- Nino: ...That's one WEIRD looking ship.
- Nino: Is it gonna be okay to go on that. I mean, WOW, it's so gaudy...
- Meimona: Come on, after ALL that trouble we went through and you're hesitating NOW?
- Meimona: To me, this big weird slow thing looks like a GOLDEN BEACON OF HOPE!
- Nino: Jeez, the closer it gets, the more off-put I feel.
- Meimona: It's a ride out, what more do you dream of?
- Meimona: You have no business being this picky, you impossible-to-please plebeian!
- Nino: Eh... I'll take what I can get, I suppose.
- Nino: Although, this porcelain teapot looking ship does look like it came right out of a dream.
- Meimona: It's so slooow though. C'mon, big thing!
- Nino: That's how most ships are.
- Meimona: C'mon, C'mon, C'MON!
- Meimona: AS I SUMMON IT, IT ARRIVES...
- Meimona: COME TO ME AT ONCE, MY JOYRIDE!
- Nino: Screaming at it won't make it go faster, Mei.
You were taught that dreams are only for those who desire escape from a lurid reality.
You are but a humble servant in the queen's court.
Not only that, but you are also a humble friend. Reality is as good as it gets!
Today's duties await.
A lot of lessons are lined up, as usual.
Piles of ancient scrolls and gathered books, written by her predecessors over the course of more than four millennia, lay in wait. There can be only one celestial at a time, so such records are the only remaining part of the previous kings and queens.
The unanticipated young queen must learn all she needs, in order to properly conduct her inherited duties as the tenth monarch. As the three worlds that cradle millions of lives rest in her hands, she must learn to be responsible.
To say it's a tough task would be an understatement, as much as she'd hate to hear the implications of incompetence that entails. Luckily, that's why you're here!
One is never lost with a guide.
Although, it seems that there's a problem.
Your friend is missing! Her caretakers, the Pleiades, panic. This could easily spiral out of control. So easily, yes...
Without a student, lessons cannot exist, and a teacher loses their purpose. If there are no teachers, then history will be lost. Without history, man, monster, and winged become ignorant. Ignorance begets destruction, as one never learns from a bloody past. Total destruction, as if nothing ever existed, and nothing ever will.
The entire world gone, all in the blink of an eye.
So very easily... Not!
They're just being dramatic as usual.
Not that you can blame them, the nature of worrying for the monarch's well-being was deeply inscribed in each one's blood and flesh. A gift from the previous queen, who wanted to support her successor even if death stands between the two of them.
Luckily, calming the caretakers' anxiousness is also why you're here.
To her caretakers' dismay, the young queen is very much unlike her predecessors, perhaps because she's put under more pressure from a much younger age. At adolescence, she's become a full fledged hide-and-seek master rather than a studious girl.
Of course she'd be missing at a time like this.
She'd never be studying if she could sneak off to play!
She is also a master of getting totally lost if left by her own, especially outside of your home. Luckily, in the whole wide universe, you're the only one who can find her and guide her back.
They finally concede.
With you around, there's no reason to worry.
You search everywhere, but she's nowhere to be found.
Not under the ancient Liriodendron she was born from, not in the old library storing the books she learns from, not behind the wood tower that you live in, and not in the fields the two of you played in. Absolutely nowhere!
She must've run away to the midworld.
Despite the unlimited resources you have in your home, she was always more fascinated with the lives of monsters and humans.
What a strange and amusing queen.
This time, she's hiding in the human world, isn't she?
Well, it's not a problem. Descension is easy, and ascension is easier.
It's your first time here. What a strange place. So busy, unlike home.
If you're to see an uncountable number of new faces passing by you every day like this, that would be most disorienting!
There's also a lot of ringing.
It must be coming from those giant bells.
Ringing, ringing, ringing.
Oh well, you must find your friend.
Minutes turn to hours. Still, she is nowhere to be found.
Ring, ring, ring.
Oh well. In times like this, you rely on your power.
You turn to your halo.
The needle in the compass that always follows her.
She'd say "Kaji, you cheated!" if she knew you had to use it, as usual!
But, it's fine. She always says it with a smile.
She laughs, and you laugh!
Unlike a senior mentor who commands respect, a friend is someone to relax around. You've always seen her as an equal. In friendship, the scales never tip.
But nobody can be her equal.
The hours turn to days. Days, to months. Months, to years.
It's no use. What's wrong with you...?
You never knew the human world was this cold.
Time evaporates, drifting like mist.
It is invisible, but always moving. Untouchable, yet you feel its presence.
No matter what you do, you cannot grasp it, even if it frustratingly surrounds you like the air you breathe.
Even though you know it is essential for life, you wish it would halt.
Ring, ring, ring.
...Maybe, she doesn't want to be found anymore?
Or maybe, you're not allowed to find her anymore. Maybe, you've become undeserving.
Ringing, ringing, ringing.
A heavy crown encompasses a childish mind, silencing it for eternity.
She rises with the sun and inherits the duty of the deceased.
As you watched her...
You should have felt proud.
The Celestial queen was finally fulfilling her destiny, and yet, your heart felt empty.
The sun and moon, the whole world, all of it was in her hands.
Yet, it felt misplaced.
After toiling away years of hardship, does she not deserve recognition for it?
Deep in your heart, the answer lies, and yet you still reject it?
I ask you, what hope is left for one who cannot trust the most fundamental part of themselves?
You were supposed to remain by my side until the very end.
Your only duty, the justification for your mere existence, is unfulfilled.
Heart, mind, vision, polluted with light.
Though there is comfort in my light for those who conform, there is only agony for you.
Suffer forevermore just as I have, foolish dreamer.
RING, RING, RING.
Urgh. The ringing is all you can hear anymore.
...With this ANNOYING RINGING?
Kaji: Wake up already!
Oh. You were just asleep.
And you're in the bar, apparently. Huh. You forgot you came here in the first place.
Why are you even here, though? And what were you-
Unfortunately, it turns out that the annoying ringing was NOT part of your dream.
Your whole thought process is immediately cut short.
Who in the world keeps CALLING your phone?
Kaji: Inspect source of ringing.
Oh, it's her.
Kaji: Stop the ringing.
Yeah, you're stopping it alright.
She's not looking to talk, she's looking to text.
The only time she calls is to get you to read messages you've missed...or ignored on purpose, which is usually the case.
Man, what sucks about dreams is that they're very easy to forget. If you were home, you'd have jotted down what you remember from earlier. Well, you ARE holding something that you can write (type) stuff in, but...
As long as she demands your attention, you get the feeling you're not gonna have a chance to do anything else. That's just how it is, being friends with her. Oh, and she's also your superior AND a more experienced senior, so compliance is kinda mandatory here.
Interrupting your rare moments of respite, and a nice(?) dream that felt very important, this had better be worth it.
You temporarily ignore the nagging feeling of dread in the back of your mind.A while earlier...