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"Now, it's showtime!"

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"Even if you beg for mercy, I won't listen!"

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Rising Sun arc

A New World

The group had gotten back to traveling, despite the fact that Fiore was overly huge, being only people, it wasn't hard to not be able to cover a distance of half a country in only a month or so. Jason looked a bit tired. It wasn't his fault. Iris had kept him up half the night, deciding to take advantage of a rare opportunity while everyone slept.

Iris continued to race around Jason, poking and prodding him like a small child, continually pestering, "Was I good? Eh, eh? Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...!"

Vivian didn't seem too amused, and as to get Iris to cooperate, she grabbed Iris's tail and squeezed it roughly, making her cry out extremely loudly. "Shut up, you...!!!"

Mary sighed. "Can you all please, please,not argue?" She looked as exasperated as Jason felt. "We're a large group, don't you think we attract enough attention?"

"That's right!" Yasaka declared loudly from their feet. "Aren't you all supposed to be wanted anyway? What better way to not get caught than loudly announce your presence." Her voice dripped with sarcasm.

Iris looked back, rather shocked. "B-But I'm a ninja! I shouldn't be..." she paused for a moment. "...dammit. Great. This just grinds my gears."

Vivian shot Iris a look of 'ha, told you so' as she remarked, "We need to be as quiet as possible. Y'know, Jason, Wendy and I are wanted criminals. You guys are by association. So don't cause a scene." It was so damn hypocritial coming from her, honestly.

"Wanted criminals and yet we can go into any hotel or store we like." Jason chuckled at the incompetency of the Magic Council.

"That's good though, right?" Wendy asked. "I mean, if we couldn't use stores, we'd have to hunt and..." She shuddered. She didn't take kindly to having to kill animals herself.

Iris suddenly, in a rare moment of intelligence, calmly attempted to diffuse the situation. "You seem to forget- I am a ninja. So...we'll steal. Problem solved."

Vivian rolled her eyes. "Or we could threaten people into giving us food, but eh, whatever floats your boat."

"I wouldn't like that..." Mary murmured darkly. "I did enough evil with Crudelis...threatening people for personal gain...it's not right...."

Vivian crossed her arms. "...Tch, you're right. Stupid morals... Well, for now, let's try and not make a fuss. Otherwise, well,"

Iris interrupted, "I have the perfect solution to this. It lets us deal with that situation if it arises in a calm and civilized manner." She pulled out a book which was titled "Cannibalism 101".

"What a strange group you've gathered, Jason." A male, cold voice rang throughout the area. Jason's eyes narrowed as he looked around. "...Mr. E..."

The figure in the baboon skin from a month or so ago materialized in front of everyone, what was visible of his lower jaw was smirking.

Vivian tensed up, growling, "Wait, so this is the bastard that sends us those letters!?" Her magical aura was faint, though it would flare up at any moment.

Iris remained utterly confused. "...I once knew a baboon. He knew a boar who's motto was 'no worries' I think."

"And the squirrel seems to be just as much of a fool as the silver-haired Dragon." Mr. E lamented. "I'm still waiting on that sandwich."

"What are you here for, E?" Jason asked, growing irritated.

"Well, firstly, your payment, delayed as it was." He tossed Jason a bag, a rather large money bag. "2,000,000,000 Jewels, was it not?" Jason caught it, and examined it. The bills were inside.

Vivian immediately ignored Mr. E's comment as she glanced over at the money bag Jason was holding, eyes wide and everything. "...No way. We're rich. Rich, I tell you! Which means...." all sorts of options popped up in Vivian's mind. "Food, shoes, a house! We can buy anything!" She seemed a little too dreamy-eyed on this one.

Jason stored the bag into his kosode. "Vivian, show some restraint." He looked over at Mr. E. "I'm assuming that isn't all?"

"Of course not, do I ever show up for just one thing?" He walked over to Wendy, holding out a golden staff. "This, child, is for you."

