Split Worlds' Nirvana

Authors: Agent Q, O'Sliggity Slice

Chapter One: A Purpose Revealed

A/N: Okay, real first chapter's up.

Between Dreams and Memories, Beyond Dreams and Memories, its characters, settings, and themes are copyright© Daniel Kaye. All rights reserved.

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(The Aicpalastaen Hall of Valor extends over eight hundred yards. It passes through sixty-two different sections of the Aicpalastaen complex. It is here that the walls are decorated with stories of past achievements and heroes of legends are recorded.

Two lone figures walk along the length of the long hall. The ceilings are high and the walls spaced far apart. With each step they take, a loud echo resonates.)

OCTAVIAN: Look around you, Nihil. This hall is dedicated to each of our souls who have reached the greater world.

(Nihil blinks his completely black eyes a few times. He stops before one section, making Octavian stop and turn around to face him.)

NIHIL: Why does this say that Dantes did not reach a higher world?

OCTAVIAN: He...was not worthy.

(Nihil doesn't continue walking. He lets himself think over Octavian's words.)

NIHIL: What determines the worthiness of a soul?

OCTAVIAN: I suppose one would require honor, truth, and some sort of inner peace. But I would not know, since I am still here and not there.

NIHIL: What's so good about it? Why should I want to go to that world?

OCTAVIAN: Do you remember when you first arrived here?


OCTAVIAN: And you remember the circumstances under which you were transported to this realm?

NIHIL: ...Yes.

(Octavian turns his back to Nihil. Nihil stares off into space, thinking about his memories twenty years in the past.)

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(The room that appears in Nihil's memory is just the same as the room that Ragnals and Octavian conversed in. Nihil, looking the same twenty years ago as his present self, kneels in chains, before a semicircle of elders.

Cassius rises, causing his cerulean robes to flow as though there were a wind current in the room. He clears his throat, and puts on his pair of glasses to read off from a sheet of paper before him.)

CASSIUS: Shen Wu, on this day, you have received your penalty for your misdeeds in the mortal world. Do you recognize your mistakes?

SHEN: No. I did what I had to for my survival.

CASSIUS: Years ago you joined a powerful criminal organization. During those five years you personally murdered exactly sixty-five people. Who these sixty-five dead people were, are as follows: ten wanted criminals, thirteen enemy gang members, twenty-one political figures, eighteen innocent people, and above all else, three relatives. Do you recognize these faults you have committed?

SHEN: I did it. Yeah, I killed them all. What does it matter now? Maybe you know all this, but I'm not repenting.

CASSIUS: Do you know where evil souls go to be punished?

(Shen only snorts indifferently.)

SHEN: I don't believe in Hell.

CASSIUS: You do not understand your situation, Shen. You are already in Hell.

SHEN: What!?

(Shen tries to break free from his black iron chains, but the more he struggles, the tighter the chains become.

He falls to the ground, exhausted, and runs his hands through his slicked black hair.)

SHEN: So Hell does exist...

(At this time, Cassius sits and Octavian rises. Unlike Cassius, however, Octavian has no paper to read off from.)

OCTAVIAN: This, however, is not the same Hell as people in your world claim it to be. To tell you the truth, there are many hells according to your world. This one is probably the best one for those who have made more than a reasonable amount of errors.

SHEN: Why is that?

OCTAVIAN: This, I suppose, would most fittingly be equated with your description of a higher-level hell--a transition state of sorts.

SHEN: I never believed in that.

OCTAVIAN: It matters not. You still know about it, do you not?

(Shen nods. He begins to visibly relax due to Octavian's concise yet smooth and relaxing form of speech.)

OCTAVIAN: While you lived, you felt regret. You often wished that your life could have been different, and that you did not have to resort to becoming a killer. You succeeded at your career in that not only have you killed many people, but you have also killed your own feelings. However, there still remains a part of you that wants to be redeemed.

(Octavian pauses for breath. Shen tenses up; he is intent on listening to Octavian for any words that can free him from his chains, and this world.)

OCTAVIAN: That is why, despite receiving many objections from my colleagues, I give you two choices.

SHEN: I'm listening.

OCTAVIAN: The first choice you have is to find atonement by serving your proper time in this world. Know, however, that by serving your time here, we mean that you are to be locked within a prison to repent for two decades.

