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❚❙❙ {Project 02} Crossing Past (ENDED)
Tokyo
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Posted 2/3/17


As the sword fell on the hooded figure, a strong sharp gust crossed swords, halting the lethal edge inches above the tip of the hood. A hidden smile beneath the hood blew the Princess backwards, losing her stance.

"I must commend; the new reincarnation does have guts. But the swordplay is child's play to me - the wisest of all Queens. Your blade has dulled. You are no match against me. You have my pity, shall I share more secrets with you? It seems I'm feeling generous today!"

With a swoop like a vulture on the inescapable fate of her prey, the 'Queen' whispered, "Your Shu is no more. Did you think his devil would give him a second chance at living after the contract is sealed?"

With a chilling high pitched laughter, the hooded figure floated back in time before a blunt force swung in her direction.

The white fluffy light was solemn by the Princess' side.

"Stay focus on your objective. Pray tell, who do you wish to see most now,"Ember quietly spoke.

As if a light shone briefly in her mind, Renee saw the collapsed figures of a dark clothed prominent figure of a well-built man and no too far behind, a boy with striking resemblance to the One Day King.

Ember turned to Tara and the dethroned Queen and announced haughtily, "My word is my contract. She sealed in blood with me and with me shall the promise be held valid till her death - no harm shall come to our contract and no lies to stray her from her final goal."


Yuki
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The dewy-eyed princess dropped her sight at Ember. Pursing her mouth into a self-satisfied smirk, Renee recalled Shu's tender touch. He who was cold and shown zero emotion towards her, was always touching her tenderly. She held onto the rapier firmly. She then eyed the little pinky on her hand. She remembered how Punk had mention about knowing who lies on the other end of her red thread of fate.

"Looks like you're not at all wisest," Renee spoke up with a triumph. "Or any mightier than you believed."

"What!"

"I know better than anyone else in this room how Shu is no longer ceases to exist. If he was to be reborn, he would no longer be the same man Snow fell in love with. If he was to be reborn, I wish he would be born into a caring family. He has suffered too much in his past. There was too much pain in him. It would be sufficient that in this world, only I remembers the love I had for him. If he doesn't remember me, that would be the best. It wouldn't cause any pain to him," tears were rolling down her fiery eyes as she spoke. Ember watched her silently. It clearly knew Renee was concealing herself. More than anyone, Renee's most curious if Shu was reborn. If he remembers her.

"If he was not given a second chance at living, hadn't I walked down his path already?" Renee snickered at the dethroned queen. "My goal was never to find Shu from the beginning. It was becoming the puppet in your contract that had me looking for him. My goal was to avenge on you for what you did to my family!"

Renee charged at the hooded figure with the rapier blade upheld, going in with a foreswing and following it with a backswing. The hooded figure dodged the first and met the second with his/her broadsword. The weight of the thing sent Renee's blade back, back, back…but not far enough to knock the blade free of her hands.

Striking. This arcing shot sliced the fabric of Renee's dress at the midsection. It missed the flesh behind it by perhaps a centimeter.
The hooded figure staggered. Renee swung. Her rapier missed, though not close enough to eat fabric. The opponent managed another smirk, this time at the spryness of his/her dodge. Renee had to admit it was impressive, but this time, the sight only made her angrier.

Swing. Swing. Swing. The first two missed badly, but the third, a backswing off the one before it, found flesh. The sleek and quick rapier ate through her opponent as easily as air. The hooded figure dropped to a knee, tried to stand, and dropped again.

"Child's play!?" Renee mocked as she swung another blow and unveiled the hooded figure.

Renee's eyes grew from angst to confusion. Surprised to find the face of the hooded figure familiar, she took a few steps back. The figure before her laughed at the expected reaction. Taking off the voice changing device and tossing it aside, he stood up after a few staggers.

"This shouldn't be new to you. Isn't this just another dejavu?" the figure spoke loudly.

"Keith!" Renee gasped. "You're the queen's reincarnation? But... she wouldn't have..."

Renee shot Ember a glare.

"This young man is not the queen's reincarnation. She is not given a second chance at life as a result of Shu's absolute orders. There is two souls in this young man's body. He is, unfortunately possessed by her vengeance," Ember spoke calmly as it squinted its eyes to observe the figure.

"How do I save him?"

"You will have to kill him too. He has been fully eaten by the queen. For many, many years."

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Posted 2/4/17


Min Hui opened his eyes slightly. He felt unusually light in his head. The last time this happened was when Punk dropped a bag of vaporizable cocaine placebo, he reminisced. That memory brought pain and laughter. The Grim Reaper smiled.

"An expression of a carefree fool," a sarcastic voice spiked from the corner of his mind.

Min Hui spun around to face his critic with his usual stern expression. In a space of whiteness, the owner of the voice sat flamboyantly on a high throne chair while clad in spotted dark royal robes. His hair was dirty blond mess but not long enough to hide those sharp blue eyes. Min Hui felt a sense of familiarity and disdain at the same time.

"Who are you? No, where are we?"

The King-like character stood up and waved around lazily. "Where do you think? Between space and time, infinite dimensions. Existing beyond the hands of time and age, across borders."

He paused.

"We are dead. Probably."

Min Hui could hardly resist the urge to slap the nonsensical logic out of this actor. He watched with disgust as the strange fellow examined himself as if this was the first time he felt his body.

"Could you please stop touching yourself and answer my question. Who are you?" Min Hui's low tone reverberated through the endless blank space.

As if satisfied by his examination the blond man grinned smugly.

"You do not recognise me? that means I am the real thing," the blond man spoke out of character.

Min Hui narrowed his eyes, "that fiendish look...Janus? You look too old. What is the real thing?"

At the back of his mind, Min Hui felt nostalgia. He knew this man. Not the boy impersonating him. Someone from a past he wished to forget...


Four years ago...

