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A crown! A crown on her head! Her eyes lit up, and when she met Soren's teal eyes, she saw that he was smiling. Aether's cheeks warmed. She pointed her small finger at his crown, [b [#00cca3 "That looks good on you too!" ]] She never thought she deserved a crown, but Soren really made her believe it.
But wait... He wasn't going to stay? He was going to leave? She pouted, and then couldn't help but pour her emotions out. [i I don't want to be alone. ] She kept on sniffling and cried quietly, and wrapped her arms around him, shaking her head, [b [#00cca3 "I don't want you to leave me. I want you to stay with me Sori."]] She didn't raise her head as he spoke.
There was a growing ache in her chest. For while. [b [#00cca3 "What good is being queen when I'm alone?" ]] She mumbled. There was always this hole in her chest, that something was missing.
Soren hugged her tightly, making her feel comfortable and not alone. She sniffled and lifted her head when he said he would be her knight until she wanted it. Her eyes lit up.
[b [#00cca3 "I never want you to go." ]] Aether said with the straightest face. She clung onto things pretty fast when she liked them.
A smile returned on her face. She got help from Soren to grab the bags. He was so nice, and so cool. She really wanted to be around him ,and wanted to be brave and strong like him.
Aether stood before the people of wonderland. She inhaled a deep breath, and put on a brave face, and said her speech. Soren's words made her grin. [b [#00cca3 "You really think so!" ]]" She giggled and heard everyone call out her name. Aether had the biggest smile, and caught the sound of Soren saying the same thing.
[b [#00cca3 "Me too. I want fried kitchen too," ]] The little girl really thought it was called 'kitchen.' [b [#00cca3 Yes! I want to come. I want to go where you go." ]] Although, the sound or robots did send chills down her body. She was mostly terrified to see one but, Soren said he would protect her.
[i It's decided. ] [b [#00cca3 "This is the best day ever!" ]] Aether giggled. Food was brought in, and she went around with Soren to get some fried chicken. Aether fed herself well, maybe too well. She end up having sauces and whipped cream all over her face. She looked silly but she didn't notice it while she was eating. Soon enough, she was laying flat down on the ground, holding her tummy.
[b [#00cca3 "Too much...kitchen...and sweet food. ]]" Aether groaned. Then she remembered, they were going to her house. "Cards!" Aether called out, and one responded. She smiled, [b [#00cca3 "Can you please get a horse for us? Please?" ]]
[b "Yes, my queen." ] The card bowed.
Aether giggled, and didn't think she'd get used to being called 'queen.' She patted her tummy again and looked at Soren, [b [#00cca3 "Is your tummy as big as mine?"]] She looked around the palace and it hit her. This was all hers now. A whole castle to herself! She rolled around the floor, and exhaled deeply and grinned, stretching out her hands and arms, [b [#00cca3 "This is all ours!" ]]
The card came back, hovering over her, [b "My queen, a horse is prepared for your travel at the front gate." ]
[b [#00cca3 "Why, thank you. "]] Aether grinned and looked at Soren again. [b [#00cca3 "Let's go?" ]]
He only wanted to give Aether the crown because he trusted her. He didn't trust anyone else with it because he hasn't seen or been with them. Aether was really nice and she cared about him. He's never met anyone like her in the world before, but he also has never travelled to Wonderland either.
He put the crown on her head and thought it did look really good on her. It fit her and as his teal eyes glanced at her crown, he smiled down at her. [b [#F78F18 "See you deserve it. It looks good on your head!"]] he said proudly. But that's when Soren saw that she was getting tears in her eyes, seeing her looking so upset. Why was she crying? He didn't want her to cry right now. [b [#F78F18 "Aeth, I won't be going back anytime soon, but I will eventually right?"]] he wondered, seeing those pixelly tears of hers hit the ground. [b [#F78F18 "I'll stay with you for a while if you want, but you're queen of Wonderland. You can't just leave here, this is your home?"]] he told her, frowning at the sight and then he pulled her into a tight hug.
[b [#F78F18 "I'll be your knight until you want me to go"]] he admitted, helping her grab the bags of money before he saw her lightly smile. She looked really pretty when she smiled like that and he wanted her to atay that way. He held her hand in his and then he led her downstairs and then they walked towards the door where they spotted the queen.
The cards were now following them and defending them as they stood in front of the people. He gripped onto her hand and smiled, letting her know it was going to be okay. Her speech to the people was amazing. He was already so convinced that she'd make a great queen. Even he wanted to live with those rules.
