「fields of realization」

a web novel

01 – Invitation

Velkran, the being once known as the Dragonstair, rumbled with a primordial sound resembling laughter as, for the first time in millennia, it beheld a completely unexpected sight.

Motes of ephemeral light revolved around the sanctum in an arrangement akin to an orrery. Suspended in the middle of them was a new curiosity: a great, seething rift, like a wellspring of energy pouring forth. Within, Velkran knew, was the Interstice, the Realm Between Realms. A plane that was chaotic beyond all measures of control.

Yet now, the impossible had happened. Somehow, the plane had been… stabilized. Placated, perhaps, though Velkran had never known the Interstice to be alive in any such sense.

Furthermore, a soft red power was emanating from the rift, furtive and thin, yet strangely curious. A challenge, perhaps? Unlikely in the extreme–few were the mortals that could answer a being of Velkran’s caliber. No, it was a call for help; from inexperienced travelers with the suicidal ideation of crossing the ever-changing realm unassisted, or perhaps an unlucky soul who wandered through some fey gate… Velkran’s maw contorted into a grin. Their call would be answered, yes, but not by the savior they envisioned. Souls adrift in the Interstice would soon become mages, if they were not already. And mages were the perfect prey for a Title-bearer to grow its power.

With a roar, Velkran rose. Its physical form, a stone-like, draconic exoskeleton, unfurled outward until it scraped at the jagged edges of the sanctum. The dragon’s true form, partially residing within a higher dimension, rose as well, unfurling its multifractal wings as it roared a spell into existence:

「UNDYING REVELATION」- Worldsuture Gate

The atmosphere inside the sanctum changed in an instant, distorted by the waves of power emanating from Velkran’s form. Any lesser creature would have been crushed in an instant–its sheer gravitas was too much to withstand. Ethereal claws created by the spell’s power reached into the rift, grasping at the edges, before tearing it apart. The portal yawned open further and further with a sound like a howling gale.

At last, the hour was ripe. No longer, Velkran thought, will I be forced to hide within this place, protected only through obscurity from the watchful eyes of more powerful beings. With the strength granted by devouring a handful of mages’ Qliphoths, the Dragonstair would once again become a Title remembered across the myriad realms. Sounding a triumphant roar that shook the unseen dimensions of its sanctum, the dragon crossed through the rift.

It emerged into a world that was completely alien to its knowledge.

Above was a blue sky. Soft sunlight filtered through the sparse clouds, and a breeze swayed the fields of long grass in gentle waves. This was a plains, stretching into the distance for miles. How could a land like this possibly form within a dimension that was constantly being created and destroyed? It seemed an impossibility.
Then Velkran spotted the edge in the distance, a place where the plain suddenly dropped off into the horizon, and the floating pieces of land beyond it. Of course. This land had limits; it was an island, a mere speck floating upon an endless void.

But such trivial details were of no import. There was magic upon the air, the furtive weaving of sentient fledglings. They were near. Soon Velkran’s claws would be upon its prey, and the resulting feast would make it immortal, invincible–

The iron weight of the axe swung down, chopping through the bone of the dragon’s neck in an instant and severing its spine. Without so much as a roar, Velkran died.


“That was easier than I thought…”

With a sigh, Ruri wiped the sweat from her brow and hefted her axe onto her shoulder. Sunlight glinted off the blade, revealing its lack of blemishes from the encounter.

A moment later, Kurenai emerged from the shade of a nearby tree. With an urgent pace, she ran over to Ruri’s side, her strides parting the long grasses.

“Oh, Kurenai-sama, it seems your call worked–” Ruri started, then made an embarassingly high sound as Kurenai lifted her chin with a gentle hand.

“Are you alright? Did it hurt you anywhere?”

“I, ah- It seems I ended it before the creature could have a chance.” Ruri seemed to be trying her best not to turn pink as the older girl preened her for injuries like a mother hen. Collecting herself once more, Ruri turned away, her voice an flat murmur as she spoke.
“I told you before, you need not concern yourself with a clan servant’s well-being. More importantly, whatever you did seemed to work.”

“Is that so? And yet there are leaves stuck in your hair again…”
Her jovial comment ran off Ruri like rainwater. Kurenai frowned, wondering where the innocent, curious girl she could once dote upon endlessly had gone. In her place was a maiden of steel, who bristled at any attempts to soften her.

