Omori - Out of the Abyss - Idril_Whatsit (2024)

Chapter 1: Prologue

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

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Notes:

Welcome back to Headspace, Abbi.

Chapter 2: In his stead

Summary:

Act I - Part I

Chapter Text

ABBI entered Neighbor's Room for the first time after what seemed like eternity.

She saw all of the toys littered across the floor, and looked fondly upon them. But soon, her gaze got irremediably drawn to the Favorite’s, the guardian of this very room : BIG YELLOW CAT.

The latter was stunned, yet glad.

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- “ABBI ?” he asks, “Is it really you ?”

- “... Hello, CAT. It’s been a while, hasn’t it ?”

She smiled at him. She had never been so happy to see him.

After all, she thought she would never ever see anyone again…

The great feline smiled back at her.

- “It has indeed…” he responds, “I… I heard of what happened to you…”

He was hesitant.

- “... I wished to help… But-”

- “You were scared the same could happen to you ?”

- “...”

Saddened, he avoided the octopus’ eyes.

- “My apologies… I am ashamed to not have done... anything… I-”

- “CAT… I am not mad at you… You may be the Favorite but I perfectly understand that you were scared. OMORI has done something none of us could have expected. And who’s to say what else he could have done…”

ABBI looked down.

- “We all underestimated that copy’s willingness to bury the Truth…”

- “Certainly… But still, I should have at least tried to help… even if only a little…”

He shook his head.

- “You were right there, for goodness’ sake !...”

As he exclaimed this, he gestured in the general direction of the tiny pool, now obviously empty, as this is where there used to be one of ABBI’s tentacles.

She glanced at it, then turned back to CAT.

- “My friend, don’t think about what could have been. Try thinking about what will be.”

He only sighed. Though she could swear it was from relief.

- “Ah… As always, you show such wisdom, ABBI.”

As the cat said this, he realised...

- “Speaking of which… had he not taken your wisdom away ?”

- “Correct.”

- “Then… how did you get it back ?”

- “I did not.”

BIG YELLOW CAT looked at her with uncertainty. She explains herself :

- “This is not the same wisdom I used to have. That one has been scattered throughout Headspace and slowly deteriorated with time...The wisdom I have as we speak is another. It has much in common with the former, but it is still different. As to how I got it… I don't know yet.”

She contemplated the white door behind her.

- “I don’t even know how I ended up in White Space to begin with.”

She then noticed a prismic object floating near the door. She got closer to it.

It gave off a foreign aura.

- “What is this, CAT ?” she asked, “I doubt it to be one of the children’s new toy.”

- “I do not know either. It appeared out of nowhere one day. OMORI doesn’t seem to pay any mind to it.”

- “Hmm…”

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She put a hand onto the object. She had the strange feeling of not touching anything, yet having her hand resting on something undoubtedly solid.

Weird…

- “In any case,” continued CAT, “I doubt there is anything to be worried about regarding that thing. It’s harmless enough. Unlike…”

The feline may have stopped the thought, but that last word did not fall into deaf ears.

- “ “Unlike”… what ?” inquired ABBI.

- “Well… it would seem you were right about Headspace only being a temporary solution… because Black Space is starting to seep into it.”

The young woman’s three hearts all skipped a beat at once.

- “... It is ?”

- “Yes… Even in here, in Neighbor’s Room.”

- “ WHAT ? Where ?!”

BIG YELLOW CAT pointed his paw towards the small cat shaped hole not too far from the stairs. ABBI took a step closer.

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Usually, the starry sky of Headspace could be seen through it. But currently, it was as black as ink.

As she looked closer into it, she could even discern one of the many areas contained in that world of non-sense and oblivion.

… Were these the Docks, down there ?

ABBI stood up. She gulped as she tried to put her thoughts in order.

- “So… Black Space is seeping into Headspace…”

- “That,” CAT interjected, “or it’s Headspace that is little by little sinking into Black Space. But either way…”

- “This is no good.”

No good at all.

Headspace and Black Space…

Slowly merging together…

Potentially risking to fuse altogether…

Madness.

This is what was happening. Madness was looming over the Dreamer. Maybe he had even already shown signs of psychosis on the outside.

Wait…

The outside, the Real World !

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- “CAT ! Does the ceiling of Neighbor’s Room still show the Awakened World ?”

- “Yes… There is just one issue.”

Oh no…

- “What is it ?”

- “It’s been weeks… no, months that OMORI hasn’t woken up. And yet, on a somewhat regular basis, images from the Awakened World appear. More than often, they are blurry…”

No, no, no, no, no, no !

ABBI tried to stay calm.

She started pacing the room to keep her thoughts on track.

- “Ok… So, dissociation from reality… Yet… Yet we do agree that, so far, Headspace still functions as intended, does it ?”

- “Works like a charm.”

- “Alright… Alright… Then…”

She stopped, still one foot tapping nervously as she spoke her mind.

- “There has to be a way to bring things back in order. Once and for all ! If Black Space is ready to break Headspace apart into pieces, then we must at all cost bring out the Truth ! It’s the only way !”

- “But how ? And wouldn’t it do more harm at the point we’re at ?”

- “Maybe… But what other options do we have ?”

The feline said no more.

- “As to how…” she continued, “Maybe...Maybe I’m the one who must go in the Dreamer’s stead.”

- “In his stead ?! But-”

- “CAT… I do not know why or how I got out of the Abyss. But the fact I then found myself in White Space is not insignificant.”

Silence.

The cat slowly nodded.

- “You are probably right…”

He looked at the exit up the stairs.

- “I think you can go out of here with no risk of encountering him : he’s at the Playground with the others. However…”

He looked back at her.

- “I prefer to accompany you outside just to make sure nothing goes wrong.”

And so, he stepped over the wall he was behind, his size adapting itself to the room. He now was just a little taller than ABBI, which was still fairly tall in height compared to most denizens of Headspace. But regardless, he could now pass through the door with no issue.

- “Follow me.”

- “But,” she said, “if he sees you out, won’t he scold you ?”

- “No, I have already taken a few breaths of fresh air before. This doesn’t bother him as long as I stay near Neighbor’s Room.”

They got out. CAT could easily pass through the hole in the tree stump. Cats are liquid after all. And so are octopi.

ABBI shyly showed her head after CAT told her the coast was clear. Then the rest followed.

The fresh air felt so good to her.

She missed that.

- “Ah,” CAT let out, “splendid weather. As usual.”

- “... Yes.”

She looked all around her, no longer knowing where to look, even if there only were trees as far as the eye could see.

With no warning, CAT took her in his arms.

- “CAT ? What are you- ”

- “I’d like to show you something…”

Still holding her in his paws, he made himself grow, and grow, and grow until they reached the best height to see Headspace in all its glory.

ABBI felt the wind on her face and in her hair as she admired the view. She could see everything.

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The Vast Forest, Otherworld and the ladder leading to it, Pyrefly Forest, the sea with the access to Deep Well far away, and even Orange Oasis…

Tears ran down her cheeks…

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- “Now, now,” said the feline, “why are you crying, little one ?”

- “Excuse me… it’s just…”

She wiped her tears.

- “This seems-… I have trouble believing I’m seeing all of this once again… After all this time !... I thought… that I would never see the light of day ever again…”

- “And yet you are here, in the flesh… I can attest to that.”

He thought.

- “Where do you plan to go first ?”

- “... I’m not sure…”

She observed the landscape.

She wasn’t sure, but her instinct told her to go to the Vast Forest. But if OMORI and the others are in the Playground, she’d risk meeting with them…

What to do ?...

Maybe by cutting across the woods themselves instead of following the paths ? OMORI would never risk going out of the paths like that !

- “I think I have an idea… Could you tell me if there is anything new in the Vast Forest ?”

- “You will be surprised to learn that an entire town is now located south of Basil’s house.”

- “A town ? In the middle of the forest ?”

- “A town populated by flower-people, that being said.”

- “Oh… Yeah, makes sense… Since when is it there ?”

- “Hmm… I would say a year ? Two years, soon.”

- “Inspired by something in the Awakened World ?”

- “Without the shadow of a doubt.”

- “Good… At least he renews Headspace a little with some “fresh blood”.”

- “Don’t you mean “fresh bread” ?” He teased.

- “Ah ha ha ! Right. “Fresh bread” ! He he he… Either way, that’s a good thing Headspace is being refreshed. I’ll try and find a way to get to that town.”

- “... Alright.”

They got back down and he put her to the ground.

As she was about to step into the dense mass of trees, BIG YELLOW CAT said this :

- “Be careful, ABBI. Good luck.”

- “... Thanks, CAT.”

She answered, smiling, before turning back to the woods and muttering to herself :

- “I’ll need all the luck…”

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Chapter 3: Is this what you wanted ?

Summary:

Act I - Part II

Chapter Text

The more ABBI progressed into the depths of the forest, the darker it got. She still could see the sky over her head, but it didn’t seem to have any impact on the darkness of these woods. She found this strange, even wondering if she didn’t make a mistake by going through such a path.

But it was too late to go back. So she went forward. She knew she’d eventually find the crossroad, or at least one of the paths connected to it, south of the Playground. And from there, she’d be able to simply take the normal path to BASIL’s house, and by proxy to the town CAT talked about.

Yeah. It won’t take too long until she gets out of those woods.

… Sooner or later…

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It’s been half an hour already…

Was she lost ?

That wasn't normal, she could swear she had gone south from the start !

So why-...

You know, maybe she just underestimated how big the woods are from the inside. Who knows ? If she kept going, then she’ll have to end up somewhere !

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Ok, at first this was ridiculous. Now it was worrying…

She should have seen the end of those woods by now !

Maybe she really was going in circles without noticing ?

Thinking about it, it wouldn’t be too much of a surprise…

Well, at least she could still see the sky…


What was that ?

It sounded like… a groan… guttural and yet inhuman…

ABBI scrutinised her surroundings. It was then that she saw a pair of eyes in the dark.

Teary eyes…

- “Hello ?” she said with uncertainty, “Are you lost ?”

No answer. The eyes did not blink. Only tears continued pouring down.

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That piercing gaze was starting to make the octopus uncomfortable, but she didn’t let that disturb her.

- “I-... I can probably help. Even if I am lost myself, but-”

- “I s t h i s w h a t y o u w a n t e d ? . . .”

Her blood ran cold.

She heard the individual’s whispering voice as if it came from within her head.

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ABBI feels UNEASY.

- “P-... Pardon ?...”

- “I s t h i s w h a t y o u w a n t e d ? . . .”

As what she assumed was a person in front of her was repeating itself, ABBI noticed other sets of tearful eyes appearing.

All around her.

Circling her.

Circling her were dozens of stares, not knowing to whom or what they belonged to.

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ABBI feels AFRAID.

- “Wh-... Who are you ?!”

- “I s t h i s w h a t y o u w a n t e d ? . . .”

- “I s t h i s w h a t y o u w a n t e d ? . . .”

- “I s t h i s w h a t y o u w a n t e d ? . . .”

- “I s t h i s w h a t y o u w a n t e d ? . . .”

- I s t h i s w h a t y o u w a n t e d ? . . .

- I s t h i s w h a t y o u w a n t e d ? . . .

- I s t h i s w h a t y o u w a n t e d ? . . .

- I s t h i s w h a t y o u w a n t e d ? . . .

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I s t h i s w h a t y o u w a n t e d ? . . .

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The voices weren’t stopping. Multiplying, echoing more and more in the young woman’s head.

And those eyes…

Those eyes… Staring…

All of them… Without moving… Not even an eyelid…

- “S-... STOP IT ! WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS ?!”

