Road to Memory
This was bad. No, this was the worst. He's in the worst possible situation right now. Not only did he have no way of retrieving Rood's memories but he also no way of going back and asking that she-beast woman how to get Rood's memories back. Left with no other option, Dio roams around the town in Rood's memories. Since this was the inside of Rood's mind, there wasn't much he could do. For now, he'll just take a peak at Rood's memories. He was curious as to what kind of life Rood had prior to his arrival to Helios.
Despite all their time together at Helios and their close friendship, Dio hardly knew a thing about Rood's past. This was a golden opportunity to find out more about Rood. It wasn't every day he got to dive into his best friend's head and see his past. He was curious about Rood's lifestyle and past. Rood never really did talk much about himself or his childhood.
Since the Rood from this part of Rood's mind had already ran out on him after Dio (unintentionally) spooked him, the only place Dio could think of to find him would be one place.
Passing by all the Opion magicians, Dio got the whereabouts of the Master of Opion from the receptionist and was on his way to where said Master was at. Chances are that Rood would be with his master. Aside from Opion, Dio can't really think of any other place Rood could be at unless he was taking a mission as the Black Magician, but that's unlikely since he just saw Rood in his usual appearance instead of his awakened form. And he wouldn't be wearing casual clothes if he was going on a mission or coming back from one.
First looking around to check if anyone was near the vicinity, Dio presses his ear near the wooden door to the Master of Opion's office. The voices were kind of soft, but he could still hear the entire conversation going around as well who the voices belonged to.
"So how was your day, Rood?" Kielnode asked Rood.
"Nothing much, just met a weirdo." Rood nonchalantly answered.
Great. His first impression of Rood inside his head is that he's a weirdo.
"What?!" Kielnode screamed out in horror not that Dio could blame him.
Any guardian act the same in his position.
"He didn't do anything weird to you, did he?"
"Only grabbed my arms and said some strange stuff."
Listening to this, Dio definitely can't let himself be revealed in this type of situation in fear of possible retaliation from Kielnode.
"Unforgivable, to think that there was a scoundrel low enough to lay his hands on such an innocent boy. Tell me who is it! Who is this lowlife!"
From the other side of the door, Dio could hear a loud bonking sound. Sounds like Rood hit his master before Kielnode got any more weird ideas. Better leave before Rood comes out or the Master sees him.
All Dio could do was stare into oblivion as he came face to face with his best friend and at the worst possible timing as well. What should he do?
Fortunately, the door was only part way open as Rood stopped midway when he saw Dio. So the Master didn't see Dio. On the downside, if Rood started screaming or tells his Master that Dio was the guy they were just talking about, Dio's not going to make it out of this in one piece.
Before either one could make a move, a certain sandy blond man moved in next to Rood.
"What's going on, Rood? Is someone at the door?" Kielnode was curious as to what was holding up Rood at the door when the latter was about to go out for some fresh air. "Who are you?"
Kielnode stared at the frightened Dio who looked like a deer paralyzed in front of a car's headlights.
It was official.
He was a goner.
"That uniform... You're a student at Helios." Kielnode recognized the uniform Dio was wearing as the Idun ranked uniform from Helios. What would a student from Helios be doing at Opion unless... "If you're looking for the Black Magician, he's not here."
Except that he was right in front of Dio. He knew that the man was obviously trying to hide the fact that Rood wasn't the Black Magician, but it didn't really work since Dio already knew Rood's identity.
"You know him, Rood?" This surprised Kielnode as he didn't expect Rood to know the kid.
"It's not what you think!" Dio defended himself before Rood could give his master the wrong idea. His head gazing down at the ground with his eyes shut. From their previous discussion, Dio would be lucky to get out in one piece if the Master knew he was the one Rood was talking about. He'd be skinned alive and made into dragon pelt if the man knew. "I'm not anyone suspicious! I was just"
"What on earth are you doing?" A certain familiar voice asked.
Gradually lifting up his head, Dio narrowly opens one of his eyes to see rather than Rood or his master but Phoebe. And instead of being at Opion, Dio finds himself in the middle of a sea of darkness nothing but a few spheres of light in the air.
"Really, I leave you for one minute to do a simple task only to find you in this pathetic state." Phoebe huffed. "Well, I guess it's partially my fault for getting my mind preoccupied with other things while performing the spell."
Preoccupied? She had other things on her mind? This dissipated Dio's previous irritation. Now replaced with concern and worry. "What do you mean by that?"
"While I was in the middle of carrying out the spell, something had been bothering me for some time. You see... I..." Phoebe lowered gaze. "I... I found my naginata positioned differently from when I left it."
