In the year of 5032, entertainment is hard to come by. The human race just doesn't have emotions like they used to. But a very genius person came up with the perfect idea to fix the lack of entertainment and emotion, most just know that person as 'The Creator'.
A book to fix humanity's problems, but it's not just any book. It's a book that when you read it you're transported to that world. You are a character of the book, and each time after you read it you're given a title. If you really liked the story you can keep the title and redo that story, but if you don't, each time the book is read it is a new story. Sheer Reality Books, as they are called, choose their readers, and the worlds the readers experience are tailored to their real world.
To add to their charm, the books don't have a story written in them. As you go through, the story appears. When you stop and go back to your reality, the writing stops were you stopped. This allows you to reread what you've done and what's going on to refresh before you go back in. Before you start the story though, there isn't supposed to be any writing, except for special circumstances. My name is Axel Aura, I'm a guardian and this is my story about my master and charge.
"Come on, Alie! What could it hurt?" Jay urges as she hands Alie the book she is holding. I shake my head, letting my whiskers brush against Jay's leg. This situation isn't going to go anywhere pleasant.
"I told you why I don't want a Sheer Reality! Mom got addicted to one and ended up in a permanent coma with her mind in the book!" Alie yells at Jay, I cringe. I understand why she's upset, she hadn't gotten along well with her mother but her mother was the only parent that was around as she grew up.
"Please just try it?" Jay asks, this time a little more quietly. I study Alie's face, there's a conflict written there. She's curious what the allure of the book is, but she really doesn't like them because of what they've done to her life. She relents to her curiosity.
"Fine, but it won't be that book." Alie says as she looks at book in Jay's hand with disgust. It is pink, and pink isn't Alie's favorite color. She looks around, scouring the shelves upon shelves of Sheer books. One catches her eye, it is a rare dual color book, black with a blood red spine and detailing. I purr quietly, the book suits her perfectly.
"Go figure you go for the dark, depressing, punk/goth book." Jay grumbles as she watches Alie pick up the book. I grimace, Jay really doesn't express her feelings for others very well. She's probably going to start another argument.
"Shut up! You're the one who told me to try one. I'll try one I like the look of." Alie says as she heads towards the door. I follow quickly, the last thing I need is to be left behind. As she exits the door, a small bell noise comes from her dagger shaped earring. A record was made that she'd taken the book.
"I'll see you in three days then." Jay says as she gets ready to head to her own house.
"Later." Alie replies, slightly distracted by the book in her hands. Now when she gets a closer look, there are runes sketched into the cover of the book. She smiles in delight, the cult, or anything that seems even remotely like it, is interesting to her. I look up at her and meow to get her attention. Alie smiles down at me.
"Don't worry, don't worry. I won't end up like mom did." Alie looks at the book in her hands once more. She whispers, "I'll take care of you forever, Axel", as she glances over the book. Fear, curiosity, and regret are pooled together in her eyes.
We reach home pretty quickly, and soon we're on her black and purple bed. Alie's sitting cross legged on the bed with me at her right knee, propped up and peering towards the book. She studies the book for a moment before she opens it, and is surprised to see writing on the page.
Sheer Reality, the Reality of your mind and wish. Dream of the Heart, and Dream of the Mind. Welcome to your, Sheer Reality.
Both Alie and I are startled, she'd never heard anything about a Sheer Reality book having any type of writing in them before a story was started. I'm startled because it's only in very special circumstances that there is any writing before a story starts. The reason I was told as to why I'm watching over Alie comes to mind.
As we study the page, more words rise to the surface of the page like fish surfacing in the ocean.
An empty cold Prison,
There is nowhere to run.
Everything is a poison,
All I see is a black sun.
The nightmare is a trap,
But it's my reality,
I can never escape,
My strength continues to sap.
Waking and sleep are the same,
A black void with invisible flame.
My world is built on nothing but a lie,
For someone's attention I vie.
That, more than anything else, scares Alie. And again, I understand why. That poem is one she wrote about herself, it's very personal. The only person besides Alie who knows that poem is me.
She hates her reality, the one she was born into. She wonders why it appears now in her Sheer Reality book. A book that allows her to live in a reality completely unconnected to the one she lives in. Alie's curiosity is piqued now she knows that she can't turn back. She has to find out what story Sheer Reality has in store for her.
