Description: "One more piece to the board, one more block of wood for the pyre, one more sacrifice upon the altar. This one will require time to grow, but the base components are there. The pawn will one day be a queen. For now, she commences her journey. And I begin to learn more about my latest acquisition. Countess Bernard, the words of your dairy, etched from within the throes of madness, may help shape the future of the universe. Take solace in that, at least."
How long had it been since she had become aware of the quiet that surrounded her? Minutes? Days? Years? She didn't know. Time had no meaning in this place. Even the idea of linear existence had begun to fade from her memory into a distorted blur of hazy concepts and half-formed truths that ebbed and flowed in the deep darkness of the void. It engulfed her like a blanket or perhaps a cocoon, a shell within which she had been placed to guard her against the inexorable tides of change and possibility. She could feel it moving all around her, a wealth of knowledge beyond even the wildest dreams of the most dedicated scholars.
Instinctively she knew that she belonged here, though what gave rise to this certainty she could not say. In many ways, she was the opposite of the churning sea of information that lapped against the edges of her consciousness, an empty vessel devoid of even the most basic knowledge. She did not know who she was or even what she was. Human? Though such a thought brought with it strangely pleasant emotional stirrings within her slumbering mind, she did not think that it was true. After all, no human could survive within this place unscathed as she did so now, especially not for so long. But, how long has it been? Again she comes to the question that has plagued her but even that merely once more reinforces her ability to determine the passage of time for she cannot even recall how long ago it was that she first asked that very question.
There were times during which she felt slightly more lucid than others and her thoughts were able to congeal into something more concrete, though even these tingling vestiges of will are little more than fragments drifting across the surface of an endless pond. Images appeared before her, faces and scenery taking shape at the edges of her mind. Though she felt some tiny tug of recognition as each of them flitted across her awareness, there was little else to make them relevant. Whatever meaning these ghosts might have had to her once, they were of little consequence to her now. She felt a sense of loss at this realization yet even that was dull and muted with nothing to bind it to her.
She drifted like this for countless ages that passed in the span of heartbeats, slumbering soundly within the confines of the lonely castle that had been erected to protect her by forces unknown, a fairy-tale princess awaiting the gentle touch that would rouse her from this fate of eternal stasis. It was peaceful there, wrapped in that soft warmth like a babe clutched to its mother's bosom, and she was content. Yet even within that feeling of happiness there was doubt, some stirring sensation at the edge of her reason that whispered of a greater purpose in those moments when the silence was the most deafening.
The declaration had been made several times over the last week since Valkenhayn R. Hellsing, now a younger, more vigorous warrior, was dispatched to Strolheim to engage in the World Warrior phenomenon taking place on Earth.
Rachel declared as time passed slowly by in Castle Alucard, sipping tea provided by the crimson colored sort've bat familiar known as Gii. There had been no sign of Terumi for some time now. No unwelcome intruders since Relius Clover wandered back into the labyrinthine halls of the vast vampire citadel, leaving her in peace, after a manner of speaking.
Rachel declared while Gii and Nago tried to cheer her up or distract her with their idea of amusing stories or hilarious antics, none of which seemed to make the slightest impression on the despondent Alucard heiress.
Observing the world was not entertaining her in the slightest. Except for when battles between the World Warrior hopefuls broke out. Those were a brief reprieve from the crushing ennui she seemed to be feeling in Valkenhayn's absence. It was then that she would make Nago and Gii pick favorites to win the matches with high stakes, ever increasingly diabolical punishments in store for the one who failed to predict the victor. Draw matches were especially dreadful for the poor familiars.
Days had gone by. How long was it going to take Valkenhayn to get his memory back, anyway? He WAS going to regain it, right? She knew full well that he might not, though it was a difficult possibility to give voice to. Without the old man around to fret about her, or to be instructed in what to do next, or to express his concerns about what else she might come up with to pass the time, gently dissuading her from her worst impulses, the tiny immortal was getting increasingly restless.
This time it is an answer given to a question. The simple inquiry had come from Nago. It sounded something like: "Goodness, Princess, w-why are you doing this?" And the motive for such a perfectly rational question as that was the extremely strange looking location Rachel Alucard had decided to wander into this day.
A massive chamber with vaulted ceilings was lined with mirrors of all shapes, colors, sizes, and curvatures. Located in one of the older, central wings of the massive Castle Alucard, it was just another one of the artifacts of ingenuity left by those who had come before. Sorcerers, insane architects, necromancers, and worst of all, scientists had occupied the castle at one time or another before it became the domain of the Alucard family. And each of them had left their trace somewhere in the fortress, from mysterious devices, to massive artifices built within giant towers, to arcane ritual sanctums designed for some horrific purpose.
There was reasonable doubt that even Rachel had found every secret the castle hide within itself. Certainly, there was so much her father hadn't ever told her. What secrets had HE taken to his grave?
"W-what is this place?" Gii stammered, hovering around the level of Rachel's head as the strange trio stood near the heart of the mirror-laden chamber.
Rachel sighs, resting her right hand against the side of her head, eyes half lidded. Explaining things was so beneath her. "Valkenhayn, inform Gii of-..." she cuts herself off, mouth forming a faint frown as she lowers her arm against her side, crimson eyes closing for a fleeting moment. "This is the Hall of Possibilities, said to be the obsession of one Ysena Bernard, a seer..."
The only light in the room came from a lantern dangling from a chain high overhead. The lantern was fully encased in metal, blocking out most of the light. Several smaller chains dangled down to the level of the floor, however, and by manipulating them, one could open specific pin-pricks in the lantern's covering, allowing the golden beam to fall upon specific mirrors only to be reflected thousands of times from surface to surface. Some of the mirrors would change its color, others it width or intensity, filling the hall with a web of narrow light that changed based on which combination of pin-hole beams of light one allowed to escape the lantern. The possible permutations numbered will into the millions simply by turning the lantern and changing which pinholes to open.
It was a beautiful sight at first glance. But then one would notice that each mirror connected by the beams of light had an image behind the reflection. They could be hard to notice at first, until one got used to knowing how to peer through the surface reflection to the world beyond. And the sights in the mirrors were as infinite as the possible webs of light, each one changing as the beam hitting it changed, or winking out entirely if no longer part of the web of reflections.
Nago swished his tail, sitting on his haunches, crimson eyes gazing into nearby mirrors. Some of the worlds beyond were beautiful beyond anything Earth could provide - worlds of golden walkways and cities in the clouds. Scenes of mountain ranges as massive as worlds. Gigantic crystals in a sea of stars. Others were scenes of ruin, anguish, and destruction. A hellscape of still living bodies writhing in torment that would not cease. A dungeon where unspeakable tortures were conducted on innocent souls. A barren nothingness of ash, recognizable only because sticking up out of the ashen wasteland were the familiar buildings that create the skyline of modern day Metro.
"B-but Princess... why?" Nago protested. Gii had already quit taking chances at looking into the mirrors. If he had hands, they would surely be covering his eyes right now, instead he just clutched to Nago's back, allowing the large cat's head block out most of the sights.
