    "A-Actually we woke up early because-" "It's healthy!"

    I stared at Hans as he finished interrupting his younger sibling, the boy blushed and I sighed back. "I suppose that you will keep quiet about the real reason?"

    The two looked away, averting their eyes to the floor as Fourier chuckled. "Let them be just this once." He smiled. "I bet they will tell you when they are ready."

    I opened my mouth, contemplating the fact that I was now noticing how father-like I was being and... how old I was sounding.

    I am barely in my twenties and already a... surrogate uncle? Boy, I didn't plan out the whole family's outline and-

    Wait, was this how Naofumi felt when Raphtalia had turned into an adult?

    The age-gap between me and the twins was less than the one between the two mentioned characters, but it was also true that this wasn't a Game-like world.

    Those kids were not going to turn into adults in mere months and for that I was glad. The mere thought of seeing my children-No, I need to stop this and-

    "Also, is that true that you saved Prince Fourier?" Fritz's voice interrupted my brief musing and I blinked as the blond royal pouted at the question.

    "I-It was more like I saved your dad tripped and I had to save him-" "I also remember someone not seeing a sneaky soldiers tried to skewer them up."

    "O-Ohi! I was just trying to help you up and-" He paused and he snorted while I snickered a little at his scrunched expression. "You know, you are quite a prick to be my friend."

    I blinked and smiled even more. "Then I guess I am fine, since I am your 'good' friend."

    He was trying so hard to keep his scowl but- "Pfft-" It was a chuckle, then a brief laugh and I shook my head in amusement.

    What a royal dork!

    I was about to continue on my spree when- "Dad?"

    My attention was suddenly centered on Fritz, the more extrovert of the two brothers as his eyes widened at my surprised expression. "I-I mean- I didn't want to speak above m-my station and-"

    "N-No. I mean, if you are comfortable I don't see why-"

    Hans coughed and closed his eyes. "Sir, if you wish to punish my brother, I would request to get his punishment for me."

    ..."W-What? No, I mean-" I stopped, sighing tiredly as I had seriously forgot about their upbringing. "Look, I know that this is still new, but I care about you two and..."

    I stood up and walked around the desk, stopping few meters from the Demi-humans twins and... crouched down on one of my knees, arms spread a little bit as I invited them to approach.

    They looked surprised and I could see Fourier's red eyes mirthfully keeping out of the situation as the moment unfolded.

    Fritz was the one that rushed first for the embrace after spending some moments of futile resistance to the flood of emotions finally breaking his dam. Sobbing on my shirt, my hand softly went to ruffle his head.

    His foxy ears twitched and lowered as the boy continued to cry a little more. "There, there..." I whispered to him, while staring at Hans.

    The introvert looked hesitant, the emotional hesitation far stronger than in his younger brother but-

    He took one step, then two and finally went to slowly enter the embrace. He didn't cry, but he held close as his sibling continued to weep.

    Few moments passed and I was about to end the hug, maybe pick up Fritz to comfort him a little more-

    Right as I felt the sudden weight pressing on my back, a familiar pair of arms hugging me from behind, I could feel Fourier smiling behind me.

    "What are you doing?"

    I could only fantom that he was now holding back some chuckles at the predicament he was creating.

    "I... wanted a hug?" I don't know if I was terribly annoyed by his lack of honesty in that statement or by the fact I was goddamn smiling myself.

    What an infuriating prince!

    "Actually, I think my legs are giving out. Could it be sleepiness?" I felt a tick mark forming on my forehead as the boy further pressed on my back and... I lost my footing.

    The boys moved in a coordinated manner, moving away from the 'disaster' as I slammed harmlessly on the floor, Fourier giggling like a dumbass while he ignored my muffled demands of getting off.

    I huffed annoyed.

    This wasn't a prince! I was dealing with a man child in the making!

    ------------------------------------------------------

    Afterthoughts: I didn't get a space to implant the Mayor post's curse and it will be explained next chapter. The pace of this chapter has been planned to be a little slow and next one will have something everyone likes to see once in a while, and that is sparring.
     
  19. Threadmarks: Chapter 7
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    18 June 422

    While I was quite interested in taking on the challenge of learning how to properly use a sword for the sake of not dying anytime soon in a world where gunpowder is still a distant mirage, for the sake of humility I will be honest with what happened after a good day or two spent practicing with Fourier and Wilhelm.

    The blond youth was a challenge, not something impossible to overcome but every fight generally ended with some cheap tricks from my part that would get me some victory.

    The prince knew positions and stances, how to properly guard and parry.

    But he wasn't by all mean someone that could go in a war without some basic rules I was surprisingly drilling in his semi-naive brain: by the second day of training, I was unable to fully capitalize from launching a fistful of dirt on his face for the umpteenth time, the young man recovering the same moment I was trying to get a hit on him, parrying and then getting me back on the defensive.

    Sure, I know enough tricks to avoid getting caught in some unpleasant situation during the spars, but the awe at how quickly the blond was learning about the difference between duelling and fighting was impressive.

    When I had started with my tactical actions, I had expected Wilhelm to intervene and chastise any possible 'unacceptable' action during this part of the training... which he didn't.

    Without an input, the Sword Demon merely suggested that it was high time for the prince to learn something more other than 'pompously swinging' and end up killed by some smarter opponent.

    But of course it was difficult that any support from this kind of individual was without reasoning, which was provided when yesterday he asked a spar to fully gauge my full potential and... I was obliterated not even two minutes in the fight.

    It was an humiliating thought at first, but then I was reminded against whom I was fighting.

    Someone that in his prime had gone and beat Theresia van Astrea.

    The grandmother of Reinhard was considered the third strongest swords(wo)man in Lugnica's recent history, the first being her grandson and the second being her husband.

    Even thinking that I was surely going to fight her in the future because of the Witch Cult was not a funny thought to have as a knee kept driving deep in my guts.

    Recoiling from the waiting elder, I was starting to regret how easily I had accepted his offer for a rematch and how quickly he was decimating any chance of landing even a single hit.

    Cheap tricks failed when the man I was fighting was a battle-hardened veteran of the Demi-Human War. His two practice swords were blurs compared to my awkward actions and the fact he was purposely poking at my guard and rarely targeting my glaring openings was kind of... infuriating.

    Sure, I don't want to lose to someone in any chances and, from my understanding, no one in general like to lose anything to anyone, but to think that I would end up in that particularly humiliating situation because the man was feeling 'playful' in the spar was starting to get in my fucking nerves now.

    It didn't help that some form of taunting was now starting to be caught by my ears inbetween strikes.

    "How did you even survive that ambush?"

    It was Fourier and... I wasn't taking the entire group of attackers all at once.

    "To think that the prince has lowered himself to someone this much... disappointing."

    I mean, it's his choice by the end of the day-

    "I wonder how much of a disappointment you are to your mothe-!!" I felt wood crash on my upper face, whipping my forehead but leaving no pain on its retreat. My mind was going through those words over and over and over as my own practice sword fluttered through the air, slashing upward as it gazed the man's chest.

    I felt the tip of the sword touching the cloth without damaging it.

    A surprised blink was what channeled my sudden reaction, which was far from over as I moved the blade to hit again. Only to be intercepted by one of the swords.

    I was fully open for a clean hit on my ribs, which the second practice tool was directed at with the same pacing as before. The burning sensation, the one consuming much of my logical side because of the sore spot being probed, fueled my actions to seek a way out of that unpleasant predicament I had fallen into.

    But my body was not capable of dodging or block the approaching attack, my entire torso way too sore to bend away and my blade stalled by the Wilhelm's second one. I gritted my teeth in annoyance and then... I saw something unique.

    My mind went lighter as I saw it, the stillness of Wilhlem as the blade stopped right few moments from truly hitting my chest. I blinked in shock, trying to make sense of what was happening and-

    Wack!

    Pain surged from my lower ribs, the crack echoing through my entire chest as I fell on the floor, sword forsaken by my hands as I went to press on the aching spot on my chest.

    The elder nodded, dropping the swords and crouching to get me up as I saw two silver 'bullets' rushing by my side. Hans and Fritz looked insanely worried there and I felt kind of sad that- "Hey, don't sleep yet!"

    I snorted as I felt my footing still missing as the Sword Demon took me up and let Fourier help me to walk to the chair he had previously used. I saw slowly, pain still burning through my ribs as I saw the prince press his hand on the hurting spot, a green light blooming from there as I felt a cool sensation chill down the fiery aching on my chest.

    I blinked as the more time passed, the more I felt gain some relief out from that spell he was using.

    The light decreased almost instantly and I sighed tiredly as the youth sat on another chair there. "T-That was a little more than usual." He hummed quietly as he closed his eyes, his whole posture dropping to one of dizziness.

    Seriously, was magic that much draining and... what had happened there? Why Wilhelm and everyone else had... stopped?!

    Time Magic was something that suprisingly didn't exist didn't exist in this part of the universe, it was one of the things that this fantasy world lacked in terms of known spellcraft.

    People have tried and horribly failed to 'create' new magic from the existing knowledge of old tomes. The common theory regarding the impossibility of casting the 'magic of old' is that after the sealing of the Witch of Envy, the massive change in the world's balance led to some incredible reduction of the magic potential in human beings.

    The seal used to keep Satella from returning was tied to... everyone. The woman was so much strong that the energy required to keep the insanely complex prison going was a small toll given to everyone.

    How this was possible? Flugel had personally placed several grand 'drain systems' through the entire 'world', making sure that none of those would ever risk of getting tampered while siphoning a... 2% percent of everyone's energy per week.

    It was a weird estimation but I didn't have any calculator and a world-wide census on me to get some proper idea of the real numbers.

    And while I had been glad for a time that I wasn't going to deal with some world-munching bipolar witch, I was now regretting the fact I was going to deal with her anyway.

    Why? Well, it would seem that the zone where she is currently being kept contained was quite close to where Erindor was and, for that reason, there were monthly 'checkups' from the local Church of Flugel to see if everything was still going smoothly... and the mayor had to be present in those occasions.

    ...Fuck!

    -----------------d-d-d-d-d-----------d-d-d-d----------------------d-d-d-d-d----------------d-d-d-d-d--------------------d-d-d-d-d--------------

    Sleep was surprisingly easy that day, especially since I had started to get incredibly sleepy just after finishing dinner.

    It was a strange situation as I had never felt this much tired so suddenly after eating and, ignoring the fact I had completely forgotten to go through the bathroom and directly went to crash on my comfy bed. But while sleep was easy to obtain, the same could be said about losing it.

    The moment I felt my back land on something creaky and sturdy, my eyes snapped open in shock as I found myself in a.... room. No windows, now door visible... just candles which showed just part of the place.

    A masked figure was standing tall in front of me, the mask literally making it difficult to understand who it was and... then I noticed the strange symbol painted in the wall behind him and-Oh!

    Mysterious shadow, unknown room and some curious insigna. The conclusions should be easy to draw from those three elements.

    My mouth opened in realization and, before the stranger could speak, I decided to blurt out a simple question.

    "Are you an assassin?"

    The man went still at the sudden query and I was unsure that it was either the shock of the question or that I had bullseyed that situation right from the beginning. He tilted his head and his deep, thunderous voice replied with something equally simple.

    "What?"

    "I mean, you got all the elements spot on." I stated calmly. "You got a barely-lit room with a strange symbol painted right in front of me and... you look quite shady."

    "Our group is not made by 'assassins' as you foolishly denounce, Mayor Bukharin, and I would mind my tone if it was me in your place."

    "Do you work for justice? For the people? For the freedom of everyne?-"

    "SHUT UP, YOU FOOL!" He snarled the outburst just... so fine. I mean, I would be pissed too if someone ruined my 'plans' so brilliantly. He readjusted his posture, relaxing just a little as silence ruled for few moments. "Your presence here is a matter beyond the simple affairs of Lugnica-"

    The man paused, glancing my way as I innocently blinked back at him. What? Did he expect me to prolong an already stale joke? That is such a lame prediction.

    "-We are part of an organization that seek to prevent the success of the wrong-doers, of the villains and... of the cults." His tone turned poisonous just at the end and I nodded. "But the reason you are here is not as complex as it might sound. After seeing your recent work, our leaders have agreed to extensively study your case and see if the 'Curse' should be lifted."

    "You mean that-" "Your predecessors tried to work with several nationalistic groups that would have destabilized the Kingdom of Lugnica, which we prevented by using the 'Curse' to take them out of the picture altogether."

    ... "So you do kill people-"

    "Only those who warrant our intervention," He defended staunchly and I sighed.

    "But you still kill people- Actually, let's cut the chase and just give me a name."

    ...He stared for few moments, either confused or suffering from some brain-fart at my careless attitude at the moment.

    Sure, I was pretty scare in that gloomy room with someone that could kill me but... I was feeling cocky enough to test how peer pressure worked on this organizations' member.

