Curiouser

Where Wonderland, Oz, and a range of fairytale elements inside a game-like universe are all in one!

Emily continues to relive a terrible memory of her mother's death. As she and her older brother Nate are invited to the king's birthday ball, she steps into another world she's never seen before!

It's an adventurous world full of magic, darkness, and strange things.

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7. To Find Yourself

Emily was thrown into the chambers up in the high tower. She turned to the doors and ran in as the guards closed it on the other side before she had the chance to escape.

Hitting her fists against the doors, her wrists created a spark, "Ow!" She backed up from the door and looked down at the glowing rope wrapped around them.

She searched for her pouch tied to her belt. After realising she didn't have it, someone appeared out of the blue, shaking the little bag in the air, "Looking for this?" He asked.

It was the Commander. He looked inside the pouch and found the whistle. He held it up and said, "Well, well, I think I shall keep this little pouch for myself."

She reached out her hands ready to choke him and take back what's hers. Unsheathing her sword, clumsily it dropped from her hands as her wrists were bound. She went to pick it up but his foot slid it away out of reach.

He said, "You're going to have to do better than that I'm afraid." She kicked him. It didn't do much as she couldn't reach higher than his knee.

He chuckled, "My goodness girl. You are pathetic." She backed away as he walked closer, "I don't know how anyone like you even makes it out alive. You're not as smart as I thought." He said.

She tripped back off her feet. He leaned down, and she spat, "Why don't you just kill me!" She said. He wiped the spit off and grew into a rage. He gripped her by the throat and yelled, "I would so much like to do it myself!"

She gagged. He hit her back into the wall, "But I have my orders, and I will not break them!" He released her and she dropped to her knees. She breathed heavily.

Taking the pouch and sword with him, he slammed the door shut. She rested against the wall. She didn't really feel pain, not like how you would when someone slams you with force like that.

She has nothing now, no way of getting out. All the stuff he's taken was her only way. Unless something came out to assist her like it always happened. She waited for something, anything.

An hour passed, and still trapped inside the chamber. She got up and wandered to find her own way out. Never expect of anything, she thought. That's what her father use to say.

She thought back to when she was nine years old. Her father dressed for the day and his hair dark and slicked back. His top hat nicely fitted.

She and her brother looked up to him. He was a very intelligent man and would give the best advice. When Emily was down about not having things the way she wanted. He crouched to her level and said something she would never forget, "Never expect of anything. If you want something to happen, you have to work for it."

And she's taken that advice since. The ropes around her wrists sparked again, sending her back out from her memory. So far of what she found, there's no way out of this chamber.

The doors open and the Commander walked in with his guards. They take her by the arms as the Commander again, leaves, "The King will see you now." He said.

The guards take her through the hall and up to the tallest tower in the palace. The King turns away from his window to meet the girl who had enchanted him.

Taking his sword with a golden handle, he approached the girl, "I would hate to make a mess in my chambers." He said, and they dropped into the throne room.

The guards made her kneel. The King circled, "You aren't a witch. You're not even a wizard or sorceress, perhaps a regular Mage?" He shook his head as he continued, "No... Not even that."

He stopped and looked, "No magic user can do what you do." He said, and kneeled in front of her, "What are you?"

She shook her head and cried, "I don't know! I have told-!"

The King silenced her, "If you will not tell me, or my Commander, I may have to hurt you to get it out of you!"

He sliced her cheek with the sword. Her blood sizzled. Black mist escaped and went back to red liquid. He saw what just happened, "There's a darkness within you, a shadow!" He said, and asked his guards to take her to a mirror.

They forced her to face the reflection, "When's the last time you took a good look at yourself!?" He said.

All she could see was herself and nothing more. But something altered her appearance. It was coming through the mirror. It flew as a shadow. She squeezed her eyes shut. The rope sparked more and more on her wrists. It scorched.

She cried and screamed for no more, "STOP!" Her voice echoed throughout the room. The guards turned her back to the King. Looking down at her wrists where they left burns, he said, "You are not a magic user, but the rope says different."