As Alie lays down and closes her eyes to go into the book she can hear a small voice in the back of her head, my voice. Whispering, 'you mean, what reality you have in store for you.' A shiver from the familiarity yet strangeness of it spreads down her spine as she drifts off into darkness.
I sit by her head and keep guard over her till she wakes.
"Well, how was I supposed to know that you were going to be late if you didn't call me?" An enraged voice echoes off the bare stone walls of the room. It makes my head hurt like someone's pounding on it. Why can't they just keep their voices down? It is only polite, right?
"You could have told me that our daughter was sick with a terminal illness!" Another angry shout echoes in the room. My head hurts, and I wish they'd just shut up! Unable to take it anymore I open my eyes and try to sit up.
But something is holding me down. I look down to see what is going on, and why I can't lift myself off the bed. Wrapped around my wrists and ankles are rings made of osmium and emeralds. Why use emeralds, do they think I am possessed? That's ridiculous!
"What in the world are you talking about?" A very familiar and dear voice interjects the argument with a smoothness that indicates they expect to be listened to. "Just because Axel's in love with Keer, doesn't mean that she has a terminal illness!" Alie is irate with my parents for some reason. Though, because of the fog of sleep, the reason is still beyond me at the moment.
"The fool has betrayed those who took care of him. He had a good life, and good people around him, and now he's a monster. Since my daughter has taken to claiming that he would do no such thing, and that she loves Him… She's ill." My mother shouts at Alie, each time she says a pronoun in reference to Keer she says it like it's poison in her mouth. My own feelings of anger start to push at the walls of my control, I can be patient but not when someone is insulting Keer. Alie isn't done though, she doesn't give up a fight easily.
"Love can't be controlled! I thought that you of all people would know that about love! After all, your families weren't at the same social status and you had to deal with fighting your parents to get married!" Alie doesn't back down, she has known that my parents weren't the most easily married. It wouldn't have been so hard for them if it had been father's family that was the higher status. But it was mother's family who was a lord's family, so it was inconceivable that mother would fall in love with a servant.
Mother's voice isn't loud, but it is cold. "That's different, Jeorn wasn't an evil traitor! I won't allow my Axel to marry such a man. Their engagement is annulled!" Her quiet statement holds a note of determination, she isn't going to let me marry Keer. The thought puts me near tears.
Alie growls in frustration, she really does do that when she wants to do something she knows she'd regret. She slides past my mother and my father with a speed that would put a cheetah to shame. They still try to stop her anyway. She's by my side before they even have the chance to stop her.
I watch quietly, wondering what she's going to do. The rings aren't easily broken, nor easily removed. She doesn't seem to be concerned though, she studies them for a mere second before she smirks. The kind of smirk that says 'I've done something but you'll never catch me!'. She makes eye contact with me and now I know what she's planning.
Since we were young, Alie's been very strong. She even has these strange moves she calls 'karate'. She plans on using them now, to break the rings. As my parents rush forward to stop her Alie makes four quick, hard, precise chops at my shackles. They crack away from my wrists and ankles as mother and father grab her and yank her hard away from me.
"You, young lady, have just increased the suffering she'll be going through." Father says. I scoff, the greatest suffering I'll be going though is being separated from Keer! I sit up while rubbing my wrists.
"I have done no such thing. I've freed her from your inability to sympathize for her." Alie stands between my parents and myself. Her hands are fists and resting haughtily on her hips, and she seems unperturbed by the anger and authority in my father's face and voice. "She's now free to make her own decision on what course of action she'll take from here."
What she says is true though, I feel free enough to make the decision on what to do from here on my own. I stand and I'm surprised at how unsteady my legs are beneath me. To steady myself I have to grasp Alie's shoulder to stand straight, even if not completely wobble free.
Alie turns her head to smile at me before she grabs my hand and runs out the door all the while dragging me behind her. "I'm taking Axel for awhile." I gasp in shock as I realize where she's going, she's headed to our sanctuary. As I do my best to keep up with Alie, I get the chance to study my childhood friend again, as I've done so often in the past.
She really is a natural beauty. Long pale hair that has these mysterious but pretty black and red streaks. Her face is small but slim and very beautiful. Her eyes are a soul capturing black that contrast her pale skin and pale pink lips. It's no wonder all the young men around the province want to become the lucky intended.
