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Ethereal Paradigm: A Canvas of Black
Author :ICARUS
© Webnovel

38 Regaining Entry

"No one should gain access to the important areas of your life."

-Carlos Wallace

━━━━━━━━┓ ✠ ┏━━━━━━━━

It's already night when we were dismissed. Not from the first day of class. Not from any formal gatherings. But from when everyone knew for the first time what they ended up with, and how dire their situations really are.

That psychopath of a deity gave us instructions to harbor tools that we think are somewhat useful outside. Ergo, what lies beyond the perimeter of this island still remains a mystery. We are yet to set foot in this NÆthervale and we are yet to experience the new paradigm that awaits us there. Those Salamanders, Dyrads, Gnomes, Undines' facades are still soon to be seen and it is not yonder when we will get to experience a new type of system where magic is in subsistence. Why call it magic though? It's ubiquitous. They should have had called it something else to give an unusual vibe, like 'artes', 'phantasm' or something.

I checked my watch to see how much time I have left and to prepare for our new pilgrimage, beyond the city gates which will soon be out of access. It's still 7: 58 PM. I still have eight remaining hours. I'll have to make the most of it.

The city id still brimming in despair. It did not seem the same from when it was on earth. the bustling streets were silent. The cars remained unmoved making the traffic lights useless and the lively atmosphere it once gave is now but a fragment of the past.

Truth be told, I expected that the people will act corruptly and violently after those several moments with Hermes. I thought that shoplifting, more havoc, and stealing would become the new deal as scarcity today is at its best. But they reacted differently anyway. For diverse races coming from different cultures, everyone is well-disciplined to boot.

I wonder how those 'earthlings' back home are reacting, seeing how an entire island suddenly disappeared without prior warning. It's probably in the news by now and as well as on the different social media platforms. They better not think that the Bermuda triangle suddenly suctioned us wholly or a conspiracy alike of those cattle mutilation got us. It just shows in retrospect, the retrogression of men's supposed-greatness. If I were to read online articles like that the moment I get home, the author might want to start seeking refuge in Area 51. 'If' I'm able to go home that is.

Or maybe, on the other hand, the deities already had the situation covered. I mean, they have the means to outmaneuver natural laws. In a single snap, they can erase or nullify everyone's memories that an island such as this had existed without difficulties. Yet, I can't be distracted by such thoughts that are void of merit. It would only spell death on my behalf. For starters, I have to retrieve some belongings in the classroom.

Thereafter, I started to walk away from the venue point with a little girl holding my hand. If others are to see this, they might think that I'm a pedophile taking advantage of the situation, but hell do I care about their thoughts now. I don't incorporate confirmation bias, letting the false judgment of society affect my logic, albeit, that is far from happening. Everybody by now should probably be too disturbed by the fact that they are here rather than to think of something else, sulking on their room alone, wishing that this is all a nightmare.


(...)

"Shiro."

"What is it? Oni-Chama?"

"You have been pretty silent, are you okay? You want to sleep?"

"I'm just...hungry"

"Oh, right. What do you want to eat for dinner?"

"Fried chicken!"

Again? What is it with these kids today? While in my case, I ate nothing but green-leafy vegetables way back. Well, I surely can't act like a legitimate parent. I'm just a newly-found and a self-proclaiming older brother, so it should be ok to spoil her a bit.

"Roger! But I left my wallet in the classroom, so we will have to get it first. Would you be okay with that?" I asked, having ulterior motives to retrieve some belongings left there that might be useful for our departure starting tomorrow.

"Hai! Mochiron oni-Chama" (English: Yes! Of course, brother), replied Shiro with the same faultless expression. I'm very proud of this little girl. In the wake of such a catastrophe, she does not hesitate to let all of her fear show and then recover as if only a minimal disaster is plunging her. Maybe it's a part of childhood innocence? I guess so, but I can assure, that not all kids of the same age have the same guts to move on just like how Shiro did, also being a girl.

"Yoshi, Yoshi. Ikuze!" (English: Ok. Ok. Let's go) Wait, why am I speaking Japanese now? Prior anyone can enter this city back when it was on earth, proficiency in English is a must to learn, or maybe they gave exemption to kids? Shiro is a Japanese-decent and she is still a child so it's highly commendable how she can speak and understand the complex international lingo. Oh well, doesn't hurt, does it?

With that being said, we then head to AU's Class 12-A8 with the roads quieter than ever. And with nothing but auxiliary street lights illuminating the impotent darkness of the night, as the moon continued to shine its monochromatic radiance.

Time check. It's exactly Eight PM.