SHEN: Twenty years?

OCTAVIAN: That is your sentence, twenty years in Deviance. You won't be able to eat, drink, or have any other comforts of life. Then again, you have no need of them anymore.

(Shen's eyes widen in horror. His breaths become shallower and his hands begin to tremble slightly.

Ten years serving a crime lord has hardened Shen to the point where he no longer shows his emotions, but imprisonment in Hell actually causes him to tremble visibly and uncontrollably.)

SHEN: Don't I have another choice?

OCTAVIAN: There is no escaping your fate, Shen. You have died, and you have arrived here in Deviance. The law of this realm is absolute: You will serve twenty years here, after which time you may return to Earth in a partly physical form. However, although you must stay for that allotted time here, we have another offer for you.

(Octavian walks off his pedestal and walks toward Shen. He stops when he is standing right over him.)

OCTAVIAN: There are a few worlds free of suffering. The ones we know of are, by closest terms, Heaven, Utopia, and Nirvana.

SHEN: Three worlds of perfection?

OCTAVIAN: I suppose you may interpret it that way. Understand though, that you cannot go to Heaven in this life, but you can reach the other two. Perhaps there are more worlds filled with happiness, but those you must find for yourselves. Now, although Utopia is completely accessible to one such as you, it is far too difficult to locate it. I then offer you a chance to reach Nirvana.

(Shen tilts his head to the side. He takes a deep breath.)

SHEN: But I thought Nirvana was a state of mind.

OCTAVIAN: Surprising that you know this much of the other worlds...And you truly were a criminal in life?

SHEN: I wasn't born one.

OCTAVIAN: I know. But to answer your question, Nirvana, according to the definition of the physical worlds, primarily Constant Earth, is a state free of suffering, desire, everything the Buddha said. However, in the non- physical realm, Nirvana exists as a world.

SHEN: I see. Then when can I leave?

OCTAVIAN: In time, but before you can reach that world, you must achieve a few tasks.

SHEN: What would they be?

OCTAVIAN: Twenty years you shall spend in Deviance, during which time you shall learn many of Aicpalastaen's ways. You will become strong, and after your time is done, you shall return to your world to fulfill six of our tasks.

SHEN: I accept!

OCTAVIAN: Good. I thought you would.

(Shen's chains melt into the air, and Shen slowly stands up, still unsteady.

As the other members of the Core leave, Octavian and Cassius briefly make eye contact. Cassius shows a hint of a smile.)

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(Nihil breaks from his trance. He looks to Octavian, who is facing the other direction.)

OCTAVIAN: I hope you have not forgotten our terms?

NIHIL: No. What are my six tasks?

OCTAVIAN: Patience, in time they will be presented to you. Come now.

(Octavian begins to walk down the hall again, so Nihil follows him.)

OCTAVIAN: Each task leads to another. Until you finish the first, you will never know of the second.

NIHIL: Then what's my first task?

OCTAVIAN: When you arrive tomorrow on Variable Earth, all will be put into motion.

(Nihil shrugs. Before, he would have snapped at Octavian and demand him to give him a straight answer, but now, he knows better.)

NIHIL: Should I take any psion crystals with me?

OCTAVIAN: You do not require them, but if you would prefer, you are welcome to my personal set.

(Nihil bows to Octavian. Octavian clasps his hands behind his back. He stops.)

OCTAVIAN: I hope you learned well here, Nihil. When you return, do not make the same mistakes, and do not make new ones. You are fortunate enough to receive a second chance, so do not waste it.

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(Cye stands on the deck of the airship, letting the wind blow his hair and suit. He stares across the horizon at the Aquamagne that stretches well into the horizon.

For many minutes Cye is alone until Hamaan silently emerges on the other side of the deck. He spots Cye and walks over, leaning on the railing next to him. Cye turns his head to the side and nods.)

CYE: You come up here for fresh air, airsickness, or to escape Marcks and Engels?

HAMAAN: Fresh air.

CYE: Same here. (Pauses) So tell me, how did you and Kadar survive Pious? When I arrived, the whole city was destroyed.

HAMAAN: At first we made it outside the city. But after the mist parted, we decided to search the palace.

CYE: Why was Pious in the palace anyway?