Dio nearly face faulted at Phoebe's riduculous answer.
"That's it! What the heck kind of pointless things were you thinking of in middle of such an important spell with my life hanging in the balance?!" Dio was expecting more than just that.
"Of course! It's important. That means that someone snuck into my room and took it without my permission!"
"You mean to say you sent me through all that trouble just over one weapon!"
Thinking back, Dio remembered Phoebe's teammate, Lunette, using that very same weapon on him once when they first meant when he mistook him for her. He also remembered Axel saying how the woman wouldn't be happy to find her weapon being used without permission.
"Don't sweat over that small stuff."
Except the situation she put him through wasn't exactly small.
"Anyway, a slight mishap occurred in the middle of the process that sent you to one of your friend's memories. And to make things worse, that slight mishap ended up leaving one part unfinished. Normally, when someone in your shoes dives into another person's mind and sees that person's memories, they aren't usually able to mingle in that person's memories and tinker with them as you did. But as you can guess, that part was left half done which enabled you to meddle in the kid's memories despite not being part of them."
"I-Is that bad?" Dio knew that meddling in Rood's memories were a big no no. But from the way she's explaining it, it's worse than it sounds.
"Big time. When an unidentified anomaly such as you interferes in the memory storage, your actions aren't simply erased afterwards. They are left inside. In other words, if you do something that will change your friend's memories, they will remain. For example, let's say you end up running into your friend in a time frame earlier than when you originally did meet, then that will be how your friend will remember it."
They'll be left? And Rood will remember them. His actions will prove to be very hazardous at this point if he doesn't anything to mess with Rood's memories. It's worse than it sounds. Wait, does that mean they're irreversible?
"Don't worry I knew you'd screw up something so I came to check up on you. Whatever you did, I'll be able to undo your mistakes so there'll be no trace of your activities."
That's a load off Dio's shoulders. He was worried for a second there.
"Just sit back and let me finish up. Then I'll tell you how to recover your friend's memories."
Really! She had a way! Hearing this, Dio perks up. He nearly thought he get lost in Rood's memories if he didn't find a way to get Rood's memories. All that was left was to let Phoebe finish up her work and then he'd get to hear it.
However just waiting around was boring. Out of curiosity, Dio glances over to the round sphere of light near him.
"Just so you know, those orbs of light are actually pieces of your friend's memories. I just got you of this one." Phoebe refers to the ball of memory where Dio was once in.
Looking around, Dio noticed some chains around many of the memory orbs.
"Chains?" He wondered what were they for.
"Oh, those." Hearing the word from the kid, Phoebe held the answer to his question. "Those are memories that your friend doesn't remember like the one you just came out of. They act as a suppressant and keep your friend from remembering them. If you get rid of them, he'll get back his memories."
Really! That was great!
"However I do not suggest you start indiscriminately destroying all of them." Phoebe cautiously warns Dio.
"Let's just say there are some things that humans are better off not knowing."
Fully understanding the meaning behind Phoebe's words, Dio decided not to press any further.
"Although that's one option, I advise you not to take it. Forcefully trying to make your friend remember will potentially damage the child's psyche. The method I will tell you afterwards is a different one. So be at ease."
Whoa, Dio almost potentially damaged Rood's mind with that idea. This was a harder mission than he thought.
"If you look closely, you can see which memory it is and what happened. Kind of like a movie."
She was right. It was like a movie being played. From the sphere of light, Dio could see a scene from Rood's memory being played on it like from a recording crystal except not being projected.
Dio recognized the memory or at least the setting. It was probably when Rood first woke up after taking his medicine. He saw Axel entering shortly after Rood woke up. Seeing the events before him made him realize how little he knew Rood. With that in mind, Dio came to a decision. He was going to get out every little thing Rood kept from him.
Still, these orbs were something. It was as if a recording crystal was being played.
"Oh and one more thing..." Phoebe added.
Seeing a part of Rood he hadn't seen before lit up several heavy feelings inside him. Rood was his friend. And it hurt him to see how useless he was when he couldn't do anything for his currently amnesic friend. Whether it was on purpose or not, he felt subconsciously drawn to his friend's mysterious past.
"Don't touch those spheres or you'll get sucked into them."
A little too late on the warning as Dio had already had his hand on something he shouldn't be touching at all.
And just as Phoebe said, he really was sucked into it. As if being pulled through some kind of worm hole or black hole, it was like he was continuously falling through a bottomless pit of nothingness. However even this pit had a bottom. And a strangely soft one too. Lifting up his head from the soft, cottony cushion and rubbing his now sore head, Dio opens up an eye to see Rood and really close too.