Wendy took it with a murmured thanks, examining it. Yasaka too a chance to look at it as well. "Um...I don't want to sound ungrateful but...what is it?" Wendy asked, unable to make heads or tails of the staff.

"That staff was created specifically for you. It is known as the Ruyi Jingu Bang, a magical weapon that extends in size and fights according to how you will it. I'm certain you can make use of it."

Jason's eyes had stone cold glares inside. He wasn't trusting E.

Vivian attempted to remain completely calm; she didn't really trust him as well. "...What's with the mask, anyway? A guy in a mask always has something to hide, y'know."

"That isn't your business." Mr. E replied, waving her question away with a pale hand. "I have just one final thing to say. Watch your reflections." He faded, chuckling darkly.

Vivian placed her arms on her hips- she was still skeptical as hell at this guy. "Watch our reflections?" She was so confused right about now. "...I wonder what's wrong with him..."

"Can he ever give us a straight answer...?" Wendy asked, and, despite the question being rhetorical, "What would be the fun in that?" rang out as an answer, showing Mr. E's fading hadn't completely finished when she had asked.

"He's...weird." Mary stated the obvious, but it was clear she didn't like him. "I don't think he's good...."

Suddenly, a large, powerfully built man with long blue hair, a goatee and red eyes appeared with malicious intent. He wore a white coat over his shoulders and white pants, with two belts and a black covering over his left leg. His boots were white as well, with golden steel toes. Much of his visible body was tattooed. Iris and Vivian immediately froze up; this man was their former captain.

"Rune Knight Starrkewolfe, it is a pleasure to see you again." Even though his words were kind, they were cold as a blade.

Vivian backed back as her magical aura flared up, snapping, "Don't play dumb with me, you bastard. If it's a fight you want, then it's a fight you've got."

Barakiel snapped, "It seems that instead of attempting to talk it out, you'll have to die here, Starrkewolfe. You and your stupid little guild."

Quickly, Barakiel was attacked from behind. Behind him was a young, teenage man with soft facial features, a somewhat feminine look and a slightly ovular facial structure. His most distinctive feature was his long, flowing black hair that was kept tied in a single ponytail, but with locks being split apart and falling onto various parts of his body. This was complimented with his light blue eyes and calm, kind facial expressions. He wore a large black robe stitched with golden lining, a large red ribbon tied around his waist, a pair of tights underneath, a pair of black shoes and a silver star-shaped pendant dangling near his stomach with a long necklace. Vivian couldn't believe her eyes as the young man smugly remarked, "Sorry about that! It looks like my hand just slipped there a bit."

The man suddenly took Vivian by one hand, twirling her around and finally clutching both of them. "My darling kitten, you're not hurt, are you?"

Vivian was just wierded, though she was still impressed out as Iris gawked. Barakiel backed up and stuttered, "Wait a minute aren't you—"

The young man gave him an indifferent glare, "Well, hello. I don't know who you are and normally I could care less about some guy knowing who I am. But, one thing's for certain, you need to learn the proper way to treat a true lady." His smile disappeared, as his magical aura flared up, piercing the sky with its azure gleam. "Or perhaps you wanna go up against me? Doubt you'll get far with that battered body."

A tense silence stained the air, as Barakiel growled, "No thanks. I think I'll pass. You are not my concern." Suddenly, he turned away and sheathed his weapon before brushing past Vivian, uttering, "Beware Vritra, Vivian. Be careful." And with that, Barakiel had disappeared.

Vivian wasn't sure what to say—but she was as bright as fireworks with that blush! She shuttered, "T-Thank you so much for helping me just now. What...What was your name?"

The man responded with a beaming grin, "I'm the great Crux Kouga! But you can call me Crux. I'd love to take you out tonight, but I have an appointment with a certain snaky guy. Until next time, ciao, princess!" Crux released her and walked away, as Vivian looked lost in thought. "...Well, guys. That was, interesting. What do you think?"

