When Hiro finally regained consciousness, his clothes had been completely changed and he was laying on his king-sized bed. The sheets were black and the blanket was white, with a bunch of pink foxes on it.
The wallpaper was beige, but there were plenty of flowers and other designs all over the place. There was a huge television hanging on the wall a few meters from the foot of his bed, then there was a walk-in closet to his left, next to the room’s door.
As he stood up and looked down at his baggy pajama-pants with cartoon rabbits on them, he smirked. He was wearing a thin tank-top, which was obviously extremely old and had a few tears in it, but there was a sentimental value, so he had never thrown it away.
It wasn’t until he opened his bedroom door, that he smelled the thick odor that wafted throughout the house. Walking down the stairs, he saw an enormous orange-scaled lizard-woman laying on the ground. The only piece of clothing that she was wearing was a crimson robe, but both her groin and breasts were totally exposed.
Of course, even if she did have some sort of modesty under normal circumstances, she wasn’t quite in the proper state of mind to care about anything at all. Those beautiful bronze serpentine eyes were wide open, but her pupils were dilated to the point where they were completely round. Her long and feathery blue hair was spread out all the way to the fireplace, but under that ‘weak’ flame, it didn’t even ignite.
Hiro opened his mouth, though he had no idea what he should say under such absurd circumstances. Then he looked over and noticed that his girlfriend was sitting on the couch, just staring down at the catatonic monster.
He asked “Rachael, what the fuck is going on here?” as he walked down the stairs. There was a large green bong, shaped like an Eastern Dragon, laying next to the mysterious dragoness.
The mostly robotic woman gazed up at him with a wry smile and explained “When I came home a few hours ago, she was still awake and well… she didn’t look like this at all. Then she told me that she was going to be my mother in my next life and asked if I wanted to umm… get high. I thought she just wanted to smoke a joint or something! But, but she pulled out a syringe and injected some crazy golden shit into her neck! After that, she handed me a bottle filled with weird purple pills… She took five of them and started transforming into ‘this’! Then she made giant treasure chest appear out of thin air, but when she opened it up, there were at least fifteen bricks of this weird blue powder! She ate most of them, snorted some more and then gave me the last one to use however I wanted… Obviously I rejected her offer, which caused her to start wailing like a baby and apologizing over and over again. Finally, she pulled out that bong and smoked something she called ‘Dragon-Weed’ and she’s been like that ever since then! It’s not like we can call an ambulance for something like this, right?!”
“No~, definitely not! Don’t worry, I probably know this… ‘thing’. I’m pretty sure it’s that little boy I introduced you to before… Wait a second, how long have I been asleep?” Hiro carefully walked around the giant woman’s massive slithering tail, when Alice suddenly reached up towards the ceiling and gasped.
Her body was so large that the tips of her fingers were a full foot higher than the top of the cybernetically enhanced man’s head. She extended her long crimson tongue an entire meter out of her snout and wiggled it around a bit, before it fell down and landed on her face. Licking the scales around her mouth for a few seconds, she turned her head and asked “Rei-Rei~, I’m starving… Do you have any cows I could eat? Ah, no, I’m kind of in the mood for pigs… Ugh~, why is my head so quiet right now? Mike~, Michael~, where are you~?!”
Then she closed her gargantuan bronze eyes and passed out, while facing Rachael. It was at that moment, amidst the dragon-girl’s obnoxiously loud snoring, that the entire planet was facing a cataclysmic disaster.
There was no rule which limited the acquisition of Arcana’s nine ‘Seeds’ to humans and vampires. The only requirements were that a being had a soul, everything else was irrelevant. That also meant that a singular Seed could pass through many different bodies, before it was finally obtained by something that could truly handle its unnatural power.
Arcane wasn’t necessarily the ‘best’ Element, neither were Light and Darkness greater than Fire, Earth, Water and Wind. The concept of mutually opposing Elements was a restriction created by Arcana herself, in her own universe, in order to make the ‘game’ relatively balanced for the Players. That rule was something that could be broken under certain circumstances as well, if someone was insane enough to try and defy a Goddess within her own domain.
However, just because something was possible, didn’t mean that there wouldn’t be extravagant and horrible consequences by breaking those seemingly arbitrary laws. Michael and his Companions were great examples of why it was best to avoid housing all nine elements within the same physical body. There was great potential, but it was also incredibly dangerous, mentally and physically. If they didn’t have ‘his’ absurdly powerful soul, combined with their total of seven individual Soul Realms, along with a few other important details… Well, things would have been a lot different.
Fortunately, they were able to take shifts and even fuse their minds together when needed. Thus, the literally ‘lucky’ seven of them were able to maintain some semblance of sanity, while keeping their mana under control.
Of course, if they were controlling their auras and preventing their mana from escaping since their awakening, then why did Antarctica appear like a maelstrom of Chaos when Luke utilized that special skill? New Tokyo’s magical barrier would have appeared like a gigantic hole in that mana-map.
It had been an entire day since Hiro and his mysterious sister had their pseudo-telepathic ridiculously long-distance argument. Even with magical spells and Artifacts, traveling from Baltimore to the South Pole was an incredibly arduous task. In fact, it was much more difficult, since every ocean was a terrifyingly dangerous place. Some of the most powerful demonic beasts and monsters lurked beneath the turbulent waves.
There was obviously a land route as well, but that was definitely out of the question. South America had long since been known by a new moniker: The Amazon. All of the mountains had been consumed by the ever-expanding jungle, to the point where even the coldest regions were replaced by tropical rain-forests.
Air-travel was the most disastrous method of all, because there was always the chance of attracting a swarm or flock of some sort. Everything from birds, bats and locusts, to flying demonic fish could suddenly appear and overwhelm even the strongest ‘adventurers’.
Only two methods existed that could be used for rapid transit. The first was relatively conventional, though only organizations like The Vampire Alliance and the New Japanese Self-Defense Force would be able to accomplish it. Essentially, they would just use jets that could fly very high and unreasonably fast, or spacecrafts designed to quickly exit and enter the Earth’s atmosphere. Of course, there was always the off-chance that something could go wrong and deaths from malfunctions weren’t uncommon. Aerial and extraterrestrial Magical Beasts also existed, which could potentially attack and destroy such vehicles with ease, so it was still risky.
The second transportation technique was rather ‘unconventional’ and there were unknown dangers that simply hadn’t been discovered yet, just theorized. During her little ‘vacation’ around the world, Arcana had magnanimously decided to place seven teleportation gateways on each tectonic plate. There was an extremely irritating prerequisite to use each of them though, and that was ‘personally’ obtaining a special soul-bound key. Every dungeon had a single one, so there were tens of millions on Earth, but after only three years had passed, less than five-thousand had been found.
One of the seven North American teleportation gateways was actually located in Baltimore City. If Iris, Luke, Butter, Violet and Cain had wanted to, they could have used that to travel all the way to Antarctica in a single jump.
However, they weren’t in the sort of relationship where they would be willing to travel together. Then there was also the fact that Joseph’s vampiric army had been totally annihilated and the dysfunctional angelic married couple needed to return back to their ‘base’ in order to rally their own forces.
As for the giant purple rat-dragon and the sketchy, obnoxious, elven assassin, they were technically ‘banished’ from The Guardians. Although, they were also considered auxiliary members. Under extreme circumstances, they would join the fray, though it didn’t usually end well for anyone else involved.