本页面用于存放Arcaea (Nintendo Switch版)故事内容。除去全新的白姬 - 个人故事，某些故事的Nintendo Switch版故事内容与移动版的细节上略有差异。
Her first impression was that she'd awakened to a cloud of glass butterflies.
"How pleasant," she thought, "that these figures can move as well. Where are the strings?"
She sat onto her knees, fixed her dress, and found that there were no strings, and these were not
butterflies. Glass shards, flying on their own. "Delightful!" she felt, and so she said it.
The glass reflected another world than the one in white surrounding her. In it she could see reflections
of seas, cities, fires, lights; she rose her hand to scatter them, and laughed in joy.
She didn't know these pieces of glass had a name: Arcaea.
To tell the truth, they were so beautiful that it didn't matter the name.
She entertained herself by touching them, swirling them, watching them. That was enough, no?
There were six questions to ask: who, what, where, when, why, and how.
Of these questions, she asked none and desired no answers, content instead to bask in the glow of Arcaea.
This was her meeting with a new world.
But questions come inevitably.
The girl stands amidst the spiral of glass and wonders, "But really, what are these?"
Portals? Windows? Memories?
This last answer, "memories", strikes a chord with her. "They're memories," she says, faintly. And like that,
her questions stop.
For some reason, this is a place all full of memories. Whose memories, or of what, she can't tell for certain,
but her questioning has already ended.
For some reason the glass follows her. She can't hold any of it, but it comes to her nonetheless. On a whim,
she decides she will begin gathering it.
Piece by piece.
For no reason at all.
Without a clock, she has no sense for how many days or hours she has walked, but there is a new certainty
in her head...
There is beauty in a memory, that's what she finds herself believing. Thinking about it, a memory is never
certain, can change with the times, and yet is the nearest thing to a concrete piece of the past. It can be
bitter or sweet, and she thinks in either case they're quite enchanting.
For now she will see what memories she can, of these other places and people, and appreciate them for
their beauty. In the first place, these Arcaea flicker and glow splendidly in this strange and ruined world.
It's easy to fancy it all, and that they show memories makes it easier.
Humming, hands aloft, and stepping down broken paths, she brings what seems to be memories fit for an
entire world with her, following behind in a shining stream. Memories of an ugly, pretty world...
"How nice..." She sighs, she smiles, and serenity becomes her, it seems, too well.
But there’s nothing to worry about.
A pleasant, simple world like this need only be pleasant. Nothing more.
A joyous landscape. For so long, she has walked through a ruined yet beautiful world, finding things and
For so long she's traveled shepherding glass that the sky has become a mirror bending light as far as she can
see, and shaped almost geodesically. The fantastic and glittering roof never leaves her, and with her
surrounded by only fancies and goodness, the world has become endless bliss.
She traipses down a spiral staircase that once led into a manor, but the walls have now all fallen and
memories replace them. It is all the better: she leaps out ahead and dashes the memories everywhere,
basking in sparkling Arcaea that, when she finds them, float up to join the others in her artificial sky. So
enraptured now, she laughs with cheer.
A flower, a kiss, a love, a birth: a life followed by a new life in a river of glass flies past her eyes and blends
into the rest. She has seen this reflected countless times, and it still pleases her.
She gazes at the wall above. As they’ve come together, they’ve grown more vibrant.
She smiles, satisfied, before she wanders on again. And, as ever, heedless of all consequence.
They say that this is true: anything in excess is a poison. She either didn’t know, or hadn’t cared.
The girl now walks past what seemed to have been an old concert hall, the impact of its grandness dulled
as it had been split perfectly in twain, as if some higher power had willed it so. Out of the tomb of sound
drift memories again: of dances, of performance, hopes, victories.
Her mouth twitches. Has it simply become boring, or is this something else? She lifts her hands and the
Arcaea come to her, gently weaving over her palms and through her fingers. Blankly she notes them. How
many times has she seen the last hurrah of a retiring band? How many times has she seen two brothers
embrace? Too many times she’s seen the formation of a love, so frequent it was apparently standard in old
and forgotten worlds.
She lets the memories go, and genuinely thinks nothing of it.
They rise. They fly to join with the memories she’s still been gathering, and she looks at their destination
now. It’s grown much brighter since she began her collecting. It seems to grow brighter every day…
How many days has it even been? She winces, and a grimace twists onto her face. She shakes it away.
Maybe she only needs more, then whatever is missing will be found. She calms herself and carries on, not
letting it bother her that no matter what, she cannot push the Arcaea following her away.
“Heaven” is a kind of hell.
The truth is, idle peace and thoughtless pleasure are anathema to passion. Imbibing and imbibing of happy
things endlessly dulls the senses and makes “happiness” indistinct, blurred, and ultimately without
purpose. Now nothing has a purpose. She’d never had a purpose.
The sky is almost blinding.
She may be wandering, or she may be standing still; she isn’t sure and it doesn’t matter. The sky she’s made
has her attention, but the memories within it can’t be sorted out.
It has all become an opaque and overpowering haze compelling emptiness. She is losing her self.
And as she is losing her self, she remains numb to the encroaching dissolution. Though she did not
remember, she invited this pleasurable and suffocating cage, and she locked herself within it. Now she
lacks even the will to worry.
The sky grows brighter and she loses more of herself. With little time for her left, she stares upward as if
waiting. Bright, bright, bliss, beauty above: effulgent memory overtakes her.
Her mind whites out.
And, without meaning, light fades away.
Without meaning, time passes.
And a girl stares up into an empty sky, her mind ended, and thus her story along with it.
The girl is on her knees, her chin brought up, and it is soon that her jagged and pervasive creation will
consume her in its light coaxing oblivion. Above her it pulses and glows, gentle but insufferable. She lets it
nearly take her, thoughtless.
And from that vast nothingness, something catches her eye.
Distinction alone breaks her from the lull of uniformity, and her gaze swings to it: a single, special piece
of glass, just a bit red, and absolutely noticeable. Perhaps in reality or through a trick of her mind, the
rest of the sky that it begins emerging from dulls in its intensity. She thinks, it’s becoming easier to see.
She thinks, and realizes she hasn’t thought at all in ages.
The heavens wobble and distort, and a crack seems to run through them, the whole thing twisting around the
creation of a new memory: a shard of memory that should not exist. It breaks from the whole, and breaks
Both violently and calmly the roof of her making falls down, choking the air in scattering light. The spectacle
would be magnificent to her, but she remains stuck on the newest piece, which floats toward her amidst
the frightening chaos of joyous memories.
It, too, is a memory of joy: that of herself that she has forgotten.
“When was— Did I—?”
She speaks in a fractured voice, her vocal chords having been long neglected of use.
Now in her hands, the odd shard that came from zero revolves, and in it she sees the time when she awoke,
dancing alongside glass, traveling the mirror world, and happy. Tears fall from her eyes, and she remembers
that happiness left her long ago.
Twinkling glass pieces fall in an unevenly timed rain while reflecting dead worlds as they always do. The girl
at the center of it all focuses on a piece reflecting something new, however, and of this world still existing.
Tears fall from her eyes, but the reason is yet grasped by her. Her mind still recovering, she agonizes over
the loss of everything she had before, falling all around her. But, also, she agonizes over the loss of her zeal.
The memory reflected shows a better and ignorant time, as she walked into a trap she’d created for herself.
Even if she knew where it would lead — these shiftless travels inviting senselessness — would she have
done it all again, just to be happy?
The red in the glass is that of the red in her clothes, and she grasps the shard tightly to add the red of her
hand to it, blurring past and present, running warm over the shimmering surface. She feels, again, but she
feels so much more than before. She feels, overwhelmingly, regret.
These were times that, almost with pride, she had moved meaninglessly. She had gathered the Arcaea to
enjoy them,and not thought even a bit as to why. She had brought on herself a torturous and tedious
hedonistic existence,a manufactured and blinding prison. She had done it all for nothing, and nearly lost
And to a question of “Why?” there was never an answer. Just to be happy? That hadn’t been it either.
Collapsed on her knees, choking through cries with the memory over her breast, she knows the weight of
her errors. She had surrounded herself in love and life so much that it came to disgust her, and that truth
In grief the girl cries, thinking as much as she can, about everything that has happened, and what anything
A few small pieces of old times falling down intermittently break this, but the girl’s anguish has settled.
She no longer openly weeps, sitting among shimmering glass with dried tears on her cheeks and dried
blood in her hands. Fear, worry, and regret have ended, so she now has to look out ahead.
What she had done was misguided. It was, in fact, not guided at all. With the idea of “more happy scenes
would only be better”, she had filled the sky with good memories, not wondering if there might be any
danger in bringing so many of the mysterious shards together in one place. She realizes now that they had
threatened to swallow her.
If she wants to press on, she must have a reason.
She needs to answer those old questions that she had forgotten. What does this world mean, and why is
she in it? Why are gentle memories attracted to her, although she sometimes saw flashes of hardship in
pieces that refused her? Who was she?
Light comes back to her eyes and she stands on shaking legs. As she does so, the Arcaea surrounding her
shift. She looks on at them curiously, and lifts her hand. They lift too, and she ponders. She realizes this is
different, but that there’s also something different within herself.
The Arcaea will not come to her unbidden again, and she will not allow herself to be caged. She wipes
away her tears with the back of her bloodied hand, and lets the shard that has turned her onto this new
path go to follow behind her. She will let that be a memory, and face this strange world anew, and she will
find all that it is for, be it good or bad.
This she swears, and she is certain.
解锁要求：使用搭档对立通过cry of viyella
She'd awakened in a ruined tower, first noticing pieces of glass floating in the air. They led her outside, and
into a world of white.
White, white, and more glass. It seemed attracted to her, so she examined the shards with piqued curiosity.
She could see glimpses of something else in them, like looking through the windows of a train car. In one
flash she saw rain, in another sunlight, and in another death. She grimaced, and pulled away.
Although it seemed attracted to her, at her attempts to reach out and shatter the glass the shards were
naturally repelled. Her grimace deepened into a glare, and she turned her attention to the pale sky.
However, as she gazed into it, her expression melted away. Her mouth opened, but she was too shaken to
Glass: churning, glinting, and turning far overhead. There seemed to be a storm of it.
She regretted giving it attention, as now it seemed to notice, and was coming down to greet her.
解锁要求：使用搭档对立通过Essence of Twilight
It's difficult to describe that sensation which overwhelms her now. A riptide of glass that doesn't shatter,
cut, or reflect her face, pushing past her in powerful amounts, turning up and swirling as if pulled by a great
wind. She stands fast, and watches.
Watches... ...Memories...? ...Of a filthy world.
"What is this...!?" She reaches out. "This...!"
A memory of pain, betrayal, envy.
When she stops it, she stops the rest. They stand still in the air around her, frozen. She whips her head this
way and that. "They're only..."
Dark? Are they only dark? Wherever it is these shards reflect... she sees little light there. Whatever small
sparks she sees fade away in an instant. She bites her lip, and then smiles a smile with no humor. "What
kind of joke is that?" she mutters, "A world filled only with misery..."
As she says this, even her bitter smile fades away.
Without a clock, she has no way of knowing how long she's picked through memories, but she's sure it's
been quite a long time.
For a while, she'd searched the fragments for more happy memories, just to see if they were there. They
were, in small number, but the more miserable shards never ceased to hound her.
So, she's come to know places she now loathed.
She now stands at the middle of a vast spiral of glass that turns about her slowly and resembles cosmos.
She thinks there are two possibilities here: either the world or perhaps worlds these shards envision were
entirely terrible, or since only terrible memories are here...
In any case, she's decided to be rid of it all.
Something inside her has switched. Now when she looks at painful memories, she looks pleased. She
gathers such memories, it seems, gleefully.
"If I can be rid of this trash, or even better the places it represents..."
These places full of chaos and even light.
That will make her happy.
It had been a while, and so she'd grown confident.
In the time since she began she'd explored much of this glass and mirror world, and she'd gathered
countless shards. Like an unending scarf they formed around her neck and trailed long behind her. Now,
she stood atop a fallen tower and looked out ahead with a smile. The terrible memories of other places
twisted behind her menacingly.
She was gazing at a place that had always caught her eye, but she'd refrained from ever going toward it. It
was some sort of distant labyrinth turning into the sky with insane geometry. Of course, it was more glass.
Of course, she could feel its filth pulsing all the way out here.
Although she still had no idea how to go about it, she intended to be rid of the terrible fragments that
followed her eventually. To that end she was gathering them. She at least took comfort in having the bad all
in one place. That would make clearing it away one day all the more easier. This labyrinth was particularly
bad, and she felt confident in gathering its fragments too.
The maze was surrounding by a glittering and ever-shifting sea of good memories. As she made her way
toward the maze, the sea parted, only a few shards coming to join the trail behind her. However, while
walking the path and scattering the good shards she suddenly hesitated. Now flanked by hope, with
despair before her, she chewed on her lip...and her heart wavered.
Once upon a time, surely, things had to have been better.
The girl remembered nothing. and since awaking in the world of glass she'd only ever known other
memories. Because of this, she'd drawn many conclusions and had few second thoughts. She'd been
assured of the idea that nothing in the glass and nothing in this world held any worth. Filth and awfulness,
tears and pain, a small smile, and death.
But once upon a time, things had to have been better. Simple rules are often true: shadows are begotten
from light. Shadow lurked at her back, and now she was surrounded by light.
When she'd stepped into these waves of joy and purity, she hadn't given it a second thought. She'd become
so absorbed in evil that she had forgotten simple good. To be honest it was more than her heart simply
wavering, now. She was overwhelmed. For every glint of hope that caught her eye on the way to the jagged
maze, she paused and questioned everything. There was an answer she did not want to acknowledge,
immersed in this scene of light and chaos. She didn't want to think about it. She wouldn’t allow herself to
think about it.
And, before she really could, she stood before the entrance to the impossible labyrinth.
On impulse, she reached out to the better glass and memories of flowering fields came to follow around
her in a ring. She didn't know why, nor if they would help.
She didn't know it, but she had a name. If she knew it, perhaps she wouldn't have entered the twisted
black maze. It may have been a meaningful name that may have made her doubts much stronger. But she
didn't know, she ground her teeth, and she reaffirmed her beliefs. The light from before would not shake her,
the light of the flower ring would not shake her.
She entered the dark structure and started tearing it apart.
Each wall pulled away was made of misery, each facet held horrors, and the corners were comprised of fear.
This was a castle of iniquity. Simply put, it was grotesque. It was powerfully grotesque.
And that girl, her grin returned. This was it. Climbing through it, running through it, this was the kind of
disgusting monolith that had compelled her into action in the first place. She hadn't been wrong. The glass
should only be shattered. The mirrors should only be destroyed.
And as she gleefully pulled away great swathes of the maze, hallways tumbling into the air, her smile
became warped. She winced; something was wrong with her head. At the heart of the maze, there was
*something* worse than any memory before. She could feel it, close now, calling to her. Her enthusiasm
had drained, and her progress had slowed, and she saw a wicked shard of glass turning in space,
containing the memory of the end of a world.
