1.Seiōbo (Our Girl’s 4-tailed Aunt With A Troubling Past!)
2. Sora (Our Null-Void Fox Girl!)
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Seiōbo pulled away from Sora’s inescapable gravity that locked Nari and her into this 7th dimension; in truth, she needed to process the raw emotion swirling through her Core—she was so vulnerable at the moment, and she couldn’t afford to be.
She could temporarily jump into the 8th to get a better grasp of the creatures that hovered just beyond sight of the multiverse they were trapped in, but it drained her considerably.
Her smile fell while floating in the Core of the bead universe, taking time to still the thumping in her chest; the entire timeline since the beginning of this multiverses’ first spark was before her, yet most of her thoughts had centered on the minute slice that was its most significant point—the moment Mia inserted Sora into its timeline, causing a cascade effect that would change it forever; it brought Aiden’s subconscious manipulations, putting Kari into her niece’s path.
So much noise…
The sight of her sister’s near-standstill surprise battle against a four-armed insectoid fiend of the 6th dimension made Seiōbo puff out a depressed sigh of raw quintessence energy through her nose. Even if Nari was just venting against the hostile entity that sensed her weakness after running away—crying from embarrassment—Seiōbo wasn’t concerned about her safety at this level.
A vast array of splintered fragments of this universe exploded and faded into eternity, until even that faded, yet the vast perspective only proved to take her back to the moment she met her Spiritual Construct.
Generating a mirror image of herself with the brilliant, cracked universe before her, Seiōbo stared into her own dull, somber blue eyes. What are you doing? It feels different when I’m with Sora … It could be this bond, giving me strength to resist entropy, but it’s so wrong.
Inside the 7th dimension, she could see the signs of damage that Mia had maintained, not that any of the other pensive beings silently observing the unusual phenomena in their universe had a clue about the scars. No one born trapped inside a fish in a bowl could ever understand the depths of what lay beyond their limited scope; these creatures were limited.
She smoothed back her bangs while observing how her sister’s fight would most likely go; even if the insectoid fiend was technically capable of harming her, Nari knew how to read the minute weave and flow of the dimension she occupied, and that made her neigh undefeatable against similar opponents.
Inee, Mia … you can’t expect us to just accept everything so readily … I understand you want our help, and yes, I can see our family is in a dire situation. Yet, Inee, can’t you see I’m dealing with my own problems…
Her mirror clutched at her breath; it was like she was running out of air. I’m scared … Who was I before my death, and why would I do something so reckless … Why would I say such insane things … It hurts to just think about the possibilities, yet…
Seiōbo’s focus drifted back to Sora, crying as a thirteen-year-old at a time when Wendy distanced herself, leaving her friendless.
A lump formed in Seiōbo’s throat; her niece had gone through so much—she didn’t understand it—the Mia she knew would have scorched an entire universe for such a sin and lashed out, but her daughter was different.
How can you be so full of despair … locked in a coffin of paralyzing fear and pain, yet still have hope of a sunrise? Whoever I became … I don’t want to be that … Why isn’t there anything about that part of me in the data Mia and Inari gave me? How did I become so twisted and vile … even to the point of disrespecting Mother?
Seiōbo bit her lower lip, tails wrapping around her tucked-in shins; it didn’t seem like anyone knew about the specialized Spiritual Construct she’d made—by its very nature, it was virtually impossible for anyone to detect or interact with it unless having her unique spiritual identifier. No matter how she framed it, she’d planned for her resurrection to take over the reborn consciousness.
She had to admit, it was kind of smart—not to mention dangerous—and yet, on the other hand, it was terrifying to think she’d do something so reckless; she’d learned from the First Generation Founders that doing so ran the risk of ripping one’s Intelligence and Spirit in half, creating a doppelganger that would cause Existence to treat both as an infection—yet she’d done it. Seiōbo couldn’t even recognize herself in the construct.