Min Hui trudged trough the flooded streets of the half developed Eastern provinces. It was a mystery to him why the territorial leader restricted the government's development pan within 10 km radius of his huge walled mansion. The rain pelted on the lean muscular young police officer but he had been through worse weathers on cases before. It was even more of a mystery why the old man would call upon his adopted grandson whose presence was not tolerated by the rest of his adoptive family. He was more than happy to leave the mansion the moment he entered police academy and had never looked back or even visited the old man on new year. His mother begged him to return only to hear his monotonous reply;

"I will get us a house outside soon on my own account. Mother. You no longer have to endure those toxic talks."

He sighed as he raised a large fist to the unwelcoming metal studded wooden front gates. If not for his well-honed skill of perception, he would had been knocked out in seconds as the front gates swung violently outward. His leap back to the muddy waters earned him an extra chagrin.

"DON'T EVER RETURN!" he heard the old man bellowed as a huge Western bodyguard stepped out of the threshold followed by a couple more holding multiple umbrellas to shield a small kid from the torrential rain.

The boy walked out nonchalantly with an air of pride. The bodyguard pushed Min Hi roughly aside as the boy cleared the path in his tiny steps. Suddenly, he paused. And looked in Min Hui's directions. Min Hui felt a small chill as he locked the kid in his eyes - the boy's eyes were cold and hallow. Smirking, the boy led the bodyguards by their noses to a black limousine parked surreptitiously in the side road.

The old man breathed hard as he followed to the edge of the threshold to ensure his unwanted guest left the compound completely. Finally spotting his estranged grandson splattered in dirt and drenched, his face softened to one full of concern.

"My dear boy, we must have you cleaned up!"

Min Hui shook his head and pellets of water flew in all directions from his shaggy head.

"Who was that?"

The old man ignored and beckoned the drenched man into the compound. Min Hui knew he could only wrestle an answer from the doting old man if he abide a few requests.

"Who was that?" Min Hui repeated after drying up in the guest room.

The old man sipped slowly on the tea served on a coffee table behind.

"He is the reason you are here."

"That kid?"

"Yes. Before I go on, can you promise me you will not cut across me and listen with an open mind?"

Min Hui could see where the conversation was going but the distant eyes of a child of such tender age, he wanted to know more. He nodded slightly. The old man heaved a big sigh of relief.

"to answer your question directly, that boy is no normal kid. He is the rising mob leader. He has...memories at that young age of leading destruction in his path. He was after this-"

From within the silk kimono, the old man extracted a small leaher bound book. Min Hui could recognize it anywhere. It was a book that haunted him to this day.

"The original 'King For A Day'? It's just a fairy tale I have been tortured by you to believe."

"Please, Min Hui," the old an spoke pleadingly. "I have never meant for it to turn ut this way. You must understand! This book is mroe than just a fairy tale! It's your destiny! You are the only person who could decipher the codes of the ancient!"

Min Hui raised a hand. "I know you want an open mind. You had it. I have enough too. Tell me the real motive for making my mother beg for my
leave of absence from my workplace. It was truly embarrassing predicament for us all. And I had to leave this house to avoid such situations only to have you destroy my peace. You owe me an apology," Min Hui spoke without restraint nor respect.

The old man's face hardened for a moment. He studied Min Hui's face and then lowered his head.

"I am... Sorry."

It was not the first time Min Hui heard his face-burning apology but he could not get accustomed to how one of the most powerful businessmen in the underworld and surface world could have enough humility to bow to the third generation most unwanted grandchild.

"I was honestly telling you the reason for your visit,"the old man continued. "You are the true heir to this book. That boy wanted it. To decipher. To change the world. Only you can prevent this."

"it's an old wives' tale, a folklore, a myth. Wake up, old man! Just give up the book! There is no such thing as magic! If the child likes it, he can have it. It's my possession? Don't be a fool! I shall relinquish it now."

All the hatred and anguish Min Hui felt from this household came gushing out of his chest lie an open wound as he remembered the times he and his mother was humiliated and spat on by their adopted family while the old man was busy in hs tiny laboratory pouring over books and fake spellbooks. Min Hui grabbed the book and threw it across the room. It flipped open to a page portrait of the blond King.

"Janus could very well be the reincarnation of the King. He possessed the right qualities and fulfilled the criteria too. So did you..."


Snapping back to reality, Min Hui felt weird he could not remember who explained the last point to him. He looked up at the smirking blond figure.

"You are Janus. You are not King Raizier. Are you?"

"I am King Raizier Shunsuke Helusen!" Janus proclaimed, his smirk dropping to a frown. "I possessed all the feelings the King had for his Queen and the memories of his past life!"

"then, who am I?" Min Hui wondered aloud as a short memory flashed.

The young Min Hui stared a the blond man in the book. He felt himself pulled backwards with a painful tug. He found himself on the back of a huge black horse, his hands gripping its reins firmly while his arms were supporting a noble lady in dress unsuitable for horse-riding. Where is this place and why am I in strange old garbs?



Yuki
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Posted 2/4/17 , edited 2/5/17


The noble lady pointed straight. She directed him into the deep of the woods, and by the time he realised, they were strolling inside a cave. He looked down at the noble lady he was supporting. She deeply reminded him of a certain girl he knew at the back of his head. Just then rays of sunlight hit down on them as they strode out of the cave into an untouched nature.

He looked around the beautiful, quiet woods.

The noble lady turned her head towards him and he was met with her innocent, round blood-red eyes. Her dewy-eyes grew wide with every moment their eyes remained locked with one another. She looked surprised. She held a hand up to caress his face as her eyes searched for something, or someone within him.

"Shu?" she called gently as she looked at him with a soft countenance.

"Who-"

Min Hui looked down at the puddle of water by the horse they were on. The two faces reflected was one of the noble lady's and the other the familiar face he'd seen since his youth. He frowned at the face, and the dirty blonde haired with electric blue eyes lad in the reflection frowned back.

