CHAPTER 3 — DREAMYVERSE
CHAPTER 3 — DREAMYVERSE
It's just an open field, with Nicht and I standing dead center.
After turning down his offer to help him with his dirty work and steal the teleprisms, he's grown angry and is now aiming magical attacks at me.
I know it's just a dream, but...
I don't wanna find out what happens if one hits me, regardless.
Nada: W-w-wait! Can't we talk this out or something?!
Nada: I-I said I'm not gonna work for you!
I didn't say I was gonna fight you!!
Nicht: You're just makin' yourself easy prey.
No one said I play fair.
Nada: I don't even KNOW what you're using to attack me!
Nicht: Wanna find out?
Nada: N-no, not really...
Nicht: I'm a nice guy, so I'll show you anyway!
Nicht: You can understand these powers firsthand by joining up with me.
Nicht: Your other choice... find yourself on the receiving end of them, since you're being such an ass!
I'm sure you'll get acquainted quickly!!
He's not messing around, those things were just shy of hitting me...
It felt like the heat of a comet whiffing past.
Nada: Th-those don't actually hurt people, do they?!
Isn't this just a dream?
Nicht: Hey, wanna find out?!
Nada: S-stop it!
I'll think about working for you, okay, let's just talk for a second!!
Nicht: Oh, really?
Was it my magical might that won you over?
Nicht: I guess you're not totally useless after all if you've realized how utterly overwhelmed you are, keheh!
Nicht closes the distance between us once more.
As long as he stops attacking for now, I'll figure something out...
Nada: S-so... I don't even really understand why you're stealing the teleprisms...
But if you explained it to me, maybe—
Nicht: Hell no.
I don't have time for that.
Nada: W-w-well, I can't really help you if you won't even explain the basics to me...
That's just common sense, right?
Nicht: The less you know, the better.
All that matters is that you get a share of the glory once we take over the Dream World, right?!
Nicht: So that should be it!
You ready to get started already?
I'm just buying time by pretending I'm even slightly interested in helping this dude with his dubious pursuits, but...
Man, he's really rushing me.
Nada: Uh, w-wait! One more thing!
Nada: Could you tell me how you knew my Dream Guide's name?
Is that... on account of your magic, right?
Maybe I got his attention with that...?
Nicht: Nah, yeah, that's on account of my epic magic.
Any other questions?
Geez, forget it...
Nada: Um... Well...
You don't have a Dream Guide, aren't you a tourist?
Nicht: Of course I'm a tourist!
There's no need for a Dream Guide when you're as good as I am.
Nicht: And what's it even gonna do for ya?
Keep you safe?
From what, nightmares?
Nicht: If you're afraid of nightmares, you're really a wimp.
But I'd keep people away from nightmares if I was a Dreamborn, too.
Nicht: That's where the real power of the Dream World is.
Ah jeez, I really, REALLY don't like this guy...
Th-that's a really, uh, a really... unique... outlook you have!
Nicht: You look antsy.
Are you chickening out on me or somethin'?
Nada: N-no! Not at all!!
Nicht: You're shaking like a wet chihuahua.
Nada: I'm still just figuring this, uh, helping you with the teleprisms thing out!
Nicht: You're too cowardly to work with a bad guy like me, huh?
What's step number one?
B-before we get started?
Nicht: If this is all I'm up against, this should be a piece of cake.
Nada: W-what, the teleprisms?
Y-y-yeah, let's go get 'em!
Nicht: You're getting to be a real nuisance, y'know.
Nicht: What with that eye you got, that tells me somethin' is off here.
That shouldn't be on your mug in the first place.
Nicht: And showing up at the Cave of Nullification, and all those Nexi at the same time as me...
Clearly you know something.
A threat like you's gotta be taken out quick.
I-I'm not a threat, I'm a wimp like you said, seriously I swear!!
Nada: Let's not do anything hasty, okay?!
I'll just go on my way real quiet-like and you won't ever see me again I promise I swear I'm out of here, um, s-so—
Nicht: When it's just the two of us here?
I'd have to be stupid to pass up a chance like that!
Nada: O-oh no...
Nicht: This might be the Dream World, but I'm your worst nightmare!!
Welp, that did not go over at all.
At least it gave me time to think of a Plan B while we were chatting, though...
The plan is to run for my damn life.
Nicht: You're gonna run off like a coward, huh?!
Nada: I'M NOT FIGHTING!
LEAVE ME ALOOOOONE!!
I mean, what other choice do I have?!
He's firing those stupid things off even faster, I'm lucky he's missed this many times.
Nicht: Y'know, I'm glad I ran into you, Nada!
I can finally show off the magic I've got!
Nicht: If you won't join me, you're gonna taste cold, hard DEFEAT!!
The more frantically I run around, the more appealing that cave entrance in the hill looks.
Nicht: Don't be a killjoy!
You're gonna take cover in there?
Just gonna ignore whatever he's shouting... and run for it.
It's like a volcano of his magical-bullet-whatevers are erupting out there.
The second I make it to the cave, the sound of them continues outside like an explosive rainshower.
The cavern twists and turns into darker and darker caverns, but I feel like I've somehow kept my speed up the whole time.
Hopefully, he can't keep up with me in this unpredictable terrain.
It's cold and hard and dark and I feel utterly lost, but...