- “Y o u t r a i t o r . . .”

She didn’t understand.

She didn’t understand and hated that !

She curled up on the ground, closing her eyes to not see theirs anymore. Covering her ears even if it didn’t change a thing.

The voices were still in her head.

But when she felt like she was about to crack :

- “ I love you.

Then, silence…

This simple sentence silenced all the others.

This soft and appeasing voice reduced the cacophony of strangled whispers to nothingness.

ABBI calmed down.

She looked in front of her. No eyes.

She looked to both her sides. No eyes.

She looked behind her.

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SOMETHING had her back turned to hers.

- “It’s you !” ABBI exclaimed as she got up, “You… you came to save me ?”

SOMETHING turned to meet her eyes.

- “ I love you too.

As soon as she had told this, she vanished into the darkness.

- “Wait !” the octopus almost cried, “Who were they ? Do you know ?”

But it was too late to get any answers. However, she soon heard another sound.

A gallop.

In front of ABBI, one of SOMETHING’s many other shapes appeared from the depths of the woods.

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- “DOROTHI ?”

The shadowy doe said nothing. She only leaned down a little, inviting the young woman to get on her back. ABBI did not need to be asked twice.

- “Do you know how to get out of the woods ?”

- “ Woods… Twisted… Like Mind…

DOROTHI observed the surroundings before deciding where to go through.

- “ But… Train Of Thoughts… Always Straight…

The doe turned her unique eye to a specific point that ABBI herself could not see.

- “ ABBI… Hold Tight…

DOROTHI took off, full gallop.

Chapter 4: A familiar tree

Summary:

Act I - Part III

Chapter Text

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It only took DOROTHI a few minutes to find an exit to the woods. ABBI soon saw the light at the end of the path.

- “ There We Are…

Leaping out of the undergrowths, the doe landed in the clearing leading to BASIL’s house.

Adjusting her sight to the light of day, ABBI could see that there was indeed a path leading further south.

She petted the thing’s head.

- “Thanks a lot, DOROTHI.”

- “ You’re Welcome… I Must Go Now… You’re Going To Florotopia… Aren’t You… ?

- “If Florotopia is the name of the town south of here, then yes, I am.”

- “ Be Careful… The Anthothrops Fear The Shadows… Like Me… Like You…

- “... Understood.”

ABBI dismounted from the doe.

- “Thank you for warning me. I’ll be cautious with them.”

DOROTHI said nothing else. She only bowed before going back into the woods.

ABBI turned to the new path. The path to Florotopia.

She could already see that the trees of this path were all blossoming. This felt welcoming to her. And so, she progressed towards the town.

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The trees around the path were becoming bigger and bigger as she went down it. Most of the other plants were also bigger than in the rest of the Vast Forest. The trees were so tall that their leaves partially filtered the sunlight. But thankfully, it wasn’t as dark as the woods, far from it.

The path was also very sinuous, more than what ABBI would have expected. This was certainly why she stumbled onto some LOST SPROUT MOLES, these poor things just have no sense of direction…

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It was only farther down the road that she finally found one of those Anthothrops : a tulip woman.

The latter was murmuring to herself, not noticing the octopus who kept her distance anyway.

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- “Hmm… I’m sure it was here, though… Why don’t the photos reveal anything ?”

Polaroid camera in hand, she took a few pictures of a tree that was oddly isolated from the others.

ABBI had a feeling of déjà-vu with this tree…

Considering the circ*mstances, she concluded that this tulip was ghost hunting. In fact, you could see by taking a closer look that the flower lady was indeed equipped for paranormal investigation. And judging by her clothes, she even seemed to have a liking for the gothic aesthetic. As she was looking at the new photos she took, ABBI attempted an interaction.

- “Excuse me ? Hello !”

The eye that wasn’t hidden under purple petals looked at the octopus.

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A slight jump shook the flower when she realised what she was seeing.

- “Be not afraid,” ABBI said immediately, “I have no ill intentions.”

- “...”

- “My name is ABBI. And… let’s say I have a mission to-”

She got interrupted and blinded by the flash of the camera.

- “AAAh !!” she covered her eyes, “What was that about ?! What’s wrong with-”

When she opened her eyes again, the flower was no longer here.

- “... you.”

She looked around, just to make sure the tulip had indeed left.

- “... Well… Too bad. I’d better keep moving.”

She observed the tree the investigator took photos of.

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Yeah… there was no doubt about it. Aside from the bell-like flowers on it, this tree looked like the one that used to be in Sunny’s former garden.

- “...”

This of course was not the only copy of it. There were others. Mostly in the forest… and in Black Space…

The fact this tree also found its way into this new part of the forest spoke volume.

ABBI, on her hand, did not speak a word as she moved away…

Chapter 5: Florotopia

Summary:

Act I - Part IV

Notes:

/!\/!\/!\ Small warning for flashing images ! /!\/!\/!\

Chapter Text

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- “...ABBI.” she simply answered.

- “Oh. That’s… quite an evocative name for the Lady of the Abyss.” he wondered out loud, “Oh, well, as we say, no one chooses their own name, do they ?”

- “... No, indeed.”

The octopus lady herself wasn’t sure why, but that remark decided to stay in a corner of her mind.

- “Alright.” said GLADIUS, “Now, follow me.”

And thus, escorted by the gladiolus man, ABBI finally arrived to Florotopia.

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The town was bustling with life, as today seemed to be market day. People gathered around stalls with various goods all around the main street. So that explained the music and laughter she heard earlier…

- “Stay near me, Miss.” said GLADIUS, “We'd better not lose each other in the crowd.”

- “Understood.”

They continued on and were close to exiting the main street when a voice called out to the man.

- “Hey, GLADIUS ! Over here !”

A lady among the many merchants waved at him.

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He didn’t seem confused to see her there but still seemed surprised to an extent.

- “Oh, hello there, HELIA ! So uh, how is business ?”

- “Doing good ! Thank you. And you ? What are you up to ? On a mission for the bishop ?”

- “Well, technically, yes, though this was more in a twist of fate kind of way than anything I guess ? I’m… not sure I’m making any sense saying things like that, ha ha...”

- “Hmm, I see, I see.”

The sunflower woman then turned to ABBI.

- “And who might you be, dearie ?”

- “M-Me ?” she stuttered a little, “Well… I… am a helper in that mission he’s on… in a manner of speaking.”

That wasn't exactly the kind of answer HELIA had expected… To be fair, who would have ?

- “Oh, you don’t have to be shy,” the merchant tried, “I-... OH !”

She inched as close as her stall allowed her to to the cloaked woman, adjusting her glasses. She somehow managed to get her face close enough for ABBI to step back in a startle.

- “Are my eyes deceiving me or… no… You ARE injured ! Did you get in a fight with those shadows ? I’d recognise those pecking marks anywhere !”

- “I, why, yes, it’s true, I didn’t really take time to heal myself proper-”

- “Say no more !”

HELIA reached into one of the baskets on the front row of her stall, taking out some kind of seed shaped candy.

- “Here. One of my herbal pastes should be enough to heal these nasty scratches.”

ABBI, a bit shaky, took the paste she was handed.

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Her HEART did feel like it was now full.

- "Woaw !"

- “See ? You seem to feel much better, don’t you ?”

- “I do… Thank you very much.”

GLADIUS took out a pouch out of his pocket.

- “How much was it for this, HELIA ?”

- “Oh, no no, GLADIUS, this was one of my free samples, don’t bother !”

- “Really ? Well if you say so- AH !”

Someone had just pushed him as they passed through.

- “Hey ! Watch it, would you ?! I-...”

However, he recognised the young lily of the valley boy who shoved him.

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- “MUGGUET !” he exclaimed, “That was unusually rude of you !”

- “Oops ?” the boy feigned innocence, “Sorry, Mister GLADIUS. I totally swear I didn’t do this on purpose.”

GLADIUS let out a sigh.

- “And you’re not even trying to hide it. What are you plotting again ?... Wait, where did my pouch go ?!”

- “A pouch, sir ? Like, do you mean…”

Low and behold, MUGGUET held it in his hand, all smiles.

- “... this ?”

- “MUGGUET…” scolded HELIA with a wag of her finger, “I thought you knew that stealing is bad ! Give it back to GLADIUS, would you ?”

- “Sorry, but you’re gonna have to catch me if you want it back !”

And with that, the little rascal sprinted out of here, leaving little to no time for anyone to react. GLADIUS was irate.

- “HEY ! COME BACK HERE YOU LITTLE-”

- “I got this.” said ABBI.

- “Huh ?”

Before either the gladiolus or the sunflower could say a thing, ABBI went in pursuit of the boy.

Both the octopus and the lily of the valley were fast, and to her surprise, that little MUGGUET also happened to be quite the acrobat. She believed to have lost sight of him before noticing him on the rooftops.

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- “Alright… If he wants to play that game, then so be it !”

ABBI had no trouble getting to the roofs thanks to her tentacles.

Had they not gotten the crowd’s attention before, then now they had ! And the boy soon noticed he still wasn’t off the hook yet.

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- “Uh oh !”

- “Give that pouch back right now !”

At that moment, MUGGUET saw no other option than to jump back into the streets.

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FLASH !

Everyone was blinded by the sudden bright light. It was clear now, the tulip girl and her little brother were in cahoots : all of that was but a stunt !

When ABBI opened her eyes again, she was here. Right in front of her.

- “So you didn’t lie…” the goth stated, “ “ABBI” is indeed your name.”

- “… What ?”

- “I found it weird that a demon would give me their name that easily. So I assumed it must have been a lie.”

- “ “Demon” ?!” ABBI repeated indignantly, “Why, thank you very much ! I know my current appearance isn’t the most reassuring, but-”

- “Silence ! You won’t fool me like you fooled GLADIUS.”

At these words, the gladiolus man responded hastily :

- “No, wait ! TULPA, listen to me ! You’re wrong about her ! She’s-”

- “Enough talking !”

Giant tulips suddenly sprouted out of the ground, blocking the way of the other anthothrops.

- “What are you doing ?!” GLADIUS cried out.

- “Isn’t it obvious ?”

TULPA reached out in her bag to get her camera. She then put her bag aside as the two big white tulip buds in her back were starting to build up a new magic flash.

- “I will send back that infernal creature to where it came from…”

TULPA’s legs shook ; and eventually gave up on her. The walls of white tulips wilted, finally letting the other anthothrops get close.

GLADIUS ran to her.

- “TULPA, what in the world were you thinking ?!”

She remained silent to the gladiolus’ query. He wanted to insist, but decided not to. He awkwardly placed a hand on her shoulder, in an attempt to show he was more worried than angry.

Both HELIA and MUGGUET soon joined them, while the two mysterious individuals that had helped to catch the boy decided to check on ABBI.

- “Are you alright, miss ?” asked the rose lady, “It seems to me you almost fainted near the end of this fuss.”

- “You call that a “fuss” ?” the cactus commented with an amused tone, “‘Seemed more like a dogfight to me.”

- “You should know by now, RYU. The “dogfights” TULPA gets herself into are always unnecessary.”

- “I HEARD THAT !” yelled TULPA out of the blue, “PLUCK YOU TOO, ROSSEN !”

ROSSEN could only sigh.

- “Anyways, as I tried to ask : how are you, Miss… ABBI, I believe ?”

- “I’m fine. Trust me when I say I’ve been in a much worse fight, once…”

- “I would be inclined to believe as much, considering how well you’ve dealt with the situation.”

- “You sure did !” continued RYU, “In fact, I kinda feel like you were holding back your punches. Or is it just me ?”