HAMAAN: I don't know. My best guess is that one of our king's treasures can restore a being back to life.

CYE: Pious...Of all things to bring back to life.

HAMAAN: Yes... I thought the world was rid of his presence when the three heroes wielding the weapons of purity defeated him eleven years ago. Never had I thought his return was possible.

CYE: Well, it happened. So now all we can do is put Pious back in his place. Besides, I know his weaknesses.

HAMAAN: You're Cye, right?

CYE: Yeah.

HAMAAN: You're real name is Cyrus Dunne?

(Cye shifts in place while still leaning against the railing on the deck. His eyes narrow in annoyance, and suspicion.)

CYE: How'd you know that?

HAMAAN: I carefully observed the events surrounding the last defeat of Pious. Knowing that I was too weak to actually take on Pious, I satisfied myself with watching you three fight him. That's why I also know that he killed you.

(Cye lets out a sigh. He leans back and relaxes against the railing.)

CYE: Ok. What else do you know? And why shouldn't I just kill you as a demon right now?

(He pulls out his retracted lance from the inside of his suit.)

HAMAAN: I'm not a demon. Not entirely, anyway. I'm just an earth spirit.

CYE: Earth spirit? Where were you guys hiding all this time?

HAMAAN: Eh, we took on the appearance of humans. You couldn't tell that I was one of them when you first saw me.

CYE: True...So have you continued stalking me after Pious was killed?

HAMAAN: Certainly, I wouldn't call it stalking. But no, I didn't observe your actions, or that of anyone else you might know. It's not my hobby, just an assignment.

(Cye shrugs and replaces his weapon. He walks up to Hamaan and shakes his hand.)

CYE: Well, nice conversation, although it was a bit disturbing.

(Hamaan only nods. Seeking no further response, Cye walks back down to the lower levels of the airship.)


CYE: Hey...Kadar?

(Kadar, who is in the process of sucking on a piece of sugarcane, is surprised by Cye's sudden intrusion.)

KADAR: Nice meeting you again, sir.

CYE: You know that guy Hamaan?

KADAR: Of course.

CYE: For how long?

KADAR: Six years, perhaps seven. Why?

CYE: I just talked with him. He knows more than the average person about Pious and demons and such.

(Kadar nods in assent. He puts down the one foot sugarcane segment, and motions for Cye to sit.)

KADAR: What did he say to you?

CYE: That he stalked me eleven years ago, is an earth spirit, and doesn't like Pious.

(Kadar quirks an eyebrow. Cye does the same thing. Silence ensues until Kadar speaks--)

KADAR: So you know about him being a djinn, carrying out his agenda, and his attempt to prevent Pious from ever returning to this world?

CYE: So you knew about all this?

KADAR: Yes. Although some I must admit are from rumors. Most are quite accurate though.

(Cye gets up and paces around. He picks up his leftover bottle of hard cider and takes a long gulp.)

CYE: How would you rate Hamaan's skills with your own?

KADAR: How can I be expected to fight the supernatural? I am only human.

CYE: So am I. But that didn't stop me when I went with my brother and Domon to fight Pious. You're captain of the guard at Zaqa'ari, aren't you?

KADAR: That's mostly a ceremonial title. Our real royal guard uses modern firearms, not our almost obsolete spears and daggers.

(Cye steps back from Kadar and takes out his lance. He presses a switch and the weapon extends to a full ten feet, with a humming tip at the end. He twirls it around a few times, and then sets it before Kadar.)

CYE: Modern firearms are useless in close range, and they're inaccurate. I've used this lance against many foes that were stupid enough to try to shoot me. In fact, I have a friend you'll meet in Tantalus who can dodge bullets and attack them unarmed.

KADAR: Really? I suppose you must've endured quite a bit of intense training in order to do that.

(Cye grins and makes the lance withdraw to its portable size. He extends his hand out to the side, making sure not to aim at Kadar or anything important on the ship. He decides to point his palm at a pile of old onions.)

CYE: Actually, we are all able to use magic...

(His statement is verified when he shoots a small orb of yellow light at the pile of onions. To Kadar, this looks like a miniature sun; so intense is the light. Upon contact with the onions, they scatter in many directions across the floor.)

CYE: As you have just seen.

KADAR: Magic...But how? I thought the last sorcerers went extinct after the fall of the Gehenna Tower.