"While trying to keep from dying of abject boredom yesterday, I was reading Countess Bernard's diaries to pass the time." Rachel explains, lifting her right hand, palm up, a thick book swirling into existence and hovering there. "And something she wrote piqued my curiosity. There is in one possibility a gatekeeper adrift in the Boundary."
Gii speaks up, stammering in a nasaly, childish voice, "B-but Princess, those diaries are from over a thousand years ago!"
"And the Bernard clan was not known for their soundness of mind..." Nago adds, sounding unconvinced.
"Be that as it may," Rachel responds, opening the book without touching it, waving her hand over the flipping pages to rifle through its secrets in a blur. "It's not like there is anything else of import happening today. And if she truly is still adrift, removing her from that possibility hardly has any risk of introducing consequences anyone would possibly notice there. As for here, well, I could use some interesting company until Valkenhayn gets back."
Nago's ears droop slightly, "But Princess, we're company..."
The pages stop flipping with a flick of her wrist and the twin-tailed blond focuses on the diagrams. "Yes, I see..." She lifts her left hand, fingers closing on one of the hundreds of small chains dangling from the lantern overhead to give it a gentle tug, opening one of the pinholes. The process continues, closing some holes, opening others, creating one of the millions of possible webs of colored lights throughout the chamber.
"There... I do believe that matches the pattern," she remarks, eyes looking over the array, taking it all in at a glance. "Now to figure out which mirror it is... for claiming to be an all knowing seer, I'm afraid her notes have some glaring omissions."
In a certain cocoon, within a certain thread of fate, a golden beam of light would manifest, the first change the soul adrift would have observed for as long as she could comprehend. It would serve as a beacon, a guide to be followed, a rail that, curiously, could be gripped as if it were a rail of solid iron.
It was something different, at least.
Adrift in the endless depths of her own empty mind, it takes some time for the figure within one of the many mirror to notice the change. It is a subtle thing at first, merely a hint of illumination in the eternal void but ever-so-slowly it begins to take shape, recognizable soley for its static nature amidst the backdrop of endless and ever-changing possibilities. Sluggishly, senses that had long since fallen into disuse, save for the random bouts of meaningless self-awareness, begin to rouse from their ancient torpor.
The girl stirrs slightly, her vacant eyes flickering open by the barest sliver to regard the strange disruption with a trace of curiosity but also wariness. This is the first time that anything of real substance has disturbed her since... well, for as long as she can remember, and there is no telling how long that has been. Yet, despite her caution, there is also something decidedly familiar that radiates from the glowing pillar. She struggles to recall what little fragments of memory she can conjure from the depths of her fractured mind, once more seeing flashes of faces and locales both recognizable and meaningless.
A twinge of sensation floods through her chest as these long forgotten images assail her with unrecognizable emotions and she cringes as the overwhelming sense of loss and longing grips her heart with icy talons. She has forgotten something, a thing of great importance, and its abscence pains her like an open wound. For some time she simply lies upon the ground, knees curled against her chest and face tucked into her arms like a child seeking to hide from an unpleasant experience. Yet no matter how long she seems to wait the suffering does not recede and for the first time she becomes painfully aware of the passage of time around her.
When at last the pressure has grown beyond her ability to withstand, the girl finally surrenders to the basic desire for a reprieve from this torture. Her eyes open once more and she casts her gaze upon the column of golden light, its brilliance brighter now than ever. Though she cannot understand why, it is plain to see that within that glimmering ray lies the cure for this anguish. Her legs begin to move of their own accord as she rises to her feet, each step seeming to grant her greater alacrity as her mind focuses upon something of purpose and meaning. Whatever reasons might have existed for being hidden away in this place, she heeds this new call without reservation. Light engulfs her as she reaches out to grip its strangely solid surface and her mind goes blank as the undertow of some unimaginable power sweeps her into its rushing current.
Though it is impossible to tell how much time had passed inside the mirror, if such a measurement could even be used appropriately in such a place, it is but a few minutes after the young vampiress sets the final light into place that she is gifted with the reaction that she sought. A golden radiance flares from one mirror in particular, spreading its light until each of the dozens of reflective surfaces fill the room with a blinding luminscence that mutes all everything into a swath of pure white color. The air practically hums with the unmistakable power of the Boundary, existence twisting to accomodate this impossible alteration of reality. No doubt such an interference would not go unnoticed. Just as swiftly as it had come the light fades away taking with it the twisting current of tumultuous probability and leaving in its place a solitarity figure.
Standing only a scant couple of inches taller than the heiress of the castle herself, the person left behind by this strange phenomenon appears for all purposes to be a young human girl. Soft silken hair of flaxen gold adorns her head, her bangs wrapping a cute round face in an unkempt bob while the majority of it hangs in a loose curtain upon her back that nearly reaches her slender waist. She stands completely bare before them, the girl's nudity leaving nothing about her svelte physique or strangely bountiful bosom to the imagination, including the dark crest that adorns her otherwise unblemished flesh just below the navel. Like all such things, it is intricate and ornate in its design, masterfully traced imagery in incredible detail forming the image of a down-turned sword surrounded by crystalline wings embedded with magical sigils and runes. What precisely this marking is meant to indicate is not entirely evident but it certainly stands out as unusual.
A few moments pass in silence, the young girl's eyes closed and her body relaxed. Her chest rises and falls in a steady rhythm, air flowing through her nostrils in deep measured breath. Eventually, however, she starts to stir, a soft mumbling groan escaping her as if she is a child that has been roused from a fitful slumber. Her eyes flutter open halfway, her gaze sweeping around the shimmering surfaces until it alights upon the mistress of the castle. Bright blue pupils the color of a deep azure stare at the vampire vacantly, the girl's expression devoid of emotion as she attempts to make sense of her new surroundings.
"I... where... am I?"
She hesistates, seeming unsure despite her lack of visible feelings. Turning slowly to face Rachel directly, she stares at her openly, her posture becoming more guarded as muscle memory starts to take over, though she makes no attempt to cover herself, seemingly unconcerned with her lack of clothing.
"Searching database... error... information unavailable. Location unknown. Cross-referencing satellite positional relays... error... no response. Please explain."
Considering that the room was already plenty illuminated simply by the pin-hole illumination let in by a number of tiny openings in the lantern, the moment the mirror of interest unleashes a brighter glow, the entire chamber becomes even brighter than a blue sky beneath the noonday sun. Rachel lifts her hand to the side of her head, crimson eyes closing, a faint frown at her lips.
What a thoroughly annoying amount of light.
What a relief, then, when it fades, and golden lashes bat open to take in the sight of the new arrival. The frown at her lips becomes a faint smile of self-assurance as the heavy ebony feline pads up to her side, Gii riding his back, all three pairs of eyes staring at the newest arrival at Castle Alucard.
"My, my," Rachel remarks idly, her voice carrying no small amount of amusement.
"W-what now, Princess?" Gii chirps.
"Goodness, this is all probably quite disorienting for the poor thing." Nago adds.