Staring into the veil blocking her view of the 8th dimension, her arms tightened against her legs. I’m still out there, waiting for my Core to stabilize—to erase who I am now—to truly return to who I was … Inee and Mia believe Tsukuyomi killed me … but what if it was for a reason? The Threads of Existence were tampered with … Could Inee and Mia have been given false memories?
A quiver ran down her spine at just the thought; it wasn’t a light statement, and it was safeguarded by pillars in their community, such as Gloria and Yìnglóng. To do anything to their Existence would be to stand against the Dragon and Fairy mothers, which twisted her gut. Then again, there was another possibility—if the three Founding pillars were the ones to intrude.
Such thoughts aren’t safe, she shivered, rubbing her shins and turning back to her niece, locked in the same time Seiōbo left her in. This Founder and Primordial War … there has to be more to it than my sisters remember, and if my family is in danger…
Breathing in deeply the energy around her, she cycled it through her Core before straightening and releasing it. “I’m not bound by my past,” she whispered, the shining image of her stalwart big sister coming to mind, “and I won’t fall to my knees.”
Steeling her resolve, Seiōbo made her decision. Slipping through the veils to where Nari played with the four-armed creature, she arrived in the burning space of blue, red, and yellow suns, surrounding a field of blue wheat that had a substantial effect on 3rd-dimensional Cores.
Standing on the hill overlooking the curved 6th-dimensional plane, she sighed. “Are you done releasing your stress?”
“B-Bobo?!” Nari rolled away on the pink grass in a panic, jumping up to take up a defensive stance. “I—eh, you’re going to grab my tail again?! He attacked me!”
Seiōbo’s dull gaze lifted to the snarling insectoid fiend as he fought an illusionary enemy, thinking he stood a chance as her sister lazily giggled and played around below. “I know … I’m sorry I embarrassed you, Nari, but we both know what you did was wrong—she’s our niece—our little sister’s baby girl.”
Nari’s ears folded back, peering down to where the happy Vulpes sat in their mother’s lower Realm. “I know … I’m just so … I don’t even know her—who I was…” she mumbled, cradling her puffy golden tail as it looped around. “I’m scared to look at what Mia and Inee gave me…”
The uncertainty in Nari’s voice made Seiōbo close her eyes and smile at her little sister. “Isn’t it weird—you’re the baby now, not Mia.”
“Heh-he-he-he,” Nari’s strained, mischievous smile wandered to the field, “yeah. It was fun—at first, but now … It feels like I’m drowning, Bobo—and I’ve got this … Mmh—this hole in my chest—loneliness, like we’re not connected anymore,” she whispered, and Seiōbo stepped forward to put her arms around her sister.
“I know … Everything’s changed between us—we’re not okay, and it’s not alright—I know you feel out of place … I do, too.”
A few tears fell down Nari’s masked smile as they moved to the grassy hill to lay against each other, and Seiōbo found her sister’s fingers, applying a bit of pressure. The two of them watched the insect blow spiritual flames into various shapes across the sky while fighting his invisible opponent, creating dazzling lights that fell to the wheat to nourish it.
After a little bit, Seiōbo’s expression softened as Nari’s tail inched over until crossing over one of hers; linking with her, a rumble shook in Seiōbo’s throat. “It’s probably the worst for you … Heh, you still see me as the little bubbly goofball I used to be that would try to cover up all your tricks.”
“Mmh, not so much now; I know you changed,” Nari muttered, left hand rising to stare at it. “All of you have changed so much … but I’m the same little pup while everyone else grew up … Mom apparently died and recently got kidnapped. Humph, Mia and Inee are off on some mission with a strange creature I’ve never heard of—you’re dealing with your own stuff, and well, yeah—I’m just … left behind.”
Seiōbo reached over to pull Nari over her body, noticing how small she was now compared to the sister she knew. “Hey … Umm, I’m always going to be here for you, okay, Nari?”
“Are you really here for me, though?” she mumbled against her chest.
