Anya: Owner of Mystic Mermaid @jumbochamploon
Ch38: The Chosen Princess

Anya POV:

I was angered at the fact that the townie was accusing Awakened Shadow of being the cause of the light that sucked away everyone's shadows, but Kluke was even more so, looking to be ready to go into red rage at any point, as she called it. She'd gotten to that point twice since the first time in Noluta during our first adventure, and both of them were during some squabbles between her and Shu. Why did they fight so much? Well, it was a part of being married to someone. Yeah, she and Sahlia had been married to Shu for two years. Not only that, but Sahlia was actually expecting a kid, her being roughly 4 months pregnant.

I was just amazed at how calm that Awakened Shadow was when she was being taken by the soldiers, our group following after and going directly to King Jibral himself, who looked at me, Kluke, Shu, Zola, and Kesu in surprise.

"King Jibral, whatever you want to accuse Awakened Shadow of doing, I can 100 percent guarantee that she is innocent," I said, him looking at me in confusion.

"I wasn't hoping to accuse her of anything. I just wanted to ask her some questions," he said, me looking at the soldiers and frowning.

"Are you okay with that, Shadow?" I asked, her nodding at me and bashfully looking to Jibral.

"I'll try... but I can't really remember much..." she admitted.

"Right... ahem... as I'm sure you've heard, a bright light suddenly emerged in the sky, which managed to suck away everyone's shadows. And roughly 2 minutes later, some onlookers noticed an elevator rising from the beach before you emerged from it... I doubt it was your doing, but the coincidence and timing is still suspect. I must ask if you happen to know where you woke up?" he asked.

"I uh... I remember waking up from a sleep... one that I felt was a longer time than I was used to... then I walked onto a teleporter and then found the elevator... may I ask what the bright light looked like?" Shadow asked, me being surprised at that. And even more so at Jibral's answer.

"Hmm... from what eyewitness reports say, the light looked like a giant, golden egg. There was even a picture taken by one of our photographers... would you like to see it? It might jog something in your memory," Jibral asked, that making Shadow nod her head with a big smile. Jibral then produced the photo for us and we saw that it looked very odd... and when Shadow saw it, she gasped.

"I-I think I've seen this very thing before!" she said.

"You have?!" I asked in amazement.

"I think I can remember something more... it had something to do with two ancients... the same two that hurt my eye and ear before then making them robotic. There's also a human woman... and something about a Chosen One..." she said, me seeing that she was getting a bad headache, me then holding onto her and using some healing magic, which made Jibral gasp.

"Anya! You have your shadow still?! I need an explanation!" Jibral said with seriousness. I simply pointed at Shadow and he looked confused. "I called her Awakened Shadow for a reason, your majesty," I said, him then getting wide eyes before nodding.

"I see... so she managed to reawaken the shadow that was stolen from you. Did it happen for anyone else?" he asked.

"She gave it to Kluke as well, but her shadow actually turned from Fiery Phoenix into Immortal Phoenix, meaning she can gain magic that even I can't master," I explained.

"Hmm... I think I may have a theory that this 'Chosen One' mentioned by Shadow may have been her?" Kesu asked.

"I don't really feel like a chosen one..." she said, me smiling at her.

"Humble," I smirked. "King Jibral, I believe that Awakened Shadow has a request," I said, him looking at me and smiling.

"What is your request?" he asked.

"I uh... I wanted to know if I could rest my head for a bit... and have something to eat? I'm kinda hungry and I want to try and remember more," she said, me smiling at her.

"I can arrange for that. Anya, can I trust you to take her to the guest room of the castle's eastern wing?" Jibral asked.

"Of course," I smiled as I then led Shadow to the place in question, her smiling at me.

"I don't remember much... but I do remember that I never had anyone treat me so nice before..." she said to me, which made me smile at her.

"I like to treat everyone equally, no matter who they are. And I have a life debt to repay you," I smiled.

"A life debt? You weren't dying, were you? You're a robot like me, right?" she asked, me shaking my head at that.

"I am a robot, yes, but it's not my life debt. It's Mystic's... she and I were very attuned with each other, to the point where she was able to speak English. Very few others were able to communicate to their shadows before that golden egg appeared and stole our magic... but without Mystic, I felt empty. Especially since my robotic parts are a little more advanced than yours," I said as I then opened up my chest cavity and showed her my Eternal Engine, which made Shadow gawk in awe.

