A short side story. Well… Just the NPC back story……
At first I want to write Florea’s background a bit and then Yuuto and Florea tease moment… (actually just Yuuto ‘testing’ things)
But it bloated out, since I enjoy writing it… Nothing plot relevant… just foreshadows…… :D
The Florea and Yuuto teasing will be at the later part…
A bit of warning from the author: WARNING! HORRIBLE GRAMMAR IMMINENT!
Part M1: A Flower’s Prolegomena
It was a quadruped creature with a giant gaping open mouth filled with rows of serrated teeth.
Pieces of bone and chunks of flesh dangled on the gaps between the sharp fangs.
Blood from its victim drips from its snout as it chomped at the hapless victims unmercifully.
Now that abomination was looking at her, with its bloodshot eye that showed a deep eternal hunger.
It was ravenous, she was food.
It approached and opened its jaws wide open.
The abyss like mouth was beckoning her.
She awakened with a jolt. Cold sweat ran on her neck and drenched her maid dress.
She looked restlessly at her surroundings. Searching for the giant mouth that was targeting her, before her sense returned and she realized that it was just a nightmare.
A nightmare that kept haunting her even all this time.
Long before she was appointed as a Guardian and bestowed with power above the common masses, she was just a normal girl from a normal household that could be easily found in most of nature cities that sprawled across the heavily forested continent of Redont in the Remna world of Naura. Her family was not that rich, but they were not poor either. For the young her, each day is a new page of a happy story, sure there are sad things, but like it will surely end in a happy ending eventually.
But it was all changed one day.
The Midenikis Parousia in common tongue or Naidateakh in her language.
The day when the False Gods usurped the order of the heaven and rained down their perfidious and capricious judgment to All Creation.
The day when the Seals for the various calamity opened.
The trumpeted advent day of the Fall.
Naura didn’t escape from this event and even become one of the first worlds which were assaulted.
Stars disappeared from the sky, replaced by the utter bleak dark sky, leaving only the languid sun, the sluggish planets and the baleful moon in the sky. Deep crack opened across the worlds, where hideous creatures, the Arrabeis (the local tongue for Monsters), appeared and attacked any living creature, while miasmatic aberrant mana corrupted the land into what the False God’s wishes.
Although at first, the Naurian countries together with the other worlds could contain and even fought back the Monster. But it was just a cruel Fata Morgana. Slowly, the Monster overwhelmed any force that tried to contain them until, one by one, cities and countries began to be overrun by the Monster and the False Gods’ underling, leaving death and suffering in its wake. The survivors live or die at the False God’s cruel and selfish whim.
This included the city where she lived.
One day, a large swarm of Monster broke through the tenuous city’s line of defense and wrecked havoc at the city.
She had just returned from her school when this happened.
The monsters chomped, bitted, smashed, crushed, trampled, munched, slashed, and chewed many unfortunate soul in front of her eyes. Her friends, teacher, passerby, guards, rich and poor, young and old, of all gender. Blood, flesh, bone strewn on the ground as the unholy grotesque communion feast convened atop the bloody remains.
This scene do quite a wonder on the girl’s mind.
Aghast filled her tiny mind who quickly seized by a terrible realization:
She is just a menu.
She didn’t remember much after that. When she came through, she was already in the hand of her father and mother as they flee towards safety with thousands other, as cities, one by one, were being overrun and public order was thrown into chaos.
Her father never told her what happened back then. When he was asked how she was saved, her father just made a gentle smile at her, but his eyes were as if someone who had seen too much.
Thus she and her family became refugees, fleeing towards the opposite direction of the monster.
Assaulted by constant hunger and lack of proper shelter.
Riot and crime for food which happened on daily basis.
As the central governments failed to control the situation; the refugees and the citizens quickly descent into a tumultuous anarchy.
Desperate people are desperate. Law, moral and decency be damned. Such was her childhood.