Just then they heard the wolf's howl and footsteps closing in. The entrance to the strange woods seemed to attract certain curious wild beast. In this world, the beast was known as the Great Grey Wolf. Larger than a regular Siberian wolf with matching set of large sharp teeth, it was not to be underestimated. The wolf seemed to be entranced by the cave and upon picking up a new scent, noticed the couple. Min Hui unmounted the horse as quietly as possible.

Snarling, the wolf approached the couple cautiously. For some reason, his instincts was to protect the lady, ignorant of his own life - it was his first time feeling a lady valuable to protect here.

The wolf pounced as he fled away from the lady. The two got into a scuffled fight. In a moment of hesitation, the wolf sensed an opening and bit his left shoulder. He summoned his last strength to kick the wolf away. It was then he saw the noble lady running towards the wolf - with a knife in her hands and stabbed it, deep into its heart. The wolf's blood smeared across the princess' dress. He kicked the wolf away. The wolf began howling in pain and swayed at its spot, losing focus gradually.

The lady ran towards him with tears rolling down her rosy cheeks. She hugged him tight but tenderly. It was as if she had longed for his return. Her warmth brought unexplainable vividness to his senses.

"Why?" she cried. Min Hui was taken back by the question the lady asked. "Even when you're given a second chance, why did you still chose to come back?"

Young Min Hui was dumbfounded.

"Who are you?" he asked.

The noble lady stood up. The blood stain on her dress disappeared and so was the wound on his shoulder. She curtsied before him. Min Hui had never seen a lady as elegant and breathtaking as her.

"I am your princess, your sole Queen. Snowaphina Francesca Helusen," the princess smiled kindly.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Kill him?" Renee asked in bewilderment. "But he's my friend!"

All the days and time spent with Keith since schooling days came rushing in. Even the memories upon finding the princess' childhood friend as the dethroned Queen's lapdog intruded. Keith laughed aloud.

"Ironic, isn't it? That the person who betrays you once again is a childhood friend who harbours feelings for you. Be it Keith or good old Victor," he spoke with a smirk.

"When did you possess him?" Renee asked with a stern expression. Her grip on the rapier tightened.

"When?" Keith laughed. "It's been a while. Ever since he moved to the East."

"So that's why you keep encouraging me to move to the East and follow my dreams to sing. You'd been planning this all along. To revive me as the puppet of your contract."

"You should blame your grandfather.... and that useless devil. If they had given you to me when your parents died, I wouldn't need to possess Keith at all."

"My parents?"

"Your parents died in a car accident," Ember commented monotonously. "But it was no normal accident. Pixie caused the car to malfunction and slid onto the tunnel wall."

Renee could not recall the incident. All she remembered was being embraced by her lifeless biological mother and seeing her biological father covered in red. Then the next piece of memory was seeing her biological grandfather for the first time in the hospital alongside her cousin brother, Jerome and family. To prevent rumours, they had her taken in as Jerome's younger sister. Renee tried recalling deeper into her memories. Flashes of the car door opening and a punkish coloured hair lad taking her from her mother's embrace suddenly surfaced. She remembered seeing Pixie and Ember (Nadeshiko) in their original form facing off one another at the other end.

"Lil bunny, you're still too young to be involved in this," a cheery voice spoke. The 5 year-old Renee looked at the big brother carrying her. It was Punk!

"I'll deliver you to your guardian," he said with a bright smile. "I'll erase your memory. So till we meet again, lil' bunny."

With that, he covered her sight with his palm and before she could react like any normal child, she fell into a deep slumber.


"Punk!" Renee snapped. She turned to look at Ember. The white ball looked up at her.






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Posted 2/5/17 , edited 2/5/17

Min Hui stared.

"Who?"

Janus was tired of watching Min Hui writhing in his sleep. Maybe I should kick him. His stupid face deserves less than my foot. Be grateful you commoner.

Delivering a sharp jab in the lower ribs, Janus watches with satisfaction as Min Hui roused in pain though a tad groggy and strangely happy in expression. Was he having a good dream? As Min Hui was trying to make sense of his situation, Janus was reminded a circus of oddities from a certain dynasty. How Janus wanted to wipe that smile of that fortunate child's face. Did he know how much torture Janus had to go through with the past memories?

"Master Raizier, your fiancée's family has a letter for you," Harry the family butler called out from far away.

The messy blond hair young man stirred in his afternoon nap before looking up in bewilderment.

"Sir?" The butler inquired with concern.

"Ah," the duke rubbed his temple and spoke shortly. "I had a strange dream. Apparently, people wear strange clothes of appalling length and they can even fly in some black bird. How does a carriage travel without horses? It even made strange purring sounds."

"Maybe I should prepare a herbal tea from the East..." the butler was suspicious of his master's sanity.

Raizier scowled. "I meant it as a joke."

"Oh dear. My apologies Master Raizier. I'm afraid I cannot comprehend such a noble level of joke."

Ignoring his sarcasm, Raizier held out a hand for the letter. He took a quick glance and heaved a deep sigh.

"Prepare the fastest steed, Harry."

"Is something the matter?" The butler enquires, alarmed.

"My dear fiancée of many years is breaking of the engagement."

A head full of orange curls akin to burning flames, Rin was a lady of noble lineage. A marriage to her would easily gain access to the throne. However, she was more depressed than ever. She looked despairingly down at her underdeveloped body. I'm sorry, Lord Raizier. I love you. A small voice behind spoke a few spine chilling words and she nodded before bursting into tears. The cold voice chided her to silence. Another voice silenced them.

"Mistress, Lord Helusen is requesting your presence."

Composing herself, she announced. "Let him in but serve him not courtesy of tea. "

"Yes, Mistress," her servant's voice quivered outside for she could be beheaded for discourtesy to either side.