Jason's fist was shaking, though his face remained blank. His eyes however, gave off waves of intense dislike. "Not counting the first one....I'm not fond of this Crux." Yes, Jason was actually jealous.

"Onē-chan, did you know the first one?" Mary Jane asked, looking up at her sister with worry. "He looked like he meant business...."

Vivian's cheeks were red as roses! Though, getting back to the topic, "Yes. Rune Knight Captain Barakiel. He was Iris and I's superior back when we were working for the Magic Council. While he was a grouchy old bastard he had our best interests at heart, though even know, he's practically a slave soldier to them."

Iris butted in, "I dropped out of Rune Knight school~"

Vivian confirmed this. "It's because you wanted a job at Burger Queen so you could eat the customers' onion rings." Iris merely nodded.

"Anyway, getting back on topic, this is for another time. We've caused enough trouble as-is. Let's just try and figure out what he meant."

"Well..." Mary frowned. "Water casts a reflection... I can use my Water magic to create a decent amount of water to cast a reflection on us all, but wouldn't that be a risk?"

Vivian pressed her pointer finger to her lip. "...Well, there couldn't be any risks." She paused. "Go ahead. In the worst case scenario, it fails and we need to keep thinking of another way."

"Technically, the worst case scenario would be my magic going out of control and we all drown." Mary corrected. Wendy gulped. Mary began to conjure water, muttering words under her breath. Jason decided to help her out, destroying the ground in a large circle with pure sword pressure. Being in the woods, this would create a small lake.

"That should do it." Mary gritted her teeth before releasing all the ambient water she could gather into the newly created crater. Yasaka was shocked. "I....think they just played God."

Vivian seemed impatent for some reason; suddenly, she grabbed Iris' tail and shouted at her, "Well, what are you waiting for? Jump in!"

Iris growled rather uncharacteristically. "...I can't get my tail wet...!"

"There's no reason to go into it." Jason said, walking over to the edge of the lake. "None...at all." He stooped over near the bank, and looked at his reflection. "Hmm....that's it..." The water started to churn, as if reaching up.

"Tell me..." Jason asked the rest of them. "How prepared are you?"

Vivian was so prepared she wasn't prepared. "So, you're saying that all we have to do is walk into the reflected surface? That's...kinda odd."

Iris, for a brief moment, seriously stated, "....Right next to you there is a boxing ninja squirrel girl. You think that's odd?"

"No...there's no need to move." Jason was right. The water immediately gushed forward, forming tendrils that wrapped around them all. Jason remained still as the tendrils gripped around his waist. "Rather sinister...I expected a more benign method..."

Wendy and Mary however, were far more panicky and struggling to the point where the tendrils had wrapped around their limbs and filled their mouths to silence them.

Jason spoke to the rest of them. "I think a calm attitude is in order." Those were his words before the water quickly dragged him under.

Vivian's tentacles only constricted her even further; she could feel a tingling sensation in her most private areas as she moaned, "Egh...! W-What is this bullcrap, a hentai!?" With that, she was dragged under without a trace.

Iris felt multiple tentacles wrap around her tail tightly, wringing it dry as she let out a stifled, "Eghh...iyaaaaah!" it was clear she was experiencing a ...different kind of sensation as she too was pulled down in the blink of an eye.

Created from Nil

Yasaka, Mary, and Wendy, all struggling, were quickly dragged under as well. However, the travel didn't feel wet at all as they plunged, ever deeper into the water, moreso than there should have been in the small lake. Suddenly they hit the sky and kept falling down.

Jason was already on the ground, sitting and looking up. The moment he saw Vivian and Iris falling, he moved like wind to catch them, placing them quickly onto the ground before rebounding in the air and snatching Mary, Yasaka, and Wendy out of their fall as well.

Iris quickly rolled over as if she were a dog waking up, mumuring, "Alright, alright, alllllllllllllright. So, what the hell happened. More importantly, where are we?"