With a hand on her face, she looked into the mirrored world. She remembered the sea of pleasant realities
below her and the flowers now circling around her. She'd taken down part of the maze's roof and the walls
had subsequently fallen away. Dark glass rained slowly around her, and in the distance the better memories
She looked into the end of the world between her fingers. She swallowed, and with newfound strength,
removed the hand from her face. She reached out, and dragged the end of the world into her collection of
memories. With this monolith toppled, she felt an honest and genuine surge of bliss. However terrible the
memories she faced from now on would be, it couldn’t possibly matter. She was certain now that she was
strong, and she would definitely destroy them all. And so, with a genuine smile and a tired laugh, she came
down from the sky, and the tower along with her.
Perhaps she should have worried, because her heart was suddenly in pain.
She drew back, covered her mouth, and her eyes went wide in confusion. She had been standing
on the floor of a gigantic and bitter maze that doubled as a tower, but she now began to fall to
her knees. Before she hit the ground, the structure began to break and fall first.
The memories of sorrowful days that she had gathered came around her like a cloak, and the tower's
memories turned from a falling slow rain into a downpour. She and the maze fell like stones, and
although she should have been terrified to drop so far and so fast, all she could feel was confusion.
She splashed down into a sea of the fragmented happiness of other worlds. The waves she and
the crashing labyrinth caused were immense. Glass pushed against glass in a way that could be
described as both ugly and beautiful, and she knelt at the center of that storm.
She was confused because she was hurting. Everything hurt. Her heart was bursting.
The cloak of memories that she'd collected turned into a grotesque sphere and surrounded her.
The world of white disappeared from her vision, leaving only horrible things.
Heaving, sweating, and trembling, she looked into the glass, into the Arcaea, deeply.
And as she came to realize that her heart was breaking,
that her sanity was breaking,
the memory of the end of the world that she'd seen earlier slowly drifted into view.
The girl had felt many emotions since her waking into the white and ruined world. Mostly, she'd felt anger,
but she'd been able to turn that anger into a strange sort of hope. True, she didn't have much of a plan. In
fact, she was only walking forward because she believed at the end of her steps there would be something
good. She had hope. She was certain that this chaos was leading into light. She was certain that the
torments she was facing, that the horrors she was holding, could be completely shattered.
Yes, she was emotional. She felt so strongly that when faced with the idea that no, in fact, nothing had a
purpose...she began to suffer.
The cruelest fate is to have hope and see it crushed before your eyes. And so the girl sat on her knees in a
malformed circle of death, looking at a world coming to its end. This was the first time she had felt the
emotion of sadness, and it was quickly turning into despair. The world of Arcaea was a pointless world. It
was the manifestation of worlds gone. It had no substance, only the reflections of such. Even the glowing
and joyful memories she had sometimes encountered on her way were still only memories of the past. Like
night comes after day, they had to have led into the end she now saw spinning slowly in the air before her.
Her eyes welled with tears.
She had felt so much since waking up.
She'd felt joy. Joy left her.
She'd felt fear. Fear left her.
Anger left her.
Hope left her.
Even sadness and despair now left her.
Her eyes went dark and she could feel resonance with the glass. The shell of memories around her began to
crack and split open. She emerged from it and stood in the blinding light, and couldn't feel anything at all.
Like an ocean stained with oil, the memories of a cursed labyrinth and the memories she had brought with
her all fell and muddled into the soothing glass around her. Most of them churned into a gray mass, some
would suddenly jut up from the ground like spikes. She went still, and slowly looked over every shard,
just...counting them. Even when memories came shooting up sharply near her eyes, she continued to count.
Eventually she lifted a finger, beckoning some of the shards toward her. And, with a simple thought, the
fragments came together in the shape of a fragile butterfly. She commanded it into the sky, to reflect the
world of white, and when it came down again to tell her what it had seen, with a simple thought she slowly
tore off each of its wings, and let it fall into nothing. Then, she walked forward from the corrupted sea,
willing each pillar of lost time that entered her path to explode and shatter.
Time passed. She changed.
She no longer sought to collect memories. She walked through the world mostly absently. She discovered
things about it and about herself, but she had no ambitions.
Now she walked beside an old and crumbling building, twirling a parasol she had found in the ruins some
day. Silently, a creature formed of glass reflecting bitter days glided down toward her from the sky. It
resembled a glistening and jagged crow, and it was something she considered no more than a tool. After
that day at the now-fallen tower, she'd become more in-tune with the chaotic Arcaea and was able to call
upon things like this. In its own way, it whispered to her of places beyond her reach in the blinding white
world. Glaring at it, she had it burst and fall apart, and she moved on.
These crows of hers sickened her with news. The world was empty, that's all they said. That she knew.
She'd never find anyone else here.
She wanted to. She needed to. But, it was not because she hoped to have someone to share her fate with.
She needed to let this frustration out on something alive. She needed someone to hurt.
The ruin is as common a sight as any other, but the girl in light
nonetheless pays it attention as she steps through.
She's been wondering what the ruins are and why they're there—
wondering if this world she wanders has a past,
or if its decimated landscape is only coincidental.
She feels she has to think about it, not to succumb to the bliss of ignorance.
If she wants a reason, then it might help to know the world, too.
Perhaps this is a reflection of another world?
She has seen things like it within the Arcaea, but that also makes her wonder if in this place
there might be standing towers and buildings that are not in ruin.
Maybe she’s only yet to see them...
This ruin seems like it was once large, grand.
It must have been a beautiful place where many people came, she thinks.
If it did have such a past, then it is a shame.
There is only her, now, moving through pews and broken candlesticks.
There is only her, and she blinks, seeing that there is in fact somebody else.
Somebody else stands still at her left, before a broken wall.
Once, she would have grinned happily, but carelessly at this person.
As she is now, she looks at the shadow-covered girl in confusion,
but certainly not without a fluttering, insuppressible feeling of elation.
Outside of a memory, here in the world and before her eyes, is a person.
All this time she's walked alone, and here is somebody else:
one other living, breathing person.
The other girl doesn't notice her. She is standing in place, holding her parasol, and sleeping.
Her dark figure cuts so strongly against the rest of the world, which shines so bright in the distance,
that she thinks this must be a dream or perhaps a waking memory.
She opens her mouth to speak, and the other girl opens her eyes to consciousness.
She who heralds sad and evil forgotten things opens her eyes
and witnesses the changed and white-clad girl before her.
That breathing the light-bearer found so relieving stops short,
and the dark girl squints, lips parted as if she means to question.
But she swallows instead and raises her brow, tightening her grip of the handle.
Her own twisted elation flows out from her heart, just as unstoppable, but so much more eager.
It climbs to her face, and the girl of chaos offers the girl of light an honest, irrepressible smile.
In the unwalled, unroofed church, known only by its skeleton chairs and white candles, the girl in black
stands near the remaining old gate, looking at the person she's just met.
It's actually quite simple: she’s been upset for so long, and now a true flesh-and-blood person is finally in
front of her. She isn't thrilled. She isn't even excited. The smile on her face is an effortless lie—but it's one
she can't help but tell. It says to white-clothed girl before her, "pleasure to meet you." It means nothing.
"What's your name?" she asks in a dry voice. Maybe, in the past, she'd have realized how long it had been
since she'd last spoken.
"My... name? I... I'm not sure," replies the radiant girl. "Do you? Oh—know your own... name, I mean... "
She doesn't answer the question. "That's something..." are her only words as she looks off toward an
The girl in white gives a bothered expression.
This... was turning out to be a strange meeting. Though the one in black doesn't know it, the one white
is beginning to share the darker girl's lack of enthusiasm. Like a fire in a sudden chill wind, her hope
flickers and wanes. Now she grows uncomfortable, anxious, and wary. A slight but unshakable atmosphere
drifts between them, one that feels unmistakably off. To her, it seems as though their very meeting is
something the world finds to be simply... "wrong". The ever-present glass, now scattered unevenly
throughout and above the broken grounds, reflects that strange feeling.
Ordinarily, these shards would flock to them without their bidding: "happiness" to the girl in white,
"tragedies" to the girl in black. Right now, every piece of glass in the air stands still. Perhaps half a
hundred mirrors are quietly suspended around the girls, half-catching images of the empty place that
surrounds them. When the girl in white tries to call out to them, they will not even waver. It unsettles her:
happiness placed beside horror, equally glinting and equally motionless. The only piece that will follow her
is the one she can hold—the one that set her free.
She stares hard at the shadow girl. "If we're in this together," she begins, leaning forward, "then what do
you think about staying together? We... We could help each other, and maybe..."
She stops. The other girl is staring into the empty, canvas-like sky with a blank and uninformative
expression. She doesn't seem to be listening, but in truth she has followed every word.
"Maybe... " the dark girl echoes. It's faint... After her reincarnation into misery, her soul itself had felt like
a dull, grim abyss. However, when she heard this proposal, something inside her shimmered—very briefly
and very weakly. However, as she is now, even something as tiny as that was able to pierce the shroud of
frustration that had been endlessly choking her since she'd reawakened.
And the remnant of the girl she used to be, the Tairitsu who had first woken up in this world, rebelled
against the prospect of “the end”—against the idea of giving up. She wanted a second chance.
But her halfhearted answer isn’t enough to inspire confidence in the girl standing opposite her.
Their meeting remains careful, cautious. The Hikari who recently returned to her senses now knows
that the world of Arcaea is far more than pretty—and far less than safe.
And yet the two girls will speak, with the hope that it will lead to something better.
Their conversation continues.
"It would certainly be nice if we had names to share," says Tairitsu in a fraying voice. Her eyes are again
beginning to lose the shine of life.
The other girl, Hikari, notices that with some discomfort. "Yes, I can't say I like to think about it: not having
any memories in a world filled with them," she admits.
At the moment, they sit upon the same pew, though not close. They've gone to what was once the front row,
and a few steps in front of them lead up to a wide, flat floor. The girl in white is slouched, watching her new
acquaintance with worry painting her gaze. The girl in black is examining the empty place in front of them,
the sky, the dead and distant grandiose architecture—but she does so seemingly without concern or interest.
While watching, she begins to speak unprompted. "This glass. Do you know a name for it?"
"Huh? Oh... Well, for whatever reason, I know the name 'Arcaea'."
"Same as me," says Tairitsu, now looking Hikari's way. "So, how are we different?"
Hikari offers an apologetic smile. "I don't know," she says, "aside from our difference in looks."
"Let's find out, then. What kind of memories do you see in the glass?"
"Almost only pleasant ones."
Tairitsu sighs. "Then we're opposites..." she remarks bitterly, looking to her feet. "Let's say we're the only two
walking around this place. If that's true, our opposition could matter a great deal.”
"You don't see happy memories through the Arcaea?" asks Hikari, leaning slightly toward her conversation
partner. "I'm sorry..."
"...That's just how it is," says the other girl. For a short while they remain silent, until Tairitsu speaks again.
"But from what you've said... I suspect even your pleasant memories haven't resulted in a happy life for you
here. Well? Am I correct?"
To this, Hikari nods. "I don't mean to make it sound as though I've had it rough since waking up, but...
You see, I once gathered enough piece that they could cover the sky. When I did, that new sky almost
killed me... I felt like the light was slowly eroding my mind... I think it was mainly my own fault, to be honest."
They both feel it's best to be honest.
After Hikari tells of her naive and dangerous journey bathed in light, Tairitsu coldly recounts her tragic
struggles through maelstroms of dark. The two are certainly different in quite a few ways, but one definite
commonality becomes clear between them: a want of sense in a senseless world. The world around them
may be beautiful, but it has also been cruel.
Hikari has resolved herself, but it wasn't long ago that her very "self" had been threatened by this strange,
unfeeling place. For Tairitsu, it has left her scarred: persistent, panging compulsions toward violence and
wrath continue to roll up from within her like tides. Even throughout their discussions here, despite her
desire to be amicable, smothering each urge from her breast has been no easy feat. This living, breathing
person beside her is too enticing a target to release her frustrations on. The girl in white doesn't fail to
notice how the girl in black's hold on her umbrella periodically tightens into a trembling, aggravated grip.
It hasn't been easy—a fact that holds true for the both of them.
But they continue to fight.
"I think I just... I really wanted to meet somebody else," Tairitsu reveals. "Even... perhaps a few months ago,
that may have been all I really wanted. However... ever since I stepped out of that black shell, I've found it
difficult to hold on to a such an innocent desire. I just can't muster it. When my chest isn’t feeling empty,
I can't muster anything in it that isn't vile and wicked impulse. Disgusting, broken thing..." She looks at
Hikari. "Even now, I keep thinking about how much I want to hurt you."
"That's fine..." says the other girl. "Maybe I'd feel that same way if I’d gone through everything that you did.
But I don't think you’re right about one thing. I don’t think your heart is as broken as you feel."
Tairitsu meets her eyes, as if asking how that could be.
"Look—you're holding back," explains Hikari, "even now. That tells me that even after everything, you're a
very good person—still. You’re strong." She smiles and stands from her seat. "You're a lot stronger than me,"
she says, casting a momentary glance into the brilliant sky.
"I was rescued," she continues, meeting Tairitsu's eyes once more. "You rescued yourself."
The shimmer inside the dark girl's chest becomes a faint glow, and an ache pulses through her.
That's not true, she thinks. It isn't that simple, she thinks. She failed, and the old her died that day when
the labyrinth collapsed. She'd felt nothing after that, and when feeling came back to her, it was nothing but
contempt. When she’d met this girl, even, it made her want to do nothing more than take a blade and run
No, she hasn’t rescued herself. However... perhaps she hasn't simply been seeking someone out to harm.
Perhaps the truth is that she’s been awaiting something impossible to give her one last ray of hope.
Hikari is too meek and unsure to directly comfort her, but her presence and lack of aggression signal this:
she may be that last, fledgling ray.
What pains Tairitsu's heart is that very innocent realization.
Her posture weakens. Hikari notices and moves to see if she can do something. But she is still unsure,
and so she is ultimately unable to reach out for the other girl. She stands before Tairitsu with her arms
half-raised, and in a few moments the girl in black stands by herself. Hikari drops her hands, and takes
a step back. Around them, the glass sways with their movement, and one in particular begins to shine a
bit differently from the others. In its reflection is something familiar, yet impossible.
It is a vision that, surely, nobody could have seen:
the briefest wicked flicker of a most strange and anomalous memory.
They stand apart, Tairitsu holding a hand over her chest, fingers clenched and struggling as she takes heavy
breaths. She is reinvigorated, in no small part thanks to the girl in white. Hikari has given her one precious,
final reassurance. It does not have to be the end. One last path out of this white and blinding hell still exists.
An open, albeit weak, smile cuts along her face as she exhales. "Let's do something," she says. "Let's figure
out this stupid, absurd world."
"I-It's not that stupid," says Hikari in mild protest, smiling herself with just as little strength. She isn't entirely
positive about the other girl, but she can tell at least one thing: despite appearances, she isn’t evil.
Quite the opposite, it seems. If anything, that alone is reason enough to join hands with this new potential
ally. A "good" person... is not exactly how she'd readily describe herself, after all.
