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

47 Nostalgic Dream

"They promised us that dreams can come true, without mentioning that nightmares are dreams too."

-Oscar Wilde

━━━━━━━━┓ ✠ ┏━━━━━━━━

Decadence yet ruled again on that darkest hour.

Dismally, almost half of the participants are now dead even before the warfare's commencement. As they chose to eternally secure their deaths to the hands of Hades. And they're not even sure if such a haven for them exists in the afterlife nor do they have an assurance of Hades' provision.

It never did occur to me, that in the frailty of logical ability, they were able to find the strength to leave the warfare just by persuading others to do it with them. It's the concept of Herd Mentality at work. "If others do it, then it MUST be ok", probably that's what was running on their minds when they did it, without thinking twice.

Petty riddance. It may be that they made the right decision, but the merit of disappearing is not just worth the risk.

With dead bodies everywhere, and with local authorities nowhere to be seen...I trended the grim road myself while carrying Shiro and the recently obtained food for dinner. I made sure that she will not see anything, neither does she hear of the cries of those that are left.

After that, I and Shiro found a peaceful place where we can eat and probably take a little nap. A hotel is nearby and there's no one on the front desk. The facility is yet empty again. And to authenticate that nothing weird will suddenly come up out of nowhere, I tried to sense if any dark charisma or ill intent is around, but so far so good. There are people on the upper floors, but it looks like they are normal. No signs of bleak aura. Good...

I'll just leave my payment on the cashier and get a vacant room's key.

With that done, we took the weirdly working elevator towards the third floor where a room is supposedly listed as 'vacant'. walked through the lobbies and then opened the fancy-looking door. What awaited us inside is this mediocre, yet a surprisingly neat place to spend the night.

Shiro and I then finished eating our 'hard-earned' kiddy meal with a little 'Itadakimasu' on the start as per the kid's culture. I then placed her in the bed as it's becoming more apparent, the drowsiness that she's in, and put a blanket on her.

I checked my clock and it's now 12 AM. Three hours to go before the city's ephemeral lockdown. Three more hours before we will have to experience what this NÆthervale really is and the whole concept of the Ethereal Paradigm. I just hope that the denizens of this realm are far more acceptable than those weirdos.

"Oni-chama, What happened? You suddenly covered my eyes and I heard many horrible things." Shiro suddenly initiated a conversation with a very exhausted face, second to mine.

"Oh, you should not worry about it, Shiro," I answered

" Why don't you get some sleep? We might be able to see another pegasus tomorrow you know? Or even more."


"Hontoni?" (English: Really?)

"Yes", so I said, even feeling unsure of the fact of what we are gonna meet outside this city's perimeters. Will we see more creatures from children's fairy tales? Or something else entirely. I just hope that it's none like that Cheshire Cat which is both from a fairy tale and whose face is 'something else entirely', sarcastically thinking.

I then got Shiro to sleep soundly. It was 12:30 when that happened. We are currently in an unreserved room in a nearby hotel and it was then that my eyes felt heavy of the tiresome day I had. Hmmm. I then checked my bag to see what I salvaged. Nothing useful as of this point. Those classmates of mine and the crazy mass suicide interrupted me from getting anything of integrity. Well, with all said and done, I should stop by a convenient store first thing tomorrow.

I then took hold of the music player I have had in my belongings. I should had used this earlier to make Shiro a little oblivious of those panics instead of just using one of my hands to cover her eyes while also carrying the food, and the other, to cover her ears. It was a very sound denouement. It's no wonder at this point if she really did hear something putrid.

I turned the music player on and good thing it is fully charged. It should be a while before I start to think of alternative ways to recharge this when we venture outside. I then scrolled through the music libraries I have to find the perfect classical piece that will fit the situation that I am in.

John Sebastian Bach's 'Come, Sweet Death' and next in line, Tchaikovsky's 'Symphony Number 6, Fourth movement'. Perfect. I then made sure that the doors are locked. I wouldn't want any eccentric occurrences here anytime soon.

Looking back at the primary plan, I was supposed to get a cheap apartment and start working to support myself while undergoing my educational pursuits. Funny to think that none of that is substantial now.

Dear Grandma. I'm not skipping classes you know. Please don't think of this that way.

With that said, and with an ambient and sound environment to sleep, I found myself in a deep trance in a comfy sofa with the perfect tune, playing on my ears.

(....)

Suddenly, my consciousness is transported in this rather scenic view that seemed very nostalgic, still with the music that I played earlier, kept running on the background. It is my mother's beloved garden right before it was burned down and in the midst of the white orchids os Shiro playing with the butterflies. It was a very refreshing visage that It made me cared too little for more details. Until suddenly...

"Shiro, where are you going?" The girl run as the white orchids on the background began to take the color of scarlet via unexplainable means. What's in my mind is to catch up, but for a little and fragile-looking kid, she sure is sprinting fast. She ran and ran without looking back as I followed her leniently.

As we got further and further from the garden, the thicker the surrounding mist began to engulf us and the redder the surrounding orchids become.

At a point, the game of tag came to an end as Shiro ceased running. A very big tree that I never had any recollection of seeing before stood in front of us. It is phantasmic in view as the tree's branches extended to the height of the skies with unfathomable ends. It is if I were to describe, an unearthly type of tree that existed way before the establishment of mankind.

"Shiro, what are you doing? Be careful now. " I said...but the girl is still not responding. She's not even looking at me as she pointed her entire focus to the tree in front of us... and I just noticed the undeniable transition to silence from having a piece of soothing music playing on the same framework.

No birds on the air. No creeping animals on the ground. Just the scarlet orchids that extended from the nostalgic garden, to now, here, the thick cloud of mist and the giant sturdy tree. It is awfully an epitome of silence that I could even hear my own heartbeat down to 'literally' zero decibels. Any kind of sound in this type of environment would seem louder than usual.

Then suddenly, overt sounds of rustlings are heard, coming from the gargantuan tree's branches. I looked up and there, I beheld a very grotesque creature. A serpent... No, more like a basilisk judging from its size. Its fangs were overlapping on its mouth, with scales bright red in color, horns and thorny tail same to that of the dragons of ancient legends' depictions. It is a view of bewilderment and of monstrosity.

And as I remain distracted on beholding such a sight, Shiro started talking...not to me, but to someone else who appeared out of nowhere...Someone I know, who is supposed to be dead.

My little sister... Jean Cendrillon. In the same dress, she wore on that same dying night.

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