As Ruri grumbled and ran a hand through her hair, her axe caught Kurenai’s eyes: the air was twisted along the edge of her blade, as if the weapon was the center of some sort of distortion that rent space itself apart. Kurenai turned away from the macabre sight, a shiver running through her.
One by one, the members of the Hyakuya clan had been awakening to strange abilities over the past month they had spent within this world. Abilities that could only be described as “magic”, once thought solely to be in the domain of the seirei they worshipped. By now, Kurenai suspected that everyone in the clan had been… changed, and the coming weeks would prove whether these developments were a blessing or curse.

Everyone except her. Kurenai stared down at her hands, an ember of frustration smouldering in her chest. The changes that had been sweeping over the Hyakuya clanswomen had been slow in affecting her. And underpinning that last thought was a feeling of crushing helplessness. If I don’t develop my power soon, that woman will… She cut off that line of thought, stifling the surge of fear it brought.

And now Ruri held that same power, as if unconcerned… no, in full acknowledgement of it. And the way she’d killed that beast, without a single moment of hesitation… Did her newfound abilities reach so far, to the extent of eliminating the restraint Kurenai knew her for? Had her personality itself been affected?

No. Kurenai pursed her lips. What am I thinking?
Ruri is still Ruri. The girl I always knew. She has to be.

“Kurenai-sama, is everything alright? What are you looking at?”

“Oh, er…” Kurenai shifted her gaze to just over Ruri’s shoulder, at the place where the plains tapered off into the blue-sky void.
Beyond the edge, she knew another land lay suspended far below, separated by a great expanse. A land vastly different from their own.
“You’re seeing it too, aren’t you? The Southern Continent drawing closer, day by day. And while we have our hands full dealing with the Easterners.”

“And soon they’ll be upon us…” Ruri hummed.

“Mm. I want to make sure that when it happens, we’re not greeting each other with fangs bared. In our current state, we’ve little hope of a future if we sustain any more prolonged conflicts. I can only hope they’re of the same mind.”

Ruri sighed as she followed Kurenai’s gaze. “You’re just hoping you’ll see her again, aren’t you, my lady?”

“The Southern Continent’s clan leader? I can’t deny that’s a part of–” Kurenai’s eyes widened. “Wait, when did you find out about her?”

“You really should guard your words more closely. You’re an open book most of the time.” A hint of familiar overconfidence was present in Ruri’s voice. That’s the girl I know. “You find her pretty, don’t you.”

Kurenai’s ears turned red. “No, er, well, she seems quite strong, and I’m quite content admiring that strength from afar, rather than having to confront it head-on…”

Ruri’s giggle sent a surge of relief through Kurenai, and the two shared a moment of silence. But Kurenai was unprepared as the strategist turned back, a strange emotion burning in her eyes. Far from her normal, impenetrable shell, the girl looked… forlorn. Lost.

“Kurenai-sama, is it alright if I ask you a strange question?”

“What is it?”

“Have you… died yet?”

Kurenai’s breath caught in her throat. She turned away. Why would she ask this now? Does she know?

In this world, death no longer had as much of a hold as it once did. People could return from even mortal wounds, but they would be diminished in body and spirit… if they returned at all. It was one of the first discoveries the Hyakuya clan had been forced to make upon their arrival to this world.

And one I didn’t want to think about…

“I haven’t,” she lied. “Why do you ask?”

“Because,” Ruri said, “I will do whatever it takes to make sure you never suffer that fate, Kurenai-sama. That, I swear.” Her voice had taken on a resolute steel that was undercut by a faint wavering.

Why are you saying this? What aren’t you telling me?

Kurenai stood in silence for a few moments, before smiling warmly. “Then I suppose I’ll have to awaken my abilities quickly so that I’m less of a burden to you, won’t I?” she said. “Thank you.”

Her words seemed to put the younger girl at ease. The two women looked back to the grisly trophy at the top of the hill, the severed head of the draconic beast they had ambushed. Even in death, the head radiated a strange power that seemed to slowly wean its surroundings of color.

“I hope we haven’t made a terrible mistake,” Ruri murmured, echoing Kurenai’s thoughts.

“Let’s hope Miko can make heads or tails of this, hmm?”

“Stop that.”

-to be continued-