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Author Topic: [HalloweenCollection] Sekai Owari no Monogatari (Various Pairing)(CH.03)  (Read 6496 times)

Offline kuro_808

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Re: [HalloweenCollection_Extra] Beauty of The World [Yuiparu]
« Reply #20 on: September 01, 2017, 07:19:45 PM »
Western and Eastern meeting up in an interesting mash up of cultures

Awesome job!!
Random Thought:

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R.I.P. Jab!  Dad/friend

Offline alice141

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Re: [HalloweenCollection_Extra] Beauty of The World [Yuiparu]
« Reply #21 on: September 01, 2017, 10:52:45 PM »
That was so sad and beautiful!!!  :cry: you make my day!!! because Yuihan is my Oshi!!!.....and I like YuiParu  :wub:
Thank you for the fic was great as always!  :twothumbs

Offline Kairi65

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Re: [HalloweenCollection_Extra] Beauty of The World [Yuiparu]
« Reply #22 on: September 02, 2017, 05:46:05 AM »
How long has it been since i cried reading a fic. So sad!! I don't care how long but please say there will be continuation! So good!! :cry:

Offline jubethehare

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Re: [HalloweenCollection_Extra] Beauty of The World [Yuiparu]
« Reply #23 on: September 18, 2017, 10:55:16 AM »
Thanks for reading everyone!  XD

Western and Eastern meeting up in an interesting mash up of cultures

Awesome job!!

Thanks~ Glad you like 'em.


That was so sad and beautiful!!!  :cry: you make my day!!! because Yuihan is my Oshi!!!.....and I like YuiParu  :wub:
Thank you for the fic was great as always!  :twothumbs

To be honest this is the first 'bad ending' from Halloween Collection and I kinda have mixed feelings when writing it. At first I wanted to write in Yui's persprective but then I realize it's just too depressing, ha ha... And there's another reason why I wrote this in Paru' pov which lead to: 


How long has it been since i cried reading a fic. So sad!! I don't care how long but please say there will be continuation! So good!! :cry:

Yes. There will be a continuation. The event in this extra chapter actually plays huge role (though not explicitly) in the main story and yes those two will make an appearance on other Halloween Collection's chap, and perhaps they'll finally find the closure to their looping life.

I'll update the main story this October by the way. So see you this Halloween~
« Last Edit: September 19, 2017, 04:40:49 AM by jubethehare »

Offline jubethehare

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[HalloweenCollection_03] Sleeping Princess [WMatsui] [Intermezzo]
« Reply #24 on: October 20, 2017, 01:03:59 PM »
Hello, everyone! After one full year we finally get into the third chapter of Halloween Collection! And as I promised before this is about Miss Spider and her 'predecessor', a.k.a the Marionette. This story set right after the event of [Carnival of Forest and Fire] and [Present] and serves as a direct sequel to the two. It will also reveal about 'the incident from 50 years ago' that caused by Miss Spider.

But was it really the truth? Was it really Miss Spider who is to blame about that incident? What really happened anyway?

Now that will be revealed in this fic! And, once again, this WMatsui fanfic is based on the song "Nemuri hime" by SEKAI NO OWARI. The term 'nemurihime' is usually translated into 'sleeping beauty' but somehow I feel like letting the kanji 'hime' as 'princess' is more fitting for the title, since I kinda imagine Jurina fighting to save her 'princess'. Whoops, no more spoiler.     

!!WARNING: IT'S A VERY LONG ONE-SHOT!!

Aah, the usual for Halloween Collection~ I almost miss writing this.

Last but not least, enjoy~ And Happy Halloween~~ it's still two weeks away, I know, but whatever... ha ha






眠り姫
Chapter Redemption: Sleeping Princess

__________________________________________________________




__________________________________________________________




We used to travel this world together

Laughing and crying on our way

Whatever happened we always joined hands

But one day when I opened my eyes, you're no longer in this world


=0=0=0=0=0=0=0=0=


Once upon a time, when I was just a little kid, there was a toy store.

The building caught my eyes on a first glance, with its foreign decoration and oak framed windows painted in striking red. It stood in contrast among the chain of grayish buildings, perking my curiosity, and despite the fact that it was my first day of school—and the big 'CLOSED' sign hung on the front door—I found myself steering away from the crowd of children, standing in front of its glazed wooden door. 

I tiptoed to reach the knob and pushed the door open, hearing a small chime somewhere above me as I stepped inside. What I saw later was a sight I'd never seen before. Rows of curious mechanisms were there lining among the shelves, and I was quickly drawn toward the colorful view; a strange doll that always had its smaller counterparts inside whenever I opened it, animal figures that would bob their head when I touched them, and clocks that would sing when its hands hit twelve. I ran my fingers through each and every one of them, observing the strange gimmick in my hands.

Welcome!—an unfamiliar voice greeted me and I swished my head to my right, finding a middle-aged man standing there with a broom in one hand. His presence startled me at first, but then I realized it was me who was trespassing into his place so I quickly answered his greeting; I was still a child with manner. That man, the shop owner, didn’t seem to mind me though. He simply showed a warm smile, sweeping off the dust from the floor, ignoring my small figure as I once again weaved among the shelves and tinkered with the wind-up toys. I tried not to disturb the area where he worked and ventured into the deeper part of the store.

And there, I met her.         

A beautiful wooden doll, with porcelain white skin and black shoulder-length hair. Her eyes were shaped like almonds, their amber colors fit perfectly with her rosy lips and cheeks. I could never forget her beautiful white dress and small black hat, showing gracefulness despite the sense of age they carried. 

  The [Marionette].

That's how the shop owner called her.

Why was she there sitting alone here among the boxes unlike her other friends—I asked him, and the shop owner answered with a sad smile. He used to put her by the store’s window, he said, until people from the neighborhood protested. Her presence scared the children, they said, while some just said so due to the grudge from the war, rejecting everything they felt related to the west. He even jokingly said that some people had thrown rocks and broke the store’s windows before. It’s such a pity since he actually wanted the Marionette to close those wounds instead, bridging his people with the world outside, showing that there are still beautiful things made in this era and not just weapons and warfare. I didn’t get what he was talking about but I did agree about one thing; that she was beautiful, and it’s a shame to leave her alone in the dark storage.

“Can I take care of her then?”   

I innocently asked, and the shop owner gave me a small laugh. He would always welcome anyone to his store, and nothing made him happier than seeing a child smiling and happily playing with the toys.

And so I visited the toy store every day.

I would passed by it on my way to school, whispering good morning to the row of disassembled matryoshka behind the glass as my fingers brushed the bobble head dolls on the store's outer display. The way their head moving up and down in rhythm brought a smile to my face, and then I would switched my eyes to the small window on the shop's attic. The Marionette would be there, and I would say my greeting to her, changing into a small run and making sure to reach the school right when the morning bell rang. After school I would stop by the attic and tell her about my day, cleaning the dust and cobwebs from our little castle as I talked with enthusiasm I’d never shown to anyone before. The shop owner would come not long after, bringing snacks and helping me to clean places I couldn’t reach. Sometimes I would drag him to play with us, and he would tell amazing stories and fairy tales from some place I’d never known.

I was always with her that time.

When I was sad I would cry to her, when I was happy I would hug and laugh with her.

I bet I told her about myself even more than to my parents. But I guess they didn’t mind since they always see me going home with a good mood. Perhaps you think it was easier if I just bring her home. But it wasn’t that simple. I didn’t have place to put her in my room and I didn’t think my parents could afford foreign goods much like other households after the end of the war. I also couldn’t take care of her by myself and I felt that the shop owner would be lonely without her. You could say that I was satisfied with the current situation. And I couldn’t picture anything better.

But, as years passed by, a cog started to grow haywire.

Because I was occupied with the Marionette I rarely socialized with people at school. I could blend in class due to my outgoing personality but when it came to other things I was mostly alone. So it wasn’t rare for me to miss some information or bringing the wrong homework. The teachers dismissed the problem by thinking that I was probably a bit absentminded, but when I failed my final test and nearly stayed a year in third grade they finally confronted my parents. I came home late every day and my parents used to think it was because I had extra classes, but when they found out about the toy store they decided that it was the root of the problem and forbid me to go to there. Well, it didn’t take me a second of hesitation to disobey that rule. But my disobedience simply fueled the wrath of my parents. They tried to outsmart me, by making my mother accompanying me to and from school and taking a different route from usual. It was both frustrating and embarrassing, but I had no room to protest. So I bore with it, taking the time to make a web of acquaintances at school to help me fix my grade. By the time I reached sixth grade I managed to regain my parents’ trust and they decided that I could spend the rest of my last year of elementary school by my own. I bet you know what I first did once I regain my freedom. Yeah, I ran. I ran toward that toy store, passing the chain of grayish buildings I almost forgotten in the last two years. It didn’t take me long to reach the end of the road, and I turned on the next intersection, ready to greet the row of bobble heads and matryoshka like I used to.

But nothing was there.

