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From Eternal Slumber

Chapter Text

The mask of the pure vessel lay against the cool marble floor as the last of their energy left them at the claws of Ghost. They didn't die- they retreated out of harms way once they could not continue. The ghost would never allow true harm to come to their dear sibling.

At the defeat of her vessel in their prime form the radiance screeched in indignation. She shone her blazing light down onto the battle arena and roared pulling the Ghost into her domain to defeat her ancient enemy.

Once the light had faded Ghost saw the towering form of the absolute radiance towering sinsterly above them. Puffy golden clouds surrounded the platform they were stood on and structures could be seen off in the distance. It was beautiful.

The radiance was not going to sit and let the warrior admire the world of dream though. That was not what she pulled them here for. At once she began to fire off at the small vessel.

Pillars of searing heat crossed in front of her, swords were summoned from all directions, orbs of sunlight swerved around and daggers shot up from the floor all from the the absolute power the radiance had. The little ghost began to swiftly manouver around this chaos and strike the glowing being. They had faced all the other foes hallownest had to offer- they were not going to let one moth cause all of their work go to waste.

After several harsh blows from the pure nail of the knight, a tendril of void came up from below and seized the radiance holding her to the ground.The higher being struggled before spreading her wings and teleporting with a flash of light to far above the void.

Small platforms began to form in front of Ghost so they began to ascend upwards. The void below them churned and began to rise with them. Intense beams of lght began to shoot downwards from the sun godess so the knight had be carful in their climb to reach her.

They continued to scale upwards with a will so strong nothing the radiance could do would break it in pursuit of a future for hallownest. All the lives lost or consumed by the infection. Children torn from parents, friends turned against each other and civilisation gone. All the work of one single being.

Upon reaching the top two platforms awaited the vessel as the glowing being produced projectile after projectile of the suns energy all firing and tracking the only other living creature. The knight was not going to take this however a fought back valiantly. Both began to grow wear and were eaching their limits when the focus of sea of minds zoomed in on on single bug.

At the final swing of their treasured nail Ghost shed their shell a dropped into the void below. When they rose again they had changed into a new being. They had unified and embraced the void. They were the lord of shades.

While a single pair of eyes had shut 4 now opened. Two horns became 8, form became comparable to the other higher being and terrible claws curled around a hand. The void had been given focus and they used this to utterly obliterate the Radiance. She was beat, completely at the mercy of the new being until essence began to spill out of her form as the void consumed and killed the goddess of dreams ending her reign over a dying kingdom.

Hallowest was free.

               ------------------------------------------

Hornet kneeled in front the stone plinth the little Ghost had visited not so long ago. Hornet had witnessed as they overcame the distant villagers in a brilliant display of power after being trapped and tricked by them. She saw them trek through the twisting caverns and long corridors of the beasts den before arriving before Herrah the Beast herself and..... leaving.

Her mother had been allowed more time.

As the figure silently slept away Hornet began to speak. It started out as a whisper but soon became something more as guilt and sorrow reached her heart, "Mother i am so very sorry for what has happned to you. Soon they will return for your soul to challenge our birth cursed sibling. For now they have shown mercy and allowed me to spend thses prescious moments  with you. I am thankful for the life you granted me even if it ment you had to give up yours in return. I bid you farewell and a safe departure to the next life.".

As tears rolled down the shell of the half spider the figure began to stir. The princess did not see this as her eyes were squeezed tightly shut.
                           --------------------
A voice split throught the weakning veil of dream upon the spider queen. "I only wished we could of had more time". Hornet! It was Hornet speaking! She was still here! She still cared after all this time!

Herrah began to focus all energy on fully breaking the seal upon her. A needle pierced the barrier many times before the full weight of the agitated queen shoved against it. "I will truely miss you" the voice spoke again. Footsteps could be heard and Herrah grew despeate. Her only daughter was leaving!

Herrah growled before unleashing the terrible might of the furious queen of deepnest. A bright white light shook her as the spell began to unweave itself and disappear. It was finally happening, Herrah could see her going to.....
                        ---------------------------
Hornet was dropping down through the secret path of the Beasts Den, when she heard new footsteps not of her own. She paused and pretended to have not noticed before quickly jumping round with her needle pointed at the offender. No one was going to stop her from defeating this foe.

But she did stop.

A needle as elegant and refined as her own met Hornet's midlunge. No one could have a needle like her though! The inhabitants of Deepnest using this kind of weapon had been eradicated by the infection And even if they weren't, they never wielded weapons as powerful as hers-it had been specially made for her to protect herself in the absence of her mother.

"HORNET!"the mysterious bug yelled, "please stop this at once. I thought you'd be happy to see me!" Hornet was shocked.Hoe had her senses clouded over so badly? How in Hallownest could she not recognize her own mother!

"Mother please forgive me. I was not thinking" Hornet spoke. She knew deep down that this must be just a dream but she was going to enjoy it none the less. "Thank you for this dream mother it is wonderful to see you again even if it is like this" She informed.

Herrah blinked. "You think this is just a dream!?" herrah asked "No my child I am really here". "mother" Hornet whispered, "MOTHER!". With that the girl broke down and ran to her mother sobbing uncontrollably. The two embraced and Hornet began to feel tears not of her own roll down. Herrah was crying too.

After a while the shifted and Hornet rose and asked softly, "how?".
"I do not know my child"
"But there must be some reason, i thought the spell was to never break!"
"I believe she must be gone then"
"you mean......."
Hornet sat and pondered the implications of this.

This must be the little Ghost's doing-no other bug in the whole kingdom was as capable of such a task. Not even Hornet herself believed she was powerful enought for it. But that still left how did they do it! The dreamers were never slain for Herrah was standing right next to her. They must have found a different way to reach her instead of going through the mind of the Hollow Knight.

"well then it can't matter then mother, you are here now" Hornet stated at last.
"That's the girl I knew. Come daughter we have bussiness to attend to."

With that the two left the Beasts Den out into the opening of the Distant Village. The place was in ruin with tatterd strands of silk hanging down everywhere, the lift to the bottom of the village in a large state of disrepair, all but two houses abandoned and destroyed and the water down below stained dark and dirty. The place was almost unrecognisable to Herrah.

"oh my....." she muttered. Hornet turned her head sharply. What could she say? he hadn't done much comforting in her years wondering the ruins. She was the silent guardian of Hallownest who weaved her way out of any situation clad in a silk red cloth. Most who had seen her smply called her the Crimson shadow. It was quite ironic really as the true shadows of hallownest -the vessels- shared a relation to her by their father not by their nature of shadows!

"Mother, do not fear. I will stay here by your side and we will fix your kingdom!" she said finally," we shoiuld go to the Weavers Den. One has remained behind after all these years!" She smiled up at Herrah and the older spider felt tears form behind the fearsome facade of her mask. "Together" she echoed.

         --------------------------------------------------

When Ghost woke again they shook their new head groggily. They didn't like this new size-they wanted their old shell back. It was clear they were still in Godhome but how to leave?

After a while they had come up with an idea but they weren't sure who would be able to accept it. They would not let this stand in their way however! They needed to see Hollow!

The void entity sighed and reached out to find a willing bug. To their surprise i didn't take long and soon they found a rather shocking participant. They were surrounded by a thick veil of flames and had just arrived for a second time on the boarder of Hallownest. It was Grimmchild all grown up Ghost realised in delight!

Their call reached her mind and she answered, " Small vessel is that you!?"
"Yes little one"
" It is wonderful to hear from you again but if i may what is it that you need from me?"
"transport. I require a way to get around the kingdom to gain  new shell. I can't simply roam around in this form- it is much to large!"
"Ah so a temporary vessel?"
"I suppose so....."
"well then i will gladly return the favour you have granted me! Enter my mind at once!"

Ghost then felt the flames widening and found an opening to the mind of their friend. They entered but shut their eyes not knowing what to expect.

Once safely nestled inside their eyes fluttered open and they saw a pair of jet black hands top of scarlet shell and grey wings! They could see as the Scarlet could!
"Suprised aren't you" a voice spoke, "Well I suppose you're used to being the vessel..."
"Scarlet?"
"The one and only! so where is it we need to go?"
"The Abyss"

With that the mistress of the troupe set course for the lowest point in Hallownest for her good friend and caretaker. She would repay her debt to them. She was not going to let them down. She would never allow it.

Chapter Text

Hornet ran throught the caverns of Deepnest giggling as she turned and saw the Weavers chasing her. She skidded to halt and used her new silk powers to elegently bounce up to the top of the distant village. 

 

Tapestries of weavers, her mother and of course herself littered the walls as the village had celebrated the birth of their princess two years ago greatly. Houses were hollowed out balls of silk refined with decorations from the natural environment like the glowing mushrooms native to Deepnest. There was a lift to the top of the village but Hornet had refused to take it, instead leaving it at the top so her captors would have to wait for it.

 

"Mwahahaha, Weavers you have been outsmarted by the great Hornet once again!" Hornet joyously called down to them," And I have punished you for it by making you wait for the lift! Mwahahahah!" Hornet giggled some more before continuing to run around uncontrollably.

 

One of the weavers faked distress by calling up to the excited princess, "Oh no what ever shall we do!" 

"Ah but Hornet you we won't be able to give you are gifts if you don't let us up!"

"Fine.... I'll let you up but you won't catch me!" Hornet replied. With that the half spider swung at the lever to send the lift down before continuing her mad rush around the area.

 

It was then that Hornet made one crucial mistake...... She didn't look where she was going and found herself face first into a very large bug.

"Ah!" she cried as her shell hit anothers.

"Hornet please calm down a bit or we'll just have leave you alone all day!" a soft voice said in mock accusation.

"Confinement! Never! The Great Hornet shall not listen to the words of such a commoner!"she yelled, "Never!" 

 

Then her mistake got worse. In her joy she had not noticed quite who she had just spoken to.....

"Well well well Great Hornet I wonder if you would perhaps listen to the even Greater Herrah?!" The bug said again in the same tone.

"MOTHER!?!" Hornet screeched before slamming herself into the older spiders arms. 

"I missed you sooooooooo much! You were gone for two whole days!" Hornet exclaimed excitedly.

"Only to find the perfect gift for my perfect little daughter!" Herrah replied before finding her way under Hornets cloak to those ever so tickilish spots.......

 

Hornet began to laugh so hard she accidently wriggled her way out of one of Herrahs many arms to another.

"Mother" she paused to catch her breath before exploding once again to laughter "St stop!"

"I believe your lacking the magic word daughter"

"Erm s si silk?"

"No, what do we say when want something"

"PLEASE! Mother wo would y you PLEASE st stop tickling m me!"

"Ok...."

 

Herah looked at her heir properly for the first time since her return and noticed a strange mark upon her shell.

"Hornet, where did this come from?" she traced her finger over the mark gently brushing it.

"Well I was playing with the devouts when this HUGE um dirtcarver yeh a massive dirtcarver came out and started to attack us. Being the brave leader I am I quickly dispatched of it but not without mark!"

"Sure but what will the devouts say when I ask them?"

" Fine I just wanted impress you" Hornet sighed sadly," I tripped on a deepling on my way to see midwife and scraped myself on a rock..."

"You know..."

"I know what?"

"You don't need to impress me daughter, you are all i could ever ask for and more! Your my beacon, my ray of sunshine my little shining princess!"

"I love you mother"

"I love you too Hornet"

 

"More than anyone else.." Herrah whispered but little Hornet had already fallen asleep in her arms from exhaustion.

 

      -----------------------------------------------------------

 

Hornet continued to walk down the caverns of Deepnest in search of the now hidden entrance to the Weavers Den. She and her mother had split up and agreed to meet up later in the Distant Village to discuss their findings. Deepnest felt rather empty after most inhabitants had been lost to the infection. That was why when the princess heard footsteps she brang out her needle and assumed a combat ready stance.

 

"SHAW!" she yelled as she launched herself at her supposed attacker.

"Ahhhhh!" screamed the insect in response. They then raised up their own nail in defence and held the girl off.

 

"Please stop I am merely passing through here!" the bug protested.

"Well why are you in Deepnest of all places though?!"

"Well I thought I would explore the last remaining part of this kingdom before I pass on to my next journey. I fear I do not have long left with my dear friend..... But I could ask the same of you though"

"I live here! I am Hornet daughter of the Beast and righful heir to this land. Now commoner explain who you are and why I recognize you..."

"Your, your a princess!"They exclaimed in surprise, " I am so sorry your highness. I am Quirrel an explorer and it would appear the apprentice of The Teacher in the past... You fought me at the entrance to this kingdom but stopped due to her mask I carried. For you I am deeply sorry for your loss..."

 

What was he talking about she hadn't lost anyone yet... Well if you discluded the kingdom that was.

 

"What loss pillbug?"

"Your your m-mother my princess..."

"MY mother is not departed from us"

"But The Beast left to for eternal slumber just like like m-Mononmon...."

"Yes, but now she has awoken"

"Impossible!"

"Why would I lie?"

"I do not know.... I am sorry for doubting you but I am afraid I really must be going. Perhaps then I will find somewhere I belong. It is clear there is no one left for me here..."

 

Hornet's heart broke at those words. Quirrel didn't have anyone left for him. He seemed to believe his last true friend (Mononmon) was dead. What if Hornet could convince him otherwise....

 

"Wait... Quirrel. Go see her one last time. Perhaps she might just be there for you"

Sniff sniff

"I-I suppose it-it couldn't hurt to say farewell. Tell the little wonderer good bye for me will you" and with that he left.

 

Quirrel must have meant Ghost! Hornet really would have to find them. However right now she had a task to do. Where was that Weavers Den...

 

          -------------------------------------------------

 

The troop had arrived at the Basin and were setting up to stay there so the next day Scarlet could visit the Abyss for Ghost. The red glow of the tents illuminated the old palace grounds and Ghost let out a mental sigh as they remembered who had once lived here.

 

The past king their father had had his grand palace in this very spot. While Ghost couldn't bring themselves to hate the old wyrm, he also was not ready to forgive him for what he had done as the crimes commited against their siblings....

 

They peered into the world of nightmare to see what Scarlet was up to and saw the Nightmare Queen twirling around practising with the now small form of her father the old Grimm.

 

That was all good for her but how were they meant to pass the time! Vessels didn't need to sleep, only rest once in a while to restore energy. They couldn't even properly shut their eyes! How were they supposed to wait for Scarlet to wake up in the morning as a mental passenger unable to properly affect the physical world!?

 

They were completely and utterly bored out of their mind so they started to picture what their friends were up to. Knowing Quirrel he would probably have found a new mystery to try to solve. Surely this would be easier with some of his new found memories from the archive! And their sister Hornet would no doubt be training. She always wished to match the skill of everyone she met. The little vessel was very proud of the accompishment of besting her not once but twice! 

 

Cornifer would probably still be doing bussiness with Iselda in Dirtmouth and Sly dreaming about what to do with his humungous horde of geo he had gained from selling overpriced goods. Bretta would probably still be listening to that arrogant Zote without the courage to tell him she didn't care... Ghost frowned for a moment while they hoped Myla had survived after her time with the infection. She was only infected late on so she would be fine right? Ghost hoped so.

 

Ogrim was likely still in his cavern in the Waterways thinking he was still protecting Isma. Ghost wanted to tell him the truth about his beloved but greatly feared the consequences of such news. Oh and what about their sibling Hollow! They were the reason they came here in the first place so they needed to be ok! Ghost decided they would visit Hollow first when they got their new body.

 

Ghost frowned. From their new found powers as the Lord of Shades they could sense a reawakening presence somewhere in the kingdom. It felt as if it had been asleep or dormant for quite a while. That would certainly be one to investigate at some point....

 

                   ---------------------------------------------

 

They slowly opened thier long dormant eyes fully. Their body was wrecked from their fight and even in the once peaceful world of dream they were tired. Those creatures had left their body in such a state of disrepair that could anyone fix it? 

 

They shuddered and reached up to feel their shell. It still retained its glossy feel but cracks ran down it and was rather too empty. Dirt and sticky goop that burned to touch lay upon it and one of their horns was missing. However that was the least of their worries. They could sense a presence nearby and they were concerned who it was.

 

In a raspy voice they didn't know they could use they pleaded "sibling...."

Chapter Text

Quirrel stood outside the doors to The Archives deep in thought. Should he go in? This could end up being too much for him to handle seeing his old best friend in eternal sleep one last time to say good bye. But it would be rude not to...

 

He went back and forth between these two trains of thought several times before deciding on going in. What's the worst that could happen he thought to himself. He still had his trusty nail after a temporary time of leaving it at the blue lake that he had found awful.

 

Down he wondered through the corridors of the archive until he came upon the arena where he and the little wanderer fought Uumuu. He sighed remembering the happy times with the creature and the thrill of the battle when it too had been corrupted by the infection. Then he traced back his steps to the first time he saw Monomon since re-arriving in Hallownest.

 

Like the last 8 times he had visited her she was gently moving in the fizzing acid, face concealed by the mask he had worn on his head for so long.

Quirrel leaned into the glass and shut his eyes.

"Farewell Madame, I will be leaving now. I shall eternlly miss you forever more...." He whispered tears now streaking the tube.

 

"BOO!"

Quirrel jumped and turned around. Who was there? Who wanted to interupt his rather heartfelt goodbye to his closest friend?! Quirrel's blood boiled as he thought of such an inconsiderate bug. That was the kind of personality he hated so very-

 

"Behind you...."

 

Quirrel wirled around at these words and saw Monomon staring at him. He stared back in disbelief for quite a while before Monomon loudly tapped a tentacle on the glass.

"Quirrel are you just gonna stand there or are you going to help me out?" Monomon questioned accusingly.

"I-I sh-should pr-probabl-ly hel-help y-you." he stuttered in response.

"Yes you should" she replied amused.

 

Quirrel couldn't quite get his body to move though. His mind was still in absolute shock and his emotions were all over the place. There was only one thing he was certain of anymore- he was glad he came back. With a start he realised the angry princess had probably known that Monomon was awake and had tried to encourage him back here for that reason.

 

"Quirrel", Monomon spoke gently, "Are you ok?"

"This is real...." he breathed in response.

"Yes. I can see you with my own eyes after all these years. Truly how spectacular your adventures have been my student!"

Quirrel blinked, "You saw my travels Madame!?"

"Well of course, you carried my mask, you carried my very essence- my 'soul' if you will."

 

Quirrel wasn't so sure that this was a good thing... She must have seen him even in his worst times. All the igorance he gained upon losing his memories, all the grief memories brought back and all the anger at their loss. All for her to see.

But worst of all she would have seen him when he thought she was gone! All the pain that must have caused her to see him so torn apart!

 

Quirrel rushed to lever unlocking the tank to free Monomon at this realisation.

"Madame I-I am so very sorry" he cried wrapping his arms around her not worrying about the sizling of the acid still on her burning his carapace. He felt a tentacle wrap itself around him and new tears reach and mix with his own.

 

"I missed you so much Monomon! I always knew something was missing from me even without my memories but you were there with me all along weren't you" he sniffed after a while.

"Quirrel I knew what I was getting into when I chose this path. I knew what it would mean for you but I knew you could pull through. You're the bravest bug I know Quirrel and my best friend so don't forget that." She relied gently then as a tease," Like you forgot me!"

"Monomon!"

Monomon started trying to speak but was laughing so hard she couldn't.

 

Quirrel began to realise that he had no reason to be down and joined in on the infectious laughter. Echoes of joy spread through the kingdom leaving everyone with a brighter outlook.

 

               --------------------------------------------

 

Hornet was glad she managed to convince Quirrel to see The Teacher once again, she was sure his joy would more than account for his sorrow. She may have not found the elusive Weavers Den but she had helped out a bug in need and in a largly empty kingdom like Hallownest that was more important.

 

She began her trek back to the Distant Village with high spirits and childish smile like that silly grin her younger self used to make. Oh what a day this had been! This was a great reminder to the largly solitary Hornet- who had taught herself over the years of Hallownest's demise to avoid love- that truly family was everything.

 

She practically skipped towards her mother so overcome with joy now the real realisation of what was going on had sunk in.

"Any luck Mother?" She asked.

"Sorry daughter no..."

"Worry not Mother this simply gives us an excuse to do more together tommorow."

"That is the spirit I remember! What ever happened to you in these years!"

"I had to learn to survive Mother. I had no one for the longest time."

 

Herrah hadn't considered that at all.

"I'm very sorry Hornet this is all my fault if I had not left to dream then you wouldn't-"

"Be here. Mother you dreaming is the only reason I exist. I am grateful for the life you granted me."