Taking a deep breath, Rin mustered her courage to rip her maroon dress to scandalous length. A tear rolled as this dress was her Favourite gift from her beloved Duke. Putting on her dress, she did a final touch up of white powder and a teardrop shaped tattoo beneath her left eye. I am a fool to fall for you but this is as far as I can go.

Descending from the winding stairs with air of a noble, she faced her last love with rebellious confidence. She could tell from his shock that he never knew this side of her.

"How kind of Lord Helusen to come by my humble residence considering you were always too busy to stop by for pleasantries."

"What is going on, Rin?" Lord Helusen's voice shook with silent rage and discontent at her appearance. "Did the royal family ever allowed their only Daughter to be in such awful state?"

"I have much more authority than you. I thought we are both clear who held more power in the kingdom," Rin replied evenly. "You need me. Yet you have been getting colder. My family has decided you do not deserve the throne!"

"Our wedding is set to be in two months time!" Lord Helusen raised his voice.

"Well, that is more than enough time to cancel it!" She screamed.

Breathing hard, the pair stared daggers at each other.

"My apologies for the uncomely behaviour, Lord Helusen. This would be the last time we will be speaking in each other's presence. Someone please escort the duke out!"

Two manservant came forward bravely as Lord Helusen refused to be manhandled.

"What happened to the Rin who climbs trees and run to me whenever there is a beetle in her hair?" Raizier spoke through his pain.

Rin caught side of his lovely eyes so full of emotions that she felt a sharp pain in her heart.

Turning away, she tried to keep a calm voice, "Goodbye. Raizier Shunsuke Helusen."

She ran to her room and watched the Helusen horse ride away like a wind.

"He did not bother to look back," a sneaky voice spoke her minds thoughts.

Rin burst into tears as a white snick with ember eyes coiled round her wrist.

"You did well, child. Now you can save him. You remembered how to form a contract with me right?" The snake hissed.

"You promise... you promise right? He will be safe with this?"

The snake blinked and in an undertone, it whispered a surreptitious reassurance.

"I think he did love me," Rin said between sobs.

"That stone man? You fool! Are you hesitating now after all the cold shoulders he had given you!"

"Maybe maybe he is ill? I don't know! He is so different from back then!" Rin wailed.

The snake tightened its grip on the frail lady.

"Do you want to save him?" It spoke in an unusually sugar sweet voice laces with malice.

The girl nodded.

"Now the contract..."

Lord Helusen was too far to hear her screams alone in the parentless house. All he could do was to ride like a wind, shutting of the entire world as he wallow in unknown sorrow for a loss he thought he never had.


"Janus? What's wrong?"

The little boy opened his eyes and stared at the grown man. Why did Min Hui look bigger? Looking down, he saw that his body had shrunk under the royal drapes.

"Shit. It's time. The princess can only choose one to save. And she cannot see us in our true forms."

Yuki
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Posted 2/6/17 , edited 2/6/17


"Yes?" Ember answered calmly.

Renee's squinted her eyes at the glowing creature. "You know Punk? He was the one who carried me away. You and Pixie were nearby too. But..."

Ember remained silent as it watched Renee struggling with the right words.

"Punk looked the same as he was when I met him again... why didn't he aged a bit-"

Keith's sudden launch at her cut her train of thoughts. Smirking, he slammed Renee's left chest with his palm. She lurched backwards, clutching her chest for the unbearable pain.

"You have yet to fetch me the man I loathed," Keith snorted. "Do you think I'll let you go easily after all I'd done?"

Renee gave him a glare. She remembered fairly well how utterly painful it was to see Victor standing by the dethroned queen. Despite that, the princess could not return the feelings he had for her. Her heart belonged to a certain cold-hearted duke of Helusen.

Seeing Keith completely unfamiliar to her, she couldn't help but felt the bittersweet. He was her childhood friend. He was the boy who would sneak her out to playgrounds and embarks on adventures with her.

"If you don't bring Shunsuke Helusen to me, I wouldn't be able to move from this body," Keith suddenly spoke. Renee raised an eyebrow. Just then, Keith snapped his fingers and Tara re-emerged with a unconscious Junko on a wheelchair.

"Junko!"

"Worry not. She's just unconscious from all the drugs I fed her. But she's in her best shape as usual."

"Why are you doing this? Why are you involving an innocent civilian?" Renee raised her voice.

Keith chuckled. "Do you think I like being in a man's body?"

Renee gripped her rapier tightly.

"No," he continued, dropping his sight at Junko. "I only possessed his body to get naturally close to you easily when I failed to get you when you were still very. very young. It ticks me more when you never regain any memories from the past when the effect from my contract would be strong to manipulate your long forgotten love. I only figure out that it had something to do with the necklace that old geezer gave you. I had no choice then, but to forcefully bring you to my side."

Renee took a step back as Keith took a step towards her.

"Hadn't you ever felt weird that Keith and Junko who once date back in high school could remain such good friends even after breaking up? Junko knew very well that Keith had always liked you since childhood. But why are we still on good terms? Because we are friends with benefit. Because I want her by my side and I told her so," Keith said with a wide smile. "And she, who loves Keith couldn't resist me at all."

"Why?"

"She was just like me. Young, inspiring, lustful and wanted by all men," he added without a pause. "I want to own her body to myself once I am done revenging. She reminded me of the gorgeous Queen Anastasia!"

Unbearable to hear his ridiculous self-twisted reasonings, Renee lunged forward with the rapier aiming at his torso. Keith dodged in the nick of time only to greet with Renee's sudden lower swirling kick. Keith fell and before he could grasp the situation, the edge of the blade was pointed a tad millimeters from his neck.

Keith looked at the girl on top of him, who struggled to not push the rapier down. Her face was hidden within her curtained pinkish-silver hair. He was about to laugh when he saw something sparkling falling from her face. Tears. Renee couldn't do it.

She couldn't push the blade down after all.