[b [#F78F18 "I like it. You're a good queen"]] he told her, nodding proudly and then he saw everyone bow and say her name. It was music to his ears. [b [#F78F18 "Long live Queen Aether"]] he repeated back and then he walked towards her. [b [#F78F18 "I'm really hungry. I want more of that fried chicken in the food room. Maybe after we can go see your house and then I can show you mine if you want to come?"]] he asked her, waiting for the crowd to cheer as they decided to celebrate her coronation today. THe people in the castle were already setting up another feast, all of the animals were coming into the castle. Soren smiled up at her and held her hand.
[b [#F78F18 "Looks like everyone really likes you as the queen. I knew they would"]] he told her confidently.
It amazed her that Soren would give her the crown. She never had thought of being the queen of wonderland. She was okay with just walking around but being Queen didn't sound so bad. She hugged Soren so tightly, loving the warmth from someone that felt so real. Money was on the ground, and she had to fix the crown a bit up again. When she asked him, she hoped that he'd stay around her.
Right. Soren didn't live here. He was going to leave wasn't he? Tears bundled up her eyes again. She gripped onto her dress, feeling so upset that she was going to be alone here. She was going to have to say goodbye to him wasn't she? [b [#00cca3 "Are you going to go back?" ]] Her voice cracked, [b [#00cca3 "I don't want to be alone. Can you stay with me? Or...or, I'll follow you? " ]] She wiped her eyes and felt his arms around her. She hugged him right back.
[b [#00cca3 "Okay, you can be my knight."]] She took the steps to collect some money. She's never seen this much money before. Still, she felt a bit sad, worried that she'd be really alone again. Even her favorite AI was gone. She lifted her head when Soren talked about greeting the kingdom.
Aether lifted a light smile, but she felt nervous, even if it was a bunch of Ai's. [b [#00cca3 "We beat the queen." ]] Soren took her hand. She squeezed his hand tightly, She walked down the stairs with him, and this time, when they opened the door, it lead to the throne room. Animals were walking around, and very little humans. The cards had followed them down, and there were more cards standing guard.
The people were turning their heads around, when Aether and Soren came in. Aether fought the urge to hide behind Soren. She held onto his hand even more tightly. Aether cleared her voice, [b [#00cca3 "Hello, People of wonderland, I'm Aether, your new queen." ]] She managed a smile, [b [#00cca3 "The first thing I want to change as queen, is having less tea and more desserts! And being mean, means that you have to do a big time out." ]] Aether nodded, thinking that was okay, and then she felt the nervousness eat her up. [b [#00cca3 "Is that okay?" ]] Aether than looked at Soren, [b [#00cca3 "Me and Soren beat the queen and Alice. SO, be nice to him. ]]
Everyone bowed down, and said "Long live Queen Aether."
That made Aether grin. She couldn't believe it. She giggled and said [b [#00cca3 " Thank you! Everyone can continue having fun at the festival. ]]" She felt pretty happy now, but what now from here?
[b [#00cca3 "Soren, do you want to eat more food with me? I can show you my house soon. ]]" She really didn't want him to go, and wanted to follow him around and be like her [b [#00cca3 "Or we can go to your world? ]]"
THe red queen was now shattering to pieces from the impact of the chair with her head. She was soon gone from this world and Alice tried to be the new ruler. Soren would glance over at Aether, seeing how upset she looked and then he saw tears in her eyes. HE didn't know how much the queen meant to her, but he was doing his best, giving her a hug and then he rubbed her shoulder gently.
From the way that Alice was speaking, she didn't seem nice at all and Soren didn't like it. She didn't deserve to be the queen of this kingdom. He watched her tell the cards to show them out, but Soren reached over and grabbed a spear, throwing it towards her and then seeing it stab through her body, making her entire being just shatter into pieces. He walked over and looked at the crown on the ground, lifting it up as he walked towards Aether.
He saw her eyes widen and then he placed it onto her head, seeing it looked a little big, but so was his. He nodded his head and then he smiled up at her, seeing that they had completed the quest. Money bags had fallen and when he watched her hug him, his eyes widened a little and then he hugged her back, feeling that warmth of someone being there, not a robot. He got onto his knees and then he bowed, calling her his queen.
