1.Emilia (Sora’s Daughter That Just Wants To Be A Daughter!)
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A long breath streamed out of Emilia’s lips, eyes closed while attempting to ease her thumping heart. I can do this! I have to do this for Mom!
Her eight tails stilled as a warm touch caressed her back, Seiōbo’s comforting fingers slid between her long copper hair and back to radiate a soothing balm into her turbulent spirit; there was a melancholy serenity in it that helped sober her emotions. “It’s okay, Emilia … Nari and I are here to help you.”
“Sorry,” she mumbled, looking up. She was a little surprised to see Wendy and Mofuspi’s heads already limp, chests rising and falling at an even pace; a pacifying wave encased them as Nari dulcified the two.
Seiōbo’s expression softened; it was as if her Great Aunt was an entirely different woman compared to the first time she’d met the woman. “There’s no need to apologize; you’ve done nothing wrong.”
“Yeah—right, umm … What do I need to do?” she asked, glancing at the blonde-furred Vulpes’ small hand before staring at her mother’s floating, disk-like form; it was a little disconcerting seeing the ominous white flames encasing her but she had to be strong and accept everything—if she messed up, someone could get hurt—her mother was counting on her.
The reassuring flow Seiōbo sent her aided in clearing her troubled mind. “Just relax for a second, Dear … Nari is preparing the path through Wendy and Mofupsi’s Oltera Nexus. Would you like me to explain things to you as we go? It might help calm you.”
“Ahem,” Emilia tried to loosen up, glancing at Kari, who sat cross-legged beside Sora, seemingly pondering something; the Fenris Wolf appeared to be somewhat melancholy by her absent eyes. “Umm, will I understand it? Sorry, I’m just so new to all of this, and—and I don’t want to mess up,” she whispered, focusing on her mother.
Nari hummed, single tail gently wrapping around one of hers. “There’s no rush. He-he, you see, I’m a bit jittery, too! All of this is super complicated stuff, but Seiōbo knows some really amazing stuff…”
The woman’s cheer fell a bit, ears drawing back while looking away. “I wish I could have learned all of this from my mother, but I guess it’s fun having Seiōbo teach me, too.”
“You don’t even know how to do this?” Emilia asked in disbelief. “You’re so strong, though.”
A tiny smile moved Seiōbo’s lips, focusing on Sora. “Truthfully, Nari, it’s our sisters that filled in the gaps of what we need to do, yet it is within my scope—by the way, Emilia, your mother, Wendy, and Mofupsi are currently in an unwakeable slumber—it’s required for the surgery.”
“Surgery?” Emilia asked, eyebrows pulling together while recalling the doctors from her mother’s memories in the human world. “It’s not a permanent sleep?”
“Of course not,” Nari softly giggled. “Umm … How would you describe it, Bobo?”
Seiōbo took in a long breath and let it go before shifting beside her to look at Emilia. “We’ll get to that, but first, we need to lay the groundwork because what we are doing is beyond anything anyone in this multiverse has ever had the chance to so much as ponder … It is perfectly ordinary for a Founder, but given your age, experience, and,” she paused, lifting an eyebrow while surveying their space, “dimension … We need to go to the fundamental basics.”
Emilia nodded, following her gaze to her mother as Seiōbo gestured at Sora. “As you’ve been told, True Vulpes Magic is tied to your desires—it is your magic molding the fabric of Existence to stitch together the requisitioned task—and a weave will form to accomplish it. By birth, you are tuned to perceive and understand the workings of your home.”
Nari’s tail pulled in to stroke their intertwined fur, voice soft in the silent room. “You remember Bobo’s explanation to Sora? When her true Vulpes form physically manifested, she was operating on a sense of Being, and slowly, through trial and error, she gained experience until Inee further expanded on her knowledge and understanding on how to mold Existence.”
“I think I get it,” Emilia mumbled, eyes wandering over her mother’s tiny chakram body. “I had problems using my powers because I was made a Founder … I wasn’t born one like all of you, so it’s not as easy.”
Seiōbo reached around her waist to pull her in; touch always seemed to help Emilia’s emotions settle. “Yes and no, Dear … Through this process, you’ll also learn how you were made to be so similar to Sora by our elder sister, and by no means are you not a part of this family—you are our niece, Emilia; even if the exact definition can be muddled, you are every much a Vulpes Founder as Nari and I.”
“Mmh?” Nari’s lips pulled in, one eye creasing. “I mean, I know what you’re getting at, Bobo, but there is a difference; it will be more difficult for her. That being said; yes, you are definitely one of us!” she grinned.