“Hmm … a valid question,” Seiōbo returned, chest rising and falling as she pondered and brushed back Nari’s thick golden locks, but after a few seconds, she smiled and giggled.
“What?” Nari asked, ears twitching against her collar bone.
“Heh, do you remember when you got me in trouble with Mom—she said I needed to be more responsible—eh, and then I got into my first physical fight with you.”
Nari groaned. “I’m sorry—I didn’t mean to make Mom mad at you—to me, it wasn’t that long ago … Mmgm, you turned my tail green for weeks, and Mom wouldn’t help me fix it. Eh, heh, Inee helped me in the end.”
“She did, huh?” Seiōbo whispered, looking back at the event in her memories. “I didn’t know that … Inee was always the one to smooth things over with everyone … Wasn’t she?”
“Mhm … She was always so cool,” Nari sighed. “I felt so bad, but she was so kind and supportive—taking me back to help fix the trouble I caused—she even took the fall for me a few times.”
Seiōbo hissed out a breath. “You know Mom and everyone else always knew who did what—they just pretended not to—to see how we’d react and grow.”
“No way,” Nari’s eyes grew big as they poked up from her chest to stare at her. “Even me putting that powder in Gloria’s bottle?”
“Yeah … that came up later,” Seiōbo forced a chuckle, “and you weren’t happy about the punishment.”
“Oh?” Nari giggled, “I don’t know about any punishment; I’m glad I missed it. Hoh? Wait, does that mean I got away with it?!” she asked, eyes sparkling.
Seiōbo lifted an eyebrow. “Mmh, heh, I guess it would mean you technically got away with it since you never technically went through the punishment.”
“Yes!” she snickered. “I pulled one over on Gloria!”
Head returning to the grass to stare up at the insect, Seiōbo felt her heart lighten. “Hey, Nari…”
Over three hundred years of emotional memories slid through Seiōbo’s chest. “This time is going to be different … Something broke in who I used to be, and I don’t want to be who I was … I feel like I’m suffocating, too—so let’s promise not to let each other drown—to save each other…”
A hole opened in Seiōbo’s chest as a wave of heat ran up her face, tears leaking from her eyes. “I want to be a good sister … I don’t want to be alone, but I’m afraid I might give up—who can save me from myself?”
Nari put her hands on either side of her, lifting herself up for her golden locks to veil them, and her sister’s tears fell onto Seiōbo’s cheek. “I don’t want to be alone either … You’re not broken, Seiōbo—I want to be a better sister, too—I don’t want to cause you trouble.”
Reaching up to bring Nari back into her arms, Seiōbo fought the emotion in her throat. “We’ll save each other from drowning—and we’re not alone; it’s not the same—we have our family … Sora can fix us … I have a plan.”
Sniffling a little, Nari nuzzled against her chest. “I trust you, Seiōbo … I feel so weak compared to all of you, though.”
For the first time in a century, she found comfort in her sister’s arms. “Nari—you have strengths I can never match—I love you.”
It took a few seconds for her little sister to babble a reply, trembling arms wrapped around Seiōbo’s back. “I love you, too…”
Nari’s charm over the four-armed 6th-dimensional insectoid fiend had long since lost its effect, and Seiōbo kept track of its movements, but the instant he saw her and the overwhelming strength she possessed compared to her sister, the fiend ran in fright. Heh, just a dimensional cockroach in the end.
After a time together, Nari rolled to the side to sit across from her, wild golden locks swaying in the frigid energies of the forces that fed the field; this was a place most of the so-called ‘deities’ of this universe only knew of by fable, and the actual value of it rested below the roots of the wheat.
Seiōbo sat up to gaze across the plane; a cosmic storm would be sweeping in soon, but they’d be gone by the time it arrived. “How long do you have until you need to return to Sora?”
“Hmm…” Her sister sent a magical thread through her hair to restructure the braids. “Not long … I used a lot of magic playing with that thing. Umm, you said you have a plan?”