    Until now, they sucked very hard to keep composed during some 'work interviews' but I might be a special case just thanks to my inherent behavior.

    "We are... the Enlightened Ecclesia."

    ...

    "You are a Church?" He didn't deign me an answer, preferring to literally knock me out with a well-placed kick on my head. But as I was dragged back to my house, I slowly realized something.

    ...

    Illuminati Confimed?!

    -------------d-d-d-d-d-------------d-d-d-d-d----------------d-d-d-d-d---------d-d-d-d-d-----------d-d-d-d-d--------------d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d---------------

    Afterthoughts: So there are the Assassi- Illumi- The Enligthened Ecclesia around Re Zero and... they are the 'Curse'. Indeed, the Curse was actually some fancy excuse to fake the death of several traitorous mayors prior to the MC. What does this mean? That things are going to get spicey!

    Also... Satella, coming soon...
     
  20. Tobi

    Tobi I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    No one expects the church inquisition!!
     
  21. NightmareWarden

    NightmareWarden Know what you're doing yet?

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    Ho-hum. The life of a parent is never simple or easy. The average parent usually doesn’t get mixed up with special operations organizations with teleportation mages at their beck and call though!!!

    I wonder if a named character handled the Enlightened Ecclesia’s research. If so, then Bukharin has a chance to get a seat at the table as a leader for the group. Honestly I think Bukharin is a better choice for such a position than any other character in the setting.
     
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  22. Threadmarks: Chapter 8
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    19 June 422

    A new morning and a new purpose before my supposedly unavoidable task of being around as local wizards go and see if the seal is holding well enough after so many years of activity.

    Satella was still a big scare and, if I have to be honest, I could understand the fear behind such a dangerous being. Sure, only the Witch of Envy is to be kept at bay, but the naivety and the frail state of mind the more lucid of the two personalities couldn't be considered innocent too.

    Her mind responded to child-like instincts, strong emotions ruling out logic itself as she solved problems by creating new ones.

    A child in an adult body-

    Seriously, can someone explain to me why there is such a terrible parallelism between the Witch and Emilia? Not that I believe much the Time-Travel Theory, but still... why they were made so much similar? I can only imagine how the poor elf would feel at the idea that, after fending off so many people about her physical similarity with the Witch, she ends up discovering that even her personality is close to the different being.

    But let us return back to the point prior to this minor rant. I have a new idea to make my position solid and remove a good 45% of threats against me.

    As I contemplated the possible ways I could use to puppetize the 'Enlightened Ecclesia' (*Cough* Assassin's Creed *Cough*) for the sake of having some cheap bodyguard service on myself, I found myself staring blankly at the dark-brown ceiling above my head. I have never spared much of a glance to my office, either too busy with the daily paperwork or dealing with different shenanigans.

    The twins had taken an early leave to their rooms after I had assigned them some new homework and- No, I didn't give them something overly-difficult just like the average teacher would.

    While it was a good way to 'burn' things on young brains, I wasn't shy to consider the method obsolete and ineffective, thus I merely give them enough material for the day and then would proceed to ask them a small exam to verify if they got everything down.

    If something was difficult for them or they found the books' explanation complicated, then I would sit down and explain those topics with a simplier and easy to understand way.

    Fourier had decided to take a walk around Erindor, confessing few hours earlier that he had yet to explore the whole town because of the 'situations' that happened in those last few days.

    Understandable and I was quick to let him go out from the office as I continued to drown in my paperwork, doodling some minor, senseless plan about my (possible) new Assassin group.

    I had Orestes dispatched to check on how the local markets were going and how the new 'state'-owned shops were faring to the already-existing competition.

    Fairly well hardly compared to the pleasant results I received in the following reports. While some issues had come out in the form of dislike from the independent merchants as they instantly perceived that something was amiss with the new development, none of them had managed to catch up with the good income rising from this new endeavour.

    Plans of further tax reductions bloomed in my mind, knowing full-well that the least taxes were around to hinder investments and stunt the growth of the lesser classes, the more I could see the town flourish into something powerful.

    The military reforms were still meek at best, the lack of proper resources available at the moment messing up the possibility of rekindling a good concription campaign. Still the current amount of soldiers were already showing a major growth in terms of strategic and tactical planning, urging me to finally contemplate the possibility of creating a School for Officers in the near future.

    "Mayor Bukharin?" I blinked as I found my thoughts put aside for the sake of paying attention to Orestes. I have barely noticed his presence and merely sighed, staring boringly at the seemingly normal man standing by his side. "This is the man you wished to be brought here?"

    I nodded and gestured him to leave as the nervous individual proceeded to take a seat in one of the available chairs in front of me.

    "M-Mayor Bukharin? I have heard so much about you and-"

    "You know, I kind of expected some better act from you, being the leader of the Assassin's guild."

    Eyes widening, the twitch at the word 'Assassin' further proved my suspects to be correct. While there were too many people in Lugnica for me to search around and find whoever was the leading figure of this little organization, clues about the first and last encounter were easy to draw from the little memory I had of the event.

    For him to be able to move me out of the city without Magic and without detection, it meant that this 'leader' had been resting in one of the two Inns within the city.

    After the implementation of the Census, this two establishment were given the task of signing down the names of foreigners passing by for the sake of security, passing such documents to the City Guard for them to see if any of the 'merchants' ended up being another criminal.

    Knowing that he had been around the city more than once and that he had to have established some confidential relationship with the people around the place, it wasn't difficult to pinpoint a very specific individual that had been staying around in the last three days while also disappearing for the rest of the night. 'Markus Fedur', or whatever his name was, was failing miserably in keeping his facade going in this unexpected situation.

    The stuttering could have worked if it hadn't been accompanied with quick glares towards me.

    "M-Mayor, you might h-have get the wrong man-"

    "I know it's you because of your very voice." I decided to lie about the logical reasoning behind his 'capture' feeling like this method best worked when only I could use it.

    He fidgeted in his seat. "I-I don't know-"

    "Look, we can keep going with this silly act of yours or I could get you hanged for high treason." I sighed as his eyes widened once more. "The guards have found your little chest filled with compromising letters. If the Royal Family was alerted of this matter, you and your order will be hunted and properly forcefully disbanded."

    A few moments of silence passed and he sighed. "Fine! What do you want, Bukharin?"

    I smiled. "Already skipping the introductions?" A shrug. "I guess we can't have everything in this world and, answering your question, I wish to have an handful of your men under my service-"

    "Absolutely not," Markus cut shortly. "Our organization doesn't serve people in the spotlight-" "Not even if said 'people in the spotlight' are going to face no little threat from Gusteko? I know that is the 'nationalistic groups' you were referring to yesterday."

    The man let out a 'hmph' as he tried to think about a proper counter-offer. "We can offer you some information but-"

    "Look, I don't want to appear aggressive here, but I got you by the neck with the crap we found in your room. And while you might sprout about the 'Organization' going to react at your passing, I can say that they would only bicker to each other about who is going to replace you."

    ..."Beg your pardon?"

    I sighed. "Do you expect me to believe that you are the brightest candidate for the role you have right now?" I paused, he looked murderous. "Rethorical, but no, I can see why this organization is hardly know."

    ...

    "You suck, you failed before and the Kingdom had supposedly disbanded you already-"

    "I-It was just a small mistake at a simple job." I frowned and brought out a very obscure book about known military forces in Lugnica for the last five decades.

    "You were the ones responsible for the safety of Emerada Lugnica and... you 'failed' to protect her-"

    "Fine! She was killing too many people to be left alive. We planned several openings during the guarding schedule-" "And let her be assassinated."

    Unpleasant silent filled the office and I tilted my head to the side.

    "I guess we can... try something then. Something interesting."

    I pushed the small dossier with the little plans for the Ecclesia and Markus gave it a long glance before picking it in his hands. Files were revealed as his eyes moved quickly through it and... his eyes widened.

    "You..." He closed the dossier. "You wish to arm us?"

    I nodded. "That is correct." Relaxing on my chair, I started to hum quietly. "You lack direction and the large mission is merely an illusive future to give some reason for your organization to truly exist."

    "And what 'direction' are you aiming, Mayor Bukharin?"

    I shrugged. "Peace, stability and..." I thought about this last one. I generally had a third word available to emphasize my 'passion' but this time I had not planned this up as usual. "Fun?"

    ... "Fun?"

    "First word that jumped to my mind, don't judge me-"

    "I shall judge when someone is behaving deceitfully and-"

    I gestured to his lower body. "Your flier is open." I didn't even know if there were fliers in this world but... he looked down, frowned and then glared daggers once more but I was done with this spy-related stuff.

    I yawned and pointed at the door. "I will send you a message once I got everything prepared."

    "What? This isn't over yet-" Right in that moment the door of the office slammed open as Fourier Lugnica entered the room while holding... several flowers. I frowned at this and his bright smile wasn't helping in deciphering whatever was going on inside his head.

    "Today is a good day, John and-" He paused to look at the unfamiliar man, Marcus returned to his meek attempt of passing up as a nervous innocent civilian and- "Mr. Fedur was leaving." I stared intensively at the pressured assassin. "Am I right, Mr. Fedur."

    He nodded quickly, bowing my way as he got up from his seat and then once more towards Fourier as he rushed out of the room and manor, the humiliating development going to possibly sting for a while.

    What a pathetic assassin.

    "So..." I broke the new silence as I stared at the curious flowers. "Are those a gift for your fair lady back in the Capital?"

    The cheeky blond had his whole face blushing at the assumption, trying to deny this by repeatedly saying 'no' and shaking his head. "T-Those were for C-Crusch, but she isn't my f-fair lady-"

    "But I think it would be a fitting gift since you told me the blossoming of flowers brought you together."

    I could remember word-by-word the first chapter of the Volume dedicated to the prince and... it would be an interesting way to push him in the right direction.

    While the illness that should have slowly killed the Royal family had seemingly failed to truly start getting some victims. This very detail was nerve-wracking as I knew the range of such dangerous power extended beyond my current knowledge.

    From what I could remember of the brief explanations about the 'Curse-induced illnesses' there are several ways to create one.

    It might be tied to the bloodline, which is hardly a possibility since Felt managed to live through the worst of this situation, it might be individually placed by someone within the palace, a strong theory that would make sense since several unpleasant individuals had managed to infiltrate the castle, and lastly was the location itself.

    This very idea wasn't truly misplaced as it would explain how Felt had survived and why Fourier was one of the few ones that contracted it days after the rest of his family.

    I might be a little against changing the timeline but... Yeah, I need to. Some of the things that have yet to come are going to be nightmareish and, if I managed to defuse most of those early on, I could as well make Subaru's life easier. Hopefully he will not be cringe-y with his pure-blooded NEET aura.

    ---------d-dd-d-d-------------d-d-d-d-----------------d-d-d-d---------
    Oh no! A cliffhanger- but this isn't over yet!
    -------------d-d-d-d--------------d-d-d-d-------------d-d-d-d----------

    OMAKE 1: We are friends, so it's fine.

    I have expected so many things from Fourier Lugnica:

    I had expected him to be eccentric, which he proved to be;

    I expected him to be putty when Crusch was brought up in a discussion, which funnily enough was true;

    But when he presented himself with such flamboyant proposal so early in the morning and with my brain still coping with the fact I wasn't sleeping, I was floored at his words.

    "No." It was the quick refusal. One shouldn't never ask this to a bro. It was something a bro should never hear-

    "But I trust you! I know that your input would be important and-"

    "No means no, Fourier."

    He twitched in his seat, a pout appearing on his face but hardly getting a change from my reaction. There was a limit and that was beyond that line.

    "But you said I needed some experience if I want to be able to conquer Crusch."

    Weren't you the one denying all of this until yesterday?!

    "That is not something you exercise for, Fourier. Stop asking-"

    "Look, I read it's fine if we use some paper in between-"

    "No!"

    He sighed and then gave me the most serious look he could muster up. "I come here with an intense resolve and I shan't be stopped!"

    With this words, he took a step forward, my eyes widening in fear. "W-Why aren't you using a pillow then!?"

    "And compare her face with that?! I cannot accept this!"

    "Then ask someone else-" "You are one of my best friends, John. I know you will keep this secret!"

    "No, means N-AGH!" I didn't see the prince pouncing above the desk and onto me, pushing me down as he pressed the layer of paper on my face.

    NO! Not like this! This- I DON'T NEED THIS!

    The blond didn't hesitate as he went down with his face, lips ready to deliver the practice kiss and...

    ...

    ...


    "MPPPPPPPPPPPPPHHHHHHHHHHHHHHDDDDDDDDD!!!!!!!!"