When she asked him, he slowly stood up and then he felt his crown. [b [#F78F18 "I don't live here Aether. You're the one that's going to rule Wonderland, not me"]] he told her, but he did want to spend more time with her. In truth, he didn't want to leave her side, but he did live somewhere else. [b [#F78F18 "It's best if I stay your knight, but I can always help you too"]] he told her, hugging his arms around her as he walked around and then looked at the bags of money. Hopefully this also counted as money in Avalon because this was so much.
[b [#F78F18 "As queen, I think you should greet your kingdom. Tell them how strong you are and you beat the queen!"]] he said proudly, wanting her to get a kingdom that she deserved since she was really nice. [b [#F78F18 "Let's go"]] he held her hand in his and then he walked over the bags of money, seeing it go into his inventory. He waited for Aether to gather some before heading towards the long staircase back down.
Her heart shattered when she watched the AI that she interacted with so much shatter apart into the abyss. Aether knew that meant she'd never see the Queen again. It was the closest thing she had to a friend, even if it was artificial. That loneliness was sinking in. She felt a pat on her shoulder. Aether looked over her shoulder and couldn't stop the tears, even if he told her it was okay. But at least Soren was her new friend.
Alice was mean and Aether really wanted to throw something at her. She raised her voice, and decided that if Alice was going to be mean, that she had to go. Soren spoke up, looking so brave and strong when he talked.
[b [#00cca3 "Yea! We beat her, and you were just mean. ]] Aether nodded, having her sword out.
[b "No, I got rid of her. The crown is mine, and I will rule wonderland fairly. Cards!" ] Alice called to get them to attack, but Soren stabbed her.
Aether gasped. He did it. She watched Soren with such admiration. [i He's so cool! ] Alice shattered before her eyes. But he did say one person fit to be queen. Who? Was there another red queen or Alice around? Or was Soren really a girl! her eyes widened, when he came forward.
Aether stared at the crown and blushed when he put it on her head. It was a bit big, but it fit. "Me!" Aether pointed herself. She stared long and hard, doubly blinking. Tears were forming in her eyes again, except this time out of happiness. She's never had an AI be this nice to her.
The tablet chimed, money dropped. Aether froze, afraid that the money will strike her in the head, but it didn't. She met Soren's teal eyes again. She pouted, and held onto the tears in her eyes because she was so happy. [b [#00cca3 "I do? " ]] She paused and nodded, [b [#00cca3 "I will!" ]] Aether felt his warm embrace. She hugged him tightly too, smiling so much.
Her red eyes followed Soren, when he got onto his knees and bowed. The cards bowed down too. Never has she ever thought that there was a chance to become queen of wonderland. She kept on pouting, and watching him. Then she grinned and giggled, [b [#00cca3 "I have a knight! ]] And then she remembered that he had a crown on his head.
[b [#00cca3 Can you be my king too?" ]] She reached her hand on his shoulder. She had no idea what that meant besides meaning there were two rulers. Aether clearly decided in her mind that she always wanted to see Soren. He was a good friend. Then it worried her, if maybe he would go away. She wanted to follow him wherever he went, because he made her not feel alone.
He was only pretending to be a king to try and throw off the queen, but he didn't think that Aether would really believe in it too. He thought that maybe it was a good idea to be able to have someone back him up, but the queen didn't buy it either. He wanted no one to blow his cover, but he did his best.
[b [#F78F18 "Aether liked you and you're not going to hurt us. We're going to take over"]] he told her and then he heard Aether in the background. If she's not bad, why was the quest to defeat her? He didn't quite know, but he didn't like how the queen was talking to them.
Soren accepted the quest to defeat the queen and when the cards started rushing in, he held his breath and tried to focus. There was no reason why he should be worrying so much, not when he was brave. Right now he needed to beat the queen somehow, so he came rushing in rolling a ball towards them. It knocked them down as he headed over and used his sword, telling Aether to be brave too.
When he managed to stab his sword on the cards and cutting through the others, they all shattered and all that was left was the queen. The queen was soon knocked down by Alice, seeing her shatter as well. Soren heard Aether's cry and he walked over to her to pat her shoulder. [b [#F78F18 "It's okay"]] he told her, seeing Alice put on the crown.
She wanted them escorted out and Soren thought that was really fishy. She was acting mean. [b [#F78F18 "No you cant kick us out. We beat the queen not you"]] he pointed the finger and then he looked back at Aether.