“Yeah…” It took a bit for her to find the proper words, watching the irregular flow of this part of the universe because of the lingering scars in the area that Mia had knitted together. “I want to help, Sora, but the blind can’t lead the blind … And we are definitely blind,” she mumbled. “I don’t know if Inari and Mia’s goals or plans are right—I want to make my own decisions and to do that, we’re going to have to go on our own sort of journey.”
Nari’s golden eyebrows arched while facing her. “How?”
Seiōbo smirked, neck tilting to look at her sister. “Do you want me to tell you or surprise you when explaining it to Sora?”
“Oh! I’d like the surprise,” Nari laughed.
It brought back past memories Seiōbo had of her cute sister; of course, it wasn’t long after this point her sister went into a rather obstinate and feisty stage, but this wasn’t the same Nari—just as she wasn’t the same Seiōbo.
“Great! Let’s join Sora again…”
“Hold up!” Nari grinned.
Forehead creasing, Seiōbo gave her a quizzical look. “What?”
Pushing in, Nari giggled while sliding her fingers across Seiōbo’s cheeks to weave a simplistic spell that made her laugh in return. “Fixing me up, huh—what sister of mine is this?”
“Shut up,” Nari mused, clearing her own puffy and stained cheeks. “I haven’t seen you cry in so long…”
“Heh, don’t count on seeing it again for a while,” Seiōbo winked. “We need to be strong.”
“No,” Nari huffed, sliding her arms around her sides. “Mom always said to cry if you need to—so don’t make me cry alone!”
Releasing a pent-up breath, Seiōbo shook her head, positioning herself to get up while carrying her sister. “Then I’ll spill my heart to you every night!”
“H-Hey, let’s not get carried away!” Nari stammered, forcing a chuckle. “He-he, but really, I-I want to get to know you now, Seiōbo—I need to know my sisters.”
Pulling away, she nodded. “Yeah, and once we get all of this sorted, let’s force our other two elderly sisters into that circle!”
“Oh? Fu-fu-fu,” Nari snickered, “elderly sisters—they really are old now!”
“Ancient!” Seiōbo rolled her eyes. “Honestly, anyways, let’s go—there’s a lot I need to explain.”
* * *
Sora blinked, and her aunts were back. “Eh … ugh-he-he, umm, I don’t know if I can get used to this whole time-shift thing…”
“Wait, did she leave?” Wendy asked, looking around, “I had my eyes closed for only like a second…”
“Meh,” Kari shrugged, arms crossed under her chest, “you get used to it over time. I’m still kind of lost on whatever topic we’re on, though—what’s up?”
Mofupsi’s tight expression was centered on Nari as she snuggled next to a surprised and thrilled Emilia. “I suppose you have come to a conclusion on the enhancements that will keep me alive?”
“Huh?” Nari blinked, sorting through Emilia’s tails as they looped around. “I don’t have a clue about any of what Bobo has planned—I’m just here for the ride—my, my, but you have such an interesting spiritual network, Emilia.”
“I-Is that a good thing?”
“Mmh, neither good nor bad—just a bit tricky,” Nari hummed, seemingly combing and grooming the girl’s tails with her bare hand; each pass of her magically enhanced hand left shimmering, smooth fur that appeared to make Emilia shiver with joy. “You do need a bit of a spiritual detox, though … So much stress!”
Seiōbo crossed her legs, and by just her presence, Sora could tell her aunt had worked through many emotions in the split second she’d been gone; her tone was somber, yet far more kind than before.
“I want to be very clear with you, Sora … I’m going to help your daughter navigate through the process of advancing your friend and servant, but I must preface it by expanding on what my sister taught on the subject.”
“Okay?” Sora whispered, adapting to the new atmosphere—changing emotional states so fast was a bit uncomfortable—her aunt had spent time working through her emotions while they only had seconds to pivot to her new mood. “Can we calm down for a moment?”
“Of course,” Seiōbo replied, gesturing for Kari to join them, “take your time.”