As the situation began to reach a hopeless point, people began to decide to abandon the sinking ship that is the world and the whole world of Naura started a mass evacuation into another world. However, there was a limit on the number of Portal Networks and how much it could bring at one time, and furthermore many worlds across the Portal Network declined connections, either because they too were being assaulted by False Gods or already being swamped by refugee from other worlds, which plunge the already distressed refugee into an unprecedented uncontrollable pandemonium.
Then, the last defense line had fallen to the False Gods’ might. All seems lost. It was the darkest hour. It seems that another world had been conquered. Thus Naura and thus Redont’s history will come to its grisly end.
When this news dawned upon the refugee waiting in front of the Portals, some resigned to their fate, some resolve to make a last stand, some descent into madness. A whole slew of human reactions. Bad and good, admirable and detestable. Truly, you are what you are in the dark. Like many, others she had seen a real depiction of hell on earth. A true apocalypse.
She remembered how her father still desperate to at least save her by sending her to another world brought her and her mother towards some of the last few still functioning Portal Networks, joined with million other souls, while behind them, Monsters were coming and slaughtered whoever unfortunate enough to be in the rear. As the appointed time seems to be near and no hope could be seen, her father said to her to be not afraid, her mother just hug her and pray that it will be over quickly. The family hugged each other as the other refugee escaping the inevitable, such a poignant scene.
Then, the unexpected happen. A literal Deus ex Machina.
From beyond the Portal, another huge Gate (dubbed as later Goddess Gate) appeared, which lead to Eternal Land of Gloriauria, the Holy Land of the She of Many Names, the Mother Goddess of the Creation. This was something that she heard later but Gloriauria already opened the same portals to many worlds that were being on the verge of being conquered by the False Gods. The Sideus-Sidea, the mortals that lived in Gloriauria as the caretaker of that world, urged the surviving Naurian to flee through the gate and took refuge with the billions other refugees from other worlds. The abundant Holy Land of Gloriauria would provide the refugee with basic necessities and safety from False Gods’ minions’ threat.
Not only that, scores of people appeared from the Portal and with a might and prowess beyond mortal comprehension. These people slaughtered and stopped the Monster in its track. They single-handedly reversed the situation, giving time for the refugee to escape beyond the Gate.
It was something that the refugee knew later, that these people were the “offspring” from the Mother Goddess of the Creation, who had been disheartened at the sufferings of All Creation. Even though they were born as a mortal at the beginning, eventually they would recover their Divinity Shard, apotheosized and ascended beyond their mortal limitation.
They are the prophesied Fatsyaraho, the Argenauric words that mean: “Lord above All”.
They are the Heaven Lords.
Although the Heaven Lords had already liberated numerous worlds, it didn’t mean that the liberated world was immediately safe for the refugee to return. Remnants of the monster and miasma mutated local life forms still threatened the majority of the worlds. Even now, only a few safe inhabitable area that could be used as new refugee settlements under the protection of a Guild, a cooperative body of several Heaven Lords. These areas were referred as “Holy Land”.
Due to the limited number of it, only selected amount of refugee could reside on it, and some Holy Land had strict criteria, either of Races, Nations, occupations, etc. Meanwhile, the few remaining ‘safe’ worlds had already accepted the number of people that they could have possibly taken. And so, billions of refugee still remained at Gloriauria, which had been completely transformed into ecumenopolis of refugee-filled tents, shacks, and camps. She was one amongst that mass of refugees.
She had been living in the Gloriauria Refugee Shelter – Jade Area 4 – Housing Unit No. 1953-12 for about 3 years. The ‘house’ was just a single 9-meter square room where the whole family sleeps like sardines in a can. The bath and toilet were a communal building. The food was some kind of grain porridge with beans, veggies, and some piece of meat or egg. The taste was bland and the variety was lacking. But no one really complained since at least they were fed, clothed, bedded and given medical attention by the Sideus-Sida and the other safe worlds, plus they won’t be Monster snack in this place. The eternal Spring season aspect of Gloriauria also greatly helped. One would shudder at how many people will die freezing if Gloriauria possessed winter.