[b [#F78F18 "There's only one person fit to be queen"]] he reached down and grabbed one of the spears from the cards. He threw it towards Alice and it stabbed her through the stomach. He walked towards her, seeing her look up at them in shock.
She ended up shattering into pixels as he walked over towards the crown. He leaned down and carried it up and put it on Aether's head. [b [#F78F18 "You're the queen of wonderland Aeth!"]] he told her, putting his sword back in his sheath. The tablet beeped.
[center [b Quest Completed]]
He smiled and saw bags of coins drop onto the floor. Aether was now queen of Wonderland and knew she'd be a great one. [b [#F78F18 "You deserve to be the queen. You'll take care of everyone"] he told her, smiling as he hugged his arms around her and then pulled back and got onto his knees and bowed. [b [#F78F18 "Your highness. I will be your strong knight!"] he told her.
Aether was feeling pretty convinced that Soren really was the true king. Maybe he was part of this quest all along! That would make him an AI and he really didn't seem like an AI. She listened to him proclaim his throne. It made her eyes wide. She gasped, [b [#00cca3 "Soren really is going to be king?" ]]
He talked about worshipping the queen. Aether just thought of her as a good friend. Someone who was nice to her, gave her food and gave her safety. Aether pouted, and whispered [b [#00cca3 "But she's not too bad... ]]"
Her tablet chimed too. Aether whimpered when she saw it. She didn't want to kill the queen. The most, lock her up in a cage or just not make her queen. She did think Soren will make a good king. She squeezed her eyes and hit the accept button. The cards came rushing in, with spears, swords and angry faces.
Alice was gone.
Aether shrugged and frowned. He was right. SHe nodded. She need to be like Soren. She drew her sword, [b [#00cca3 "I'm going to be brave." ]] The cards were rushing in, and Aether froze up a bit. She was afraid she would vanish if they hurt her. Would it hurt? Would it hurt really bad? What would happen?
Soren was brave. She snapped out of it, the second he was throwing some sort of ball at them. Aether took a step back but when Soren told her to get them, she inhaled a deep breath and charged. She wanted to fight alongside her friend. She began fighting the cards, stabbing them, slashing at them, and they crumbled onto the floor until there was no trace of them.
[i I'm doing it, I'm doing it! ] She never felt so proud of herself.
The queen saw how she was losing, the fear showing in her eyes and she was backing up, to run away. When Alice had caught up behind her and whacked her in the head with a chair. The queen begin dissolving in a fast rate until she was gone. The only thing left of her, was a red crown that landed on the ground.
Aether froze up and screamed out, [b [#00cca3 "No!" ]].
The remaining three cards, stopped attacking.
Aether began crying, because it wasn't fair that she lost an AI she liked.
Alice would bend down and grab the crown and put it on her head, "I'm queen now. Thank you for your help, I will take care of wonderland from now on, and my first decree as queen... Cards, will you please escort them out?" Alice smiled at them.
Aether was so upset, standing frozen in spot. She didn't like this Alice person. Aether cleared up her tears, and stepped forward, [b [#00cca3 "No, Soren is king. Not you. Right Soren?" ]]
He didn't think she was a crybaby at all. Soren thought that she looked really cute and she was just as strong as him. She's survived in this world with so many scary creatures and she was doing well with her bunny. He didn't really know what kind of AI she was, but he did think that she was just like him and he liked her. [b [#F78F18 "Yeah! You did, you really are strong"]] he told her honestly as he headed towards the cage. When he felt her bump into him, Soren looked back, seeing her rub her head. Did he hurt her? He decided to rub the top of her head too and then he lifted a grin.
When Alice was freed, he gave her a high five and then he decided that they shared half the reward. He didn't feel like he deserved it all, not when she brought him here and decided to do the quest together. But when the footsteps were heard behind them, Soren pulled out his sword and aimed it at the door, wondering who it was. To be safe, he wanted to test something out as well, so he equipped the crown on his head and saw the queen step into the light.
She looked really odd in Soren's opinion. She looked way different from the queen in Avalon. He watched her speak in an odd tone, never really hearing a sentence build that way, but he understood her.
He held his sword and waited for her, keeping Alice and Aether behind him. [b [#F78F18 "I'm going to be the new king once we eliminate you. You're not very nice! And you're mean to Aether who used to worship you! You don't deserve to be queen"]] he told her, looking down at his tablet.
[center [b Quest: Defeat the Red Queen]]
[center [b Accept?]]