"Whoa... you actually have one of those, too?... It's way bigger than mine," she admitted, me being confused before she then opened up a small compartment on the side of her neck and gawked. Her Eternal Engine was SO TINY! And it was connected to a computer chip that was directly embedded to her blood vessels that went to her eyes and ears! "Mine may be small, but it's just as strong and goes directly to the eyes and ears... but if I get too tired or worked up, the engine temporarily turns off for a bit to recharge, as it requires a regular blood pressure to make them work..." she explained, me smiling at that.

"I think you just remembered something about yourself again," I smiled, her smiling and nodding at me as we then closed our bodies and she then gave me another hug after we got to her room. And when we did, we saw that Blanko was in there and was cleaning it. His appearance, understandably, made Shadow a bit spooked, but I smiled and consoled her.

"Easy, Shadow. This is Blanko, my adopted son," I said, her looking at him in surprise and then at me.

"Uh, yeah... hi miss..." Blanko said shyly, me then going to him, picking him up and hugging him, which made him smile bashfully.

"Is he an Ancient?... Or like us?" Shadow asked.

"Um... both, I guess?" Blanko asked with a shrug.

"He was a victim of a terrible person that wanted to make a bio-genetic warrior called Destroy, which almost destroyed the world centuries ago. We've been trying to find his sister in Quince for three years while we had to put his cousin down, as he was the final product that we had to kill during a previous adventure," I explained, Shadow nodding.

"Did you lose your shadow, mum?" Blanko asked me as I sighed and nodded.

"I did, but Awakened Shadow didn't get her name for nothing. She saved Mystic Mermaid," I smirked at him.

"If you'd like, I could reawaken your shadow, but only if I could get a hug," Shadow said, me smirking at that... but then Blanko shook his head. "No? Why?"

"Because of a loophole that happened with me, papa Jiro, and Miss Sahlia," he explained before he then let out his Nemean shadow out of nowhere, me gawking at that. "We were exploring a set of ruins earlier trying to find my sister... and when we get out of the ruins, we were shocked to find out that the town had lost their shadows... we kept to ourselves that we kept our shadows, promising to only tell you or King Jibral about it, since both of you would be the ones to ask," Blanko smirked.

"I see... well, that's great! Maybe that's why I kept my shadow too?" Shadow asked, me looking at her in surprise.

"You have a shadow too? I don't think I saw it emerge when we fought those monsters in the town earlier... could you show it off?" I asked. Shadow then smiled and politely obliged... but when her shadow emerged? I was so shocked that I ended up falling onto my ass with Blanko still in my grasp. "Oh... my... flippin' God!" I gawked. Shadow's shadow was the absolute most powerful and the rarest shadow in all of existence! What was it? The Chimaera Hydra! Imagine Nene's Chimaera shadow mixed with the Balaur shadow from Gurgoth's soul in the Atomic Cube, then multiplied by 10! THAT was how strong it was! "No wonder you can awaken the shadows from people without effort! Your shadow is the strongest one in existence! Only one person had a shadow like yours in the past, and that was back during the time of the ancients!" I said in shock.

"Really and truly? My shadow is that strong?... Wow... I never would've guessed..." Shadow admitted as she started to tremble in surprise.

"Remember, with power comes responsibility. Don't be like my birth father, miss Shadow," Blanko said, Shadow smiling and nodding.

"I would never think of doing horrible things to anyone... I want to help you guys more than ever now... but as for me bringing peoples' shadows out... I think I can remember one important detail about it," she said, me looking at her with intrigue. "I can only call out a total of 3 shadows a day... I've already called out two of them, so I want to give someone else a shadow. But who would I do so with?" she asked.

"I'm sure you could find out easily," I smiled, her looking confused before her eye beeped at someone at the door.

"Um... hello? Jibral asked me to get you some food, miss Shadow," said the voice of Bouquet, me smirking at her. She was the bubbliest girl at the entire castle and was also made the head chef since a year ago. The only problem was that she was a bit ditzy and airheaded, but she always made the best food you'd ever eat... second to Sahlia's cookies, of course.

