The Velvet Room was a place of wonder, mystery, and dignity. Accessible through both dreams and reality, born of mind and matter, it was truly a haven of wisdom and guidance. Its current form reflected the mind of its new, human Master. An office, with beautiful shelves and displays, containing an amount of books and various knickknacks.
Soft, gentle sunlight filtered through a closed window, muffled by the velvet blue curtains, a color reflected in both the rug and in several decorations. A comfortable armchair was also colored blue, and sitting on it was the new Master, Kibou Mirai.
Who had slammed his head on the table face-first out of sheer annoyance.
"I should have asked for a manual or something." The red-haired teen grumbled against the mahogany wood, as the reality of the situation settled in.
He just got a new job. More like his very first job, really, but who cared. And this job didn't even come with someone telling him how to do things. How is he supposed to guide Wild Cards if he doesn't even have a guide himself!? "Damn you, Philemon." Mirai clicked his tongue, raising his head and standing up from the chair.
Well, he mentioned an Attendant. Lavenza, as he said. But the coping method… What was it about? Well, time to find out.
He huffed, and made his way to the door that was not glowing, frowning at how it opened by itself. Right, if God existed, then he should expect things like these. He stepped through, and found himself in a dimly-lit unending hallway. Straight out of a horror game.
He instantly turned around to nope out of there, he'd deal with it later-
And the door promptly shut in his face.
"...Philemon," he spoke, with a serene smile on his face. "I will find a way to revive you, and shove a rusty piece of rebar through your ass."
The door didn't answer him, nor did it open. Hissing out a breath, he grumpily turned back to the hallway and started walking.
Two steps later, and he almost collided with yet another door. What was up with this space-time fuckery!?
He eyed the door critically, and his eyes promptly fell on a plaque hanging from a nail. It was painted with imagery of silver butterflies, and a single, golden name engraved on it.
So that was her room. He took a deep breath, and steeled himself to meet someone else that was far older than him and knew more than he did. He opened the door, and his eyes instantly went to the large bed, and to who was peacefully sleeping on it.
He blinked once. Twice. He even rubbed his eyes for good measure.
…Nope, neither his eyes nor his brain were playing tricks on him. Instead of a woman, he found two young twin girls wearing ragged dresses.
Philemon's words echoed in his mind. "...But her grievous injuries caused a… Curious coping method. I believe they call themselves Caroline and Justine."
"So that's what he meant." Mirai commented, carefully stepping closer to the slumbering girls. "Lavenza was so injured she had to split in two just to cope with it."
Hesitantly, he reached out to touch the head of the nearest twin. She leaned into his touch, and squirmed, as if trying to reach for him. His heart melted. He looked around, and then had a thought. Did he teleport to their door because he wanted to see Lavenza? Then that meant…
He picked up the nearest twin in a bridal carry, and she snuggled into his chest, as if seeking comfort. And now that he could properly look at her, without the shock of seeing two where he expected one, she had features missing. Her right arm and left leg were a glaring absence, and a glance revealed the girl still in bed to be missing the opposite features.
…That was a problem for future Mirai.
With a clear destination in mind, he left their bedroom, and took a few steps. His hypothesis was proven correct when their surroundings morphed into the office, and he was standing right next to the glowing door that led into his living room.
It promptly answered his mental command and opened on its own, revealing his living room, and the evening light filtering through the windows. "I spent more time inside the Velvet Room than I thought." He commented, before making his way to the guest bedroom.
He may be taking this all too well.
But he also spent some time after Philemon had vanished to process it and freak out.
And frankly, he was tired as fuck, and he just wanted to eat a slice of his strawberry cake and sleep. But since he had two half-pints to care for, that plan was taken out back and shot. His bleeding heart wouldn't allow no less.
Once the two were safely settled in the guest bedroom, he started rummaging around in the closet for clothes their size. Before they had stopped coming, his aunt had a habit of dropping off her young daughter on him to babysit. And he had called her about the clothes that had stayed in his home, but she told him that he could keep them because they had already taken the ones she really wanted to keep.
Yeah, he didn't know either.
But if he could guess, he'd say that she was hoping these clothes would be of use to his daughter, if he ever had one.
He scoffed slightly as he recalled that conversation, a small smile on his face. Auntie Yasaka was devious as all hell, but still cared a lot about him. And Kunou had been a delightful little brat. He wondered how their Yakuza or something were doing right now, since Auntie had told him that they couldn't visit anymore because it was dangerous.
He shrugged, grabbing two small piles of clothes and dropping them on the bottom edge of the bed. Oh well, not like it was his business.
He promptly left the bedroom to give them some privacy if they woke up before he returned, and went back to the kitchen, where the strawberry cake was untouched.
Mirai stared at it for a few moments, before smiling. While it was fun to tease Sona, she knew that he would keep quiet even without these "bribes". He didn't know why she did this, but he suspected that it was because these outings of theirs allowed her to relax, even if a little.