Eventually, the only thing I can hear is my footsteps and breath.
I think I finally lost him.
I can make out some brightness emanating further within the cave, as if an answer to my fears of this engulfing darkness.
I follow it.
The light is coming from clusters of brightly glowing crystals.
They crawl up the walls like ivy in a nauseating wheel of colours.
I found a place that's well-lit enough, so maybe I should sit down for a bit.
I don't think Nicht made it this far back in the cave.
Maybe I should sit down, and... rest for a moment.
Lotus: Aw, what's the matter?
Don't look so glum~
Taffy: I'm just stressed, that's all.
What a pain in the butt today has been.
Lotus: Talk about it!
If I was gonna make a comic about your job today, maybe of the webcomic variety, I'd prolly call it "Taffy's Awful Day at Work."
Yeah, that's a fitting title.
Lotus: Now that you're free, though, we can totes hang out all day!
Taffy: But Paris, I'm like, worrieeed.
Taffy: Do you think I made the right call?
With like, Nada and stuff?
Taffy: I know they're suspicious, but I can't help but think in the back of my mind...
I guess cuz Nuigerita assigned me, I'm taking it more seriously than usual.
Lotus: You're so responsible, Taffy!
Lotus: Like, if it was me, if my tourist got zapped into a pile of ash, I'd look the other way, I'd be like...
"Okay, and...? Not my problem..."
Taffy: DON'T SAY THAT!!
Taffy: ...I hope Nada didn't turn into a pile of ash.
Lotus: Don't you think they had something to do with the teleprisms, though?
Lotus: Listen, I don't get serious often, but that's SERIOUS.
Someone cool like me can roll with the punches, but if I couldn't get back to the Waking World eventually, that could spell serious trouble even for me!
Lotus: I bet other people are even more worried about that kinda stuff...
I mean, I'm fine hanging out here all day.
Lotus: But this is gonna fuck people's shit over.
Taffy: Yeah, yeah, I know, you're right...
Taffy: I mean, I know this is all serious stuff.
I'm just wondering...
Taffy: ...Why did Nuigerita choose me?
Taffy: There's nothing special about me.
Taffy: She could've chosen Menemi, or someone else in Nexus 1.
Taffy: If Nada is the villain behind this, I'm not sure what I could have done to stop them...
But if they're innocent, why would they be part of a royal assignment in the first place?
Taffy: I just don't get it...
Don't beat yourself up like that!!
Taffy: If I messed up this job, there's really no coming back...
I'll embarass myself in front of Queen Nuigerita and everyone else.
Taffy: And isn't the Dream World in trouble because of me in the first place?
It's going to be all my fault everything went wrong...
Taffy: All of it... All of it is my fault.
None of that is true!
Lotus: Y'know why I like you?
It's not just 'cuz you have impeccable fashion taste, and stellar taste in music, and are a literal walking match made in heaven for our purikura photoshoots!
Or ANY OF THAT!
Lotus: ...OKAY THE LAST ONE'S A BIG REASON!
WE'RE FRIENDS CUZ YOU'RE A CARING PERSON!
YOU ACT ALL COY LIKE YOU DON'T CARE BUT I KNOW YOU DO!
Lotus: YOU'RE THE SWEETEST PERSON I KNOW!
AND IF SOMEONE'S IN TROUBLE, I KNOW YOU'D DO YOUR DAMNEDEST TO HELP THEM!
Lotus: I FORGET WHAT I WAS SAYING OR WHY I'M YELLING!
Lotus: OH YEAH!
THEY PROBABLY ASSIGNED YOU CUZ SHE CAN SEE YOUR BIG, SHINY, PINK TAFFY HEART TOO!!!
Taffy: Really, Lotus, you don't have to—
Pafei: HEYHEYHEYHEYHEY TAFFYTAFFYTAFFYTAFFY!!!!
Taffy: Ah jeez...
Pafei: TAFFY YOU GOTTA OPEN THIS LETTER RIGHT NOOOOW!!!
THIS IS INCREDIBLE!!!
Taffy: Why's that?
Pafei: LOOK AT WHO IT'S FROM I'M FREAKING OUT!!!
Taffy: It's from— ...huh?
Lotus: WHOA, MAIL FROM QUEEN NUIGERITA AGAIN?!?
Taffy: This... can't be right...
Pafei: AHHHH THERE'S NO WAY THIS IS REAL!!
SOMEONE PINCH ME SO I KNOW I'M DREAMING!!!
Taffy: Th-there's no way... This can't be happening...
What's it say, Taffy?
Taffy: It says... Nada's in trouble.
What a stressful dream...
Can you even call it a dream?
If I was never to return to the Waking World, what would even happen?
Some of the experiences I've had in the Dream World make me swear I'm awake, anyway...
I think I'd hardly feel the difference at this point.
I'll definitely think about this dream for a long time when I finally wake up, that's for sure.
After all this...
I'm still so tired... I can't keep dragging myself on like this.
What heavy, oppressive air...
I'm at least grateful this nook in the cave is so quiet.
Those crystals glow softly like the nightlights I grew up with.
Whatever grand meaning the ruler of this world saw in me, I just don't see it...
I think I ended up here by accident.
Maybe they've mistaken me for someone else...
I know Taffy did, anyway.
So this is all just one giant misunderstanding...
(Click to continue Chapter 3)