However, while she thinks this, Tairitsu’s mood turns. "What makes you say that?" asks the panting girl,
though her delivery of the question sounds much more like an accusation. Her eyes are almost hollow as
they bore coldly into her opposite. "You might understand it even better than me. This is the kind of place
that would break a girl for the audacity of surrounding herself in pleasures and joys." She stands up
straight, calms her breath, and steadies her gaze, bringing the hand over her chest to the handle of her
parasol. "That's unconscionable. You don't agree?"
Her strength of conviction puts the other girl down for a moment, but Hikari is no longer one who is incapable
of any caring. Gathering a modicum of confidence, she stands up straight herself, and delivers her explanation.
"We're alive," she says, "and if a world can permit that, then it can't be the worst thing."
"Hah...?" The other girl's glare intensifies. "No... If a world can permit life, only to plague that life with ills
and grief, then that world is not just."
"W-Well, maybe not, but—"
"But?" demands Tairitsu.
"But that's shortsighted! What is it that you want to do, exactly?"
"Destroy everything. The world, the glass, all of it. I'll find a way. It's only fair, right?" she explains as a
matter of fact. "I would think you'd resonate with the idea. What has this world been for you other than
an expansive prison?"
"Destroy it...? Even... Even if you could, it would only end everything! This is the only world we know of
that exists for certain, isn't it? If we somehow destroyed it, could we not simply destroy ourselves as well?
Would you... You’d rather die than live here? Why, that's... that's ridiculous!"
"No, that's fine," says Tairitsu simply.
Hikari, not expecting that answer, falls silent. Tairitsu's words were too frightening, and far too sad.
In her silence, Tairitsu continues her interrogation. "Do you have some other idea? Some other plan?"
"No... I don't. I wanted to find—to find a plan with you," admits the other girl, and dismay is clear in her tone.
And Tairitsu, in her recent recovery, recognizes this. It makes her pause. It had been too easy to lash out
at this new acquaintance. She knew she wasn't being reasonable. Indeed, having just found herself with
burgeoning hope again, she could clearly see how cold she’d been until their meeting. And yet, when faced
with another’s hope, she'd attacked. Truly, was she that petty? In the past, this conviction of hers has never
brought her satisfaction or peace, much less resolution. No, her willfulness has only ever led her down a
dark, thorny path stained with gloom. With this in mind, she extinguishes the fire rising in her heart that
had been so sure of its need to burn. If she wants to take this girl's hand... she cannot reject the ideas it holds.
"I... I'm sorry," she apologizes, her passion now fully relinquished. She lowers her head for a moment.
"I... feel the same. I want to work to find something new as well."
Hikari regains a bit of her self-assurance, which had been brought low before Tairitsu. She tells her new
friend, "It's alright. You've had a time here I could probably never understand."
But that righteous fire in Tairitsu's heart had been just enough.
Ultimately, it had only burned for a short moment, like a flash—
but it was enough to rile a dormant shard in the flock of glass around them.
It awakens and, on its own, begins to drift down to where they are, still unseen.
"Don't lose hope," says the girl in light. "Things can always get better."
A shard, shimmering with faded color, comes directly between them.
It catches both their attention—but it will only show its memory to the one clad in black.
The girl adorned in shadows peers through the broken window into another time.
Her smile returns.
What a fool she was.
Not the girl in white, no.
The vision in the glass is no memory.
It cannot be, of course.
What she's seeing is a future: a future that she should have expected,
the fool, the idiot dreamer.
The glass shows an unmistakable image of herself, run through with a jagged pillar of glass,
the wound seeming to sear her clothing and body apart in a blistering, pale, and consuming flame.
The blank, barren lands of Arcaea stretch out far behind her, and before her,
coaxing the pillar with a lifted hand and a blinding, fiery glow around her shoulders,
is a girl clad in white, a very familiar one, though her expression is hidden from this vantage.
It is the girl standing before her now.
The one she has only just met.
This is no memory: it's a vision of what will come to be.
Faced with this, Tairitsu retreats into herself,
and confronts the one truth she was determined to ignore.
Her conviction didn't matter.
She will never find anything good for her in this world.
That last hope is dyed black now, drowned in despair, forgotten.
What else would happen?
What was her hope for?
Idiocy. Tiresome, blind idiocy.
Tiresome, awful, sick of it. Sick of this, sick of herself,
sick of everything in this never-ending, mocking play.
She'd said it herself. This world is hell.
And she knows this, from the fractured ideas of worlds dead and gone:
even angels can one day fall and awaken to demonic form.
The girl in light is just like that.
In a turn final and damning, what was once a mere pit inside her chest is clawed and spread.
It wastes, decays all through in an instant, leaving instead a cold and endless chasm.
As the darkness within it creeps out to coat her insides and choke her thoughts,
she sees Hikari very clearly.
Sees her gaze darting to the shard—sees the panic, the clear knowledge in her eyes.
The girl knows.
And now she can't face her opposite's stare,
won't say a word though she sees clearly.
You're unnerved? Unsettled? Unabashed.
That anger twists into hate and loathing, spilling over and arriving in her eyes.
Wicked betrayer; wicked, wicked place.
She tightens her grasp on her parasol,
looking past the shard to Hikari, who is standing still.
Frozen in place, surely, because her ill intentions have been exposed.
It's worth laughing about.
Tairitsu's eyes narrow, and she excises the remains of those burgeoning emotions
the girl had begun to cultivate within her.
With finality she is emptied,
and with that, she knows what she must do.
But this mirror is still one-way, and thus her anger as well.
Hikari is unable to see within this peculiar shard at all.
Unaware, she can only watch in confusion
as Tairitsu's countenance drains more and more of color.
A sense of danger wells up in her, and though she can't understand why, she can feel it there.
In fact, shadows now seem to be crawling up from the earth, light perishing at their touch.
Darkness nears her, and her breathing shortens. She takes a step back.
She almost can't believe it. She certainly doesn't want to.
Even after surviving the harrowing ordeal, that blinding light sky,
something terrible faces her again without reason.
But still, she had survived it.
And now she knows for certain that survival may not allow compromise.
With this thought in heart and mind, Hikari makes a damning mistake.
She reaches for the one piece of glass,
the one that gave her comfort and direction in the midst of her lowest moment.
When she raises it to her chest,
the hairs on the back of Tairitsu's neck rise up as well.
Fear pulsing through her, along with a conviction to never meet with tragedy again,
Tairitsu closes the distance to Hikari in an instant, without warning,
ready to once and for all firmly grab hold of her life.
If they knew each other’s names, if they even knew their own, would that change how they had felt from
then until now? “Light” and “Conflict”... Names so lofty, in a world so bizarre, so outlandish...
Would they have considered the meanings, and found different paths?
Or would any divergence, any turn or taking of a choice, any circumstance or odd spin of fortune’s wheel
still have set the two girls into inevitable dissent and discord?
Hikari, who still does not know her name, would be unsure. Tairitsu, likewise, is however damned with
fateful knowledge, and knows dissent and discord between them will always be.
Nothing will change. Nothing would.
The girl in white and the girl in black cannot reconcile.
This, all of this, may only lead to—
Hikari’s voice escapes her when the blade of her foe comes. She raises her hand at once, and with it,
glass strikes against glass. It holds, it shines—unbroken, and in her piece Hikari can see her own pale face,
agonized and frightened.
A heartfelt conversation has led to this—to a heart-pounding clash.
She takes a single step in retreat as her body bends from the force of the other girl’s strength.
Her skin goes cold; she finds she can’t breathe.
She realizes there, looking deep into the now-close eyes of the girl attacking her that her being attacked
is not the source of the fright clawing and gripping at her insides. It is not that, nor the fact she can
hardly resist as the push of Tairitsu’s blade inches her own nearer and nearer to her taut neck.
No. The sweat in her palm, the breath trapped in her lungs, it’s all because the person before her—the girl
who had felt to her a tragic and sorrowful figure only moments before—seems now so utterly changed.
She is not the person she’d spoken to like a fellow and friend. In fact, she doesn’t seem like a person at all.
Her stare is so purposeful, her jaw is unmoving, and those fingers of hers, clutched so tightly they’re now
Nothing but a beast garbed in black. A shade, brimming with malice.
Let this end peacefully.
Find common ground.
Don’t be weak. Don’t falter.
With these thoughts in mind, Hikari pushes back.
They have both seen and felt the throes of battle within near countless memories, but vicarious
recollections are no substitute for a genuine struggle between life and death.
Their impromptu blades meet again, entirely without grace. Tairitsu’s strikes stay vicious and direct,
while Hikari’s movements are desperate, forever a hair away from a harmful, fatal slip. She only defends;
she does nothing more. If she could stop this without violence, she’d do so in a heartbeat.
Their flurried tussle is hampered by the peculiar surroundings of the broken church: lamps and benches
placed under a sky. The two move between the aisles. Tairitsu darts toward Hikari’s feet, but her target
remains planted. Hikari lifts the piece of glass that had once served to rescue her, bracing for the rising cut.
But a cut does not come. Instead it is that black parasol: tearing up quickly through the air and cruelly into
her waiting guard.
“Gh...! Hah...!” she groans, panting. It feels like fire has swallowed her hand, and her small finger—she
swears it must have been bent. Her anomalous piece flies from her grasp, and as soon as she is without a
weapon, the pained girl withdraws immediately.
To her own surprise, Hikari lands after her first leap with no waver, no fall. She leaps back again, her dress
fluttering, and she finds herself standing atop the pews just in time to avoid another coming blow.
So close... Can this not be ended with words?
Even if it could, she can’t even find a single word to say.
Even if she could, she isn’t given any chance to speak.
And even when, blessed, she is afforded both; gaining enough distance from her pursuer and time alone
to begin preparing her voice—
a new blade shoots out from nowhere—
it finds her cheek, swift—
and, just like that, it cuts, glancing across her skin.
Hikari loses her breath again. Her hand flies to the left side of her face. She withdraws it, seeing that an
unfortunately now-familiar color has tainted her fingers—her palm. Once more... she goes cold.
Still falling back, she grips both of her arms, trying to quell their trembling.
She swallows the saliva filling her mouth.
And, quietly, she pleads:
And only a bit louder:
Another shard of glass drives through the air like an arrow, and she avoids it though she was given only a
second for its approach. It goes past where her upper arm, its target, had been.
And she shouts, “Please stop!”
“I know what you want to do.”
Hikari stops instead, and in a moment after Tairitsu lands on a row of pews five away from hers.
“What are you? A demon invented by the world?” Tairitsu asks.
“Are you just another fragment from a dead place, come to hound me?”
“I... No!” Hikari yells.
“You don’t know what you are, either...” Tairitsu mutters.
There, Hikari notices: a number of pieces of Arcaea are darting behind and before the other girl like
patrolling wasps. She eyes them warily, and Tairitsu continues to speak, voice dipped long in woe.
“But, if you found me,” she says, “that means you can’t be anything good.”
And Hikari, recalling what this girl had told her of her past, is brought still upon realizing that she can
perfectly understand what that means.
“I’m not... that...” she mumbles in defense. Another bullet of glass comes, shooting past her ear.
She shuts her eyes, forcing tears out of them.
If she is to survive...
...she cannot give up.
Eyes downcast, Hikari calls a new piece of glass to her hand, not even realizing how strange it is that she
can touch it now.
A troop of shards also joins her behind her back.
She lifts her head.
Like this, she once more faces the girl she wishes she could befriend.
They erupt from the gate, crashing through it as if it were a pane instead of metal. Shards of memory whirl
around them in chaos as the girl in black lunges at the girl in white.
Pushed back, and never pushing forth; though she has chosen to fight earnestly, there is still a hope in
Hikari’s heart that this does not have to end in bloodshed. Yet still, even if her sway over the glass is not
nearly as deft, even if she is entirely unpracticed, she truly won’t give in.
Glass shields her back in a slapdash, patchwork pattern, constantly shifting to stop Tairitsu’s roundabout
spears from ever hitting their marks. Hikari’s eyes are sharper than that glass, ever vigilant to pin the
dark girl down; to end this peacefully, through force.
Nothing about it is simple, however.
Now outside the cathedral-shell, open on the misshapen roads and hills of Arcaea, Tairitsu is free.
Keeping close, her movements sweep and her glass flies wide. So doggedly pursued, Hikari finds all she
can do is cling to her desperate defense in preservation of her own life.
Her pulse is quick, and the sweat that had begun in her hands is now permeating her entire body with an
awful chill. Smashing an invisible knife against an invisible dagger, crashing a swift shard into a shining
lance flying true before it can meet her throat.
Blow for blow, for blow, for blow, she is made to realize that their battle has gone from a tussling mess of
violence to a vicious clash of two formidable and absolute forces. She cannot match Tairitsu’s strength,
but with her wits and will kept about her, she can dampen its impact.
To the torrent of emotions before her, she will be the composed counter: the stone weathered, but never
broken; and she will settle this.
They’re even, each holding down her position as points and rays of light shine from the smooth faces of
their chosen Arcaea.
They remain even, in fact, until Tairitsu shifts her focus. Instead of aiming past the other girl’s guard, with
no tell she decides to redirect and send down her flock on Hikari’s right side.
The impact is massive. With an explosion of glints and glamor, it forces Hikari to stumble down to a knee.
Then and there, glaring darkly, Tairitsu lifts and points her black umbrella, its tip revealing the intended
destination: the front of her opponent’s skull.
She spares no hesitation. The strike comes in an instant.
Hikari shuts her eyes. Tairitsu’s brow twists.
The thrust is stopped, but not by either of them. Instead, it is something between them.
Between them, that anomalous shard, previously forced from Hikari’s hand, stands still in the air,
steady as a wall, immovable against the umbrella-spike. Hikari opens her eyes and stares, disbelieving.
Tairitsu lifts her other hand, a swirl of glass rising up around it.
Not hesitating either, Hikari thrusts her hand against the anomaly, and every free piece of glass
surrounding them sways for just a moment before a razor-sharp rainfall begins.
It begins like a storm.
The falling glass, now under Hikari’s command, begins to dart everywhere and every way without order.
Though the shards are hers to control, she cannot grasp how to truly use them for a little while.
Tairitsu, aggravation and concern plain on her face, retreats. Hikari is thus left hidden in a swarm of
edged memories, crouched and still as she concentrates on her newfound power.
Tairitsu surveys the land, looking to the sky and to Hikari’s storm. She holds a hand up over her head,
and thinks: to fight a storm, one must summon a deluge.
Thus, from distant cities and white mountains, the glass of a thousand and more memories are
immediately pulled by her call. Unlike Hikari’s untamed flurry, Tairitsu’s flock is a pattern,
Behind the girl in black, the glass assumes the shape of a giant rose, its petals falling one by one in
swirling descents, slicing cleanly through the squall shielding the girl in white.
And Hikari—now standing, though afraid—can only respond in patterned kind.
Bloom after bloom and chain after chain follow in their maddening, frantic, distant combat. From miles off,
it seems things are exactly as Tairitsu wished: a clash of two storms. Rain fighting rain, “lightning” flashing
throughout, and their undulating “clouds” joining the fray by bursting, spiraling, and flowing in an explosive
display—a sparkling tumult of furious natural powers.