"Hahaha! This is why you're a miserable, useless princess. As expected, you can't kill anyone with that hands of yours!" Keith laughed maliciously. Staggering, he suddenly held up his right hand and held the blade.

"What-" he looked at his hand moving in-accordingly. Blood oozed from his wobbly hand holding the blade a little too tightly. "Keith!"

A confused Renee watched Keith struggling with himself.

"I... will... not... STOP- let... you.... hurt... KEITH- ... Renee....," Keith struggled in between words. Renee tried to pull the rapier away upon realising the odd but he was too strong for her.

"No, Keith!"

With much struggle, he pulled the blade into his chest. Keith's previously bitter countenance was suddenly freed of pain and vengeance. Letting go of the rapier, Renee cried uncontrollably. Keith turned his head a little to take a better look at her. He held out his bloody, badly wounded right hand and Renee took it in her hands.

"Keith.... why?"

"I couldn't... control myself.... at all. But this is.... the least... I could do... to protect you," he said softly, catching his breath in between.Renee shook her head vigorously, holding his hand tight. Keith watched the lady he liked as he remisniced their time playing together. Smiling gently, he closed his eyes. Finally at peace.

"Keith!" Renee cried, all heartbroken.

"He took with him the dethroned queen's vengeance. Now she will no longer exist in this world, be it her soul, body or her vengeance," Ember spoke monotonously as it watched Pixie disappearing into the darkness.

"He could have been saved-"

"Not at all. The vengeance left by the queen lingering in this world was strong enough to form a soul itself to possess a mortal. You must kill the mortal possessed by this vengeance to fully get rid of the Queen once and for all."

Renee looked at Keith as he was slowly eaten by the darkness. She did not let go of his hand until he has completely disappeared.

"Junko?" she turned to look for her friend but she was no where to be found.

"Pixie had her sent back to the East. She would not remember this incident," Ember replied.

Renee sighed as she sat on the empty ground, staring at her blood-stained hand.

"Ember," she called. "I have finally done what I'm supposed to do. It's time I fulfill my part. This is where I shall pay you for the second contract I formed with you."

"It has not yet end, princess," Ember hissed.

"What?"

All of a sudden, the previously pitch-black space turned into a space of whiteness.

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Ember sniffed. "Something is not right...What in the realms...!!"

At the end of what should be endless space of white, the walls caved in to a small black hole. Reaching its consciousness to the sides, Ember was taken back in time only as a spectator.

Moments earlier...

"Watch it, fool!" Janus screamed as he used his short leg to kick Min Hui aside; the non existent ceiling was peeling off and huge painted pieces were falling like hailstorms.

"We need to get out of here," Min Hui shouted, finally regaining composure. "What the heck is going on?"

Pulling himself up, Janus scanned their dangerous environment."Over there! There's an opening yonder!"

"it's pitch black," Min Hui retorted. "What the heck...I'm already in illogical situation. Let's jump!"

Disregarding Janus' protest, Min Hui picked the small boy under his good arm and leapt beyond the whiteness into the cold black abyss again.

To his surprise, he landed on soft bed of moss. Janus struggled out of group.

"Looks like we are back in the present. No...we are back to human plane," Janus spoke importantly as he swept twigs off his tailored pants.

"What do you mean? Take a look around! We are still in the castle! I should have the right directions to Punk's room!" Min Hui felt like he was losing his mind.

"Punk...could have never existed..." Janus muttered "Something must happened on the other side with my Princess for her plane to collapse back to singular dimension."

"Wait...Punk is my partner! He lived and died! Don't you dare-" Min Hui grabbed Janus by the neck with heavy breaths. "insult our memory."


Yuki
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Posted 2/17/17 , edited 2/17/17


Ember's sudden disappearance took Renee by surprise. Before she could react to its words, Ember vanished before her eyes.

"Ember!" she took a step forward, with an outstretched hand in hope to grab it (but failed) and tripped on her steps. She closed her eyes tight as she falls and the next thing she knows, she found herself jerked awake on a bed.

Blinking, she looked from the grand ceiling to the creamy wallpaper with gold-painted panels. She recognised the strong Victorian-themed room. The princess turned misty-eyed as the striking details and decorations of the furniture by the king-sized four-poster bed triggered the unfathomable memories buried deep inside her heart.

She sat up on the huge bed, continued to observe the room. The castle may had fallen from its glorious time, but ever since the Royscott Corp bought over the said land with the castle, the president had refurbished, revamped and restored it back to its original state, as much as he could. Some parts of the castle, however, were too badly ruined that some states were left untouched. The main wing which once housed the royal Helusen family were restored as much as possible to its perfection.

Renee squinted her eyes as she recognised the grand chamber. It was the princess' room, which was later refurbished by the King-for-A-Day as their newlywed bedroom. Renee could remember vividly as if it was her own memories from yesterday, how tormenting it was sleeping in this room alone after the death of King Raizier. It was partially a nightmare to the young widow queen.

Renee then recalled her grandfather reading to her a history on the Helusen royal family, whom ruled the country for ages before the falling.

"The most respected King and Queen of the Helusen royalties were remarkably the first King Raizier and Queen Snowphina Helusen of the council. Their chamber were restored to its original state and was never housed by their descendants. The second King Xavier loved his royal parents very much that he embedded their commemoration in the castle, in the kingdom," the president of the Royscott Corp once told his little granddaughter. "King Xavier once said that the chamber was his mother's everything of his father."

Renee cracked a blushing, small smile as she thought about what her son (in the past life) commented about them. Her only regret in her past life was leaving their son too soon. If only she could lived longer enough to watch him ascend the throne.

Renee's gaze trailed down to the garment she was wearing. Her eyes widened when she found herself wearing a nostalgic elegant pearl white tube-ball gown made of satin and silk. It was her favourite gown from her beloved King. It was one he rushed the servants to make a day before his coronation - or so she heard from the royal advisor. Princess Snowaphina wore it once to his coronation day. And since then, she was never seen wearing it anymore. It was the gown she was wearing on the day he died unexpectedly. It was the gown his blood stained when she went to him before his final parting.