The building was gone. The foreign decorations and oak framed windows painted in striking red, they were gone. The toy store was no longer there. And its place was a dull grayish building, trashed and its windows covered with wood panels. I switched my perplexed gaze toward the small window on the store’s attic.

But still, nothing was there.

The Marionette was nowhere to be seen.


=0=0=0=0=0=0=0=0=


One day you fell into a deep sleep

and never to open your eyes again

I hid, thinking that maybe you’d come to surprise me

but you never did


=0=0=0=0=0=0=0=0=


  Knock, knock, knock


I opened my eyes to the knocking sound.

She was there in front of me, her eyes closed, as if sleeping.

The sound was coming from somewhere else behind me.

I gave her still body one last glance, before turning toward the gaping abyss.


   Knock, knock, knock


The noise returned.


   “Dr. Matsui, ya in there~?”


Three light tapping sounds, and a sing-song voice I started to know quite well.

I blinked.

And the next thing I saw was the white ceiling, my head dangling over the headrest of my chair. I fixed my sitting posture without another word, staring at the sheets of paper that were scattered on my desk. Oh yeah. I was supposed to finish checking all the medical documents today. I groaned, putting away the pen that was still miraculously sitting in my hand. My gaze switched toward the door.

“Sure! Come in, come in~”

I mouthed it loudly, trying to sound like my usual energetic self.

A girl with black wavy hair entered the room, a package in her hands. She closed the door behind her with one hand while balancing the box with the other, showing me her grinning face.

“Thank you for using our service dearest customer, it’s Shibuya delivery service~ Where would you like me to put the package?”

The girl playfully said and I smirked, resting myself back to my comfy chair.

“Ah, yes. Put it on the coffee table if you please.”

I played along with her, and I could hear her start laughing.

“Right away, miss~”

She answered in an equally cheerful manner, trotting away toward the said place. I eyed her silently as I pretended to tidy my table. My jet black eyes slowly dissolved into a deep shade of crimson.

Perhaps some of you had already known but I’d said it anyway; I’m not a human. I am what you called [Oddities], creatures born from the fears of human kind. And I was one of the strongest among my kind.

  [Miss Spider]

That’s how I had been called by other Oddities. But in the human world I’m mostly known by the name Matsui Jurina.

I am a member of that infamous Great Council of Sixteen, a group of strong Oddities that regulated and maintained the life of other Oddities. Or at least that’s how I was officially known. I had my own realm in the world of the dead, though it’s hidden from the other Oddities and even the almighty Dark Witch earning it the name [Hidden Nest]. I rarely interacted with other council members and spent most of my time in the human world. And I chose to do so myself, unlike Frankenstein and her fellow workers at Halloween Night Cafe who were assigned by the Dark Witch to monitor the humans.

...

Oh right, I almost forgot about the Mummy; she also stayed in the human world per Dark Witch’s order and was disguised as a journalist. They said it was to make retrieving information a lot easier for our side, though I’m not sure if this last bit of trivia really mattered. Moving on.

I’d been living among the humans for decades now. And though I had no difficulty blending with their society it’s also quite a hassle since my appearance never aged. I had to move and change my name a few times, taking different disguises along the way. But hey what do you expect from a spider? We’re the master of deception and disguise. Still before I knew it I always returned to this town. And when circumstances allowed I would always use back the name Matsui Jurina. It’s a shame as a spider but I guess I still have some kind of attachment to that name.

Now, maybe you’re starting to wonder why I decided to go through all those troubles. Not to mention that it’s dangerous, for if even one human realized that I’m an Oddity and deny my existence, I could easily die. But I persisted and managed to survive for more than fifty years. I might be a daredevil but I won’t do things without a reason. And don’t worry; I’ll tell you that reason soon. For now let's wait until the main guest arrived, shall we?

I reverted my eyes to its usual blackness as the previous girl finished checking the package. She took out a piece of paper from her back pocket.

“Okay, my job's done here. Just sign this paper and I’ll be off.”

“How cold. You don’t even think of staying for a while, Nagisa-chan?”

“Ha ha, I’d love to, mom~”

She laughed, walking over to my desk and putting down the paper.

“But I’m still on clock. And I believe you’re the same.”

“Stop calling me ‘mom’, silly. I might be your savior but I’m not old enough to be called that.”

“Really? I’ve heard from the hospital staff that you’ve been here for quite a long time.”

“I wonder what you’re implying, hm?”

I gave her a crooked smile. She backed off, raising her both hands in defeat. I nodded in satisfaction, watching her walking away and playing with the skeleton replica as she waited for me.

Shibuya Nagisa, or, to be precise, the Oddity Harlequin. She’s supposed to be executed at the Carnival one year ago but due to certain circumstances I ended up saving her life. She remembered nothing and now lived peacefully as if she's a human, but I'm still keeping an eye on her. Her very existence was an anomaly, a fruit of my experiment, and a proof of my betrayal to the Dark Witch. If something happened I wouldn't hesitate to dispose her, but perhaps deep inside I wished for things to work out. Perhaps I was just using her as a guinea pig. Perhaps I enjoyed having Phantom Knight under my thumb due to her debt to me. Perhaps I was seeking for redemption. Perhaps it was my revenge to the Dark Witch. Or perhaps I was really betting for her happiness, like a parent rooting for her child. I couldn’t call her my child though; she’s Phantom Knight’s underling and I could tell you that woman is more of a doting parent than I would ever be.

As I was lost in thought I suddenly heard the phone on my desk rang. I pick it up in reflexes.

“Yes, Matsui here.”

  “Doctor, Miss Kitagawa is here for her check-up.”

Here comes our main guest. I smiled to myself.

“Got it. Tell her to come to my office.”

With that I ceremoniously put down the phone. My gaze found Nagisa’s afterwards, and I could see her staring at me suspiciously.

“Some nasty smile ya have there, doc.”

“Please call it ‘cunning’.”

I ended the sentence simultaneously with my signature and I gave the signed receipt back to her, which she took rather carefully. As she was leaving toward the door another knock can be heard. I raised one brow at her, and she sighed, opening the door.


...


...


...



“...huh? Ryouha-san?”

She seemed to have frozen for a while as she saw the person behind the door, and the girl on the other end did the same. I tried to hold my laugh from their silly reaction.

“S-shibuya-san? What...are you doing here?”

“Me? Err, I’m working; delivering stuff and such. And you’re...?”

“I-I’m meeting with Dr. Matsui for a check-up. Since I’m still...rehabilitating from my coma.”

“Oh, right, right~ A coma~ ...I’ve never heard about that.”

“...sorry. I haven’t told you.”

“Right. That...makes sense...”

“...”

“...”

Aah, sure is good to be young~ I mulled to myself as I saw the two acting all embarrassed at each other, and poked my head higher, waving my hand.

“Excuse me, the two at the door? This is a hospital not a date spot.”

They seemed to finally recognized my presence and backed away from each other, Ryouha walking toward my desk and Nagisa closing the door behind her. I pulled a chair for my patient and switched my gaze to the one by the door.   

“So, Nagigi. Would you mind?”

“No, not at all. I don't mind waiting.”

Oh, right. I forgot. This girl is as dense as rock.

“It's the opposite, silly; get out. And didn’t you say you’re still on clock?”

“Yep. But doesn’t matter if there’s no delivery to do.”

“Tch, the brat have entered a rebellious phase. Gotta tell Sayaka-san.”

“I heard that.”

Ryouha darted her eyes between the two of us, trying to find a right word to say amidst our quarrel. 

“...have you known each other?”

“Hm? Oh, yeah. I forgot to tell ya.”

Nagisa quickly answered.

“You know about my situation, right? That I don’t remember anything earlier than the past few months. Dr. Matsui was the one who found and treated me so I've been in her care until now.”

“Exactly. But as you can see our match-up are terrible so I gave her a place and a job to sustain herself. I’m like her guardian at most. Though once she’s used to life here I’ll leave her to her own device.”

“I see...”

The timid girl quietly answered and I gave Nagisa another look, telling her to leave once again. She crossed her arms.

“Aww, come on~ What's wrong with me being here?”

I raised a brow at her before switching my eyes to the other girl.

“Umm, sorry Shibuya-san. I'd like...to speak with Dr. Matsui in private...”

Ryouha muttered, barely above a whisper, and I almost thought the other girl didn't hear it. The girl sighed and dropped her shoulders.

“Urgh, fine. I'll wait at the lobby.”

“Good girl. No waiting though; there's another delivery job for you. You can collect the package and the delivery details at the front desk.”

By then the girl's face had turned blank in annoyance, but I simply gave her my own smile in reply, waving her good bye. She closed the door and left without another word. I turned my attention to my current patient.

“Now let's get back on track. How are you doing, Kitagawa-san?”

I retracted my hands from her chair and plopped back into mine, reaching for the medical records on my desk.

“It's been half a year since you're discharged from the hospital and I could see that you're doing well.”

“Um, yes. Thanks to you, doctor.”

I hummed in response, looking through her documents.

“So? Is there something you're concerned about? Something that you can only tell me in private.”

“That's...”

She shrunk in her seat, her gaze casted downward. I sighed and reached my hand toward her.

“Kitagawa-san.”

