So, long story short, this was supposed to be my second Resbang 2018 entry, to be posted in its entirety a couple of days ago. However, it's still not finished, I officially dropped out, so now I will be posting the story chapter-by-chapter every Tuesday. At the time of writing, 12 chapters have been written, and the estimated total number of chapters is 20, though it may vary.
This story also comes with a playlist because I couldn't resist, either go to AO3 for full links (as well as a less frenetic summary), or search youtube for Stranded 2018 (Soul Eater).
As this site is limited in its relationship options, I want to make clear that this story will contain Queerplatonic Kid x Black Star. Content Warnings include violence, attempted murder of major character, lots of off-screen murder, pretty much in line with what I usually write.
In any case, enjoy.
Chapter 1: Stranded
Kid woke up underwater.
For a few moments, the Grim Reaper remained suspended in the liquid —freshwater, he soon realized— confused as to how he ended up here in the first place.
Kid looked around, only to see black. No light penetrated the cold and still water around him. There were no directions; no up, down or sideways to speak of. There was only darkness, as if he'd been dumped in the abyss of the Mariana trench.
However, no matter the utter darkness of his surroundings, Kid couldn't be that deep underwater. If he was, surely his body would have been crushed by the immense pressure, which would at minimum have woken him up to say the least. So, if Kid wasn't that deep, he should be able to swim up and reach the surface reasonably fast.
Problem was, Kid had no idea which way was up. No matter how still, unnaturally so, the water was, he couldn't trust that the direction he was facing when he had woken up was the way to surface.
Technically, Kid could just pick a direction and see where that ended up. Either the pressure would increase, which would mean that he was heading further down, or he would eventually reach the surface. Unless Kid moved sideways, in which case, there would be an imperfection within his movements, a tilt that would lead him diagonally further up or into the depths below.
Truth be told, Kid didn't worry about his situation. Being a Grim Reaper, he didn't exactly need to breathe, but it was a habit. Add to that a similar lack of sustenance, whether that be food or water, Kid could take his time to explore the mysterious stygian waters. Yet...
Why was Kid here?
Last thing he remembered was being in the Death Room, going over some admission forms for the new semester. It had been a quiet night, hell, a quiet month. The only irregularity Kid could recall was feeling like he was being called, only to head to the Death Room's mirror and be met with white static. What could be causing this cosmic equivalent of a prank call Kid had no idea, and he had dismissed it as a 'glitch', as if his newly-acquired powers were cramping.
No matter what was going on, Kid had to reach the surface and get some more information on where he was. The sooner the better, since if the Grim Reaper, of all entities, was transported without his knowledge or consent then there were other powerful agents at play.
Mentally cursing since he was unable to physically do so, Kid closed his eyes and thought.
Was it his imagination, or was he moving?
Opening his eyes, Kid only saw black. Of course. Even if he moved, Kid couldn't see through the utter darkness that permeated these waters.
So the question remained; how to tell which way was up?
His first thought was to exhale and follow any bubbles that appeared. Though there was barely any air left in his lungs, Kid forced himself to exhale to the point of discomfort.
A few tiny air bubbles came out and Kid followed in their direction. Around him, the water remained as lightless as before.
The higher Kid rose the warmer the water became, going from icy to tolerable. During his ascent, Kid accidentally veered off and hit a wall, a boundary. He felt its smooth surface interrupted by intricately carved shapes and designs, clearly an unnatural occurrence. Someone had carved these.
He rose from the water with a gasp, breathing in cold stale air. He used the carved stone edge to bring himself out, coughing out any stray water that had found its way into his lungs.
Wringing his clothes, Kid looked around, eager to get some semblance of his surroundings…
Only to be met with darkness, again.
Resisting the urge to curse with his newfound ability to speak, Kid rose and narrowed his eyes. Despite the lack of light, Kid could roughly make out shapes, one darker than the other.
He looked down. The water from where he'd emerged stood still, as if it hadn't been disturbed at all. The wall Kid had used to get up curved, making the water part of a giant pool, its edges etched with elaborately carved stone slabs. Other than the pool, the area was empty, made up only of a uniform polished stone floor. It was likely there was some sort of ceiling obscured by the abyss that engulfed this place, one Kid couldn't make out yet.
"Hello?" Kid called out, his voice echoing.
"Is anyone here?" Kid called out again, disheartened when his voice echoed again with no response.
Since he was running out of options, Kid activated his Soul Perception, expecting it to come up empty-
A soul. A human soul. On the other side of the pool.
Kid ran along the edges of the pool, steps echoing like thunder in the complete silence of the area. Using his Soul Perception as a guide, he stopped a short distance from the body, slowly inching closer, able to make out few details in the dark.
There was a fallen body, thin but longer than that of a tall adult human, entirely covered by thick dark robes. Very still...
The middle area of the body slightly shifted, rising then falling moments after, before repeating the motion.