It was also the same gown Renee was wearing in the nightmares which haunted her since her teens. The nightmares in which she walked down the red carpet with a bouquet of daisies only to find her groom was dead and his blood staining her white ball gown. Renee sighed in despair. It was not a nightmare out of the blue. It was a presentiment, a repeating nightmare dream of the past.

But how did I end up here? Renee wondered. She was bewildered that she would find herself in her old chamber when she was supposed to be at the old queen's quarter. Even more to be dressed in a gown which would had long perished. What is it....

She left the bedroom and walked down the familiar hallway, in search for an answer.

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Posted 2/22/17


"Punk was a non existent, you blind fool," Janus spat at Min Hui. Not a strand of uncertainty despite Min Hui's death glare and neck hold. "Do I have to spell it out for you? Or do you refuse to see the obvious? There is black magic in play. And you are part of it no matter how hard you try to stay oblivious. That's right. Your grandfather and I go way back. You refused his mediocre education in alchemy realms while I embraced it whole-heartedly. It was painfully clear who is the true heir to the core of Helusen's hidden magic. The only thing I don't understand is how that crazy old man foolishly rejected me and still see a Helusen in you. From what I perceive, not a drop reached your tiny veins."

Min Hui dropped Janus from a height, each glaring at the other for different reasons.

"I thought you were smarter than that, Janus. A boy of your age reaching the top of the underworld so quickly. Even you have been a fool like my grandfather," Min Hui sneered, shutting all illogical signs out of his carefully arranged perceptions.

"Look around you!" Janus shouted in rage. "What do you see? We are not at some church or orphanage as reported in your investigation! It's a discrepant castle! A castle lost to time and decay! Do you even hear a sound of nature? Impossible! We are stuck in another realm, you narrow-minded fool!"

An old memory of is grandfather echoed at the back of his mind.

My dear boy, even if you do not remember, it will come to you someday. Your mother and I have a strong lineage from the Helusens' blood. Although I am trying to figure out how two were seemingly chosen...who is truth...I stand by my own blood still...


Shaking his head violently as if to shut everything out, Min Hui dashed out of the room towards the grand staircase leading to the castle's great hall. Janus was hot at the former's heels but the first to notice the strangely frosted glass windows mirroring a different background was...

The Princess strolled through the garrisons towards the Great Hall dreamily. Her legs were guiding her subconsciously.

"What the... Renee! Renee! To your left!" a voice shouted from behind the clean slate windows.




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Posted 2/22/17 , edited 3/1/17


Walking in a daze, Renee pondered of the events adding together. From her parents' designed death to her eventual meeting with Punk seemed like all but coincidental. She was sure she remembered Punk saving her from being taken when she was only five yet she held no such piece of memory up till today. Was everything a plan? Or was it merely a dream? Or perhaps, fate?

It all seemed too surreal. For Lord Stefan to marry in this timeline when he had always believed he was only reborn to serve the Helusen Queen was of no coincident. She recalled him telling her that he would have never expected to meet a woman like her late-grandmother, what more falling in love with her; bearing her mother at a later age and of them all,the Queen he had been waiting for ages reborn as his granddaughter. Renee used to be confused with his statements, but it all make sense now.

"It must be fate. For me to disown your mother for running away with her butler... it's all fate. You were fated to be their child. You were fated to be my granddaughter. Whoever your father is now does not matter to me anymore, you're my precious gem," he once said.

Renee strolled along the garrisons dreamily, trying to piece every smaller puzzles together.

What did Ember meant that it has not yet end? She asked herself. They both knew very well what comes of Renee once she fulfilled both her contracts. The first contract offered Ember her body for the future she needed to avenge on whoever planted grudges in her to turn against her beloved husband and son.

The second contract was to ...

"What the... Renee! Renee! To your left!" a voice broke her train of thoughts.

Before she could come to her realisation, she lost her balance. She felt the tip of her heels at the edge of the grand staircase and she was falling forward. Just then, an arm shot out and wrapped around her waist firmly; supporting her weight . When she was firmly gaining control of her grounds, she sighed at the sight of near accident. She looked down at the arm supporting her. To her surprise, there was nothing! Yet she felt a strong invincible aura holding on to her the way she remembered it vividly.

Just then, she felt a presence coming up behind her. She spun around, eyes widened to find a strangely positioned frosted glass thawing into vapour right before her eyes. What stood in front of her now is a crystal clear piece of glass. She took a step forward, awed by its occult. Placing a hand on the glass, she quickly took it back when the unimaginable temperature of the glass took her by surprise.

It was as cold as ice!

"Renee! Are you alright?" A younger voice echoed from inside the glass. Renee stopped looking around the glass and focused at the voice. Her head tilted down to find Janus standing right in front of her, only to be separated by the thin glass of ice.

The princess took a step away, fusing her brows on Janus.

"Janus..." she called. Her eyes searched him wildly for the familiar feel he emitted. Min Hui rushed into the view as soon as he heard Renee's voice. She looked at Min Hui, slightly surprised before affixing her gaze on Janus.

"You have yet to answer my question," she started, slowly.

Min Hui threw a quick gaze at Janus.

"Who are you?" Renee asked softly. Min Hui clenched his fists when he noticed the princess had yet to end her question. Janus, on the other hand, smiled.

"Are you... S-," she paused and swallowed her saliva. "Raizier?"


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Janus smiled. "I could recognise this clumsy side of you no matter how many rebirths it take."

Min Hui pushed Janus out of sight. "Are you ok? Why are you on the other side?" His worried face was uncharacteristically out of world. "Don't listen to a childish nonsense from a spoilt criminal! We need to get you away from this craziness!"