To top it all off, Alie's the only daughter of the Emperor's Lead General. Alie's the entire package, and the wrapping isn't deceptive of what's underneath. She's pretty naturally, and has old money in her inheritance.
It was always a wonder to me that Keer, our childhood friend, hadn't fallen head over heels for Alie. Though it had never been a secret between the three of us, that it was I that loved Keer, not Alie.
"Knock it off!" Alie's voice snaps me back, from my thoughts to reality, along with a sharp pain on my forehead.
"Oww! What the heck?" I whine as I cover my forehead with my hands. It's throbbing now from the force of impact. I look up at Alie, and can't hold the tears that threaten to spill.
"We grew up together! Do you really think you can fool me?" Alie has the same stance she had when facing my parents. The same defiance on her face is now directed at me. "You were thinking about Keer and how you're not good enough for him." Alie accuses me while pointing a finger at me, it was leveled right between my eyes.
"Was not!" I protest, my hands are still covering my forehead protectively. Alie's forehead flick is infamous, and it hurts!
"Liar!" Alie moves her finger and starts to poke me on the hand right on the same spot she had flicked me. "Maybe not in those exact words, but it was something very similar." Now she's less accusing, and more consoling. The change is a little confusing, until I catch a glimpse of what emotions are in her eyes.
Compassion, Sorrow, Pity, Concern.
The four emotions that have been thrown my way time and again for the past three days. And I've had just about enough of it! I'm not strong, physically, sure, but I'm not weak.
"Okay, so I was reminiscing, but I wasn't belittling myself. Let it go." I say as I step past Alie and continue into the extensive gardens of the Sheer Residence. Alie's house is our sanctuary, here we were, and hopefully always will be, safe from all harm. The gardens, another place full of memories.
I can hear Alie sigh as I sit on the ground by a bed of my favorite flowers. I try to ignore her for a moment, but I can't do it. Out of all the people most important to me, she's the second. And with having just lost my most important, ignoring her is impossible. So I just focus somewhere else.
Through my blurry vision I can see a single flower and it causes me to lose all control. Since what happened, those three days ago, I haven't once been able to release how I really feel. As the tears stream down my cheeks, and into my dress collar, I can't stop the memories from completely taking over my focus.
~A single flower, most would scoff at the offering, but it was sweet. It was enough to convey his message. A smile steals across my lips, I can see it in the mirror. The small blossom sits proudly as the center piece of my drawer chest. A dash of peach on the dark wood of the chest.
The sight brings a feeling of fuzziness, and it occurs to me that what I'm feeling is love and happiness. I giggle to myself and spin lazily, not caring who overhears or oversees me. Yesterday night, oh what a wonderful night was yesterday night! He confessed! All these years I loved him from afar, afraid of saying anything directly to him to ask for his feelings.
Keer, my beloved Keer. Yesterday he turned Nineteen, a man by any man's standard. He was now able to propose to the girl whom he wished to make his wife. I was in despair, certain he'd pick gorgeous, perfect Alie. But come sunset he paid me a visit and asked me to go for a walk.
If only at the time I hadn't dismissed the look that passed between him, mother, and father! I would have known then and there! I giggle again, not entirely upset with my not noticing that miniscule detail. We were walking along the forest path that leads to a small brook that is always talking.
We were talking about things here and there, about our daily activities and the small new details that came with the day. But we pretty much already knew everything there was to know about the other. In my case however, there was something very important that I didn't know. His feelings for me, and to whom he had proposed.
After a moment of peaceful silence we had reached the brook. Keer stepped closer to me, forcing me to look up at him to meet his eyes. I didn't mind though, how could I? I've been in love with the man in front of me for the past twelve years. From the day I met him. I blush as I realize that he's closer than he had ever been for a long time, and that my thoughts were starting to go in places I should be wary of.
"Axel? You okay?" Keer's voice washed over me, three words, one of them my name. I had nearly swooned just from hearing him speak my name that gently with concern. However, I had managed to pull myself together enough to nod my head.
"Good. Um..." Keer looked down at the ground for a moment before he looked back up and met my gaze. He slowly reached into his pocket and pulled out the small blossom and offered it to me. I took it, but with some confusion.
"Keer? What's wrong? You never give flowers to anyone." I asked him with concern, I even was so bold as the step closer to get a better look at his face in the dimming light.