Kari made a note in her throat while sitting beside Sora. “Mmg-hmm—so, what’s the plan—‘cause, I’m totally in the dark here. Anything I can help with?”
Wendy took a deep breath and let it out. “Thanks, Kari, but umm, I don’t think so—right?”
Sora just looked at her aunt for answers, and expectedly, she shook her head.
“No, Kari … However, what I have to say will apply to you, as well. You see…” Her head turned to appraise Nari, showering an overwhelmed Emilia with attention. “My sister and I will need to leave you to work through our own problems, and there are things I think Inari is being too cautious about explaining—we do not have the luxury of centuries to slowly grow.”
Goosebumps ran down Sora’s arms, and her tiny, liquid rings that formed her chakram rippled around her hair. “You want us to grow stronger as fast as possible?”
A single nod from her aunt told her how seriously the woman was taking this discussion. “Inari took it slow with you—at least by the standards I am accustomed to—and I can understand why; she taught you the raw basics, but the foundation of how Existence functions and how Intelligent beings advance, she has left out.”
“How it all works, huh?” Kari mumbled, sucking in her cheeks for a second. “Mmh … I’m pretty sure my mom told me something along those lines at some point.”
“Most likely, Alva would have been given a similar education.” Seiōbo sighed. “It is unusual thinking the tiny pup that was less than a few years old in my memory is your mother—in any case, tell me when you are prepared to listen.”
“I’m ready—I’ve been ready for so long!” Wendy jumped on the topic.
Trying to calm herself, Sora relented. “Alright … Everyone else?”
“We are!” Nari chimed, holding up a grinning Emilia’s hand. “Oh, and, umm—I’m sorry I was playing that trick on all of you—I was just feeling so lost and needed something to make me feel better…”
Emilia buried the girl’s head in her bust. “I forgive you, Aunt Nari; I just want to spend more time with you!”
“Unfortunately, that won’t be possible for some time,” Seiōbo gravely interjected. Sora was about to ask why when her dark-haired aunt went on, attention centered on her. “We are tied to you, Sora—in an unbreakable way that bypasses Existence itself—and it is because of that that we are also protected from various side effects of Existence.”
Everyone, including Nari, sat back to listen; in truth, Sora had hoped her aunts would be able to remain a constant part of their daily life, but the more she learned, the more she realized how selfish that was.
Seiōbo took a calming breath before continuing, and she created an illusionary tempest around them to illustrate her explanation. “Nari and I are locked to you, Sora, and you are locked to the 3rd-dimensional plane within this universe.”
She carried them under the colossal waves, showing numberless humans and other monsters swept along the titanic currents. “We are in the sea of time—and most of you are unable to fight the tide—trapped.”
“Mmh!” Kari slowly nodded, catching everyone’s eye in the dark swirl of illusionary water. “My mom told me something similar, but we were looking up from its center.”
Nari chuckled. “The 7th dimension! It was probably her own Realm that she was using as a medium. I was born in the 12th, so all of this stuff is like a human understanding the cells in their body to a cell, unaware of everything in the outside world other than the limited tasks it does in your body—you become so much more aware by being in the 12th dimension.”
Kari’s eyebrows pulled together, vision falling to the people floating nearby. “Is that what she felt when we went to my memory of Mom’s Realm?”
Mofupsi’s hands tightened against her stomach; she’d been listening very intently to the explanation, and Sora could see why she would, considering she’d hit a roadblock in her progress for millennia. “You’re talking about Jemissa—the Vulpes that was your opponent?”
“Yeah,” Kari whispered.
Shifting a bit on the couch, Sora’s lips pulled in, wondering how her fight might have gone. “Was it hard?”
“No,” Mofupsi answered, eyebrows pulled together. “I can’t say why, but whatever place they had the Training Room transform into, it affected Jemissa in ways I couldn’t comprehend … She died three minutes after leaving the room—as far as I’m told, she was delirious … seemingly talking gibberish.”