They were breathing, Kid realised, which meant they were alive, but unconscious.
Kid reached out, hands about to reach one of the edges of the multitudes of robes when he reconsidered.
Even if stable and relatively unharmed, Kid shouldn't disturb them; he might make their situation worse. As a Grim Reaper, he couldn't exactly call himself an expert in how to treat people.
Kid looked at the soul again. It was blue, similar to any other human soul, though slightly larger. Its familiar presence reassured Kid that he wasn't dealing with some major unknown force. For now. Still though, that only raised more answers about where Kid had found himself into.
As Kid shifted his attention elsewhere, he unconsciously brought his arms around himself. There was something… familiar about this place that set Kid on edge. Like a cackling fireplace in a freezing winter night, Kid found himself at ease with the darkness, the still water and complete silence. Perhaps too comfortable, the Grim Reaper noted with rising dread.
Something was off about this place.
Something terrible had happened here.
He should get out of here.
Turning away from the unconscious body and the pool, Kid walked in a random direction. Soon, he came up against a colossal wall, made up of the same smooth stone as the floor, as dark as everything around it.
So, Kid was in some sort of building. How old the building was, he couldn't tell. There were no obvious signs of wear like moss or missing parts of stone; in fact, the wall and floor were unnaturally smooth and each carving in them had exquisite preserved details. Yet it was that very same seeming perfection that made this place feel like an ancient abandoned library.
Frustrated, Kid activated his Soul perception again. This time though, he expanded his reach, causing him to lose complete focus of his physical surroundings as his vision was engulfed by true black, leaving behind any semblance of space or being. The blue unconscious soul was the first one to show up, and then his vision remained black until…
A familiar soul showed up in his vision. It was very far away, probably outside this mysterious building and Kid, though disoriented and lost, made a beeline for him.
Black Star woke up with the sun in his eyes.
The voice was as bright as the sun currently blinding Black Star, full of energy and enthusiasm, accompanied by equally excited whispers.
Black Star shielded his eyes from the sun, blinking to clear the spots. When he opened them again his face was inches away from a laughing bronze mask. "Merry morning, Champion!"
Instincts taking over, Black Star's punched the mask, sending it and its owner flying back and over the tiny white plateau they were in.
Actually, upon closer inspection it seemed Black Star was on some sort of roof. He spied other buildings with similar roofs around him, most of them simple rectangles with flat roofs and uneven walls plastered with multiple layers of white paint. What little ground Black Star could see was covered in well-worn cobblestone, with the occasional weed or flower growing through the cracks. Someone smarter than him in this, like Maka, Tsubaki, or Kid, would say that the architecture was of a 'Cycladic influence' or something smart like that. All Black Star could really think of saying would be that it looked pretty.
"Aha!" came the same voice somewhere below Black Star, not having lost a hint of their previous enthusiasm. "The Champion punched me!"
An airy laugh came from behind him and Black Star whipped around, fists ready.
And froze when he saw his diminutive 'opponent'.
A being a bit shorter than Black Star, covered head to toe in light-colored and heavily-decorated robes and with a mask similar to the one Black Star had punched before, jumped up and down like an excited child.
"Punch me next, Champion!" came a high-pitched voice as the being hopped circles around Black Star.
The hopping person's mask was made of white marble and depicted a man with a pointy nose, curly hair and an equally wild and uncombed beard. The eyes were mere holes, while the mouth, contorted into the semblance of a toothless grin, also had a hole. Strangely enough, Black Star couldn't see skin or anything other than darkness in the holes of the mask.
"No, me first!" came another voice as another being -where were these things coming from?- joined in and circled him with a laugh. "Punch me first!" Their clay mask was more crudely-made, depicting a woman with thick tied-back hair, giant earrings and with the same empty dark holes on its eyes and mouth.
The two beings kept circling Black Star, much to his frustration, still asking to be punched for some reason.
Oh well, since they asked for it…
Black Star placed one foot back for better support, drew back his hand into a fist. His muscles tensed, but he forced some of the tension away; he'd just have to make it soft enough so they wouldn't get seriously hurt.
"Now hold on there, Champion," came another voice as a third robed being, this one taller than the others and Black Star rose up from a small hole at the corner of the roof. "There'll be plenty of fighting later." Black Star froze, as the two smaller being paused and looked at the taller figure expectantly. "You two young ones, run along now."
With plenty of giggles the two smaller figures headed to the hole in the roof, connected to the ground by a wooden vertical staircase and slid down.
His confusion growing by the second, Black Star looked over the new arrival. This being was completely covered in robes as well, though their color was slightly darker and primarily made of red shades. Their mask was made of a shining silver and carefully crafted into the visage of a face Black Star could only describe as a 'boring-ass philosopher'.
"Uh…" Black Star began, curious if this one would ask him to punch them as well.
