Alibaba had to hold back his laughter when he saw that his plan worked out. Somehow his fear vanished upon her threatening words and instead it was replaced by relief, but also with his own memories. He had forgotten that their battle was about his master. His swordmaster… Sharrkan! He already met him within this city too. That’s right. Someone he respected dearly, who was a general of… Sinbad. Sinbad and the eight generals…
When she spproached him again, he stood firm, but a surprised look took over when she pinched his cheeks and it was … annoying too. “… It did help though, didn’t it.” Caster was contradicting herself and it was amusing to the blond. However, the next sentence was not and completely turned his mood around.
Instinctively he wanted to grab at her collar, but instead kept control and only shouted some words towards her. “Don’t you try mocking me now!” This was not fair. Of course he was not being the nicest either, but - oh wait. Alibaba calmed down, letting out a wheeze of annoyance. Of all topics, to bring up that one that had already brought him so much trouble at home… that was embarassing, but he was glad that she was helping him with remembering small details nonetheless, although he had wished for other.
At the mention of Judar, the cheery mood disappeared though. It had caused an immediate reaction within him. A sensation of sadness mixed with hatred came up, held under control by his loss of knowledge as to why he was feeling that way. He only remembered meeting him here, where he had thrown many unpleasant words at Alibaba that pulled him down greatly. When he thought at them, it put his mood down even now. What… was the deal with him again? He only recalled the frustration he felt upon meeting him.
"Judar…" That jerk. “I talked with you about… cursing fates.” Yeah, he had explained it to her and now the concepts of depravity and fate came into his mind again, how Aladdin had explained them to him
Aladdin… his dear friend and the one who chose him…
He almost forgot how he had met Caster in the first place, it had been a long while. But why did that name remind him of it in the first place…? He had never talked with her about him, especially not in such context.
His fingers unconsciously rubbed at his ear piercings as he tried to recall the connection between these two subjects. “… Who is that guy? Last time I met him he left me absolutely helpless with harsh words coming out of his mouth. Something tells me that I should despise him too.” For even more than he already did within this city. Words wouldn’t let him down so much if there wasn’t something else involved. Judar was there last time he was sent ‘home’ too…
Simple though the plan was, it was effective. Slowly a fog was lifted from Caster’s mind; lingering memories returning to her at a leisure pace. Recalling the word she’d spoken out of frustration, the past became clearer — the fight they’d had and the reason for it, killing Alibaba during it, even how they first met those months ago. Bit by bit it returned to her.
Mirth filled smirk formed across her feature’s, turning a kind eye to Alibaba. "It may have helped, but did you have to do it in such a way? Talk about childish." Light laughter followed close behind. It was a good plan, effective in its simplicity. Neither of them needed to be hurt by it, outside of their ego’s. For that, Caster was happy, though she’d never admit to such.
Things were coming back to Alibaba too, if the look on his face was anything to go by. Though her words were cruel, there weren’t spoken with such an intent — more akin to a playful jab from a friend, if she could be called such. "Mocking? Oh no! I may not be that aware of what you were like at home, but I can see that much." Still, it had helped in some form. Progress was being made from the simplest of mentions, jogging memories here and there; pushing them like dominoes. Soon enough they’d be whole again.
Yet as lighthearted as the moment was, a simple name caused a complete turn around. Caster frowned, watching Alibaba’s mood sour upon the other’s mention. She paused, sorting her own mind out. Why did she bring him up, of all people? Strange. At the time she saw some similarity between the two, but the reason escaped her. It wasn’t about looks, but rather how they gave off an aura that felt similar — as if they originate from the same point, somehow.
"Ah… Yes I remember that." Their first meeting, of all things. It had lead to that picnic and their eventual duel, which resulted in her victory. “In fact… I think I remember all of it now.” Whatever mystery had surrounded Alibaba had been dispelled with that. Yet that name — Judar— what link did it hold between him and Fate, of all things.
The more she concentrated on it, the more it alluded her. In fact, the only thing Caster could vaguely recall about him was something like a rumor, the feeling of frustrating and— pain. "That boy, Judar, I’m certain I’ve met him before too." Long before meeting Alibaba, right around the time she’d first appeared in the city, actually. "It wasn’t long after coming here that I ran into him, at a ball—."