"Come on in, Bouquet," I smirked as she then did so, and I saw that she had a very sad look on her face. "What's the problem?" I asked.

"It's because of my shadow... I managed to finally get one just last night, her being a hippo, one that had magic that could turn me invisible and allow me to shapeshift my body into anything!... And then when I wake up this morning to a bright light, it's gone! And I was so happy to finally get one, too!" Bouquet complained in annoyance, her big boobs bouncing as she stomped her foot on the ground, which made me a bit jealous. I wish I still had boobs, but the robotic conversion made them gonzo.

"Would you like your shadow back?" Shadow asked, which made Bouquet confused.

"What do you mean? You mean you can make it come back?" she asked, making Shadow nod. "Oh, that'd be amazing! I'd be forever grateful if you did that!" Bouquet smirked widely as Shadow then simply took her hand and, after I saw her focus enough, I saw the power flow from her and into Bouquet, her then gaining her shadow again, me smiling at how, when she got it back, she immediately began to change into various things, including a giant fan, a mecha robo, and finally a bouquet of flowers before turning back to normal with her and her clothes being invisible. But I could still see her because of her shadow still being out and about.

"Oh, thank you, my savior! Whatever you want, tell me and I'll do it!" Bouquet smirked as Shadow then smiled at her.

"Be my girlfriend?" Shadow asked. And when she said that, it shocked both me and Bouquet.

"Uh... come again?" I asked.

"You... want to be in a romantic relationship?" Bouquet asked.

"I uh... remembered something when I saw them uh... bouncing... I like girls in that way... and I also remember that, where I come from, it was allowed, since there was a thing called fertility magic," Shadow admitted, Bouquet looking at her in confusion, but then smiling.

"Well, I did say anything you wanted I would do it... so long as you treat me right, I'll accept. Though maybe we should keep the adult stuff until after you come of age?"

"Um... I'm 19." I looked at her in utter confusion when she spoke that, me looking her up and down and noting that, with Mystic's help, we found out something interesting. While in regular aging process, she was 19. But in terms of her being on the planet?

"You've been in cryogenic slumber for 900 years!" I gawked, which made her look shocked.

"Cryogenic slumber? What's that?" Bouquet asked.

"It's whenever you go into one of the Ancients' machines and go into a deep sleep, unaffected by the outside world and staying the same age for decades, even centuries. She has been on this planet for 919 years total, meaning that she was in cryogenic slumber since age 19. And that definitely explains the faulty memories. Even those with shadows equal in power like Nene and Himiko got severe memory loss when they woke up from their slumber, them being asleep for over 1500 of them, from when I checked with Okuni, Korin, and Blanko... so that must mean that some Ancients must've survived the great war with Destroy and lived among the humans... but why would you be the only human we've uncovered since then, when we've found roughly 30 different Ancients?" I asked.

Shadow POV:

When she said Cryogenic Slumber and told me that I'd been asleep for 900 years without aging, I suddenly felt a bunch of memories go into my brain. Not all of them, but quite a lot. Memories of me when I was a toddler until I was a teenager, me being raised by my mother, who was the nicest woman I'd ever met, even more so than Anya. But then, when I was 15, I was kidnapped by two different Ancients that were named Ganda and Jyum, who experimented on me with different shadows. The pain indescribable as I saw that Ganda was the one to demolish my left ear and eye, which caused Jyum to repair them, as it would harm my shadow powers if I weren't in peak condition... and it was then that I managed to get some revenge on them, beating them to near-death before the memories faded.

"Oh my... Anya... I have some things to tell you..." I said, me then explaining everything I'd seen in my flash of memories. And when I finished, she was left speechless for a good few moments before Bouquet spoke.

"Those Ancients in your memory sound absolutely terrible! And what were their names?" Bouquet asked.

"Jyum and Ganda," I said.

"Jyum and GANDA?! As in, the two retainers for Gurgoth?! The ones that even he banished for being too extreme?! How were they still alive for years after?! Ancients don't survive for that long unless they absorb magic from other people to remain young... or when they're experimented on..." Blanko sighed before he looked at his hands. I had a feeling it was linked to his current appearance.

"I think they might have had experiments done to them, just as experiments were done to me... but I can't remember much else... but maybe something could," I said.

