Disconnected – Chapter 20: Tale of The Past (pt.5)

A blur of blue turned into a beautiful bronze as the light pierced her through–

Serein was expecting her surroundings to cave in and painted her vision black as she found herself tumbling over with her body losing its strength at such a rapid pace.

‘Am I fainting?’

Wondering if that was the case here, she realized that there’s more to it when right after she closed her eyes, upon reopening them back again, she was greeted with the same view, though the color that existed seemed to have been washed over like a black-white film.

“Wait, what–”

She blinked in surprise as she had never expected to stand here and actually spectate herself…?

Well, to be exact, she was now observing Serein’s body in a third-person point of view instead of seeing through that dark brown pair of eyes as a soul who borrowed the said body.

{Shocked?}

Snapping her head to the voice coming from behind her, Serein was met with the same spirit that she just made a contract with– Or she thought she had made a contract with.

“Ah, it’s you.”

Dryness in her tone, her confusion reflected more in her eyes and action as she actually tilted her head slightly, a habit whenever she’s completely lost in something.

‘What’s going on, why am I here?’

Her expressions were enough to question even without her verbally asking it to the said spirit, who then replied,

{You’re in the spirit realm. It’s easier to drag you here than wasting my power just to connect with you.}

The snake casually said as it stared back at the surprised soul.

‘Wait, They can do that?’

Not expecting any sort of response since she didn’t say it out loud, however, the spirit answered to her anyway.

{Of course, I can.}

Replying in a matter-of-fact tone, the spirit actually looked rather unimpressed while adding blandly,

{Honestly, I can’t believe that someone like you, who doesn’t even know about the basic thing of what a random strong spirit can do, can go this far and want to obtain the right to be my vessel. Don’t joke around, kid.}

Serein didn’t seem to be bothered by what she heard, what with her expression remaining unchanged. However, before she could even retort, the spirit scoffed coldly.

{How foolish.}

With a swing of a hand gesture, the spirit changed into its anthropoid form and encircled the flabbergasted soul.

{You’re not even aware of what you are. Not understanding what you could have become. And yet here you are, daring to make another blood contract without thinking of the consequences.}

Turns out, he was still not quite yet done with his comments. He stared at her judgmentally while still floating around her like a predator preying on some fine meat. He added more.

{Not only that, you’re simple-minded, but you’re also extremely gullible and reckless.}

Spitting out his disapproval, Serein could feel her spine turn cold with each word that the other aimed at her as she felt spell-bound, unable to react with her own free will towards this baseless aggravation.

She nearly jolted away when the voice that was drawn taut was then heard right next to her ear.

Heavy and irritated.

{I do not wish for an incautious punk who is only relying on their favorable fortune to survive, to be the owner of my vessel.}

It didn’t even sound like a fit of mindless anger. The spirit seemed to be raging over something that, the more he talked about it, the more Serein understood what’s going on here. Especially when she soon heard of the confirmation coming from the vexed being himself.

{I don’t need more short stories full of gore to taint my pages… I want a happy ending, not another life full of misery.}

His voice was firm and clear as he delivered his warning before it was then dragged with sorrow as he followed with his wish.

Grief.

His tone was filled with such a deep feeling of grief.

It wasn’t hard to understand what’s all of this about now that she had heard enough. Serein wanted to speak; wanted to tell the spirit that she’s not planning to be what he had feared. However, she wasn’t able to mention it fast enough when the other continued.

{I’ve been watching over you ever since you arrived at this place.}

Finally stopping his agitated movements, the spirit actually faced Serein as he spoke of what he had seen.