The figure spread their arms —or what Black Star supposed were arms— as if waiting for embrace. "Hurrah!" they shouted, voice reverberating through the hilly alley-filled landscape. "The Champion is here!"
Like a wave, multiple cheers and yells came from below, so loud Black Star almost lost his balance. Carefully going towards the edge of the roof, Black Star peered down and…
He was on a hill. Specifically, he was on a building built on a hill, the highest point he could see around him. Below him were throngs of more robe-covered masked beings, looking like ants filtering through their colony's narrow pathways as they moved around the building Black Star was in.
"Hell yeah!" Black Star shouted as the crowd's cheers intensified upon seeing his face. Finally, some recognition!
Looking back at the roof, the tall robed figure had now retracted his hands, their mask facing Black Star.
"Uh, not that I don't like this, but where am I?" Last he remembered, Black Star had trained then gone for a good night's sleep, collapsing on his bed like a log.
"You're home, Champion," the tall figure happily explained in a way that made Black Star only have more questions.
Also, 'Champion'? It was one of the humbler titles Black Star would accept, but it still didn't explain where he was or how he got here.
"Who are you?" Black Star tried again.
"We're followers of the light!"
"The what now?"
"The light- come, see!" Black Star peered over the throng of people on the ground. "No, the other side!"
Black Star headed to the other side of the roof, following after the figure, and froze.
The sight before him was paradise.
Two cliffs made up the two sides of the town that faced the sea, though occasionally they sloped down into beaches where worn but well-cared for small fish boats rested on golden sand and crystal blue water. Where the two cliffsides should have met was a bridge-like patch of land leading to a wide meadow turned into fertile farmland. On its edges where the island finally needed, there were palm trees, aged cypresses, and a multitude of fruit trees with supple pickings, from a tiny tomato plant to a gigantic jackfruit trees.
"Woah," was all Black Star could say.
The tall figure gave him a small bow. "This is our land."
"It's pretty neat," Black Star said with a nod.
Besides just being pretty to look at, the sight also answered one of Black Star's many questions; he was on island. How he had gotten there was another matter that he'd figure out eventually.
Deciding to do another survey of the land, Black Star turned around to see the other side of the island and paused again. "Uh…"
Though the land that stretched out of the village was made up of hills with occasional patches of small temperate forests, the end of the island opposite of the village was another matter entirely.
The land sloped up into a mountain range that pierced the clouds. The ground was infertile and composed of grey and black stone. Steep jagged cliffs made up the side that faced the island, whereas the rest of the region was a chaotic sprawl of smaller mountainsides and canyons.
"The darklands," the tall figure said in a low voice as it walked next to Black Star.
Yeah, that'd be a pretty fitting name for that place alright.
Pointing in the distance, Black Star asked; "What's that place?"
At first glance, Black Star thought the region he was pointing at was a very unusually shaped mountain, made up of an almost vertical ascent into a pyramid top. Yet, the more he looked at it the more it stuck out, like a pimple. It was made up entirely of black stone and its almost vertical walls looked man-made, along with its multiple needle-like ends.
It was a building, Black Star realized. A building of cyclopean proportions judging by a wide hole at its base that must have been the entrance.
"The Temple," the tall figure replied, any and all enthusiasm gone from its voice. "A dark place."
"Cause it's in the darklands?"
The figure gave him a long look. Or more accurately, their mask did.
Then, their frame shook. "Hah." They shook again. "Ahahaha, great joke Champion!"
Black Star didn't mean it as a joke.
"Oh, but be cautious, Champion. They are plotting something," the figure said good-naturedly. "The followers of darkness always plot something."
Huh, that sounded ominous. But at the same time…
"Uh, how did I get here?" Black Star asked as he scratched his head. "And why am I here?"
The figure put their hands up and another cheer reverberated through the crowds below. "Oh, Champion, you heeded our calls and arrived at our most desperate-!"
Wait, these bozos where the reason Black Star was stuck in this weird island?! Oh, Black Star was so ready to punch this dude and demand they get him home right now-!
"And you shall depart us after your generous act of defending us against the darklands' inevitable attack!" the robed figure finished its announcement with another wave of cheering.
Wait hold on.
"Yes, Champion. We fear that another being of your caliber has been already summoned at the Temple. Oh, had you not shown up our humble village's fate would have been sealed-"
"Wait," Black Star cut him off and the figure went silent. "So, if I take down whoever's trying to attack you then I get to go back home?" Also, the figure had said 'a being of Black Star's caliber' which, although an oxymoron as Black Star's caliber was unreachable, meant that he would at least get a good fight out of it.
"Ah, yes, I suppose, if you don't want to stay with us-"
"Hell yeah dudes, see ya later-"
Too late, Black Star was already gone, jumping from building to building, the cheers echoing in his ear until he finally jumped over the wall and ran into the nearest forest.
Feedback is appreciated.