"What are you thinking about, Shadow?" Anya asked.

"I'm thinking that if we can go back into the ruins I woke up in, we might be able to find some more answers about who I was and my memories. And I'd appreciate it if you three could join me when we do so," I smiled.

"I accept!" Bouquet smiled as she hugged me, making me blush at how her boobs went right in my face and how soft and squishy they were.

"Count me and momma in, too. I mean, what's the worst that could go wrong?" Blanko smirked, me nodding as we then went out to find the area in question, me not feeling anymore tired at all after getting so many memories back. We then left the place and went on our way due southwest of the town, where we got to work on trekking the beach until we saw the elevator I came up from underground on.

"Is that the elevator you came out of?" Bouquet asked.

"Uh huh, that's it," I said... but then, when we stepped onto a rocky part of the ocean, we all gasped as the ground suddenly fell out from beneath our feet, us then falling down for roughly 30 seconds before Anya and Bouquet saved us from certain death by floating. Anya did so with Blanko by using rocket feet (awesome!) while Bouquet turned herself into a parachute and latched her hands onto me to slow my fall.

"Okay... we survived, so now we need to search around," Anya said.

"We're quite far underground, so we must be at least close to the teleporter I came in on," I said as we looked around and saw that it looked very rocky with some moss growing all over.

"Let's explore, then," Anya smirked as we then moved out into the area, having to defeat some monsters in the process. We did this four roughly 10 minutes before we found ourselves in the room I remembered.

"AH! That's it! That's the teleporter I used to get here!" I said, Anya then going to it along with Bouquet, her turning into a magnifying glass for Anya to use.

"Hmm... looks like it's been drained of all power. And that the power source is somewhere else. That means we'll need to find that source," Anya frowned. But then, Blanko proceeded to melt his body into a green puddle all over the teleporter... before then reforming himself and speaking.

"I think that this is connected to that Element Cube we found a month ago when searching for my sister. The only problem is that the door is sealed tight and it said only a royal could open it when I inspected it," Blanko said shortly after reforming his body.

"Hmm... maybe ask Jibral to join us for that one, then. He is a king, after all," Bouquet smirked.

"I think it was speaking more of an Ancient royal. And gee, where could we find one?" Anya smiled before looking at Blanko, him blushing on his green skin.

"You think I'd be a good candidate? I dunno, I wasn't able to do it then," he admitted.

"Did you try?" I asked, him sighing and shaking his head no.

"I was a bit scared..." he admitted. But then, as we left the area, we found something that looked quite dangerous a giant boar that had spikes all over it.

"Well, time to get brave, because the big guy's returned!" Anya said.

"Heh, I've been waiting to get this guy good for hurting daddy Jiro when we last saw him! Let's go!" Blanko shouted as I then gained my shadow and proceeded to use the magic within it. And when I used it, Anya was shocked when my shadow exited its constraints and then proceeded to split into 6 smaller shadows before all of them attacked the Boar until it was nothing but a giant splatter of blood! And when my shadow returned to normal, Anya looked at me in surprise.

"I think that your shadow is the key to getting into that Element Cube, Awakened Shadow!" she gawked at me, which made me a bit bashful.

"You really think so? Of course, she is! She just utterly decimated the Fanged Boar! It was bulletproof and very hard to kill, even for Jibral's Royal Guard! And she just made it explode into blood and guts! If she isn't considered a princess, then I'm a Golden Poo Snake!" Bouquet smirked before then hugging me, me blushing at her boobs getting in my face again.

"Ahem! Bouquet, hugs later. For now, we need to find more info," Anya said, me smirking with a big dumb smile on my face as we then went forward some more until we came across a strange console. And it looked slightly similar to a machine I saw next to Kin Jibral's throne in the castle.

"This looks very old, yet very advanced," Anya said as the machine then spoke.

"Enter passcode, your excellency," the machine said, Anya looking surprised at how it spoke before then looking at the console.

"Ugh, this machine is written entirely in the Ancients' alphabet... I know the passcode is going to be Himiko, but I can only say the word, not spell it," Anya groaned before I then looked at it... and instinctively started typing it out, which made Anya gawk.

"H-Hey! This could be dangerous! Don't do that!" she said as I then pressed the enter key and the machine then spoke.