CYE: Not really. Our leader is very powerful with magic, and so's my sister- in-law, and our family friend.

KADAR: Hmm...When we arrive in Tantalus, I must meet with your leader.

CYE: That can be easily arranged. You're supposed to tell him all about Pious coming back anyway.

(Kadar suddenly starts. He raises his head up to stare at Cye. Cye sees the urgency in Kadar's eyes.)

KADAR: I know how Pious came back!

(Cye immediately becomes more attentive, and sits in a seat opposite Kadar.)

CYE: I'm listening.

KADAR: Our king once had a large diamond that everyone thought was a ruby because of its red color. Hamaan later concluded that it was red because it was a portal to see the demon world. It was because of this that sometimes strange noises would be heard from the palace treasury. When we, the royal guards, checked the area, we found nothing. But I'm sure that's the way Pious escaped!

CYE: How can you be so sure now?

(Kadar shakes his head. He does not answer immediately, since he has no response. He desperately searches his memory for a way to justify his hunch.)

KADAR: I remember now. When Hamaan and I checked the treasury, I remember that the diamond was gone. It was always kept in a glass case in the middle of the room. I remember that well, since I was the one charged with putting it there.

(Cye jumps up in excitement. He manages to leap across the table and shake Kadar by the shoulders, even though the latter was about a head taller than the former, and had much broader shoulders.)

CYE: That's perfect then!

KADAR: Why? Pious is back, and it's all the crystal's fault.

CYE: So we find this red diamond, and we destroy it. I'll bet that's what can put Pious back in the demon world.

HAMAAN: That's not as simple as you say.

(Cye and Kadar both turn their heads quickly to see Hamaan standing at the door, hands folded behind his back.)

CYE: Why is that so? From Kadar's description, it sounds to me like the Zenoan ruby...diamond. I've heard stories about it being a link between worlds. So we just need to find it, destroy it, and Pious doesn't have his link with this world anymore.

HAMAAN: Destroying it is simple, but as far as I know, Pious has it. So how do you plan on taking it from him?

(Cye shrugs and leans back against the wall. Kadar scratches his head before he speaks--)

KADAR: I think we need the weapons of purity.

CYE: That's nearly impossible. We sealed those away six years ago. No. I'm going to Tantalus to inform the President. I trust him to know how to deal with this situation.

KADAR: So he's one of the three?

HAMAAN: I think the one Cyrus-

(Cye's eyes narrow in annoyance.)

CYE: Just Cye, not Cyrus, Cye.

HAMAAN: (nods) Cye may be referring to Ramse, also known as Alexei Milenkov.

(This doesn't seem to enlighten Kadar at all...)

KADAR: Eh? Never heard of him.

CYE: He's a good man, and powerful. Not just politically, I mean, but he knows some of the greatest black magic.

HAMAAN: Then I look forward to meeting with him.

(With that, Hamaan leaves as silently as he came in.

Cye and Kadar remain in the large room. Kadar picks up his sugarcane and breaks it in half. He hands the half he didn't bite to Cye.)

CYE: Thanks. (chew) You know, I've been thinking...Now that your city has been razed by Pious and you're out of a job...

KADAR: (chew) I have enough money with me at this moment. A few gems from the treasury will also allow me to buy what I need.

CYE: Woah. (chew) You stole from the place you were supposed to protect? That's wrong, just wrong.

KADAR: (chew, shrug) It's not as if anyone would need it anytime soon. Besides, I saw Hamaan putting some in his cloak.

CYE: Hmm...So money does matter to you.

KADAR: Don't get me wrong. (chew) It's not everyday that I get to hold one of the royal jewels in my hands...And keep it.

(Cye smiles. Soon that smile erupts into a laugh.)

CYE: (still laughing) That's great! Say, what weapons are you skilled with?

KADAR: I can use a spear and dagger well enough, but my primary skill is with handguns.

CYE: (thinking) If he's loyal enough, we might have another long-range fighter with us.

(Cye's thought is interrupted by Geist's heavy steps sounding against the metal floor.)

GEIST: We have a slight problem...

(Cye and Kadar look at Geist, who is sweating and breathing heavily.)

CYE: Hiya, Geist. It's good to see that you trust your assistants to pilot this ship.

