A new set of Marionettistes - unaware of their nature - arrive in another world for orientation. Meanwhile, the woman who summoned them voices her concerns to a subordinate. But this is some super old unfinished stuff from early 2010 so none of this is even canon anymore! Emera in particular is, like... the opposite of her current personality lmao
In a split second, everything changed. The familiar landscape submerged itself in a quiet blanket on nothingness as another landscape awoke from its year-long slumber. Everything became strange and new, fascinating and frightening. Such a strange amalgam of responses flooded his mind that there seemed to be no appropriate action aside from opening his eyes.
A bus. Or, maybe, a train. It was something, something vaguely familiar but still lingering in uncertainty. Glancing around, he noticed that other people opened their eyes as well and sat in eerie silence as the container for strangers came alive. The silence was suffocating and fuel for suspicion, but there still wasn’t an appropriate response. Small voices started up from the back of the vehicle after what seemed like eternity. The voices spread towards the front of the bus, where he was currently located, like a wildfire in a field of chaparral. Some of the voices were light and friendly; others were plagued with confusion and panic. Thoughts and responses still scrambled, he decided to remain silent until something convinced him otherwise. Although this situation was far from the normalcy that he was comfortably settled in just a few seconds ago, he was convinced that being concerned wouldn’t help him at all. When thrust into an unrealistic situation, he had always told himself, you wait patiently and go with the flow until reality presents itself again. It was this way that dreams and nightmares were just another completely rational aspect of life and everything was, and always would be, completely real. In the world of his mind, everything existed and everything that is thought of simply was. Even this, this strange dream-like phase of existence, was genuine and solid. So there he sat, waiting patiently for the world surrounding him to settle and cement. Once the bridge was visible, it could be burned. Simple as that.
“Hey…” a half-asleep voice beside him mumbled. He became suddenly conscious of the red-headed girl wearing a sailor suit in the seat directly to the left of him, her head held up by his shoulder. She sat up straight and stretched, just opening her eyes now.
“…Hey, where am I?” she asked him drowsily, as if he was supposed to know.
“If I knew, I’d tell you.” He shrugged. It felt odd to talk here, as if it was something he wasn’t supposed to do.
“Oh. I wonder what happened. I could’ve sworn that I was just…I was just…” her voice drifted off as she glanced around. She didn’t recognize any of these people, including the person she was just talking to. None of them were in uniform (some of them didn’t even appear to be human), either, so she couldn’t be at home. Or anywhere near it, for that matter. After a brief moment of panicked silence, she shook her head and closed her eyes.
“I get it, I get it. I must’ve fallen asleep. This is just a strange dream…I’ve had a lot of strange dreams lately…yes, that would explain it…” she opened one eye and expected everything to be as it should be once more. The world didn’t follow her unsaid orders. She opened her other eye and gulped.
“What’s going on here…? A-Are you sure you don’t know where we are?” she turned back to the person beside her.
“Positive. I don’t think it’s anything to be worried about, though.” He replied, his mind fixed more on the window than her. He could very clearly see the sky, but he didn’t see any ground. He wondered if they were flying. It wouldn’t be the strangest thing that had happened today…it wouldn’t be the strangest thing that had happened to him in general. This was only the most recent in a series of odd events, the previous two being the spontaneous loss of his reflection and the constant feeling of being watched.
“How so? Everything was as it should be just a minute ago, and now I’m…now I’m here! I don’t have the slightest clue where I am, neither do you! How is that not worrying?” she panicked, face turning red. Nothing made sense here; she had only been here a minute or two and she already couldn’t take this for much longer. Her heart throbbed, threatening to leap out of her chest and then out of the window from that point on. An awful panic crawled out from the recesses of her mind and slowly began swallowing up every sane thought it came across. Every fiber of her being tensed up in preparation for something that she couldn’t even identify. It was too much to bear; she would surely die here from nothing more than paranoia. Her mind was in such chaos that she didn’t notice herself trembling or her face paling or the eyes planted on her or the concerned voice beside her or anything or everything or
Everything went black. Was it over? No, that wasn’t it. She could feel that everyone was still there; she could hear their voices chattering on about casual things and not caring about this foreign world. She wanted to scream, she wanted to wake herself up from this strange dream and hide under the covers, mentally chanting to herself “everything is fine now, it was all just a dream”. Something inside of her choked down the screams and evaporated the tears before they could form. She bit her lip, squeezed her eyes shut, and prayed to whatever God that was out there that things would be okay soon.