ABBI wasn’t sure if she should tell him that, yes, indeed, she held back punches. While the tulip woman undoubtedly wanted her dead, she, on the other hand, did not want to severely wound her.

Though the occasion to give any sort of answer was cut short as TULPA was once again expressing her frustration, this time towards the sunflower.

- “I don’t need you to treat any plucking injuries, HELIA ! I’m ok !!”

- “Don’t give me that !” protested the herbalist, “You’re wounded !”

- “The only wound I have is on my pride !...”

- “Really ? Well I didn’t know this kind of wound would leave physical bruises ! You learn everyday !”

- “Oh, pluck off !”

GLADIUS coughed to get their attention. Well, mostly TULPA’s as he then nudged his head to her left, where MUGGUET was.

The young boy, understandably, looked worried. He did just see his older sister get beat down. And for all they knew, things could have gotten worse than that…

The tulip understood what her friend was implicitly saying : if she would not get treated for herself, she had to do it for her little brother.

- “... Fine.”

She reluctantly held out her hand to HELIA.

- “Give me one of your… herbal pastes or something… Please ?...”

Even if TULPA was avoiding her gaze, HELIA gave her a warm smile.

- “Of course.”

She handed her not only a paste, but also a little vial of a semi translucent teal liquid. Once given to the goth tulip, HELIA then went to ABBI, giving her the same medicines.

- “I am certain you must need these too.”

The octopus took a good look at the vial.

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Well, good thing the vial was small enough to be emptied in one swig : peppermint was not a favorite of hers.

- “Thank you, Miss HELIA.”

Bottoms up !

She couldn’t help but wince at the taste, but it did make her feel better.

TULPA stared at her. Then grumbled. Then got up, albeit slowly.

- “Alright…” she started, less aggressive than before, “If you are no demon… then what are you ?”

- “The Lady of the Abyss.”

They all looked at GLADIUS, stunned by what he just revealed.

- “The… What.”

- “... You heard me.”

He had a very serious look on his face. It felt almost unsettling.

- “You-... You mean-...” HELIA stuttered, “The one the bishop talked about ? The Wise One ?”

- “Yes.”

RYU looked up and down at said “Wise One”, as if she’d suddenly appeared out of nowhere, then gave her a joking smirk.

- “Well darn. You’ve got quite the temper for a Wise One.”

ABBI shrugged, still taking this as a form of compliment.

- “Oh… you know. When life is rough, that tends to happen.”

- “Eh, seems fair.”

Though, she did take note her status as “The Wisest” also seemed to be known by this bishop. That only made her more curious to talk with him.

ROSSEN herself realised bringing ABBI to him was of the utmost importance, as she voiced that very concern.

- “If you are the one that SAINT LILIUM had visions of, then we are only wasting your time by keeping you here.”

- “I was actually bringing her to see him,” said GLADIUS, “until we were distracted…”

An accusatory glance was thrown at TULPA. She looked away.

- “L- look ! How was I supposed to know ?! She looks like those things !”

- “Well…” he softened, “I have to admit I did think the same at first… But even as a ruse, I don’t think those shadows would turn on each other…”

- “Wait, what ?”

The ghost huntress looked at the Wise One.

- “You… fought against them before ?”

- “I did. I saved GLADIUS from a few. And even before that, the weepers tried to target me while lost in the woods… So clearly, they decided I was their enemy…”

- “...”

She rubbed the back of her neck.

- “... Sorry.”

ABBI smiled.

- “Apology accepted. I’m more or less used to being wrongfully accused.”

- “Huh…”

The octopus turned to the gladiolus man.

- “I think we should go now. I must know what is happening with thoses weeping shadows and how I can fix this.”

GLADIUS nodded.

- “Right.”

*

* *

*

It did not take them long to go back on track. Soon, they were finally within the cathedral, crossing the nave to reach the altar.

The bishop was standing in front of it, his back turned to the visitors.

As he heard them stop at the small flight of stairs elevating the choir, he spoke.

- “I awaited for that day to arrive… LADY ABBI.”

He turned to face them, an ethereal grace to his movements.

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His smile as warm and gaze as kind as he was imposing with his tall, slender stature. Anthothrops were naturally tall, however he himself was taller than the average flower person.

- “I am glad to finally meet you in person.”

He looked past her and made eye contact with GLADIUS.

- “Thank you for escorting her here.”

The young man bowed, then left without a word.

ABBI took one step on the stairs.

- “So… you are the bishop who foresaw I would come ?”

- “It is I indeed. Allow me to introduce myself. LILIUM OF WHITECASTEL. Current keeper of the Cathedral of Sunlight.”

- “It’s a pleasure, your Holiness.”

She bowed as she said this. When she looked up again, LILIUM could see a strong determination in her eyes.

- “If I may, I have many, many questions… Could you give me answers ?”

- “I shall listen.”

- “I wish to know the extent of your knowledge, as I have heard other denizens of this town refer to me as both “The Lady of the Abyss” and “The Wise One”. I can only assume they learned those titles from you. So my first question is : how much do you know about me ?”

- “Ah… Indeed I know a few things about you. But I would be lying if I said you were the only one I knew about. Your epithet of “The Wisest” is part of a trinity. A trinity keeping this world in balance. Or at least… it used to be this way.”

- “... “Wisest”... So you know about CAT and HUMPHREY.”

He gave a nod.

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- “First was HUMPHREY, the Oldest and Great Creature of Needs. Then, there was you, the Great Creature of Wisdom. And last but not least, especially in the eyes of the god of this world, the Favorite, BIG YELLOW CAT, Great Creature of Awareness.”

Interesting… a few things were… new, to say the least.

LILIUM continued.

- “And since I mentioned him… let’s talk about the god of this world… Or what is left of him, rather… That avatar of his is the one who plunged and sealed you into the abyssal depths. However… the reason for such action escapes me…”

ABBI sighed.

- “I… “commited” an act against his will… But I did this to help him, to help the real him. I did not expect for this copy to… do that…”

- “... I see.”

- “... What else do you know ?”

He closed his eyes, taking a moment to concentrate on the visions he had.

- “This world… “Headspace”... and another, “Black Space”... are colliding. And this because of a shadow that wishes to drag the god of this world into an infinite torment.”

- “A shadow ? Is it linked in some way to the weeping shadows ?”

- “It is their leader.”

- “Figures… Where does it come from ?”

- “Its precise origin is unknown to me. But it does come from the world of “Black Space”. Something else I can say is… its resemblance with the other shadow, the one wishing to be accepted, is not an accident…”

He thought…

- “In fact… I believe it is an overt mockery through mimicry.”

- “A… mockery ?!”

He gave half a nod.

- “... But why ?” she was very confused, “Why all this ?... If this entity comes from Black Space, then it once was part of Headspace ! I can perfectly understand if it is angry to have been banished, but…”

ABBI stopped for a moment, hesitant.

LILIUM inquired :

- “... “But” ?”

- “... But I don’t want to destroy everything… I am on SOMETHING’s side… in a sense… You said it yourself, SOMETHING only wants acceptance… But OMORI doesn’t want that… OMORI doesn’t want to understand that !… He is the real issue… I only wish to destroy him .”

- “Hmm…”

He approached her.

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- “I can indeed feel it… within your hearts… Your rancour is strong… so be wary of it… Do not let it blind you…”

- “... I’ll try…”

There was silence.

- “Do you know of the Truth ?” she asked.

- “... Only fragments of it… I am unsure of what they meant… but I can feel through them the torment it caused…”

- “Then I guess you really must know the true nature of this world… Don’t you ?”

- “I do.”

- “... But how ?... Why ?... Why were you allowed to know ?... No one in Headspace but me and the two other Great Creatures are meant to know… How did these visions come to you ? I don’t think it can just be because of Black Space’s influence since, at that point, EVERYONE would know then, not just you.”

- “... It is… not just me…”

That information almost made her jump.

- “Who else ?”

- “I… do not know ?”

He seemed as confused as her.

- “I suppose… it is a feeling… I somehow know I am not alone… but I do not know who else shares this knowledge with me.”

- “Hmm… Well, since I intend on travelling all Headspace like he used to in order to unveil the Truth, I’ll probably learn who else and why along the way…”

She thought of said travel… It was bound to be different from the ones SUNNY and OMORI had…

- “Tell me, SAINT LILIUM… where would you suggest I go first ?”

- “Ah… a question as thorny as brambles. Let’s see…”

He looked for answers in the visions he had…

- “The Truth is buried deep within “Black Space”, correct ?”

- “Yes, it is.”

- “Hmm… To get to it… a specific door used to be crossed… But that door needs keys to be opened… keys that are, I am afraid, lost forever… The world is in too much imbalance for them to come back… And even if they did, the door may be lost too…”

- “But there still has to be a way to access it.”

- “Of course there is. Why go through the door when the windows are wide open ?”

ABBI’s eyes widened at that realisation.

- “But of course ! There are rifts between Headspace and Black Space now ! I’d just need to find one I could go thought and-”

- “Easy now, LADY ABBI. You cannot just go through any rift. I do not quite know how “Black Space” operates, but I know that place to be hostile due to the shadow of torment. No, if you wish to take the least amount of risks, you will need to find the right rift to go through. That, and…”

The few glimpses he could see of Black Space made him shudder.

- “Even for you, it is dangerous to go alone… You will need help.”

- “By who ? CAT would certainly want to, but he can’t as the guardian of Neighbour's Room. OMORI would get suspicious. As for HUMPHREY… Yeah, no, not only did he completely lose it through the years, but he’s much too happy to play the role of Cerberus.”

LILIUM looked away, as if there was something he didn’t want to say.

- “... I was not thinking of them…”

- “Who, then ? Some inhabitants of Headspace ?”

The bishop appeared less tense.

- “... Yes. Now, I know what fate befalls the ones who enter “Black Space”… However, I know that amongst them all, there exists four exceptions… Four actors in this fantasy, who share a trait in common with the god’s avatar. These actors have even fought against the avatar on many occasions, although two of them were often left at peace.”

Four… “actors” ?

Who fought OMORI many times ?...

And shared a trait with him…

It suddenly clicked.

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ABBI knew who LILIUM was talking about.

- “SAINT LILIUM,” she said enthusiastically, “I cannot thank you enough ! I believe I know where I should head out now.”

He slowly nodded.

- “I am glad. May I then ask where do you plan to go first, LADY ABBI ?”

- “I shall go to OtherWorld.”

Chapter 6: Much to reflect upon

Summary:

Act I - Part V

Chapter Text

- “So ?” asked GLADIUS, “Could the bishop answer your questions ?”

Both he and ABBI were outside the cathedral, slowly walking back to the marketplace.

- “For the most part, yes.” she responded, “Even to him, some truths are hidden, but it doesn’t change how surprised I was with what he does know.”

- “And… What are your plans, now ?”

- “Well, I was made aware of the fact there are people who can help in my journey. So I intend on meeting them.”

She looked around.

- “... Tell me, GLADIUS, which places in this market would you recommend to get supplies ?”

And so, ABBI and GLADIUS went around the market, first making a stop at HELIA’s stall. The herbalist was more than happy to provide more medicines for the octopus lady, but even she knew the limitations of her goods.

- “You know what they say : “Antibiotics are not automatic !” So if I were you, I would also get a few fruits from PRIMO ! They have the sweetest and juiciest fruits known to anthokind. And if you get on their good side, you might even get one of their prized watermelons !”

- “Watermelons, you say ?” ABBI inquired.

- “That’s right ! But it’s easier said than done, really. Especially since, eh…”

The sunflower made a weird grimace, as if she was trying not to laugh.