Oh, that was how she knew him. "Ah, that’s right. He killed me. Called himself a magician of God, too." A scowl formed across her face, darkening with each second of recollection; turning fierce for a quick second before dying out. "He’s done a lot more than that, too. Depravity — that subject was brought up a lot whenever rumors spoke of him." Frowning, she turned back to Alibaba. "Strange, isn’t it? But at least he didn’t kill you. Lucky, hmm."
Surprised, Alibaba’s gaze immediately lifted to Caster’s face when she squeezed his shoulders tightly, with her voice echoing loud and clear into his direction. Her words definitely hit home, in more than one sense. To reclaim what was lost… … especially that line awoke a memory within him. That’s right; he wanted to get back to Balbadd in order to free it from the claws of the Kou Empire. It had been invaded… and he, as a former prince, wanted to get it back for the people.
A faint smile appeared when a heavy piece of memory returned on his mind. He wanted to stop to be a coward and even if he couldn’t remember when he had been one, it didn’t matter - Caster’s words were uplifting enough and he finally recalled his reason why he wanted to return so badly.
Her speech sparked his confidence again, because he knew that he couldn’t overlook such a responsibility. She made it clear to him, although vague, but she reminded him that doubts wouldn’t change anything about his truthful reason, even if he had a feeling like there was more behind his reasoning, it was already enough for him to get him back onto his tracks. Doubts were unnecessary.
Thankfully Caster made him think clear again and the further he thought about it, the greater his smile became. For now, his will to take it on was renewed, although he was aware what a great challenge it would pose for him, but he also remembered that, like Caster, there were people in his own world who helped him too, although he couldn’t recall any faces and names yet.. he wanted to carry out the promise towards her.
Wait, she did…
"Caster, you just… remembered?" Realization hit him late, but it made him happy. Both of them had regained something and so the hope rose once again. Dwelling in the happiness for a while, he remained silent, but spoke up once he thought about how he had acted, with the hand rubbing at his neck.
"… Sorry that you had to see me like that." It was ashaming after all. Not only should he keep up a better reputation as a prince, but it was important to keep their own spirits high as well, or nothing could be done. Other people should look up to him. How stupid would it be to remain a regretful pile of ashes?
So he straightened his back and with new confidence he smiled towards her as he put both his hands onto his waist and stretched the elbows to the sides, to deliver an even more confident image. “Well then, the scientists can’t take all of our memories, after all. If it’s like that… I’m sure that we can make you remember too.” Although she spoke so confident, Alibaba could hear that there were still some gaps within her memory. She wasn’t completely her old self.
"I want to help you too. You deserve happiness. That malicious look doesn’t suit you, either. You looked so much cuter with that sweet smile of yours. I wouldn’t be able to keep that promise without seeing that." Suddenly an idea came up in his mind. Alibaba closed the distance between them and as he leaned down he let his finger tickle a bit under her chin. "… how about we go on a date and make up for the loss, eh? I’m sure that’ll make you smile again." His grin was cheeky and false, its purpose was only to anger her. He wondered what kind of consequence it would excite. Slight fear was part of it too, but not visible at all.
It was inevitable their memories would return, but she never guessed they would in such a display. Anger cooled, leaving things in its wake — fragments of a memory, lost mere seconds before. If getting angry was all it took to reclaim what was stolen, these scientists were more laughable then first thought. No, it wasn’t that simple, Caster was sure of it. But they were headed in the right direction, there was hope.
Yet such a revelation didn’t stop the embarrassment that followed. Her hands raised, covering her face, coming to grips with hos deplorable her previous actions were. Regaining her memories at the cost of her pride wasn’t worth it, nor whatever fragile publicity she still had in the city. She let out a low, throaty groan, before letting her hands fall. It was as she said before — wallowing in self pity could come later.
Awkwardly she turned back to Alibaba, half-puzzled. "I—." Through her frown, there was recognition. Yes, she did know him. They’d spoken plenty of times before whatever had swept through the city — their parting an emotional one. Embarrassing too, though Caster could not recall the exact details as to why. "I do, if only a small bit. Even if I only remember some, it proves something happened to both of us." And, secretly, she was happy to remember him, too.
Flustered, Caster composed herself to normality. A small tugged at the corner of her mouth, watching him regain himself from the corner of her eyes. It seemed he, too, remembered — if that smile was anything to go by. She waved off his apology with a smirk. "Don’t worry." Then with a pause, she turned, frowning playfully. "This ‘malicious look’, huh? That’s my face!" At least they both retained their sense of humor.