Soren clicked on accept and then he gripped onto the handle of his sword. He saw the guards fill the room and then he also noticed Alice was gone. [b [#F78F18 "Where did she go? Aether, we have to fight. Just remember you're brave and I'll help you. We gotta beat the cards"]] he told her, seeing the cards move in front of the queen. They also had swords and were giving them nasty looks.
Soren called his bunny, changing it back into a table and then he drew a bowling ball and held it in his free hand. He rolled it towards the cards, seeing it knock most of them down. [b [#F78F18 "Now, let's get them"]] he rushed the cards on the floor, stabbing his knife and watching them shatter one by one. There were two more cards already up, but Soren rushed and charged in, cutting through one of them as he would glance over to see if Aether was doing okay.
Aether felt so convinced she was a cry baby. She heard that word in another world she visited, where there was more AI's that look similar to her. Her red eyes lit up when he said she wasn't. He made her really sound brave.
[b [#00cca3 "I did!" ]] She grinned. Maybe she wasn't too much of a cry baby after all. She's brave.
She had a brave face on, and followed Soren's every move, and that end up bumping into his back. She blushed in embarrassment, and felt him rub the top of her head. It was decided. She really, really, really, really liked Soren. He was really nice to her. She nodded,
[b [#00cca3 "Okay." ]]
Aether opened the door, and acted brave. She grinned, and saw him strangely stick out his hand. Oh wait! She remembered this. it's a high five. She had to go on her tippy toes to give him a high five.
It only seemed fair that Soren got the reward. She pouted, and lifted her head when he talked about sharing. She pouted, and was getting emotional that he would share with her.
[b [#00cca3 "Thank you," ]] She smiled at him and took half.
Soren pointed his sword. Aether was watching very carefully, and decided to copy his pose with the sword. Then she got distracted by the shiny crown on his hand.
The queen put her hands on her hips. She wore a long red ball gown dress. She held a red heart staff and had a crown on her head. Red lipstick in the shape of a heart, and she had her head tilted up like a queen.
[b "I want Alice caged, where she belongs! How dare you release a dangerous criminal! How dare you wear a crown on your head? This is my land!" ]" The queen slammed her staff on the ground.
Aether gasped and moved forward,
[b [#00cca3 "No! Don't be mad at Soren." ]]
"[b You! You betrayed your queen! Off with your head! ]" The queen raised her voice.
[b [#00cca3 "I did not." Aether crossed her arms and pouted, "Why is Alice a bad person?" ]]
"[b She turned my kingdom against me, told lies and then tried to kill me for a crown. She's a horrible sister. This crown is mine. I don't recall taking a king."] The looked at Soren with his crown.
[b [#00cca3 "Agreed, Alice is evil. Soren isn't king of wonderland but he's my king now! So don't be mean to him too. He's a friend."]] But then why the quest? Aether looked over her shoulder and saw Alice wasn't there anymore. Where she go?
Cards came in, and Aether gasped. Would they have to fight?
The sight of the staircase in the dark frightened the little boy and honestly, he didn't want to go anywhere near it. It rang in his mind though that he should probably finish the quest with Aether since they've gotten this far. He told her he'd be by her side and he really did want to help her out. He saw her holding the flashlight and he held her hand tightly in his as he took the first step.
It seemed endless with the number of steps that he had to go through. All he wanted was to be able to reach the top, so when they approached the door, he looked back at Aether, hearing her ask him a question. [b [#F78F18 "A baby? No you're not. You beat the big rat outside. You're so brave"]] he told her, reaching the room with the bird cage.
He didn't see her as a baby at all, but at the same time he really didn't know much about babies since everyone was an AI. HE tiptoed towards the cage door and waited for Aether to open it up. He felt her bump into him and when he looked back, he rubbed the top of her head [b [#F78F18 "Be careful"]] he smiled and then he let her open up the cage door as he watched the bird to make sure that he was still asleep.
When Alice was freed, he noticed that the bird was screeching and flapping it's wings. He glanced up and was going to pull out his sword, but when he saw Aether hitting it in the head with her hand, it fell back asleep and Soren smiled. [b [#F78F18 "Woah you're so strong Aeth"]] held his hand up for a high five and then he watched little Alice grow huge again.
They were rewarded with coins and then Soren held them all and shook his head [b [#F78F18 "We did this together, we share!"]] he told her, offering half of it to her.