    -------------d-d-dd-----------d-d-dd-----------d-d-d-d-----------d-d-d-d-----------d-d-d-d----------

    Afterthoughts: I think two explanations are needed about this chapter. The encounter with 'Marcus' was styled after Pete Holmes 'Ex-Men' parody on YT, which it's about Professor X roasting one way or another the X-Men and... Magneto.
    Then the scene of the Omake is taken from Ore Monogatari and... it's not canon. The Omake series will be heavily un-canon and filled with Anime's ideas that are replayed or reworked with the Re:Zero Cast. Do you like it?
     
  23. Threadmarks: Chapter 9
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    20 June 422

    I yawned as I felt the boredom of this little 'pilgrimage' starting to slowly chip down at my energy.

    Leading the small convoy of the two carriages, as the mayor, I was currently driving something that wasn't a horse.

    Earth Dragons were barely described in the Canon timeline, Patrasche being the closest thing that one could study... from afar. Not much was given about those reptile-like creatures and I was quite surprise at how... funnier it was to have one compared to a horse.

    The little green-skinned raptor just gave off the kind of sass only someone like me could only love and respect. And that is why I picked him as my 'noble' steed for this 'grand' adventure.

    Sharing the same lack of initiative for this long walk in the woods, I knew that our bond was growing without me doing particularly much. We both wanted to be in our respective cozy homes, thinking about lazying around either with paperwork or pranking the poor dude assigned to...

    Actually I forgot to introduce you all to my trusted companion. Lads and lasses, I present to you all... Bob.

    Okay, kidding over there and I bet someone has already associated the color and the name to a very unfortunate sidekick but his real name is Lime.

    A bright shade of green that only shared something with the reptile the color, which was green. Maybe I am circling around this useless detail but... yeah, this is Lime. Either that or Foxtrot.

    Now that I think about it, maybe I should have accepted Fourier's offer to accompany me during this boring event and got someone to keep me somewhat entertained during this trip. But the risk of bringing one of the heirs to the throne near the Witch's sealing zone? That would be completely irresponsible and careless from my part.

    I am trying to make sure he survives this timeline, not to make the schizophrenic elf take care of him personally.

    Glancing back, I sighed at the sound of the horsed behind me.

    The two carriages behind me were carrying two important figures to the city. Two individuals that were so unique and prepared to see if there were any issues with the seal and promptly act to repair it to working conditions. The High Priest of the Flugel's Church and the Arch-mage of the city, two elders that have long oversee to those operations without dealing with any particular problem, which was why I had been cautious enough to read a book about basic sealing the night before.

    While in a bad situation my ability to intervene in a re-sealing of the dangerous threat was abysmal, it was still something. And something is most of the time better than nothing. Yawning again, my half-closed eyes were once more on the light path, trying to keep track of the seemingly endless line of rocks delimiting the road from the weeds and mere foliage.

    Few moments later, I felt something... different. A sudden chill went down my spine as Lime straightened up, almost tripping as his eyes went wide open in alert. Looking around, action that I followed with my own sight I finally stumbled upon the cause of the weird sensation that was now influencing my body.

    Down the path I could see a massive... dome of light. A dark-purplish semi-transparent barrier that stretched for a large piece of land, covering it from anyone looking at it from the outside. Was that the-

    "We are almost near." One of the older guards stated with a grimace, justified by the unpleasant dread the mere sight and proximity of this magical construct was causing. The younger members escorting the group looked paler and I could easily understand the need to run away from that thing written on their faces.

    Minutes passed and, after dismounting from Lime and giving him a shelter away from the 'scary thing' I was supposed to be around, I decided to give a proper glance at the portion of magical arrays I could see on the ground right by the edge of the dome. I could recognize signs I have studied: Pure Creation, Blessed Protection, Holy Restraint and... the last one was something I couldn't recognize.

    It looked very close to 'Confinement' but the sudden curves it took by the edges were sharper than it. I felt someone approaching me and I turned to see the Arch-Mage, Preacher Caralde, stopping right few steps behind me. "I see that you are studying the sealing array, Mayor Bukharin."

    A quick nod and a sigh. "I was trying to make sense of that sign there. It looks like 'Confinement' but-"

    "It is weirdly written, an inexperienced practicer would even dare to define it wrong."

    "But it isn't." I muttered as a reply to the implicit question of the older man. He hummed in agreement, walking right to the visible sign and... closer to the barrier.

    "I-I know I don't know much of this, but is it wise to be that close?"

    Another hum. "The seal is working." A single statement that made me frown even more. "The Witch is not perceiving our current presence."

    I shouldn't approach him. Knowing how unforgiving this world is, I shouldn't even be considering doing anything this dangerous and... and yet something urged me to make steps. I couldn't decipher it, it was... alluring.

    I crouched near the sign as the Arch-Mage started to explain it. "This one is 'Lovely Prison'. It is a particular rune that use positive emotions coming from within the barrier to solidify the composition of the main spell."

    ...What? You mean that this-

    "This barrier is possible because the Witch-"

    "Is capable of feeling good emotions? It isn't something that strange, it is reported that Witches would once in a while accept in some feeling related to humans. Satella..."

    He paused a moment, scrunching his face as he thought about the following words.

    "Satella was known for having held love within herself. So much love to bring together the rest of the Witches to her back before the world risked to end."

    "But why would she decided to end this? Is it known why she went on this spree?" My question, albeit legitimate and understandable related to the context, were met with a sad sigh from the Preacher.

    "Not many annals of that era survived today and the few ones around are mostly about the foundation of the Kingdoms." He paused again. "Still I think it could have to do with her heart being broken."

    "Uh?" Was he talking about Flugel and Satella having been... together? It was still theoretical as the allusions in the Light Novel gave little more than that. Allusions.

    "The bigger the heart of a girl, the greater her fall will be when she will face rejection." Another sigh. "Years of having known good people let you know more of the past than any of those self-proclaimed historians."

    I nodded as I continued to stare at the sign, memorizing its pattern for eventual... needs. It could be useful, maybe an altered one in case of dire need.

    I was so lost in my own thoughts that I felt something was incredibly wrong when I heard the first animalistic screech. Chain yanking, Lime was screeching towards me. I could feel it, a presence of sort hovering above me.

    Without turning around, I rolled on the right while shouting loudly. "Move!" The elder was quick on his feet as he rushed forward and away from the sneaky attack. Something terribly powerful slammed on the ground, turning pure rock in fine dust.

    Gulping nervously, I could see something moving in the air, something transparent to the sight.

    Goddammit, not now! My hands gripped at the hilt of my fine sword of steel. Master swordsman I was not, but I knew well enough how to cut thin things like disembodied arms with a penchant of murdering people.

    Pressure built up by the dreadful wait was shattered as I felt wind bending at the first assault, my sword lifting up in the air well above where they were going for and...

    *SWING*

    I could feel some minor *thud*s going right beside me but I didn't waste time to check if I had indeed severed the floating limbs of pure doom as another volley went right for me.

    *SWING*

    *SWING*

    *SWING*

    *SWING*

    I was getting tired with this little murderous mini-game but I noticed one thing from this skirmish. While Preacher Caralde had joined in the fight by drawing several runes that unleashed torrents of water and powerful thunderstrikes to deal with part of the attacking force, the attention was mostly directed at... me.

    Yep, this is Re:Zero alright. Don't focus on the minor characters, take out the anomalies first.

    "I-It wants only me!" The elder glanced briefly my way, a little surprised but soon nodding in agreement. Gulping nervously, I found myself facing a difficult choice.

    Either I continued to fight endlessly with the Witch and hope to tire her out or do make use of that incredibly powerful technique I had learned from that amazing Anime which I will not tell for good reasons!

    I made my decision, it's time to reveal the true power of such a glorious act!

    Legs pumping ready with energy and my eyes taking note of the specific details of this area, I gave a final nod as I rushed away from the opening and... WE ARE LEAVING!

    "Joseph Joestar Secret Technique!"

    Blitzing away from the never-ending arms trying to reach for me, I almost tasted victory after few moments of sweet relief. Then a sharp pain in the leg made me trip and... I was slowly dragged back towards the barrier and... thrown into it.

    Gasping at the little damage I suffered in this little move, I checked if I had lost my hurting leg and- nope, still there but bleeding a lot. The newly opened hole in the dome was pretty high and making the jump was nigh-impossible for me in this state. Just as I assessed the fact I was sitting on some rotting land one could find in a decaying cementery, I felt a voice.

    Y-You are here.

    It started soft, with a stutter, and concluded with a twitchy note of happiness. The kind of happiness that only deranged people would give to their tones and I barely glanced at the origin of this little 'Cthullian' situation. Standing several feets away from me, a short shadow that oddly reminded me of a certain young elf slowly approached my current location.

    I couldn't see her feature, her face, the darkness covering everything about her as I slowly backed away from the being, minding the pounding pain in my hurting limb.

    You smell like him but...

    In a blink she made several steps towards me. "S-Stay away!"

    ...you are not him?

    I was moving as quickly as I could with the injury that I had, but there wasn't a place to hide or stop the Witch to catch on to me. My heart was beating to an insane rate as I continued with my futile attempt to distance the shadowy girl and then-

    Who are you? Wait-

    Blinking in surprise, I looked back the moment I noticed the hand I was using to drag myself away not touching the usual ground. I wasn't even touching anything, it was standing above a... hole?

    A blinding white light came from the large entrance that went underneath the place, surprisingly alluring and... familiar. I blinked for a moment when I felt a gust slam onto me.

    NONONONONONONO!

    But the very effects of her sudden tantrum did the trick, throwing me onto the hole and... I felt my eyes close.

    DON'T LEAVE ME! D-Don't leave meeeeeeh!

    The last whine felt strange, yet my attention was fully disrupted by the slow descent. I felt one last thing before losing completely my consciousness. The blood I was losing further accelerating the faint but I can say for sure...

    *Thud*

    ...that I landed in some soft grass, footsteps approaching my body...

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Afterthoughts:

    Satella is here and boy, she is going to be fun to write. Why? Well since we have very little knowledge of her real self and the MC is not Subaru (which means she is not comparing him to Flugel), I can make some interesting chemistry between them. Romance? I am tempted to say no, but I like to keep every door open for everyone. I don't have a clear plan about MC pairing but I prefer for my readers to not... infleunce me with the first impressions I will write of Satella. It will be unique and some might take it as something... that it isn't.
     
  24. Threadmarks: Chapter 10
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    ???, ???

    The moment my body and mind started to wake up after sometime from the terrible encounter I had with the Witch of Envy, my ears woke up to a melodious humming. A soft hand was caressing my hair as my memories returned back to me. I didn't outright wake up, my relative soreness and the strange pressure I was feeling on my still hurting leg suggesting that maybe some more rest was more than necessary after almost losting it because of the dark version of Satella.

    Yet, as I enjoyed the pleasure that only a lap pillow offered by a fair maiden could concede, I found myself questioning some crucial details of my current predicament. While my first thought was that I had somehow been fished out of the Witch's prison by one of the wizards assigned to guard the area, the fact I was being treated up by a female touch it clear that I was still stuck within the prison... but which part of it?

    I knew that Satella was sealed in a special section of the dome that was meant to keep her away from her own darkness and the real world. Two functions that showed that Flugel did somehow cared for the poor woman and, as I fought back the urge to jump away from the witch's lap, I realized that any misstep was going to end up with me getting either killed or erased from the world, cases that I wanted to truly avoid at all costs.

    So planning this carefully, I did my best to try and fake 'waking up' slowly and quietly, eyelids opening to stare up to a very familiar face.

    I have seen the original artwork of Satella, the one attached to the light novel as Subaru first encountered her in the Witches' Tea Party. Silent, politely and respectfully so, knowing that the boy did have some misplaced hatred for her and thus having her take a moderate stance to seek redemption to his eyes.

    Still when my eyes saw her face, someone that has the 'classic' eccentric features of an anime's character, I was quite surprised when I caught on her appearance. Her pale hair was pure white, as if made of pure snow. Her eyes were a shade darker than Emilia's, there was some blue in that purple, and I saw her cheeks flush at my intense glancing.

    "Y-You are awake." She blurted out, an embarrassed tone that seemed much similar to the half-elf I had just mentioned. It was kind of odd how her whole attitude did resemble so much Emilia and for a moment I was thinking that this was actually the 'innocent' girl.

    The fact her dress was the same black one she had when she finally accepted to met Subaru and the fact her expressions seemed a little more mature compared to Emilia were enough to fully prove that this woman was Satella.

    The Witch wasn't speaking further, looking away as she waited for a response from me. My perception of my surroundings broadened and I saw that I was lying on a white stone bench, nearby a small table with two chairs and some umbrella giving shadow to the furniture.

    I blinked. "I am." My response might have been a little late, but she still nodded, eyes briefly glancing back at my face before she flushed once more.
    "I-" She paused, I could see her throat swallowing nervously as she nodded to herself. "T-That is good."