Relief filled Emilia’s breast, vision following the blonde’s tender strokes across their linked tails. “That … means a lot, Aunt Nari, Aunt Seiōbo…”
A funereal look crossed her blue eyes. “As much as I tried to tell myself I was—well, a daughter, I … I always had that doubt in my mind. Why is that—why is it so hard for me to feel real?” she asked, not knowing why she was suddenly searching for answers to the thorns in her heart. “Mom’s always seen me as her daughter, but…”
Seiōbo pointed to the sky as the room faded, replaced by a bright sunny day. “Let’s begin … To help you visualize what we’re talking about, I’ll cast illusions to focus your desires. You see,” she whispered, motioning to the flaming chakram before them; Mofupsi, Kari, and Wendy were gone; her mother still hovering in the air, “one major difference between Sora and you is the level of natural focus in directing your desires.”
A colossal castle materialized ahead of them, seemingly as large as the moon—massive gates were open and a moat separated them from the entrance—shimmering white walls of marble spanned as far as she could see.
“What is all of … this?” Emilia hesitantly asked, standing with her aunts as they spun in a short circle to examine their surroundings; at their back was an endless field of green grass. A long drawbridge was down, welcoming anyone into what appeared to be a maze-like town outside the castle towers an eternity in the distance.
Nari sighed, rubbing her left ear. “Unfortunately, once you set foot in the castle, I can’t follow you—cool concept, though, Bobo!”
The black-furred Vulpes fixed on Sora’s floating form, and a sly smile lifted her lips. “This is the entrance into Sora’s spiritual network that leads to her Core. What you need to do is unseal your magic and direct it into your mother while desiring to enter the town; you can try as long as you need; I’ve put her Intelligence to sleep, which is very different from a normal coma.”
Knowing she needed to follow instructions, and not wanting to cause any trouble, Emilia nodded, emotionally preparing herself. “I’ve only done stuff to get into my own Core, but umm … Okay, just use my magic, and … walk into my mother’s spiritual network—her city…”
Nari gave them a happy wave as Seiōbo linked fingers with her, and the two of them took the first step forward. “I’ll keep Wendy and Mofupsi prepared for the transformation; see you two in a bit!”
Her voice faded out as their tails unwound and her mother vanished; Emilia could still feel her magic weaving through space without seeing her mother’s chakram body—it was as if her desires caused the threads of magic to take shape and find their target without sight.
“Like this?” she nervously asked, skittish eyes darting between various parts of the bridge they were nearing. “We just need to keep going?”
Seiōbo’s soothing voice calmed her elevated blood pressure. “At this point, all you need to do is keep a steady stream of magic as we walk; whatever you see or feel, you cannot cut off your energy.”
“W-Will we be hurt?” Emilia asked, looking up at the planetary city they were walking toward; every walkway and building was built for average human size, crafting a maze of potential routes. “Can I hurt my mom?”
“In most cases, no; you will not hurt your mother,” the black-haired woman allayed, “but there are critical points where you need to keep a steady stream of magic—typically, Nari and I would not be close enough to Sora’s Intelligence to accomplish this simple method, but because of how you were made, there is a level of protection you naturally share in Null-Void.”
She looked at various places they could see inside the gate as they took their first step on the path, and Emilia stumbled to a stop; the pretty image twisted. “W-What’s going on?!”
White flames ran across the city; it was far beyond saving—brick crumbled and was soon repaired, the alabaster fire was converted from red or orange flickering energy to white in a continual tug-of-war.
“No need to fret,” Seiōbo said, tugging softly on her hand to prompt them to continue. “On the surface, everything seems totally fine with Sora, but there is a war happening inside her that she hasn’t realized in its entirety; Existence and Null-Void are locked in conflict.”
She serenely guided Emilia around the raging torrents of forces; danger set Emilia’s tails on end, but Seiōbo’s cool aura kept her calm enough to continue. “You can imagine this burning moat and bridge as Sora’s body—the physical, 3rd-dimensional visage that is being molded by her spirit and Intelligence—and it is constantly in flux.”
Emilia’s expression tightened as they zig-zagged through the dangerous flow of forces; there was a pattern her Great Aunt appeared to be using to predict the red and white flames. “Is this what will eventually happen to me?”
“It will,” Seiōbo bluntly confirmed. “In fact, both Sora and you have already gone through a very similar process to this … You see, the creature called Frenkinstine molded a human spirit and body for Sora’s mixed Founder and Null-Void Intelligence to inhabit while the medium we walk through gently brought the pair together.”
Now that she mentioned it, there was an undertow, gently wrapping around them; the only word to describe it would be neutral.