That much was obvious since he was over on top of Rood who was wide awake and rose up from his slumber. Who wouldn't when someone just came crashing down from the sky on top of you? That aside, Rood was stunned to see Dio and his weird waking up call.
Rood wasn't the only in shock as Dio didn't know what to do in his awkward position with him leaning over Rood as he was gunning to pin down the blond kid. First things first, gotta get out of that position before someone comes barging in.
"What's that noise?!" Axel shouted as he barges in the room not a moment too soon or later.
Luck really wasn't on his side. At least, now he knows how Chevel felt when he and Rood along with their other two roommates saw him and Lidusis in the same predicament as him expect different position.
"Oh, you're awake." Axel pointed out seeing how Rood had returned from the land of slumber.
"That's it! That's what you're most concerned about right now?!" Dio retorted. The normal response would be 'What the hell are you doing?!' or something like 'Pardon my intrusion.' Or just close the door and pretend like nothing happened.
"Still, it was quite a surprise to see you coming out the closet like that. So you finally decided to lay your hands on your buddy. I mean you're always so touchy with him that it was completely obvious, but I didn't think you'd jump the gun like that."
"What do you mean by that?! Finally?! I was never like that to begin with?!"
"Now, now. There's no need to deny it. I'm not homo, but I'm not prejudice to them so I won't judge you."
"You're misunderstanding! It's not like that!"
"Any way, how long are you going to stay in that position? Both of your backs must getting sore right now."
That's right. Dio had completely forgot about the position he was in just now with Rood. Removing himself from Rood, Dio needed to think up something before Axel got suspicious and asked him why he was here.
"So you're awake I see. Must have been awful being attacked out of the blue by your homo friend like that." Axel begins consoling Rood. "Since your clothes are still on, I take that your a—"
Dio immediately rushes over to clasp his hand over Axel's mouth before the latter proceeds to say anymore. He didn't need to be a psychic to know what he was going to say. His face became as red as a tomato just thinking about it.
Knowing that Rood was currently amnesic, if he hears this, without a doubt, he's going to mistaken Axel's words as the truth. And the worst part is that whatever he does here affects Rood's memories.
"Uhm, who are you people?" Rood asked. Dio saw this coming since was the memory where Rood first woke up with amnesia. "And do you know where am I?"
No surprise to Dio that Axel was taken back by Rood's loss of memory. That would the normal reaction to this kind of situation. However he wasn't expecting Axel's next coarse of action.
"Don't me you..." Axel's face pales as he looks at Dio with pure fright and horror.
"You're wrong! It's not what you think!"
Although Dio was glad that Axel wasn't bothering with the fact that Dio showed up out of nowhere, he would have been better off with that than having him mistaking him as a homo.
"What's with your school? It's filled nothing but homos." Axel remarked in horror taken back by the numerous of oddities in the students of Helios.
This was bad. At this rate, Axel was going to think that their school was a prep school for perverts.
"Excuse me, but do you two know me?" The currently amnesic Rood asked the two. "From the moment I woke up in this room, I had recollection of where I am or who I am for that matter or as to why I'm here. I'm hoping that you two could at least give me an idea of who I am."
Oh yeah, Dio had almost forgot that the Rood here had amnesia. So he must be more confused out them all at the moment if not the most. In this kind of situation, the most logical thing would be to tell him about himself and the people around him. Yes, that would the most common thing to do...
This certainly wasn't looking good.
Dio starts having second thoughts about it when he remembered Axel's description of him and the others from Rood. Knowing him, he's going to start nonchalantly sprouting out incredibly misleading things about them to Rood and unintentionally ruin Rood's image of them.
"First off, aside from being a fiendish homosexual beast in heat 24/7, he's a completely moron 24/7."
Forget about ruining their images, he's going to completely and utterly make them unable to show their faces to Rood.
"Homosexual? What do you mean?"
"Basically, the birds and the bees thing where a man goes after another man's ass. Though in your case, it would be considered shotacon."
That wasn't what he referring to?! Dio internally retorted.
"I'm sorry, but I don't really get it."
Who wouldn't?! Dio completely understood the blond's confusion.
Before Axel could continue, the door bursts open.
"Phoebe?" Axel blurted out. Now this was a surprise he didn't think he'd see his blue and pink haired teammate. "What are you doing here?"
Not just Axel but Dio too was surprised by the sight of the woman who was much older than she looked. Was this the Phoebe who sent him here? Or was this the Phoebe from this memory frame?
"That's my line. I could hear from all the way on the other side of the building."
Based on her words, this is most likely the Phoebe from Rood's memories. Dio wasn't sure how to get out of this mess. He couldn't just up and say that this was a memory from Rood's mind and that while he was in the middle of recovering Rood's memories he came here by accident.