And beneath the whirling and silver floods stand two girls, each with a blaze in her heart.
Each avoid volleys of shards by mere millimeters, and they begin to run as they fight rather than holding
their ground. Rushing through Arcaea’s plains, they cast glass artilleries and skid along the shining earth
as their improvised bullets fall and scatter like shrapnel. Glass pursues, glass cuts off their routes, glass
aims for feet in an attempt to pin the enemy in place.
It is madness: frenetic madness, chaotic yet constant. Their movements soon become nearly even,
steady and regular.
Evade, and fire, always.
Within this overwhelming row of beauty and violence, they once again find themselves evenly matched.
And thus it is Tairitsu’s turn to gain the upper hand.
Her journey in this place has been hell.
Hell from her birth to her first steps—no, even first steps were denied to her, weren’t they?
She’d ventured outside of where she’d first awakened, and not long after her journey was abruptly and
mercilessly stopped by a torrent of misery and tragedy. Ever since then, those two things had been
doggedly following her.
It’s a joke.
I’m a good person, she tells herself.
I am not these dark clothes I was born with. I am not these dark memories I am tormented by.
I am not a person who is “evil”, I am an ordinary person tortured by an evil world.
Without reason, without sense.
A completely, horribly, cruel and merciless world.
A nightmare one can’t wake from.
And the ending, for me, is a pathetic death.
That sort of thing, that kind of thinking, has brought tears to her eyes so many times before.
Now, it’s over. No matter what, it’s over.
With that thought in mind, while she grazes past glass sent at her by the girl she is trying to kill, she notes
the presence of something strange.
A familiar, grotesque presence she’d felt minutes before this.
The feeling like reality itself has lost correctness.
An impossible condition made manifest.
That anomalous feeling is just beside her cheek.
She looks to her right, and the violet-tinged and grossly warped glass of an anomaly comes into her sight.
It is only a moment, only a whim.
Yet it tells everything.
As expected of the aberrant shard, it does not hold simple memory—but beyond expectation, it holds
In an instant, as soon as the shine of its surface has met with her eyes—
—with a sensation that the inside of her skull has been bathed in light, almost full knowledge of the
world, of near everything that ever and absolutely was, unlocks vivid understanding in her mind.
“Eto” and “Kou”... “Saya” and “Lethe”... “Luna”, and—names; countless names.
Even facts of other worlds, destinations of other travelers, ends, beginnings, and elaborated reasons too
all of it.
And the truth, the whole truth, that—
Before her, Hikari stops briefly, noticing the obvious shift in her aggressor’s demeanor.
There’s a change. There’s fear.
So, that’s it. That’s everything.
Tairitsu glimpsed the truth of this cage dubbed “reality”. With that truth, she’s claimed power.
And with both, knowing everything... Knowing everything, what exactly would change?
Her feelings curdle and churn. The endless bitterness packed in her chest flows out of it and courses
through her—onto her tongue, into her teeth. Her lips twist into a morose and bitterly maudlin grin.
Morose and maudlin, but undoubtedly, strangely, mirthful.
Laugh, girl. Call forth a Tempest.
The path here was blazed by the worst recollections of mankind,
and what remains at the end is,
and ever will be,
At the terminus, one of the two will die.
The illusion of an even match shatters, and with its destruction Hikari’s hope finally begins to waver.
Without warning, Hikari’s storm flies to Tairitsu’s side, cloaking the other girl in darkness and light.
As they surround her, her eyes shut for a moment—and when they open again,
those countless memories unfurl behind her as six gargantuan wings.
Now hanging in the sky in blatant defiance of nature,
she lays her sharpened eyes on Hikari.
A simple look reveals to Hikari that the path to victory has been nearly closed.
She had thought the girl a beast before, and now she sees her as what she is:
above, and nigh impossible.
Glass rises up behind her like a gigantic sheet: a skylight, shimmering and clear.
Below, Hikari has little to nothing to fight what will come. At least, that’s how it feels, but...
No... The girl in black does not have everything. This can be survived. It can!
Hikari takes up twenty memories as the window to the heavens breaks.
At first, only a handful of shards hurtle down at her, but they do so rather... slowly.
It disarms her. She starts to think, "this is possible."
As though the elaborate display a moment ago was only that: a display.
As before, Hikari shields herself, quickly blocking the falling glass with unshakable focus,
her eyes darting this way and that to keep measure of the flitting, brilliant crowd.
It makes her confident—she misses nothing. She allows herself a smile.
At the least, she’ll be able to run from this. At the least, this won’t be the end.
A single piece then flies to the middle of her chest, its delivery interpretable only as a message.
It had flown faster than any other piece of Arcaea she’d ever seen.
The girl above speaks to her through this glass shard: "Enough games."
"And enough wasting time. Give up—and die."
The shard cuts through her dress, and Hikari looks into Tairitsu’s eyes.
The girl in black is smiling now, all the sadness and anger gone from her face.
And it’s the most frightful thing she’s ever witnessed in her life and in her memories.
The shard falls out without having reached her skin.
The broken pane whirls into a side-winding tornado. Its mouth barrels down onto her,
slicing fabric and skin, but otherwise simply passes by.
In this is one more message: before the end, the girl in black wants her enemy to know where this began.
Fear overwhelms her. In this riptide of glass, rushing and cutting past her in powerful amounts,
turning up and swirling as if pulled by a great wind, she is made absolutely afraid.
So petrified, she stands fast and watches.
She stands, watching memories of a filthy world.
Memories of pain, betrayal, envy.
Death, suffering, and decay.
Dark. They are only dark. Wherever it is these shards reflect... she sees little light there.
Whatever small sparks she sees fade away in an instant.
This is what the other girl described to her.
The vile reflections of places gone that had been tormenting her since her awakening—
she would now use them to torment another.
Glass hooks under Hikari’s sleeves and stabs into her skirt.
They drag her upward, up into a domain where she can no longer stand.
Tears fill her eyes as an emotion fills her heart: the emotion that comes when recognizing imminent death.
This is not fear.
"Terror" is too little to describe it.
An awful, arresting feeling.
Her own memories run through her head. It’s as if she’s searching for one that will stand out—
one that will inform her that she’s come across something like this in the past,
and this is how to escape.
But nothing comes.
The black storm rages over torso, cutting with little mercy.
Pure torturous intent, coming closer and closer,
as if the intent alone would inflict a fatal wound upon her flesh...
It is unbelievable.
The situation is so far beyond anything she’s ever borne witness to,
whether in her own memories of those of others.
This disgusting blend of facing the unknown, yet knowing precisely what awaits her on the other side...
There is no control over glass for her here.
Something, anything—an anomaly—a miracle.
If something like that appeared, she could make it out. She could step away. She could live.
If there was ever a time, it is now, and here.
The ground below bursts, as if the world itself is rising up to join the hunt.
It is now.
Now! A shard will come to save her!
She prays with all her being for the will of the world to fly to her side and spare her!
For some mechanism of fate, for the wheel of fortune itself,
to produce a "god" that will grant her victorious power!
Beg for it. Hope for it.
Hold that piece which once brought you salvation close to your bleeding chest once again.
That symbol of rescue, of redemption... It will surely—!
Another shard pierces her body, a hateful stake driving at her heart.
It does not reach through, does not strike the heart itself. But its message—a final message—does.
One last message from the girl tormenting her: a simple, merciless message.
The almost lethal blade in Hikari’s breast holds the memory of a vast and all-consuming fire.
So close to death, her heart thumps, reminding her she’s alive.
Her pupils shrink to points.
Like that memory of flame, her body burns.
It burns with a fluid, vicious heat.
Pain. Agony. Blood—
Her savior shard falls from her hand as she reaches that hand for the terrible wound.
And then, a jagged piece of glass whirls out of the tempest and finds the back of that hand.
Sound escapes her.
Run twice through, her breath has gone as well.
Her gaze is steady on the trio of unthinkable sights before her.
This reality, horrible and unimaginable as it is, nonetheless "is".
And so her thoughts, too, begin to vanish.
And now, instincts begin to lurch, old and forgotten, in the wake of those thoughts.
They haven’t yet taken hold, those discarded yet practical sensibilities. They have only stirred.
She is still afraid.
She clings to hope by a little finger.
Somehow, she manages to pull on ten memories to aid her,
striking out the needle-glass that had been keeping her in the sky.
Ingloriously she drops to the now-deformed ground,
her chosen pieces afterward hovering over her crumpled, aching body.
Oddly enough, she finds herself smiling now, too.
She pushes herself up with her left hand. For all the enmity evident in Tairitsu’s assault,
she had taken too much pleasure in inflicting torture on her enemy’s body,
rather than inflicting any sort of mortal blow.
Even the shard now in Hikari’s chest,
so near to her beating heart and flickering with horrid, wrathful flame,
did not do the deed.
Maybe it wasn’t intended to.
Regardless, Hikari is still alive.
She feebly sends forth an attack, which is quickly swatted down by the girl flying above her.
That girl now looks worse than any described devil Hikari has heard of in old memories.
A veritable dark queen, ruling night in a world of day.
That ecstatic, yet obviously empty smile...
Seeing this, Hikari can feel it: how her own feelings are beginning to slip away.
Stark reality is sobering her more and more, and rather than dread it,
as she had been only minutes—no, seconds ago,
she begins instead to register each fact present to the situation.
Slowly—or, as slowly as Tairitsu will allow. Her attack is unending.
Shifting her body left and right, guarding her weakest areas with what few memories remain to her,
Hikari examines their field of battle.
It has been torn asunder, and now looks more a wasteland than ever before.
Ripped, ruined all through, like a town in the aftermath of military bombardment.
The glass around them is uncountable. The power Tairitsu has is immeasurable.
Hikari herself is weak.
Not only in terms of strange abilities and control over glass—her body has been run ragged.
She doesn’t have much left before she falls from weariness alone.
Perhaps she could find an anomaly, but say she couldn’t.
She couldn’t, so "then" is "now".
How do you go on when the way is completely obstructed?
Should you...? Go on?
Glass strikes her shoulder, shining with light.
Hikari stares into its reflection.
So, the other girl can control light too, now. Well...
She decides to think over what she’s observed once again.
She recognizes that she could die here, or she could not.
These are the two possibilities, and knowing that, she finds herself in acceptance.
This could be the end.
In a moment, this could all be over.
And while she’d rather it not, she can’t help but echo the idea:
"So it goes."
After thought, hope, and feeling...
determination is the last to fade from her.
This is not... a laying down of arms.
When she pulls the shard from her hand,
her eyes briefly dazzled from the white flames licking up and searing closed her wound,
she does not press it to her neck.
She would certainly prefer to live... but she would not mind.
She wouldn’t mind, with the odds being so impossible.
Hikari stands in the wind of blades, barely a shard in her employ.
She can’t discern Tairitsu’s face anymore.
Her domain has become pandemonium, and seeing through it is too difficult.
Eventually, while trudging through the flying glass, Hikari notices that
some segments of the whirlwind are reversing in fits and starts.
The bizarre movement is so unnatural she genuinely wonders if the girl above her is doing it on purpose.
It’s reminiscent, she thinks, of a skipping video.
It isn’t any better or worse than the bullet curtains she’s been facing so far, but it is quite peculiar.
The earth quakes.
She utters a "Wha...?" as she feels it.
The earth, quaking?
It could be that the ground will break again.
Thinking that, Hikari shields her face and chest with her arms.
When nothing comes, she remains curious about the phenomenon.
If it wasn’t the girl above her, Tairitsu wouldn’t have noticed it—after all, she was flying now.
More of the blade storm is shifting and roiling in rough, rigid movements now.
She decides to throw a crew of glass the other girl’s way again.
It passes easily through the waves again, but then it suddenly turns very bright and breaks away.
The shards don’t break themselves... They vanish, and the space where they were looks as if it is cracked.
Once she sees this—once she recognizes what she’s seeing—everything around her enters stasis.
In this instant, the obsidian-glass which had been flying all around her is stuck fast within reality.
To her, it looks absolutely beautiful.
A smile crosses her lips without her wanting. "How pleasant," she whispers, chuckling to herself.
Something so beautiful here: where she could soon find her grave.
It’s so bizarre that it is... to laugh. So she does. She makes earnest yet sad, dry laughter...
But as motion gradually returns to the objects around her, and to the one above...
A fracture splits across it.
It widens, carving a shape out of heaven, and that immense segment begins to plummet.
Even more bizarrely, hundreds of images flash across it, blinking rapidly from one to the next.
The world begins to fall into strange ruin.
As Hikari bears witness to this, more satisfaction rises to her smile.
The storm is still slow, the image—too fantastic.
The sky—the genuine sky, not an artificial one—is falling, stopping, and falling again,
as if grand pieces of a celestial puzzle are being moved and switched by some befuddled god.
her smile begins to gradually recede.
The look in her eyes grows colder, her breath slows,
and the faint glimmer of excitement provided by this cataclysmic view is snuffed out,
replaced with objectivity. Her opinion on the disaster destroying all is delivered in a single word.
With a little appreciation, in a mostly hollow tone, she says, "Delightful."
As if the word has any meaning.
As if the fall has any meaning.
As if the world has any meaning.
Another awakening, and her first.
Each one awakens in the world of memories with nothing in her head. She is no exception.
However, as light filters through her cornea the sensations that grip her are unusual. Her heart stirs first,
passionate, and she almost snarls at the building frustration. She grips the clothes over her stomach, and
thinks her ears might be deafened. Her eye squints involuntarily, and she realizes with that that she only has
a single eye rather than two. She feels around her face.
She coughs, and pushes herself up. What she felt through her glove was something almost soft, surrounding
something very solid in the place of her right eye. She realizes she’s wearing gloves. Looking over her body,
she wonders why she’s wearing these clothes. She wonders next why she knows what clothes are at all.
She had been sleeping against a wall, and upon an inspection of her surroundings sees that there are three
others to make a four-cornered place around her, and every one of them is in extreme disrepair. Looking up
she sees that there’s no roof, and questions why it is she’d expected to find one in the first place. In fact, she
recognizes where she is... vaguely. She trudges along the wall she’d slept against until she finds one she can
step over. As she clears the bricks, she notices that they are entirely white. Looking up, she sees that it isn’t
only this wall, but the entire world that’s white. It is an infinite landscape of an old, defeated, human society,
or rather a pastiche of several societies. It’s bizarre... Moreover: it is bizarre she finds it bizarre. Why?
Before she even stumbles upon any reflective glass, she has already bet on tens of theories behind what
she’s seeing, and who she is. Even that she is alone, and that she doesn’t know her name, tells her much
about the potential truth.
And, over time, she finds more reason for one theory in particular.
She was born with conviction and curiosity. The world of white presents questions but no answers. Days
pass, and there are no answers within the ruins. Weeks pass, and there are no answers within the glass.
Indeed, the world is full of glass, taunting always with views of other, more vivid and varied places. Echoes,
imprints of something real, exactly the world itself, so full of what must be copies of human invention.