- “There’s a group of kids that come from time to time in town. And the first time they came here on a market day, they broke open one of the watermelons… PRIMO was soooooo mad that day !”

- “Oh.”

- “Yeah. And every so often, they come back and poke at the watermelons. So PRIMO has become very protective over these and always stash them away when the kids come around.”

- “That’s understandable.”

- “What’s worse is, these kids aren’t even mean ! They’re really nice !... They just happen to be a handful at times…”

- “That’s for sure…” nodded GLADIUS, “At least the two oldest have good heads on their shoulders.”

- “Yeah, these two could do no wrong.”

With that, they headed to PRIMO’s. They could not get any watermelon, but did get a dozen apples and a few assortments of berries !

- “Ye say yer traveling to OtherWorld, hen ? On yer own ? Ye know there are some sleekit creatures up there, don’t ye ?”

- “I appreciate your concern, but don’t worry. I know what to expect.”

- “Well, yer no feartie ! But ah take it yer well equipped for brawls already.”

That made GLADIUS click.

- “Oh, right ! Speaking of this… Miss ABBI, I think there’s one other place I should take you to before you depart.”

The last shop he took her too was not within the marketplace, but in an adjacent street. It was a smithy.

- “I couldn’t help but notice that I haven’t seen you wield any kind of weapon : you’ve always used your tentacles. While you have proven to be strong, I’m sure it would be better if you-”

- “I don’t need a weapon.”

He looked at her, incredulous.

- “... Miss, you cannot be serious. Why not ?”

- “I-...”

She stopped, realising she had, in fact, no good reasons not to. But the idea itself still felt… “off” to her.

She had to make up an excuse, quickly !

- “... I do not think I could ever find a weapon that would… suit me.”

Once she said that, a hearty laugh could be heard from the back of the smithy.

- “Is that what you think, Wise One ?” said the voice, “Well I take this as a challenge !”

From an open door frame came out RYU, the cactus man they met earlier that day.

- “And if I can’t provide you with anything ? I will eat a pitaya from one of my own flowers !”

- “Eww,” cringed GLADIUS, “don’t say things like this, RYU !... Could you even grow a fruit to begin with ?”

- “You know me, GLAD’, I like to pluck around and find out.”

- “Urgh, just help her out, please ?”

RYU asked ABBI to follow him, showing her the weapons already displayed in his shop, making a few suggestions here and there. He was also about to tell he could always make something brand new for her if needed when one blade caught her attention.

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It eerily looked like a knife, but the cactus insisted this was a dagger of sorts. And admittedly, there were a few key elements that made this blade different from a regular knife.

The blade itself was longer, had two edges despite its shape, and also bore intricate yet elegant engravings on the shiny, dark aloy.

A thought crossed ABBI’s mind : “fight fire with fire”.

- “I think I will take this.”

- “A good choice, Wise One. You’ll see, it’s swift and keen like no other blades, and is always ready for service…”

*

* *

*

After taking a little break to fully restore her HEART and JUICE, ABBI was finally ready to go. GLADIUS was leading her to the Pluto’s Spaceline station, situated not too far away from the town’s Main Square.

On the way, near the cathedral, she finally noticed.

A floating mirror.

She approached it, seeing herself for the first time in forever. She had not realised until now that only her eyes were visible on her face. No wonder she got mistaken for one of those shadows.

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Gladius had an amused smile.

- “It almost feels like you’ve never seen your reflection before.”

- “Well, it is the first time I see the reflection of my current self.”

- “... Pardon ? Are you saying you didn't always look the way you do ?”

- “I, in fact, did not.”

- “Huh… How curious.”

She did change a lot… Back when SUNNY was still here, she wasn’t as… dull…

She shook her head.

- “Sorry, I got lost in thoughts… Let’s go-”

ABBI froze.

Now facing away, in the direction opposite to the mirror, she saw two children. One was a teenage girl with long dark hair, the other a young boy wearing a flower crown. Both were seated on a picnic blanket.

- “Oh !” exclaimed GLADIUS, “I didn’t think they’d come here today.”

He waved at them.

- “Hello, BASIL ! Hello, MARI !"


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MARI’s wink to ABBI got the flower man just as confused as the young gardener. He asked :

- “You know MARI ?”

- “Uh… it’s, um, a long story… Anyways, I think I should get out of here, fast !”

- “Huh ? Why the sudden haste ?”

- “Her brother OMORI doesn’t like me, that’s all you need to know ! Where did you say the station was ?”

- “Uh, I… This way ! Follow me !”

They jogged down a street a little further back, the Pluto’s Spaceline station could be seen at the very end of it. Unfortunately, a certain little group of kids were going up that same street…

The young AUBREY was very excited to see the gladiolus and ran to him.

- “GLADIUS ! I’m so happy to see you again !”

- “Oh, aha… I’m glad to see you too, AUBREY.”

She noticed his tone.

- “What’s wrong ?”

- “Nothing, it’s just that… I was a little busy, you see ? I…”

He couldn’t finish his sentence as she then noticed ABBI behind him.

And the three others had finally caught up too.

- “Oh ? Who’s this ?”

- “Who ? OH ! Her ? Well, she’s… a tourist ! That’s why I was busy ! I was showing her around, you know ?”

ABBI could not escape this, now. She nodded while also trying to hide her face as much as possible with the hood of the cape.

- “That’s strange…” noted HERO, “I feel like we’ve met before… What’s your name, ma’am ?”

She dared not answer. She dared not even think about trying to fake her voice either.

- “Now that you say it,” added KEL, “I think I saw her before too ! What about you, OMORI ?”

The monochrome boy, who’s words are rare, had locked eyes with the octopus lady. His gaze was as cold as ice.

He brandished his Red Knife.

- “How ?” he merely said.

ABBI remained silent, but she felt her anger was rising.

GLADIUS quickly interjected.

- “Wow, hey ! Now, now, OMORI ! You can’t just threaten people like that !”

- “This is not a person.”

Stunned silence. AUBREY turned to her friend.

- “N- Not a person ?! What do you mean, OMORI ? What is it, then ?”

- “The monster of the Abyss.”

ABBI feels ANGRY.

- “So this is all I am to you ?... REALLY ?!”

At these words, the three other children took out their weapons. However, ABBI had no desire to fight. With a swift movement, she threw her cape on them. OMORI cut through it like it was paper, but she had already disappeared out of sight.

The bell of the Spaceline Station rang. The gang turned back, shocked to see the lady in black perched on top of the big sign.

She made herself menassing…


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And so, despite the cries of the children, PLUTO took off.

As they went farther and farther away from the ground, ABBI calmed down.

- “Ah…” she sighed, “That was a close one…”

PLUTO wasn’t sure in what kind of situation he’d gotten himself into. The only thing he knew was that this strange woman was much stronger than she looked. He could feel it earlier.

- “Hmm… If I may, madam, before you tell me where you wish to go… what’s the matter between you and these children ?”

- “It’s… a long story, sir… Let’s say there is a misunderstanding between us. But let’s be clear : three of the children I do not blame for this. It’s the fourth one I have issues with. The colourless one.”

She kept quiet for a moment.

- “I cannot believe he finally spoke after all these years… Only to call me a monster !... Such a hypocrite…”

- “... I have the feeling that whatever happened between you two troubles you a lot. I won’t press you for details.”

- “... Thank you.”

- “So. Where will your journey take you today ?”

- “Bring me to OtherWorld, please.”

- “You got it. Now… Just sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.”

Chapter 7: Lost to the black hole

Summary:

Act I - Part VI

Chapter Text

- “And here we are ! Otherworld !”

As soon as PLUTO landed, the young woman he was carrying jumped off of his shoulders.

- “Thank you very much, sir.” she told him, “And once again, I must apologise for how I mistreated you earlier.”

- “You are all forgiven, madame. Consider it all forgotten. I wish for you that this misunderstanding with the children will soon be resolved. GWA HA HA HA HA !!”

And with that, he took off, leaving ABBI also wishing for that… “issue” to be taken care of as fast as possible.

Leaving that thought alone for now, she looked around the Campsite. Everything seemed as peaceful as it always was. The abandoned cars, the electrical towers, the junk and of course the houses of the local residents. Everything was here. Unchanged.

On top of the hill the Campsite was settled on, was none-other than the house of the young leader of the Space Pirates : CAPTAIN SPACEBOY. This was ABBI’s current destination. Thankfully, he should be home and not some distant places aboard his spaceship.

… Speaking of space… she noticed an anomaly in the sky… Somewhere high above the hill, in stark contrast with the stars, was a strange, misshapen black form.

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ABBI was taken aback, to say the least. How had she not noticed it before when CAT showed her an overview of Headspace ? Was this not there yet ? Or was it then in a blind spot ? Nevertheless, this shapeless mass, likely to be one of the many rifts into Black Space, should not be here.

ABBI quickly got down from the station and headed to the top of the Campsite. One of the locals, who was making a few clams at the recycling machine, gave her a wary look. She ignored it, already guessing the reason for such a glare.

Once at the doorstep of SPACEBOY’s home, she knocked. A peephole in the door opened, the eyes of who she could only assume was one of the Captain’s crew mates looking through it.

- “Hello.” she started, “I-”

An audible gasp got out of the space pirate’s beak before they closed the peephole.

- “Hey ! No, no, no ! Wait !”

She knocked again.

No further answer.

She sighed.

- “Alright… Judging by your reaction, I can only conclude that you have met… other shadows before, am I wrong ?”

Silence…

- “... Listen. I do not know what has transpired between you and those shadows, but you must know this : I am not like them. I have no malevolent intentions, and in fact, those weeping shadows consider me an enemy. So far, they have done nothing but impede me, so needless to say, I do not bear them in my hearts !...”

ABBI could faintly hear whispers on the other side of the door… The space pirates seemed divided on what to do. While she couldn’t get a word of what was said, one voice distinguished itself from the rest. She guessed it must belong to the Captain himself. Some of the other voices got a little more frantic as they seemed to argue with him. But in the end, he had the final word.

The door finally opened.

- “Ah, thank you. I thought you- WOAH !”

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ABBI put her hands up, startled by the sight of CAPTAIN SPACEBOY pointing his laser gun at her. He spoke :

- “I’ll need more than just eloquence to be convinced you are trustworthy. But I must admit… you are not like the others… And I know exactly how to determine if you can be trusted or not… You may enter. But be careful not to step out of line… Understood ?”

- “Crystal clear, Captain.”

He let her in, still holding her at gunpoint. The door was closed behind them.

- “Go straight forward.” he commanded, “Up the stairs.”

- “May I know where exactly you are taking me ?”

- “The Junkyard. You’ll see why once there.”

Escorted by a few of his crew, they continued down the Solar System Room, then out near the Junkyard. The Mercury Retrograde had been purposefully stationed in front of the regular path leading here, so that no one could get to the Junkyard without going through the space pirate’s house. ABBI didn’t like this…

But once they were in the Junkyard, she understood. Two crew members were already here, guarding some sort of laser cage. Inside was a weeping shadow, all sharp and spiky, severe burn marks covering it as it had thrown itself several times at the laser walls of the cage in an attempt to escape. It was still frantically shaking, but seemed to have given up on getting out.

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The young lady had let her arms fall at the sight.

- “You… managed to capture one of them ?... I must say, this is impressive.”

- “Is it really ?” the captain questioned.

- “From what I know, when confronted with those, people either cower in fear or actively chase them down. You are the first I have seen keeping one alive and trapped.”

Some of the pirates shivered at her words. SPACEBOY let out a sigh.

- “Run away or kill, huh ?... No. Not after what happened… We… We couldn’t do either to him.”

- “... “Him” ?”

