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Rin

The Crimson Tide; Book III, The Black Azura Tides

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Failure.

The last encounter had failed, making Esben toil away in the basement of his mansion. Val Cruxia was a safe place to house himself from his last escapade. And he could work in peace from the ever annoying Valentinas meddling in the elf's affairs. As he toiled, exhausted from the late nights of trying to break open Azura-Dusk's prison core. 

Esben muttered, groaned and slammed the tool down in frustration. The elf hated that he couldn't open a single cube like core unlike everything else he could. Wiping the sweat from his brow, Esben walked out of his lab and out of the house. 

The fresh air would do him well. Esben had locked himself away in the lab once Crescendo and Shishi had left. He rubbed his temples as Azura-Dawn wouldn't give up any secrets to open it either. Azura-Dusk's twin, she kept her mouth shut when it came to her sister. 

If only I can get her to tell me her secrets. Esben said to himself as he crossed his arms against his chest. Even that prison cell I keep her in, she doesn't speak. That will can be broken somehow…

Esben shook his head as he looked up. It was mid-day, so the white clouds were heavy with rain almost about to burst. The elf sighed, knowing this being his first failure didn't sit well--he was not taking it well.

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The woman was shy, timid even. She stood there just outside Esben's place waiting patiently for the man to notice her presence. If he ever appear before the woman, he would be surprised to find that the woman had a very familiar face. A face he had seen rather recently. 

Her existence was already a miracle unto itself. Born from that brief amalgamation of the saintess and a demon, a questionable existence. One can say she was the accumulation of the impurities that the living saintess had. At one point she did consider herself a regect and yet here she was, still alive and continue to exist. 

I should give myself a new name. Shishi won't like it if I there's two of us running around.

"Delan," she whispered to herself. "A bad name but should be passable enough."

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The elf looked disshelved, as the late nights hadn't served him well. Bags appeared under his eyes and the mid-back hair had grown longer, as it unraveled from the braid here and there. Chewing his lip, it was chewed into a mess as he had fruitlessly tried to open the prison core. With another groan, his weary eyes peered out into the scenery. The trees had grown orange and red, as they fell to the ground. 

It happened then, the rain fell from the clouds, dampening the elf as he didn't care either way. Esben sighed softly, as he knew that no-one wouldn't ignore that bounty upon his head, the sweet promises made by those who hated him. But Azura-Dusk was the blood of Athentha, the blood to regain what was lost. His eyes noticed something moving in the trees, as though he might be tired, he still had good eyesight. 

Come to laugh at my bruised ego? If you're here, that accursed Crescendo must be around as well.  Esben spat, as he eyed the woman in the trees. Did you enjoy getting one over me? Did they give you those false promises they promised you? If you don't mind, I have things to do. I am going to bring Azura-Dusk back. You will not stop me. 

Esben then waited for the woman to make her move. A bit of the past coming for him. The elf shook his head, annoyed Shishi returned. Did she enjoy the game of destroying his pride and ego? Sighing, he awaited for her to come closer. His appearance was alarming, but he was a researcher. 

He looked around for Crescendo, since usually since their first encounter, he knew the two helped each other out in trying to capture him. But he approached Delan slowly, his figure still captivating even with it looking so ragged. The elf stopped a foot from her. 

Or have you come for more of my clover heart seeds? Esben asked curiously. Have you come seeking the truth? Clearly seeing how they used you? Yes, hungry for the things you deserve. I'm surprised you came back in the first place. 

With that silence, buckets of black azura clover seeds appeared before Delan. Would she eat them? Become lost in their addictive substance? Would she allow the elf, Esben to once again corrupt her core? He needed her help, without Azura-Dusk's right hand woman being reborn in this girl, the prison cube couldn't be broken. 

I mean it's why you came back here right? Crescendo led you astray. Broke her promise to give you what you wanted. And kept Azura-Dusk in her prison. I want to break her free, don't you? Then consume the seeds and become your hidden truth.

Esben leaned against the red clover tree then as he awaited which path Shishi would take. Would she remain herself or would she allow herself to be corrupted into Azura-Dusk's right hand woman, her favorite general? Able to gain the powerful Cloverheart Argo, one that corrupted the owner into the darkest creature of their heart. He waited with excitement. 

 Consume… they whispered. Consume and fall to us again. You know you desire to be more than that hume existence. Consume and gain the Cloverheart Argo, named after you. Don't you remember? You're Argo, sealed by the half-breed. Azura-Dusk granted you such gifts, the Cloverheart Argo, the Cloverheart Scarabheart Abyss, and the most powerful of all for that selfish tyrannical heart, the Cloverheart Scarabheart Tundra. 