His tablet beeped and showed a message.
[center [b Unlocked:] King of hearts crown]
Alice asked them to help, but Sylus watched her speak with Aether. If she liked the queen then what was Alice talking about? Who was he to believe?
Footsteps were coming up behind them and then Soren looked back and held out his sword. He kept Aether and Alice behind him as he waited for them to step forward. It was the red queen.
As she stepped forward, Soren used his tablet to equip his king of hearts crown, seeing it settle on his head. He stood tall and then he pointed his sword. [b [#F78F18 "What does the queen want?"]] he asked, as if pretending to be somewhat of a king in his best form.
[i Soren is really brave. ] Aether pouted, feeling like she was such a baby compared to him. She didn't want to go up into the darkness, even if he was by her side. He was right though. Aether sighed, lowering her head, [b [#00cca3 "Okay...I" ]] When she had a flashlight in her hand, it built up a little bravery in her. He promised to hold her hand, so she walked up those stairs with him, seeing the determination in his eyes.
[b [#00cca3 "Do you think I'm a baby?"" ]] Aether frowned. They got higher and higher, till they reached the door. Light flooded into the room, and they saw a tiny blonde girl wearing a blue dress in a bird cage.
Soren was right again. [b [#00cca3 "Okay...Soren," ]] She sighed. She wished she could be more like him. Why couldn't she be like him? Even if he might be an AI. Why was she such a cry baby? It upset her, and she noticed him tip toeing. Should she do the same? Aether tried to copy exactly what Soren was doing, and even tried to copy his determined expression. She wanted to more like him. She end up bumping into his back. She rubbed her forehead and peeked over behind his back to the cage.
Aether whimpered. Would that bird hurt them? [i Keys? ] Aether brought out the ring and keys, and found a tiny one. She used that key to open the cage. The horror on her face from the fear of the bird wakening was showing. The cage came undone, and Alice stepped out.
The bird slowly opened its vicious yellow eyes. Aether sucked in air, and the bird became to screech loudly, flapping it's wings. Out of fear, Aether shut her eyes, and tried to be more like Soren; she whacked the bird in the head with her hand. The bird went night, night and when Aether opened her eyes, she was grinning.
[b [#00cca3 "I did it,"]] Aether giggled.
[b "Please, may I have a cookie? ]" Alice looked up at the two.
Aether nodded, and took out a cookie out of her bag and offered her one. Alice took a bite, and she turned big. She was still older than then them.
Alice grinned [b "Thank you, for freeing me. Here's your reward. ]" She pulled out some coins from her bag and offered them to Aether and Soren. It looked like they had to share. It was a lot of money. Aether pouted and met Soren's pretty eyes, [b [#00cca3 "You can have it. I was just a cry baby..." ]]" She sniffled and heard her tablet chime. She opened it up.
[center [b Unlocked]: Alice's outfit ]
[b "Would you be so kind to help me return wonderland to it's former kind land?" ] Alice smiled, her hands behind her back.
[b "How do we do that?" ]" Aether lifted her eyes off the screen, and her tablet turned into a bunny.
Alice innocently giggled, [b "Make the queen disappear forever of course." ]
Aether's face went blank, [b [#00cca3 "No! I like the queen. She's my friend." ]] The queen gave her food, and let her wander around wonderland with no worry. They played chess together and she always threw festivals.
"[b The queen is evil. ]
[b [#00cca3 "You're evil too!" ]]" Aether crossed her arms.
[b "The [i queen ] is evil." ]
Aether was fed up, Sure, the queen was pretty scary, but she could be nice too. Tears flooded her eyes again, her voice cracking [b [#00cca3 "I don't want the queen to go away forever. ]]
Then, they footsteps from behind them, becoming louder and louder with each step. It must have came from the steps. Aether gasped, unsure of what to do now. She didn't want the queen to disappear, but what if the queen tried to hurt her? What if Alice tried to hurt her?
Even little Soren could tell that Aether was different from the other AIs. She seemed to be more responsive and more emotional than most of them. He didn't know where she came from or if she was from this world, but she said she had the same circumstances as him. She was alone, had a tablet, and could build whatever she wanted. Were they of a similar race? Then why were they so far apart? He didn't quite know, but he wanted to help her and stay with her.
THey approached the queen's room and saw how young she was. When her gaze focused on Soren and Aether, the two made a run for it. He hurried towards another room, gripping onto Aether's hand as he waited for her to open the door. He looked back to see if the queen followed, but just as they closed the door, the queen busted hers open.