But the gallery of three remains quiet after that, keeping their distance from the girl as she starts trying to process an unfathomable amount of new information. The question is asked - where is she?
"The answer to that question is not nearly as interesting as the question you should be asking yourself. Who are you?" Rachel asks back.
The interface and report routine allowed to run its course, failing, naturally, considering the technology she is trying to link up to hardly exists in this world.
"Speaking that way... Princess, did you pull a Murakumo unit out of The Boundary?" Nago asks, ears sticking up a bit straighter as he lifts his head.
"Aren't those dangerous to bring into this world?" Gii questions, preemptively cowering as if bracing for the smack he anticipates coming for questioning Madam Rachel in any way.
"Not exactly," Rachel replies, fingers tapping the side of her head once, eyelids closing a quarter of the way. "But... not entirely wrong either." There is hesitation in her voice. Something Gii doesn't miss.
"Do you even know what she-"
The swift yet casual backhand from Rachel sends the crimson bean flying against one of the supperting columns in the chamber.
"Nago, show some manners and greet her." Rachel chides after a moment.
"Princess? Oh. Oh! Right." the large feline stands up at her side. Without Valkenhayn on hand to take care of such banal rituals, the burden certainly isn't going to fall to Rachel! "Welcome to Castle Alucard." The beast bows his head slightly, then settles back on his haunches next to Rachel, one forepaw lifting, "This is Lady Rachel Alucard, the master of this house. I am Nago, her esteemed servant. And that is-" he pivots his paw toward Gii as the bat slides down the stone column toward the floor.
"Phy fam phii!" Gii exclaims.
Nago coughs, allowing Gii's self-introduction to stand. "Yes. Goodness now, you have arrived in a rather unpresentable state of dress. We really must find you something accommodating at once. But first, it would behoove you to answer the Princess's question. Who. Are. You?" the cat asks. All the while, the tiny vampire waits quietly, seemingly content to just watch and listen for the moment.
Though the strange girl's eyes are bright with vibrant color, there is no light of life or emotion behind them. She stares at the trio with an empty gaze, showing no signs of reaction to the circus put on display as the vampiress converses with her minions in her typical casually violent manner. She remains motionless throughout their conversation, utterly unmoving save for the rise and fall of her chest and the quick flicker of her lashes as she blinks in a mechanical and precisely timed fashion, almost like the wipers on a car's windshield swishing back and forth to keep it clean.
Receiving not an answer to her question but another question in return, the girl opens her mouth as if to respond to this query promptly only to discover that the words she wishes to call forth do not exist. Puzzled, she presses her lips together and stares vacantly ahead for a few moments in silence. Her stare does not waver from Rachel as she ponders this strange malfuction, still lacking enough information about her or these odd creatures to allow her guard to fall. Eventually, she speaks again, her voice a soft monotone, though the unmistakable traces of its feminine nature manage to slip through.
Try as she might, she can't remember. Once more the ephemeral ghosts of what might be memories haunt the edges of her mind as they had done within the cocoon but they offer no more clues to her now than they had before. However, one thing does come to her quite clearly, a single word that she knows without a doubt is tied to her identity.
Turning her attention to the large spongey cat-like creature, as it seems to be the one that has taken up the task of conversing with her now, she considers its words for a moment and then glances down at herself as if only now realizing that she is nude. Where one might expect such a discovery to upset any normal girl of her apparent age, Es merely absorbs this information in silence before looking up once more.
"Acknowledged. Status: Unpresentable. Current location: Castle Alucard. Owner: Lady Rachel Alucard."
Her head swivels from the fluffy cat-familiar to the vampiress as she enters her information into the database for future reference, though they might merely see it as an eccentric way of committing their names and faces to memory. She turns back to Nago and then Gii in turn, speaking their names aloud as well.
"Nago. Phii. Status: servants."
Having identified themselves as subordinates, this now brings up a new question in the girl's mind as she attempts to make sense of her muddled memory. If Rachel is the master of this place and these two are her servants then what purpose does her own presence here serve? Finding no answers in her recollection, the obvious course of action is to ask for guidance. Even as she considers this, a warm feeling of familiarity flickers in her chest as if this is something that she has done many times in the past and comes quite naturally to her.
"Status update: I appear to be suffering from memory corruption. Unable to determine core protocols. Database access: limited. Requesting clarification of current situation and mission parameters."
Once more, the welcoming part of three strange individuals watches and listens, waiting for the long pause between speaking and the declaration of her identity to finally come to an end.
"Ah, welcome, Es." Nago replies, his tail swishing along the floor. His expression is hard to read. Because it's a cat's. But his tone sounds pleased that his polite discourse has gotten them somewhere as Rachel appears to be completely unhelpful for the moment, merely studying the curious girl with an inscrutable expression.
The opportunity is given to the girl to process and report her understanding of her current circumstances, including location, identity of the individuals standing there staring at her, and the results of an internal diagnostic that would undoubtedly be helpful to anyone trying to debug her.
Nago's head tilts to the side a little. "Mission parameters...?" He glances up at the tiny vampire at his side. This was her idea, after all, she should take charge here and help the poor girl out!
"First mission," Rachel declares, her right hand lowering from the side of her head, "Is to select a wardrobe. Further instructions cannot be issued until that task has been accomplished."
Gii finally recovers, fluttering back over near the group. "Ooough... I think she got my name wrong. Maybe her hearing is damaged?"
"Quiet Phii," Rachel interrupts, reaching over her head to tug on the thin chains dangling from the lantern, putting out the pin-hole lights one by one until at last, the final one is sealed and the room succumbs to pitch black.
A curious sensation would wash over Es, the impression of falling into a void of absolute nihility, the complete opposite of the sea of all knowledge she had been sealed within for unknown ages.
Once more, time becomes difficult to process. Is she lots for seconds... or days? The disorienting sensation melts away, however, the curtain of pitch black folding away from her eyes as she finds herself in a great hall, the ornately painted ceiling at least two floors above, with dozens of dangling chandeliers providing a soft light in the chamber.
And, in rows upon rows, are clothing racks with outfits of all kinds dangling from them. All manner of styles hailing from various cultures and eras throughout the Earth's history can be found. The robes of Egyptian priests to the layered suits of the wealthy Victorian aristocrats... lavish gowns of the wealthiest queens of Prussia and the petticoats of their precious daughters. All colors imaginable, every variation of styles, all the way up until roughly the early nineteen hundreds in Earth's time. Anything newer than that had no place in this costume gallery.
Rachel's right hand goes back to the side of her head as she gazes over the array of outfits on display, hanging from wooden hooks, or mounted on porcelain mannequins. There are shelves upon shelves of shoes to choose from, and racks with underclothes, shifts, and slips for proper comfort and concealment of any princess.
"Go on now," Rachel states. "Take your time. There is no larger showroom of elegant clothing in all of existence. I have checked. Phii will help you with whatever you settle on."
Gii flutters over closer to Es while Nago remains at Rachel's side. "Filling in for Valkenhayn when he can't be here is one of the reasons the Princess loves us!" the winged thing chirps.