“Are you all right?”
Her eyes snapped open. Everything was still dark, but she could just barely make out the outlines of the people around her. That voice was something familiar. It was a strange thing a few minutes ago, but a source of comfort for now. Mind emptied of coherent thoughts; her hand took on a life of its own and moved towards that so-desperately-desired source. It latched onto the arm of her only companion in this unnerving little world, the attached arm looping around his soon after. It didn’t take long for her other arm to follow suit. Judging by both his silence and stillness, he didn’t mind it. The girl was certain, however, that he must’ve felt horribly embarrassed somewhere inside. Here he was, thrust into an unknown world just as she was, and he had to deal with a paranoid freak of a stranger clinging to his arm as if it were an inner tube conveniently floating by a shipwreck in the middle of the ocean. She suddenly felt awful for panicking while everyone else remained so calm…why was it that everyone else seemed so content with this? Were they here before? Maybe some of them were, but that wouldn’t apply to him; he had mentioned that he didn’t know what was going on, either.
“…How…?” she whispered, not taking her eyes off of what she assumed to be the floor. She had asked that one-word question so quietly that, after a second or two, she didn’t even remember asking it.
“Pardon?” he finally spoke up. She hesitated before continuing, wondering if it would’ve been best if she didn’t ask after all.
“How do you…why aren’t you…?” Again, she wasn’t sure how to word things. He seemed to get the point anyways, something he was apparently talented in.
“When presented with an unfamiliar situation, you just wait patiently until reality presents itself again. Until then, there isn’t anything to worry about. You shouldn’t think so hard when there isn’t anything comprehensible to think about.” He explained. The girl contemplated this, her mind starting to settle. It wasn’t like there was anything else she could do.
“…I’m sorry.” She apologized, releasing him from her terrified grip.
“Don’t worry about it. Given a situation like this, I can’t blame you.” Light suddenly returned, as if on cue. A few people glanced up, but most of them continued conversing.
“What was that?” she asked him, as if he knew the answer to this question as well.
“No idea. No one seems to be concerned, so we probably shouldn’t worry about it.” The girl nodded, sitting up in her seat stiffly. Her heart was still racing, uncertain if she should let her guard down, but she tried not to let it get to her. She drew in a quivering breath and decided to do what everyone else was doing.
“So…” she began, being careful to not stutter, “What’s your name, anyways? I hate not knowing people’s names. Mine’s Ilaria, Ilaria Carabella.” She managed to work up a smile.
“Dicro Corrune. Nice to meet you, Ilaria.”
“Dicro? That’s an interesting name.”
“I get that a lot.” He wasn’t quite sure what his mother was thinking.
“Oh, no! I didn’t mean it like that, really! I like it. It’s different, it stands out. I like to think that people with interesting names are interesting people.”
“Then I take it you’re an interesting person?”
“You bet I am!” she put her hands on her hips to point out how proud she was of this fact. Talking always helped her get her mind off of things. Unfortunately, the darkness returned as suddenly as it did before. Ilaria clenched her fists, an action that was somehow supposed to keep away panic. For the most part it worked, and she decided to continue talking.
“Why does this keep happening?” she asked, turning her head towards Dicro, who was again looking out the window. It was pitch black.
“No idea. Given that this is some sort of vehicle, I guess we’re going through some kind of tunnel? It’s hard to guess since, as far as I can tell, this thing is flying.”
“This place is so weird. I wonder where we’re going, anyways.” At that very moment, the instant her voice stopped, there was a horrible screeching sound accompanied by plenty of shaking. Feeling as if she were going to fly out of her seat, she returned to clinging Dicro’s arm. Her eyes squeezed shut so tightly that she was certain they’d tear apart. In mere seconds, things became eerily silent and still. She couldn’t feel, see, or hear anything. Her mind was absent of thought, all of her previous thoughts drowned by black. If she could’ve wondered, she would’ve wondered if she was dead.
“Another year.” Emera repeated. Spadille stepped back from the window and turned around to face his (blinding) chartreuse-clad superior. Perhaps master would be a better word for her relation to him, but it’s not like Emera did much with her Marionettes anyways. It was more likely than not that he was here just for show, or maybe to make each of the Classes think they have a leader. What was the purpose in that, though? It didn’t make much sense, but neither did Emera. She was like a bored little kid who poked life with a stick to see if it would make a difference. Always had been, always would be.