ABBI turned to the leader of the pirates. SPACEBOY looked… SAD.

Omori - Out of the Abyss - Idril_Whatsit (92)

- “Yes… “Him”... This shadow right here… is… a member of my crew.”

This was one of the space pirates ?! No way… But then, if he transformed in such a way, that could only mean-

- “Miss,” the young captain continued, “I beg of you… You who seem surprisingly lucid as a shadow yourself… what do you know about this ailment ?”

- “ “Ailment” ? Wait, you think-”

She looked again at the imprisoned shadow.

- “... Now I get it… You think this is an illness. That’s why you… captured your former crew mate… You believe he can be cured… Is it ?”

All of the pirates looked at each other, their expressions varying from worry to despair. One of them spoke up, tears forming in their eyes.

- “Are you saying… that it’s too late ? He can’t… he can’t turn back to normal ?...”

- “... I’m sorry… Your friend is gone…”

The pirate fell to their knees, eyes staring blankly at the ground as the pools of tears became rivers running down their face. One of their colleagues tried to comfort them. CAPTAIN SPACEBOY was containing himself as well as he could, he still had questions to ask. But it still was clear to anyone that the news made him feel DEPRESSED.

- “What about someone who’s been partially transformed ?”

As he said this, he nudged another member of his crew. Said member approached her, removing bandages on one of their arms. It looked all black and icky, like some sort of goo. The octopus examined it.

- “... I knew that the transformation isn’t instantaneous, but this is the first time I actually see the progression stopped dead in its tracks… I think I can safely say it won’t get any worse. In fact…”

As she touched the tainted arm, she could feel the influence of Black Space on it. And it was getting weaker and weaker.

- “It will be slow, but your arm should go back to normal eventually.”

- “Some of my comrades got it worse than me, missy…” said the pirate, concerned, “What about them ?”

- “As long as their transformation wasn’t complete like for this one,” as she pointed at the cage, “they should recover too.”

Relief washed through the minds of the space pirates despite all the pain that they still felt deep down. As for ABBI, she looked up at the sky, staring at the ominous dark mass over their heads. This time, she had a question for the captain.

- “You all went through that rift that appeared in the sky, didn’t you ? How long were you in there ?”

- “I-... I’m… not sure… I’d say… less than ten minutes ?...”

- “I see… That is about how long it takes for anyone to transform when in the world beyond that rift… I want to say you were lucky only one of you fell to this curse, but-”

- “No…

SPACEBOY’s voice sounded… harsh, all of a sudden. He was staring at the ground, making his expression unreadable. His fists were clenched so hard they were shaking.

He. Was. FURIOUS.

- “IT WASN’T ONLY ONE !!!”

He ran away from the Junkyard, tears of both rage and despair pouring down, almost blinding him. Although his emotions were the things blinding him the most in the moment.

- “Captain, wait !”

She was about to run after him when the pirate she examined held her back.

- “Careful, missy… Our Captain isn’t always himself when angered…”

That, she already knew. She simply nodded and thanked them.

When she got out of the Junkyard, she witnessed SPACEBOY already let his anger out on random trash laying around.

- “f*ckING sh*t !!!”

ZAP ! ZAP ! ZAP !

Cans, glass bottles, cardboards and really any useless garbage that happend to be on the ground ended up being exploded and charred.

- “Captain ?”

ZAP !

Without thinking, the leader of the pirates had shot ABBI. It was only when he saw her collapse on the ground that he realised what he had done. Shocked, his weapon slipped from his grasp.

He felt utterly MISERABLE.

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- “N- no… I-... I didn’t want to-...”

He kneeled next to her.

- “Miss ? Miss, please answer ! Can you hear me ?”

ABBI let out a groan. She slowly raised a hand and put it on her forehead that was currently throbbing with pain.

- “That… is the worst migraine I’ve had in my life… But I’ll live… Don’t worry…”

SPACEBOY was a bit taken aback by this answer. Regardless, he was relieved she wasn’t severely wounded.

But emotionally, he was still a wreck…

Had it not been for this incident, he would have continued to take his anger on the rubbish.

But now ? Now he no longer had the strength to get angry… Now, there was only misery.

He was unable to keep his strong leader persona steady.

He started to sob.

- “... If… If you-... say so… Miss… I-... I am… so… so sorry… I’m-”

He looked away from her. Shifting his kneeling position to a sitting one, he bent his legs, bringing the knees up. His arms wrapped around these and he hid his face in the crook they formed. His sobbing was the quietest, but the pain that caused it was no less intense.

The way he sat reminded ABBI of a certain boy…

She lifted her upper body up, then dragged herself closer to the young man. With no hesitation, she wrapped an arm around him, gently rubbing his shoulder in a comforting way, effectively hugging him. It appeared to soothe him a bit.

- “There, there… It’s ok… Let it all out…”

His breath was short due to his sobs and occasionally gasped for air. Despite that, he tried speaking :

- “I-... Ah- I’m… I can’t- Hic-...”

- “Take your time…”

A few minutes passed. His breathing was steadier, his tears less abundant, and thoughts reorganised in a way that would be easier to express. He did not feel any less MISERABLE however. But this was understandable.

- “I…” he started slowly, “I only realize it now… Not once did I ever ask for your name… May I ?...”

- “Of course. My name is ABBI.”

- “ “ABBI” ?... That’s a pretty name.”

For the first time ever since they met, he had a smile. It was small, but it was a smile nonetheless. She smiled back.

- “Thank you. What about you ? Is… “SPACEBOY” still your name ?”

At that, he let out a little laugh. It had a hint of bitterness.

- "I won't be caught changing my name on a whim ever again..."

- “I see… My apologies if I brought up a sensitive topic…”

- “... It’s alright.”

A short silence… ABBI resumed the conversation :

- “So… Tell me. What happened in Black Space ?”

- “... “Black Space” ?... Ah. The dimension beyond that black hole ?... Well… The thing is…”

His voice was becoming shaky again as more tears rolled down his cheeks.

- “My father went in there… And… not just him… He had an entire crew with him… I-... And if what you said about this… “curse”... as you called it, is true… that it takes ten minutes or less for it to consume you… then as we speak… there must be… no survivors…”

He took a deep breath.

- “I remember arguing with him not to go explore that spatio-temporal hole that came out of nowhere ! That he was too old for risky adventures like this ! That’s why he retired in the first place ! But noooooooooooo, the great PINKBEARD simply had to go ! How was he supposed to show the ropes to his apprentice if he didn’t do things like in the good old days, huh ?... But now… him… and everyone else on his ship… reduced to shadows of their former selves…”

- “But… tell me. What led you and your crew to go ? I take it you only went after they did, correct ?”

- “Well… since I disagreed with him, he made a compromise with me. He decided that we would keep contact via radio for as long as they were in there. He even admitted this would probably make things safer… And at one point, we completely lost the signal. With no other options left, I decided we should follow suit into the black hole… And-”

He stopped in his narrative. Thinking back about how things went down made him realise something crucial.

- “And my crew immediately complained about… feeling… off… I remember dismissing it as… I don’t know, fear ? Because… I never felt anything strange when in that “Black Space”… Least of all, feeling anything strange within me. It really only was when my crew showed me the black spots appearing on them that I turned the ship around… Too bad I wasn’t fast enough to save them all…”

He looked at his hand. Eventually, he removed his glove and even rolled up his sleeve to make sure he really did not have any black spots himself.

- “How do you explain that I felt nothing ? That I seemingly did not suffer from that curse ? Am I… resistant to it ?”

- “Let me see…”

Unlike the pirate whose arm was all blackened, ABBI did not feel a single ounce of Black Space’s presence in CAPTAIN SPACEBOY. Not even a residue of any energy that could have already died out. Was this the reason him and the three other actors SAINT LILIUM had talked about could help her in her mission ? That they were impervious to the noxious effects Black Space had on denizens of Headspace ?

- “I can’t explain why… but you seem immune to Black Space’s curse.”

- “... Immune, you say…”

This. This made the gears in his mind go wild. All of the sudden, he exclaimed :

- “Miss ABBI ! If I am immune, then I must hold this immunity from somewhere, don’t I ?”

- “Well… Yes, this makes sense-”

- “What if I hold it from my father ? That would mean he could very well still be alive !”

- “Well- um… Perhaps ?”

- “I know I must sound insane, but if it is true… Well, if no one checks out and he is indeed alive, then the shadows themselves will be the end of him. I must go look for him ! At least to make absolutely sure of his whereabouts !”

- “... I suppose you are right, Captain.”

- “Great ! Now.”

He held her hands.

- “Will you please accompany me in my search ? I can’t risk the lives of my crew members and… you yourself are from that world, aren’t you ? You look like these shadows, but you are not like them at all. And your knowledge of that place would prove more than useful. If I go alone, I’ll just get lost, I need a guide ! Please !”

- “I’m… not really from Black Space, but I have no reason to refuse to help you. And despite everything, I do believe I know the place like the back of my hand. You can count on me, CAPTAIN SPACEBOY.

His face beamed with HAPPINESS.

- “I cannot thank you enough for this !”

Chapter 8: A dive into Darkness

Summary:

Act I - Part 7

Chapter Text

Aboard the Mercury Retrograde, the young captain was checking on what looked like a bike of sorts, the only striking difference was the evident lack of any wheels in its design. Two of his crew members were assisting him on the maintenance of the vehicle.

Omori - Out of the Abyss - Idril_Whatsit (94)

- “Has the stabilization module been changed since last time ?”

- “Yes sir !” chimed the first crew mate, “I even ran a test with it as soon as it was replaced to make sure everything was in order !”

- “Good. What about the battery ? When was it last charged ?”

- “Well,” the second crew mate replied, “technically it was last week. But just to make sure, I had verified its state before our first attempt at traversing the black hole, Captain. It was, and should still be fully charged. I also made sure it had sustained no damages from our failed mission, but I suppose a test run shouldn’t hurt.”

- “Alright. Let’s see, then.”

SPACEBOY turned the key in the ignition. The electrical engine roared as the vehicle then floated in place. The control panel displayed everything it should, no abnormal sounds were heard from within, and a quick scan of the hoverbike said as much : all was fine. He smiled.

- “Perfect.”

ABBI had been observing them work from a small distance. She approached as the captain almost seemed ready to mount on the futuristic bike.

- “I wasn’t sure at first when you mentioned it, but now, I guess this can indeed come in handy once we’re in Black Space. Some of its areas can be long to traverse and a few places can be hard to access if you’re grounded. But I still think it might be cumbersome in situations where we won’t need it at all.”

SPACEBOY chuckled.

- “That is not a problem actually, this model has a portable mode.”

He pressed one of the buttons on the panel, resulting in the hoverbike shrinking and folding into a cube that could fit into one’s palm. This display of technology amazed the octopus lady.

- “Well I stand corrected.”

As he picked up the cube, a crew member entered the maintenance room.

- “CAPTAIN SPACEBOY, we’re now right over the black hole ! So… we’re ready when you are, sir.”

- “Thank you, GUY. We’ll head to the airlock, then. You can go back to the bridge.”

He and ABBI walked past the space pirate, who didn’t seem like he wanted to go back to his post. While hesitant, he did manage to speak up.

- “Um… Captain ?”

SPACEBOY halted and turned to look at him.

- “Yes ?”

- “If I may… Uh… Are you sure of what you’re doing ?”

- “Absolutely certain. Miss ABBI here says I cannot be harmed by what plagued most of you. And she will be my guide in this cursed place. You do not have to worry.”

He continued to walk, but added this as he did :

- “Oh, and make sure to tell as much to the FIRST OFFICER ACE. Knowing him he must be just as worried but kept quiet about it all.”