She flinched as my fingers brushed her cheek, her face paled as she stared at me with wide eyes. I smiled.

“It's alright.”

I rose and planted my other hand on the desk, leaning my body toward her. I cupped her chin, keeping her gaze locked on my now flaring red eyes. The shadow of my eight limbs lingered behind me.     

“You can tell me eeeeverything~”

SLAP!

She slapped my hand and backed away, her chair toppled over from her sudden move. I could see her brown eyes twisted, filled with a mix of shock and fear, but there was no trace of my poisonous charm in there. So she couldn't be entranced by my spell? Interesting.

“Oh, I'm sorry. I got carried away a little.”

“You... are you Dr. Matsui?”

I smiled and heaved myself up, sitting on my desk with my legs crossed. My red eyes still locked at her.

“I am~”

“...”

“But the question is: Who is 'Dr. Matsui'?”

Skittering sounds started to fill the room and the girl darted her eyes to her side, seeing swarms of spiders approaching from every corner of the room.

“You're one of them...”

My smile grew wider as I heard her response.

“The monsters—“

“Oddities. Please call us that way from now on.”

I corrected for her, raising my right hand to observe the small spider skittering above my skin.

“Don't worry, you can sit down. They won't bite you.”

She hesitated and glanced around the room. There was no place to escape; as soon as she realized that the girl obediently took her chair, sitting a safe distance away from me. I cheerfully clapped my hands.


“Now. Let's continue without losing the beat; what do you want to tell me, Kitagawa-san~?


=0=0=0=0=0=0=0=0=


Hey, didn’t we fight a dragon together?

And even found a hero’s sword

What can I do if you never wake up?

That’s all I can think about as I watch you sleep


=0=0=0=0=0=0=0=0=


Where am I?

That was the first thing that came into my mind as I opened my eyes and saw the dark sky with grayish branches framing my view. I pushed myself up and looked around. I was in some kind of a forest, filled with countless dead trees like a perfect replica of a horror movie. I instantly shot to my feet.

How did I get here?

That's the second question.

I remembered spending my usual high school days until recently, studying and messing around with my friends. I didn't remember anything strange happen.

...

Wait.

There is.

Today after school I headed home and found something in the mailbox. A letter addressed to me. I didn't waste my time opening it, and what I saw later made my eyes widened.

A photo of a doll. With white victorian dress and small black hat. Her amber eyes and shoulder length hair still the same as I remembered them.

The [Marionette].

I staggered backward and almost dropped the envelope. I could feel tears started welling up in my eyes.

Ten years. It's been ten years since I last saw her, and seven years since I found out that the toy store had closed down. I thought I wouldn't be able to see her again but I didn't give up. I looked around, digging for information using the web of acquaintances I'd made and putting notices through all means I knew. I couldn't believe after all those years someone finally responded. They said they knew something about the Marionette and as a proof they gave me this photo.

I clenched the letter tighter, taking in all the details in the photo. There's no mistake. It really is her. I flipped the envelope, trying to find the address of the sender. It wasn't far, just by the neighboring city. If I took the train now I could get there before dark. I didn't think twice and dashed toward the station, my eyes brimming with excitement. I didn't realize the traffic light changed into a glaring red in front of me, and a screeching sound filled my ears before everything turned white.


...


...


...


Did I die?

Did a truck hit me and I died?

...

I feel so stupid now.

I held my head and groaned. This sucks. I let my emotion got a better of me and screwed up bad. Not only that I wouldn't be able to meet the Marionette I also got thrown into this worst version of afterlife I'd ever imagined. Just what did I do to deserve this? I cried my complaint to no one in particular, walking down the worn out road in a quick yet careful manner. I hate this. God, why do you have to make this place so dark!? I could make up silhouette of the trees thanks to the pale moonlight but that's it. And there's not even a single sound of crickets or anything. What do you expect me to do? If there's at least a hell keeper I would know. Or is this my trial? Getting lost in some kind of endless woods? My complaints grew more and more absurd every second until I saw a dim light in the distance. Finally! A sign of someone, or something! I tried to learn from experience and not to rush, taking my time to observe my surrounding as I walked.

The light grew bigger and bigger until I could see the woods clearly, and I found the source of that light. It was a lantern hung on a wooden stick. The stick was nailed to a rugged wooden fences. Behind the fence was a house built in western style, something that I had only seen as a small replica of a doll house. I gulped and approached the door, my fingers brushed the cold doorknob. I took a deep breath and pushed the door open. The hinges made a small creak and I jumped, but I forced myself to continue, peering through the gap of the door.

It was very dark inside. I narrowed my eyes to get a better look and finally make up a silhouette of something.

   A row of small bodies lifelessly hung on the ceiling.

I quickly pulled the door closed and put my back against it. My heart beating fast.

Nope. No way. I’m not going in there. Whoever inside they got to be a ghost or a psychopath. And I don’t like either of them. I stomped my shoes to the ground and walked away, finding myself before the wooden fence again. I stared at the pitch black forest. This is the worst. I don’t like the dark either and I didn’t know how far I should walk until I find something else. Right now this house is my only clue. And I knew someone must had lived there since they lit a lantern on the gate.

...

Okay, Jurina. There’s no other way but going in. Let’s not go empty handed at least.

I took the lantern and pulled the stick, kicking it off the wooden fence. Sorry to break your stuff but it’s a given since you’ve made things look scary. I held the lantern in one hand and armed myself with the makeshift club in the other, approaching the door. Here goes nothing. I opened the door wide, stepping inside the house with mere bravado. Both my hands and legs were shaking and ready to give in anytime. I rose the lantern higher, gathering my courage to look at the hanging bodies.

...

Thanks heaven.

They weren’t corpses but wooden dolls.

No wonder I didn’t smell anything stink.

The sight calmed me a bit. Just a bit. Since the fact that someone hung hundreds of dolls on their ceiling still wasn’t normal. I continued my investigation. The dolls seemed to be in good condition and the way their strings weaved together caught my eyes. They seemingly created a certain pattern and joined to a single direction toward the deeper part of the house. I smirked despite my fear and tightened my grip on the wooden stick, following the strings. The corridor grew smaller and smaller as I walked, or maybe because the number of dolls just increased and made it felt smaller, until I find a stair leading up. I stretched my left arm as far as I could, letting the lantern illuminated my way as I climbed the stair and made a creak with each step. The stair wasn’t that long, much to my surprise, and I found myself greeted with another wooden door. Here I go... I held my breath and kicked the door open, holding out the wooden stick in front of me like some hero brandishing his sword. Nothing. I swished the lantern around.

Looks like I’m in the attic now. And somehow, something about this attic gave me a nostalgic feeling. I shrugged the feeling away and continued walking. The strings started to bundle together even closer.


...


...


...


Wait.

There’s someone there, sitting on a chair.
 
I gulped, keeping the lantern in front of me.

“Hello?”

I muttered rather loudly, hearing my own voice bounced back to me. I slid my feet forward little by little.

“I’m sorry for trespassing but can you tell me where this is?”

The figure in front of me starting to grow more apparent as I drew closer, and I could see the doll strings weaved around their—her limbs and delicate fingers. Something about her pale white fingers caught my attention and as I took a closer look I finally realized the ball joints on each of them. Wait a minute. I stood higher and brought the lantern closer to the figure. It can’t be...

“Another doll? Seriously?”

I mouthed the words in disappointment.

Yes. What stood before me wasn’t a human being but a life-sized doll of a girl, both eyes closed as if it was sleeping. So much for my panic attack. I stared at the doll’s perfectly sculpted face, feeling that surge of nostalgia hitting me again. Her black hair and small hat. And her beautiful victorian dress. She looked exactly just like the Marionette. I sighed and dropped my shoulders.

Am I dreaming?

Is this not the afterlife but a state of limbo created from my memories?

If that’s the case then it explained why this place felt familiar.

I threw away my wooden stick and put the lantern on the small table beside her chair, reaching my hand toward her face, but before my fingers touched her, the doll’s eyes suddenly shot open.

“GWAAAAA—AAAAAHHH!!”

I screamed and fell to my butt, scrambling away from the figure. Rattling sounds suddenly filled the room. The previously lifeless strings around me tightened up like a fishing rod that just caught a prey. I shot up and ran toward the door. I was in such panic that I found myself slipped on the staircase and lost my balance, but I never hit the ground. I turned to see a small doll wrapped its wooden hands tightly around my right arm, stopping my fall, but the creepy sight only increased my hysteria and I scratched the doll away. I tumbled down the stairs in a painful thud. As I raised my face I could see the silhouette of someone standing on the attic’s door, shades of strings looming behind them as they stiffly moved like a puppet. I instantly forced my legs to move, searching for the front door.

There!

I put one hand on the knob and twisted it, pulling it with all my might.

Why?

Why, why, why, why, why, why?

Why won’t it open!?

“Hey.”

A whisper.

I froze and turned, crushing my back against the door. The oil lamp beside me suddenly lit up, followed by the other lamps hanging along the wall. I could see the whole room clearly now, as well as the living marionette in front of me. Her amber eyes locked on me, brimmed with calm curiosity.