After two months, though it could be more, she feels she has seen enough to believe something, and
While atop a broken stairway someplace far away now from where she’d awakened some time ago, she
gazes at an undulating and segmented portion of the sky: a seemingly broken window to nothing, crafted
from over a hundred shards of Arcaea. She becomes sure of herself in this moment. She can bet her
judgment is the truth.
But it’s not enough, and never enough. It can’t be settled with speculation.
So she vows: this realm is a mystery, telling nothing and offering little, so she will solve it and find its reason.
As the only being of this realm, it seems, this will be her first duty.
And as she fully accepts the Arcaea...
So too do the Arcaea fully accept her...
...as a vast and seemingly endless archive, not only to be read, but to be lived through.
It’s early evening. Outside, the twilight amber flowing out from the sun tries to slip by without
pause, but the devices within the surrounding meadows catch and spool it, changing it to rays
more similar to what might be cast from the moon.
The party has a certain atmosphere. Though there are no eyes without the manor, the fact is that
maintaining an image is paramount to those of upper echelons. She knows this, all of this, innately.
Sitting in a darker place, with sunlight captured and held at ceilings and staircases presently
beyond her reach, she considers the implications of this knowledge in calm and in silence.
She looks up from her glass. The fiancé (dressed very well, almost stuffily, but in casual
posture) is standing before her.
“What have you decided to drink tonight?”
She looks at it through her one proper eye. She answers: “Plum juice… Donovan.”
“Keen,” he says with a smile, looking out toward the rest of the room. She looks at his
expression blankly. He smirks. ”Mum and the rest prefer cranberry—for health, they say—
but…” he says, glancing at her again. “It’s a bitter taste, isn’t it? You don’t like it either,
She thinks, wincing. “I don’t.”
“And that is to the good.” He chuckles, then turns away. “I’ll go speak with Morgan.
Join us whenever you like.”
She nods, and Donovan moves to their mutual childhood friend near the fireplace.
As always, images need to be maintained. The fire throws its light only a few feet out from the pit
before the threads of it are wound away, stored into lanterns on the floor. The rest of the room is
dark, but comforting. It’s a setting to relax within. A few lanterns above give just enough illumination
for reading, seeing each other’s faces, and the spread of carefully selected portions of food along
with bottles of drink. Just outside the room, through half-glass walls, an almost untame scene of
wildflowers, stones, and streams is dimly visible: wrapped in a midnight blue, almost like satin.
There are twenty guests at the party, half in this room, the rest in the halls or somewhere in other
studies—perhaps the library. This is as much as she knows.
She drinks her juice, tastes it. She notes the sweetness, not having had much experience with
plum juice herself. She recalls something about a better taste and sensation, but in the moment
now she is compelled to focus on how the liquid feels along her tongue. However, she can make
no true determination of it. It is remarkably unremarkable.
She puts the glass down on the fanciful doily of the short table beside her. She sits, listens, and
watches, touching the flower petals blooming from her other eye rather absently.
She hears Donovan say, “But to think they’ve done so much already. When I first heard of the idea,
I was sure it wasn’t possible.”
“Well, Charles is quite sure it is,” says another of the guests—not Morgan, but Nathalia.
“Astounding,” Donovan grants, running his fingers through the top of his hair.
“A whole entire world, made by human hands,” he says. “Mankind is quite something.”
Her eye had wandered to the flickering of a lantern, and now it seeks the expectant husband. She reaches
for her glass and takes a sip; it’s enough to make her remember why she had put it down in the first place.
The matter of a created world is only really a fickle fancy of theirs. They do not discuss it much. They do not
much understand it. What little they might have to say of true interest, she can’t, in fact, properly remember.
Irritating. At times, it even feels to her like they aren’t speaking at all.
The girl grows impatient. She stands and passes out of the sitting room into more lavish, more evening-
themed halls, passing rooms with which she’s familiar, but only vaguely. She explores, finding stretches of
unlit, pitch-black paths, and doors that seem to be locked though their knobs bear no holes for unlocking.
What doors are open show rooms of a few men and women each, chatting too quietly to discern. If they
ever notice her presence, they only look her way a moment before returning to conversation or rest.
She wants to go outside.
The manor has some technological sophistication to it, but is married to its ideals of old “class”. Yes, the
dimming canisters are curious, and the manufactured wilds are peculiar, but what interests her the most
are the light-transforming machines in the gardens. She knows of them, but has yet to see them firsthand.
In a word, she is “curious”.
The humdrum of a social gathering so often repeated that this day feels like a thousand identical others is
not something she wishes to dabble in long. Lives and creations are too fascinating to ever take either for
But as she approaches the doors to the front driveway...
As her fingers slip upon the wood of the grand handles before her...
She knows, innately, that there is nothing past there, nothing for her. In the entire world, there is nowhere
else she could be. Her place is not in the meadows admiring mechanisms, it is in the sitting room with the
“Outside” is only an idea. A fruitless, ephemeral concept.
That is not a favorable realization.
Dropping her hand she turns and stands below the chandelier, each of its shards showing an image of
somewhere else in the world, at this moment. Shifting, always, and speaking of places she cannot go.
Fading, almost celestial illumination hangs around the fixture, giving this place and that object a too-unreal
quality. Her eye, her lips, say nothing. She trudges back into the mansion, with a small fire of discontent
born within her.
A windstorm scatters petals around terrain behind the walls.
Glints of white and sapphire catch the eye, and the youths of the party speak of the change favorably.
Like magic. Wonderful.
She comes back into the lounge and witnesses the swirl of artificial nature,
the splendor of a farce.
She remembers the first time those flowers were scattered and thinks:
she’s rather had enough of "remembering".
During the past several hours, she’s tested the boundaries.
The windows were locked, the patio doors were barred, and the ventilation ducts were bolted.
The question she had to all this was:
"Are these shut because people shut them, or because I’m trapped in here?"
Metaphor and emotion often swayed the hearts of young girls, she found.
It was difficult to determine the reality.
When she’d had enough of poking, prodding, turning things over, and wandering,
she began to prattle on with other guests she knew to be acquaintances or friends.
"You know, the week before..."
Tedious, and uninformative too.
Certain lines of questions were met with incredulity or with nothing at all,
as if the questions hadn’t been asked—as if she hadn’t spoken.
What she mainly wanted to know about—engineering, technology, progress—
seemed to especially draw out nothing from the other guests.
With her frustration growing, she took to listening in instead, and eventually heard:
"It’s little more than a globe of dirt now. We’ll terraform it soon, I’m told."
And asking about that... led nowhere as well.
That was quite enough to know, however, and so she entered the lounge again.
She stands in it now, watching the storm, and relating to it.
The girl steps past the fiancé, who smiles at her presence.
He greets her with, "Lavinia, you’re back," and she rests her gaze on his lapel.
He takes no particular notice of this.
The players always seem to act in such a way.
What stands out, what’s unusual, is given no mind.
Bolder and bolder she’s gotten, but they remain always steadfast to their routines.
To maintain the image, correct?
She decides to ask, outright, one question she burns to have answered.
"The man-made world... it isn’t made of glass?"
"...Hm? What on...? Of course not, Lavinia. It’s not a bauble."
Her eye goes wide. Her pupil constricts.
Of all the things, that had been it.
Donovan looks over her shoulder and through the walls, saying,
"At any rate, isn’t it lovely? Almost as lovely as you..."
But she doesn’t reply.
Recognizing his answer as confirmation, she settles on a decision.
As the spiral of flowers beyond flow almost serenely through the air,
she moves to the table of foodstuffs, and stops before the breads.
"I’m told the world they’ve made will have shows like this across sprawling, endless valleys.
Right now, it’s only barren. A concept, you know?"
She stops her hand over a handle, listening.
"But it’ll surely be a delight in time, for those who can afford a spot on it.
And think of the potential, Lavinia."
She exhales. It’s been another fruitless trip.
Her hand closes on fine, smoothed wood.
She turns swiftly and steps to the awaiting husband,
swinging her hand out toward his neck.
The bread knife’s teeth stop in his skin.
Without feeling—without even a spark of animosity—she wordlessly cuts across the boy’s throat,
and watches closely to see what comes out.
It isn’t blood.
It isn’t anything.
The gentleman’s throat is cut in what should be an awful way... but the memory lacks a concept of what
“awful” would be. Instead of a shredded, vicious image, his neck now looks akin to torn and crumpled
paper. Inside is not “shadow” but “negative space”: a void inside his body. The edges of the wound flicker
weakly with some white light, and off the blade of the knife she’d used to strike him, vibrant shards float
aloft... simply hanging in the air.
And Donovan can’t comprehend it. Many of the patrons, too, are in awe and horror of her act. People fall,
women faint, and Donovan reaches for his neck. Some men leap for her, pull back her forearm and hold her
at her neck. She grips the knife tightly, and with a dull expression stares into the husband’s bewildered eyes.
While she hardly struggles with the guests apprehending her, she spots behind Donovan a girl in absolute
hysterics on the floor. The sound of her voice becomes increasingly distorted, beginning to crackle and
fluctuate in volume. Already, then: the memory has broken.
This wasn’t how it went. Even the most time-changed memories could not be altered so. For a wife to,
unprompted, attack her husband this way during a moment of peace...
She’d hoped to provoke a reaction, and is thus satisfied by this result. Although a few of the other people in
the room are unfazed by the commotion, and some even seem to have lost their faces entirely, alteration of
a memory to this extent is a veritable first. This, at least, has been a success.
The world begins to crack, fractures appearing wherever she can see. Reality afterward looks almost
wrinkled from it.
She says to herself, “Making entire worlds for vacation... Surely there would be better uses for that.”
She lets go of the bread knife and sighs, seeing how it can’t move from the space where she’d abandoned it.
“Not a peep about ‘memory’, ‘echoes’, ‘reflections’—importantly, not ‘glass’...”
The room constricts.
“This was another worthless dream.”
The planet divides.
White blears and obscures, briefly flashing everywhere as the image is demolished. In a rush of every
remembered sound contained in that recollection, in that slip of glass, she stands with her eye shut until
luminescence and noise fade. She opens her eye to faintly glittering empty space, her mind twists, and after
another wave of effulgent pain she sees again the world with which she is both most familiar, and most
The world of white and ruins. The memory-shaped realm of Arcaea.
“I’d had a good feeling about this one,” she mumbles, watching the rotation of a shard just above her palm.
“But it wasn’t responsible for this world’s creation, and it was almost empty to boot. Hmph. If I can watch
them, let me remove them too...”
She dismisses the glass, not looking as it returns to the space where she’d found it: a glinting, sharpened
river flowing above the ground. The girl named Saya stares off into the plain horizon, stepping forth while
touching her lip absently, and reviewing the events of the recent memory, comparing them all to the wealth
of a thousand others.
“In these other places, humans can act as gods.”
That is what she learned.
The girl with a flower in her eye closes the book of that memory in her mind. It hadn’t been completely
worthless, only mostly.
It had frustrated her at first: the world she had visited was one she had quickly deemed frivolous, but the
frivolity revealed something important to her about the potential of mankind. Still... for now... that wasn’t
More than theories on “how”, theories of “why” compelled her onward. This had been another of her
journeys out through the ruins of the world in a scattershot hope of discovering that answer, or to even
brush against it tangentially. That was always her focal drive, but a secondary one had been made manifest
after she’d witnessed about two hundred of the memories.
“It didn’t have anything new for a potential reconstruction,” she whispers, beckoning a shard from a nearby,
sparse stream of glass, “but I suppose it’s good that it had some sort of value.”
She lets the gleam of the new piece catch her eye, and she scrutinizes the vision of the past it offers,
muttering absently, “Almost home...”
She carries the fragment over her palm, crossing a bridge with which she’s become very familiar. On her left
is a haphazard pile of what once might have been cities, on her right is a chaotic mass of glass and stone—
recognizable as nothing. She marches the long way back to the place where she was “born”, uncaring of
how many steps it takes.
She takes however long she needs to reach and stop before a place of four fallen walls, between them an
immense sphere of shimmering crystal—an unfinished sphere broken apart, like a cracked shell. Smiles,
tears, deaths, and celebrations flicker in and out its facets. Flowers, plains, deserts, oceans... Animals,
She doesn’t know if she can recreate a world by piecing together memories. She doesn’t even know if she
can truly “connect” them at all by gathering them together like this... But she can try.
She squints lightly to the gleam of the new piece she’s brought. “Let’s see how much you can show me,” she
So it opens, and the girl fades into a new time. In short order, she sees a world brimful with artificial glow,
crowded by endless and nigh-infinite towers of man reaching through clouds of an evening sky, and dark
vehicles roaring through the air. An unpleasant atmosphere flows into her lungs. Cacophony fills her ears. As
she assumes an identity, assumes a new past, she looks on, unmoved. A hundred questions rise in her
mind... She will have them answered. No matter what that takes, no matter what needs to be done.
An endless day could be dull. Spending too long under an overeager sun—anyone would start to yearn for
Even for her, that sentiment holds true.
"Eighty days of light?"
"Seven months of light?"
"A year... maybe..."
The white of the sky has once again broken through the cracks in the walls of this place she calls home,
and it seems her sleeping body had found the rays while rolling over the floor.
She grumbles, "Turn it off already..."
But still, she picks herself up.
Still, she rubs her eyes and stretches her arms.
She stands and finds the door, ready to face another "day" in the seemingly boundless world of Arcaea.
An adventure that hasn't always been a delight, and travels that haven't always led to discoveries.
Despite that, ever since she'd first awakened a tabula rasa, two things have always remained consistent:
both her heart and the sky have always been shining.
"Alright...!" she says under her breath. "Some exercise first!"
She holds out her hand before her and a section of glass flies her way.
Not memory glass—
It is an ordinary, typical sheet, albeit a large one. When it spins close, she jumps onto it,
and immediately calls another.
The home she found is an old beach house on a lonely island apart from the abandoned mélange-cities
found everywhere else in the world. It's a beach without an ocean, houses scattered around its shores like
abandoned shells; and deeper inland is a field of strange, gigantic poles of white wood. The homes have been
picked apart over time, from within and without, in her tampering. Now she whisks away their walls and
windows to create a makeshift set of stairs—to make a racing track, and then a tunnel. She quickly leaps
and runs through the gleaming passage, if only to give her legs feeling.
All this took was a little acceptance. Days after awakening, it was a simple matter to make the world of Arcaea
bend to her whimsy.
But far below her, just above the sands of the phantom sea, something glints: something sparse and scattered
throughout the water.
Throwing a glance that way, she huffs a breath from her nose, and sports a weak smirk.
The glass beneath her feet bends so easily, but the peculiar glass—the Arcaea—has always been somewhat...
no, absurdly recalcitrant with her. In this world of memories, hardly any recollections will follow her,
and most can only be viewed or visited.
In an almost childish huff, the girl jumps from a crystal platform. Behind her, the structures she's made
all collapse, piece by piece. Before gravity fully takes her, she holds out her right hand, calling for the blanket
from her bed and swirling into it joyously. Then, she calls for something heavy, something soft. In a few
moments after falling, she is caught by a throne of indolence: a hefty, colorless armchair. Thus, she sits,
hanging in the skies above her home, half-gazing at tombstone horizons.