    Few more moments of quiet passed and I found myself closing my eyes once more, this time to reflect about my current predicament:
    1) I was in the 'deepest' part of the prison, the entrance not visible where I currently am;
    2) I was in proximity of the fragile personality of the once world-threat Witch of Envy, Satella looking quite meek as of now;
    3) My leg was still hurting but recovering from the bandages applied on it, I should be able to get up very soon as I was starting to channel some of my magic here.

    All in all not the worst scenario but certainly not the best either. I glanced back at the white-haired woman and smiled, catching another blush from her as she seemed completely unable to socialize in that situation. I guess that after being jailed for so many years (1000+) her notions of others had long changed.

    A lonely woman, punished for the mistake of the one that is hailed as one of the grand saviors of Lugnica. A tragedy with a single title, its name being 'Satella' and its epilogue being a simple field filled with rose, no clouds in the sky as the sun moderately bathed us with its light and an outrageous amount of tea dispensed from that little kettle.

    Now that was a scarier outcome than death.

    "Satella." Her eyes widened as my dry throat let out her name, her attention redirected back at me as she braced for any scary retalation from me and... then I smiled. "Thank you."

    She blinked once, then twice. The Witch looked calm and emotionless for a moment, then her composure broke a confused expression, one that seemed to show how she was failing to grasp the difficult reply I have just given her. Her chest heaved and then she blinked again.

    "W-What?" That was what her mind could conceptualize in a response to the inane predicament she was now facing. It was kind of adorable of her inner struggling was perfectly visible in her face, scrunching once or twice as she evaluated any possible hidden meaning in the two words I just relayed to her.

    And yet nothing seemed to make sense to her.

    "I said 'Thank you'." I repeated calmly, my smile going still strong. "Thank you for nursing me up. I... I think I would have lost my leg there."

    She gulped nervously. "I-It was my fault. I-I mean, t-the dark me t-tried to-"

    "Satella." She stopped almost instantly and I nodded. "I know that you didn't want to hurt me."

    "I still did." The woman remarked with quiet sadness. "I-I am not a good person."

    "And why is that?" I continued to mount up the crescendo. "Can you tell me why?"

    My tone seemed to quickly snap her away from her reverie, her eyes darting back onto my face. "I-I made a mistake!"

    "Uh?" Was she seriously planning to tell the truth? I mean, I wanted to know that but... why this much opening-

    "N-No, I shouldn't- I shouldn't tell. Flugel-"

    "Is not here-"

    "B-But I harmed him!" She sobbed, the first tears falling right onto my face. "I caused pain to him, I- I almost destroyed the world."

    I didn't reply the moment she stopped, letting the Witch cry a little so that she could let go of the emotional weight growing within herself. I patiently waited and then... she turned to sniffling and I nodded.

    "You may have done that." I muttered carefully. "But aren't you regretting that?"

    She paused and blinked. No response, only another confused staring.

    "Do you regret having done such terrible things? Do you regret it all?"

    ...
    ...
    ...

    "I... I do."

    It was a cold breeze that accompanied her words and I hummed quietly.

    "That is a good thing then." I persevered insistently. "If you were a bad person, Satella, you wouldn't have regretted any of that. If you were truly a terrible being you would have been hateful of having gone ahead and finished it all, you would have taken pleasure out of the pain you caused and yet you don't."

    Her sniffling slowly waned away, her sleeve going to clean up her tear-stained face. "Y-You- Why?"

    I blinked. "What?"

    "Why aren't you... hating me?" The Witch whispered nervously. "I-I did terrible things and yet... you aren't shaking, you aren't fearing all of this. Why?"

    I sighed, my brain working for a coherent answer that dodged any of the usual shounen's cheesy replies.

    "I am... not from this world." I mused loudly, her eyes merely blinking and confirming one of my suspects. "Something I think you have long established."

    Satella nodded and I continued. "Well, it is quite known where I come from that sometime people commit the worst crimes for a reason, not just because they wanted to."

    "L-Like me?" She asked with such a child-like voice. I was tempted to let out a D'Aww, but decided against it as it would interrupt the moment.

    "Like you and worse."

    Her eyes narrowed in further confusion. "W-Worse?"

    "Yep." I nodded softly to her and continued. "But the thing I mean with all of this is that we are all flawed as living beings. We make mistakes, we do terrible things and then, based to how we truly feel within ourselves about what we do, we either praise or condemn ourselves."

    "B-But why? Why a-are we flawed?"

    "Because the world would be a dull and stale place if we were perfect. We wouldn't experience happiness because we wouldn't know about sadness, we wouldn't experience gratification because we wouldn't know about failure and we wouldn't learn about love because we wouldn't know what is hate."

    "I-It's unfair!"

    "But then you know what it's fair." Whatever angry outburst she tried to come up with it died down the moment I intervened. Jaws open, eyes widening and soon she started to think more about my words. Yet I was far from over.

    "The world is a terrible place of disappointment and despair, but we all learn to stand up on our own or with the help of others. We learn to cheerish the few moments of joy, to treasure them away from the moments of mourning."

    "B-But what about those that don't have a chance?" It was in that moment that her real naivety, the one that truly connected her to Emilia flared out and loud.

    "Then they are unlucky." My response was anti-climatic and she frowned at it. "While I bet you were expecting me to give a name to the origin of all the evils, we all know deep down that we can't truly fault no one, not even ourselves in some situations. We are granted a life, then how it concludes is established half by us and half by luck."

    "B-but-" She stopped, her tongue twisting as her mind failed to establish something to rebuke my honesty, her thoughts twirling left and right and it was all clear in her quickly-changing expressions.

    "H-How do you continue to live then, knowing that there isn't truly a clear thing?"

    I scoffed. "Now, that is half-wrong." I hummed quietly as she pouted at being called out like this. "You did make choices in your life and those were determined for a certain outcome, one that you were 'sure' that it was going to end up into. You are not wrong to consider that some unknown element might alter the situation to a different outcome, but to truly fear the 'possibility' is what truly means accepting to not live."

    "So we just... let it happen?"

    "Yep."

    She frowned. "I... I don't like that."

    "Oh, trust me. Nobody does. But it has to happen or things would be worse."

    There was some brief silence then Satella nodded. "This is very interesting... and confusing."

    Slowly she flickered at my forehead. "Ouch! Why did you do that?"

    "I got an headache." She hummed with some annoyance. "It's your fault."

    "Is truly my fault if- Ouch, stop!"

    She giggled a genuine one. "You are a very complex but silly man, John Bukharin." Then her smile slowly faded. "It's sad that I have to let go of you."

    "Don't worry, I will work something to keep it contact. Maybe something like a-" She held something familiar above my face, I saw my reflection on it. "-mirror."

    I blinked and she giggled again. "I developed this in case I wanted to talk with someone that aroused my interest. I want to hear more from you."

    My hands softly grasped it, her own briefly touching it and retreating as she blushed at the contact. "I-I will be waiting!"

    "W-Wait, how does this work? Is there some chant or words to repeat and how am I supposed to- WOAH!"

    I was literally propelled up in the sky without notice, fear gripping my heart as I was thrown out of the hole and out of the dome, landing surprisingly safely few meters away from the prison and without suffering any damage. I spent some time blinking, trying to recover from the sudden 'propulsion' and was about to look around when I was pushed on the ground by... "Preacher C-Caralde?"

    The man didn't reply, several magical circles appearing above my body as I felt a wave of magic go through my body. The scary situation lasted for about a full minute before I was released from the hold of the senior mage. "Y-you are safe, Mayor Bukharin?"

    "Mostly yes and what the heck was that?"

    He bowed his head quickly, giving a swift apology. "S-Sir, you were inside the barrier for two hours a-and everything could have happened inside of it."

    I blinked. "You suspected that I was going to be 'changed', Preacher?" He gave another apology but I interrupted him. "It wasn't an accusation, just a confirmation. I know that it is a major issue and everyone needs to be ready for anything."

    I turned to look around and saw nobody around. "Are we alone?"

    "Y-Yes, the rest of the group decided to set up a temporary camp as we searched for you-"

    "Preacher, do you want to redeem yourself in my eyes?" I was ready to make quite the imposition, the mere idea that people learned about my little trip inside of that dome was more than enough to cast suspicion over my work and that wasn't acceptable.

    He nodded and I sighed. "The 'real' story is that I managed to get out of that barrier before I could get caught by the Witch, the stress being enough to make me collapse only to be found two hours after the event."

    "S-Sir, I can't do that. I-it would be lying to the Kingdom-"

    "A young girl is being branded a monster because she appears to look like the Witch of Envy." I stated quickly and harshly. "She holds nothing of important within the kingdom, do you know what it would happen if I am to be ousted and killed during my tenure for rumors? Do you want to have my blood on your hands?"

    He backed away at the words. "N-No but-"

    "Then please, I beg of you, accept to lie about this."

    ...

    He gulped nervously but nodded slowly. "I- I will allow this, sir." He paused to look at me with some sadness. "I-I am at fault for this situation and... I will accept this burden."

    "Thank you."

    He didn't reply and I sighed tiredly as he started to walk where I assumed was the camp. As I tried to stand up, expecting to have trouble with the bandages on my leg, I found out that... my leg was fine. Heck, my pants looked untouched and only a single thing looked wrong about it.

    A simple bluish-purple ribbon was tied to my shin, some warmth coming off from it.

    "Do you like my gift?"

    "Considering that you had me scream at the unexpected 'jump'? I think I might do if you tell me what it is." The mirror in my hand showed the face of the pouty woman as she had her arms crossed near her bosom.

    "It's a protective gift. It will improve your current healing and help you deal with some curse-wounds."

    I blinked. "That sounds deadly useful." I smiled at her. "Thank you, Sat."

    She huffed at the nickname but nodded, understanding that using her name outloud might led to some... troublesome situations. "Y-You are welcome, John."

    -------------d-d-d-d----------------d-d-d---------------dd-d-d-------------d-d-d-d-----------------------

    AN

    What? An Omake? Sure, why not! (Sadly this has to be not-canon)

    ---------------
    Omake 2: The blessing of have a male friend and an one-sided mirror connected to him.
    ---------------


    It has been another tiring day and Wilhelm had been quite the merciless trainer as I suffered his 'muscle memory' training of his. Sighing, I took a sniff at my clothes and almost belched at the resulting foul smell.

    It had been days now that I have skipped some bathing and I was starting to suffer the worst with the relentless training and lack of privacy. This was a medieval city which lacked a proper place for people to bathe.

    First thing tomorrow morning shall be a proper application of a modern bathroom's layout to every, single house in Erindor.

    Sighing again, I bumped with Ser Orestes, the old knight noticing immediately my annoyed expression.

    "Something bothering you, young mayor?"

    I nodded and groaned in my hand. "I need somewhere to clean up, Ser. Do you know anyplace that would fit the request?"

    He paused to think about it, humming softly and then nodded. "There is a small river nearby, very few people visiting it, nowadays."

    Blinking, I thought about it. 'With some fire magic I could create some properly clean bathing section out of it.'

    Then I nodded. "Thank you, ser. I will verify quickly if I can make use of that."

    "Glad that I could help with your plight, young Mayor."

    Meanwhile...

    Satella has spent centuries in that same field of roses, quietly trying to gaze over the endless horizon in front of her and failing to catch anything resembling as a new and interesting detail.

    But with the arrival of John Bukharin? Things have gotten pretty interesting very quickly.

    A complex mind that was fitted with the most curious of comic tastes. He was a friend, there was no doubt about her, but what bothered her the most was... the fact he had to sleep and train some of the times she used the mirror.

    In the first instance, she would feel very close to his sleepy face, almost ready to steal a kiss out of him. The latter case was more of a bothering one if she had to be honest as the young man had to ditch his shirt more than once, showing a frame that was developing muscles while dripping from sweat.

    Not her 'proudest' moments, but certainly quite the sight to see after so much time.

    When she connected her mirror back to his own, she had expected those two cases as the worst scenario and thus still went ahead with her decision.

    The moment the mirror connected, Satella frowned at the pure white steam covering it, huffing as it was obscuring her sight. Soon said steam started to dissipate and... she was left with quite the intriguing scene.

    Clothes folded near the mirror, John Bukharin was taking a steamy bath right in front of the mirror... which was connected to her.

    Her face exploded in red as she continued to have her eyes fixed on the sight, unable for reasons unexplainable to look away from. The steam was hiding what was hiding under the water's surface, further increasing the somewhat intriguing situation she was bestowed with.

    Purple eyes darted nervously, trying to avoid keeping a direct contact with the unaware young man, failing as every single action during his cleaning up were visible to her. The precision, the meticulous care he applied to his hygiene were all revealed to her poor self.

    But as the whole scene unfolded without her notifying her friend of this very predicament, her ears caught the sound of some tree branches cracking under a foot. Attention shifting to the more important detail, she looked around to try and notice whom was disturbing the calm moment, ready to call the intruder out.