Vivian scratched her head. "...Okay, is this like a whole different world or something? I just get this feeling..."

"It is..." Jason confirmed, looking around. "It feels...like Edolas, but it's not. You'd all be depressed the moment you set foot there...unless Prince Jellal actually managed to shape it up..." He looked around. They'd landed in a beautiful place, it looked like a city, featuring traditional Eastern architecture, even though it had been adapted in various things such as towers. The trees were...notably beautiful, the leaves various shades of red, yellow, and orange, with snow littered across this area. Jason would have theorized they were up north but the trees still had foliage, which led to a hole in that theory.

"It's beautiful..." Wendy gasped, taking it all in. "I...I really like it here."

Iris' eyes lit up; she threw her hands up in the air. "...Alrighty! Let's try and find out how we can get out of here."

Vivian grabbed Iris' tail, yanking it roughly. "...No, no. This place isn't too bad. And as far as I know, the Magic Council can't catch us here..."

"It's still worth looking into." Jason replied, and everyone immediately look downcast, taking that as him wanting to leave. "Of course, if you want to stay here, I won't object."

Wendy smiled. "It's beautiful here, too beautiful not to make a home."

Vivian suddenly jerked back. "...Hm? What's wrong?" She never was good at reading the air.

Iris yelled in glee, "...Alrighty! First stop, let's get a house! And then many mutant dragon-squirrel-human babies will be born!" Vivian just facepalmed at this.

"And you aren't on medication?" Yasaka asked, looking up at Iris with slight irritation.

Iris retorted in the most blunt manner possible. "I tried it. It didn't seem to change a thing. And I have no idea why...." Possibly because she was so crazy that drugs had no effect on her.

Vivian snarked, "I tried to slip rhino tranquilizer in her coffee. It...has no effect."

"Let's go into town, and check it out." Wendy suggested. "Maybe they'll have someone who can tell us where we are."

Vivian nodded. "Right. I'm sure it's not just me who's getting weird vibes from this place, right?" There was an awkward pause. "...Right?"

Everyone had already started walking away, except Mary,w ho pulled her adoptive older sister along. "It's only you, let's have fun!"

Vivian couldn't help but pull a face at this; while Iris just ran off like a happy little kid. "Yaaaaaaaaaaaaay~" She felt like a kid in a candy store, especially since the atmosphere of the place did make it feel like she was in some fantasy land.

The town was fairly bustling, but the guild couldn't help but have their attention drawn to the largest building near the center of town. When they asked, the answer was that the building was a Guild Base that was pretty much free to the first person to be interested in it.

Vivian suddenly began to theorize. "Ma always told me 'Nothing in this world is free.' 'Be thankful of those who speak strict words to you.' 'Watch out for a person who speaks too nicely.'."

Iris exclaimed, "It's just as Viv says for once! These people who put this there wouldn't treat people like us like this for no reason!"

"No, it's not that." One of the men they were speaking to quickly assured them. "Do you even know where you are?" He seemed astonished at the fact that they might not.

Iris's eyes widened. "Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore..." She knocked her knees together, as a slight blush crossed her face. "...But seriously, where in the world are we, then?" Of course, this was jumping at the chance for some good ol' exposition too early, but it was a good chance as ever.

"No, we've never been here before." Wendy replied. "Is this someplace different?"

"Yes, that it is." The man smiled, as if remembering something pleasant. "This is an entirely different world."

Vivian questioned, "So, it's like an alternate dimension? Like ...Edolas?"

Iris couldn't help but wonder what in the hell just went on. This seemed like a whole gambit to just lure them into a trap.

"Well...I've never heard of Edolas..." The man scratched his head, truly bewildered. "I'm sorry, I've never heard of that. This place is the Guild Haven."

"The...Guild Haven?" Mary repeated. "What's that?"

"A place where Independent Guild's flourish." The man replied, tipping his hat. "Come in here, I'll tell you about it." He opened the door to the building he was standing in front of. There was a great uproar as the people inside detected the man who'd opened the door.