You need to make a choice, a familiar chilly voice chided. I cannot maintain this space for humans any longer. One is bound to collapse. Quickly, princess.
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Posted 2/24/17 , edited 3/1/17


"What do you mean by that?" Renee asked, her tone slightly increased at the words Janus just said. Before she could speak more in hope to truly find out who he really was, Min Hui pushed Janus out of sight.

A baffled Renee felt pushed everywhere like a ball. Min Hui only drew confusions in her. She looked at him with a pained and confused expression.

"Childish nonsense?" Renee repeated his words. "Craziness?"

Min Hui winced as he looked at a trembling lady in a gown he thought he felt familiar.

"Why do you keep denying my past?" Renee asked. "Why don't you ever believe me? I wanted you to believe me! This nonsense you called, had torture me for centuries. This nonsense you called, was a true fact even recorded in a historical book. This nonsense is now appearing before your eyes! Yet you can play the wild card and deny everything!"

Renee raised her voice, glaring at Min Hui.

"You had no idea what I did back there. You had no idea what I had to go through inside the non-existent space you fell into. You asked if I am okay? I am not okay! I just killed my best friend with my own hands! Why? Because that witch, that evil queen resides in him! She took away my past with my loved ones!" Tears overflowed from Renee's big eyes.

"Do you still call the pain I been through an illusion, when clearly you're in one now? Why are you even here when you do not believe in these nonsense!?" she made gestures at the glass separating them. "I said King Raizier existed, you denied it as a fable. I said I was his queen, you denied it as hallucination. I said I have memory of this past, you denied it as nonsense. Everything you denied contained my feelings, my pain, my love, my memories, my husband and my son! I stained my soul with the devil to protect them! I-"

Renee paused just as her voice rose to the top of her lungs. She inhaled a mouthful of air to cool down before placing a palm on her chest.

"I am the core of these craziness! You don't even believe me.... you never once tried.... why did I even think that you could be Shu."

Janus directed his glare on Min Hui's countenance.

"There are times I felt you're Shu but it seems like I'd mistaken....," Renee looked from Min Hui to Janus. "Once a while when I thought you could be Shu, I felt glad you're reborn without memories from the past. Yet I didn't want you to deny the past that we were once married in. If you're really Shu, would it actually be fate that brought us back together? I had these on my mind sometimes."

She looked at her hand and gently rubbed her pinky, remembering Punk's last words before departing. "Could it be that Punk was the angel that brought us together? Did he know we were destined? Yet....I should have know it better. I shouldn't have expected something from you. I should have keep reminding myself that you're only staying by my side to solve Punk's death."

"You're not Shu," Renee closed her eyes, unable to face Min Hui at that moment. "I was wrong to think you could be him...."

Yet, my heart cringes when I thought of you. You who disliked me. Just like that man...

"Snow," A younger, more confident voice woke her up. Opening her eyes, she turned to a smiling Janus.

"Why are you so gentle towards me? Why do you, too remind me of Shu? Who are you?"

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"Is that your answer?" A smirking yet familiar voice came from behind her. In a flash, Renee thought she saw a mirage of Punk in the reflection of glass.

She turned abruptly, almost spraining a neck muscle. Punk was not there. Confused, she turn back to look at her anxious knights on the other side of the world. Their expression clearly confirmed she had not seen an illusion. Before she could make more sense of the strange occurrence, both sides of the glass were shaking as if a 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit them. She saw Janus screaming and beating his tiny fists on the glass while Min Hui...

Her eyes widened. He initially shared Janus anxiety to get to her quickly but suddenly something dawned on him and he stopped moving. With a serene smile and glazed eyes, he looked far behind her where she thought she felt Punk's momentary presence. He lazily return his attention to Renee and time seemed to stop. His outline of body began to blur and shatter into floating shiny glass, defying physics and passing the barrier towards her. Finally his face was the last to shatter but she caught his last words.

"I'm sorry, my Lady. I finally remember. Thank you for sticking by me but I need to pay my debt now. I'm sure Janus would love you better than I do. Goodbye, Snowaphina."

And his face shattered into thousands of glass pieces with the cracking glass barrier. Janus had not paid any attention to his arch enemy and had been calling in desperation.

"Snowaphina! Grab my hand!" He shrieked as the platform below his feet began raising levels above hers. Her world was falling away. Tearing with mixed emotions, she felt herself being pulled off her feet as Janus took a man's leap to the tiny light in the ceiling. She was engulfed in heat and light instantaneously before a sharp pain in her knees as she landed on dry grassy plains. Janus laid unconsciously under her, his tiny torso protecting her head from the hard fall from the unknown height. Blood was oozing from the side of his scalp, dying streaks of red admits his dirty blond mess of head.

"Don't worry. He will live. For you. The selfish you." Ember appeared as Punk, sneered. "Our contracts have been fulfilled. The castle is no more so live your life to the fullest till death calls."
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Posted 3/2/17 , edited 3/8/17


The shocked princess, eyes wide opened looking at the person she thought was her saviour, fused her brows together after his words sank in. All these while, Punk was also Ember! He had been closest to her than Nadeshiko does. To top it off, he had been Min Hui's most trusted partner.

Tears welled up in her eyes when she realised what a mistake it was to believe in Ember. She had been tricked. She felt her heart breaking and disappointment flushed in. Driven by anger, she pulled herself up in an attempt to pounce on Punk but the wound in her knees made her lurched unsteadily onto the ground before him.

"You tricked me!" She bellowed. "This is not the pay for the second contract! I offered you my life as Snowaphina! You were supposed to take all my memories of Snowaphina, and release Renesmee from the past! You said okay to it! You were amused to how I interpreted life! You were... supposed to make Snowaphina disappear completely from this world. Let only my soul to reborn, never my memories and never my body."

She threw dirt she could grab from the ground at Punk. "Why did you do this to Min Hui? He waited for you! He searched for you even after your death! If I'd known you were a devil from the beginning, I wouldn't have let him search for you! Did you have fun playing with us?"

