With a moment to ourselves again I took a sip of the tea, which was actually quite good, and then asked Valarie, “Do you think we should do it?”
She simply blew on the cup trying to cool it down. After a couple breaths and some thought she responded, “Our other choices seems rather limited without taking his suggestion. Without money we do not have many options. We would have to look for a different source of income anyways if we refused him. At least until we have other options we should accept his support. Although..”
She paused and took a small sip. “He still seems a bit suspicious. Don’t you think?”
I nodded in response, “Yes, this lounge just feels a bit too relaxed to be his full story. Although, I actually feel more secure thinking that he had some other motive and plan. Better that then trusting in his honesty and getting hurt because of it.”
She looked down at her tea which she hadn’t drunk much of and stared at it for a moment. There was some thick silence before she finally said, “Yiskah… With everything that has happened I haven’t asked you about some things. You offered me your hand and asked me to come with you and I did but since then everything has been so different.”
“Do you regret leaving that world?”
She shook her head, “No, I glad to be done. By the end there everything was seeming empty and pointless. I was just repeatedly doing the same thing over and over again and I wasn’t trying to change anything. Yet you found an answer, an escape from that place. Maybe if I had accepted your offer that first time it would have happened sooner.”
“No, you were right to refuse me that time. I didn’t understand, I had never tried to understand your situation. I just listened to others and followed what they said.”
“Do you still think that I am the Cursed Maiden of Destruction?” There was a little bit of fear still in her voice.
I raised my hand and tried to wave off her fear, “Even if I thought that I would no longer want to kill you for it. Also my thoughts are a bit jumbled. Ever since I have arrived in this world all those feelings that I had built up inside me has been dissipating bit by bit. Previously my life had been a rollercoster of powerful emotions that let me to my choices even at the end there but when I saw him cowering in front of me all my feelings began to blow away.”
“Do you think he was controlling our emotions as well, making us like him?”
I frowned mulling over the question, finally I responded, “I don’t think so. At least not directly in the same way he was controlling time. Although I do wonder how much control he actually had. He was surprised when we arrived in his room like it was beyond his possible exception yet he did strange things in our world. My Master, one time I tried to meet up with him yet something conspired to keep up apart. However I received one call from him warning me about the possibility of the manipulator which his why I contacted you the first time.”
“What do you think happened to our old world? Do you think I really destroyed it?”
“I don’t know. It was quite the world destruction scene however I’m not sure about it destroying everything. However we might not ever know the full truth.”
We sat in some silence for a while longer and eventually returned. The lounge was now basically empty now. “Alright I can show you to the room now. The other employees are all gone so it will be just me closing up.”
We left the table to followed him into the back where he showed us the break room. It was a smallish room. There was a couch against one wall. There was a table which had been moved to one side and a rollout bed mat had been placed where is probably normally stood. I eyed his quizzically, “Do you have many visitors who stay the night.”
“It had happened a couple of times before to I keep the mat around.” He handed me a small key. “This is the main key to the break room. Don’t lose it or I will have to replace the lock.”
I took the key from him. “I’ll be back in the morning at around 7am because the place opens at 8am.” He said while he pointed to some small plastic wrapped sandwiches on the table. “Just something extra made with some of what we had left this evening.”
“Thanks,” I said. He didn’t seem to be one that minced words so just with that he was about to go finish closing however I stopped him with a question, “Have you ever heard of The Forbidden Domain?”
He examined me just as I was examining him trying to watch for notable reactions. “A bit, there was a whole bunch of advertisements around here a few months ago when it got released but I’m not really into stuff like that so I didn’t get it. It seems to be getting rather popular though so I might need to learn a little about it for business reasons.” I laughed a little, “Maybe I can ask you two for help with that.”
I tried to greet his smile with my own. It was difficult to talk with somebody when they assume you know what you are talking about but you can’t reveal that you don’t know.
“Do you know where we could buy thinks like posters about it?” I tried pointing the conversation with as generic questions as possible. I knew that he had a poster with our picture and the Forbidden Domain written on it. There were some strange doubts, if Martin knew about the Forbidden Domain then did he know us…. And what did that actually mean.