"Jameson!" They roared. "About time you got back!"

"I-It's a Guild!" Mary stuttered, shocked.

Iris snarked, "...What, do you want pictures of a guy who can shoot webs from his hands in a goofy looking costume, or should I- URK!" Before she knew it, Vivian jabbed Iris in the stomach with her elbow.

"A guild, huh. Well, this doesn't seem too bad..." Oh, so now she was happy about taking the building. Vivian was really hard to make sense of. "Awfully roomy, for one. Let's take it."

Jason gently tapped Vivian's head. "Vivian...we just had a discussion two days ago about burglary, and Mary doesn't approve either."

Mary nodded vigorously.

Vivian sighed. "Fine, fine. You're no fun."

Iris remained still somewhat alert about this whole situation, as she suddenly realized a potential possibility of this outcome of events. "...This is all for a reason that that baboon guy has set up- he wants us to grow in power until we take down the Magic Council so he can do something neferious."

Vivian looked at her as if she were high. "...Seriously?"

Iris looked down, somewhat downcast. "...I was just thinking..."

Jason actually smiled in Iris' direction, ruffling her hair. "Don't look like that. You have the measure of Mr. E more than Vivian does it seems. He's just the type of person to use pawns in his plans."

Iris's smile illuminated her whole face. "...Thank you." With that, she broke from her suddenly serious air and pulled a face at Vivian, who scowled at her.

Akatsuki took a seat where Jameson directed them, and he slid a drink to each of them.

"So, this is a guild?" Jason asked, taking the alcohol that was passed to Wendy, who has unknowingly been about to drink it, and ordering soda water for her instead.

"Yeah, that's right. We're an independent Guild, the Six-Star Guild."

"And the saloon is explained." Yasaka muttered under her breath.

"Another Independent Guild." Jason murmured his assent. "Like us then?"

"You're a guild?" Jameson was surprised. "I wouldn't have guessed."

Jason shook back his sleeve, showing his Akatsuki Guild Mark on his upperarm.

"I see...well, this place is the Guild Haven. It's a separate world, existing on the opposite side of Earth Land, and it's a refuge of sorts for Independent Guilds who don't want to associate with the Magic Council but refuse to be branded as Dark Guilds." He took a swig of his drink, as did everyone else.

Vivian commented, "..So, it's like a whole world full of neutral parties?" Meanwhile, she took a swig of cola rather calmly, looking around as to analyze the area and determine the origin of this world.

Iris began to think up a storm. "...It doesn't seem like this is a natural world. I can tell by the composition of the trees, they're just unearthly. It's kinda paradoxial- it kinda spooks me out yet it's rather...calming."

"They're always like that here. We're in the northern section of the Guild Haven, it's snowing and colder up here. This world was said to have been created by someone, the Haven Mage he's called. Through the magic Arc of Embodiment."

Wendy flinched, and inched closer to Jason, whose eyes narrowed with contempt.

"So, playing god? ..I'd say that that only went badly, right?" Vivian questioned. Pretending to be a diety more often than not always went pear-shaped in the end.

"We're not sure." Jameson replied, shrugging. "It's only a myth, or so we say. No reliable source as ever tried to track it down, not like that Zeref bloke the people on Earth Land prattle one endlessly about, source of great dark magic and all that."

"And that building, dead center?" Wendy questioned.

"It's said it's supposed to be for a strong Guild." Jameson frowned deeply. "All we know is the building wasn't always here it was requested tobe build by some man. Never saw his face. Coat of baboon skin."

Chosen

Iris was being excessively loud as they left the Guild. "I told you that that Mr. E guy had something to do with it!" Vivian scowled again at Iris's glee- it was like she was against Iris being correct or something; or maybe she should have listened to Iris a lot more in school.

"But...a strong Guild...what if that's us?" Wendy asked, thinking it over. "I wouldn't want to get ahead of myself, but as a collective group we're not weak..."