“Why did you run?”

A sweet voice flowed from her rosy lips.

“Did you lose your way, little miss?”


=0=0=0=0=0=0=0=0=


Through the clearest sky and all kind of stormy weathers

We’ve walked hand in hand

But all of our happiest times and saddest moments

will someday…


=0=0=0=0=0=0=0=0=


“You were... a human...?”

The human girl said in disbelief, and I turned to look at her perplexed face. I gave her my usual smirk, but I guess it more resembled a sad smile now so I pried her attention away, poking her nose lightly.

“That’s right, Kitagawa-san. And please keep your hold on my web or you’ll be swallowed by the Abyss.”

She seemed a bit disturbed by my action, or perhaps by my slightly inhuman appearance; outside of my crimson eyes and woven webs on my back that resembled wings I didn’t look that much different from a normal human. I didn’t mind though. She took in everything I said and obediently followed me into the Abyss of Nothingness. That much was enough. 

We walked through the darkness in silence, with her gripping my thread tightly and me leading the way. A spider around the size of a dog skittered beside me, a lantern strapped to its back to light our surrounding. We kept walking like that for what feel like forever until she finally spoke.

“I-I’ve told you my story. And you’ve told me yours. So where... are you taking me now?”

I chuckled as I heard that.

“You ask that after you’ve followed me this far? What if I only lure you into my nest to eat you?”

“...”

The girl didn’t answer. But I couldn’t see any sign of fear in her eyes. I laughed again.

“How promising. I like that look in your eyes.”

“...what do you mean?”

“Okay.”

I clapped my hands.

“So yes, like I said I was the same as you before; a human fell into a coma because my soul lingered in the world inbetween. Though in my case it wasn’t [Treeland] but the [Doll House] governed by the Marionette.”

“The Marionette... who is she?”

“An Oddity. The previous member of the Great Council just like me and Phantom Knight. You’ve met the Phantom Knight before, right?”

The girl gave me a small nod before she continued.

“What happened to her...?”

“I see. You’re that type, huh? Treading the webs carefully while slowly getting yourself to the point. You’re more a spider than I am.”

I gave her a random remark, but this time she didn’t answer. I huffed.

“Fine, fine. We’re here.”

I opened my arms wide and the girl looked around. Nothing was there. Just the same pitch black scenery. She stared back at me and I shrugged, letting my right arm dangled between us. Slowly. Slowly. Small black spiders started to skitter out of the black sleeves of my clothing and plunged down into the abyss. The spiders could no longer be seen, but an almost invisible strings still connecting me and them, growing out of my fingertips. I crouched and sat on my giant lantern-bringer spider, putting away the source of light and brushing my fingers on the non-existent ground. The trace of my fingers made a curious pattern much like a net. I touched the ground beside it and from my palm another swarm of spiders appeared, flocking together to form another giant spider. I switched my eyes to the human girl, gesturing her with my chin to sit. She obediently, yet hesitatingly, did.

Another round of silence ensued.


...


...


...


“Um...”

“Have you heard about the taboo for us Oddities?”

“...”

“The biggest treachery for Oddities is to let a human come to the world of the dead. And living with them.”

I promptly said, keeping my gaze on the abyss down below.

“To prevent that a set of rules and punishment was made: The human will either be returned to their own world to continue living, or taken to the Skeleton Maiden at the Country of Bones to join the dead. And for the Oddity who committed that taboo?”

“They will be executed... Their soul will be thrown into the Abyss of Nothingness and forever belongs to the witch...”

“Perfect answer. As expected from Phantom Knight; she properly told you everything, didn’t she?”

The girl grew silent again. I saw her clenching her hands above her lap from the corner of my eyes.

“...why? What’s wrong with humans and oddities living together?”

“It’s every kind of wrong.”

I nudged one of my string on the ground. A spider crawled up from the said string, bringing a small piece of light, but the light quickly withered into nothingness.

“Oddities eat humans, humans deny Oddities. It’s that simple. That’s why they can’t coexist.”

“T-that’s not true.”

The girl raised her voice.

“When I was lost in Treeland I lived among the Oddities. They welcomed me as if I’m one of them—

As if you’re one of them.”

I cut her off.

“They didn’t know that you’re a human, right? What if they knew? Do you think they will waste a second to devour you?”

The girl seemed to have lost her words, but I could see in her eyes that she hadn’t give up. Her stubbornness reminded me of my younger self, though she’s more on the quiet side much like the Marionette. Perhaps I could really put my bet on her.

I thought to myself and fished another spider from my strings, watching the light it brought flickered and disappeared once again. 

“Those light...”

The girl suddenly said, gaining my attention.

“Are they souls?”

“You’re really sharp, girl. I like that.”

I snickered, releasing the string. I’m sure she had put the whole puzzle together by now. I rested my hands above my crossed legs, giving her another smile.

“Let’s forget the heavy atmosphere and continue where we left off. About what happened after I was thrown into the world of the dead and met the Marionette. And how everything unfold until I become an Oddity myself.” 


=0=0=0=0=0=0=0=0=


I opened my eyes and you were no longer in this world

I try to shake you awake, but...

You’ve fallen to a deep sleep, never to open your eyes again

Are you telling me to battle this world by myself?


=0=0=0=0=0=0=0=0=


Oddities. The world of the dead. Various realms governed by many different Oddities.

I managed to gain those information from the Marionette with my persistent asking, though it took quite a while for her to give up and tell me everything.

“So in short I have to find a way to return to the human world or else I'll be dead. Like completely perfectly dead.”

“Yes.”

The Marionette simply muttered as she skillfully replaced the limb of the small doll in her hand with new shining one, continuing the maintenance. I hummed and paused from my current job of mending the doll's clothes.

So? How did things end up like this?

Wasn't I so creeped out by this doll before?

How did we end up sitting side by side on the sofa and working together?

Well, it kinda embarrassing to say but this house actually wasn't as creepy as I thought. In fact once you lit every light in this place the room looked pretty cozy and kinda cute. If the doll house from back in the toy store could be enlarged it would undoubtedly looked just like this. I guess that's another point why I felt this place familiar. So that's it. End of the story. Please forget my freaking out moment and continue like this. Thank you.

“Say, Rena-chan.”

“...”

The Marionette didn't answer and I spoke louder, nudging her shoulder with mine.

“Rena-chaaaan~”

“...are you talking to me?”

“Of course! Who else?”

She paused from her work and stared at me.

“That's not my name.”

“I know. I made a nickname for you. Since calling you Marionette all the time is too troublesome.”

“Those names don't even rhyme.”

“They do, y'know! Marionette... Re... nette... Rena...”

“I see.”

She quickly ignored me and returned to her work, picking the clothes I had mended and putting it on the doll she just fixed. I pouted.   

“Hey! At least act a little bit interested~ Like 'Wow, you came up with a good name!' or something.”

I whined and slid my head to her lap, and the Marionette raised the doll to avoid my tackle.

“Your lap is hard.”

“It's because I'm a puppet.”

“But I don't hate it.”

I grinned and rubbed my face to the fabric of her dress playfully. She sighed.

“Please wake up and continue your work. You're not a kid.”

“Eeeeh, it's normal for humans my age to do this to someone they're fond of~ Can’t you tell that I’m just a lonely seventeen years old~?”

She let out another sigh, putting the doll away. I'm sure she knew I was just making excuses but maybe she’d also known already that it's impossible to stop me when I'm in this mode. So she just kept working while letting me rest my head on her lap.

“Say, say, Rena-chan. Have you found a way for me to go back? Why are you helping me in the first place anyway?”

“Not yet. And I’m not doing it to help you.”

“Come on, just admit it already. You do care about me~”

I rolled around, clearly disturbing her work; that's my plan though. So she had no other choice but to give up and respond.

“I'm a tsukumogami. Back when I was still a simple doll a human girl raised me with care so instead of turning into a vengeful spirit, I become sentient while maintaining my reason. I’m only helping you to pay my respect to that girl. Haven't I told you this story a thousand time before?”

“And haven't I told you I am that human girl?”

She paused and stared down at my big puppy eyes, before letting out a huff and returned to her work.

“What? What with that annoying response?”

“That girl was small and earnest. Nothing like you.”

“I am a human so I grew up! Why won't you believe me~”

The Marionette didn't seem to buy my words. I frowned and switched to my side, taking another pair of small dress to mend. The mechanism near the front door whirred and clanked into a stop, and the whistle on its end chirped loudly. The Marionette blinked as she heard that.

“The water to wash the dolls' clothes had ran out.”

“I’ll go get ‘em!”

I rolled to my feet, switching off the whistling device. I didn’t give her time to protest as I quickly took a black top hat and matching cloak from the cloth stand, heaving the nearby bucket with one hand. One more thing to do. I pushed the lever beside the cloth stand. The wooden furniture jumped and crooked, much like a scarecrow that just gained its own consciousness. I smiled and patted the stick, before dangling a lantern on one of its hanger.

“I’m off~ Remember to pamper me when I return~”

With that, I closed the door behind me and headed into the dark forest.