    Mere moments of silence passed and soon, someone jumped right from where the mirror was placed and a loud voice exclaimed. "Jooooohn!"

    The mayor shrieked as a younger man crashed onto him, a blond-haired fellow that reminded her of... someone. The youth, more extrovert than his senior, commenced to try and pull in a hug the retreating John, the stall bringing to a very funny scene to behold.

    "C'mon! Let me wash your shoulder!"

    "Stay away from me, Fourier! You aren't even clean enough!"

    The situation continued until finally her mind relaxed and let in the fact she was staring at two boys bathing.

    "Do you know what is better than a simple young man, dear Satella." Echidna whispered in her ears with a teasing tone. "Two boys hugging while bathing~!"

    Indeed Satella was seeing why it was 'better' than before. The blush was back but soon it was followed by something unexpected.

    Suddenly blood exploded from her nostrils as the peculiar predicament and rarity of this sight sunk deep in her weary brain, her eyes widening as her mind melted down.

    Collapsing on her chair, still holding her mirror as it continued to show John fending off against the overly-affectionate prince, his irritation similar to the dreadful panic developing from something worse than that 'kiss' predicament.

    The world is mad!

    -----------d-d-d-----------d-d-d-d----------

    AN

    And now it is truly over. So we got a long section about Satella, a minor manipulation to avoid some major issues so early on and a not-canon Omake before us...

    What an interesting day!
     
  25. Threadmarks: Chapter 11
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    20 June 422

    The full moon was up in the sky by the time we were close to Erindor.

    The walk back home had been as tiring as the one we had to endure the first time around, yet possibly just a little more straining because of how exhausting the day had been.

    Encountering Satella, as much as it sounded dreadful from the perspective of Subaru, ended up being something of a boon, the saner personality of the Witch being quite the friendly individual to share a meaningful chat with, but also a good ally for the eventual situations about the Witch Cult. It wasn't a secret that the group wasn't lead by the sealed woman, but the fact the leader, the Witch of Vainglory, was as powerful if not much more than Satella herself was something to not scoff at.

    I sighed as we managed to go through another uphill section of the road, this time my eyes finally graced with the sight of the city that I had left behind earlier that morning. There were the soft lights coming from the windows of the various building, the garrison moving around to change guard and...

    ...

    Was that a fire?

    I blinked and felt a sense of dread rise within my chest as I did spot a particular zone of Erindor on fire, parts of the wall nearby either shattered or damaged brutally. It was right where my mansion was sited and, ignoring the calls from the guards of the entourage, inciting Lime to rush towards the sieged town as fast as the Earth Dragon could.

    The men manning the wall-section with the doors noticed my face as I came closer to the entrance, yelling for the opening of the only means of entering the city and giving me access to the dreadful aftermath of what seemed to have been a siege.

    "M-Mayor, Ser Orestes is organizing the relief effort for the terrible situation. H-he is by your mansion, sir."

    I nodded at the helpful young guard that was waiting by the doors and I continued to follow a precise path to the place I had to visit. I could see the weary man coordinating the efforts to deal with the fire and he waved back at me right as I approached him.

    "Mayor, E-Erindor was attacked- the soldiers took the prince and-"

    What? What about Wilhelm?

    "T-They took the kids too, sir."

    ...No. Abso-fucking-lutely not!

    "Who took them? What soldiers?"

    Orestes hesitated just a moment and then sighed gravely. "Gusteko, sir. Someone powerful out-matched Wilhelm-san and... our entire force is deployed to deal with the aftermath of the disaster."

    I gritted my teeth in barely-veiled fury and nodded. "Ser, were they directed for their nation?"

    He opened his mouth, yet the answer eluded him for a while. Then he spoke clearly. "I think they mentioned something about Viscount Misère. He is a noble with a large mansion by the border."

    "You think they will spend time there before returning back to Gusteko?"

    "It's possible..." I needed answers goddammit! "B-But what are you planning, John. There aren't enough men to prepare for a rescue attempt-"

    "That is why I am going solo." I stated calmly, still riding the Earth Dragon.

    "Absolutely no, sir. You need to be there-"

    "You are doing well, Orestes. I know that this sounds like if I am washing my hands from the responsibility but I have a duty to get them all back."

    He stared for few more moments, gauging my determination and then... "Sir, if the odds are against you, promise me that-"

    "I will be careful, Ser. Do keep the good work and I will be there by tomorrow morning."

    I ignored once again the yells trying to call me out and I rushed towards the doors again, this time chasing for the mud-road that led to the border of the region. I knew that going alone was a suicidal thing and that whoever had organized this serious siege had to have been powerful enough to beat Wilhelm but... I had a plan. Like always...

    Just as the city left my sight, I heard some rustling in the bushed and trees nearby and I slowly saw shadows following a parallel path as mine. Soon the soft light of the moon revealed whom had decided to follow me for this little 'trip' and I sighed as I saw a familiar caped individual leading the force.

    "It would seem like you need our services, Mayor Bukharin."

    "It would seem so, Mark."

    The man groaned at being nicknamed like that and I did notice some amused snorts from the other members of the group. We were around twenty, maybe thirty if some were still away for me to see.

    "Gusteko wouldn't launch a daring attack without some powerful individual giving support to this motion. It is a higher member of their society leading the force-"

    "That I did realize quite recently, Markus, can you tell me something that could actually be considered useful for our current situation?"

    "It isn't a General, nor a normal Noble that pushed for this situation. The presence of Prince Fourier so close by the border, an intriguing character of the Lugnican politics with his eccentric and odd ways, his deeds caught the attention of someone you should tread carefully."

    I frowned at that frail warning and decided to poke the hornet nest. "Really? How careful?"

    The leader of the Assassins sighed gravely. "The Holy King, Prince Ivan-

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    -Prince Ivanovich, Supreme Ruler of Gusteko and Holy Savior of the World!"

    Fourier flinched at the over-joyous tone of the Mad Prince of Gusteko. He had heard many rumors of the mysterious leader of the Kingdom in the North, but he had never seen an image of him in his whole life. It was rare for the Holy Kings of Gusteko to leave their capital, San Petronius, without an urgent reasoning behind it.

    Yet the young man was here, smiling widely as his copper red hair partly covered his odd eyes (silver with small bits of golden) and he continued with his pompous tones and speeches.

    The blond was silent, knowing that a wrong word now was going to warrant some serious punishment on him if what had happened to his bodyguard. Wilhelm van Astrea might have not been as powerful as years ago, but the damages he had sustained against the dark-haired woman that was keeping a close eye on him was terrifying. Two strange daggers and the black-purple theme of her clothes were a sign that... this wasn't a simple guard.

    The two boys, Friz and Hans, managed to avoid any serious issues with Ivan, the prince only glaring at them when they tried to talk back at him. It was small things but it seemed to irk the ruler a lot for some reason. Could it be that he was annoyed by the presence of Demi-humans? Then why would he take them with him?

    "But let us interrupt those tales of glory and focus on the deed at hand." He swiftly moved in front of Fourier, chuckling as he pointed ridiculously at him. "This is my little hostage, Fourier Lugnica... or Rugnica."

    There was a brief snort. "Seriously, I should deal with those differences of language between our nations. Maybe I should go back home and burn some more silly books and who knows, maybe it will work this time around."

    Utterly insanity. That was what he was staring at as the young man the moved his attention back to the rest of the room, his spectators.

    "But I have to once more thank you for your kind offer of housing our tired entourage, Viscount Misére. If it wasn't for you, I don't know what we would have done."

    The aforementioned man, the very individual Fourier had met back few years ago about... the marriage proposal that his current wife had advanced to the young prince... and ended up with him faking a relationship with Ferris, the cat-boy finding this very story hilarious even after so much had passed ever since.

    The owner of the mansion couldn't do much but nod at the 'compliment' as his body was roped to a chair near where his wife was tied too. Tiriena hadn't changed much, maybe looking a little more scared because of the situation but she did seem to recognize him when he was brought in the room.

    The situation was far from optimal... but he could work something out of it. The Mad Prince had yet to honestly advance something that could be considered threatening or some instance of a limited time of staying there... where a rescue team could arrive and help them out of there.

    "A-ni-way~! Miss Elsa, how is our little prisoner. Wilhelm-san looked feisty when you started to play with him."

    The woman gave him a neutral smile. "He understood that he needed to be quiet and he will not disturb you any long-"

    "Excellent-no, outstanding! Really Elsa, if you weren't this obstinate in refuting my offers and having the backing of your silly Mama, I might be ravishing you right now." What was supposed to be a 'flattering reply' faced a glare from the woman, surprising Fourier as she did seem strong enough to take Ivan down.

    But would have it mattered if the guards would have then attacked her? And who was 'Mama'?

    "My fellow prince, Fourier." The blond found his shoulder grasped tightly by the Holy King. "Can I call you Fouri? Or Rier? Even Fou-Fou, I mean, I think our relationship would need some improvement for the last one but- I think I will set with Fourier. I don't want to sound-" His hands squeezed harshly the joints, eliciting a yelp from the Lugnican prince. "Pushy~!"

    "You are funny. Or at least that is what I heard about you." The Gustekian leader hummed mirthfully. "But I don't know how to bring that 'fun' out. You see, I am an expert of the Science behind the Fun, but I am also the most ignorant about it and that is why I don't know how to work out this silly hostage situation."

    "W-What?"

    His smiled widened."'What' what? You mean the what what or the what what what?"

    What is wrong with you!?

    "Oh, you mean what is wrong with me?" Fourier paled at the precise repetition of his thought. "You see, my friendo, I might be insane to a certain point, but my insanity is actually the sanest way to deal with the insane burden of... the insanely sane power I was bestowed by a trickster of a fox being this unique and-"

    "No."

    ... "Beg your pardon, Fou-Fou, I think I heard you saying 'No', but I can't understand if it is 'No, I am in love with Crusch Karsten and I am waiting for the good time to confess to her' or..."


    There was a strange pause at his momentum, Ivan frowning while looking away, seemingly in a thoughtful silence before giving off an awed expression. "I can't get it! I CAN'T GET IT!" He exclaimed, arms shooting up in the air as he did a small dance before grasping Fourier's shoulders again.

    "Tell me, Fou-Fou, what were you thinking? What is this thing or person I can't understand right now?!"

    But as Fourier slowly formulated his answer, the door of the room slammed open, the guards there and the female Assassin prepared to strike the intruder and... Fourier felt his hopes rising at the sight of a furious John Bukharin, coated men showing daggers and crossbows behind him.

    Ivan blinked, then gestured for his guards to drop their stances and looked wide-eyed at the leading figure of the new group. "Who are you, oh stranger?"

    But his friend didn't stood still, he started to slowly walk towards the young noble in front of the blond. "I am the Mayor of Erindor, John Bukharin."

    The answer seemed to leave the Holy King even more perplexed and then the following question was asked. "Wait, why are you approaching me?"

    "So I can beat the crap out of you, jerk." The foul reply surprised Fourier, this being the first time seeing the Mayor this much angry at someone in particular, but the Supreme Ruler of Gusteko failed to catch that this situation was going to end badly for him.

    "Sure? But can you tell me more about your thoughts, like why I can't see them or-"

    BAM!

    THUD!

    "Ouch! What was that for, you meanie maniac?!" The Gustekian yelped as he fell on the ground, his hands going to his nose as some blood started to flow out of it.

    "This was the first step for your free ticket to a world of pain, punk!"

    And all hell broke lose...

    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    Afterthoughts: Cliffhanger, but also the introduction of a new character! Prince Ivan is partly OC, he exists within the Canonverse but his name and attitude are not well-known. Only that he is very Mad. His power is not mere telepathy, if someone had caught the drift about his personality, then he sounds like someone with... strange powers (no, it's not cancer regeneration, this is not DP).
     
  26. OrigamiPhoenix

    OrigamiPhoenix Getting out there.

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    So very close to a JoJo reference. So very close.
     
    FeebleEcho and JBukharin like this.
  27. Threadmarks: Chapter 12
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    20 June 422, Night

    The room was mostly quiet, the reactions of the various groups silenced by the odd scene unfolding before their eyes. I was glad that I had yet to deal with any of the personal guards of the prince I was currently teaching how to become a good punching bag, the fact that both Meili and Elsa were not answering to the violence pushed upon their responsibility was proof that this cheeky-looking and -sounding noble was far from beloved even by his own entourage.

    And I think I knew exactly why.

    The young man was chuckling, trying and mostly failing to avoid getting hit on his face. An effort that was ever-renewed by the chuckles leaving his lips. He was just... taking it and for a moment I thought about pausing and giving myself some time to think but... as much as it was weird, I just counted myself lucky and continued to pull the insanity out of him.

    It was around five minutes of solid time spent tanking the attacks that he seemed to 'recover' and move away from my range.