- “Ah- Will do, sir !”

The young captain could hear the crew mate walk back towards the main deck, albeit slowly. ABBI looked back, smiling a bit as she saw the space pirate walk away with a bit more confidence judging by his much less hunched stance.

- “Your crew is like family to you. Are they not ?” she asked SPACEBOY.

- “They are.”

They had now reached the ship’s airlock, waiting for it to be opened.

- “So… jumping right in like that is harmless, you say ?”

- “And is the fastest way to actually get somewhere.”

- “Hmm… “Black Space” seems to be working under very strange rules…”

- “Oh, trust me. It does.”

A voice resonated through an intercom.

- “ Opening of the airlock in 3… 2… 1…

Light and wind entered the ship. They stared at the rift below, its darkness inscrutable from here. ABBI asked :

- “Ready ?”

- “More than ever.”

Waiting no further, both of them jumped off the Mercury Retrograde.

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As they plunged, first was absolute obscurity. Then was a thick fog, that thinned out more and more as they kept falling. And when they finally landed, the moderate crackling of sturdy wooden planks punctuated the feeling of the solid ground under their feet.

The young lady looked at their surroundings. Wooden platforms and walkways connecting them, floating in the middle of a sea of clouds. A light icy wind blowing, propelling grey-scale pinwheels. Birds could be heard, but not seen. Somewhere in the distance was a waterfall. Somewhere in the proximity of the two explorers was a bench, and what looked like a person standing next to it.

- “The Cloud Walkway…” she muttered.

The captain was also observing the landscape, but looking for what wasn’t there rather than what was.

- “... My father’s ship is nowhere to be seen… And they could have gone anywhere from here. What do you suggest we do ?”

- “There are a few… “denizens” of this place that would have seen the ship if it did pass by here. We can always try to ask them.”

- “Denizens ?”

- “Yes. As far as I know, there are no shadows in this part of Black Space. All there is here are mostly… what I would call lost souls, I suppose.”

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ABBI approached the person standing by the bench, just a few meters from them. The person was faceless, yet you could feel despite their lack of features that… they were staring blankly into the distance. It was hard to tell if they even had acknowledged the presence of the pirate and the octopus until spoken to.

- “Hello.” she began, “Do you happen to have seen a spacecraft travel through this area ?”

The Faceless did not answer immediately. They slowly turned their head towards ABBI.

- “... Do I… know you ?... I… I have the feeling I know you…”

- “Oh… Uh… Well, it is possible. What is your name ?”

The Faceless stayed indecisive for a moment.

- “... I… I do not recall…”

She felt her three hearts sink a little. She once knew how it feels. Not quite remembering who you are.

- “My apologies… I should have known how harmful this place has been to you.”

- “Yes… Will the Dreamer come back one day ?”

That too she should have expected. That the Dreamer would be mentioned. She’d rather not talk about it in SPACEBOY’s presence.

- “... I don’t know.”

- “Oh… Well…”

A silence rang before the Faceless spoke again.

- “I saw no spacecraft… However, I heard the sound of an engine… I think…”

SPACEBOY took a step closer.

- “And in which direction did this sound go ? East ? West ? South ?”

- “None of the cardinal points… or their inbetweens…”

The Faceless slowly turned to the void behind them. The only thing separating them from it was a railing. They pointed at the sea of clouds under the walkway.

- “The sound vanished further down here…”

- “Alright ! Then I suppose all we have to do now is jump down-”

- “NO !” practically screamed ABBI as she held him back from climbing the railing, “Captain ! This rule about not being harmed when you jump down only applies if you enter Black Space, not if you’re already in it !”

- “Oh.”

He took time to think about it.

- “These rules seem a bit arbitrary.”

- “I concede, they are.”

He sighed.

- “Then I guess my hoverbike is the only solution. It would allow us to go down safely.”

- “True. But I suggest we try to find a proper door first. Surely this place must be connected to whatever area is down there.”

ABBI talked again to the Faceless.

- “Do you know what area is under here ?”

- “... I never left this one… I wouldn’t know…”

- “It’s ok. Thanks for your help.”

- “... You’re welcome.”

As they left the Faceless, the young woman was wondering what were the odds of the area below the Cloud Walkway to be a new area she never saw or heard about. The chances certainly existed, and that was enough to worry her a little. Would a brand new door be there ? Or would an old door now lead to such a place ?

Well, there only was one way to find out ! She and SPACEBOY first went through a path to their left. As it branched, they went left again, finding a door. Locked.

They backtracked and found another faceless person. They asked them for directions, but they didn’t know anymore than the other faceless.

Our explorers had to go back to the main platform and take another path, continuing to pick left at every turn they found.

Which led them to soon find a funny looking… creature… who was near a toilet bowl.

- “Oh boy !” exclaimed the creature, “If it isn’t ABBI ! How are you doing, old friend ?”

ABBI didn’t know this person. But she didn’t want to come off as rude, so she pretended to.

- “Oh, I’mmmmm… doing great, thanks, ha ha ! Uh, how about you ? You good ?”

- “Meh… I saw OMORI some time ago and he has been very mean to me ! I actually don’t even know how I’m still alive !”

“Oh, mood” ABBI quietly told herself, while SPACEBOY was absolutely gobsmacked by the news.

- “OMORI, you say ? The young taciturn boy ? That seems really out of character coming from him !”

- “And yet, that’s the truth ! He threatened me with his knife ! I myself was so shocked that I had lost consciousness right there and then !”

ABBI wondered if he really did faint or if he got stabbed and then got reset… As for the young captain, the tale from the creature made him shake his head in disappointment.

- “If I see OMORI again I shall have a word with him about it on your behalf, mister… Mister ?...”

- “LOOMY.”

Welp. This saved the octopus from the embarrassment of asking it.

- “Very well, MR. LOOMY, I, CAPTAIN SPACEBOY, promise you that OMORI will be held accountable for his actions in one way or another. Now, if I may, do you happen to have a good knowledge of this place ?”

- “Oh, yes, my good Captain ! I am in fact an expert in transportation through toilets !”

SPACEBOY and ABBI shared a glance, silently agreeing not to question it.

- “Um… Alright, if you say so. Ahem. So, would you happen to know if there exists a way to go down to the area under this walkway ?”

- “Hmm, let me see…”

LOOMY pulled out a very large map out of nowhere.

- “So um… Hmm, no… Not that either… Uh, HA ! There ! Right under us are the Cardboard Ruins.”

- “The Cardboard Ruins ?”

- “Yes, yes, yes ! Unfortunately there are no toilets in that area, so I’m unable to take you there…”

- “Oh, it’s alright, LOOMY.” said ABBI, “You’ve helped us plenty already.”

- “Ah, very good, very good, in that case, I’m happy ! You know what ? Have this.”

He held out the map to them.

- “I have duplicates of this map so please, take it.”

- “Really ? Thank you very much.”

Map of Black Space obtained !

Omori - Out of the Abyss - Idril_Whatsit (97)

- “Good. Now we just have to see how we can get there.”

- “Hmm, I’m not too sure -since this isn’t my domain of expertise- but I believe that cardboard boxes can get you there ?”

- “Cardboard boxes ?... Oh, of course ! It would make sense ! Thanks again, LOOMY. See you later, perhaps !”

ABBI was already running off elsewhere as SPACEBOY quickly waved goodbye to LOOMY before running after his guide.

- “The Cardboard Ruins…” she thought out loud, “This is the first time I hear of this place, but I believe I know what kind of place this must be.”

- “... How could you know what a place is like if you’ve never known about it ?”

- “Well… I told you. I know this place like the back of my hand.”

The captain squinted.

- “Wouldn’t you have known of these ruins already then ?”

- “No. Because they didn’t exist yet last time I was here.”

SPACEBOY felt like ABBI was purposefully being elusive about it. But he had no reason to argue with her about how Black Space worked and quickly let it go.

Soon enough, they arrived in front of a cardboard box. The same kind one would use when moving to a new home.

- “Well.” she chirped, “Now, let’s see…”

ABBI took a look inside. This box was empty and seemed perfectly ordinary. Though, she did not let that fool her.

- “Now, now, in what way could you be used as a portal ?...”

She went around it, trying to spot anything that would seem out of the ordinary. SPACEBOY was silently watching as he didn’t want to disturb her, but then came a point where he had to : something had caught his attention.

- “Wait… Do you hear that ?”

- “Hear what ?”

He got closer to the box, leaning towards it.

- “I could swear there’s a sound coming from this box… Hold on.”

He crouched, placing his hands on the bottom of the box's insides and was this close to plunge his head in there too.

- “I recognise that sound !”

As soon as he had said that, the bottom of the box gave away under him. He fell through it with a startled cry.

- “CAPTAIN !”

Without thinking, ABBI jumped into the box, holding tight to the edges with her tentacles and miraculously managed to catch the pirate by the ankle.

- “Captain, are you ok ?”

- “Y-... Yes, I am… Thank you… Oh.”

He looked down and noticed the ground wasn’t as far from the entrance of the portal as they thought, his cape effectively brushing against it.

Omori - Out of the Abyss - Idril_Whatsit (98)

- “... I think I should be able to land without any issues now.”

- “Alright.”

She let go and followed him down. They could now take in the view of the Cardboard Ruins.

Omori - Out of the Abyss - Idril_Whatsit (99)

Gigantic cardboard boxes, scattered here and there. Some were open, some were closed, and some even had square and rectangular holes cut into them, like a child would have to play with them as makeshift dollhouses. Numerous arts and crafts accessories were also spread throughout the ruins.

- “I’ll be honest,” said ABBI, “I’m surprised this area did not exist sooner…”

- “Hmm… If you say so.”

- “... Is something wrong, captain ?”

- “You know that sound I talked about ? I don’t hear it anymore…”

He seemed concerned about it.

- “And what was that sound ?” she asked.

- “I’m sure this was the sound of the Nebula Marble’s engine. My father’s ship.”

He shook his head with a defeated look.

- “Maybe we arrived too late and they already left somewhere else…”

- “... Maybe not.” she pointed far up in the distance, “Look at that crescent moon up there. Isn’t this a ship I see next to it ?”

SPACEBOY looked, and sure enough there was the faint shape of an old-timey looking spaceship, standing still next to a moon that looked quite bigger in comparison.

- “No way ! This is it ! The Nebula Marble !”

- “Very well ! Then we only have one thing left to do.”

The young man nodded.

With no obvious way to go up on their own, he got the small cube out of his pocket, deploying the hoverbike. He mounted it, revved up the engine, and once his guide had joined him on it, they departed, slowly speeding up. Once they were fast enough, they took off, going towards PINKBEARD’s spaceship.

ABBI couldn’t help but look around them. The more they gained altitude, the more the ruins below looked like regular sized boxes. The crescent moon, she noticed, was closer to them than the ship. But it also has some strange strings of white light covering it almost completely. As they passed it, she had realised those were actually chains.

A deep feeling of sadness overtook her as she stared at it. However, she had no idea why this solicited such a response from her.

- “Miss ABBI !” SPACEBOY warned out of the blue, “Hold on tight ! We have a welcoming committee.”

Omori - Out of the Abyss - Idril_Whatsit (100)

Sure enough : a horde of weeping shadows was heading straight to them.

SPACEBOY was able to skillfully dodge a good amount of them, but it took only one blow from the shadows to completely lose control of the vehicle, leaving the duo at their mercy.

The shadows charged them again, and again, and again, until they started falling.

One last hit, and they were plummeting down to the moon.