{I admit that you have great knowledge about the past events, coupled with the courage of the hero that I assume you’ve been idolizing and wishing to be. You are indeed excellent. Despite that, I do dislike how you are too willing to sacrifice all of that like a brainless mongrel that has no goal in life.}

He pointed out her mistake with a resentful stare. Despite the unclear face she’s seeing, Serein could feel the spirit’s judging gaze being aimed at her as he said,

{Comradeship is beautiful and all, but would it all be worth it if you died there and then from all of that blood that you lost—? No. Actually, let me guess. If your blood alone wasn’t enough even after all of that, I bet you were willing to sacrifice your arm or even a leg as well, am I right or am I correct?}

This time, Serein had no comeback even if she was allowed to talk, all because what he said was true. She was indeed willing to do as much, ALTHOUGH, she was only confident in doing so because—

{–Because you have that “magical elixir that can magically fix all your problems”.}

Shit.

She felt so exposed all of a sudden.

‘This punk knows even that much?’

{Kid, even if I’m not reading your mind right now, it was blatantly obvious.}

The spirit revealed indifferently.

{You’re quite an open book, which is why I’m genuinely questioning the intelligence of that other lad you brought along.}

Now floating next to Cherry who’s just successfully carried the unconscious body on her back, the spirit seemed to be waving at the young hatchling who stared a bit, before just going back to ignoring him and the other weak spirits that were only visible to Serein due to her being in her current form.

{Spending almost eighteen years in this world, living and watching over the other creatures and how they interact with each other, and yet she couldn’t see the signs? I wonder…}

Humming in fake disappointment she then saw him shaking his head before asking again in mockery,

{Is she just as dense as you?}

From rage to sadness, and now finally settling on mockery, Serein’s confusion and shock were now completely gone as she quickly gained her composure once more. All that she needed now was to regain her ability to FINALLY talk back to this rude knock-off of a cellophane noodle that just kept trash-talking her and Cherry as if he knew everything.

Fortunately, her wish was easily granted when the spirit made another hand gesture. The spell that had been preventing her from speaking while he ranted was released, making her capable of communicating with something more than just her facial expressions.

“Now, I wonder how I should start with all of those rants that you just randomly dumped on a stranger such as myself.”

Throwing back her irritation, Serein tried not to show as much and stay as polite as she could, knowing very well that she’d need to work with this punk if, by some miracle, she’s able to convince this spirit that she’s not as bad as he viewed him through their EXTREMELY short encounter.

“Pardon me for being rude, but sir, you’ve only watched over me when I arrived at this place, have you not?”

{No.}

And therefore, Serein paused to hear more.

{I’ve been around and observing since the moment you foolishly threw yourself into the grasp of the merciless guardian of this woodland.}

In short, he had been lurking since Serein attempted on stabbing Aidou during their first encounter.

{I was getting ready to greet you as a new spirit here. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure you would have a lot of regrets and stick around for a couple of years.}

With a shrug, the spirit commented while Serein felt a vein pop on her head despite all of her efforts to restrain herself.

This annoying punk reminded her far too much of one of her old comrades that she’s left behind.

“I see. How embarrassing, to think that I showed you such a pitiful appearance of me. Although, if you would allow me to stand up for myself, I did have a solid plan to survive them.” She said with a sigh, and then added, “It might not look like it since I was saved by a colleague in the clutch, but even if I had to fight a bit longer, I truly had a plan to get away from that predicament.”

It wasn’t a mere excuse to not look like a clumsy rookie with thick skin and a big head. She actually had a backup plan anticipating that situation to break as one of the worst outcomes.

However, since she was actually rescued by someone she knew she could trust, why would she pull another trump card from her sleeve when the situation had risen into her favor regardless of the circumstances that followed—

‘…’

She suddenly paused that thought. Now that she replayed the said event in her head, she nearly let out a sigh of resignation.

“Alright. I must admit that I was quite reckless in my actions as I desperately needed to get past Aidou and find this place.”

Eyes downcast, she admitted without hesitation.

Confessing her rashness was simply another step needed to do in order to get closer to obtaining this cynical spirit’s trust. So really, after realizing that she was indeed in the wrong, it’s actually easier for her to get over this obstacle and move on.

‘I was indeed desperate.’

That was not a lie, which was why she had no problem acknowledging that.