She cried still from the pain in her wrists until it subsided. Looking up to him, she asked, still agonised by the burn, "Will you let me go?"

He shook his head, "That I cannot do. You are a plague." He asked his men to hold her down. They forced her to her knees again and lower her head.

As the King raised his sword, he let it down with a swing. As her head rolled, it disappeared. Her whole body had faded into black mist. The rope dropped to the floor.

The King looked to his men and said, "It is done."

~|~

There's only darkness. The pain swelled like a bruise and scorched like the heat of the sun. It only hurt for a second.

Trapped in her conscious mind unable to neither move nor speak, her thoughts only echoed, "Is this it? Am I going to Heaven?"

She saw light travelling by. This had to be her time. As her mind drifted, she saw her family in the light. She looked to the left and to the right, the light flying by showed memories of her life, just like a film.

Only then a black mist engulfed her sight. That creepy voice she heard when a rat lead her down to it, it showed itself again, "I will plague your world without your existence... here you will stay..."

The shadow of herself had been inside her all that time?

She struggled to break free just to move her limbs, but she could not see her body. Her body isn't even there. She gasped. She's just an orb of light with no control of where she's going. It made her think, were those orbs, spirits?

The shadow swept down to enter the world below as she was stuck rising toward the light. What did the shadow mean by, 'Plague your world'? It was the same word the King had used before he struck his sword down on her neck.

The world isn't her own; she'd never create such a horrific place. She's not a god of any sort. She hasn't got that kind of power. It's impossible. She's only human, well... was, being an orb now.

As she got sucked up into the light, she floated. There's nothing but white mist clouding her vision. Her body was back, but only transparent.

A blue orb appeared from inside. Compared to her, it was a lot smaller. She said, "Thank goodness! Can you help me!?"

The orb said nothing, but floated back through the mist. Maybe it's shy?

She followed it through until the mist parted ahead. A gold tower revealed. The orb disappeared through the window above.

As she entered in next, floating in, the orb buzzed around and formed into a tiny person with glowing blue feathery wings, big blue eyes, legs of an insect, and two extra arms of a human. Her hair was short, feathery, and blue.

She asked, "What are you?"

The creature replied in a chiming voice, "Will-o." She blinked and asked, "Willow?" The creature buzzed around and said, "A wisp pixie."

She looked down at the floor, "So... I'm not in Heaven then?"

The wisp pixie flew over, "What? No! This place is not called Heaven, but it is a kind of Heaven!" She looked to the little wisp pixie and said, "What do you call it?"

The wisp pixie flew to the window and buzzed around blue dust to create a map, "Our world is called Curiou!" She said, "The King is the one who owns it. He's the one who beheaded you!"

She blinked in confusion, "Wait... Curiou, you mean this place we're in?"

The wisp pixie shook her head, "Not just this place, it's the entire kingdom!" She said as she stretched out her arms.

She continued, "This place is part of that. Anyone who's ever died never came here. This is The Land of the Wisp. Only fae have access to this place. Since you've died and came back as a spirit to our world, then you are not like everyone else."

Emily backed away from the window and said, "I am not a pixie, am I?" The wisp pixie shook her head, "Nope! You don't have that kind of energy. Your aura shows a beacon. Something greater than a wisp pixie! Plus, you're way too big!"

She buzzed to her side and said, "All you have to do is think hard enough, and you'll be back to where you belong!" She flew out the window as an orb again.

Emily stopped by and called, "Wait! What do you mean!?"

The pixie had disappeared into the mist.

She floated down and said to herself, "Think hard enough..."

Emily thought of home, just being there with her brother Nate. And then she thought of Nathaniel and Sir Gold-Digger.

Where did she belong?

Of course she belonged in the world back at home, but as time spent here made her feel like it was this place that made her want to stay, she couldn't choose one.

The friends she made along the way, but sadly losing them to the Commander. She had no reason to stay.