She exhales again; she's pleased, satisfied. Another successful lovely "morning" run. Still looking out to
the distance, her thoughts drift to less pleasant places: to questions about the size of this world, and what
else it might contain. Has she even seen a third of it? Even a sixteenth? It's a too-big place, and there are
too many assorted memories. As she rocks along the windless air, she lets her eyelids drop and she considers
that fact. It's some immense place; it's some old and mish-mash, jumbled place. She feels it probably can't
just be a world of wonders and oddities exclusively meant for her.
She opens her eyes to the bright sky again.
Somewhere, perhaps on the other side of the world, that sky is full of stars.
Under that sky, perhaps other girls are gazing upward and wishing for daylight.
The girl in red grips the front of the blanket wrapped around her shoulders.
Days without end mean it's always a new beginning, and no telling what a journey will hold.
"Hm, but you know..."
She mutters to herself, eased into her flying seat.
"Is there a sun up there, I wonder...?"
She squints at the heavens above, and quietly contemplates.
What makes the light so evenly spread throughout this place?
Until now, her travels have always been forward, so… Why not try upward?
A mischievous smile flashes across her face.
She stands in her chair and drops off the blanket, letting it fall toward the ground. As it drifts drown,
a wooden column launches up past it. She jumps from her chair and grabs hold of the new arrival by a short,
metal bar. With her feet planted against the column's side for security, she gives it a longer glance. It is a pillar,
she knows, used in other worlds to convey power and communications. She puts one foot down on another
bar below, and like that—with one leg and one arm free, far above the ground—she stands boldly on a broken
piece of an old world.
She gazes to the urban and suburban sprawl on the horizon one more time, and then turns her gazing upward.
She can't be sure how far flight will carry her: she knows she'll need a ladder to be safe.
The houses below, hers excepted, start breaking down even more. Panels, bed frames, armoires and windows
glide upward, and the debris she used and let collapse before is torn out of the sand. Everything begins to
amass, surely and steadily, into a defined structure. But the girl is not an architect. Her tower is ramshackle,
slowly building toward the heavens at odd, sharp, and often sudden angles.
Unfortunately, her island is not replete with usable material. After running out, she frowns halfway at her design,
feeling annoyed that it cannot even reach a kilometer into the sky.
Grumbling, she turns her eyes on the horizon again and lifts her palm toward it.
She concentrates, pulls... and nothing happens.
But that's only natural. That is of course.
As powerful and masterful as she may be, she is no god.
She drops her hand in defeat and decides it's time to renovate. Instead of a tower, a spiral set of stairs.
After an hour, and another hour, and another hour, and two more, her work is finally done and she is impressed
with the result. It still looks ridiculous, and more than a little haphazard, but this amalgamation, she is certain,
is much more sensible. She figures she deserves a pat on the back.
With the new formation complete, she wastes no time in beginning her ascent. One by one, step by step, she
rises with her armchair floating close by, ready to catch her should she fall. As the girl makes her way, she pulls
from the bottom of the stairs and sends those steps to the top. Soon after, she finds herself climbing an
ever-building, ever-breaking staircase. Through layers of fog, to the highest point.
The trip becomes a long one, during which she sometimes must have a seat or even sleep through the "night".
And, maybe after what would be four days, heaven comes within her sight. And she learns this: "heaven" is an
immense and impenetrable wall of clouds.
Her progress is halted when a step she sends from the bottom refuses to become the top, stuck on the fluff of
the air and unable to move any further up. She withdraws it and leaves it to hang beside her. And, with a
etermined gaze, she rushes her way up the final flight.
At the top, the girl fans the pieces, panes, and pillars out underneath her for more of a platform, and she lifts
her hands over her head—into the clouds. Here she finds that the white resists her touch, but still she pushes
on, standing on the toes of her boots to see through if she can.
And here, she finds, she cannot.
"Really...?" she wonders aloud.
But in her moment of despondence, something catches her eye.
Out the corner of her right: a glint. In fact, a bevy of glints, dropping from the clouds after she's gone and
She looks, to find a small crowd of perhaps twenty Arcaea—perhaps even more—coming toward her.
And the girl in red realizes.
In these sunless skies of Arcaea, standing on an invented ground, she has found the first group of memories
in this world which are inextricably attuned to her.
解锁要求：通过Flyburg and Endroll
On the air, the fragrance of incense.
Resounding, the voices of townsfolk and children.
The atmosphere, light and fresh.
Someone's cooking—baking—and she can taste the savory scents drifting outside and along the streets.
Looking up, she finds a sun hanging bright in an empty and blue sky.
This is a new world of memory, and she basks in the sensations of it, remaining still to take it all in.
It's the memory of an artisan's helper: of a girl in the middle of an errand.
What sort of artisan was the helper an aide to?
The girl with the rose-colored hair hasn't grasped those details yet. But she isn't very interested in them.
"Just look at it...!"
—it's some sort of fantasy.
Mouth agape, eyes glittering, she looks absolutely everywhere. Overhead, colored paper and fabric ties rooftop
to rooftop, evoking the image of frilled power lines. But they give the impression of a festival, as power lines
they are most definitely not. The flagstone streets, red-stone houses, and chimneys spouting black smoke tell
her this is an old-day town, or perhaps city, she stands in now.
Stalls offering curious circle- and sun-shaped necklaces, talismans, and rings of charms dot the walkway,
beside other stalls selling figures of creatures she's seen before in libraries of other memories. The townsfolk
dress, she thinks, a bit similar to her: as if a parade is on, but not one too bombastic. It's a colorful world,
favoring the warmer colors of the spectrum, though splashes of azure decoration arrest the eye here and there.
As the girl starts to wander, she finds performances too, and troubadours teaching, warning, and entertaining
whomever might listen.
She spends some time during her wandering on samples of confections. More than some time, in fact:
as much time as she can without drawing suspicion. And as she wanders and samples, one brilliant red morsel
strikes her eye, and her heart, very much in particular. A strawberry tart, it's called.
She gets her hands on it with the apprentice's coin, takes a bite through its glaze, and with that she is certain of
this shining truth: this place is very lovely. It's incredibly nice! A fantastical world, and one with a notable
appreciation for the more sugary delights of life.
She finds herself particularly happy about this world of memory. Feeling zealous, she quickens the pace of
her steps, leaping forward, gasping, and spinning on her toes or heel as she turns each and every corner.
She must be careful not to run. She thinks, she really must observe every little part of this town closely.
Reading signs posted outside of square buildings, she learns that this is a spiritual place. It's a land that believes
in fairies and spirits; in gods, daemons, and youkai. The performers she sees are performing the "fantastic",
the "strange", the "impossible". Indeed, every one of them is absolutely certain that what they are performing
is magic: "casting spells" by igniting vibrant powders in their hands to flame, smoke, and clouds; "divining fates"
by speaking toward still pools of water and interpreting the ripples within; "communing with other beings",
they say, by manipulating lights before her eyes in a way she can't actually determine the mechanics of
in a glance.
This world is rich and full of belief: it is marvelous, wondrous, and all an unmistakable act.
While strolling down the quaint avenues, the memory itself slowly informs her that every part of this place is
truly performance, artificial, untruth. Deeply valued tradition, but absolutely not truth.
Yet when she reaches the city's outer limits (and the memory's, with any attempts to cross a small barrier
met with resistant reality)—when she gazes out to the verdant hills beyond the low and easy wood fence that
has stopped her; to the few but imposing old oak trees, and the clear sparkle of some distant lake... she
understands, somehow, why one might believe in something even with sound evidence to the contrary.
She herself comes from a strange world of flying glass; why deny the belief that a world like this could be
inhabited by trickster fairies? Why reject the idea of things surpassing nature and logic?
This is the memory of an artisan's helper, and the artisan is a so-called sorcerer who researches the existence of
fantastical things. As the help, the girl she is living through has long known that all his research leads to dead
ends. The purpose, she speculates, is not to really prove anything. It is to embolden one's beliefs and be better
Now the girl in red puffs a joking breath and smiles wistfully. That's a funny idea. With her hand on a post and
wind flowing through her hair, she spots what she knows to be an ancient forest west from here. This is the
memory of completing a simple errand, and perhaps that's why she is unable to travel too far.
But she's sure she will be back in another memory. She thinks this land of artifice, magic, and show very much
suits her, and that crowd of glass she'd come across at the top of the world of Arcaea reflected more facets of
the world than this within its other fragments. With a giddy feeling, she grips at the front of her dress.
It's truly incredible. The smile on her face starts to wriggle anxiously. Somehow, she has never felt exhilaration
quite like this before.
Twenty times? More? She's stopped keeping count.
With that whisper under her breath, she crouches in front on a chest made of unfinished wood, swiping her palm
across the top. A wave of dust rises off of it and falls to the floor. She unclasps the front and opens it up.
Today she is an archivist, exploring one of the old castles in the North, where they had lost land to flooding.
Thankfully, the papers inside this chest were spared from moisture by the chest itself. Hearing the creak of
ancient hinges, her partner calls from another room inquiring about her discovery. "Scrolls from the fourth
era," she answers over her shoulder. She takes one of them and unfurls it, revealing the history of her people's
dealings with the Unseelie.
Stories like these amuse her, especially as she tries to guess at what the previous generations might have
confused for fairies and the like in the past. Yesterday, while working as a storyteller, she had the pleasure of
recounting an old passed-down yarn of the teller's ancestors. Some forefather had once gathered a vast
treasure on a faraway shore. On the return across the lake a sylph rocked his boat with wind, and a passing
naiad capsized it with waves. Afterward, the two shared his fallen wealth. It was quite an excuse for a bout of
But still, she knows it proves nice to think these creatures are around, malevolent and benevolent both.
When her day as an archivist is done and she's returned to the world of Arcaea to rest on the platform which is
now her temporary base camp, she visits the memory of a school instructor and teaches lessons and rules that
would keep any child or adult safe in a world replete with chaotic nature, sudden perils, and careless people.
The context of magic makes these lessons very interesting to impart and to hear. It really is just a joyous and
fascinating place, and she cannot stop visiting. Its people, whose faces become increasingly familiar between
each shard of Arcaea; its places which become engraved in her own memory throughout others; the sounds
and the sights, everything—
It's marvelous, and nostalgic.
When she's been to every other memory she could find in Heaven, when she's explored (as far as she knows)
every part of the land, she at last comes to a bustling, rambunctious festival day—or rather, a night celebration.
It is to give thanks to the gods of birth and harvest, and to dissuade darker spirits.
She spots the townsfolk named Lancaster and Shia, two gentlemen architects, and they've gotten on in years
from the last memory she met them. But they greet her with vigor and treat her to a candied apple, which
makes her happier than anything else. They point to the sky. It lights up in a show of a thousand brilliant colors.
To those gods. To life, and living it.
However, seeing such a wonderful thing… it doesn't strike her. Her heart does not swell; not with wistfulness,
nor the joy of new experience.
She remembers this. She knows why everyone is here.
So, on this final night in these familiar memories, she witnesses the firework sky entirely satisfied.
With tears in her eyes, and a spot of pain in her heart, she finds herself entirely content.
The memories were heartening; they were comforting. She'd spent months within them, and at times, she
would think, "I never want to leave." Still, she knew they had an ending, and she didn't want to see it.
Besides, the future cannot be found within memories.
She returned to the world of white knowing she may never visit those days again. Days gone are just that:
stories told and over, lives and loves finished.
She doesn't regret it. As she slowly descends to the surface, looking up to the clouds that had once called her
there, she knows every moment, every second spent in those memories was worth everything. It's like a
question she never asked has been answered, and so her heart is full.
The sky seems to be falling around her, all the pieces of her temporary home dropping faster or slower
around her, and in her chest, she feels a twinge of emotion.
Thus, the sky, the true sky above, begins to part.
Standing on a window platform, her hair whipping up past her face, she sees the glittering glass above is
standing still, and behind the pieces, a new night sky is entering her sight. One she's never seen before.
The clouds scatter and drop, disappear and dash away, as a sparkling void of shadows takes their place.
This velvet plane, reaching far and darkening, before a deep lavender wave of color spreads out over it,
swaying, glowing. The stars are out. The day is over.
Her heart aches.
She whispers a name, this name for the last time, and she wipes her eyes with the back of her hand.
Her glass breaks through the final thin layer of clouds. The complex, graying landscape reveals itself, to its
This is her new life! She holds out her hand, knowing that someday, somewhere beyond that horizon, she will
find others who will take it. Someday, these hands will do something great.
Until then, she will look ahead.
Living in the present—in Arcaea.
……逐渐淡去，化为 Arcaea 的一部分。
Her name, though she doesn’t know it, is “Shirahime”.
She’d awakened with a crown on her head and a scepter in hand. At once she knew what they
were, and she knew what they meant. The girl with white hair and two-color eyes knows that she
is most assuredly somebody special.
“So, bow to me!”
“...So it isn’t this one either.”
With her arms folded and legs crossed and her gaze cast aside, the girl who knows herself to be a
princess leans back in her “throne”—a kitchen chair—while the memory of a friend—the friend of
whomever had this perspective she’s usurped through a frame of glass—looks back at her in
Four shards today.
She has explored four shards as she’s sought the truth of her past—because there is most definitely
a truth! Her innate knowledge of the significance of items, her understanding of speech, and how
she has always perceived the world she awakened into however long ago informs her thusly: that
her existence in the world called “Arcaea” cannot simply be some trick of chaos and chance. More
importantly, regardless of these suspicions, far too much is confounding about the world of white.
Too confounding. She demands certainty.
“Hato.” She pauses, then opens her palms out at her sides. “I’m looking for which of these
memories has my castle. My ‘castle’. You get it, right?”
“A castle,” Haru repeats. “So you think you’re a queen or something?”
She puts a loose fist against her lips and considers the notion.
“Well, princess, maybe,” she eventually replies, slouching forward.
“...Are you alright, Anri?” he asks, and she lowers her gaze as a sour mood falls over her. In short
order, her face reflects the mood.
As mentioned, that is not her name. She still does not know her name, but she does know it isn’t
Anri. She also knows she’s pushing her luck.
In moments, this memory will likely collapse. In a sense, that’s fine—that’s fast, and no waste of
time. But it is another dashed hope.
“And why were you talking about memories?” Haru continues. The intruding girl glances up at him
Four shards today.
And so, that marks fifty-three in all.
With any memory she finds that resonates with her even in the slightest way, she takes hold of it
and dives within.
She keeps watch on Haru’s blank face. She has seen countless blank faces just like it. After four
seconds, it freezes.
There is a sound of fracture, and the world all falls away...
...fading out, into Arcaea.
The girl finds her scepter nearby, before the curb upon which she had been sitting.
She takes it up, stands, and twirls it about in her right hand.
And so, she goes.
The journey for discovery continues...
But the girl does not know this:
Discovery will not be hers.
Perhaps she can piece it together.
Perhaps, maybe, she can form a theory, and that theory may be correct.