"The resemblance is uncanny," Rachel replies, her tone dry, eyes half-lidded as she falls quiet to leave Es to the almost impossible task of exploring the clothing spectacular.
Es acknowledges the order without a hint of hesitation. It is likely that she would have responded the same way regardless what the little vampire had asked her to do, so very much like a robot does she seem more so than any human being, programmed to respond in specific ways. Without any sort of guidance or mission to pursue, she seemed quite lost. The moment that Rachel takes it upon herself to provide one the girl straightens up and turns her gaze back upon the mistress of the castle, awaiting some means by which to accomplish this goal.
The sudden descent into darkness is somewhat disquieting for the guardian, particularly the sensation of emptiness that surrounds her. Perhaps it is the contrast against the backdrop of the Boundary, in which she has slept for so many years. That endless flow of information had been comforting somehow, familiar despite her lack of memories. She had belonged there among its ebbs and flows, an integral part of something beyond her comprehension. By comparison her trip through whatever magical vortex the vampire had employed to move them about was brief but no less unpleasant for that fact.
When the light returns to her eyes, Es turns her gaze upon their new surroundings, scanning them slowly and methodically. The wonder of the grand construction is lost on her, her interest instead upon the layout of the floor and any potential exits that might provide a quick method of egress should the need arise. Eventually, she regards the massive arrays of clothing laid out before her in massive rows that neatly carve up the vast space into long corridors of high fashion throughout the ages. At Rachel's urging, she gives the vampire another glance and then turns to approach the nearest line of hanging outfits.
Es reaches out as if to simply take the first thing off the rack that she finds but her hand stops a few inches away, regarding the clothes with a silent stare before moving on down the line. She repeats this action several times, almost at random, pausing to try and take an item from the racks but hesitating at the last second only to move on and do it again. Though any of these outfits would likely serve the purpose of making her 'presentable', there is something that feels off about each of them. A feeling of unusual apprehension fills the girl, a sense that by chosing the wrong outfit she might somehow fail the mission, though no such conditions were stated.
On and on she wanders, passing by countless eras of regal attire until at last she suddenly pauses quite abruptly. Turning to face one of the various mannequins tucked among the racks of coats and dresses, she strides over to inspect it and the bounty that it offers. Though faint traces of its design appear fairly more modern in their make-up, the dress that hangs upon this wooden figure is clearly from a bygone era of European history. Sporting far too many layers and frills for any modern girl to consider, save the strange creatures that are cosplayers, it posssess an elegance to its layout that is rarely found in the current age.
Es stares at the dress for several long seconds, her thoughts obscured behind the blank mask of her emotionless face. Again she feels the odd pang of ghostly familiarity, flashes of memory taunting her at the edge of awareness before fading once more into the darkness. Turning to the flapping bat which has been following her around the entire time, she lifts a hand point at the dress.
"Does this one fulfill mission requirements?"
"My word, she's got even less autonomy than Gii," Nago remarks idly to Rachel as the two wait near the entrance to the great hall.
"That's going a bit too far, don't you think?" Rachel replies, that same faint smile that had been at her lips from the moment Es appeared lingering still. "Wherever her data used to be stored, it isn't with her now. She has no frame of reference yet, no understanding of friend or foe, or what her reason for even existing might be. All that will come with time... but she will need to build an all new database of reference points to navigate by."
Nago sweeps his tail along the floor a few times, "But to what end?"
"She was buried in The Boundary without being destroyed," the young Alucard answers, "Which means she was either built with such capacity in mind, or developed the ability to survive within it. Either way, that makes her interesting, I would say."
Nago mmrs softly but doesn't say anything. He can tell when the mistress of the house is being intentionally vague. Which is nearly all the time, really.
Gii flutters along with Es, his beady little eyes taking in the different options she considers with a surprising amount of excitement for something that doesn't look like it's ever worn clothes before. "In my professional opinion, you don't want that one," he remarks on one occasion as the blond pulls her hand away from an article of clothing she had considered. Another time he sucks in his breath, cheeks puffing out, wings flapping furiously as she passes another by, but says nothing. "That one," he remarks as she contemplates another option, "Is not going to properly fit a lady of your specific, er, configuration."
On and on the two tour, the bat showing no signs of tiring of the several pauses and reconsiderations that follow. When finally an inquiry is made of him, he perks up, tiny wings that can't possibly be what's keeping him aloft flapping as he zips over closer to evaluate the possible selection.
"Quite classy... so classy. If we combine that with the right shoes... and over here you will find coats that can be worn over that dress as a perfect match. Oh, oh, and over here..." he starts flying about excitedly, pointing out different components that would be fitting to combine together into a complete ensemble. And oddly enough, he seems to have a good eye for a certain aesthetic.
The crimson servant will even help with taking down the options from off their hooks, and go so far as to help Es into the clothing unless brushed off, his tiny talon feet remarkably dexterous and his precision of movement up to the task.
"Have you thought about how you want to style your hair?" Gii asks conversationally. "If not, I'm sure the Princess will come up with something..."
"Princess," Nago remarks as the two continue to wait near the entrance. "Not even the castle is as safe as it once was. Bringing a helpless girl here to wander around..."
"We shall see if she is as helpless as you seem to think," Rachel cuts the cat off.
Es stares silently at the bat creature as it assesses her choice. She has little frame of reference regarding fashion and since Gii seems to atleast act like he knows what he's talking about that seems to be enough to win her over. His approval is all she needs to make her decision and she follows the little servant around as he enthusiastically sweeps up different pieces of clothing to combine her chosen attire into something more special.
The girl puts up no fuss when Gii moves to assist her in dressing though her gaze never wanders from his pudgy body as he works the various clasps and buckles across its surface. Though they have made no overt attempts to harm her yet, the residents of this castle remain a mystery to her. Her scrutiny comes partially out of a desire to keep an eye on the potential threat and also so she can learn how to dress herself in the future. Not that being tended to by another bothers her but it never hurts to expand one's knowledge, particularly when it comes to autonomy in the field. Besides that, with so little information at her disposal, every scrap of knowledge she gains makes her feel a little bit more useful and complete.
When it is all said and done, Es looks like someone who might have walked right out of a page of history. A large black coat hangs about her slender frame, oddly cut to reveal the upper half of the fancy blouse, the thin silken fabric straining to contain the bulges of her excessively large chest. Its large sleeves hang loosely from fasteners attached to surface of the shirt, leaving the majority of its weight to be held up by the tightly buttoned section about her midriff. In contrast to the rest of the flowing outfit, this section hugs her body quite closely, showing off the girl's enviously tiny waist. Made of a dark blue that somewhat matches her eyes, the skirt of the dress poofs out into a bell shape, her hose-covered legs protruding from a multitude of frilly white petticoat layers like stamen from a flower.
Es regards her appearance in silence, lifting her arms to peer at the strangely familiar ensemble. She twists back and forth a few times, testing the limits of her mobility, finding nothing that particularly inhibits her ability to function. Infact, it seems to fit like a glove, as if someone had tailored it specifically for her.