"As am I for the joy you have brought me"

"Come on then lets sleep, it is getting late."

"I don't think I could possibly sleep a wink more Hornet!"

"Well then The Great Hornet shall have to force you to!" Hornet laughed mocking her young self.

 

Herrah joined in on the joke before the two set off to the largest house in the village still glowing with the faded light from the decorations all those years ago.

 

               -------------------------------------------

 

Scarlet was up and off at the crack of dawn the next day excited to return the favour to her caretaker. She could sense their excitement at leaving almost as if it was her own as she set towards The Abyss. It was a long trek across the palace grounds but it was made more bearable by her wings she used to elegantly glide forward lightly skimming the floor. When she arrived at the exit to the grounds she stopped and checked with Ghost that it was the right way.

"This is direction to go, correct?"

"Yep!" they whipered to her.

 

She eventually got herself past all those ridiculously large patches of spikes- and with a little guidance- to the entrance to The Abyss. There she saw a large gaping door and a glowing tablet.

 

"Higher beings, these words are for you alone."she read aloud, "Our pure Vessel has ascended. Beyond lies only the refuse and regret of its creation. We shall enter that place no longer."

 

Scarlet snickered at the silly king's words despite how serious they seemed. She was about to techniclly- as there was no new monarch to Hallownest- illegally enter a forbidden place. But did the little scarlet mistress care? Not in the slightest!

 

She stepped gracefully through the door and saw a small metal platform before a large drop into a seemingly endless chasm. What a charming place to live she thought sarcastically....

 

"So uh what's your plan to do here?" She asked the vessel resting in her head.

"Dunno was gonna ask a sibling." they replied.

 

Right what was she expecting-her caretaker never planned stuff they just rushed straight in. She stared at the cool grey walls stained with rippling smudges of darkness hoping that that would somehow, miraculously give her an idea.

 

After it became apparant that she would have to figure this out on her own, Scarlet spread her wings and swooped downards taking the plunge into the darkness below. 

 

This descent was quickly stopped by numerous spiked platforms being in the way. Scarlet huffed and began to carefully step and glide to safe spots. It was long, tedious and boring to do but really she didn't feel comfortable doing anything else.

 

Along the way the only other beings she saw were some shadow crawlers aimlessly wondering, some strange being that was gone down to the bottom as quickly as she saw them  and shades glumly staring down at their masks littering the walls a floor. Scarlet wished she knew how to help them as the light in their eyes seemed so dulled and sad but she hadn't a clue about the vessels or void. 

 

She felt Ghost shift uncomfortably in her head as their desire rescue them merged with her own. Feeling Ghost 'move' inside of her was so weird and caused Scarlet quite a large of discomfort. It felt like she had something loose like a piece of shell floating around her head but at least they couldn't read her thoughts or control her. Yet anyway....

 

She knew if they stayed there long enough then they would be abe to figure out how to this. Just another reason to help them as quick as possible Scarlet thought to herself.

 

She was brought out of her musings by Ghost yelling "Close! Close!" at her as she began to notice the bottom of The Abyss was in sight. 

"Yes Ghost I have eyes" she transmitted sarcastically to them. She felt them laughing at that.

 

When her feet landed with a haunting crunch on the main floor she reached into her powers as the ruler of the nightmre realm to project her words to all siblings remaining.

" Siblings please I am Scarlet. I require advice to help the one known as Ghost!" 

 

But none came. Where were they all?

 

                --------------------------------------------

 

They dragged each dark cracked foot in front of each other to keep moving. They shivered as a breeze blew on their worn down shell before continuing.

They didn't like the amount of spikes in their way currently but they had to keep going- the sea called them. It was a dark calming call of home and repeatedly rung gently around their injured head. It filled them with longing to return to it.

 

Through cracks, crevices and secret passages they traversed the dangerous lands until they too found themselves infront of the tablet. They could read it but their tired mind couldn't make sense of the words in the slightest. Everything around them was beginning to lose meaning. They weren't too far now though.

 

Once the edge of the chasm they used to call home was found they drew upon their long dormant soul reserves and charged down to the bottom. On the way down however they caught a glimpse of a strange creature diving on and around the aged platforms. The creature had a weirdly familiar sense but they brushed it off as their mind showing them what they wanted to feel. There were only vessels in The Abyss right?

 

Soon they found themselves stopping right among the masks of shades and masks of their siblings. They softly cooed, "home" and around them shades gathered and echoed it back.

 

"home"                                     

                                                         "home"

                        "home"

    "home"

 

                                            "home"

                                                             "home"

              "home"

 

"home"                           "home"     

 

                                                                  "home"

                     "home"

Chapter Text

Quirrel wondered through the great halls of The Archives carrying vials of acid writing looking for Monomon. He nearly jumped out of his shell when she found him.

"Quirrel, you should take a break. You've been working all day!" she complained.

"Ah! Madame I didn't see you there! But you see I only have this batch to finish today and then I'll-" Quirrel began only to be cut off by Monomon.

"And then you'll just start doing more! Quirrel I say this not as your boss but as your friend, sit down and take a break now!"

"But-"

"Have you even had lunch today?"

"Well erm...."

"Exactly! Look I'll come with you."

 

The pair walked off to Monomon's office, Quirrel dropping back off the vials along the way. Monomon then brought out one of her many glowing tentacles and unlocked the door. Quirrel was then promptly ushered in and sat down before he could complain futher,

 

In the centre of the room was a full but organised desk with stacks of vials and papers in piles across it. One of the walls was entirely covered in cupboards with several hanging open revealing their contents. On the far left there was a large tube of acid for Monomon to rest in. Quirrel was sat on a spare chair in a corner with a sandwich shoved in his hands.

 

"Oh Quirrel you won't believe this but they've tried to get me to make a talk in the city again!" Monomon laughed trying to start a conversation.

"Are you going to go this time?" Quirrel questioned.

"Of course not! They would have accepted my invitation to do school tours here by now if they really cared that much."

"I think they think its a safety hazard!"

"Safety hazard! How?"

"Well lets think, there's acid everywhere, there are dangrous creatures with explosive cores-"

"The oomas are passive!"

"And the charged lumaflies?"

"Uhhh..."

"And the large drops?"

"Now your just making stuff up! Besides I'm sure you'd make a great tour guide! You'll be the first I choose when they accept me!"

"Yeh right.... I'm not sure about that Madame, you know I'm not that sociable...."

"Maybe but they need bugs who work hard, understand and enjoy The Archive and you Quirrel are by far the most passionate and hard working bug here! You might even work a little too hard...."

"Well that's cause I love it here!"

"Thus proving my point! Besides, Why else would you be working here?"

"Well its certainly more interesting than being a guard! Only useful thing to come out of that was my nail skills!"

"Exactly why you're my favourite student!"

"Shhh! Madame! You can't ust say things like that, the others might hear!"

"Nonsense! Besides it doesn't matter if its true. And really Quirrel drop the formalities-we're just a couple of friends on lunch break right now!"

 

Quirrel stared at the half eaten sandwhich in his hands. He was the reason they were on lunch break in such a random point in the afternoon. He had dragged his friend out of her beloved work for this. He must be such a burden for Monomon! She kept having to come find him to check on him because he couldn't even remember to do basic things like eating lunch! She may have said it was no bother for a friend but she was still the boss of The Archives and he was still wasting her time! 

 

Monomon seemed to pick up on this change of mood as she quickly put in," Hey are you ok? Did I say something?"

"Oh uh yeh. Yes I'm fine." he mumbled.

"Quirrel," she leaned over to him," really?"

 

Quirrel avoided making eye contact and started stammering more bad, generic exuses. He couldn't burden her with even more of his silly problems! 

 

"You need not worry about my troubles ma-Monomon!" he finally let out.

"Ah so there is something wrong" Monomon sighed.

 

Quirrel mentally cursed him self for slipping up so badly before confessing," I just don't want to burden you with my dumb problems and habits..."

 

She blinked, "You think you're a burden?"

"Well yes! You're always having to constantly check I'm on track doing normal things like taking breaks! I just am silly enough to consistantly forget them!"

"Quirrel that's just what friends are for. Don't you dare think otherwise!" 

 

Liquid was now splashing to the floor. Oh no he had made her cry now! What a terrible friend he was!

"I'm sorry Madame I didn't mean-"

He was then pulled into a tight embrace.

 

            ------------------------------------------

 

Monomon watched Quirrel amused as he wondered around looking for cleaning supplies. She knew where they were but was finding it much too entertaining watching Quirrel try to get them herself. Something about the look of utter confusion or the little annoyed hums provided her with far to much joy.

 

Quirrel finally noticed Monomons strange behaviour when little snorts and giggles started to ecape her.

"Madame, what is possibly so funny?" he asked her.

"Oh Quirrel, its you! Have you seen that expression anywhere else? Its priceless!"

"That isn't gonna help us find the supplies though Madame."

"Oh yeh about that, they're in the second to bottom left drawer."

"YOU KNEW THE WHOLE TIME!"

"Well duh"

 

Quirrel groaned sending Monomon into a fit of laughter. Quirrel obviously had spent too much time on his own. Whatever would he have done if she hadn't woken up?

"Quirrel really I know I've told you before to stop calling me Madame, but now its ridiculous-there's only us to work at this building anymore!" she laughed airily.

"Well you know old habits stick" he replied stiffly.

"Jeez Quirrel lighten up a bit" she said smiling.

Quirrel decided to get his revenge.

"As you wish commander. What is my next order?" he said robotically.

"Quirrel! Its not as funny when you do it to me!"

 

This time it was Quirrel in a fit of laughter at Monomon echoing in The Archive. Monomon smiled again-it was good to see her student happy again. She had been rather worried for him just a short time ago.

 

After a good hour or so had been spent cleaning with only one room done Monomon thought of once again getting help. She wasn't really sure she was bothered to do the whole process  second time but they were never going to get it done on their own!

"Uh Quirrel I hate to say this but how do you feel about going out to find some help?" she qustioned distastefully.

 

The relief on Quirrels face was highly visible as e layed down his mop and replied, "I think that's a very good idead." The pair then packed back up the supplies making sure to return them to same drawer as before as to not lose them again.

 

With that the two left the green glow of the Archives to the bubbly warmth of Fog Canyon to set off on their quest to find help. How hard could it be Monomon thought to herself as they stepped into the new light......

 

              -----------------------------------------

 

Herrh had been right. After sleeping for so long she found it quite impossible to even sit still enough so she resorted to watching over and protecting her daughter. 

 

Even if she tried she couldn't have gotten a better child. Hornet was fearsome and stern on the outside as any monarch of Deepnest should be but warm and caring on the inside. Herrah was sure that this side of her personality hadn't been seen by many. From what she gathered most didn't even know Hornet's outer personality!

 

After a while Herrah set down to read her old writings fom before she fulfilled her duty as dreamer.

 

I mean this but if you don't know me then don't read the rest of this. Actually scratch that unless you're me or Hornet then I'll rip your head off if I find you near this.

 

It was that weirdo king's turn with my little Hornet today. I hope she doesnt find the fancy smancy palace to dull. Uhh everything is so bight there. Why am I the Queen of a land such as Deepnest writing such a thing? I thought I warned you off of reading this!!! What am I hoping will come out of this anyway? This is pointless. Well back on track, Hornet had her first birthday a week ago. She was so excited it was so precious. Everyone adores her and she seems to be able to conquer anyone round here! I'm planning on teaching her how to use silk soon. I assume she won't be able to produce it normally as she is not full spider but I'm hoping that she'll be able make it from that soul stuff the king keeps banging on about. I have no idea how to end this so future me, shut up your laughter. I know your laughing!!!

 

It was right though. Herrah was infact laughing at the atrocious quality of her past writings. The older spider glanced at Hornet again before settling down back to what she was doing before- she didn't want to wake the sleeping girl!

 

            -------------------------------------------------

 

Scarlet trudged through the gloom of the Abyss searching for even a hint of where the shades she'd seen on her way down could have got to. Her spirits just couldn't keep up though. Ghost tried unsucssessfully to cheer her up by reminding her of some of the silly times they'd had together.

"Thanks Ghost" she muttered sadly in response.

 

How was she going to help now if she couldn't even locate one shade? She sat down defeatedly and began to let scarlet tears leak out. It created a soft red glow reminding her of the tents she loved so dearly. Apparantly she wasn't the only one attacted to them though.

 

Almost as soon as the first tears hit the ground a whole swarm of shades came over carrying something. So apparently shades liked the colour scarlet or something it seemes.

 

"Sibling, sibling" they called and Scarlet realized they must be able to sense the void presence of Ghost inside of her. However she was still confused. 

"Ghost why can they talk? I was under the impression that your kind was mute." she questioned quietly.

"Ghost gave them voice as lord of Shades!" they replied happily.

 

It was then that the shades dropped off the weird thing that they were carrying. It turned out to be a live vessel in a very fragile condition. Scarlet reached down and stroke the shivering vessels mask.

"Hey Ghost why is this one so damaged?" she asked.

"Ghost fought broken one then helped them with regrets in dream. Ghost thought that they were gone!!!" they answered.

 

Scarlet studied them and payed close attention to their features. They had two white curving horns on the right side of their face and a large crack where a third should be on the left. Remnants of infection stained them and the back of their shell was cracked open revealing what seemed to be abnormally low levels of void. They were slightly hunched over and their cloak had adopted a limp but curved position because of this. A nail still hung on their bck but it was dulled and cracked. They were only slightly larger than Ghost had been but that was still enough to make them stand out-the only other vessel she knew about was The Hollow Knight.

 

Scarlet had been so sure they were on their last legs when she first saw them but looking at them now she could see them fighting to keep going.

"Do you have a name broken one?" she asked gently.

"Me not. Me just lost,"They replied quietly. Scarlet assumed they were dazed and didn't really know what was going on but she still decided that it would be a good name.

"Then Lost shall be your name!"

"Lost!" they repeated excitedly.

 

"So now that I've helped your friend," Scarlet winced as she said it as she hadn't really helped them just made them feel better, "will you help me?

"Help sibling friend!" a shade replied.

"Ok so I just need this answered, how does one put a shade back in its shell?"

The shades gathered to explain as a group.

"One, get mask." a shade made their head go big to immitate a mask.

"Two get soul." a different shade mimed striking another with an imaginary nail.

"Three focus soul on mask." an expression of concentration came across a shade's face.

"Four enjoy body." one said excitedly smiling and pretending they had a body. This was interupted by a glum looking shade speaking, "But shades can't store soul...."

 

Many shades began to glare at the glum one before as a group they all bowed expectantly.

"Thank you very much shades!" Scarlet told them before asking Ghost, "Do you know where your mask is?"

"Probably in void sea" they replied, "Or somewhere like that."

 

With a sigh Scarlet set off towards the void sea with a plan of how to complete her goal in her mind.

Chapter Text

'He could hear a shuffling of footsteps and the familiar sound of rain pounding on windows when he started to regain consciousness. Lurien removed his mask to rub his eye and stared ahead. He could see his poor butler still here but looking in a rather bad condition. He hadn't actually been expecting to wake up so Lurien supposed he should go see the king about it. But first, the bug shivering from injury in the corner. 

"Brett..."he murmed.

"Master! I am sorry what can I do for you!" He got up and tried to reach Lurien before falling from his injuries.

"This is not an order.... Please go find care for yourself. Do not worry for me. It is clear you have already been through much in my absense." He spoke softly. 

"If that is what you wish Master Lurien."

"Indeed I wish for you to have a future now."

"Thank you Master..."

"Come Brett, I'll take you somewhere myself."

 

Lurien set off carrying Brett down the long elevator ride with the impression of leaving him at The Pleasure House. He smiled at the resting form of his former butler in his hands. They had been quite the pair in his time-with them doing several activities such as painting together.

 

Once they arrived Lurien rushed to the hotspring upstairs and left Brett in the shallow waters. There were a few other unfamiliar bugs there and so with his normal calm tone he asked them to watch over his butler asleep in the pool with them. Some were in awe of meeting the fabled guardian of the city but all complied.

 

Soon he left the cluster of bugs to each other and left for the Ancient Basin. The King could explain what was going on he thought to himself as he found his way to the King's station. Along the way there were corpses littering the steets, faces streaked with water and empty eyes. The infection had hollowed them just as effectively as the void used by the king but consumed and controlled them. Once it left, only a dead husk could remain. Lurien was quite surprised Brett had survived as it was obvious from the types of injuries and stains upon his butler that he had been infected. Bugs had looked like that even way back in his time!

 

Once the tunnels to the stagways were in view Lurien rang the bell and then sat on the bench and waited. He was surprised when footsteps rumbled towards him almost instantly. The stags were usually so busy! How long had it been?

 

"Dare I ask but are you the Watcher I was told about in the nest?" the elderly stag tentatively questioned.

"I am. Please would you take me to the palace grounds station."

"Pardon!? I don't recognize the name of that one!"

"In the Basin by the palace!" Lurien pointed at the map in front of him.

"Ah that one goes by hidden station now but you got your point across still."

 

With the destination clear for his escort Lurien clambered aboard the stag and they were off for the Basin. The stagways themselves were as bland and plain as ever Lurien noted as the stag raced through the maze of tunnels. He allowed himself to recall past times riding the bugs as the familiar rush of breeze caught him.

 

Upon arrival, Lurien thanked the old stag and rushed off to the palace. No one could imagine his surprise and dismay when he saw what had become of the area.....

 

Only the crumbling gate to the once grand palace remained and the main body of it seemed to have simply disappeared into thin air! A collapsed kigsmould spilling void was left in front of it allowing the dark substance to seep down back to its source. Not only this but some kind of circus seemed to have had to the dignity to set up tents in the once sacred grounds. 

 

The Watcher rushed in and angrily yelled at the bugs inside, "WHAT IS GOING ON HERE! Why are you here?! I demand to see the fool who put this joke here on such special lands!"

 

The bugs exchanged looks of bewilderment before a smiling bug with an accordian replied, " We were sent here by an old friend of Mistress'!" She went off to The Abyss below! I suggest you ask her rather than yelling at us because sorry to disappoint you but we don't know or particularly care."

 

Lurien cursed and ran off towards the pit at the edge of the kingdom

 

          ---------------------------------------------

 

Quirrel stared at the vibrant plantlife around them as they entered Greenpath. The acid there wouldn't be a problem for either of them but he wasn't sure who they'd find there. The lush wilds were inhabited nearly solely by Unn's followers who didn't take to kindly to strangers.

 

The pair trekked throgh the the fields of moss creep only stopping to rest at a small hollow containing a bench. 

"Well we havn't seen a friendly face yet Quirrel!" Monomon laughed to her student.

"We just have to be patient and uh-" Quirrel began to unstick his foot from a strange sticky fluid, " wait.."

 

Quirrels gaze wondered to a trail of the strange substance. It smelt sweet and didn't quite fit in with the fresh, clean scents of Greenpath. Quirrel grabbed Monomon by the tentacle and edged across the trail until they found its source.

 

In a large cavern sat a large monstrous creature enjoying a jar of delicious hive honey. It had a 6 glowing eyes and a large collection of moss and foliage growing around its face. A single large claw was visible from underneath where the rest of its body was hiding. It looked terrifying!

 

Quirrel gulped, " hello there, we were just passing through and wondered if you knew any one wh-who would help as clean up The Archives?"

"Only bug I know is the little hunter with the white mask and blank gaze! Quite the fearless one!"

"Ah so you know the wonderer too?"

"Yes-they even completed my journel!"

"Seems they knew everyone then."

"Anyway thank for your help mister uh..."

"Hunter. I am The Hunter."

"Well we'll be off now Hunter. your advice was quite valuable!"

 

The pair walked off with one sighing quietly at their lack of progress.

 

          ----------------------------------------------

 

They stared at the comforting walls of The Abyss around them confused. The scarlet weilder hadn't healed them or secured their wounds yet they still felt better. There was a certain warmth in their chest quite distinct from the warmth of the infection in a calming way.

 

They, no Lost - the vessel had to remind themself that they had a name to use - sighed quietly. Was anyone was going to take their pain away? Each breath rattled their chest leaving them to notice their flaking shell; each movement sent pain in dark streaks up their carapace and even their mind itself was deliriously screaming - confused of what was going on and tainted by the lightseeds. It was agony for the poor vessel and only left them with a sad cold feeling in their chest.

 

That was why when a familiar soft voice spoke comfortingly to them they blindly allowed themself into the care and place of the other.

"Little vessel? Is it you? You remember me right - you saw me after my visits to the king!" the being in question asked in a soft but surprised voice.