GEIST: First off, this ship's in autopilot! Second, if you guys don't stop this little tea party and get your asses up on deck, I'll shut off autopilot and fly away in the Stratus.

CYE: Okay Geist. We get your point. (chew) So what's the problem?

(On cue, the airship shakes and rolls to one side. Kadar's sugarcane drops from his hand, but Cye's grip on his piece with his teeth is too tight, so he hangs on to it.)

GEIST: That.

CYE: What the hell is out there?

GEIST: Get out and f***ing see for yourselves!

CYE: All right, man! Geez, why're you more tense than usual?

(Cye shakes his head and leaps up the stairs back into open air. Kadar stands and looks around.)

GEIST: You can stop looking like an idiot and help him!

KADAR: At least let me have a weapon?

GEIST: Find one for yourself! I gotta keep us from crashing into the Aquamagne!

(Geist runs off, leaving Kadar alone. He looks around for a suitable weapon, and finally, not finding anything better to use, he picks up his dropped sugarcane.)


(Kadar makes it up the last step to see Hamaan and Cye battling around twenty large bird-like creatures.)

CYE: Kadar! Take this!

(Cye throws a small revolver at Kadar, who catches it easily. He checks the six-shot once, and then aims at the nearest creature and fires.

Immediately the creature turns around and swoops down at Kadar. He then realizes that the bird looks half-human.)

CYE: Hit the deck!

(Cye manages to make Kadar literally hit the deck. The creature's claws miss Cye's back by a few millimeters.

Cye gets up and extends his lance to the full ten feet. He lowers himself into a stance ready to jump at the nearest bird-creature that flies near him.)

KADAR: (groggily) What are they?

HAMAAN: Harpies.

CYE: Since when have they existed!?

HAMAAN: I'll tell you when we're not under attack.

(Hamaan extends his hand, and five bolts of lightning, each shooting from a finger, hit five harpies, causing three to fall down into the ocean.

Cye takes the opportunity to fire two fireballs from his left hand, hitting the two creatures that didn't fall to Hamaan's lightning spell. Those two also fall, burning as they plummet to their demise in the deep blue waters below.)

CYE: That makes fourteen! Eight more left!

(Kadar empties his rounds at three harpies, dropping them. Cye follows with a well-aimed drop kick on the right wing of another monster, crippling its ability of flight. Hamaan draws back his hands to cast another spell, but three harpies swoop down and interrupt his casting.

Kadar reloads and fires at one of the harpies, using up another six bullets to kill it. Frustrated, he yells to Cye--)

KADAR: Why does it take so much to kill them?

CYE: I don't know. As far as I'm concerned, I never knew they existed before now!

(Kadar curses before inserting more bullets into the cylinder of his borrowed weapon.

Hamaan stops casting spells and instead forms an energy blade in his hands to strike any harpies that fly too close.)

CYE: Hey guys, there's more behind us.

(Hamaan and Kadar turn towards the stern and see a swarm of the winged creatures following them.)

HAMAAN: Any ideas?

CYE: Hang on, I'll be right back!

(Cye jumps down and rushes into the control room. He spots Marcks and Engel sitting at a table drinking as much beer stored on board as possible.)

CYE: Where's Geist?

MARCKS & ENGEL: ...duh...

(Cye shakes his head, knowing that they won't be able to help him. He runs to the smaller sectioned-off room in the back with a closed door and attempts to open it. When the door turns out to be locked, Cye takes out a small knife to cut the lock open. At the press of a switch on the handle, the blade pulsates at supersonic speeds, cutting through the lock easily as though it was butter. After cutting the lock, Cye kicks down the door. Inside, Geist is in the pilot's seat, trying to avoid the harpies flying around.)

CYE: Geist, we have too many harpies on our tail!

GEIST: I know that!

CYE: Fly us north!

GEIST: What?

CYE: To Denores in the Govannen Plains. We'll land there to get repairs and supplies.

GEIST: Alright, but it'll be a while before you see Tantalus again.

(Geist hits a few switches, and then sets the ship on autopilot to Denores. He takes out a rifle from a hidden cabinet in the room.)

CYE: What are you doing?

GEIST: The ship's on autopilot, so there's no need to worry. It's these birds that are going to kill us, and I'll be damned if I just let them tear apart my ship.