That's right. I’ve become something like her errand girl now. And I’d been helping her so many times that I could no longer remember. It's hard to keep track of time in this place since there's no concept of day and night, but if I follow my guts feeling I’ve probably stayed in the Doll House for about a month. I touched a nearby tree with one hand in reminiscence, staring at the x mark on it. In earlier days I've tried to escape so many times. One of my attempt was marking a single tree and ran to one direction; it proved to be ineffective as I always ended up returning to the same place. What worse was that I forgot to mark my way back. In the end the Marionette came to pick me up instead.

I continued that attempt for a few more days only to get the same result. And the Marionette always pick me up without fail, not even voicing a single protest. She tended to all my needs. She always kept the light on because she knew I was scared of the dark. She made shelves to put her dolls because the way they hung on the ceilings disturbed me. She patiently waited for me to adapt to this place but just that. She never made any attempt to get close to me. Those contradicting attitudes perked my attention instead and without realizing it I’d grown attached to her.

...

Wait, that wasn’t correct.

I've been attached to her for as long as I could remember, even back in the human world. That feeling just quadrupled because I finally managed to meet her after a very long time. I never dreamed of seeing her moving and talking to me though. Let's just take that as a bonus to my efforts.

“God, thank you for the feast~ I'm sorry I called this place the worst version of afterlife before!”

I shouted to no one in particular, quickening my steps as I saw a stone well on the distance. I put the bucket on the hook above the well and used the pedal on its side, lowering the bucket into the water. I hummed a random song and looked around, watching the now so familiar row of dead trees. I could see some crows perching nearby but they quickly dispersed and flew away. Huh. I didn't remember seeing another living being in the forest before. Perhaps I never realized because it was too dark. I heard the sound of splashing water and pedaled the device the other way, bringing the bucket up. This thing was quite heavy; I thought to myself as I removed the full bucket from the hook and carried it with both hands. The cloth stand beside me jumped a few times as if in excitement.   

“Alright, time to go home.”

Home. That's a wrong way to said it but it didn't feel so bad. I did wonder if I could stay here and live with her. But wouldn’t that means I’ll be dead? That’s not good. I’d surely make my friends and family sad. The best course of action I could take would be returning to the human world then searching a way to visit this place. And I’d prefer if it doesn’t involve throwing myself into another life-and-death situation. Maybe something like a door or a portal where I could cross between worlds easily. I wonder if such thing exist. I mulled to myself on my way back, not forgetting to say my greeting as I arrived and gave the bucket to the helper doll afterwards. I saw the Marionette standing in front of the shelves, arranging the dolls and counting all of them. I knew what happened when she did that.

“You're going out today?”

I asked with a hint of disappointment, hugging one of the doll and throwing myself into the sofa.

“Yes.”

The Marionette answered without a single glance.

“I am meeting with the French Doll. She seemed to have a clue about how to bring you back.”

“Really? That was quick.”

“It's not quick. It's almost a month in the human world since you first got here.”

So my guts feeling was right. I hummed and poked the doll, before switching my attention to her.

“Can I come with you this time?”

“No.”

I rolled to my back, whining.

“Eeeh, why not~? You're always giving me that same answer~”

“No means no.”

Tch. She's being really stubborn on this one. I wonder why.

“Fine, fine. Come home soon~”

I waved the doll's arm with my hand, seeing her leaving through the front door. I sighed, dropping my head back to the sofa. I'm bored. There's surprisingly nothing to do when the Marionette wasn't home. Once she left this realm all the other dolls would reverted back to their lifeless state so I had no one to play with. I tried following her before but it never worked; I guess she really meant it when she said she put a barrier to prevent anyone coming in or out of her realm while she's away.

So what should I do? I had finished exploring the house, I had named each and every doll, plus there’s nothing to do outside. This used to be the perfect time to enact my escape plan but now I no longer do it.

...

I guess I'll take a nap.

I closed my eyes and tossed around to find a comfortable position, trying to get myself into sleep. I thought about this a lot of time before but this place was so quiet, like, eerily quiet. It was too quiet to my liking and made sleeping harder instead.

Tick, tick, tick.

That was the only sound I could hear now. Safe from my own breath.

...

Wait.

What sound is that?

I pushed myself into a sitting position, looking around to find the source. It sounded like someone tapping on a glass surface. No. It sounded higher and sharper. Like something small and hard tapping on glass. Glass. The window? I stood and walked toward the one beside the front door. A crow was perching outside, tapping its beak against the window. I tapped my own finger.

“What's wrong, little fellow? Wanna come in?”

The crow stopped as I said that, as if hearing my voice. It tilted its head and stared at me curiously, before spreading its black wings.

“Caw!”

The crow took flight, before suddenly throwing its whole body hard against the window. What the—!? It repeatedly crashed itself against the glass and I took a step back, seeing pairs of small eyes staring down on me from the forest. More and more crows appeared, surging at the window as they attempted to break in. I darted my eyes around, trying to find something to stop them. Maybe if I moved over the cupboard—

CRASH--!!

It was too late. The crows had broken through, sending pieces of glass and black feathers in their wake. I raised my arms, covering my face from their sharp claws as they swarmed around me.

“Wha—hey! That hurts, stop scratching me!”

I swung my right fist around, hitting and punching among the sea of black feathers, before I felt something painfully hit my neck. I choked, seeing a hand covered in black feathers grabbing my throat and lifting me off the ground.

 “It can't be... I can't believe it...”

I kicked my legs around, while my nails clawed on the iron grip, trying to free myself. Between my fading conciousness I could see a girl's face emerging behind the swarm of crows. Her face seethed in rage.

  “IT'S A HUMAN!!!”

STAB!

I grabbed one of the crow and drove its long claws into the extending arm, pulling it roughly and ripping the skin. Blob of red scattered in the air. The grip around my neck disappeared and I fell to the floor, coughing and pushing my body to move. I crawled out of the living room and closed the door, fumbling with the lock. A strong force hit the door and sent my body crashing into the hallway. I didn’t waste anytime to run, seeing surge of black chasing after me.

What the heck is going on!?

What is that thing—that monster!?

I kept on running, pulling down shelves and cupboards on my way to try to stop them. I climbed up toward the attic, barely managed to lock the door before the crows stormed at the wooden door and made a small tear on it. I backed away, hiding myself behind the scattered furniture. An eye glowing in red peered through the small hole.

“Where are you...”

BAM! BAM! BAM—!

The thumping grew harder and I could hear the door cracking. My heart beating hard as I tried to find something to drive that beast away.

“So it's the Marionette, huh? The traitor...”

Huh? What is that monster talking about?

“I see... It makes sense now... The reason why the world of the dead is falling apart...”

Falling apart?

I heard the monster cackled.

“It's all because she's hiding a single human!”

The door bursted from the enormous force. I curled myself into a ball, shielding myself from the shards of wood that were flying from the impact. The croaking sound of the crows quieted down afterwards and I could hear footsteps slowly approaching.

“Come out, little girl. You can no longer run.”

I held my breath. My hand searched around me. A sharp piece of wood fell near my foot and dolls' strings were scattered on the floor. Those were the only things I could see. Plan. I need a plan.

...

Okay, here’s the plan.

Defeat that monster.

I gritted my teeth and I pulled the strings as hard as I could. My hand trembled as the thin surface scraped and dug into my skin. This was the only room where Marionette left her dolls hanging on the ceiling, and as I pulled their strings they all fell simultaneously in a huge crumble. I ran out of my hiding place, seeing the some of the crows got crushed under the weight, and drove the piece of wood toward the humanoid figure on the center.


...


...


...


“Are you kidding me, human?”

Suddenly countless arms shot out of the monster's torso, catching my limbs and stopping me short from reaching it. I didn’t falter, glaring at the abomination before me.

“That look in your eyes, are you trying to challenge me? How despicable...”

It pried the shard of wood from my grip easily, before turning the sharp end toward my eye.
 
“I'll put you to your place soon...”

Stab.

The monster stopped. The arm that was merely an inch away from my face fell to the ground. I stared at the hollow opening of its limb with wide eyes. Something was there. A single string, barely visible. Rattling sounds started to fill the room and the previously lifeless dolls sprung into life. Their beady eyes rolled toward the black-feathered creature.

“What are you doing trespassing into my realm, Dark Witch?”

That voice. I knew that voice. And I instinctively switched my gaze toward the silhouette on the door.

“Marionette!”

The hands that were holding me melted into mere feathers and I ran toward her familiar figure, hugging her tightly. The creature stared at us both in disgust.

“What is this... What am I seeing...”

I glanced at the creature. The feathers and limbs around its body fell apart like a shedding, and what was left standing there was a girl in pure black dress, black feathery wings sprouted from her back. Her black eyes looked as if they were dead.

“Are you keeping a pet human in your house!? Marionette!!?!?!”

The girl’s voice boomed. Its previously hoarse tone lost but her voice was laced with hatred. The Marionette stared back at her. Her usual soft gaze turned sharp.

“Please. Leave this instant. This has nothing to do with you.”