"Just what are you numbskulls doing to create such a racket?"
Since this wasn't the Phoebe who sent him in Rood's subconscious, Dio had to act like normal and pretend that he didn't know her.
Dio was startled when Phoebe glanced over at his direction.
"And you... Don't you know that visitors aren't allowed."
Phoebe's deadly glare froze Dio stiff.
Without a word of warning, Phoebe literally kicked Dio out the door.
Before making her exit, Phoebe stopped right at the door after hearing her name being called from her teammate and turned her head back.
"Hey Phoebe, you don't mind telling his friends about the kid's condition. One of them is a scaredy cat loner. Another is a nosy mother-in-law. And the last one is a creepy pedophile."
"I ain't got nothing to say for a hardcore sadist like you."
"Then will you do it for the Boss?"
Phoebe's ears perk up at this.
"I'm pretty sure he'd ask the same thing if he were here. Come to think of it, he went to fold some cranes for the kid in the lobby with Arête." Axel added in a feigning tone.
Axel waits for his female teammate's answer aside from her silent response.
"... If it's for the Leader..."
Yep, that was the answer he was waiting.
"But only for the Leader and not you."
Well, he expected that much. Phoebe would never listen to anyone except Lalita. She'd only do something if their leader asked her to or if it were for his sake but never anyone else's.
With that, Phoebe slams the door on Axel.
No one in sight. Clear of any passing by guest. She could finally let go of her mask.
Why did she have to go through this? And all because of one imbecile's incompetence.
"Really, what were you thinking? Causing me all this trouble..." Phoebe muttered under her breath now that she no longer had to put up that false facade any longer. "You better be prepared for the consequences after this..."
Phoebe sends a menacing death glare at the source of her troubles.
"So you're the real one?" Dio asked. After that's happened and being dragged to who knows where, Dio didn't think the person he thought was a fragment from Rood's memory was the actual conscience of the person who told him not to do the thing that caused his current situation.
"Or course, I'm real, you buffoon!" Despite her desire to pulverize Dio, Phoebe refrains from doing so considering their current predicament. "Anyway, thanks to your previous blunder, it took me a while to get here. And when I finally find you, I see that you made yet another mess for me to clean up."
Scary. That blackish aura around Phoebe as her hair starts to resemble Medusa's snake hair.
"It's not like it's on purpose! Besides, you can just fix it like you did before!"
"You idiot! You can't just come in and go out of memories and mess with them as you please thinking it's alright in the end if I fix them. The last time was okay since there wasn't that much damage, but this situation is way different than the last one. We have to get out of here before—"
Oh no, it was too late. The situation Phoebe wanted to avoid at all costs had just occurred.
The two were now face to face with the last person Phoebe had wanted Dio to run into: Dio himself. Or at least the Dio in Rood's memories.
If possible, Phoebe wanted to prevent Dio from meeting his memory counterpart. Unlike Dio, she knew the consequences that would happen should two separate beings meet.
Meanwhile, as for the two intruders who suddenly showed up, both Dio (memory counterpart) and Lidusis (memory counterpart) were in shock to see another Dio. But more than that, they were shocked by the appearance of a girl in the boys' restroom of all places.
Thinking about, Dio wondered why Phoebe chose to hold their talk in the very same place too. It weighed on his mind the whole time throughout their discussion.
However before either side could make a move, the ground starts shaking and cracks form on throughout the entire area. As the walls begins to crumble away, the parts where they fall apart reveal instead of the next room but a black space like the place where Dio was when Phoebe took him out of one of Rood's memories.
"What's going on?"
"It's as I feared."
"What do you mean?" Dio turned to the older woman who looked younger than her actual age.
"Have you heard of the balance of nature? Although this is not like going back in time, the fact that you shouldn't meet a certain someone of that time period is still the same. When two differing counterparts meet, it creates a paradox in the space and gives you our current situation."
So this was why she told him not to touch it. It was to prevent this. It's too late to do anything about it now. Right now, they needed a way out of this. Otherwise, who knows what will happen to them.
However asking Phoebe for an answer was futile as she and Dio got separated when the ground under them crumbled away and they fell into the endless dark space. Opening his eyes to a pitch black sky, Dio could see no sign of Phoebe near him. Rubbing his sore head, Dio gets up. The headache was killing his brain, but it soon subsided. Or least, Dio no longer cared about it anymore as his whole attention was enraptured by the black cladded figure ahead of him. Though a bit far, Dio knew that figure anywhere. That long black hair. Those black clothes. That pale skin. And those eyes.
It was him.