The shadow of herself is already down there causing a plague. She can't leave just yet. If she does, then the world is gone for good with no way of going back. This is the choice she has to make, knowing there is only one.

Return to the world she calls home, or stay here forever?

She's made her final decision.

The tower shook and warped. She fell from the sky through the misty clouds and landed below. There was ringing sound as light blinded her vision.

As she returned into her corporeal form, she stood outside the palace. The shadows had already taken place inside. The black mist flew out from the windows. The palace grew grim and grey, no white.

The world had been in quick chaos already. The world is grey. How long had it been? Only a minute and her shadow took over everything in darkness.

She entered the maze and found that vines from in the hedges came to life. That's new. She hurried to find a way through and came into the centre. There were no guards out here either.

The vines wrapped tight around her body. There was no escape. The vines constricted and then stopped. They loosened, releasing back into the hedges. Why did they stop?

A blue orb floated down keeping the vines at bay with dust, but it wasn't just her. A load of orbs in many colours came in doing the same.

She proceeded on through the maze as they followed. Vines held back as they continue to sprinkle dust.

She reached to the palace, "Go on ahead! We'll hold them back!" The blue wisp pixie said, and saluted.

Emily watched as the orbs dusted at the vines trying to reach out, "Be careful!" She said back to the blue one.

Upon entering the palace, it was all quiet. The walls warped like a hazy dream, not breathing as it were when she last came in.

She took the stairs up and then down to the next one, she was back where she started. Her shadow self must've made alterations, a trick.

Something came through the mirror, a shadow. She turned around. It was in a shape of Nathaniel. It broke her heart to have to see him this way. His eyes were grey, misty.

From the mirror on the opposite side, Sir Gold-Digger came through as a shadow too. Both of them headed toward her, Sir Gold-Digger in his armour with his sword out, and Nathaniel with his staff.

She had no weapon, nothing to defend herself. As her back leaned up against the mirror, her body sank through it. The mirror had turned upward and she was lying in it. It was like being in a clear puddle.

Shadow Nathaniel and Sir Gold-Digger stepped closer until her whole body sank. Being inside the reflection of a mirrored world, she found her shadow self sitting on the throne.

The Shadow said in its creepy voice, "So, you have come."

She faced herself with a frown, "You were expecting me?" She said.

The Shadow looked down and said, "Not at first. But after I felt your return, I knew you were headed here." She rose from the throne, "I tried my ways to be rid of you, to take over a world that is now mine." She said as shadows poured from her misty hands, "I longed for your death so I would be free!"

The shadows wrapped Emily. The shadow of herself flew down. As the shadows wrapped her body, she asked, "Why?"

The shadow self said, "You've created me. I am here because of your pain, your suffering!" She turned away and raised her hands high as she continued, "I am your Depression!"

The dark grey cloud out the window thundered with black lightning, "I cloud your mind in gloom. I cause the pain of doom. I am the storm on a nice sunny day. I am destruction of happiness. I am the plague that drowns you!" She continued, "All that you are is no more."

Emily couldn't breathe as the shadows completely covered her entire body.

How could she let this happen? Her shadow self had been her Depression all along, which means none of this is real. Her mind had created an odd world of colour and confusion, her world. It's strange because it all seemed awfully real than a dream.

Depression took over her mind, and she has to find a way to win back her world. Think hard enough, she thought. The shadows fizzled away.

She looked to the shadow. Depression growled and said, "You may never win. I'm hard to beat." By her misty hands, she forced more shadows around her, "Wallow in your sorrow! Your parents are dead, your friends are dead, and you wish you were dead!"

Her pain ached harder than anything else. Her eyes broke into tears. She couldn't fight this. Depression filled her with bad memories that made her suffer more than how she ever felt before.

Emily collapsed to her knees. The pain of losing everyone she loved was unbearable. It made her physically sick. It made her chest ache ready to burst. Her heart is shattering so hard that it may kill her.