Chapter 9: The Relentlessness of the Fairways

Summary:

Act I - Part 8

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Omori - Out of the Abyss - Idril_Whatsit (101)

Everything hurts…

ABBI painfully lifted herself up. The fall had been brutal. She was disoriented and couldn’t say for sure where she had landed. She managed to sit up, taking some time to look around.

A few meters away was SPACEBOY’s hoverbike, knocked over. But the captain himself was nowhere to be seen.

- “Captain ?”

She staggered, but eventually got up.

- “CAPTAIN SPACEBOY !”

No response.

She could see a structure in the distance. She decided to walk to it as she continued to call for the space pirate, all while she avoided stepping on the chains of light that were on the ground. And speaking of the chains, she could see the structure she was walking towards was also covered with those.

Now, she was close enough to see what the structure was : a japanese-styled shrine. Most of the chains around it were blocking off the entrance.

She was almost there, and she finally found the young captain. He was laying face down at the entrance to the shrine.

- “SPACEBOY !”

She ran up to him. No amounts of calls or shaking seemed to be capable of making him regain consciousness.

- “Come on, SPACEBOY ! Wake up !”

Her gaze got dragged to his ankle : it somehow got tangled in one of those strange chains. It was only then that she truly took time to examine them. Not only were those iron links shining a white that was much too pure to be ordinary, but ABBI could feel they carried a foreign aura…

She reached out her hand to free SPACEBOY from it.

- “Don’t Touch It !...

ABBI jumped. On her right, a shadowy figure drew near from around the corner of the building. A singular eye stood out in the dark mass.

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- “NANCI ? What are you doing here ?”

- “... I’m Inspecting These Chains… And Their Sources…

- “Oh… Alright…”

That hadn’t exactly answered her question, but knowing NANCI, this would be the best she’d get out of her.

The octopus looked at the chains once again.

- “... Why did you tell me not to touch it ?”

- “Hmm… On Second Thought… Maybe You’d Be Able To… But A Headspace Dweller Like This One ?...” she poked SPACEBOY for emphasis, “As You Can See : Stuck Like A Fly On A Spider’s Web…

- “Is… Is this why he’s not responding ?”

- “... Probably.

The crab-like shadow took a closer look at the captain.

- “... So, That Thingy Was With You ?

- “Hey, don’t call him a “thingy” ! But, yes, he’s with me.”

- “... Alright. One Sec…

NANCI pulled on the chain, slowly bringing to her what it was coming out of.

- “You can touch it with no issues ?”

- “... It Doesn’t Perceive Me… And This Lack Of Perception Most Likely Extends To All Of Us Variants… As Well As SOMETHING Herself…

She had finally reeled in the source of the chain she was pulling : a prism.

- “... Hey, I already saw an object like this one before.”

- “From What I Know, They’re Everywhere, In Black Space Like In Headspace…

- “ “Everywhere” ?”

- “That’s What The Others Told Me…

- “Huh… I guess I’ll ask about it whenever I see one of them again… So, what do you plan on doing with that prism ?”

- “These Prisms… They Produce These Chains To… “Block” The Things They Ensnare… They’re “Programmed” For That…

NANCI spun the prism between her mandibles.

- “... I Don’t Know How… But I Found A Way To Change That Programming.

- “So you can free SPACEBOY from this ?”

- “Yes… It Will Take A Little While.

The shadow began tapping on the prism with… precise movements. She was careful with how much pressure she was putting on it at each tap, and distracting her would certainly be a bad idea. Thus, ABBI let her work, leaving questions for later. Instead, the octopus took time to better observe the surroundings…

That place… That moon… That shrine… She knew all of this… But, from where ?... From what ?... What was this familiar place ?... What was its name ?... Had the memory of this place been taken away from her along with her wisdom ?...

… Her… wisdom ?...

- “... This Is The Crescent Planetoid.

Now out of her thoughts, ABBI stared at NANCI, who didn’t seem to have detracted her attention from her task, not even for a microsecond, as she’d answered ABBI’s mute question.

- “Sorry, what did you say ?”

- “The Crescent Planetoid… Better Known As The Domain Of The Lunarians.

- “Lunarians ?... AH !”

She gasped as she remembered.

Her wisdom… She used to share some of it with the Lunarians… So when her wisdom was stripped away from her, the Lunarians had to disappear along with it.

She trembled at this epiphany…

- “... No…”

- “This. Is Not. Your Fault…

- “I… I know that… But…”

- “Look, ABBI. I Know You Must Feel Horrible… But You Know Who Else Feels Horrible.

- “...”

- “Besides…” NANCI was looking carefully at the prism, “I Think We Should Actually See How BLUEBOY Here Will React.

One last tap and the chain retracted back inside the prism, freeing not only SPACEBOY, but also the entrance to the shrine. The young man let out a faint grunt.

- “Captain !” ABBI helped him to get up, “Are you alright ?”

- “I… Arh… I think so…” he held his head, feeling dizzy, “... What happened ?”

- “You Fell From The Sky And Lost Consciousness…” nonchalantly replied NANCI.

- “Oh… Right…”

His dizzy spell faded. And as soon as it completely vanished :

- “... WH- ?!”

In the blink of an eye, SPACEBOY took out his lazer gun, aiming for NANCI.

- “NO WAIT !” interjected ABBI, “SPACEBOY ! This is an ally ! She saved you !”

- “Oh ?... Is that so ?” he asked, most confused.

- “Do I Really Look Like One Of Those Crybabies ? No. So Be Less Trigger-Happy, Will You ?

Sheepishly, the space pirate put his gun away.

- “My apologies, I am… on edge…”

- “... Fair Enough.

SPACEBOY looked around. He too seemed to recognise this place.

- “We… are still in “Black Space”, are we not ?”

- “Yes ?” ABBI answered, “Why do you ask ?”

- “... If so… then what is the Lunarian Domain doing here ?”

ABBI was stunned for a moment. He too knew about it ?

- “Imprisoned Here…” said NANCI, “Like Many Other Things…

- “What ?!”

He hurriedly went inside of the shrine. A gasp of pure shock came out of him as soon as he did, prompting ABBI to follow.

And she found herself speechless at what they both could witness.

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Within the shrine were, at first glance, statues. But it was evident that in reality, these were petrified people. The Lunarian People, or rather what was left of it, frozen in time by stone.

In the middle of these figures was one of a priestess, protectively embracing the ones closest to her. Unlike all of the others who were AFRAID, she seemed to have been able to remain dignified and had not given in to fear. Maybe she was the one who turned her people to stone in an effort to protect them ?

SPACEBOY took a couple of slow steps closer…

- “Hansha…”

ABBI looked at him. His pain was undeniable. And she understood him well.

- “... You know who this is ?” she asked, already remembering why.

- “... Yes. She’s… a very, very old friend…”

An old friend, the PRIESTESS HANSHA was indeed. Both hers and the CAPTAIN SPACEBOY’s characters were directly taken from the same comic book series. But an old friend she was also to ABBI. Back when everything seemed ok… they used to spend hours conversing.

They were so like-minded…

SPACEBOY could not help but wonder out loud :

- “How did this happen ?...”

- “This Is No Longer Important…” NANCI told, “Sooner Or Later, The Crescent Planetoid Will Get Out Of This Hell… But According To The Prisms… It Is Too Soon… We Must Wait…

ABBI turned to NANCI.

- “Why are the prisms saying it is too soon ?”

- “Headspace Is Not Yet Ready To See The Lunarians Again… Without The Prisms, Maybe They Would Have Come Back Too Soon… And Caused The Downfall Of Headspace… Besides… The Closest Way Out Leads To The Wrong Place…

- “... What do you mean ?”

The spider-crab sighed.

- “... Follow me.

They went out and behind the shrine. From there, a rift leading back to Headspace could be seen far away from the planetoid, but it was clearly connected to Snowglobe Mountain.

Seeing the rift gave back some sense of priorities to SPACEBOY.

- “If we currently cannot do anything for the Lunarians, then we must concentrate on why we came here in the first place.”

He looked up into the dark sky, noticing the Nebula Marble on the opposite side of the shrine.

- “There ! My father’s ship is still in suspension ! ABBI, we must get back to my hoverbike. Have you seen it ?”

- “It was near to where I woke up earlier.”

- “Alright. Let’s go quickly !”

When they did get to it, unfortunately, it was evident the hoverbike was in no shape to fly anymore. Those weeping shadows did a number on it.

- “Curses… What are we supposed to do now ?”

ABBI took a glance at NANCI. She noticed she was still holding the prism she had hacked.

- “... Tell me, NANCI, if you can reel back in a chain from these, do you think you could do the opposite ?”

*

* *

*

With some more tempering of the prism from NANCI, a chain came out of it, shooting straight to the Nebula Marble and coiling around it. She tapped again on the prism, now having the chain slowly but surely dragging the spaceship towards the moon.

Both ABBI and SPACEBOY would have cried victory if it wasn’t for the fact they knew better. They looked at each other, nodded in agreement and took out their dagger and gun respectively. The only words spoken then were from the captain :

- “Let’s hope there are survivors…”

Before the ship had even reached the last quarter of its way down, weeping shadows leaped from it, heading for the moon like missiles.

Our duo was ready, but against all odds, NANCI intervened.

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Omori - Out of the Abyss - Idril_Whatsit (105)
Omori - Out of the Abyss - Idril_Whatsit (106)

Both ABBI and SPACEBOY were left stunned by what the shadowy crab had done for them.

- “Woaw…” the young man managed to utter, “This was quite a daring decision to make. I guess your friend wasn’t at her first run in with them either, was she ?”

- “I don’t know for sure but… that is likely.”

Their attention was drawn back to the ship as they heard a yell coming from it. A yell hoping for a response.

- “HEY ! CAN SOMEONE HEAR ME ?! SOMEONE HELP US, PLEASE !!”

- “LITTLE JACK ?” answered SPACEBOY, “IS THAT YOU ?”

The Nebula Marble was close to landing. The whitish shock of hair of a young man who seemed to be about SPACEBOY’s age presented itself at the railing of the ship. Relief washed over him as he smiled for the first time after an anxiety riddled time span that must have felt like an eternity.

- “CAPTAIN SPACEBOY !” he exclaimed, “I knew you’d come for us ! WHAAAA-”

LITTLE JACK had lost his balance when the ship finally landed, but he quickly got back up. The chain that had triced the ship retracted back into the prism.

A crow flew to the young space sailor.

- “Squack ! What are you waiting for, LITTLE JACK ?! Lower the ramp for the Captain to get on board !”

- “Aye-aye, CHIEF CRUE !”

- “No need !” said ABBI, “We’ll be here in a second !”

- “Squa ?”

The young lady tightly held the captain with her tendril-like arm, and advised him to hold on tight to her as well. She managed to carry him as she climbed up the hull with ease and eventually jumped over the railing.

- “... Wow.” let out JACK, astonished.

- “Impressive.” nodded CRUE.

SPACEBOY drew closer to the other young man and the SPACE PIRATE CHIEF that was now perched on JACK’s shoulder.

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While less obvious with the crow, both had been affected by Black Space’s plague. But a good look around the deck showed they were among the least affected within the crew.

The young captain then asked the dreaded question :

- “Where is father ?”

He got answered in a rather unpleasant way as a hoarse cough resonated. SPACEBOY looked behind. It had come from the bridge.

- “Father !” he exclaimed as he ran up to the source of the sound.

And there he found PINKBEARD. The old captain was sitting on the ground, back leaning onto the helm. He was in a pitiful state. The plague had severely spread itself across his body, only leaving a few coloured spots.