What the hell is that Lacrimosa doing? She better not be sleeping this entire time. We need to choose what faction we want to take a side on. Wait, does she even care? Most likely not. It might be dumb but it's concerning. We need this to be discussed right away. This should be of the utmost priority. *Sigh*. There's no helping it. The things in my classroom can wait.

"Shiro, before getting my wallet, can we first visit Aunt Lacrimosa?"

"Lacrimosa?"

"Remember, that lady I introduced to you earlier? "

"Oh, Lacrimosa onee-chan!" ...Not aunt huh?

"Shall we visit her?"

"Hai! but where is she, oni-chama?"

"Hold on, let me show you something cool." Now if only I could reopen that portal.

If I remember correctly, Lacrimosa's realm was pretty dark inside. It was almost like the deepest pit of oblivion itself, so I might be able to manipulate the space that separates her realm from this waypoint, after all, I can control anything dark. So if I could only imagine the same portal we used earlier, this should be as easy as counting numbers...I got it.

While it is the very first time that I tried doing this, not to mention I'm yet to explore the extent of my power, I highly doubt if something wrong is to happen. The darkness would never betray me, his chevalier to me is beyond any loyalty. Hmmm.

"Shiro try saying 'Open Sesame' for me."

"Hai. Open Sesame!"

Having Shiro to say such a trivial phrase, I managed to open a portal in front of us, a carbon copy of the one Lacrimosa makes every time she needs to enter her realm. Well, I could say it's a success perhaps? There's no point in too much skepticism, although I'm dragging this little girl along without prior knowledge of what lies beyond.

Wait. That realm incorporates a time disorientation spell. The time there moves viably slower. I should not waste time when I'm there and I should probably get her outside the moment I come in contact. No questions asked...

Oh right, there's no need, in going critical over such a mainstream feature. Shiro can act as the nullifier since, if a third party other than the deity and the Herrscher is to see someone entering the portal, the time disorientation spell would be impotent. I guess Shiro is quite handy.

"Whoaaww! Did I do that oni-chama?"

"Uhmm. Yes, you did! Nice spell!"

"Teeheee...Uhmm, Is that where Lacrimosa onee-chan is living? It's dark, I'm scared to go in, oni-chama..." Having seen how obscure the portal looks like, she once again found herself cowering in fear, but this time is quite unessential...A kid is a kid Jaiden, there's no helping it.

It is in these types of situations where I would want to say "Oh no, there's no point on being afraid of the dark, he's a dear friend of mine!" like boasting a very loyal friend... It's in the dark where I can think and reflect on some things. It's in the dark where I can find myself secure and heck, in other words, I don't get it why it is hated and is still relevant as an embodiment of imaginative horror. If there's one thing anyone should be afraid of, its the light of day! It's where those monsters appear and would go to work to have some monetary gains. But, na-ah, I surely can't say that to a kid. Besides, I know how fast Shiro can maneuver over her fears.

"Don't worry, I'm here. And beyond that is the palace of Lacrimosa. It's very magical, I think you would like it."

"Magical? Are there any pegasus inside?"

"Why don't we find out?"

"Ok oni-chama"

Her tiny fingers then held my hand as she remains assured that everything is fine as a kind stranger in her side said so.

"Ok, Shiro in a count of three! Let's jump ok?"

"Ok, oni-chama I'm ready"

"One..." Hell, I don't know why but I'm somewhat nervous.

"Two..." This is an invasion of privacy in that Goddess's perspective. Oh well, to make it a tie...I, might as well invade...a little.

"Three!" Without hesitation, while holding Shiro, I jumped right in. Wait, what do I do if Lacrimosa is changing clothes as of the moment!? More like, why did that thought only crossed to me now?

The next thing I saw is the great darkness that enveloped us whole, with the portal at our back, starting to close. Quite the opposite of the magical internal palace that I made Shiro expects to see. The atmosphere is so bleak as ever and there is no turning back. It would take another moment or two to imagine such a carbon-copy of the portal again, leading outside.

Shiro's grip in my hands began to add pressure. It's highly understandable, we can hardly see anything. But more importantly, where is she? Wait, don't tell me this place is not it. Calm down. First, let me assess the place.

Darkness? Check?

Chess-patterned tiles? Check!

Hmmm. This is assuredly Lacrimosa's realm. It's beyond question, and I can quite pick up her presence here... Yet, where the hell is she?

"Oni-Chama...Where's Lacrimosa oni-chan?"

"Uhmm. Let's wait for her a little."

"WHO'S THERE!" Out of the severe darkness, there bammed a door suddenly opening out of nowhere and from it steams came out as if the room was somewhat leading to a hot spring. A rosy fragment then came drifting through my nostrils. The light coming from the same door also is radiant and a silhouette of a lady figure made its appearance wondering who could have had access to this realm. It's Lacrimosa.....fresh from the bath.

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