“However, given that Sora resided in Existence, naturally, her Vulpes side would gain ground quicker, and when her sixteenth birthday came, that part of her Intelligence forced the human spirit’s metamorphosis, which thereby affected her physical body. In like manner, although far smoother, given my sister’s gentle approach, your renewed Intelligence did the same to your current spirit and body.”
“Hmm…” Emilia listened to her Great Aunt as she maneuvered them through the labyrinth of raging Null-Void and Vulpes energies. “My Intelligence wasn’t naturally a Founder or containing Null-Void, though—I was just a normal Vulpes—a damaged Vulpes.”
“Correct … My sister triggered your transformation by cutting a small branch out of Sora’s budding Intelligence and placing it into your shattered and empty Core. Niomie’s failsafe hollowed your Core out to make you a charged, elemental bomb of sorts—crude, unrefined, and vastly diminishing the potential output of your Core—but it’s to be expected of such unenlightened Vulpes,” she growled.
“I am quite disappointed in the generations of Vulpes that have squandered the inheritance my mother left them … Such wealth and wisdom left to gather dust; though, I must admit that my mother would have known that such an outcome would have occurred, yet did it anyway … Such a confusing mother…” she chuckled, shaking her head with amusement.
A slight smile lifted Emilia’s lips at the redirection, recalling all the bizarre things her own mother had done. “Yeah … I still don’t know why my mom would go so far to help strangers … She scares me sometimes … I don’t want to lose her.”
“Mmh…” Seiōbo’s expression sobered. “Yes … Sora certainly is odd for a young Vulpes, but she isn’t a full Vulpes.”
The woman’s deep blue irises drifted to her. “I will not lie to you, Emilia … You are far more Vulpes than Sora.”
Emilia’s ears fell back at the implication. “Oh … So, does that mean I won’t get the Null-Void stuff my mom has? No, wait … you said I would, so … it’s just not going to be as strong?”
“Heh, look who’s been listening!” Seiōbo snickered, unwinding their fingers to loop arms instead. “It’s not bad but just something to be aware of, and look … We’ve entered your mother’s spiritual network.”
Her gaze wandered around the broad street that split into four paths further up, yet staircases could be seen rising up the thousands of floors of the skyscrapers casting them in shade as the overhead sun dimmed.
“So, when my mom was helping me get to my Core…”
“Mhm,” Seiōbo replied as she trailed off, guiding them to the second staircase to their right. “Yours isn’t nearly as complex as this—you can thank my sister for reinforcing Sora’s spiritual defenses to be this complex mess—few within the 7th dimension could navigate such a well-guarded spiritual defense, and this is with all of the safeguards lowered.”
“Wow … My mom’s pretty strong then?” Emilia asked, taking the first step up the winding staircase. “I walk through something like this every time I use the Outer Body Technique?”
Seiōbo nodded, winking as she stopped them halfway up the rise to focus on the stone wall beside them. She placed a palm against the unassuming brick for it to glow a bright red before swinging forward—a hidden passage. “There are millions of secrets when it comes to every spiritual network and shortcuts you can discover if you’re perceptive enough to spot them.”
Continuing into the dark corridor, she watched the entrance close behind them; a few patches of white flame were present here, but most of it seemed uninhibited. “This will take us to my mom’s Core?”
“Most of the way,” Seiōbo confirmed. “We will need to take a small detour because of the Null-Void, but it’s not hard for me to navigate even my sister’s spiritual network … In fact, I’m well-acquainted with how the Oltera Nexus itself operates and is patterned, which is the reason I am doing this and not Nari.”
A tiny smile brightened Emilia’s calming mind; it was nice spending time with her Great Aunt, and she was able to do the one thing she desired—help her mom. “So, the moat outside was my mom’s body, and we passed the spiritual defensive wall, and now we’re in the network that leads to her Core?
“So, my memory of Aunt Inari helping my mom learn the Outer Body Technique was basically the same thing you’re doing to me?”
Seiōbo smirked, glancing to the right. “Millions of years—and that’s in the 11th dimension’s timeline—yet my sister lacks the imagination to give those she teaches a visual representation to guide them through the process.”
Emilia’s stomach shook with silent laughter at the rivalry she saw between her Great Aunts and grandmother. Without a doubt, there was unconditional love but also a competitive impulse Seiōbo couldn’t turn off.
“Honestly, I’m embarrassed for her; yes, her process is more refined—without question—she’s far beyond my skill set, yet she could learn some creativity instead of being so structured and rigid.”
Her four white-tipped black tails curled to her front to absently inspect as they walked, and Emilia mirrored her, trying to see if there was anything she could notice. “Mother always said she could learn from me in that regard … Ahem,” a light blush crossed her cheeks, “that being said, she also advised me to learn from her dignified, traditional approach, as well.”