Soren backed up and almost fell into the abyss when he felt Aether tug him closer to the door. When he looked back to see the staircase and how dark it was, even he was really scared. He was scared, but he knew he had to overcome that fear and move forward. [#F78F18 "It's scary, but we have to find Alice"] he told her, seeing her flashlight. Soren peeked at what it was and then he closed his eyes at the light.
[#F78F18 "Let's use the light. I promise I won't let go"] he told her, his teal eyes determined as he held her hand. Soren took in a deep breath and then he took the first step. He led Aether up the stairs while she shined the light in the direction they headed. It was dark and they couldn't really see anything else. They were only moving higher and higher. By the time they reached the top and spotted another door, he followed Aether towards it and then peeked in.
There was Alice. Soren walked towards her, but he kept his eyes on the bird. He saw the two conversing and he thought about it. [#F78F18 "We have to save her. The red queen is already looking for us. We need to help Alice since we already came this far"] he told her, looking at Aether's eyes. [#F78F18 "We have to be brave and then we can finish the quest"] he reminded her, slowly tippy toeing towards the bird cage.
There were feathers that covered the ground and with each step, Soren tried to keep quiet. He held his breath a few times and kept Aether close behind him. WHen they reached the cage door, he turned back [#F78F18 "Do you have the keys? Let's get her out and get out of here"] he told her, seeing that Alice also looked like them. She looked more human than the animals around here. Maybe she was one of them as well.
He let Aether deal with the door as he peeked up to watch the bird. It was still asleep. He didn't want to wake it and find out what would happen, so he hoped that Aether unlocked the door quietly.
There was nothing about Soren that seemed AI. He hugged her back, and it made her feel like she wasn't alone. Aether clung onto his hand, following behind him as he walked through the doors for a while. She nodded when he spoke, and opened the door when they found the Queen's room. She really didn't want to face her yet. She didn't want to face the queen at all. She looked a lot older than her and who knew if she would decide to go off with their heads.
Aether gasped, seeing the queen's eyes on them. She sprinted with Soren to another door. It was tough, but she scrambled to find the right key. She opened the door and was nearly going to run forward, when she saw the height. Aether pressed her back against the door, and tugged on Soren's hand to stop him from taking another step back.
The fear in her was growing. Aether shook her head. No way. It was too dark. She met his teal eyes and heard how he certain he was. She whined, [b [#00cca3 It's too scary.]]
Her bunny tapped her neck. Aether turned her head and her bunny summoned a flashlight, that was too heavy for it. Her bunny was tilting off her shoulder. Aether caught the little bunny and held the flashlight. Sometimes, their AI would help out like this. Aether felt a bit confused on what this thing was. She's never seen a flashlight. Her bunny kept on pointing at the button.
Aether eventually got it, and clicked the button and light streamed out.
Her eyes widened, and her mouth opened, [b [#00cca3 "Sorri!Look, it's light!" ]] She turned the light to her face, and got blinded by it. She shut her eyes and then flashed the light up at the stairs. At least it wouldn't be pitch black.
[b [#00cca3 "Okay, we can go up...but don't let go of my hand. Promise? ]]" She held onto his hand again, while her other hand holding the flashlight.
Aether put on a brave face, but waited for Soren to take the first step. There was enough room for them to go alongside each other. Aether still felt afraid the higher and higher they were going. If they fell, what would happen? They arrived at the top of the stairs, and there stood another door. Aether swallowed and turned the door knob. When she opened it, she peaked with one eye, until she realized it looked much like an ordinary room. Except there was a bird cage, that literality was a bird with a head, and wings, just with a cage body. That was weird. It was sleeping. Inside, there was a little tiny blonde girl.
The tablet chimed
[center [b Free Alice ]]
[b "Help me, help me. The red queen trapped me here. ]" Alice called out.
Aether stared and didn't know if she wanted to do that, [b [#00cca3 "But then the red queen will be angry and mad at me. I don't want that. ]]"
[b "The red queen is evil. Please help me. I will help you defeat her. " ] Alice gripped onto the bars, the bird still asleep.
[b [#00cca3 "But we might lose," ] ] Aether frowned and looked at Soren, [b [#00cca3 "Should we help her out? ]]" Aether asked.