Es looks at her fluffy attendant with a blank stare, considering that for a moment. There isn't really anything that comes to mind, however. Unlike the clothing that she had picked out, there isn't a giant array of options for her to look over to try and pick out something familiar.
"I have no data on that subject. I will abide by your recommendation."
Somehow, Gii proves to be quite the effective help. Darting about, manipulating things with dexterous precision with his tiny taloned feet. And he seems to have an eye for assembling an ensemble of clothing that, perhaps not standard for the modern day, at least looks cohesive when worn together. With Es doing so little in the way of talking, he seems keen to fill the dead air with a relentless stream of chattering.
Maybe it's just nice to be able to talk without being slapped every other sentence for a change.
"Yeah, style! With such pretty hair like this, the world of fashionable hair is your oyster." Gii chirps as he busies himself with buckling buckles, lacing laces, and buttoning buttons. "Braids, weaves, wraps, buns, twin tails, ponytails, pigtails, fishtails... yes, yes, lots of tails."
Zipping back to one of the many stands arranged throughout the hall, he returns with a hand mirror gripped in his talons which he holds out in front of Es, wings flapping furiously as he tries to hold it steadily enough for her to get a look at herself once all the many pieces are in place. "Do you like it? Do you want to change anything? Oh, are you hungry! When's the last time you ate? With Valkenhayn off doing... - well, let's not get into that - I'm in charge of food preparation as well! In fact, I'm pretty important around here!"
After holding the mirror for a long enough moment for Es to probably get a glimpse of herself, the bat winged bean takes the mirror back to the stand to leave it dangling from a hook and instead retrieves a clawful of ribbons in one talon and a brush in another and then hurries back over to Es.
Rachel and Nago continue to wait as Gii's chattering echoes throughout the large room, both of them looking equally bored beyond the point where even trying to do anything to alleviate that boredom also seems boring. Rachel stands, right hand against her head, eyes almost entirely closed by now. Nago's eyes are half closed, the large if soft looking beast sitting on his haunches, the only sign of movement between the two of them the occasional swish of Nago's tail against the floor.
"They certainly seem to be having a fun time of it, don't they." Nago remarks after several minutes of silence between the two.
"Indeed." comes Rachel's laconic answer as time continues drearily onward.
Gii continues to chatter as he starts lays a few dark blue ribbons over Es's shoulder, "Let's just put those here for a moment and..." Hovering in place behind Es's head may make it hard to keep eyes on him, but the brushing of her hair with careful but steady strokes may feel nice following an eternity in isolation.
"If you ever have any questions, you can always ask me, I know lots of stuff, I do." he assures her as he bits the handle of the brush to hold it and begins tugging at her long hair, weaving it into an intricate braid down the back of her head. "Phy, fef fff fahfr fey..." he continues on unintelligibly for a while with the brush in his mouth. A few minutes later, he reclaims the ribbons from Es's shoulder and with some gentle if certain tugs of her hair, ties off the long braid with one dark blue ribbon at the tip and another near the base of her neck.
Zipping around to the front of her, he studies Es for a moment with his tiny, beady eyes. "Perfection!" he declares. "Let's get back." The familiar returns the brush to the stand then flutters along to lead the way back through the maze of aisles back to Rachel and Nago.
Es continues to twist her head this way and that, seeming to have no problems keeping up with the little creature as he flits around making small adjustments to her outfit. While the mistress of the castle might have little patience for the non-stop rambling of her more excitable minion, the expressionless guardian seems almost enraptured by his rapid-fire deluge of information, absorbing every word and statement like a sponge. Ofcourse, having Gii as the person filling her head with random facts might prove rather unfortunate in the long run but atleast she'll know a lot about different styles of shoes, blouses, and hair styles. That's sure to come in handy, eventually...right?
Her gaze shifts from the attentive steward to the surface of the mirror when it is brought forth and for the first time a faint trace of emotion crosses her features as she confronts her own image. Her eyes widen, lips parting slightly as if to say something but finding no words to express the sensation that rises up inside of her. This too seems all too familiar, conjuring up yet more phantoms of a life for which she has no recollection. Her hands lift to touch the sides of her face before falling down to the nape of her neck, drawing her long golden tresses back over her shoulders as if by instinct.
It is here that her memory fails to guide her any further. The girl stands there quietly, staring into the empty space ahead as the mirror flies away on batty-wings, unsure of how to proceed. Fortunately, Gii seems to be way ahead of her. She relaxes visibly as the first stroke the brush dances through her hair, arms falling loosely down to her sides as yet another feeling of warmth fills her chest. The slight tug of the bristles feels nice, almost like she is having her head patted for a job well done. Happiness springs forth from this simple pleasure and she closes her eyes, enjoying the sensation as the dextrous little creature weaves her silken lockes into a long elegant braid.
Having apparently accomplished their goal, Es opens her eyes once more, offering her assent in a taciturn monotone. She trails behind Gii as they work their way back along the seemingly infinite length of the great hall, casting the occassional glance around at the vast array of clothing as if still somewhat curious. When they finally arrive after what must certainly feel like an eternity to the easily-bored vampiress, the girl strides over to stand before Rachel to meet her gaze with a fearless but innocent stare.
"Mission accomplished. Does this selection meet requirements?"
Proud of his work, Gii leads Es back to the waiting Rachel and Nago. As they round a tall rack of outfits to come into view, the young Alucard's eyes flick over to come to rest on Es. The expression of ennui gives way to a faint smile at the question asked after she glances over the new arrival from head to toe.
"I believe that it does."
"Oh my," Nago adds with a purr in his voice. "I never imagined Gii had such keen sense in fashion."
"Phii." Rachel corrects without missing a beat.
"You'd be surprised at the wide array of secret special skills I have!" Gii protests. It's almost like he never gets a word in edgewise around here.
Rachel pays the banter of her familiars no further mind as her focus lingers on the now properly clothed Es. "You can return here anytime should you wish to sample other attire for your wardrobe, but your present trappings are quite nice. I will expect nothing less going forward."
Gii pipes up, "I can always help too!" He so desperately wants to matter. Then again, without his help, it might be quite the ordeal to even find this gallery of clothing in the labyrinthine castle.
"Well then, having completed your first mission, I suppose it is on to your next assignment." the tiny vampire continues. "But before that, I find myself wondering if there is more to your name than just Es. Do you remember anything else? A last name, perhaps? I am afraid simply being called Es will not suffice. Every civilized individual needs a family name as well."
She exhales softly, pausing for a moment, hand lowering from the side of her head before sweeping across the front of her, a rush of blackness rippling over the group, a tide of living shadow.
"Well, let us be off." Rachel's voice is heard to say as Es would find herself lost in the infinite depths of black nothingness just like before. How long it lasts is difficult to quantify, even empirical measurements would return conflicting data points. All she can know for certain is that it ends.
Now the group is on a large stone platform suspended between three gigantic Gothic towers by massive chains. Overhead, the perpetually dark sky of the Ever Night is illuminated by a silvery full moon that is periodically obscured in part by drifting clouds. From these heights, once can see that Castle Alucard expands in all directions, built into the peaks of mountains, as large as a city with towers and valleys made of stone and steel dotting the horizon.