After all, many girls have wandered into this world called Arcaea, and in time discovered
themselves. She does not know this. She, as do so many others in the glass landscape along with
her, believes herself to be alone in Arcaea. To be frank, it inflates her sense of importance. That
being said, it also makes her reflect on her predicament.
If she is alone, then perhaps she is a noble in exile (no). She was a wonderful ruler, loved by all (no)!
Until... there was a terrible rebellion (there wasn’t)! The people turned against their queen, princess,
and country, and purged her memories clean (quite the story)! With magic!
The girl who woke with a crown and scepter is the kind to believe in magic.
One can allow her this, however. What is the world of white if not a magical one? Her place in it is
strange, and the place itself is stranger still. In no memory has she ever found a world in which
glass flies and floats through the air as it does in this one—not in any shards, nor in her head.
That, and how these glass memories are experienced... this place is magic, no? And that is why
she must have come from magic too.
That’s what she wants to think. She is wrong—that magic is where she came from—but it is her
Therefore, she is special. Therefore, she should be admired.
“Maybe... there are ‘cool’ memories by cool-looking places,” she says to herself as she overlooks
the colorless lands. “Let’s go find a tower.”
She marches forward.
When describing her, it would be apt to say that this girl’s head is one made of stone.
She embarrassed herself again.
Somehow, when her declarations of nobility land on deaf ears, she experiences a deep and
crippling shame that courses through her. As the memory falls around her, her cheeks are always
dyed a perfect red.
Now, having returned to the world of glass, she presses her hand to her face.
She shuts her eyes.
And she whines with pain.
“Ghhhhhh... what was that...”
“Where is my castle!?”
She still says.
“Where are my subjects!? My people!? Where!?”
The girl stomps her foot and balls her fists, gritting her teeth.
“Another!” she shouts, reaching for the first and nearest memory. She dives in, to whatever it is, if
only to stop remembering the looks she received while she stood on that restaurant table and
A world swirls around her, in shades of white and black, and in seconds she has trespassed.
The memory she enters is quiet and quaint.
The stars are out, and it is dark. If the moon has risen, it can’t be seen through the trees.
She is standing in a forest—in a clearing. A fire crackles behind her.
“Can you see it?” a child asks. In this memory, she knows this is “her sister”.
She glances back at the little girl and thinks.
According to this memory, the older sister was trying to find a certain constellation.
“No,” says the white-haired girl. “I can’t see it.”
“Oh well. Sit down and let’s keep watching,” the sister replies.
The younger girl has something in her hands. The older girl walks over to see it better. It’s a screen,
with buttons on its sides. A movie is playing on that screen. No—an animation? Squinting, she sits
down beside the girl and watches.
It seems similar to what she’s seen in other fiction across other Arcaea: a typical cartoon about a
boy with some power, fighting devilish monsters with his friends.
“...You charged it, right?” she asks, referring to the device. The words come from another.
“You already asked me that,” the little sister answers.
She whispers this honestly, as she honestly means it.
How to say...
Royalty does not watch cartoons. A royal is a statesperson, a ruler, and a guider of women and men.
She most definitely believes that.
Yet, she is most definitely more comfortable with this: sitting down and having nothing to say,
her eyes transfixed and her ears perked.
She puts her shoulder to the shoulder of the memory-child, and the child returns the gesture.
Now, she feels at ease.
The mood she had before was suddenly silenced. In the wake of her anger, it comes to her mind:
life is a truly horrible thing sometimes.
Barring even the horrors she has borne witness to in glass: life feels terrible, much of the time.
Frustrations, waning strength, pure inability to change one’s situation...
That’s how it is.
It is possible she had no one else before she was put in a glass cage. Perhaps she was a lonely ruler,
on a lonely throne.
Perhaps she only had this.
If that was so, she thinks...
If that was so, then perhaps things were alright.
Her “sister” brings a small blanket over both of their shoulders.
She glances at the child again and says, “Thanks...”
And she gazes back into the screen, saying nothing more until the memory fades away.
Since then, her drive has faded as well.
The memory of a trip in the woods, with someone who cared, simply watching something easy to
whittle away the hours of the night... it, too, whittled her ambitions away entirely.
Here are the facts: she has no castle, let alone any home, and even if she found either, they would
merely be memories: abandoned, forgotten, and in actuality ephemeral.
If she is to walk forward, it will be to no conclusion.
It will be to no sense or end.
To say it in another way: her path is an empty one.
So, she whispers, “This hurts...”
Her voice cracks.
She looks at the endless daylight, with terse lips and warm eyes.
Even if she was a princess of a faraway land... a great ruler, deposed... born nobility...
The girl is human, and humans are not perfectly strong. She is stuck, and quiet, and cursed with
emotion and thought.
Under the unseen sun, the girl shuts her two-colored eyes and feels tears running down her cheeks.
The light is caught within her teardrops, and that light fades as it falls—not through any magic...
...but instead through the darkening of the sky.
As the gleam of Arcaea’s daylight ebbs from her face, the girl opens her eyes to blink. To see
shadows around her. To see, unmistakably, night falling on the earth.
She turns her gaze upward again.
It seems that... the heavens have been rent, and a red comet is falling.
It flies down for a minute or more, before landing unceremoniously before her—scattering winds,
white sands, and the twin tails of her hair.
Dumbfounded the girl stares, mouth agape, at the crashed crimson star. The star is kneeling on a
pile of broken chairs, and shaking its head of dust. Her head. The star is a girl.
She opens her eyes, and opens them wide. In a short moment, a smile—wide as well—
spreads across her face.
This is the crimson girl who flew up to the sky.
Her name is Kou.
“Nice to meet you!!”
Kou booms her greeting with a voice full of life. Shirahime stiffens, and pales. This is the wrong
move—it affords her no mobility. Kou leaps out at her from her pile of furniture and tackles the
twin-tailed girl, nearly toppling her. This elicits from the self-described royal a distinctly
“Oh wow, you’re real! You’re actually here!” After hugging her, Kou removes her arms and starts
cheerfully patting the other girl’s face, ears, hair, and sides.
To all of this, Shirahime finds herself speechless.
Kou pulls on Shirahime’s scarlet cheeks, laughing. “This isn’t a memory, right?” she asks.
“I’m real!” the “princess” insists with a voice slightly distorted.
“Oh! Do you know your name?” Kou asks. “Oh, I don’t know mine,” she adds. “Maybe I know it now!”
she guesses, lifting a finger optimistically. “Aah... I don’t.” She taps her temple, and tilts her head
“Slo—...Slow down!” the other girl begs. The girl in red laughs, and Shirahime stutters on, saying
“I...! What!? Are you... Hey! Are you okay!?”
Although that question from her sounds more a demand.
“I’m fine,” says Kou with a smile.
“You fell from the sky!” Shirahime reminds her, pointing for emphasis.
“Yeah, I guess I di—” Kou begins, turning to see where she came from. She stops, puts a hand on
her hip, and points to the heavens. With this, she glances back at the other girl and declares,
“You didn’t notice!?”
“Well, I didn’t look back,” Kou replies, now turning back around with both hands on her hips.
“What were you doing up there?”
“There were some memories,” the red girl explains. “I watched them.”
“So you can watch them too?” Shirahime asks. Kou nods with enthusiasm.
“I can!” she says.
“And you can fly!?”
“Not really,” she answers, now with a shake of the head. “I can make other stuff float.” She
demonstrates with her finger acting as a wand, and a cupboard being the subject, swirling around
the two of them to her direction. “You can’t?” she asks.
And Shirahime wildly shakes her head, which spurs laughter in Kou once again as her twin tails
whip to and fro. With a hand over her chest, Shirahime declares: “I’m HUMAN.”
In Arcaea, in its time, there have been moments of fate. The tides of time and reality are bent and
twisted by the whims of one or the convergence of two.
However, this moment is merely chance.
The girls talk—talk of glass, of purpose, and naturally of the sky. Experiments follow: can Shirahime
be carried by Kou’s magic? Can Shirahime learn this magic herself? Yes, and no.
Of course, they also wonder how many others are out there, the same as them.
And it is with this in mind that they follow the fleeing daylight. Perhaps...there are others looking
up, and marveling at the new sky.
Just like that, with no fate or destiny tying them, these two begin to walk together.
She, Kou, begins to wonder: has it been weeks, or have months passed between them?
Under the dark, these two girls have wandered together through shadow-bathed ruins: with Kou
leading, and with Shirahime stammering behind; Kou's laughter ahead, and Shirahime's hand at
her back. Further, the "princess's" habit for embarrassment has escaped merely the confines of
memory—rare is the moment she will not stumble or stutter, and by now Kou is well-accustomed
to the shaking, brazen, self-proclaimed "royal".
However, the twin-tailed girl has most definitely, of late, been shaking far less: in her voice when
they talk, and in her movements when they go.
Truly, the two have traveled together long. But it won't be forever.
Now Kou and Shirahime, quite a ways into their travels, find themselves at a clear divide.
Though the clouds are torn and the stars brought out, not all of the morning light has faded.
The girls view the heavens without a word, and with awe-filled faces.
...they now stand at the division between night and day.
"Pretty..." Shirahime whispers.
"Yeah," Kou agrees.
The stars of the night are violet. The day is white and golden. Where they meet, what might be
magic—might be memory—churns and twists, like a shifting and prismatic serpent. It is as if
they've found the world's haphazard seam. Seeing it, they almost know: know what the world is,
and how it came to be as well.
Kou brings her eyes down first. Shirahime, however, cannot tear away hers.
"Now what?" Kou asks. "We didn't find anyone, huh?"
"No..." Shirahime replies.
"Should we keep looking together?"
Shirahime brings down her eyes as well.
Before them is the new Arcaea landscape: of shadows and light.
She looks at Kou, and calmly shakes her head.
"I'm going to follow the line: I'll find someone out there," she says.
"And you should go back to the heavens and see what they're hiding."
Kou raises her eyebrows.
The two have walked for quite some time, and in their time together, Kou believed she had the
other girl figured out. That Shirahime was a boisterous sort—but that all of her flair and bombast
existed only to obscure a shivering heart. Therefore...
"...You're taking charge?" Kou asks, as it's just too surprising.
"Of course," Shirahime says, with a dismissive and teasing glance. "You see this crown on my head,
Kou chuckles. "Yeah, I see it," she answers.
And Shirahime lowers her gaze again, staring out to the glass hills.
She tells Kou, "I'm kidding... I just had the thought: I want to take a chance." Shirahime meets Kou's
green eyes and the girl straightens her back. The princess states, "We should take one, and I think
you'd better do what I can't."
And... after a few moments, Kou nods. She calls a slab of concrete to her feet, and hops on.
"I'll go see the night, then," she says. "Let's meet up when we can!" She grins.
"We will," Shirahime answers with an easy smile. Kou blinks, and loses her own. Once more the
white-haired girl has surprised her. Deeply, she believes those words, and her face brightens up
Kou flies to the starlight, and at once Shirahime steps forward.
Perhaps she has forgotten her want of a kingdom.
She already knows: there are others here.
The world is vast, but she will find them.
What a crown and scepter mean is nobility, and what a noble does is draw others to her, like a
much-needed hearth. Maybe her blood is not noble at all.
However, it must be said: despite her whining, her wavering, and her very weak heart...
...her soul very much is.
The cliff overlooked it all.
At the end of the day,these who had abandoned the mortal coil left behind their souls like hermit shells for
other,new lives to take them.Their spirits ascended to the land's Pool,luminous and glimmering overhead.
Water-like spirits,almost formless;everything white and flowing into that vibrancy which bore through the
clouded sky.In the gray landscape that was her world,this sight-this unique,spectacular sight-was
something many could call a wonder.
To her,.it was ordinary.It was everyday.It was work.
"Any trembling on the left side?"her confr re asked from behind.She very slightly moved her head to see him
sitting on the ground.On his lap sat a wide,black,shallow bowl of water,used for lecanomancy,and from
the ripples inside it she could see that he'd just performed a divination.
She answered him lightly with,"No."Then she asked,"Why? Have you noticed something?”
"It looks like the earth shook a bit,"he explained.
"Ahh..That's not good.Should l look closer?"
"Hmm...It seems like a fissure,"he said."Go take care ofit."
With a simple"alright,"she stepped off the cliff.
The density of spirits nearby slowed her fall.She found a pair of strings that were keeping ther blouse,
sleeves,and skirt taut.When she tugged them,they loosened and began to dangle;a shimmer emanated
from the cloth and her dress began to ruffle loudly.And as it did,it dulled the influence of the dead.
Once she reached the ground,she took her scythe from her hip,unfolded it to its full height,and after
turning it over,rode the underside of the blade in ftlight to her far-off destination.
To mend the fissure after coaxing out the souls trapped within it.
To return to the cliff,and watch for any other aberations.
She was to do this, and things tike it day alter day. Yes. that was her responsibility.
And,in time,her life would join the others.
In fact,that time has already passed.
It's long ago,gone.The world and life she once knew is now only a shapeless memory.
But this isn't what death was meant to be.
There was no mystery to it in her life:what happened to the dead was what happened.There was no "next
world",only that which you were born in,lived in,and died in.Something like heaven…hell…even purgatory:
these were moralists' tales which only seemed valid in the most ancient of times.
So what is this place? What is this mysterious realm that she one day awakened to? What might it be? What
might it be?
Well…does it really matter?
She sits knees-up on top of a lighthouse,overlooking desert.White.White,and more white…and there,
glass."Arcaea"is its name.With her chin in her hand,she casts a languid gaze toward a bridge extending left.
She doesn't know where that one goes.
"Phew…"She exhales and stands,taking the scythe from off her hip.It doesn't work quite the same here,but
she can still utilize it for travel.Unconsciously,she brushes her bangs the other way.In doing so she grazes
the front side of her left horn with her fingertips.
Right…right.To this day,of all the memories she can find within the Arcaea…she hasn't found a single one
with any horned humans represented.
With these memories being really the only attention-grabbers in this world fashioned from glass,she's spent
quite a bit of time watching and cataloguing them.Keeping them,like records.And indeed,those records
don't even hint at her race having ever existed anywhere.
Her race is…Race…Race? Is that a safe assumption to make? Was she part of a"people"when she was alive,
participating in spiritual horticulture? Not that it maters now,but perhaps remembering more clearly will
unlock more of her old self..Something like that,anyway.
For now,it's time to evaluate which shards of glass have left the part of Arcaea she calls home,which have
remained,and which are new.She moves to step from the lighthouse,ready for her new routine.
It does still fly:the scythe.
Sitting on the length of the handle as a witch might lackadaisically sit on a broom,the young woman rides
down a broken,shambled street.The blade sits upright beside and behind her,shifting for every swivel and
turn.Her movements are smooth and completely ingrained.
As she goes,she looks upon a particular jumble oftlying glass.This one runs alongside and above the road
like a river,and since her arrival it has not once lost or gained any memories for its flock.This being so
peculiar,she checks it every day.Today,too,the memories that glint within each are all ones she has seen before.
Unrelated,unconnected memories of play,song,sadness,strange machines both enormous and fast...