The fur along Kari’s tail bristled, eyes wide. “She’s dead?”
“Why?” Wendy whispered. “Did it kill her?”
“In a way, it’s only natural,” Seiōbo said, taking them back above the waves to the storm raging around them, and in the crashing waves were tossed countless people, screaming at the top of their lungs.
“If only peering beyond the 3rd dimension to the 4th can cause such torment and fear to these morals, can you imagine entering the 7th … to connect to something so vast and all-encompassing that your entire life feels less than a speck of dust. Of course, an Intelligence couldn’t survive such a transition without a protective hand only allowing so much to filter through.”
Emilia’s grip tightened around Nari’s for comfort as her aunt soothed her quivering spirit at the imagery. Mofupsi’s jaw was tight, and Sora figured her mind was fixating on questions she’d had for thousands of years, and it was being answered so surely by a four-tailed Vulpes.
On the other hand, Kari had fallen silent, and there was a soft, solemn look in her amber eyes that was new to Sora; she reached over to take her hand. “You okay?”
“Yeah,” she mumbled, but emotion was in her voice. “It’s just … she was the first person to see my mom’s Realm.”
Scooting a bit closer, she firmed her grip. “It’s okay to be sad.”
“Heh … Yeah,” Kari whispered, “but it’s just—not something I’m used to … I’m fine.”
Leaving it at that, she turned to Wendy; her friend’s tight fingers dug into her thighs while glaring at the back of her hands. “Are you okay?”
“I mean, even a super powerful Vulpes couldn’t handle it … What hope do I have?”
Seiōbo was right; Inari hadn’t explained the stress on Intelligences when rising through dimensions. When were we going to get this explanation?
Her black-furred aunt’s expression lightened a tad. “Don’t fret, Wendy; I am explaining this to you, so you understand the path forward. In Existence, an Intelligence goes through a few stages when growing, and it begins at Intelligent conception—it starts with the state of ‘being’ that is followed by experience, knowledge, understanding, wisdom, and finally, transcendence.”
The storm around them vanished to be replaced by each word to emphasize the topic at hand. “The purest form of actualizing one’s existence is the state of being—it is beyond thought and the subconscious but a thing so ingrained it is never a state of question. It is the brilliance that you can say, I am that I am—you exist, therefore you have unique traits to the sphere you are born to.”
She generated thirteen layers, giving each a name. “Existence consists of thirteen dimensions, as Nari and I were taught, and to be in a state of being within the higher realms is to have experience, knowledge, understanding, and wisdom those that have not bonded with cannot fathom in the slightest.”
Kari took a long breath and let it out. “Right … the combination of the five allows one to transcend.”
“Yup!” Nari chimed, creating a chibi Kari that went from the 3rd layer to the 4th. “Each dimension provides a broader sense of Existence—the 4th being the flow of time inside a universe—and to be born to a higher realm gives you a perspective that a fish in a pond cannot have unless hooked and brought into a new world!”
Seiōbo smiled at the chibi figures her sister made, having them do various playful activities that had Emilia chuckling and sparkly-eyed.
“While we may have a far more vast grasp of Existence, that doesn’t mean those born in the 12th have the same perspective as someone that rose from the bottom to the top—and I suspect Mia had you do this for a reason, Sora—our own parents chose to give us a wall we needed to overcome rather than giving us a state of being in the 13th.”
Thinking back to her mother’s awkward, smiling, freckled cheeks brightened Sora’s mood. “So … We need to have those things to get stronger?”
Her four-tailed aunt lifted one to stare at the snow-white tip with a reminiscent look in her deep ocean eyes. “Sora … I don’t know you … I don’t know Nari, Inari, or Mia anymore … I don’t know the woman I see in my future … I want to know you, though, and to do that, I need to develop in the same way all of you do.”
