Alice and Dark Alice continued their short ascent into the air towards the hovering castle of Refarth. These two halves of the same being, who had spent so much of their lives devoted to finding the one who had destroyed their home, their family, had become acutely aware of his spellcraft. They could sense his magic when it was close enough. Naturally, they could sense it all around them here, but suddenly something else caught their attention. Another presence.
“Schrödinger?” It seems even Dark Alice’s construct companion had taken notice of the sudden swell of force that was manifesting nearby. The space just in front of the two Alices began to shudder and distort and the shape of a familiar figure quickly took form.
“That’s...it’s...Scheherazade!” Alice exclaimed, rather confused.
“Greetings, Alice. It’s been a while. Hello to you too, Dark Alice.” The wanderer wore a calm expression as she half bowed in greeting of the two.
“Huh? Who’s this? If you’re here to get in my way, I’ll kill you.” Dark Alice snapped, impatiently.
“Ah, that’s right. You’ve never seen me before. Though I’ve seen plenty of you.” Scheherazade put a hand to her cheek. Dark Alice, unamused, took an aggressive stance and raised her large scythe to strike and this strange new woman.
“Stop it, Dark.” Alice chided.
“No.” Dark Alice spat back. “I don’t care who it is, if she’s going to get in our way, I’m going to kill her! Schrödinger, murder mode!”
“Meow~” Schrödinger cried in response, preparing itself to attack alongside its master.
“Hey, hey, are you really just going to let that brat hit you?” Wukong asked Scheherazade, as he materialized behind her.
“It’s fine, Wukong. Leave this to me.” Scheherazade turned her attention back to the two Alices. “I’m not really fond of this kind of thing, but it can’t be helped, I suppose.”
Schrödinger and Dark Alice sped towards Scheherazade, to strike the perceived interloper. The wanderer woman, however, did not flinch at the attack. Instead, calmly opening a thick and ragged looking tome from a pouch at her side, and opening to a specifically chosen page.
“The 502nd Night should be sufficient for them.” Scheherazade tapped her finger on the open page a few times and all at once a magical barrier sprung forth. From within it Scheherazade’s words could take on a power of their own, altering the world as one would write pages in a story.
“You try to gather power and store it in that little cat construct you’ve got there, yes? Then use that stored power to defeat stronger opponents?” Scheherazade asked.
“That’s right! But you got one thing wrong. It’s ‘kill’, not ‘defeat’!” Dark Alice corrected, boasting.
“In that case, I shall grant your wish.” Scheherazade said cooly. With a snap of her fingers, a light briefly enveloped Schrödinger. Suddenly, the cat began to expand to enormous proportions, it’s body inflating as though it were a balloon.
“M-meow~” Schrödinger called, exhausted.
”Schrödinger!” dark Alice called. “What did you do? Make her smaller right now!” the girl demanded, take a battle stance.
“As you wish it, so shall it be.” Scheherazade replied, snapping her fingers again.
This time, the cat began to shrink rapidly, quickly becoming so small she was comparable to a grain of rice.
”Meow~” Schrödinger’s cry was too faint and weak to even be audible anymore. WIth the cat floating where it was, it was nearly to difficult to see the thing anymore either.
”You’ve only got one request left. What will it be?” Scheherazade taunted.
“Return Schrödinger to normal!” Dark Alice spat, fed up with this trickery. With a final snap of Scheherazade’s fingers, the cat returned to its normal size.
“Me-meow~” Schrödinger mewed, finally relieved.
“Now then. Do you understand the position you’re in? Are you willing to talk now?”
“Dark, please just wait and let me handle this. We shouldn’t be fighting her.” Alice pleaded.
“Tsk.” Dark Alice said nothing, but clicked her tongue angrily in reply and obliged. Her grip on her scythe, however, did not falter.
“I don’t understand.” Alice began, as she approached Scheherazade. “Why are you trying to stop us? Haven’t you come to help us save this world?”
“I have indeed come to save this world, and all worlds.” Scheherazade explained. “I believe in that way our goals are the same, though our methods differ. ”
”Answer me plainly.” Alice said sternly. “Are you on our side?”
“If that is the kind of answer you’re looking for...” Scheherazade began, pausing for a moment as an awful sensation of tension crept through Alice’s body.
”Then I guess it’d be right to say I’m on the side of Gill Lapis.”
“This isn’t a joke!” Alice argued, though she was beginning to wish it was. “Do you know what kind of monster he is?”
“Of course, perhaps better than you do.” Scheherazade answered, her calm demeanor unphased. “A destructive child, but far from the worst.”
“I...I can’t believe this. I can’t believe what I’m hearing.” Alice cradled her head in her arms for a moment, as the reality of the situation washed over her.
”This is not something I expected you to understand, though I had hoped it possible. I am here to prevent a greater calamity from ensuing. One wrought by the efforts of you and your friends. Run to another world, and leave this to us.” Scheherazade paused for a moment, as now she made a request of Alice.
“To put it simply. Give up trying to save this world and do not interfere with Gill Lapis.”
Alice chuckled grimly before replying. “You probably know my answer before I even say it.”
“It’s obviously no!” Dark Alice finished her light counterpart’s thought.
“Feh, don’t waste yer time with them.” Wukong said, both tired of listening and annoyed at the prospect of further conversation. “If they were the types to sit down and listen they wouldn’ta caused all this mess in the first place.” Scheherazade sighed at her allie’s words, but her calm facade remained unbroken.
”Very well. pass if you must.” The prophet motioned towards Refarth. “We have no intention of stopping this particular battle. Fight all you like, but know that you destroy far more than Lapis will. Wukong, we’re leaving.”
“Wait, surely you can give us a more proper answer than that!” Alice argued.
”The pages of this story wear thin.” Said Scheherazade. “We will speak again soon.”
With a gust of wind, the space around Scheherazade and Wukong twisted and the two vanished as quickly as they had appeared.
”Tch, they wasted our time with nonsense. Let’s get back to killing Lapis.” Dark Alice insisted.
“What about Refarth?” Alice said after a moment, still bewildered by Scheherazades apparent treachery.
“Pay attention, will you?” Dark Alice snapped. “The fighting up there has stopped.” The girl motioned to the floating castle. “More importantly, you feel it too don’t you? Lapis is moving back to Yggdrasil.”
Returned to the place outside time Scheherazade called home, a familiar voice called to the woman from seemingly nowhere.
”Scheherazade.” The deep voice called her name.
”Adelbert.” The woman replied, unsurprised by this sudden contact.
”I am able to contact you mentally at this time, but my physical body will take more time to arrive than I had initially assumed.”
“Understood. I’ll make preparations in case you are unable to arrive in time. If the worst happens and we are unable to deal with the situation, we can entrust it to the new member.”
”Thank you, Scheherazade. Please do as much as you can.”
Having painfully been forced to wait out Flute’s demands, Lapis had returned to Yggdrasil after sensing Alice’s escape from the heteroclite Excalibur.
“I hadn’t counted on her escape.” Lapis bit his lower lip as he cursed the girl. He still needed Flute, and wasn’t willing to risk being away from a girl that fickle for too long. From the corrupted memoria of Attoractia, he summoned the memories of his slain servant, Sylvia Gill Palarilias. The red dragon’s human form appearing before him. Now a resonator completely subservient to Lapis’ will the woman awaited her master’s orders.