As you are a Cloverheart demon, owner of the Cloverheart items. Come back to your faded memories, your dark vile selfish heart. Consume…

Should Delan hear this, her hand would dip into the buckets eating the seeds. The sweet substance telling her she wanted more and more. The rain and Esben forgotten for a moment, as all she would care for was the black azura clover seeds. That gaining the Cloverheart items were more important. The black azura clover seeds were all that mattered, all she cared about, all she wanted. Though she had eaten two buckets, she wanted more never noticing her form was slowly swelling. 

But the seeds called to her. Whispering false promises to Delan, telling her to not stop eating the seeds. That this was the only important thing to her. 

Do you desire more? Was all that Esben asked sweetly. Never satisfied are we? I'll give you as much as you want.

Esben snapped his fingers as more buckets appeared. That coy smile upon his lips. The beginning stage of his plan was starting. Delan was step one to releasing Azura-Dusk back into the world. Another key factor was the former princess of Athentha, Rin. Her lineage was the catalyst to reawake Azura-Dusk.

 

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On 9/20/2020 at 1:57 AM, Rin said:

Come to laugh at my bruised ego? If you're here, that accursed Crescendo must be around as well.  Esben spat, as he eyed the woman in the trees. Did you enjoy getting one over me? Did they give you those false promises they promised you? If you don't mind, I have things to do. I am going to bring Azura-Dusk back. You will not stop me. 

Delan seemed to shirk back from Esben's words. Her timid nature made it hard for her to refute his statements. In fact, tears are starting to well at the corner of her eyes. The man had the wrong idea but she just lacked the necessary courage to prove him wrong.

On 9/20/2020 at 1:57 AM, Rin said:

I mean it's why you came back here right? Crescendo led you astray. Broke her promise to give you what you wanted. And kept Azura-Dusk in her prison. I want to break her free, don't you? Then consume the seeds and become your hidden truth.

"I....I...came for Azura-Dusk," Delan replied meekly. She can;t even look the man in the eyes but rather shifted her gaze downwards on her fidgeting feet.

On 9/20/2020 at 1:57 AM, Rin said:

Do you desire more? Was all that Esben asked sweetly. Never satisfied are we? I'll give you as much as you want.

"I came to help. I'm not the Shishi you wanted. I'm only here as a shoddy imitation of the original," Delan continued, still not making eye contact. "Just...call me Delan. Shishi is such a bad name."

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Came to help me free Azura-Dusk? Usually people that come seeking me out want to stop me. Esben said as he looked at her. Noticing she didn't touch any of the seeds. Disappointed but maybe he could coax her into it. Delan was it? You want to help me unleash the grand demoness Azura-Dusk, first you must eat the seeds. I need her general Argo.

Esben replied as he leaned against the red clover tree staring at her. Those weary eyes of his peering into her own. She definitely not Shishi as Shishi would have fought back, and not as timid. He approached her and took her hands in his, showing Delan she could somewhat trust him. Though that was a lie. 

No need to be so scared. I'm not going to hurt you. Esben said as he looked at her. Unfortunately unless you eat the seeds, we cannot bring forth Azura-Dusk. As her sister, Azura-Dawn won't give up her secrets either. And as you are now, she'll pull one over you.

Esben then let go of her hands, as he shook his head. Delan probably thought he was crazy, that he'd betray her. But the elf wouldn't. Seeing she wasn't Shishi, she could be more pliable to change herself, change from being a timid creature. 

Haven't you ever desire to be stronger? Braver? Let go of the shy timid creature you are? These seeds will help you, they will give you everything and anything you want. Esben said as he held out a few black azura clover seeds. Go on, if you desire to help me. You see, without the knoweldge of the half-breed's whereabouts from Azura-Dawn--we won't be able to release Azura-Dusk. 

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On 9/24/2020 at 1:07 PM, Rin said:

Came to help me free Azura-Dusk? Usually people that come seeking me out want to stop me. Esben said as he looked at her. Noticing she didn't touch any of the seeds. Disappointed but maybe he could coax her into it. Delan was it? You want to help me unleash the grand demoness Azura-Dusk, first you must eat the seeds. I need her general Argo.

"Too close..Too close.." Delan stammered at Esben's rather forward approach. The man seemed to be intent in unapologetically invading her personal space. Too close for comfort. It was so uncomfortable that she had to step back.

"Bu--but.. I can't eat that seed. I'm not as human as you think. Just a faildd imitation. I don't think the general would want to use."

A shy and timid girl like Delan might not even have the guts to lie in front of such an overbearing individual.