It's really a rather eclectic mix,making the fact that they're seemingly unconnectedvey interesting.
She looks for the memory that she likes the most.
Of course,finding a specific memory within a crowd is similar to seeking a needle in a stack of hay.
But the one here-it likes her in return.
A piece of glass breaks from the chain,and it approaches her as she glides on.She smiles faintly,lifting her
right hand from her scythe so that the piece can come to rest over her palm.
In it is the final moment of a small hand-crafted flute's creation.Making the instrument had been a labor of
many minutes,hurs,days and months,but the carver who'd done it had condensed all his feeling into this
single moment.It all came to this.
He plays a note,and the tone makes him wince.Terible.
But it does work.
Though this memory marked the end of an arduous journey,it also marked the beginning ofan even grander one.
Such a curious position...
Truly--and the others it shares a crowd with are special indeed.
That memory is precious.
In fact,if it can be called"precious",more likely than not it has found its way to her at some point.Memories
of first pets,of one's survival and another's sacrifice,of first words,of inspiring speeches,of important and
private talks…Sometimes,when she is strolling or riding by, these significant memories will just begin
She doesn't mind.She likes that memories so special were kept safe in this curious place.That is a good
thing,but there is something better.
The world of Arcaea serves as an archive to memories of any sort.A memory of a toothache,a memory of a
good meal,a memory of a horse ride,a memory of spilled milk.Whatever it is,if it was remembered,then it is here.
And it is really every one of those memories,along with those standouts among them,that shape a man or
woman,she thinks.Not only that,but they seve as the only real evidence that a person ever was alive.
Monuments and graves are erected in the name of memory,and as for the loss of memory…as she has seen
within the Arcaea,that is something at times more tragic and difficult to accept than death.
She quietly comes to a stop,stepping down onto what looks to have once been a town square.Here,
innumerable pieces of glass drift through the air.It's something like…well,the appropriate term for her
might be a garden,though one with every"plant"brought in instead of grown natively.
She tends to themall the same.These are the memories she has found in what she considers to be her
"home"part of Arcaea.These specific shards are those which were not there when she first awakened.
They'd drifted in.
"…Hmph,"she sniffs,absently taking stock of the pieces.They don't usually leave,but sometimes they
And that worries her.
ls there meaning in the Arcaea being in the form of something as fragile as glass?
…Back in life,she learned not to ask many questions.
Her gaze, still on the Arcaea above, is suddenly broken.
...Where did that come from?
Appearing on the shore of her thoughts suddenly, like a fair and gentle-seeming stranger, was that little fact,
in the form of a miniature memory.
She wasn't sure at first that it was even there, but as she thinks it over again and again... she's sure of it.
She recalls this. This... it happened.
Sitting under a pair of quiet old trees, the Soul Stream having gone down, and night having risen, she was
speaking with her confrère...
"You learn to think of it in this sort of paradox," he'd said. "You think of all life as precious, but at the same
time the drudgery leaves it all as just numbers. Higher numbers, lower numbers. It isn't like you stop caring;
it's more as if, if anything, caring so much sharpens you into someone who seems cold."
"But it's alright," he assured her, smiling weakly at the Stream. "Thinking too much about it will probably tear
you up inside. When you went to the Glen, what was the reason you gave for wanting to walk this path?"
"See? That's what we all say," he replied, and she recalls how calming his voice had been then. "Just
remember that, and you'll be fine."
But there it ends. That's it. Her gaze comes back to the sharp air above her. Just remember it? Just
remember it. Remember it. It... Remember what?
"I... don't remember," she whispers softly, but each word, each syllable falls heavily off her tongue.
He had been absolutely right. Now she can feel it, building in her eyes: the dull, warm grief that comes with
sad revelation. A new piece of her memory has shown itself to her, but it is crucially broken, and without
answers to the questions it has forced into her mind, her heart is killed. The agony is nearly unbearable.
How do you put the pain of knowing you are not entirely yourself into proper words?
Under the cloud of glass, she shuts her eyes, bends her head, and puts the heel of her palm over her nose, the
underside of her fist against her skull. She won't cry. She can't let herself do something like that. To cry here,
at this, would open her to too many facets of reality she has chosen not to face. She sits on the ground,
sucking in her lips, tightening them.
She will not cry. Absolutely not. Okay?
So, gripping at herself and trembling in the world of white, the solitary reaper steadily breathes. She tries
not to dwell. She doesn't want to dwell. But, while calming herself, the thought can't help but occur to her:
that, if this is death...
...she would much rather have oblivion.
The break that occurred within her left her quiet... quieter than usual for what could amount to days.
The key element of that memory—the idea that one was better off not asking many questions—is something
that in her contemplation she realized she was attempting to adhere to all this time.
Her attempts, however, had been half-hearted. That taste of an old memory was too intoxicating to forget.
Indeed, she refused to forget—but having forgotten so much else… she'd realized she was a broken half-shell
of a person.
She is once again guiding vagrant memories to the square today; trying to make this into routine, which will
turn to habit, which will turn to nature. Perhaps tedium can rescue her from the cavern always lurking just
under the surface: the tar pit of miserable feelings endlessly calling to her. Better oblivion, she thinks
sincerely, than to feel—if feeling means only grief.
And, while conducting the shards of Arcaea, one catches the light of the sky in such a way that she is
reflexively bidden to look at it. Without thinking much of it, she brings this shard close.
The reflection: a crouching, slouched child covering something off the side of a road with her hands.
Outside her hands, ants shy away, though they seem clearly interested in whatever she's hiding.
The reaper gives the memory more of her attention, and finds that what the child is hiding is a wounded
jade beetle. After a moment of contemplation, the girl scoops up the small thing in both of her hands and
The young observer is motionless for a moment, but then she smirks.
That's such an... absolutely pointless memory.
Did the beetle recover? How long did that child live for? How long did she hold on to this memory?
Stupid little thing...
The girl chuckles.
It's ironic, isn't it... Remembering something had made her forget why she believed she was here.
Arcaea is a world of memories. Of the dead? Of those still alive? Who can say? Regardless, it keeps old
stories that anyone could forget. Past expiration of mind, body, monument, or land: however it works,
Arcaea steadfastly keeps all.
The girl is alone. She has no confrère here, and she was given no reason to do anything when she woke up.
But that doesn't mean that she was to do nothing.
She is here, now. Her old life is over. That's it.
But doesn't she still have control? She still feels responsible. She doesn't remember the answer she gave, as
to why she sought to be a tender of souls, but whatever it was... something tells her that the broken her of
now would give the same reason as the complete her from then.
There is no telling what will happen, ever.
Lives and memories can vanish in a second… but not here. Her memories may be lost, but these will not be.
"Tender of Souls" to "Tender of Memories"; she thinks that has a nice sound to it.
Absolutely. You will all be remembered forever.
So long as I am here.
She kept expecting there to be more people here.
She wasn’t sure why. All around her was a white wasteland, filled with nothing but faded, ruined buildings,
bereft of all life—all except for her.
In these few days since waking up in this place, without any recollection of what happened before,
she walked quite far and explored what she could. The tattered structures did little to answer her questions.
Each of them was empty... and while she found the architecture itself familiar, she seemed to have no
memory of when she’d learned their names, their shapes, their functions.
Time and again, that was the idea she’d come back to: knowing “what”, but not “why”. It could be the idea
was just a distraction for her, something to ponder in favor of the more obvious, weightier things regarding
this world—and inside herself.
She had to say, though: this was certainly a bizarre and bewildering place.
She pulled her guitar’s strap tightly over her shoulder, and the questions returned. Where had she gotten it?
Why in the world was it with her? Despite having woken up alongside it, she couldn’t answer those questions.
She only knew to pluck the strings to make sounds, to hold the strings over the frets to create others.
To strum them in time, to create rhythms, melodies, chords, harmonies.
More than that, it was almost... comforting, when she held in her hands.
But why? No, she did not know why. Why didn’t she?
The sand around her—eroded over eons by water. No water here. No liquid, even. How was there sand?
Walking. She knew how to do that. Why? She had no answer. She never had any answers.
For what it was worth, was any of this knowledge even “memory” at all?
Was she “remembering” these things? Had she “forgotten” other things?
It seemed to her she had amnesia, but was amnesia this... selective?
Knowing things, but not knowing why that knowledge existed within her, had her deeply and fundamentally
upset. It made her feel like an incomplete person. Like someone had removed her skin and muscles and
bones and placed them into some false container, but had forgotten to put in all the other important things,
leaving her hollow, forgotten.
She hated not knowing.
A kaleidoscope of questions shifted and rotated in her mind. She forced herself to focus on all the sudden
and overwhelming turns and angles. But answers? Again, no. There were no answers.
During her barefooted expeditions (she decided early on to keep her shoes looped around her neck, since
the large heels were inconvenient for the terrain) she’d learned next to nothing. In fact, the more she saw,
the less she felt that she knew.
She hated not knowing. She knew so many things about what was around her, and yet she felt like she
knew nothing of herself. So much of what she saw was baffling nonsense—not least of all the glass wandering
through the air for seemingly no reason. Glass that showed her other people, other times, other worlds.
Reflections, resonating in the oddest ways. Reflections, she thought, which were undoubtedly familiar.
Yet the familiarity was but a feeling. The glass never showed her in their reflections.
These were not scenes of a remembered past.
These were not memories... or, at least, they were not hers, these Arcaea. Nothing was hers.
Deep down, her emotions shifted. With that shift came a growing sense of concern, of being out of place,
of confusion, of faint loneliness, of something crucial being missing somewhere inside her.
And she didn’t like it one bit.
She started walking again. Walking always seemed to help.
It let her focus on what was around her instead. On what was outside.
But she could only ignore that creeping feeling for so long.
Eventually, she sat down on a relatively smooth chunk of stone and anxiously ran a hand through her hair.
Looking back, she could see a long set of footprints through the faded sand, stretching all the way to the
horizon. How was it possible there was this much sand? She was starting to get sick of it.
After a moment’s thought, she brought her guitar around and held it, again, in her hands.
And there it was again, instantly: that comfort. It was like... a reassuring parent, or a friend.
She sighed. Really, that was all that she needed to keep going.
Without thinking, she began to hum a tune. Her fingers strummed the strings, their quiet, tinny chords
adding that precious harmony to her melody. She could remember how to walk, and she could remember
how to play. It brought a momentary smile to her lips: how both of these acts came about as natural as
Her lips turned down again a moment later, however, losing their humor. Words were coming to her
tongue, her teeth, her lips, wanting to be added to this song. At first they were scattered, whirling,
trying to form a complete, sensible picture.
And so, dressed in black and scarlet, she sang—in this world of white:
this colorless and seemingly infinite cage.
Gradually, her words gained volume. Her feelings roiled within her, wild, building in intensity.
These instinctive words weren’t new, nor were they old and forgotten.
They were always with her, and now they were clawing, screaming their way out of her chest.
Just speaking them wouldn’t be enough. They needed to be shouted, roared so that they resounded in
the furthest corners of this dead world. She yelled them as loud as she possibly could.
It just seemed like the right thing to do.
She shouted about confusion. She shouted about the unknown, about the bleak landscapes, about the
bounteous memories in tiny glass shards flitting past for brief moments before disappearing again.
She shouted about—
For that one critical moment as she played, she realized what she’d been feeling, deep down.
This empty world, her empty memories...
They terrified her.
Who was she? What was this quiet place? What was going to happen to her? What HAD happened to her?
But she already knew that she might never know. Not here.
Her voice broke for a note, but she pushed past and forced her lungs, should they exist, to their limits.
Her fingers flew madly across the six strings.
She could hear it vividly in her mind, the power, the weaving together of rumbles, screeches, and vibrations.
A storm of her soul and of music—a tumultuous undercurrent rushing beneath her lyrics along with the
simmering dread, growing into a powerful heat, which reached her eyes as well.
But somehow, in some way she couldn't pinpoint, it made her feel a little better.
A little less confused, a little less afraid.
After a time, the echoes of her shouting faded out. A few final plucks with her right hand, and she dropped
it from the strings, her work finished. Her song vanished into the bright sky, the evidence it had ever
happened now residing within her near-empty memories.
She put her other hand to her eyes and rubbed them, shivering, refusing to look at the heavens that had
taken her song away.
But then she gave a laugh. It surprised her. It was an honest laugh—and the smile of a job well done.
She wiped her hand on her dress and sighed to herself.
Man, she hated this place.
The world was no less confusing now—no less intimidating, no less empty, no less merciless.
But now, she felt like she could deal with it.
She couldn’t be sure, but she could have sworn that fear was something she was familiar with.
She knew things about it—how it could make your legs weak, how it could make you run away,
how it could prevent you from making decisions, how it could control you.
The fear of the unknown. The fear of failure.
And she could only assume it had been instinct that had led her to play that song.
Maybe she’d done it before. Maybe she’d shouted through her fear before, in much the same way.
Maybe she had. At least, now she felt like she could handle it.
She had a firmer grip on that twisted little emotion now.
If she wanted to stay sane in this baffling world, she needed to keep it in check, keep it from controlling her.
But it would always be there.
She exhaled, then turned in her seat and carefully put her guitar aside, laying it onto the stone.
Then she heard a soft clink.
A small cloth bag had fallen out of her inside pocket to the stone sticking out above the sand.
In it were several needles, a little pair of scissors, a thimble, a few spools of thread, and a measure.
A sewing kit. It had been with her when she’d first woken up. She could only assume it was hers.
When she’d first found the pouch, it had just confused her. She knew what it was for, but had no clue why
she was carrying it. Each of the accoutrements within was, of course, “known” to her, but like the guitar
she carried with her... it hadn’t come with any helpful little notes explaining where it came from.
But now, when she reached down to retrieve the pouch, upon seeing her sleeve, she froze.
She... knew, didn’t she? How that sleeve was made. She knew the stitches, she knew all of the folds.
She knew the exact colors. She knew those threads were in the sewing kit.
But any further connection escaped her. She could easily draw conclusions based on logic,
but her mind still felt closed. That cruel disconnect between knowledge and experience... It was agonizing.
Now, though... Now she wouldn’t let herself be overwhelmed by the fear caused by that disconnect.
She would recognize it, use it. So what if she didn’t remember? What mattered was that she knew.
A concrete goal would certainly help, though. She didn’t have one yet, but maybe, in time, she could find one.
A grin crossed her face as she started off again, still thinking of the kit which had just made her shiver.
Pretty convenient, huh? She could at least keep her clothing intact on this inane journey.
And with that thought... her outfit certainly wasn’t practical, but it was hers, and she wouldn’t
give it up for the world.
Yes. It was hers.
That, her guitar, and her sewing kit—in this wasteland of memory, they were all hers.
Knowing that helped a little, and a little help could go a long way.
...A few steps later, something below her caught her eye.
Footprints in the sand...
But they didn’t belong to her.
Crossing her path, leading off to the left, they were definitely a few sizes off.
She stared the way they headed, and saw that they disappeared behind a few gentle hills.
Another genuine, familiar grin crossed her face.
Maybe she’d had an audience after all.