“Sure, I would visit the Clocktower to find something like that. They seem to have all kinds of unless knickknacks.”
“The Clocktower?” I asked, “That is a rather strange name.”
“Indeed, yet that was what the building once used to be. It got purchased and renovated around five years ago. A bit high class for a game store but that hadn’t really stopped them, in fact they seem to have embraced it more that is healthy. Although I except that the two of you will like it there. You will probably get requests for pictures there however so be careful, Bay Port City can be rough.”
I nodded, wanting to ask more questions but knowing that if I said anything else then I would be revealing how little I actually knew. Games? Pictures? What could Martin be meaning.
Martin finally left the room leaving the two of us alone again.
“What do you think he meant?” Asked Valarie.
“I don’t know. For now I would rather not speculate on the matter. Once we visit this Clocktower then I will have a better idea of what to expect and hopefully we will be able to learn about this Forbidden Domain.”
“I’m a bit afraid. When things happened to us I was angry and sad but I’ve never really be afraid to find out about things. I’m not certain if I want to know the truth.”
“We have already left our world. I don’t think we can pretend any more.” I went to the door and using the key locked the door. Once that had been done I placed my hand on the back of the door and activated The Dimension Seal. At much as I felt like I could mostly trust Martin this world presented a risk to me and Valarie.
The Dimensional Seal was one of my most versatile Tools but its main limitation was that it was limited to one small task at a time. The small black band that had been wrapped around my wrist snapped and with that Shīringuken appeared out of thin air. I caught it in the air with my left hand as the seal lit up on the back of my right hand.
I had been hiding Shīringuken in the Dimensional Seal because I knew wondering around town with a sword would be a sure way of getting noticed by the local police. However I can not conceal it completely without notice. Each of the tools have a physical manifestation while I am using it and the Dimensional Seal is like a black cloth.
Controlling it some more it spread to the edges of the door in a cross shape, latching onto the walls. With that the door would be tightly sealed and would probably be impossible for Martin or anyone else to enter through.
Valarie watched in interest. “You know, I don’t think I have ever been able to observe you using your abilities without being on the receiving end of them.”
“I suppose that is probably true. I didn’t have them back when we were kids so we were enemies since I had the opportunity to show you them.
“They always seem so impressive. You can do so much with them while my own power seems to be barely controllable at best. I don’t think I have ever done anything useful with my power.”
“I’m sure you will be able to in time. And my Tools are not that impressive. Master was always way better with them then I ever was. They also all have severe limitations. The Dimension Seal for example is only capable of doing a single small thing at a time like hiding my sword or keeping the door closed.”
“Your master, the one that trained you to fight right? I heard you speak about him once or twice in passing. He was the one that gave you the order to kill me wasn’t he.”
I nodded, “As much as I am ashamed to admit it that is true. He had his reasons but now I will not make excuses for him. Now I believe that his orders were in error. Should I ever see him again I hope to set the record straight.”
“Then your abilities were passed onto your from your Master? How does that work?”
“There was some ceremony to show my worth and to officially make me the successor. Then I was given one at a time the nine objects that represent the different tools. Then both me and Master spilled some blood on those objects to seal the exchange and the exchange to Tools happened.”
“Blood? That sounds rather vulgur and dark artsy.”
“I’m not certain what really qualifies as dark arts other then what some of Masters teachings mentions but the blood is symbolic and for the exchange to take place then true symbolism must be employed for the tools to accept the transfer. You must also show your resolve to accept them.”
“That makes it sound like they have a mind of their own.”
“No, that is just the way the magic works. There are probably lots of ways that they can actually be transferred but it must include both acceptance from the giver and the taker and rituals like I did are a certain way of passing on magic like that.”
“That is certainly more complicated then it was for me.” Said Valarie. “I think I have always had this ability but it became more and more uncontrollable the older I got and it began to manifest itself in more powerful ways. Day always told me to keep it secret and that worked for a while I think. Until I decided to show you.”
I hung my head a little, “Yes, well, I’m not certain it does any good to apologize. However I think I should say it. I’m sorry for revealing your secret. It was because you showed me that everything had to happen.”
“I doubt I could have kept the secret forever though. It might have been you that saw it first but had that not happened I doubt that the future would have been much different.”