In a brief moment, with her guard down, Caster never noticed how close Alibaba had gotten; nor how tall he really was, compared to her. “Ah—.” His fingers brushed beneath her chin, eliciting an uncontrollable, girlish laugh from the witch. She turned red, swatting Alibaba’s hands from her with flailing arms, confounded.
"W-why you little—!" There was her again again. "W-what do you think you’re doing!? Didn’t I tell you the last time? Even if it was a mistake! Do you want to die again? I’ll fry you just like your—." Oh. Oh, that was what he was doing, the cheeky child. Well, two could play at that game.
Her frown turned devilish, advancing back to him. "You little bastard." Her hands flew up, pinching his cheeks. "Hasn’t anyone told you to respect your elders! Of all the things, saying that to me won’t help, you know. Besides,’ Caster leaned in, eyeing him, 'I don't think you've ever kissed a girl before. You don't look the sort, anyway.”
Pulling back, she finished off with a flick to his forehead. Even if she was flustered beyond belief and redder than a tomato, she could still get revenge. “Honestly, kids these days. At least you’re nicer than that Judar boy.” Oh, there was another name she recalled.
❝And until that moment arrives, we shall wait. Isn’t that right? You said it yourself and so I will reaffirm it, they cannot evade it forever.❞ He is not the most empathic — deity? demon? — in this world to actually bother. ❝ But it still presents an interesting scenario, milady.❞
"Indeed, that it does." To that, she utters a faint laugh. Were she to hold memories of her time here, perhaps she could have done otherwise. Ironic, that. "I hope such displays continue on, if only for our enjoyment. Too long has it been since I’ve had a good laugh at another’s expense."
“I-I don’t mean to discredit what you are saying though… I-It’s just I suppose like you said. I’ve known my life to be here… So I really can’t say I have memories else where?" Noire bit down on her lips, but gave the other a hopeful look. She didn’t want the other to think that what happened to her wasn’t true.
"No, it’s fine. Don’t fret over it too much, dear, you’ll get wrinkles." Caster waved her hand, smiling half-heatedly. Sooner or later their memories would return, it was only a matter of time. Whether people wanted it, or not. "As for me, I recall life before the city, but nothing after that. I could be new, but others claim to know me. Odd, isn’t it?"
"Oh? Isn’t that a sensible approach. But aren’t we all to blame for not stopping them, too."
"Then again, that might just be a wasted effort."
"Yes, wasted effort indeed. In truth there was no way to stop what would happen — even if we knew, what could we have done? It was inevitable."
"Unfortunate, perhaps, but it serves as a reminder for the future. Hopefully people will learn."
❝That may be. Don’t you think they are avoiding it on purpose? It’s a mere guess, I didn’t arrive too late to be affected but to confront one’s memories…it surely is painful for them.❞
"Of course they are. It’s human nature, is it not? But no matter how they try to avoid being reminded, everything will return with due time. That’s the sad truth of the matter. They can continue to ignore it until that happens, but what awaits them afterwards is only regret and pain."
“Ah… Um.. Where I came from?" Noire thought hard and long about her past, but perhaps through trauma and choice of ignorance she shook her head and smiled, "Im certain I came from here, it’s just that well. Most of my child age I’d forgotten most about. My mother and father are here though, so really I’m sure that maybe it is just you and a few others experiencing this?”
"Ah, now I see." There were those who — despite choosing to return home — were better off in the city. Perhaps it was better that way, rather then what waited for them beyond it. Between the choice of remembering and indulging, it was the latter she chose. "Yes, you’re right. Maybe I was mistaken, and only a handful of us were inflicted with this curse. I apologize for such rash words."
heraldrycrests replied to your post:
"The idiocy shown by the residents on this city is quite astounding, isn’t it?"
"Unfortunately. All of them cannot be placed at fault, but for those who choose to act so vile in such a situation; blame them all you want."
drihten replied to your post:
"Do you not find them amusing? It is, how to call it? Springtime of youth."
"As amusing as it is to observe a headless chicken until it bleeds to death. Choosing now, of all times, to indulge in their youth is idiocy at its finest."
“What do you mean? As far as I know, I-I haven’t heard of anything like that?" Says the girl who has no idea where she came from and thinks shes always lived in citta.
"… Your confusion is proof enough, my dear." Perhaps not everyone had noticed the turn the city had taken. Odd, she thought it obvious enough. "Try and think of where you were before coming here, then answer me."