During this time, her mother gave birth to a healthy fraternal twin brother and sister, a happy occasion for the family. Her father also was helping the Area Refugee Council shifting sewage. Don’t underestimate an Earth-Mage working for 15 years in sewage treatment! or so he said. Meanwhile, her mother was working as kitchen staff at one of the thousand orphanages in Gloriauria refugee camps. She thought how lucky that she could escape to Gloriauria with her parents, while score of millions other children lost their parents or separated from them during the chaos. She herself attended the local volunteer organized school in the morning and worked at the local ‘tavern’ (the local community center turned into one in the night) as a dishwasher. Her family didn’t prevent her from doing so since she could obtain extra ration this way, and extra ration is always welcomed.
One day, due to sheer luck, she was informed by a tavern patron with the information of a certain Guild opening a new Holy Land and the Guild accept anyone regardless of Races and Nations. It seems that most of the new resident will come from fellow Naura countries, Loransia and Morena and the Remna from other worlds, together with the Avalonwahl Alfar from Ardaheimar, and the Theria of Regina, Lepina and many others from the Theranem Vaejah. A quite a diverse people had gathered as the new residents. Furthermore, unlike some Holy Lands that located in not so pleasant environment, like a volcano or ice fields, the new Holy Land, Neuschwanensee, was located in an artificially created lush valley. It already attracted more than 20,000 residents, but there was still room for more. The Heaven Lords who govern that land ruled with a velvet glove, and unlike most Holy Lands who prioritize heavy-combat-oriented industries, this new Holy Land prioritize agriculture, forestry and light industries for civilian use. She couldn’t believe her ears. From what she know even living in Holy Land would be a hard life not different from Gloriauria. This was just too good to be true and sounds like a scam. But the patron produced the official information from Gloriauria and Neuschwanensee to her, so it was not a confidence trick.
She immediately informed her father about this, who then immediately send a resettlement application to Bureau of Resettlement. Those 4 months seemed to be the longest wait that her family ever had.
Luckily, her father occupation as Sewage Worker helped her family to gain admittance, as Neuschwanensee had recently expanded their existing sewage facilities to meet its population demand and so it need to hire more sewage workers. That day, their family gathered their friends and held a small congratulation and farewell party with the neighbors.
Several days after that, they arrived at their new home in Neuschwanensee from the Portal Network. A comfy 4 rooms apartment of Unit 4-13 on the 4th floor of Rotenbackstein Tenement in the Stadtteil im Südosten was assigned as their new home. Her father still works in sewage management, her mother works at a local bakery, and she can finally go to school normally. The best of this was, different from Gloriauria, in Neuschwanensee they had more food than they could eat. Truly a blessed Holy Land.
One year later, either by fluke or Fate’s prank, her outer appearance attracted one of the Vice-Guild Master, who was selecting girls in Neuschwanensee to become Maid (Guardian). This Vice-Guild Master then gave her the blessing of a Guardian. This was shocking for her… Different from the other Guardian candidate that came from high-status background like a Princess from the former Loransia Royalty, the daughter of the Chief Engineer, the daughter of the ex-trading company’s president, the daughter of the Chief Scholar, etc. Meanwhile, she was just the daughter of a sewage worker. Even so, from now on she will be sisters with them, as a Guardian, someone who will interact directly with Heaven Lords. This was something that she had never imagined before, and to be honest, she didn’t think that she is fit for this position.
And so, other than several Holy War (mock war between Guilds, served to train the local Knights against possible invasion), she passed her day as Guardian in peace.
That is, until the day when Purple Fog came.
I actually want to write why Neuschwanensee NPCs seems really loyal to the players… But since I can’t cram anymore stuff into the background, perhaps I will write it as another Florea-centric side story.
Regular chapter tomorrow.