Seiōbo’s focus rose to meet her. “I’m going to be with you until the end, but to do that, I need to know my family—to be sure of the path my life is on, and to do that, Nari and I will be going back in time to not just see your life, but live through it, invisibly watching in the threads of time. We’re going to experience everything we can, and we’ll be keeping a record of that to share with Emilia and you—it’s the best way I can think of to go about closing the gap between us.”
Nari’s cheer dampened while tracing a pattern on the back of Emilia’s hand. “Plus … there’s a lot we need to think about, too … Heh, we’re not the most emotionally stable, as you can tell. I don’t want to hurt either of you, so I like Seiōbo’s plan.”
“Ahem,” Seiōbo smiled at her sister before moving the focus to Sora. “That being said, before we go, I want to do everything I can to help you, and if that’s helping your servant and friend on the path to reach the next stage, so be it. In addition, it will help you grasp the concept.”
Spreading her arms, Seiōbo gestured at the room. “This Realm is actually the first one my mother created—yes, there is a 12th-dimensional plane that this universe formed around—and its entire purpose was to help Vulpes advance.”
“You say that, Bobo,” Nari grimaced, glancing around, “yet in its entirety, no Vulpes has been able to make it beyond the 5th stage—ironically, Loral’s predecessor.”
Seiōbo sighed. “Indeed, and she could not discover the means to change her Core Essence to escape death; even if you break into the higher dimensions, that does not mean you are free of Existence’s janitors.”
“Heh, that’s what I called them!” Nari mused. “They really are, aren’t they!”
“We did have the same lessons,” Seiōbo snickered. “Although you weren’t there the first time death and its variants were brought up.”
“I had more important things to do at the time,” she mumbled, cheeks darkening a little.
“Love? Infatuation?” Seiōbo hummed.
Nari huffed, brushing back her blonde locks. “Neither.”
Sora smiled with Wendy, Emilia, and even Kari at the pair’s relationship; clearly, Seiōbo was more mature, but Nari could be serious. “So, the path to advancing is here?”
“Everything needed to reach the heights of Inari’s Kitsune, if not in a different manner,” Seiōbo shrugged. “Although, such a path is quite long if unaided; still, it’s available.”
“If you’re not locked inside a small section of the city all your life,” Mofuspi muttered, showing a tad bit of the frustration she’d felt for millennia. “I suppose I’ll need to do a quick inventory before we leave—there’s knowledge untapped … the others will be thrilled.”
It made Sora happy that Mofupsi was thinking about the others and this realm’s future. “Okay, so, a state of being, experience, knowledge, understanding, wisdom, and transcendence. Right?”
“Correct,” Seiōbo said, returning to the topic while pointing at the words. “Experience, you can perceive and incorporate things around you into the subconscious. You act based on an internal instinct rather than rational thought.
“A child must experience things to build knowledge—a database of information—knowing what one can do with fire in contrast to understanding how to use it are two different subjects.
“Wisdom is what comes through an understanding of knowledge and your experience linked throughout your life and others—it is a state of being able to take outside sources not your own to learn; to have wisdom is to have the capacity to progress faster through life than any other in a given subject.”
Her finger lingered on the last. “However, the wise can be trapped by the limitation of being powerless. In the end, only those that have the strength to realize their gained wisdom can transcend to find a new state of being—to take their experience, knowledge, understanding, and wisdom to a point of change that transforms. Like a caterpillar that sets foot on the way of the strong to reach the top of that frozen mountain of resistance to take flight and go beyond.”
Sora glanced down at her chakram, considering her aunt’s words. “In short … I don’t even have knowledge about my new powers—I’ve been acting on just a state of being—not even experience. So, I need to learn more about myself and how unlocking my father’s side has changed me … Mmh-heh, so I can become a beautiful butterfly.”
“You won’t be alone,” Seiōbo said, rising to her feet and dissolving the illusions, which instantly snatched Emilia’s attention again; the chibi figures were distracting to her. “Let’s begin the process of transforming your friend and servant now … It’s going to be a process, as Nari thought, but,” her aunt winked, “with some fitness, we can make a continual, controlled funnel.”