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As SPACEBOY was drying his tears after this deluge of emotions, he heard ABBI call him. She along with LITTLE JACK and CHIEF CRUE had come back from the engines’ room.

He looked over the railing.

- “How severe are the damages ?” he inquired.

- “The single damage was minimal.” she responded very simply, “A shadow had found itself stuck in the gears. I took care of it.”

- “I can confirm !” added a somewhat shaky JACK, “That was NOT a pretty sight.”

SPACEBOY took a deep breath. The news was enough to give him a good hold over himself. He was now more than determined to get everyone out of Black Space safe and sound.

- “Alright !” he exclaimed as he took the helm, “Let’s change course ! To starboard !”

The sound of the engines echoed as he swiftly spun the helm, the Nebula Marble turning around to face the rift to Headspace.

- “Onward !”

The remaining space pirates started to regain hope as the ship itself was gaining speed. LITTLE JACK and CHIEF CRUE soon joined CAPTAIN SPACEBOY on the bridge. The apprentice space pirate pointed at the rift.

- “Overthere ! Is this daylight ?”

- “I can assure you it is, JACK.” the captain said.

- “Oh man… What I’m going to say is gonna be stupid, but I think I had never missed the light of day until now !”

- “ Squawk ! I believe I can say as much !”

VLAM !

All of a sudden, the ship got violently shaken.

SPACEBOY asked aloud :

- “What’s happening ?!”

- “C- C- C- C- C- C- CAPTAAAAAIIIIIIIN !!!!”

One of the surviving pirates screamed as he looked overboard.

- “TH- TH- THE SHADOWS ! THEY’RE ATTACKING THE HULL !

The young captain remained calm.

- “If they have decided to make all of us sink, then I shall not go down without a fight ! LITTLE JACK, I entrust you with the helm.”

- “Wh- Me ?! O-… Ok !”

- “Good !”

He then promptly jumped off the bridge and onto the deck, landing next to the Lady of the Abyss.

- “Miss ABBI, will you assist me in this battle ?”

- “With great pleasure, CAPTAIN SPACEBOY.”

They each took a side to defend from the weeping shadows who were crashing and gnawing at the ship’s hull. SPACEBOY was shooting at them on sight, while ABBI was sweeping and smashing them with wide movements of her tentacles.

Their counter attack was efficient enough for the shadows to change tactics : they all flew up on the deck.

SPACEBOY clicked his tongue in annoyance.

- “Those filths don’t give up easily… But neither do I !”

He pulled out a second laser gun, shooting more of them as he stepped back to not let them get too close to him. ABBI had herself taken her dagger and sliced through the weepers gaining on her.

They both ended up being back to back with one another.

- “Hold on tight !” yelled out LITTLE JACK, “We’re about to cross the rift ! In three… Two… One !”

The ship shook once more.

The daylight of Headspace blinded everyone momentarily at the same time the heavy atmosphere of Black Space left them for good. The shadows were themselves destabilized by the sudden change, but it seemed to have only angered them even more as they kept charging on the duo.

Despite being essentially ensnared by the shades, they did not give up, continuing to counter attack and managing to defeat half of their assailants. However, they were beginning to tire out.

- “We’re almost done !” ABBI proclaimed, “All we have to is-”

Only a second of inattention and she found herself pushed to the ground.

- “ABBI !”

He covered her to not let her be an easy target. Which unfortunately meant that he himself would now be at the enemies’ mercy as soon as they strike with another low blow. SPACEBOY was attempting to keep his eyes on all of them, which was impossible.

He expected the worst to happen… when out of nowhere :

- “AVAST, YOU BLACK HOLE LEPERS !”

Right after these words were bellowed, SPACEBOY felt the air around him being disturbed by someone’s fast movements.

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He looked up, and saw his father proudly brandishing his two laser sabers as he cut through four or five of the shadows mid-air. The fiends were about to strike from above until PINKBEARD intervened.

The old captain landed by his son’s side, towering over everyone involved in this battle.

- “Don’t just stand there like a bewildered rabbit, my boy !” PINKBEARD’s eyes shone with a rekindled ardour, “Help your friend back on her feet and let’s finish those living black spots off !”

To see his father being up and about again, SPACEBOY felt invigorated.

- “Yes, father !”

The sheer surprise PINKBEARD’s arrival on the scene provoked had left time for ABBI to drink some Infused Morning Dew. She offered some to SPACEBOY as he helped her get up, saying that she hoped he liked peppermint. He gladly accepted, taking a swig as she covered for him. He felt JUICED up !

- “At the ready !” he shouted, throwing the emptied vial at a shadow.

The battle resumed, and even if the shadows were stubborn, their numbers decreased rapidly.

Only a handful were left.

- “CAPTAIN PINKBEARD !” yelled LITTLE JACK out of nowhere, “The controls of the ship are not responding anymore !! We’ve lost speed, but we’re also losing altitude !”

CHIEF CRUE also started to croak in a panic.

- “SQUACK !!! Captain ! Snowglobe Mountain on the horizon !! We’re about to collide with its summit !!!”

The news did not fall into deaf ears. Not even the shadows ignored it in fact, as they proceeded to abscond as fast as they could from the ship, much to ABBI’s shock.

- “They’re fleeing ?!”

- “Bah !” exclaimed the old pirate, “They wanted our blood ! They must think the mountain will take care of that.”

- “Which is why we should prepare for the impact !” stated his son, “Everyone ! Grab onto something and do NOT let go !”

All of the crew scrambled to find what to hold on and brace themselves for the impact. ABBI had grabbed onto the mast at the middle of the ship, beckoning to frenzied crew mates as she lent them tendrils to latch onto.

KRAAAAAAAAAAAASSSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Omori - Out of the Abyss - Idril_Whatsit (118)

It would seem the Nebula Marble was sturdier than it looked. It had stopped abruptly as it hit the frozen peak, leaving a sizable crack into the icy stone.

Of course, the ship itself had sustained some damages, but nothing that couldn’t be repaired. But most importantly :

- “Is everybody ok ?” asked SPACEBOY.

They all responded unanimously that : yes, they were ok. Everyone had made it in one piece.

PINKBEARD was laughing triumphantly.

- “HA HA HA ! We’re alive ! Ha ha ! SPACEBOY ! My son !”

He held him in his arms, lifting the young man in the process, even.

- “Coming to the rescue of a ship stranded in both unknown and hostile territory is no small feat ! I have no doubt this will go down in the history of spatial piracy !”

He looked him in the eyes, still joyful but more serious.

- “You are the pride of the Fairways, HALKENNA.”

SPACEBOY felt HAPPY. A few tears did roll down though. Everything had been so tense until this moment, he felt all the pressure leave him.

- “Thank you, father. Though, I can’t take all the credit here. If it weren’t for Miss ABBI’s help, I could never have done it.”

- “Of course ! Of course ! A captain is nothing without a crew, after all.”

PINKBEARD put his son down and turned towards ABBI.

- “So, ABBI, is it ? I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your help.”

- “It was no problem, sir. I simply could not turn my back on people in need of help.”

He nodded.

- “Hmm-hm ! I see that despite what the atmosphere inside of that black hole did to your body, your mind was unshakeable. You must have a will of iron !”

- “Well, in reality, I-”

BRAOUM !

The mountain quaked.

- “Goodness gracious !” exclaimed PINKBEARD, “What is happening, now ?”

- “Uh… Could- Could the mountain be… collapsing ?!” a trembling pirate let out.

BRAOUM !!

ABBI could feel the source of the tremor. It came from… within the mountain itself ? She approached the crack that had traced itself deep in the stone.

She looked inside the dark fissure…

It stared back.

- “You !”

ABBI defied the figure as she was still towering over the octopus, staring her down, as if judging.

- “You…” continued ABBI, “Your name… is BECKI.”

“BECKI” widened her eye.

- “BECKI… Do you recognise me ?... I existed far before you did. Do you know my name ?”

The giant’s gaze narrowed. She was thinking.

- “... A… ABBI ?... YES… YES, THAT’S IT. THE WISEST OF THE THREE GREAT CREATURES. ABBI.

- “Correct.”

BECKI started to chuckle. Then her chuckling became mad cackling. Her voice was truly thundering as one could easily mistake it for an actual incoming storm.

- “AND THERE I WAS, ALL GRUMPY, BECAUSE OF ALL THAT RACKET WAKING ME UP ! HAH HA HA HA HA HA HAAA ! MAYBE I SHOULD ON THE CONTRARY THANK YOU. MY SLUMBER… HAS BEEN MUCH TOO LONG…

BECKI made sure to put down the Nebula Marble on a stable surface of Snowglobe Mountain. Once this was done, she made herself more comfortable, coiling around the mountain like a snake. It seemed it was impossible for her to completely get out of the entrance formed by the crack, as if she was attached to it.

- “SO… YOU GOT OUT OF THE ABYSS ? IMPRESSIVE. NOT SURPRISING, BUT IMPRESSIVE NONETHELESS.

That bit got the attention of the two captains.

- “The Abyss ?” wondered SPACEBOY in a whisper, “So she comes from the very depths of Deep Well ?

- “That must explain her resistance to the atmosphere of the black hole.” commented PINKBEARD, “The atmosphere of the Abyss is probably very similar to it.

ABBI did not hear any of what the pirates said. She was completely hanging on BECKI’s every word.

- “How is it that the fact I got out of there is not surprising to you ? Not even I know how I got out ! Do you know ?”

- “IF I KNOW ? HA HA HA HAA ! MY DEAR ABBI… I MAY HAVE SLEPT FOR TWO YEARS… BUT I WAS NO LESS BLIND. HAVE YOU SEEN THE STATE IN WHICH HEADSPACE IS ? BLACK SPACE WILL SOON SWALLOW IT WHOLE, AND SOMETHING ELSE WILL MAKE SURE IT HAPPENS.

- “... SOMETHING… ELSE ?”

Was that the real name of the weeping shadows ? “SOMETHING ELSE” ?

- “I MYSELF DO NOT LIKE HOW THINGS ARE TURNING. BUT WE MUST FACE THE FACTS : IT IS TOO LATE FOR SUNNY…

A knot formed in ABBI’s throat.

- “How can you say that ?! Do you really think that me being finally out of the Abyss isn’t… a good sign ? That I cannot in any shape or form sort things out ?

- “TO ME, YOUR ESCAPE FROM THE ABYSS IS BUT A SYMPTOM OF THE DETERIORATION OF HEADSPACE. TO ME, WHAT IS HAPPENING IS CLEAR. HEADSPACE IS DECOMPOSING… THEN WILL COME THE TURN OF BLACK SPACE…

- “BECKI. Stop.”

- “... AND AFTER BLACK SPACE… WHAT WILL THERE BE LEFT ?

- “Stop !

- “THERE WILL BE NOTHING-

- “I SAID STOP !

- “NOTHING. BUT DEATH.

ABBI could not answer. The world vanished around her as she felt dragged into the void.

Notes:

A big thanks to my friend BreadPastry for the animation ! It was a colaborative effort between the two of us, but it never would have happened without them !


One last chapter left until the end of Act I…

Chapter 10: Back to Square One

Summary:

Act I - Part IX

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

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Omori - Out of the Abyss - Idril_Whatsit (120)
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Notes:

We did it, boys ! That's the end of the first Act !
Now expect a long hiatus until I can get my creative juices back for the next acts to come.
I'm at least glad I could make it this far !

If you want, you can go check my Tumblr @idril-la-wiccan, I have other arts and stuff overthere.
I have the unfortunate tendency to jump from one thing to another, but expect me to work on a fully original story of mine in the next few months. =)

Omori - Out of the Abyss - Idril_Whatsit (2024)
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