Shaking his head, he grabbed two plates, and cut some pieces for the twins. If Philemon was to be believed, then they had been sleeping for around one thousand and five hundred years. They would likely be hungry once they woke up.
He was about to leave the kitchen when a thought crossed his mind. He quickly grabbed the pen and paper he kept in the kitchen as a precaution, and penned a quick note, in case the twins weren't awake yet.
When he returned to the guest bedroom, the girls were stirring, but not awake yet. After leaving the plates on the desk, he gently closed the door behind him, and went straight to the living room in order to crash on the couch.
He was tired, Philemon gave him a headache, and he desperately needed a nap.
With his thoughts turning to the small outing with Sona earlier, he fell asleep with a smile on his lips.
Caroline stirred, her sole remaining eye opening to meet her other half's own. She instantly reached out, and felt Justine do the same. They were alive. They were no longer whole, but they had survived. They had survived the fight against-
Her mind blanked. The fight against what? There was a large gap in their memories.
"We were once Lavenza." Justine muttered, her hand clutching Caroline's own tightly. Her nose was scrunched up in thought, no doubt trying to recall something. Caroline didn't remember that. Were their memories halved as well? "We obeyed our Master, Igor, and his Master, Philemon."
"We are now Caroline and Justine." She supplied, tightening her grip on Justine's hand. "Master Igor, our sisters, and our brother have fallen, and Master Philemon was greatly weakened."
A flash of surprise and grief flitted through her other half's face, as she processed it. "Our family is…"
"We saw it." Caroline muttered gently. For all of their power, they were struck down almost disdainfully. She didn't know what Justine was feeling. Her body was being wracked with sobs, as she hiccuped. Tears streamed from her sole eye, as she latched onto Caroline, who did her best to hug her other half.
She just felt… Numb. Her heart tightened, and threatened to crush itself, but she simply couldn't pay it any mind. Their family's absence felt… Physical, in a sense. As if it was gnawing at her chest, but at the same time, trying to desperately piece a broken glass together.
Not only were they not whole anymore, they were completely and utterly alone. Not even Master Philemon's presence and influence could be felt.
Not really knowing what to do, Caroline just held Justine, until all tears were dry.
Caroline didn't want to dwell too much on their current circumstances, but their surroundings distinctly felt like the Physical Realm. It wasn't the whimsical fluidity of the Velvet Room, nor the malleable uncertainty of the Cognitive Realm. It was… Solid. And hardly changing.
With some difficulty, on account of her missing arm and leg, the physically young girl managed to get herself seated, and look around. They seemed to be in a bedroom, one decorated for a young girl. There were fox plushies everywhere, as well as cutesy decorations.
But what truly caught her eye were two things that seemed somewhat out of place: A pair of plates containing a piece of cake each, and two piles of clothing at the foot of the bed they were laying on, with a piece of paper on top of them.
With some frustration, the piece of paper was taken and unfolded, as she began to read its contents. Rather annoyingly, neither she nor Justine had Lavenza's ambidexterity. And to make matters worse, she was right-handed, while missing that very same arm.
'Caroline and Justine, was it?' the note read. 'Hi. I likely won't be there to welcome you to the land of no sleep, but if I am, you won't be reading this in the first place. To keep things short, name's Mirai Kibou, and I'm the new proprietor of the Velvet Room.'
"...What?" Justine mumbled, her incredulous, still reddened eyes trained on the offending note. Caroline would have been right there with her, if it weren't for the fact that she felt it hard to react. Hoping there would be more answers in the text, she continued.
'And since I will likely be drifting through the land of sleep, I am explaining everything here. Hope I have enough paper for it. To keep things short, Philemon's dead. But the crafty asshole made a contingency plan. I am the contingency plan. I will now be fulfilling the role both Philemon and Igor once held on the Velvet Room's matters, and I hope that I will be able to live up to their legacy.'
That… Explained a little, but not much.
'I took the liberty to separate some of my cousin's clothes for you, since you seem to be the same size as her, and these rags are definitely not something that could count as proper clothing.'
The two halves of a whole glanced at each other, and to their slight consternation, this Mirai Kibou was correct. The beautiful dress that Lavenza once wore was now in tatters. They did need new clothes. But that didn't explain the cake.
'And since you were in a coma for who knows how long, I also took the liberty of preparing some slices of cake. It was the easiest thing to prepare in such a short time before I crashed, okay!?'
They were judging this Mirai Kibou. But proper Judgement could wait until they were dressed and fed, and had met up with their new Master.
The mere thought of there being a new Master of the Velvet Room brought the taste of ash to Caroline's mouth, and a glance towards Justine showed that she wasn't the only one affected. Tears that should have dried were now running again, and it was all she could do to offer an awkward half-hug.
They needed new arms and legs ASAP.
…Hopefully Belladonna and Nameless were still alive. The old pianist was also an accomplished craftsman, so he likely would be able to craft prosthetics for the girls.
Their stomachs growled in tandem.
…Maybe they should eat the cake first.
Erm, hello? It's been a month, hasn't it? Oh well, nothing I can do now except post this. Hope you enjoyed.