“Nothing to do with me?”

The witch clenched her face with both hands, her body trembled as she snickered.

“Do you even know what your ignorant action have brought you—have brought us, all of us Oddities?”

“...”

“The moment humans started to get used to our existence that will be the end of us. They would stop perceiving the ‘odd’ and think of them as mere ‘normality’. Our concept lost... And we will disappear without a trace...”

“You’re overthinking.”

“Overthinking?”

The Dark Witch swung her arms to her side. The room rumbled and twisted, as if a crack had been made in the dimension, before everything became blanketed in darkness. I tightened my grip on the Marionette’s dress. Several portals opened from under my feet and I looked down, watching the unfamiliar scenery before me.

“Can you see that? The spreading void. Those natural cracks that used to only exist in one realm have spread into another, swallowing our world.”

A huge crater could be seen on each area, growing and slowly devouring the ground each second. I didn’t know what was happening anymore. I looked up at the Marionette, trying to find some assurance in her gaze, but there was none.

“You must have realized already. That if things keep going this way nothing will be left by the eve of next Halloween. And you, too, will disappear.”

“...”

“What are you trying to gain by hiding that human? Praise? Self-satisfaction? Or perhaps, don’t tell me...”

The witch’s smile stretched from ear to ear.

You have affection for a human being? Oh, how low have you fallen!”

The witch laughed. Her wicked laughter mockingly echoed in the darkness. But the Marionette didn’t do anything. She just stood there, enduring the blame in silence, while making sure to protect me within her arms. And I didn’t like it.

Without thinking my body moved. My fear replaced with anger and I released my grip on the Marionette, running toward the Dark Witch with my clenched fist raised. My action seemed to have suddenly broke the spell and I found myself back in the attic, small dolls pulling me back to the floor as a huge bird claw nearly sliced me in two. I saw the Marionette stepped in. And I gritted my teeth, standing and pushing down her outstretched arm that was protecting me.

“Listen up, you damn witch! Say everything you want about me but if you talk bad about Rena, I will never forgive you!”

My outburst seemed to have shaken both of the Oddities, and I saw the Marionette stepped forward once again, her puppets closing in around the Dark Witch.

“I’ll say it one more time, Dark Witch. Leave.”

Her voice regained its confidence.

“This is my realm. If you’re still trying to trespass I won’t hesitate to take you down.”

The witch stared back at us with cold eyes, before dispersing the huge claw that protruded from her back.

“One week, Marionette. If you don’t hand over that human before the Carnival start I will personally exterminate her myself. Along with you and this whole realm...”

And with that, the witch disappeared in a cloud of black mist. I fell to my knees. My breath ragged as my bravado collapsed and was replaced by another fear. The Marionette rushed to my side, crouching and holding my shoulder with her cold wooden hand.

“Jurina, don’t move. Listen to me; you’re in the world of Oddities, the world of concepts. Your real body is not here so your wounds are also not real. If you forget about them they will quickly disappear.”

She said everything quickly as if she’s in panic. And I’ve never seen her that way before.

“Jurina—“

“You’ve finally said it.”

I laughed under my breath, and she paused, seemingly puzzled by my words.

“You’ve finally called my name...”

I let my body fell to the wooden floor and rolled to my back, laughing my heart off. The Marionette seemed to still be perplexed by my action. She only stayed on her knees silently, staring down at my laughing face. She clenched her fists.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t expect the Dark Witch to break into this realm. I’ve put you in a grave danger.”

“It’s not your fault if you didn’t expect it. And don’t give me that face, Rena-chan.”

“...?”

I raised my both hands to hold her face.

“You’re crying, you know?”

The Marionette blinked, seeing her own tears falling onto my face. She didn’t seem to believe it herself and raised one hand to touch her cheek.

“Strange. I never have this kind of emotion before. But when I imagined that you might be gone, I just...”

She paused. Her tears started falling again, and I wiped them with my thumb.

“He he, so you really do care about me. I’m glad.”

“...”

“But, you know, it’s me who need to say I’m sorry.”

I exhaled slowly. And my voice softened, unlike my usual cheerful tone.

“If I didn’t wish so hard to see you in my last moment I probably will be able to pass away properly. No, in fact, if only I put attention to my surrounding the truck won’t hit me and we won’t be stuck in this situation. Just because I want to be with you, I’ve caused you so much trouble...argh, now I feel like crying myself.”

I smirked, trying to stop my own tears from flowing. The Marionette looked down on me in silence.

“No. It’s still my fault.”

She whispered quietly.

“The reason why you’re here, it’s probably because of me. Because after we’re separated ten years ago, after the toy store ran down and I was left alone in the small dark crate, I prayed every day that I would be able to see you again.”

“...huh? So you do know that it was me—ouch, ouch, ouch!”

The Marionette suddenly pulled my nose, forcing me to shut up. I rubbed my nose and glared at her, and then, she smiled. I never saw her smiling before. And the sight brought another tears to my eyes.

“Don’t worry, Jurina.”

She softly said, wiping away my tears.

“I will surely get you back to the human world.”

“And we will meet again soon. That part is important.”

I gave her a smirk, and she smiled back at me.

“Yes. I promise you we will...”



=0=0=0=0=0=0=0=0=


We once sought unknown treasure together

Traveling by boat as stars fell through the sky

Hey, what can I do if you never wake up?

That’s all I can think about as I watch you sleep


=0=0=0=0=0=0=0=0=


One week passed in the blink of an eye, and before I realized it’s already time for my departure. We spent the week fixing the Doll House and telling each other about the years we spent away from each other. The Marionette told me about the store owner, about how he protected the toys until the moment of his death, even after he had lost his store. I told her about my life at school, and how I managed to find traces of her whereabouts.

“Even then, wouldn’t that be pointless? Since you’ve become an Oddity and no longer exist in human world.”

“I guess that’s true.”

“Now I feel stupid all over again.”

I groaned, letting the Marionette tied the black necktie of my outfit.

“Still, there's something strange. How could the sender have that photo? The shop owner never took a photo of me and I've been with him until the moment I turned into an Oddity.”

“Huh? But I checked the date printed on the photograph. It was only a few days before the letter was sent.”

The Marionette straightened my collar, and I stared at her, narrowing my eyes.

“So the photo was a fake and someone purposely ran me over with a truck.”

“Or they're just a common swindler and you just happened to be careless.”

She finished for me and stepped away, studying my figure.

“Done.”

One of the small puppet came toward her, holding a black rose, and she put the rose on the brim of my top hat. Another puppet came and brought a mirror for me, and I spun, checking out my new outfit that consisted of black vested shirt and matching skirt along with a black top hat.

“Wow. It’s amazing how you manage to finish this in one week even when we’re still repairing the house. But is this disguise really matter? And what about this rose? Its petals’ been falling apart, y’know.”

“The death flower.”

The Marionette said. Though her expression didn't change she seemed to be proud of her own work.

“It spreads the scent of death and will hide your identity as a human. It might be ineffective against Oddities with keen nose that able to smell the soul itself but they usually won’t dare to touch anyone who possess that flower.”

“Cool. If you have this kind of thing you should've let me come with you on a tour around other realms.”

I grinned and took the flower from my hat, putting it on my breast pocket. The marionette simply ignored my statement.

“Let’s review the plan one more time. I’m getting nervous.”

“Then let’s.”

“Okay, first thing first, we will leave this realm to the world between this world and the human world called Treeland. There, a festival called the Carnival of Forest and Fire are held and every Oddities from each realm will be there, including the Dark Witch. But that’s not our target.”

“What we’re searching for is the original gate that connects both worlds; a white door that was hidden among the forest by the Great Tree. Each realm has a replica of that door and each member of Great Council have the key to that door, but...”

“We can't use it. Because it's monitored by the overseer of all Oddities; the Tin Cat.”

“Yes. Our only hope is the original gate. And we can only move on the day of the Carnival. This year’s Carnival is special because it also served as the coronation of Dark Witch as the new leader of the Great Council of Sixteen, which means she won’t be able to keep an eye on us.”

“I still don’t like the fact that she’ll be going all high and mighty but I guess there’s no better opportunity to distract her. Since until the end of the coronation she’s not allowed to use her power.”

“Yes. I can’t accompany you because I have to be present at the carnival’s site to avoid suspicion. Do you remember how to find the door?”

“Of course! Ask the Great Tree and it will guide the way. Correct?”

I puffed my chest in pride, and the Marionette nodded.

“Yes. And that concludes our review. Do you have anything else to say?”

“I sure do.”

I grabbed her hands and threw them up to the air, grinning.

“We will make this plan succeed! No excuses!”

“You’re being very hyper today.”

“Why won’t I? It’s time I settle my score with that damn witch!”

The Marionette didn’t seem to mind my obvious cursing, so maybe she agreed with me. She just couldn’t say it herself.