“Mmh-ha-ha,” Emilia giggled, hugging her arm tighter against her side. “I love this time I get to spend with you; it’s so much better than just sitting in a chair and stumbling around in the dark, flailing my magic everywhere—I’ve never felt so in control of it—thank you, Aunt Seiōbo!”
“Of course,” she smiled, cheeks still a tad flushed. “As for Sora’s Core, what do you suppose it is?”
“Hmm … a big castle in the center?”
Seiōbo nodded. “Yup! There are normally checkpoints that guards will check throughout this big city if Sora hadn’t lowered her defenses and I hadn’t put her Intelligence to sleep. You see, there was this emerging theory a lot of the 2nd Generation Founders were talking about a few weeks ago that actually had me thinking!”
Her excited tone soon diminished, somber appearance returning. “At least … to me, it was a few weeks ago—but in any case, it brought into question the idea of Intelligence and Existence … both aren’t necessarily interconnected.”
Emilia’s mind blanked. “Okay? I … don’t know what that means … I don’t really know what Existence or Intelligence is, actually…”
“Right … Hmm,” Seiōbo created a sphere with thirteen transparent layers, each having a slightly darker shade. “Do you recall my explanation on dimensions?”
“Oh, yeah!” Emilia chimed, eyeing the floating object. “I know there are twelve—no, wait … Yeah, thirteen dimensions in an Existence, I guess, but not what it really is … Like, where does it come from, and what is it made of? The Null-Void stuff is outside of it. Right? The stuff my mom has?”
“Heh-he, hold up a second,” Seiōbo snickered, free hand combing through her black hair and linking their tails. “Yes, so far as I’m aware at this point, the Null-Void is what is outside of Existence, but I don’t have a clue how the two interact—theoretically—judging based on your mother interactions, I’d say they are polar opposites, yet that explanation doesn’t make total sense, either or we’d already be dead … So, perhaps Sora’s is a variation of Null-Void, but that is all speculative…”
Her lips pulled in before a sigh puffed out of her nose. “I’m getting off-track … Existence is what everything is composed of—the base structure and weave that organizes everything we perceive—yet your mother and grandfather call into question Intelligence being a unique feature of Existence.”
Emilia’s head spun in circles with the explanation, working through the implication as Seiōbo created two chibi representations—one of herself and one of Sora’s father—Jarlath outside the twelve-layered sphere while Seiōbo went inside it.
“Everything from plants to humans has an Intelligence—a little spark of being that separates you from the rest of Existence—and it is this that is the unique inherent identifier which indicates the ability of growth.
“Intelligence is in both Sora’s father and me, yet he—so far as I am aware—is a creature of the Null-Void, which is seen as opposed to Existence. It is a place where you cannot see, feel, smell, or have any perception identified in Existence … We are powerless there … Again, speculative,” she mumbled.
Taking a short, frustrated breath, she calmed herself. “Still, as I can only grasp it through what I have been able to grasp through Sora’s experience—much of which is locked beyond walls I certainly cannot penetrate—I cannot be positive in that deduction.”
Sorting through the information, Emilia rubbed her twitching left ear. “Okay … So, I’m kind of like that, too … but not as much as Mom? Why is Intelligence not being unique to Existence so important?”
Seiōbo was silent for a time, considering her question. “It’s a good question … Hmm. Simply speaking … because it’s frightening. It means there are entities out there we have little power to combat, and Sora proves they can eat—no, devour Existence like food … being vulnerable is never a pleasant feeling.”
She smiled while taking them into another secret passage; this one was filled with gold and sleeping, white-armored soldiers. “We’re almost to her Core.”
Emilia didn’t really get everything involved with Seiōbo’s explanation, but she thought she got the general gist of it. “So … my little Intelligence was grown out of a branch of my mother’s?”
The 2nd Generation Founder took a deep breath and released it in a long stream. “Your Core was an empty vessel, housing a ravaged garden, yet it held the proper fertilized ground to grow if tended to, and so my sister did…
“She took the essence of Sora and clipped it, using the naturally gifted and regenerative properties of Founder Intelligence to split the lingering properties of Jarlath and Mia to grow you. Eh, heh, not that you’re a plant, but for visual purposes,” Seiōbo chuckled. “That’s the reason why I’d label you as a sister, but in the end, it doesn’t matter how it’s viewed—mother-daughter, fraternal twins—whatever the two of you are comfortable with.”
“I still think of her as my mother,” Emilia whispered, thinking back to all the memories Inari gave her of Sora. “It’s just … how I feel.”