    "What an annoying individual, but also a funny one and..." He hummed, mirthfully staring back at me with wide eyes. "Do you think I can like... 'corrupt' you somehow?" Ivan asked with childish curiousity, but also some minor seriousness.

    The fuck?

    "You know, right? The whole Dark Side thingy the Villain do against the Hero, about turning him to his side and... have fun?" He paused, looking at the ceiling and frowning. "I mean, maybe I should first get some cloak and get some wrinkles. Maybe even use a spell to get my eyes yellow or-"
    ...Is he referring to Palpatine?! How the- Wait.

    It was in that moment that my ire cooled away just enough to let some logic inside my brain. I had long known that I was in a dangerous situation with so many powerful characters waiting there to intervene against me and... I saw Fourier.

    The blond looked surprised, tired and a little relieved by how he was looking at me. Yep, that was Fourier alright.

    I glanced back at the Gustekian prince and... he was lost in his own words.

    I took a tentative step towards my friend, waiting for a while to see if Ivan was still focusing on me and- Nope.

    Two more steps, then four and... I was finally crouching beside the Lugnican prince and checking on him. "Is anyone wounded?"

    The blond blinked, smiling sadly and nodding. "Wilhelm is." He replied with th same whispered tone I used.

    Drat.

    I slowly managed to get him to stand up and, following me, we both went to pick up the twins. Both demi-human children were partly afraid, but now that I was here they looked also very hopeful about getting of this place.

    The two guards keeping an eye on them glanced confused at me and I shrugged, merely advancing and... grabbing the children's hands, taking them away from the two armored men's supervision. There was no reaction about my sudden and blunt rescue, possibly because there was something about... the blabbering Gustekian going forth with his... wet dream?

    "And we will then confess each other sweet words-"

    Zoning out again, this certainly wasn't something I needed to listen to!

    I stared for a while at where Wilhelm was crouching, looking terribly wounded by what I could only assume to be a few rounds with Elsa Granhiert.

    The woman was as beautiful as terrifying, the curious smile and the intrigued glint in her eyes were enough to make me hesitate from taking the previous approach. A small purple-haired head peeked from behind her soft cape, Meili blinked in wonder as she tried to understand what was going on.

    There were three possible scenarios:
    A) I became another victim to the murderous habits of the woman;
    B) I end up getting mauled by some Mabeasts summoned by the chibi;
    C) For some unexplainable reason, we were granted free passage and a chance to get Wilhelm out of their careful watch;

    I took a step towards the three, Elsa's lips twitching in amusement at the attempt and forcing me to take some more time to properly think about this situation. I couldn't just leave Wilhelm, for personal reasons and plot-related ones.

    The man was Fourier's guard and Reinhard's grandfather, leaving him here would be the worst thing to do in such a delicate situation.

    So I took another step and-

    She disapeared in a blur.

    Her oddly warm breath was on my ear and I felt her arms wrapping carefully around my neck.

    "I will let you and your curious group pass... on the sole condition that you allow me a favor, John Bukharin." Her voice could have melted me for how sultry it sounded like... but I hadn't known about what she was truly capable of and I was particularly aware of how dangerous it was to 'stick in crazy'.

    "Why?" I demanded quietly, giving off some of my nervousness.

    She smiled. "Let's just say that you... caught my interest. Not only because of the prince's intrigue in you, no." She sniffed my neck and I felt my face paling even more as I took a glimpse out of her expression. There was a hungry smile on her face and... was she drooling?

    "I can smell a strong scent. Something that will, undoubtedly, cause some fun time for me to enjoy." The Assassin continued to explain. "So I will stay my blade from... seeing how pretty your innards are."

    Crazy bitch.

    "Fine." As if there was any choice to that. She smiled at the reply, nodding as she made way and removed her arms away from me. Meili took just a step on the side, allowing for our small group to finally help the bleeding swordsman up. The man was barely conscious, but seemed to recognize us as we got close enough.

    "Y-Your majesty, you- you have to leave." The elder stated with a pained stutter. "This- Ivan isn't beatable."

    ...What?

    Just as I was about to ask for more, a sudden gasp got me freezing up and snapping my attention right at the wide-eyed Gustekian noble.

    "You are- I mean, you should-" He huffed, pouting angrily. "Did you just leave me ranting like a madman?!" He demanded irritated.

    ...
    "Maybe." I replied flatly

    A scowl formed on his face. "You mean to tell me that you didn't listen about the feel we have? The lovely future that we could have shared and... the babies?!" He exclaimed with some mock-sobbing.

    Meanwhile I was trying to understand what he was referring about. "Babies?" I parroted dumbly and confused.

    "Three kids, we could have had the perfect family in our Dream House in- Wait no, that's completely wrong!" He groaned, hands on his face, taking some moments to think about this. "I wanted to say friendship! Yes- the kind of friendship that would see us sharing baths, sleeping in the same bed and having lots of fun and fun."

    "You are incredibly creepy, you crazy fuck." I replied bluntly, his eyes shooting wide open as a smile reapplied over his face.

    "I know, right? It's one of my strongest point and-" He glanced at Fourier. "Are you cheating on me with cute blond here!?"

    "Heck no-"
    "I mean-"

    I launched a quick glare at Fourier, the prince looking away and faking disinterest over the matter.

    "I don't swing that way-"

    "We can make things work!" He pressed on, showing a desperate glimpse before smiling. "I can be the Hutch to your Starsky. I can be the Hide to your Kaneki- Actually, I think that last one is more what you have with Fou-Fou."

    Hell no!- and Fou-Fou?!

    "You just tried to kidnap people I care for! I am not attracted to you, nor I will entertain this stuff any longer!" I declared with a hint of fury, the emotion bubbling once more at the nonsense I was dealing with.

    I turned around and proceeded to lead the small group towards safety and the Gustekian prince seemed to show some nervousness at my sudden decision. "No wait- We can really make me work- D-Don't make me angry!"

    I ignored all of it, eyes directed at the entrance when... I was yanked away from the lead and forced to fly towards the smiling prince's... chainsaw.

    WHAT?!

    I turned quickly, moving out of the harm's way and letting the chainsaw pass below me. I landed moments later, sword already in my hands as the prince stared at me with the most insane expression he could muster. "You want me to be pushy, man." He chuckled, revving the device a little more. "Your words just cut deep and-"

    "Fuck off." I interrupted with a frown. "How the hell did you get me there and where did you hid that?!"

    His smile froze... before widening. "Oh yes! You see, my future husbando, I have something that many Kings in Gusteko never were able to use properly. A gem that is offered to those worthy of grand importance and-Pfft!"

    He started to laugh to himself, moments passed before he properly recovered from his amused outburst.

    "The vixen just dropped it the moment I gave her a pun... even though I don't remember having told her any pun- but now I've this gem in my necklace that can offer me the powers of all dimensions... one at the time." He explained with a giddy tone.

    My mind stopped thinking, concentrating its entire sanity over the BS I just heard. Something that offer the... powers of the whole multiverse?

    Sure, I knew that Re:Zero had some of the craziest shit ever but... this was utterly beyond logical!

    This wasn't acceptable... and the fact the current owner was this mentally unstable bastard made things even worse.

    Now that I knew what kind of crap was going on with him and why he was still 'respected' with that crappy attitude of his, the only thing I had to do now was...

    Break his toy before his toy 'breaks' me.

    But how am I supposed to do that with a sword?!

    "Are you going to finally submit to me?" Ivan asked eagerly. "Pretty please! I will let you have a comfy bed... with me!"

    I didn't reply, merely dropping my guard and... walking towards him.

    He revved the machine once more, trying to deter me but... I ended up walking right in front of him.

    The Gustekian prince looked incredibly confused and soon, his eyes widened in pure surprise when my free arm wrapped around his neck.

    I saw Fourier's face dropping and the children looking terrified by what I was doing. The last bit was truly heart-breaking but... the plan had to work.

    He twitched, vibrated at the closeness, like a puppy receiving some affection. "S-So, are you going to surrende- uh?!"

    I pulled my arm away, turning around and walking away from him, causing everyone to look confused as to why I did that senseless action but then...

    I lifted the blue-colored gem up for everyone to see.

    The prince 'eeped' and rushed towards me in panic, the chainsaw ready for another swing but...

    I was quicker.

    BANG!

    BANG!

    BOOM!

    Two bullets from the newly-materialized Desert Eagle were enough to cause the dangerous weapon in the Gustekian's hands to explode.

    The young man pulled his hands away just in time, before real damage could be done. "Ouch! That was rude! Return me that-"

    "No." I replied quickly, aiming the gun right at his head. "And I suggest you to surrender to me, Prince Ivan."

    His jaws dropped... and everyone else was shocked by how things were turned around on the Gustekian entourage.

    "You- I-" He stopped speaking for some time... before then formulating proper sentences. "Fine! But I want to read your terms of surrendering first."

    "Sounds good to me." I replied quietly, 'dematerializing' the Deagle and replacing it with the contract I had in mind, the magical paper appearing with minuscule text that addressed all the possible clauses that I could come up in that very moment.

    It ranged from personal demands like the standard restraining order between him and me, to something directed to the two Kingdoms. Gusteko was to never attack Lugnica in an offensive war, to never wage raids and to not disrupt the bordering nation's politics.

    The prince snatched the contract out of my hands, taking also the pen I offered him and started to read the content of the paper... which was incredibly dense with it.

    "You don't spare anything." He pouted in sadness. "You even deny me the chance of sending you gift-"

    "And to stay to a safe distance of 1200KM away from me." I chided sternly, causing him to huff.

    "And that." He admitted with dismay. "But at least, I will be able to dream about you and-"

    "Don't want to hear it. Sign it." I interrupted again, this time pressing him on the time.

    Ivan blinked and hummed quietly while signing down his full signature... which was terribly lengthy.

    "There!" He nodded in faux-happiness. "But I promise you that I will find a way around this contract and-"

    "Don't care." I interjected, causing him to deflate even more. "And after this, we will be taking our leave and... you are going to do the same."

    The young man pouted, stomping his feet like a childish tantrum was moments away from happening but... nodded quickly. "R-Revenge will be sweet and... handsome as you are- Uh?" He stopped, noticing the gem flying towards him and forcing him to jump to catch it.

    "Bye!" I waved uncaringly, returning back to the ground and escorting them all out of the fortress.

    This has to be the most annoying scenario that could have happened... that wasn't caused by the Witch's Cult.

    ----------d-d-d-d----------d-d-d-d---------d-d-d-d--------------d-d-d-d---------------

    Afterthoughts: The contract is magical and the signer is bound to abide to all points, lest they would lose their lives. Ivan is... the Yandere Prince with a major case of insanity.
     
  28. Threadmarks: Chapter 13
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    ???

    I... where am I?

    My brain was burning painfully as I snapped my eyes open at the pure darkness surrounding me. Panic surged, dread driving erratic attempts to spin around if in that shadowful plane of existence I was the only being around and... I blinked at the sudden soft noise filling my ears.

    A lone but mirthful giggle echoed in that dark place, a figure started to emerge slowly but surely. I tensed, the hems of a black-colored skirt giving a clue over the being's clothes and identity. I frowned as she finally emerged from that curtain of darkened unknown, her little captivating smile playing masterfully on her face as she took a step, then two, towards me.

    Careful, logical nervousness playing in her pacing as she tilted her head up and down, trying to catch a proper sight of me without having to come any steps closer. The girl stopped, her dark eyes genuinely trying to study me and... failing as she huffed.

    "Who are you?" She finally asked, blunt as the edge of her knowledge.

    My eyes narrowed, my mind enclosing as I knew that this individual wasn't the real deal as she was still sealed away from Erindor and the border to Gusteko. Yet the resemblancing was scary, horrifying even, as I was looking at the perfect appearance that only one individual had.

    Echidna huffed once more, a sign impatience and she seemed rather easy to anger compared to her possible creator. It wouldn't be far-fetched to believe that Scarfna was one of the other spirits born to continue her legacy beyond her 'death'. But as far as I was concerned, this little unknowing 'fragment' wasn't harmless and thus I replied with caution.

    "I'm John." My throat was itching, dried up from God knows how much time spent without speaking or... moving at all.

    The girl blinked, eyes widened in glee at having finally a question solved, the first of many from what I could see from the childish hopefulness displayed in her face.

    "John?" She parroted for a moment, then she nodded. "It's your name right?"

    I nodded, the white-haired spirit smiling widely and letting out a giddy giggle.

    "Why can't I possess you?" Echidna asked with a quick tone, almost catching me off-guard with her swift suddenness.

    I mean seriously, why would she skip the pleasantries in such fashion? The real Echidna wasn't that sloppy. Heck, even Scarfna would have been smart enough to pick out a less Gung-ho attitude regarding new things.

    "What?" I replied moments later, my eyes narrowing at her but she didn't do much but shrug a little at my question.