"Passcode accepted. Welcome back, King Nene. Commence Message:" the machine said, Anya then gawking as the television spoke.

"To who it may concern, if you're seeing this, that must mean that the monstrous Destroy was defeated and you've found my secret simulation grounds. This gate will allow its users to traverse to different battle simulations of my own design to strengthen your magic and your resolve... though my life shall expire shortly, know that these simulations will help to find the next in line for my legacy... the machine will sense which of you will succeed me, and it will then gift that person powers that only I have mastered before this dreaded disease consumed me... it is up to you if you wish to engage in the simulations, but beware that the enemies within will be stronger than anything you'll normally face," said the voice of an Ancient that made Anya gawk, Bouquet to look scared, and for Blanko to smirk widely at... but then, a giant door shortly appeared from underground and connected itself together, followed by a small quaking of the ground. I then went towards the door to investigate... before I felt something shocking happen, quite literally!

"SHADOW! Are you alright, honey?!" Bouquet asked me in shock as I recovered quickly and felt... at ease, yet bursting with strength!

"I feel okay... just... almost like I could demolish a boulder with a single punch, yet perfectly tranquil," I admitted, Anya gawking at me.

"That must mean that you're the next in line! That means that you could very easily get past the Element cube! We just have to start up the Mechat and we could go to the cube with ease!" Anya smiled widely at me.

"Sounds like fun!" I smirked as we then proceeded to leave the room and found that a corridor had opened to the east, us going down it and getting to a blockade of a giant boulder.

"So, are you going to boast about strength or show it off?" Blanko asked. I then went forward casually before then punching the rock. And after I did so, the rock absolutely disintegrated into a pulverized mess! And it made Bouquet gawk at me in surprise before she started to feel my upper arm.

"Oh my gosh! Whatever that machine did, it made you so buff! I like biceps!" Bouquet smirked as I blushed once again.

"Bouquet, behave now. You don't want to scare her away," Anya smirked as we then moved out of the ruins and I saw that we were now in what looked like a set of grasslands. "Huh, that set of ruins let us out to the southeast border of Neo Jibral. It's a straight shot back to town down this path!" We then followed her, only for Kluke to come down alongside two different Ancients, Kesu, and a woman that looked like she had a hover module attached to her lower half, meaning no legs.

"What's going on, gramma? You all look spooked!" Blanko observed by them looking either tired or very worried, minus Kesu, as her jaw was locked in one position.

"There's a whole bunch of strange doors that suddenly popped up all over town! And the weirdest thing is that they have no way of knowing where they lead to! It's just the doors and nothing else!" said the woman that was on the hover module, Anya gawking at that.

"That must be related to that machine we activated below... lead the way, mom!" Anya said, me smirking at how the woman was Anya's mother. She did have the same face and hair color, but the mother also had freckles on her face. We then followed them back to town, where we saw that there were tons of doors all over, including one in the town square right in front of the castle that had a leafy design to it! And I could feel some enormous power coming from behind each door in the town.

"Wow... I see what you meant when it's just the doors and nothing else. These must be portals to those simulations that he mentioned," Anya said.

"Simulations? He? Portals? What happened when you were exploring? And why didn't you tell me you were doing it?!" Anya's mother asked in annoyance.

"I'm a big girl, mother, we went over this. And what I'm talking about is that Awakened Shadow activated a machine that only she was able to, and shortly after, a voice recording from none other than Nene played!" Anya said.

"NENE?! You need to tell King Jibral about it right now!" said the male Ancient, me looking at him in concern. I still felt abrasive to them, considering I had nothing but bad memories when it came to them.

"Then maybe we should split our teams up. Okuni and Korin, you take Shadow and Bouquet back to the castle. In the meantime, I'm going to explore the town with the others and try to scan these doors both outside and in. I need to know what we're going up against in these simulations and if there's any dangers to them," Anya said, me gulping at the fact that Anya was having me go with the Ancients, but Bouquet held my hand and I felt slightly more at ease.

"Don't worry, honey. Korin and Okuni are very nice and very tough," Bouquet smiled as I then cautiously went with her and the two Ancients to the castle. I definitely needed a nap after speaking to Jibral... and another bite of food wouldn't hurt either.

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