"Um.." Keer cleared his throat. "Yeah, I'm fine." He stuffed his hands in his pockets and flushed. He didn't like not looking cool. "That's for you." Keer looked away and stared at the brook as I studied him silently. Then I got it. He was telling me, without telling me, that I was the one he wanted to marry.
I squeal as I remember it again. Then collapse in a heap of giggles on my bed. Oh how I can't wait to tell Alie what happened last night! I blush as I recall him walking me home after I said thank you, and accepted the flower. He'd even given me a kiss on the forehead before he left for home.
I jump from my bed and hurry to my drawers. I get dressed as quickly as I can. I want to go and tell Alie right now! I scurry around and in what feels like just a moment I'm downstairs and out the front door. I hear 'oomph' the same moment I run into someone. That someone is smaller than me.
"Aw man! Axel, can't you be more careful?" Keorte complains after he's landed on his bottom. He is slightly more dressed up than usual, which makes me wonder what he's doing today.
"Get back here!" Alie's voice echoes off the trees and houses. Keorte's face changes from an 'Aw man!' to a 'Crap! Time to run!' face. Before he can flee I grab the back of his shirt. Alie comes running up, red faced and out of breath. "Why you…" Alie starts to speak while heavily panting. "How dare you run away from your own engagement ceremony!"
"But I don't want to be engaged to her!" Keorte whines while struggling to get free from my grasp. I hold tight, not letting him escape to only God knows where.
"If, when you are older, you don't want to marry her, then you can annul the engagement! But for now, you have to go through with the ceremony." Alie says with frustration evident in her voice.
"But!" Keorte starts to argue when he's cut off by a high pitched female scream that near shatters the windows of my house. A girl, probably around the age of ten, dressed in whites and pinks comes barreling towards us. Upon seeing the girl Keorte's effort to escape increases tenfold.
"Keorte!" The girl yells as she zooms towards her target.
"Stay away Sora!" Keorte's voice is panicked and determined. He doesn't want to be engaged to Sora at all, it was very apparent at the way he was looking at the girl. I compare the two young ones. Sora's extremely energetic and wild, whereas, Keorte's the opposite. Keorte is usually quiet and settled, except for when he acts like a spoiled child.
It doesn't surprise me that today is Keorte's engagement. After all, he turned twelve today. And it's custom for a lord's son and heir to be formally engaged to a lady at the age of twelve.
"Hey Keorte, I have a small tip." I say as I lean down to whisper in his ear. I know the feeling of not wanting to be engaged to the person you don't choose.
"What's that?" Keorte whispers back. He watches as I let go of his shirt and eyes me warily.
"Run as fast as you can." My words are accompanied by a small push in the opposite direction from the little girl that is coming flying at us. Keorte grins thankfully before he takes off, he's quickly followed by a screaming pile of white and pink lace.
"Wait! Keorte!" Alie protests as she's about to follow Keorte, but I need to talk with her, so I gently grab her arm as she passes by me.
"Alie, I really need to speak with you!" I say before she can complain about my stopping her from chasing Keorte. My face must be showing her something, because now her full attention is on me.
"What's the matter, Axel?" Alie asks as she pulls me towards my family's tiny garden behind the house. In the garden is a small bench made of Ash wood. Alie pulls me down to sit next to her.
I nearly squeal in my excitement. The fact that Keer had actually proposed to me has left me on cloud nine. "You'll never guess what's happened!"
"I can fathom a guess by the way you're acting. Keer proposed?" Alie smiles as she places a hand on my shoulder. But the smile isn't a happy one, it's a sorrowful smile. I'm taken aback, she isn't happy for me. The reason for her not being happy, I can't even guess. Was she also in love with Keer all this time?
"Axel, I'm afraid there's something you should know." Alie starts to say. I shake my head, I'm not sure I want to hear what she has to say. From her face I know it has to do something with Keer, and I know I won't like it.
"I don't want to hear it! I don't want to hear whatever you're going to say!" I scramble up and off the bench, trying to get away from Alie. I don't get far before she's standing in front of me with her hands gripping my shoulders.
"Axel, you need to hear this." Alie says, searching my face. I can see she's trying to word what she's going to say as delicately as possible. "This morning, Keer didn't show up to work like he was supposed to. So, dad sent someone over and we found Mr. Eustice dead. He was murdered, and Keer is gone."