    "I mean, I could do it with Ivvie when he needs someone to take over with paperwork, but you- Why can't I possess you, John?"

    I could technically say that the reason was the currently glowing ribbon on my shin, but then again, I wasn't sure that this child-like attitude was relatively genuine or a ploy to get my guard down for her to strike.

    There was also the fact that this spirit was part of a bigger problem. The enchanted cloth wasn't working only against her attempts to take over my body, but it was also fighting something... a little stronger than her probing.

    If the darkness around us was a hint of the magnitude of the threat poised against me, then I was glad that I returned that blasted gem back to his 'owner' as the effects were far worse than I had initially thought.

    While I was sure that Ivan's madness was completely unrelated to the subtle and sneaky curse harbored within the ever-powerful jewel, the fact that the hideous jinx had spread this quickly in no time was concerning and incredibly worrying. My body felt sore-y right now, but I knew perfectly that it was just a fraction of what was currently happening on the real world.

    I felt my thigh being poked, making me 'jump' in my floating state as I turned my attention back at the pouty dark-clothed spirit.

    "You know it's rude to ignore peple, Jo-ohn!" She ended her explanation with a pained tone, my hand being in range to take hold of her cheek. I yanked and the groaned in annoyance.

    "W-Whyyy?"

    "It's very rude to poke people when they are thinking, girl." I replied snidely, before then pressing on the advantage allowed by the social inept before me. "By the way, you have yet to introduce yourself." I noted loudly before letting her go.

    She backed away a little, hands going to the reddened cheek as she nursed it carefully, the spirit giving me a half-hearted glare before nodding. "I think I should but... you pinched my face!" The girl yelled with some anger.

    Quite uncharacteristic from Echidna and... now I was sure that I was dealing with a 'slower' version of her. She was smart but... not as book-, life- and magic-smart as her creator.

    "Sorry but... you poked at me first." I 'apologized' calmly. "Also, I did present myself, it's common courtesy to return the kindness." I chided lightly, getting her to sigh, arms crossing close to her chest.

    Her cheeks puffed. "I'm... I'm Edna."

    ...Edna? I thought that all of her versions were supposed to know their 'names'. Was this a defective version or... maybe she wasn't even a spirit. Maybe she was something lesser than that.

    "Nice to meet you, Edna... by the way, your name is pretty."

    Smooth, John, really smooth.

    I thought dryly while Edna's face reddened completely at the compliment. But really, I needed to know how she came up with that name and not the original one.

    "T-Thanks and- I mean, it's not even my real name... it's just that I- I-" She stuttered a little, appearing shy all so suddenly. A far cry from her initial giddy self.

    And then... she sighed tiredly. "I don't remember it." She declared quietly, giving me some inner surprise with that. "I- I don't remember much about before being in the Gem and... yeah."

    For a brief moment, instead of the pseudo-Witch that was as cunning, if not worse, than Tywin Lannister, I saw someone that was facing Emilia's predicament.

    She looked like a former threat of this world, she supposedly had her 'original' memories sealed away, and she looked incredibly guillable to the closest big influence.

    "That sounds like an annoying situation." I commented carefully, getting a nod from her. "Then I hope you recover them eventually." I lied through my teeth, actually very glad if she never recovered those. Her face sported a tiny but genuine smile, another nod directed at me at the kind words.

    I was unsure how I was supposed to deal with this 'Doppio Situation' without having it explode right in my face. The young woman might as well be as volatile as her original self and I didn't want to deal with- Wait!

    "Edna, I know that it might sound too sudden but... how did you get here?" My question echoed through the whole darkened surrounding and the girl blinked in surprise at the query but actually nodded at it.

    "Oh, I set a little connection between me and your mind. Nothing much."

    Nothing much? She just- no, I hope this isn't-

    "Is Ivan capable of entering the bond or-" The girl shook her head before I could finish the sentence, relief quickly washing over my entirety at the reply.

    "He can't really enter a bond I set up but... I've been telling him what was going on with our own bond." The girl explained bluntly and cluelessly, ignoring the horror dawning on my face.

    ... "He also says 'Hi' now that you know about this and... wait, what does that mean?" She frowned, looking away as she entertained the other 'call'. "Oh? Okay then..."

    Her sight was once more on me. "He says 'hello handsome, whaddup?'"

    If I hadn't been floating right in that moment, I would have easily face-faulted at that adorable but cringy display of the slang. "Tell him that his zipper is down and- actually, can we have a private talk? I think I will wake up soon."

    She blinked, eyes widening and then... she looked like she was thinking about the offer. A soft hum leaving her lips and then she nodded with a little smile.

    "Can I ask you some questions too?" Edna asked, my nod never being quicker as I knew that the connection was almost over by the fact I could start to feel the softness of a matress at my touch.

    "Okay, what is the first thing you remember?" I went quickly, giving her the time to nod and smile.

    "It was something like being inside a dark place... like this one." Her answer was also swift so that she could afford a question in. "And how does touching work?"

    ... "What?"

    "Touching." She repeated. "The act of touching someone- when I poked you and you pinched my cheek, I felt two different sensations and-"

    "It's like touching your cheek, but instead of feeling the touch on yourself, you have a minor void and... curiosity over the touch." I replied bluntly, getting a frown to her.

    "That sounds odd. What if I gave you a hug? I would still touch you and touch my own body too."

    My God, the innuendos!

    "I think the reasoning behind the hug would be to feel the collective warmth from- Gah!"

    She didn't give any indivication, the girl taking an unexpected leap of faith and... landing on top of me. She blinked, her head dropping on my chest as she tensely tried to perch well over my floating body. Gulping nervously, her face reddened a little and she nodded. "S-So this is the warmth!" A little squeal leaving her lips as she nuzzled close and-

    I woke up.

    2 June 422

    Fourier sat quietly on the unfamiliar small bed he had woken up, his eyes directed at the people occupying the other beds of that large room. Mages were rushing back and forth as to check on the conscious and unconscious individuals on the lone beds, diagnostic spells harmlessly coating their bodies and giving to the experienced medics an accurate depiction of the patients' state.

    Wilhelm had received a substantial group of high-level mages, men and women that devoted their time to fix his damaged body and get him in a stable condition. The two silver-haired twins looked shaken, similar to how the prince was and, just like him, they were staring at the same individual, the young man's bed being encircled by a large group of mages, the director of the Guild's section being there too.

    A curse. The Gem had a curse and... that would explain why his faint had happened so suddenly and unexpectedly.

    That eventful night ended with the group reaching Erindor, the small group of cloaked people that had followed the mayor far away from the city had been all around and keeping them safe and protected by eventual danger.

    It was right in during the return back home that John had fallen unconscious while leading the entourage. Fourier could remember perfectly the instants that preceded the shocking twist, his eyes tiredly staring at him while keeping a distracted look on the road when-

    John tensed up, his body going stiff and then... he went limp. He almost fell off from his Earth Dragon, Lime screeching just as he felt the hold onto his reins lessening to nothing. The prince had quickened the pace of his steed, adrenaline more than enough to have his arm quickly wrap around his friend torso and keeping him stable as they rushed even quicker than before towards Erindor.

    Ser Orestes, the man responsible for the city's military force, greeted them with a quick bow, his eyes widening at the state of the mayor and, while his face paled by the minute, he was quick to call his men to assist the unconscious leader.

    All of them were escorted to the Healing Hall of the local Mages' Guild, doctors and medical staff rushing to make sure that everyone was safely brought to the highly-protected room they currently were right now.

    The blond blinked, his eyes fixed on John's face as he felt like... that this one had been even worse than back during the brief attack of the mercenaries. This kind... dread wasn't settling, the worry wasn't simmering at the fact that all the doctors around him were sure that the mayor's condition was stable.

    It had come close for them, his friend had almost died while masterfully tricking the demented ruler of Gusteko by getting cursed by that blasted jewel. It was the first time he came across aggressive negotiations like his father would call it and... now Fourier knew why those were the worst to deal with.

    A moment became a minute, and a minute became an hour.

    His red eyes blinked quietly, ignoring the noises from the room, drowned by the inner silence of patience.

    Wake up. He repeated quietly, almost praying the still-unconscious young man. Wake... up.

    It was hard to believe it but... now he could see why Miklos, his nagging tutor first and foremost, had been so keen to remind him in all of his lectures about the worst part of being royal-born.

    'You are protected by powerful guards, honorable knights and wise magicians.' The elder would repeat without hesitation, nor self-annoyance. 'But those that are your friends, those that are not protected by such luxury? They will either come in harm's way or die along their short life.'

    Painful words that he would be quick to drown with some snarky remark, just because his mind wouldn't accept the idea that either Crusch or Felix could get attacked while around him. He was a prince of the Dragon Kingdom of Lugnica, he wasn't certainly going to let some dumb thugs maim his precious people.

    Yet there had been none of the powerful guards to protect him. His honorable knight almost cut down and his 'magician' currently resting unconscious and unwilling to answer his prayer.

    He sighed, eyelids half-closed after watching silently the sleeping mayor for almost four hours now. A yawn escaped his lips and then... his red eyes stared in two familiar orbs.

    John blinked once, then twice and... finally a small smile appeared on his face. "G-Good morning."

    There was no mage around at this hour. The kids and Wilhelm were sleeping after a delicious breakfast and... Fourier blitzed.

    The older male had just enough time to realize what was going to happen that he found himself tackled down by a blond blur. "Y-You are awake!" The prince stuttered while slamming his head onto John's chest, the man groaning in minor pain at the sudden headbutt.

    "F-Fourier-"

    The royal-born lifted his sight up, ready to listen to what his friend had to say. "Yes, John?"

    Two hands reached for his face and started to pinch quite painfully at his cheeks.

    His 'eep' was diluted by the aching sensation and a partially-irritated expression laid on John's face. "Do you remember when I told you about not jumping on people's bed?"

    ... "Yesh?"

    "With that stunt of yours, I feel like I really want to go back to the shenanigans going on in my slumber."

    "Noh, dyon't goh!" His face was really hurting now and... he was left free.

    "Next time, I will pinch harder and... a normal 'good morning' would have worked too, dummy." He started to pat the blond's head, the prince more than happy to accept his ministration.

    With the previous trail of thoughts still fresh in his mind and with his determination renewed by a good session of head-patting, Fourier felt like he knew what he had to do now.

    Now if only he could get paper and ink to write down a letter or two...

    -------------------------------------------

    Afterthoughts: Prepare for a very tiny timeskip. Just enough to get things going and prepare the next section of the story. Now... how many have read EX Volume 1? Why? Well, it's time for some careful writing and I'm going to pull what many would define a pro-writer move.

    Also, what is Edna? Dunno, it will explain... right? *Checks on script* Yep, it will.

    Quick glossary of the day!

    Doppio Situation: Inspired to the Diavolo-Doppio situation in Jojo Part 5, the relationship between a limited version of a darker, stronger character and its original self. This case is partial as Edna knows just a little of Echidna and can use only a minor fraction of her power.
     
  29. OrigamiPhoenix

    OrigamiPhoenix Getting out there.

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    You forgot the threadmark Ch 13.
     
    JBukharin likes this.
  30. Threadmarks: Chapter 14
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    27 June 422

    A week. That was how much time I was allowed to rest, recover and focus on Erindor once again.

    Seven days that were spent either napping, chatting with Fourier and the twins, or diving through the incredible amount of paper that had accumulated during the recent events, proof that my presence there in my office was more than necessary to deal with the complicated issues that were born from the rebuilding effort.

    There had been no casualty over the siege, only several injuries that were quickly taken to the hospital and healed with Magic and medicines, and some building having come down crashing because of the fire that had spread out from the strong attack.

    The treasury was opened to allow the flow of money required to fix everything that had been damaged by the siege, people's houses and other establishments that were hit by the assault. Four well-known builders were called for an emergency meeting by my office by the time I had left the safe walls of the hospital's room I've woken up into and I had a special contract set with them.

    Those were men that were considered the most hard-working and efficient ones in their vast subject and I was surprised when they had almost offered to work for free to complete the immense task of repairing the damage, but I was quick enough to dismiss such 'kindness' for the sake of giving something to help their workers. They might have lost nothing for working without compensation, but the people working for them would still need their rightful wage for the labor.

    I blamed this lack of awareness over the medieval perspectives of laborers/serfs. People that didn't exactly have social rights for their works and finding accommodating chiefs was as difficult as to try a tasteless lemon. That is why, despite the pressing issue being the reconstruction effort, I decided to involve the four for a little project I had planned to bring up a few days ago, after dealing with the seal-checking.

    A yearly-renewed contract that would have these individuals set to work for the administration in other kinds of constructions. Something that would allow me to set up the first few bridges to connect the independent builders to form a cooperative of sort. A company, one that was national-owned and answered to the government itself.