She can't find a way to fight back. It's all too much. It won't stop. The feeling drove her crazy. Her body just lied there on the floor with shadows still circling. Depression approached her pale body, "You're mine now." She said.

As she leaned to take her body, a hand reached for her misty face. Emily still had some fight left in her.

As Depression tried to escape by her grip, Emily had already taken her in and thought of as many good memories as she could, her family, her friends, all glowing in a golden light.

It destroyed the shadows around her body. She said face-to-face with her shadow self, "You exist no more."

Depression's body broke into pieces of ash and flew into the air as dust as she cried out, "NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!"

An explosion of light and dark expanded throughout the palace and out to the world, shades of grey fades back into colour.

Emily awoken, the palace is back to pure white. She looked up at the mirror sitting against the wall behind her; she was back from the mirrored world.

Standing on her two feet, she checked the room. The shadows of Nathaniel and Sir Gold-Digger weren't there. Everything that Depression created had gone.

The guards have broken their shadow trance and wondered what had happened. Emily never took notice that they were in the palace all that time.

The Commander stood by the King as they climbed downstairs, "I have no idea what has happened. All I remember was a shadow that looked like that same girl YOU said you have beheaded!" The King said, pointing his finger.

They took a stop in front of her, "You!" The King pointed, "You caused this!"

She yelled, "I did no such thing!"

As the Commander was about to spit back, the King halted him. Little tiny orbs drew in from the ceiling. They danced around her as if in praise.

The King said, "She's shining."

Looking down at her hands, golden light shined off them. She turned to the mirror. Her aura showed off a beacon of pure energy in the reflection.

It burned out her armour into a gown that she's seen in her vision, except in rainbow with the flowery patterns. She gasped in hope this wasn't another scary hallucination, but it wasn't.

Behind her Nathaniel and Sir Gold-Digger walked in, but through the reflection, "Did we miss anything?" Nathaniel asked. She backed away in shock, "You are... alive?"

He smiled and pinched her cheek, "You made us live." He said. She pulled away and rubbed at her cheek, "Ugh, I hate that!" Nate use to pinch hers. His eyes flashed between blue and green as he said, "I know."

He looked down at his hands, "I believe this is yours." It was the gold crown from before; she thought they had left it behind, "What makes you say that?" She asked.

He said, "You are the key to our world," he put it upon her head, "You are the queen of all worlds. You created it all. You have power to bend anything at will to your every desire."

It's a perfect fit, and better yet the crown formed colourful gems of shapes, letters, and numbers, all around it. Her dress changed along with it in colourful gems of all three.

He and Sir Gold-Digger kneeled. When she turned back, the King and the Commander did the same, and soon all the guards.

Emily was now recognised by the worlds up and below, not as some enchanter, wanderer, and not even a criminal, she was their creator, their god, their queen of all worlds. Everything she ever thought was not possible about her.

She tried to smile, but something was on her mind, "I am glad to have found my place in this strange world, to know what I truly am, but..." she nibbled at her lower lip and continued, "I have to go home. I have a brother, and he needs me."

They got to their feet. The mirror formed the upside-down head, "Remember that scroll you need?" He said, "It's one way back."

The scroll, she forgot about it, "I had it with me." She said. The Commander stepped up, "Is this it?" He held out the scroll, "I found it in your pouch."

She took it at last and sighed with relief. She turned back to the mirror, "I thought I needed to find you in order to go back."

The upside-down head shook, "That scroll is your ticket out of here. You never needed to find me. If you had asked, I would have told you. I asked you to get me the scroll, but I would have thought you had figured it out by now."

She looked down at it and said, "This world is utterly confusing."

The head whirled around, "Hey, it's your world after all!" He said, "Go ahead and read it aloud!"

She opened it up and read, "Dingle Berry!" With disappointed that those were the only two words in the scroll, she raised an eyebrow and said, "That's it?"

The upside-down head replied, "That's it."

Her vision blanked to white and then faded to black.

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