Getting up, Sora prepared herself. “You ready, Emilia, Wendy, Mofupsi?”
“Scared,” Wendy admitted, forcing a grin, “but I’m ready to not be the one left behind—I’ll work hard! I’ll ask Eyia to train me!”
“Egh,” Sora grimaced. “I’d rethink that, Wendy—you don’t know what you’re getting into. Mofupsi?”
The woman took one last deep draw from her pipe before letting it go in a long hiss. “I would be lying if I said I was not frightened, Master … Growth cannot be achieved in inaction, though, and I cannot be of service to you if I am dead. What must I do?”
Kari silently watched with Nari, and Sora could tell her mind was probably still reflecting on the Vulpes she’d fought, yet Sora’s focus was snatched by her aunt as they were moved locations.
“A Training Room?” Mofupsi asked.
Seiōbo’s gaze wandered around the white area. “It’s far more than just that … Not going into too much detail, it will help to isolate things, even Sora’s Null-Void, to an extent.”
Sora stretched left and right, her daughter soon mirroring the action. “Cool. Next?”
“Relax,” Nari frowned. “Sadly, we can’t give you a bed because while relaxing, your Null-Void is going to be unrestricted—you’d just fall through it—uh, but the other two can get one! Oh, and your real body, too. He-he, gotta let go of all those constructs.”
“Oof, uh … Yeah, actually, this is me,” Sora mused, rising into the air and releasing her form to take on the shape of her small chakram; she could expand, but this was more fun. A three-hundred and sixty-degree visual image of her environment came into focus, showing her the reactions of everyone.
Mofupsi and Kari only lifted an eyebrow; of course, she didn’t expect much from Kari, but Wendy and Emilia’s mouths dropped open, just staring at the hovering metal ring.
“Huh?” Wendy scratched the back of her neck, glancing around to see if she’d just teleported away. “You’re … a dish?”
“Mom’s a kitchen plate?” Emilia asked in shock, still trying to process the information.
“Really … Really—you see this as a dish?” Sora huffed. “I’m a chakram; a cool ring weapon! How would I even hold food; I have a hole in the center.”
“Visuals,” Kari snickered.
“Jokes already, huh?” Sora dryly grumbled. “I’d thought everyone would be at least a little surprised—my other form is just a Null-Void body I can make because of my mom’s side—it’s impossible to make anything else … Ugh, because it’s just me doing things as a state of being … I need experience.”
“He-he,” Seiōbo moved behind Emilia, rubbing her back. “Just relax—lower all your defenses—including you, Mofupsi.”
The reddish-furred nine-tailed fox scratched her left ear before moving to comply. “It … will be the first time in my life opening myself up to this extent … I have nothing to compare it to, but I will do my best…”
“Me, too?” Wendy asked. “How?”
Seiōbo shook her head. “My sister developed your previous training around an automatic shell to resist harmful effects, but since it is Emilia’s energy as the catalyst, it will pass through that type of wall.”
“Oh … cool, so … just lay down?”
Nari created two beds. “Yup! The two of you just ease those shoulders and let Bobo work her magic while I help ground the guiding force helping Emilia! We’ll be done in no time!”
Still curious about them needing to be nearby, Sora tried to settle in her little floating space. “Don’t you need to stay close to me, though—does traveling through time not count?”
Her dark-haired aunt folded her hands into her sleeves, smiling up at her. “We will need to make subsequent visits, but since it is on your unchangeable path through time in this universe, it acts as a far more connected avenue than any other. Worry not, though; we’ll visit when we need to rest and recover.”
Happy at the answer, Sora allowed all of her automatic self-restrictions to be released, causing a blaze of Null-Void to envelop her rings; a sweet flavor trickled over her invisible tongue, sliding into her as she tasted Existence.
Finally, Wendy won’t feel vulnerable anymore, and my family’s coming together…
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