The time had finally came and we left the house, holding onto each other’s hand tightly as we walked into the dark forest. Various thought passed my mind as we walked in silence. Will the plan really succeed? Will I really be able to find the door by myself? Will we really be able to meet again after this? Doubt after doubts invaded me but I kept on moving, holding to the feeling of her hand in mine. I’m sure she’s as worried as I was so I couldn’t show my hesitation here. She had saved me so many times before, and this time, I would be the one to protect her. Just like how I was able to entrust all of my worries to her when I was still child, I hope she could also entrust everything to me.

The row of dead trees started to change after a while, replaced by another dark yet living bunch of trees. I heard the sound of my footsteps changed into a more mushy crunch, as they were no longer met with barren earth but green grass. A lively chatters could be heard in the distance. I’ve finally realized we’re no longer in the Doll House. We’ve finally reached Treeland; the place where the Carnival was held. I reluctantly released her hand, but I realized that she hadn’t let go, only tightening her grip. I stared at her expressionless face, trying to read her emotion that was hidden behind her calm composure. I’d learn how to read people, but perhaps because she’s a puppet it was a lot harder to see what lies beyond her stiff appearance. I didn’t need to read her mind though. I knew.

“Rena.”

She turned her face toward me and I put my lips over hers. It wasn’t thinking much back then. I just did it in a spur of moment, with a pure intent of wanting to cheer her up. I did the same thing a few times before when I was small, but even as her stiff lips were still the same it felt so different now, like she was no longer a doll but a real living being. I wondered if she remembered as well; I thought to myself as I pulled away, staring at her now clearly perplexed face. I grinned.

“Don’t worry. I will definitely come back for you this time.”

Her grip finally loosened and I turned away, running into the forest without looking back.

O’ Great Tree, show me the way toward the Gate.   

I whispered and touched one of the tree. The place where I touched glowed slightly and the forest morphed, the trees lining up to open the way for me. I continued my way without stopping. I had to make another plan after this, after I returned to the human world. The Marionette said that when she first turned into a Tsukumogami another Oddity came to bring her to their world. That means there is a way to cross worlds even from the human’s side. I just had to find where and how to use it. And then I’ll definitely find it. The way for me and her, for humans and oddities to live together.

The line of trees stopped in a wide clearing. And in the middle of it stood a simple white door, leading to nowhere. I gulped and put my hand on the knob, before giving one last glance toward the forest. The previous road had disappeared and I could no longer see or hear any trace of the Carnival. This is enough. I had to go now.

I took a deep breath and turned the knob. The sight behind the door was blinding, and I shielded my eyes before stepping into the light.



...



...





...



...










..





.




“And now, I present to you the main attraction of this year's Carnival!

The culprit of our current incident!”



...what?

I reopened my eyes. The blinding light had disappeared and I could see everything clearly now.

But what I saw wasn't the dizzying crowd or the tall buildings of the city.

It was a forest. With a huge bonfire and several torches around it set ablaze.

I was standing on a stage. Hundreds and thousands of creatures of each and every form imaginable staring at me with curious eyes.


I was nowhere in the human world. I was still in the world of Oddities.


--Among the Carnival of Forest and Fire.



...why?

I took a step back, and I switched my eyes to my side. A figure sneered down at me as if they had win the game.

It was the Dark Witch.

”Behold, the curse to our kind! A human girl!”

Her shout engulfed the whole Carnival. And I could hear the audience roared and howled in reply. I turned in my heel and ran, but iron bars suddenly shot out from the stage and trapped me like a caged animal. I grabbed the bar tightly.

Damn it, why? Why is this happening!?

Did the Dark Witch set this up? Did the Great Tree lie?

Or...

My perplexed gaze wandered into the crowd of monsters, seeing a shadow smiled and dispersed into the night.

Of course... Why didn’t we—why didn’t I realize...

I slumped to the ground. My knees suddenly lost all power.

The Dark Witch wasn’t alone.

Someone work together with her to trick us.

As if reading my thought the witch’s smile grew wider, and she stepped closer toward the crowd.

“But still, my brethren, things won’t go this bad if it’s just one human sneaking into our world.”
   
    “No?”  “No.”  “What? Then—”  “Could it be?”  “No. No way—”

The chatters started to grow louder.

   “—for a long time.”  “Someone—hide—”  “A traitor.”

The Dark Witch laughed.

“That’s right. One of our kin hid this human and betrayed us.”

The voices changed into furious yells, and I darted my eyes around, trying to find the Marionette among the crowd. Where is she? Where is she!? Please tell me she's not here! 

“Who, oh, who is it? Perhaps we can ask this human after torturing her?”

The shouts grew wilder, but none of that register in my thought. I just hoped that she's not here. I didn't even care if she abandoned me. But then a hand raised from the further most stand.

“It was me.”


...


...



...


No...

I grabbed the bar until my knuckles turned white.

“N-no, it’s not her! The Marionette didn’t—”

      “The Marionette.” “The Marionette?” “It was the Marionette!” “Sneaky bastard.” “Even though she’s a member of the council!”
    “Irresponsible. How irresponsible.” “What a disgrace.”


Why?

I tried to convey it through my eyes, seeing her being shoved and dragged onto the stage. A guillotine appeared to welcome her. 

Why!? Just leave me and run! I AM supposed to die! So you don’t have to do this!!

My gaze met hers as she passed by my cage, but as she saw the desperate look in my eyes, she smiled.

Stop it... Don't give me that... Just... stop it already...


“Stop it!! It is me that you guys want! She had nothing to do with this!”



“You don’t get it, do you? You poor little human...”

The Witch sneered and opened her arms wide.


“This serve as an example! For bringing danger to all Oddities, this vile one will be executed!”


Guilty!


Guilty!


GUILTY!





--OFF WITH THE HEAD!




The crowd cheered as one, and I could only look as the blade was raised high.

“A last wish.”

I heard the Marionette voice flowed as she was roughly pushed into the guillotine.

“Its a privilege before an execution. I believe a fair judge like you won’t overlook it, will you?”

“And what is your last wish, traitor?”

“Let the human child live and return her to her world.”

“As you wish~”

SNAP—

I closed my eyes. I couldn’t see it. I didn’t want to see. Even the ripping sounds were enough to make me clawed my ears and wished it was all just a dream. Maybe it was. Maybe all this was really just my imagination. That I was still dreaming in the hospital bed after the truck hit me. But the more I tried to deny it the more real it felt. And the feeling of her hands still lingered in mine.

A strong force suddenly pulled me out of my thought. Two gigantic figures grabbed my arms and dragged me out of the cage. The Dark Witch approached and ripped the death flower from my vest, and the giants roared, holding me out for the whole Oddities to see.

“Skeleton Maiden! Please step forward and do the honor to finish her.”

“You—“

I didn’t manage to finish my word as one of the giant hit my face, prompting me to shut up. My jaw felt numb from the single blow.

“What nonsense are you spouting, Dark Witch?”

Another voice continued for me. It’s probably that Oddity called the Skeleton Maiden.

“Are you trying to trample on Marionette’s wish?”

“What are you talking about, Skeleton Maiden? Our trials are always made based on majority rule. Can’t you hear what our brethren are shouting?”
       

Guilty!


Guilty!


GUILTY!





--KILL THAT HUMAN!



I helplessly stared at their hungry eyes, at the Skeleton Maiden as she stared back at me with pity.

“Do it, Skeleton Maiden.”

The commanding voice of the witch seemed to have hypnotized the Oddity. She slowly come onto the stage, her huge scythe raised above me.

Aah, I’ll die.

I will die here.

Maybe it's for the best.

Maybe I'll be able to see her again.



...





...





...






..





.









No.

I won't allow this kind of ending.

The scythe painfully pierced my back and through my chest, and I could feel my whole body splitting apart from the pain.

No. I won't die yet.


No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No.No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No.No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No.No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No.No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No.

I WON’T DIE!



I screamed despite my pain. My blood splattering all over the stage that was tainted in desires and boisterous lies.



I won’t die before I fulfill that wish! To be with her; to find the place where human and oddity can live together!


I won’t die! Even if my body is gone— Even if my soul is torn apart—


EVEN IF I HAVE TO CRAWL IN THE DARK AND CEASE TO BE HUMAN—


The last sentence echoed in my ears and suddenly all sense of pain left me.

My body fell to the cold ground. My own blood that was oozing out slowly turned black.

I planted my hands to the pool of black liquid. My new pairs of black limbs shot out of my back.

The human girl Matsui Jurina had died.

And there, before the Carnival that shifted among the forest and fire.

A spider Oddity was born. 

=0=0=0=0=0=0=0=0=


One day you fell into a deep sleep

And never to open your eyes again

I guess I have no choice but to battle alone now

In this world that we used to explore together


=0=0=0=0=0=0=0=0=


“And that’s the end of my story. Please give a big round of applause~”

I smiled and clapped my hands. The spiders around of me did the same, hitting their front legs together to imitate my action. But the human girl didn’t budge. Her shoulder shivered and her long hair hid her face from my view. Her tears dropped to the clenched fists on her lap. I sighed.

“Now now, no need to cry over spilt milk. I don’t regret being an Oddity. And instead of crying you should’ve hated me instead, Kitagawa-san.”

“...”

“The taboo was made because of me. And as member of the council I took part in making that rules.”