This bug's name was on the tip of their tougue but they couldn;t quite grasp it ,"Lura- Luriy- Lurr--"

"Yes, Lurien." The bug said warmly in response.

 

They did remember him! He helped them get around the Basin in their youth, once they had only just escaped!

"Help Lost!" they voiced excitedly at their realisation.

"Where are you trying to get to then little one?"

"Nono me not lost, me is Lost."

"Sorry but you've lost me there."

"Me nam is Lost."

"A name! So you are called Lost! What is it that you need help with then?"

"Me not nee help. Lurien help Lost befor!"

" So you're referring to our old meetings?"

"Yes!"  

 

Lost regarded the bug -Lurien- joyfully and tried to extend a cracked hand. 

"Oh dear you're in even worse condition than I previously though little Lost! I just need to speak to a scarlet mistress, then I'll help you. Have you seen her?"

Lost pointed to the direction of the sea of void where the weird creature and sibling had left to.

"Thank you Lost, I will return to help you I promise!"

 

        -------------------------------------------------------

 

"Ghost is this your mask?" Scarlet asked for what felt like the one billionth time.

"Nope!" they informed yet again.

"What about-"

A new voice spoke to them, " are you the mistress of what's going on by the palace?"

"Do I answer?" Scarlet mentally transmited to them.

Ghost pondered this before studying the bug in question. It was Lurien! Their plan had worked! The dreamers were awake!

"Yes yes! Watcher friend!"

"If you say so..."

 

"I am but what is it to you?" She let out to them eventually.

"Well for starters I want to know what happened to the king and the palace but also when is it?"

"The king is dead Lurien. He payed for his crimes long ago but not before he and his palace vanished and they seemed to have hidden the cowards! But it has been only 20 years since your slumber started." Ghost's vessel replied.

"How did-do you know my name or when I went to sleep!? And what am I supposed to do now? My job was to make reports for the king!"

"Well you are free of that job now and lets just say my informant told me you would be here soon."

 

While that wasn't strictly true, Ghost was excited to be getting credit. Lurien didn't seem to have changed much from when Ghost had seen him sleeping. The long robes were edged with black from the void but that was about it other than the fact that he was actually awake!

 

"I guess I'll just head back to the vessel now.."

"Hold on a sec.. Ghost this one looks the same as I remember, is this it?" She asked them.

"My mask my mask!!!" They answered overexcited now.

"Well I guess you mean Lost Watcher and in which case I will be returning with you."

"What business would a higher up like you have down here anyway?"

"Lets just say I have a favour to fulfill for a very special vessel...."

 

With that the trio started to walk away from the sea of void one with mask in hand. One here was not even aware of the thirds presence yet they all wanted the same thing - to help a vessel.

Chapter Text

Lurien had just left his meeting fom The King and was tired. He loved helping the King but times were just so stressful at the moment. Her plague was spreading at an alarming rate and it was torture for Lurien to have to sit in his spire and watch citizins fall around him. To hear the echo of their cries, Don't hope to survive, we fall 3,4,5, lost to the urge, lives begin to merge, and be forbidden to do anything. They chanted that rhyme up his spire but how could he fight such a formless foe?

 

A clanking sound brought Lurien from his thoughts and he turned up to see an all too familiar vessel hanging over the edge of a pit of spikes. He wasn't sure how or when they escaped but the creature had been wondering around The Basin not daring to leave it for months. 

"You need some help?"he called up to them and in response they nodded as best they could.

"I'm going to try to teach you a spell. It originates from the city so I'm quite familiar with it. Try starting by finding the soul inside of you," a look of concentration covered the normally stoic demeanour of the vessel, "Then summon it to your fist."

The claw of the wanderer curled inwards and started to glow.

"That's it! Now just push off downwards towards me - don't fear the spikes you'll be invincible while peforming the spell!"

The vessel shut their eyes as best they could and took the leap of faith towards Lurien. Energy began to expel from their body as they successfully peformed desolate dive. The aged floor next to Lurien glowed brilliant white as they landed next to him finishing the move with a graceful rise. They then eagerly rushed to The Watcher and sat down at his feet.

 

Lurien reached out a hand a petted the vessel gently on their head smiling underneath his mask. He had grown quite attatched to the poor thing in recent times so was very reluctant to report it to The King. They were quite lucky to be forgotten in Lurien's head when they were first seen though, as without that bond Lurien would have told his monarch immediately through his blind devotion and loyalty. He still trusted The King but did not agree with the plan of the vessels. He knew however that he was quite reliant on The King for what was going on and would be a rather hopeless guardian without him.

 

"How do you end up in such dangerous situations young one?" he asked gently.

To reply the mysterious creature simply shrugged. 

"Well you know you can always trust me to help you out when I'm around!" he laughed. 

 

That reminded him, he had brought a gift for this very being! 

"Here you go little one, this is a gift." he told them.

They stared at the pretty wrapping unsure of what to do before reaching into their cloak and producing a small amount of geo.

"No small one a gift is for free, to show appreciation to another! You just take off the paper around it and an item is contained inside. I don't need repayment for it!"

 

They grabbed their nail and cermoniously tore the paper to release the contents. Lurien couldn't resist a laugh at that! They then pulled out the gift- some silvery strands mothwing to attatch to their cloak. They looked questioningly at The Watcher and Lurien knew exactly what they meant.

 

"You use it on top of your cloak to dash! It should help you get out of these situations easier! Look I'll help you put it on." he softly spoke to them.

He then reached out and threaded the strands into the intricate weavings of the cloak. When it was done the vessel ran around desperate to try it. 

 

After several minutes of dashing around they came up to Lurien and gently pat him on the head.

 

               ——————————————————————————————-               

 

Upon the return of Lurien, lost looked up and reached out to him. The cloaked bug offered a hand back and picked up the vessel. Lost thought that they could see remorse and regret in his eye and snuggled up to the comforting warmth.

"You're much too light..." he murmured.

"Lurien help Lost though." they whispered.

 

Lost could hear Lurien talking to other shades but yet again their brain refused to make sense of the words. They seemed to be having quite an important conversation that Lost wanted to be part of.

"Me join!" they said sleepily.

"Little Lost you are already apart of it. Do not panic now though but I'm going to start the climb out." he stated firmly.

"But home!"

"We're not leaving The Abyss okay Lost?"

"ok"

 

Lost wasn't sure how far up they were when Lurien landed on a glowing blue platform and brought out a vial full of the same glowing blue goop. There was a small elevated platform surrounded by vines producing leaves the colour of the goop and several empty leaf looking things on a vine above an ancient door that was jammed shut. Lost wasn't sure what good being on this small platform would do or even what they were doing but they trusted Lurien.

 

The Watcher unscrewed the top off of the cylinder and thrust the contents onto the platform. It seeped downwards into and through the vine like void entering a being and started to light up the empty leaves. Not all of them were filled however and Lurien fumbled around for more goop. He produced two more vials and dumped them to on the raised area.

 

Once all of the weird substaced had drained away into the vine and all leaves glowed a soft blue, the ground beagan to rumble as the door shifted and started to part from the ground. Lurien entered without hesitation when the path had been fully opened.

 

He went through a maze of sorts made of the hated spikes. Lost silently growled at them and gave them the death stare as they remembered the trouble with them on their way to The Abyss. The Watcher was unfazed however and continued to hastily walk through. Lost knew they had reached the end of the dreaded spikes when a room alight with butterfly like plants and several large cocoons was reached.

 

There was a large plinth in the centre of the room with some kind of glowing object. Guarding the thing however was one of the largest cratures Lost had ever seen. Only its large head was visible but that was towering enough. There were sixteen bright pale eyes glowing that blue again upon a dark head. At once all sixteen eyes snapped to the arrival in the room and the creature slowly turned its head.

 

"Lifeblood guardian I mean you or your subjects no harm, I just wish for this vessel to be healed!"

Lost was then placed on the plinth next to the object which they could now indentify as a charm. The thing lowered itself so its head was level with Lost's and spoke gently in their mind.

"Do not fear small one, me and my subjects would never hurt one like you. I can make you an offer. I can bless you with lifeblood linking you to us and imbueing you with my power. Then we could see the outside world without being targeted, you could live a healthy life for as long as you want and no longer would you have to be hurt by the creatures in the first place. Do you accept?"

"Yes!"

"Ok little one I will begin the process when you are ready."

"Do you have name?"

The being blinked and looked confused at the vessel.

"A name?"

"Yes like me Lost!"

"Higher beings don't have names... We have only titles. How nice it must be to have a name..."

"Lost call you.... Love"

The guardian smiled.

"Because I love you for helping me!"

"Thank you little Lost are you ready now though?"

"Me ready"

 

With that Love started pouring energy and lifeblood into Lost and they began to glow. Lost lost consciousness.

 

             ----------------------------------------------

 

When they awoke once more they felt physically amazing! Their shell was no longer cracked and flaky but smooth and slightly blue tinted. A thick, blue, slightly translucent coating fixed the missing parts of them such as their horn. The biggest difference was the pair of beautiful wings on their back. They looked like a large version of the heads of the plants around them and were also slightly translucent. 

 

A claw came up and placed the charm they had seen earlier on them like a cloak pin and a vine curled round from their wings to reach and connect with it. For the first time since their death in the darkness Lost felt alive.

 

They turned to Lurien who was gushing praises at Love and spoke to him, "Thank you friend!" They gasped, their voice sounded normal!

The guardian behind them spoke through their now solid connection, "I am glad you had such a thoughtful companion to look out for you small one!"

"Me to!" they told them back.

 

They had a sudden thought and wanted to fulfill it badly.

"Me gonna go show sibllings!" Lost paused and guilty followed with, "If that's ok..."

The other beings in the room turned to one another and smiled at the lifeblood vessel.

"Ok" they spoke in unison.

 

Both had the exact same desire for Lost's happiness and so felt both felt at peace when Lurien and Lost left the room, the vessel buzzing excitedly.

 

             ---------------------------------------------------

 

Ghost smiled as Scarlet rushed along with Lurien back to Lost with their mask in hand and wished they could wave as the vessel and dreamer left on a mission. The shades hung around moping but eager to watch.

"So Ghost you're gonna need to leave my body and make a void one."

Ghost sighed and let their spirit drift away from Scarlet into the void. They rose out as a blob of void and it looked like a creature even though it was just them controlling part of the void. It was a bit of a strange form with horn like protrusions sticking out in odd places and their eight eyes blinking on a face that looked like someone had splatted void on paper.

 

Scarlet set out the mask and started to focus whatever soul she could find on it.

"Ghost", she whispered clearly strained, " take hold of it!"

Ghost reached an ethereal hand out and started to pour the blob into the mask. It began to churn and bubble, forming a figure behind the mask and Ghost felt the consciousness drag to the mask. Sight had left them as their spirit was torn between two bodies before they felt the feeling of a solid shell around them and sighed in release.

 

They stretched and looked out to their siblings  glaring in their direction some in pride some in annoyance.

"What are you looking at me like that for? I gave you the ability to manifest and speak!"

They continued to stare at Ghost with a mixture of doubt and jelousy. Ghost opened the other eyes they had obtained -so eight glowing eyes were visible- and shut half of them winking.

Ghost could of sworn they saw an eye roll from one of the swarm.

 

They turned to Scarlet who was huddled tiredly on the floor and rushed over. They opened their arms and wrapped them round their companion.

"Thank you..." they whispered.

"The job isn't done yet. Y-you know that.." she murmured back before fainting. 

She must have used a lot of energy to help them! Well now Ghost was gonna help her restore their siblings! Well those who wanted to be... They didn't have a clue how but they were a bit of a do then think bug. They sighed and set Scarlet gently down before running over to the shades of their siblings and forming a group hug. 

"Me help you now!" they told them as the group recalled their past bond together before the doors to The Abyss was first opened by the wyrm.

 

Never would the family be alone again. Times were different now.

Chapter Text

It took approximately 5 seconds of hug before Ghost ran off to find Hollow. Their desire to save their sibling was as strong as their will, It brought them here, motivated them here and overcame the challenges here. Now they could see the vessel in question and meet for the first time since the day of the choosing in person. Ghost was thrilled.

 

They could still summon and control void and so used it to make climbing to the top of the pit a cake walk. They metaphorically stuck a tongue out at their siblings below as they rushed off to find their other struggling sibling. They continued at this pace all the way to the hidden station.

 

Once there, they continued to ring the bell over and over again impatiently. They glared daggers at the stag when he arrived and informed him of their destination of the Crossroads. They kept up the glare until they had set off in a fast stride towards their sibling.

"What has you so roudy today, little one?" the stag called while running.

"Got to help sibling!"they called back.

 

The stag visibly flinched in shock and began to mumble unintelligibly at the revelation that the wanderer could talk.

"You-you can ta-talk small one!?" he finally stuttered.

"Couldn't before, can now."

"Is t-there any reason for this sudden change?"

"yes."

Ghost did their winking thing before continuing, "Me beat radiance and got more power over void. help me and siblings talk."

The stag skidded to a halt at the crossroads station and Ghost clambered off silently and dashing off to the temple of the black egg.

 

The sight of deformed corpses twisted by the infection was inescapble in this area due to which the extent of how bad the plague hit the area. Husks of all variety were shrivelled up in a corner with drops of orange liquid still settling on them. Their eyes looked emptier than even the vessels due to lack of life and it was chilling. Aspid masks were littered and wedged in rocks, peices of gruzzers who had burst painted the walls and vengefly mandibles were impaled in a multitude of different surfaces. It wasn't enough to slow down Ghost though, they could keep up a stoic and passiveness all day!

 

Or so they thought.

 

This all came to a skidding halt when a very familiar bug carrying a cracked mining axe and a broken head lamp came wandering round the corner looking dazed and quietly humming to themselves. 

"MYLA!" Ghost yelled and ran to give them a nice big hug.

"Please light stop I can't take anymore.."

Myla thought she was still infected! Well Ghost could fix that.

"No more infection. You safe -light gone." they told her.

"Little wanderer! what happened to me!? I didn't hurt you while I was like that did I?"

Ghost shook their head as to not overwhelm the struggling bug.

 

It was clear that infection had reached Myla but she was in no where near as bad condition as the dead husks. There were little cuts and blots in many places but otherwise she was fine. The biggest affect of the Radiance seemed to be mentally. 

 

"Don't worry friend Myla! Ghost help you!" Ghost told her, "Come see sibling with me!"

"Oh y-you have a sibling! O-ok I'll come meet them with you!" she replied.

 

Ghost grabbed Myla's hand and rushed back off with her to their destination. They lead her up and past both entrance to the mines and ran towards the ancient structure of the temple as they approached it.

"Woah t-this is incredible -uh I don't think I e-ever caught y-your name." Myla stuttered just before they entered.

"Its ok friend Myla my name Ghost!"

"This is i-incredible Ghost!"

Ghost knew it was going to get even more incredible once they entered though....

 

They remembered first meeting Quirrel here and liking him. They stood where they remembered he stood and immitated the pillbug.

"Uh G-ghost what are you doing?" Myla wondered out loud.

"Don't worry was just messing around."

They took a deep breath before wandering through the gaping hole where a sealed door used to be with Myla.

"Hollow! Sibling! Me Ghost!" they called down the long corridor watching as their voice lit up the various seals on the walls and floor. After no reply came Ghost began to get worried and rushed to the room and the end of the path. 

 

There on the floor lay some empty chains and several drops of void. Hollow was already gone.....

 

              ----------------------------------------------

 

Quirrel groaned as he was dragged into the dull colours of The Crossroads. The last of the bright foliage  left his peripheral vision as Monomon began to ramble about her experience of the area. 

"You know Quirrel once I ran into Herrah here! Don't know what in the name of Wyrm she was doing so far from Deepnest but we had quite the conversation! Did you ever meet-" she began.

"Shh Monomon! can you hear that!"

 

The pair stood quietly hidden round a corner listening. The sound of rattling metal and wheezing breaths reached them and the two exchanged concerned glances.

"Who could possibly be wondering around right now!?" Quirrel whispered to his companion.

"Well I'm going to find out! They don't sound like they're in the best of condition to hurt us!"

With that Monomon charged forward, one of her

tentacles wrapped around Quirrel- forcing him to come with her.

 

As they got closer to the mysterious individual, a thudding of a metal object hitting the floor consistantly and rhythmically. A large shadow began to loom over them towering on the walls. The being seemed to have two large horns with three prongs, long thin legs and trailing chains likely creating the rattling sound. The creature seemed to get bigger and bigger and it rather intimidated Quirrel.They were rapidly getting closer and the walls began to seem like they were closing in on him leaving him with the being in full view trapped-

 

"help"

 

The supposedly terrifying creature looked a lot less terrifying up close- in fact they were actually rather cute! They had expressionless black eyes and a shining white mask with a large crack running down to their eye. Their back was hunched over with their cloak tattered and dull hanging loose. The thudding and rattling had come from chains wrapped around a fragile shell and a long nail being used to walk steady. They were clearly a vessel. But not just any vessel, the vessel- The Hollow Knight.

 

Quirrel rushed to the vessel's side and began to stroke their face. In response they cooed gently and leaned in to the affection.

"Madame! Do we have any medical supplies?" he demanded.

"Of course Quirrel I wouldn't leave the Archives without some! I'll bring them over." Monomon fished out a green pouch from her bag and hurried over. 

 

A bandage was taken out and rolled round the crack which was now leaking a black substance. They were then st down with each individual at a side. 

"The little wanderer could heal themselves!" Quirrel figured out loud.

"Ah then can you that to?"

"Teacher mean focus?"

"If that's what you call the healing move!"

"Need soul...."

"How can we give them that Quirrel?"

"Well..." he began.

 

He knew that vessels could draw soul from other beings and he also knew that he himself had lots of soul due to his ability to briefly utilise it for small tricks.

"They can strike me with their nail." he told the other two.

"What!" Monomon cried out.

"They can draw soul from me by inflicting damage"

"But then you'll be injured too! How will that help!?"

"I'll be less injured than them now!"

 

The Hollow Knight got up and raised their nail, poised to strike. A look of sorrow and guilt came across the supposedly expressionless eyes as they whispered in a hoarse, dry voice, "sorry" before striking. A large gash was opened on Quirrel's leg and he had to refrain from screaming by biting down and locking his jaw. It would be rude to give permission to do something then complain about it!

 

Monomon saw his expression and couldn't resist fussing as she applied another bandage, "Quirrel, are you ok?"

"I'll be fine! You can stop worrying." he said even though pain was concealed in each breath.

Quirrel really didn't want his close friend or their new companion to worry, so instead he watched as a white light began to glow around the vessel and most of their wounds began to seal with flashes of light.

"All better now?" he asked them.

They nodded and stared at Quirrel solemnly,

"Thank you..."

"As long as it helped you." he grinned wincing as he tried to move his bad leg.

 

"Who's in for going back to the Archives?" Monomon asked.

"Maybe by stagways." Quirrel added.

"Go with friends." Hollow added.

With that Monomon picked up Quirrel as he squirmed annoyed, and left with The Hollow Knight following closely. 

 

           -----------------------------------------------

 

Hornet gasped at the sight before her. Here, behind a hidden wall, in the elusive Weavers Den, was a weaver. A live weaver. All of the weavers had supposedly left the kingdom or become infected! Yet right in front of her was a weaver with a gleaming white shell, 6 curious eyes and 8 strong but thin legs.

"Mother..."

"Hornet"

"There are some left!"

 

Hornet watched her mother turn to the other being and speak to them gently, "Do you have a name?"

"Yes my queen! I am Aisha. I was left here to call my kin back when the kingdom has awoken."

"Well you can them back now. Deepnest needs to reform!" 

"Ok my queen but I warn it will take some time for them to arrive!"

"That will be fine! Thank you!"

 

Hornet began to wander off to leave her mother and Aisha to talk of politics and other stuff that bored her. The den itself was heavily fortified and was clearly meant to last. Large staues of ancient bugs hung from the ceiling and decorations made of silk hung everywhere. She eventually found some strange writings. It was written on silk parchment in an ancient writing of spiders. Hornet couldn't remember learning the symbols but she could read them.

 

We are leaving these cursed lands now. The infection has begun to claim our young and we must leave with the remaining. Aisha is to be left behind to call us back if necessary. Ciela has begun to prepare the defences around the den and it should be ready for our depature in 2-3 weeks. Really it would be ideal if our great queen was here to guide us but her gift to the nest will stay in our hearts for ever. Little Hornet is to be sent to Vespa now that her care cannot be futher entrusted to us. This kingdom is hers and some day she may need to step up to control it. It may be against the philosophies but we no longer have a choice- the nest has fallen. 