CYE: But we need you to pilot--

GEIST: Look kid, there's too many of them that even I can't get through them. We'll just have to take the damage and take down as many of them as we can.

(Cye nods, and runs off to rejoin Hamaan and Kadar. Geist loads his rifle and pockets a few extra clips. While walking out, he spots the intoxicated forms of Marcks and Engel.)

GEIST: You two better get sober right now before I fire you. Send a message to Denores and tell them we're going to land there in ten minutes.

(Marcks and Engel immediately become sober, but are still clumsy in their movement.)

GEIST: Damn, I need to recruit some better people.

(Geist shoulders his rifle and steps out onto the deck, where Cye, Hamaan, and Kadar are still trying in vain to keep the harpies at bay.

Three collide in a kamikaze attack against the hull of the ship, causing it to tremble and wobble in midair.)

GEIST: At this rate, we won't make it to Denores in one piece!

KADAR: Hamaan, what's the most powerful magic you can do?

HAMAAN: My mostly earth-bound powers are useless here. However, I may be able to summon a thunderstorm.

GEIST: You crazy? We'll fry along with the rest of them!

(Geist and Kadar fire at the many harpies that are flying at them. Scores fall to the metal bullets, but it seems as though there is a cloud make of endless amounts of them.

Cye puts away his lance and goes into a pose similar to that of prayer. In a few seconds he begins to glow and Hamaan feels his spirit power strengthening many times greater than he ever could alone. Hamaan takes advantage of Cye's support spell and unleashes wave after wave of electrical energies at the swarm. Feathers explode everywhere as more and more harpies get killed, and their numbers finally thin.)

KADAR: I think they're...retreating.

(The majority of the swarm is flying off in different directions away from the airship, with only a few stragglers remaining. Everyone on deck breathes a sigh of relief, their problems over for the moment.)

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(In a vast area unexplainable in three-dimensional terms, there pulsates a cluster of code that would most likely resemble a heart. The strange area is filled with quickly moving streams of light, yet also dark and glowing at the same time. Three figures float within this place.

The one in the center is Demise, looking exactly the same, just as Plague who is at his left side. On Demise's right side is Spite, who looks almost identical to the other Red Death. All stand tall, imposing, and dangerous in their blood-red suits as they speak to something unknown.)

DEMISE: Variable Earth is ascending...

PLAGUE: We must stop its ascension before it eclipses Constant Earth.

COLLECTIVE: The source of this event comes from a lesser being that is planning to assimilate Variable Earth.

(The voice that is the Collective seems to come from nowhere among the space, yet everywhere. Echoes cause the voice to repeat itself before finally fading away.)

SPITE: Aicpalastaen sends two of its warriors to Variable Earth...

PLAGUE: However we yet have no reason why.

COLLECTIVE: I know what Aicpalastaen is doing, and I know why. There will be one named Ragnals and the other named Nihil. Eliminate Ragnals whenever possible, but avoid conflict with the one named Nihil.

(The three agents look at each other, at once sensing each other's question. It is Spite, however, who voices the question--)


COLLECTIVE: He is lethal and cunning, more so than the others. He is also capable of using the most powerful psions. Do not attempt to engage him in combat. Antithesis instead shall be employed.

RED DEATH: Antithesis!?

COLLECTIVE: Antithesis is fully sentient and has a ninety-nine and nine hundred ninety-nine thousandths percent code integrity. Antithesis will eliminate Nihil, no other agent.

(The three sense their doubt, but nevertheless bow to the cluster that is like a heart. They disappear in a burst of white light.

From a part of the space where no light passes, a lone figure hovers towards the heart.)

COLLECTIVE: Are the directions understood, Antithesis?


COLLECTIVE: Nihil will arrive at Ganaedan in Variable Earth. Intercept him, destroy him.

ANTITHESIS: Understood.

(Antithesis glows black and disappears just as quickly as he appeared.

A sound can now be heard, and the source is unmistakably from the "heart", which is making a low laughing sound.)


A/N: The original chapter one went up only to where Kadar loses his sugarcane. Something made me decide to continue that scene that was supposed to be in chapter two, so now chapter two is all different. But you didn't know that, nor does it matter. Just to make clear why it drags out the whole harpy attack scene.