The cool winter's night is crisp with occasional flurry of snow drifting along the smooth stone platform before continuing its journey onward across the mountain range. The wind is brisk but not so fierce as to present any danger to any of the four gathered enough to tousle hair and set cloth to flapping at times, but no worse.
Periodically, creatures can be seen moving through the night sky, silhouettes of black illuminated particularly when they pass before the great moon on large, leathery wings. Bats, larger than a man, moving as a flock as they patrol the vampire's empire of stone and secrets.
"In order to properly calibrate your next mission, I must have an understanding of your combat capabilities." Rachel declares. "Do tell me what you know of your armaments and defense options."
"Princess, she hardly looks like a warrior..." Nago seems confused.
"Yeah, she's too pretty!" Gii protests before immediately stammering, "N-not that being pretty means she's helpless..."
Rachel half closes her crimson eyes, golden lashes almost touching, her right hand returning to resting against the side of her head as she releases a soft sigh of quiet annoyance. "She is clearly of the most advanced engineering... and no brilliant scientist can truly resist the temptation to turn their most ambitious creations toward the art of destruction." Her mouth curls faintly, allowing a dainty smile on pale lips. "So tell us what you can do, Miss Es."
Es says nothing further as the trio exchange their thoughts on her chosen outfit and Gii's surprising fashion savvy, merely absorbing the conversation as potential references for the future. She'd never been particularly skilled at making small talk even in her original incarnation and right now she is little more than an animated doll, a golem devoid of purpose or personality. If there were to be any trace of humanity to be found within her, it would be in the fact that this lack of meaning to her life makes her feel uneasy, as if she is missing some vital part of her being. What good is a tool that does not even know its own function?
It is for this reason that she has been so cooperative. Lacking any information that might direct her otherwise, the little vampire has been quite happy to take charge and Es felt that this girl was quite suited to the role of giving orders. Apart from the fact that they had literally labeled themselves as servants, the cat and the bat showed no hesitation in following Rachel's commands, nor took exception at her abuse. Such behavior would necessitate a deep rooted loyalty, assuming they are not merely dolls such as herself.
Es opens her mouth to respond to the query as to the meaning of her name but before she can get out more than single word the world morphs at the vampire's command and she once more finds herself plunged into darkness. She lets out a soft gasp as her breath is stolen away by the infinite void. Even that comes out as an empty noise, her surprise devoured hungrily by the nothingness. Blind and alone, she awaits the end of the unpleasant journey in motionless silence.
The sudden return of light by way of the great looming moon causes the girl to blink a few times, her eyes instinctively closing halfway to shield her pupils as they adjust. Her gaze is cast about to take in their new surroundings, finding them as alien and unrecognizable as everything else in the castle has been thus far. Again she attempts to connect with the vast array of global positioning satellites that should be orbiting far above them. Perhaps the thick stone walls of the castle had somehow managed to dampen her signal. Her efforts yield no better luck, returning only an error that she does not give voice to this time.
Rachel's patrician voice draws her attention back to the platform. Es turns to regard the vampire, facing her properly once she makes it clear that new orders are about to be handed out. The guardian considers that request for a moment, only just now remembering that she possesses such capabilities. Much of it remains muddled but some information comes to her as naturally as if she had never forgotten.
"Understood. The answer is somewhat related to your previous question. My name is Es, which is an acronym for Embryo Storage. My designation is Boundary Contact Prime Field Manifestation, unit number..." She trails off uncertainly, staring blankly for several seconds like a computer that has hit a run-time error. "I... do not remember any more than that."
A sense of failure washes through Es at this admission and her shoulders sag, the gesture so slight as to be nearly imperceptible. She does not have the information that has been requested despite it being clear that such things should be known to her. Obviously, she is suffering from some sort of malfunction. Perhaps she might redeem herself slightly by offering something that she does know.
"As for my combat capabilities, I am fluent in several forms of martial arts as well as the use of modern firearms and explosive devices. I am also in possession of the legacy weapon Murakumo, also known as the Crystal Sealing Blade."
Es lifts her hands from her sides and holds them out infront of her as if cradling something within her palms. The air distorts, twisting and vibrating as if being pulled in several directions at once. A flash of brilliant azure light erupts from that chaotic maelstrom a moment later, there energy solidifying into a more coherent form before their eyes. It takes the shape of a massive sword, the size quite ludicrous in comparison to the tiny figure. Es holds the blade aloft by a hilt nearly as long as the blade itself, her delicate hands unable to even completely enclose the thick shaft. She shows no signs of difficulty in wielding the monstrous weapon, casually tilting it vertically before her to display it for Rachel's inspection.
"Is this information satisfactory?"
As Es speaks, she has the full attention of the others, three pairs of eyes on her as she explores verbally the details concerning her identity to the best of her ability. It must be jarring in a way difficult for most minds to comprehend, to know that the data should be out there, accessible if only the repositories of nigh infinite information that are supposed to be in orbit would respond.
"Mn," Rachel muses softly, though otherwise doesn't interrupt.
"Poor thing," Nago comments concerning the lack of memory. "Is it damage?"
"So sad," Gii agrees, the perkiness of his fluttering diminishing slightly.
Es is left to continue on with sharing details about her combat capabilities as the trio listens. Martial arts for physical combat... a surprisingly mundane concept in this modern world of combat robots. Firearms and explosives are a nice touch. But it is the third item on her list that clearly garners the most attention. Rachel opens her eyes slightly more while Nago and Gii's eyes open wide as the Crystal Sealing Blade is summoned before them.
At the sight, the tiny vampire's pale lips curl up slightly on one side as if receiving a confirmation of something she had already suspected to be the case.
"My Goodness. A legacy weapon? That is quite the asset!" Nago marvels openly.
Gii looks a bit more suspicious, demonstrating a rare flash of insight, "Did you know about that, Princess?"
"It is," Rachel answers Es without hesitation. "That is a very powerful weapon you have. I wonder if you even know what it is capable of..." The tiny vampire's expression shifts then, possessing a hint of danger as she slowly lifts her right hand, palm toward the ground, fingers lazily outstretched. Twisting her hand at the wrist to move it palm-up, a dark swirl of something thick and black begins to build around Es's feet.
At first it is faint, like a mist that grows thicker in an instant, then becomes a black, oily fluid with hints of crimson energy coursing over its surface - liquid seithr, concentrated to degrees scientists back on Earth continue to dream of yet are incapable of replicating.
In such a chaotic form, it is dangerous to most just to touch, but it is also formless and without purpose, waiting to be utilized by a mage to actually accomplish some kind of arcane intent.
The surprise that her weapon brings forth in the trio does not go unnoticed. Es remains silent as they fawn over the blade, watching the little vampire in particular. While both Nago and Gii seem quite surprised by almost everything that she says, Rachel's reactions always seem more measured, giving the general impression that she is far more knowledgable on the subjects raised. That she might merely be controlling her emotions registers as a possibility in the back of the guardian's mind but it manifests in the continued traces of instictive wariness that she maintains rather than as a specific reason.
