Sorry I haven't updated this in a while, but I'm very busy so uploading will be irregular for an indefinite time.

But for now, enjoy!


The voice sounded out in his head as if bells were being tolled. Groaning, he pushed himself to a sitting position with his elbows carrying the weight of his body. He looked around him for some kind of idea of where they were. The last thing he remember was-

Hands.

Gnarled, long, spindly fingers that had a vice grip on him. Him trying to scream for help, but multiple hands smothering his vocal chords.

The book-that blasted book, came along as he was dragged downwards.

Autor, Duck...they were pulled down with him.

What have I done?! Fakir was gripped with panic. He looked around him-Autor stood away from him, hands on his hips. Autor turned around when he heard Fakir groaning.

"Ah...you're awake. Good. At least you're not dead."

"Didn't you check my pulse?"

"I did. I couldn't feel anything. I checked myself-there's no pulse either. But you looked like you were sleeping, so I thought I might take a look around, see if I could get an idea of where we are."

"And?"

"What do you think?"

Autor helped Fakir up, "I should have stopped you..." Fakir grabbed his shoulders.

"Wait. Duck. WHERE'S DUCK?!"

Autor looked at his only company. He frowned. Clearly the bird meant something to Fakir, but Autor for the life of him couldn't remember why. All he remember that the yellow duck was with Fakir every since the Raven was defeated.

"I haven't seen it. Not since we've gotten here." Autor hesitated, "I...had assumed that the duck went missing when we fell."

Fakir's eyes widened. "...How...why...but..." The words hit Fakir like a ton of bricks. This was all for nothing...And now Duck is-

The sound of a lever being pulled echoed throughout the darkness.

Lights suddenly filled the room.

One by one, as if they were stage lights, for a play was about to begin.

Fakir and Autor stood back to back as they saw themselves in a world filled with clocks and cogs-work, ticking and chiming. It was the very same world that Duck had spoken of, when she was kidnapped by Drosselmeyer.

"Whom hath read the sacred text, and crossed the bridge into the world of Beyond?" A voice spoke. Fakir and Autor whirled around.

A tall woman, much taller than a human being, towered over the two young men.

"Hey! Have you see a yellow duck-"

"Thy name that summoned thee, speak it."

With a closer look, Fakir and Autor saw that the being had a face paler than the moon, with black eyes that glittered with what seemed like stars, and midnight blue hair that would have reached the floor, were it not floating around her form as if she was constantly underwater. Light fabric, more delicate than gossamer, hid her arms and trailed behind her as she slowly walked towards them.

"It...it was h-" Autor spoke.

"It was me. I asked for a Spirit to make a deal with. My name is Fakir." Fakir's voice was determined and strong.

The woman smiled, "I was sure that the passionate aura I felt was from you." She curtsied, "I have many names to answer to, but I can only give you a name, should you make a contract with me." her voice was melodious and soothing. Almost as if to distract Fakir and Autor from their goal.

"What if you're a Demon? How can we be sure that you're not trying to devour our souls? And you didn't answer my question about Duck."

The ethereal being smiled understandably, "Ah, so you studied the tome in your hand. An attribute one should applaud." But she frowned, and Autor felt a chill spike up his spine. "However, you ultimately do not know if I am either Demon or Spirit, or God. To find what you seek, and leave here unharmed, your safest option is to make a deal with me."

"Wait." Fakir fluttered through the pages, "I don't think that this book says anything about gods-"

A pale, long fingered hand shut the book so hard that it fell to the ground and would've broken apart, if the creature did not-through what could only be described as magic-summon the book to her open palms.

"That text...I sense a power within it."

"Well, it did bring us here-"

"Incorrect, Fakir. Far from it, in fact. There is a danger within its' pages-I will not risk it. But now is not the time for this." She reached into her right sleeve, and brought out a yellow ball of fluff.

"I presume that this is the bird you seek." A long, delicate finger lightly stroked Duck's feathers as she seemed to be sleeping. "Such an innocent creature, and having gone through so much heartbreak it would destroy a normal human being." She smiled, as though a mother would cradle a newborn. "So pure..."

Autor swallowed loudly, "M-may we have her back? Please, Miss?"

But the mysterious woman brought Duck closer to her bosom, like a child that didn't want to share it's favorite toy. "And why should I do that? After all your world has done to Duck, does she not deserve respite? Does she not deserve the chance to achieve her desire?"

"Wait-how would you know anything about her? Or our world?!" Fakir snapped.

"...Why did you summon me? Answer quickly-" she looked around her, seeing something Fakir and Autor couldn't, "Hurry, something is waiting for you to lose your way-a Demon, most likely."

"Drosselmeyer asked us to help him!" Autor began, "He said something about having made a dea-" the woman stretched her neck to stare closely at the bespectacled young man, close enough that their noses almost touched.

"Drosselmeyer. You are of his descent-both of you-are you not?" Her tone was blank and emotionless.

Autor nodded. The woman leaned away from him, and looked down at them as she circled around them.

"Both descendants...One holds the Gift...Yet the other does not..." Her eyes narrowed like a vulture around dying prey. "After what Drosselmeyer did to you all-you agreed to help him?"

"He said that he found it odd that he could still stop time and enter our world."

"That is enough reason to aid him? Foolish. And he found it odd? I do not." The woman said coolly. "That must be why the air is restless-they smell what they desire."

"Will you show us the way or not?" Fakir barked.

"The way to where, exactly? When you opened that book and summoned me, I could see many a vision of what you wanted. Make a deal with me-then tell me clearly what you want, then perhaps I may be of aid."

"...Fine."

"Fakir!"

The strange being stopped circling around them, grinning excitedly, "Excellent..." She slowly held out a hand, the other carrying Duck, "What are your terms, Fakir of Kinkan Town?"

Fakir took a deep breath. "I wish to find a way to finally settle things with Drosselmeyer. I wish to find a way to make Duck be a girl again. I wish to free Kinkan from Drosselmeyer's curse." Fakir smirked confidently, "That is what I want from this deal. What must I do afterwards?"

"Oh, it's quite simple. Shake my hand."

Fakir looked at Duck, and with determination in his eyes, gripped her hand tightly before Autor could stop him.

She closed her eyes, and a light shone so bright Fakir and Autor could do nothing but close their eyes to stop them becoming blind.

Very well, Fakir. The name you may call upon for assistance, is Aria. Goddess of the Arts.