Vivian began to add up the numbers. "An expert swordsmaster, a boxing ninja squirrel, a water mage, and two Dragon Slayers...plus an Exceed. I'd say we're definitely not weak." Of course, the arrogance here was talking for Vivian here. "...I'd say if there's a challenge we need to take on, I'm ready to steamroll it right over. After all, we are Akatsuki, bringing in a new dawn for Earth Land!" She seemed so hyper right about now; it wasn't like Vivian to be positive about something.

Iris glanced away, feeling incredibly down. This dimension was just like her. The first words she ever heard, "you were created for the sole purpose of destroying the twin homunculus of the Tyrant Dragon" rang through her mind; Barakiel mentioned earlier about that dragon, and how she had to be wary about it. She certainly hoped that what she summed up wasn't true; she couldn't go through with it.

Wendy looked up at Iris, alerted to negative feelings. She looked concerned. "Iris, are you ok? Is something bothering you?"

Jason's eyes narrowed. It wasn't normal for Iris to be put down by anything, especially with no apparent cause.

Iris glanced away as she silently turned to leave. "Just leave me alone."

Vivian attempted to stop Iris, though she managed to just sit back. "She does this often- just leave her be."

Jason defied this recommendation, and walked over to Iris. Shorter than he was, he bent down a bit to get on her level. "Iris, what you asked for isn't possible. You're a member of our guild, and, like all of you, you're important to me." He seemed to struggle with this, but emotions were never his strongsuit anyway. He placed an arm around her shoulder. "I'm not going to leave you to stew in your own emotional juices while we all act like nothing is going on."

Iris blushed slightly as her body turned so red that appeared as if she were on fire. "...You're right..." still, she wasn't right at all. Even if she were to try and fight it, it would probably kill her if she went against it. Nevertheless, she'd fight this feeling furiously, for the sake of the person she loved. She took Jason's hand and drew him into a quick embrace. "...Thanks a bunch, Jason!" That energeticness had returned.

Jason returned the embrace as Wendy's brain started moving rapidly. "Step one...earn Jason's pity...step two, physical contact....step three, PROFIT!" She shook her head. "Bad thoughts Wendy, bad thoughts!" Yasaka looked up at Wendy. "Is something the matter?"

"N-no!" Wendy stuttered, completely flustered. "I'm not thinking any thoughts on how to get more atten-!" She cut herself off, she'd almost slipped into suspiciously specific denial.

Mary couldn't help but giggle. So the youngest who wasn't even aware of what a harem was was jealous.

Vivian remained completely unamused by this whole situation. "...Tch, it's amazing those fools can laugh about such stupid things."

Iris, meanwhile, was holding Jason's arm with such rapt attention that it was extremely hard to pry her away from Jason. Her small little cries of "I'm so happy right now~" made her seem as if she were something more personal.

"Let's go check out that building!" Mary suggested, immediately catching on to her adoptive sister's irritation. "We could use a Guild Building, right?"

"True." Jason murmured. "I only spend as many Jewels as I do in hotels because Vivian can't stand to sleep outside. Having a building would solve fiscal problems we'll inevitably encounter later."

Vivian shot him a pissed-off glare. "...What!? Last time I accidently laid down on a nest of jumping ants, and they got even in my p-"

Iris interrupted, "Wussy. Now, let's go~"

Dead Center

As they walked, Wendy was examining the staff she'd gotten from Mr. E. "It's solid gold." She observed. "...No one's selling it." She said quickly, knowing Iris'd be the first to pawn it.

Iris, of course, tried to snatch it from Wendy's hands...and promptly collapsed on the ground from the sheer amount of weight the thing possessed. "...Ugh! What's this damn thing made out of- my ma's belly when she was in heat?!"

Wendy took it back, lifting it effortlessly. "That's...weird. I don't feel any weight." She began to twirl it around effortlessly, even twirling it under her body as she jumped over it. "Maybe it's just meant for me?"