 

Hornet smiled recalling the short time she'd had with vespa before the hive queen had to send send her away as well. She had survived though. 

 

Ahead in the corridor ahead was a door with a glowing symbol upon it. Hornet ran to it, a strange sense of familiarity stirring within her. The symbol became no more recognizable when close but the door opened without resistance. Inside was a seal of binding covering a soft glow on a silk bed. The seal broke at her touch and dissipated into bright soul particles that she absorbed into herself. The glow was coming from a strange charm on the bed. It was a brilliant white with 6 eye like dots akin to the weavers.

 

When she put it on her head was filled with a fuzzy warmth as her vision clouded. Her mind was recalling. The last thing she felt was silk curling into shape setting her down on the bed. 

 

        --------------------------------------------------

 

"Scarlet" a voice spoke.

"Scarlet" they repeated

"Scarlet, wake up!" 

 

Her eyes winced before blinking slowly open to the sight of Lurien, Lost and several shades. They were still in The Abyss and the ring of silence in her head made her painfully aware of Ghost's absence.

"How long was I out?" Scarlet groaned.

Lurien blinked, "Only about 30 minutes."

"What happened to Lost?!?"

"Love fixed me." they informed her.

"Love?"

"The lifeblood guardian!"

"Well lets get cracking on a plan."

 

Scarlet knew it would be harder without Ghost but they had clearly wondered off somewhere else. She, Lost and Lurien could all manipulate soul and it was just whether they could do so many. However she was aware that Ghost's position as the lord of shades made it harder for the method to work for them.

 

"You'll all need to find your masks." she started to the shades, "And you two can start storing and gaining soul with me." 

"what if we want to stay here and like this?" a shade mumbled from the back.

"Then help the others!"

The shades dispersed around from Scarlet into the darkness of The Abyss.

 

"So how do you plan on having enough soul?" Lurien asked.

"Lost can make more efficient wth lifeblood!" Lost cut in.

"Like that! And also I can tap into the power of the nightmare heart. Lurien you just do what you can." Scarlet answered.

 

When the shades returned, they lined up with masks ready. Lost, Lurien and Scarlet stood opposite them preparing. Scarlet sent her wings deep into the ground and focused, she drew upon the power of nightmare and directed and chanelled it at the shades and masks. She could see the other two doing something similar in their own way. 

 

The forms of shades began to flicker and fade as a translucent black gas began to float towards the masks. The black within their eyehoes began to fill with life as the new vessels rose up together, ready for their new life.

Chapter Text

Thorn stumbled through the caverns of Deepnest, their needle at the ready. They were quietly wandering, minding their own business when they spotted two other vessels! One had two pairs of curling horns -one curling up, one curling down- and a large set of scizzors and the other with plain symmetrical horns. They decided to try to meet up with them.

 

Through the winding caverns they went- there were many tight passageways that seemed to be close to collapsing in on themselves- and past the natural predators of the area, quietened likely due to the sickness spreading through the lands. The pairs pace was quick but it wasn't too much of a challenge to catch up to.

 

Once they were approaching, Thorn began to jump up and down to gain attention. The curly horned one on the left turned and began to come to them but the plain one stopped them and gestured to continue. The pair then set back off but they weren't about to give up that easily. They followed the duo through the tunnels and into a long thin corridor with a large opening at the end.

 

Once in the opening, Thorn began to feel rather unsettled - corpses were strung all around and strange noises were coming out of the plain vessel..... Then there was a large snapping sound that echoed through out the ancient chamber to Thorn and confused them. The only beings in here were vessels and vessels couldn't make that sound. It sounded like a carapace snapping in half but vessels were made of the gooey changeable void! They turned to the plain vessel in time to see their head turn on a dangerous looking angle.

 

A blob of infection began to form under the creature before a thick, black appendage shot out to connect the now severed head to the 'body'. Six ugly legs protruded outwards beginning to bend and extend outwards like a spiders. Then two extra limbs came out in front like arms but pointed at the end while a point crawled out of the back like a stinger. The head then turned and looked menacingly at the curly horned vessel.

 

It reared up on its hind legs obviously preparing to attack when Thorn shot themselves in front of the other vessel to protect them. They were expecting a physical attack perhaps like a ram but got a blazing orange goop fired at them. It sunk into their eye and at once a searing heat began to fill them painfully while a voice split through their head, "WELL WELL WELL LITTLE WYRM SPAWN. GUESS I HAVE A VESSEL TO USE NOW. ITS NOT LIKE YOU'RE WANTED BACK HOME!"

Their lack of voice never hurt so much....

"NO VOICE TO CRY SUFFERING NOW WYRM! HAH!" 

 

They ignored her control and began to limp over to curly horns. The creature was now lurking in the shadows smiling smugly. Something was in their claws and one of the strings was empty but what was it? The other real vessel was shuffling away from them and it was then that they noticed the infection dripping off of them. They stared at their reflection, seeing blots of orange upon their shell and glowing swirls in their eyes and it scared them. Panic began to swell in them as they saw themself and the other vessel's fear. They tried to approach but began to accidently burn the other vessel to unconsciousness. Orange tears began to flow onto them and were absorbed by the curly horned vessel much like the attack by them.

 

They saw the blots begin to form on the other vessel and started to weap even more. There was now a searing spot on their forhead making their vision fuzzy but for some reason expanded. Their only hope now was the Abyss. They grabbed the other vessel to drag them to safety.

 

They turned back on their way out and saw a shell of a fellow vessel set in the creatures claws. The sound of her laugh haunted down their trek.....

 

           --------------------------------------------------

 

"G-ghost!" Myla called  as the vessel in question ran back down the corridor, "W-wait for me!"

She began to chase after the small vessel, struggling to keep up. She eventually just gave up and curled up on the floor of the crossroads. That was the point where Ghost turned around and went back for Myla. 

 

They extended a tentacle of void and used it to carry her so she could stay with them. 

"Ahhh!" Myla cried as the cold touch of the void reached her. 

"Sorry friend... got to find sibling" Ghost told her.

She began to get used to it and relaxed. This calm sense let her be more observant and so she  started to notice the trail of void that they were following to find Ghost's sibling. That meant she also noticed when the drops got bigger.

"Ghost a-are we close?" she asked.

"Yes but shhhh. I think someone took them. hear talking Myla?" They replied.

Myla focused and she could hear talking. She raised her pick axe and readied herself.

"I'm ready to help!"

 

The pair hurled round towards the supposed kidnappers both with weapons raised. 

"Madame look out!"

The pillbug attempted to raise a nail to block Ghost but was clearly injured. However to her surprise they stopped just off the weird jellyfish creature and pillbug.

"Quirrel!?" they asked.

"Small wanderer!?" he asked back.

"Ghost now."

"So uh why were you and your friend attacking me and Monomon."

"I'm Myla!" Myla interupted.

"Thought you kidnapped Hollow!"

"Oh no we were helping them! Thats why Quirrel's leg is hurt!" Monomon answered.

 

Ghost ran up to Hollow and wrapped their arms around them. The older vessel crouched down and wrapped their single arm around Ghost rubbing their masks together. Myla smiled and ran to join in, snuggling in to them. Hollow looked up and chirped at her, "Hello!".

Ghost started to talk to Hollow, "Like friend Myla?"

"Like friend Myla!!!"

"Yay!"

 

"Ehem," Quirrel started, "Would you two like to help us clean The Archives?"

"Well probably supposed to see siblings in Abyss buuuuuut me not care! Me help friend Quirrel!" Ghost replied.

"Me to!" Myla agreed.

"Thank you friends but may I ask small wa-Ghost, could you always talk? That stoic quietness was one of the things I thought was a part of you!?"

"Couldn't before, can now. Can't be bothered to explain again."

"Ah then don't worry about it my friend!"

 

"Well shall we start on our way then?" Monomon said briskly.

"Ok." Myla grinned.

The new group of five that had increased from the old trio once again set off to the Archives.

 

        ------------------------------------------------------

 

The vessel opened their eyes for the first time in an age. They got up to look at their surroundings and promptly fell over. They had forgtten how clumsy they were - that was why they had been named Misfortune by the siblings. Around them there were the rest of the vessels that hadn't wandered off to live down in The Abyss. They- no she- saw twelve other vessels still there. Each was unique but some still sustained previous damage to their masks.

 

Nearest her on either side was a small vessel with several horns pointing in many directions, a pink collar and no weapon -they were looking nervously around- and an average sized vessel with one short horn, a second long curved horn like a wave, a mouth like crack and a spikey collar.

"Hi I'm Misfortune!" she greeted them.

"Oh I'm Lili...." the short one spoke.

"Toothy!" the other grinned.

"Hey its ok now" she told Lili as she threw a cloud of glitter on them. Glitter always made everything better! The small vessel however seemed to disagree as they flinched and curled in themself.

 

Three figures stood in front of the line of the vessels each looking tired. She walked up to the one that was seemingly a vessel covered in a blue substance and asked, "Can we introduce ourselves?" 

"I'll check Misfortune!" they replied. 

That excited her. It was the vessel that went missing - they remembered her! She was so excited that she tripped over and face planted.

"Scarlet is gonna get everyone to do that now!"

"Thank you!" she said even though her voice was muffled in the ground.

 

"Vessels! Upon request, we are going to do introductions so you can get to know or remember each other." she projected.

 

They started up the end of the group with a vessel with 2 pairs of horns that were swirling round up and down that was looking around curiously, " I'm Quiz". Then it went on to a pair giggling to each other. Both had 4 horns while one's were curved in an x shape, "Fizz!" and the other had two shot straight up and two short ones on a one eighty degree angle, "Eve!". They then both high fived and laughed. After that was a short vessel in a too long cloak and and a single pointy horn on their right, "Me Tweet!" Quiz then tutted and took hold of Tweet's hand to stop them from tripping on their cloak.

 

Along the line were two vessels in extremely bad conditions with large gaping holes in their masks. The first had a large pair of scizzors and horns similar to Quizes but not quite as curled round. Their collar was fluffy and their eyes alert. "I'm Rim" they muttered quietly. The other had three eyes with two in normal places and a third on their forehead, a swirling collar, a needle and coil of silk, patched up holes in their mask and cloak and six horns going up and down their face. The two at the top were slightly curved while the middle pair looked like fish fins and the bottom dolphin fins. "Call me Thorn" they said trying to sound bright.

 

Next down was a larger vessel covered in bandages. They seemed older and were keeping themself close as if they were wary of the others. They had symmetrical horns similar to Ghost that were pronged evenly on the end. They were weilding a sickle of soughts that glowed ominously. Their cloak was tattered but covered by a red overcoat. They said in a raspy voice, "My name is Est. I'm not the same as the rest of you."

"How?" Toothy piped up curiously and Quiz looked inquisitively over.

"I was made to be a spawner of soughts to relieve his lady of her burden. I was made of a mask and void but I was a failure. He never tried again."

The vessels hung their head down in sorrow.

 

Futher down was a vessel with a sort of crown of horns. They had only six but from the front it looked like a crown. The centre most stook up diagonally while the middle ones curved upwards and the bottom a miniture version of the middle. They wore a plain green cloak and had a small nail in a sheeth.  They were looking around holding a flower. "Hi I'm Verde!" they spoke to the vessels.

 

Then there was a vessel with a single, large, curving horn on their forhead tugging on the cloak of another vessel with a blank stoic expression upon their face. This vessel had four large horns- the front were a c shaped curve and the back were a very large slight curve that split off into two prongs. Their cloak was long and had a curling collar. They bore no obvious weapon but seemed dangerous never the less. Misfortune decided to stay away from the vessel as they seemed cold and not very sociable. The vessel tugging on the cloak stopped once the second's attention was gained and spoke, "I'm Wanda." The second then sighed a whispered, "I don't have a name.."

The cloaked bug at the front then spoke up for the first time, "Then we shall give you one to!"

"Had about Shadow! You're certainly hiding in the shadow their!" the scarlet bug spoke.

"ok...." they replied quietly.

 

The only vessels remaining now were Toothy, Lili and Misfortune herself. 

"Hi there I'm Toothy!" Toothy said excitedly. 

"'I'm Misfortune!" Misfortune said happily.

"Lili..." Lili mumbled.

Lili was so nervous! It was gonna be ok though! She went over to tell Lili that but tripped over and nearly fell into them. Luckily Lili shreiked and got out of the way just in time.

"Sorry!" she said bashfully but brightly.

 

She looked over at the scarlet bug and saw her sigh, "We're going to have our hands full here....."

Chapter Text

Hornet found herself in a strange new location surrounded by hushed but excited voices. She looked at her hands and found them to be much smaller than she'd thought. She reached up and grabbed her face finding that to was much too small. She then realised soon that she was wearing a pretty red dress that hadn't fitted her for years! She tried to get up but couldn't. Her body wouldn't obey her! Yet underneath it all their was a sense of familiarity. Hornet realised why when a certain figure burst through the door revealing to her that this was a memory showing itself in a dream of sorts. All she could do was let it play out.

"Hornet!" her best friend Spider shot in. She then excitedly approached the young princess and took her hand to lead her out.

Ahh yes Hornet remembered Spider now. Her name wasn't that original based on the fact that she was a weaver but her father had believed that she would one day do something of great importance to the tribe.

"I've found the most amazing thing!" the young weaver continued. The half spider was then lead to a large chamber that she was very familiar with.
"We come here every day Spider, why is it so special now?" her past self asked.

The feeling of her mouth moving on its own wasn't comfortable but the moment was very investing so Hornet put up with it.

"Well follow me and copy what I do" Spider spoke. She then shot upwards using silk to swing around the large, ancient chandelier of a trilobite. Hornet followed creating and her own strands of silk from soul. Spider began to do some quite precise moves into the centre of the the decoration and soon disappeared into its concealed midpoint. Hornet copied her but braced for the worst when she hit the hidden part.

Soon the pair found themselves in a small hidden croom inside of the decoration. It was completely empty and covered in dust having been clearly forgotten about. Spider then brung out her lumafly buddy Luna and her hung her up in a lantern for some light.
"I thought this could be our secret meeting place or something. Watcha think? You like it? I mean it could do with some redecoration but I rea-"
"No, its amazing!" Hornet said in awe of this secret area that no one had found at all hidden away right beside her room for when she stayed with the weavers.
"Phew!" Spider sighed.
Hornet stuck out hand to Spider and started to speak, "Do you solemnly swear upon your supply of jelly grubs, that this stays our secret?"
The young weaver laughed before sticking her hand out to, "I solemnly swear upon my gummies to secrecy Hornet!"
"Then let secret meeting number one commence!"

Hornet smiled as the memory of such a happy time began to fade as reality washed in.

The girl now found herself upon the bed from the memory but for real. It was familiar because it was hers. This was her room!

Soon her attention turned to the charm that caused the memory. It seemed to have summoned three weavers made of silk as the shape of a trio of spiders could be made out below the bed. They began to scamper up to her not long after her awakening. She could see them more clearly now and was certain that they were weavers in some capacity.

Three shining white heads each with six inky black eyes bobbed along long dark legs smiling at her. She hesitantly reached down and pet one of them, unsure of their response. The weaver in question however leaned into the touch happily and Hornet felt her doubts melt away. Then she made sure the charm was secure before leaping off to find the chandelier. Like intended the mini weavers followed her.

Once at the beautiful monument of the trilobite, Hornet began the series of moves she needed to peform and let her body take over. It was like magic feeling the familiar routine now- it created a dream like sense of an elegant dance and Hornet felt safe doing it. The darkness at the centre no longer scared her as she descended into it. Dust scattered and set like real snow (Hornet had heard that it was a phenomenon on the surface) around her and a light blinked on. Luna was still there upon a bookcase full of journals the best friends had used. Photos of their past friendship were plastered all over the walls but catching her eye was yet another note.

Hornet, I know you'll find this one day. We have to leave and I am going to miss you soooooo much. I'm not even gonna be able to say bye cause you're off with Vespa. But listen you need to show Luna the charm I left in your room. She'll be able to find Aisha who can summon us back if it's safe! Stay safe, I miss you already- Spider.

Hornet looked up and Luna and sighed- the weavers had already been summoned. "Oh Luna, it has been a while hasn't it" she spoke as the hatch on the top of the lantern was opened releasing the lumafly. She flickered her light on and off in the way lumaflies communicate before settling down on Hornet's shoulder. The half spider then took off to out of the hidden room and back off to her mother and Aisha.

                        ——————————————————————————————————————————-

They knew that they said they'd stay and help Quirrel but really it was much to boring for Ghost. Hollow seemed happy enough to them standing with a broom listening to Quirrel and Monomon bicker however that wasn't going to be enough to get them to stay. They looked around for the best possible escape route and smiled when they saw a vent on the wall behind them.

Once they thought no one was looking, Ghost jumped up and shadow dashed into the vent. They then squirmed through it until they found an exit. The room they had now landed in was small and stacked full of paper. Upon closer inspection names of tribes could be made out and what those tribes did. Ghost paused when they saw the mantis tribe - they had an idea...

It didn't take to long to reach Queen's station once out of The Archives and not much longer after that for their destination, The Abyss. They leapt down towards the bright shapes of siblings at the bottom, grinning at Lost, Lurien and Scarlet's work. Now the vessels were just as capable as them! That was perfect for their plan...

They snuck up behind Scarlet and tapped her. Scarlet shifted round then did a double take when she realised who it was.
"Back so soon then!" she sighed at them.
"Siblings come with me!" they told her.
"I don't know what crazy plan you have this time but I'm going back to the troupe for a bit.."
"Bye bye Scarlet!"
"Bye Ghost"
With that Scarlet took to above.

Next, Ghost wondered over to the vessels in the group. They were a bit of a mixed group with some eagerly greeting each other and others stood motionless alone.
"Who wants to come with me!?" They asked.
The vessels were silent for a moment before one tentatively asked, "Where?"
"To the Mantis Lords! You can learn to defend yourselves. Won't hurt you! They respect Ghost!"
The vessels seemed satisfied with this and followed Ghost out with Lurien and Lost following at the back.

The trek to the mantis lords may have not been that long but it was tiring. Ghost found keeping track of all their siblings -most of which only knew basic combat abilities- exhusting! At least Lost was there to help them. Relief washed over them like a wave when the spores of the Fungal Wastes started to settle on them. They had gone through the Royal waterways to get there so where directly under the villaage. Only problem with that was keeping their siblings out of the acid - Ghost may have been to immune to it but their siblings most certainly were not!

A short while later, Ghost found themself bowing to a trio of thrones with three regal mantis set upon them. "Warrior, what is it that you seek from us?" the central most lord asked.
"I hoped you would train my siblings." Ghost replied trying to be as formal as possible.
"Surely as you have bested us, you could do the job better!?" the middle lord spoke up.
"Silence sister!" The oldest commanded, "If that is what you would like of us champion, then we would feel obliged to help you. Iris, Cassia ready yourself at once!"
With that all three lords dashed to prepare at blinding spped. Ghost used the time to gather the vessels in.

"You'll need to get your weapons ready." they told the group. A few shifted uncomforatbly at this and stepped out the way. This mini group consisted of Lili, Verde and to Ghost's surprise, Shadow.
"Shadow!?" Ghost had learnt of this vessel's control of void and strong pontential for a great warrior.
"I weild darkness not weapon..."
"But you can still learn, just focus the darkness into a nail!"
The calm vessel focused and black particled began to appear around them. These then began to collect together and form the triangular shape of a nail. Lurien then went over to the other vessels not wanting to get in on the violence and sat with them. From what Ghost could tell Lili didn't even own a weapon and little Verde wouldn't hurt a vengefly!

The training that commenced after this was clearly beneficial to the vessels as all were sparring with each other in exciting three lords patrolled watching the vessels to give advice in their technique.

                                       ***************************************************

Over one side, Wanda was facing off against Quiz the pair locked in a desire to win. The oldest and most experienced lord Alyssa was watching them impressed. Wanda held their nail in a defensive stance ready to parry as Quiz leapt up and spun round in the air imitating the dreaded buzzsaws and landing on the nail trying to slide through. Wanda retaliated by pushing their combatant off and rolling over forward extending their foot to land a kick on the dazed Quiz. Then they raised their nail and lunged forward in a slim streamlined position. Quiz responded by dropping to the floor so Wanda was thrown off balance and toppled forward. Both fighters held a delicate flower encased lifeblood so that it could take three hits before breaking. Quizes flower had lost its coating and could sustain only one more hit while Wanda's had only taken a single hit. Both vessel stood a distance apart now and were staring playing mind games. In a literal flash Quiz drew into their soul reserves and sent a bright, fast spinning blade at Wanda. It was similar to a tactic the lords used and had passed on to some of the vessels. Wanda drew their longnail and jumped to pogo off the attack. She yelped in surprise when it dissipated upon being hit but still manage to somewhat gracefully land by twirling to straighten up mid air. This time it was Quiz who took a defensive stance but instead of attacking, Wanda hooked the other vessel's cloak on the end of their nail instead and tossed them up. Then appearing with a burst of soul beneath the rapidly descending vessel they struck skywards sending silvery petals dancing to the ground. Wanda could be declared the victor.