Murakumo shines in the pale moonlight as the clouds part, bathing the small platform in an eerie glow. Unlike a normal sword, the blade lacks the distinctive sheen of gray steel, its length instead a mixture of matte whites and blues. Whatever process was used to forge this weapon seems to have possessed some manner of infusing the color directly into metal itself for there are no traces of flecking paint or uneven coloring. Infact, the entire thing seems to be entirely without blemish, as pristine and deadly as the day it was created.
Es blinks a couple of times before glancing at the sword. What an off question. Naturally she is aware of its powers, lacking that information would surely have rendered her incapable of calling it forth, would it not? Then again, with her current memory malfunction it is perhaps prudent to be sure of even the smallest detail. Failure due to a lack of thoroughness would be disgraceful indeed.
Her gaze shifts to Rachel's hand as she raises it up, watching curiously to see what the gesture might indicate. When the magic begins to seep through the cracks of reality at her feet, Es' eyes widen slightly, seeming to notice the change even before the swirling seithr has manifested in a visible fashion. Her posture shifts as she turns Murakumo in her hands, holding it at her side as if ready to strike at a moment's notice.
As the seithr builds, growing steadily more dense yet taking no obvious form of attack, the girl hesistates again, unsure of what it is that she is expected to do. Context would seem to indicate that the current events are related to her weapon in some way. Perhaps the mistress of the castle wishes a demonstration of its capabilities? That seems a logical conclusion.
"Dangerous seithr concentrations detected. Starting magic engine. Absorption of excess magic energy to cartridge commencing."
Turning the massive sword once again, Es lowers the tips of the blade to the ground, dipping it into the seething mists of raw magical power. The Murakumo suddenly gives a sharp mechanic click as it splits down the middle, the jagged interwoven teeth running up its spine coming apart into two mirrored halves. Brilliant azure light floods the darkness from within the interior of the weapon for a few moments before fading to a more muted glow, the source of which appears to be a long slender sliver that was contained within the sword's interior. The object shines with an inner blue light, almost appearing to be made out of solid light rather than any metal or plastic.
It only takes a couple of heartbeats for the sword to go to work once its true nature is revealed. The thick mist of deadly seithr begins to waft upwards into the blade's interior as if sucked inwards by a mighty vaccuum. The magic swirls about the glowing rod and it hungrily devours the energy, shining slightly brighter once the last of it has been cleared away.
Es lifts Murakumo from the ground and with another metallic click it snaps shut once more, sealing away both the magic and the brilliant glow. The guardian turns to peer at Rachel again, her expression blank as ever, yet the desire for approval of her actions practically wafts off her like a cloud of perfume.
"Seithr levels returning to normal. Cartridge at nominal capacity. Stopping magic engine. Did I do well, master?"
The final word slips out of her mouth without even thinking about it, coming naturally to her tongue. She doesn't even seem to catch the slip herself, merely staring with quiet askance at the person who serves as the only anchor to something stable she has found in this strange place.
For a moment, the glow from the Gatekeeper's sword is the brightest thing in the world, its azure luminescence spilling out over the hanging garden and even casting light against distant towers otherwise shrouded in darkness. Were any other denizens of the Ever Night to glances toward Castle Alucard in the course of this demonstration, the brightness would be impossible to miss.
The crimson eyes of the vampire close, but the two pairs of curious eyes belonging to her familiars observe the phenomenon without blinking. And as the seithr is absorbed into the weapon, removed from the environment until every last iota of it is gone, the two creatures recoil a little, with Nago leaning back and Gii hovering down behind the large pudgy beast's head.
Only when the casing has been sealed does Rachel open her eyes to take in the aftermath of the demonstration. The cat and bat seem to relax a little once the weapon's casing has been re-engaged, each releasing a soft huff of relief.
"I would say you did quite well, yes." Rachel answers the inquiry, her faint half-smile never having faded.
"A seithr absorbing weapon..." Nago muses, seemingly more to himself than anyone else.
"Indeed," the Alucard mistress replies all the same. "It seems like just the sort of thing one should have on hand when dealing with an array of seithr using pests."
"I thought you said you didn't know much about her, Princess." Gii wonders, his expression contorted into a look of both suspicion and confusion. It looks rather ridiculous.
"I never said any such thing, Phii." The vampiress replies, her eyes never leaving Es throughout the brief exchange. Gii's wings droop a little. At least he didn't get swatted to the moon.
"I've seen enough. As you accepted my invitation to visit my castle, it is only proper for House Alucard to provide accommodations for you henceforth. Should you wish to return to where you were before, I'm certain a means to accomplish such could be explored." The statements are issued matter of factly, with no threat implied by the small girl's tone of voice.
Rachel's hand returns to rest against the side of her head just over her ear, fingers pressed against against flaxen hair. "You will be provided a means of safe egress and return from the castle in order to facilitate travel between here and Earth. I do believe the Earth will find is quite different from whatever world you may have once known. Though... since much of that knowledge appears to have been stored remotely, perhaps you lack for any reference whatsoever anyway."
She lowers her hand, sweeping it aside, "For as long as you are my guest, your needs will be seen to. Phii is a passable chef until my steward returns."
Gii puffs up, looking quite proud at the lukewarm compliment. The bar for compliments for the crimson familiar must be quite low.
"In addition, you may have access to the castle library. It might be helpful to give you a working understanding of the world, though..." her faint smile grows more bold by a few degrees, a sparkle of amusement to her normally dispassionate eyes, "I believe the best education is one you experience for yourself. Es, your next assignment will take you to Earth. Your mission will be to track down three of Earth's warriors and engage them in combat. Learn all you can about them, their lives, why they fight and what fuels their strength. You are not to kill anyone, so temper your strength as appropriate as the situation requires."
The doll-like girl closes her eyes as she seems to contemplate further. The reactions from her two familiars are neutral enough to suggest that this is not the first time they've seen their master send individuals off on strange missions seemingly to amuse herself more than anything.
"I do not care which three warriors you face, but I expect you to return and report once this objective has been completed, so the more interesting they are, the more pleased I will be at the report. I will want to hear all about what you have learned while executing this assignment, about the world and the people in it."
Her hand returns to resting at her side, her bemused expression lingering. "Nago and Phii will see to it that your room is readied for you when you return. You will also be granted a reasonable stipend that will allow you to purchase goods during your time on Earth." Given Rachel's scale for 'reasonable', it's safe to say Es will be sent off with a small fortune in capital. Surely nothing can go wrong with that.
"Now, have you any questions or shall we send you off to pursue your objectives?"
Though the small warrior's expression remains decidedly neutral, she seems quite pleased to have passed the test. The massive blade vanishes into the aether from whence it was summoned, allowing the pair of familiars to rest easy in the knowledge that their own magic will not be drawn into the powerful artifact this day. That Es was able to control precisely which sources of seithr were absorbed by her sword speaks volumes about her control over the weapon or the incredible craftsmanship behind it. In either case, it is a terribly dangerous tool to be left in the hands of someone who seems to have trouble with some very basic concepts of mortal existence. Perhaps that is part of the allure.