“...‘The human can be returned to their own world’. Did you make that part?”

I stared at her in silence. My smile faltered.

“You live in our world to protect humans... You lay your webs in the Abyss to save Oddities... You helped both me and Harlequin before... How can you tell me to hate you?”

“Aww, geez. You make me blush~ I just did that to get to my own goal of finding a way for humans and oddities to live together. And I lay my webs in the Abyss because I’m collecting pieces of Marionette’s soul. In fact I only helped you and Harlequin because of my deal with Phantom Knight.”

“It doesn’t change the fact that you helped me before...”

The girl wiped her own tears and stood, before bowing her head to me.

“Thank you, Dr. Matsui... For helping me and telling me everything...”

“You’re too nice, Kitagawa. Too nice and too naive.”

I pulled the last string and stood, holding the fragment of soul in my hand that was only the size of a pea; it’s quite much for a single day but still nothing close to the original.

“And about Harlequin; her current form is that of a quasi-human unlike me and other council members who only use illusion to hide our true form. I wonder what will happen if she’s awaken to her memories and her true nature. I would like to see and collect some data about it.”

“But you will not let that happen...”

I glanced at the girl and smirked.

“That’s why I said you’re too nice, Kitagawa-san.”

“...”

“Run along now. I’m sure your beloved trickster was already there waiting in front of my office.”

She seemed to flinch a bit from the word ‘beloved’, but then she gave me another bow, following my spiders as they guide her back to the human world. I stared as her figure grew smaller among the darkness, and I turned around, heading toward another end of the Abyss.

Before long I was met with a pure white door. A door that connected the human world with the world of the dead. But I didn’t open it. Instead I put my palm against the invisible wall beside it, watching the dimension shattered like a web being torn apart. I stepped inside before the hole stitched itself back. I walked through the familiar forest, through the row of grayish dead trees that were now covered in spider webs. Skeletons and remains of crows could be seen on them like decorations. I kept walking until I saw an old western-styled house, and I stepped inside, the oil lamps on the walls lit up as I did. I looked around the room, watching my spiders skittering and tending to the dolls. They made a great job without dirtying everything with their threads.

I walked deeper into the house, climbing up the stair that led toward the attic.

And I saw her there sitting on the chair. Her eyes closed like the first time we met.

One of my spider nudged my leg and I saw it bringing with a small box on its back. It was the package delivered by Harlequin back in my office. I pet the small creature and took it, letting it skittered out of the room. Inside the box was a simple piece of wood. I took the piece and put it into the small crack on the Marionette’s hand, watching it fit perfectly and blend in without leaving a single scratch.

I took out the soul fragment I just gathered, letting the small ball of light floated and dissolve into her chest.

But nothing changed.

And I knew that nothing would change.

At least for now.

I put my palms above hers, our now equally cold hands touching, and I gave her a soft kiss.

A kiss from the treacherous black spider that could never wake the sleeping princess.

And I smiled.



...





...




...



..




..





.





     “I’m home, Rena...”








__________________________________________________________
Chapter Redemption: Sleeping Princess// END

« Last Edit: November 01, 2017, 10:24:39 AM by jubethehare »

Offline Ruka Kikuchi

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Re: [HalloweenCollection_03] Sleeping Princess [WMatsui]
« Reply #25 on: October 20, 2017, 11:15:26 PM »
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA OMG THIS IS SO GOOD!!! SO MANY FEELS HERE :cry: :cry: :cry: :heart: :heart:

I love it! I love this story's world so much! So much lore in this series! :w00t: :w00t:

Keep up the good work as usual! :thumbsup

Offline kuro_808

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Re: [HalloweenCollection_03] Sleeping Princess [WMatsui]
« Reply #26 on: October 20, 2017, 11:21:49 PM »
It's a really trippy story. I'm intrigued by everything until the end :nervous

Incredible story
Random Thought:

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R.I.P. Jab!  Dad/friend

Offline Albiebs22

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Re: [HalloweenCollection_03] Sleeping Princess [WMatsui]
« Reply #27 on: October 21, 2017, 12:43:08 AM »
Amazing story. A little dark but I like it  :heart: good job  :thumbsup
Girl's rule 👩

Offline DarkHeart

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Re: [HalloweenCollection_03] Sleeping Princess [WMatsui]
« Reply #28 on: October 29, 2017, 08:41:58 PM »

I have read every story in your Halloween collection and I love every single one of them! :ptam-glow:

The world you created and every pairings' storyline are so well crafted!  :on lol:

And the characters are genuine! They are true to their real life counterparts which is very rare in fanfictions with real-life people!  :bingo:

I really hope there'll be more stories in the future!  :kneelbow:

P.S. The art at the beginning and the end of the story is amazing!  :mon cute:  I'm honestly thinking of dressing as Phantom Knight for Halloween.  ;) :lol:

Offline jubethehare

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Re: [HalloweenCollection_03] Sleeping Princess [WMatsui]
« Reply #29 on: November 01, 2017, 09:18:52 AM »
Thanks for reading everyone! And Happy Halloween for real this time, ha ha~


AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA OMG THIS IS SO GOOD!!! SO MANY FEELS HERE :cry: :cry: :cry: :heart: :heart:

I love it! I love this story's world so much! So much lore in this series! :w00t: :w00t:

Keep up the good work as usual! :thumbsup



Thanks~ I rarely update anything lately but I'll try to keep up~  :D


It's a really trippy story. I'm intrigued by everything until the end :nervous

Incredible story

Amazing story. A little dark but I like it  :heart: good job  :thumbsup


Glad you guys enjoy it~



I have read every story in your Halloween collection and I love every single one of them! :ptam-glow:

The world you created and every pairings' storyline are so well crafted!  :on lol:

And the characters are genuine! They are true to their real life counterparts which is very rare in fanfictions with real-life people!  :bingo:

I really hope there'll be more stories in the future!  :kneelbow:

P.S. The art at the beginning and the end of the story is amazing!  :mon cute:  I'm honestly thinking of dressing as Phantom Knight for Halloween.  ;) :lol:

Don't worry, there will be more. And dressing as Phantom Knight? Sounds fun~  8)
I never dress up on Halloween myself though, ha ha~




And for what's next...

Actually I'm thinking of throwing some more extra chapters before the main one next year. It will probably about Frankenstein (Sae) and the daily life of everyone else from the Halloween Night Club. I haven't decided on the pairing and might even make one without any. At least I plan it to be more humorous and light-hearted for a chance. The other one will be about Whiteface (Sakura), and maybe another one about Tin Cat (Takamina).   

Oh, and annoucement!


The 'barbarian bunch' that Sayaka mentioned back in chapter 2, they will appear on the next main chapter.


I'll see which will work better to advance the plot, either writing from their perspective or back to NagiUha. I will give one extra chapter dedicated to them though. Oh, and they're not Oddities. You could say they're the natural enemies, or even predators, of Oddities. Which lead to another announcement; this new bunch will consist of Nogi and Keyaki members, and I will choose one main pairing among them.


That's all for now. Look forward for the next Halloween Collection~~



Offline jubethehare

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Re: [HalloweenCollection_03] Sleeping Princess [WMatsui] [Intermezzo]
« Reply #30 on: November 01, 2017, 10:24:16 AM »




     >>INTERMEZZO -- ORCHESTRATED PANDEMONIUM





  "What is the meaning of this!?"


A screech. A growl. A big angry roar.


The demon with red piercing eyes hissed.   

Its sharp white fangs digging into its own flesh; its body trembling in madness.


   "THIS IS NOT WHAT WE AGREED UPON!"


It roared again.

Again.

Again.


Bloodcurdling, in fury and fear.


 "Hush. There is nothing to be concerned of."


The black witch whispered.


Her sweet voice laced in poisonous lies.

Dragging the demon deeper... deeper...  into its own capsized fantasy.


 "Take one soul and that's the end. Let it dangle as a bait and you will gain even more."


The black beast hung its head. Gazing at the skeleton in the faraway tower of decay.

Its desire blinding; its despair devouring all thought.


 "I see... I see... That is what you're scheming. That is what you are always scheming."


And it smiled.

It smiled.


Amidst the glowing light of the dead.


    "Let the prey feel like the hunter, let the victim be the villain, let the villain be the hero."


The witch's smile crooked just like a crescent.

Oh joy, how joyful. This self-serving crazed elation.


    "It is about time, queen of demons. Let them come themselves, charging into those graves they dig for us."


Black feathers fluttered.

Engulfing the two figures and the whole room.


And dispersed into the cold night.


    "Those humans boasting themselves as monsters; The [Exorcist]."







                               >> END START OF PANDEMONIUM


Offline KyouyaAnis

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Re: [HalloweenCollection] 3parts (NagiUha + SayaMilky + WMatsui)
« Reply #31 on: December 01, 2017, 10:11:07 AM »
Oh my god Jube you never fails to make me cryyy  :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: especially with the YuiParu storyyy. Icantttt!!! My heart cant bear all the feelsss  :cry: :cry: :cry: and your arts so beautiful i cried tooo  :cry: :cry: :cry:

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