"That'd make sense." Jason replied, giving the weapon a once over. "I wouldn't put it past Mr. E to have some form of Materialization Magic, perhaps Arc of Embodiment itself, to have made that. It will probably only work for you."

Wendy liked the sound of that.

Vivian couldn't help but be slightly confused by all of this; she was probably the strongest out of all of them- and yet she didn't get any present? Of course she was a spoilt brat. but still...! She seemed beside herself in anger- and she was beside Iris too, who was still fussing about how she could lift anything BUT that staff. "...Okay, okay...! This doesn't make any sense to me! I was said I could lift even a building in my exams...!"

Vivian elbowed Iris in the stomach. "Shut up, it's logic."

Wendy focused on the staff, and it quickly shrunk to the side of pin. "Look at it!"

Vivian twitched slightly, though she surpressed her irritation as a butterfly landed right on top of her nose. "...Tch! What in the world is this...!?" no, she wasn't a fan of bugs; Vivian suddenly began to panic, running around like a madwoman.

Iris, on the meantime, was impressed by Wendy's staff- and she began to question, "Think I could ask Mr. Eeee, to get me one of those?"

Wendy placed the staff safely behind her ear.

"I'm not sure." Jason answered Iris' questions. "If he finds you amusing enough, you might get something." He foresaw a small hole in what he'd just said. "I don't mean comically amusing."

Iris's ears perked down as she growled, "...Aww. I wanted a giant hairclup or a nut..."

"....So...." Jason said as they reached the building. "This is it?" He looked it over. "Aside from height, placement, and the obvious barrier surrounding it, it's not much different than any other building here."

Iris' ears perked up again. "It could be made of candy-" Vivian elbowed her in the gut again. "Owie! ...Stop hitting me, or else, next time, I'll hit you back and it won't be pretty...." Iris's words contained an insurpressable amount of malice in them, as Vivian shrunk back.

"...Is it breeding season again?" Vivian quipped.

"Be quiet." Jason ordered. He walked around the front of the building. "There's a barrier...the question is...can I touch it..."

Wendy flinched. "What if it's a damaging barrier?? Don't touch it!"

"My thoughts exactly." Jason murmured, stooping down and picking up a rock. He lightly chucked it at the building, but it bounced right off. "Fairly benign."

Iris suddenly began to think. "...Hmm, what if we're able to go through it? Since we are all part of the guild, it may not harm us?"

Vivian smirked, "Iris, stop being an idiot. I've noticed this since we've come here, you've been dumber than usual- and that's saying a lot."

"As usual, Iris has a point, and you completely miss things Vivian." Jason told her. "Stop ridiculing your friend, especially since she's often been right."

Vivian crossed her arms and scowled at Jason. "Don't tell me what to do!" Truthfully, only Vivian didn't agree with Iris all the time- the girl was actually quite smart, though, nobody actually gave her the chance. Vivian questioned, "Alright, Iris. I'll stop hating everything you believe in, if you can stop acting so crazy."

Iris paused a moment before nodding in agreement. "...We have a deal, Viv." She was unnaturally serious for once it was actually quite chilling.

Jason gritted his teeth. "While the barrier seems benign, I don't want any of you all near it until I'm sure..." He stepped into the barrier's range, and actually forced his way through, all the way to the door of the building. The moment he had, the barrier glowed yellow, showing it wasn't as clear as they thought, and shattered. The building was imprinted with a spiral within a circle, the Akatsuki Guild Mark.

"So it was for us..." Wendy gasped in awe.

Iris smiled with satisfaction; though she made no big deal of it as she calmly stated, "...Well, I was right...."

Vivian gnashed her teeth together; rather irked that Iris had been right quite a bit. It was certainly different than high-school. "...Tch, dammit..." she stomped on the ground.