On 9/24/2020 at 1:07 PM, Rin said:

Haven't you ever desire to be stronger? Braver? Let go of the shy timid creature you are? These seeds will help you, they will give you everything and anything you want. Esben said as he held out a few black azura clover seeds. Go on, if you desire to help me. You see, without the knoweldge of the half-breed's whereabouts from Azura-Dawn--we won't be able to release Azura-Dusk. 

"I..I'm strong enough. Just because I..I'm a bit shy doesn't mean I can't take care of myself," the girl replied. "I'll find someone else to eat those star seeds."

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So you say you come to help me yet weasel about being complicatingly annoying? Esben replied moving from her. You need to quit lying to yourself. You cannot hide forever how fragile you are. I don't have time for weak minded creatures running me around in circles. I have things to do. And Azura-Dawn to loosen her tongue somehow. 

Would Delan believe him? Esben did hold a certain charm among the people of Athentha, though mostly the female population. The elf however wanted to help the girl seeing that despite he was evil, he did seek those out with potential. And he was still ruffled up from his interaction with Shishi and company. This girl, he could mold and perfect, experiment on and create someone to loosen Azura-Dawn's tongue. 

Though he wondered why Delan wanted to unrelease Azura-Dusk. Did she know of the woman? Was she just curious? Did Shishi tell her of this to thwart him in his efforts? Esben didn't know. These questions ran through his head as he came closer to her. Those haunting red-orange eyes peering at her, wanting to know her inside and out. 

Tell me Delan, what do you know about Azura-Dusk? Esben asked as he looked at her, curious to her knowledge and answers. What was told to you about the grand desire demon? You say you want to help me but why? You're not from Athentha, why get involved in something you might not understand? 

Esben then held her hands again. Delan seemed held back by her insecurities and timidness. She had to be hiding some potential even if she didn't become Argo. She could still be twisted and corrupted if he pushed hard enough. But as he learned from Shishi, not to rush into it. A few seeds to start with, a few to get hooked on, then continue as she got addictive to the sweetness of the black azura clover seeds. He then let go of her hands again, stealing the moment once more. 

Turning around, the elf shook his head. It was the Shishi incident all over again. He sighed softly, annoyed that he could not charm anyone anymore. He felt he was losing his luster, his charm. In truth, Esben was feeling defeated. 

What can I do to make you see why you must eat the seeds? Not to become Argo, but to change. I'll never release Azura-Dusk at this rate. Maybe Azura-Dawn was right…

 

Edited by Rin

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On 9/29/2020 at 1:40 PM, Rin said:

So you say you come to help me yet weasel about being complicatingly annoying? Esben replied moving from her. You need to quit lying to yourself. You cannot hide forever how fragile you are. I don't have time for weak minded creatures running me around in circles. I have things to do. And Azura-Dawn to loosen her tongue somehow. 

Delan seemed to shirk at the man's remark. "I..Iam not lying to myself. I know my time is limited here in this realm. I only hope I can retain my identity before I dissolved into nothingness."

On 9/29/2020 at 1:40 PM, Rin said:

Tell me Delan, what do you know about Azura-Dusk? Esben asked as he looked at her, curious to her knowledge and answers. What was told to you about the grand desire demon? You say you want to help me but why? You're not from Athentha, why get involved in something you might not understand? 

"I know nothing of that demon. I only existed to because the original is struggling with her ideals. In order to keep herself sane, she had to purge out the impurities in her thoughts and emotions, thus I was born. Her misguided desire to free Azura-Dusk thus became one of my purposes in this short life.

On 9/29/2020 at 1:40 PM, Rin said:

What can I do to make you see why you must eat the seeds? Not to become Argo, but to change. I'll never release Azura-Dusk at this rate. Maybe Azura-Dawn was right…

Delan gulped. "Then I don;t have choice." She decided that at the very least, she should preserve a back-up of her identity which she released into the Blackspear network. Hopefully no one will notice her presence yet. When she was done, she renewed her resolve.

"Umm..umm...give me the seeds."

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Esben said nothing for a moment. Delan thought she had a short life. Why would she think that here where time moved so slow? It confused the elf, but he said nothing about it. Turning around, he walked up to Delan, grasping her hands once more, to her dismay, as she didn't seem to like it. His red-orange eyes peering at her as she finally gave into his words. 

You will not have a short life Delan. Esben replied as he let go of her hands, producing the sweetly addictive black azura clover seeds. And you'll be so much better than that accursed woman you vame from. Here, all the seeds you'll want and need my dearest Delan.