"Tremendous effort you two! You both fought valiantly and honourably even though in the end Wanda came out on top." Alyssa praised.
"Thank you" the two vessels spoke bowing to their superior.

                                           **********************************************

Off above them watching mischeiviously was a pair sneaky vessels they had been watching the fight mesmerized but where now focused on a bag leaning against the wall belonging to a cetain sibling absorbed in feedback from their dual. The two vessels were Fizz and Eve who where quite determined to spice up the looked at each other and saw that they had both reached the exact same conclusion for a plan.

A stolen mantis claw was used to hook Eve while Fizz held on above tying the claw to some silk taken earlier from Thorn. They lowered Eve until they could reach inside the bag. There was many items inside but a particular notebook caught their attention. Eve looked up at Fizz who nodded in agreement. A marker was revealed from the other end of Eve's nail and beagn to doodle all over the next fresh page. At the bottom the signature sign of a Fizz and Eve prank of a lopsided wink was left with a F and E on either side. The book was then whipped shut and stuffed back in the bag before Fizz raised Eve back up. The two buried their faces in their cloaks to muffle their laughter before high fiving and clambering down to join the vessels below.

                                  ************************************************************

Toothy stood in a corner sighing at being left alone again when the youngest lord caught sight of them and came over.
"Why are you out here all alone little one?" she asked gently.
"They are all scared of me. The crack in my mask makes me look a bit scary but I just want to fit in with them..." Toothy responded glumly.
"I had similar problems at first"
"What!?"
"The term of us being sisters isn't literal you see and lords are selected when needed in large contests of skill. I dreamed from a young age of taking on the mantle of lord so when I got a chance you can imagine my excitement."
Toothy nodded in understanding.
"I entered as soon as I could but found a lot of critisicm come my way from it. You see when I was younger before my last molt I had a mishapen claw. I used a nail to make up for it and was definitely the most skilled mantis in nail combat at the time. The others didn't like this and tried to stop me saying that I wasn't the way of the mantis to use a weapon not claws."
"So how did you get to become lord!?" "I reminded myself of who I was. My mother named me Cassia for my warm passion and fiery determination to succeed. I let myself decide my own fate and kept through with the tournament regardless of what the others said and got to in the top three where I was selected to be a lord along side Iris and Alyssa."
"So how come you still all use nails?"
"To work as effectivly as we do, the three of us lords had to become in synch. Alyssa decided that we couldn't do this with different styles so they to picked up the art of the nail and found it to make us quite formidable. Even now with my claw fixed we stayed with that style for it is how we work. You just have to find your own way Toothy. Its ok to be different- you just have to make it work for you."
"Thank you Cassia! I know what I have to do!"

The vessel leapt up invigorated at once and left the mantis to her own thoughts.

 

Chapter Text

A shining pale light was flickering through the curtain of darkness surrounding it. The blackness tried to thicken itself to conceal the light to no avail. A trembling white sphere was spat out onto the shore. The darkness wasn't  done with it however and reached a sticky, black tendril out and curled it around the object. A dark goop seeped into the shape, corrupting and connecting it to the mind of darkness.

 

A corpse leant over hunched against a throne with a pool of blackness at its feet. The robes upon the deceased bug were stained an inky black and torn in several places. Dark streaks came out of its eyes and a pale tail poked out. A white liquid had been seeping out of it into the darkness for quite a while but now the final drop fell causing the floor to glow a brillisnt white and nearby a small round object flashed in the same way in response....

 

His eyes shot open for the first time in a while and he tried to stretch to find he was in the confines of an egg. Well this wouldn't be the first time- he had reincarnated before. He looked down as best as possible to his new form and saw something quite surprising. His body had been stained jet black! His wyrm tail wiggled experimentally and he opened and closed his short claws on his hand. Everything seemed to work the same just looked and felt different. He let out a sigh and broke the shell of the egg to his surroundings.

 

The shell cracked easily and he found robes and nails forming upon him from the dark substance- the void- in his first steps.He began to enjoy being alive and awake once again before sleep yanked him in to a dream with a dark creature with eight glowing eyes..

 

"We have granted you a second chance father" it spoke with the voice of thousands.

"Who-who are you?"

"Do you not recognize us? We've taken the form of your most successful heir. The one you ignored. They were there all along, you just never cared for them"

The image of his selection of the hollow knight flashed before him and he saw the form of another vessel hanging on. He saw them also fall down once he locked the doors behind him.

"So what do you want of me?" he asked standing up tall and proud- he to was a god what could they do to him. The creature sneered at him and clicked a claw. Suddenly a striking pain was sent through his body. His shell felt freezing yet his crown felt like it was on fire while jolts of pain were sent through him like electricity.

"Do what you want but never forget that we are here- keeping an eye on you!" 

 

He woke at once on the floor dressed in silvery robes with two twin blades beside him. One was void black with a circle of soul while the was a pale light like he used to be with a circle of void. He picked the pair up and crossed them over securely on his back before slithering off to find his bearings. It was clear that he was in the Abyss but from how unmapped and unexplored that place was, the information wasn't going to be of much use.

 

He also supposed he should care about what the monster in his dream had said that it have him a second chance when he was the one who chose to reincarnate but he really didn't care. The monster was probably just trying to sound more powerful. He was the most powerful being in Hallownest after all. 

 

Ray's of light began to strike his shell as he exited the dark pit to the sight of the basin. The Pale King had returned to his kingdom.

 

          ------------‐-----------------------------------------

 

Ghost could tell the void had done something as the lord of shades and they were also certain they'd had a dream about it but that second point they couldn't remember. Something was bright in the void and it buzzed like an annoying tiktik was following them. It wouldn't go away so they decided to use their senses through the void. What saw them shocked them through and set loose a deep rooted anger that had been building for a while now. Somehow their father had found away to come back! They were reluctant to even call him that though.

 

They left immediately to ho confront him only stopping to try and contact Hollow through the void. They got through to them but quickly ended the transmission to set off. The nearest station wasn't far and the old stag was as quick as ever in Ghost's beeline to the deity the fury was directed at. They didn't realise how bad the anger for him was before but they felt its burning heat now. They descended down the basins as quick as bugly possible and dropped down straight in front of him nail raised.

 

"Oh it's you from the dream!" Were his first words to them ever. His first ever words included the phrase 'oh its you' 

"Yes father" they spat, "it's another one of those vessels you don't care about. I bet it doesn't mind!"

The pale king blinked.

"What!?"

"You abandoned us"

"For the kingdom!"

"Oh yes that's right 'No cost too great' after all. Not even those you love. Or at least pretended to..."

His eyes narrowed.

"Like you know what you're talking about"

He spread his shortened wings in and shot into the air in front of Ghost, thrashing his tail menacingly. Ghost just pointed their nail up. He seemed to think that was a challenge to raise his own nails but instead was sent writhing to the ground at Ghost's glare.

 

"Pathetic" they whispered.

"N-no not this again. P-please stop!" He choked.

"You brought this upo-"

"Stop" the sound of a new voice rang.

Ghost whizzed around to see Hollow standing over them menacingly. They could technically stop them with relative ease as the shade lord but that didn't make it any less scary.

"I said stop, Ghost"

Ghost sighed and the pale king stopped shivering on the floor. He stood up and brushed off his robes looking embarrassed at how undignified he had seemed.

"Thank you" he said rather stiffly.

 

Ghost groaned at not being able to exact their fury upon him but still complied to Hollow. The tall vessel picked them up into a hug before setting them down just out of earshot. Ghost would leave but they didn't want to upset Hollow- they were the only one that really seemed to care about Ghost other than maybe Scarlet. They were certain they would see the other vessel soon when the sound of Lurien's voice reached them...

 

            ------------------------------------------------------

 

They had got Ghost's transmission and were determined to see their father again. Hollow couldn't wait!

 

On their way out, Hollow was careful to not wake Quirrel, Monomon or Myla. They left a note explaining where they were but it wasn't really necessary after Ghost's departure earlier. They had felt felt the small vessel leaving through their void connection buhad purpsefully kept quiet until Quirrel noticed, feigned ignorance. The other hadn't been around them long enough to pick up on little signs of them lying.

 

They had rushed along to the stag station and waited for it to return from taking Ghost.

"Same as the last vessel please." they told the stag. If the stag was surprised to see them or their rquest, then they ddn't show it.

 

They arrived promptly to see their father but arrived at quite a terrible scene. Ghost was stood nail raised over their father in the form of a vessel looking creature -with his signature crown and wyrm tail- clearly torturing or inducing some kind of harm on him. The immediately commanded them to stop and left them too far away to hear their conversation.

 

"Father.... I'm...sorry. I failed you - I failed the kingdom." they confessed lowering down to one knee.

"Rise my hollow knight," he responded smiling fondly at them, "you did what you could and the kingdom is fine now."

"Only because of Ghost..."

"And you!"

"....."

"Come son... I've yearned to able to love you for an age now."

At these words Hollow lost it and ran to their loved one and scooped him into their arms. They nuzzled their mask downwards towards his and left their void tears leak down.

 

"Its uh ok son..."

He clearly didn't have any experience in comforting.

"I love you father.."

"You to son.."

The king began to squirm uncomfortably in Hollow's arms and so Hollow sighed and put him gently down.

He looked flustered and embarrassed and Hollow felt slightly guilty for putting him in such position.

 

"Well I will be setting up here. The old white palace was destroyed after I put it in the dream world- if I bring it back, all those buzzsaws would be real!" He murmed before shutting his eyes and concentrating. Stands of magic decorated with entwining strips of white and black began to form structures of tall pillars around the pair. Black particles began to leak out of the king as it solidified into the form of a pale chamber. The ground started to tremble and a floor formed as the pale monarch's shell let out a crack and he collapsed. Hollow rushed over to examine him worriedly.

 

Little cracks and scratches were indented into his shell and small puddles of void had pooled around him- he had obviously overexerted himself and his new body couldnt take the strain. Hollow knelt down next to him and summoned some void to their hand, calming at the relaxing coolness of the substance. They then proceeded to press and spread it across the injured lungs carapace. The wounds absorbed the goop and sent strands across in the cracks, stitching back together his broken shell.

 

"What-" he let out a wheezy cough and looked woozy upwards, "what happened?"

Hollow frowned, surely he should know why he collapsed- he taught them everything they knew!

"You overexerted yourself and fainted. The damage was quite bad but you'll be fine now" Hollow informed him.

"Strange, I've always been able to that with relative ease..."

"You're part void now, that doesn't work the same way as soul"

"Curse you void! First my children now my magic!"

Hollow knew that really he had given the void them but was too concerned to mind.

"Just take it easy ok? I'm going to take Ghost back then return."

"Ok..." he said meekly.

 

Hollow then left the room and picked up Ghost by their Horn and dragged them off to the stag station. They didn't let go until the mantis village had been reached where Hollow sat them back with their siblings before returning to the Archives. The green walls glowed upon their dark shell as they sat in silence waiting for their companions to wake to explain the situation.

 

           ------------------------------------------------------ 

 

Lurien had seen Ghost leaving and decided that whatever it was this time, was important. He got up groggily and quietly followed the angry looking vessel out. At one point they stopped and held their mask, the void in their eyes bubbling violently. They then continued there swift descent to a goal. Lurien sighed as he struggled to keep up with the vessel incapable of tire. The caverns had begun to seem a lot larger than he remembered due to how long he had been following for. He gasped for air and had to stop himself from collapsing-he would have been caught for sure if he had- when the stagway tunnels came into view. 

 

While Ghost was boarding the stag, he held a single claw up to his mask to tell him to be quiet and clambered on the back seat. From there he crouched down and stayed silent to avoid detection. The vessel seemed to be in a bit of a bad mood at the moment and wouldn't take kindly to being monitored by Lurien. 

 

The stag skidded to a halt at the hidden station and winked at Lurien as he snuck off behind Ghost. Lurien returned the wink but due to the fact of only having one eye, it was rather hard to tell he was winking not just blinking. The vessel had no intent of slowing down and Lurien let out a gasp when he saw why. Just around the corner was the pale monarch himself...

 

Lurien flattened himself against a wall and tried to calm down. The king was still alive! They had all told him that he had passed on but here was an admittedly smaller deity that was clearly the same being. He was overjoyed and planned converse with the king as soon as Ghost was gone.He was quite alarmed when a second vessel -the hollow knight- strode past. They then came out with Ghost and Lurien decided it was time to make his presence known.

 

"Hi there Ghost" he said trying to make it sound like he hadn't been following the vessel the whole time.

"Lurien... I suppose you're here to see my father here as well.." they spat.

"Well uh," Lurien fumbled realising what Ghost's anger and haste was directed at, "I suppose I am?"

Ghost would've raised an eyebrow at that if they could have so instead they loudly sighed and sat down to continue waiting for Hollow.

 

When the adult vessel came, Ghost was dragged off and Lurien went in to see the king. The room had changed a lot since he had peeked around the corner. Four white pillars held up a sloped, shining ceiling upon a smooth marble floor surrounded by four decorated walls. There were picture frames ready for pictures, silver curves of tinsel and a single window in a frame of curling silver. In the centre of the room there was a large bed with fluffy pillows and a soft, white duvet next to a large desk on top of a chest of drawers. Upon this bed there was the king himself sleeping softly, covered in the duvet and curled in on himself. Lurien smiled and sat on a pale coloured chair in the corner to wait before dozing off himself.

 

He awoke to find a white nail floating in front of his mask with the figure of the king loming ominously behind it.

"My lord it's me!" Lurien cried out desperately.

"Impossible...." he said sadly, "The seals can not be undone."

"But they were. The small vessel- Ghost- did it. They took on the radiance by unifying the void!"

"That does go along with Hollow's information..."

'Sire please! Look remember the time Dryaa came in after fighting the mantis to complain to you during a meeting? You erased everyone else's except you me and Dryaa's memory!"

"You're real!"

"Yes sire, I came here for guidence"

"Well you need just need to keep doing your duty"

"Thank you sire."

"Now Lurien, as I have been instructed to by my son, I will return to rest." 

"Would you mind if I come back here after fetching someone?"

"Do what you must.."

 

With that Lurien departed to find Lost and the pale king returned to rest.

Chapter Text

They sat in waiting for him to return upon the white marbled floor of the palace. Stood next to him guarding, were two other constructs of similar design with large curving blades raised and ready. The monarch had left previously to assess the result of some tests they had performed in. They were quite proud of how they performed in the tests- they thought they had done great! They smiled as best they could when the door swung open and a shining silver light filled the room once more, revealing the presence of the pale monarch himself.

 

"Dispose of it" he spoke quietely to one of the amoured guards. Dispose? What needs to be gotten rid of? They could always just do it for- Their thoughts were promptly interupted when each arm was grabbed between shining amour. They looked up to the Pale King's eyes to see a narrowed gaze staring upon them full of fury. Them. He meant them. He created, raised then cared for him, only to discard them like a scrap of rubbish or unwanted plans. He didn't care. He never cared.

 

Rage and hatred filled them and fought back violently, thrashing out each limb before drawing their curving blade and hooking it around the kinks in the construct's amour, wrenching it off. The creature dropped to the floor spilling void everwhere, only to be absorbed by the furious vessel. They soon dispatched the second titan in a similar way before turning their sights to the treacherous deity....

"Stop..." he tried to no avail- nothing was going to stop their advance. They gave pity for a single moment however once upon him: they gave him a gaze displaying one final question of why. 

"I was right... There's no hope for you"

He raised a glowing skeletal hand and imbued it with soul before pushing them back. He then strode over and took ahold of the cuff of their cloak before muttering in ancient language and fading into a dark environment with them. From their view in the grasp of the twisted king, they could see a single large doorway into dakness and crumbling grey architecture. 

 

He slithered towards the darkness and they found them self hung over a large drop into the unknown. They didn't want this. They didn't deserve this. They should be able to decide their own fate! They twisted up to see him and heard his final words to them, "You had a purpose. If you had just fulfilled that she wouldn't have to go throw with this. You think she wants to provide me with thousands of seeds before I can find the pure one? Of course not! You were going to relieve her of her of he burden but nooo you had the audacity to be a failure in your one purpose. You did this."

Is that what he thought of them!? 

 

They began to thrash out and try to climb his outstretched arm. He wasn't having it however and just flung them downwards. Down they sped through the eternal darkness reaching fatal speeds. This was it. They were condemned to die here in the darkness where they had risen from abandoned forever alone. They would rise again though. They wouldn't be the last experiment and they knew it so they gave themself an indetity- a purpose. They were Est.

 

They hit the ground with a sickening crunch when everything went black....

 

           -------------------------------------------------------

 

Est's hand slid between the bandage, worming it's way through the folds until it reached the scar. They traced its outline gently and let the memory of it seep out- bleeding in a different way. They could still feel the pain of it splintering upon impact with the void stained ground. They shuddered at the thought. That would never happen to a single sibling again.

 

They saw Ghost trudging over after obviously leaving again and went over to question them. Est could from close up tell that the other vessel was angry from their narrowed eyes and churning void but wasn't sure why.

"What happened?" they asked narrowing their own eyes.

"He's back" Ghost spat.

"He's going to wish he never returned"

"Est! Look I agree but Hol-"

"Cut the trash Ghost"

"I'm serious!"

But Est had already left.....

 

They too rushed off to act upon revenge but their will was not as restricted as Ghost's. They wanted his suffering and they were going to get it. They landed soft at the entrance to his chamber and snuck in, being careful to not wake the sleeping form of Lurien in the corner. Next they extended a tendril of void and grabbed him covering his mouth. He squirmed but was easily contained.

 

Est took them out to a quieter location where they began to unleash their wrath upon him.

"Hello there little wyrm, I doubt you even remember me" he snarled slyly.

"As a matter of fact I do. Wyrms have great memory I'll have you know!"

"That will make your downfall all the more satisfying....."

They took out their hooked blade and began to advance. He struggled with his magic to lift two nearby blades- his fingers trembling and spell flickering. Soul flowed down the channels of their enchanted nail as the prepared for their final deed for justice.

"Why!?" he gasped struggling to keep everything at peace.

"You took everything from me- from us. I did everything you asked, I should have been rewarded but instead you left me down there to die. I wonder if a wyrm could survive a fall like that? Only one way to find out..."

Est saw the pale monarch turn feint at their words and smiled in grim satisfaction. They bound closer and picked him up by his collar like he had done to them all those years ago before carrying him the way back to the Abyss. The once king offered little resistance- only small kicks and once an attempted bite.

 

Over the edge he was hung while Est lapped up every second.

"Goodbye father, if that's even the truth...."

With that Est let the terrified wyrm reincarnation plummet all the way down to the bottom of the largest pit in Hallownest.....

 

              ----------------------------------‐-‐-------------

 

Hornet left Deepnest to the Mantis Village after learning in a letter from her elder sibling Hollow of the vessels residing there. Herrah followed close behind her waiting to see what Hornet's half siblings would be like. The pair confidently strode past the thrones and Lords to reach the house containing the beings in question.

"Welcome here Queen Herrah" the middle lord spat distastefully at them.

"Pleasures all mine Iris" she taunted back. The youngest lord gave an apologetic glance to Hornet and signaled to go. She started off with the lord dashing forward to catch up.

 

Once they were level with each other she spoke, "I must apologise on my sisters behalf, I'm Cassia, nice to meet you." She extended a claw in greeting. Hornet returned with her own hand, "Hornet".

A structure set up of wooden poles came into view and Cassia began to gesture excitedly.

"This is it!" she grinned warmly.

"Thank you for your assistance Cassia" Hornet spoke in thanks before entering. 

 

It was just as grand looking on the inside wih paintings of all previous lords hung in magnificent frames all upon the walls. Most of the funiture had been moved out of harms way and was shoved into the nearest corner to the exit. In the middle was a bundle of chaos- the vessels. Hornet sighed and wondered if she really wanted to this before shoving her doubts out the way and pounding her needle into the ground to get their attention. Twelve shining white masks turned their way to her with wide curious eyes.