Soren was doing his best to try and distract the card guards, but the way they were talking, he didn't understand. He couldn't tell what they were saying, but he had his thoughts in his head. He was no peanut! Why couldn't they just tell him where the queen was? Why were they all so into character in this world. Soren didn't really understand what their purpose in the world was, but he could see why Aether lived here. It was a fantasy world with interesting creatures that gave a homey feel.
He tried his best to distract him, but as he walked away, Soren headed over and tried to save Aether from being taken away. He yelled out to eat the cookie, but nothing was happening. He stayed at the corner of the hallway and then he waited for the card to return before yelling out to boost his courage. When he stabbed the red card, it shattered and then he stood by the door where he saw him leave Aether.
She managed to open the door and he was welcomed with a full on hug. Soren wrapped his arms around her and he hugged her back, feeling a warmth he's never felt before from an AI. He heard her tablet and his also made a noise. When he looked at the new objective, he decided to look around. The hallway was endless and there were so many doors.
[#F78F18 "Let's keep trying. I bet we'll find it soon"] he told her, feeling her hand grip onto his. He held on tightly and then he had his teal bunny on his shoulders, staying nestled close to his neck. They opened door after door and when they spotted the queen, he kept silent and looked at Aether's red eyes. He watched her close the door slowly, but then he noticed the queen glancing back.
[#F78F18 "Run!"] he closed the door and then he ran towards another door just a few doors down. [#F78F18 "Use your key. She's coming"] he told her, waiting for her to pick the right key. They entered through the door and then Soren closed it shut. He kept his eyes on the door and slowly backed up, his hand still holding onto Aether's tightly. When he took another step back, he almost slipped and fell. As he turned around, he saw that they were on an edge of a cliff that just floated in the air. Across from them was nothing but a staircase leading up into the darkness. It was too dark to see where it went, but he ended up gulping and looking at Aether. [#F78F18 "Do you want to go up those stairs? I...I think we can do it!"] he told her, trying to sound brave.
[b "The queen!" ] The card raised his voice,[b "Does not deal with peasant concerns."] The card nodded, and returned to painting the white roses red. Aether took the time to get into the pouch and was grinning when she found the key. Her tiny hands couldn't wrap around the key holder ring, so she wrapped her arms around it. She kept tugging, and tugging and was failing.
The bag closed,and she was thrashed back and forth in the back as the card move. She covered her head, and when the thrashing stopped, she was in a darkness that was crushing her chest. She pressed her knees against her chest, and felt everything closing down on her. The loneliness was creating an ache in her chest.
The bag closed. Aether was thrashed back and forth in the bag. She heard a yell, but couldn't place the words while she felt the fear and darkness crushing down on her. So alone... She felt so alone and scared. The thrashing stopped, and she pressed her knees against her chest, trembling. She cried like a kid whose been neglected for far too long.
[b [#00cca3 I'm scared, I'm scared, I'm scared..." ]] She buried her head into her arms, and heard a yell and the sound of shattering.She sniffled and then heard the sound of her name being called by Soren. [b [#00cca3 "Noo... I'm scared. ]] " She whispered . [i A cookie? ] She went into her own bag,and took a bite. She grew big,and ripped the bag apart.
Light was seeping through the edges of the door,and gave her enough lift, to find the ring of keys. Aether kept trying different keys into the door, until she found the right one.
The door clicked open. Aether dove in and wrapped her arms tightly around Soren. She's never really hugged an AI like this before, but she was so afraid and she didn't feel so alone with him.She remained like that for awhile.
The tablet chimed, and that caught her attention and to step a bit back, but she used one hand to cling onto his hand.
[center [b Find which door Alice is in. ]]
They were in a hallway with many doors, and the hallway kept on going on and on for what looked like forever. Her tablet turned into a bunny and hopped on her shoulder. The pink tiny bunny cooed and hugged her neck.
Aether kept quiet for a bit, holding Soren's hand tightly, and fallowing along, until she could calm down. When she did, she knew that the door they needed to enter required a key. Only a few doors required a key to enter. When they found a door that needed a key, Aether would try which key would fit.
She got one door to open, and inside there was a huge room, with a beautiful canopy red bed. Then there was the queen, sitting on her table, by a mirror, putting on red lipstick. She had bold red hair, up and looked no older than sixteen. Aether tugged on Soren's hand, whispering, [b [#00cca3 Let's go... Let's try another door." ]] She didn't want the queen to see them and get mad.
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