“My target was never really the Adelweirn flower, reaching the heart of the Ervenyl Mountain, or obtaining the sacred luxuries of the Great Sage, no.”

The first two might have been her initial goal, but it changed the moment she made a deal with Cherry.

“I am here looking for answers.”

Going after something— Anything, that could potentially help her in any way to get through these new circumstances she’s stuck in.

“I came here hoping that I could get some closure by obtaining your current vessel. Due to how I heard and did some research myself about how you, or more specifically, your vessel, the [Notebook of Certitude] should have kept confidential information about the world.”

That living soul couldn’t see the spirit’s face. But, she could feel the other being piqued at the mention. It might have even felt something akin to praise if she were to assume. Therefore she continued,

“As you have mentioned earlier, there are so many things that I don’t know and I don’t understand. And in fact, my list of inquiries has only grown longer ever since I stepped into the woodland. I was hoping that you would be able to give me some answers to my piling questions, if anything.”

There’s a moment of silence as the spirit did nothing but only stare at the serene soul.

Serein was staring back at him, unwavering firmness in her eyes as the spirit once again got closer, as if testing her sincerity.

{Interesting.}

Seemingly satisfied, once again the spirit encircled her, though his gaze was less sharp this time.

{You’re seeking answers to your inquiries. However, I do not wish for more unwarranted blood to stain my lovely pages. Now, now, doesn’t this sound like a problem?}

Lingering with such a taunting tone, he hummed as if thinking over a solution before he then said,

{I could sense that your desperation was, in fact, real. But I’m also true to my forewarning. Which is why, as a middle ground, I would propose you a trial}

“A trial?”

{Yes.}

With a hum the spirit replied.

{I will put our contract on hold until you can reunite me with my partner that was separated from me at the end of the Hero era.}

‘A partner?’

Serein was wondering if the spirit was referring to another Archaic relic or an ancient spirit such as himself.

{I won’t mention their name as it isn’t my place to do so. However, they are more known by mankind under the name [Quill of Veracity]. And yes, as its name suggests, their vessel is a quill.}

Despite being unable to determine the spirit’s expression, Serein could imagine him grinning cheekily at her after he gave that instruction. Meanwhile, she remained indifferent to not give him any more satisfaction by expressing her annoyance.

“…and how should I know that you’re not going to conspire with them on not making a contract with me again even after I manage to reunite you both?”

Afterall, impulsive as she might be, she could already sense the possibility of being scammed if she were to naively agree with this ‘trial’ that she never even knew could be a thing until now.

{Ah, yes. That baby that you brought around to this dangerous place; he, just like the other draconic race, can see me and other spirits easily. As my vessel was able to be stored in your bracelet, I would stick around you and who knows? I might actually lend a helping hand at times that you’ll never expect.}

While that’s good and all, that didn’t necessarily answer her—

{Aiston}

“…hmm?”

{That’s my name}

Well, she knows that. But what’s with the sudden introduction?

—Letting out an exasperated sigh, Aiston dragged his words as if tired, when he then explained,

{A name holds a lot of power to a being, especially to entities that don’t have a physical body. Well, of course, I, being a strong spirit that even has an object to attach to won’t be as bothered. But regardless, it’s still a big deal to know my name. So, I would dare you to see what shall happen when you carelessly mention it to others~}

“…”

Serein stayed silent as she fought the urge to sigh. There she was again, receiving a second threat on the same day.

After burying her annoyance in her heart, Serein negotiated with Aiston and decided on a nickname she would call him in front of the others– only in extremely desperate situations.

The next thing she knew, her soul was returned to her borrowed body as she greeted her comrade casually, treating everything that happened earlier as merely a fever dream until the crisis arose the next time.

Author Note: Heyya folks! Anemic Bunnicula here~! Here goes another update for the week + Art that you can check on the discussion channel. Hope you all would enjoy it, and I’ll see you again in the next chapter, Chao~!

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