 

"I'm Hornet" she said uncomfortably.

"Who?"

"What is she doing here?"

"Why does she want to see us?"

"See that needle..."

"Who would choose to where red?"

"I thought no one else knew about us...."

"Uhh I think she's listening"

"Shhhhh then" they all began to chatter at once.

 

"She can still hear you"

 

The vessel's looked up expectantly before turning in into a huddle decidedly and shoving a small terrified looking vessel out. Hornet crouched down and studied the anxious vessel. They had horns going in practically every direction and a light feathery cloak. She raised her hand gently and brushed their mask caringly.

"Its ok little one, I'm not going to hurt you" she whispered, "Do you have a name?"

"I'm L-lili" they stuttered back.

"That's a pretty name!"

"R-really?"

"Yes!" she laughed.

 

She usherd Lili closer and bent down futher before pulling the small vessel up onto her shoulders giving them a piggy back ride. Lili giggled at this and smiled happily. Another vessel had begun to approach now: one with a tattered but sewn up cloak, three pairs of oddly shaped horns a strange third eye and what caught Hornet's attention a weaver made needle. The vessel had it presented out in front of them almost like an offering and Hornte could see each engraving that channelled through it- even the mark of the weaver who made it.

"Do- did you know them?" they asked pointing to the symbol of its creator upon the blade. 

 

Hornet squinted closely and could make out the delicate lettering spelling out the name Selka. Selka! That was the name of Spider's mother!

"As a matter of fact I did! And I like to think the crafter of this shall be coming back here quite soon you know!"

"Really!? She was so kind..."

Hornet laughed.

"I agree!"

 

Hornet smiled at the two vessels next to her before realising she never asked the second for their name!

"Oh! What's your name little tailor?"

"Thorn!"

 

At this point Hornet noticed the large crowd of other vessels watching intently. She was about to say something when a cloud of glitter hit her face. She blinked. Glitter. There was literally a vessel who was throwing glitter at the pincess of Deepnest.

"What? Everyone was so tense!" a vessel -presumably the one who had thrown the powder- explained while walking backwards. They didn't quite notice until they hit the wall with a thud that should be paying more attention to their surroundings. They then tried to get up to cover their mistake but tripped over on their cloak. A tall stoic vessel sighed, extending a void tendril to pick them up and bring them closer.

 

"Hornet?!" a voice called.

Oh it was probably her mother- she had left rather uneplained.

"Don't worry its just my mother" she informed the vessels before yelling back to Herrah, "In the large building mother!"

The spider queen then burst in and smiled at the sight of Hornet with the pair of vessels.

"Who might these be then?"

"The one on my back is Lili and this is Thorn."

"Well hello there Lili and Thorn, I'm Herrah"

Hornet heard Thorn gasp.

"As in the queen of Deepnest?!"

"In the flesh."

"You are like my idol! I've been trying to learn how to weave since I saw your tapestries in the village after escaping into Deepnest. I just can't really make proper silk then me and Rim ran into a bit of erm trouble..."

 

Hornet smiled again at that- it made Thorn's needle make a lot more sense.

"Hornet, do the vessel's have any where to go?" Herrah questioned her lower arms fidgeting.

"No, why?" Hornet replied confused.

"well I was thinking if clever little Thorn oh and Lili could come with us!"

"Mother....that.... that sounds..... Amazing! It would be like having real siblings!"

"Well then its decided! They'll come with us."

 

"Hey you two" Hornet adressed the pair of vessels, "You should probably say bye to your vessel friends now, I think mother would prefer to get away from the mantises sooner rather than later."

"Ok" Lili replied clambering down and walking over to the group. 

 

After goodbyes were said, both vessels were snuggled happily in the spider queen's arms who was departing with her daughter to the Distant Village. Hornet smiled one last time thinking about what a great day it had been.

 

          ---------------------------------------------------

 

He was falling rapidly. After the tiring events of the day and his weakened form from reincarnation the monarch couldn't summon enough strength to halt his descent. His wings flapped furiously to no vail and only small sparks of magic could form until he had not a surpless of soul left. He couldn't rely on his greatest power nor his normally incredible wings! There was no way he could survive the drop! He curled inwards bracing for impact when a blue shape swoped past and gently set him down on safe round.

 

         ***********************************

 

Lost sighed in relief once he was set down safely. They had seen the other vessel come in and take him and knew how upset Lurien would be if Lost didn't help so they followed the pair down to the Abyss and took their chanc and saved him from his fall.

"That was a good job Lost!" Love spoke through their connevction.

"Thanks" they replied for turning their attention to the wimpering form of their father.

"Are you ok?” they asked extending a hand.

"Who- who are you. I thought they all hated me...."

"I'm Lost and really I don't really remember much about my past. Also I'm a lifeblood creature and we don't tend to hold grudges- its our job to help others!"

"But I was the one who outlawed lifeblood..."

"Like I said we don't tend to hold grudges" Lost shrugged.

 

"Well said!" Love praised. Lost smiled.

 

They should really get back before Lurien worries Lost thought. They grabbed ahold of the small king and started to rythmically flap their translucent wings to ascend the Abyss. 

"I'm going to take us back up now ok?"

"Ok...."

 

With that Lost flew gently upwards and back off to the kings chamber.

Chapter Text

"What!?"
Toothy looked sadly up at the adult vessel in front of them.
"I said, say goodbye we're leaving now"
"But.."
"Toothy, don't make this harder than it needs to be"

They frowned disagreeing. They could make up their own mind right? They had left the Abyss and now they wanted to stay at Mantis Village. They had a friend here- Cassia.
"I'm staying" they said bluntly.
"All here on your own?" they asked surprised.
"Not alone" a new voice cut in.
Est! Not only had they come back, they were taking Toothy's side!
"Thanks Est! Please Hollow..."
"Ok, but please take care..."
"THANK YOU!" They ran up and wrapped their arms around Hollow. The older vessel laughed and returned the hug. Before gathering the other vessels and waving good bye.

They turned briefly to Est before wandering off to find Cassia. They wanted to train with her so they could prove to Hollow that they could handle themself. They were she would understand after hearing her story yesterday. They pivoted around and plodded off to the grand throne room. There like usual sat the three lords and they looked up in surprise and interest when Toothy came in.

"I thought you and your siblings were gone" Iris stated harshly.
"Sister! That is not how we treat guests!" Alyssa chided.
"But why are you here?" Cassia asked intrigued.
"The others all left but me and Est wished to stay." Toothy started, "I was hoping we could do some more training- I want to prove to Hollow that I am strong enough to look after myself"
"Oh... If that's the case then I'd be glad to help!" She replied.

The two wondered off to an area usable for combat in a quiet corner of the village. There was only a single mantis guarding it and raised a sharpened claw at Toothy before seeing Cassia and bowing in respect. The arena itself was plain with wooden walls and the only decoration being of two mantis claws crossing over. The floor was smooth and paved and upon it stood a metal stand for weapons. The lord walked over to this and set her weapon in it before assuming a defensive stance with her claws in a guard above her head.

"Strike me Toothy" she instructed.
"Are you sure?"
"Yes! Give it all you've got!"
Toothy sighed a leapt up with their weapon high and slashed downwards in a bright arch. Cassia wasn't fazed or pushed back at all by this and smiled at them.
"Not bad for a beginner" she praised.
Toothy grinned before launching in again this time striking forwards in a sideways curve. Cassia still held her ground. They tried from several other angles before she offered input.

"Try moving with the nail" she got up and walked over to move the blade into the correct position, " Point it forward and ram with it. Trust me it will act as both a weapon and a sheild to protect you from recoil."
Toothy tried it, dashing forward nail poised to strike. To their surprise they didn't rebound off the claws but were able to instead keep pushing against her. They leant back slightly to make it seem like they were backing off before thrusting harshly and catching Cassia off guard. She slid backwards before catching herself and walking over to congratulate Toothy.
"See!" she laughed.
They grinned again before sliding downwards and charging from the otherside. Cassia slid a claw out in guard then at its clash with Toothy's blade lunged forward claw extended for a counter. Toothy jumped and ran to the other side of the area.
"Maybe we should do some work on blocking..." Cassia sighed.
"Yeh" Toothy mumbled sheepishly.
"So you're going to want to start with a good stance. Just find what you think is a steady position" She then walked over and gave a slight push once they were ready. Toothy slid backwards before tripping over backwards and landing in a heap on the floor. Cassia smiled and corrected their stance by showing a way to safely take the force. After that a nail guard and counter was brought in and by the end of it all the pair were exhausted.

"Thanks again Cassia" Toothy called as they wondered off the cosy little house layed out for them and Est.

Unknown to Toothy, the mantis smiled and whispered back, "Thank you Toothy. I guess this is what friendship feels like".

                  ————————————————————————————————————————

Misfortune groaned as Ghost started yet another rant about how annoying their father was. They had been complaining every time Hollow wasn't listening all afternoon and it was getting repetitive. She had heard each vessel's thoughts on the matter countless times and had them all memorized. Ghost hated him, Rim was scared of him, Verde didn't really care, Fizz and Eve just wanted to prank him, Tweet was excited to meet him, Quiz was passive, Shadow had a quiet fury and Wanda wasn't really to bothered unless he got in their way. What about herself though? Misfortune wasn't sure what to think of him. She had only seen him the once and wasn't really sure she liked him but wasn't particually the type to hate. Ghost should just hug it out with him and then they could shut up their moaning! Who Misfortune was more interested in was the queen. Through tales she sounded like the most incredible being- apparently she was a shiny as glitter! She wished to meet her one day...

Wait...

No one was saying she couldn't just go right now... they were in the fog canyon and Ghost was so distracted that they were never notice her absence! If she could get past the acid in the way to the gardens where the queen was rumored to still be, then it could finally happen! Quickly the happy vessel rushed off to the entrance to the Queen's Gardens and attempted to get across.

It was clear swimming wouldn't work from the way the glitter chucked in as a test had swiftly dissolved. Her only choice was to try and use soul to cheek her way across. She could use soul with void to warp a short distance with a small recoil time. She began her journey of warping and dashing to stay airborne when she couldn't dash fast enough and was heading face first for acid...She shut her eyes... but was not met with burning acid...

Misfortune shook her eyes open and saw her cloak caught on a large thorny pillar down the middle of the acid lake. What good fortune for once! This allowed her to keep up her warp and dash trick until on safe land where she promptly tripped up jumping for joy and ended with a taste of the new environment on her face once she found it buried in the ground from faceplanting once again. Now she just had to figure out where the White lady was in the thorny garden.

Misfortune wasn't really the type to think for too long and usually just did stuff. So instead of planning where to investigate or venture into she just wandered off down the nearest path. She kept up this mindless path until a decision was faced. Down lead to a maze of thorns but beyond that unknown and up a seemingly clear path. Not really wanting to have to try and dodge stuff after all the accidents she'd had since reawakening, Misfortune choose upwards and continued forward.

The happy vessel continued onwards until she found avoiding thorns was inevitable... The gardens were a mess! The trip nearly ended in immediate disaster when Misforune tripped and landed and arms length away from the sharp pit of thorns. Her saving grace was that there was a vine caught around her leg kept her from flying directly into the field of spikes. She sighed sheepishly before getting back up and continuing.

A short while later, Misfortune found her self below a long rectangular corridor with a curved dark roof and dainty windows covering the walls. Along the floor lay two corpses leant next to each other both with an obvious fatal wound. The first was a bloated mantis with large sharp claws and a large crack running down their mask and the second a big cicada with a massive club struck with a gaping gash down their middle. She could have sworn she saw dream catcher particles leaking off them when she threw glitter down in rememberence. The departed were meant to go with something precious right? Currently the only thing Misfortune could offer was glitter from her large purple pouch.

She turned off ready to continue almost missing the spirit before her.
"Hey! You're a ghost! I thought you needed that dream blade thingy mabob to see ghosts"
"Well you must have some kind of similar device then." they sighed.
Misfortune rumaged around in her inventory toy before finding a brightly lit up pendant tht was clearly a shard of a dream catcher on a string and putting it on. It had been a fragment of a decoration given by the Seer to Ghost as she bid them farewell. Ghost had then split it and given each vessel a piece so that they could 'interact with the lingering spirits and bla bla help them with their regret'. Or something like that... Misfortune had been trying to decorate her cloak at that point.

"Hi though! Im Misfortune!"
"Your name is Misfortune?" The spirit questioned their eyes narowed in disbelief, " You must be incredibly unlucky"
"Eh I just-" Misfortune stumbled on the other fallen bug's club and enden up once again face in floor, " trip a lot..."
The ghost laughed good naturedly before introducing themself, "I'm Ren of the mantis. I used to be with the other three lords before that ghastly moth started bargaining with me. She promised us strength beyond we could not normally achieve and I was arrogant and fell for her deceit. Me and my followers embraced that plague and were cast out here where we succumbed to it and lost ourselves. I'm afraid this bug here" he gestured to the other corpse, " was a victim of me"
"Oh so you know Alyssa, Iris and Cassia?"
"A lifetime ago yes..."
"I just came from there"
"If you ever return small one tell them I am sorry. I wish for them to know I realise my wrongs before I pass on to the next life. I feel my daughter Jasmine calling me now. I just cann not let myself leave knowing my kin think me a dishonourable traitor. I just lost my way..."
"I promise I will let them know Ren"
"Thank you small one. I think I can pass on in peace now."
Misfortune smiled and waved farewell at the fading spirit. She was glad to be able to help and would be sure to stop back off at Mantis village after seeing the queen.

As it turned out, she was a lot closer than expected...

                     ————————————————————————————————————————————————

He sat there in silence. He could feel the gaze of Lurien and Lost upon him but wasn't really in the mood to deal with it. Each time he thought of the incident ice washed down his spine. His own child had tried to murder him in cold blood. They would have been happy to leave him down their to rot for all eternity! They may have called it justice but from how he saw it, his had been a mercy to free them from the sorrow soceity could bring them while their's was revenge for a non existant crime. It wasn't fair!

He turned to his companions and croaked out, "Why!?"
"Sire whatever do you mean?" Lurien asked gently.
"That vessel, why would they do it"
Lurien sighed preparing to answer but was beaten to it by Lost, "I get this may be hard for you to understand but they, I suppose we, can't see it like that. Our kind could of been kept around even if hidden away in somewhere like the palace. You were to ashamed for that though. But like I said lifeblood creatures don't tend to hold grudges so I don't really care"
"Oh" he gulped before finding the courage to continue speaking, "b-but how do you know my reasons for what I did?" "I saw. I saw those cursed motives. I heard that cursed mantra. I felt the others fear of their curse. But for them that curse was you"
"I did it to help though!"
"Get past that"
"What?"
"This arrogance. Its ok to be wrong sometimes!"
"I'm not-" he sighed, "I'll try harder"
Lost smirked, "Ok just remember, there's no cost too great for this"
"I don't even- How could you- I don't believe that any more" he finally managed calmly.
"See not so hard!" Lost smiled.

"I'm sorry my child"

                        ******************************************************************

Lost smiled at his words.
"Its ok father I forgive you"

"Love what am I able to do to improve his mood?" Lost asked through their connection.
"Try this" she replied.
A a glowing blue flower was sprouting from the blue sheen around their body on their hand. This flower was then plucked and handed off to the king.

"Here" they spoke.
"For- for me?" he sobbed.
"Yes. No one deserves to be this upset- not even you!" they laughed and heard Love giggling with them.
Lost turned around and saw Lurien shifting nervously over in the corner. They ran over to him and extended a hand. Lurien took it confused.
"What is it little Lost?
"You don't need to be over here all alone! You're one of us!"

A buzzing noise interupted in their head before the voice of Ghost spoke.
"Lost! I don't know what you're doing but can you come back here with me and the other vessels!"
"No, sorry I have someone else to deal with."
"Who?"
"I don't think you'd want to know."
"You're not with him are you"
"perhaps"
"Lost! How could you! Don't you get it? After all he's done to us you still-"
"Love cut the transmission please"
The lifeblood guardian focused some power into Lost's mind and closed it off from outside sources other than herself.
"Thanks"
The buzzing noise then came back but this time it was cut off before Ghost could speak.

"Sorry Lurien, Ghost was talking to me"
"The little vessel that saved us?"
"Yes that one"
"What did they have to say?"
"They didn't want me here"
"Oh"
"Surely I have some say in that as well." the king put in. His companions just glared at him.
"Don't worry though, Love can stop them from reaching me"
"Thank you for looking after them Love"
Lost spoke in a slightly strange ancient voice, "No problem Watcher"

They smiled at both of their current companions and sat back down to rest and prepare themselves for having to talk to Ghost.

Chapter Text

Misfortune strolled down through the blooming flowers of The Queens Gardens on her own quest. She had just spoken to the spirit of the fourth lord and was still thinking about his story. So when a mysterious shape dropped down from above with a large pin raised, she was caught completely off guard. 

 

She fumbled around for her nail while examining who this potential friend was. They were clearly a  vessel but they seemed older and more used to a physical form than Misfortune's group. Three pairs of horns sprouted from their mask, one curved and tall on the top of their head and the other two getting smaller each pair. A green cloak came from a dark coloured flair with a charm in a knot of thorns embedded on it. Six leafy looking wings were also protruding from their back. Only a single small mark in the form of a crack was on them despite their air of hardened experience.

 

"What leads you so deep into these lands?" they spoke their words edged and sharpened.

"Oh I'm just here to see the old queen." Misfortune answered happily before whispering, "I heard she's as shiny as glitter" To prove her point she brung out her pouch of glitter and sprinkled some around.

The other vessel then jumped and leaped into the air seemingly gone. Misfortune knew that really they were hiding and were following her from the glitter caught on them dropping down behind her.

 

She played along with their game for a bit before getting impatient with her want to make a friend.

"I know your there." she laughed. There was a rustle and the form of the vessel dropped down once again from the foliage. 

"Hi my names Misfortune" she smiled at them.

"I'm Nymph, protector of these lands" they replied carefully, obviously still on guard.

"Its really nice to meet you! I just love meeting new siblings"

They frowned at her before correcting, "Brother. I indentify as a brother"

"Thats cool! I've always wanted a cool older brother!" He started off flapping his wings but Misfortune followed excitedly.

He sighed at her and played with the pin in his hands but then turned around to face her for the first time and spoke, "Look I'll take you to her but will you leave me to do my job then?"

"Sure!" she said but thought she'd just have to make better friends with him by then.

 

The path ahead became clearer and less covered in plant life when a pale glow lit up the horizon. As the pair of vessels approached, glowing roots became visible in the ground.

"Are those hers?" Misfortune asked giddily whilst crouching down to stroke it and and compare it her shiny belongings.

Nymph rolled his eyes, "No they're just a random plant" He then saw her sagging shoulders and dimmed expression and sighed, "Yes, they are I was just being sarchastic" He offered her a hand so they could continue.

 

It became clear once they had arrived at the sight of a bright cocoon rooted deeply into the ground. The corpse of a heavily wounded bug in shining amour was set next a heap of mantises each covered in a blisters, burns and a sticky orange substance. Misfortune noticed Nymph's eyes go soft and caring at this sight as he muttered to himself, "Poor Dryya.... She was so good hearted"

"Who's Dryya?" Misfortune pipes up, startling the other vessel.

"The lady's knight"

"How did she die then!?"

"The clan of agressive mantises became too much for her"

Misfortune could have more qustions but instead plodded carefully over to Nymph and wrapped her arms around him. She wiped the void stains from his eyes before looking up and whispering, "Its all right, its not your fault" caringly.

"One day I hope to be as good as she was" he spoke as he straightened up and gently pushed Misfortune off of him. She smiled up at him as he entered the large shape in front of them.

 

Inside everything glowed a brilliant white. Their footsteps plodded down the narrow path towards a large open chamber. A soft voice called out, " Nymph, is that you? Have you come to visit me again"

"Yes mother I am here but I'm not alone this time" he spoke.

The roots around them stiffened.

"Wh-who Nymph?". Misfortune frowned at this, from what she had seen of Nymph he was not the type to let anyone dangerous wonder around.

"A sister- Misfortune"

 

They reached the open chamber and there sat the most beautiful being Misfortune had ever seen. She had pale blue eyes that seemed misted over but still shining and pretty, a softly glowing head that split off into a magnificent crown of branches and a still glowing trunk wrapped in a silken, blue cloth. She squinted those eyes down at Misfortune and extended a root which gently brushed her mask.

"Hello there small one. Do you require my aid? I hadn't foresaw the arrival of one like you though..."