Esben gave her the seeds, as he watched her consume them. As they entered her form, she'd sit on the ground as Delan would want more of the seeds. The seeds burrowed into her heart, nestled as they told her to eat more. Delan would forget the elf was standing there for a moment as she consumed more of the seeds. 

Ah a fresh new creature calls us forth. Whispered the seeds. A child desiring to be something than a fleeting moment. Of course we can do that as long as you fulfill the contract--as long as you give yourself to us.

Delan could hear the whispers, the ones of the black azura clover seeds wanting to aid the girl. Help her find her courage and strength. Her fingers would be stained in the black dust as more and more appeared. 

Feast our little lamb. That hidden potential can shine once you become the Cloverheart once more. Azura-Dusk has chosen you because you are a Cloverheart demon. Chosen you to live immortally. They whispered as they bloomed a small bud from her heart. Showing her visions of sweet twisted false promises, memories of another life being remade to be hers. Delan, consume until you burst into that monster within your heart. Azura-Dusk's monster of selfish vile notions.

Esben leaned against the tree as he watched her. He hoped this would work and be the next step to awaken Azura-Dusk back. He needed Delan to have Azura-Dawn tell them the half-breed's location, to spill her secrets of her sister. The elf eyed the girl, how soon she'd realise her worth, her potential. 

Delan? Esben asked as the silence had grown after a long while of minutes. Are you ready to become Azura-Dusk's Cloverheart?

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Delan finally took the seeds. Unable to hold back the temptations, she could not help but to give in to this desire. She was the incarnation of Shishi's worldly desires, so it was understandable that Delan would take this path.

On 10/9/2020 at 2:35 AM, Rin said:

You will not have a short life Delan. Esben replied as he let go of her hands, producing the sweetly addictive black azura clover seeds. And you'll be so much better than that accursed woman you vame from. Here, all the seeds you'll want and need my dearest Delan.

If only that were true. Delan knew all too well how short her life is. This body of hers would not even last a year. Sooner or later it would start breaking down. Such was the fate of an artificial being. A homunculus.

She could feel it now. The power of the seeds as she ravaged through them. Her mouth falling victim to its allure. Her eyes closed as she relished the flavor. In her mind the whispers where both overwhelming and oddly conflicting. Face flushed and fingers stained in dust, she reveled in the feeling of seeking deeper into degeneracy.

On 10/9/2020 at 2:35 AM, Rin said:

Delan? Esben asked as the silence had grown after a long while of minutes. Are you ready to become Azura-Dusk's Cloverheart?

Delan looked at Esben, her face red from embarassment. "Umm..umm..if I have to."

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Afraid so.

Esben said as he eyed her. Standing up, he pulled more buckets to the girl. He knew that she would need to do this to sustain her form longer. The seeds would birth her into a new body, one free of decay. But it would seep into her, distorting her thoughts and wishes. Corrupting her core from the loathsome Shishi. 

Are you frightened? The seeds whispered within her. Afraid you might not like the truth about you? Azura-Dusk only wishes you to be happy, to be hers forevermore. Don't you see deep within? The demon, the degenerate creature you desire to become? And those weapons of Cloverheart, don't you wish to own them? Covet them?

Esben watched as he placed another bucket of seeds toward Delan. He didn't know how long he could do this before Azura-Dawn escaped the prison he kept her in. However, he knew sooner or later Delan could give in and they could release Azura-Dusk. The elf then shook his head as the rain let up a bit. 

The seeds burrowed within her heart and a bud blossomed forth. It wiggled, sending the ooze of the black azura clover seeds into her tissues. It would connect to her connective tissues and organs. The whispers would grow stronger, overwhelming. Her memories would haze, being rewritten by the seeds. They showed her by Azura-Dusk's side, her right hand woman. Adored by the elf, loved. The cloverheart corrupted by Delan, as the sword and shield remained in her hands. 

Indulge, forget your past life and become what you hide deep within. Accept that this is the path to walk. A form that won't decay, won't die. Ascend. 

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But what is there to corrupt?

Delan looked at Esben as her hands reached into the bucket of seeds. This was quite the feeding program and Delan could not stop herself from eating. It seemed her hunger and desire could never be satiated and yet one thought lingers in her mind.

Am I being corrupted?

It seems that Shishi was not thorough enough in creating Delan if there was any portion left of the homunculus that can still be corrupted. Still, it was an interesting notion, one that Delan would not mind exploring.

Ahhh.. it's starting...

She could feel it now, The seed burrowing inside her, going deeper and deeper with each passing second. The seed's juice, the black ooze that filled her insides, spreading into every corner of her body. And then she's slowly losing her sense of self. She...she was getting rewritten. Delan gave one last final look at the world as herself before someone else took over.

