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Curiosity Killed The Cat

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After that strange dream that might not have been a dream, Yangcha decides that it might be best to distance himself from Tanya. A strangely difficult task, Yangcha had found. He hadn’t realised just how much he had come to enjoy the interactions with Tanya. Forcing himself to not make comments when she couldn’t answer so she would bite her lip and cut him a glare when no one was looking, and standing guard outside of her chambers instead of staying inside and talking. It had made him weary by the day’s end and he falls asleep as soon as he collapses onto his small bed in his tiny room. 

 

Maybe it’s because of how exhausted he’s been, but he doesn’t have another dream for weeks. The day he does, he’s greeted by the same strange woman he met last time that he thinks strangely resembles the moon. 

 

“Hello, mortal,” she greets, a wicked smile dancing on her lips, turning her beauty into something dangerous. She looks the same as she had last time with her flowing robes and perfect hair, only this time she looks slightly more amused. “You’ve returned, I see. I’m glad. I don’t usually get to play with humans so openly.”

 

Yangcha narrows his eyes. “Why am I here?”

 

The woman sighs, “how am I supposed to know that, mortal?” Moments pass of them watching each other, waiting for the other to break first. The strange woman gives in, a bored look crossing her face as she sighs again. “I do not know why you are here, or how you got here, but I do know this.” She purses her lips, an unreadable look in her eyes, and she seems unsure as to whether or not she should continue. Yangcha waits in silence, still eyeing her as if she was about to pounce and attack him.

 

“I know that nobody brought you here,” she finally says after a long moment.

 

Yangcha thinks back to their last conversation when she had told him that mortals lacked the ability to bring themselves into Lino, she had called it. She had said that she assumed someone had brought him here, and it wasn’t her and it couldn’t have been himself. Now she was saying that nobody had brought him here. It didn’t make sense.

 

“What do you mean?” He asks. 

 

“What I mean is, that you appear to be quite the special little mortal. Even the humans you call ‘gods-touched’ cannot enter Lino of their own free will.” Everything this lady says seems to be in a mocking tone. 

 

Yangcha still did not understand, although, what she gave him wasn’t much of an explanation. “How am I here?” He asks, hoping for a proper answer this time.

 

The woman taps a finger to her chin and tilts her head to the side as if in thought. “Well, since your last visit, I had wondered the same thing and took it upon myself to figure it out. I had thought it would lead me to the being who brought you here, but it turns out there was no such being. 

 

“Of course this then just made me more curious. So, I wandered into the world that you stumbled in from when we first met and I think I’ve figured it out.”

 

Still watching her warily, Yangcha gulped, a small part of him worried about what she had found. But the part of him that needed to know what was happening to him heavily outweighed the feather-light fear. 

 

“And what did you find?”

 

Like an animal hunting its prey, the woman stalks over to Yangcha with a wolfish grin. Slender fingers fiddle with the ends of her pearly hair, looking like the dark side of the moon against the silken silver. As she moves closer, a strange feeling washes over him and he wonders why this woman – that he’s certain he’s never met before their last encounter – seems so familiar. Before he can puzzle over the thought any longer, she speaks again.

 

“Are you sure you want to know?” She asks, the playful tone returned to honeyed voice. “You might find it quite shocking.”

 

Yangcha hesitates a moment, that feather-light fear tickling against his instincts. He pushes the thought back. He needed answers. “Tell me.”

 

She raises her eyebrows and shrugs, “okay. You were brought her by yourself – well, another version of yourself, but still you. They say some things are even more powerful than the gods. Considering what I’ve learnt, I’d say that was true.”

 

“I don’t understand.” It didn’t help that this woman never seemed to give a proper answer.

 

“A common phrase that mortals seem to use, I find,” she says, waving a hand in the air. “But, for all the kindness in my immortal heart, I will explain it to you. Lino is a place between worlds, as I’ve already explained, and there is an infinite amount of worlds and an infinite amount of people of all sorts. A lot of worlds have the same people in them, but the chances of the same people meeting in different worlds is quite uncommon, and if they do meet, the chances of their relationships being the same is almost impossible.

 

“However, you seem to have quite the talent for doing the impossible. You, somehow, managed to meet the same person in two different worlds and have the same relationship. Well, for you it’s still developing, but time is irrelevant in Lino.”

 

Yangcha could feel the beginnings of a headache pushing against his temples. So there was a different version of him and someone else he knew in another world that had the same relationship they had in his world. As crazy as it seems, it somehow made sense. 

 

“That doesn’t explain why I’m here,” Yangcha says.

 

“Somehow, a version of you from that other world, pulled you into his own world. The dreams you had, where you were seeing life through another person’s eyes, that was you, just not from your world,” the woman replies.

 

“Why?”

 

“Because he has lived his life and seen its end. In his own world there is nothing he can do, the past cannot be undone. But, in your world, it has only just begun. I suppose he wishes to change what happened in that other world.”

 

“How can he do that? How can he pull me into his world, I mean.”

 

The woman sighs, genuinely not having a sure answer. “I can’t be sure. But, it wouldn’t be the first time I was shocked by what a human could do when they’re brimming with vehement determination. And I suppose love can be quite the vicious little thing.”

 

Yangcha furrows his brow. “What do you mean?”

 

She waves a hand in dismission, “time runs short and I don’t think I could explain even if I had the chance.”

 

The woman begins to fade just as she had last time before he woke up. Her silver hair turning translucent and her clothes rippling as they, too, begin to fade. Desperate, Yangcha calls out to her before she can fade completely. “Wait!”

 

Her body becomes whole again and her hair falls over her shoulders in silken silver once again, annoyance twitching at her features. “What is it, mortal?” She snaps at him.

 

“Who are you?” Yangcha asks, his words rushed out just in case she decides to fade out of existence before he can get the words off his tongue. She raises a brow, and when he’s fairly certain she won’t disappear without warning, he adds, “how do I know you? How do you get here?”

 

The amused look returns to her face, a mischievous spark in her icy eyes. “Look at the sky,” she tells him in a silken voice, “don’t you notice something missing?”

 

Pushing back his annoyance at her lack of straight answers, Yangcha raises his head to observe the blanket of stars above them. It looks just as it had the last time he was here, a million stars against an onyx sky. No moon, though. He freezes. Surely she couldn’t mean what he thought she did, right?

 

He looks back at the woman who looks back at him with a knowing smile.

 

“I am not nameless,” she tells him. “The next time you wish to talk to me, please address me by my name. It’s been too long since I’ve heard someone call it.” For a moment, she looks sad, but when he blinks, it’s gone.

 

“What is your name?” Yangcha asks, his voice quiet.

 

This time when she smiles, it is not a thing of wicked amusement, but a kind, gentle smile as she says, "Leiluna."