Seiōbo shrugged. “Okay. Continuing the previous topic, we’re going to this castle’s treasure room.”
Emilia’s excitement started to build. “Oh, a treasure room? Is that like the center of Mom’s Core?”
“Mmh … kind of … It really depends how you look at it,” Seiōbo hesitantly said, head tilting to the side in thought. “The place she does all of her training—the Outer Body Technique—could be considered the center, but the Core is a spiritual construct; it is the machine structure of your major energy reactor—I suppose you could say.”
The woman guided her through the open doorways and unusual halls that took them down a vertical descent. “There are many parts and pieces inside those parts to a Core—of course, my sister only showed Sora tiny areas of it—yet in the deepest part, normally tucked away and guarded, is an elusive place where the Oltera Nexus resides.”
“I think I’ve heard of that before?” Emilia mumbled, trying to remember where, but it wasn’t coming to mind. “Uh … just a guess, but is that where our Intelligence is?”
Seiōbo’s tail tightened around hers. “Very good! You’re doing so well,” she praised, making Emilia blush a little.
“You’re a pretty good teacher—it helps with all of the examples.”
“Daww, you’re adorable,” Seiōbo laughed, pulling her a bit closer. “Yes, the Intelligence is a part of a very sophisticated network that’s the equivalent of an entire multiverse, which is why typically, you’d need to be a 7th-dimensional being to even hope to explore…
“Well, or be Quickened in some fashion and be given a rudimentary knowledge of what to search for by such an entity … There are many types of Quickening that grant lower-dimensional creatures sight and tools to interact with it, but you don’t require that as a Founder.”
“He-he, aren’t I special?” Emilia joked. “So you’re going to guide me into my mom’s since I have no clue what I’m looking for?”
Seiōbo took her through another hidden door into a dusty and old-looking cavern; she was long lost without her Great Aunt directing their path. “You may not need to have that extra push to find or manipulate an Oltera Nexus, but as you guessed, you don’t have the experience or knowledge to navigate it, so I’m here to help … Plus, it would be quite dangerous at some points going blind … You could lose yourself in the labyrinth.”
She opened another secret passage that led into a glorious treasure room filled with gold, gems, and silver. “All a trick of the eye,” Seiōbo mused, pointing at the ground where the floor vanished. “We enter the Nexus; just keep a hold of my arm, and I’ll direct us to the proper current.”
Swallowing the saliva gathered in her mouth, Emilia saw a bright white light inside, but she trusted her Great Aunt. “Alright … No hesitation!”
“Good girl,” Seiōbo praised as they both hopped inside.
Null-Void erupted around them, but a soothing red wave parted the flames as Seiōbo’s gentle, melodic aura alleviated her nerves; gusts blew them through a maze-like tunnel, sweeping them into the side passages and swapping gravity.
Before long, they were in space, stars and nebula rushing by in rapid succession as Null-Void supernovae exploded to be battered by similar red flames—it was chaos—yet she couldn’t panic while holding Seiōbo’s arm and wrapped tails.
Eventually, after a seemingly endless fall between empty space and warring forces feet from wiping them from Existence, they arrived at two colossal stars—one ivory while the other apricot—and in the middle, a beautiful aurora borealis of colors, discharging magnetic waves of light around the colliding dynamism.
“Beautiful…” Emilia whispered, entranced by the clash.
Every pulse of the Null-Void and Founder Energy sent a resonating spike through her chest, every impact sending a shock that reverberated into her own spirit; it was a dance of ice and fire, their destructive percussion rising into a symphony of thunderous noise louder than any word could convey.
A jolt quivered Emilia’s tails while watching each strike meet with the eos to helix into a bonded twine of unified quintessence to streak across the black. Each beam carried with it a harmony so breathtaking, she wondered if this was their true nature by the canorous concord.
Seiōbo maneuvered them through the divine resplendence to the edge of the combatting and ecumenical currents to bask in the malleable barrier separating them, directing her attention to an irradiant aster—a budding flower-like star so dazzling it felt wrong to look at it yet impossible to turn away.
“Your mother’s Intelligence.”
Various petals and leaves of multiple hues were gravitating around the budding blossom, glittering pollen swirling in a feverish dance that left her speechless. A small vortex of both Null-Void and Founder energies was feeding into the stem, causing it to bud.
“Not how it truly looks—we aren’t in a state to properly view the glory at its finest—however, we only need to generate a small funnel between the three generating forces to infuse them into a seed for Wendy and Mofupsi that will blossom over time. My mother created the process, but the results vary depending on the source used. Are you ready?”
Feeling more confident than ever, Emilia smiled; finally, she learned how to properly use her magic to help her mother instead of hinder her. “Yes.”
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