As her conscioueness went black, somewhere deep inside her mind a voice spoke. "A pity. You would have been a good foil for Shishi."

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Azura-Dawn had managed to open the prison door as she looked around to see if anyone was there. It had been three months since she was captured during an mission to scout out the estate. Peering around the corner, she saw no-one. The demon sighed, as she grasped her twin sister's prison core to her chest. No-one would open it while she was alive, and she wouldn't let Esben get his way. 

She didn't know that he was gathering more souls to help acquire his objective. Making her way up the stairs, making sure that she wasn't seen, Azura-Dawn hoped that getting out of here and finding the half-breed would be easy. In her bag, evidence of the black azura clover seeds that Esben had been working on. She needed it to prove the elf was the true enemy of the floating islands. 

I cannot allow this to happen. Azura-Dawn thought as she found herself in the main hall. The elf--Azura-Dusk, is not a good thing to be awakened. I just wish that this damned cube hadn't survived.

Exiting the estate, Azura-Dawn saw her next problem. Esben was with someone, it looked like a woman. She placed the core into her bag as the demon looked ahead. She was aghast to see the girl eating the seeds. With courage, Azura-Dawn approached the young girl and moved the bucket from her. 

Don't eat those. It's not--you shouldn't be eating those. You need to come with me. Azura-Dawn pleaded. I have proof to save the islands from the impeding doom. 

But her words fell on deaf ears. Delan had eaten the seeds, she had fallen to them. Azura-Dawn leaned down, to look at the girl. The seeds within whispered, hummed such sweet false promises. It showed her her truths, that Delan, in truth was a power-hungry selfish tyrannical elf. That she wanted many things for herself. Azura-Dawn looked at her still, not sure if Esben would interfere with her taking the girl to be cured by the shaman. 

Let me take you to see Kogal. He can take those toxic seeds out of you. Azura-Dawn pleaded once more. I cannot allow them to corrupt you more. 

But she didn't know that Delan wanted the corruption, that minute by minute she was allowing more of it to be done. That she wanted Azura-Dusk to be freed. Azura-Dawn pulled the girl up, not knowing she was falling into an ensnarement. She pulled the girl along, away from Esben's estate, as he did nothing. 

He wouldn't have to, he had done enough for the next stage. Azura-Dawn was near the danger that he knew he could let Delan do the next part, to gather the information to free Azura-Dusk.

Edited by Rin

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That familiar voice in her head brought Delan back to reality. Mouth full of seeds, she barely noticed her drool dripping down the sides of her mouth. Her mentla state right now was such a wrreck that she's thrown all inhibitions and propriety out the window. Still, the seeds had done their due and Delan was sinking deeper and deeper into Esben's trap.

On 11/7/2020 at 10:04 PM, Rin said:

Don't eat those. It's not--you shouldn't be eating those. You need to come with me. Azura-Dawn pleaded. I have proof to save the islands from the impeding doom. 

Delan looked up to find this new face as she wiped her lips clean. "Who-who are you?" she blurted out.

On 11/7/2020 at 10:04 PM, Rin said:

Let me take you to see Kogal. He can take those toxic seeds out of you. Azura-Dawn pleaded once more. I cannot allow them to corrupt you more. 

Her head spun as she tried to process what was happening around her. Soon she found herself being pulled and dragged away from this spot annd into an unknown place. Where is this person leading her? What is she planning to do with poor Delan?  Such questions ran through her mind and yet she was unable to say any of them. All she could do was trudge allong, trailing after the stranger into an unknown fate... 

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You're just going to let her drag you into the unknown?

The seeds whispered in the back of her mind as Azura-Dawn stopped walking for a moment. She was trying to remember the hospel Kogal was last seen in. He was a shaman and had dealt with these seeds before, she hoped at least. 

I still can't believe you were eating those seeds. Azura-Dawn said as she looked over her shoulder. Esben really did a number on you. But he always been that way. But you are safe now, just have to find Kogal. 

The demon then let go of Delan's arm as she scratched her head. She couldn't remember the exact location and it bothered her. However she didn't know that deep within Delan, the seeds had grown to fruitation. That they were now full grown seeds that tricked her. Betrayed her. 

She's going to make you become that weak dead self than one of greatness. She's going to rob you of Azura-Dusk's grandness. Do you really want that?

Um, hello? You in there? Azura-Dawn asked as she approached Delan and looked her over. Are you still under the seeds power or something? You alive in there? You hadn't said anything since we left. 

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