The promise of shelter and sustenance is a welcome one; the access to Rachel's library even more so. Whatever has happened in her past, it's clear that the loss of memory has left Es in a particularly dangerous situation. She knows little and less about this world into which she has been summoned and the reasons behind it. That the vampire girl is responsible is no mystery but something tells her that there is a greater purpose that she is meant to achieve in this place, some calling against which she will be unable to resist.
There is no explanation as to why she believes this and yet she does. Curious... and troubling. Perhaps it is yet another error. Her inability to connect with the archives nor the global satellite relays has left her with a great void inside, a space that once held not just information but clarity and purpose. Without any of those things she is adrift in an alien land, easy prey for those which might exploit her.
That Rachel might very well be such an entity has not escaped her calculations. It was the very first conclusion to which she arrived, infact. However, acting on that assumption might destroy the only source of stability she possesses. For the moment, she is content to serve as the vampire's pawn. That, atleast, is something she is quite familiar with.
Es listens to the demands imposed upon her with the sort of rapt attention that Rachel likely never sees from the usual riffraff she's forced to deal with, merely nodding her head a single time in response once they are all laid out before her. The towering strand of crooked hair atop her head bobs up and down with the motion, wobbling like an antenna atop a car in motion.
"Understood. This place shall henceforth be considered my primary base of operations. I shall begin my mission to engage the local population in non-lethal combat at the first opportunity."
She pauses when asked if she needs anything explained, staring straight ahead in silence for a moment. Only the motion of her blinking interrupts the statue-like posture and even that manages to seem somewhat mechanical. Eventually, whatever it was she was thinking about finishes processing.
"I request a clarification. Define the parameter: Interesting."
As Es verifies her understanding of her objectives with that clinical detachment that is clearly the normal state of affairs for her, Rachel closes her eyes and dips her head ever so slightly in a display of quiet approval. She also makes no effort to hurry Es along after asking if she had questions that needed answering, giving the new arrival plenty of time to think through what she might need to know to fulfill her objectives.
At the question, however, there is a soft, amused laugh from the tiny vampire. "Oh... That is a really good question. And one I fear you must learn to answer for yourself. For now, I will give you a clue - interesting fighters are rare. As you investigate those capable of fighting, focus on patterns and similarities. The interesting ones will not fit to the same matrix of variables you find in most. Interesting... is what stands out from the rest."
The girl lowers her hand from the side of her head, palm up. A double helix of black energy swirls a few inches over her dainty hand before collapsing in on itself to create an ebony mote. A moment later, the mote melts away, dripping like fluid then evaporating before it quite touches the child-like creature's pale flesh. Left behind is a small, intricate rose of glimmering ruby set into a golden frame, no larger than the end of her thumb. It dangles from thin golden links forming a necklace-length chain, the open ends of the chain suspended up in the air as if dangling from unseen hooks.
"This will be your passkey. Closing your hand over the rose and focusing on a rose garden just like this one," she gestures with her left hand at the area around them, "for ten heartbeats will bring you to the castle's inner gates. If instead, you picture a region of Earth, it will... get you somewhere close." It sounds like one should not stake their life on ending up at a specific location, to say the least. She is ambiguous about what 'close' even means in this scenario.
Long range teleportation magic has always been one of the incredibly risky spells that divides the greatest mages from the rest of the world. That Rachel can confer such a talisman with Teleportation magic, encased within a ruby ensconced in gold. The idea that she can confer such a power within a talisman, albeit in a more limited fashion, only speaks to the creature's magic mastery.
Rachel lifts her left hand then, palm up, a second helix of liquid magic swirling then collapsing into a small crimson sack made of silk and tied off with a black ribbon. "And this should subsidize your expenses. Use it to procure whatever you need while away." An utterly irresponsible number of rolled up ten thousand yen bills are stored safely inside.
Gii hovers up to claim the golden chains in one talon and the black ribbon sealing the money purse in the other then then flutters over to Es turn both objects over to her.
Gii looks worried as he zips back over to his master's side, "But Princess, she doesn't know the first thing about the world yet! Maybe she should study first!"
Nago adds, nodding his large head, eyes blinking, "Earth is such a dangerous place. It's so much safer here in the castle, with no... people, or large dogs, or..." he shudders, "Internet."
Rachel doesn't interrupt either of her underlings for once, letting them speak their mind, before she continues speaking, answering their expressed concerns while not actually addressing them directly either.
"I'll be keeping an eye on your adventures, Es." Rachel explains. "But this experience is intended to be a rapid introduction to the modern world for you. I will not intervene unless it is to preserve your freedom or life. Anything more than that would rob you of this full immersion educational opportunity you are about to undertake."
Lady Alucard claps her hands together in front of her, a simple gesture, yet it communicates without another word that this dialog is at an end, that Es's trial by fire begins now.
"Until we meet again, Lady Es." are the last words she would hear from the curious thing she has unwittingly called 'Master.' A veil of black sweeps up over her form in an instant. It's entirely possible that with her blade drawn, she could resist even this formidable exercise in magic.
But for now? Now it's off to Earth for Es.
"Understood. Then I must engage in multiple confrontations in order to establish patterns of behavior to identify what is 'interesting' by discovering anomolies in recurrent trends. Mission acknowledged."
Es repeats what she was told in a slightly more clinical fashion but it's clear she's atleast got the basic idea down. Ofcourse, human behavior rarely manages to conform beyond the most basic levels. There are countless motivations that might drive someone to commit the exact same action. Understanding the context of someone's behavior is just as important as what they do. Perhaps that too will become clear as the seemingly emotionless homonculous gains exerpience.
She accepts the offerings presented to her by the pudgy little bat, taking the sparkling rose-like gem in one hand and the small bag of money in the other. Her eyes sweep over the surroundings in conjunction with Rachel's gesture, commiting the place to memory down to the last detail. The sheer power of the artifact that has been handed to her without any fanfare, almost as if it were a frivilous bauble the vampire happened to have lying around, is completely lost on Es, as is the value of the tiny slips of paper rolled up into the pouch. They are merely another set of tools that will be used to accomplish her mission.
The Guardian shows no signs of concern about being left on her own in an unfamiliar world. While it will most certainly pose a challenge, she was created to be a weapon. Whatever lies in wait for her, it is her duty to face it without hesitation. Even when both of the fluffy creatures voice their concerns for her wellbeing, she remains resolute. Perhaps during this trip to the place called 'Earth' she might also find out more about that strange sense of higher purpose that remains tenaciously lodged in the back of her mind.
Es nods one last time as Rachel bids her farewell even as the shadows rise up to engulf her. She continues to look her new master in the eyes, unwavering as the strange energies wrap her up like a blanket and send her whisking off through the dark cracks in reality to the place where her new quest will begin.
Log created on 00:18:08 02/08/2018 by Rachel Alucard, and last modified on 18:44:19 04/22/2018.