Jason decided to open the door, but the moment he reached for the knob, he froze up...as did the rest of the guild. "What...the..." Before any of them could react, they felt their bodies moving as the water tentacles wrapped around them again, pulling the group high into the air and then expelling them out of the very same lake that Mary had formed earlier.

"I'm aching..." Wendy muttered, she had landed on her arm.

Vivian was at an utter loss for words. "...What in the world just happened?!" She was feeling a mix of her time of the month, annoyed, and utterly confused.

Iris rubbed her tail in confusion, growling in a rather animalistic tone. "Rawrr....Owwwch..."

"So, you managed to find it after all?" Mr. E appeared before them again, chuckling as sinisterly as ever. "I thought my warnings to watch your reflection would have made for a decent week of you constantly shattering mirrors. I was ready to sit back and watch." This was a lie, in reality, he knew they'd disobey his warning and find the first reflection possible.

Iris leapt to her feet- she was ready to actually attack this person. "It's that Mr. Eeeeeeeeeeeeee guy...!" she was certainly surprised; this guy did remind her of a certain person she met a long time ago. "...What was the whole point of that, anyway?" Her tone was that of absolute calm despite her movements.

"Amusement." Mr. E replied simply. "Instead of being so mistrusting, you should thank me. I've given you a building, completely free of charge."

"Why?" Jason asked, stressing the question.

"You're working for me." Mr. E chuckled. 'What sort of boss would I be if I didn't provide my 'employees' with a few perks now and then?"

Iris's ears perked up again. "...Right." She was still waiting for her giant nut. Even though, it was clear that she remained alert of this man; he smelt suspicious- more suspicious than Viv did that one time in high school. She didn't bother asking any questions or acting like a ditz, she was more focused on learning more about this man.

"You have experienced dimension travel into an alternate world." He smirked, beginning to fade again. "And very quickly, you will experience war." As he faded, Jason flinched.

Iris wasn't really sure what to say. "Uh, okay?" That was more than a little creepy.

Meanwhile, all Vivian could do was stare into the vast abyss of nothingness, down, down at the ground as she couldn't believe what was happening. Flashes of azure, crimson, and emerald ran through her mind- what was she?

Jason suddenly felt very warm, deep in the core of his body. "My Lacrima...it's resonating..."

Wendy felt the same feeling, a warmth that resonated throughout her body. "There's a Lacrima near..." Suddenly, they began to feel a draft.

"It's getting windy..." Mary murmured, holding down her skirt. However, Wendy herself felt something more..and out of the corner of her eye, saw a black, spiraling funnel of air coming her way. Focusing her might, she redirected the focus of the air blast, dissipating it with difficulty.

Jason's eyes narrowed as he took in who was responsible. "It seems...we have a visitor."

The figure, was a petite young girl. She had grey-blue eyes possessed a broken smile. Her scarlet hair was tied up in two short, scrubby pigtails with orange bows. She wore a mini skirt, a pink, sleeveless top with a dark blue center and a folded collar with yet another orange ribbon tied around it and a heart emblem on the chest, and long gloves. On her upper-arms she wore frilled armbands with orange ribbons tied around them. Her eyes seemed to be glowing red...and for some reason, she just seemed...sad. "It's about time you pathetically beg for your life. You aren't a normal person who gets a normal death. You won't have made up for what you've done unless you at least have your human rights trampled on 10,000 times. Just so you know, that's the bare minimum. If you add in the interest, three times that won’t be enough."

The skin of this girl's face was twisted from within. The delicate features of that feminine face became distorted like a plastic doll in a fire. It was caused by hatred. It was not just simple anger. Such an extreme smile spread across her face that it looked like the frames of her face would never return to normal.

Vivian thought, "She isn't one of those clones the Magic Council made. She isn't one of the ones created directly for the experiment. She's just a fake who is literally borrowing their face and body. We don't need to pay attention to every little thing she says."

Jason was about to step up, always making the motion to draw Gehaburn, but, in a surprise, Wendy stepped in front of him, placing an arm out. "No. I'll fight this time."

END