Punk swept the dirt off his pristine white shirt. "Like I said, live you-"

"Take it. I am trading all my memories to bring Min Hui back! Take all of Snowaphina's memories and Renesmee's memories up to now and give back Min Hui," the feisty princess demanded.

Punk snorted. "How can you even compare a soul with all those memories?"

"You're not human to understand this. Soul and memories are equally priceless. You devils can't just put a price on them. A soul without memories is nothing but emptiness. Have you ever wake up one day, unable to remember anything. Not your name, not your family and not even your loved one? It is the same as death. Yes, you may be able to learn and gain new memories but are those ever going to make you the same person again? No, you became a new person. You were reborn. Only that your rebirth come faster than those whose souls are taken away."

"You chose Janus. Are you regretting now?"

Renee was shut. Biting her lips, droplets of tears dropped from her face. She took a peek at the unconscious Janus, a boy who was 15 years her junior, by her side.

"You chose him, who was gentler towards you. Who showed affections towards you," Punk spoke monotonously. "The sides you didn't get to see in Shunsuke, the sides you craved for so much. Isn't this selfish of you?"

Renee closed her eyes as she cried in pain. She reminisced the journey she spent with Min Hui, recalling everyone he introduced her to. His teammates who were of a different level, the friendly pilot who didn't mind her taking his seat and his ever gentle mother. She felt deep guilt for them.

"I couldn't choose," Renee admitted. "I couldn't.... I hadn't realise Min Hui was important to me whether or not he is Shu until I lost him... If time could repeat itself, I would choose Min Hui.... but back there I couldn't choose..."

"Very well, princess...."

Despite crying uncontrollably, Renesmee fell unconscious the moment Punk disappeared into thin air.

******

It had been days or even weeks since the incident took place. The once proud castle crumbled to its ruin and what's left was none other than history itself. The sudden lost of world heritage became the talk of the decade among archeologists and reseachers. The lost was impossible to determine in value. Its lost was, however, unimportant to a certain small king of the underground world. To him, his unconscious princess who fell into a deep coma since that fateful day was his utmost concern.

Despite him the one being physically wounded while his princess was almost unharmed, the latter fell into an unconscious mode. X-rays and examinations results showed no signs of internal organs' damage. There were also moments of touch and go but she managed to pull through. The hospital announced her as being in a vegetative coma and had since then brought back to Janus' mansion to be nursed under his delicate underlings.

When they thought there was too narrow a hope, the princess finally woke up from her long slumber - half a year has passed by.

"Get the doctor! Called for master! His princess has finally awoken!" Renee heard a lady shrieked.

It wasn't long until Renee felt swifts of movements. First she was held by a glasses man in black attire. He checked her pulse and ran through a few questions with her but the princess did not answer him. The small crowd gathered around her soon gave way to an important figure stepping in. And the princess finally recognised a face.

Enlarging her eyes, the princess stared at Janus as he came to her bedside.

"Renee! Are you okay? Do you recognise me?" She heard him asking as he placed a hand on hers.

Blinking , the princess nodded slowly. She eyed his small, young figure. Relieved, Janus instructed the others out of the princess' room, leaving only the both of them (the doctor retreated to the side).

"Janus," she replied slowly. "I had a long dream. In my dream, Shu was cold and distant. The only moment he was closest and opened himself to me was when we made love, to which I had his son."

A tear rolled from the corner of her eye. Despite the physical state of Janus, she believed he was very much mature than he appeared to be. "Didn't Shu hated me? Didn't Shu despised me? Shu never loved his queen. I couldn't feel it no matter how hard I tried. I can only assure myself he did love me. But when you appeared and showed affections I'd never gained from Shu, it was scary. I barely know you but you seemed to know everything about me."

"There were so many questions I wanted to ask. Did you loved me in the past? Or was I just a pawn? These questions had me suffered."

Renee paused and looked into Janus' eyes. To his surprise, she held his hand gently.

"Maybe we weren't destined together. I'm so many years your senior. I won't be able to match your pace for I'll be the one to age first. One day, you'll eventually find someone younger and beautiful to be with, someone who can age with you. Have you not thought of these before you took me to your mansion at that time?"



((at that time = referring to the first time renee met janus))
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Posted 3/10/17 , edited 3/10/17


Janus held her hand gently. She didn't remember it being so big for a young boy. Looking closely, he seemed to have aged with exhaustion. Could it be work? He smiled painfully.

"Are you regretting that you save me?" His voice was full of pain despite his attempt to hide his sorrowful eyes resting on thick eye bags.

Sighing, he shook his head. "I should be more mature than this. What's important is that you are back with me. I understand you have a lot of questions. For now, please rest. Tomorrow I will introduce you to the woman who understands all these events better than me. I have consulted her a few months back but if you are nervous, I can sit in the meeting with you..."

Renee looked away towards the soft light falling through glass panels.

"I will answer your first question. I do hold memories of King Raizier Shunsuke Helusen. His memories of you are vivid in my mind. I've been searching for you for the longest time and I really wished hard to shelter you from all this pain had your Grandfather not prevented our meetings. Anyways, we have his blessing now. I... never considered age a hindrance to our love. I've been waiting for you for centuries and I will not let you go now and in all our lives. They say body of a boy my age grows fast. I will make up for you in appearance. Give me a few years. I can assure you my mind is much older than this..."

Janus moved nearer and with a slight pause, he gave her a gentle kiss of her beautiful head. "I love you, princess. I will see you tomorrow morning."

As he exited, Renee took a peek at the small retreating figure. His back seemed to broaden with time and she coughed as how much more manly it looked since their first meeting.

Stepping out of Renee'S earshot, Janus growled. "hound, I know you are lurking. Notify Lady In Grey. She is ready tomorrow. Asap."

"Yes Master," a silky voice replied and the disturbing presence disappeared.
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