"I just wanted to meet you. All the stories made you sound amazing!"

"Well I hope you aren't too disappointed my child. I have bound myself here as punishment for that dreadful deed I was part of. I'm sorry it is like this for you. I don't deserve your praise or admiration"

"I don't mind really"

"What?"

"It was his plan... I don't even really mind him that much either. I don't think Ghost feels quite the same way though."

"Ghost? The vessel that sought me out here?"

"Probably...."

 

Nymph had been quietly listening until now where he interjected, "I remember them, quite the strong one weren't they. I once saw them carry a delicate flower through the maze of thorns by the station to that mantises grave."

"Mantises grave?"

"Yes the lord of the traitor mantises daughter is buried here amongst her kin"

"She must be the Jasmine that Ren spoke of!"

"Ren?" the higher being asked puzzled. 

"He's just some mantis ghost I met on my way here. I spoke to him just before Nymph found me actually!"

"Did you take the time to escort her here so she could see me, Nymph?"

"For you to mother"

"Me... But I..... I don't deserve it..."

 

 Misfortune began to climb up the rock on which the root sat. Once up she snuggled her way into the caring being's lap.

"I don't blame you" she smiled.

"I-"

"None of us do mother"

"You don't have to punish yourself! That'd be like if punished myself for throwing glitter too much or for tripping up!"

An idea popped into Misfortunes head. She gathered up a puff of the shimmering powder and scattered it through out the room in joy. 

"If you don't, if your kind doesn't, then- then I could free myself... "

"That sounds amazing!" Misfortune gasped.

 

"Would you mind helping me get these bonds off then"

 

              ‐‐------------------------‐-------------------------

 

 

Shadow paced along at the back of the group. They were in a rather strange location at this point. Weird jellyfish creatures called 'uomas' and 'oomas' floated around and pink bubbles settled on the ground. The bubbles were normally gone by the time Shadow reached where they were though. Ghost had a bit of a habit of popping them. They continued on their merry way until Hollow turned around and asked, "Where's Misfortune?"

 

Shadow knew where she had gone- they had seen her leave. They could have imputed this when Ghost started scrambling around searching for her but decided against it. She would have told someone if she wanted them to know where she was. It was also quite amusing. Ghost at one point got so annoyed that they brung out their nail and started slashing at everything. It did become a problem when explosive ooma cores came flying at them though....

 

"Ghost..." they let out eventually, "why don't you just contact her through the void."

Ghost gave them a completely passive stare but Shadow knew they were just hiding their frustration and mistake. They then went quiet for a few minutes clearly communicating with Misfortune before talking.

"She says she's with some other vessel called 'Nymph' I'm not sure..."

"Its ok Ghost!" the little voice of Tweet popped up, "She'll be fine!" Hollow smiled and lead Ghost and the group off once again.

 

They only stopped when a long tunnel leading off to a large, old building giving off a strange green glow was reached. Somehow they managed to get all the vessels inside to see a large sign that read 'The Archives' in bold green lettering. Hollow then called out some names Shadow didn't recognize and a pill bug appeared. He was wearing a blue bandana around his head and was holding a broom.

 

His face cracked into a smile when he saw who Shadow had come with. 

"Hi Ghost, Hollow. I see you brought your siblings today." A tall green jellyfish then came up quietly behind him and poked his back.

"Ahhhh!" he jumped before looking sheepishly around and seeing who it was.

"Monomon!" he retorted annoyed.

"How can we help our guests Quirrel?" she continued as if it had never happened.

He just sighed at her before explaining about the vessels. They must be pretty good friends to act like that Shadow thought.

 

For the rest of the afternoon, the vessels took part in silly investigations and experiments. The highlight was definitely when Monomon tried to make acid safe by using some of the void from Ghost only to have it blow up in a big puff of green smoke. All of the  vessels were sad when Hollow announced it was time to leave but it was different for Shafow. They truly felt something for the first time. They remembered Toothy and Est's stand to stay with the mantises and tapped Wanda -who was standing at the the edge of the Archives longingly- on the back.

"Look, do you want to stay here?"

"Yeh but I know I can't"

"But we can"

"So we're pulling a Toothy and Est?"

"If that's what you want to call it"

Shadow then glided over to Hollow and spoke their plan. 

"I can't really deny you after Toothy can I. Just make sure you too take care ok." They patted Shadow fondly on the head and waved to Wanda.

 

The two vessels then found their way back to the trio inhabiting the Archives - Quirrel, Monomon and Myla. 

"Staying are you?" Quirrel asked.

"Yes. I can't speak for Shadow but I rather like it here. Gives me a challenge to solve problems like the one here."

Monomon then entered the room and saw the vessels....

"Great! Now there's no guardian vessel to stop me, can I study your control of void Shadow? It would really help my research. Naturally Wanda you can assist me."

Shadow for the first time grinned feeling what having a purpose felt like .

"Sure"

 

           ------------------------------------------------------

 

Lili sat upon a balcony of silk over the Distant Village. They was happy to be here with their new family but was anxious. Right now they knew that they had been invited here but still had doubts that they would want to keep them after they came to know them. The thoughts bit at their mind pricking it chaining them from seeing past them. They felt black streaks forming and falling down their shell and wasn't sure what to do. They looked off into the distance and saw their own reflection.

 

It wasn't real.

 

They knew it wasn't real but believed it all the same. The aura of darkness emanating off a being clearly a shade of themselves appeared there in front of them. They turned to them and started to snarl insults and prey on Lili.

"They'll leave you as soon as they realise what you're really like."

"This was all for pity"

"You don't deserve their care"

"Thorn got you here"

"What have you ever accomplished anyway"

"They'll never love you"

 

Lili began to quietly wimper. A gust of wind  swept their cloak up as a figure clad in crimson landed softly beside them. Hornet. 

"Why you out here all alone Lili?" she gently asked.

"I-"

"Don't even think about it. You haven't done anything to warrant this kind of care"

They stayed quiet but kept their gaze upon the 'shade'. 

"What's wrong Lili?" she continued with slightly more urgency while still keeping the kind tone.

"I-"

"Be"

"D-don't-"

"Quiet"

"D-deserve-"

"Now"

"this"

"Lili"

"I don't deserve this"

 

"What?"

 

"I don't deserve to be here for doing nothing. I've never done a single good thing ever. I was left down there for being a failure. I am a failure" they sobbed. Hornet stood up and swung back to a large house in the north of the village.

"Great" the 'shade' growled, "Now look what you've done"

 

But then Hornet came back.

 

Carrying something.

 

"Lili, take it. You shouldn't feel like that. Consider it a welcome gift. We want you here"

 

A gift. A gift for them.

 

"Don't listen to her, she's lying!"

 

No. This was wrong. This was all wrong.

 

Lili stood up raising their head to their full height. The gift was a small tack with a purple handle. They lifted it high above their shell and brought it down on the 'shade' watching them fade. The striking black colour dained leaving a pure white image that looked to be a true reflection of themselves. That stood to be even with Lili and bowed before truly disappearing into small white particles.

 

"Alright now?" Lili turned to Hornet and for the first time let out a proper smile.

"yes big sister Hornet"

Hornet smiled before laughing in joy and picked Lili up in her arms. She threw her needle upwards, reeling them that direction with the small vessel watching her content. The 'shade' was wrong. They were loved and cared for now. Everything would be different.

 

That was why when a letter came throuh the next morning written on fine silk paper Lili was jumping in joy with her family.

Chapter Text

He could hear them rumaging in the foliage a short distance away. Nymph knew what they were up to. He had studied their behaviour enough to know that they were on the attack. Their Lord seemed to be getting more and more demanding each time, becoming more agressive in his hunts and demanding far more of his followers. He was concerned that if this was side effect of the plague then the whole garden might become usafe. It could also just be due to the naturally hostile nature of the mantis however. Whatever reason it was for though, Nymph was not going to let them attack the innocents of the land.

 

He spread his leafy wings far out and took off  through the floral tunnels. The sinister growls became closer as he advanced and he cursed when he heard their claws grinding. They did that to sharpen them before taking on large or difficult prey. Time was quickly running out. 

 

Once he reached just around the corner to the source of the sound of the traitorous mantises, Nymph drew his pin and curled his claws around the engravings on its hilt. There was a strange pale glow just north of the predators and he could just about make out a conversation.

"My lady, how much futher shall we be heading?" a voice spoke. It sounded much to sophisticated to be a regular citizen of the Gardens and didn't have the husky dry tone of a mantis. A soft voice that emanated power replied, "Dryya calm yourself. It isn't too much longer to the heart." The speaker was correct, in a short distance the heart of the Gardens would be reached. He stopped his scout and prepared to attack once footsteps began to pound down on the plantlife below.

 

Nymph launched himself into the air and swung on a loose vine to propel him straight to his opponent at high speeds. He struck the first of the longer ranged group of mantis petras in the head, sending a large crack down their mask. He drew his pin from the deceased mantise's head and surveyed his oppenents. There was a large group of adult traitors leading the charge and several packs of petras for back up. He started his assualt on the rest of the group he had started on when a silver shape crossed elegantly in front of him with a longnail poised to strike.

 

The warrior had a crown of three shining prongs upon her head and a carapace covered in a silver shell. She stood proud and tall, her dainty legs pressed together in a sturdy formation, her back slightly arched and her nail concealed behind her skirt like shell. She looked the sttackers dead in the eye and spoke coldly without a trace of fear, "What brings you to attack us you cowards". She bent her legs before springing into the air and striking down the first few offenders in front of her. "Sneaking up and treating us like prey is such a dishonerable act!" she once again raised her nail up and cried, " En garde!"

 

The warrior began to attack foes in a rythmic, elegant almost dance like fashion. Nymph watched in amazement before preparing to assist her. He too leapt into the air and began to cut down his foes from above, using a combination of the height gained from the rebound of striking and his wings to stay airborn. Once the first group of mantis petras were down he felt into his soul reserves and prepared to cast a spell. Brilliant white vines of thorns made of soul snaked out of the ground and curled around the snarling mantises he turned to face. The spiky protrusions dug into the enemies and tightened leaving marks burned onto them. As the spell faded, Nymph's foes fell to the ground heavily weakened. He strode up to them and put them out of their pain. Then he set his eyes upon the next group but found them defeated at the blade of the warrior in silver.

 

"Good work comrade" she told them in an almost commanding tone.

"You've quite a skill in nail" Nymph replied slowly, carefully considering his signs, "What brings you to these lands?"

"I am escorting vessel."

"Don't remind me of my heritage. I may be of that kind but I refuse to be like them"

 

"Dryya, are you coming?"

"Of course! Sorry to keep you waiting"

 

Nymph watched her thoughfully as she departed. He was rather intrigued by her companion in truth. To satisfy his curiosity he disappeared into the foliage surrounding the path and followed them. It was only once he got closer that Nymph realised who the glowing being was.

 

His mother.

 

It was his mother after he had just blabbed off to the warrior about hating his heritage. He had meant the king and his awful plans not her!  He dropped down in fromt of them on impulse and began to sign, " Mother. I always knew I would some day meet you. What brings you to the Garden's?"

"Oh my! A vessel! How dd you escape that pit little one?" She curled a root around his mask affectionatley. 

He scowled before letting his hands work out, "I found a passge out of that place and that past. I now find solace guarding these lands." She laughed good naturedly at that.

"I guess I have two angels to guard me now, right Dryya" she teased. The warrior -apparently called Dryya- rolled her eyes before turning her sights to Nymph and stating, " For someone who seems to have such a hatred for their family, you sure don't mind talking to my queen"

"I never said I had a qualm with her specifically.." he tried to no avail. Dryya started cackling at his lousy exuse.

His mother finally answered his question with, "Me and Dryya are just coming through here so we can take refuge and I am able to punish myself for my deed in peace." She turned and smiled at him before adding, "We really must be going now though. Fair well vessel"

"Nymph" they signed in goodbye. Dryya winked at them as she turned and left with his mother. He was sure he was going to have a lot of fun with her....

 

       -----------------------------------------------------------

 

Hornet skidded around the corner as fast as could at the first glint of white in the distance. She hurled herself into a large hug with the particular bug she's been excitedly waiting for during the past couple of days. 

"Spider!" she exlaimed overjoyed. The weaver looked up at who the being embracing her was and saw her best friends smiling face and signature colour. Hornet saw a look of amazement and joy similar to her own form of Spider's face and let her go so they could talk. 

 

"Its been so long!" Hornet gasped.

"Well I'm just sorry I never got to say good bye... I missed you so much...."

Hornet reached into her cloak and pulled out the charm left for her by Spider and showed it off to her.

"You got it!!!!"

"Of course I did! You think the Great Hornet would miss such a thing." The two girls were sent into a fit of giggles at that.

 

Hornet stopped when she felt a light tug on her cloak behind her. She spun around to see the shy form of Lili standing there. In the distance she could just about make out Thorn speaking to Selka so it wasn't really surprising that the other vessel was down here as well.

"Hi Lili, is there anything I can help you with? This is my friend Spider, she's really nice I promise!" Lili played with the end of her tack before coming out from behind Hornet and waving anxiously at Spider. 

"Hi there Lili" Hornet's best friend grinned. 

"I-i brought you two out this..." she mumbled. Then a round jar emitting a soft glow was brought out.

"Luna!" Spider yelled happily.

"Thank you Lili. You've made Spider really happy." then with a wink she added, "And it wasn't that hard now was it." Lili's cheeks flushed in in embarrassment and she looked down ashamed. 

"Its ok though.."  Hornet picked up Lili in her arms.

 

"So uh what happened to this place?"Spider put in eventually. 

"Time with no one here...." Hornet sighed.

"Oh...."

"But its ok, I did a room up for you next to mine!" 

Spider grinned again.

"Well lets see it!"

 

Hornet sped off with Lili laughing as a tired Spider struggled to keep up. She entered one of the large silk houses of the village and swerved left into one of the rooms.

 

It had a small decoration of a trilobite made of silk hung from the ceiling, a hook on the wall to hang Luna, a poster of a photo of Spider with Hornet with 'best friends' scribbled on it in messy hand writing from one of them in their younger days and a bench decorated with cushions woven from soft red silk. The red Hornet used. Spider looked at her best friend and could only manage a awe struck, "thank you..."

 

The atmosphere was only broken once the sound of the adults arriving rung through the halls and the half spider had to go assist them as well.

 

           -----------------------------------------------------

 

The king was sat at his desk under the watchful eye of Lurien. Lost was outside guarding to sop anything to attack him in his weakened state. He looked back down at the sculpture in his hands. He knew realistically a thousand of them wouldn't make up for how bad they thought what he'd done was. Now he could clearly see it wasn't the right desicion but also still found it justifiable. 

 

The figure he was depicting was of a vessel but not any one in particular. It had rounded but unsymmetrical horns, the same empty hollow eyes, a dark body representive of the void and a regal cloak made of real silk that Lurien had gifted. The more he looked at it the more he saw her. His wife. The soothing sheen on her eyes, curling nature of her crown and the gentle touch of her roots. 

 

A door opened and a large glowing figure came in smiling but also sighing at him. 

"Working again are you?" she asked him.

"I have to be prepared for their presentation tomorrow."

"Yes of course...."

"Blanca is there something I can help you with?"

"I just thought you might have wanted to spend a little more time with your family before they're are gone"

 

He shook his head still dizzy from the memory. That had been the day before they taken the first eggs to the Abyss. He sighed and looked back down at his work.

 

"Look I'm sorry you have to do this, if I can just finish this construct you won't have to do this anymore!"

"Its not this I mind..."

"What is it then?"

"Them"

"......I don't follow"

"I-I think it is wrong. Can't we at least just keep one?"

"And get in the way of training the Hollow Knight once we find them? You know the type of being that could produce, Blanca and I have neither the time nor energy to deal with someone like that now"

"Fine then" She curled a root inwards angrily.

"Blanca look I-"

"You what, you know its hard? If you understood, you'd be with me not down here all day working on whatever project you felt like doing at the time" With that she turned and fled. He could still hear her tears through the wall.

 

He sighed. Perhaps he had been a little too harsh with her then. How much could it have hurt to give her what she wanted? Alas that was all in the past now though. He sat the figurine he was crafting down and got up from the desk.

 

He slithered past Lurien and all the way outside to Lost. He couldn't change then but he could change now.

 

          -----------------------------------------------------

 

Scarlet was enjoying seeing the sights of Hallownest again while being old enough to properly appreciate them. She was currently exploring the foliage of Greenpath. Three large totems engraved with strange markings stood before her in a large opening. She didn't remember ever coming here with Ghost. On the floor the small form of a vessel was hunched over hollow of life. She frowned at the sight of them and gently picked them up and leaned them sat up against the pole. 

 

Now she could hear voices in the background. It was probably Ghost and crew. She was tepted to go by and say hello but ultimately decided against it. She was taking a break from all this vessel nonsense right now. Or so she thought until the sound of something tripping on a bush behind her caught her attention. She whirled around to see just one of the beings she was a avoiding.

 

 

 Their horns formed a crown like shape from their six prongs and they wore a long green cloak. "Hi there little one, what are you doing away from the others?" Scarlet started.

"I just came to pick some flowers but now I'm not really sure I want to go back yet. Theyre all playing around with the mosskin at the Lake of Unn and I just want some peace for a bit." they mumbled in response. 

"That's ok you can just go back down to them once they're finished. 

"I would but-but I don't feel like I have a proper purpose with them...." they spoke quietly.

 

Scarlet knew in that moment what she had to do. Maybe it was just her own intuition or the nightmare hearts guidance or perhaps even destiny but she was certain of how to help. They seemed graceful enough in the small movements she could see them doing..

"I can help.... If you want to try for a new purpose how do you feel about joining the Grimm Troupe? We are all performers for the circus so its never dull and you could make some new friends as well! What do you say?"

"I-I" They went quiet for a moment, "I don't know..."

"Its ok you can use all the time you need to make up your mind!"

"Aren't you the mistress of the troupe?"

"Exactly so I can invite you in no problem!"

 

"I'll get back to you soon I just need to figure things out.." They then hurried off, dropping their flower in a rush. Scarlet picked it up and admired the bright red petals. Maybe it was destiny after all......

Chapter Text

Verde looked down at the new set of blooms in their fist. Was this really what they wanted? They would become more distant with their siblings and Ghost would clearly worry, but on the other hand look how well Lost did after accepting the lifeblood guardians offer! They felt a dark curling feeling as the negative conotations with Scarlet's offer manifested and left them. A dark shape then materielised in front of them.

 

"Get real, you think Ghost would let you do this?"

"Misfortune got away!"

"And what do you thinks gonna happen to her then?"

"She'll be fine! She wouldn't have gone if she didn't think she could make it!"

"You'll be next all here alone"

Verde went quiet and looked past them into the distance.

 

"Scarlet wants me, she'll keep me safe"

"Does she though? She probably just said it to get you to leave her alone"

"She wouldn't do that! She brought us back remember"

"Was that her choice or Ghost's?"

The black 'shade' glided up to them, its eyes glowing in smugness. Verde raised one hand up to it and it mirrored before bringing it down and jabbing them instead.

 

"So gullible..."

"I-I don't have to listen to you..."

"Oh but you do"

"But your just in my head!"

"Well try and ignore me then! It won't work, I'll always be here and they can't stop me"

"But they're my friends!"

"Are they though?"

"You're right.."

"Well you can't be!"

"They can't help me"

"Of course they wouldn't help someone so pathetic"

"But I can!"

"What?"

"I can stop you. You are me"

They started to feel a comforting warmth deep inside of them as a scarlet petal flew gently in the breeze and landed on their cloak.

 

"Leave"

"Me"

"Alone"

 

The 'shade struggled for a second before curling inwards. The white from its eyes spread through out its body. Verde reachd out a hand and the not so 'shade' mirrored perfectly. It then dissolved into white particles and faded back into them. The vessel next turned and headed back to where they found Scarlet.

 

They saw a smile form on her face once they returned.

"I want to join" they smiled.

"Great! Thats great you know everyone will- Is there anyone you want to tell before you leave?" Scarlet started to ramble before catching herself and stopping.

"No. I can do what I want. Its my decision to join and they'd just try and make it theirs"

"Well then just brace yourself, I'm going to teleport us back to the tent"

 

Their vision started to glow scarlet as red dream catcher particles floated around them. Greenpath started to fade away as the ruins of the old palace materialised in front of them. Both appeared with a puff of red smoke in front of the comforting warmth of the Grimm Troupe's tents.

 

"Haven't done a big warp with multiple people in a while..." she admitted to them

"Its ok.." Verde replied, "So do I need to do anything to join?"