    It was a massive step forward compared to the artisans still attached to guilds, my saving grace being that the 'Builders Guild' was quite the inactive one in the city and many of the members hardly had enough work to keep up with the expensive costs of maintaining a membership with the guild. Which is why my offer was more than enough to garner their interest at the mention of a possible chance of permanent jobs.

    This is why I had been careful enough to prepare beforehand some paperwork to avoid any issues during the initiation of said project, giving out as many clauses, rules and exceptions to allow a healthy relationship to be born between the builders and the administration. It was meant to keep them loyal and unable to call out any 'strange' law within the paper, giving as much as leverage to both sides to condemn the other in case of the violation of one of those rules.

    It was tempting enough to warrant their quick signatures, only one lingering long enough to see the first four of the seventy-points I had left for them to read. He had frown skeptically at the words, my eyes fixed on him until he had gone with a nod and went to sign up with the others.

    With this solved, I was left to deal with the other important topics that required my utmost attention.

    Security was a priority now that the attack had revealed the still-present weakness of the garrison, pushing me to call for a minor conscription to have people aware that 'the leader' was doing something to bolster the current state of thing. The news of the siege has to have reached out to other settlements, and possibly bandit camps present in the region. I had given a minimal time to keep up the augumented garrison, perfectly-aware that a forced recruitment was going to severely damage the image and the reputation I had.

    I was considered as one of the lasting mayors to Erindor, all classes respecting my authority to a more-than-acceptable degree because of my impeccable administrative capacity and... I didn't want to lose it all because I was paranoid. Having a sprinkle of it would have been good to keep my senses honed for danger, but too much could have easily blurred the lines that rendered a man a good one from a full-fledged tyrant.

    And I wasn't keen to fall in that kind of path.

    Speaking of dark things, I was also able to share some chatting with Satella and Edna separately. The former was shocked, horrified and rightfully afraid that I had discovered one of the 'projects' left around by Echidna. The Witch of Envy had been the one to see firsthand the full-extent of the cynical nature of her 'colleague', the Witch of Greed having been as barbaric as she still was even back when Fugel was around, something that had caught me a little off-guard.

    I knew that the Witches had all known about the mysterious wizard, but I was more taken by the fact that the behavior Echidna displayed was not something born from what was around her. Rather, it was something that originated from within herself, it was her prime nature and... the element that got her the classification as the 'Witch of Greed'.

    Returning back to Satella, the young woman wasn't enthusiastic at the prospect of me still sharing some discussions with the amnesiac being, concerned that it could have been a terrible and cruel 'prank' from the knowledge-driven girl in the long-term. A legitimate concern I agreed to until a certain point as, while I did say to her that the girl was indeed very inquisitive and fairly-neglectful of common morality, I was quite certain that her fragmented mind wasn't the fruit of a trick or a well-elaborated act.

    It was just far too natural and expressive, too open and beyond risky for someone like Echidna. I had her encounter with Subaru as an example, her curious attitude being restrained by her sense of self-preservation. Intrigued she might be, but to go as far as to lay her mind open like that was... fairly risky.

    The confusion had been real and the 'innocence' was too genuine, I pointed out once again while getting a worried look from the Witch of Envy. She was frustrated and keep gnawing and asking me to not engage with any exchange with the fragment, demanding that I found a way to completely ignore her curious poking.

    Something that was fairly difficult on the basis that once I was sleeping, the girl could have easily entered my mindscape and gone to pester me without hesitation nor rest and, at the end of that last conversation, Satella decided to muse over my current situation and... her words didn't spare anything regarding my possible road.

    Danger is lying everywhere, she had said with an ominous and saddened tone, and you are going to walk quite the difficult road.

    Something that I was aware of to a good point, to the point which all the known plot-twists ended. The world was filled with quite the anarchic sense of events, the dark turn of things was to be expected around the newer corners, even with the characters I knew about to a fair degree. I couldn't afford to be like Subaru, to either trust acquaintances too easily in not back-stabbing me nor I could pull a 'gung-ho' manouver and get my ass pummelled by someone far stronger, faster and way meaner than me.

    Paranoia was still helpful in good amount, but so was common sense.

    When I fell asleep and found myself staring at the close-up of Edna's face sporting a dull and bored look, I could have easily shrieked and pushed her off from my chest. But I merely twitched and let my eyes widen in surprise at the closeness of her eyes to mine. She was blinking, waiting patiently, as her legs were bent and waving back and fort as she seemed to be expecting me to do... something.

    "Hello?" I asked with a worried tone, bracing for some attack of sort. I had thought it was an ambush, that Satella's words were indeed truer than my perception of the previous meeting. But then, she spoke.

    "Hi," She said with a tired tone. "It's been... a while now."

    I blinked. "I had to do some work," I replied without trouble. "I had some papers to sign."

    There was a calm pause, the girl eyes boring onto mine as she seemed to be contemplating my words. "You... work?" She asked, her tone sounding odd by the last word.

    "Yes," I answered back.

    Another pause, this one was briefer than the one before as Edna merely adjusted herself atop of my floating body. Her elbows carefully settling on my chest as her face was lifted away by her hands, her cheeks cupped as she started to hum about my reply.

    "But isn't working boring?" She inquired once again, her violet eyes descending onto my face. "Ivan says that it's boring. Working is boring."

    I frowned, realizing that it would certainly be something the pompous prick would say so gallantly. I was certain he had never worked in his unfairly long life and I could see why the girl was so convinced of it herself.

    Echidna hardly considered labor the thirst to search for more knowledge from the unknown, everything that she had never been able to get from the books she could obtain from shops or even from ruins of former castles. It was a hobby, the only thing that gave her happiness and joy, the only thing that made her feel alive.

    And so, despite the term being known to her amnesiac version, I could see the reason behind her visible confusion over the 'need' of working.

    "It can be boring," I admitted mirthfully. "But I think you are missing the fact that some works can be quite interesting."

    She blinked surprised at my comment, narrowing her eyes as she huffed at that statement. "You are lying."

    "I'm not," I shot back. "Work can be boring and fun. It all depends on which kind of work you are more interesting to do, rather than the one you don't feel connected to."

    Edna tilted her head to the side in a cute but confused expression. "And you are connected to... papers?"

    "Administration."

    ...

    "What?" Her query was met with a smile.

    It was kind of adorable how scaring this ticking bomb could be because she could easily explode on my face while also giving me some amusement in the form of her childish display of curiosity. I wonder if that was what Flugel had to deal with back before the 'World-end Scenario' had happened.

    "I work as a Mayor of a city, something that could be defined as an Administrative work," I explained slowly, but careful enough to accent the proper and more important terms. "My work is to make sure that everyone-"

    "-Is well-cared and protected. You also take care of taxes, security and other topics which entail the power exerted by your role." Edna interjected with a minor huff. "I already know that... but why do you do that? Why is it 'Fun' to you?"

    I stopped for a moment, both to sort out the sudden surprise at that interruption as I had momentarely forgotten about the girl's still-impressive knowledge of general things. She was still part of the Witch of Greed and I shouldn't have doubted that something that 'easy' would have been quick to remember for her.

    "Well, I guess it's because I care for others," I suggested with a quiet tone. "I feel relieved to help those that needs help, those that require assistance and hope."

    "So you do this for them..." She commented with a strange tone. "Not because you... wanted it for a personal gain."

    "My personal gain is their happiness. My mission is to help them."

    The witch blinked at that and sighed. "I don't know if I should be awed by this or... somewhat disappointed."

    I tensed a little at that moment, feeling like her tone was different.

    "You are a smart man, one that I find funny to have around and... yet there is something in your words-" She paused again, her eyes closing for a brief instant. "Something that irritates me. Something that-"

    "Makes you feel angry?"

    Another pause, the white-haired girl frowned at me. "No... but also yes." She blinked. "This is difficult."

    "Living beings capable of thinking and doing things are complicated within their nature," I said with a tired tone. "There isn't actually a limit to the mind's creativity, madness and faith."

    Just as she looked ready to ask something else, I felt her weight disappear like last time and my darkened sight was replaced by pure white as I slowly started to wake up. I was in my bed and... this situation continued for seven more days.

    Questions after questions, I managed to get in a comfortable position with the girl as she stopped being this clingy by the time she realized that standing onto a floating body while knowing it could disappear at any moment was the worst idea possible. The discussions continued, the tones eased and soon it was an equal exchange of knowledge, and I couldn't help but found it endearing in the long-run.

    Satella's worries continued to persist for a long while but, after the fifth day, even her concern mellowed at the lack of any dangerous curses or probes within myself. The young woman was still wary of the fellow Witch, but she was put at ease at the fact that nothing had happened to me.

    Life seemed to stabilize once again in what seemed to be the calmest week of my life since I had come here in this 'new world' and I had slowly coaxed myself to a guarded stance around everything as... something had to happen. Something so disruptive that could make up the peaceful seven days I've enjoyed so far. Something that could led to some life-changing decisions.

    And while some people would question this degree of caution I was displaying subtly, I sure got confirmation of this barely-known rule about this specific universe.

    It had all happened during lunch, I was sitting at the head of the table with the twins taking one of the sides while the other being occupied by Wilhelm and Fourier. The old swordsman looked relatively fine, hardly showing any strange change in his face that could allude to anything new that I should worry about...

    But the blond sitting on the chair beside his was actually looking fairly pale. The prince was usually chirpy in these occasions, either boasting any new achievements gained from the recent training with swords or maybe something about his life at the royal court, never going far enough to sound too pompous or prickish about it. Enough for me to stomach some fun stories coming from Fourier's funny way of tale-telling things around.

    Yet the young man was awfully quiet, his red eyes being fixed on his plate and never daring to stare up to the other people by the table.

    "Fourier." I called him with a calm tone, his reacton being a half-jump on his chair and his head snapping at me with a faux smile. Yep, something was indeed wrong with him.

    "Y-Yes, John?" The prince asked with a little stutter, further confirming that something was off about him. His bodyguard barely took notice of the exchange, seemingly fine with what was going on.

    But seriously, what did get the blond this much nervous today?

    "Is there something wrong?" I inquired cautiously, eyes fixed on his face as I waited for his reaction. He sported a surprised look, possibly expecting his 'flawless' mask of a face to keep the concerning thoughts he was having hidden to only himself. He blinked and gave a nervous chuckle.

    "W-Wrong?" He parroted with a tiny smile. "W-What kind of wrong should I-"

    "You are visibly shaking, you are pale and-" I tried to interject sassily, but his following words caught me off-guard.

    "I-I will be back to the castle tomorrow," Fourier replied with a little snappish tone, then he calmed down a little. "Just something private, I-" He stood up from his chair. "I'm sorry if that came so suddenly but... I will take an early leave to bed."

    My eyes were wide open at that quick retreat, giving me no time to actually have him to stop at how much sudden and unexpected this had all happened. Wilhelm stood up a few moments later, his plate now empty as he seemingly was ready to go back to his current room.

    "Sir Wilhelm, what is wro-"

    "The true context is something that I'm not conscious of," The elder replied curtly, his eyes calmly glancing at my face. "The prince is indeed worried and the only thing I can think that could have caused him this much distress... could be about the lack of answer from a letter he had sent a mere week ago."

    A letter? Why I hadn't seen him writing it- or why didn't he say anything about it?!

    I was confused at first because I couldn't exactly understand why the lack of a response could have warranted this panic out of the stubbornly-brave blond... but then I remembered the cast of people he knew and care about. Just a few nobles that weren't mentioned in the light novels, his family (which was supposedly still alive) and...

    Oh God.

    I glanced at the twin, my mind suddenly preparing to ask from Ser Orestes to hold my seat temporarily for a few days. I stared up to the oldest member of House van Astrea and spoke up.

    "I reckon that then I will have to keep company to the prince," I said to him with a careful wording of the plan I was improvising about. "If the situation is truly that dire-"

    "I don't see why the royal carriage will be denied to a friend of the prince." The man admitted with a small smile. "But I hope you understand that one thing might be thought as a mindful friend while another could be seen as something worth of more suspicious."

    A warning. If I got too cocky around the young man, I was going to be labeled as a possible threat in the form of a social-climber, not the best of stains to be dealing with during those pseudo-medieval times but I wasn't certainly backing away from this.

    I had to be there for the sake of saving Fourier. I will never allow this story to end canonically, not with someone I cared for dying because of some Vollacchian morons!

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    Afterthoughts: So, EX Volume 1 is here and... shit is going to hit the fan. I give all readers a fair warning about the content I will be showing in the next chapters, which isn't that much of sensible spoilers, but I wish for you all to at least know the general story presented by the synopsis in the Re:Zero Wikia of EX Light Novel Volume 1. While it's not the real thing, it offers enough things to understand what is going to happen... and what not. Expect some slaying and saving, also some half------ because one can't be too sure of plot-twists.
     
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