“But this year’s going to be different.” She assured him, glancing at the window with a dreamy smile. “I’ve put together a special group this year. They’re the Mirrors of that other group, the 15k one.” The 15k group was a group of four who had been Marionettistes for around 15,000 years now. There were Marionettistes older than that, of course, but these four still came back to the Marionettiste Convention, MT-Con for short, every year. It was only required to go for the first year and any other year Emera demanded your presence, so the four were either bored or awfully good friends who weren’t talented in Reality travelling.
“I’m looking forward to the results, especially considering that they’ll be meeting soon enough. I’ve never really worked with Mirrors before. I wonder what impact it will make.”
“Fascinating.” Sarcasm was Spadille’s favorite thing in the world. Emera? Not a fan, as evidenced by her frown.
“Anyways, I’ve got a task for you.” Emera focused her attention back to Spadille. “All of the other Representatives are out, and here you are…it’s not like I don’t appreciate the company, but I’m kicking you out.”
“So, what, you just want me to leave?”
“No, not just leave. I’m going to put you to work. There’s a Marionettiste of your Class that hasn’t been ‘awakened’ yet; a future Marionettiste, if you will. They live in a rather dangerous Reality and I’d rather not have them die before they have a chance to blossom.”
“That’s why we have reincarnation, Emera. Even if they died…”
“I don’t want to wait.” She interrupted. “I despise waiting. You’re going to accept this task or I’m going to force you into it. It’s your choice, dear.” She smiled, as if she were trying to threaten him. Really, it wasn’t that big of a deal.
“Fine, then. Give me the location and I’ll go.”
“Of course.” She opened up a drawer in her desk and pulled out a piece of paper and pen. After scribbling something down on it, she looked back up at him.
“Take Pique with you. I’ve already got her packed up with everything else you’re going to need.” Emera pointed to a nearby closet. Spadille opened it up, walked in, and plucked up the backpack that was waiting for him. Opening it up, he found that every object in there was wrapped up like presents. He was going to question it, but he had gotten too used to Emera’s oddities to bother. He walked back out, backpack slung over his shoulder.
“Which one is Pique in?”
“You’ll have to find out.” She giggled. That was always creepy. “Oh, and, Spadille…”
Here we go.
“There’s a couple of Marionettistes that haven’t left the entrance…coincidentally enough, they’re both part of that special group of mine. Anyways, be a dear and rush them along, hm? I want to get things started. I detest waiting.” She handed him the paper.
“You’ve already mentioned that.” He said, walking out of the room.
“Because I really do hate waiting. So very much…”
How long had it been? It was very possible that he had only been pacing the room for a few minutes, but it felt like hours. Ilaria was still unconscious and slumped over a chair that Dicro was grateful existed. He recalled flickering out of consciousness himself when the bus seemingly crashed through the wall, but there were still plenty of people that were out when he came to. Eventually everyone started waking up and leaving; he would’ve left, too, but the idea of leaving Ilaria here bothered him. Sure, she was a stranger for the most part, but she was also the only person here he felt like he could trust. Plus, based on the way she reacted to the situation earlier, she wouldn’t last long here on her own. So far nothing here seemed very threatening, although he had felt rather anxious earlier when he noticed a familiar-looking man in a mask staring at him with what he could only assume was ominous fascination. That was the past, and now he felt rather peaceful. There was a calming essence about this place, something that made him feel at home. Normally he would’ve questioned such a feeling, but his mind had drifted away the second he woke up on the bus. For now, there was nothing. Nothing was a pleasant feeling.
“Hey.” Dicro jumped at the sound of another voice; he hadn’t heard any footsteps and it definitely didn’t sound like Ilaria’s voice. He whirled around to see a black-clad man entering the doorway. Said man looked rather strange; he was dressed in formal attire, decorated with spades, but compared to Dicro’s own outfit (Why was he wearing a suit, again? Something about school? Presenting something…? Now reality seemed like a dream.), that wasn’t particularly strange. However, this stranger had pitch-black irises and white pupils…and, although he couldn’t tell for certain at this distance, his pupils were oddly shaped. Not quite sure what to make of this, as usual, Dicro stood his ground.
“Any particular reason you’re just standing here? You’ve got places to go.” The stranger glanced over at Ilaria, who was still very much unconscious.