"Of course! This is the Grimm Troupe, there's a ritual for joining. Follow me"

 

The pair walked into one of the tents passing and greeting Brumm and several grimmkin along the way. Eventually they reached a large open area with a raised platform containing a torch glowing with a scarlet flame. As Verde got closer the flame shifted beofre morphing into a glowing mask of soughts. It was in a very familiar shape... Perhaps a little to familiar. It was made to fit them...

 

"Just let me call the grimmkin in and just put it on. It will burn you up leaving behind ashes of your old life before rebirthing you into a new form. It won't differ much but you'll be connected to the Nightmare Heart and there fore have some of its power. It might hurt a bit though..."

"I think I'll be fine, I've already died twice before."

"Good. I mean not the you dying part obviously but the bit about not minding pain."

Ghost like figures dressed in scarlet began to fill the room with some familiar faces from the walk down. Brumm waved encouragingly at them when he entered in the last group. Once the room was full, they walked up to the platform and put the mask on.

 

It burned. 

 

Searing agony was sent through their body as even the void deep inside them crumbled and turned to ash in front of them. All they could see from anymore was the mask Their old life was gone. They still felt phantom jolts of pain from their long gone body but it was bearable. Then everything cooled and became a bit too cold as an icy sensation ran through them. Jet black void was forming below them and spidering its way inside and behind their mask, stitching a body back together. Verde finally relaxed a bit though when the solid form of a shell came around them.

 

Their whole new body then glowed bright scarlet as a red heart burned bright in front of them before phasing into their chest filling them with a warm powerful feeling. Everything apart from the mask a new powers felt the same upon closer inspection but the ashes of their old body were a bit disturbing. That was quickly fixed though as Scarlet hurried up and picked up the dish with them in. She then scattered them across the crowds of grimmkin as she started to chant in a strange language with them. Verde was sure they didn't know it before but now they could understand as easily as anything.

 

"Scarlet flames dancing in soul,

 Chosen by the Nightmare Heart,

 Destiny calls out to one,

 So the eternal dance can start

 

 Burn the past and forget old truth,

 To be reborn in scarlet light,

 Seek out place among new kin,

 Serve for a future bright

 

 Bound to us through gift and link,

 Connected to feed the ritual,

 Keeper of flames yet essence burned,

 Set in mind as cycle to be habitual" 

 

They sung through it again with this time Verde joining in. Once they had spoken the last word, they felt a surge of power as a voice spoke to them. 

"One of the Wyrm's are you?"

"No, now I am one of yours"

"You'll make a great member"

 

Scarlet too was quiet for a moment before rolling her eyes at something. She then turned to face Verde and offered them a hand. They hadn't even realised that they were on the floor until then. They stood up with her and she started to gently question them.

"Are you ok now? Sometimes it can make you feel a bit I'll afterwoulds"

"I'm fine" It was like Lost! Their voice was normal now to!

"Great, I'll take you to your room then."

Scarlet started to lead them off but not before adding, "You ought to meet your roommate sooner rather than later"

 

            ----------------------------------------------------

 

Nymph stood guard over the resting form of his sister and his mother in her sleep. He was stood above the corpse of Dryya and smiled sadly at her. However, not long after that he began to notice a strange glow coming from Misfortune's bag. He placed steadily over to it and opened it quietly as to not disturb her from resting her body. The object omitting the glow was a shard of something tied in a string. Nymph brought it over back to his post and tied it around his neck to keep an eye on it. It was then he realised what it was when an ethereal figure coughed lightly to get his attention. He whirled around to see the ghost of his best friend. 

 

Dryya.

 

"Long time no see Nymph"

"You mean I could of spoke to you the whole time!"

"Essentially yes."

"Why couldn't Misfortune see you yesterday then?"

"Because I didn't want to be seen. I will admit that little speech of yours was pretty cute.."

Nymph groaned.

"So how come you're still hanging around here? Don't you have some spirit afterlife to go to or something"

"Eh probably but I kinda like it here. I get to see you  being hilarious without you knowing and can still serve my Lady in the best ways I can"

"Oh Wyrm, you've really seen everything have-"

"Oops looks like you've got company"

Dryya winked at him before fading into dream catcher particles that disappeared back into her corpse. Nymph sighed and turned to what Dryya was talking about and saw his mother waking. They must have been to loud.

 

"Good morning Mother" he greeted her.

"To you too Nymph" she smiled back.

"So there's something I've been meaning to tell you..." Misfortune started. Both Nymph and his mother's heads snapped to her in sync.

"And what's that Misfortune" he said concerned.

"Nothing serious, just that, the king guy is back and definetly still alive"

"WHAT" her companions said in synch. Nynph suspected that he was yelling for a vastly different reason though.

"I refuse to be a part of his kingdom or accept him as my father. As far as I'm concerned you are my family and that's that."

"Nymph that's rather sweet but you must understand what he meant to me"

"Obviously not that much, you left him for here."

"We had a disagreement, plus he can change and learn from it!"

Misfortune's eyes had been following the conversation, constantly changing which side she was watching until she was once again face down in the earth from getting too dizzy. Her voice was muffled but understandable as she spoke, "I don't think that's what Ghost thinks"

"Oh..." his mother whispered.

"Well erm, Ghost is -how do I put this nicely- a bit bias. From what you said and I felt, I think they've accumalted the void's hatred for him for meddling with it agfter ascending into the lord"

"What about the pur- Hollow?"

"They'll do anything to please him!"

"Well then, perhaps he doesn't need me there. He didn't even try to stop me from coming here, an-and I'm with my family!" Nymph smiled and followed Misfortune into a nice warm family group hug.

 

They stayed like that or quite a while before Misfortune wriggled out to throw her glitter in celebration. Nymph didn't get her obsession with it but wasn't about to question it. So instead they turned to the higher being the before them and softly spoke, "Thank you"

 

      ------------------------------------------------------------

 

Hollow smiled like a small child when they reached the Basin after finally getting away from Ghost's attempts to stop them. They greeted Lost and went in to say hello to their father.

They thought it was strange not having seen Lurien but was also distracted and facinated by the decor so didn't notice as much as they norally would have.

"Hello father, I'm back!" they chirped.

"Hello there son" he said not even looking up from his desk. They would've been dissappointed had it not been for Lurien gesturing wildly for them to come over.

 

They trotted towards him leaving the king to his demons. Lurien lead them outside where Lost was waiting. The other vessel then created a bubble like shield around them to soundproof their conversation. Then Lurien started, "I have a plan to start redeeming him"

 

         *********************************

 

The king knew something was off when Hollow came up to him and asked him in a rather strange tone if he could come fix something at the archives.  He hadn't been quite able to figure out what was up witht the tone before the vessel did something even weider. They came up close to him and blinked innocently while praising, "They need someone with abilities as grand as yours" He had told them that his powers weren't quite up to scartch at the current moment but would try anyway. And thats how he came to be on a tag for the first time.

 

Bugs always thought it strange that he built the stagways only to never use them himself but really a being like hom couldn't just ride around to show themselves in public. He had an image to maintain! He found them actually not to badbut wouldn't say he prefered them over warping or carriage.

 

Upon entrance to the Archives, Lost snuck off and whispered something to Monomon. The king was supisious but feigned ignorance anyway. He could of sworn he also saw a shadow move out of his peripheral vision. He brushed that too off as something unimportant. Monomon then loudly said, "Oh thank you for coming, your grace, we are in desperate need of your help in he uhm boiler room". 

 

Something seemed again off but he still followed her down the hallways to a room with a large machine with a gauge that read off on it. "Its supposed to heat up the acid but has for some reason stopped working. Thank you ever so much for giving up your free time to help us. I'm sure the others would be so impressed with your efforts."

"Okay? Thanks..." He then got to work inside the machine finding it annoying having to use his hands not his magic as to conserve it. He had gotten into quite a nice rhythm to work in when a dark shape dropped in behind him with a void nail raised and poised threateningly. They never spoke but he could see their anger in their supposedly empty eyes.

 

"Hello there" he tried. They inched closer and closer and the King was beginning to plan his next incarnation when he was saved by a winded looking pillbug.

"Oh your majesty I just came to check how you were getting on. Eh Shadow? what are you-"

But it was too late. The vessel -Shadow- ha already swung. After seeing Quirrel they tried to stop giving the king enough time to dodge but not soemone who wasn't expecting it. Quirrel was sent tumbling over the edge to a large tank of aid ready to be heated. He was held on to the edge of safety with a single hand but was quickly losing strength. 

 

Swiftly he King spread his wings and took off avoiding more blows while summoning as much soul as he could. He then used the last of the magic he would be able to muster for a while to warp Quirrel to safety. It was then his body started to once again fail him as he dropped to the floor coughing and spluttering. His magic chanells burned again and he could already see small cuts forming on his shell. His magic must have not been quite ready to use again yet. At least Monomon's helper was okay. He might get back in her good books after locking her into sleep for that.

 

The vessel that caused the deed hurried over to Quirrel and left the room with him. Soon after Hollow burst in sobbing and peformed the same magic with the void to help him that they had done before. 

"I'm sorry father, this is all my fault"

"You couldn't have stopped the vessel"

"Yes but I was part of the plan to get you here. This was all a set up."

"Oh I see...." He looked up and smiled at Hollow, "Well if I'm not needed, then I'd prefer to be back home." The tall vessel laughed and started take the pair out of the Archives.

Chapter Text

Tweet was only midly entertained with Quizes jokes and mimes along the way now. Seeing the kingdom had been fun and exciting at first but then once the novelty wore off it got boring.They now found themselves dawdling at the back next to Quiz. By this point, the group had reached Crossroads which had been renamed for a fourth time by Ghost to the Void Crossroads after their kind. It couldn't really be called the forgotten or infected crossroads anymore as it was neither forgotten nor infected. What finally caught their attention was a pretty glowing bug.

 

They started to wander after it but were stopped by Quiz grabbing their hand. They frowned at their companion.

"We don't have to follow Ghost" they reasoned.

"I know but its safer that way." they sighed in response.

"But you'll protect me!"

Quiz laughed happily at that and said, "Alright that's true but promise me you'll be careful"

"Ok!" Tweet then excitedly chased after the flying bug that they could now identify as a lumafly.

 

The pair snuck away from the group and found themselves at a large chamber still intact. There were some grey remains in a corner and it was rather gruesome so they started to devise a plan to get across the large gap to the rest of their way across. Luckily, the lumafly was a slow flyer and at time almost seemed to be waiting for them... In the end they went down to a nearby hut with a nice lady who seemed to like charms a lot.

 

"We are trying to get to the path above here, can you help?" Quiz started.

"Mmmmmmmm of course I'd be happy to! My assistant found me some more charms to sell so take a look. I'll explain any of them."

Tweet took a look and immediately found one that stood out to her. It was golden with an indentation of what appears to be like he dream nail Ghost had being held upwards. 

"What's this one?" they asked innocently. 

"Oooh my assistant was given on her visit to that graveyard east of here. Supposedly it can take its bearer to places with a high concentration of dreams. At least that what the dealer my assistant got it from said about it." Tweet would've kept looking had it not been for the bright shape of the lumafly in the window turning directly to them before continously staring at the charm. They knew that was the one they needed in that moment.

 

"That's the one we want" they said joyously. Quiz looked at them surprised before pulling out their pouch of geo and paying for it. Tweet then rushed out to the bench at equiped their new charm. They felt it tie seamlessly to their being and make them strangely intune with the shard given to them by Ghost at the Mantis Village in their pocket. They shrugged at Quiz and took their hand. The lumafly seemed to be long gone when they shut their eyes to test their new attunement and saw an open field of lights in the shape of dream catcher particles everywhere. They were all varying brightness but the most brilliant looking one was a strongly glowing gold one to the east. They focused on it and felt the charm warming on their chest. Before they knew what was happening, them and Quiz were glowing like the particles before fading into golden lights. 

 

They reappeared in front of three tall statues of moths. The sound of water gently trickling away reached their ears and everything felt so peaceful. It was then that they saw the lumafly again. How strange they thought before jumping into the shallow pool of water by the exit and paddling along and out. Quiz followed.

 

While following they saw many spirits pop up but one grave was empty of one. It was rather strange but they kept going. They even waved at a ghost who raised her ethereal nail threateningly at them as they passed. Once they were past that however, the pair found themselves in a beautiful area with gleaming stone walls, thick silvery mist and a calming atmosphere. The lumafly then perched and began to glow even more than normal....

 

Its form then expanded into a larger shape. The glow then faded revealing its true form as a moth. They had shining purple eyes, long attenna with brightly lit up tips and soft, feathery, lilac wings. They smiled at them and started to speak.

"Hi there! I'm Fauna. I'm sorry I lead you here in such unconventional way but I got so lonely and I wasn't sure how else to get you to come. There are just so few moths left without the Radiance around."

"Wohhh! You're so pretty! I'm Tweet and my sibling is Quiz. I'll gladly be your friend if you want me to be!"

"Thank you Tweet! There's someone I think you should meet first though. She's just up here."

 

Fauna lead them up slightly into a den of sorts with an ederly looking moth hunched over on some pillows. 

"Fauna dear you've returned. I was worried about you after you sold that charm. You see- Oh you've brought guests. How rude of me. Welcome here you two"

"Hi there! Its nice to meet you! I'm Tweet"

"I'm Seer. Nice too meat you too dearie."

She then turned back to Fauna and smiled, "I see they have the charm you sold."

"I made sure of it! They're the perfect vessels to help us!"

"Oh yes... Vessels would you mind doing us a favour?" 

"What kind?" Quiz questioned.

"Nothing much, we would just like some company and someone to help us make this place a bit nicer for what for few members we have left."

"We'd love to help!" Tweet inputted.

 

From there the friendship of the quad of vessels and moths solidified and a flower of hope bloomed for the moths.

 

              ‐-------------------------------------------------

 

Hollow trod through the grand halls of The Archives in search of someone to talk to. They would be helping but their head ached slightly and their throat felt quite dry. It was no where near the pain of having the Radiance in them but it was annoying enough to encourage them to take a break. 

 

It was then that Quirrel hurried past. 

"Hi there Quirrel" they tried but were met with, "Sorry but I can't talk right now I have to find Wanda"

They sighed as he scrambled off. Everyone seemed to be busy at the moment! Well that's what they thought until they heard a loud scream in the room to their left.

 

They entered at once and found Myla squealing at a tiktik that had crawled in. That wasn't too much effort to get rid of! Hollow bounded over and picked the tiktik up gently before setting it out of the room to find it's way out. Myla was huddled in a ball in the corner. She looked up and sighed in relief at both the sight of Hollow and the tiktik being gone. 

"Thanks Hollow!" she exclaimed.

"No problem friend!" 

"I just s-seem to be scared of everything after that  voice got into my head"

"Myla-"

"I just worry that it'll c-come back if I g-g near things that has it too..."

"Everyone has fears Myla! And I'll protect you from her! She won't get away again" Hollow mimed grabbing their nail and striking down a great foe. Myla laughed.

"Hollow, you always know what to say"

"That's what friends are for!"

"D-do you want to sing with me? I f-find it helps calm me down."

"Sure thing! The normal song?" Myla nodded and the pair started to sing together.

 

"Oh bury my mother pale and slight,

 Bury my father.......

 

              ------------------------------------------------

 

Monomon had  been acting really strange recently. Quirrel may have been optimistic and sometimes a bit too quick to worry but he wasn't stupid. He could be quite observant when needed! Monomon had definitely been behaving differently in Quirrel's opinion.So he decided the best option was to confront her. But he'd have to be sneaky about it- he couldn't risk her figuring out he knew something was wrong. She'd never tell him what it was then. 

 

Then an idea struck him. Monomon would never tell him because she knew he wouldn't tell her. But she might listen to a vessel who would be oh so worried about her... With that Quirrel rushed off to find Wanda. He bumped into Hollow on the way but was unable to stop and chat.

 

When he found the vessel he needed, he asked them, "Hi Wanda, Monomon's been acting really weird recently, can you talk to her? She won't listen to me but she might listen to you if she thinks you're sufficiently worried."

"Sure Quirrel I'd be happy to help! I just need to act all scared for her and get her to admit the truth then?" 

"Exactly!"

"I'm on it" Quirrel lead Wanda to Monomon then hid behind a corner while they talked. He could still make out their conversation though.

 

"Hi there Monomon" Wanda started.

"Hello" she replied.

"I've been quite worried recently"

"Oh no! About what Wanda?"

"Well about you"

Monomon looked flustered as she spoke, "M-me?"

"Yes! You've been acting really strange lately- somethings obviously bothering you. I'm sure I'm not the only one who's noticed"

"Well... If I must.... For serious this time, there is a damaged part of the Archives"

Wanda blinked, "Is that it?"

"No it-its damaged possibly beyond repair 

"Oh no!"

"The chamber that Uumuu guarded was damaged heavily from the fight there. I can't be certain when it happened, but at some point, some debris fell on them. They would have regenerated like the uomas and oomas but the damage to the room stopped it. Uumuu had a great chunk of knowledge on keeping the Archive safe and intact but I'm afraid I can't fix them..."

 

Quirrel then forgot the point of sending Wanda and jumped out from behind the wall to comfort his friend.

"Madame! It'll be ok, we have all the vials that were put in Uumuu."

"Quirrel! Have you been there the whole time!?"

"Uhhh-"

"Futhermore, was it you who sent Wanda? Vessels don't have enough experience to tell emotions of others"

"Well maybe-"

"I should be angry but for once, thank you"

 

Quirrel could tell that talking had helped Monomon -even if she wouldn't admit it- so he was content.

 

           -----------------------------------------------------

 

Thorn stood dumbstruck at the suggestion Hornet just made. Go back to that thing that got them and Rim in so much trouble all those years ago. She wanted their help to kill Nosk for good. They started to fiddle with the patches in their cloak before exusing themself to 'make a plan'.

 

They felt void tears leave their eyes and remembered the orange goop leaking from them into Rim. A harsh voice cut them from their dark memory.

"It'll hurt all your friends if you don't"

"Its trapped down there"

"They'll all succumb to it like you and Rim but they don't have the Abyss to save them"

"The infection's gone!"

"Not that creature.  Remember its claws holding one of your siblings? It'll be Lili or Hornet next."

"No I can't let that happen"

"Are you even capable of defeating it?!"

Thorn looked up to the 'shade' and realised wat they had to do. A grin spread across their mask. A grin that was much more real than the smirk on the 'shade's'.

"I'll have help defeating it. Plus there is something I can defeat. Right now actually."

"What's that then?"

"You" The 'shade's' glowing eyes widened.

"N-no! You wouldn't" they stammered in fear. 

"That's how you made me feel. But now, I refuse to be scared." The 'shade' started to flicker befpre flashing white and embracing Thorn. For once, the vessel felt safe. It then retreated backwards and disappeared into their mind. 

 

Thorn went back to Hornet and agreed to help. It didn't take long for the spider princess to swing away and get equipment. In the end, Spider decided to come as well. The trio then set off to the location Thorn said they could find it.

 

"I think it a type of advanced parasite similar to the corpse creepers but smarter. It preys on your fears and replicates them. The only way to kill it is to defeat its true form and the only way to do that is to face your fears." Hornet explained to them on the way.

"That sounds like why me and Rim weren't able to do anything to it before." Thorn agreed. Spider took a deep breath and said, "Ok then I'll try to not be scared. Weavers don't get scared. Do they?" Hornet laughed and patted her friend gently on the back. Thorn looked up and realised they were approaching its lair.

"Wait." they called, "I should go in first. I will take the form of my fears then and I am prepared to face them. I am free of the regret of my inaction before and am willing to fight for its demise"

the others let them enter first and what they saw still chilled them.

 

A creature with six thin, ugly legs emerged using the face of Rim. It looked just the same as before but with Rim's mask and a torso of glowin green acid instead of infection. Thorn stared past the mask of their frined and into its eyes. They only saw the creature. Thy were not scared. It would die today.

 

They drew their needle and charged. They released some soul and formed it into chords similar to strands of silk but less solid. These bound the creature and burned its ankles. They were quickly dissipating though so Thorn would have to be fast. They aimed and lunged through the air directly onto the mid point of its skull. The lifeless mask of Rim lay on the floor but Thorn knew it wasn't over. A dark shadow still loomed around.

 

They aimed over and over again until they caught it dead on and went in to finish it. They showed no mercy in holding it impaled down as Hornet and Spider rushed over to help them. The creature found three needles stuck in it as life faded from it. 

 

The deed was done. Thorn was free.